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, November 11, 2013
Sotaques e Sonhos (Accents & Dreams)
Minha Querida Família,
Danielle & Pauliana
Oh life is just so so good. SO GOOD. Matosinhos is seriously promised land over here. I´m not going to lie, it´s been an insane couple weeks. We´ve been wandering around a lot, getting turned around, and having all sorts of adventures. Good news is we did some boss planning this past week and I´m feel super stoked for this next week. We have all in all awesome, attainable, difficult goals set and good plans to reach them. We´re slowly picking up our own investigators while continuing to try to work with the ones the elders left for us. I feel like I´m finally hitting my stride with training, whitewashing, and everything.
Remember when I said that I´ve never worked so hard in my life? Well NOW I´ve seriously never worked so hard in my life. We have 3 hours of study during the morning, then an hour of language study after lunch so basically it´s a lot of time out of proselitismo, meaning we have to make every other hour count. We really hit the streets this week and talked with a bunch of people. I speak only Portuguese all day with Sister Brundage, in the house included and she´s learning really fast. I let her speak English for that last 30-60 minutes of the day after planning because I know how frustrating it is to got ALL day without being to completely express yourself. I´m mostly trying my best to teach her how to figure it out for herself, as in applying grammar she´s studied or figuring out cognates. She´s picking it up really quickly and I love that she´s not afraid to talk to people.
This week was a week of miracles. We worked SO hard and a lot of things just weren´t working out. For instance, I accidentally locked us out of our phone Saturday night so that was stressful. We also couldn´t even call our investigators to remind them about church and so like nobody showed up, even people that really seemed elect. I was so heartbroken. Not discouraged but just sad because I really felt like I did all that I could to get people there. Then after sacrament meeting a member came up to me and asked me if I knew a Luiz because he´s not a member and he wasn´t with the elders. I went and met him and turns out he was a super fast contact we made in the street on like Tuesday! WHAT. I know right? This really was a miracle for us. Not only did he come but he stayed the whole 3 hours! Then, later that night we´re were waiting outside the church for a meeting and an amazing man basically contacted us! He asked a lot of amazing questions and we set up a follow appointment with him. It´s just like Heavenly Father is leading the people to us as we´re doing everything we can to find them.
Danielle & Elders Costa, Grover & Perkins
This week I had a really amazing experience on the street. We tried contacting this man that had absolutely no interest, he just wanted to talk about how God, Christ, heaven, and all other related things make no sense because the world is terrible bla, bla, bla. When people talk like this and don´t want to hear anything we usually just leave a card with them and tell them they can call us if they need anything or have questions. So I started doing that, because this man wasn´t letting us get a single word in, when all the sudden I just started bearing my testimony. I don´t even really know what I said...I just started testifying that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God and the reason the world is messed up is because people aren´t following his teachings, often because a lot of them were lost after Christ died. It was something to that effect...about the restoration and whatnot. This man all of the sudden COMPLETELY changed. He let me mark down his address to pass to the missionaries where he lives and let us pray with him. After the prayer I swear I saw tears in his eyes. I don´t remember exactly what I said to him because it seriously wasn´t me saying it. The Spirit took over completely. It really reminded me of all the scriptures that tell us we won´t be confounded before men and the portion of the gospel that is needed will be given to us in the moment we need it. It was by far my most memorable, powerful contacting experience by far, not because my Portuguese was perfect or I answered all his millions of questions but because the Spirit spoke.
Speaking of Portuguese...GOOD NEWS. Switching gears a bit here but I don´t have much more time because we´re going to the beach soon. (I have a great life, I know) Yesterday, as I mentioned earlier was a little bit of a roller coaster that definitely ended on a high with all the miracles. Other pluses from yesterday all have to do with Portuguese! So yeah, I still have a MILLION words to learn and whatnot BUT...yesterday we were eating dinner with a family from the ward (fun fact, Baba de Camelo is a Portuguese dessert, mais ou menos the consistency of cake batter and literally means camel drool, DELISH despite the name). I was talking about how we´re been working really hard to speak Portuguese all day and Paula, on of the members said, ´you know you almost don´t have any accent at all right?` WHATTTT. I about cried. Then we stopped by another member, a 19 year old recent convert and I asked him to correct me whenever I said something wrong. He just looked at me and was like, ´When? You speak like a Portuguese person.`WHATTTTTTTTTT. I about died. I still have a little bit of a brasilian twang (thanks Sister Blanco... ;)) but he said it´s getting closer to a real Portuguese accent!!!! THE JOY IN MY SOUL HEARING THESE WORDS. But seriously, the work brings the most joy, but knowing I´m really nailing the language is the best perk there is.
Well family and friends, keep it classy now. You´re all super swell and I hope this letter has brightened your days. Not much inspiration here I´m afraid but I´m off to eat some other random Portugal food, (frantozinhos? something like that....) and I´ll probably gain 100 pounds here. IT´S A GOOD LIFE.