Monday, September 30, 2013

Baptizing In The Rain

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yet again, never enough time to tell you everything I want to tell you! But here we gooooo...
Portugal is just fantastic. Seriously people, it´s great.

Sending love from Portugal

 Fun facts - first of all, did you know that Portugal is one of the three countries that the apostles talk about as being examples for the rest of the world? (With Brasil and I think Chile?) It´s called the farol for Europe, in other words the light, the example. The people here are elect, they truly are. The temple here will be such an amazing addition.
Armindo and Danielle

Armindo's Baptism
This week, we had two baptisms. Technically they´re not my investigators, but with divisions and all I have taught all the investigators between us so they feel like mine. In fact, I was with Sister Vomocil when we contacted both Agustinho AND Armindo, so they have an even more special place in my heart. These two men, so different and yet so elect. They really understand the gospel. Armindo is amazing. He´s going to be a bishop or something one day, I can promise you that. Their baptism was super fun. It was raining and we didn't have enough cars to all go at once to the beach so we were all stuck in the rain waiting for cars to go back and forth. It was certainly an adventure, but super fun. Everyone was just so happy that even though it was cloudy and dark, the spirit was strong and everything was great.

Armindo after

Agustinho Before
Agustinho After
Agustinho's Baptism

Smiling in the Rain

Life is just super great here. The rains have rolled in and our power is going in and out every so often, but it´s keeping things interesting!

I love you all, praying for you often. I hope you like the pictures I´ve been sending! We´re working hard here and seeing SO many miracles. Fiquem bem todo o mundo!

Com amor,

Sister Swasey

Monday, September 23, 2013

A vida é cheia de surpresas.... (Life is full of surprises. . . .)

Querida Familia,

What a week, what a week. Where to even begin? I suppose we could start with my latest and greatest news. A few days ago we´re finishing up studies and we get a call from the executive secretary and he´s just like, `Hey so you guys are getting a mini missionary sometimes today, I´ll let you know what time k, thanks bye.´ Soooo yeah haha there was that surprise! So later on we went and picked up Sister Andrade and now we´re in a tripla. Life is crazy man. But good! She´s super sweet and really cool. She´s from Cabo Verde too, so now I´m working with 2 native speakers and living with 3!!! She´s already been a big help with the language. 

Quentino's Baptism

This week we had another baptism!!!! Quentino, the super amazing and awesome investigator from Guiné was baptized yesterday! Everything went super well and we had several members there and I gave a short talk about baptism even. He´s super shy, but was so excited and SO ready. He´s going to baptize his cousin and friend this next Sunday even! It´s going to be so great.

Quentino's baptism
Quentino's Baptism

More fun facts about Portugal- there are a TON of immigrants here! I have already met/taught people from Guiné, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, England, Uzbekistan (how do you even spell that?!), Ukraine, Moldavia, Congo, Brasil, China, India, France, and Spain. Even as I was writing that I kept having to go back and add more and more and more! It´s super cool to talk to people from ALL over the place! Sometimes it´s a little hard only because neither of us speak Portuguese perfectly haha but it´s certainly an adventure and really fun.

Lunch at Mauricio's
I´m drawing a bit of blank about what to talk about this week. We had dinner at Mauricio´s house again and it was AMAZING. We had Cachupa. No idea how you actually spell that, but that´s what I think it is. It´s a tradition dish in Cabo Verde and it´s amazing. People here also like to force you to eat a LOT, so clearly I´m quite happy to eat with them.

Bowling with President and Sister Christophe

Bowling with President & Sister Christophe ("They are the BEST!!!!!")

More P-day Adventures

P-day Fun at the Praia (beach)
Sis Blanca & Danielle

P-day Fun at the Praia
P-day Fun at the Praia
Anyway, I hope you´re all doing well. In continuation a bit from last week, never forget that miracles are REAL. I see them daily. The fact that I´m functioning how I am in Portugal truly is a miracle in and of itself! I love you all so much, and because Mormon says it better than I can, take a look at Moroni 8:3. I´m trying my hardest to work hard here because I truly want the Lord to bless each and every one of you as well!

Com amor,

Sister Swasey

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dearest Family and Friends,

I have VERYYYY limited time to write!!! But anyway, it was a FANTASTIC week. 

I´ve been studying a LOT about Charity this week and let me tell you it´s enlightening. Check out Moroni 7 because it not only tells you how awesome charity is, it tells you how to get it. Check out 1 Corinthians 13 too.

Antonio's Baptism
Antonio's Baptism
Going to the conference in Santarem
This week I saw a miracle. We´ve been working with Ian for quite some time and I really didn´t know if he´d ever be baptized. Just before church on Sunday though he called us. We were in a conference in Santarem. He called and just said he wanted to know what he needed to do to be baptized. We had been fasting that day and we truly saw a miracle. In the past he didn´t want to quit smoking and had tonsss of random historical questions and such but now...he wants to be baptized! I´m praying he keeps this desire.

I wish I could write more. We had a crazy day and missed the bus so walked back. Love you all!

Sister Swasey

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reunioes, Batismos, e Festassss

Dearest Family and Friends,

Why is it that everytime I sit down to write I want to begin by saying it was a good week? Oh yeah, because EVERY WEEK IS A GOOD WEEK. Seriously, não estou a mentir aqui. 

"Ignore Alien Orders" is in graffiti everywhere.
First things first, the mãe had some good questions that I shall answer. 
  • How do you get around?  Walk? Public Transportation?
  • Do you eat at members homes? Cook for yourself?
  • What is the shopping like?  Grocery stores? open markets?
  • What is the typical Portuguese food like?  Do you like it?
  • Markets or Malls or both?
-We walk everywhere around Caldas but it´s pretty small so it never takes more than ten minutes to get anywhere. When we go to meetings we take the bus usually, except for this week when we went to Lisboa. That time we took the bus to a metro to a train. Yeah it was kind of louco but fun haha. I´ll tell more about the meeting after.

-We´ve only eaten with a member once, Maurico a recent convert and amazing man. He´s our new Branch Mission Leader. We met with him last night and he´s super ready to help our our branch here! I don´t cook much but I do eat a LOT of Brasilian food. Aka a lot of rice. We´re going to try and go to a different store sometime to find some REAL rice though (the Asian kind...ya know, the good stuff). Last Sunday we ate twice with members though actually know that I think of it. We had a big potluck festa after church to break our fasts. 

-The shopping is pretty much like in the states but smaller. The grocery stores are like a Smith´s or a Safeway but not nearly as big. I haven´t been to Continente yet but apparently it´s like the Costco here, aka like the size of a normal grocery store. One thing is, everything is a lot fresher. They don´t sell nearly as much frozen stuff as in the states.

-The typical Portuguese food...OH, I had bacalhau for the first time this week! It´s a signature here. It´s a type of fish and it is quite marvelous. (did I spell that right? My spelling is already out the window by the way.) Typical Portuguese food...well bread. Always always bread with every meal. They eat a lot of rice, usually with carrots mixed in cut really fine. The pastries are to DIE for too. They eat pasta too and chicken and whatnot. Salads are always dressed with olive oil, lemon, and salt. We always drink Sumo with everything. Which is basically soda, but it´s a little less caffeinated than the states or you can get it without caffeination in general. But yeah like I said I haven´t eaten with members much so I´m not really sure what else.

-The shopping is pretty normal. There´s a mall here in Caldas but not NEARLY as big as the states. I love my part of Caldas because we have the more city part. I have a favorite street with adorable buildings and tons of shops with mannequins all lined up in all the windows. It´s super fun to look at all the different clothes and whatnot as we walk by. I´ll have to send a picture sometime. 

This week Beta got baptized! Fernando decided to wait another week just to be sure he really is good with not smoking anymore. They take baptism really seriously which is super awesome to see. They are the most amazing couple I´m telling you. SO faithful. This week was fun too because we had a big party to celebrate their wedding. We had karoake and food and all that. Two of our newest investigators, members, and two investigatos of the other sisters came too! It was SO FUN. 

Like I mentioned earlier, we took a bus, metro, and train to Lisbon this week for a Zone meeting. There were 4 zones there and the assistants and president and whatnot. It was super fun because I got to see Sister Larsen, my MTC companion, and other people I met in the MTC and traveled here with. The training was...awesome. I learn SO much when we have training meetings like that. We practiced Convite Poderoso, which is the baptismal invite with a marked date. Here in Portugal, pretty much everyone has already been baptized so we often have to explain why they need to baptized again. It´s really cool to read about Christ´s baptism with people and show how we need the same three things Christ had. It needs to be by immersion, (subiu logo da agua), to be at an age where we make the decision for ourselves, and most importantly by someone who has the authority of God (Joao Batista). It´s neat for us to walk them through and explain Christ´s baptism and ask if they think it´s important to follow His example. 

Zone Sisters
Reunited with MTC Comp, Sister Larsen

But yeah, anyway, zone meetings are always super awesome. I was asked to give the closing prayer which was fun too! It was also really fun to talk with everyone there in Portuguese! I still can´t say SO much nor understand everything, but I know that I´m learning so much everyday. I can really function quite well here surprisingly. Elder Perkins, my district leader once told me that it will just come, after I hear it enough times saying it will be natural. The other day I feel like this happened for the first time! It was a small victory where I said ´preocupar com` (worry about, but literally worry with) and it just came out bem suave. Little victories for Sister Swasey! But seriously the language is really coming and I´m so grateful for my amazing companion Sister Blanco. We have transfers coming up really soon. I really have no idea what´s going to happen but I´ll let you know next week!!!

Zone Conference
I´ve started writing all the lessons I´m learning on the back cover of my journal. I haven´t quite applied all of them yet, but it´s giving me some good goals, I highly suggest it. One thing I learned quite quickly is to listen. It´s so key on so many levels. One is just for the language. I´ve quickly seen that the only way to feel more comfortable speaking is to speak, the only way to understand is to listen atentively ALWAYS. Which is really hard to focus sometimes because I often get lost.

Also, fun fact, Portuguese people LOVE to talk. Not really to have conversations, mostly just to talk. The sisters have one investigator that I´ve taught with Sister Vomocil several times that LOVESSSS to talk. We will literally sit with him for almost 2 hours and LITERALLY say maybe 4 sentences. He´s a sweet old man (who´s getting baptized today by the way, YAY) but it´s certainly hard. The people will just talk and talk and talk and it takes a lot of effort to not get lost in the language or your own thoughts. It also takes a lot of patience too of course. I really try to listen to the Spirit and thing about how Christ would treat them. It´s a tricky balance because on one hand, listening is super important to show them you care and understand their needs. On the other hand, they do need to be taught certain principles. I really depend on the Spirit to know what to say and when. I never knew that I would need to Spirit so much to know WHEN to speak, because sometimes you just have to cut in a little bit. It´s certainly and interesting lesson I´m learning along with so many others. I really hope I come back a better listener because I think we all know Christ is like the most patient, loving listener ever. I really, sincerely want to be like that.

I think that´s all that´s coming to mind from this week! I love you all!!!!

Com amor,

Sister Swasey

Monday, September 2, 2013

Living like a Rainha in Caldas da Rainha!!

Gooooooood morning/evening/afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this weeks episode of Fact or Fiction! This week we´ll be discussing myths about Europe.

#1- Everybody smokes and drinks coffee. FACT. Seriously sooooo many people smoke here, it´s really crazy. It´s interesting too because all the boxes we see on the ground and such have facts about how smoking kills. You´d think they would learn... Oh yeah and they drink coffee a lot too. I´ve met people that drink about 10 coffees a day and smoke 6 packs of cigarros. Louco.

#2- Europeans are snobby. FICTION. Honestly, everyone is really super nice! I get told I´m pretty several times a day and most people will stop and talk with us or at least just say sorry I´m in a hurry. In fact, people like me so much I´ve been asked several times to marry someone they know or at least a Portuguese person. My personal opinion is they say this because they want taller people here. Everybody is TINY.

#3- American Security is Crazy- Not really about Europe but random fun fact, an Elder when we were coming here accidently forgot he had these HUGE scissors in his carry on and we made it all through security in SLC just fine. It wasn´t til England that they found em. Too funny.

#4- The food is better. FACT. The food is AWESOME here. Everything is really really fresh and delish. I also get to eat a lot of Brasilian food since my colegas are brasileiras but like the pastries and fruit and stuff is really REALLY good.

#5- Everybody knows about America and speaks English. FICTION. I´ve met a few people that I can actually have a conversation with in English. They love to translate what little they know but it´s usually just, `do ya undastand?'  They´re adorable. Also, we think people are generally familiar with the states and Disney World but they really aren´t. Weird thing is, the first city people always say they know is Chicago...

Okay, but in all seriousness now, OLÁ TODO O MUNDO!!!! Just trying to keep things interesting so you don´t get bored of my tales about saving souls and such in a foreign country. 

Bus Ride to Zone Conference
Today was a really cool day! We went with Elizabeta and Fernando and got them hitched! They´re getting baptized this weekend and I couldn´t be more pumped. They´re so amazing and so accepting of everything we teach. They also give really awesome prayers. My goodness I really love hearing prayers of investigators. They´re so sincere and it really is a conversation with God when they pray. It inspires me to be more like that. Sister Blanco and Sister Prieto are really great and everytime we pray, even in groups, we always wait a little bit after to listen for inspiration and whatnot. It´s really great. 

Elders Baptism
We also marked this old man Duarte for baptism. He´s adorable and since we can´t give bejinhos to men he takes our hand and kisses it. Hilarious.

AHHHH I have no more time all the sudden. P-days are always kind of crazy. Sorry for the super lame email... I´ll write a better one next week! Love you all!!!

Sister Swasey