Monday, July 14, 2014

The price we pay to become aquainted with God.

Hello world!

Sister Andrade

Alright . . . major missionary's writer block right now. I don't know where to start or what to say.  well, let's start with some fun news! Our house is now full!!! Starting on Monday, Sister Sandholtz and Sister Rosemann came to just hang out with us until both of their trainees got here on Thursday. Sister Rosemann came in with me and she's serving in Caldas and Sister Sandholtz just got her from Matosinhos!!! MY AREAS!!!!! MY HOMES!!!!! THEN, biggest surprise yet, the financeiros just show up out of the blue with 2 more beds for our house and SISTER ANDRADE.

For those of you confused at why this is exciting, let´s look back and remember my 2nd transfer when we got a mini missionary companion for 3 weeks way back in Caldas before she got emergency transferred...aka, SISTER ANDRADE!!! But now she´s a real missionary and going back to Caldas with Sister Rosemann! WHAT A HAPPY REUNION. So I got to spend a few days with her while they waited to go to the training with the American missionaries coming in a couple days after. SO FUN. Especially fun because I can actually talk to her now haha. She´s great.

House full of sisters!
So yeah, the week was a crazy week of random divisions and splitting our area and showing Sister Sandholtz around her side and Sister Stewart the new trainee coming in!!! It was all super fun though, the good kind of chaos. It is a BLAST having 4 sisters in the house, seriously this transfer could not be more perfectly set up for success and lots of learning. 

In other news, Sister Hirschi´s cousin sent out the BEST story I have heard in a long time and I really wanted to share it with all of you. Ready?

Some years ago President David O. McKay (1873 - 1970) told of the experience of some of those in the Martin handcart company.  Many of these early converts had emigrated from Europe and were too poor to buy oxen or horses and a wagon.  They were forced by their poverty to pull handcarts containing all of their belongings across the plains by their own brute strength.  President McKay related an occurrence which took place some years after the heroic exodus: 
"A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions."
Then President McKay quoted an observer who was present in that class: "Some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.
"An old man in the corner . . . sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget.  His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.
"In substance [he] said, 'I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about.  Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved.  Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too.  We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? . . .
"'I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other.  I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.'"
He continues: "'I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me.  I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one.  I knew then that the angels of God were there. 
"'Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since.  The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.'"

My dear family and friends, I am WELL aware that any suffering I go through cannot compare to what these people went through. It simply does not compare. I will however say that I have gained a testimony of sacrifice here on my mission. Many of the sacrifices paid are ones that I never expected or considered sacrifices. But this work is more important than any of those things. 

I´d be lying if I told you all that I was never tired or that it was never hard. I´m ALWAYS tired and it is often hard. But like he said, the price I pay when I take one more step under that hot Portuguese sun is so worth it. The price I pay to do this work, HIS work, is a privilege. It is the price we pay to get to know God, to get to understand a little better our Savior and His sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice.

Now don´t you all go thinking I had a lame/sad/terrible week! It honestly wasn´t! Just tiring from all the awesome work going on!!!! In my big area of Oeiras I´m getting the chance to understand the atonement on a physical level...which is a new level for me I must say, but I really feel like this is the lesson that Heavenly Father wants me to learn right now. 

Time´s up friends, until next week! I love you all, please be strong, please be faithful, please just trust Heavenly Father to send His angels. When you don´t think that you can keep going, He knows you can and He helps you do it. 

Com saudades,

Sister Swasey
This is bacalhau and this is how they sell it...
Grocery shopping. Because I know this side of Portugal really interests you all ;)

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