To kind of summarize what happened this week (because a lot happened.) Tuesday night we found out where we would be transferred. We were in the chapel with some branch members. We found out that Sister Da Luz was staying and that I was heading up to Vila Nova de Gaia (across the Duoro River from Porto). One of the sisters from the branch cried and I cried too. Their family was incredible and I will miss them. I also said goodbye to Fabiana and Monica (Recent Converts). I will miss them so, so much.:(
A few of the branch members found out my train schedule and they drove us up to Santarem, to catch the train. I said goodbye to them and “enjoyed” my 3 hour train ride. When I arrived, my new companion, Sister Smith, and members Xeca and Avelino picked me up. Xeca is a RM who was less active. The sisters helped reactivate her and baptize her husband, Avelino. She is an incredible woman. We love them a lot.
The last few days, I’ve been getting to know my new area. There are a lot of things that are really different. For one, it’s a lot bigger. Also, there’s a lot more to see and do here, so P-days will be great. There are 2 wards in Vila Nova de Gaia and in our ward there are 3 companionships, 5 Elders and 2 sisters. Our apartment is really nice here. But the elders are trying to steal it. There are 5 of them and our apartment is bigger than theirs. So I’ve been holding off unpacking a little.
Coming from the south of Portugal I’m really sad to say goodbye to all the Africans, because not very many Africans live up here. The Portuguese are great too, it’s just that Africans treat everyone like Family and they are very dear to my heart. But I’m going to be eating actual Portuguese food now, so that will be fun.
I should tell you about the culture of all the immigrants in the Portuguese speaking world. Cabo Verdeans are basically African but not? I really don’t know how to describe it. The church is really, really successful there. Watch the video about them on the church website on the Cabo Verde page. They’ll probably get a temple before Portugal; because they all pay tithing. Angola is a little more modernized from what I can tell; but they’ve had a lot of wars there. Sao Tome is an Island. They are really fun, loud and love to party; but at the same time are super chill. Guinea is like what you imagine Africa; they wear traditional clothes; they have darker skin and everyone is family. They are literally some of the sweetest people I have met in my life. There are also some scary ones. Brazil: before the mission, I didn’t really have a very good concept of Brazil. I thought they were more South American; but they’re not, they have their own culture. They are very polite and courteous. But they have really good music and other things of that nature. Their accent sounds really funny to me now. The African accents sound the most normal for me at this point.
I love the people here already. I can tell that this is going to be a really great area.
Love you all so much,