Monday, November 30, 2015

Nov 30, 2015 - Nacseu O Salvador

Well the mission Christmas initiative has officially begun! Nasceu O Salvador! I attached the link to this year's awesome Christmas video from the church website. They always do such a good job! We have hundreds and hundreds of our little Christmas pass along cards that we're gonna be using all month! I'm pumped!

This week was awesome! We found an awesome little family! We saw this mom and her 3 kids walking and thought jackpot! So we contacted them and got their address and went to their house on friday. They answered the door and the little boy was super excited to see us and the mom was really curious too. Unfortunately we had just missed her husband who had left for work so we couldnt teach them right there but we rescheduled for Tuesday! I'm super excited and this ward only has 2 kids in primary so hopefully they get this big boost! 

Afonso is still marked for baptism for this Sunday! His interview is on Thursday and we're praying and fasting that this baptism finally happens after yent convert family, Beatriz and Antonio! They were actually baptized by my current zone leader. About 6 months after their baptism they both got new jobs that forces them to work on Sunday. They hears and years! Pray for him!

On Saturday we visited an awesome recave such strong testimonies and know that their new jobs was a blessing from getting baptized. We left a really good scripture from King Benjamin's talk about the Why and How of the atonement. Then they fed us a little dinner and it was so nice to be in a home where the spirit was so strong. They are praying every day that somehow they can find a way to get to church. And after we left, I realized exactly how important the Sabbath is. We can't take it for granted. There are worthy willing people out there who just are in unfortunate circumstances that deny them the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and enjoy church.  I started to feel guilty about all the times that I had slept in and missed church (before my mission ;) or just didnt pay attention or didnt give the sabbath the respect it deserves. So I guess my plea is for all of you to really think about how lucky you are to have the chance to go to church. and when youre at church really think about and remember Christ. And try to "make the sabbath a delight" 

Thats about it! Next week you should be seeing us dressed in white!:D

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nov 23, 2015 - Lucky Number 8

Well today is the start of my 8th transfer here in the cold but beautiful Portugal! I am staying here in Póvoa de Varzim with my comp Elder cox but the other area in our district got replaced my sisters! So now I'm DL over my comp and the sisters. Its going to be a sweet transfer!

Afonso is still doing awesome! He said we have to move the baptism back a week due to his work schedule so now its planned for the 6th of December! But better late than never! 

We got a sweet new microwave!! Our food is going to be so evenly warmed up now!

On Sunday morning before church started the bishop told me that maybe I would have to give a talk in sacrament because the person assigned might not show up. But to my relief he showed up, so during the sacrament I was all calm feeling the spirit when all of a sudden he walks out of the chapel. I look over at his wife, then at the bishop and I didnt know what was happening. So the bishop stands up and announces that I am the first speaker. Haha awesome. So yes I literally wrote my talk as I walked from my seat, to the pulpit. I talked about Captain Moroni and how we have to defend the things that matter most in our lives and then talked about Grandpa and how he literally fought for his freedom and I tried to organize it all into a talk. i thought it turned out good for how much time I had to prepare. Just one more skill missionaries learn. Writing talks in less than 30 seconds:D

But this week was a pretty slow week. The mission has really taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. A good personal study of the scriptures. A friendly conversation with someone who actually wants to talk to you. A nice cup of Hot chocolate. A good conference talk. Not everything you do is exciting and life changing but its the small things that count.
D&C 64:33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Love you all and I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving and eat lots of turkey for me! 

Nov 16, 2015 - Afonso!

Well Afonso finally agreed to baptism!! We had a lesson where we finally just said "Look man. What are you waiting for? You know the doctrine. You know the ward. You've felt the spirit. You know this is all true. YOU'RE READY FOR BAPTISM." And he said yeah I am! So the last Sunday of November he'll finally be baptized! We're pumped and the ward is all so excited! :D

We had stake conference yesterday and it was such a good meeting! I'm back in my first stake so it was cool to see all my friends and members from my first area! But the stake president spoke on small and simple things and it was funny he had every woman stand up that had been told "I love you" from her husband that morning and only about half of the married women stood up. And it was a good reminder that yes the little things matter every day!

Then mission president spoke about the Sabbath day and kinda handed out some faca to the stake and read straight from the handbook about how to do meetings well and what we should be doing at church. It was good!

Then the Madrid Temple president spoke and he gave an amazing talk about how important temples are and how the plan of salvation is a perfect plan and how merciful God is to have made a plan for us like that.

Then Elder Moreira, of the 70, spoke about the importance of the temple some more then focused a lot on patriarchal blessings. It was really cool. I understood everything the Madrid temple president said:D But the stake was just about the size of my ward at home. Weird to see the contrast but good to know its still the same doctrine and spirit. 

Well thats about it. Awesome week that was full of the spirit and now we are gonna be pretty busy keeping Afonso firm until the 29th and preparing his baptism! I love you all and always remember the little things in life!

p.s. this is me having a samuel the lamanite moment :D

Nov 9, 2015 - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

So yes Christmas is in full swing here! ALREADY! I realized they dont have thanksgiving here so theres no unwritten rule about starting Christmas after Thanksgiving so on Nov. 1st they brought out the lights and music and everything. So Merry Christmas everyone! And also its Chestnuts season! So we had a sweet ward party where we just sat and ate 100s of Roasted Chestnuts! sorry I dont have any pictures but they were yummy!

And along with the ward activity the RS Pres gave a really cool spiritual thought about not leaving for tomorrow what can be done today! It was on the talk given I think either last or 2 conferences ago. She said that we only have today! So pray today. Read the Book of Mormon today today. Say sorry today. Say I forgive you today. Say I love you today. Get to know your savior today. Make the most out of today because tomorrow might not come. And in the words of the Poet Ne-Yo. "We might not get tomorrow, so let's do it tonight." 

We still are finding some cool people to teach and our favorite eternal investigator, Afonso, came back from france this week so we finally got to teach him again and he came to church and the ward mission leader is taking him bike riding this week and hes really well integrated into the ward! He just needs to take that next step of faith in to the waters of baptism. 

Other than that we are just doing a lot of finding and talking to strangers all day. Its funny how your whole life youre told not to talk to strangers. Then you turn 18 and get sent out to Europe and basically everyone's salvation depends on the fact that you have to talk to strangers all day every day.... (;

Love you all and have a great week!

And this week we walked back into the 1500s....

Nov 2, 2015 - Slow and steady win the race

Well this week was pretty slow but I love our members! Our ex bishop brought this 18 year old kid Antonio (the son of a close family friend of his) to church and we had an awesome Gospel principles class with him. We taught about Joseph Smith then the ex bishop told his conversion story and the spirit was so strong! We're having a an FHE this week at his house and it was basically a miracle! Hopefully you'll see him wearing white here soon(; 

On halloween all we did was just buy some candy and we ate it haha Portugal isnt nearly as crazy about it as America but we still saw some kids running around all dressed up so it was fun! Today we went to Porto and got some Pizza Hut! We met up with some other Elders and we had a party!

Other than that nothing too much to report on. I'm going on a division today with a greenie of 2 weeks so that should be fun! Wish me luck!

Oct 26, 2015 - LISBON TEMPLE!!!!

So basically the best news was announced this week since 1974 when the church was allowed to start proselyting here! The Lisbon Temple ground breaking will be on December 5th!! Super exciting stuff!! It only took 40 years but all the tithing and faith of this country finally paid off! Unfortunately I wont be able to go because I am in a different mission but you can feel the attitude change of the members of super optimism and happiness!

But other than that not too much happened this week. We're still trying to find people to teach and its been a slow process but its coming along. On Sunday we had a super cool miracle! A less active member showed up to church with her non member husband and their 2 non member sons, 11 and 12! Theyre really nice and a cool family and it turned out that that morning the husband actually wanted to go to church and he dragged her to church! So we got their number and we're going to visit them this week! 

Thats about it! Hope you all have a safe Halloween and the american candy here in Portugal is pretty sparse.... just saying... (; Haha 


Oct. 20, 2015 - A Message From Your Stake Presidency

Our dear Elder Powell,

First and foremost, we hope this email correspondence finds each of you happy and well.  We express our sincere love to you as your Stake Presidency.  We pray for you in your assigned labor and share our gratitude for the marvelous work in which you are engaged in.

In May of this year, the Draper Utah Meadows Stake was created by Elder Robert C. Gay and Elder Gene R. Chidester of the Seventy.  It was a spiritual and sacred experience to meet with these faithful servants of God and to be called to serve in our respective callings.  Like you, we humbly implore the Lord for his guidance in blessing the lives of the members of our stake.

Several weeks ago, our High Priests assembled together for our annual Stake High Priests Quorum Meeting.  Wonderful instruction was given.  One of the subjects addressed was the importance of being spiritual mentors in the lives of others.  Much of the context shared was taken from a CES Fireside Talk given on March 7, 2010 entitled “Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee”.
In March of 1839, the Prophet Joseph Smith, with several of his companions, had been wrongfully incarcerated for months at Liberty Jail.  Many Church historians have said that this experience was one of the most difficult and darkest periods of the prophet’s entire life.  His words—recorded in Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants—speak of a desperate loneliness he felt in such of the bleakest of circumstances, “O God, where art thou?” 

The Lord did NOT appear nor send angels; he did NOT thrash the guards or swing open the door of the prison.  Simply put, He did NOT change the circumstances—but He spoke comfort and reassurance to Joseph by saying: 

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."  Then the Lord said this…"Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." (Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9)

Elder Rasband stated, “Here was Joseph locked in jail by the treachery of men, some of whom had once been his close associates.  But the Lord made the point so clear—“thy friends do stand by thee.”   How comforting that declaration was to the Prophet Joseph; how comforting to us.  Think for a minute, what it means to you to know you have someone standing right by you, someone you can trust to be your friend on good days and bad, someone who values you and supports you even when the two of you are apart.”

Pause for a moment and think, who has mentored you?  Who helped you to get on a mission? What have you learned from them that changed your life?  How have they watched over you? 

All of us are products of those who have touched our lives for good.  As full-time missionaries, you now assume the role of spiritual mentors in the mission field.  We commend you for your efforts and testify that there are many from home—who do stand by you and shall hail you again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

We leave you with this thought given to the Church by President Gordon B. Hinckley many years ago.  He said, “To those of the Church, all within the sound of my voice, I give the challenge that while you are performing the part to which you have been called, never lose sight of the whole majestic and wonderful picture of the purpose of this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry, the pattern for which was laid out for us by the God of heaven. Hold high the standard under which we walk. Be diligent, be true, be virtuous, be faithful, that there may be no flaw in that banner.”

We send our love to you from across the miles and pray heaven’s choicest blessings will be yours as you bring all unto Christ. 

Much Love,

Oct. 19, 2015 - Home makeover: Mission Apartment Edition

Week 1 in Póvoa was awesome! The ward so awesome and I already feel so welcomed and loved its gonna be a fun several months here! 

On monday when I arrived, the house was in ruins. Just terrible! It smelled like pee, there was dirt and trash and clothes everywhere and it was insane. So we stayed inside and didnt proselyte for 2 days straight. After district meeting on tuesday and all day wednesday we just stayed inside and deep cleaned the house. We reorganized the furniture, washed all the dishes and kitchenware, donated all the old clothes from past elders, dusted and swept, hand scrubbed the bathroom floor and it was intense. Theres no way to accurately show how much of a difference we made but here is the pile of junk and trash we threw out. I can show before and after pictures when I get home haha But yeah the spirit can actually reside in our house and I can finally concentrate! 

We have this awesome eternal investigator named Afonso. He has been an investigator for 11 years!!! And he actually was marked for baptism 2 weeks ago but fell because he didnt think he had a strong enough testimony of the book of Mormon. so we had a sweet lesson with him and read 2 Nephi 9 with him and talked a lot about the atonement. we then obviously talked more about the book of Mormon and we had him say a specific prayer right then and there asking for an assurance that the Book of Mormon was true. And nothing. I felt the spirit and he felt the spirit but he apparently didn't get the response he wanted. So yeah its gonna be a tough couple weeks getting him prepared for baptism. We are actually contemplating teaching with our Mission President because we're only about 30 minutes from HQ so we'll see next week. 

But I love this area and the beach here is beautiful! Its been surprisingly warm and sunny here so thats been sweet! The Portuguese sunsets never get old!

Love you guys and hope you have a week full of the spirit! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oct 12, 2015 - Povoa de Varzim!!

Well hello there once again!

Today was transfers! I left Covilhã after being 3 transfers there and I got moved way up north to Povoa de Varzim! Its basically like 10 minutes from the ocean and it has a ward! Which is probably the best part having been in a branch of about 17 people. So yeah I'm excited! My new comp, Elder Cox is from Tooele and is starting his 5th transfer. Its should be quite the adventure!!

It was hard saying bye to everyone at church though. I was really glad we had fast sunday yesterday so I could bear my final testimony and profess my love for my branch! haha but this past week was pretty fun! We had a branch activity and watched the Testaments! We had 3 families that said they would come and we were pumped! So we had a ton of food and everything and of course on saturday a huge rain storm hit and no investigators showed up. It was sad. BUT we still had a party with our awesome faithful branch! And the elders got to take home the extra food! Score. 

It was especially sad to say bye to the one and only Maria Jose. She didn't come to church yesterday but we did end up going over there last night to say bye. 

We were knocking some doors on thursday and at the same time a door to door salesman was knocking the same building so we stopped to talk to him. He was about 25 and he was so confused at what the heck we were doin! He kept asking How old are? Why are you here? Youre not being paid? Why? Why would you do this same hard work I'm doing but for free? And he kept asking why? And it was weird I had this moment of sudden deep thought. Why? Why am I here? And yeah "because I know the church is true" But that is just the sunday school answer. 

But no I really do know this church is true! And only through this church and the ordinances in the temple can families be together forever and I just want that for everyone! I know Joseph Smith saw God and and His Son and I want this people to know it! My mission has brought so much Joy and Hardship and I have grown so much from it and I wouldnt want to be anywhere else. So thats why :D

Love you guys and hope you have a marvelous week. This is Maria Jose who for some reason didnt want to smile in this picture. I promise shes cool haha

Oct 5, 2015 - Don't Focus on your Restrictions, but on Your Possibilities - Pres. Amorim

Happy October! 🎃

I hope you all had a marvelous conference weekend and are all on a spiritual high! Super cool to sustain Elders Rasband, Stevenson and Renlund to the quorum of the 12. Their testimonies were super powerful! We actually got a part member family to come to conference for the Sunday morning session so that was cool! We found them knocking doors and the 2 sons were baptized in England but came back and are living with their parents who aren't members and they all showed up which was actually a big surprise because their kinda old and sick and live far away but milagres acontecem! 

But this week we spent 3 days in Coimbra! I keep talking about Coimbra because that's the HQ for our zone. Its like the 4th biggest city in Portugal with 2 huge wards and 6 duplas of missionaries working it. And on Friday we had our zone conference with president! But on Thursday we did a division with the zone leaders so we were there a day early and it was really cool to spend 24 hours with our Angolan ZL elder João! He's 24 and his girlfriend converted him and he was baptized in October of 2012! And hes a zone leader in 2015! Hes going places in life.

Then on Friday we had our zone conference and president is always so inspired! We got a new mission hymn, some new rules added to the white handbook and so much more. But all I can say is that President is SO inspired. He is truly called of God and with his vision and ideas, this country is going to explode!

Then we had interviews on Saturday. But since we live so far away we had to spend the rest of Friday in Coimbra. So we did another division with one of the other duplas and this time I was with Elder Earhardt! He's a Brazilian kid on his 3rd transfer and we actually taught a professional soccer player so that was cool! 

So after our interview we finally got back home by about 5 pm on Saturday. It was a pretty fun weekend hanging out with a ton of different Elders in the zone! 

We then watched conference with our faithful branch president and his family! Haha we were all kinda crammed into his office because that is the only place with good enough WiFi haha we had a party!

Amo-vos e espero que tenham uma semana cheio de milagres!

Sep 28, 2015 - Walnuts, Pomegranates, and Octopus

Welcome my friends to this weeks edition of "A Week in the Life of an Elder"

So Maria Jose, one of our only progressing investigators has a garden\farm. And she has this huge walnut tree! And some pomegranate trees! So we got some free walnuts and pomegranates. And they were delicious! She didnt come to church but theres always next week!

The other dupla in my district had a batismo!! Being DL I had to  interview him and it was a really cool experience. Really cool to see the change and the humility in him. He then fed all 4 of us elders dinner and it was fun to chill with other elders for a little bit!

On friday we went to the house of Christina and Fernando! We had found them about a month ago but then they went to Lisbon to look for a house and now theyre back! Unfortunately they are moving away this week but theyre obsessed with us. We visited their house just to say hi and talk about the Book of Mormon but they ended up feeding us and everything! Then they wanted us to come back the next day for dinner again! We obviously didnt decline and they made Octopus! And it was delicious! It was like this stew with fried up pieces of tentacles and potatoes and this cream sauce and it was yummy! Then we helped them move their stuff into their basement in preparation for their move of thursday. In the process of moving we found this huge box of all these random paintings of abstract randomness. turns out, christina is a professional artist and she sells these painting for 300£ or more! Whoa. As we're leaving we keep talking about the paintings and she says we can choose one to take home! Too cool! Heres the one I chose with the artist herself:D It was a fun day!

We also went to a soup festival. And we found this huge churro just stuffed with this oreo creme filling. We ate a lot this week.... Hahah every story is about food:D

We had a really cool lesson in priesthood about how we have to be spiritually strong with a good testimony before we can help anyone else. And we talked about how in planes we have to put on our own oxygen masks before we even help children. Then the stake secretary who was there said its interesting how in the scriptures it uses the word "vir" instead of "ir" or in English come instead of go. We say come unto Christ, not Go over there to Christ while I'm still over here. We have to be with Christ in order for us to say come to me, come to Him. Really cool reminder of sometimes we have to worry about our own testimony and make sure we're still doing those small and simple things every day. 

Well Love you all! Hope you have a crazy spiritual weekend with conference and find some questions to your answers! 

P.s. I dont know who the new apostles will be but I bet that Elder Rasband will be at least one of them...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sept. 21, 2015 - Ezra Taft Benson

So this year we're obviously reading from the teachings of Ezra Taft Benson at church and this week we read about pride. And there was the best quote ever! I hope my portuguese translating skills are sufficient. it said "We have to replace the thought of what do I want from my life? with what does God want that I do with my life?" Super cool perspective of seriously just humbling ourselves and having no pride whatsoever and saying heres my life God, now what do you want me to do with it. Really cool insight. 

Anyway school started here in the good ole country of Portugal. Yes the 3rd week of September is when school starts haha be jealous Americans. But this city is a huge college town. We have one of the best medical schools in the country so there are a ton of college hooligans everywhere now. 

I got a parking ticket. That was a shame.

Maria Jose came to church this week and she was all dressed up in a nice dress and everything! Seeing the change in her is so cool! It was hard though because we have 2 women in our ward who have become best friends with her and we always teach with them but they both weren't there at church! And in a ward of 15 people that's pretty rough to be there at church alone just having to sit with the elders. BUT she still really liked it and we are praying and fasting that she will get baptized conference weekend!

So you know in the book Charolette's Web how at the end all the little spider babies are flying around on their web kite things, yeah thats happening here! We are being attacked by little floating spider web strings all over the place! Haha its weird. 

Other than that we had a pretty chill week. I've been listening to a ton of conference talks and I've been downloading them from the late 90s until now. And for the past 4 months I download about 25\week and listen to them all during the week. And I've realized president Monosn uses the same stories in some of his talks!! Haha I was listening to one from like 2008 and then one from 1997 and it was basically the same talk! Haha anyway I'm pumped for conference and I hope you guys are all prepared!

Love you all and I hope you have a marvelous week!


Sept. 14, 2015 - Saude, Dinheiro, e Amor

Bom dia! My subject comes from this random guy who actually came up to talk to us and was saying how we havent been over to his house in years and where have we been then we say well when can we come by? and he says no no hes catholic and we cant come over... haha then he goes off and rambles about soccer or something and we say well do you want to come to chuch with us and he says "the 3 things you need in life is Saude, dinheiro e amor" (or health money and love) then he walks off. I guess hes kinda right... haha
This week we had to say goodbye to Luis who had to go back to LIsbon because he has no money to stay here. It was pretty sad but I'm really hopeful the elders down there will get him baptized! His prayers were always so heartfelt and he felt the spirit so strong theres no way he wont be baptized! 
We were walking and this lady, Teresa, with this big white eye patch stopped us and asked if we had a prayer because she had just been operated on and needs a prayer. So we explained how prayer isnt memorized and we prayed for her and got a return appointment. She lived way the heck out in the boonies like 20 minutes driving up this mountain road. We get to her little town and takes us 2 hours of walking around and asking people where she lives and we finally find her as we're driving home! She was standing on her balcony and she sees us and stops us! Crazy. So we get to her house and she asks for another prayer or a blessing or something. And so we explain priesthood blessings and ask if she would like that and it would only work if she has faith and really believes what we're doing is with the right authority. And to be honest I was skeptical to just give this random person a blessing who doesnt know anything. So I annoint her with the oil and I still felt pretty uncomfortable. Then while my comp seals it and blesses her it felt so right! We say amen and immediately she says "wow i fell so good like something really clean and nice washed over me" Whoa. the spirit is the best missionary ever!! Then we keep talking and towards the end she says "I want to be a part of this church." MILAGRES!! So cool! sadly she lives really far away and there arent any buses on sunday so it will be quite the challenge to get her to church but I believe everything will work out just fine! Cool stuff man. 
Also with 9\11 being this week Im feeling a little extra patriotic. I just want to say how grateful I am for being an American. I am so grateful to be able to have the freedom of religion and I know that America was set apart so that this great gospel could be restored. I am so grateful for all the soldiers who defend this great country and I know we can never repay them. I know this church is true and I'm proud to be an american where at least I know I'm free!

Have an awesome week!

Sept. 7, 2015 - 6

So I'm still here in the beautiful city of Covilhã for my 6th transfer! My comp stayed as well and we have a goal of 3 baptisms this transfer! And as of now it looks so possible so we're pumped! 
We had a sweet Zone Meeting on friday and my Dad is in my zone! So that was exciting to catch up with him! In the meeting we talked alot about our appearance and our language and our stature has to be professional. We are representing Christ so we need to look as if he was walking with us! We arent rebellious dumb teenagers anymore. We have to hold our selves to a higher standard. It was a good reminder! And with that we learned even more that President wants Quality over quantity. He doesnt care if we have 300 lessons a week and 100 investigators in church if we have no baptisms those lessons and investigators are fake and weak. We need to find and teach people with real potential that will help the church truly grow. I got pumped!
We are still teaching Luis and hes doing so great! He is loving the stuff we tell him and the church and the members. He is still living out of his car but hes still pretty happy. On saturday we had scheduled to meet with him but he didnt answer his phone. We still wanted to find him but we didint know how. I remember him saying he was parked by the city park. So I said well lets just walk over there and try to find an older looking car with some blankets in it and maybe he will be there. So we're walking around this park just hoping for a miracle and THERE HE WAS! Just strolling through the park with nothing to do! It was insane. So we sat and talked with him and he was all excited for church and everything! Milagres acontecem! 
Maria Jose came to church again and she loved the fast and testimony meeting! All the memebrs have been taking her in so well and its been awesome! She is always saying how much she loves the people and how happy they all are! I love our members (:
Well hopefully we get some people marked for baptism this week! Stay tuned until next week! Love you all! Beijinhos :D

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aug 31, 2015 - Luis!

So we found this guy Luis about 2 weeks ago. Hes from Lisbon and is here visiting his son for about a month or 2. We contacted him in the street and he said that he has always seen the elders in Lisbon but never talked to him. So we invitied him to church and he said yeah he'll come by. He lives out of his car and doesnt have any clothes except one purple striped shirt and one green striped shirt. So hes in the perfect humble sitauation to accept the gospel!

So last week he didnt come to church and we call him wednesday to talk to him and he said " I didnt lie! I came to church! But I came at 3 and it was already closed! I didnt lie I didnt lie!" Haha Luis calm down just come next week. So then on friday we had an awesome lesson in the chapel with him and he said the most heartfelt prayer I've heard in a long time! He just poured out his soul just asking for a little luck. Then at the end he said he wanted to cry for some strange reason. (Yeah thats the spirit punching you in the face:D) So then yesterday he came to church and he really liked it! Hopefully he'll be here long enough for him to get baptized before he goes back to Lisbon! But yeah Luis is our best friend now!

Other than that nothing too special happened. Maria Jose didnt come to church but we helped pull some onions from her garden! It was pretty fun!

The Portuguese catholics do some good work on their Cathedrals!

Tenham uma semana maravilhosa! Até logo!

Aug 24, 2015 - MARIA JOSE!!

This week was awesome!!! :D

We've been working with this awesome lady Maria Jose for months now! And she lives literally next door to the chapel. I've come to really love her and SHE FINALLY CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!! It was so aweomse! She just walked by herself and finally showed up! The memebrs were so awesome in making her feel loved and she had a good time! I actually spoke so that was a good coincidence and there were 30 people in sacrament too! (normally we have 17-19) So it was awesome! So now we can finally talk more about baptism and we are going to push for her to get baptized this next week!!

Oh I had ratatouille this week! We had a member meal and it was delicious!

Ok so I love my comp but sometimes hes a little blonde..... We were making a cake for his birthday from scratch. The recipe was written like this

4 flour, 
4 sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 salt
etc etc

So obviously the flour and sugar are cups and the salt is either Tbls or Tsp. But he insisted that no we have to add 1 and a half CUPS of salt. CUPS! I told him a million times no dont put in 1 and a half cups! Its Tbls! Thats insane! As he was doing it i was like yelling at him and it was too late and he reasoned that with 8 cups of the other stuff 1 cup of salt is nothing and will be evened out. So obvisouly we tasted it and we almost gagged and his cake was ruined. Too funny! Haha I love him:D

We watched Finding faith in Christ this week with an investigator! And the part where he has the adulterer brought to him and says "he without sin cast the first stone." THEN he tells the adulterer "Go and sin no more" I have a question that I cant find the answer to. Does the phrase go and sin no more mean she literally was blessed to never sin again and was perfect from that point on? Or was she just forgiven and told try your best not to commit adultery again and not to sin again? Because it kinda sounded like a command or a blessing as if she WILL SIN NO MORE. I hope my question makes sense.

Love you all and an awesome week!

And this our go kart adventures!


Aug 17, 2015 - Grape season!

So grapes are in full ripe season right now! And theres a law here that if any fruit is hanging over the fence theyre free game! So thats pretty cool. And theyre so yummy!
My comps birthday is today so we're going Go Karting! Its like the only Go karting place in the whole country and its in our area! I'm pumped!
Church was really interesting. So there was the portugal EFY this weekend so all the youth in our ward was gone. And my branch president is like 23 so he went too. ( I think it was like a 16-25 age group thing) Anyway, also our one other priesthood holder and his whole family was gone so it was just me, my comp, and 12 women at chuch! hahah so weird! So I presided and it was probably my first and last time having to take the sacrament first! Then I had to teach gospel principles class on honesty and I told the story of how when I was 10 or so my parents got me in a lie and I had to eat a spoon full of tabasco sauce. They all loved it haha then a couple from porto came late and so for priesthood it was just me, my comp and this one guy just chillin and talking about the brother of jared. Weird day!
I had my first district meeting which was pretty sweet! I love my district!
I was reading in 3 Nephi and in chapter 7 there is a verse that apparently I must not have read every other time I have read the book of mormon! In 3 Nephi 7:19 Nephi raises his brother from the dead!!! His brother who was stoned to death, Nephi was just like "nope I'm a prophet youre not dying today!" Crazy things man.
We find this guy Rui. We knock his door and we go in to teach him. He's a little slow in the head and isnt really understanding anything. Yada yada yada we're at the end teaching prayer. And we have to tell him 5 or 6 times how to pray and finally I just say ok. I will say each line and you reapeat it. I asked him if he had a question for his Heavenly Father. And it was weird he just wanted to know where he was. Actually a pretty interesting thought. So I say the most simple prayer I could.

Father in Heaven. Where are you? Are you here with me? In the name of jesus christ Amen
And the most incredible feeling came over me. I just felt calm and happy and all my stresses and everything left me. I felt really happy and I knew for a fact that he was there with me and with us in that room. I dont know if Rui could feel it but I feel like that little prayer was more for me. It was incredible. Prayer is so powerful and I am so grateful I can talk with my father in heaven whenever I want!
Everyone have an awesome week and have fun in school! Love you all!

Aug 10, 2015 - Sushi!

Bom dia tudo mundo!

This week went by way too fast! Last P day we went a had some sushi which was like a 5 out of 10 but still way good becasue he beat our cooking! But then on tuesday we went to a little gypsie neighborhood which sometimes could be a waste of time but we have one little family that we are trying to work with. Anyway we are talking to all these kids and they start asking us if we know all these WWE wrestlers haha like they are talking all about who is the best WWE wrestler and they have all these youtube videos of WWE. It crackd me up. 

Then we had our Zone meeting! It was the best zone meeting yet! First we wrote a huge list of things of why it is so hard to baptize in Portugal. So we wrote catholics, and church was too early, and people too hard to change, and everyone is on vacation etc. There were like 40 reasons. Then we read 3 profecies specifically about Portugal and we dissected D&C 4. And basically they asked if we should have these excuses or trust in modern day prophets and modern day revelation? I dont know why it didnt feel like scolding but got me super pumped! Then we talked a lot about teaching and finding families and fathers. And president said that if we find a woman or a wife or kid, we cant teach them without the father giving permision or him being taught too. So its been hard this week to find these families and the dad wants nothing to do with us making us have to drop them. But I know that this counsel is revelation and definietly will make this country grow and become stronger. 

Miracle story. It was like the last 45 minutes of the night and we hadnt had ay success. So we made a goal of just finding 1 new investigator. Just 1 before the night was over. So we said a prayer asking for guidance and we start knocking this building. The 2nd door is a family who has already been taught a lot by previous elders and are way super nice and boom. Miracle. I know for a fact that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and he is always there to help us! More on them next week. 

We had a FHE with our branch president again andwe talked all about the Book of Mormon and why its so important etc. The lesson went really well but its so awesome being a missionary because we teach so much and while I teach I learn so much too! So by the end of the lesson my testimony of the Book of Mormon was that much stronger. We didnt teach anything deep or some new revalation but just simple truth. And I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I love it!

Well hope you guys have an awesome week! Abraços! 

Aug 3, 2015 - Behind Enemy Lines

So my subject line has the weirdest story behind it!
First off this week was transfers! My comp left to go train and so I stayed here! My new comp was in the MTC with me, Elder Platts! His first name is Tanner. Haha of course. And hes from southern California and hes a classic surfer dude. Anyway I was called to be DL over one other dupla in our district and I'm pretty pumped! My old DL is my new ZL and hes super cool so I'm pumped! My old comp was the one with the drivers license so I needed to get mine! So we wake up wednesday morning and drive 2.5 hrs to porto to do all the paper work. We actually ended up just chillin in the mission office for the better part of the day and that was way fun to see all the elders passing through the office. I saw all my old comps and It was just fun.
Then that afternoon I had to get my doctor check up for my drivers license to make sure I can see and breathe and stuff. Then the next morning after sleeping in the executives house we went to the DMV to get my license. And if you think American DMVs are bad just picture portuguese haha thre was like a huge fight with yelling and screaming with police because someone thought someone else cut in line. ANYWAY we are doing our paper work and the lady tells us that we need to have our utah state driving record stamped, sealed, translated and signed by the US CONSOLATE!! And the closest one is in lisboa! So we called president and explained the situation and he said do whatever it takes! So we took a road drip to Lisboa!! 3 hours down the A1 and it was super relaxing. But Lisboa is now the other mission! So president told us not to tell anyone that we were going... haha so yeah I crossed the mission border and snuck into lisboa smuggling all our paperwork with us. It was pretty sweet.
Then the next morning, friday, we get it all figured out and now I am a licensed driver in the country of portugal! And my license doesnt expire until 2044! Sweeeet. So then we had to drive another 3 hours back to porto then andother 2.5 to our actual area and we got home to late to work and we finally started proselyting on saturday. So yup we spent 72 hours driving all over the country. Fun stuff!
I have a ton of respect for the office elders. They do so much and like never sleep or eat and they deserve a raise or something.
This week in preisthood we learned about fasting and the talk from president Eyring in conference. And our stake president said something really interesting. He said that with every commandment and law or anything we are fasting. Not just from food at the beginning of the month but fast from money for tithing, or fast from beer and drugs, or fast from the world on sundays, or fast from music and movies for 2 years on a mission, or fast from anything! Every law or commandment in the church requires some sort of fasting. Super cool insight.
Anyway. Last week we went to this super cool castle!
Love you guys! Hope you have a radical week!

July 27, 2015 - Gargulhada: A Burst of Laughter

Yeah this week was pretty nuts!

We FINALLY met our new mission president! Hes super Brazilian. I dont know if you know but if you didnt know portuguese you would think Brazilian and portuguese portuguese are 2 different languages. But hes super cool! He brought a ton of new fogo and just a lot of good vibes! We had to be at the meeting at 7 in coimbra so we had to drive there the day before and we stayed in the elders house there but the thing is half the zone had to do that! So 10 elders all slept in the same house haha it was quite a party. 

He talked a lot about how obedience is key! Just be 100% obedient and we will see the blessings come. He even gave everyone a new white bible as an analogy to a new start and a new revival of the rules. Super cool. Then he talked about how success isnt measured by baptisms. And that was really good for me especially. And he held up a jar of rice and he dumped it on the ground and as he did that 7 or 8 big black beans were revealed. He said how every grain of rice was a rejection or a door slam or a NO. And the beans were people prepared to hear us and be baptized. So be patient and we need to be emptying our rice jar one person at a time. Every time we get a rejection we should say "YES!! 1 less grain of rice!" Haha it was pretty cool!

Then we had interviews but ours wasnt till 5 pm! So we went on a little mini division with the ZLs and it was actually way good! We contacted literally every person we saw and I got a new fogo to do more contacts! Then in my interview he challenged me to do 20 contacts every day! And so being exaclty obedient in the last 3 days I've done just that! And my comp! So between the 2 of us in the last 72 hours we've talked to 120 people. I feel so energized! I'm really excited to see what more our new mission President brings.

Oh and about Francisco and Rodrigo. Their Dad is scared of and said that we're dangerous and we cant talk to them anymore. Pretty dumb but oh well. We had to respect him and so we dropped them. I really hope we touched them enough to change their lives.

This week in my studies I came across an Ensign article about Samuel H Smith. The OTHER brother of Joseph Smith! So I found my new Hero from Pioneer days! Sam Smith was the 3rd person to be baptized in this last dispensation (Poor guy! I've never heard of him! I've only heard of the first 2! You would think the bronze medal would be at least mentioned!) Haha and he basically took over all the farm and house duties of Hyrum and Joseph while they were out restoring things. Sam actually was a scribe of the BOM for a little while. He also was the first Latter day Saint to arrive at Carthage and he helped burry his 2 brothers. His wife died and left him 2 (or maybe 3) little children and he such a beast! He died 30 days after Joseph and Hyrum of some fever but I think it was like a broken heart or just exhaustion. He was the behind the scenes guy that made everything run! So yeah just a little bit of church history for you people. I'm sure Im like the last to find this out but oh well! So happy Pioneer day! 

Well hope you have a marvelous week filled with sun and summer fun! 

And this picture here is an owl made up of random car parts! This city has a ton of random modern art stuff. Boa Semana!

July 20, 2015 - Bom Dia Alegria!

One more week in the books!

So our mission presidente finally arrived in the country! He got here last week and he said that he is going to delay transfers until he interviews every missionary so now I gues we're going to have an 8 week transfer... weird stuff but I'm not even mad! This area is super awesome and my comp and I have become way good friends so 1 or 2 more weeks is going to be sweet! 

I gave a talk yesterday in church on obedience so that was cool.

We are still teaching Francisco and his brother Rodrigo and this week with them was hilarious! We can tell that they reallllly look up to us and they are kinda weird kids and need friends pretty desperately so they kinda just attached themselves to us. But they are reading the Book of mormon and they want every pamphlet and its been so fun! Every day they fight over who gets to pray and who knows more and stuff and its quite a strange predicament. 

But we decided that we feel like a father to them. Their father isnt really anywhere in their lives so we know that we need to not only be teaching them the gospel but also man and life skills. Its been cool to see them slowly but surely change. They didnt come to church yesterday but they said they would for sure this week!

We had a combined branch activity and it was so fun! We played soccer and volleyball and I realized that I have really slipped with my sports haha oh well. It was still fun and we got sunburned and everything and I love our branch!

Well this is what we do during weekly planning. We take light saber pictures! 

Love you guys! Have an awesome week!

July 13, 2015 - New Mission Prez

Hello my fellow Americans!

This week we had Zone Meeting! On wednesday we took our 2 and a half hour drive to Coimbra and we get there and we call the ZLs and they say it isnt until thursday.... Hahah that was quite annoying. So we drove back home did a little work then drove back the next day! So yeah we spent 10 hours in the car this week!

Anyway our mission president finally got his visa and he arrives this week! The mission council talked with him over Skype so they got to kinda meet him and get his vision for the mission and stuff. He's super cool! He has so much faith and said that we're going to baptize more tnan the mission did BEFORE the split! It was pretty powerful. Also, just to say, when he was on his mission in Brazil he was AP for his last 15 months and baptized every single weekend for his last 39 weeks!! too crazy! He focused A TON on obedience. He said that obedience and hard work was how we are going to succeed! So I'm pretty pumped to baptize!!

But this week we founf this awesome kid named Francisco! He's 16 and we always see him doing email and at the mall and just like randomly on the streets like every day. So we finally got his address and decided to teach him, and hes captivated to say the least! He is super into everything we say and he said he stayed up till 4 am reading the book of mormon! He is coming to church on sunday and hes awesome! 

I've been reading in the war Chapters of Alma this week and everytime I read this part I get pumped!!! Moroni is just super human. And a genius. And the stripling warriors are fearless and just trust in God more than anything and I'm a guy who likes action maybe thats why I like it so much haha but sometimes its hard to get super spiritual with all those wars. But I never really realized HOW MUCH the stripling warriors trusted in God. They shouldve lost. Helaman called them little boys and sons like 5 times but they still just said, "Nah we're good we've got the Lord on our side dont worry about it" too cool! I hope all of you are like the stripling warriors and know that you can defeat anything with the Lord on your side!!

Have an awesome week!!

July 6, 2015 - Its like a sauna in here

Well yeah its like a sauna over here on the other side of the pond! Its been hot and humid but oh so great!
4th of July was a pretty average day here. We just worked like normal and I wore my red white and blue tie! haha but it was actually a pretty crazy coincidence that for my morning studies that day I just happened to be on Alma 46 in mt Reading! So yeah I read all about the title of liberty and Moroni being his awesome self and it was a cool little reminder to fight for our freedoms and our family and our religion!! Its pretty cool.
Then for lunch on the 4th we decided to just get a good nice fresh salad! We went to the mall and it was delicious! Haha pretty unAmerican but oh well. We were so hot haha
Oh I tried sardines for the first time this week too! Way good!
But honestly this week was dang hard. We had a total of 5 lessons. yeah it was rough. Our teaching pool is basically empty and so we have been doing so much finding and tracting and we have felt pretty up beat and excited but just have been seeing no results! So we've been learning a lot about just enduring. Just keep trying to do better every day. So yeah. Not too much to report on.
Yes it was quite a shock to see the Supreme Court stuff show up over here in Portugal but I ehard the news. Its very interesting how in conference it seemed like every other talk was about families!!! Prophets can see the future! but no really! Really cool how they prepared us for battle really with those talks. I love this church.
Well thats about it! We went to this cool garden today! can you see me??
Love you guys and keep being you!

Oh and I forgot!!!! Our mission presidente still insnt here.... he cant get his visa stuff worked out. So the lisbon presidente is like ours until the porto presidente can arrive. weird stuff. I dont really know whats going on I just know hes not here yet. so yeah next week I'll probably have more info!

June 29, 2015 - Blood Sweat and Tears

This week has been exactly that! But its been awesome strangely enough! Haha Its still been dang hot and for some reason Greece is the only thing on any of the TVs... can someone please explain to me why? OH and happy birthday AMERICA!! I hope you all have an awesome 4th of July this weekend!

Well we had this awesome family that we were teaching but we still hadnt met the father. The mom and the 12 year old daughter were way cool and we always looked forward to our lessons. Then on thursday we finally meet the father! He was really nice and really friendly and we had high hopes! Then.... he dropped us. He said that he didnt want to split the family and they were going to stay catholic and to please stop coming by. we tried everything we could but there was nothing we could do! So that was sad. Maybe the next set of elders will get them. BUT THEN we recieve a text from the office about a reference from! (FYI super rare) about someone asking for a BOM. So our spirits shot right back up! We felt super bad for being mad at the world at that point haha

So on saturday we visit this reference. Shes about 60 years old and said that she likes to learn about other religions and heard about a church on the radio and then searched Christ Church in Covilhã and found our website. (Thanks Elder google) So we teach her and shes super Christian, not Catholic, but just super churchy and Only worships god and no saints or anything so it was a good start! Her husband was there too and about halfway through our lesson he starts to look really weak... he almost like passes out but stays in his chair. Then she stands up and puts her hands on his head and gives him a blessing. Like super loud and the spirit basically ran jumped out of the room. Hahah weird stuff over here man. But it was a super good lesson and shes going to read and shes going to invite her daughter to our next lesson and it was fun! 

Well thats all for now! Have fun blowing stuff up!


June 29, 2015 - Pictures