December in Portugal

On the one hand, it's December. On the other, it isn't.

It isn't very cold; there isn't a chance of snow. It's jacket weather or, occasionally, rainy. But there are large and small nativities all over town: in parks, in front of churches, or the fire station, but the Santa's village just doesn't feel Christmasy to us.

They had large, straw dolls all over. They looked like scarecrows to us, but I think they might have been some traditional, homemade doll. (But, no we didn't ask anyone or consult google.) There was an attempt at a winter wonderland with this "glice" rink, which made us smile. It's plastic with water on it, and very small.

The branch had its Christmas party. Our kids and one other made up the nativity and (because I was in charge) was very simple. There was some nervousness about the lack of practices (I was under the impression that the kids had this in the bag), but afterwards I realized that everyone here has probably seen some amazing nativity plays with most of the population being devoutly Christian for centuries. But I doubt I would've changed anything. I'm a big fan of simple.

The day before the party was a really rough day for Herbie. He felt picked on at school and at the park and came home and was horrible to his little brothers. But, the next day was great for him, he loved the party, and best of all, his friend from school came and he got to give him a Book of Mormon.

Ruby's test scores seem to be steadily improving, but we got a letter from her English teacher (the class she's supposed to be acing!) that she was behind. What?! Woo went in to talk to her teacher and hopefully that will be okay?

Herbie's music class played a number with the school orchestra one evening, and all sorts of girls yelled Ruby's name and came over to talk to her. She's definitely speaking Portuguese and making friends.

It did get cold enough that Moses finally started wearing pants, occasionally. They have to be sweatpants, I just learned, so his legs have the freedom to run and move the way he wants them too. Moses is sick right now. It looks like it might be chicken pox, which is surprising and completely unexpected.

The inside cover of Moses' scriptures.

Linus' teacher took another day off. His teacher misses by far the most school of any of the other kids' teachers. Sometimes she has a substitute (who Linus doesn't like because she won't help him if he's not speaking Portuguese), but this week she didn't. He got to go grocery shopping alone with mom and dad and pick out some digital books to read out loud to Archie in the afternoon.

Penelope hit the hand-me-down jackpot again. We received another batch from an investigator in the branch and most of them were Penelope's size.

Penelope was first to walk up and tell me her testimony in Portuguese and all the other kids did the same from off the top of their heads. No more having to prepare and translate and memorize strange words for Testimony Meeting, which makes my fast Sunday eve much easier.

But even with all of us bearing our testimonies, we were short 3 regulars and testimony meeting got out 15 minutes early (not necessarily a bad thing).

The Branch President's wife was suddenly unwell and he rushed her to a health clinic, which put a cloud over the rest of our meetings. Woo stepped in and took over the Primary lesson and conducted Sacrament meeting. I led the music. We continue to pray for her.

Archie: Mommie, can you love me forever?  
Me (smiling): Yes. 
Archie: Are you allowed to?  
Me (laughing): Yes.  
Archie: Are you supposed to?
Me: Yes. 

Archie, unimpressed with Woo's yoga skills.
Are you kidding me, Dad? This one is easy.
Archie (opening the drawer in the Branch President's office and seeing that little key): Oh! It's the priesthood key!
Archie had already been to Santa's village with his preschool class. It's amazing how quickly he can transform from youngest child to know-it-all expert.

No waves a few days this week :(.

And that's all I have. Hope your week was great!

Testimony Below (My testimonies in Portuguese are also seat-of-the-pants and probably riddled with mistakes. Sorry :)

I know that it's very important to read the Book of Mormon every day.
When I was 9 years old, I began to read the Book of Mormon every day.
I know that the Book of Mormon has the words of God.
The book brings us peace, patience, love, happiness and everything good.
We know Jesus Christ, when we read the Book of Mormon.
I say this, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Eu sei que é muito importante a ler O Livro de Mormon todos os dias.
Quando tinha 9 anos, começarei a ler of Livro de Mormon todos os dias.
E eu sei que o Livro de Mormon tem as palavras de Deus.
O Livro leva-nos paz, paciência, amor, felicidade e todos boas.
Conhecemos Jesus Cristo, quando lemos O Livro de Mormon.
Digo isto, em nome de Jesus Cristo, amém.

Ich weiß, daß es sehr wichtig ist, das Buch Mormon jeden Tag zu lesen.
Wann ich bin 9 Jahre alt gewesen, habe ich angefangen, das Buch Mormon jeden Tag zu lesen.
Ich weiß, daß das Buch Mormon die Wörter Gottes hat.
Das Buch bringt uns Frieden, Geduld, Liebe, Glück und alles Gutes.
Wir kennen Jesus Christus, wann wir das Buch Mormon lesen.
Das sage ich, im Namen Jesus Christus, amen.