October 10, 2011
Hello family and friends,
I have not written one of these mass emails in a few weeks but I want to let you all know that I am alive and well...still! The last few weeks have been good. Conference was good (all though I only got to watch one of the four sessions in English and all of the rest in Portuguese...it just isnt the same when you dont get to watch it in English). We watched it at our church building with some of the people we have been teaching and some of our recent converts.
This weekend was a treat. We had Elder Donaldson from the quorum of the 70 visit our island on Saturday and Sunday (He is from Liverpool, England and has the sweetest accent...I attached a picture of me and my comp, Sister Vicente with him). He spoke to just us missionaries (there were 16 of us)Saturday morning and shared some thoughts and words of advice with us. Sister Holland (my MTC companion) and I hungout afterwards for about 20 minutes and just the two of us spoke to him. He is an incredible man. Later that afternoon we went back to the church to attend the baptism of four people we have been teaching over the extent of the last weeks to months. Those who got baptized included Iarine (11 years old), Yannick (9 years old), Hammilton (11 years old) and Antonio (32 years old). Iarine is actually a young girl who has been receiving the missionary discussions months before I ever arrived to this area. The problem with why she had not yet been baptized is that the missionaries could not get permission from her parents for her to get baptized. We FINALLY got their permissoin though and she was soooo happy to have the opportunity to get baptized. Yannick and Hamilton are two brothers that we have been teaching since my first week in this area...so for over two months now. Sister Namwanje and I had gone to there home our first week in request to the branch...but to talk to their parents who are less active members and help them come back to church. In turn, they wound up requesting us to teach their two sons and prepare them to be baptized. So that is what we did and I am so happy that they were also able to get baptized on Saturday. As for the fourth one, Antonio, he is another story. He was a blessing sent from Heaven when we found him and started teaching him. I have never found and taught anyone who was so ready to hear and accept the gosple in their lives like Antonio. We contacted Antonio in the street the week that our recent convert Nilton got baptized. He turned out to be a really good friend of Nilton. After attending his friend Niltons baptism, he told us that he wants to be taught and be baptized. He has gone to church ever week since and was the only person that we have been teaching who was not yet baptized who attended all four sessions of General Conference AND Priesthood Session. Him and Nilton attended all of them together...that is a rare rare thing. We get lucky to get people to attend at least ONE of the four sessions. So we were proud of them for being so dilligent and desiring to attend all of the sessions.
Later that Saturday evening, we returned to the church once again to attend a fireside that Elder Donaldson (the 70) was giving. I was excited to hear him speak again and to also hear our Mission President and his wife speak. My mission president, President Oliveira, wound up pulling a surprise on me during that time as well. After he and his wife spoke, the district president stood up and announced that before hearing from Elder Donaldson, we will be pleased to hear the testimony of Sister Turnbow...My companion and I were confused because Sister Turnbow did not attend the fireside. I looked at President Oliveira who was sitting up on stage and he shook his head at the announcent that the District President had said then looked at me and pointed his finger making it clear that it was ME who was to be going up, not Sister Turnbow. I was so caught off guard but stood up and made my way up to the front of the mic. I was sooo nervous. The thought of standing up in front of everyone and bearing my testimony in Portuguese on the spot got the best of my nervous...especially since it was also to be in front of my mission president and Elder Donaldson of the 70. Afterwards everyone told me that they had never scene a person so white before and so nervous. Kind of embarresing. I was greatful for the opportunity though.
The next day (yesterday/Sunday), we had the opportunity of hearing from Elder Donaldson once again at our District Conference. It was one of the most incredible conferences ever. Our district includes the two branches from the island of Santo Antao, the 4 branches here in Mindelo, and the one branch in Sal. So all of the members were all congagrated together from the 3 islands and it was really neat. I got to see some of the members from my first area in Sal for the first time since leaving and it was sooooo great!!!!! We were all so happy to see each other.
Oh, I almost forgot, transfers take place today. I am sooo happy to say that I am staying yet another transfer in my amazing area of Cha D'Alecrim. And what is also exciting, is that our mission president is allowing my companion, Sister Vicente, to stay one more transfer and serve again as a mini missionary. So Sister Vicente and I will be spending another 6 weeks together. This will be her last though before going back home and preparing for her real mission in Boston that she will be leaving for in February.
.....Sister Holland (my companion from the MTC), has been transferred to the island of Santo Antao. Until now, there have been only two companionships of Elders there. Today, both the companionships were transferred out and Sister Holland is going over there on a boat with a mini missionary! Her and her companion will be the ONLY TWO missionaries on the ENTIRE island now!!! There are ZERO elders that will be there with them. Sister Holland is a little overwhelmed but she is going to do a great job.
Well, that is about it for this week. I look forward to another great transfer. This last transfer Sister Vicente and I were blessed to teach and witness the baptisms of 10 souls who accepted to gospel of Jesus Christ. We are praying that we can continue to find those who are ready to hear and accept Christs gospel in their lives during this next transfer like we did this last transfer.
Amo todos voces muito!!