Monday, October 9, 2017

Pedir vs Pedar

Background about Portuguese: Pedir vs Pedar. So they have two words in Portuguese that are very similar. The first we use quite often. It means to ask. We definitely ask people a lot of questions so we use this verb a lot of times. Pedir means to ask and also Perguntar. Perguntar is more for information and Pedir is more for a service or favor. So when we tell people to ask God if this is right, this would be a time when we use the verb Pedir. So this lady was telling us this story about how she has a lot of faith and how she asked God, or Pediu a Deus. Then she asked me, «Élder, how do you think I got this help from god.» In my brain I knew the right answer, but just like my glory days in high school, my brain got the best of me and I switched the two verbs. Instead of saying the correct «Tu pediste a Deus» (which is that she asked God). I said «Tu pedaste Deus». The verb pedar signifies to fart. I told her «She farted to god». Definitely not want she wanted to hear or what I intended to say. I thought those stories only happened in films like «The Best Two Years», but oh no, they happen in real life.

Fatima: So way back when in Portugal, 1914, there were these three kids. They were praying and then appeared to them Mary the mother of Jesus. This happened here in Portugal. These three kids were canonized by the Catholic Church this year in May. But that is the reason why everyone hear is named Fatima. Because of Nossa Senhora de Fatima (Our lady of Fatima). In the Portuguese town called Fatima, where this occurrence took place, they have a church that people go to. A lot of people do a pilgrimage to Fatima every year because a lot of people are Catholic here. Also if you run into to anyone name Fatima, you can probably guess that they are from Portugal. Apparently every country has an our lady of something. Here it's Fatima. Interesting.

Spiritual: As I was reading the Book of Mormon during sacrament meeting I was reading in Alma 32, the great lecture on faith where Alma compares the faith to a seed and how the seed will grow. Here I learned from the spirit that this is true. Lasting conversion comes line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little. When we take the time to grow our own testimony everyday, it will become precious to us. We will value the Testimony we have because we «paid the price», we worked hard to obtain it. We will be more stable than if we were just handed knowledge. Knowledge is important. Knowledge is how we grow. But knowledge is not a testimony. Testimony is understanding, applying and faith. Knowledge turns to understanding only through time. We will be lead to the edge of what we can see. We can grow our testimony by using our faith by experimenting on what we know to learn and understand what we don't know. When should not give up because we have doubts, we always will. We live in a fallen world. We are not God and not supposed to have his knowledge right now. His thoughts are not our thoughts.  Only acting but faith trusting in the only being who can give us the knowledge is the only way we can grow our testimony to a greater understanding.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Holy moly that general conference was incredible.

Ola Familia e amigos! Espero que todo esteja bem convosco. Foi increival aqui, mais uma semana em paraíso.

Milagre de conferencia geral: Uma experiência espiritual inspiradora.  Holy moly that general conference was incredible. Every talk I listened to was really good. We only had the time to listen to the Saturday and Sunday Morning sessions and priesthood. The talks from President Uchtdorf and from President Eyring were both incredible.  I also really liked the talk from Holland that was about how the commandments are here as a vision of what we can achieve and that we shouldn't get overwhelmed by them. 
  1. General Theme: Keep the commandments and fulfill your covenants. It was interesting to see that a lot of the speakers at General Conference talked about how it is important to strive to keep the commandments. It is easy to get discouraged when we hear that because we can never keep the commandments perfectly but it is possible to try really hard and that is all that heavenly father wants. Elder Holland's talk was really good guys. 
  2. Exemplifying Christ-like attribute: This comes hand in hand with keeping the commandments but it is always good to reiterate. We need to try and exemplify the attributes of Christ. When we do that, we will be a lot happier, be better prepared to meet god and to have more love and charity for others because we will try to mimic what the Savior does. If we pray earnestly to have these attributes and work even harder to achieve them, we will be blessed by developing them.
  3. Questions: I went to conference really different then I have in the past. I wrote down seven questions that I had. As I focused on those seven questions during general conference I was able to receive revelation about how they could be answered. It was incredible.
  4. Interesting: Dallin H Oaks. He talked about the family proclamation and how it came to be. As a missionary of the Lord it is easy to see why we have the family: a proclamation to the world. Families are weakened when they don't have a mother and a father working in loving harmony to fulfill their family responsibilities. Families are to be forever, they need to be protected. It was an interesting reminder that we need to protect that.
Leonel: Ele está a progredir bem. I know that you were all wondering about the next seventy of Portugal so I thought I talk about him right now. Leonel is progressing like any elect would. He has questions that just lead to the next step in the process of conversion. He is really a great guy and wants to do what is right. He wants to know more about the Book of Mormon and the restoration.

Elder Harper: Meu filho tá progredir bem também. My new companion Elder Harper is from Oklahoma.  He played baseball and likes the Red Sox. He is about 6' 5'' and has blond hair and blue eyes. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met. We need to work on his Portuguese. I am glad I have this opportunity to serve with him. 

Everything is good in the hood, until next week.

Monday, September 25, 2017

ESTOU GRAVIDO! (I'M PREGNANT!)

Transferências: Vou treinar. So this week is the end of yet another transfer. It's crazy how fast these things go by. I feel like I just barely started this one this last week but it indeed has been 6 weeks and things will be switching up. My companion Elder Nascimento is going to serve in the Algarve! WOOOO! But not just any place in the Algarve. He is going to be serving in Loulé, my second area where I served. And I got the news yesterday and I still don't believe it to this minute. I have no idea what president is thinking with this move.  He probably wants to destroy the mission of another Elder, that's the only reason why President would want me to train another missionary. So this next transfer I will be training an American, Elder Harper. I know nothing about him except that on Wednesday I need to be in the mission office to pick him up. It's going to be great. (That's why I said I am pregnant, because I am going to train. He is going to be my ''kid''. It's going to be great.)

Noticias: Vou conduzir, talvez. Also I need to be in the mission office on Friday because they want me to take out my driver's license here. That means two things: 1.These People have way too much trust in me. 2. I could drive a car. Both of which are really bad, especially the first. And kind of the second. But this is going to be interesting. People are crazy here on the roads especially in Lisboa. It's crazy. I don't know how anybody functions. 

Alma 17:2-3: Escritura bem fixe! I have been reading the Book of Mormon in English trying to finish it before the end of the year. I am in Alma right now (so I don't think that goal will be achieved) and I have really good thoughts about this goal. I read Alma 17:2-3 this week and thought about it a little bit. 
 
"2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
 
I have been thinking about how I can be a successful missionary. A missionary that grows and does his best. I have a lot of qualities that I want to have before I end my mission but I was stuck and a little overwhelmed on how I could achieve those goals. This scripture brought light on how I could do that. Reading the scriptures, prayer, fasting, studying and understanding the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  It's simple, but the Lord has promised that if this pattern is followed, when we teach we «will teach with the power and authority of God». This scripture brings a lot of desire to do my best.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pic


Christiano Raldo is like a god here

Espero que vocês estejam bem. Estamos animados aqui. Estamos a lutar.

Meta da missão: 75 Batismos. In our mission, we have been trying to achieve a goal that our mission president set for us in May. This goal was to help 75 people be baptized in a month. That's a pretty lofty goal. We have been trying the best we can and the closest we have come is 49 in July. We have made a lot of sacrifices. We had a Mission wide fast this last transfer where everyday one area of the mission would fast each day. So everyday of the transfer at least one area of the mission was fasting at a time. It was really cool to think about it, even if our day was really hard and nothing was happening we knew that Heavenly Father was pouring out blessings on our mission because two Elders or two Sisters were fasting for us at that exact moment. Yesterday, we also realized a fast that the entire mission participated in. It was really good. Everyone is really focused on achieving that goal.

Contexto de Portugal: Benfica e Sporting. Like any European country, Portugal likes to play soccer. They have their own soccer league that is called Liga Nos. In this league, they have a couple soccer teams that are pretty good, three to be exact. Porto (that isn't in our mission), and two teams in Lisbon called Benfica and Sporting. They have the biggest rivalry here in Portugal. People are either Benfiquistas or Sportinguistas. They have fights sometimes, and the members and investigators take these teams very seriously, so I take these teams very seriously. Famous players have played for each of these teams. Notingly for Sporting one Cristiano Raldo grew up in their academy, and now is winning a lot of golden boots? I don't know, I have never really gotten the point of chasing after balls. But now Benfica is playing in the Champions league. We will see how this goes if they make it out of group play. I still haven't chosen a team I like better here in Portugal because people literally don't talk to us if we say that we like the team that they don't like. So for now my favorite team here is the same team that the person that I am talking to likes. 

Lição em Principios de Evangelho: Como desenvolver nossos talentos: So this week, the lesson in gospel principles was how to develop talents. In this class we basically used the only example of talent that they have here in Portugal, Cristano Raldo. He is like a god here. (Talk about having no other gods before me) But there is a store in the Algarve called força Portugal that sells the brand of Benfica or of Sporting and then the only other thing they sell is the Cristiano Ronaldo Brand... lol. But back to the point we basically had a lesson about how to develop talents using the example of Cristiano Ronaldo. I just thought it was funny.  You really can't escape him.  He's every where in Portugal. But it was still a good lesson.

The book is blue - the church is true. We are teaching a young women named Yolene. She is from Angola. She has come to church two times. She is really cool. She likes to sleep. But that's alright. We are trying to help her understand the importance of the Priesthood. We talked with her about temples yesterday. The only way you can know these things are true is through reading the book of Mormon and praying to know. He will respond in his time and in his way. 
 Elder Fogg
Missão Portugal Lisboa
2016-2018

Monday, September 11, 2017

This work is the work of the Lord

Bom dia Irmãos e Irmãs, Estou tão grato para falar convosco hoje! Esta semana foi uma benção do Senhor. Trabalhamos até o pó e vimos os milagres que foram demoradas sobre nos!

Primeiro milagre: Encontramos com Leonel. The Future Seventy that we found a couple weeks ago was a little hard to get in touch with. He had a lot of meetings and it takes a while for him to drive home. We were able to meet with him once this week. It was really interesting. He had cancer in the past and to distract him from cancer, his doctor asked him to raise chickens in his house. He thought the message was interesting and he read basically half the pamphlet of the restoration the night after and finished it completely two days after. He only has one problem becoming the next Seventy of Portugal which is that he doesn't have a wife but besides that I think that he doesn't drink or smoke, just maybe coffee. He is an eleito.

Segundo milagre: Encontramos com Celia. Celia is a women that was married to a brother of a member that lives in Porto (in the north). We met her about two weeks ago while that family was here for vacation. We had been having trouble getting in touch with her but finally ran into her after the Zone Conference on Thursday. We taught her the Restoration. She thought it was interesting. She doesn't not believe in god but she doesn't explicitly believe in god if that makes sense. As we were reciting the first vision account, I felt something that I knew that those words were true. I can't count how many times I have already recited those words in Portuguese or how many hours I spent struggling to memorize those words for scripture mastery in seminary, but all those times were different than this one. This time, something clicked, information became reality and I understood the magnitude of that event for one instant. It was good. 
 
Terceiro milagre: Ensinamos Lurdes. Lurdes is an «Eleita». She was contacted on the street about a week ago. She said we could meet with her and talk about the restoration. We had trouble finding her in her house. Finally when we knocked she opened the door in the bottom. When we got up to the top, Lurdes wasn't standing there. There was this man who didn't seem to happy to discover that missionaries wanted to talk to him. Rejecting us as quickly as he could, trying to escape into the protection of his own home, we asked if he knew a Lurdes that lived in that apartment building. Reluctantly, as if it killed him to help missionaries like us, he said that she lived in the door across from him as he slammed the door. With the echo of the door still ringing loudly in our ears, we knocked on her door. Immediately, the door swooshed opened. The Light filled the stairwell which seemed too dark and dreary before. A woman was standing there. «Lurdes?» I asked. She nodded with her head and motioned that we could enter. We had been knocking on the wrong door for about a week but the Lord in his own timing in his own way made sure that Lurdes would have an opportunity to hear the message. 

This Work is the work of the Lord. I am glad to be an instrument in the Lord's hands for these two years. I wouldn't have left my family for two years if I didn't know these things were absolutely and completely true. I know that this church is the true and only church of God on the earth with the whole and complete gospel that Jesus Christ himself taught while he was here. I know this through personal revelation and through his prophets. They and I hold the priesthood authority of God. They and I are chosen representatives of Jesus Christ himself here on the earth. The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith and is the fruit that is needed to know that Joseph was a true prophet of God. I know this through the Holy Ghost. God is my heavenly father and yours. He loves all of his children. These miracles are a manifestation of his love.  

Elder Fogg
Missão Portugal Lisboa
2016-2018