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Feliz Natal!

Feliz Natal!

Had to blow the dust off of my email when I opened it cuz it’s been so long since I’ve opened it hahaha. I am writing an email to all of you to wish you a happy Christmas and a merry new year. It has been 8 months since I wrote an email home and there is way too much to include in this email so I will just start off from this week! I believe the last time I wrote an email I was serving in Mem Martins, but since then I served for 3 transfers in Odivelas, and I am right back to my district I was in before (Sintra) in Mem Martins!

I have been here for 1 transfer already and we just finished our first week of the transfer. It was my first week with my new companion Elder Bogdanov who is from Italy and is one of the coolest dudes I know. This week was crazy because at the beginning of the transfer we had to do tons of stuff outside of our area and we were getting a lot less sleep than normal, but it was a lot of fun! We got to know all of the new missionaries and say a final farewell to those who were going home. It was really strange because the group going home was the elders I was in the MTC with! Because I returned home for a time, my time on my mission was extended by 4 months so I got to see all of those elders off. Anyways, we are in an area called Massamá and it is a BLAST! The members are so cool and they love missionary work. We are teaching about 6-8 lessons a day and we are hoping to have many baptisms this transfer because the Lord has blessed us with so many people who were prepared to teach the gospel. I will talk about just a few of them.

Figo:

So Figo is one of the most “elect” people I have met so far in my mission. I found his sister Jennifer about a month ago in a division when we were trying to visit another friend of ours. Our friend wasn’t answering the door but I saw Jennifer hanging up clothes on her balcony the floor above us. I asked her if she wanted to talk to us but she said she didn’t have time so I whipped out a plan of salvation pamphlet and asked if I could try and toss it to her. She said yes, and after 4 tries, I finally got it to land on the balcony and we left. A few days later, I went back to follow up with my real comp at the time (Shoutout Elder Slade), and we found Figo alone in his house. He invited us in and told us that he had recently been looking to find God but that he was confused because he didn’t know which Bible was the correct one. We presented the Book of Mormon and taught about the Restoration and the Atonement of Jesus Christ and he loved it! The next day we went back and put him on date! Unfortunately his parents are not on board haha. He is 22 years old and can decide to be baptized, but in his culture (he is from Guinea-Bissau) it doesn’t really matter how old you are, if your parents say something, that’s the way it goes. So right now we are praying for a miracle hahaha. We have taught him everything and we are just hoping he can stay strong until his parents let him get baptized. Please pray for Figo and his parents!

António and his family:

Last transfer Elder Slade and I stumbled into a house of about 12 people who have interest in the gospel so it has been nuts teaching them haha. Because they are not married, António and Palmira cannot be baptized, but they have gone to church almost every week since we started teaching them. They have a hard time reading the scriptures but they love God and that is what’s important to them. Please pray that we can help them get married ASAP!

So I can’t write any more because pday is ending, but I want to bear my testimony and share one experience. This Christmas, we have watched on more than one occasion the nativity video and the new video from last year “The Christ Child”. One of the times we watched the nativity video was last night as we were able to spend christmas eve dinner in Presidente Barcellos’ house. After watching the nativity video, Presidente asked us what stood out to us. I suddenly made an interesting connection. There are multiple scenes from the nativity video in which an angel appears to share the message of Christ’s birth and the first things that happen in each scene are consistent. First, a bright light illuminates the screen, and then the angel, addressing the person(s), says “não temas” or “do not fear”. He then proceeds to share his message, completely changing the lives of the people receiving it. I instantly made a connection to last week and some things that had happened. In a division, I received an invitation from my comp of the day to seek to be a source of the light of Christ at all times. The next day, as we entered the apartment building of António, we passed and man dressed in all black and with sunglasses (at night lolz). I stopped him and asked if we could share a message of Jesus Christ with him. He began to explain about some problems in his life and how he’s trying to be the best he can be but it’s difficult. We began testifying of the redeeming power of our Savior and he began to cry! He said he really was needing someone to talk to and that we were a light and angels to him. As we reflected on the nativity video I began asking myself “How can I be an angel and a source of light to everyone in all moments?” “Am I living worthily to be able to represent Jesus Christ always”. In short, I can do a lot better, but thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can all change and be better. I would like to invite you all to ask yourselves these questions and to make the necessary changes to be angels and lights in the lives of other people. I love you all and hope you had a fantastic Christmas!

Merry Christmas! God is good!
Elder Ho-Ching

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