We Are Never Truly Alone

Olá tudo mundo!

This has definitely been a steep learning curve week, realizing that I’m the one that knows the area and the people and I’m responsible to introduce my new companion to all the people you know.  It really has been a humbling and lonely experience.  I find myself in a country where I know the language but only at the level of a child.  But it’s good to know that we are all never truly alone.

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 With Páscoa (Easter) coming up, President Fluckiger gave us an assignment to study the last week of Christ’s life, his death, resurrection and his teachings afterward.  We have been studying that in companion study.  That particular assignment has really helped me keep going through this week. . . to know that Jesus Christ felt the way that all of us have felt when we are alone or are going through rough times.  I know that His love never leaves us.  All we have to do is open our hearts and let Him in to lift us up to something better 🙂  I know that this is the reason I’m here in Portugal, to help my Irmãos e Irmãs (Brothers and Sisters) find the peace and comfort that comes from knowing that in the strength of the Lord, all things are possible.  All trials and heartaches can be swallowed up in his love.  The trials may not be made easier but He will strengthen us to the point where we can endure all things.  That’s what I love about this gospel, having the knowledge that we can be made perfect through the sacrifice of Christ and through our own sacrifices and trials.

I know that He lives and loves each and every one of us and suffered so that we don’t have to.  I think that is glorious knowledge to have in this life and I am so happy to be here sharing it with others in their native tongues.

Out with the Old and In with the New. Well Sort Of. . .

We learned last week that transfers were coming.  We were told that one of us was going to leave the apartment and one of us was going to stay in Miratejo.  But as usual, they didn’t tell us who was leaving and who was staying.

The Miratejo District

The Miratejo District

So then we had to face all the member and investigators.  It was sad telling them that one of us would be leaving.  People don’t really understand the logistics behind a mission and never really understand why we get transferred.  It was pretty rough.  One thing that was strange about it was that Sister Lewis and I both had the feeling that I would be leaving.

The positive thing about the week was that we had the opportunity to visit with a lot of people from our ward.  For example, on Thursday we met with a sister from our ward who doesn’t come to church very often because she just can’t get around.  She lost both her legs.  Even with her problems, Irmã Rosa is the sweetest woman I think I have ever met!  She always has a smile on her face and is always so happy.  I love that.  It’s amazing!

Irma Rosa

Irma Rosa

On Saturday we had dinner with Irmã Lusia.  I think that I’ve mentioned her before.  She is the one that taught Sister Lewis how to make Cape Verde Spaghetti which is pretty delicious.  She also taught us a little bit of creole from Cape Verde!!!   That is fun.  We didn’t learn enough for me to actually converse with people.  But now I know enough to surprise people with my creole and get them to open up a bit.  They are always surprised when the little white girl starts talking to them creole!  You should see their reactions.  It’s funny.  I’m glad to learn this trick to help find people.

Irma Luisa

Irma Luisa

Sunday we had lunch with our Miratejo parents the Santos family! They are so cool.  I love them so dearly.

The Santos Family

The Santos Family

On top of all this craziness, we knew that one of the Elders from our District was leaving.  Elder Schroeder finished his Mission and was heading home.  When a missionary leaves to go home, we the missionaries who are remaining say that the departing missionary is dying.  You can’t have someone die without having a funeral.  So we had a funeral for him at District meeting on Tuesday.  It was hilarious.  We all dressed in black.  The mustaches that Elder Pitcher brought for all of us to wear put us in a much more somber mood.  We sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”.  And it’s not a funeral without funeral potatoes, right?.  So I made a batch.  They were pretty delicious!

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But in the end, it was Sis. Lewis who was right and I was wrong.  Sis. Lewis was the one transferring.  😦  We got a call right from the Mission Office after lunch on Sunday.  They told Sis. Lewis to pack all of things and they told us both to pack an overnight bag.  We got on the train at 9:00 p.m. and headed for Lisbon.  When we got to the Mission Office we found out that Sis. Lewis was being assigned to a different companion in Lisbon itself.  I know that that is where she needs to be and I have more work to do in Miratejo.

It was then that I was also told who my new companion would be.  Surprise, it is Sister Smith.  Yes, that’s right!

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She was my companion in the MTC.  Now we are colegas again!!!  How Crazy!?!?!?!  I knew that no matter how this transfer was going to go, it would amazing!! And in fact is was.

Com Amor, Sister Mills

#PorqueEleVive

Spring has arrived!!!! This is the first week I’ve been in Portugal that we could leave the house without tights and a jacket and not be freezing!  It is glorious!!!!  It also means that people get to bring their goats out onto the roadside so they can graze. . .not really!  We just saw some guy with his goats and thought it was funny.

Recently we have been finding people using new pass along cards that are really cool.  The cards have the European Church’s website.  Take a look.

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It leads you to the http://countrypage.lds.org/cp.  When you go to the site you’ll see that that it lets you pick from any of the European countries and it gives information about the Church in that country’s language.  It makes contacting semi-easier.  Even if people don’t want to spend much time talking to us, we can share a card with them.  Who knows?  It may lead them to learn more about the church later.

Easter is coming.  We are all ready to start contacting using the #BecauseHeLives cards.  The message is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We will have cards in Portugese and they will say #PorqueEleVive.  I am so excited to see how this message about Jesus Christ will be accepted by the Portuguese people.  You can learn more by signing up at http://www.mormon.org/easter/teaser.  Be sure to remind people that Jesus Christ lives.

Today we decided to go to Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of St. Jorge).  It was way cool!! And talk about picturesque.

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I also got a giant chocolate bar from a member in the ward.  I have no clue why he gave it to me but he just walked up and said “Sister Milies Chocolate”, handed it to me and walked away.

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That was kind of funny but not as funny as teaching Portuguese people how to do the cup song.  It was so amusing to see them try to copy the beat.  We showed them but they just got frustrated and started laughing.

Otherwise, it was a pretty uneventful week.  But with spring and pollen I get headaches.  It kinda sucked. (Yes mom I have been drinking enough water).   I got a blessing and we still had a great week.

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That’s all I’ve got for now!

Christo Rei

Well here we are and we’ve made it to March!  I hit my four month mark and I am now out of training!  Time has flown by so fast, it’s crazy!  I’ve had amazing experiences here!

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This week we’ve been teaching Valda.  She is so cool.  I told you a little about her last week.  The Elders taught her all the discussions about a year ago.  But because she couldn’t get off work, she could not come to church.  She changed jobs and we have had the opportunity to help her get to church.  She said again that she wants to be baptized.  We plan on meeting with her today and mark her for baptism for the 14th of March!

Last week, the ward held a funeral service at the chapel.  The service was for a cousin of a ward member.  It was really sad because some of the family members spoke of death and how it was the end.  We hoped to introduce to them the gospel.  But on that day, no one wanted to hear our joyful message that they will see their loved one again.  But we hopefully planted a seed in their hearts that will sprout and grow.

On a happier note we had the chance to go to visit the Cristo Rei statute and do a little Shopping.  Those who know the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro recognize this as being patterned after that amazing statue.

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We had fun.

That’s all I got this week!