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!"
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Festas e *drumroll* BATISMOSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Official Sister Swasey Fan Club,
YES, you did in fact read that title right! First news of the week, and BEST news of the week is that we have THREE, (yes, you are really reading this correctly) THREE baptisms marked!!!!!!!!!!! Daniel, Bruno, and Diogo all committed to be baptized this week. Committed is even such a strange word to use, they all decided to with us, we barely even had to ask! THIS is my favorite part of the mission, watching people change right before my very eyes, it´s incredible. I wish you all could have seen them the first time, and even the second time that we taught them. I´ll come right out and say, HARDEST lessons of my mission those 2. I wanted so badly to reach them, show them we were normal teenagers too, show them we loved them and wanted to help them and do you want to know what happened those first two lessons? They all sat and texted, pretty much ignoring us. But you know what´s great? It doesn´t matter exactly what I do or who I am or any of that as long as we´re doing all we can to bring the spirit, that it´s there, and... it was! I felt it SO strongly and my dear Sister Brundage and I just sat there trying to teach them as people, real souls, praying and hoping they were feeling it too, even thinking that maybe they were but not knowing because let me tell ya teenage boys don´t like showing that stuff. Fast forward several weeks and they´re all pratically different people. We hadn´t even gone and taught them very much since they´re only with their mom on the weekend but all the sudden they wanted us to come over and like I said last week Bruno was asking to be baptized and they were all really listening. It´s like the difference between night and day!!! We had the BEST lesson with them this week, not just because we marked them but because it was hilarious. We taught the restoration, explaining the Book of Mormon better because we had only given it to them the time before. They all had their own book out and Bruno and Diogo were flipping through them throughout the lesson. They were asking a lot of relevant questions throughout but also a ton that I didn´t even know how to answer! By the end I had explained parts about the gold plates I´d never thought I would ever need to, discussed the house of Israel, and had said the words `I don´t know, I´ve never seen that particular movie about Jesus before` several times. They were a riot and I loved every minute of it. By the end, we asked Bruno if he still wanted to be baptized and he said YES. Then we asked Diogo what he thought and was just like `Yeah me too.` Daniel is the oldest and we didn´t even ask him, I looked over and he was just like, `yeah I´ll be baptized too.´ We walked out of that house on a cloud!!!!
Silly Zone Picture
Other fun facts of the week, we had our Christmas party yesterday! It was just our zone of Porto Norte and the Porto zone but it was super fun! Craszy story, on Sunday afternoon I get a call and my dear Brasilian zone leader tells me that Sister Brundage and I would be singing at the Christmas conference the next day. Well fastfoward a couple hours of practice, finding a pianist literally 15 minutes before it started, and we whipped out a quite nice Quando o Anjo Proclamou, (First Noel). WHAT FUN. It really was. Then we played some games and exchanged hilarious gifts.
Fun culture facts include: At Christmas everybody has these funny Santas that they hang out their windows like he´s climbing in. Also, a TON of people have kind of interesting big flags in their windows with a very Catholic looking baby Jesus and words like, `Nasceu Jesus.`It´s pretty interesting to see them all around with the Santas haha, they make a nice pair.
One fun fact about the people, whenever I don´t wear one, so many people tell me I need to wear a scarf. It´s super random I know, but I have had so many people tell me it´s too cold outside (even when it´s not) and that I need a scarf. Best part- they tell me even when Sister Brundage isn´t wearing one! These people are the funniest and the greatest. (Do I have a giraffe neck or something? Too funny).
As for the language, man is it coming along!!!! I don´t really know what ´fluent´ means because really, how do you define that? BUT....whatever it is I have to think I´m getting pretty close which is absurdly exciting for me! I pretty much understand everything, except some words of course, and I can express myself better each day. The gift of tongues is so real and I feel such power and comfort from it as I can speak comfortably with people in PORTUGUESE. Yesterday I just about cried of joy when a member told me she sometimes almost forgets I´m American because I don´t really have an accent or anything. Seriously. I. About. Died. It´s probably the international relation/language major in me partly but seriously what a compliment. I don´t know if this tall blonde sister can ever really pass for a Portuguese person but maybe by the end I can convince people by phone haha, we´ll see! Oh! I also had another freak out moment early on in the week because I`VE STARTED DREAMING IN PORTUGUSE. It´s true people. Sister Swasey is really learning a language, what a rush.
Well, here´s to wishing you all the a VERY merry Christmas! I love you all and miss you tons! I wish I could spend all my Christmas talking to each and every one of you but believe me when I say at the very least I talk to Heavenly Father about you EVERY day. I´m doing His work and I know He´s looking out for you all for me. This IS His work, it´s His gospel, and Christ is His only begotten Son. Remember Him, all that He did for us! Enjoy the season, enjoy the snow if you have it, and just remember how much I love you all!!!!