Feliz Natal!!

Yep, this week was Christmas!  I hope yours was a good one!  Mine was.  After waking up in my new pj’s that I bought on Segunda-feira (Monday), we started our day like normal, with scripture study.  A cool thing I learned this week is that the Book of Revelations in the Bible is called Apocolipse in Portuguese! (Yes it is spelled with an “i” not a “y”)  Cool right?

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After our studies, we went out walking the (empty) streets looking for contacting opportunities.  For lunch, we were invited to share a delicious turkey/chicken meal (I’m not really sure which it was) with a family in our ward.  After lunch we decided to sing some Christmas carols for anyone on the street who wanted to hear.  Then we headed to the chapel to talk to our families via Skype.  That was great.  I was glad to talk to my family and was excited to talk to Sister Lewis’ family as well.

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Back at our apartment we had Christmas dinner, a pizza.   (I’m sure it was the best Christmas dinner ever! Oven cooked pizza!).  We took ourselves out for dessert, a couple Portuguese pastries.  We stayed out for a while longer then returned home.  Nothing very eventful but amazing.

One let down this week.  The baptism of Idel that we were hoping for didn’t happen.  A couple of complications made it so that the baptism could not go forward.  But I know that it will happen, whether I’m here or not.

This morning was our preparation day.  We travelled to the city of Belém which is across the bay from our city of Miratejo.  We saw several well-known tourist sites.  First we went to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos or Monument to the Discoveries.  If you look closely I’m sure you’ll recognize the great Portugese explorers Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and Henry the Navigator which are all depicted there.  (You can see them.  Right?)

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Then across the street is a park and on the other side is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.  It is a remarkable looking monastery that dates back to the 1500s.  It was really cool and we had a lot of fun!

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We tried some of the local cuisine, McDonalds.  It’s hilarious because the McDonalds restaurants here are fancy.  Not in the sense that the food is nicer.  It’s just fancier inside.

Those are the adventures of Christmas week.  Check back next Monday for more exciting sharing the Gospel in Portugal.

Tchau Bom Dia

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The days are long but the weeks are short.

I heard someone say that this week and it is so true!  The days feel like they drag on forever and yet here I am at the start of my third week! WHAT?! I know that I still have a lot of time on my mission but it still feels weird that I’ve already been in the country for two weeks.

Well one good thing about living in Portugal is that I am no longer short!  I’m average height! It’s still a strange thing to actually look someone straight in the eye when you’re having a conversation!  Well, when I say “have a conversation”, what I really mean is that they are talking and I am trying to understand and I nod and say “sim” anytime there is a pause

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Despite that fact we’ve had some amazing experiences this week!  We have an investigator named Idel who grew up in Cape Verde.  The missionaries taught him all the lessons there.  We tried to invite him to be baptized last week and he said it was too soon.  But come Sunday we talked to him after Church and he said he was ready.  He wants to be baptized on Saturday!!  We have to re-teach him everything because we don’t have his teaching record.  It’s going to be crazy busy.  But it is going to be amazing!

We also had the opportunity to teach a “meu filho da coração” (translated “my son from the heart”) of a sister in our ward.  Oh my goodness is he elect!  His name is Lino and he is so cool.  One of the first questions he asked us is “Why is a mission worth it to you?  What made you want to leave your families for a year and a half to come and live in a foreign country?”   Sister L. and I had the opportunity to testify that the reason we are here is to teach and testify of Christ and to lead others back to his love.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He then told us that he would read it when he was spiritually prepared because he knew that it was a sacred book.  I know that he will be baptized eventually whether it’s while I’m here or when I am gone from the area but I know that it will happen.

Another funny thing happened this week.  We were out contacting people and we stopped a kid on the street gave him a little Christmas card with the site for the “He is the Gift” video (If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest that you do.  HERE is the link.  We asked him his name.  He said his name was Jesus.  We asked if we could meet with him and his family.  He said yes, and we parted ways.  Sister L. turned to me and said in joking way, “Sister, we’re going to baptize Jesus!”  We both busted up laughing.

Then came the time for his appointment.  He wasn’t home but his sister was.  We found out that the whole family had already been taught by other missionaries.  They had a Book of Mormon and agreed to meet with us.  Sister L spoke again.  This time she said “Sister, we’re going to baptize Jesus AND his family!”

On Thursday we had a Mission Conference.  The theme was centered on Jesus Christ.  We had a great time and I got to see a couple of sisters who had left the MTC a few weeks before we did.  Sister L. braided my hair all-cool like!  We also got an awesome district picture before our district leader Elder Martinez was transferred.

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It has been a crazy week and I’ve loved it!

Merry Christmas to all my loved ones near and far!

Tchau! Bom Dia!

Goodbye MTC! Hello Miratejo!

Olá familía e amigos!

 

What a crazy week!  We left the MTC on December 9, 2010.  It started at around 1:30 in the morning.  We got up that early so we could wave goodbye to Elder M., the only Elder in our MTC district.  We went back to the room slept, for an hour, and got up again to see off Sister A.  Then we went back to sleep for a few more hours.  At 8:30, Sister S. and I reported to the MTC travel office for the last time.

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We got to the platform for the light rail train, the Frontrunner, that was to take us to the SLC airport.  A couple of nice guys who had been on their missions in Argentina helped us with our luggage.  We rode for a while and then the public announcement voice said “This train is now southbound!” “WHAT?!?!?!?!?”  I guess we almost missed our stop.

With some more help we threw our bags (not literally but it felt like it) off the train struggled to get to the Trax commuter rail that eventually took us to the airport.  When we got to the counter to check our luggage, the kind lady said “Your original flight is going to be delayed and I don’t want you to miss your connecting flight to London.  So I’m moving you to a flight that leaves in half an hour.  Go to your gate right now.  The plane is boarding”.  We sprinted to security and then ran to the gate to get on our plane headed to Dallas.  We got to Dallas and made our connection to London.  We arrived in Europe on December 10, 2014.  We had to sit around in London because our plane was delayed.  Finally we boarded the plane to Portugal where we met President and Sister Fluckiger.

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On our way to the mission home from the Airport we were told the areas in which we would be serving Sister S. was assigned to Viseo in the north while I was assigned to Miratejo with a Sister L. as my Companion!  The red pin is of Miratejo.

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At the mission home, we met the Assistants to the President and several other missionaries who had gone to the Spain MTC.  We had a delicious lasagna dinner, a little testimony meeting and then we went off to bed which was much needed by that point.

We woke up the next morning, met our Companions, had breakfast, had a little training and then we were sent on our way! Sister L. and I hauled my luggage onto a train and then a bus back to our apartment in Miratejo which is right over the Tejo River from Lisbon.  Sis. L is from Tampa, Florida.  She and I were meant to be together.  Sis. S. is 5’10” tall and I am 4’10” tall so we will make a great pair.

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Once I was semi-settled we went off to work.  I had absolutely no idea what anyone said to me.  They all talked really fast and I just stood there, trying to smile.  I’m sure I had a look of confusion on my face.  That was pretty much the rest of the week.  The most I can say at this point is Olá, Bom dia, Boa tarde, boa noite (depending on what time of the day it is) Tudo Bem? Como Está? But I’ll get there. And obviously, I sound like a Brasileira(Brazilian).  I’ve had at least 15 people ask me if I am from Brazil and I answer “Não Eu sou Americana.”{In the MTC all of my language teachers were Brazilian Portuguese speakers}  Mais Tudo Bem.  At least they understand a little of what I’m trying to say.

Sunday wasn’t much better.

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The members understood that I am a greenie and tried to talk slower.  It didn’t help much.  But I appreciated that they were trying.   I also appreciated lunch.  by Irmã Fatima M. whose children are learning English, fed us.  She wanted us to talk to her children in English.  That made me feel good.  I found out that her 15-year- old son plays League of Legends.  So, shout out to my brother for giving me a little something I could talk about with a 15-year-old boy on another continent.  Thanks Adam.

We also visited the home of an older Sister and her husband whose name I don’t remember.  They were so funny.  As she said when I was sitting there smiling “Estás em uma casa de locos” (You’re in a house of crazies).  It was fun.

That was my week this week and we are planning on getting new investigators this week and baptize some of them by the end of the month.  I have faith that all things can happen through the Lord.

Tchau! Bom Dia!

So Long! Farewell!!

Oi amigos e familia!

Well this is it! My last email from the MTC.  Tomorrow I head off to Portugal!

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I am way too excited to function! We are all starting to pack and its really weird to think that we have only been here for six weeks.  It feels like we’ve been here forever.

It’s going to be sad to say goodbye to everyone.  Sister A. got temporarily reassigned to New York (The only place she really wanted to go so it worked out) and Elder M. got reassigned to Reno, Nevada while Sister Smith and I are headed to Portugal.  It doesn’t feel quite real yet.  I don’t think it will hit me until I’m walking off the Plane in Portugal.

I have learned so much these last few weeks and I am sad to be leaving, mas (But) I know that I am going out to teach real people this amazing gospel and helping them receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father wants to give them.

It’s going to be sad leaving the district.  We’ve all become like family.  We even have the typical sibling banter with Elder M.  It is really funny.

Anyway this week is going to be crazy and everything will work itself out.  I am ready to go and serve the people of Portugal with all my heart, might, mind and strength.  Wish you all the best.

Tchau! Bom Dia!

Portugal, Here I Come!

On The Lord’s Time

Oi amigos e Familia!

This week as been a blur!!!

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Elder Dallin H. Oaks came for a devotional on Tuesday and Elder David A Bednar came for our Thanksgiving devotional!  It was cool.  Elder Bednar did something unexpected.  He told us that when he was done with his presentation we would be doing a Q&A.  So how is that unexpected you say?  He said that were we going to ask our questions via text message.  He handed out 200 cellphones and asks the people in the crowd to type in questions!  We all had a little difficulty remembering how to text but it was still cool!!  This year for the MTC Thanksgiving project we bagged food for a company that I think is called “Feeding the Children”  It was our goal to beat the bagging record for last year.  We did over 16,000 bags of food.  Not only did it break the records, it felt amazing knowing that while we were helping people who sometimes get only one meal a day.  I wish we could do something like that every week.  But alas!  Our weekly service includes mostly cleaning buildings… something I’ve been doing my whole life practically.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here five weeks!!  This time next week the three of us will be on our way.  We received “tentative” travel plans which means, they booked the tickets for us if our visas come in within the week.  But if they don’t come, we will be reassigned state side for however long.  So as of now, whether I will be in Portugal this next week or not is up in the air but we will know by the end of the week.  They didn’t say how long they thought it would be before the visa’s come.  But honestly I’m not worried about it.  I’m supposed to be where I’m supposed to be.  Maybe there is a person here in the states I need to teach before I go to Portugal or maybe there’s something I still need to learn.  This is the Lord’s time and I plan on using how he wants me to and not worry about things that are.

That’s one thing I’ve learned from my time here.  None of us know the Lord’s time frame.  Both of our teachers spent time in the states before their visa’s got in.  Irmao Gray was in Florida for six months and Irma Kimball was in New Jersey for three months.  I’m not worried about it, it will get here when it’s supposed to.

This last week instead of our regular teacher Irma Kimball, we had a substitute named Irmao Rodriguez He served in Portugal.  We asked him if he had much success because we had heard that there weren’t many baptisms in Europe.  He told us to stop thinking like that and that the only way you will get baptisms is if you have faith.  “The field is white and ready for harvest” He told us that there are so many that are ready and willing to hear the gospel and change their lives because of it.  It was a giant slap in the face because I had never heard it like that before and I realized that I needed to change my attitude about it.  He then went on to tell us how he only had two weeks in his entire mission when they didn’t have a baptism.  I am praying for the faith to do the same and help others come unto this amazing gospel.

That’s all I have for this week, it’s gotten to the point where weeks start blurring together and I have no idea what else to say.

Tchau!! Bom Dia!!