Wednesday, November 23, 2016
This week we had some more divisions, new investigators, and some baptisms in our District. It rained for most of the week and we basically had puddles in our shoes for most of the week, but it was actually really fun because you could jump in HUGE puddles and it didn't even matter because you were already soaked! Haha!
We got the chance to talk to our Mission president and his wife one on one and got to ask some questions and get advice from them. One quote I absolutely loved from Sister Tavares was when she said: "When you can't walk, crawl. Do absolutely everything you can to keep moving forward." We have been promised blessings from Heavenly Father but on a condition that we will do everything we can to do our part. I remember one of my investigators said that they will make the changes to live the gospel when God wants them to. I remember thinking that good grief... God already wants you to follow Christ. Just do the things! He just wasn't willing to work for those blessings that come from keeping the commandments! He just gave up that quickly.
I made a resolve to have the kind of diligence to just keep going even when I can't walk. It reminds me of the talk given in general conference a while ago that said "When you can't do what you've always done, only do what matters most." We've been practicing teaching the lessons in less than 2 minutes, which is quite difficult because it forces you to teach the bare minimum, the bones of the doctrines of the gospel. I really learned what is important through these practices!
Heavenly Father loves each one of us and he has given us a plan so that we may be able to return back to him with our families. We have the scriptures and modern day prophets to guide us and teach us how to grow our faith and repent. We can show our willingness to follow Christ by keeping the commandments and our covenants.
I challenge each of you to read the talk (I can't find it right now...) and to try to find something in your life that you used to be good at but have been slacking on recently and work harder. We don't have a commandment that we can't follow! (1 Nephi 3:7)
Thank you for all your support this week! Have a happy thanksgiving! Love all of you lots!
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
It always seems like PDAY comes around way too fast and I have no idea what happened during the week. There's always so much to do and not enough time during the day to do it all. It was a good week. We found some new investigators who are really cool (I know I always say that but it's true. They are all fixe "feesh" which is Portuguese for cool). We've been working really closely with our members and other missionaries in the area and the work here is progressing quickly. It's really exciting to see and help these people! WOOT! Haha.
We had divisions this week, next week, and the week after. My companion is the Sister training leader which is basically the leader for the sisters in our area. It's been so fun to get to know more Sisters and learn new ways to teach. We taught a variety of people this week as well from a 13 year old boy to a 19 year old mom to a 85 year old grandma and her grandkids. It's been truly humbling to see some of the sad situations some of these people are in yet they are still smiling and eager to learn. I think one of the most exciting things we did on our divisions was we found this guy who we knew was a drug dealer or something but he was always really nice to the missionaries since he was raised by a God fearing woman. He told us he wanted to change and that he didn't want to be sad or angry with God anymore. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and how faith is a choice. He asked us how he could change and we told him that faith is a choice. It's a hard choice and sometimes it's difficult to know if you are acting on faith but one way to know if you are acting on faith is if you feel good. If you feel the warm whisperings of the Holy Ghost in your heart. He thought about it for a while and then asked if he was allowed to come to church and to pray and clearly we said yes. No one is unworthy to pray! It was a great experience.
We also went to Lapa this week which is the touristy area of Lisbon. It's old winding cobblestone streets and cathedrals for miles and miles. We just wandered around and talked about life. If any of you guys want to visit Portugal... visit Lapa!!
Also Lapa. At the very end of this street is the Rio Teijo and across the river is Barreiro!
Portuguese people are very short. I'm 5 foot 5 and I smacked my forehead on this door.
This is how the decorate old abandoned buildings.
They have mangoes here that are bigger than your face. This is only half of the mango.
Ate Logo! Amo vocês!
First off, nothing really crazy or cool happened this week. Lot's of little strange things but mainly we taught and looked for new friends :) We met a young lady named Alicia who has a huuuuuge family. They are from Africa and there are more than 15 people living in this big house. We found them because her brother had gold painted tennis shoes and I thought they were super cool, but turns out they had already been taught some lessons by the missionaries and have records in our area book. Hopefully a miracle will come around and we will be able to help and teach them. We spent a lot of time with our recent converts this week too. Manuela and Nadia are doing super great! Nadia is working for a member in our branch and is helping us teach every week. Manuela loves to make us Portuguese soup, which is the best thing ever. Alda is also doing well. She's going to get married to her fiancee, who is very nice. All of them are also introducing us to their friends and we're working with four investigators because of them. WOOT!
The Elders in our area had three baptisms this week which is AWESOME! It was a really great little party afterwards too. Of course, we made cookies. One of the members in our branch told me afterwards that the Sisters can get everyone to come to the baptisms because of our cookies. They love chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon cookies!
It's gotten quite cold here. I was really grateful for the breeze in the summer but it's probably the worst thing ever now. But that's more motivation to have lessons inside! It has also been kind of nice because it's really easy to find our investigators and members in their houses. No one wants to be outside!
Overall It's been a great week. Lots of ups and downs, lefts and rights, forwards and backwards. This isn't really something new in the life of a missionary though... In one day you can teach and have a thousand appointments and then the next day you prepare in a similar way but absolutely everything falls through and you have to pick up the pieces and start again. Perspective and patience are two things I thought I had before my mission but I realized that those things are so much more complicated than I expected.
Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. We have such a small understanding sometimes and it's hard to trust in that plan. I'm so grateful to have the knowledge that I have about where I came from, why I'm here, and where I will go in my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in Portugal, land of the bolos de Belém and bacalhau. I'm grateful for the support I have from my family and everything else! I hope all of you have a super great week!!
Be happy and the world smiles with you :)
Here's a poem for you:
I wish I was a glow-worm
a glowworm is never glum.
Because how can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum?!
Be a happy glowworm.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
We had a crazy week this week! It started off with a companion transfer and I have a new companion named Sister Oliver. She's from Washington State and has been in Portugal for one year. (Yeah she's old...) Haha. I made it to my four month mark this week! Can you believe it? Whew. Some days it feels like I've been here forever and some days it feels like it's only been a few days. My companion is from the United States but we only speak Portuguese. I haven't spoken any english for almost 5 days (besides a couple of specific vocabulary words). Wooooooot! She's a really fun companion. We love to mess with the Elders, as seen in one of the photos. That was after they had scared us during lunch at the Chapel and caused us to drop our lunch all over the floor. We printed out pictures of them and left them all over their door. The sticky note says "tomem cuidado" which means take caution. Stay tuned for more pranks....
Also, weird thing happened this week. We were talking to this big ol' mama African lady, you know like one of those ladies from the deep south except Portuguese style so a lot more sass and attitude, and I wanted to be nice so I told her I absolutely loved her African dress. She invited us into her house to talk, sat us down on the couch, disappeared into another room, and came back with african dresses for the both of us. So now we have legit African dresses! Haha! Her son is marked for baptism in a few weeks.
One thing about Portugal is basically everyone is learning English and so sometimes people will ask us to teach them English words and such. Manuela was being all sassy with us and the Elders, teasing us about random things and I tried to teach her the word sassy. She thought about it for a second and responded in a thick Portuguese accent: "I am sexy?" All of us missionaries were doubled over in laughter. Then she tried to correct herself and asked: " I'm saucy?" We spent 5 minutes trying to help her say sassy but it just wasn't quite right every time.
A few of you were asking for my address and here it is:
Rua Jorge Barradas 14C
I WOULD LOVE LETTERS! We only get mail once a month or so, basically whenever someone goes to the mission office, so it's a real treat to get mail.
As for Halloween, they don't really celebrate it here like they do in the States. They will buy costumes and such but don't go trick or treating or carve pumpkins. We have an activity tonight to teach the members how to make caramel apples and carve pumpkins.
Don't mess with the Sisters.... ;)
Our authentic Halloween costumes!