Elder Anthony Scott Lee

Elder Anthony Scott Lee

Daisypath - Vacation

Tony can be reached at...

ELDER ANTHONY LEE
Portugal Lisbon Mission
Rua Jorge Barradas 14C
1500-370 Lisboa
Portugal


Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 98 Letter

Monday, April 20, 2015
Famlee!
This week is the last week of my mission that I will be writing to you all. As a good friend once wrote me as he was ending his mission, the sand in the hour glass has all fallen, and my time is all but up. It is with immense gratitude that I write this my final letter as "Elder Lee", a full-time representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"How great reason have [I] to rejoice; for could [I] have supposed when [I] started... that God would have granted unto [me] such great blessings?"
These last two years have been the most important 2 years of my entire life. In these two years I have passed through the "furnace of affliction" and I am blessed to be able to say that I am coming out of my mission a refined work of the Lord. I know that it has been through the grace of Jesus Christ and His atonement that I have had any measure of success or growth during these years.

"I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God."
I cannot relate to any of you the millions of spiritual experiences, miracles, tender mercies, or divine manifestations that I have been blessed to witness and receive while in this beautiful land, nor would it be fair for me to try. My mission has been something incredibly sacred to me, something special between my Father and me. All of these things have brought me so much closer to Him and His son. As Russell M. Nelson taught, we sometimes think (erroneously) that we construct or gain a relationship with God. We already have a relationship with Him. We are literal sons and daughters, of "His generation." We spent our entire first estate in His presence; He knows us and we know Him. However, we can bring ourselves closer to Him through the process of aligning our will more perfectly with His. I have learned to do that more fully on my mission. I am long from perfection, but looking in the other direction I am long from where I was 2 years ago, and thus I have come closer to my God, thanks to the changing power of the atonement.

"Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.

Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work."
One of the most significant blessings I have received on my mission was that of seeing blessed fruits of my labors. I did not earn these fruits, rather they were mercifully given me "after all [I could] do." His hands did the work and I was blessed to be one of the small and simple tools in His masterful hands. For this I am forever grateful. I had the opportunity to see many lives touched and changed by the powerful influence of His teachings and His ways. Such joy I have felt through seeing these my brothers and sisters discover, embrace, and dwell in the light of His love.

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success."
My mission, as missions go, was not easy. "For I [have] pray[ed] continually for them by day, and mine eyes [have] water[ed] my pillow by night, because of them." As any missionary could say, I passed through moments of great rejection. I was never chased from the top of a city wall by those who did not want to hear this glad message, nor was I cast in prison, nor burned for my beliefs. However, I did face great amounts of affliction due to the hard hearts or blind eyes of others. However, "I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry."

Perhaps one of the most important things that I have learned on my mission was to love. I have been blessed to be able to feel God's love for His children on a level that I never before had reached. Such love has brought me the most anguishing heartache. The most difficult afflictions I have experienced on my mission came because of the love that I felt for my brethren here. Yet the most sweet, miraculous and beautiful experiences I have been blessed with have also all come because of that love. This love has brought me to understand my Heavenly Father just a little bit more, because it is His love. My motivation in the good times and in the bad has been love. I love this passage:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
Before ending this letter I have to thank you all. Mostly you mom and dad. If it weren't for you, I couldn't have had all of these blessings. I love you so much. You have taught me to be who I am today. I love you siblings. I love all of you.
I know that my Father lives. I know that His son lived, died, and lives once more. I know that through Him each one of us can reach a potential that only they understand. We all must know that God knows all. I trust in Him. I know that He has given us means to re-conciliate ourselves with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. I know that the merciful conditions of this reconciliation are the laws and ordinances of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is His church. This is His work. We are His children, and we can return safely home to Him. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Anthony Scott Lee
A Servant of the Lord


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 97 Letter

Monday, April 13, 2015
Famlee!
I don't know where to begin. This week was incredible. We had a Zone conference with president on São Miguel, then the Azores district conference with all of the members on the islands broadcasted from São Miguel to our island, and then the baptism of Marco and José. And a million other things on top of that. There is nothing like the mission.

Okay, Zone conference first. We, the missionaries of Terceira Island flew over Thursday night to São Miguel Island to wake up Friday morning for our zone conference. My last zone conference of the mission. It was a great conference, President Fluckiger was there. I bore my "last testimony" (in a conference) of the mission, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Bearing testimony, of course, was easy, but knowing it was my last was horrible.

District Conference. It is like stake conference, but the Azores are a district of the mission, not a stake. Okay, we have been getting technologically ready for this for a long time. They would have the real meeting in São Miguel, but they would send the signal to us through the church's streaming system meaning it would go all the way to Salt Lake and then all the way back to us here on Terceira. If you get tech difficulties in the states with things like this every once in a while, just imagine doing it on islands in the middle of the ocean... yeah... not easy. Well, we had run lots of tests last week to check the system, and it was all working well. However, after the baptisms on Saturday we had a training session Saturday afternoon, and NOTHING was working... The internet was going berserk, the transmitting device was not functioning, everything was pretty bad... we ended up using a bad skype connection for the trainings. Well, after the training we had about 3 hours to try to fix everything up for the adult session that would start at six. It was nuts. We went crazy for 3 hours. It was nuts. Members from all over the the island were beginning to show up, and it was looking like it was going to work. Then something happened, and we couldn't get anything steady from São Miguel. Five minutes after the meeting was actually supposed to start President Fluckiger called and told us, "You are going to have to do your own meeting." When Elder Lesueur (A senior missionary who is a counselor in the district presidency) heard that, his jaw dropped and he looked for a moment as if he had no idea what to do. I said, "Elder, let’s have a five minute meeting." I grabbed the branch president, the other councilor (I’m the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency and 1st in the elders quorum, I think I forgot to tell you that) and the Young Men's president and we all went into the bishops office to have a speed meeting. We all of the sudden had a 2 hour meeting to plan. We started with a prayer. It was decided that Tiago would speak on the youth, President Cabral would speak on branch council meeting, President Alves would speak on the temple, and then Elder Lesueur looked at me and said, Elder Lee, "why don't you speak on missionary work?"  That I can do.
He told me that I would speak first, and while I was speaking he would prepare the rest of the agenda. After five minutes we ran back into the sacrament room and started up the meeting. I stood up to speak, and the spirit just took me away. I think it was the best talk I've ever given. Furthermore, I think the meeting was the most spiritual meeting I'd ever been in. Halfway through the meeting Elder Lesueur leaned over to me and asked if I thought Marco, our recent convert of 5 hours that hadn't even been confirmed yet would be willing to bear a testimony. I went down and put my arm around Marco who was seated in the back and asked if he'd be willing. He accepted. His testimony was powerful. I was amazed. It was marvelous.
Fortunately Sunday we were able to get a picture and sound from São Miguel, so we got to relax and enjoy the meeting. We had 4 investigators there, one of which, Sandra, has awesome potential. So much is happening here!
Okay, I need to go. I love you all. I hope these next two weeks are the slowest two weeks of my life.

Love, Elder Lee

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 96 Letter

Monday, April 6, 2015
Famlee!
Hey everybody! I am really behind due to an awesome Pday, so todays email will have to be fast, which is too bad, because it was an amazing week and weekend. 
We baptized Natacha, and the sisters baptized a lady named Elizabete that I taught several times two years ago.  Her story is similar to Marco's story. She asked me to baptize her, and so that was really awesome. The baptismal service was probably one of my favorites of the entire mission. Our investigator Marco was there, it was the first baptism he had ever seen and he said it all, "it was simple, yet powerful". It was fantastic. The missionaries did a special musical number. I played the guitar and we all sang Nearer my god to thee. I have gotten it down pretty well for only having played it a couple times... I'd like to improve both on the piano and on the guitar when I get home. 



Both Natacha and Elizabete loved the baptism. Catarina, Natacha's younger sister, didn't end up getting baptized this weekend, but it is very likely that she will be baptized this weekend. We need to talk with her parents again. Catarina was a little scared, but after seeing Natacha's baptism she came and told me that she knew that she needed to be baptized, but that she was just worried about her parents. Her parents had already given permission, but then before the baptism it looks like they kind of talked her out of it.
 
I'll have to send pics next week.
All that on top of conference, and this weekend was incredible!

Okay, we need you to pray for Marco, Catarina, and Jose. They could all potentially be baptized this week!
Love you all!
Elder Lee
PS I don’t feel like I'll ever come home. 
PPS These are pics from the around the island trip we took today. The second one is what is called a 'caravela'. I held one. It is some kind of a jelly fish. Don’t worry, Pixar logic, the tops don’t sting you =)



Mom,
My comp has the last baptism pictures. I am going to have to buy a new camera when I get back... mine sometimes gets messed up, and you have to hit it to work again. So my baptism pictures didn’t turn out because the person taking the pics didn’t know to hit my camera...

Hey, but I have to go. I love you a ton. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 95 Letter

Monday, March 31, 2015
Famlee!

How is everything? I am great. This week was full of ups and slightly less ups... hahaha...

Honestly the only slightly less up was my sickness. I started the week out with a seriously high fever that went away, but then came back. Next came the serious pains in my lower stomach region Wednesday morning. It hurt so badly. I could hardly stand up. They kept coming and going coming and going, and when my branch president heard about it he did a check up on me. He's a nurse. He got really worried that I had appendicitis, and when we heard that it was straight to the hospital with me... we have a senior couple here, and they are such a blessing! They are the Leseurs. Well, he drove me to the hospital, and after drawn blood, x-rays and ultrasounds, turns out I'm alright. I knew it. Told 'em I didn't need to go in...

In the end it was actually good I got there because they gave me some meds that have really helped. It was called something like marajewana, marijuana, I don't really remember. Hahira, just kidding, just kidding. But the name of it does sound something like that.

Well, miracles happened. I never imagined almost two years ago that I would reap fruits from some of the seeds that I was planting that I never saw grow here the first time, but the Lord works in beautiful, mysterious ways. A man I had taught two years ago named Marco had the impression this week to just show up at the chapel. He didn't even know if there would be anybody there. Luckily, we had finished teaching a lesson there, and institute was just about to start. He showed up just in time. We committed him to church then and there, and he was one of six investigators there on Sunday. After sacrament meeting he came to me and told me that he was finally ready to be a member of the church. Two years ago he had been so full of doubts, and eventually just disappeared. But like we learn in the talk of Alvin Dyer, the Lord knows who he wants in His church, and there's not much we can do about that. He told me that we wanted to be baptized, and soon. How about this weekend? We will talk with him tonight!  Miracles really are happening. We are teaching so many people with so much potential. We have 2 marked right now for this weekend (Natacha and Catarina) and 3 more that need to be marked this week. More to come too. The Lord has been so merciful.

Last night we went to the top of the island, about as far as you can get from Angra to see a family of a member here, Veronica. She and her brother are the only members in their family. Her brother isn't active. She is the only member in the family that does anything with the church. She is a huge help to us as missionaries. To attend church she buses down on Saturday and stays with an older couple here to be able to make it to church in the morning. She studies here in Angra, so she comes and works with us all the time before catching her last bus home. Her family has always been pretty anti, but I convinced Veronica to try to get something set up with them. They ended up making a FANTASTIC dinner, and the night went so, so, so well. It doesn't mean they are ready to be baptized, and it is going to be complicated getting them to church, but they sure loved the dinner, and then afterwards they cried during our spiritual thought. It was amazing to see Veronica bear her power-house testimony to them. She is a lighthouse to the family.

Alright, well, pray for Natacha, Catarina and Marco specifically if you can remember them all. They are awesome.

I love you all!

Elder Lee

In the picture Veronica is the frizzy haired one towards the middle. Her inactive member brother Filipe is to her right. Then her mom and stepdad are in the middle. The lady on the far right is a family friend, she is deaf. She is Jehovah witness, but a really nice lady. Teaching is hard though... The little American Sign Language I know is useless. They have their own sign language here. T


Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 94 Letter

Monday, March 23, 2015
Famlee!
How is everybody doing? Sounds like you guys (or at least some of you) are pretty sick too. I am fighting off a pretty mean fever that kept me up all night last night. Sheesh, amazing how one sleepless night can really mess with you...
Anyways, we already have some good things going here. We had three people in church which makes for the first time this area has had someone at church for a while now. Sometimes it’s hard in such a little place, but we are making things happen. 
Good news from Sao Miguel, our investigator I was teaching there got baptized this weekend! His name is Eduardo. I knew he would make it. I missed it by one week, but it happens.
Natacha is a young single mother we found and will start teaching tonight. She came to church yesterday, and has such a good desire. We had made plans with her for us to go pick her up to walk with her to church Sunday morning, but we arrived a little late to her house because we had went to get another investigator who didn’t end up coming. When we knocked on the door, that dad told us she wasn’t there, so we got pretty sad. But then, we left and just seconds later found her on the street walking to church all by herself with her baby and little sister. She could have used us not coming on time as an excuse to not go, but nope. She started off alone. That's what I'm talking about! Nothing better than an investigator with desire!

I miraculously ran into my first baptism of the mission and her mom in the city one morning this week. She and her brother were baptized almost 2 years ago. They had remained active for a good time, but then moved halfway across the island and never had a way to get to church. We'll figure something out. I wish more people had cars here =/
We had a pday with a bunch of members from our branch and hiked up Monte Brasil. The view was spectacular. I love being here so much; I have never had an area where the members were such a family to me. Mama Lurdes is incredible. She was the one who drove me to the hospital 2 years ago when I cut my hand open... Hope we don’t have to make that trip together this time around =)
Well, I love you all. Pray for Natacha, Catarina, and Jose!
Love,

Elder Lee



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Week 93 Letter

Monday, March 16, 2015
Famlee!
Transfers. I unfortunately did not stay in Ponta Delgada for the last transfer of my mission. I was hoping to stay in the Azores for my last six weeks.
Fortunately, I did =)
I did get transferred from Ponta Delgada, but I got transferred to my very first area of the mission: Angra do Heroismo! Yes, also in the Azores, on the island of Terceira. I am so stoked!
What a blessing. The Lord is so amazing. The day I left my first area, I have always wanted to go back to end my mission there. Here I am. 
Saying goodbye yesterday and today was hard. I have such a love for the people I left behind in Ponta Delgada, and it hurt so much to say farewell. It reminded me a lot of leaving my very first area. The same heartache. After all, it has only been in the Azores that I have stayed in an area for more than 2 transfers. I love the Azorean people so much!!!!
We had two baptisms yesterday of two daughters of a less active mother who we reactivated. It was awesome. Their names are Erica and Diana. We had also marked 3 more people for baptism in the coming weeks. I am leaving an area in which we had finally gotten the ball rolling to enter into an area where things have been very slow, but my goal for these six weeks is to leave an impression that will last long after I'm gone. That's my hope. Only six weeks left. It is devastating, but my new companion and I are going to make every second count. His name is also Elder Lee by the way. That'll be weird. I can't tell ya how many times people have gotten confused about the Elder thing, and now... hahaha
We are going to have to do all sorts of things to be effective here in the area. I know the area very well, it is pretty small and everybody knows the missionaries and elders, and there are a lot of negative things said. However, we will be creative. We will find, teach, and with faith, baptize!
Well, I need to go; time was short today on account of travels. 
Love you all!
Elder Lee

Pics- The one that looks like an overhead shot of Sao Miguel is an overhead shot of Sao Miguel. The one that looks like me and my new comp on Terceira is in fact me and my new comp on Terceira. Hahaha





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 92 Letter

Monday, March 9, 2015
Famlee!

Today is the last week of the transfer. I can't believe it. I still have so much I want to do here! I hope to stay in the Azores, but it would be my first area of 4 transfers of the mission. We'll see. 

Mom and dad, your letters were great this week. I love to hear how involved our family is in the work of the Lord. What great wards and stakes we have there back home. Portugal is getting there as well, and I love being a part of it. 

This week was intense. We marked 3 investigators that soon after dropped us. Ouch. But then the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to teach a part member family that we found through a miracle. We have a list of members here, but the list has 600 names and only 70 active, so it is daunting. However, we found this family, and marked the Dad and two of the daughters for baptism. However, the dad didn’t come to church despite our efforts, so he will have to be remarked. Pray for Marcos. 

Meetings with president this week were great. President Fluckiger is so inspired, and so loving. He always surprises me with how much he actually knows me. I don't know little about his personal life (just what sister Fluckiger has told me in our numerous conversations) but it is easy to see that he is a completely consecrated man. 

I hope you are ready to be a mission president, dad.

We had the highest frequency the branch has seen in a long time yesterday. We are building wards and stakes here. We had four investigators in church, and many inactive members that we have been working with. We need to get this temple built here in Portugal!

In a meeting with the mission President and district presidency we talked a lot about union between members and missionaries in the work. President is the kind of man that understands the incredible effort the missionaries give, but also understands the many responsibilities outside of the church that the members have. He sees the work that a missionary has to do to get just one investigator in church. Just yesterday we were throwing pennies at an investigators window to wake him up to come to church... But he also knows that the members already dedicate so much. Worldwide we need to find a balance between members and missionaries. I love working to find the balance as a missionary, and am scared to find it as a member. We need to be one in the work, because the scriptures say that if we are not one, we are not his. Let us ask ourselves, "What more can I do?"

Love you all. I hope you all have an amazing week. Hope next week I write again to you from the Azores!!!!


Élder Lee