Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Feliz Natal!

Christmas in Portugal was beautiful! It was a lovely 50 degrees and sunny! (I bet all of you guys with snow are a little jealous, eh?) I took some pictures of the Christmas lights and other things that we found.
This week we had a division with the Sisters in Vasco de Gama which was a really pretty area. They had lots of lights and Christmas music playing in the roads! They have a lot of the same Christmas traditions here as well with lots of food and everyone is just a little bit happier and  more willing to hear about Christ.

We actually taught a lot this week, sharing the message of the First Presidency about the Birth of Christ. We met with Fabiana, who is the 14 year old granddaughter of my recent convert, Alda, and she is progressing towards baptism next month! She´s such a fast learner! She loves to study and hang out with us at activities. She´s a little quiet at first but once she gets to know you she warms up and loves to talk and ask questions. We´re also teaching the cousin of Amaral, who was baptized last week and she is sooooo nice. She went to Amaral´s baptism and really liked it. We taught her how to make chocolate chip cookies as well!
We had our Mission Christmas Dinner this week! It was crazy to see the other 10 missionaries who arrived with me 6 months ago. They are all speaking Portuguese so well! There was a talent show and a huuuuge lunch with a ton of food. All 150 missionaries were there and it was great to get to know more missionaries. I´m still in  my same area so I haven´t left a lot to get to know other missionaries, especially Elders. We do a lot of divisions with other Sisters. Yay for Friends!! Haha.
Christmas Eve we hung out at Amaral´s house in the morning at taught his 3 cousins and his aunt. We had a Christmas lunch with them, taught them English, and learned creole. Maria, Amaral´s aunt, taught us how to make shrimp pastries, which were so fabulously good. Afterwards she gave us more food than we could carry and we were forced to stop by the Elders´ apartments and leave half of it with them. (They didn´t complain, either.. haha) we had Christmas Eve Dinner with our Relief Society President, Madelena and her mom. They made awesome food and we watched a movie with them afterwards.
Christmas day we had a crowded sacrament meeting, the Elders had a baptism, we had lunch with Irma Bea and Irmao Nascimento. and we talked to our families! Yay! Best Christmas ever!!

Christmas in downtown Montijo!

Christmas lights in Vasco de Gama!
Christmas tree of our recent convert, Amaral. Can you see the "best Christmas present" Amaral received? It´s in the middle of the tree.... :D He´s so awesome!!
Santa Claus found our apartment. Everything in our study room was wrapped with wrapping paper XD
Christmas Eve dinner! Bacalhou com natas, salada, bolo dos Reis, and GuardanĂ¡!
Com muito amor,
Sister Ellsworth​

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Birthday Avery!! It's a White Christmas

Ola! Bom Dia!!

This week was awesome because through many, many, many miracles, Amaral was baptized!! WhooHooo! Sunday was probably the craziest day on my mission. We had 4 investigators at church and Sister Oliver and I were in charge of the music (as we usually are every week), so we were running all around the church making sure that they had members to sit with and they wer in the right classes, etc. Of the four investigators, we had two investigators who had been real pains about church in the past but they loved it and the other two are new references from members that are also taking lessons. Amaral just about gave us a heart attack by having a family emergency sunday morning but mangaged to come for the last 10 minutes so that he could still be baptized later on Sunday

The baptism was so great! The missionaries sang A Capela for the portuguese rendition of How Great Thou Art, which is the song that Sister Oliver and I were singing when Amaral stopped us and asked us to teach him about religion. We also had the best cookies and cinnamon rolls ever!!

Also....We had a rough beginning of the week. On our Pday we went to Lapa with our zone leaders and Elder Rosenkilde and Sister Oliver left Elder Crawford and I on the metro. There were so many people on the metro that we didn't realize until 3 stops and a half an hour later. Whoops!! Haha luckily Sister Oliver had our phone and Elder Crawford had their phone and we were able to meet up again. It reminded me of the one time when my dad left my at the train station in downtown Washington DC when I was 14. (I'm still a little bitter about that traumatic experience, Dad... haha)

One thing I thought about a lot this week was having love for others. Our president of our mission sent out an email about how to better love the people in this country. The Portuguese have a reputation for being stubborn, rude, very dramatic, and impatient. But they are also some of the most hardworking and generous people I know, once they get to know you ;) He sent out a challege for us to talk to every person and think about every person as if we had been raised in the same culture and had the same level of experience with religion. It was a great way to practice looking at each person as a child of God and to see them how Christ sees them.

Dum da dum! Scripture time:

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people accordingto their infirmities.
Christ chose to complete the Atonement so that each one of us, individually, could have at least one person who knows exactly how we feel. I like the scripture above, Alma 7:11-12, because it tells us what Christ did and also why he did it. He suffered for more than just our sins... in fact this scripture mentions pain and affliction before sin.  He knows how we feel and he suffered so that he would be able to succor his people or, in other words, to know how to help his people.

I hope you guys will take a moment to think and a look at the person closest to you and imagine all of the struggles they have, the sacrifice they chose to be here, or perhaps the invisable pain in their heart and try to show a little more Christlike love for them. It is Christmas!!

Selfie with Amaral fail.... He wasn't paying attention :/
Me, Sister Oliver, Amaral, and Luis!


​Love all of you tons!


Sister Ellsworth

Exact Obedience Brings Miracles.

This week our President of our mission challenged us to sacrifice something for the Lord for Christmas, which is Natal here, and my companion and I chose our own will. We left the house an exactly the right time, came come at exactly the right time, and tried to use our time most effectively at every opportunity. We saw an incredible increase of miracles that could only have been designed by Heavenly Father.

Right now we are working with three men who are progressing towards baptism soon. The first is Rafael who is developing a testimony so quickly I can hardly believe it. He's definitely an elect of the Lord's people here. We're also working with Amaral who is from Angola and before we met him he said he was sitting in his house thinking that he needed to better his life, especially with religion and his knowledge of God. Then we knocked his door looking for a contact who had moved away two years ago. He listened intently to our message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Christ and priesthood authority and his first question was "Am I allowed to come to church with you?" and his second question was "What do I need to do to be baptized?" Yeah. I know. Where in the world did he come from? haha. We're also working  with a guy named Ezequeil who we found the same way as Amaral. He's very friendly and wants to have a religion. He has two adorable dogs as well! 

My message for this week is John 3:16

 16 ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This is a scripture that you guys have probably heard a hundred and seven times but I was thinking about sacrifice this week and how so many of us and the people here in Portugal say"Oh, Christ suffered for my sins, I love Christ. etc" but once we ask if they know why Christ chose to give his life for a bunch of sinners each person has to think a little bit. This week I studied about this and the answer I found is that he loves us. If he had to die and suffer just for you, just to help you alone return to the presence of God, he would bleed at every pore and be crucified all over again just because he loves YOU that much. He suffered so that he could stand by our side on the day of Judgement and say, "Father, I know that they have sinned and deserve to be punished but I'm willing to suffer for them. Please accept my sacrifice so that they can have eternal life." And then, because the laws of justice are satisfied, Heavenly Father will smile and say, "I am well pleased." Christ has already suffered and felt every pain and hardship that each one of us has felt and the price he has asked of us in exchange for relief and rest is that we believe in Him. That we believe Him. 

This Christmas, try to have More Christ. Sacrifice something for the man who sacrifice everything for you. There are some ideas on lds.org or mormon.org with a video that is called Light the World, or in Portuguese, Seja A Luz Ao Mundo.

Awkward moment when your investigator's door has been bricked over. "Gosh dang it, foiled again..."

This is probably the most demented looking statue ever. it looks like someone sat on his face....

Have a great week!
Sister Ellsworth

Also one of the Elders in my district have me a riddle that i need help to answer... There are 3 men who stay at a hotel that costs $30 for one night. They pay in dollar coins, 30 coins. Each man pays $10. The owner of the hotel liked the three men so much that he gave 5 coins to a worker to give to the three men. The worker thought that he couldn't split 5 between 3 men so he pocketed two coins and gave each man $1. So each man paid $9. And the worker has $2. BUUUUUT $9 from each man is $27 and the worker has $2 which makes $29!!!! Where is the missing coin??

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Transfers, Rafa, and More Rain

Ola gente!

So transfers rolled around again and guess what....!! I'm staying in Barreiro with Sister Oliver for another 6 weeks!! WOOOOT! This place is my kingdom. I know all the members now as well as the recent converts, less actives, ex-investigators, and their birds. (More people have birds than dogs.) I'm so excited to be here for Christmas and New Years' Eve. We have done a lot of work here and I would have been devastated to leave. 

One of the people we are working with is Rafa, who is a 21 year old kid and the best friend of a recently returned missionary in our branch. He is so cool. When we first met him he didn't know about the 10 commandments or Christ but now he texts or calls us every day to tell us about the scripture he read or the prayer he said. He absolutely loved the lesson about the Plan of Salvation and has been studying it vigorously. He always has great questions and a desire to learn more. We are so excited for him!! I think my favorite moment since I met Rafa was the first prayer he said, which was so innocent and humble. He really made me think about how the gospel is so simple that a young child can understand that they are a Child of God but at the same time you can study each principle for the rest of your life and still learn something. 

We are also teaching Nelita, who is from Argentina. She's a teacher who works a lot just to get by and the gospel has changed her life too. She's been a great support and example for us and we absolutely love her endless love and charity for us. We've cried together, laughed together, and have become best friends.

It's still raining. The streets flood every day and you just kinda get used to being wet all the time. 
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​rain clouds... all the time... :)
picture of the main street after about 2 hours of downpour

Love all of you guys!!

Sister Ellsworth


Friday, December 2, 2016

Thanksgiving, Rain, and Someone thought I was Native

Howdy yall!
This week was one of those weeks where I have no idea what happened. It was Monday like yesterday... Anyway, on Monday we had a very chilly Pday and we watching a few movies like Meet the Mormons, and went to an all you can eat sushi bar for lunch. On Tuesday we had the best conference of our zone ever! It was one of those meetings where every word was meant for you. They challenged us to reorganize our areas and we've spent a good chunk of our free time sorting through our area book to make it easier for the next sisters that come in. On Wednesday we had divisions in Mem Martins with the Sisters there and I learned so much! We did two divisions in one day and by the end of the day I collapsed on the floor in the hallway and fell asleep immediately.  My companion had to wake me up so I could take five step to get to bed. On Thursday we had a super long day where all of our appointments fell through until our last one in which we taught this family of 5 for the first time. Turns out they had the lessons from Sisters in Cape Verde and are interested in hearing more so keep in tune! On Friday we had the craziest day where we ran from appointment to appointment the whole day. We met Rafa, who is the best friend of a member and marked him for baptism just before Christmas. Rafa has been through a lot but he believes that it was just preperation for that appointment where we all cried and testified of the power of the atonement. Saturday and Sunday we ran around chasing investigators and contacting like crazy. It's definately been a busy week. I blinked and it was over!
Our Thanksgiving was spent at a member's house with the rest of the missionaries in our district. I think I've forgotten what American food tastes like.... But the Portuguese food is amazing :) I think I'll keep it! They love their salad, fish, chicken, and soups! I do too!
It rained. A lot.
And someone thought I was native! Haha. They said "I've never seen a real portuguese redhead!" That was probably the best moment of the week. I reached 5 months last week so I'm glad to be making some progress! I've still got a long way to go but hey, progress is progress. I wouldn't say i'm fluent yet but it's close. Hopefully I'll serve with a native portuguese companion! I think that will help a lot!
Love all of you!
Sister Ellsworth