Temple, Courage and School is Out!

Our second temple baptisms appointment was for this Saturday, but Lisbon was still closed on weekends, so on fast Sunday Woo called a branch fast that we’d be able to keep our appointment, because it did affect almost the whole branch. 

We went last time with the Costas (their family of 3 + 5 of us < 10), and had planned to go with them again. Mario called the temple and gave us a confusing report which ended with “it’s not going to work.”

The Costas had to work on week days, and there’s been an even larger jump in cases this week. The opening of Lisbon on weekends looked pretty much impossible, more likely they’d shut down travel between all counties like they’ve done in the past.

I emailed the temple for clarity and to see if we, at least, could still go. On Thursday I secured an appointment for us on Friday before the shutdown, but without the Costas.

We were pretty happy with that and considered it a fast answered. But Thursday evening at 7pm the health ministry got out of a meeting where they announced they were lifting the “cerco” on Lisbon on weekends. Their reasoning was that the new variant had escaped Lisbon anyway and was all over the country now.

The temple called Woo at about 9pm, reinstated our original Saturday appointment, and we all were able to go. The Costas had fasted too… It really was a miracle!

So far I’ve given out 71 letters. My goal is 100, but let’s be honest. I’m probably going to have to do this (or something like this) for the rest of my life :/. Because for me this is about the salvation of my children and grand children (similar to why I started bearing my testimony in fast and testimony meeting every month, as I was recently reminded).

I carry around 9 letters in a fanny pack with a bright ribbon tied around each letter. I greet people, hand them a letter, and say I have a present for them. This is usually all it takes.

My success rate, or the rate in which people will take a letter from me, is very high. Probably like 90%. Which is a way better rate than I’ve ever had handing out pass along cards, or knocking doors, or street contacting, or street displays, or starting a gospel conversation with friend or stranger…

Everything hangs now on the letter. Are people feeling the Holy Ghost (or feeling it enough) when they read it? I tried to write it as if they were receiving a blessing. What would their blessing say? So far there has not been a response from anyone.

Anyway, I’m sure everything will evolve as I go along, as it always does. I’m not perfect yet, but I’m already way less scared and nervous about it all. (I’ve almost gotten my old appetite back. :)

What I am learning is that not doing something God wants you to do because you are scared is a sin.

If you’re like me, you’ll immediately imagine the scariest thing possible and think that’s impossible. No, God doesn’t want you to do the scariest thing you can imagine. He has a plan, and He’ll let you know what that is. Also, He will be kind and help you into it. He’ll be liberal with the forgiveness as you stumble along. Many things can take years.

But you have to be trying if you want His help. If you flat out refuse because of fear, without praying for help or pondering how you, personally, could do the thing you’re being prompted to do, and aren’t willing to hold your breath and jump off a few cliffs, so to speak, you’ll be held accountable.

Courage is an attribute of Christ and to be like Him, we have to have it. Of course, I still have a long ways to go :). I’d LOVE to be done at 100 letters! But maybe by then it’ll be easier… “not because the nature of the task has changed, but because [my] power to do so has increased.”

All of the above was mostly written to encourage myself in moments of timidity :).

Ruby suddenly decided this week to happily give Woo hugs and tell him she loves him. Ruby has been pretty skimpy on the hugs her entire life, and often just grunted when Woo would tell her “Good night, I love you!”

We had a rough evening (Linus was sooooooooo cranky!), and Woo and I were mostly in shock, but Ruby cocked her head, gave Woo a giant smile and a giant hug with a hearty “I love you, Dad!”

It made us laugh, it was so different from what we’ve experienced her entire life.

Ruby’s printing needs are pretty great (she reads so fast!), but she’s been able to take care of most of it herself. She’s also been excited to finally play some hymns they don’t have in the Portuguese hymn book.

Herbie has made huge strides this week and the last in admitting when he’s wrong and giving nice, specific apologies.

Also, he was often the kid who would keep Linus’ crankiness going by responding to every word out of Linus’ mouth.

But Moses helped Herbie to see he could ignore Linus (he kept reminding him by muttering “the silent treatment!”) and Herbie was able to do it!

Moses’ tennis rackets came this week. He shared with almost everyone. I didn’t go to the park with them, but I saw it written down on almost every kids’ grateful list.

It’s nice for them to have something a little bit different to do at the park.

Linus was soooo cranky! There were times when I wasn’t sure we’d make it until the last day of school, but we made it!! Now we can all relax!

Linus had a class party at the beach for his last class on his last day. The lunch break the day before he made a perfect batch of no-bake cookies to bring to the party. They set up better than they ever have before here. The cookies sat on the counter in the kitchen while Linus was at his last art class, and they tempted probably everyone, but they were safe and untouched when Linus was ready to pack them up.

Penelope’s class was able to do the end of year canoagem activity. (Linus missed it last year with the shutdown.)

Her favorite thing was the canoeing. (She wants to join the canoagem club next year in 5th grade.) The kids also rode (very slowly) in a motor boat across the bay where they hopped into a sail boat for the ride back.

We didn’t see that for Nelpea, but she said the wind died when it was her turn in the sail boat, and they could’ve walked faster.

Penelope requested her own bag of spinach for her birthday. She likes to snack on it raw, but before she can eat very much I’ve thrown it into a lasagna or something.

Archie also had some field trip type things the last week of school. His class walked to the pier to look at the boat of a classmate, then back to the park behind our house.

The next day they went to the pirate ship park in the morning, and we’re going to play games in the afternoon. Archie asked me if he could skip the afternoon and go with the rest of his siblings to play basketball with the Elders. I was more than happy to allow that.

We had ice creams that night and our awards ceremony, and we are free of school!!

I was vaccinated yesterday. For some reason it brought back memories of fat baby thighs being poked… ah… babies…

Unless travel is restricted, we’re going to be able to start attending the temple every week again now that all proxy work is available. The Lisbon temple was never open every day all day. It was always less crowded than a Utah temple.

Although, I may have overstepped my bounds and been over enthusiastic making appointments. Woo just now reminds me that an email has been sent, but it hasn't been announced in sacrament meeting yet. Whoops. I guess I'll cancel if everything suddenly fills up.

And that’s our week. I hope you all had a great one!