Monday, February 3, 2014

Heavenly Father Gives The Best Birthday Presents

Olá todos!

Wow. I could probably sit here and write for like hours on end about this week, well really even just about this week. FOI FANTÁSTICA.

Sister Antunes

Where do I start? Wellllll this week we did a cool division tripla thing with a new missionary who is going to start hanging out with us a little when her companions, the sister training leaders, do divisions. Sister Antunes is amazing and doesn´t seem like she got here a couple weeks ago at all! Another fun fact, SHE´S PORTUGUESE. It was really cool to speak a ton of Portuguese with her and have her help me with my accent and such. 

My birthday, can I just tell you WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY I´VE EVER HAD. I was honestly kind of worried it would turn out to be one of those days where everything falls through and all and....that´s exactly what happened! :) But that´s not all. We tried visiting some people in the morning but nobody was home so we headed back for lunch and Sister Brundage blindfolded me and put some candles on a cake we bought (who has time to make cake in the mission?!) and then sang and did that whole thing. It was great :) I´ll try to send pictures next week. Then we called a bunch of people but pretty much all of our plans fell through so we decided to go visit Cristiana, the lady that was supposed to be baptized this past week but got crazy sick and so we had to postpone it...When we got to her house, she was still in the hospital, but we stayed to talk to her less active aunt, Lurdes. Lurdes also happened to be with her friend Angela who was there to help around the house. Sister Brundage helped finish the ironing they were doing and I started to get to know Angela. Of course we ended up talking about Christ and such and she told us about how she used to be Catholic but then she disagreed with a lot of the things there, yelled at a priest in church and never went back! She´s great. So we slowly started teaching the restoration when she stopped us and asked if we could start with a prayer! We said OF COURSE and I offered one and then after she was like, okay, my turn, and said a perfect prayer. Amazing. Then, we taught about the restoration and when we taught about Christ we mentioned that he was baptized. She stopped us again and just said, ´Okay, so what do I need to do to be baptized in this church?´ What. I literally just started crying in that moment. She told us about how Irmão Castro, a member in our ward, always used to invite her to church and she even had a Book of Mormon from some elders, but after being with Lurdes when her visiting teachers came last week and us coming too she said that it was a sign for her that it was about time for her to be baptized and start going to this church. Wow. We marked her for 2 weeks from now, so that she can go to church twice. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER. It´s all already almost planned after just 2 days! Irmão Castro is going to baptize her and everything.  
Best Birthday Ever!

Best Birthday Ever - Thank you Sister Brundage!
Birthday with Nazare
After that, we went to visit André, the son of a recent convert and we made plans for him to stop smoking and be baptized too! Then, we went and had dinner with Nazaré and Pedro. It was awesome. They are like family here! She had a cake but didn´t have candles and I told her not to worry about it but they went around the house trying to light toothpicks on fire and all sorts of funny stuff. Then she found and old candle with the number 5 on it so then I got to turn 5 years old. At the end, I shared a scripture about charity and just started crying. It was a perfect birthday with so many miracles and so much love. Portugal has stolen my heart and soul.
Birthday with Nazare

Yesterday we had stake conference via broadcast. It was a conference with all of Portugal, Spain, and Cape Verde. Elder Ballard spoke and the whole thing was just very cool to be there with all these Portuguese saints. It really hit me there...the church is so amazing, so global! SO PERFECT. I understood a LOT more too than what I understood at general conference which was really nice. 

Last night, we had the Elders´ baptism which was really cool. Ariana, a less active that we´ve helped come back to church gave the most beautiful sincere talk I think I´ve ever heard. She talked about her baptism and the love she felt in the church and so naturally, I cried all over again. SO MANY HAPPY TEARS. 

Baptism - Woot Woot!
THEN...we went to visit Angela and we taught her, her brother, and her husband about the plan of salvation. She is still just as determined to be baptized and her brother Paulo is going to be to! He husband Armandio said that he´s going to pray and think about it but of course we´re hopeful. :)

WHAT A WEEK. SO much more I would like to share but there just isn´t time to tell you about the incredible week that I had here in the mission. Every day I give a little more of my heart and soul to this mission and I just feel so much love here that I can´t explain it. Even the hard days we see miracles (see above MIRACLE) and my faith is growing each and every day. I´ll leave you with my scripture of the week-
3 Nephi 14:7-11
7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
 8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
 9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Heavenly Father gives the best gifts.

Com muito amor,

Sister Swasey

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