Monday, January 19, 2015

I love Portugal! Dear Mom... can I stay here forever?

I promise I won't stay here forever, but I'm really liking it here. I love the people... most of the time. In all honesty there are times when I have to say to myself, "He/ she is a child of God..." but some of the people are the most amazing people in the world! They say that the missionaries are good examples, but I learn from the people we met. They are amazing examples to me!

This week I got to experience cold winter rain. It was cold... and very wet. I was cold... and very wet, but I kept remembering something Elder Bednar said at the Thanksgiving devotional. He said, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is energizing. You're never too tired, you're never too cold. With the Gospel of Jesus Christ you can work every day." Spiritual smack. I was thinking about that after I tripped into a puddle and was ready to give up for the day. Then I started thinking of "Singin' in the Rain." The best thing to do when it's raining is to sing "Singin' in the Rain" as you walk down the streets. I'm pretty sure people thought I was crazy. I wasn't singing it obnoxiously, but I was happy and that's what made people stare. People here don't smile, so when you smile it's strange, but you sure do meet a lot more people that way! Happy missionaries share the gospel with a lot more people!

This week I got to go up to Porto for a training with President Fluckiger (perks of having a Sister Training Leader as your companion) and it was so cool! First real rain since I've been here, but now all of Portugal is rainy. Porto is so cool! I loved all the buildings and it definitely feels like Europe. I loved walking around in Porto and going on the Metro. Lots of people stare at you on the metro, but it was so cool. We almost got lost... almost, but we made it to every place we needed to go. Porto is so beautiful. I kind of hope I get to serve there at some point. Who knows? With the mission dividing it's kind of up in the air, but oh well. Heavenly Father's plan is better than mine.

This week Bruno left for his mission in Greece and everybody got sick. Sister Hirschi and I came up with a great little quote this morning in the middle of companionship study: "The mission is like a crockpot and the missionary is the meat inside cooking. By the end, you're so worn out that you just fall apart." She was laughing so hard. Seriously though, she was practically in bed for two days straight. We were also out of area again. Sister Hirschi went out to Leiria for divisions and I went to Coimbra to stay with the sister there. Oh my goodness! There were so many miracles there!

The sisters there are teaching a family of gypsies and I got to go teach the family with them. Most amazing family ever. They are elect! They met the mom in the road on Sunday and during their lesson with her she just cried and cried. The next day they went to find her house but knocked on the neighbor's door. The woman, Mariana, came out of her house because she had been praying for the missionaries and knew that they were at the neighbor's house. They started teaching her and she wanted to be baptized. She wanted to pay tithing and fast offererings with anything she could because she and her boyfriend don't have jobs but they still want to help people. They were both addicted to heroin and the boyfriend is on house arrest (he's actually a menos ativo... a less active member. He was baptized when he was 9 ou 10), but they're trying to change everything so that she can be baptized and then they can go to the temple after they're married. They're oldest son has cancer and they want to be sealed. They are such amazing examples and the Spirit is so strong in their house! There's another lesson on never judging anyone! You never know who Heavenly Father is preparing and you never know what is going on in the lives of other people! Miracles happen everyday if we just listen to the Spirit. and trust in Heavenly Father's plan!

I am almost out of time, but I love you all. Seriously. I have the best family ever. I can definitely feel your prayers and your emails are so inspired! Even if you didn't know it, they are and I love reading your emails. I love you all and I'm so grateful that I have my family! The church is true!

Sister Smith

P.S. The first picture is us with Bruno's family before he left for the MTC in England. The second picture is me... on the stairs that we climb up to get to the internet café and to the chapel. There are 90 stairs... not that I've counted multiple times. I'll send more pictures to Inette and she can put them up. I love you all. Tell the ward I love them and give out my weekly hugs for me. :)

When I was in Coimbra with Sister Donahoo and Sister Mancuso we went to this special little chocolate waffle shop... it was heavenly.

And then there's me and Sister Hirschi. We need to take more pictures.

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