8.25.2019

A Week at the Temple


Well, we did it--one week of volunteering at the temple open house! There are not a lot of pictures because every day was basically the same and we were busy. The first day or two were difficult, but we all settled in after that, and grew used to driving to Lisbon everyday, serving a shift, and driving home.

A shift is two hours, and Woo and I gave one English tour of the temple every single day. Each was an interesting group of people that we felt we shared a bond with afterwards. Most of our tours were given to members of the church (although not all), and most were not American. Most were in Lisbon solely to see the temple.

We had a few returned missionaries from the UK with their families, a fun group of ladies from Sweden... three different men on their own... and the Americans we did have... half were there to see the temple, and half kind of stumbled onto the open house by accident.


I learned something (or relearned something) about temples every time I did the tour.

There are two other English speaking couples (one American and one Canadian) and one single guy (from Provo) who all served missions in Portugal and emailed somebody to volunteer at the open house, then flew out just for that (and to see Portugal again in their downtime).

It has been interesting to talk to them and other volunteers while we wait for the next English speaking group to arrive.

We took our own kids through the temple once as their English speaking guides (so I guess that day we did two tours), and Herbie has accompanied our group another time or two.

Here we are with a Sister from Woo's mission, who was born in Cape Verde, grew up in Portugal, and now lives in the UK.


Ruby and Herbie have mostly helped place shoe covers on people's feet as they enter the temple, but they've also stood at doors and directed traffic.

Ruby was asked to go through an extra temple tour, giving a mother a hand with her small children, and Herbie handed out and collected white shade umbrellas on a particularly hot and sunny day.

They've made new friends with kids that are members of other stakes in Portugal. Herbie really likes a kid named Artur, who also looks a bit like Herbie.

Ruby complained of her old knee pain after a shift of standing, but it seems to have gone away now.

Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie have been safe up in the break room. The first day wasn't their best because they ended up kicking stuffed animals around the room, and then they had a game of hiding a magnet that we weren't super thrilled with either.

Moses, as the oldest, felt the most responsibility to keep the other kids reigned in. He prayed about it one night and got the revelation to bring Uno and a snack for Archie, and that's worked well.

Woo: How good were you guys? Did Enoch come and invite you to his city? 
Moses (agreeing): The desks and chairs started going up!  
Linus: Jesus and Heavenly Father came! 
Penelope: We got to read some of the sealed parts of the scriptures!
And really, you can't get any better than that.


Moses is very excited to do baptisms in January. The baptismal font is his favorite room in the temple and the Lisbon temple does have a nice baptismal font. He leans over the rail looking at the water with a smile on his face, and has drawn a couple of pictures of it.

Penelope has asked me many, many times for like a year when she can start doing family history. I decided that 8 years old would be a good time to start, so a few weeks ago we set her up a FamilySearch account.

I sent her the IDs of a few names that I pulled out of the Czech records. Two weeks ago Moses helped her learn how to copy and paste the IDs and reserve the temple work. Last week she needed a bit more of his support, and this week she's got it down herself!

I forgot to assign a talk for primary today, so I asked Linus to do it this morning. I'd forgotten that the great thing about Linus giving a talk in primary is that he also wants to do an activity, and pretty much takes up all the time giving a lesson. He did the same thing today with very little preparation and did a great job. I think the kids might have learned more from him than they would have from me.


The kids decided to play baseball a lot this week, inspired by Archie's stick (bat) and Archie's baseball uniform, which is basically his soccer uniform except he wears sweat pants with the jersey tucked into the pants and his pants tucked into his high soccer socks. And when I say "they," I mean every single one of the kids. Penelope even named baseball as her favorite thing of the day once.

This week had another baby in it--nothing is more fun for the kids. This baby was passing through with her parents who are seeing the world for a year. We met them when they came to our branch.


And for those who remember about the van... we made it to the temple with the gasoline we had the first day, were able to put in 25 liters the next day, and the day after that the strike was over.

Woo changed the oil with our Branch President one evening where they discovered that the transmission had zero oil in it. It was too late to buy more, so the next day's drive to the temple was another trial of faith for Woo, but we made it. He's put oil in the transmission now, but the van still has deeper problems and will need to go into the shop soon.

And I think that's it. I hope you all had a great week!

8.18.2019

First Day at the Temple


We got to see inside the temple for the first time yesterday, but first we had to volunteer. We had no idea what we were doing, or where we were going, or what Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie were going to do while the rest of us were working... Luckily, we were scheduled in the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to figure it out.


As more and more people filed into the room before our shift, I got a bit nervous. My Portuguese is really not at tour-leading level. When the supervisors started to speak, I got a bit more nervous; I could hardly understand what they were saying. However, I wasn't too scared. I felt I'd be taken care of and it would all work out either way.

It ended up that there were a lot of volunteers (for the first day, and a Saturday) and they didn't need more guides anyway. We tagged along with the supervisors while they showed other people their assignments and tried to find something for us to do.


Ruby and Herbie were shown their assignments outside the temple doors. Ruby took her seat and immediately started making friends with the girl next to her. Herbie sat down in probably the hardest working spot, everyone went to him first. He put my booties on, for example, and the mission president's, and the only members' of our branch that we saw that day.

While Woo and I and a few volunteers were standing around, waiting, a couple of missionaries walked up with a new mother and asked me to watch her baby while she went through the temple. She was very hesitant to leave her sleeping baby in a stroller, but I was able to tell her I had six kids and knew what I was doing. And I was very happy to have this easy, Portuguese-less job.

But the supervisor, who seemed to be a no-nonsense woman (and I'm sure I would be too, if in charge of organizing so many volunteers), had other ideas. She told me to leave the baby with a teen who was also taking off booties, and marched us off to the temple. (I saw that new mother a couple more times while we were at the temple and I ducked behind other people, glass doors (Woo's favorite) and the like, to not incur her wrath, but I assume that her baby, like mine, also survived.)

Woo and I were asked to stand within the entrance hall and direct traffic, which could not have been easier. People were already following their guide, but gave me lots of smiles and good afternoons (and one very hearty handshake), as if I was a person to be reckoned with.


There was a lot of quiet time between tours (and we also hit the lunch lull), where I could study the two pictures of Christ on either side of me, enjoy being in the temple, and wave at Woo down the hall.

He had the harder job, being in front of a staircase. A lot of people got separated from their group and needed to know which direction to go. Also, someone who appeared to be in charge, came by and told him to tell people to come down one side of the staircase and up another (but that was a waste of energy).

Also, while I was there, I learned that the guides were really just leading groups from room to room, where one or two people stayed to give a description of the room. Many of these people read the description from a card, at least the first few times they did it. So on days where there are fewer volunteers, I think I can handle either of those jobs.


At the end of our shift Woo and I left, got our kids up in the break room and picked up Ruby and Herbie, who were still putting on booties. Then we went on a tour ourselves.


On this tour, we got to sit in the chairs in the celestial room and look up at the chandelier, and sit in the sealing room and then stand and look at ourselves reflected over and over in the mirrors, and so on. Archie gasped when we first walked into the celestial room and he looked up and saw the chandelier and the stain glass windows.

The brides' room was a room that no one seemed to have noticed before, but thanks to an intriguing description by the volunteer, which ended with: "... and unless you're going to be a bride, you will never set foot in this room again. Goodbye." generated a lot of interest. Afterwards, all the kids and even Woo asked me about brides' rooms in general and my personal experience in there.

There was also a baby with us on this tour that all of the kids really liked, but Archie and Linus would not have left him alone if I hadn't dragged them away.


Our kids, on the other hand, were liked a lot by older kids and missionaries. When we were leaving, a young woman grabbed my arm and told me that we were the cutest family she had ever, ever seen. I thought it was a little over the top, but we do look slightly different than the Portuguese and for some reason different can look more striking for all of us. I told her thank you.

We were quite tired when we got home. I don't know if every day will be this way, but I hope not. Still, we enjoyed our time there. We heard and saw a lot of positive expressions. Woo's favorite was overhearing a couple of old ladies talk about how they lived nearby and were going to start coming more often, and maybe to church in the new stake center (on the same grounds as the temple).

In other news, our van is sounding funny. Woo is worried it's not going to make it many more times to Lisbon. Also, we're in the middle of another gasoline truckers strike. We did find a place to sell us gasoline on the way home from the temple, but they would only sell us 15 liters, which is enough for one more trip to the temple.

And that's all I have for today. I hope you had a great week!


Woo, Moses and I gave talks today. The branch president asked if we were all going to give a talk together (three of us at the podium, taking turns at pre-decided intervals?), but no, we each planned our own talk. Moses talked about the Aaronic priesthood (5 more months until he's ordained!), and Woo talked about the Clayton Christensen BYU-Idaho talk that he likes so much. I talked about fasting, but I'm going to post this short talk from a month or so ago.

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A person in the scriptures that I admire is Hannah. Hannah was married to a good man who treated her very well, however she could not have any children.

And Hannah very much wanted a child. One year when they were visiting the temple she was particularly sad. So sad she could not eat. She fasted. And she went into the temple to pray.

In the temple she did not just pray, but she made a promise to the Lord. She told the Lord that if he would give her a little boy, then she would give the boy to serve the Lord.

And that next year she did have a baby boy and when he was no longer a baby, but still a little boy, she took him to the temple to the high priest Eli to serve the Lord and she left him there.

From then on, she only saw him once a year when she came to the temple.

I’ve often thought of how amazing Hannah was. As far as we know she only promised to give the Lord her boy in that one prayer.

How easy it would’ve been, once she’d finally had her baby, after waiting and hoping for so long, to say to herself, “The Lord doesn’t really want me to give up my baby. He wouldn’t really require that of me. No one else knows what I prayed for. I can keep the baby.”

But Hannah did not forget her promise. She kept it completely, even though she had to give up the thing that was most precious to her. The thing that she had waited for so long and had yearned for so much. When she finally got it, she gave it back to the Lord. How difficult that must have been!

But Hannah did it. Hannah did it because she loved the Lord more than anything else.

The Lord tells us many times in the scriptures that if we want to serve him and do his will, we must have an attitude like Hannah’s.

I will read just two.
D&C 4:2 
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. 
and...
D&C 64:34 
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.
The Lord did not tell Hannah what would happen after she gave him her son, but he did reward her. She had five more children and her first baby boy grew up to be the prophet Samuel.

The Lord requires everything from us, but he does bless us. I love these verses in Hebrews 6:10-15.
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, ... 
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 
I know that the Lord expects a lot from us because he loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Uma pessoa nas escrituras que eu admiro é Ana. Ana era casada com um bom homem que a tratou muito bem, no entanto ela não podia ter filhos.

E Ana queria muito um filho. Um ano, quando visitavam o templo, ela ficou particularmente triste. Tão triste que ela não podia comer. Ela jejuou. E ela entrou no templo para orar.

No templo, ela não apenas orou, mas fez uma promessa ao Senhor. Ela disse ao Senhor que, se ele lhe desse um menino, ela daria ao menino para servir ao Senhor.

E no ano seguinte ela teve um bebê e quando ele não era mais um bebê, mas ainda era uma criancinha, ela o levou ao templo para o sumo sacerdote Eli para servir ao Senhor e ela o deixou lá.

Daí em diante, ela só o via uma vez por ano quando ia ao templo.

Eu sempre pensei o quão incrível Ana era. Tanto quanto sabemos, ela apenas prometeu dar ao Senhor seu filho naquela única oração.

Quão fácil teria sido, uma vez que ela finalmente tivesse seu bebê, depois de esperar por tanto tempo, para dizer a si mesma, "O Senhor realmente não quer que eu desista do meu bebê. Ele realmente não exigiria isso de mim. Ninguém mais sabe pelo que eu orei. Eu posso ficar com o bebê".

Mas Ana não esqueceu sua promessa. Ela manteve-a completamente, mesmo que tivesse que desistir da coisa que era mais preciosa para ela. A coisa que ela esperou por tanto tempo e ansiava tanto. Quando ela finalmente conseguiu, ela devolveu ao Senhor. Quão difícil deve ter sido!

Mas Ana fez isso. Ana fez isso porque ela amava o Senhor mais do que qualquer outra coisa.

O Senhor nos diz muitas vezes nas escrituras que, se quisermos servi-lo e fazer sua vontade, devemos ter uma atitude como a de Ana.

Eu vou ler apenas dois.
D&C 4:2 
Portanto, ó vós que embarcais no serviço de Deus, vede que o sirvais de todo o coração, poder, mente e força, para que vos apresenteis sem culpa perante Deus no último dia. 
E...
D&C 64:34 
Eis que o Senhor requer o coração e uma mente solícita; e os que são solícitos e obedientes comerão do bem da terra de Sião nestes últimos dias. 
O Senhor não disse a Ana o que aconteceria depois que ela lhe desse o filho, mas ele a recompensou. Ela teve mais cinco filhos e seu primeiro filho cresceu para ser o profeta Samuel.

O Senhor requer tudo de nós, mas ele nos abençoa.

Eu amo esses versículos em Hebreus 6: 10-15.
10 Porque Deus não é injusto para se esquecer da vossa obra, e do vosso trabalho de amor que para com o seu nome mostrastes, enquanto ministrastes aos santos, e ainda ministrais. 
11 Mas desejamos que cada um de vós mostre o mesmo cuidado até o fim, para completa certeza da esperança; 
12 Para que não vos façais negligentes, mas sejais imitadores dos que pela fé e paciência herdam as promessas. 
13 Porque, quando Deus fez a promessa a Abraão, ... 
14 Dizendo: Certamente, abençoando, te abençoarei, e multiplicando, te multiplicarei. 
15 E assim, esperando com paciência, alcançou a promessa. 
Eu sei que o Senhor espera muito de nós porque nos ama. Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.

8.11.2019

First Week Back


We did make it home safely. The whole thing was easier than I thought it was going to be. We are adjusting, but it hasn't been horrible. The kids are older, and they are also trying to be good.

I have just a couple things from the weeks earlier.
Ruby (from nowhere and loudly, into the silence of an entire plane waiting to deboard): So wait Mom, is there a difference between uncircumcised and circumcised!? 
Me (as quietly as possible): This really isn't the best place for that question, Ruby.
Ruby (nodding): Okay.
And it must not have been that burning of a question, because she never asked again.

Archie (walking past yet another group of massage chairs): Those are electric chairs.
Also the kids laughed and laughed at every semi truck we saw on the freeway. In Europe the engines are under the driver, so the front of the truck is completely flat. In the US, most semis have the engine in front, sticking out like the nose of a dog. To them the US trucks now look absurdly funny.


My severely cracked and barely-skipping-along phone completely died on the last flight over. Woo's phone, that died on the flight to Utah, was fixed with a new SIM card, so I got the new phone. That first morning, I went out and bought a phone case for the first time--the sturdiest, most accident proof case I could find. So far, so good.


Woo also woke that first morning back unable to breathe. The asthma that had gone away in the US was back. Other than my short shopping trip, I spent the first day completely clearing out our bedroom, closet and bathroom and disinfecting every surface.

There was mold in the few things we had (of necessity) left in the laundry basket while we were gone (not in our room). Some of those things were ruined permanently... that day was also overcast and cold, and all the smells here (fish factories, the ocean, mustiness, etc.) that we had forgotten or grown used to were back.


One thing that was stressful to Ruby, Moses and Herbie was that they had library books they thought were due while we were in Utah. I was not worried because I know that late books here are no concern. The kids, however, still have a US mindset in this thing.


They set out as soon as possible to the library, but it was closed. And the day after that. And the day after that. It was not open because we returned the week of Peniche's annual celebration. There was loud music until 3 or 4am? every night. Also fireworks most nights. It was really the perfect week for us, though. We were tired enough to sleep right through it, except a couple times when the fireworks coincided with one of our wake-ups where it felt like the middle of the day.

The kids did finally make it to the library, and I had bought several books at the DI immediately before heading to the airport, so there has been a lot of reading here. Penelope has diligently worked her way through a book I found that I'd enjoyed as a tween.


Legos have also been used heavily, especially by Moses, Linus and Archie. These quiet activities and also our summer schedule have helped us to adjust, I think.


Woo took Ruby, Herbie and Moses to a youth dance about an hour away. They ate party food and had a lot of fun. Linus, Penelope, Archie and I ate popcorn and greek yoghurt for dinner, then read Harry Potter after scriptures until bed. We also had fun. My kind of fun.


We have one more week of normal and then the temple open house starts. We are going to be helping almost everyday. Ruby and Herbie will be helping with booties. Woo and I will be guides. I was surprised. I was thinking more of like directing parking or standing in a corner occasionally shushing chatter... something along those lines.


And I think I am finally done. I hope you all had a great week!

And here's my testimony from last week. I have a talk from a couple weeks ago I haven't done anything with yet either. But here's the testimony: 

I love the temple and I know it is the house of the Lord. Before we moved to Portugal, we attended the temple every week.

I miss the temple. And since I have already received a family, the greatest desire of my heart has been to live across the street from a temple to attend the temple many times a week. But the Lord has told me that this will not happen for many, many years.

Still, I am excited for there to be a temple in Portugal. It will be much nearer than Madrid and I know that all of Portugal will be blessed.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.