Sister Danielle Swasey's letters from her service in the Portugal Lisbon Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. June 2013-December 2014.
D&C 18:16 "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"
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
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
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