Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Well, at least he won't have to see me ever again."

- Sister Lofgreen (one of the other sisters who lives with us, aka my saving grace) after she was talking to a blind man and made him run into a pole. hahaha. it`s not funny at all, but it`s so funny. 
Okay, this week. There`s always so much I want to say, and so much I can`t say, and so much that I just wish you could understand about this experience. But...I`ve decided. This experience has gotten me really excited for marriage. I know what you`re thinking, BUT, I have a point. So, you know how when you`re married, you have to be with that person forever and stuff like that and everyone`s so scared about it. BUT. It`s better. BECAUSE. When you`re married, you don`t actually have to be with them 24/7. You get to go to work. And you get to be in different rooms. And you get to go to the store by yourself and you can just call each other when you want to talk to each other and then you don`t have to listen to them if you don`t really want to. AND THEN YOU GET to see them at night, and you`re so excited about it, because you`ve been apart all day. Or at least that`s how I`m going to keep imagining it, because oh my holy cow...ahahahah 24/7 is A. LOT. OF. TIME. So, yeah.
I actually think I keep thinking this, because we are living with 2 other sisters and they are just the greatest and I love them so much, and I get so excited everyday to come home for lunch and at night just to see them and talk and share stories. It`s like having roommates all over again. It`s fun. I know that Heavenly Father sent them to me for a reason. They are my angels. 
Anyways, this week, we had a baptism!!! It was so fabulous! This man named Toze and his son Hugo, and they are just the sweetest little family, and the Spirit was seriously SO strong. I could hardly handle it. It`s just such a testament of how we have to be baptized in order to be with our families forever and this is the path that God wants us to follow, and it`s just the greatest, because the church is so true!!
But...funny story. So, apparently we didn`t turn on the hot water soon enough or something for the font, and so...we ended up getting a hose and hosing the hot water from the sink in the bathroom into the baptismal font to make the water not as freezing, but hey! No one complained, so it must have worked. hehehe. Gotta get inventive. 
And when they got the Holy Ghost the next day, you could literally feel it come in the room. Every single person in the congregation was crying and the people giving the blessing were too. It was SO cool. I am so glad I got to be a part of this miracle in their lives. They are incredible, and I`m so excited to start working with them to help them go to the Temple! Yayaya!
Speaking of church, remember how I`ve always said there should be a ward bread maker? Well, the bread here is SO good! And it always makes me a little bit too happy. But the other sisters confessed that they think the same thing every sunday, so at least I`m not alone. 
In other news, we met this AWESOME guy this week! He`s lived just about everywhere in the world, and he speaks a hundred different languages. His name is Andrad and he is awesome. He has such a desire to learn and find out for himself. He said he wants to read the entire Book of Mormon to get an answer, but I said he doesn`t have to do that. He can just read a little bit and pray about it. But seriously, he`s so cool. And we taught in English, which is actually the weirdest thing ever. So yeah, I think I`m just gonna convert every 25 year old ish english speaking boy in Portugal. hehehe oops.
Hm...other than that, I really don`t know what to say. We had interviews with President this week, and that man is SO incredible. He is SO close to the Lord and he really does receive revelation for each one of us. He knows exactly what we need and how to help us. I am so so grateful to have had that opportunity, because it could not have come at a better time. I am learning a lot and I am memorizing lots of scriptures and singing lots of hymns and with the Lord`s help, we can do all things. 
AND Mirita and Milena are getting baptized this week!! (The Chocolate Cake/Cape Verde Family from my last area!!) I am SO excited! Ah...it`s crazy how much you miss people that you only knew for such a short period of time. 

I am so so so very grateful for all of you. I am so grateful to have your love and support every day. I am so grateful that even when people literally laugh in my face (yes--that happened far too many times this week. As if I don`t feel stupid enough already?), I know I have you guys and I know you love me. You are the greatest in all of the world. I love you. Heavenly Father loves you. You are all perfect in my eyes. I cannot thank  you enough. I miss you so. Enjoy the free day. 

I LOVE YOU.
xoxo,
Sister Brooks

Baptism of Toze and Hugo!! Theyre mom is already a member, and we`re working with the daughter! (Omg I love her so much, she is SO funny, and SOOOO 15.) My companion is the one next to me....
The picture doesn't do it justice, but the moon was SO beautiful this night!!
have you ever seen a cleaner jar of peanut butter? Those 5 euros were well spent :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN ALL OF THE WORLD THAT BRING ME SO MUCH JOY!!


HELLO HELLO HELLO HELLO!!! MY HEART IS SO FULL OF LOVE FOR YOU PEOPLE!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I GOT ALL OF MY PACKAGES AND LETTERS FROM THE LAST SIX WEEKS YESTERDAY, AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER. SERIOUSLY, I COULD CRY. (I did cry.) THANK YOUUU.
JRU Crew- You are so funny. I die. Could you be more perfect Ash? I LOVED the notes and I died over the pictures. I saw the pictures and my heart broke. You all are my family and I love you SO. ps. where was your note E? And glad to hear you`ve turned hipster. I knew you always had it in you.
COURT AND JOE/MOM--THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! The packages arrived here safely and with no problems. You have NO idea how happy I was to see those peanut butter Nature Valley bars. I actually broke down into tears (I`m a little fragile this week). I`ve missed them so much. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. And a new shirt!!! YOU REALLY DO LOVE ME!!! And more peanut butter and chocolate chips! Ah, you are so perfect. Thank you thank you thank you!! Court and Joe, you guys are the best! And apparently Portugal has no problems with London, so THANK YOU!! AH I LOVE YOU GUYS!! SERIOUSLY SO MUCH!!
This week. I don`t even know what to say. It was different. Way way different. I am learning a lot and it is really good. I think I`ll be learning a lot about the attributes of Christ this transfer. And memorizing lots of scriptures and singing lots of hymns in my head. I`m missing Sister Barlow a lot. My new companion is Sister Rojo, and she does things.....differently. I am trying really hard to be patient and to love her and to do everything that makes her happy, but.....well.....it appears as though I can`t really do anything right. So, if anyone has any advice on that one, I would happily take it. I`m trying to serve and work as hard as I can, but it`s hard to work alone. And you guys thought I was afraid of creepy men? Well...she thinks EVERYONE is creepy, but they`re all children of God, so we have to talk to all of them, even if she doesn`t want to. I`m working really hard and I`m praying really hard, and I know the Lord is answering my prayers. For instance--the packages and all the letters!! (Speaking of...my new zone leaders are already giving me a hard time about how many I got. #thatgirl) But, I am REALLY REALLY lucky, because I am living with two other girls (Sister Lofgreen and Sister Call) and they are absolute angels sent from above. Seriously, they are my support system every night. I know the Lord put us here together for a reason, so we will work it out and we will see miracles. Mosiah 24:13-16 is my scripture for the day/week/transfer. The Lord will lift our burdens from us. 
Also, other miracles. I`m understanding and speaking like a bajillion times better. Like over night. It's awesome. My companion has a Spanish accent that`s super hard to understand, so it`s actually kind of funny, but I`m doing the majority of the talking and teaching, so it`s a really good learning experience for me. And a lady from the ward was like wow! I totally thought you had been in the mission for longer, because you speak so well. So...all that torture from Cesar was actually a blessing from above.

And, we have a baptism this Saturday!! This man named Tose! It`s actually the coolest story. He and his wife got married forever ago, but she wasn`t active until about a year and a half ago, but then she started taking her kids to church with her every Sunday. He wanted NOTHING to do with it. But, after a LOT of family prayer and fasting, and 15 or so years, he finally started listening to the missionaries, and he is getting baptized with his son this weekend! It is going to be amazing! He has so much faith, and he is another example of true conversion. It`s amazing. I love seeing people change through Christ. Repentance is so, so real, and Jesus loves us so so much. (Speaking of, reading Jesus the Christ, and it is SO good. Everyone read it. Erin, read it. You`ll die. I love it.)

Anyways, so...this new area is great. We walk A LOT. We have an awesome ward. The area is really beautiful. We have 8 missionaries in the same chapel in two wards, so there are a lot of us in the same area. So, we`ll be spending a lot of time together and it will be fun.

I don`t really know what else to say other than thank you for being my rock and for always supporting me and loving me. You guys are the greatest in the whole world. Thank you for teaching me so much and helping me always. I love you all. And I could not be more grateful to have you in my life. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you.

xoxo,
Sister Brooks
Mother's Day with Familia Oliveira and some other members from the Ward


Friday, May 17, 2013

New school, new babe pool.

Guess what?! I´M IN VISEU!! New area. New companion. New life. Jk. Same life. BUT. The area seems wayy more normal and the people seem more Portuguese and I can actually understand the accent a little bit better and it´s more suburban, so I´m really excited to work here! My new companion´s name is Sister Rojo. She´s from California, but I´m pretty sure she is Hispanic. She seems super nice. She has 12 weeks left in the mission, so that will be fun. I´ll learn a lot from her. And guess what? Sister Jackson AND Sister Mullen are training, so oh my goodness, I HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER TO NOT BE IN THAT POSITION! hehehehe. No, but seriously. 


BUT OH MY GOODNESS SO MANY MIRACLES LAST WEEK!!! First off, my beloved Diogo, who I am SO sad I had to leave, BUT GUYS. He is SO awesome. He threw a little temper tantrum when he found out transfers exist and it was the funniest, but then he was so sweet and he was praying all week that `if it wasn´t too selfish of him, we wouldn´t leave him.´ Aw, and he also loves magic, so he was showing us all his tricks this week, and then one of his prayers, he said that if we do have to be separated, that we can all play cards together in heaven. Seriously, my heart. Guys. He´s perfect. And he said, `If you guys leave me, I´d have to sit all alone at church.` And Sister Barlow and I just looked at each other and we were like WHAT?! HE´D STILL GO TO CHURCH!! Happy day!!!

And he was ALL about tithing when we taught it to him, and he was like, `And if I´m just a student and I can´t pay anything, because I´m not making anything, then I will just dedicate my life to God and make sure that I am doing everything in my power to follow the path that he wants me to follow.`I´M SORRY WHAT? Oh man. He didn´t even believe in God three weeks ago!! AH! I LOVE HIM! Seriously, he is so rad. I am so so so happy we found him! 

AND OH I ALMOST FORGOT!! HE STOPPED SMOKING!!! You´d never believe it. I did it. I was that missionary. I offered to give up chocolate for him to give up smoking. I KNOW. I NEVER thought it would happen either. My heart dropped as the words came out of my mouth, but they did. And I was SO happy when he said that he could NEVER let me do that. Phew. Close one. Anywaysss, we´d been praying and praying, so finally, we were like `Please let him be repulsed by the thought of smoking and that way he was want to do it anymore.`And the next day, he got super sick and had a sore throat and he couldn´t smoke anymore!! yayayaya!!! I was so happy!!! Literally we were jumping up and down. We had a Meredith/Christina dance party for him after we hung up. And then a couple days later, he said that he tried to smoke again, because he thought he was missing something, but halfway through the cigarette, he was `repulsed!` HE USED THE EXACT WORD!! Oh my, oh my, GOD IS SO GOOD GUYS!

Oh, I also got my first Portuguese mix tape from Diogo this week. So....yeah. Bring on the funny Portuguese songs that I can´t understand.

ALSO. We have this other family, Milena and her mom Mirita. They are seriously SO ELECT. They are the nicest and they loved making this chocolate cake from the heavens with us (Bolo de Brigadeiro) and so maybe we made it three times last week, and she made us eat like half the cake EVERYTIME and I literally felt that the fat kid in Matilda just nomming on the chocolate cake and feeling like I was going to die. Torture I tell you. 

But, they are seriously SO awesome. They just accept everything. We had the WEIRDEST lesson with them though, where an awesome member came with us, and at the end, he was like, `You can be a pioneer in your family. Every member a missionary.`And we´re just like....uh....this is the second lesson. But, whatever. She was all over it. Elect I´m telling you. And then the next day, we went over and she told us she was in a LOT of pain, because she has kidney stones and needs surgery and can´t get it until December (yikes, Portugal). Anyways, so we were talking about Palavra de Sabedoria and she just accepted right away, which is AWESOME, because this woman LOVES her black tea. But she just left it on the table and got up and was totally done with it. It was so cool. And then she goes, `My pain is gone. MY PAIN IS GONE!` And she runs over and hugs us and she is so happy and she´s like, I know it came because of you guys and your message and the promised blessings. AHH!! SO RAD! I think they´re going to be baptized in a couple weeks, and I am so sad I´m gonna miss it, but they are so kind and so loving and so perfect! 

This transfer thing is hard. I was just getting used to the area and people and making friends and what not, and now it´s like goodbye forever.... Oh well. It will all be well. It´s just weird. Constant change here in the mission field. 

Oh, and we´re doing this awesome study in the Book of Mormon right now, and I´m loving it SO much, I want to tell you all about it. You use four different colors to mark-names of Christ, Doctrine of Christ, when Christ speaks, and attributes of Christ. And then at the bottom of every page, you count up how many of each you have. I have never realized how much the Book of Mormon is truly another testiment of Jesus Christ. I mean, I knew it, but I never really knew it. And it is so amazing to see how often Christ and Heavenly Father speak to their children. Anyway, it´s awesome, and I´ve yet to pass a page without at least one thing marked at the bottom and I love it so so much. So, DO IT. You´ll love it too.

I have pictures, but I´ll have to send them next week, because I don´t have the right cord for this new internet place. I´m sorry. I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU SERIOUSLY SOOOO MUCH!!! NOTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD HAS EVER MADE ME HAPPIER THAN THAT ONE PHONE CALL. You guys are the best and the funniest and the people at the Oliveiras house were like, `Woah, you never stopped talking. Ever. We thought you were more calm and reserved. It was funny to watch.` Oh hi, I´m super calm and reserved. Nope...just can´t speak your language. HA. Although, I´m already seeing a lot of miracles in this new area and understanding a bajillion times better. It´s awesome. ANYWAYS. I HAVE TO GO I ALWAYS HATE THIS PART SO MUCH. KEEP BEING PERFECT. KEEP BEING BEAUTIFUL. KEEP LOVING GOD! I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU! GOD LOVES YOU! AND THE SUN IS SHINING...SO...that´s proof. I LOVE YOU!!

xoxo,
Sister Brooks

Mother's Day

video

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On this week's episode of letters from Sam

HAHAHAHAHAH. I´m starting to think that´s what every week is going to be like. Although, my companion finally spilled the beans to me that Mem Martins is a weird area and it always has been. BUT. That won´t get us down! And this week, we got the privilege of creating a new area within our area, because now there are going to be 6 missionaries in our ward. So......that´s gonna be fun. Here´s to hoping it´s Elders and not Sisters, because then we won´t have to have two more girls in our house, but I´m pretty sure just for typing that it´s gonna be sisters. Well...we´ll all find out next week. "On next week´s episode of...." I actually say that all the time at the end of lessons. We usually tell them like what we are going to talk about next time and sometimes it´s real awkward, well...everything´s awkward, but anyways, and I´ll say (in my best Soap Net/Portuguese Novela voice) "On the next episode of...lessons with the Sisters!" Yeah...it´s hard to be funny. Yeah, so anyways, we spent 3 hours drawing lines this week. So who knows what´s going to happen, but hopefully that reorganization will turn Mem Martins luck around. 

Also, I knew I was giving up a lot of things for the mission, but I did NOT know that warm water was going to be one of them. After taking cold showers for 2 weeks, we FINALLY have hot water again and it´s the greatest thing in all of the land. You guys, don´t take advantage of this blessed, blessed miracle. 

This week was funny and strange and weird and all of those things. I can´t really remember anything that happened. Except one day, we were making our way to try to find this girl´s house. We´re walking and walking and then we ask these people for directions and they give it to us and then we´re walking and walking and then we see McDonald´s, so we stop for a DC, and then we´re walking and walking and then we´re in the middle of this huge industrial area. Then we stop and ask this lady for directions, and she tells us to go in front. So...we keep walking, and then we stop and look around and realize we´re just in the middle of a bunch of big roads in like like huge industrial/commercial/shopping area, so we´re like okay, let´s ask this lady at the bus stop. So we do, and she tells us to go in the exact same direction the other lady said. So we play frogger and run across the road and start heading in the direction the ladies told us. Then, we´re turning and turning and turning, and all of a sudden, I realize... WE ARE LITERALLY WALKING ON THE ON RAMP ONTO THE HIGHWAY. THOSE CRAZY LADIES TOLD US TO WALK ON THE HIGHWAY! I don´t know how they do things in Portugal  but there wasn´t even a shoulder! Seriously, WHAT? Needless to say, once I noticed, I stop and just turned around and started laughing forever and then we took the bus home. Seriously, who are these people? 

In other news, we´re kinda struggling with our investigators, but our recent converts are seriously SO legit. It´s awesome. They just want to learn and soak it all in and it´s so inspiring and I love it so much. One of our recent converts Paulo is the funniest. He hates praying in front of people, but last week, they called on him to give the closing prayer in Sunday School, and after he came up to us and was like, ´I´m good for a year, Sisters!!` Because that´s how that works. But then he got called on again yesterday and it was the funniest thing ever, because he just looked at us and then afterward was like, `Three months!! Three months!!´ Oh, he´s the sweetest soul. I love everyone here so much. They´re so awesome. And they just have such a sincere desire to learn. It´s precious, and makes me want to be a better person everyday.  

Funniest thing ever. I saw a group of summer sales kids around here and just died laughing. Oh, I miss Provo. 

Also, I´ll have you know Dad, that I still do your making up song thing. Like everyday. But it´s generally to church music or a hymn and my comp thinks I´m the worlds strangest person, but I´ve actually gotten her to join in on it with me and it´s funny. So, just know that I still think about you barging in my room in the mornings singing those strange songs to me and doing your funny little dance moves.

Oh another funny story, I tried to tell the Young Women this week to stay beautiful (fica bonita) in Portuguese, and they all just looked at me like I was an idiot, and they were like...`yeah no, we don´t say that. It´s fica bem. (Stay good).` They don´t play around with their language here and it´s hard for me. #translationproblems

Also, will someone tell Kaylie Trussel that I got to watch an episode of Phineas and Ferb in Portuguese at a members house (There was nothing I could do about it people. I tried real hard not to.) and it was the funniest thing I´ve ever listened too and it made me think of her and when we bonded over this freshman year.  

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN I LOVE PORTUGAL! #notsorry

Sister Brooks

Quinta de Regeleira

Quinta de Regeleira

Quinta de Regeleira

And as a bonus this week . . . Sister Stewart in Thailand!!

Diet Coke in a bag!!