Irmã Thomas, Elder Perkins, and I had the privilege to sing during sacrament meeting, with Elder Silva on the piano, this wonderful truth that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the young Joseph. What a great and marvelous truth! I am so grateful for the many sacrifices that he and many others made so that we all can know with surety that we are God´s children, eternal beings on a mortal journey. Each step we have guides to help us know from right and wrong, to light our path.
I have learned much about the Holy Ghost during these weeks and months. He is my best friend. the bishop from the Setubal ward always said that the Holy Ghost will whisper first all things that we should do, and we are commanded to listen and obey. When we follow, we will "prosper in the land" He will guide us and walk beside us. Halyna received this great and marvelous gift on Sunday, as well as a little 8 year old, Ana Laura, who is the daughter of a recent convert in the elders area. The baptismal service was beautiful. Halyna has been saying these weeks that she really wants to clean her body and soul from her sins and be blessed by Heavenly Father. As she entered the water, it was priceless to watch her huge grin, and right after the prayer, Oliveira didn't´t have to do much, because she basically threw herself into the water, she was so excited!! That moment right after coming out of the water too is priceless, as she had that huge smile, full of the light of Christ.
This week we had plans to go to a new area to contact some references we had received. We were excited about our adventure ahead of us. But as we were on our way to Bairro Novo Imagem, we received a call from Sonia, a recent convert of a year and a half, and she needed our help. She has some difficult health problems, and when she called she already wasn't´t doing well, so we quickly turned around and ran to her house, singing "I am a child of God" with her on the phone the whole way. When we arrived she had opened to door, and was almost passed out on the floor in the entry way. The neighbor soon came out, and was also able to help (this happens occasionally so the neighbors are always ready) and about a half hour later Sonia was again her smiling self. I was grateful for the whisperings of the Spirit who helped us know what to do to help Sonia.
After leaving her house, we went back to work, but didn't´t have time to go all the way to the new area, so we followed where the spirit guided us. We contacted Carla, who at first said she didn't´t have much time, but then opened up and shared with us that we had contacted the right person, in the right moment. She is passing through some difficulties with family and as we invited her to church, she said that is exactly what she needs, comfort from the Savior´s arms. She didn't´t make it it church, but we will try and contact her this week.
We taught Emanuel and Halyna with Pedro who is visiting this ward, he recently returned from his mission to Cabo Verde. I am so grateful for members present in lessons! There is just a different spirit when members testify of how the gospel has blessed their lives!! We also taught Alexís with Liliana again about the book of Mormon.It was pretty funny because they would speak in french and then she would translate and then we would speak in Portuguese/English, (still not sure which he understands better). He has so many questions about the book of Mormon and he continues to read to gain greater light and knowledge about its truthfulness.
The book of Mormon is so powerful! i love its truths, and am grateful for it being a grand tool that Heavenly Father has given us to use as a guide.
We had interviews this week with president Torgan and a training from the assistants. There was a great focus on using Preach My Gospel to find the areas where we are weak and need to be better. In my interview President asked if i had any questions, and i just asked him what can i do to make the best of this time. He gave me some advice, and included was to ask Heavenly Father to take me to the garden of Gethsemane a little more. This is a theme he has used in several of my interviews with him. i am so grateful for inspiration and the divine gift of revelation. I am working on bettering my prayers, with more focus on gratitude and a greater appreciation for the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His infinite love, and His enabling power. He is always with outstretched arms of power, love and mercy to receive us, every one.
I love this gospel and I love you all. I am grateful for this time that He has given me to serve Him, serving His children her in Portugal. I love this people, they work hard, they have great faith and there are many who have the desire to do God´s will and make sacrifices to bring forth the blessings of heaven that He so much wants to pour down upon them. As we follow the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, He will continue to guide us in all that we do.
love to you all!!
com muito amor,
cantai hosanas dai louvor, ... aleluia! (All creatures o four God and King)
Irmã Thomas and I both love that music! She has an angelic voice, I am grateful to hear her sing each day!!
Well, this week, where do I begin???
CONGRATULATIONS RUSSELL!!!!!!!!! My brother is all grown up!! Thanks for the pictures i loved them! Love to you all!
Sounds like it was a really busy week for you all! Was here too.
We were so blessed to see so many miracles.
A miracle and blessing from each day this week.
Monday- We taught Joyce and her cousin about the pre-mortal life. Something they have never contemplated before. I felt the spirit strongly as we testified that Jesus Christ chose to be our Savior since the beginning, and without Him, the plan could not be completed. Now it is up to us to accept Him and follow Him.
Tuesday - We taught Alexís, his wife and his friend Felipe. Alexís was the second contact we made this transfer, but there was a language barrier because we don´t speak his mother language french (it made me want to know french!) a few weeks later we ran into Felipe, and discovered they live together. They are from Ivory Coast, and have been here little time. Alexís came to church last week, and we visited him tuesday night with Liliana, who is visiting her boyfriend/fiancé who is part of our ward. She speaks french and english perfectly! She translated the restoration lesson. As we were beginning the lesson by saying God is our loving Father and He gave us families to help us learn principles for our lives, he stopped us and said in english, "Tell me something that is different about your church that I don´t already know from the bible. I know the bible, but I want to know why your church is different from all the other churches." Irmã Thomas and I looked at eachother basically with jaw dropped, then said we can answer that. And we proceeded to share the first vision. The spirit touches my heart each time we share it and each time testifies to my heart that this is the church of Jesus Christ reestablished on the earth.
Wednesday - We were at lunch with members when our phone rang and rang and rang, finally we answered it and it was a man we have been trying to contact for weeks, and he said he just got back from being gone, and wanted us to visit him. So we went! He shared with us that his wife passed away 4 months after giving birth. His daughter is now 10 and he is just starting to get his life back in order. As he was sharing this, the office elders started calling, after rejecting the call 3 times they called from Irmã Torgan´s phone, and we felt our hearts stop, and told him we had to leave. I felt bad for leaving so quickly, but we immediately called the elders. Luckily, it wasn´t something that my heart was thinking was. Everything is okay :) they just wanted us to catch the next train to Lisboa... oh the drama in my head, now is hilarious, but at the time my heart was pounding!!! So what happened is Irma Thomas has to renew her visa, and she needed to make an appointment in Lisbon that night. Everything worked out in the end. I hope we can still meet with Barroso again!
Thursday - we spent a lot of time in Cascais. We were supposed to have interviews but because of visa problems they were moved to tomorrow. Later we met with Emanuel and Joyce and invited them to be baptized this sunday. They both said they wanted to be, but Joyce´s dad is catholic and probably wont let her. We also met with Alexís again an dgave him the book of mormon in french. He said give me 2 weeks and i will finish it!
Friday- after weekly planning we met with Emanuel and Joyce with a member recent RM Ismael. We were going to teach the commandments, but Ismael was inspired to ask some basic questions that led to an incredible discussion about the plan of salvation. This plan is so real! We invited Emanuel to pray about baptism
Saturday- We taught in more detail the plan of salvation to Emanuel and Joyce, including the commandments. He believes so much in science that he has questions and doubts about God, but at the same time totally believes that God exists! We invited him to have an interview and he said okay, The elders came and he passed and said yes to baptism!
Sunday - Church was so awesome! We were blessed to have people just keep coming in to sacrament meeting. It was a really spiritual meeting too! After church we had the baptismal service, and Emanuel was super happy. Halyna assisted and is excited for her baptism on Saturday. The icing on the cake was that this family from Setubal visited our ward, and the kid that was there is who baptized Emaunel´s dad when i was in Setubal back in October!!! What a tender mercy of the Lord!!
Well, tender mercies are always happening! I feel so blessed to see His Hand at work, and when we do His will, things will work out. I have learned a lot about faith and action this week. We have to have faith that things will go well, and we have to put ourselves to work so that His will can be realized. The church is true! I am so grateful for the Savior, who knows all things and the way is simple if we will look, we´ll live!
Oh it is wonderful! The plan of our Father in Heaven!
What great news to hear about Sister Stella! and dad i loved your letter to Jacob about the ongoing dialogue, so many connections to Tonga!! Wow, this gospel is so wonderful!
Well this week was a good one! We were really blessed to find a lade from Ukraine who really has been looking for the truth and feels that she has found it. Also a blessing that the elders in our ward had a book of mormon in russian so she could immediately start reading. Her name is Halyna, and she just turned 50 too (parpabens aunt melissa!!). She has passed for many many difficulties in her life, specifically with her family, and she really wants to become clean from her past and start over. She accepted to be baptized in two weeks, enjoys our visits, and had a good experience at church yesterday. She is working to stop smoking, and hasn´t smoked for a few days!!!
We also last week ran into the son of Emanuel who was baptized when i was serving in Setubal! He had told me that his son lived really close to the train station (the first building as you come out of the station) last transfer we tried a few different buildings, but never found him. Then last sunday while it was raining he saw us from the other side of the street, and waved the called out to us. At first i said "quem é??" to my companion, but then when he said "you are here now?" i realized that it was Emanuel!! the son, same name :) Then i got all excited and told him that i have been looking for him since i got here! It turns out he lives on the other side of the station, where we hadn´t looked yet. That was the miracle of the day for me! (after the baptism of Alfredo) Anyway, so we passed there during the week and met his sister, Joyce who is 14 and within the first 15 minutes of our conversation she said she wants to be baptized! (in the catholic church initially because that is where her friends go) But then we explained authority and the way that Christ was baptized and we invited her to pray about baptism in the church of Jesus Christ!! Her brother, emanuel, believed more in science, (we had a long conversation with him in setubal when i was serving with irma walker during christmas when i met him the first time) but Emanuel said he just is really confused. When we returned on saturday to teach the first lesson, he said that his mom is muslim, but when she prays, it is a half muslim half catholic prayer, and basically they are all just confused. When Joyce said the prayer at the end she thanked Heavenly Father for sending the irmas to teach about prophets and things they had never heard of before! It was a sweet spirit! Later we took Joyce to "new beginnings" in our ward, there are lots of YW and the spirit was really sweet there too! it was a great reminder to me that there is a greater picture and great purpose to this work! so that these girls can know who they are and why they are here on the earth!! Sunday emanuel and joyce came to church and she received the personal progress book!! Blessings blessings!!
Alfredo received teh holy ghost and all the family menos the dad were there. and all 4 kids stayed for all of church! the mom, bibiana still wont stay for all but at least the first hour she will keep coming!
Continuing thought from last week´s email real quick, ... we arrived here to do internet, and as we paid to use internet, the lady at the cashier asked if we had 40 cents so she could give us back a whole dollar, irma thomas wasn´t sure, but the lady insisted that she had enough, so she pulled out the change she had, about 36 cents, and the lady gave back the change as if we had the shole amount. I said to her, i think we didn´t have enough, and well, she said "não faz mal" basically don´t worry about it, it´s covered. As we then walked to the computers, i reflected on how that simple act is just like the Savior, only He paid the price so great for each of us! How great is His grace!
And for this week, first, i want to express my gratitude to each of you for your continued prayer and love. Mom, i was going to write a note to the ward last week, but didn´t get to it, i have received several letters from so many ward members, the young women, the primary, and relief society, and various members in the ward that i haven´t written back. Please send them my love and gratitude. Also i received a package this week from aunt gail! Thank you so much! Members loved the goodies, and the goodies you sent too mom, thank you.
I feel your prayers, and the angels are around us to guide us to the people who are ready to receive the restored gospel. This week i had a conversation with my district leader about this scripture in Alma 13:24 how the angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men. Pres. Torgan has shared this scripture several times with us that really there are angels preparing the way, and when we arrive, the path has been opened, that is why it is so important that we pray always and ask Heavenly Father to guide us in this work. Mom, you mentioned many times that you are praying to know who is ready to receive the gospel, and He is preparing the hearts of the people. The district leader shared an experience of another elder who began praying asking Heavenly Father to send angels to prepare the hearts of the people. As this elder did this, he started finding people who were prepared by the Lord and ready to receive the gospel. Irmã Thomas and i started applying this in our prayers, and one of the results was with the family of Bibiana.
This week we were with Bibiana´s family a lot, teaching, inviting helping Alfredo prepare for baptism this easter sunday. Bibiana, the mom was a bit hesitant to give permission because she wanted to have a big festa for him, like they had for their daughter in the catholic church, but we assured her that the festa in heaven is way greater than any festa we can make here on earth. The baptismal service was really special. First the whole famiy came to church! It was awesome and there were four people confirmed who were baptized 2 weeks ago (the elders area) they are a family of mom and 3 kids!
Something really that touched me was when we samg the song `Sou um filho de Deus` it´s a song that we sing often in baptisms, but this time it was particularly special because, well on saturday i asked Alfredo which songs he wanted to be sung and he said first Mais Perto quero estar (nearer my God to Thee) then sou um filho de Deus because after being baptized he could really say that he is a child of God. ! It was so great and the spirit was sweet! Irma Thomas and I also got to sing Lead Kndly Light as a special music number. Trma Thomas has a really beautiful voice and i was nervous that i would mess it up, but really the angels were singing with us and the spirit filled the room.
It was a really special experience and Alfredo one day wil have the opportunity to serve a mission!! (he´s 12)
Reflecting on the true meaning of easter, it was a really interesting week, as we as a district studied more in depth the atonement of our Savior. He truly lives and is on our side every step of the way. He knows everything about every single one of us and He knows how to cure us one by one. I am grateful for the opportunity to, in my weakness, be a representative of Him, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world. Our stake president spoke of how the Savior never give up, even though He had the power to do so, but because of love, He never gave up and finished His work.
mom i am writing in response to the letters you just sent last week, i opened them here in front of the computer. i loved the analogy of the last leg of the race. thank you for what you said about don´t look back, because if i do i will trip and fall. The spirit prepares the way in everything, i know this to be true! after studies today we were cleaning our house and i began to reflect a little on this time i have been here, and i almost started to fall, but then i remebered the sweet merciful power of the atonement. Christ is real and He is always by our side to give us the comfort and strength we need to press onward. this morning during studies our district leader called with scriptures from the Zone Leaders about the atonement, our zone had a weak week and the zone leaders felt we need to apply the atonement in our personal lives and also in the lives of the people we teach. irma thomas and i had a good conversation about the scriptures we read. Mosiah 28:3, DeC 19:17, and Alma 36:20-21. Christ doesn´t want ano one to suffer. He has provided the way, and we have to do our part to help those who are lost to find their way home. The great joy comes when we have Him on our side fighting with us!
Irmã Thomas made an analogy last night of an experience we had with irma stillman a few weeks ago, i will try to share it:
our life is compared to getting on a train ride to eternal life, and we need a ticket to get on the train. When we get to the ticket machine, we start putting in our money, it is all small change because we have made other expenses to make it to the station. As we are putting in the change, we start to get nervous because it looks like we won´t have enough. then the machine starts rejecting our little change we have, one of us runs to find someone who can help us get bigger change, and that person does everything she can to help us find the change. When the one runs back to the machine, the other says, don´t worry, it´s all been payed for, we had enough. Then, with awe, we are able to pass through the gate and enter the train, and be on our way.
That part that we don´t understand fully is like the atonement of Jesus christ. He says "the price has been payed" We don´t understand how He has done it, but through His infinite mercy, all is complete, we in our weakness, are sufficient to enter His kingdom.
How grateful I am for the mercy of the Savior, even though i am a lot farther away than just some "change", but because of the infinite love that He has for each of us, we are sufficient. we pay our price, give all that we can, and then, we allow His mercy to take over. And, not until later, we recognize that He was with us the whole time. He helped us along the pathway to get the the train station. He wipes away every single tear. He knows every heartache and every pain that we go through. I am so grateful for the gift of the Atonement in my life. I really don´t understand so many things, and my actions haven´t always reflected what my mouth speaks, but I know that Christ lives. He is with us along the journey, the whole way.
I really enjoyed general conference! it was awesome! One thing i want to share here is what I think Elder Robert D. Hales said, ther are two pathways. The way of Christ which brings light and true joy and love, and the way of satan which brings misery and doubt and darkness. This was a clear message to me to reflect on everything that I do. Is this following Christ or satan.
And, he, also talked about gratitude. Everyting that we have comes from God and we should give Him all the thanks and glory!
And, we are here to bring this message to all people! There is no other way they will receive it if we don´t do our part. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father trusts in young weak things of the world. He knows best, and He has paved the way. The weak things of the world have been sent to confound the wise. But, power comes through HIM, the Savior Jesus Christ. He has sent His spirit , the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion, to guide the path through the darkness. There are so many people searching for this LIGHT.
This past week was an interesting battle. Each week is a battle to help our brothers and sisters get on the path. Irmã Thomas and i have been working with this family, parents and 4 children. Well, the dad participated in the first lesson, when irma stillman was still here, but since then has been occupied with other things. And one of the kids is always gone. But, Bibiana is the mom and we contacted her last transfer and invited her to a church activity that wednesday, she couldn´t make it, but said she would go to church. we called her on sunday and she said she would come! this was 3 sundays ago. She only stayed for sacrament and didn´t want to mark another appointment. But, Pai Celestial put her in our path during that week, and she said we could come by that thursday. unfortunately we didn´t make it. So friday, we passed by without calling, and the family was at home! (they are on holiday for 2 weeks for easter) we had a intro lesson with them and invited them to read the book of mormon and pray about it! Awesome! Then saturday we had an activity at the church (barbeque) and Alfredo (12) and Tiago (6) came! They had a great time playing footbal with the members! The next day Bibiana and Alfredo and tiago came to church! We passed by monday night and talked a little with Alfredo and Catiana (19) who said would go to church but then overslept. they really liked church!! We have been teaching them all week, and they are so awesome! they read the book of mormon together and pray together sometimes, and thursday and friday we taught the plan of salvation! They said they are grateful for hearing about this plan so that they know the path to go in this life and that death is not the end!! We invited them to general conference on sunday and they came! the mom said she couldn´t come, but then showed up sunday! Alfredo and Catiana stayed for 2 sessions (the only two i have seen until now...) and the questions they brought were answered! Mine were also answered! i am so grateful for the power of the holy ghost who brings the truth unto our hearts and allows us to seek, and understand truths!
I am so grateful for our living prophet!!
sorry, i ended up writing a lot, but didn´t get to all, and was gonna write other things but tudo bem. i hope you all enjoyed conference and i know that the Lord provides the way for us in all things!
The church is ttrue!
and president torgan was called to be a seventy! Holy cow!!
lvoe you all thank you for your prayers!!
xoxo Irma Michael
i got the letters from williams russell aubs and amy! Thank you so much! also package from aunt gaile! obrigada!!! love you al