Where do I even begin… This past week has been absolutely AMAZING! I have loved every minute of it. So much has happened and I’d love to share it all but I’m afraid I won’t have time, so I’ll say what I can!
Our journey to Portugal began around 10h00 on Tuesday morning. We took a bus to the Frontrunner station in Provo, and then took the train up to the airport. It was a pretty awesome sight seeing 42 missionaries board the same train. Everyone there was wondering what in the world was going on haha. After arriving at the airport we found our gate and everyone swarmed the payphones to call their parents. There were missionaries at literally every payphone in the entire terminal. Eventually we boarded the plane, flew to Dallas, had a mini layover, and then boarded another plane to London. The flight to London was the worst flight of my life… by far! It was overnight so they gave all of us a pillow and a blanket to sleep with. Unfortunately, the lady in front of me stole mine, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep the entire flight! I really wanted to take it back but she was sleeping and there was nothing I could do, so I just sat there for nine long hours until we finally touched down in Heathrow.
After a couple of hours in London, we boarded our final plane to Lisbon. All of us were so tired, but so energized because of the excitement of finally arriving. I spent the entire flight looking out the window as flew across Europe. It really is such a beautiful area! Eventually we started flying over Portugal, starting from the northern most point and going all the way down the coast to Lisbon. The second I saw Portugal out the window, I immediatly fell in love with it. I just couldn’t wait to get outside and experience it for reals!
Upon our arrival at the Lisbon airport, we met a few missionaries and President and Sister Fluckiger (they are amazing) and boarded a bus to a hotel in downtown Lisbon. We checked into our rooms and went straight to dinner and a welcome meeting. It took FOREVER… we didn’t get to bed until after 23h00. The following morning we got up and got ready at 6h30. Once we went downstairs we found out we didn’t have to be there until 8h30 and could have slept in a bit. We were pretty bummed out. The rest of the day consisted of orientation and meeting our new companions. Mine is Elder Lee from Idaho! He has been here in Portugal for about a year and is an awesome missionary. I have definitely been blessed with a good trainer. Around 17h00 we left the hotel and started our journey to our area, Maia. Maia is a part of the city Porto so kinda up north a ways (if you want to see exaclty where go to lds.org and go to the maps section. There you can see the ward boundaries of all the wards in the world. Just search Maia in the the Porto Norte stake and you’ll see it).
After a long train ride (3 or 4 hours long) We made it to Porto! Then caught a Metro to a station closer to our house, and then to a bus to our street. After the bus, we had to walk about fifteen minutes before finally arriving to our apartment. By this point, it was already after 23h00, so I was just exhausted, especially after not having a real nights sleep in days. We went to sleep right away without even bothering to eat dinner.
The next day came, and the work began. I was pretty nervous about everything but it has actually gone really smooth! Everyday we are working nonstop, talking to everyone, finding new investigators, and praying with people in the streets. We have some awesome investigators who I think will be baptized pretty soon!
I absolutely love the area. It is so old but so beatiful! The people here are very poor. Everyone lives in small apartments and tons are unemployed. Very few of them have cars. When you first talk to someone they are pretty rude and untalkative, but after you open up to them and they see they can trust you, they are the nicest people in the world!
Our ward is amazing. We have over 100 members in it. It was wonderful meeting them for the first time yesterday. They are all so friendly and outgoing. Everytime I meet a new member they look at my name tag, say “Elder Mehl???” and then bust up laughing.. haha I guess they think my name is funny because mel means honey in Português. Yesterday afternoon a very kind member named Joaquim invited us over for lunch so we could talk to his wife who isn’t a member. They fed us a fantastic meal of beef, rice, salad, soup, pears, cheese and marmalede. Everytime they took our empty plate, a new one full of something new replaced it. We left them with a short message and prayer and promised we would be back soon!
Later that night the Porto soccer team won their game making them the champions of the Português league and the streets erupted in noise! Everything was so loud and chaotic. Everyone was shouting, honking their horns and singing! It was crazy and lasted for hours.
That brings us to today, P-day! We don’t really have any big plans today. Just hang out and do some grocery shopping. We have a couple of appointments later tonight but they aren’t for sure. I’m sure we’ll find something to do!
Anyways, sorry for the super long, scrambled email! I guess I just had a lot to tell about! I know you all probably want some pictures of my experiences so far but… I kind of forgot my camera at home today. Haha, I’ll be sure to send some next week. Thank you all so much for the love and support you give me. It really gives me help out here on a mission. Never forget that you are sons and daughters of God. He loves you and wants you to be happy. Just trust him and he will help you along your way through life. I have no doubt in my mind that this Church is true. Jesus is the Christ. He lives. Through Him and His atonement we can be made pure so we can live with Him and with our families throughout all eternity! I love you all! Tchau!!!