Monday, August 26, 2013

Living That European Dream

Queridos Amigos e Familiares,

Missions are the greatest, I highly recommend them to any and all people that enjoy happiness in their lives. There´s too much to say for me to try and include it all in one email but here goes!

Beautiful Rooftops and tile everywhere

 and here's Orlando 

Found Florida

more azulejo (tile)

My Muldavians Valentin & Yan
The news I think I´m most excited about right now is Elizabeta and Fernando. Valentin, one of our other investigators was on his way to church and saw them outside and invited them to come in with him. They stayed and we talked to them and now we´re teaching them. They accept everything! I got all teary eyed after our first lesson because when we asked them to pray to know what we taught was true Beta just said `I don´t need to do that, I already can feel that everything is true.´ They are so ready to follow all the commandments and we have a date marked for their baptism. As soon as we get them married and Fernando stops smoking it´s into the ocean they go! A really special part to me is this isn´t the first time we´ve met Beta. She was the VERY first person we ever talked to in Caldas, aka my very first contact ever. I remember her seeming really sad and she really didn´t want to talk to us at ALL. But guess what- the Lord knows each and every one of us and gives us chance after chance after chance to come unto him. She wasn´t quite ready before, but she is now. This really strengthened my testimony of the work we do, especially the contacting. I have to always follow the Spirit and give them all those chances the Lord has for them and do my best to encourage them to finally take it. 
Elder Costa from Sao Paulo

Antonio's Baptism
 Carlos, the elect spirit and Brasilian, is also marked for baptism! I´m telling you, the work is really moving forward here in Portugal! This is where President Fluckiger wants the next stake in Portugal and that´s what we´re trying to get. But anyway, Carlos is really amazing and he too makes me cry when he prays because he never prays to know, always just for confirmation that it´s true. I´m telling you, he is elect. He is so prepared to hear the word of the Lord. 

I´m starting to really contribute to lessons and contacting now which is really making me happy and excited. I understand a LOT but it´s a lot harder to speak. The words don´t come naturally but I know that it just takes time. All the same, I´m trying to do everything I can to show the Lord that I really do want to learn and that I really do want to be able to be his mouthpiece here in Caldas. I honestly don´t usually get too discouraged with myself because I constantly try to remember it´s the spirit that matters most and I´ve been in Portugal for like 3 weeks. The only times it´s hard is when I miss really important things or I can´t say what I feel to really help someone. Thankfully, this doesn´t happen too often, that I can´t figure it out but of course it does happen. This week, for instance, we were talking to João. He´s an awesome recent convert but the thing is, I literally can´t understand anything he says because of his strong accent. Another hard factor is Portuguese people don´t care about their teeth very much so a lot of people are missing a lot and there is a lot of the `sh´ in the language so it often gets VERY slurred. After we talked to him for a little bit he left the room. I hadn´t understood anything so then Sister Blanco tells me that he has cancer, is still struggling with drinking, but he was going to the ATM to get money out to pay tithing. Wow, I know. He truly is an amazing saint here in Portugal. I just can´t wait until I can truly understand the people here. I know that it will come though and I really do have faith in the gift of tongues. Until then, I´m still carrying around my dictionary, a long list of words I want to learn, tons of grammatical questions to ask Elder Grover (the American elder also serving here in Caldas), and a bunch of flash cards. Sister Blanco is really amazing and corrects me and helps me a lot. When we´re just walking in the street I´m always babbling, trying to practice words and whatnot and she´s literally an angel. It´s such a blessing to have a native Portuguese speaking companion that is so loving and dedicated to the work. I know the Lord helps me every single day and He helps me even more when I show Him that I´m trying.

A bit of strange news came this morning- Sister Blanco is going to Lisbon for...we don´t know how long. Someone who is on a mini mission right there is going home for four days but we´re not sure if or when they´ll come back. So until then Sister Vomicil, Sister Prieto and I are in a trio. Crazy yeah? I´m pretty sad because I really do genuinely love Sister Blanco. We don´t do anything without a prayer and we´ve seen so many miracles together. I hope that she´ll be able to come back, but I´m not worried. My life is entirely in the Lord´s hands, now more than ever and I´m really not worried.  A trio will be weird at first but we´ll figure it out!

Other news, we´re working to get an adorable nine year old baptized. She has so much awesome faith for being 9 and so often she makes comments that we´re just like, how did you learn that?... and she just says she just knew. Alexandra is one of my favorite people I´ve met. I´m probably going to go talk to her mom with just Sister Vomocil since the brazilians are off training again so I´m praying hard her mom will let her. Her family is very Catholic and her mom is concerned because she is only 9. She hasn´t said no yet which I feel is a really good sign. I´ll certainly keep you all posted!!

Anyway, I´m going to try to send more pics and whatnot. Have a wonderful weekend and go be missionaries! It´s the Lord´s work and it´s such a crucial part of the plan of HAPPINESS! Love you all so very much and I´m praying for you!!!
" I don´t know who Yong is but someone wants to be him forever..." Danielle
Graffiti for Sam

Com amor,

Sister Swasey

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Crazy Week

Dear Fam.

Sorry I didn´t write yesterday and sorry I don´t really have time to write right now! Yesterday we spent the day riding bikes along the beach and cliffs in Peniche, the city where my district leader Elder Perkins and his companion Elder Costa serve. It was amazing!!!! 



Elders Costa and Santos

My District
I wish I could tell you everything about this week but one fun story is I invited someone to be baptized on Sunday night! He responded by saying "Pretendo" and I had NO idea what that meant. Good news is it means"I want to" or "I intend to"!!!!! Carlos is really awesome and I´m really excited to teach him more.

Other crazy news, Sister Blanco my companion and Sister Prieto are sister training leaders which means they leave sometimes and us greenies here on our own. It´s kind of hard but it´s really good for us! I try to remind myself that this is really Heavenly Father telling me He knows I can handle it, and I can! I have SO far to go with the language but really, I can communicate and get points across which is nice. I carry around a dictionary and flashcards with me everywhere like a huge dork but hopefully people see as an honest effort to really learn their language haha. 

Portugal is beautiful!
Portugal is seriously just fantastic. The people are so ready to hear the gospel. Fun facts- people drive like crazy people but ALWAYS stop for crosswalks which is cool, they love to tell me all the cities they know in the states, everyone thinks I look Russian or Ukrainian (am I?), and EVERYBODY smokes. Palavra de Sabedoria is something this country reallyyyy needs right now. 

Anyway, I should go find more eleitos but hopefully you´re getting the pictures I´m sending and I´ll get to write more next week!

 The gospel is so true, I wouldn´t be here if it wasn´t and I certainly wouldn´t be able to teach these people at all, let alone in Portuguese, if it wasn´t.

Karate Kid

LOVE YOU ALL.Until next time on Sister Swasey´s missionary adventures!


Sister Swasey (or Sister Sa-wah-z as I´m often called here)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Everything, I love EVERYTHING

Dearest Family,

Good news and bad news....Good news is Portugal is seriously everything I could have ever dreamed it could be and so so SO much more. Bad news, I don´t think I´ll ever leave here so....tchau para sempre.

Only joking of course! But seriously it´s fantastic!!!! The flight here was cool because I ran into a lot of Brasilians along the way! We all were super psyched to talk to people already. I sat in between missionaries the whole way over but other people placed my copies of the Book of Mormon so that counts I guess ;) I even talked to some Portuguese kids right before our flight to Lisboa. 

The Fluckigers (Flew-key-grrrrs) are AMAZING. I love them already. And now for the news you´ve all been waiting for- My first area is called Caldas da Reinha! It´s about an hour north of Lisbon. It means Something of the Queen, nobody seems to know exactly what Caldas means, including my companions Sister Blanco, WHO IS A NATIVE BRASILIAN. Am I blessed or what? I´m seriously loving every single second that I spend with her. The second she saw me she hugged me like a crazy person and it was awesome. Everyone I talked to before meeting her and getting here just couldn´t tell me enough how lucky I am. Caldas is in the area where the next stake of Portugal will hopefully be and I´m here to work as hard as I can to try to make that happen! Don´t let any of you be fooled when it comes to the work here in Europe- it´s happening! I´ve been to two baptisms already! One was in Lisbon and one here in Caldas. It´s sweet too because we don´t have a font here so good old Antonio was baptized in the ocean!!! Sweet, não é?! Antonio is pretty quite but really sweet and patient with my bad Portuguese. After he got baptized he swam around a bit and smiled from ear to ear for a long time after. It was one of the coolest experiences of my entire life.

Anyway, here in Caldas there are two sets of sisters and a set of Elders. Sister Blanco and Sister Prieto are training Sister Vomocil and I. They do not speak ANY English to us. Nada. I know that they do speak at least some English now because we contacted two guys from India who didn´t speak Portuguese and Sister Blanco totally talked to them. It´s good that she doesn´t speak any English with me though because it forces me to pay attention and I´m learning TONS.

The first day went so fast it was just kind of like, wait, what? But now it really is great. I understand a lot more than I expected to which is awesome! Depending on the person I can get the gist of what they say enough to respond. It´s much easier for me to understand the Brasilian accent right now but I´m getting better with the Portuguese one. We taught these two awesome recent converts and I literally cannot understand a WORD they say. But they´re old and hardly open their mouths so I´m sure it will just come with time. They´re seriously awesome though. Alberto and João are like my two Portuguese grandpas here or something. I don´t understand them but they mostly just love to talk and have someone listen so I´m good at that. 

Portuguese people are really nice, totally do the whole kiss on either cheek thing (so chic), are REALLY short (haven´t met a single person taller than me yet), love to tell me the random cities they know in the states, and are all in all just fantastic. They´re pretty nice and receptive when we contact them on the streets too. Contacting is a little intimidating but I´m working really hard to just open my mouth and have more faith.

My first contact I did by myself. We were all talking in the parking lot and I saw a man with his dog and I decided to go talk to him. Sister Vomocil eventually came over too and these two Americanas gave him a Book of Mormon and got his number to set up another appointment! He´s so ready to hear the gospel and had a lot of great questions. I´m excited to teach him today!

AHHHHH I DON´T HAVE ANYMORE TIME. Love you all and love Portugal!

Sister Swasey

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Dear Friends, Families, Stalkers, and other Sister Swasey Admirers,
Cape Verde & Portugal
This letter is going to be rather short considering I'm leaving the MTC in less than an hour. E LOUCO NE?! (Crazy right?!) This week was another fantastic week in the life of Sister Swasey, the Portugal bound Sister Missionary. I love being a missionary. I know I say that every single week but it's the honest truth. It is literally everything I wanted it to be and so so so much more!

This week was a little weird getting ready and all. We did have a really good time at in-field orientation though. They had us practice talking with members and getting their help and how to do street contacting and whatnot. It was really helpful because I realized we don't practice much of that in the MTC, it's mostly teaching and whatnot. We also had a really cool departing devotional where President Nally had everyone stand up as he read what countries/states we were all going to. PORTUGAL, PORTUGAL!
Irmao Taylor
Irmao Chamberlain
Danielle, Sister Larsen & Elder Lynn
It was kind of weird because our elders that are Mozambique bound left super early on Sunday morning. I'll miss them but it's just too happy of a moment to be very sad!
We also got to talk to Irmao Limperle more this week because he subbed our class. He's the teacher that went to Portugal on his mission and it just got me even more pumped to get there. We talked a lot this week about just opening our mouths and trusting the Lord will fill it. I'm ready to just open my mouth and trust that the Lord will help me say what I need to say and in Portuguese.

I love you all, thanks for your support and prayers. I can't wait to tell you all about Portugal!!!!
Sister Swasey