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

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