Hey fam! Hope all is going well over there:)
First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIDIA!! I hope you have the best birthday ever and that your parents spoil the heck out of you haha, I am sure they will;)
I am really nervous to see how much my family has grown up. Adam told me that I would be pretty shocked.... haha fogo, thats going to be so weird!! But I guess that is just a part of life. I remember when we went to go pick up Cory off his mission, apparently Kevin had grown a ton haha. WEIRD STUFF.
Well, the work continues on here in Tavira, this corner of the Algarve. We had Branch Conference yesterday and it went really well. We had 42 people that came to church, so it was a big success. That is more than Tavira has seen all year and probably for a long time. Usually we have about 28 people coming to church weekly, but for Conference we had extra help, especially from the District Presidency. It was also the first time I have directed a Branch Conference, so it was a fun new experience.
That day I taught Priesthood with about 15 members and it just felt GREAT!! I thought wow, I wonder what it would be like to be teaching more than this! Because until now that was the biggest class that I have taught. Usually when its this size there is a member that is teaching or stuff like that, but yesterday I had the Privelage. I used David A. Bednar´s talk about the Powers of Heaven given in this last conference. For all my brothers and just all the men out there, I encourage you to read and study this talk.
I also have been teaching a special preparation class for 5 men that are preparing to recieve the Melq. Priesthood or returning back to church. It went really well, we talked about the Restauration of the Church, and invited everyone to gain a true testimony of that important moment in history.
As I directed the actual conference it felt so good to have people up there on the stand with me, or aka, the District Presidency with me. I felt that excitement of YES, I AM NOT ALONE hahaha. It all went really well, I bore my testimony on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, using the example of me busting my arm and having to recover from the wound. How I had to recover and work hard, and how it took time, how it was painful, but in the end, how my arm is now stronger than it was before because of all of that work. Its the same thing with us and the Atonement. We make mistakes, all of us, and sometimes we are wounded badly. But Christ offeres a way to recover and come back even stronger than we were before. Sometimes its a very long and painful process, but it is so worth it.
Family, friends, loved ones, let me tell you all about the amazing example that I am witnessing right now. The District Presidency of the Algarve is one of the most impressive things that I have seen in my entire life. They are like modern day pioneers, making the way for this part of Portugal. I have seen few people SO dedicated to this work and to this people and to the Lord and His Church. It might be hard for you all to understand the situation that we have here in the Algarve, but let my testify to you that these men are truly men of God, and a great example of what I want to be like as well. These men are constantly visiting members, constantly working for the Algarve to become a stake. They have visited many time Tavira, and visited our members with us, and every time they come they bring such a strong spirit with them. INCREDIBLE!! We have seen so many miracles with these men, its unbelievable.
Let me share an example. After coming home from a activity, by bus, getting back at about 2:00AM, they decided that since they were all together at the moment to hold a District Presidency Meeting. They planned together until 5:00AM. This is just one example. Please understand that it is not out of stupidity, or a crazy thing they did. There is a huge crisis here in Portugal and it was a moment that they wanted to take advantage of to help even more the members of the Algarve.
Its hard to explain, really hard to explain over email, I will try to do better when I get home. But I just wanted to let you all know that we should be so grateful for what we have, and the men that our be our side working with us. I feel like I am working amongst heros haha. I LOVE BEING HERE!! It is such an important time for the Algarve, in this very moment. The Lord is doing work here.
I feel grateful for the calling that God has given me as a branch president. This is a VERY special time for Tavira. Until now the Lord had been bringing everything together, bringing a team of men together to lead his people here, and now I have the privelage of teaching them and helping them take my spot. He saved them for this time, this day, and finally FINALLY the work here in Tavira can go forward!!!
I would like to share just one more thought with you all before heading out. Something that I feel now, that I understand now. I think that I am finally starting to understand what was said in the scriptures of looking at sin with horror. For the first time in my life I somewhat understand what that means, because that is exactly the way that I see it. I now understand what sin really does and how it really hurts us. Being a branch president and having to do interviews has helped me understand that, its really opened my eyes to a bigger picture of things. We must do as Paulo teaches in Romans 7 and 8, and learn to walk through this life in the spiritual sense of things. Just a cool maturing moment that I thought I would share with you. I know youre all thinking, wow, finally, that took him long enough haha.
Love you fam, keep it up, one day I will be there with you.
Love you all!
We were approached by the Head of CTT and were asked to make this change, because without the Church’s name we cannot legally receive your mail.
Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias
A/C Elder/Sister (missionary name)
(A/C means ‘ao cuidado de’)
This will ensure that your beloved packages and letters will actually reach you, instead of going back to your parents and friends.
Also your packages MUST be labeled as gifts otherwise you will be paying up to 60 euros to receive them.