1) I CAN DO A HEADSTAND! So when Sister Jones arrived we decided to devote some of our exercise to learning to do handstands. I have to say I didn't have a lot of hope in myself. However, intrigued by the prospect and enlivened by the fact we were equally hopeless, the training began. Along the way I determined that with my poor upper body strength, a headstand was more attainable and with some skilful repositioning of the arms, I can know fairly reliably do a headstand, even without the wall (although we are just slowly creeping away from it at the moment!)
2) This week was the first (and probably only time) I got to be part of leading a zone meeting. This is literally a day I dreamed of (I know I am a strange person with strange ambitions) but seeing as I knew I would be fairly hopeless at most missionary tasks (talking to strangers really isn't my strong point) this was something I felt I could do. I am very lucky that President gave me the opportunity to serve as Sister Training Leader, and that he is trying to give the sisters more opportunities to take a more equal role with the zone leaders (I can hear my feminist history teacher cheering at the unforeseen fact I take pleasure in this move) and that I am officially serving with the best zone leaders in the world, so it meant we divided everything up equally and literally ran the meeting as a three people team. It was very enjoyable and I hope everyone seemed to learn something.
My favourite part was when we decided to add a `game with a message` to President's power point. Elder Garcia and I had already seen it done at the very first zone meeting I had been to way back when I was in Viseu. We both decided enough time had passed to bring it back! Anyway, it is basically `hot and cold` where one person leaves the room, another hides a sweet, and everyone directs the person who left to the sweet. This was quite fun enough. However, for the message I had pre-hidden a massive chocolate bar under the piano and was instead directing people to this rather than the sweet like everyone else. Great confusion ensued. Elder Jensen, who was the first missionary I met at the MTC, directly told me that he didn't trust me. Sister Araújo called me SATAN in loud screams several times. In short, no one listened to me apart from my companion who went last and had already got some idea of what had been going on when we planned before. I would love to see the betrayed shock on Sister Araújos face many more times! Sister Phipps even said she felt guilty afterwards. Anyway, it was fairly powerful and everyone was scribbling hurried notes as we explained that instead of Satan, I symbolised the Holy Ghost, who is often whispering the opposite things to the rest of the world and knows what is of most worth. Many times, and especially as a missionary I have seen this, we think we know a good thing for us and maybe it is, but Heavenly Father has something in store more wonderful than we ever imagined, but we are going to have to listen to the Holy Spirit to find it. Also, this second time I really understand how the Holy Ghost is going to just give up with us if we don't heed his direction. Many times I had just had enough of even trying when I knew no one would listen. I would try every now and again to check that they still we not paying attention, but the Holy Ghost is the same, he isn't going to keep shouting at a brick wall.
3)We invited 3 people to be baptised! That is the highest number in one week of my entire mission! We are taking all the faith and courage we can find and trying to follow the spirit to invite people to change their lives!We have one marked person for baptism! Of these 3 people, one of them said yes! Terciana (the sister of our recent convert Rosélia) has started reading the Book of Mormon, loves the peace she feels, really understood the Apostasy when we taught it this week and wants to get baptised on the 25th of February! There are few moments as great as when someone says yes to baptism! She came to church this week and loved it.
4)Some other great adventures from Madeira this week...
So we went to Porto and basically froze:
I learnt the need for 3 blankets even though I was right next to the storage heater. After getting an early start to sleep, because we had to get up at 3am for our flight, the Elders decided to call and wake me up at 11:30 and then proceeded to get no sleep themselves, because it was so cold and their hosts were not as well equipped with blankets. Then, when I did get up and walk downstairs with my case I found the outside door was actually locked, but I had already shut the apartment door, which locked itself and so while the Elders try to call me, because they are outside with the taxi, I am furiously calling the sisters to wake them up, so they can let me in to open the door again! Anyway, we made it back in one piece.
During the week we also had a lost in the hospital escapade, which involved trying to ask if we could sing to some people, we got sent to administration, couldn't understand the first set of directions, so asked someone else, who pointed to the building and said to go to the first floor. Well we went to the first floor and just found a car lot. We tried pressing the first floor in the lift again and it somehow took us to a DIFFERENT PLACE. Same button, different location. Here we found someone who said it was on the 2nd floor. It was not. Another person said it was on the top floor on the other side of the building. The other side of the parking lot had a tower of stairs and an array of doors, all of which were locked! We eventually went back to where we started and in the very place we entered was Administration. They sent us to ask someone else anyway, who told us to write an email. It was like being in Alice in Wonderland! Hope you are all well, Com amor,