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, January 13, 2014
Let us cheerfully do all things . . .
Queridas pessoas que eu amo,
Tem sido uma semana MUITO boa. Só faltamos uma semana até transferências e eu acho que vou ficar e a Sister Brundage vai se embora... :( vamos ver! É cada dia mais difícil escrever e falar em inglês sem a gramática ou as palavras de português, então desculpem mas vou escrever TUDO em Português. Usem google-translate ;)
Just kidding, I don´t trust google translate. But honestly, it´s pretty funny the kind of Portuglês we whip out every now and then. For example, it´s very difficult to say how old someone is without saying that they `have years` or to use gospel words in English. We´re teaching an english class here and I´m always having to double check my spelling. My life. Hilarious.
But ANYWAY... WHAT A GREAT WEEK. It was full of rain, miracles, powerful lessons, prayers, adventurous foods and all in all goodness. Where to begin?
Well for starters, Sister Brundage and I have never prayed or worked harder. Every day we talk to more and more people. We´ve been praying very specifically to be able to baptize before the end of this transfer and we´ve fasted several times this month. From the looks of our sacrament meeting attendance yesterday it doesn´t seem like our miracle baptism is going to happen by this weekend BUT, our efforts were not lost but rather turned into several other miracles. Love it when that happens.
Two weeks ago, on a VERY rainy day where all of our appointments fell through with 30 minutes left in the day we met a man named Paulo. This week we had an amazing lesson with him. We taught the restoration and the spirit was just SO strong!!! I really should say that the Spirit taught the lesson and we said some stuff in the middle. In the end, we did what we call the convite suave, which basically is a baptism invite without a date or anything just a `After you pray and know these things are true, will you be baptized?´ After we extended the invite he was like, ´Oh well I´ve already been baptized so I don´t need to again right?´ He was very sincere and interested as we explained how we need to be baptized how Jesus Christ was baptized. In the end, he accepted and we´re REALLYYYY hoping to mark him this week after many more prayers and another lesson taught by the Spirit. Miracle number 1.
Miracle number 2 is named Cristiana. A few weeks ago we got a list of names or less actives to go by and see if they still lived at these addresses and whatnot. Well, one of them we accidentally knocked on the wrong door and found ANOTHER less active family! (What are the odds of that here in Portugal?!) This family really wants to start going back to church and right now their niece, Cristiana and her husband and baby are living with them. Well so we´ve started teaching Cristiana and yesterday we had an amazing lesson with the bishop of our ward. We taught the plan of salvation and testified the three of us of the power of the Atonement in our lives. Sister Brundage started tearing up and so of course I did too and then I look over and Cristiana is totally crying and the Spirit was just amazingly strong. Funny part is, it was not by any means a smooth or well taught lesson per say...but it didn´t matter because what was important was explained and the Spirit was really just there in the midst of us testifying. By the end when I did the convite suave, she agreed without a second thought. Miracles people, so many miracles.
Danielle & Sister Brundage
So basically I hope I´m sticking it out this transfer to keep seeing these miracles happen in the lives of others and in my own life too. It´s so funny... I thought I had a testimony, a big burning undeniable testimony before the mission. And I DID have a testimony of course but the thing is, the way I feel now is like all I really had was a tiny little plant that has grown into a big flourishing tree just in these 6 months walking the streets of Portugal planting seeds for others to grow their testimonies. Through everything I´ve been through here, the ups and downs and miracles and tests of faith and spiritual experience I have become a more converted person. They say that your first convert should be you on the mission. I thought I was converted...and I was, but nowhere near where I am now. I have no doubts, no fears, only faith in my Savior.
P-day Fun at the Beach
I just want to leave you all with an amazing scripture I found this week in D&C 123:17- Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
So this is my invite, my challenge to all of you. Do all that is in YOUR power, and then stand still, wait, expect to see the hand of God, to see His arm working in your lives and you WILL. I promise you with everything in me that you WILL see His loving hand and His perfect plan for you. He is there! He loves us! What greater knowledge can we have? What else is there to do but trust in this? Things will not always go our way, but they will always go His way. Let us align our lives with HIS will. I love you all, I pray for you all and the only thing I hope is to do all that lies in my power and then, I will stand still, I have stood still and I have seen miracles. I know that He´s working miracles in your lives as well!
With all my love and prayers for each and every one of you,
P.S. This week I ate cooked pig blood and pig intestines. I don´t think that really needs more explanation....