|Sister Tavares and the gimpy missionary|
Monday, July 17, 2017
This week was good.... I feel like I say that a lot. I bet ya´ll think a mission is a party all the time. And I´ll let you in on a secret... If you choose to dance when there's no music then it´s always a party! I think The beginning of the week was one of those dancing with no music days. Sister Selman and I talked to everyone, smiled, laughed, and came out on top. One thing I really love about serving with companions who have been on the mission for a while is that they understand that the success of a mission is inviting everyone. That is what you can control and if you do it then you have success! But it's also really awesome to see someone accept your invitation as well!
On Monday we got invited to family home evening with a little widow who was one of the first members in Lisbon. We ended up staying and helping her do random things and watching Christ videos and listening to her talk. She told us about her life and the difference that the Church made.
On Tuesday we went to Catia's house. She and her family are the coolest recent converts ever. We had thirty minutes before our visit with her so we decided to play contact-every-single-person (one of my favorite games....) and we got rejected for 29 minutes! But both of us felt like there was one person close to Catia's house that we needed to talk to. Desperately I ran to talk to this young woman that was walking in front of Catia's door and said "Hi! We're the missionaries! Can we talk to you about the Book of Mormon?!" The girl looked at the card I gave her and accepted. WHOOO!!! Reminded me of one of those 4th floor last door experiences.
On Wednesday we had to go to Lisbon for interviews with President. Of course the Elders in the office didn't tell us until the night before..... (patience)..... In the interview President asked how we were working with the moon boot. I told him we were working our butts off again. I showed him that the tread on the bottom of the boot was wearing off and the padding was wearing out. He looked at me and didn't saw anything for a minute... Then he said "We're going to have to get you a lead boot." I laughed and told him that my foot is almost at 100%!
That same day on the way home at the train station I saw this drunk man walking along the platform. It was like 12 am and the poor guy was too drunk to put one foot in front of the other. I kept my eye on him because he was walking really close to the train platform. Then... In slow motion I saw him put one foot in the air over the edge of the train platform and fell down on the tracks. I jumped up and sprinted over to him. I hollered at him to get over here and give me his hand, because I knew that the train was going to come soon and drunk people can be difficult sometimes. He sat up and looked at us all dazed and Sister Selman and I each grabbed an arm and hauled him up. #morningexcersies. He was okay, we gave him a couple of band-aids to help with the cuts. I did my neuro check on him and he got up and stumbled outside. Never saw him again....
On Thursday we invited all of our recent converts to the church (we have 11 and it's been really hard to teach all of them and have time to find new investigators) and 6 of them showed up. We taught all of them the Plan of Salvation and had an awesome discussion and fellowshipping at the same time! One of our recent converts told us that he had been taking pamphlets with him to work to study. When I asked him which one he took today, he pulled out a chastity pamphlet! I almost died laughing XD Who do you know studies about chastity on their lunch break? LOL!! Also we were teaching about the Celestial kingdom and I asked the same recent convert (a recent convert of about 3 months) a question. I said "Do we have to sit and home and eat potato chips all day to get into the celestial kingdom?" He replied no. I asked "Do we have to shower every day to enter the Celestial Kingdom?" And he replied "Well.. I think so... because no dirty thing can be with God so we have to be squeaky clean and shower every day." I was like... Lol okay you've got a point!
The absolutely weirdest thing that happened this week was that we were knocking doors inside this 9 story apartment building and in the stairwell we heard someone whistling "Now let us Rejoice". I looked at Sister Selman and she wasn't whistling. I wasn't whistling. And that song is a song that our members know! But there wasn't any member that lived in that road.... So we ran up and down the stairs looking for someone that was whistling. We found no one. Then we knocked every single door in that building and not one member.
Conclusion? Angels are messing with the missionaries again! Haha it was so weird!!!
The Church is still true!
Love you guys!!
Okay... I formally apologize for not writing long emails. After hearing a few complaints I decided to write about every possible little thing that happened this week. Prepare yourself for an email of rambling.
First off, we starting this last week with a transfer! Surprise surprise Sister Baker left for Setubal after just 2 weeks in Póvoa.. I miss her but she's doing an awesome job there! Now I have my fantastic new companion Sister Selman! This week has been a blast! We nerd out about the same things and she is a fantastic missionary. The Elder's area closed so instead of 4 missionaries in Póvoa, now it's just us! It has been CRAZY! We have 11 recent converts plus our investigators and the investigators of the Elders. AND our bishop told ALL of the members to invite the missionaries over in the next two weeks. It's like there's been an awakening in the members and I think its gonna be good!
We found this girl named Helena this week. She's our age and she's pretty religious. We found her down by the train station when we were on a division with some members and Carla, who is awesome as well, stopped her in the road and asked her if she knew any Mormons. Helena replied and said that she had talked to the Sisters in the past but they got transferred and she never heard from them again. Carla grabbed my arm and was like "HERE ARE THE NEW SISTERS!!" So we taught the first lesson to her and answered her questions about prophets and such.
We also found this super cool family! Ricardo and Jací let us in their humble house and we taught them sitting on their son's bed because they didn't have chairs to sit on. We taught them about God and how believing in God and going to church can help their family be more unified in hard times. One of their daughters said her first prayer. I absolutely LOVE first prayers! It's the best thing in the whole wide world.
We also took over teaching Joel, the friend of the Elder's recent convert. He was confirmed on Sunday. Their family has been passing through some hard times as well but while we were there teaching about how God fulfills his promises to bless his obedient children, Joel got a phone call offering him work. Everyone was nearly in tears and Joel got his answer that God is aware of him and that God approves of his decision to follow the example of Christ.
We also started teaching this guy named Pedro (this week we found a lot of new investigators). Pedro is a guy who believes in God but doesn't believe that God is good. Pedro had an accident a few years ago and now he's in a wheelchair. Despite his wife being a doctor, he chooses to live in a trailer home because he doesn't think he deserves anything better. We taught him that God does in fact love Pedro very much and that's why he was here on the earth. Pedro thought a lot about what we said and gruffy said: "Okay... you guys can come back next week..." We laughed and promised him that it would be worth his while.
In a lesson with one of our investigators named Bruno, he also said his first prayer. When we found him he didn't know who God or Jesus were. We taught him that he can come to know who God is through prayer and he asked if he could try to pray. We were like.... YES!!!! We gave him a Book of Mormon. Unfortunately later that day his mom called and said that we couldn't teach her son more.... But hopefully Bruno will remember us and accept the missionaries in the future.
4th of July. We did nothing. Sorry America... I'm Portuguese now :D
On Friday we can an AWESOME missionary activity! We hauled all of the youth down to the train station, set up a stand about family history work, and set those kids to work. They stopped everyone and we got lots of contacts!! We found that it was mostly jovens who stopped to listen to us with curiosity about who they were, why they were here, and where they came from.
We also taught a very successful English class! Normally we had 1 or 2 people show up but this week we had a whole lot more! We played games in English and taught people the difference between "tree" and "three".
The other day I was reading my journal about everything that has happened since I came on my mission. I feel like time has flown by so fast! My trainer went home this week.... She sent me an email about taking her name tag off and I realized that the last year has not lasted long enough. I think I'll stay here forever. Sorry family and friends... I'm staying here FOREVER!!! Muhaha! Just send me money and peanut butter please.
I hope this was long enough for those who were not satisfied in the past.... I can't think of anything else XD Being a missionary is awesome! I would highly recommend it ^_^
Friday, June 30, 2017
So... Here's the low down.
They decided not to get a second CAT scan. They thought it was unnecessary. They sent the x-rays and such to the church's German doctors to get a second opinion and they said that I could use a walker's boot (one of those pretty massive concrete boots) for 6 weeks with a bit of therapy instead of going home. They think that might work.
I still take ibuprofen like a drug addict and we stay inside every once in a while when it hurts too much.
So for now they're going to wait 6 weeks to reevaluate and for now I'm staying here.
As for the blessing I've already gotten two from the elders and I don't think it would make much of a difference to get one from president. Same priesthood and he's busy....
I talk to the mission presidents wife lots... We're like best friends now. She asks if I've added any new bedazzling or painted the boot lime green XD She wants me to start therapy next week. So i'm gonna do that...
This whole thing kinda sucks.... Its really frustrating to see 0´s in your numbers because you cant go out walking or to have investigators lose interest because you didn't pass frequently enough. Sigh. I do not recommend breaking your foot on your mission... arm? collarbone? Sure but the foot sucks.
So this week we had an emergency transfer because another sister went home and my companion went to serve in Barriero and I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Baker! She´s been serving for 6 months so far and she´s so darn cute! She´s works really hard.
When she got here we found a member on the road by the train station but Sister Baker didn't know he was a member. So I nudged her and told her to contact him. She stopped him and started to talk to him for 15 minutes about church and families and God's plan for him but this member was being really tough XD Finally she gave up and I stepped in and was like, "We have church tomorrow. Do you want to go with us?" And he was like sure! Sister Baker´s mouth dropped open when she found out he was a member.
Other than that we had a lovely week of cloudy days which was so much better than the 100 degree sun.
Love all of you!
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
This week was quite the adventure! Almost every day was about 107 degrees WITH humidity. We had to knock apartment buildings because it was so hot. On Saturday we got stranded and a member came to rescue us. On the way back her car broke. Apparently there is a rubber thing that holds the exhaust pipe up and it MELTED. We had to wait for a little while until another member came to rescue us again XD I'm tanning... and my hair is bleaching. A member told me that I don't even look american anymore and my hair is almost blonde now. But that's okay... :)
Also I don´t know if you guys saw but there was this massive fire in Coimbra that killed more than 60 people when the fire trapped people on the freeway... It was really far away from any of the missionaries but it was really sad to watch the news reports as more and more people were found in their cars or that had died from breathing smoke. Remember them in your prayers.... http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40316934
Last Pday I didn't get a chance to write because we had to to a CAT scan of my foot again (they still haven't decided what they're going to do about the fracture) and then we went to Sintra afterwards. The castles in Sintra are so cool! There are huge underground tunnels and churches made from bones. I brought this painting from a cool African guy on the side of the road and its hanging up in my room!
AND JOANA WAS BAPTIZED!!! WHOO HOO!!
Look at her.. so darn happy. She was so excited to be baptized! She brought 15 people with her that weren't members so....references!! Haha! We´re going to start teaching her daughter this week.
I'm still walking on crutches. It's super annoying to be a missionary when you walk as fast as an old lady with hip problems. But we´re making it work. When you can't do what you've always done just do what matters most!
This week we also had a ward activity! They put the missionaries in charge so we bought 300 water balloons and had a massive waterballoon fight! After the waterballoons were gone people started dumping huge buckets of water on each other. And I, the poor sister who ca't run to claim revenge, was the primary target of the drenchings. I think I was drenched 5 or times in less than 2 hours. But with the 100 degree heat it was a welcomed blessing! The members have also started calling me Sardinha, which means little fish. Apparently it's a reference to Ariel from the Little Mermaid because I can't walk too well. Even the Primary children were calling me Sardinha!
Friday, June 9, 2017
My companion is awesome. Shes from Brasil and makes good food and loves to joke around. She calls me her "cuitada" which is like "loved one" or "poor thing" depending on the context. Most of the time I'm not sure which XD
The ward in Povoa is pretty awesome. The members are cool and in general all of them love the missionaries. Most of our ward is Portuguese which is really weird XD My other areas have been mostly African and Brazilian. The area is not touristy at all but we are about 15 minutes away from the temple site!! We're going to pass by today! The area is a richer area than I've been to.. pretty similar to the area that you guys live in. Lots of families too!! We've already found that knocking doors doesn't work as well as my last two areas so we've been working with our recent converts and members every day.
I kind of doubt it will be my last area.... I have 5 more transfers and its pretty rare to stay in an area for more than 3 transfers as a sister. President likes to move us around and he puts us in areas that the Elders have killed. We're actually working the old area of Elders. President told us that he was thinking about closing our area for the two companionships and just have one but apparently the day before transfers a few weeks ago he decided to put me and Sister Nogueira there. The first week he called us and said, "Sisters, You guys have to find 2 people to mark for baptism and teach 10 lessons with 6 investigators, okay?" And then hung up. We were like.... okay.... So we found Domingos and a boy named Soni, we taught 11 lessons and had 6 new investigators. President called us again and said, "Well, I decided that you guys can to better. Prove me right." And hung up. So this week we marked Soni and Joana, taught 12 lessons, and found 8 new investigators and had 5 of them at church.
I'm kind of nervous that he'll call again XD
But its been a good week :) I looked at the calendar the other day and realized that i hit 1 year in a week or two... It made me so sad. I wish that I could stay in Portugal forever and that you guys will just move here..... I really understand why missionaries love their missions so much... why they love the people and to serve.
Well this week was really fun! Haha. For the past few weeks my foot has been kind of sore and eventually my companion made me talk to the mission doctor and she sent me to get Xrays. Well apparently my foot was fractured.
How? I don't know! So know I'm using crutches for a few weeks or however long it takes to get better. Yes, I'm using good shoes. No, I didn't fall. Yes, i'm fine! That should cover all the questions haha!
This week I also got sick... My poor companion... She's had to take care of me this whole week. But I'm almost all better now. The ward here has been very helpful! I think once the word got out that a Sister couldn't walk all of a sudden EVERYONE was offering to give us rides and teach with us and have us over for dinner. This week was proof that member missionary work works so much better than what we missionaries can do! Of all the members that invited us over, three families introduced us to a friend or a family member who was not a member. Of those three references, all of them are now marked for baptism and are progressing fantastically!
We met one woman from Angola this week named Joana. She lives with a member and told us that she's always been curious about the Book of Mormon. Turns out she had read half of it before we taught her the first lesson! As we shared the First Vision with her she started to cry, holding her Book of Mormon close to her. She told us that she knew it was true. As we were leaving she gave each of us one of those big grandma hugs and said, "I've been waiting to meet you two for the last 50 years."
We met another kid named Isaundro, who is from Guinea. He is 22 years old and moved here by himself to try to escape his situation in Africa. We were walking in the road when we found him. I saw some other missionaries from another church on the other side of the road start to walk towards him and I told Sister Noguiera that we couldn't let them contact him first. So we ran (or rather Sister Noguiera ran and I hobbled) to contact him. Turns out he was thinking about where he could find answers to all his questions about life and asked God to help him. So Heavenly Father sent the Sisters! Isaundro came to church and is already best friends with three other boys who came from Africa and are recent converts as well.
It's been a really crazy week... But I think I would choose to be a gimp for the rest of my mission if it meant that we could find people like Joana and Isaundro every week. BEING A MISSIONARY IS SO MUCH FUN!! It sucks sometimes but in the end, I love it!!
Com muito amor, paz, saude, alegria, e saudades,
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Wow! This week was AWESOME! Probably one of the craziest weeks I've had on my mission. First off, I'm whitewashing an area with Sister Nogueira who is from San Paulo, Brasil in Póvoa. (poh-voh-ah) It's a big city on the outskirts of Lisbon. It has a ton of hills and our area covers a lot of the suburbs of Lisbon. Our members are AWESOME! It's just a party all the time.
Our first day trying to get to our new area was definitely an adventure. We were in 7 Rios (a really big train station / metro) and I found the map that would drop us in Póvoa. We grabbed all of our bags and dragged them to the other side of the train station until our train arrived. We threw our bags on and as I was watching the stops and reading the map that's inside the train I noticed that Póvoa wasn't one of the stops. A little anxious, we got off at the next stop, dragged our bags to the opposite line, and got on the next train. Looking at the map of stops, it had Póvoa! But then I realized the train was going in the wrong direction.....
At the next stop we got off AGAIN and asked a worker which train went to Póvoa and he pointed to Line 3. We had already tried line 1 and line 2. So we got on line 3 and headed on out way. Looking at the stops again, it said that were were headed to the Algarve which was not even close to Póvoa! Got of, switched trains, and asked yet another employee. He said that it was number 1, which was the first train that we tried. I wanted to smack my head on the wall.
Finally we found the right train and arrived in our area. We found a taxi and gave him the address to our house and he said "Oh no, I know the missionaries! I know where you live!" We were like sweet, let's go! We loaded up our suitcases and he dropped us off in front of this apartment and drove off. We tried to open the door but none of our keys worked, Turns out the taxi driver took us to the Elders' house and not our house.
We called him again and made him take us to OUR house and finally found our new home sweet home. Then we spent the next 5 hours cleaning the dirtiest house I have ever seen in my life.
Lot's of other things happened too but I'm short on time. I took pictures this week but I left my SD card reader at home... Sorry.
Love all of you guys!
The Happiest Sister Ever,
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Hey! This week was fun! We had a lot of little miracles. Unfortunately I hurt my leg somehow and had some difficulties walking for a larger part of the week. We hosted President and Sister Tavares here at the end of the week. They told us about transfers Saturday morning and said that I was going to Evora (or in other words, land of the college kids) and that Sister Carr would stay here. Then on Sunday President called us again and was basically like "Just kidding, I moved everything at the last minute. Good luck." So we're like 90% sure that I'm going to Povoa to serve with Sister Nogueira, who is an awesome native from Brasil, and Sister Carr is staying here to train. She's so excited and I am too!
Also Sunday night Sister Carr and I were walking home and I heard this whoosh behind me and a splash. The Elders jumped out from behind a fence and hollered at us with water balloons in each hand! They chased us all the way to our house where we got cornered at our stupid front door that is literally impossible to open sometimes. The Elders had squirt guns and a sack full of water balloons and the only thing I could was try to dodge them and protect Sister Carr as she tried to open the ancient door (which usually only opens easily on the full moon or if you do a rain dance). Sister Carr managed to open the door and we ran inside and the Elders ran home laughing their heads off.
It's war. Have you already heard of the wars and rumors of wars? It has begun. We're in the chapel right now waiting for the elders to come by to pick up lunch... What better way to get Elders to show up than to offer them free food? Well we have a huge bucket of water balloons and two water guns. Story to be continued but the spirit of prophesy in me is telling me that there will be casualties on the opposing side.
Sorry for the short email but love you still!
Monday, May 15, 2017
This week was good. Lots of work but we some some the greatest miracles I've seen so far on my mission. It was great to talk to my family! They are cool people. It rained a lot this week but the Lord loves his missionaries so it only rained while we were inside! As soon as it was time to go outside it stopped raining!! I think God has a sense of humor or something.
There was a BBQ here for the anniversary of the restoration of the Priesthood. We were out on the streets hauling loads of potential investigators into the church for free food and salvation!
As promised, I have pictures!!
This is my best friend here in Portimao! Sonia is so awesome. She was baptized 4 years ago and loves to help us out and goof off with us on our Pdays.
This is Teresa! If you guys saw, my dad posted a video of me talking about her on my blog. She has such a cool story. Love her to bits!
This week was international week in the Sisters' house. We made nachos! We also made Hortchata. Yum!
This wonderful lady also changed me mission. Her name is Lania. She's one of those unknown superwomen who just needs to be baptized. Unfortunately she moved to Brasil this week. I'm happy for her! And I'm also going to track the missionaries down in her city and annoy them until they find her.
Love all of you! The Church is still true!
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Hey yall! This week was filled with lots of fun things. On our Pday we went to the local mall and tried to find a new skirt or dress for the Zone conference that happened on Tuesday. All the Sisters in my district are "old" sisters (we've been serving for more than 9 months) so we've all worn out all our clothes or worn them six bajillion times. When we got there we quickly realized that the winter knee-length skirts and dresses had long gone and had been replaced with the summer skirts lol. Let's just say that there will be no hope of finding new skirts unless you go to the old ladies section XD We got a few funny looks from these Germans as three Americans and a Brazilian tried on old lady skirts.
On Tuesday we had an awesome Zone conference and I got to see a few of my friends before they head home in a few weeks. I took pictures and everything but then my Zone leader deleted every single picture I had on my camera. He doesn't speak a lick of English so the "delete selected picture" looked a lot like "delete all photos". I wasn't too happy but hey... The Atonement works in many different ways haha. So I don't have pictures for you guys... Sorry. I'll take some more this week.
On Wednesday we were in the chapel waiting for an investigator to show up. We were there with Sonia and Carina who were working on a relief society project when this guy comes running through the door, blows past all of us, and books it to the end of the hall to the bathroom. The four of us looked at each other bewildered but none of us had the guts to go find out why he need the bathroom so bad. Here in Portugal it's super rude not to say hello to someone. It's rude enough that people get in fist fights or break lifelong friendships over it so it was really strange that this strange man I've never seen before would just run into the chapel without saying anything. Well a few minutes later three other guys came running in and scared the bejeezes out of all of us. They were Gypsies so they're the type of people to live in shacks and steal things. Very nice people but not very trustworthy. So being the fearless missionary that I am I intercepted them before they could beeline it to the back of the church like the first guy and said "Hello, we're the missionaries. Would you like a tour of the chapel?" The man responded and said that they were looking for a thief who ran in the church. I was like.... uh oh... So I told them that a guy ran to the back of the church and they started to look for him. They didn't end up finding him and left in peace. I think the robber probably jumped the fence or something.
We also met this woman named Teresa. We gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her about the plan of Salvation. She started to cry and told us that she had never found answers to her questions about life after death and the purpose of life. She began to read the Book of Mormon every day. She told us that she didn't understand everything that she was reading but that while she was reading she felt this funny burning feeling in her chest. She din't understand it so she paused her reading assignment and took some medication for anxiety, thinking that her anxiety was coming back. But we explained to her that the Holy Ghost speaks to us through feelings like that. She felt so content that she asked if she could be baptized. My companion and I were like... Um. Sure. If you want to... Haha just kidding we were so stoked for her. Marked her and everything. She's such a powerful woman.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!! It was mothers day here yesterday... Don't ask me why it's different because I don't know.
Well that's about it! Love all you to bits!
This week flew by... I feel like I blinked and it's Monday again. This week was fun! We had a training meeting with the Sister Training Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Assistants on Tuesday. We practiced teaching and we got a lot of really good feedback that saved a lot of would-be disaster lessons during the week. We taught a single mom this week named Carol. She's from Brasil but lived in England for a few years where she had her first daughter after her boyfriend left her. She moved back here to Portugal to finish school and be closer to family. I love her little daughter to pieces... She's so dang cute. As we were talking to Carol about how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families and how the Plan of Salvation is a guide for our lives, we were all touched by a special spirit. We also explained how the Book of Mormon is a history of her ancestors in ancient America and that special spirit was even stronger. Leaving that lesson I felt so happy to feel the spirit so strongly that I wanted to just stay with Carol for the rest of the day!
On Thursday we had a grand adventure. The sisters from Lagos, which is the area closest to ours, called and said that one of the sisters was in the hospital with appendicitis. They had gone to the hospital without any spare clothes or toothbrushes so I did a division with Sister Ribeiro for a few hours to get back to Lagos and get extra things that they would need. Sister Herrera was so funny after she came out of the surgery! She's a funny girl in the first place but she came in singing the Bohemian Rhapsody. She froze halfway through the song and said, in half Portuguese and half English, "Guys... I'm holy.." And then tried to do a contact with the doctor who was trying to explain to her a few rules. She had all of us laughing so hard.
It's been a good week. We're working hard and happy as ever!
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Hello y'all! and Happy Easter!
This week was great. It was a really special experience to study the stories of Jesus Christ each day of the week as the stories were happening. I really loved to study about the resurrectionmorning. I was sitting at home before Church reading and imagining how it would be to be Mary Magdalene and to watch my Savior suffer such cruelty and to watch Him die on the cross. I tried to imagine the heartbreak that he felt as she left Christ in the tomb, completely distraught and questioning my faith if I would ever see him again. I tried to imagine going to the tomb on that morning and finding the message that Christ was not there. I think in the moment when Mary asked if "gardener" had taken Christ's body away would have been one of the most confusing moments for me... But then to imagine the joy in finding Christ, alive, free of pain, and full of love!
It was awesome!
I really felt my Savior's love for me and for each one of his children here. It was a great blessing!
We had an awesome moment in a lesson this week too. All of our plans had fallen through so we tried the good old prayer and then randomly choose a road on the map. We walked to the road we chose trying to talk to every single person but everyone was busy buying things for Easter and ironically didn't have time to hear a message about Christ. So we prayed again and chose one side of the road to start knocking apartments. In Portugal most of the apartments have doorbells and speakers outside the apartment so it makes knocking doors pretty fast and all the apartments are close together so I was knocking one apartment and my companion knocked the other side. We knocked about 150 apartments and got to the last apartment building on the road. 6th floor. Nothing. 5th floor, and angry Portuguese lady making food. 4th floor, elderly man who didn't understand us. 3rd floor nothing. 2nd floor nothing. and the 1st floor. Nothing. Feeling a bit down, I sighed and started to walk away when a cute little black woman from capo verde poked her head out the window and said she didn't want what we were selling. I explained to her that we weren't selling anything, in fact we were giving things away for free and we asked if we could give her a book that had the words of God in it. I showed her the Book of Mormon and she gave us a look and disappeared into the house. We started to walk away, thinking that we would never see her again, but then the door buzzer sounded and the door opened. I exchanged a look with Sister Carr and we entered. This woman, Maria, let us into her house and we taught her about the Resurrection in the bible. Then we explain that the Book of Mormon had another witness of the resurrection of Christ and explain the Restoration story. She started to cry.... Come to find out she had been praying to find someone who could help her understand the Bible because she wanted to have more faith but she couldn't understand the bible very well. It was a great and tender moment helping her read and understand the bible for the first time. I already love that woman so much!
There are a couple of pretty funny traditions that they have here in Portugal for Easter. One is that there is a cake called a Folar de Pascoa, which is a normal cake but it has one to four hard boiled eggs baked into it. When I first saw it i had the thought that maybe they forgot to mix the egg in and just left it on top instead!! Haha I asked how the tradition started and some people said that in the early Easter egg hunts someone hid eggs in the cake dough. I also heard that it was a symbol of prosperity, new life, and fertility. Normally the kids get to eat the eggs or they paint them too.
Folar de Pascoa!
Sister Carr and I also found this pizza place that sells pizzas that are bigger than a tire! I think it took a whole week to eat that thing! Yay for Maxipizza!
Well have a great week! Love all of you!
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Hey hey hey!
This week we had a lot of cool little stories and little miracles. I think those days are the best days ever!
First off transfers!! I'll be giving Portimao another go with another companion! I know Sister Carr from the MTC and I've done a few divisions with her. It's going to be great!! I think our mission President knew that I was having too much fun with Sister Foster. She's going to be going back to Barriero again!! Except she's going to be whitewashing a new area there.
This week was so fun. We met a guy named Mohammed as he was sitting on the steps of a catholic church by himself. We bounced over to him, sat down and had a nice conversation about Christ and he said okay... Here's 10 euro, go to the Italian ice cream shop and buy some ice cream and bring it back here. Yay for friends!!
We also did a division with one of my favorite people ever, Sonia. She stayed with us all day long and helped us work and teach. We had an awesome talk with her about serving a mission and she told us that she wants to serve a mission. The next day we were following up with a contact we had made on the road and this older lady answers the door and introduces herself as Jesus. My companion and I were like... okaaaay you might be a crazyhead. Then she laughs at our unsettled looks and says "I'm Maria de Jesus" and invites us in. We're like okie dokie. As she guides us to her living room we find 2 other elderly women between the ages of 75-95. They sit us down right in the middle of them and start to talk about how us youngins are on the path to Jesus and this 95 year old lady pats me on the knee and motions that she has a secret for me. I lean is and she starts singing this slightly creepy song about Christ in my ear while smiling a half toothless grin. But we taught them about the need for prophets and apostles and marked a return appointment. YES! Aguinha na boa.
My awesome companion!! Vou ter saudades!
I got this amazing picture of our recently baptized convert, Jose. He was telling us his whole life story about how he had ran away from home and ended up in the army in a different country before sneaking away to Israel and how he rode on the back of a camel into Syria. He told us about how his life had been filled with every sort of drug you can imagine and how he had stroked out as a homeless man and had to teach himself how to walk and talk again. Then he bore the sweetest testimony about how the only peace and harmony he has found in his life was through he Heavenly Father. What a great experience it has been to know him!
I love all of y'all and I know Heavenly Father loves you too!
Peace, love, and harmony!!
Monday, April 3, 2017
Wow! What a week! I feel like every week flies by so fast I hardly know what happened. This week we actually did a lot of traveling. My companion had to go to Lisbon for a few days to take care of legal documents and then we had our zone conference on the other side of our mission. Zone conference was great as usual. I got to see Sister Aiono and Sister Hansen and some of the other missionaries I've come to know and love with all my heart. On the hour and a half train ride with 8 other missionaries we decided to sing hymns and other church songs to the other passengeres. We said hello to everyone and old ladies said we were so darn cute.
The old part of our area is fully of old portuguese houses that are basically just built on top of each other and are only still standing because of the other houses that are supporting them.
General conference was absolutely fantastic!! I loved the first few speakers in the last session that spoke to members, non members, recent converts, and investigators about the importance of the little things. Many of the Apostles and members of the Seventy spoke about being good examples and strengthening your testimony through daily scripture study as an individual and a family, daily prayers, and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. These things are so important!! I've come to learn on my mission that even the strongest member can lose their testimony if they aren't faithfullly doing these little things. And I've also learned that even the farthest gone sinner can be brought to change their lives when introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the scriptures.
Another theme that I noticed in General Conference was the call for more love and peace. We found this graffiti earlier this week and it came to mind as I was listening to General Conference. This world is full of anger, hurt and doubt. We find people on the road who tell us that there is no hope for this world and we had better just turn around and go back home. In response to those people I always ask if they feel like they have a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Nine times out of ten they say no.
The only hope in this world comes through Jesus Christ and faith on him. There is a scripture in John 16:33 that says the following:
There are a couple of parts in this scripture that were shared with me one time. The first part is that "ye might have peace." If you don't have peace right now, have hope that it will come. Jesus said it was possible and he can't lie ;) The next part is "In the world ye shall have tribulation". So just in case you haven't noticed... This life is hard. It kinda sucks sometimes. But tribulation is here for a reason and God prepared a way for us to have good cheer DURING our tribulations. The next part is the last phrase. Jesus Christ descended below all so that we can be lifted up through his grace. So choose to be happy and you'll find that through Christ and a personal relationship to God you'll find the hope that you need.
Love you guys lots :)
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Remember how last week I said I didn't like rain? Well I think Heavenly Father kinda smiled and was like "Oh, yeah? Watch this." It rained sideways rain every day this week, all day long. After two minutes in the rain you kind of just give up and try to jump in all the puddles. It's more fun that way :) The roads were flooded for most of the week too since portugal is paved over and there aren't many grassy or dirt areas to soak up the water. The cobblestone also gets pretty slick!! On one day when the rain was particularily bad with no sign of letting up the Elders called us and asked if we could bring them umbrellas but coming from the Sisters house, the only umbrellas that we had to give was a paisley umbrella and a bright pink umbrella. I think the best memory I have of this week is watching our two elders walk around the city with pink and paisley umbrellas!!
LIGHT STUFF ON FIRE! Traditional burning of your trainer's skirt... (don't worry we had a bucket of water and everything haha)
Pretty pictures of my favorite beach!
We got to go to Lagos again for our Pday and It stopped raining long enough for us to go to the beach and draw messages in the sand. We picked up sea shells and explored the caves. It was really neat!
We also passed by one of our investigators houses this week to say hello and when she let us in we kind of noticed that the whle family was very sad and upset. We asked what was going on and they shared that their dad had passed away the night before. We shared a very touching moment with them about the Plan of Salvation and the opportunities that they have to prepare to be baptized and then afterwards take the dad's name to the temple.
Haha there was also another moment that was really great.... We had found this cute old man on the road who seemed really happy to see us even though i had never seen him before. Just imagine the old man from up... It was him. So we marked a return appointment and came back the next day to meet his wife. Oh he was so excited.. So we get there with the hopes to teach this cute old couple and they invite us in. The old man stops me for a second while my companion was talking to the old lady and he mentions that his wife has Alzheimers. I was like okay... that's not a problem. And then this cute old man says "Well I'm going out for the night. You guys stay here and talk to her." And then he ditches us in his house. I looked at Sister Foster and was like... so.... what do we do now? Before we know it this old lady has us in her front room with two coca colas and a plateful of cookies and she talks and talks and talks. But she only knows three stories. So we sat there and smiled and kept her company laughing inside because of course this would happen to the sisters. But we didn't compain because those cookies were really good.
Also I hit 9 months this last week!! Here are some of our adventures we did to celebrate....
What else to you do with all the lighters that your investigators give you?
LIGHT STUFF ON FIRE! Traditional burning of your trainer's skirt... (don't worry we had a bucket of water and everything haha)
We stole our investigator's beer and threw it away. #quittingforjesus #sisterpower
We also made homemade In and Out fries!! MMMM!
Pretty pictures of my favorite beach!
Nine months later and the Church is still true. I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and I still don't understand the language perfectly but I know that Christ loves each one of us and that through service we can find the joy in everything. When I walk in the streets and talk to people I know that there is a loving God who is aware of our circumstances and he wants us to be happy.