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, June 2, 2014
X-Rays, Waffles, Guang Li Xu, and Magic Buttons
ENTÃO FAMÍLIA, AMIGOS, E OUTROS,
Another week gone by...it´s all really flying. It´s strange to think that just a year ago I was shopping for skirts and now I´m in Portugal speaking Portuguese, preaching the gospel!
Also, can we just talk for a second about the fact that I haven´t been to the temple in almost a YEAR?! That, my friends, is a very long time. It´s really cool to be in a mission preparing for a temple. I learned a lot of things I never knew, like you have to have such and such number of priestholders and whatnot to build one. I´d never thought about that before but I mean hey, it makes sense. We were talking with our member friend Aida this week about the temple and I was just so SAD. A whole 18 months without ever going to the temple is such a LONG time! When I go home I just want someone to drop me off at the Orlando temple and only come pick me up when all the nice workers convince me that I´m really not allowed to sleep there overnight. Anyway, as I was thinking about this this week I have a challenge for all you temple recommend holders out there! (And if you´re not one the challenge is to go become one) It´s simple- GO TO THE TEMPLE THIS WEEK. And for those of you that always go, GO TWICE, THREE TIMES, STAY LONGER. Take advantage of this huge blessing that so many people don´t have! 18 months without a temple is hard and that´s a small number in comparison to other people. When you´ve gone, send me an email! Tell me about your experience! Make it an extra special one! I´m going to do a little vicarious living here. I´m serious about this people, I want to hear about your temple trips! It´s such a wonderful place!!!!!!
Okay, enough with the ranting and on to my week. I don´t remember the last time I had a week as random as this one, nor a lesson as strange as the one we had with our new buddy Guang Li Xi. Here´s basically how that contact on the street went, translated for your benefit-
Sister Hirschi- "Hi! How are you doing!"
*Confused look from the Chinese man in Portugal*
Me- "We´re missionaries here, do you speak Portuguese?"
Chinese stranger- "Speak very little Portuguese."
Sister Hirschi- "Okay, well do you live here?"
*More painful small talk in broken Portuguese*
Me- "Okay, well do you believe in God?
Me- "Do you have faith?..."
Me- "Do you believe in anything (using a different Portuguese word to say believe)?"
Me- "Uh...do you have a belief?"
Chinese man- "Oh, yes! I have son who live with wife in China, far away!"
Alright guys, don´t start thinking I´m racist or anything, just thought I´d give you the inside look to our lives on the streets of Portugal haha. Street contacts are always adventures and it´s always extra interesting when WE´RE the ones that speak more Portugese. The best news is we somehow communicated with him enough to walk a block over to show him the church where we were going to meet this lady, Leonor, to do some family history. We ended up going in with them both and showing them the chapel. I LOVE giving chapel tours, especially here in Oeiras. We always end in the sacrament room and the Spirit comes over and practically smacks you in the face it´s so strong. I have no idea how much our new friend Guang Li Xu (his last name is also the Portuguese word for garbage, completely irrelevant fact), understood but he said he felt really good and gave us all of his contact information! We´re going to try and visit him with a Chinese member from our ward. We´ll see what happens :)
Saturday night was probably the craziest. We got home to our aparment building and Sister Hirschi started looking for the keys. She looked up at me and asked if I had them. She tends to mess with me often so I just laughed and said nope. She was serious. So yes, friends, we did get locked out of our house. The nice neighbors let us in the building but from there we had no keys to open our door. So we called the couple missionaries to ask them if anybody had a spare key (except for us, that is, woops...). But ya know, having a spare key in the office would have been too easy. So she started telling us a way that you can cut a water bottle and sometimes it works so we started chugging when our neighbor´s friend came over to look at the door. He tells us the water bottle trick will never work and what we need is an X-Ray paper. Well, unlucky for me I forgot to bring mine with me that day...all the sudden our neighbor´s like, "Oh! I have one!" What?! She runs over to her apartment and brings back some X-Rays! He jammed it in the door, wiggled it around for awhile and TA DA!!! So now you all know how to break into people´s houses. NOT, however, the moral of the story. What are the odds of the neighbor´s friend visiting and the neighbor having an X-Ray with her? Heavenly Father takes care of even irresponsible missionaries.
Then, we get in and...we had no power. NOTHING. The building had it but our apartment was a black hole. So then we called the Financial Secretaries to ask if somebody forgot to pay our power bill as we frantically looked through all our mail to see if we missed something important. As we were sitting in our doorway on the ground, 2 more neighbors came in and asked us what we were doing. After explaining the sitch, the old man just walked into our house, opened up a box, pushed some magic button and TA DA!!! The house came back to life! What did I tell you, Heavenly Father takes care of us.
Other random stuff...I don´t know, lots of little moments like getting to eat waffles with a member family. Their daughter actually just did a semester at BYU and she worked at the library for my old boss! Small Mormon world. Classic little highlights like that filled our week.
We also had the chance to go to a baptism of an 8 year old girl from the ward. It was so cute! The primary kid sang that song about rainbows (that I can never remember the actual name to) and I just wanted to cry! It was a moment to step back and remember that I was a missionary in Portugal getting to have so many amazing experiences with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Baptisms are always such beautiful moments... whether it´s a 60 year old convert or an 8 year old child it´s a new start, it´s a covenant, and it´s amazing.
I love you all, hope you enjoyed a little glance into the random and strangeness of our week here in Oeiras. Don´t forget to go to the temple a little more this week! (I´m serious about this one people, you won´t regret it, Scout´s Honor!) :)
Fiquem fixe! (Stay cool!)
Went to Continente - the biggest grocery store in Portugal!
Sister Hirschi in Continente - this place is huge!