Release Date: December 20, 2017................................................................
You can email her directly at: email@example.com .....................................................................................
The address for the Mission Office (for paper mail and packages) is: Sister Paige Ellsworth, Rua Jorge Barradas 14C, 1500-370 Lisboa, Portugal..............................http://preparetoserve.com/portugal-lisbon-mission/
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 resurrection on Sunday morning. 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 Sunday 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!
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!
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:
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcomethe world. 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.
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!!
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.