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Sunday, 19 July 2015

July 13, 2015

Well, I don't have a whole lot to say this week. It was a good week, but not a whole lot new happened. Still just preaching the gospel here in Olhão. 
We finally got to meet Presidente and Sister Tavares this week! They are incredible! We had our zone conference in Faro with them and the moment Presidente Tavares walked into the room I was just filled with the spirit. It was an instant confirmation to me that he is definitely called of God to lead and direct our mission at this time. And the exact same feeling happened again when he was speaking. I was blessed during the conference to be able to understand a lot of what he was saying-despite his thick Brazilian accent! haha My interview with him was a different mind just goes blank when I feel like I am under any sort of pressure with the language, but I think I was able to understand the main ideas of what he told me. The language continues to be a struggle, but tudo bem!
That night after talking with the presidente, I was writing in my journal and I had some revelation just hit me like a brick wall. I have never experienced revelation so clear before. It was incredible. I am not going to say too much more about it in this email, but it was definitely one of the neatest experiences I had this week.
This week we were able to go over to Shana's house. Shana is a lady that a lady in our ward tends. She is 46, paralyzed, and really can't do anything for herself. She has a huge beautiful house, but lives by herself and spends all her time in one room. It is so so sad. She is such a smart lady, but you can tell this trial is anything but easy for her. We were able to help her around the house and read some scriptures with her. It was a humbling experience to say the least. We are going to try to visit her more throughout the week, and I think it will be an incredible opportunity. Hopefully we can bring some hope back into her life.
So our Ramo in Olhão right now is struggling a little bit. It seems like all of the main leaders in the Branch are some of the weakest, so this week we spent a lot of time meeting with the leaders, the branch president and other members of the ward. We are already seeing the benefits of this, which is awesome! After almost 6 weeks without a ward mission leader, our branch presidente finally called one yesterday! #queprogresso! Luis Xavier is a solid member, and seems to be really excited about this call-it is exactly what we need to push the summer drag along! I am super pumped about that.
As for the people we are working is limited, mas ainda bem. Otilia is SOLID! We have to get her married and baptized this week because Sunday is transfers and who knows what President Tavares has planned! I absolutely love Otilia. They are still just waiting for dinheiro, so keep her in your prayers because she is elect and ready for baptism! She comes to church every week now without us calling her or dropping by. I just love a dedicated member. So good.
Isabel is finally back from Porto. We haven't been able to talk to her in person for 3 weeks, but we finally have a compromisso set up with her this week which is awesome! We have been able to have small lessons with her over the phone-we just had one with her yesterday, and I just know she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, which means she has a testimony of this church! Another elect.
On Saturday we had a little random lunch in the capela with the elders and some of our recent converts. It was the most odd group of people but turned out to be really fun! haha We have one lady in the ward who is a recent convert....and a little bit....crazy....she has a strong personality. We will put it that way. Anyways she was doing some work in the church when we got there, so we kind of felt obligated to invite her even though we were a little worried about how it was going to turn out, but like I said it was good! We are trying to get the branch to be more united!
We will see what happens over the next week! I just need to stay one more transfer in Olhão. I don´t want to leave the people here! We have so many amigos. This morning I ran into one of the old men that always asks, "Vais a praia hoje ou não?" every time we see him, and I just about cried thinking about leaving everyone here. 
I love the people, and just can't stop smiling.
Other news: This week is Mason´s one year mark! WHAT IN THE WORLD!!!!!!! CRAZY. You better believe I will be having a little party for myself and for him this week. So make sure you all send some love his way because he definitely deserves it!
Hope you guys have a great week this week! Don't stress. Be happy. Enjoy the simple things.
Amo Vocês! Paz e Bênçãos! 

-Sister Selk

Fotos From July 13th email

I was so incredibly excited to get a foto with this bike...! I saw it my first week in Portugal and thought the 4 saints mounted on the front of the bike was a golden idea. I finally saw it again this week so I had to go knock on this guys door and ask him if I could take a picture. After we gave him our pass along card with our contact, and it was just perfect.

Random little lunch in the capela

Poutine e minha querida valentina!

Visiting Patriarcha e Maria-Clara
This is probably my favorite meal that we have at Rosalia and Nuno´s house. So simple. So good.

Speaking of fish....Fish market in Olhão. The people here just love their fish

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Makin poutines, makin bacon poutines!

I hope at least Rawley understands my subject line for this email, because I thought it was pretty clever..... ha.
I have decided that the first week in July is just the week for festas! I feel like we have literally been cooking so much this week, which doesn't make our apartment any less of a sauna, let me tell you. July 1st, July 4th, July 5th...they were all important days.
The beginning of this week was a little hectic because the Crossman's daughter came to visit, so they weren't around to do aula de English and Noite familiar like they usually are. So....I got to teach aula de English this week! Just a warning to any of you thinking about attending an aula de English class taught by Sister Selk.... you probably shouldn't. If you can imagine me in my broken Portuguese/half english trying to explain the principles of English grammar you can probably imagine that it was just one big mess! It was great.
We also were in charge of Noite Familiar this week which fell on Canada day, so of course I thought it was necessary to make Poutines. :) Quick shout out to Canada for being so awesome. We had a super good turnout and tons of the ward members came that usually don't, so it was lots of fun, super stressful (Because Portuguese people aren't very patient when it comes to food), and everyone really liked the poutines I made. #success #Canadianpride
Miracle of the week. Huge Miracle of the week! So we have been working hard to put more emphasis on working with members here in Olhao, and on Wednesday we set up 2 different members to work with us. One in the morning and one in the evening. In the morning we had a lady named conceicao that we had contacted and really wanted to go visit with a member. We had her address, but didn't know where she lived, so we ended up asking around and finding out that she lived pretty far away in the Elder's area. We literally walked around the whole city of Olhao that morning with this sweet member in the blazing heat. Finally we were able to find her house, but of course after all our efforts she wasn't there. I will be completely honest and say I was pretty bummed. I was so determined for this lesson to go well for us. I really can't explain how the timing and direction of everything worked out, other than to say it was an undeniable miracle from God. Fam, it was incredible. We were walking across the LAST street before we were going to say goodbye to the member that we brought, and guess who I saw....CONCEICAO! Oh my goodness! It was so incredible! We passed right by her on the crosswalk and we almost missed seeing her, but at the most perfect moment I looked up and saw her. Uh. MIRACLE! We were able to have a lesson right there on the street with her and our member. I have no doubt in my mind that God directed us right to her. It is unexplainable.
For an update on the challenge with Nuno: He definitely made a lot of progress this week. Still has some progress to make, but it went super well! He went from smoking 3 cigarettes a day to smoking 3 this week! Not eating sugar really was not as hard as I thought it would be as well. I think we have decided to cut out sugar out of our diet completely, except for on P-day haha.
This week we have been working some more with Norma-the Spanish lady in our ward. She is incredible. Seriously an angel. She helps us out with a lot of our lessons, and we also went with her to visit Patriarcha and Maria-Clara (the most perfect elderly Portuguese couple in our branch) It was such a good visit, and Patriarcha reminds me so much of grandpa Johnson. So wise, so kind, so giving, and even has the tiniest waist like grandpa Johnson haha
Saturday we put together an activity for the jovems. We made a bolo, the leaders brought some food and we had a short spiritual message with some games. It was pretty simple, but it ended up being a really good activity as well.
Yesterday was Sister Crossman's birthday! My mom on the mission :) She is incredible, so we made sure to make it extra special for her. We made dinner for her- I made roast chicken, Sister Andrade made some rice, and we made another cake. It was the first time that I made chicken without any sort of directions and it ended up turning out really well! Sister Crossman just loved everything and was so appreciative. I also made a photo book for her which she loved too, so overall it was a success.
I can't believe we are on the final 2 weeks of this transfer! Time is flying! Hope your summers are all going well! Have a great week. Amo Voces!

-Sister Selk