Monday, December 2, 2013

Sister Swasey on Embracing Portuguese Culture

Queridas pessoas que eu amo TANTO,

How are your lives?! Somebody write me and email or something and tell me what´s going on where you all are!!! How was your Thanksgiving?! Fun fact: I forgot about Thanksgiving. Sister Brundage and I didn´t remember until Friday morning and then we felt like bad americans and ate some Portuguese cookies and started studying. (You're welcome for that little look into my life, get mildly sad, eat a cookie, and get to work) Isn´t that so odd to think about though, forgetting Thanksgiving? Life of a missionary in Portugal I suppose! But anyway, hope you all ate a lot of turkey and pumpkin pie for me!
Sister Brundage & Danielle
WHAT a fantastic week I had by the way. For a start, we had the mission tour this week with Elder Dyches of the Seventy. What a genius. He taught us SOOOO many various things, but something that stuck with me the most is something I think about a LOT. He had all of us ask ourselves several questions all having to do with what we want to be when we´re done with our missions. I ask myself that question a lot- what do I want to be able to say I´ve done when I´m on that plane heading home? What kind of a person will I have become? What changes will people see in me? 18 months people. It´s so little time to do all the work and all the changing I want to do. I really hope that when I come home you´ll see a difference in me. I hope you´ll feel more the love that I have for each and every one of you and that you´ll know without a doubt that I know our Saviour loves us and that I served a faithful mission for his church. I hope you´ll see a light in my countenance, I hope I´ll know His gospel so much better. I hope a million and a half things and I hope you know that I´m working hard because I want you all to be blessed for my service as well. I´ve never worked hard in my life, nor have I ever noticed so many things I want to improve about myself. Being a missionary means everything to me and I just hope that I can give my all and that if will be enough to help the people here and bless all of you as well. The Lord expects our´s a lot but nothing less will suffice and nothing less will bring us that eternal joy He´s promised us!!!!
Danielle & Her comp, Sister Brundage

But anyway...learned a LOT from Elder Dyches and the week just kept getting better. We saw even more miracles this week, one of which we like to call Armando. We were walking to an appointment when this man stops us and asks us if we´re mormons. Then he asked us if he could come to church and learn more about what we believe because he really hasn´t like all the other churches he´s tried. WHAT. This never happens. NEVER HAPPENS. So OF COURSE we said YES COME TO CHURCH WITH US (before you get your hopes us he had to work the Sunday but we´re going to teach him this week). He was even excited to come when we said that it started at 9 in the morning and he asked us what he should wear. It was the COOLEST. Seriously, I don´t know what we did to deserve Heavenly Father putting someone like Armando in our path but I´m so grateful. We testified that this IS the true church and it´s where he´ll find the answers to his questions and we said a prayer with him right there in the road. He loved that we prayed from the heart and is just so genuinely excited to talk to us. We walked away from that contact almost in tears from joy and we just kept saying `They exist!!!` (as in ridiculously prepared people that seek you out) Love my job people, LOVE IT.

Now to explain the title of the email...Portuguese people don´t really have personal space and it´s really quite hilarious. They touch each other´s faces an interesting amount of time and they are often hugging and barging in on each other and such. Well...this week getting to church was an adventure in which I really broke some boundaries (for a good cause). Pedro, the 19 year old recent convert, and his mom Nazaré are fantastic. Nazaré was our baptism the first week but because of a lot of complicated stuff she still hadn´t gotten confirmed because they hadn´t gone to church. So we got up and hour early and went to their house to go together. When we got there, she told us that Pedro wasn´t going and she wasn´t going without him. We were crushed...but we´re great friends with Pedro so I asked if we could talk to him. Turns out, he was just being lazy. I felt like such a mom, I gave him 5 more minutes to sleep and then I straight up told him that he was going to get up and go to church with his mother. The minutes passed and we went back in. He was still super lazy so....I may or may not have started singing and clapping and stole his blanket. Long story short, THEY CAME TO CHURCH and I embraced some Portuguese culture of very few personal boundaries. 

It's a great life in Portugal!
Side note: thank goodness for the gift of tongues because I´m realizing it´s almost impossible to get to know people and have these great friendships if you can´t talk to them. But Pedro and I are pals even after that adventure so shout out to the gift of tongues in the end really.

A heart attack & a half
In other news we had dinner with the bishop´s family and he is the GREATEST. It was really great to get to know them and I feel so much more united in the cause now. He asked us all about our families, what callings our parents have, and even if we had boyfriends. Too funny. He LOVES missionary work and literally told us that if we ever need him for a lesson he´ll cancel everything to go with us: His daughter, laughing, also told us that he wrote a list to Pai Natal for Christmas and asked for 7 more baptisms this month. I told him we´d see what we can do to help out Pai Natal!

I wish I could just tell you all EVERYTHING but I have to go pack to head down to Lisboa for my residency stuff! Thinking and praying for you all ALWAYS. Stay firm, stay fixe, and write me lots of letters and emails ;) 

Abraços e beijinhos,

A Mais Louca Irmã na Missão

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