9.29.2019

The Future is Coming


We made it to the temple this week. The Portuguese people inside, running their own beautiful temple were so, so happy. I loved everyone of them. When I first walked into the hall, it seemed there were more temple workers than people attending the session, and I think that was true. We did have a full session, even at an unusual time.

From what I remember of our first few weeks when the Ogden temple opened, I was expecting disorganization for a few weeks, but there was none of that. Everything was well run and even impressive in a couple of little organizational tweaks they had.

I recognized that these people had been sacrificing and attending the Spain Madrid temple for the past 20 years (and the Bern temple before that for some of the older ones), where they had not only performed ordinances, but helped officiate. These people knew exactly what they were doing.


The only thing that was kind of a mess was the locker room, but I think that was mainly due to general excitement and greeting, hugging, and kissing everyone. In fact, when I first walked in, I forgot I was in Portugal and I expected the worker who approached me to help me find my locker, but no, she wanted a hug and some “beijinhos.”

The baptismal font, on the other hand, was not crowded at our time. Also, they let Ruby and Herbie do all the names they brought. I’d only given them 65, thinking they wouldn’t let them do them all and we would be coming the next week anyway. But it looks like we’re going to be able to get plenty of baptisms done.


This week I was prompted to read about this time three years ago, where Woo and I finally figured out how to wrangle the kids so we could attend the temple together every week. Reading that and the months that followed, I recognized that it was a time when amazing blessings came into our lives, all of them, I’m sure, a result of our increased temple attendance.

One of the most visible was the revelation we received to move to Portugal and all the help we received to make it happen.


Anyway, I started to get excited about what might happen this time. I’m expecting 2-3 months for anything to really emerge, but some things came almost immediately. The kind of things that appear to be punches in the gut, rather than blessings.

Ruby’s literally so, as she was up several times that night throwing up. Luckily, Ruby’s at an age where there was no carpet or bedding to clean, but it was still not fun for her. She spent the next day home from school and either napped or stared at the ceiling.

Ruby hasn’t been this sick for a long time. The last time I remember was our first Christmas in Utah (her kindergarten year). She made a bit of an effort for her birthday and Christmas, but she had such a sad, sad, sad face in all of those pictures.

Actually, I’m not sure it was a blessing she got sick... I’m just choosing to see it that way :).

[edited]

This week has been an adjusting-to-school week with a lot of arguing, shouting, sensitivity to almost everything, etc. But there were some good things.

I got Penelope into the dentist. She broke down crying last week because something she’d eaten hurt her tooth. She did have a cavity that the dentist drilled and filled without any x-rays or pain killer. It took 15 minutes and cost 45€. Woo (along with everyone else reading this?) questioned the quality of the work, but Penelope is no longer having pain and that’s enough for me.

Penelope also made a cute treasure hunt for Linus and Archie that was a fun afternoon for them.


Linus’s weaknesses at these times are anger and losing his temper, but he really, really wants the trading cards that we get at the grocery store (some promotional thing). He made a deal with Woo and has controlled his temper most days to earn them.

The cards also come with points that can be used as a discount on a stuffed animal the store is selling. Linus loves stuffed animals and also wanted one, but Woo told him no. Linus was not disappointed, but immediately came up with the idea of sharing the points with a friend of his who never has the points or the cards.


Archie is enjoying going back to school in the afternoon, where he often has PE and other more fun classes. Like the other kids when starting school, recess is by far his favorite part. He’s excited to have an official time on the soccer court with the 1st graders and sometimes 2nd graders. He plays hard; his hair is always wet with sweat when I pick him up. Our kids are still the only sweat-ers on the playground.

Herbie started a new family history project this week. Woo found a mission journal of an ancestor on FamilySearch that he’s been reading, and he asked Herbie to transcribe it to make it more accessible to others. Herbie has jumped right in, and surprisingly(?) really enjoys it.


Moses and Herbie missed each other after class one day and Herbie came home without Moses. Herbie got out of class late and thought that Moses was already home, but he wasn’t. Woo and Herbie set out on bikes to find Moses, which they did.

Moses was upset. He threw himself on his bed when he got home and started sobbing. I rubbed his skinny, skinny, heaving back, but he didn’t want to talk about it. However after about a minute, he stopped bawling and seemed to be fine. He could talk and laugh about the whole thing with Herbie a few seconds later.


As a kid I never read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, etc. What I read was the Three Investigators. Unfortunately they’ve gone out of print and are hard to find. But recently I found every book in a pdf online. I read the older kids one during their lunch break and they’ve enjoyed it. Moses, especially, gets all worried about time and safety constraints and whether the mystery will ever be solved.

Woo has had a disappointing surf week. He always comes home with his exhausted, I’m-about-to-die face, and from what he says, it sounds like that’s exactly what’s happened—lots of powerful garbage waves, and not a lot of fun.

[edited]

We also had a district primary activity; Woo went to a district training meeting; and we had a linger longer before half our branch returns to Italy for the winter.

Anyway, that’s our week. Hope yours was great! I’m excited for conference next week.

9.22.2019

First Week of School


This was a busy week. A lot happened, and not just the first week of school. Last week, of course, we had the temple dedication. Ruby, Herbie and Woo watched from the sealing room. They saw Elder Andersen when he came in their room, said hi to everyone and said they loved them.

[edited]

Here at home, Linus said two very excellent prayers. One before we left on our Sunday walk and the other was before we left for the actual dedication. Archie spent about a half hour alone at home between when we left and Woo came home. He was excited for us to leave, as I let him watch movies on the Gospel Library app. Moses was particularly excellent in the dedication. He was easily the most reverent person in the entire chapel.


Ruby and Herbie said they fell asleep that night thinking about the temple; they dreamed about the temple; and they completely forgot that the next day was the first day of school.


Of course we're excited that the temple opens this week. The Lisbon temple is small, and we were warned that we needed to make an appointment. I was nervous we wouldn't be able to get in at all the first month, but it looks like we've picked a time that is not in high demand.

I sent many other emails to get Ruby registered for seminary. She's now enrolled in an online class in the UK with about 30 other American kids living in Europe or Africa. She seems to be really enjoying it, but her first lesson took over 2 hours.


In reading what she'd written, I became painfully aware that the kids' English writing and typing skills are declining. Typing is never taught here in school; they write almost everything down by hand; and I've yet to see even an adult who can touch-type here.


So I found some online programs for English grammar and typing that I'm happy with, and have started the older four kids. Linus, already, has become a particularly careful and conscientious typer. I think it also helps that he started from scratch. The older kids already think they can type, and were not as teachable as they could've been.


Linus is also enjoying being the oldest grade in his school and being among the oldest there, not only among his own family, but among everyone.

Archie said he was a little bit nervous to start 1st grade (He didn't act it!), but he told me almost every day, "First grade is fun, Mom!"

He is excited about all his new friends, going back to school in the afternoon, and doing real school work, "We're going to do Portuguese in the afternoon, Mom!"

[edited]

He had one page of tracing homework this weekend (he'll be learning cursive right off the bat), that he finished in about 30 seconds.

Archie has been fantastic during scriptures this week, thanks to Moses taking him under his arm.


Penelope is still feeling very grown up doing family history. It's now a way for her to receive messages. Usually from me with names for her to reserve, but also Herbie, and occasionally FamilySearch itself...
Penelope: I get soooo many messages that are dumb and I delete them. Like an ancestor with a birthday... Othello or something...
Othello is Woo's mom's father.


We were about to start family prayers until I noticed Ruby had an Ensign under her blanket.
Woo: Ruby is the only person I know who’d try to sneakily read an Ensign during prayers.

Almost every talk or testimony Herbie gives, he sits down and whispers, "Oh, I forgot a part!"

So when I reminded him he had a talk on Sunday and he said he'd already written it, I asked if he knew it well enough to not forget a part.
He said, "I'm not going to forget because I love the temple, Mom."

And lastly, Moses was elected class president in a landslide. He suddenly seems to have become influential there. He stuck up for a kid at break and told others to leave him alone. They did because, "The kids in my class listen to me."

Woo met with the missionaries, did some surfing, made and ate some salsa, bought two crates of tortilla chips, invited Henry to dinner, hurt the knuckle on his right pinky, shaved, showered, conducted sacrament meeting, and a bunch of other stuff I'm not going to list here.

And that's our week. Hope yours was great!


9.15.2019

Day by Day

Last Sunday

  • Woo gave all the kids and me back-to-school blessings, since today will be a busy temple-dedication day.

Monday

  • The official start of school for Portugal this year is the 10-13th of September. For our city (and maybe the whole country?) that really means a bunch of parent meetings on the 13th with the actual first school day on the 16th. I decided to do the summer schedule for the last times on Monday and Wednesday to shorten a long week of waiting.
  • We have not done the summer schedule of weeks (temple open house and trip to Utah), and the kids were excited to get back into it. 
  • Linus enthusiastically wrote lists in French.
  • Moses eagerly got out his sketchbooks with the plan to strengthen his drawings of houses.
  • Ruby ran very strong during track club.
  • Herbie attempted homemade ice cream and I think he was happy with his effort.
  • It was a very pleasant day. I transcribed our back-to-school blessings for printing later.

Tuesday

  • We had a failed movie watching attempt with the kids. Our selection of free movies is not large and so much of it is junk.
  • Woo suggested a bike ride instead.
  • Archie enjoys family bike rides now because I stay behind him and he no longer feels abandoned. Also, Woo makes it a point to break the ride up by stopping at all the exercise stations and letting Archie play.
  • The older boys were happy to stop at a skate ramp. Herbie learned a new skate trick by being humble and learning from Moses, even though he is his younger brother.
  • A bunch of school books I ordered arrived. Some we bought and some are free through vouchers from the school. We also have used books, either from the school or older kids. I organized all the books in piles by child in my room.

Wednesday

  • More summer schedule. The track club workout with all kids jogging in a line and the last kid sprinting to the front (repeated over and over again) was a big hit. 
  • Penelope tripped and fell hard, but got up and ran well afterwards.
  • In the afternoon Herbie, Moses and Linus went to the skatepark while Ruby and I (and Archie and Penelope) delivered a picture Ruby had drawn of the Lisbon temple to our ministering sister.
  • Woo came home from a surf very cold. He thinks he was approaching hypothermia and the ocean has never warmed up this summer like summers past.
[edited]

Thursday

  • The kids played around the house. An entire lego pier with boats was built at one point. At another, an airport with all sorts of planes, helicopters and space shuttles.
  • The rest of the books came. I gave Ruby all of hers (they're all new) and she spent a lot of time reading them.
  • I divided the used books up and had Ruby, Herbie, Moses, Linus and Penelope each erase the pencil out of a pile. This is exhausting work and most of the kids complained about sore fingers. But not Penelope, she volunteered to help others and even though I gave her the smallest pile of books, she ended up erasing the most.
  • The kids and I took a quick shopping trip for known school supplies. I began to organize all those by child in my room also. Actually, just Linus, Penelope and Archie's things. I gave Herbie and Moses their books.
  • We stopped by the middle school and class schedules were finally posted! I took pictures, and Ruby, Herbie and Moses copied the schedules down (even though they'll get a printed copy on Monday)
[edited]

Friday

  • Linus, Penelope and Archie had parent meetings. For the first time, the school had a lot of the meeting all together, recognizing that some parents have more than one child and it's difficult to attend too many meetings at once.
  • This is my 3rd year of these and I understand almost everything, and also what the teachers want from me. I juggled two meetings upstairs, signed all the papers, and ran down to Woo's room to sign the rest.
  • My biggest concern was seeing the kids' schedules so that Woo and I could plan a time to go to the temple. It is not what I expected, but Woo and I figured out a way to do it.
  • Moses had a class meeting in the afternoon. Moses came with us into a very crowded, very warm room. The rest of the kids played on the soccer court.
  • Woo met with the missionaries.

Saturday

  • We did our usual Saturday things.
  • With the younger kids school lists (that I got at the meetings), I was able to scour the house for specifics (size A4 folder with elastic closure... ). We have almost everything, but we all ran to the store for things we were still missing (2 tubes of liquid UHU glue... ).
  • Linus, Penelope and Archie are all organized, packed up and ready to go on Monday! Ruby, Herbie and Moses will have to wait for each class where each teacher will give them individual supply lists that they will write down by hand...
  • I overheard Herbie, Moses, Linus and Archie during their "air force" lego game... they all had wives and children and took time every morning to read their Book of Mormon individually.
  • I took a nap that felt like heaven. I was so cozy.
  • We all went to the church to watch the broadcast of the youth devotional with Elder Andersen. He and his wife gave talks in Portuguese. I was happy to understand almost everything, even the Teixeiras and Elder Moreira, who are Portuguese (but not the 2 youth speakers from Lisbon-- I only got general ideas from them :(
  • The camera scanned the audience which prominently caught two brothers in the middle of a scuffle with one elbowing the other. The next scan, one of the brothers had been removed. There were lots of phones out and whispering.
  • Elder Andersen had to ask for reverence several times, which was embarrassing. We ourselves were not at our best (Herbie and Moses had been separated almost at the beginning). I also had to work a bit more than I usually do to get into the right mood. I think part of the problem was excitement over the start of school, and also, I had failed to prepare the kids adequately for a spiritual experience. I had woken up from my nap with only time to have everyone change clothes and go.
  • Elder Andersen blessed us all to have the correct spirit for the dedication.
  • I started a fast that we would.

Sunday

  • Before scriptures, I talked to the kids about preparing ourselves to feel the Spirit and receive revelation, starting with our scripture study that morning.
  • Linus had already received revelation about what he needed to do the night before.
  • We read the Book of Mormon individually
  • We read 2 Corinthians 1-4 (that's all we finished in an hour) together with discussion after every 5 verses. The kids will read the rest (chapters 5-7) individually later in the day.
  • After breakfast, Ruby, Herbie and Woo left for the temple. They get to watch the dedication there.
  • I'm writing my email now because Moses, Linus, Penelope and I will watch a later session this afternoon at our chapel. 
  • While I write Linus is doing family history; Moses is reading 2 Corinthians 5-7, Penelope is reading my old emails; Archie is playing the keyboard along with the tabernacle choir; and Woo, Ruby and Herbie are sitting in the temple waiting for their dedication session to start.

That's it! Hope your week was great!
Love,
Chelsey

9.08.2019

Done!


Well... this week was not as exciting as last. There was a steady flow of Portuguese people, but not many English speakers on the extra week of the open house.


We took our own kids through twice and Ruby and Herbie were busy helping. Ruby was a guide for a Portuguese tour (after someone printed her an official-looking name tag on a day when youth volunteer tags were all being used).


Herbie wanted one too, but never got one. He did get a new job where he was stationed at the Celestial room and got to open and close the giant doors for tours entering and leaving. On one of our tours with the younger kids, I looked around and it was everyone in our family (except Ruby), and only our family, sitting in the Celestial room.

Ruby later helped him with that job, and they got to spend a decent amount of time in there. Today Herbie asked me questions about going to the Celestial room and attending the temple. It reminded me of a tour we'd heard about where at the end, someone had said, "So... what do I need to do to get into the 'Silent Room' again?"

Herbie also wants to sit for a long time in the Celestial room someday.

And here's Ruby... presumably working (???).


Woo and I had two tours to Americans who were former missionaries in Portugal and their wives. They'd both planned their trip to Portugal because of the temple and then found they'd accidentally booked everything for the wrong dates. How happy they were to discover that the temple open house was open an extra week.


We didn't do much to celebrate a job well done on the last day, other than eat two ice cream bars when we got home and Woo took the kids to the skatepark. According to him, Moses is getting pretty good pretty fast.


But when I took them the day afterwards, Moses was frustrated that he couldn't do any of the tricks that he'd done the day before.

It was just a lucky day? Or maybe he was sore and more cautious the next day?


Linus spent a lot of free time working on this model of the entire temple grounds. That's a train track with stop behind it, just like the real temple. Linus made a sandwich for Archie every morning before we left for the temple, without anyone asking him to or ever needing a reminder.


He decided to be super good in church today, for some reason, and kept walking around with his arms folded and his "good" smile planted firmly on his face. It made me giggle a little bit.

He got some revelation while reading the Book of Mormon that he was excited about. "I'm going to use it when I'm a missionary."

He'd read 1 Nephi 3:7 "... for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

And he told me, "That means Heavenly Father gave us the Plan of Salvation because it works."


Penelope and Archie have been zipping around on their scooters. They sure love those things, but they both are also very good at sharing them. All the other kids have gotten a chance to try one of their scooters.


Here they are checking out the huge brass rain spout they discovered at the temple.


Today we had a family temple recommend interview to get our tickets to the dedication. We were all in the room, but Moses, Linus and Penelope (who don't hold current temple recommends) answered all the questions. Woo thought it was a cute experience.

Moses yelled, "Yes!" the second Mário finished asking, "Do you live the law of chastity?"

And they all laughed because it was so funny to them to be asked such a question.


Some of the other questions had to be explained, but when they understood they also smiled or laughed and said, "Of course!"

Some of those questions are not designed for kids at all, but still not a bad thing for them to think about having to answer for a real temple recommend someday.

Anyway, that's our week. Hope yours was great!


9.01.2019

Very Full (Amazing?) Week


We did more tours this week than last, even though we had one day where we had none. I had been praying for another opportunity for us to give the kids a tour ourselves, because it had dawned on me a couple nights before what an INCREDIBLE blessing it is to be able to take our own kids on a tour of a temple ourselves.

Anyway, on this day without other tours, we took the kids through the temple and it was easily, from many different angles, the worst tour we have ever done or experienced. However, I happen to know that a lot of good things can be happening when everything seems to be failing, and I was not discouraged. It was still an amazing blessing.

As English guides, Woo and I continue to meet people from all over the world: Germany, 3 chemists from Spain and Portugal (who insisted that English was the best language for them all to go through together), Ukraine, Ireland, Texas, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Angola, Japan, Arizona and Spanish Fork. AND, Woo and I did our first tour in Portuguese.

(We're also learning with the questions we get asked. Not all Angel Moronis face east.)

I let Woo go in front on the Portuguese tour, thinking I would follow the group and have to say essentially nothing. (The guides for the Portuguese tours just accompany the group through the temple; there is a person stationed in each room to give an explanation. In English, we do ALL the talking.)

However, the guy at the back of the line was a guy off the street who lived in the neighborhood, and he had a lot of questions. Surprisingly, I could answer a lot of them. More surprisingly, he could understand me. Even more surprisingly, there were a couple of times where native Portuguese speakers spoke to him and he could not hear them or understand them.

Woo took over at the end, because the man wanted to know the significance or symbolism of 5 of the olive trees on the grounds, and my answer was not satisfying him (or maybe he couldn’t understand me). Woo started speaking of the olive tree as a symbol for the House of Israel (one of many symbols for the olive tree), and luckily, just before this tour, someone had told me where the Book of Mormons were “hidden.” I was able to run and get one, and just as Woo turned and asked a sister missionary, “Do you have any Book of Mormons?” I was able to hand him one and the man was happy to receive it.

(Us and the other native English speaker tour guides)

It was a good Book of Mormon day for us because the night before a Facebook friend, who is a worker at the elementary school, had replied to my post where I shared what President Nelson had posted in Portuguese about the Book of Mormon. She asked, “Where can I get this book?”

What?!?

So I, Ruby and Archie ran to her house right before leaving for the temple that next morning to give her a book. I let Archie hold the book and he handed it to her and later he said, “I gave out my first Book of Mormon!”

The worker was very happy to receive the book and we invited her to the temple and Ruby gave her a great summary of the temple, and invited her to church, and told her about the missionaries (Ruby is a great missionary herself).


We stepped it up with the temple invitations this week too. We’d already invited all the people we know best, who’ve all said they’ll try to come, but...

And we’ve given some out to random people too. Woo invited the taxi driver who drove us to the airport, for example.

Anyway, one day at the temple, Ruby got in a little tiff with another girl putting on shoe coverings where Ruby had said something about smokers in Portugal and this girl took it personally as a slight on her country and responded with something about polygamists in Utah, which Ruby responded to...

Anyway, on the ride home we showed Ruby that what she had said had offended this girl and Ruby felt really bad when she realized. We all had to run into the bank when we got back home to pay rent.

On the walk into the building, Ruby found a temple invitation in her pocket. (I had another one and Woo asked for it.) Ruby was nervous, but knew she should give her invite to the girl sitting at a loan desk when we first walked in.

After some deliberation she walked up and started talking to her about the temple (Linus, Penelope and Archie all slid into seats across the desk). The girl took the invitation and Ruby walked back beaming. I whispered to her, “Now your sins are forgiven.” (Based on DandC 62:3 and personal experience)

Woo began inviting the teller, who he sees on a monthly rent-paying basis, and Ruby walked up to talk to her too, and together they invited her and told her about baptisms for the dead, eternal families, etc.

Yesterday we did not work at the open house because we were attending with our branch. (Well, Ruby did work because she took the bus with the branch and arrived much earlier than we did in the van.) In the morning I ran to the store and invited 4 people we always smile and say hi to.

2 of these were in situations where I NEVER would’ve been so bold in the past. One was in a very crowded checkout area (and remember, I’m speaking room-silencing Portuguese) and the other was a woman talking to a group of friends. I actually interrupted her conversation to tell her about the temple with all her friends listening in.

But before I could think too much about how I disliked these situations these words ran through my mind, “They’re just grass.” (Isaiah 51:12)

And also this “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”

And also the realization that this is why I’m here... This is what I’m here in Portugal to do. Why waste everyone’s time? So I handed out the invites and talked a little about the temple, no matter who could hear me or what they thought.


Anyway, after lunch yesterday, we picked up a man, who’s been to church a few times, but couldn’t leave work to catch the bus in the morning for a temple tour with our branch (more on this later). After the tour, we switched the man (E--) for Ruby (he rode the bus back, Ruby rode with us) and stopped at Burger King in a mall for dinner.

We gave every kid a temple open house invite and told them to pray and give it to someone. Most of the kids actually enjoy giving out pass along cards. They’re young enough and cute enough, people will take anything they hand them.

However, these invites are different. You have to talk about them a bit because the date on the invite is wrong. (They’re extending the open house one more week—more on that later.) And this made it a whole different ballgame for a lot of the kids.

Ruby stopped a man and gave hers away right off the bat. Archie gave his to the worker at Burger King, with some help from me. Moses stood up and gave his to a cute family with 3 girls (2 of them twins) sitting next to us. Ruby helped him too and they were very receptive.


Ruby and I both spotted a woman standing alone looking unhappy. Ruby grabbed Linus’s invitation from him and went to talk to her. I sent Linus over to help and give smiles, which he did, and with Ruby they were able to get her to smile and she accepted an invitation.

Penelope gave hers to a doting, elderly couple. They probably had no idea what she said, but smiled and nodded and took her invitation.

And Herbie was rejected 3 times and finally just slipped his invitation in a car with a rolled down window.


But Herbie had maybe the best experience in the temple this week. One day he got to go through two tours, wheeling people in wheelchairs. (This is a somewhat tricky job because there are covers for the wheels to protect the floors and they have to be regularly adjusted.)

In one tour, the volunteer speaking in the instruction room said, “... our life has a purpose...“ and one of the men on the tour interrupted with life doesn’t have a purpose, his daughter had died, etc., etc...

The volunteer bore his testimony that life does have a purpose and also told the man about eternal families and said the man would see his daughter again, and the man started to cry. Herbie said the man cried even more in the Celestial room.

This appears to have been an exceptionally inspired volunteer because he also had said that if you go into the Celestial room with a question, it will be answered.

Herbie asked a question about something that has been bothering him lately, and he also got revelation.

[edited]

One morning we got to the temple and Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie were all invited to join a stake primary about to go on a tour of the temple. Our kids were excited to go with the other kids and we were excited to let them.

Woo and I were sitting in the chapel waiting for a tour, when they all filed past, holding hands, on their way to the temple. Woo ran to take pictures and discovered that one poor primary worker was trying to say everything in Portuguese and English. Penelope and Archie hadn’t told her they could speak Portuguese. Woo let her know, to her relief.

These primary workers were doing a great job; they had the kids divided up into class sizes, and they gave thorough, kid-friendly explanations. Penelope, Archie and Linus all said it was their favorite thing of the day.

The stake primary leader told Woo that they had 23 children in the Celestial room and that it was silent! (Woo smiled as he considered a primary president’s definition of silence and a normal person’s definition of silence were possibly a bit different.)

Archie and Penelope both told me that the Celestial room had been the very best part. Archie said that the teacher had told them to pray in the Celestial room and that he did, and that he felt really good. 

[edited]

(Which reminds me, Woo and I got to hear a dad tell his 9 year old son a pretty cool Celestial room story on one of our tours.)

Linus is with Moses. He likes the baptistery. After the temple tour, the primary gave our kids a boxed lunch with a quote and a picture of the temple on it. (I guess they had extras???) And then they played some games outside.

I kind of wondered what the kids would do when the primary thing was over and Woo and I were in a tour. I was happy to hear that after a few games and when some of the other kids started to leave, Moses gathered up all his siblings and took them to the break room, and they happily went with him.


Another highlight of the week (for the kids at least) was stopping at Decathlon. The nearest Decathlon is halfway between us and Lisbon. The kids had some money they wanted to spend, and Decathlon is really the best place for everyone to be happy. Woo suggested we go after a temple trip, and I suggested we go on the last day to encourage good behavior. (It was not our last day, but I’d said a date and that was the date the kids were all counting down to, so we kept that.)


Each of the kids needed a handful of school clothes or backpacks, which we also got there, but mostly skateboards or scooters were purchased by the kids, along with some ballet stuff for Penelope and shoes and watch for Ruby. Herbie only bought a couple socks, and is saving up for the best skateboard.

Moses had a really difficult time at first, just putting random stuff in this cart (bodyboard, fins) then taking it out, then putting more random stuff in (tennis racket, canister of tennis balls). I was helping individual kids with the back-to-school list and Moses walked by telling me he didn’t feel very good about how his shopping experience was going. I advised him to go to Woo (who was sticking with Archie and Penelope) and talk about it.

Woo helped him to decide on something he would actually use and could afford... one of the skateboards... and he felt much better and has been very happy with his purchase since.

All the kids are very happy with their purchases and especially Ruby, Herbie and Moses like to tell me over and over again how much they like their new shorts, or watch, or whatever.


So back to this story (if you can remember that far back)... we arrived at the temple with E-- on Saturday, much later than everyone else on the bus. The stake center was crowded and confusing when we got there. I glimpsed our Elders on the other side and took E-- to them since I’d seen other Elders go through the temple all week with people they’re teaching.

When I got back to my family, we found our group and they had already started the video portion of the tour, and then Penelope needed to go to the bathroom. I took her since it’s easy to get turned around in the stake center, especially when it’s busy, and found M--, one of our most diligent Sunday attendees, but smokes and won’t meet with the missionaries (whatever, we’re just happy she comes to church), sitting all alone in a chair on the opposite side of the stake center from our group, who’d, like I said, already started.

I asked her how she was and she grimaced and said she didn’t know, but I told her to come with me, and she did. Upon returning, our group was leaving the video for the temple. Woo decided to just go with them because we’ve already seen the movie, but I decided to watch the movie with M--, because it would be good for her to see it. Archie and Herbie would stay with me. The rest of the kids would go with Woo.

While we were deliberating, A--, our most recent convert, wandered past, looking lost. I decided to take him with us, said bye to Woo and went in search of room 3 (or was it 5?). A room someone who wasn’t super sure of themselves had mentioned as the next starting film.

On our way, I saw E-- with the Elders in the reception area, all of them lost in a black hole of socializing. I decided to get them on our tour too.

While I was talking to the Elders, A-- wandered away, and then M--. I ran after those two, got them seated in room 3, which didn’t look all that ready, and returned for E-- and the Elders. They were coming, and they came in the room. I think A-- maybe stood up again, and I got him sitting again (Did I mention there were a lot of people, and the whole place was kind of confusing?), and then the Elders left to continue socializing.


I was kind of miffed to be left alone with the 3 people in our branch who should be getting the most care, and the Sisters who were supposed to be introducing the video presentation also seemed to be preoccupied. I stepped out of the room to see what was up, and Woo with Moses, Linus and Penelope suddenly showed up. Thankfully, because I needed Woo’s help.

After a brief discussion with the Sisters and Woo where room 3 (or was it 5??) was again brought up, and several more people slipped into our room, we got started.

The guides are supposed to keep everyone in the group together, one in the front and one in the back, but with the amount of people milling about and taking pictures, it was again difficult to keep from being separated on the way from the stake center to the temple. The front guide was so far ahead, M-- almost took a couple wrong turns. A-- walks with such a slow shuffle, he was in serious danger of being left behind. Woo and Herbie stayed with him. I tried to stay with M-- while holding hands with jumpy Linus and clingy Archie. E-- was fine on his own (other than not having a clue what was going on and getting little individual attention).

A-- had trouble standing at the bars and lifting his feet up for the youth volunteers to put coverings on his feet, but Herbie’s already a foot covering expert. At Woo’s suggestion, he grabbed two booties and knelt and put them over A--’s shoes while he wiggled his feet.

The baptistery is the second stop on the tour, and I was in there getting annoyed that these 3 had been completely abandoned by everyone... members, missionaries... and if I hadn’t showed up they may never have even gotten into the temple, the whole point of them being there.

And then the Holy Ghost reminded me that I had read the talk True Friends by Henry B Eyring the night before. These kinds of talks mostly remind me that I’m not a good friend. I don’t do any of the things listed as things friends do. Of course I never do any of the specific stories told of some diligent or especially amazing friend. And the “little things” often listed like smile or make a phone call, well, I don’t do those either. This talk, which talked a lot about being friends to new members and people learning about the church, was no different.

But in the baptistery I was reminded that I’d just read this talk as if to say, “You got these three in the temple. See, you ARE a true friend.”

There was also a feeling that I was the one who needed to do it, or rather, I was the one who was privileged with the blessing of getting these three in the temple. I was touched.

(Full disclosure: the Elders found E--, invited him to the temple, and set up everything for us to pick him up. Also, they're assigned to a tough area where the days are long and the weeks are too. Being around so many friends is like water in the desert. The members got M-- and A-- on the bus and to Lisbon. Like I said, it was crazy in there, and people were losing each other left and right. Really, we all did our part, I just got to do the last part--with Woo and my kids' help.)

At the end of this tour, when we got to the sealing room, Herbie sat in the sealers chair and Archie and Moses sat on his sides in the witnesses’ chairs during the presentation. Woo thought it was very cute. If ever there was a time Woo wished he could take a picture in the temple, this was it. And it was fun for him to think that this might really happen someday, like in a hundred years.

When we first started working at the open house, and we were adjusting, and rumors began to circulate that they were going to extend another week... I didn’t think we could do it. As in, handle it. I wasn’t sure we could handle it.

But we all got used to our new schedule after a couple days and the Holy Ghost whispered, “the blessings are in the second mile.”

And then I was FOR working next week, because the truth is I could use some blessings. And so could the kids. And so could Woo. So all our next week will be spent at the temple too.


And really, the only other thing of note is that the President of Portugal came to the open house this week. We weren’t there when he came, but I guess this is the first time that a President of a country has ever visited a temple open house? The members were pretty excited about it. It was on the news and newspapers and stuff. I guess the President stopped all television programming for a few minutes that afternoon where he had a little press conference and said nice things about the church and the temple.

Aaaaaaaand... I think I’m finally done! I hope you had a great week.
Love,
Chelsey




Testimony Below (I was very happy to give a short testimony when everyone had just been through the temple and had plenty to say.)

I've attended some temple dedications and they are always occasions where we feel the Holy Ghost very strongly.

I'm very excited for the temple dedication and to attend the temple the week after that.

I know that the temple is the House of the Lord and is sacred.