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 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 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

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