My third area I served in while a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in port city called Leça da Palmeira.
Leça da Palmeira was on the north side of a bridge that crossed the port located on Atlantic Ocean. We used to walk across this bridge to visit Matosinhos, the previous area where I served. Matosinhos was part of the usual course we would travel on our way to Porto, our mission home. The difference between Porto and Matosinhos was sort of negligible considering the whole area seemed one large city.
The house we rented in Leça da Palmeira was located with a view of the port and Atlantic Ocean from our back deck. Since we were so busy, we really didn’t go out there much. Rather, we would sometimes walk over to the port and visit with the fisherman. We were fascinated by the Soviet Union ships with the well-known hammer and sickle on the side. We used to stare at the many ships out on the waters of the Atlantic. Since it was late winter and early spring, we were safe to visit the beach enjoying the sites.
As one traveled northward out of town, the countryside would open up a bit. After my first month there, my missionary partner and I decided to investigate the area northward for new contacts. The other guys working in our area joined us. At first we simply walked northward exploring the area. Later we ended up taking a bus to our desired area.
We found a unique community called Perafita. Perafita could be described as a series of neighborhoods built on a gradual hillside north of a road that ran east and west towards the ocean. This road was intersected by another running northward. At this crossing was a catholic church on one side and cafés on the other side. This was where we would get off the bus. When we traveled home at night, if we missed the last bus, we would usually walk west to the ocean then walking home on the road neighboring the beach. This allowed us to decompress and reflect on our day. On our right would be the lights of the ships in the distance. On our left side were an oil refinery plant and a school. There was also a mini race track nearby.
Leça da Palmeira was one of my favorite locations to serve in during my mission. This was the first location wherein I was able to feel a good connection with the members. I also taught many individuals that I have never forgotten. This was also considerably the most successful area during my two years of service.
I spent most of my time with an Elder from Wyoming who mentored me well as a missionary. He served in the military prior to his missionary call. He was so excited about the military that he brought little green army guys (figurines) out to the mission field setting them next to his bedside. While he could be tough, we got along fairly well.
We eventually spent most of our time working the streets in front of the homes on the higher side of the hillside past the Longa Vida yogurt plant. At first, we wandered our way visiting individuals along the roads from the main crossing. This picture is of me standing on a path not too far from the road running east and west to the main crossing. The Catholic Church can be seen in the distance.
I don’t know who the boy in this picture is. My memory simply recalls that he was passing by and was somewhat intrigued by my missionary companion taking a picture. I am fairly certain this picture was taken in February 1990.