April 29, 2013 by jennaljackson
Hello Dear Ones,
Alright Alright Alright, I’ll get the most exciting news out of the way first. We had our first baptism this week! It was for Otilia, the sister I mentioned in my last letter. We just continued to teach her and marked her for this Sunday and she didn’t have any problems with any commandments (nice when that happens) and she has a ton of faith in the message, so it just kind of happened. I probably won’t feel comfortable until she is confirmed next Sunday and comes to church another time, but we successfully opened the door. It was a little bit stressful there when she didn’t show up on time…and then when she was in the font and had a panic attack when the elder tried to dunk her after the prayer…pulled a derp and started writhing and was like NAO CONSIGO! A
Apparently she doesn’t even like to put her head under in the bath. Whatevs. But in the end she just knelt on the font floor with just her head out, and sorta leaned back. But it happened right? So that’s what counts! I literally feel like I did nothing to make this baptism happen, it was all totally my companion and the spirit and her being prepared, but it was still an amazing experience.
Afterwards we were cleaning up and sucking the last 3 inches of water out of the font with this ghetto water vacuum and we had to empty the machine every minute or so and I was just thinking…this is why every little bit of growth counts. Because one day there will be enough members in Vila Real to move into a real chapel with a real font and the missionaries won’t have to spend an hour of proselyting time vacuuming water out of a font, haha. Not that I mind, I really don’t. But sometimes I watch The District during our training sessions and think….ohhhh if only there really were a way to do all these things. In principle, of course, there is; we can apply the teachings to our local situations. But when they tell you to take people to the family history center and you think hahahha wait what family history center, it makes you have to think a little harder. Anyways, like I said, every little bit of growth counts. Building the kingdom nawmeen?
Highlights of the week…we regained hot water on Friday after not having it all week because the office didn’t pay our gas bill -_____-. I’m sure they have an amazing reason why they couldn’t, i just don’t know what it is. On the upside, you never really know how fast you’re capable of showering until you have to do it in freezing cold water. I came up with the most effective way: rinse yourself, step out of the line of fire, soap up, rinse again. 1.5 minutes flat. Then get completely dry and dressed and then wash your hair over the tub while holding the showerhead. this is for the good of all sisters who don’t have warm water. Trust me. #efficiency But perhaps I am more equipped now to live what I think they call the thug life.
Other than that it was a week of firsts….first baptism of course, and everything that goes along with it. Got pooped on for the first time. Was just walking around the town center and I looked down and there’s poop on my arm. I assume that it was a bird, but there is literally no way of knowing. Could have been a horse, or a flying squirrel. It was kinda gross, but also like, hey, that’s one rite of passage down. Also had my first investigator expose themself inappropriately in front of me. I don’t want to think about it because it makes me want to vomit, but my comp said it would just be the first of many. For how emotionally closed they are here they sure are comfortable with their bodies. First time getting sick on the mission. Had a cold all week…one day was super bad and I took a half hour nap. It was amazing, but also super stressful because I just woke up every 5 minutes thinking that I needed to leave soon. Did my first door contact in English…with this 18 year old kid who thought I was speaking Spanish, so that’s embarrassing. Then he’s like well I speak English so you can be more comfortable. So I was like…alright yolo and did it. He rejected us, very kindly, and tried to give my comp beijinhos (kisses on the cheek that everyone does here) so that was hilarious. Had my first stake conference as well! We traveled 1.5 hours to Porto for that and it was awesome. Oh to be in a stake center again! It was like this ‘guys….THEY HAVE A GYM HERE…..AND CARPET’ the last time I saw carpet was in the mission home. Pret-ty exciting. We heard this 70 from Spain speak (don’t remember his name sorry) and he was so happy and funny. He told us his conversion sorry like this: ‘So this one day in the 80’s I was sitting in the park playing guitar with my friends. I had long hair and a beard. (Shows us a picture on his ipad complete with huge aviator sunglasses, it was incredible!) I saw these two missionaries walking by and I was super curious so I got up and ran after them screaming. They taught me the first lesson in the park and now I’m a 70!’ Missionary Dreams. Also all this was in fair-to-middling English, being translated into Portuguese, which made it all the better.
One funny thing that’s been going on is all the graduates of the faculdade (college) here have been having the Portuguese equivalent of beach week after high school…but they don’t go to the beach, they just stay in the town and drink all day and scream outside our window at 6 am. But I’m cool with it because they have these sweet capes they wear for traditional school stuff here which makes everyone look like they stepped out of Hogwarts. Literally like I’m in knockturn alley after the quidditch world cup (the bad part of town that comes off of diagon alley for those of you who don’t speak parseltongue). Oh the debauchery!
Anyway, that’s about all for now. We will continue to work with Otilia to make sure she’s feeling comfortable and good about everything and keep her active. We met a few people this week that we’re excited to talk to again. Trying every day to be a better missionary. I still struggle understanding and communicating sometimes, and it can get sort of frustrating, but I just tell myself I’ve gotta be somewhat better than I was when I stepped off that plane, right? Look heavenward, press onward. Until next time my little nuggets.