Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Caleb's emails from Lisbon and Lagos, July 9, 14

July 9, 2013 Olá!

So, the reason why I'm emailing on Tuesday now. I got a call Sunday night saying I was being transferred to Lagos, the area just over from mine, because they needed somebody who could drive. But I don't have the right licence to drive here, so I had to come down to Lisbon to get it. The bus ride was supposed to just take 3 hours, but took 4 1/2, so I didn't get here until midnight. Then yesterday, P-day, I went around and did a bunch of stuff like had an eye appt and got some papers, and sat around the office all day. The computers were being used the whole time except for those 15 minutes, so I wasn't able to write. Well, now the big problem is that I went in to finally get the licence today, but they said that I had to have my actual residency card, which I did all the papers for back in November up in Porto, but then got transferred soon after, so my card might be sitting at the Porto house, or have been thrown away. Plus, the little receipt they gave me in place of the card (that didn't work to get my licence, had to be the actual card) expires here in 2 days, and after that I'll be illegal.

So, it's looking like I probably won't be going to serve in Lagos for at least another week and a half, and I might have to go back to Portimão today or tomorrow, then come BACK to Lisbon in a few days to get my residency done. Ugh. Then when I do go to Lagos, I'm going to be the official driver, of a stick-shift car, which I've never even driven, and I'll be the branch secretary with my comp as the branch president, of a branch that was formed just 1 week ago. So, I'm feeling really stressed, and I think it's making me a bit sick. And I'm dead tired, I haven't been able to sleep much the past few days. I'll survive though. The secretaries are taking care of most of it, then they just take me where I need to go and tell me what I need to do.

Anyway, my week in Portimão.

We had a baptism! Of a 10 year old boy, Geovanny. I wasn't sure that he was ready to be baptized, because he doesn't have a super strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, but after the interview, E. De Pina, who did the interview said he had a really good testimony, and was ready. It was E. Hartman's first baptism, which was cool!! Geovanny's mom came to the baptism too, and I think she really liked it.

This week, for the 1st time in my mission, we hit ALL of our standards of excellence! The standards of excellence are the mission-wide goals for each area for baptisms, lessons taught, investigators in church, and new investigators. I spent a few days in our area working with our district leader, E. De Pina, and he did really awesome work and helped us and our investigators a lot.

We found out this week that Nicolae was still having some smoking problems, so we, or whoever ends up in Portimão, is going to work really hard with them this week so they will be ready for baptism this Saturday!

Have an awesome week everyone!

--Elder Lee

July 14, 2013 Family,

This week was pretty insane! So I went back to Portimão Wednesday morning because we couldn't get an appt with the residency people, but then 2 hours after I got back (3 1/2 hours) the office elders called me saying I had to get back to Lisbon ASAP, because they got me an appt for the next day. So, I went back. Then I went to get my residency Thursday morning but they said I had to go get a paper from the police since I never got my residency card. So we went and did that, and I'll be going back this Wednesday to do my residency, then going back next week get the driving permit finally. BUT, when I was in Lisbon, I remembered I had the international driving permit, and the office elders said that would work! It just expires in 2 weeks, so I'll need to go get my residency and Portuguese license anyway.

So now I'm serving in Lagos, as the driver, with E. Staples who's a transfer younger than me and he's the branch President, and I'm the branch secretary. I have no idea what the secretary is supposed to do though, so when I go to Lisbon on Wednesday I'll get a manual from the office. Driving stickshift is so different, and it's still kinda hard haha. It's pretty fun though! We have to drive here because Lagos is a pretty decent sized city, but we as the branch presidency have to go and visit all of the members, and some of them live really far away, so we do a lot of our work in little areas outside of the city.

The branch is pretty small, we had 32 people in church yesterday, but we're excited to help it grow! Since the branch was so small, yesterday I was the pianist, taught gospel principles, and gave a testimony in sacrament meeting. There is one member family that LOVES feeding us, so we've probably eaten there 4 times in the last few days! The mom, Nelma, cooks really good too. Since I've gotten here we've mostly visited members; we haven't really had any time to look for new people, which we really need; we have about 2 investigators right now. But we did meet with a member who took us to visit his cousin and mother-in-law, and a neighbor, and they are showing interest! Then we set up for tomorrow to have him take us around to visit more of his friends too, which will be awesome.

Today for P-day we're going to be going to the ponta de Sagres, which is the farthest south-east point on the European continent! And it's in our area! E. Staples said there's a cool lighthouse and really good picture spots, so I'm excited.

I think my stuffy nose has finally stopped, and the sunburn bubbles on my arm have stopped (even the last week in Portimão when we were walking everywhere) and the new bed doesn't have bed bugs!

Big news of the week: NICOLAE AND EUGÉNIA GOT BAPTIZED!!! They went to Lisbon to get married on thursday, then they were baptized just yesterday, and I got to go to their baptism in Portimão. I'll send pictures next week! They were so happy, and even shared their testimonies afterwards, which were so strong! It was so amazing.

Boa semana todos, amo vocês!

--Elder Lee

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