So this week everyone has been stopping us in the street to ask our opinion on Donald Trump, because even my Brazilian companion looks American - apparently! Great to talk to people, but not the best contacting strategy!
We had a great experience yesterday. After visiting a recent convert who can't come to church, because she is basically bed bound, we didn't think the ideas we had planned were very good, as we had been in that area recently. So we went to find some old investigators from the area book and 3 opened the door, 2 let us in (even though it was nearly 9 0'clock in the evening!) One is a family with a less active in it that want us to come back and speak with them more and the other said she wants to come to church this week. We will have to see how it goes, but I really feel that sometimes, when we are living right (which means being positive too!) we are led by the spirit and this gives me a great feeling of security! Because on my own I am pretty useless!
However, my map reading skills have come into play in our adventure of the week. We were in one area and waited for the bus. We were both sure it said number 8, which is the one that takes us home, and we would arrive with a bit of time to do some more contacting before we went to bed, so we hopped on. It was going in a slightly strange way, but we didn't worry because the other passenger had said it went to the centre and ALL the buses pass the centre at some time or other, even if they go a long way about it. However, we finally get to a little place in the middle of nowhere at a junction of two roads and the bus driver suggests that we get off because he isn't going to the centre. Where are we? One of the furtherest points of our area from home that neither of us has been to. However, after experiences of being far more lost and far more confused with far less Portuguese and idea of where I am, I wasn't worried. We wandered to the closest bus stop that some people pointed out for us and found out that the next bus would come at 9:40, which was like an hour away. Certain that we could find our way to at least a more reasonable bus stop, we consulted the map. This is where all the fake treasure map making with coffee stains and burst holes, map reading competitions with my dad and general interest in maps really paid off because Sister Bento looked at me as some kind of magician to be able to turn the map into a understanding of where we were (thankfully the hills on one side and sea on the other in Madeira helps get your bearings remarkably!) Again I was grateful to be filled with a confidence that we were going in the right direction even though we had to walk a good 15 minutes before either of us recognised anything. Also thankfully we knew there was a good bus stop at the massive church of St. Martinho on a hill that is lit up like a temple, so when we saw it, we knew we just had to head towards it! We even got back before 9:30, so all very successful!
Portuguese culture of the week - it was the festival of St. Martinho and so that church had even more lights than usual and there was all sorts of interesting food being sold in stalls near by. The roads were completely blocked up with parked cars and trying to find anyone at home during the weekend was a non starter, because it seemed like literally everyone was at the party!
It is amazing being here - especially when you get great food from Sister Ashby of chicken in actual GRAVY!! We were also kind of grateful to receive a meal with one of our members who cooked fish (they still had eyes!!) but luckily put them on one plate for us to choose for ourselves and never questioned why I didn't try one!
Our district leader shared a great video with us in district meeting this week. It was all about the will of God and how we sometimes get angry because things don't go the way we wanted, we don't recieve the blessings or promotions we hope for and we kind of hold him accountable. But, Elder Cristofferson compared this to a tree that has to be cut back so that it can grow more fruit. I have felt a little cut back recently and it is difficult/painful, but I know it makes room so that we can have even more success. Here's the video if you haven't seen it already:
Have a great week,