Zone meeting was really cool this week (if a little long!- note to self, bring snack next time!) We watched some clips from Apollo 13 and now I just want to watch it all (can't believe I never did before the mission). We discussed how it was like a metaphor for our mission life in that we have pesquisadores out there in perilous conditions and we want to get them home. Often that task looks impossible and many times we need to come up with inventive new ideas to help them. Also, it's good if we break the problem down and then it becomes a lot more manageable. The scene when everyone was talking about how it would be impossible because things hadn't been built for those purposes and there wasn't enough power etc.. kind of reminded me of the negativism I felt a lot in the beginning of the mission. Then one of the guys steps forward with the new idea of turning all the power off and the attitude of the team completely changes. I'm not sure I'm the positive world changing person yet, but hopefully I am a little more ready to believe in positive ideas.
So we have some cool new goals of 50 baptisms in September and each week a goal to help us towards that. This first was to do something brave and out of the box. Sister Gouveia suggested drawing God's plan for us (that we lived with him before this life, our purpose here is to prepare to meet him again and afterwards we will be judged according to our works and desires and if we accept his ways - have faith, repent, be baptised and endure to the end - we can live with him and our families forever) on the concrete floor by the beach. There were a lot of people there on Sunday at 6pm when we wandered down with the Elders. We almost let our nerves get the better of us (especially as we weren't 100% it was legal) but Elder Boe came through and was the first to put chalk to pavement. We all got involved and it certainly made a few people stop. Some people even came up to us to ask what were doing (the missionaries rarely realised dream!) and we were able to share lots of short messages with people. The best was probably a Jehovah's witness (often extremely sceptical of us and won't even accept a pamphlet in exchange for us taking one of theirs) who prayed with us and asked for one of our pamphlets! There really is strength in numbers (except when Elder Carrelo is muttering that the police are going to come and and tell us to stop) and it was great to talk to people in the street in different groups of missionaries.
We have had some luck in finding new people this week, which is always exciting. We found Lidia and Antonio who were potential investigators in our area book. They made an appointment with us and when we turned up we found out that Lidia had told her work she was at a doctors appointment, she was so determined not to let us down! They are really lovely and wanted to show us everything about their family. They seem excited to have us back, so we will see how that goes. We were also able to talk to Sonia again after 6 weeks and she really needs this assurance as she is very effected by her husband passing away 2 years ago. She loves hearing about the temple and is beginning to see baptism as a step towards this. We were able to make brownies for her daughter's birthday and found a notebook with her favourite Disney channel character, so we she super happy. It was amazing to see the smile on a child's face from something so simple. You really can't put a price on that. Hopefully she will be able to come to church this week.
We also met Helena as a door contact and went back to see her. She couldn't talk long (it ended up being 30 minutes in the doorway - classic Portuguese people!) and was in tears because she has so much to deal with her mother being sick. She, like some other people this week, was so happy to feel alleviated by our presence and words. I said a prayer at the end, as you might expect, but it felt a little different this time. The words didn't feel like mine, and it wasn't the normal phrases I rely on, I really feel I was inspired to use them for her. It is great when you feel directed to help others.
We also had a miracle at Emilia and Antonios house. They are this elderly couple who are ill and can't really leave the house that we have visited a few times and always bring some of their favourite food. She remembered everything about us - down to how many siblings we have! When we went by this week her daughter was there - I had been hoping to meet someone from the family she speaks about so much! Her daughter was really interested in getting to know us - luckily her mum has said good things about us! and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to a new person about our message and purpose.
All these new people have had some contact with the church already and it really goes to show that no effort is wasted, even if we don't see the fruits of our first labour.
Daniela and Victor are still going strong. They were away on Holiday so we weren't able to meet with them, but I think it was good to have a break from their daughter who wasn't sleeping well. Lots of members are excited to help them and it is great to feel the support of the ward. We were also able to get the son of one of our investigators to be more interested in coming to church by introducing him to the son of our ward mission leader this week and they got on so well - playing video games that none of us adults understand - sweet mercy, I'm old!
Hoping that you are all enjoying your weeks.