Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From the Lighthouse....

Hello Hello Happy Family!!!

Oh my goodness! I just saw the pictures that Mark and Aup sent of their beautiful little Téairsa!! This wonderful news certainly caught me by surprise, I didn´t think she would be born for a few more weeks. So, how do you pronounce her name? She is so beautiful, just like her mom and dad! Mark, I´m liking the beard by the way. Very nice!

Thanks Kit for sharing those adorable things about Ryn and Elle. I´m so excited for Eden to be born too! Please be sure to send some pictures!

Ah, it is so wonderful to hear from all of you! I am so thankful for the blessings of modern technology that allow us to communicate so quickly. Everything is wonderful and moving along here in Seixal. Last Friday was a very busy day trying to do final preparations for our open house / Portas Abertas, Ana´s and Marley´s baptisms, and three lessons we had that night! Busy busy… woe to them that are at ease in Zion! But we had the Lord´s help to get these things done, since they are a part of His work! For Ana´s baptism we still had to finish doing the program, print it, and make copies. Turns out we weren´t able to print it out because the printer at the library we go to for checking our emails wasn´t working. But the Irmãs are wonderful and were able to print it and make copies for us Saturday afternoon before the baptismal service.

Saturday was pretty much a day at the church. We met there early, around 8:30 ish, and finished organizing things for the Portas Abertas. As a whole it went well. An investigator of the Irmãs and one of ours were able to show up and see everything we had prepared. Filiu, our investigator, is from Cape Verde, has really long hair in dread locks and looks like Bob Marley. His hair is awesome, I must admit, but hopefully down the road he can adopt the clean cut style. He really enjoyed learning about temple genealogy work and the plan of salvation. It was great! After the Portas Abertas the Relief Society president dropped off a lunch for Elder Corry and me, which was well appreciated. Ana´s baptism went very well. I was honored to baptize her, and there was a good turnout considering the difficulty of people coming at that hour when a lot of people are still working. And thanks again John and Laura for that Betty Crocker cookie mix – they were enjoyed with the other refreshments we had arranged. Marley´s baptism also went well, and more members were able to attend, and it was really nice. Haha, a funny story about the cookies – we had to bake them in the kitchen, and our ward mission leader was also staying at the chapel because he lives really far away, didn’t think some of the cookies were for the baptism, and he was chowing down on them. He would take a cookie, talk to us while eating it, and then go move some chairs or do something else. So after he had eaten 3 or 4, I wasn´t really counting, I put all the cookies on the same plate, put a paper towel over them, and put them behind some other bags on the kitchen counter to preserve them for their righteous purpose. We had a good laugh with Diogo later about it.

Also what was really great was that Osvaldo, another of our investigators, was able to attend both baptisms, and he really enjoyed it. He was able to meet and get acquainted with more members and feel the spirit. Before he left he said that he wanted to be baptized too!

Yesterday went really well also. We were finally able to meet with this one family that we had tried to meet with since I got here, but they had been really busy. The dad´s name is Luís and his wife´s name is Cristina. They have an autistic daughter name Raquel (10) and another daughter Daniela (9). They were really kind and excited to talk with us, and promised they would read and pray about the Book of Mormon. When we finished with them we had some time before we needed to go in, so we contacted for a while, and the first man we talked to was really cool. His name was Orlando and we talked about a lot of stuff – a simplified principles of the Restoration, why we go on missions, what we do in church, and Elder Corry even threw in talking about baptisms for the dead. He was really nice, and we left him with a pamphlet. Hopefully more comes of it, so we´ll see…

Well those are some of the highlights of the week! The Church is true and I love being a missionary! Love,

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hello Dearest Family!!

Haha, it is soo great to hear from all of you! If I wasn´t in a library when I read a bunch of the news, I probably would have made some celebratory sounds. But I respected the quiet, and I am singing inside with joy! I am so happy to hear that the nieces (and ?? from Natalie) are coming! Haha, and I was very happy to hear that Ryn is thinking about me. HOORAY again for Nolan´s recovery! My prayers are with ya´ll, and I love ya´ll so much!

By the way, I finally received Mom and Dad and Em´s Christmas package(s) (there were two of them!) on Friday at zone conference. That completes the circle from everyone! Rachel is excused of course being on her mission. (Thanks for being so considerate and thoughtful Rachel, but I think your amazing matchmaking skills can wait until I get home. Please don´t make me not want to go home at all!;) Thank you Mom, Dad, and Em for those pictures and Brasilian goodies – I also received the letters from ya´ll dated December 28 on Monday January 19. Don´t worry Joy, I did receive your package. Luckily the mailman person knows us well enough that he knew where to send the package slip. I think everything was ok on the address except the apartment number (8) was missing. Another tender mercy! Thanks again to everyone for the Christmas presents, they were wonderful! Pictures, candy, drawings from Caitlyn, taco seasoning mixes, kool aid/tang, paçoquitas, cereal, mmmm! You just can´t go wrong!

Well life is great in Portugal! This past week has been another of finding, working, and teaching. Zone Conference on Friday was great with training and receiving packages. Unfortunately though our weekly planning got thrown off so we had to finish that Monday. But anyway, Sunday was great! Filiu came to church, and Cleusa and Aleisa, as well as Ruben (son of a recent convert, Mafalda, whose dad doesn´t want him to get baptized. Stinker), Osvaldo & Daniel, and Felipe and Matilde. Cleusa and Aleisa were a pleasant surprise because their mom told us that we wouldn’t be able to come by and teach them all as a family because she is too tired from working double shifts. But Luisa (the mom) did say that Cleusa and Aleisa would still go to church and stuff. We´ll see how that goes in February.

Yesterday we had another lesson with Ana to talk about her baptism and have her pick speakers and hymns and whatnot, and she picked me to baptize her! I feel very humbled and honored for this wonderful opportunity. This Saturday is going to be crazy! We have an open house thing (Portas Abertas) starting at 9am, which will probably go until around noon. At 1pm Elder Corry and I will need to start filling up the baptismal font for Ana´s baptism at 4pm, and then Marley – investigator of the Irmãs – will be baptized at 7:30pm. Great day great day!!

Thanks again everyone for your news, love and support! I am grateful beyond expression for having been raised in a wonderful family with gospel principles. I know that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and Redeemer and that He lives! Have a great week everybody! Love,
--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hello Dearest Family!!

Hello again from the Lighthouse! Seixal really is a wonderful area to serve the Lord! The Church is growing and moving on despite whatever challenges we might have.

Once again, it is always great to hear from ya`ll, be it via email, letters or packages! Speaking of which, last Friday we had divisions with our zone leaders, and we had stopped by their apartment, and I found out some lovely mail – letters from Mom, Dad, and Emily! Friday I also received the cool little package from Mark and Aup – thank you!! That picture was very nice Mark – I will remember to work now and rest later! And this coming Friday is zone conference (my first normal one), so I will probably get the other package(s) from Mom and Dad and whoever else might have sent me stuff. Thanks again for all the love! And HOORAY for Nolan!! I am so happy to hear that he is on the mend!

Life is great! The divisions with the zone leaders went well. We were able to teach this one man from Cape Verde for the first time. Previously we had had some difficulties getting a hold of him and meeting up with him. But all went well! His name is Filiu, and he really is interested and understanding of what we taught him. We talked with Ana, our current investigator marked for baptism, and we moved her baptism back a week to make sure she will have ample time to understand everything and be prepared to make the wonderful covenant with God and be cleansed of her sins! The really big challenge is her schedule. Like a lot of other foreigners that are working here, she has ridiculous hours which makes it difficult to set up appointments with her, let alone make sure she can come to church and get everything else ready. But the Lord will provide a way! Osvaldo and Daniel came to church again and are well received and befriended by the members – go members!! Anyways, the work goes on. Another thing I am excited about is working with the members to help get other things going – like getting a ward mission plan, PEC meetings, and other stuff like that. Life is great being a missionary!

Well I love you all and am again so thankful for all of your love, advice and support. I know that God lives and He loves us and will work with us as we strive to do our best to serve Him and His children around us. I will partially echo the words of Rachel – be the member missionary that you wanted to have around when ya´ll were missionaries! Give rides, accompany lessons, befriend investigators, and continue being awesome! ´´Let your light so shine``!! Love ya´ll

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Update from the Lighthouse!

Hello Wonderful Family!!

Life is great in Portugal! So last Thursday, January 1, 2009 was my first transfer! Elder Prince and I took his luggage all the way to the office where he met up with his new companion (Elder Florence). I stayed at the office for several hours thinking my zone leaders were coming by to do their transfer and that I would go back to Corroios with them. But because of some kind of miscommunication, the zone leaders weren´t coming. However, I don´t need to complain, because I was able to find some mail for me, including a lovely package from John and Laura and their wonderful kids in Houston. Thank you very much! And please tell Caity I loved the drawings, they´re great! And of course, all´s well that ends well, and I finally met up with my new senior companion, Elder Corry from St. George, Utah. He also has a great sense of humor, and we´ve had a great first week working together.

I just want to pause real quick and thank Joy and Darrell and the boys for that great present package that I received last Wednesday (after the email time), John and Laura & kids for the package I received Thursday (again), Rob and Christa for the great little photo album that included some pictures from the Alaska cruise, and Uncle Kelly and Aunt Becky for the Christmas card, picture, and letter! Thank you soo much! I am so happy and grateful to have a wonderful family that loves me, supports me, prays for me, and even sends me stuff!

So yeah, it has been a great week. One man and his son, Osvaldo and Daniel, we had met Monday of last week, and taught them with Osvaldo´s girlfriend who is a member who lives outside of our area. Then Thursday Elder Corry and I went over and taught them the plan of salvation, with the help of laminated illustrations. They were really interested and went through the whole thing again when we were done to make sure they understood it all. We had also met an 18 year old young man named Pelópidas nearby where Osvaldo and Daniel live, and were able to teach him the first lesson and give him a Book of Mormon. We found out later that they actually know each other, which was cool.

Church went really well. Mafalda and Ruben were able to get a ride, Osvaldo and Daniel came each with their copy of the Book of Mormon, and Ana, a lady from Mozambique who is marked to be baptized on the 17, came for sacrament meeting. Osvaldo and Daniel were well greeted for their first time, and it was fast and testimony meeting to boot, so I think it went really well. We have also had a great time teaching Fátima, a lady from Cape Verde, reading Alma 32 with her and then going over the Restoration again when she expressed her doubt over being able to know which Church was right and not having heard anything about Joseph Smith before. Sunday night we also taught the ´Brasilian bunch´ - Rita & Nielson, married couple, and Denise and her daughter Andresa who live with them, and two of their friends who happened to be over, Anderson and Magilde. Magilde wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon at the end of our lesson, which we gave to her. Life is great as a missionary! Anyways, the Lord´s work goes on, and I am so happy to be a part of it!

Thanks again everyone for your love, support, emails, and prayers! Have a great week!
-- Elder Ellis V