Monday, March 27, 2017

Work continues in Portugal

Olà rudo Bem!

Espero que tudo esteja bem consigo, é muito bom aqui. Essa semana foi muito frio e nos tivemos muito chuva também. Mas foi uma mais semana no paraíso.

We had a little bit of an awkward moment this week. We met up with Alice this week.  (She is a person we have marked for baptism.)  We had a really good lesson with her where we basically cleared up all her doubts and concerns and helped her feel more firm for her baptism. Later that night right before we were going to leave to work, we got a call from our branch president. He told us to call the mission office because he had a membership number but didn't have a name and he wanted to see if they could find out who it was. So we called the mission office but they didn't have access to those types of things. We called the branch president back and told him that they didn't have access. He then told us that he had found a baptism sheet from 1990s and he asked us to guess who it was. Well it turns out that the person we had marked for baptism was baptized in 1990 with all her kids, lol. We went to tell her that we found her baptismal sheet and asked if she remembered her baptism. She was as surprised as we were when we told her that she had already been baptized. 

I think we can all draw two lessons from this story. First don't baptize people that have already been baptized. If they have already been baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God that was restored to Joseph Smith on May 15, 1829 that first time was good enough. Second, make sure the people you are baptizing know what they are doing. If they don't understand the covenant they are making with the Lord, you probably didn't do a good job of explaining it's importance and they probably shouldn't be baptized. 

Besides teaching and marking people that have already been baptized for baptism, we actually helped people that have not been baptized previously for baptism. We have been teaching a family from Africa. The father Barbosa is from Angola, the mother Esmaralda is from Mosambique, the grandma Salva is from Angola too and they have a kid Rafael who is adorable. Barbosa was already baptized but he wants his wife to be baptized too. They are not married and Esmaralda wants a big wedding. The problem with big weddings is that they require big money. We told them that all they have to do is be married by law and then she can be baptized, but she really wants to have a big wedding. We took this time to teach about temples and eternal families. We taught that this civil marriage pales in comparison to the eternal one. That the one that she should feel like a queen is when she will be sealed to her husband for time and all eternity. They really like that and she is working to be civilly married as soon as possible.

Elder Fogg

Monday, March 20, 2017

Setting Goals

Olà Tudo Bem!

I hope everything is great at home. Like always it was another hot and sunny week in paradise. 

As a mission we have been working really hard at setting goals. This whole transfer all the training has been about setting better goals. President talks a lot in his letters he writes to us about the power of setting goals. We have been working recently about how we can set inspired goals for the key indicators and also how we use smaller goals to reach those bigger ones. I don't know if I already told this story but when I first got here I was really scared of talking to people in the street. The idea of walking up to a stranger and trying to ''talk'' to them in a foreign language that I didn't even know that well wasn't that appealing but as missionaries our purpose is to help people come closer to Christ and we do that by opening our mouths. So I set a small goal with my companion Elder Thompson that I was going to try to talk to 15 people everyday. That was really hard at first but after the first week I had done 75 contacts. I felt really good; I could actually see my progress. So the next week I set a goal to do 25 contacts a day. I tried really hard to meet that goal. It was really awkward sometimes because I didn't know what to say or what others were saying but I knew that if I tried I was doing my part. By the end of the week I had done 150 contacts. I still need to improve how I do the contacts in the street but now talking to people is less scary and now I am fulfilling my purpose as a missionary and opening my mouth.

This week we had a hard time finding new people to teach. The people we had been teaching had started to run into more and more problems and were showing less real intent. We were out on a division with the Branch President Rui. We were going to visit an amiga whose baptism is next week but she wasn't home and she wasn't answering her phone. So we started taking him back to his house. He asked us what he could do to help us and we told him that we need more references from the members. He whipped out his phone and started calling his friends. He made three appointments for us and then he told us to park the car, so we got out and walked into a barber shop and he asked the barber if she could meet with us (he is friends with her), and she said yes. Then we ran into another one of his friends on the street and he set up another appointment with her. That was more efficient than doing missionary work on our own for 3 days. Later that week he went out with us when he wasn't planning on it previously.  We visited a couple members and amigos for 3 hours with him. Rui is basically the third missionary we have in Quarteira. When we work with members we use the Lord's time more efficiently. 

The Book is blue the church is true. Until next week.
Elder Fogg

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Apartment

Olà Tudo bem?

I hope that everything is well at home. Everything is great here; it was another week in paradise. This week was a little crazy because we moved apartments. We had less time to work because it took 2 whole days to move from one apartment to the other. Our first apartment was really close to the church and everything but was really old. We received a new companionship of sisters and a married couple this transfer so we had to get a new apartment and the sisters moved into our old one. Our new apartment is so nice. It has that toilet seat that slows down as you close it, ugh living the dream. 

The new married couple missionaries arrived this week, the Shlofman's. They are from Utah but Sister Shlofman was born in Brazil and moved to the United States for school. She met Elder Shlofman there at BYU and the rest is history. It was funny to she them the first day they were here because they appeared the same way I felt my first day. They looked totally lost and overwhelmed. But the best part was that they were a little rusty in Portuguese so they spoke English with us. It was weird speaking English.  My English is really bad. I can't speak English or Portuguese really well right now.  It's kind of hard but my Portuguese is improving. I like to think if I could see myself right now the first day I entered the MTC I would be really impressed with myself. 

We taught a couple of cool people this week. Elder Jan and Elder Ward (Elder Jan's old companion) did work here and they found a lot of cool people. I get the honor of teaching some of them. One of the people we have started teaching is Emanuela. She is originally from Brazil but now lives in Portugal (obviously) and she was baptized when she was 14. She lost contact with the church and moved to Portugal years later. She was in a really bad car accident which temporarily paralyzed half of her body and permanently paralyzed her face, blind in her left eye and lost a bit of her memory. One day a couple of weeks ago she prayed that she could come back in contact with the church again. At that same moment Elder Ward knocked on her door. We taught her this week and were able to give her a blessing. Her daughter who is 14 years old right now happened to be there. She asked a lot of questions about the church. Her mom helped explain the difference between the baptism she had when she was 14 and the baptism her daughter had. Her daughter now wants to be baptized.

Never forget spiritual experiences. Doubt is a powerful weapon the adversary has and is very destructive.  We are strengthened by the promptings we receive from the holy ghost that testify that these things our true. Those peaceful feelings require faith and allow us to grow. When we begin to question those feelings our faith diminishes. Doubt and faith can not exist in the same mind. Don't forget those experiences. Think about where those thoughts of doubt are coming from. When we do that our faith will grow and we will be better disciples.

Elder Fogg

Monday, March 6, 2017

Transfer to Loulé

Week 19 - This week was good. Transfers happened. We missed our bus on Tuesday so we didn't get to our new area until almost 11 at night. I am here with Elder Jan.  He is from Switzerland. He speaks 5 languages. He is also 23 years old. He served in the Swiss army and I found out that they do use Swiss army knives in the Swiss army. We are in Loulé but we have a car (I want to call it the baptismobile) but we work in Albufeira and Quarteira. Don't have much time this week but all is well and I am alive.

Elder Fogg