Boa tarde minha familia and friends,
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to you all!!!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day full of fireworks and joy as everyone celebrates. My celebrations today for the 4th consisted of deep cleaning my apartment for 3 hours, doing weekly planning for 2 hours, and eating a big lunch in the African Market across the street. All in all, its been a great and productive day.
A lot has happened this week. First, we got a new Mission President this week!! President Neves and his family returned to the island of Mindelo to their home last Wednesday after the arrival of our new Mission President, President Oliveira and his wife. They are both from São Paulo, Brazil. I met them both on Friday at my first zone conference. They are amazing people and it is easy to see that we lucked out with getting yet another amazing mission president. Although we will all dearly miss President Neves and all that he did with us, President Oliveira will be great and I look forward to working with him.
I wanted to share one personal experience that I had this week with everyone. So I live in a two story apartment building with my two companions. We live on the first story and we have another family living above us on the second story. We have met the women who lives above us a few times while hanging laundry out to dry together on our roof that we share and have been able to talk to her a little here and there. When we came home from our zone conference on Friday afternoon though, our apartment door downstairs was wide open held open by rocks. We assumed that our neighbors above us were possibly moving, which would explain the doors being wide open. So being the missionaries that we are, we decided to walk upstairs and see if they needed help. However, as we approached their door, it too was open and things were very quite. We put our heads in the door and said hello, right before seeing an alter at the end of the hall with people sitting in silence. It turned out the husband had passed away from a heart attack the night before, and here they have what is like a little "viewing" more or less at the home where they sit and look at a memoriabilia (sp check) alter of the individual who passed away. We decided to go in and pay our respects and to see what we could do for the woman who we knew. However, she was not home at the moment. So we decided to leave to teach a few lessons and then return.
When we returned later that night at 8, two young men from our branch asked if they could come along. So the 5 of us (my two comps, the 2 young men, and I) went back to our neighbors. When we got there the home had mostly emptied out and she was sitting alone next to the the little table alter of your husband. She seemed so lonely and heart broken. We sat with her and tried to give her some words of comfort for the first 15 minutes or so. We then decided to maybe invite the spirit by singing a few hymns to our dear neighbor. As we sat and sang hymns to her, I couldnt help but notice how lost and truly heart broken the woman seemed. My heart ached for her, but at the same time rejoiced...I rejoiced because it hit me that when I lose loved ones, all though I am deeply sadened for the loss of their lives, I can rejoice because I know that God has created a greater plan for each one of us. I know that when I lose a loved one, they go to a greater place and watch over me until the day that I will see them again. How truly blessed are we for having the great knowledge of Gods plan for each of us, for the Plan of Salvation. It is truly a blessing and a comfort to know that this is not the end.
As we ended by singing Till We Meet Again, I couldnt help but think about my Dad. What great comfort and joy I have in my life to know that he right now is watching over me while I serve here in Cabo Verde, as he has my entire life up to this point...and that he is waiting for me to `Meet him Again`. As members of the church, we have such happiness and joy in the knowledge we have of the truth of the restored gospel. I realized this week that I have the opportunity now to share this with all those who are here in Cabo Verde, and hopefully bring them the same joy, comfort and peace in their lives through the truth and joy this gospel brings to lives as it has brought to me in my life. I am so grateful and honored to have this calling.
I love you all tons. I also really appreciate all the continual love and support I recieve. You are all in my prayers and in my thoughts.