Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where does the tempo go?

Tudo bem, tudo bom!
Can you believe I'm heading into my last week at the MTC?! We got our flight plans this week and I about died of joy I'm SOOO excited! We have a couple layovers so I'll get to chill in Texas and London for a couple hours! THEN ON TO LISBOA!!!! I'm so so so pumped.
Travel Itinerary

Travel Itinerary for Elders Hillman & Lynn

As always, lots of thoughts from this week. It has literally, and I mean LITERALLY been the best week of my entire life, but let's start with the most joyous of all. I SAW ROB!!! Okay who even knew that he was still doing roofing because I certainly didn't! I about cried but seriously it was just surprise and joy! I obviously couldn't really stop and talk to him for too long but it was so weird and cool to see him especially because he was in Spain when I left. I'm telling you, this week really felt like Heavenly Father looked down and said, "Hey Sister Swasey, you have a good one!"

Running into Rob at the MTC

That day we also got to skype with a man in Brazil! He was a member and so we shared a quick lesson with him and got to talk to him for a bit. He was super nice and it was so cool to talk to a native!!! Then that day I got a whole bunch of letters and all. Sister Call also had a quick question about a skirt and we went to ask the front desk and the referred us to all sorts of people until we got all the way up to Sister Nally, the MTC president's wife! I want to be her when I grow up, seriously she was SO nice! She invited us in right away and just sat and talked to us about the skirt and just about our missions. She also said she felt impressed to share some advice with us. She told us to compliment people, which sounds simple but she went on to say that sometimes we may have to look really hard to find things to compliment but that will help us be positive and always be able to see the good in the world. She was the neatest lady ever. That day we also happened to run into President Nally as he was leading a tour and he asked us what mission we were going to and all. SO COOL.

Sister Tingey & Elder Clement (BYU Friends)
 It's actually kind of funny, we met him while Sister Larsen and I were playing this silly game. The MTC has tons of pictures all over and we love looking at them. I found a picture of Japan and someone said you can't tell the difference between Asians. I thought this was ridiculous because of COURSE there are differences and I told them so. So Sister Larsen went up to the next picture of Asians and covered the caption but they were clearly Korean and so I said so. This turned into an ongoing game of Guess-Where-This-Photo-Is-From. That day I even guessed Mongolian right so I was pretty pumped. Yes I'm still as weird as ever.
Devotionals continue to be one of my favorite parts about the MTC. It's interesting because in at least 3 or 4 of the devotionals the speakers have instructed us to be bold but not overbearing. I'm thinking that means it's pretty important! I don't usually struggle with being bold but sometimes I worry about being overbearing and annoying or whatnot. I've been really working on showing my investigators I love them so when I am bold, they'll know it comes from a good place.
This week was just really great. I thought it was going to go downhill one morning when I woke up kind of sick. I took some medication and felt even WORSE. Then as I was sitting in class really wanting to just whine and complain, but then I just kind of realized that hey, I'm on a mission and whining really isn't going to get me anywhere. I can't go take a nap or slack off because this is all way too important. The SECOND I decided this I swear I felt tons better and by the afternoon I was completely fine. Isn't that amazing how that works? I love being a missionary because it's so much easier to be better because you know you have to work hard know matter what and that this work is super important. It's easier to bite my tongue when I want to complain and just ask Heavenly Father to help me push through whatever insignificant thing may be bothering me.
French Speaking Friends
Fun fact for the week about Portuguese- they have a TON of contractions, but unlike English they aren't optional. So far I've learned contractions for with-me/you/us, in-the/this/that, of the/this/that, and more that I can't even think of right now with the clock of doom ticking down my time. Also, Portuguese has two ways to say "for" but they're not interchangeable and really they mean a LOT of other things. The stressful part for me is they really change the meaning if you switch them. So basically I know never to pray para your enemies, only por your enemies because the first one means your pray too your enemies...yup! Fun stuff. I'm stoked to talk to natives and really immerse myself in the language!
Another cool thing is reading the scriptures in Portuguese. Fun Fact #2 is from Ether 12:6 which talks about receiving a witness after the trial of your faith. The interesting thing is that in the Portuguese Book of Mormon it says after the PROOF of your faith. There is a word for trial and I know they're similar but I thought it was neat how whoever translated it felt to say that we literally need to prove that we have faith to receive a witness.
One thing I think you all should check out is a video about Cape Verde on LDS.org. It's the mission 5 of the elders in my district are going to and it's a really neat story! Also the Europe Area Authority in the video was one of the first converts in Portugal! I'm so excited to teach the people there because they really are pretty receptive. There are over 30,000 members there and there have only been missionaries there since like the 70's. SO COOL.
Danielle's District & Instructors
Anyway, basically still just loving my life more and more every day. Missionary work IS the work of salvation! The souls that I'm supposed to help save are in Portugal and I can't wait to get there to meet them. I just encourage you all to consider the souls the Lord has asked you to help save. Are they your children, your, relatives, your fellow ward members, yourself? I'm definitely still working on that last one myself. This work is so much more than missionaries and baptisms in foreign countries, it's just helping as many people as we can come unto Christ, starting with ourselves and then on to others. I'm so humbled and blessed to be apart of it!

Thank you for the package Eubank Family!

Hopefully I'll get a chance to email next week but I'm not sure because we may not have a P-day with traveling and all that. Either way I love you all and I love hearing from you! 
Ate mais e com amor,

Sister Swasey

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Desculpe moments and other randomness

Tudo bem tudo o mundo! (literally translated, all well, all the world! Or in other words, how's it going everyone!)

MTC life...man it is some pretty good stuff, I highly recommend it. Seriously though, every day is such a great day!!! So much to tell you this week so let's get crackin'.

Devotionals. Oh my goodness they are the greatest things you could ever imagine. They blow my mind weekly. I really love doing choir too, we go every week and the director is the best I've ever seen ever. I'm telling you they get the BEST here at the MTC. He always gives us amazing background on the songs we sing and it's really powerful. He's also hilarious so that's fun too. Devotionals are cool too because we go to the Marriott Center with ALL the missionaries and it's sweet, I mean there are thousands of us, getting more every day. They took a picture last week of all the missionaries- only the third one ever taken at the MTC of all the missionaries so that's pretty sweet.

Devotional at the Marriott Center
 After Devotional is really cool too because we have district review where we talk about what stuck out to us and such. It always turns into an awesome discussion. This time people shared trials or doubts they faced to get here to the MTC. It's weird for me to hear that because the honest truth? From the minute I heard about the age change and collapsed on the floor in sobs of joy I have never had a single doubt- not one. It's interesting because I know that it's not because I'm some perfect missionary or something. Mostly I just feel like Satan couldn't get to me for some reason, like maybe my hard trials are coming later. I don't know if that's making ANY sense but basically I'm just glad that I KNOW I need to be here and I'm really excited to see what the Lord has in store for me.
Danielle, Sister Larsen & Samuel Smith

Sundays are cool too because we get to go on temple walks. The temple is closed so we never get to do sessions but it's fun to go walk around it with all the missionaries. It's a little sad because now there are protesters every time we go. It's kind of weird too because I've never seen them at the Provo temple before, or any temple except Salt Lake really. It's sad to see them so angry at us when we're trying so hard to spread joy but if you think about it, it's just fulfilling prophesy.On Sundays we also get to watch Music in the Spoken Word and every week we start Relief Society singing The Sisters of Zion. They rewrote the words to As Sisters in Zion to be our missionary song! I'm still trying to get a copy of the words because it's superrrr good.

Danielle & Jason Allred
Our lessons with Ricardo are progressing! We have discovered the perfect analogy for them. Each lesson is like a flying squirrel. Bear with me. We get to the lessons and he tells us he read the Book of Mormon! So we get excited and we leap...and then he asks us a million hard questions, has doubts about everything we say, we try to follow the Spirit but it feels like it's going nowhere, etc. etc. Well then EVERY time at the last minute when we're falling and we're like well, there's the ground- this woodland creature has wings and the lesson never crashes. It's weird but it made sense in my head. We always end up throwing our lesson plans out the window but it's still really cool because like one lesson we're were struggling and trying so hard when Sister Larsen pulls out a scripture we had planned to use to talk about something TOTALLY different and that verse turned the whole lesson around and we got him to a point where he really wanted to know more, pray more, and really try to figure out if what we're saying is true. So basically, planning helps even if we end up throwing most of our plans out the janela. 2 Nephi was the scripture by the way, it was a good one because Ricardo is SUPER logical and technical. It's a good one.

Paisley Tie Wednesdays
Random facts about my life are as follows: I think I've had a bagel for breakfast about 85% of the days here and I drink lemonade with about every single meal. Sometimes I see companionships matching and I think it's really funny. Like they literally wear the exact same outfit, so much so that you know it's no joke. Too funny! I learned that the best way to learn is to have an elder tell you that you can't do something. Elder Gunther told me I couldn't learn how to do that snapping thing with your knuckles (I can't really explain it but Kurt can do it really well if you remember). Well less than a week later I've got it down! And I can do it with both hands faster than most of the elders. In your face Elder Gunther. Only joking :)

Italian Neighbor

We get to be hosts to the new missionaries next week so I'm really excited about that!!! We got new neighbors this week going to Russian and we've been making friends with them. I say "Oi!" and they say "iuasefipuagwehi" and we have a grand old time. We also have the biggest zone nowadays so we have 3 counselors for the president and I know like 5 people in it from BYU. We do service every week too and ours is cleaning bathrooms. Basically I feel right at home...haha my job was good prep for a mission in more ways than I thought! Let's see, que mais.... Oh we switched the room we do our computer stuff in so that's pretty thrilling. We don't experience a lot of change around here so it's a pretty big deal.

Danielle & Elder Lynn with his Free Rabbit

 OH! We've started going through the free bins where departing missionaries leave lots of good stuff. So far I got a couple mini American flags and a Jesus the Christ which is AWESOME. I also got a Cebuano Bible for fun but that will probably return to the free box.

Zone Leaders Roberts & Gunther
Life is just good! I mean sometimes I have hard times like when I have to move my hair because it's covering my nametag or like when my sheets fall off my top bunk but I'm pulling through ;) Okay but in all seriousness, this week has been really fun and hilarious. We were practicing teaching in class with the Elders. We were supposed to be depressed investigators so Sister Larsen and I said our mom died. We were supposed to be practicing getting to know people better and such. Well in response to this Elder Elsmore says, "Desculpe. Como e seu trabalho?" Which means, "Sorry, how's your job?" Which was funny enough as it is. To top it all off that's the wrong kind of sorry which is what you say like when you bump into someone, NOT when their mom dies. Even better, we found out "desculpe" really means more of "my bad" or "my fault" so translate that one now haha. Oh yeah and the Portuguese write a laugh like the following: "kkkkk," "huahuahua" and "rsrsrsrs" TOO FUNNY. Another highlight, Elder Hillman gave a glorious prayer as an investigator as follows- "Deus, desculpe por pecados, obrigado por missionarios, amem." Which is just "God, sorry for sins, thanks for missionaries, amen." Classic elder. And when you're in a classroom as long as we are that is some prime comedy stuff!

Well worn scriptures

Study Materials
This week I made a lot of goals that I'd like to share. My MTC goal is just to be able to walk away knowing I had a good attitude the whole time and I used my study time wisely. I hate when people say they hate the MTC, especially because I LOVE it. I also don't want to regret not studying enough so I've been working on not being so distracted. My end mission goal is to be able to say that I gave all the love I had to every person I met, taught, and worked with. I really feel like love in a mission is the most important thing. Charity IS the pure love of Christ and it is the first great commandment. Christ was so loving and so if I can be more like Him then...sweet, I mean that's the ultimate goal! I also want to memorize a scripture a week of my mission in Portuguese. So far I have the first vision, ALma 32:21, Alma 34:32, James 1:5 and John so I'm even ahead! It's super cool to read the scriptures in Portuguese because they translate slightly differently so you get a better understanding of the meaning.
Smells like Cream Soda

 We had the coolest lesson this week with Irmao Taylor. Look up Elder Holland's talk about the Atonement and Missionary work, there's a youtube video for it that we watched. SO GOOD. I really learned that being a missionary really is just trying to be like Christ. Missionary work isn't going to be easy because the work of salvation has NEVER been easy. It wasn't for Christ and it won't be for us. And so even when I give all my love to an investigator that rejects me, that's okay because that's exactly what Christ does everyday. Elder Holland talks about how to have a lasting and enduring testimony of the Atonement we have to walk a few steps into the Garden, we have to go where Christ went. We have to pay a SMALL token of the price He paid to truly be able to testify of the atonement. He says it so much better than I can but it's a great thought. I just need to love as He did, and maybe experience some pain as He did (okay definitely) and then just lean on Him. This IS the Lord's work. I know it! I love it! Every day I'm so grateful to be hear. I'm so grateful to be a part of bring salvation and happiness to other people. It's humbling, it's hard, it's worth it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else doing anything else.
I love you all, write me emails or letters anytime!

Tchau Tchau for now,
Sister Swasey

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


To my dearest familia and amigos,

Tudo bem everyone?! I really can't even really explain my life here. Imagine a place where all you do is learn and improve all day everyday and you never go to bed thinking "Wow, what a bad day, glad it's over." EVERYDAY IS SO GOOD. Nao perfeito but good :)

So I want to tell you more about Ricardo, our beloved atheist investigator. Our second lesson with him went MUCH better but he still hadn't prayed by the third one. Our teacher told us that if need be, as in if he's really not interested and willing, we can choose to not continue teaching him. When he said that Sister Larsen and I were both like, ummm WHAT? Nao obridaga. We seriously love that man even though I don't understand 56.8% of what he says and he's not exactly super fond of us either. Here's the good news! Our third lesson was about the plan of salvation. We were really trying to get him to want to know more and we thought that since he loves his family he may be interested in the idea of eternal families. HE WAS. Como se diz hallelujah? He actually opened up to us and told us how he doesn't know if he'll see his dad ever again but he thinks it's a really nice idea. I think we're finally getting somewhere with him and really developing a relationship. He still wouldn't pray with him but Sister Larsen got fo' real and made him PROMISE to pray in private where he feels more comfortable. It was really cool and I can't wait to teach him again tomorrow
Danielle & Elder Vaclaw (Phillipines)
This past week we had 3 different substitutes since Irmao Chamberlin was gone. Irma Ricks was really cool! It was neat to have a female missionary perspective. All the teachers teach a little differently too so it's cool that we got to hear from 3 new ones. Irmao Read was really nice and fun and I think he said "otimo" about 50 times haha. It just means awesome but he has a strong Brazilian accent too so it was pretty much "oh-chi-moh!" over and over. Too funny. Elder Limperle, however, was by FAR my favorite because he just got back from his mission a couple months ago, and he served in PORTUGAL!!! He was super enthusiastic and he told us a lot about the country. Favorite facts include that Portugal is like where all the Portuguese speaking immigrants go to look for jobs (even though there aren't any, can you say "humbling economic crisis?"). So basically I'll get to teach people from Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, and Brazil! Not to mention other random European immigrants from Ukraine and stuff. How cool is that? Sometimes our elders going to Cape Verde complain because they really speak more Creole there but Irmao Limperle was just like, "Hey, learn BOTH." and he taught them some Creole and talked about the foods he tried. So basically, I'm out to embrace ALL of it. I want to learn some Creole!!!! I'll probably try to figure out Portuguese more first though ;) He was just so enthusiastic though and was just like hey, there are no "hard" areas, they are what you make them. God is going to lead you to the people that are ready because they are out there! They're everywhere! I'm so pumped I can't even explain it.
Temple Pals
 In on of our exercises we switched companions and I taught with Sister Call. She's AWESOME and I love her but I never expected it to be as weird as it was. Sister Larsen and I are so comfortable teaching together now and I really feel a power with her which is really cool. It's not like the easiest thing to be with someone 24/7 but Sister Larsen makes it pretty dang otimo. We've been really trying to work on the questions we ask during lessons. It's hard to ask them in Portuguese but when I really think about it it's pretty hard in English too. You want to ask questions that make them think or help you understand their needs and that's pretty hard sometimes! I know it's really important though to build a relationship of trust and really figure out what they need and what they have concerns about so I can teach them better and better follow the Spirit. It's definitely a work in progress but I'll keep you updated.
Laundry Buddies
Gym time continues to be one of my favorite times of the day. It's a nice break from thinking so much all day everyday. This week we played four square with the elders and it was HILARIOUS. They are so spiritually mature and yet such BOYS too. It's really fun to hang out with them all the time. They were, of course, weirdly competitive. Four square trash talk is also really funny. They're really great elders though and I'm so glad we all get along like a big, happy, insane, enthusiastic family.

 I've continued to work on my Portuguese hour of the day. It's hard especially when we all know different words but it's been really good practice! It's good for me to use the words I've studied in real sentences and it forces me to speak more. Yesterday I attempted an English fast. I made it past dinner before breaking, so I thought that was pretty solid! I'd like to continue to try giving up English one day a week or something like that. At the very least I'm increasing my Portuguese hora to two hours a day this week. I'm excited about it! There's nothing better than being able to carry on a conversation, or really even just say one full sentence in Portuguese. The Spirit is obviously SUPER important and I work really hard to have it with me always, especially when teaching. I do however feel that language is pretty important. It helps you explain to investigators what they're feeling or what they can feel from the Holy Ghost and I think it will mean a lot to the people there that I'm working so hard to learn their language. I love D&C 90:11 in regards to this idea so you all should check that out.

OH! We also learned some pretty fun slang from Irmao Limperle. In Portugal cool is "fiche" pronounced pretty much like fish, "feesh!" and to say darn they say, "fogo!" which literally means fire. Missionary teachers, and all the people that work at the MTC are really the best of the best. So basically shout out to Dad and Grandpa Eubank for being part of all this. They really do get the BEST people to help, guide, and teach us.
The MTC is just a cool place. We're the only Portuguese district on our floor so everyday we pass by people learning Russian and the Italians like to stop by and say hi to us. Fun fact: italian is CRAZY similar to Portuguese. I pretty much understand everything they say to us which is neat. It's just FICHE. Everybody is working SO hard. I've never worked harder in my life. I've been memorizing a lot of scriptures in Portuguese and really trying to master the grammar and actually be able to use it when I talk. It's just FUN. I can't explain why reading for hours and hours on end everyday is fun but it is. It's so purposeful!
 It's just really neat to think about it all. I'm part of the GREATEST generation this world has ever seen. Uh...what? How cool is that! And we're all just here trying our best to really live up to that. Devotionals in the Marriott are SO cool because I sit on the end for choir so I can see ALL the missionaries and there are SOOOO MANY. This work is saving souls and I just keep thinking, HELLO key to happiness right here. D&C 18 everyone, it's the best and it's the truth. It makes me wish I was a better missionary before this because it is SO SO SOOOO important. I know that now more than ever. It brings so much happiness to everyone involved. I just want to give everything I have over to this work, the Lord's work, and just let the Spirit take me where I need to go. I'll do what He wants me to do, I'll say what He wants me to say and I'm going where He wants me to go. There is nothing cooler than this, nothing more important, and nothing that will bring more happiness that bringing souls unto Christ. I love it, I really do.
Sister Larsen, Danielle and our Favorite, Elder Han
 Anyway, thanks to those that have written me, getting mail and emails is the BEST. I love you all and I pray for you often- in the best Portuguese I can manage. Personal prayers in Portuguese is really hard but I've been having some really sincere prayers with Heavenly Father because of it, even though He speaks much better than I do :) Anyway, write me and I'll write back! I even tried sending some letters to my missionary friends this week. Not really sure if it's going to get all the way to Madagascar but we'll see haha :) (by the way Sister Ward if you're reading this will you send me Jake's address?) Love you all!

Com amor,

Sister Danielle Swasey

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Hello there friends, family, and Danielle Swasey´s mission enthusiasts,
Week two is pretty much officially over! Today is my P-day and it's been pretty swell. Good news! The ticking clock of doom is still there but I have notes about what I want to talk about so let's do this thing!
Sister Swasey & Sister Larsen
Last P-day ended with a super sweet devotional. I LOVE devotionals they're the greatest!!! The speaker talked about "What e'er thou art, act well thy part." It was cool though because he showed us the stone that David O. McKay saw and explained that the symbols below are numbers that add up to a magic square so we all have to be the right "number" for magic to happen basically. Super cool. After devo we all talked as a district about what stuck out to us and that was really spiritual and neat to see that side of the people we're usually stressing over Portuguese with or joking with. After planning Elder Naylor got up and I don't really even remember exactly what he said but it was so encouraging! Basically just that you know what, we don't speak this language but after less than a week we feel like family and we're here to encourage each other. It was so cool.
Sisters Larsen, Swasey, Derrick & Call
We got two new sisters in our room this week and they're going to Brasil. We laugh about the differences in the accents and whatnot and they're really nice. Wednesday was fun because even though we'd only been there a week we acted like pros, saying "Bem-Vindo!" to every newbie we saw. It was really fun. We also had our best lesson yet with Lucas. The spirit was SOOO strong and we actually understood a few things he said, yippee! We also committed him to baptism and set a date which was really cool. 

Wednesday I was also kind of Professore Swasey and we had about an hour long lesson with the elders on Possessives.  Knowing French is really helping me wrap my mind around the concepts that are so unlike English. It takes them a little longer but they're getting it and I genuinely love getting to teach what little I know and help these adorable elders. I'd like to study more but the way I see it, one more soul in Cape Verde or Mozambique is just as important as one in Portugal, not that it necessarily adds up like that but you know what I mean. It's the same work and I'm here to help.
So many books . . . .

So many books, so little time

I've seen lots of people since being here! Old VA friends like Elders Han and Allred and Sister Anderson and Heyer. I also see BYU friends like Elders Joyner and Vaclaw and SIsters Magnusson, Everett, Lamphier, and Nicholas. It makes my day!
This week I decided to start praying in Portuguese in my personal prayers because I read that as a suggestion in PMG. Let me tell you, my first attempt was the slowest, longest, yet more sincere prayer I think I've ever given in my entire life. It is so humbling and difficult and yet at the same time I find myself able to still pour out my heart to my Heavenly Father. I spend a lot more time on my knees nowadays doing it but it's been so worth it.
Happy 4th!
The Fourth of Julho was super fun!!! We all wore red, white, and blue and two elders brought in their American flag. We sang the Star Spangled Banner to it and everything so that was fun. Then we had a devotional and in it we watched 17 Miracle. That movie is AMAZING why had I never seen it before?! We even got to go outside and watch fireworks and eat ice cream after so it was a party.

Yoga Time

Gym time is one of my favorite times here because it's like the one break we get and don't have to think. I like to go running and do core mostly but sometimes Sister Derrick teaches us yoga. I'm not a big yoga person but we convinced our elders to do it this morning and it was HILARIOUS. They could not take it seriously and I think I mostly strengthened my core through yoga. Too funny.

Comps at the Temple
So "Lucas" is our new teacher Irmao Taylor. I love both our teachers but I think he's more my style, a little more enthusiastic and such. Irmao Chamberlin is better at a Portuguese accent though since they both served in Brasil. I taught Elder Barnett how to pronounce the missionary purpose and as I was doing it I was just so glad I practiced the RIGHTaccent all those times I hung out with Brazilians. Irmao Taylor served in Recife (spell check that...) and that's where Elder Delgado is from though so that's fun and we talked about that.

So yeah basically the day is full of personal study on companionship study on language study on additional study. Usually during language study I take over the chalk board with conjugations and whatnot because I've found it really helps things stick to practice them a lot and see them written out.

OH!!! IT RAINED THIS WEEK!!!!! I was so excited even though it lasted like 5 minutes. It made me miss Orlando lightning storms.

Singing in the Rain
 So recently in companionship study we've been role playing a lot in English and Portuguese and that's been really helpful! I've also instituted an all Portuguese hour a day into my life because that's what I used to do to prep for AP French at track meets with my French friend. These two things help A LOT because even though we TRY to speak Portuguese as often as we can this pushes me even further.

I'm pretty much tired all day every day but I don't even mind it that much. When we get really tired we don't get more stressed we just get slap-happy and everything is hilarious so we have a pretty good time. Our district is like my second family already. Everyone is really supportive and helpful and I'm really going to miss our Africa-bound elders after the MTC.
Temple Trip
Fun Fact: in one of our devotionals they mentioned how Europe has a reputation for not baptizing but they once transferred a Brazilian president over to be in charge of a European mission. Well he, not knowing they don't baptize in Europe, was just like let's get to work and guess what- they baptized. A lot. And guess what else, THAT'S MY MISSION. Super cool I thought.
From Orlando to Portugal
Portugal bound

Alright now are you up for more fun facts, this time about Portuguese? Well so in Portuguese they don't have the letters K, W, or Y. So what I'm thinking is um...how are they going to call me Sister Swasey?... I asked someone who served there and he said they're going to just stumble over the W and not really say it so- "Suh....uh-aze" So naturally I'm really excited for that. They would have a good laugh trying to say Kurt Swasey I'm sure. Also in regards to possessives you ALWAYS have to put an article before them. So I have to say, "Eu amo a minha familia." which literally means "I love the my family." It's weird. Once you learn all the rules though about pronunciation it's really not so bad. They follow them as far as I can tell from our computer program that we use with native speaker recordings so I think I'm pronouncing things right...at least as best as I can!!!
Mission Tag & Portuguese Flag
The other day we had to have a Stress Lesson in class. I honestly get the most stressed during email time of all things since there's so much I want to say! I'm better with notes now so that's good. Anyway the stress lesson was way funny because we watched videos of people saying about how they relieved stress. Little did we know, four square is a really great way to do so. This was a tired-slap-happy day as well so the whole experience was just comical.
Sundays are REALLY great. We had a mission conference and all the speakers were amazing. They're so inspiring! At one point they had all the 1st and 2nd generation members stand up. THERE WERE SO MANY I CRIED. I'm so grateful for my pioneer heritage and all the converts in my family. It was really just amazing to see so many missionaries being pioneers for their own families.
Sunday nights we also get to watch church films. We've watched ours in Portuguese both times and that has been really cool! I'm just trying hard to immerse myself as much as possible. I also bore my testimony in sacrament meeting- all in Portuguese too! It's funny because our district is the only continental Portuguese in our branch so we sound so different. It was really cool though! I couldn't say much, I really don't speak this language, but I can testify and a lot of times if not all the time that's enough.
Our classroom also had NO decorations and it was like a jail but our neighbor classroom noticed and brought us like 20! Nicest Italian elders ever. Now our room is a little less like a cell :)
Elders Elsmore & Naylor
Last night we had our first lesson with a man named Ricardo. His family is Mormon but he's atheist. That's all we knew going into it. Let's just sum it up like this- he barely let us in the door, he reluctantly let us pray, he spoke SUPER fast and we didn't understand like anything, he may have fallen asleep twice, and I cried in the middle of the lesson. SOOO yep. Wanna know the crazy part? That's probably going to be one of my fondest memories looking back. I love the MTC. It hasn't been all that hard or overwhelming and I think Heavenly Father noticed that and decided to give us a challenge. It's crazy how much you care about someone you don't even know, enough to cry, when you're trying to share the gospel. We testified, we brought the Spirit, and he agreed to try to pray. We prayed for him in the opening and closing prayer and I can tell that meant something to him. He's acting uninterested but you can tell he wants something more and I know Sister Larsen and I have it. I never understood how people could say be grateful for trials until now. I'm so grateful for that depressing, emotionally straining, and all in all most difficult lesson I could have ever imagined. I've learned more since that lesson than I think I learn in a whole day or week. It was so eye opening and we're excited to go back and teach him again. We were sad after but Elder Barnett got up in my face and was just like, "That was awful wasn't it? IT SUCKED, it was hard and you didn't enjoy it. But you tried and you are going to go back. You have amazing gifts to offer him and that's what you're going to do." I love blunt and straightforward and it was just what I needed.
Anyway, last thought- we talked about missionaries in the area of reactivation. Consider this- the Lord just wants us to come unto Him and stay. He doesn't care if it's our first time coming or 50th, that's all He wants. If you don't know a non-member to teach, reach out to the inactives because that's missionary work too. I never really thought of it in quite that way but yeah, that's my challenge to you :)
All right that's it for now other than please write to me!!!!

Thanks go to Mom and Sister Ward (and Alex but he can't read this) for your letters! They mean SOOO much to us missionaries in this MTC bubble and even though I'm busy and not homesick I still want to hear from you all! And feel free to email too because we can print them out, read them on our own time, and then I can try to reply!!! Dear Elder is great just because we get them every day and it makes my days so much better :)
I love you all and I LOVE this gospel. I love being a missionary and I love every single day of this work. It's work, but it's so fun and so full of purpose. Being a missionary is all I've ever wanted and now it's everything I wanted and more.
Com amor,
Sister Swasey

Friday, July 5, 2013


Oi Minha Familia e Meus Amigos!!!

Life in the MTC is okay...JUST KIDDING IT'S THE GREATEST EXPERIENCE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I'm having so much fun and learning a lot. Oh, and being obedient and all that jazz too of course. Wow, writing emails is a little stressful because there's a clock of doom counting down in the corner of the screen, even though I have like over 50 minutes left. And I feel all this pressure to be interesting.
Danielle & her BYU roommate, Jessica at the MTC

ANYWAY... where can I even begin? I suppose I'll just tell you everything I've been doing. Grandpa dropped me off at like 2 on Wednesday and I rushed around getting a million books and my name tag and everything and just dropped my stuff off in my room. Then my host took me my to my classroom and I met my district. I was the last one there since it goes alphabetical. My teacher's name is Irmao Chamberlin and he's super nice. He served in Rio but he speaks AMAZING continental Portuguese (since we all know I'm a Portuguese expert...NOT).

My companion's name is Sister Larsen and I LOVE her. Seriously. She's super sweet and really fun. We both really want to be here and I love working with her. She just finished her second year at BYU-I and she's from Nevada, Las Vegas area. Like 2 minutes after I got to our classroom we went to some orientation stuff.

The MTC is SO fun because we just sit down and start talking to people around us and everyone is going so many crazy places!!! And as we walk around with bright orange "Hello I'm new here and know absolutely nothing" stickers on our name tags people are super nice and say "welcome" in a bajillion different languages. That first day we were in groups of maybe 50 or so people and we taught lessons in English as a group. The person in charge would just walk around handing the microphone to different people and we'd have to pick up where the last person left off. BOTH me and minha colega we called on to speak. It. Was. So. Hard. I mean it was really good too and I learned a lot from others and myself about what NOT to say, but also some good things to do too of course. The next day we did some more orientation stuff and figured out where things are and we had our first real lesson with our teacher. Before coming to the CTM I kind of thought our teachers would be there more but we really only see them for about 3 hours a day to learn really basic grammar. I typically spend those 3 hours asking a million questions about things that I stumbled upon in my language study that day that I don't get. Irmao Chamberlin is very patient with me haha. We spend a LOT of time in class doing Estudo Pessoal, Companion Study, and Language Study and we really do teach ourselves a lot. It's good though. My best advice for people preparing to serve language missions though is LEARN SOME BEFORE COMING. I am SOOOOOOO glad I know a lot of basic Portuguese. I help everyone in my district a lot and it has made this week not overwhelming at all. I'm having an absolute blast. Don't get me wrong, I still don't know a lot but even just knowing how to bear my testimony, say a prayer, greet someone and conjugate some basic verbs is seriously saving me here. I'm having so much fun learning more too. I love being able to help my district and learn from them as well because trust me, I'm very honest when I don't know something (which is a lot of the time) and then we figure it out together. They still joke about me being Professore Swasey (spell check that one, nao sei...) but soon enough they'll be on my level and I'll need their help just as much. My district is amazing though I love everyone so much. I suppose I can tell you a little bit about the people I spend hours and hours with!

Sister Larsen is my companion and like I said she's awesome, we get along super well and we both work really hard. Sister Derrick and Sister Call are the other companionship in our room (but we're getting two new Brazil bound sisters tomorrow). They super nice and both from Utah. The four of us get along really well and are very honest with each other about things. They both speak Spanish pretty well so it definitely helps their Portuguese MOST of the time. The accents are still really different but they're both picking it up really quickly and I ask them for help A LOT. It just makes me laugh when people in our district try to use Spanish because sometimes it totally helps and other times it's not even close so it's pretty funny. I can't really use my French as much for individual words but it helps with the accent and just approaching the language.
Elder Gunther is our district leader and he's really awesome. Sometimes I think he even finds me slightly amusing which is nice. The Elders are awesome and they're finally warming up to me and we're all becoming friends but let me tell ya, I was really worried after that first day that's for sure! The Elders in our district are all going to Cape Verde and Mozambique while the Sisters are going to Portugal. The first day when I learning this I joked, "Bummer, you guys were so close to the perfect mission!" Personally, I found this a rather mild sarcastic remark but you could have heard a pin drop in that room- most awkward silence of my life. Good news is they now know I was kidding. Part of it is because all but 1 of them are what I like to call affectionately, "baby Elders" meaning they all just graduated a couple weeks ago. It makes it easy to be their friends though and now that we've almost survived a week together they tease me back and we have a good time.

Anyway, Elder Roberts is the only 19 year old elder and he's really cool! He kind of reminds me of Rob but I can't exactly tell you why...it's definitely not based on looks though because all the elders in our district are super tall and blonde except one. So basically I fit in pretty well with them. Kind of. But seriously, the tallest is 6'7" and the shortest is the lone brunette Elder Lynn and he's still 5'11".

Elder Lynn and I are pretty good friends. He's really good at Portuguese because of his Spanish background and he's not afraid to get sassy and sarcastic. It's a good thing I can dish it out AND take it with him around. Elder Hillman usually sits next to me and you might think he's quiet and shy but he's pretty good and being subtley sarcastic and he's absolutely hilarious. If you think I love food (and trust me I LOVE food) then Elder Hillman has a food obsession or something which is funny because he's almost as skinny as me. Speaking of the food, it's not bad! I mean it's pretty much Cannon Center food so I'm used to it.
Elder Godfrey is really nice but I haven't gotten to know him as well yet. His companion is 6'7" cheesy as can be Elder Barnett who I LOVE (not like that though, come on). He's the one that usually calls me the teacher even though I usually say I don't know as often as I have an answer. He took French in high school though so we bond over that I guess.

Elder Elsmore is who I like to call my favorite American. He may be from Arizona but he kind of has a slight southern accent. He "lahkes truhcks" but only Ford and Chevy and he's pretty funny. His companion Elder Naylor is like a little kid. He's always having fun and is super enthusiastic. He probably has the attention span of a squirrel but he keeps the mood really light and fun which is great when we've been in the classroom from 4 hours trying to form basic sentences.

I'm not sure what to write about! The first day I already kind of told you about with orientation and whatnot and most days are pretty much the same. Everyone kept saying "Make it to Sunday and it gets better!" but honestly I LOVE every single day. Like I said, I'm not overwhelmed, at least not yet of course. We've been teaching an investigator and his name is Lucas. He's from Brazil and he's really nice and receptive. We've taught 3 lessons so far. I thought our first one (on Friday morning) was going to crash and burn but it went really well! We talked about the restoration which was nice because we have a panfleto for that so we got to read some of it rather than trying to tell it in our own words, which kind of didn't exist in Portuguese quite yet. Our second one went pretty well too. We introduced the Book of Mormon and asked him to commit to reading certain passages. Even though we still used notes I tried really hard to speak from my heart even though I didn't always know how to say it very well in Portuguese. Again, studying it before hand is so so so helpful because Sister Larsen is still so new at Portuguese she looks to me for help a lot and I try not to let her down. Our last lesson was really humbling to say the least... which is funny. You know how people say not to pray for patience and humility because the God will give you trials to make you that way? They're right! I prayed SO hard this week for both patience and humility because I really didn't want to feel like a know-it-all or anything like that. In my prayers Heavenly Father really opened my eyes and was basically just like, "Danielle, who do you think your language skills come from?" Um...definitely not me! "And why do you think I've given you them?" To help my district and to help my investigators. Our last lesson we decided to not use notes. It was SO hard. It's so hard to ask questions and not understand what they answer or ask and not be able to really tell them what you feel. I tried really hard to speak freely and by the end I think I finally got it though. I took a deep breath and testified. I told Lucas that I KNOW it's true and I just want him to feel the happiness I do. That was certainly the best learning experience so far. Very humbling and good for me.

Even though every day has been AMAZING Sunday really was even better! Sheri Dew came and spoke to us and she is AWESOME. She is an amazing speaker. She taught us to really learn how the Lord communicates with us through the Spirit because sometimes we just don't know. She also taught us about being humble. D&C 112 especially verse 10 is a really great missionary/humility section so check that out if you can!

Basically, I love it here. We're up at 6 every day since we have the 6:30 breakfast shift, which means that we get to each lunch at 11 and dinner at 4. It's kind of weird but I'm getting used to it. We speak our language as much as we can too. The MTC calls it Speak Your Language or Fala Sua Lingua. I really try hard to say whatever I can in Portuguese. The Spirit is so strong and I know that even though it's not hard for me yet that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I love you all so much and I think about you a lot. I'm so happy and I've never wanted to try harder at something in my life. Even though we study like ALL day I never feel like we have enough time. I've really learned that we focus EVERYTHING on investigators, especially language study. I think I was a little selfish thinking it would be cool to learn a language in general. Now I'm much better about knowing that I do want to learn Portuguese but I want to learn it so badly because I want to be able to teach in it and really invite other people to come unto Christ. I'm trying SO hard here and I fall short a lot but I know I have the Lord at my side. Gift of Tongues may not mean He just poof makes me fluent but I definitely feel him helping me learn it.

I've taken a lot of pictures but I don't have a clue how to attach them so hopefully I'll figure that out next week! I'm out of time and sorry if this is scatter brained and random but I'll try to be better. Just know that I'm HAPPY. I'm really learning how to serve the Lord.

Love always,
Sister Swasey