The craziest miracle ever is that on July 1, 2015 the Portugal Lisbon Mission will be divided and the Portugal Porto Mission will be reopened! Hooray! More missionaries are going to be coming to Portugal! In the letter from President Fluckiger he said that the Lord is sending more missionaries to Portugal to help prepare the people and country for a temple. I'm in northern Portugal right now and I've been told that because of the timing of my arrival and depending on whether I stay in the north for the next few transfers it's very possible that I will be reassigned to the Porto Mission to help keep the work going in northern Portugal! :) I don't care which mission I'm in as long as I get to help here in Portugal! Heavenly Father really has been preparing the people for so many years and there are miracles happening everywhere. (The burning question though is if I get reassigned do I get a cool mission plaque in the church building? I think they ought to consider doing that).
Portugal is getting more missionaries and it's going to be the most amazing thing ever! Both the Lisbon Mission President and the Porto Mission President are from Brasil... but that's about all I know. :) The church is true!
First off, I have the best family in the world... yeah. I love your emails! I can definitely feel all your prayers and I can see miracles all the time everywhere we go.
So because my companion is a Sister Training Leader I get to go and do all these nifty little divisions in other cities while Sister Hirschi goes and does other divisions and mission councils... stuff like that. Anyway, last Monday and Tuesday we were in Coimbra and we were doing a division. It was about 9:00 pm and I was walking with Sister Donahoo to a recent convert's apartment. I had been feeling kind of funny the whole time we were walking. I kept looking back over my shoulder and I was just kind of scared which was weird because I haven't been "scared" the whole time I've been here, but I didn't really think anything of it. As we got to the stairs of the apartment building Sister Donahoo and I both had the very strong feeling not to go up the stairs. I started to get a really bad feeling and we just starting walking away. We walked to the other side of the building and we were going to say a prayer, but then we both had promptings to get out of there as fast as we could and go back to the apartment because something would happen if we stayed there. I've only felt a prompthing like that once before and it was my first week here in Portugal. I don't know what would have happened (and I'm not sure that I do want to know), but it's a huge testimony builder of how important it is to listen to the Spirit. We got back to the apartment so quickly and the whole time we were just praying that we would be kept safe and that we would know what we needed to do. I've thought about it the last couple of days and I know that missionaries really are protected. If we're being obedient and we're doing everything we're supposed to be doing we will be prepared to hear and act upon the promptings from the Spirit. Heavenly Father loves His missionaries and there really are angels around us all the time. We're actually going back to Coimbra tonight because Sister Hirschi and Sister Corrêa are doing divisions with Sister Donahoo and Sister Mancuso tomorrow. :) We'll have adventures.
Anyway... New Year's Eve was fun. We did a lot of street contacting, met some elect people, and then stayed home before all the parties started in the streets. The wards all had activities in the church buildings and from what I hear the members really enjoyed New Year's Eve at the church building. Sister Hirschi and I ate chocolate... a lot of chocolate actually. It was totally fine though because it was German chocolate, so technically it counts as health food. :) Then, we went to bed at 11:00 pm as usual and then when we woke up at 7:00 the next morning it was New Year's for all of you in Idaho. Nifty, huh?
President Fluckiger decided to start a thing called "Mestres de Israel" and basically it's where there are certain requirements we have to fulfill everyday for 30 days to be a good missionary. If we don't fulfill all of the requirements one day we have to start over the next day. One of those requirements is a minimum of 10 contacts for each missionary.... for me that's the hardest part. No one really understands how much I hate talking to people and how hard it is for me to go up and talk to EVERYBODY in the streets. Everyday it's really hard but then as I get going it gets a little easier. Well, Heavenly Father is paying attention and He's not ignoring me. When I'm the most scared to go and talk to people and I still go and talk to them, miracles happen. For instance, last night we were walking and we saw a man smoking on a street corner so I started talking to him. He listened to our message and said he'd like to meet with us. He's marked for baptism on January 18. We also met his wife... she's not so interested in our message, so we'll see what Heavenly Father has in store. Another miracle: the other night we were street contacting and we met this kid named Misael. He's 15 and he lives on our street. He didn't want to get baptized but he said he's like to meet with us and he gave us his address. We went to the apartment the first time and the woman told us over the intercom that there wasn't a Misael in that apartment. Last night we decided to go back and try again. We pressed the button by the main building of the door and somebody in the building unlocked the door for us. We went up and we found the apartment. We were 100% sure that we were at the right apartment, but it turns out there is no Misael that lives there. As we talked to the lady though we started teaching her. She told us that for months she's seen other sister missionaries walking in the streets, but she never talked to them. I asked her if she would pray about our message. She said yes, and then I asked her when she knew our message was true if she would be baptized. She said yes. Right there in her doorway! The Spirit was so strong! It was different that other times I've felt the Spirit and it was just so cool! We never found Misael, but we found someone that Heavenly Father has been preparing for months! One more miracle: last Sunday we were sitting in church and then after the Sacrament this girl walked in and sat by me. Nobody knew who she was and after the meeting she told us that she's from Viseu, lives in Lisboa, and has been meeting with elders down in Lisboa. She had some doubts about being baptized, but yesterday she sent us a text saying that she had decided she would be baptized. Her family thinks she has lost her mind, but she says she doesn't have any doubts anymore. See? MIRACLES!!!
This email is so long... I am so sorry. I didn't even realize how much I had written, but hopefully it's all just quality stuff that gives you warm fuzzies and makes you want to help the missionaries. :) There's a picture from New Year's Eve and pictures from our zone conference in Coimbra. I'll send more pictures to Inette so that she can put them on the blog.
I got a Christmas card from Carol Braithewaite. Mom please give her a great big hug for me.. and Sister Dabel too. Tell Kandi congratulations on her engagement, and Benjamin would you give my email to Kristin?
I love you all. I'm so grateful for your prayers because so many amazing things happen that I never expected. The Gift of Tongues is so real. The members tell me that all the time. Irmã Paula and Irmã Judite both told me that they are amazed by how I can speak. They told me that it really is a miracle that I can speak and understand as well as I do for only one month. It's amazing what the Spirit can do!
I love you all! The church is true and being a missionary is the best thing ever!
P.S. Apparently it's normal for old Portuguese woman to come up, pat you on the cheek and tell you how fat you are and list a bunch of weird things to do to stay beautiful. It was a new experience for me and all I said was "Obrigada Irmã... oh, sim, sim. Obrigada. Muita obrigada." Yeah.... Portugal. Definitely not Idaho.