Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Natal!!!!!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Can you believe it´s almost Christmas??? It´s strange being a missionary over Christmas. On one hand, it feels even more Christmasy because we talk about Jesus Christ all day and get to wish strangers on the street a Feliz Natal but on the other hand I almost keep forgetting it´s in two days because I´m not doing all the traditional stuff like gingerbread houses, jazzy Christmas music and penguins all around the house. It´s odd. Also, can we just pause and talk about the fact that I´m about to hit my 6 month mark on the mission?! My brain can´t handle that kind of news and nor can my heart. I´m about 1/3 done and yet I´m just getting started...I have SO much left to do, so many more people to help and goodness gracious SO much more to learn and improve upon. 18 months...IT´S NOT ENOUGH TIME PEOPLE. 

Sleepy & Dopey for the Ward Christmas Party

Ward Christmas Party
But anyway, let´s not dwell on the depressing and focus on the fact that I GET TO CALL HOME IN A COUPLE DAYS. Okay, I know I don´t get to talk to all of you but man, special shout out to Mom, Dad, Rob, Sam, and Kurt!!! I miss you all like crazy. Not the oh-my-goodness-I-want-to-go-home-I´m-so-depressed crazy but more like the MY-GOODNESS-IT´S-BEEN-WAYYYY-TOO-LONG-I-NEED-A-CHAT-WITH-MY-MOTHER-MY-POPS-AND-MY-BROS crazy. Ya know, the normal kind. So in other words, I´m practically counting minutes over here.  

Christmas Fun

Danielle & Sister Fluckiger
Love Sister Fluckiger!

Got to see Sister Prieto again

Let´s see fun facts of the week...We did our second division with the sister training leaders and it was pretty great! I went with Sister Silva to their area in Maia this time and man...she´s a pro. She teaches SO simply and so suave it really gave me a good example and I´ve been working even harder on my teaching skills. Fun fact for those of you in Ashburn, she served with Sister Jackson for awhile! I personally have only seen Sister Jackson once so far but who knows, maybe one day we´ll be in the same zone or something!  But anyway, the sisters area is HUGE. We took the bus like everywhere and it made me really grateful for my little Matosinhos. We also rode the metro in the a crowd of gypsies. I don´t know if I´ve evered mentioned gypsies before but in case anybody was doubting, they´re still around and there are a TON in Portugal. One of my life goals (in order of importance this settles nicely under stuff like serving a consecrated mission and marrying in the temple) is to obtain a pair of gypsy pants. The problem is you can only get them in certain areas of Portugal and the feiras (market/fairs). But anyway, you will all be notified immediately when I get my hands on some.

Off to the Christmas Festa

Porto Norte Christmas Festa
Another funny thing that happened on divisions was someone guessed that I was 30 years old. Ouch. The funny part is that this isn´t the first time and every time it´s happened before and this time the reasoning behind it is always the same. They never say that it´s because I look old (and it´s Portugal so trust me they´re not afraid to speak their minds) it´s ALWAYS because I´m tall.



So anyway, some people don´t know that you stop growing earlier or something I guess haha. 

Danielle and Sister Brundage!

One cool spiritual experience I had this week was with my dear Sister Brundage. I can´t even tell you people how much I love her. She´s FANTASTIC and even though we´re surprisingly different we get along really great and we push each other. It´s awesome how Heavenly Father does that, He gave me a companion whose strengths tend to line up quite nicely with my weaknesses. But anyway, one of these days this week I was just feeling kind of down and frustrated (ya know, it happens). I was ready to just get out of the house and work it off but she made me sit down and she just said, `Alright we´re just going to sit for 3 more minutes and say all the things we´re grateful for.` So cheesy, simple, and normal, right? But it was just what I needed. We just started listing, at first simple things, then more profound and more meaningful things. We talked about how grateful we were for our families, our missions, our challenges and by the end we were both crying like the crazy and emotional Sister missionaries that we are. It was so simple but it´s something I´ll never forget. We´ve all heard a million times to be grateful and count blessings but when we really sit down and do makes all the difference. I am SO incredibly blessed I can´t even explain it in words. I´m thankful for all of you, your support, my wonderful companion and this incredible season. Above all I´m thankful for my Savior. I´m thankful for this chance I have to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength. 

Just don´t forget to notice all the little things, okay? :) I love you all and I hope you have an AMAZING Christmas!!!! Don´t forget to give Him something too. 

Wishing you all a Feliz Natal,

Sister Swasey

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