Monday, January 20, 2014

And here is where I leave my heart. . .

Eating Octopus
Oh my dearest family and friends,

This week was one full of so much LOVE. I just need to take this moment to really tell you how MUCH I love my mission, especially this area. They always tell you about how much you should and how much people do love the people on their missions. I´m here to tell you that it´s so, so, SO true. The best part is, it´s so very easy to love the people you serve because they´re really serving you by letting you be a part of their incredible and amazing lives. There can be culture barriers, language barriers, age differences, and many differences in opinions and perspectives but in the end, we´re a part of this perfect plan that Heavenly Father has for us and that is enough. 
Loving the Octopus
More Octopus

First bit of news is that yesterday we had transfers. As I think I said before I already knew for sure that Sister Brundage was outta here, being done with training and all that jazz. So we were waiting anxiously all day, she said all her goodbyes and FINALLY we got THE call. And...(drum roll please) SHE´S STAYING RIGHT HERE WITH ME 6 MORE WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a surprise and WHAT a blessing!!! I don´t know if I´ve really ever told you how much I LOVE Sister Brundage and everything she´s taught me and everything we´re learned together. She is fantastic to a degree I can´t understand and above all we share such a great love for this work. This dupla isn´t going anywhere for another 6 weeks :)

Making the family wall of pictures
Member's birthday party

Member's Birthday Party
It was really good though yesterday to say kinda-goodbyes. As we were leaving the house of the Rissi family 
even I started crying haha. They are one of my favorite families here, SO strong in the gospel and so wonderful! We spent Christmas, New Years, and almost every Sunday lunch with them and I seriously can´t bear the thought of when I´m transferred from here and have to leave them. As we were leaving the house Paula said something I will NEVER forget. As a missionary, you worry. A lot. You worry you´re not quite doing enough and you wonder if the people really know just how MUCH you love them and want to help them, members definitely included. As we left she looked at us crying and said, ´Vocês foram as primeiras sisters, mas tambem vocês foram perfeitas. Eu sei que vocês foram mesmo escolhidas por Deus para servir aqui em nossa ala. Vocês foram perfeitas.´ And from there I was a bucket of tears. Translated, she said ´You were the first sisters here but you were also perfect. I know that you really were chosen by God to sere here in our ward. You were perfect.´ We´re just two sisters, SO, SO, SO imperfect, but in the end it means more than anything in this world to me to know that we made at least this one family feel loved. I share it not because I think I´m anywhere NEAR perfection but because it let me know that we´ve made a difference here in this ward that we love SOOO much. I´m not perfect, but I do believe that God Himself chose us to be here, for us and for the members and for our investigators so that all of us together could be changed for the better.
Fernando's Flutes
Pedro and Nazare
It was just a week that I realized just how much I love these people and this area! We prepared a special musical number with Fernando and Inês, two recent converts in the ward, ´Sim, Eu Te Seguirei´ (Savoir may I learn to love thee? Something like that in English...). It was so fun to do it with them and they are just amazing people! Fernando teaches music lessons and is SO into that kind of stuff and so they loved it. After we sang in church I sat down next to him in the sacrament meeting and he hands me his tuning fork he´d used to give us our starting note. I asked him if he wanted me to keep it because he didn´t say anything at first and he said yes! I told him it totally wasn´t necessary but he just looked at me and said something I found very wise. ´Tudo que temos é de Pai Celestial na mesma, sabes? Eu só estou a transferir de mim para ti.´ Translated would be, ´Everything that we have belongs to Heavenly Father anyway, ya know? I´m just transfering it from me to you.´ Wow. Didn´t I tell you these people are amazing? They are so generous and so inspiring... It just makes me want to give them everything thing I own and then some, but at the very least I plan to give them my whole heart. Matosinhos is put simply an area of miracles, of true conversion, and of love more than I can describe.
Danielle's District, Elder Yarbrough, Elder Sartorelli, & Sister Brundage
So in the end, I get 6 more weeks here to work with Sister Brundage, see miracles, do the Lord´s will, anddd baptize ;) The work is picking up steadily, with more and more progressing investigators like Paulo and Cristiana and we´re off to find others!


Random Gifts from Members

I love you all so very much and I just hope you´re getting something out of all these lessons that Heavenly Father, the Savior, and these amazing Portuguese people are teaching me. It´s really helping me get my priorities in THING in this life matters, only people. As long as they feel loved, we´re doing something right because charity NEVER faileth and the most important thing we can have is charity. So onward people! I love you! Go love others like He loves us. 
Random Portugal National Monument

ALL of my love and heart and soul,

Sister Swasey

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