I can't even begin to describe what a week this has been! From traveling for 24 plus hours, getting to Portugal, meeting my mission president, President Amorim, getting my trainer (Sister Smyth), coming to my area, Guimarães, and then finishing off the week has been quite the ride! But I'll do my best to update you!
1. I know you all want to know about the language and I think the best way I can sum it up for you is with a quote from The Best Two Years. You know when Elder Calhoun first talks to someone in Holland and just stares at them blank faced and then turns around and says "That isn't the language I learned in the MTC." Well folks, that has been the past week of my life! I'll be honest, it's definitely tough not being able to understand people because I have no idea what to say back to them! But baby steps! I know I'll get there! I did share my testimony in sacrament meeting this week which was terrifying but I was really glad I did. I figured that the best way for me to show the Lord and my branch my willingness to learn was by opening my mouth and sharing my testimony. A lot of people came up to me and said that I spoke well (at least I think that is what they said...) Just know that I smile a lot and look to Sister Smyth a lot for help :)
2. Speaking of Sister Smyth, she is AMAZING!! She is from California and has been out here a year! She is so nice and cheers me on every day. After the lessons when I am slightly skeptical of how I spoke, she always says "You are doing so well! I feel the Spirit every time you speak!" I am so grateful for her! She makes me laugh and is so fun to talk to. I have been very blessed to have her as a trainer. We work hard every day and are doing our best to find people and families ready to be baptized. Speaing of which...yesterday we had quite the miracle! Our mission goal is to have 12 lessons a week and we had 11 yesterday. So we prayed and prayed that as we went out that we would find one person to teach by the time we had to turn our numbers in at 5. So we went out and started knocking doors. And....nothing. It wasand we hadn't found anyone! But then as we were walking up the hill I heard something, turned around, and there was a lady outside her house. Well it turns out she is the nicest lady in the world! We talked to her for about 15 minutes and then she said we could come back again! Miracles happen ladies and gentlemen.
3. Finally, Guimarães is the most beautiful place I have seen! I honestly feel like I am walking around in a movie! It is one of the oldest cities in Portugal. There is a castle, cobblestone streets, alleyways with laundry hanging down, everything! It is so beautiful! Every day I just think "I am in the most beautiful place in the world!" Also, right now there are festivals going on so there are parades and bands and all kinds of great things!
Alright I have to run, but know that I love you all so much and that we can all do hard things as we rely on the Lord!
Com muito amor,