Olá gente boa, como vai?
Well, you all know that I am in the Algarve..... and that I am in a city called Portimão...... but the big question that tudo gente (all of you) want to know is where? So, let me just tell you all right now so that you dont worry to much more about it;)
Rua Poeta João Braz Lote 9 1ºFRT Edifício Paraíso
8500 720 Portimão
.... is where you will all send your letters:) That is all of you that love me enough to send me letters hahaha.
Well, here I am. I have officially traveled all of Portugal minus the Açores and Madeira. I have gone from the furthest area north of Portugal, to the furthest area south of Portugal:) It was a very long bus ride, about 12 hours with some switches and stuff, but in the end I arrived to my new home with my new Companion, Elder Guanuna. So first let me tell you about my new companion.
Elder Guanuna is from the United States, from Provo, and is awesome. He has been a great Elder to work with for the last couple days, and I am super excited to work with him for our short time together. He has a really cool last name because his parents are from Ecuador and his family has an amazing story:) Elder Guanuna is a somewhat recent convert to the church and he is already out in the mission field serving a mission and doing his part for the Lord. He has been an amazing example to me so far and I know that I will continue to learn and grow from him throughout this transfer. He is a hard worker, which is really good, and he has a great testimony of the Church. He being on a mission is a standing testimony of that. Elder Guanuna has been here in Portugal for 3 transfers now (I am his 3rd transfer) and he has always been here in Portimão. The last transfer here they did an amazing job and they baptized just about all of their progressing investigators, so that leaves us with a nice new clean slate to work with:) Which leads me to my area...
Our area is amazing as well. The people here seem to be a little bit more open then they were back up in Viana do Castelo, but I think that that just comes with being further down south. There is a big mix of people here, from Africans from all sorts of countries, to Chinese, to English people who are really rich and live down here, to Portuguese (claro), and probably more. At least 2 Americans, so were good to go;) With all of that mix I have seen a broader view of religions and ideas already and a lot of new game to work with. The city of Portimão actually reminds me a little of Viana because it has a bridge that goes to the other side to another little city and a river through it all. Its a lot of apartments and it actual feels really modern. Well, at least more modern then I had been seeing in the northern part of Portugal. For example, there is still plenty of cobblestone streets and stuff, but just not near as old feelilng as the north was. For some reason it kinda reminds me of Las Vegas, minus the casinos and stuff. Its got palm trees everywhere and its got a very tourist feeling to it. Probably because it is one of the most popular vacation places in all of Europe. But all in all the work is going great here and the people are awesome:)
I am in a branch here of about 70 active members and with an actual chapel:) Hooray! Its been so long since I have been working in a chapel area:) Like an actual chapel built by the church that is. The chapel was the first chapel to be built in Portugal, so there is some history for you. The branch is very well structured with the leaders and they have things under good control. It is growing and the branch has the means to withstand a good steady growth. Aka the members know how to keep the recent converts strong in the church and help them recieve the nurishment that all of us once needed. This branch makes part of the district of the Algarve, which is close to becoming a stake. The district has a goal to become a stake before the next big District Conference, so we will be working hard on helping them do that. Its a great goal and will require a lot of effort. I know that I am here with a purpose:)
Yesterday we had two baptisms in our missionary district and it was awesome. It was a miracle and it worked out really well. M was baptized in our area, by her husband C, and the Elder from Lagos (part of my district) baptized a sweet lady named Isabel. I got to do my first interview with Isabel and it went really well, the spirit was really strong:) It was a privalage for me to be able to interview her and get to know her a little bit. They were baptized together on sunday and it worked out beautifully:)
So right now our work is to pretty much find, teach, and baptize like it has always been. More emphasis on the finding part, because that is what we need to do. We have already found a Brasilean named J who accepted the invitation to be baptized on our first visit, and we found a family of 7, a família Seixas, that we are going to start teaching too. The finding has to be fast, urgent, and led by the spirit because we need to baptize every week here. We have a big role in this growth here in the Algarve that we need to play, so we pretty much just gotta get down to the work and fast. I like that:)
Well, I am really excited about it all. Its all a big change for me to be here, but it is a great change. I know that the Lord has a great plan for Elder Guanuna and I to make a big difference for the people here. I know that he has called us to bring people unto him in this area, and that is exactly my plan. Its a great work, full of adventures and full of miracles. I am blessed to be a part of it all. It was hard having to leave Viana do Castelo along with the people that mean so much to me up there. Once again I left the area crying with the C as I told them that I would leave the next day. Hahaha I am a big cry baby. These people make me cry hahaha. But in the end, I know that I am supposed to be here, right now, to do this work. Its gonna be great, just watch:)
Here is a picture of a really cool place up in Viana do Castelo that Elder Park and I went to. I will send you guys some pictures of the Algarve next week, okay?
I love you all, thanks for the prayers and the support!