Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Ela é mais linda."

Yup, these boys had a fight over whether Sister Stokes or I was prettier this week, and it was the funniest thing in the world and it was funnier that Sister Stokes didn`t understand a word of it and I just giggled, because I felt so awkward and I didn`t know what to do and...then they told us they would take us back to Africa with them after our missions so....#joysofbeingasistermissionary? I`ve gotta learn how to escape these situations. 

BUT! BIG NEWS IN THE MISSION!!! WE CAN TEXT!!! I`ve never been so happy as I am right now. YAY! All those language barrier problems can be fixed with dictionaries!!! AND we might finally be able to get ahold of teenagers! It`s such an amazing little miracle. Now....I just have to remember how to text on brick phones. 

And, we`ve really been seeing that/the Lord`s hand in the work this week . Even though are numbers are kind of struggling, and we`re having a hard time finding people who really are progressing, I know that as we apply what we`ve learned and trust in the Lord and his timing, we will be able to help others gain a testimony of their own. The thing that hurts my heart the most is when people don`t want to read the Book of Mormon. Because, it`s so good! But...yeah. But! The coolest thing happened yesterday. Sometimes, I get a little upset because we just walk around and talk to people all day long and nobody wants anything to do with us and....that`s hard for me. #sorryiliketobeliked And sometimes it´s hard to feel like you are really making a difference, but on Saturday afternoon, we were talking to this man on a bench in the park and we invited him to come to church with us on Sunday and gave him our card (like we do with every person we talk to), and then on Sunday, we were sitting in Sacrament meeting (which we have last and it`s upstairs), and this member walked up to us from the back of the chapel and showed up our card and said we had an investigator that was looking for us! IT WAS SUCH A MIRACLE! And that hasn`t happened since Diogo!! So you KNOW I`ve got a good feeling about this one. God is SO good! Except that he lives in the other sister`s area, so we won`t get to work with him, but that`s okay, because he`s still gonna be incredible! I just know it. 

This week...I`m realizing a lot of my weaknesses. It`s kind of funny (and actually not that funny at all) how the Lord shows you your weaknesses. He does it out of love and because he wants us to grow and what not, but sometimes that growing and understanding and studying to figure out how you can humble yourself a little bit more to trust in the Lord a little bit more to work a little bit harder and have a little bit more courage and just do your part is actually really really hard. But, this morning, I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants, and I read about how we have to be the small helm in helping steer the big boat and then Sister Lofgreen said that someone is standing over directing the helm and I just got all teary eyed, becaue I know the Lord is standing over helping direct His work. 

We`re also trying to come up with new and creative ways to find people, because.......yeah. So last night, the other sisters and the elders and us all went to this little park and set up a table with Book of Mormons and pamphlets and coisas assim and started singing hymns, and it was actually so incredibly amazing. People were coming up to us! And we were happy, because who can`t be happy when you`re singing? It`s no Les Mis,`s what we`ve got right now. And our district is full of people who have the voices of angels, so...that helps. Now if only we could get Celine to come sing with us next week. I think that`d be a real crowd pleaser. Ya feel me Kate? 

Okay, can you believe it`s already time for transfers? Where on earth did this transfer go? I have no idea. But, not gonna lie. I`m a little stressed about it. Sister Call and Sister Lofgreen and Sister Stokes and I all love each other so much that we can`t imagine parting. We`re thinking about asking President if we can all just stay together for the whole mission. Think he`ll go for it? Yeah, me too. It`s like when Meliss told me I should ask the Prophet if I could just switch to her mission. Seems logical to me. 

This week, I`ve been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have you all in my life. I don`t even know how it is possible that the Lord has blessed me with so many people that are so incredibly amazing. And how is it that we all found each other? How is it that the Lord loves me SO much that He gave me all of you who are willing to put up with me and love me and take care of me? I have no idea, but I am so so so grateful. Words cannot express the love I have in my heart for all of you. I love you so much, you amazing people you.

Sister Brooks 

look how adorably perfect our little district is

Monday, July 22, 2013

"You're speaking in a different language, but I can still understand you."

A little 5 year old girl told me that the other week. So....yup. That`s where I`m at with Portuguese. Hahah it was actually so funny. She really honestly believed I was speaking to her in another language. Nope....estava a falar em Português. So...that`s hard. 

Why is email time so stressful? So many emails. So little time. So much love in my heart for this blessed hour and a half of the week. But I love and cheerish every one of them. And every one of you. Even if I don`t respond, so please oh please keep them coming.

This week was filled with all sorts of adventures. First and foremost, I had another go to Lisboa and come back in a day adventure this week! Yay for 8 hours on a bus in one day! Not gonna lie, I was a little weary of leaving my comp all alone without me. I really do feel like a mom! hahah. We had to go get our residency cards so I can stay here for another year! Yayyy! It was actually the greatest little blessing from above, because it was just a whole day with Sister Jackson! (I`m still praying that we get put back you guys wanna join in on that one too, I wouldn`t be mad.) Basically, our whole MTC district had to go to this little place and get our fingerprints taken and sign some paperwork. But, I think we really just went to hang out with each other again. Sister Jackson and I took the same bus back and we used the ridiculous photo booth things that they have here to take the world`s funniest pictures. Oh man, she is still so amazing. Sister Mullen has to go back to Canada for a transfer because her papers didn`t work out. Made me think of The Proposal #deported #canadaeh? hahaha far as I know, I`m legal.

Other than that, it was kind of an interesting week. It`s always hard to go from working with people who are progressing and just really feeling like you are fulfilling your purpose to walking around and trying and trying and trying to talk to people who don`t want to talk to you. I don`t think I`d make a very good lion. I don`t like to be on the hunt. hahaha what? Who am I? ANYWAYS. But, I`ve finally learned how to just go around complimenting people in Portuguese, and it`s my favorite thing to do now in the street, because then they at least smile back at you. The only problem is....I don`t ever want to go from the nice little foreign menina to the annoying girl who is trying to talk to you about Christ. And I still can`t figure out that hahahah it`s such a hard life.

But we have met a couple really cool people this week! Mostly teenage girls that I can relate to because we talk about Justin Bieber and One Direction and Taylor Swift. And then they tell me they`re 14 and I remember that I`m 21 and I say to myself.....glad not much has changed in the last 7 years. Hahahah I hate myself.

Also, reinstated secret of the day this week! (I`d completely forgotten about it!! I know...I can`t believe it either.) And it`s way harder and way more fun on the mission, because you actually are with each other 24/7 so there`s a lot less secrets which means that they`re that much better!!!

ALSO! You know what Lisbon means?! LETTERS!!! I LOVE LETTERS AND I LOVE YOU ALL AND I LOVE HOW MUCH I LOVE I GET IN THE FORM OF LETTERS! You guys really don`t understand. It`s my favorite thing to walk into the office and ask the Elders for permission to run downstairs and then I look in the little mail box and I`m just so happy! (Also, I realized this week that I ask 19 year old boys for permission for everything/call them to report about my life/ask them every question I have, and then I just giggled to myself, because really? Oh well, I look up to them so much it`s unreal. So...whaterrs.)


AH. OUT OF EMAIL TIME. YIKES! But, I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! Until next Monday....

Sister Brooks

Oh, guess what?! Diogo`s getting the Priesthood this week! and Armando got it yesterday! and Toze passed the sacrament for the first time this week!! Yay! I love the Priesthood!!

My companion is just so precious



Monday, July 15, 2013

"It's literally killing two birds with one stone." -Sister Call

Hahahah, okay, so there is this pigeon that is living on our porch and she created a nest and she is now sitting on her eggs, and it`s so disturbing, but we can`t bring ourselves to do anything about it. And the birds are ALWAYS outside our window at night and it`s the most obnoxious thing in the world, because they`re SO loud. So last night, Sister Lofgreen wanted to throw a rock at the birds to make them shut up and Sister Call told Sister Lofgreen said to just take one of the eggs in the nest and then we´d being `killing two birds with one stone.` HAHAHAHA I hope you guys found that as funny as I did, because I was DYING of laughter. 
ANYWAYS---THIS WEEK WAS SO INCREDIBLE!! I don`t know if I am even going to be able to explain it. I mean, it was kind of really stressful, because it turns out that having to make sure that everything is being done correctly is actually really hard, and it`s even harder when it`s in Portuguese, and it`s all these legal words that I have no idea what they mean, but no worries, because everything went PERFECTLY!! Well....kind of. Speaking of, just so you all know...there`s family drama at weddings in Portugal too. Yikes. BUT. 
SOFIA AND ARMANDO ARE SO INCREDIBLE!! THEY WERE SO PREPARED, AND THEY ARE JUST THE WORLD`S GREATEST PEOPLE!! I love them and their little family SO much!! And the Gospel really is blessing them and their family in so many ways!! Sofia was telling us that she has wanted to do this for 10 years now, and the fact that it was finally happening, she couldn`t have been happier. She and Armando just couldn`t stop smiling, and they were SO happy, and they really were acting like newlyweds and it was SO precious. I was dying! The wedding was civil and it was actually really strange, because this lady just mumbled a bunch of words in Portuguese and then they both said yes and then they exchanged rings and then they kissed and that was that. But it was still so perfect in its own little way, and they were just so happy and it made me so happy and I just can`t even begin to explain it.
So they got married at 3:30 and then they got baptized at 7!! They changed into their baptismal clothes and Armando kept joking around about how he looked like a painter, and they are just SO funny. I wish you could know them so badly. You will. But they were SO happy, and EVERYONE was there. There was SO much support from both wards! It was incredible!! And everything went so smoothly and then afterward, we had a little fiesta to celebrate with them! The Bishop`s wife and another lady in the ward made cakes in the form of a heart and it was so precious. They were just so excited about it all. And my heart was just bursting with love for them. Sofia thanked us for helping her realize this dream, but we didn`t do anything. It was all Heavenly Father, and I couldn`t be more excited for them and this time in their life.  

 on Sunday, they showed up to church looking SO good! Armando was wearing a white shirt and a tie! I die! SO perfect! Ah, they are so perfect, and they are SO happy, and they really have felt the Spirit touch their hearts, and they are seriously so converted! It`s SO incredible to be a part of. I feel SO lucky to know them! And they got the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and the Spirit was SO strong, and it was just the most incredible thing. Sister Stokes and I had to refrain from squealing with joy, because we were just SO happy. And he`s preparing to get the Priesthood next week, and I just LOVE this Gospel! 

But funny story of the week--in Portuguese, there is this ´lhe´ sound that we Americans can`t make, and it`s the funniest thing, because we try SO hard, but it never works. I don`t know if I`ve already told you this or not, but anyways. This week, we were sitting at dinner with Sofia and Armando, and Tiago, their 4 year old son, spent literally 15 minutes trying to teach us how to say ´orelhas´ or ears. Basically, it went like this. Tiago: `O-RE-LHA-S´ Us: ´O-RE-LEE-AS` Everyone bursts into laughter. Tiago: ´No no no no. It`s not like that. It`s like this. I`ll go slower.... OOOO-REHHH-LHA-S.`  yep. Nope. Still couldn`t do it. It was the funniest and most humiliating moment of my life, but it was actually REALLY funny, so...I`m not mad. THEN he started dancing around the table and he was doing Gangham style, and he knew all the dance moves and it was SO funny. And he is SO cute. and Mom, you would DIE.

Anyways, I wish I could tell you everything that I am thinking/feeling about this week, but there really are no words. Other than I know this is really the work of the Lord and that the way for us to be happy and find peace in our lives is through His Gospel. I am SO grateful to have this opportunity to meet these people and to feel this love that the Lord has for us and all his children. He loves us SO much. More than we can even begin to imagine. I am SO grateful to know that, and I am so grateful to be in Portugal with these crazy, funny, ridiculous Portuguese people. 

Sister B

PS. CANDICE!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVE OF MY LIFE THAT I HAVENT HEARD FROM IN 5 MONTHS (you like that subtle hint? Write me ya punk.) I HOPE IT WAS FANTASTIC! I think of you every day and I miss you dearly.
MARLEICE!!! FREAK YEAH!!! Hope you LOVE the MTC!!! GO take Brazil by storm!! Can`t wait to talk to you in Portuguese!! Eeee :) I LOVE YOU!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIMMING!!! I HOPE IT`S THE GREATEST!!! Mom---better make him a roll-up cake. 


lololol im so in love with our elders

look at my cute roomies....on megabed

Sofia and Armando's Wedding





Tiago is the world`s CUTEST child ever.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"I thought we became missionaries so we didn`t HAVE to burn in hell." - Sister Call

IT IS BLAZING HOT. And no one believes in Air Conditioning here, so it`s just blazing hot every where you go and there is no escaping it. I mean, don`t get me`s better than the cold, but it`s so hot that we can`t sleep at night and well...that makes things hard. That and we`re so sweaty that no one wants to talk to us. I can actually smell myself. It`s bad. Hahah, but hey! It makes for really really easy conversation with be. `Esta com calor?` `Sim, sim.` `Eu acho que todos nos vamos morrer.` Yeah...I tell people I think we`re all going to die all the time, and they don`t really get it, because the Portuguese don`t joke and then I`m just laughing at myself in the street and they`re looking at me like I`m crazy and I just keep laughing. Hahahah who am i? 
`I have to drink my water plugging my nose.` --Sister Stokes doesn`t like water either! Hahahha but President is requiring us to drink like a bajillion liters a day, so....yeah. It`s a struggle. Maybe I was kidding about having plenty of Crystal Light. Oops. 
So, I really don`t remember everything that happened this week, because`s really really really hot and it makes it hard to think about anything else ahhaah. BUT, I know we actually had a lot of miracles!! Last monday, we went on this crazy hiking adventure with this man from the other ward and all the missionaries and a couple of the youth from both wards. It was SO funny, and the man who took us, Miguel, is actually the world`s funniest human being. It was so fun! (I know, I know...I just said hiking was fun). Except that I fell about 400 times, because we were literally running through the forest and apparently I am the world`s clumsiest human and it was just really funny. And then, when we got all the way back to the car, I realized I didn`t have my camera. So....the Elders ran back to look for it for me. Yes, I`m that Sister. And then we said a little prayer, and then I thought to myself, `Heavenly`s okay if I lose the camera, but I REALLY don`t want to lose the SD card....` WELL! The Elders came back, and THEY FOUND IT! was in the River... BUT! Even though the camera doesn`t work, the SD card DOES!! hahah The Lord actually might have answered the prayer a bit too specifically that time. But, I really am SO grateful for that little miracle. 

Training--You know I like being told exactly what to do, so I don`t do anything wrong? Yeah, well that makes being a trainer hard, because a lot of the time I have NO idea what to do, and I have no one to tell me what to do. So... we just pray a lot to see what Heavenly Father wants us to do haha. But my companion is just the happiest, sweetest thing in the world, and the coolest things are happening! Like, we met this one 16 year old girl who is actually the coolest. She was just spilling to us about her love life, and I was just dying of laughter, because hahaha. It`s just so funny. And I think it`s funnier to hear these stories in Portuguese too. BUT, she came to church with us last week, and we hadn`t taught her yet, but we gave her a Book of Mormon, and then when we went over to teach her, she had already read the introduction and prayed to ask God if it`s true!! She`s SO incredible!! Seriously. I love her so much! AND THEN! There`s this other lady named Maria (They`re actually ALL named Maria....and then I think...How do you solve a problem like Maria? Hahah anywayssss.) and she is SO incredible!!! We met with her again last night, and she told us how people in the world are putting the things of the world in front of God, and she wants to remember what`s most important and have God in her life everyday, so we promised her that if she`d read the Book of Mormon and pray every day, then He would be! And then she said that she wants to come to church with us and become friends with the people there, so she can have other people to talk about God with!! SHE`S SO INCREDIBLE!! AND! When we were leaving last night, she told us she loves us!!! And I know that doesn`t seem like a big deal at all, BUT IT IS! Because, the Portuguese actually NEVER say I love you. Even when they are talking about their spouses, they just say, `Eu gosto dele.` Which is like I like him. And I always tell people I love them and they all look at me like I`m crazy and I hardly know them and how can that be possible, but I really do! Anyways, it was just the best little miracle last night!

AND WE`RE HAVING THE WEDDING AND BAPTISM OF SOFIA AND ARMANDO ON FRIDAY!!! I actually could not be more excited!! They are so incredible and I love them so much! I tell them all the time that I think I am more excited than they are, and they just laugh at me. But, I got really sad last night, because I realized that when they go through the Temple I won`t be there and then I got sad. But it`s okay, because they`re going to go to the Temple!! And we get to have a festa on Friday!! And I`m just PRAYING that everything goes as planned. Also, I have no idea how the Portuguese do weddings, so...I hope they don`t mind that it`s going to be all American-ized. Heheheh. I love love!!! 
Ps.---I know I swore I`d never be that missionary that just writes about all these people that you guys don`t know or care about, but I realize now that that`s actually impossible and I`m sorry, but I`m not that sorry. hehehe

Also, Funny companion was the Sister Coordinating leader in the MTC over Tess! Crazy small world eh?
So glad you all had the greatest time in HH! You`re the greatest and I love you all the most!! 

Sister B

Monday, July 1, 2013


FAMILYYYY!! I AM SO HAPPY!! THIS HAS BEEN THE GREATEST WEEK!! And guess what I realized this week?! We were driving back from Lisbon, and on the four hour bus ride, I thought to myself--I love my mission. And then I went, WAIT! I LOVE MY MISSION!! I LOVE MY MISSION GUYS!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! AND I AM SO HAPPY!! AND THERE IS SO MUCH LOVE IN MY HEART AND IN OUR HOME AND IN PORTUGAL!!! Therefore... we created a mega bed!!! :) So what if the Elders make fun of us every day for loving each other so much. I`m not even a little bit mad about it, because it`s the greatest thing ever! 

This week has literally been a week full of miracles. I cannot believe it has only been a week, because SO much has happened! But, I could NOT be more blessed. Heavenly Father is SO amazing, and He answers literally EVERY one of my prayers so specifically it`s incredible. Every single day I am more and more blown away by how specifically Heavenly Father knows us and how much He WANTS to bless us. It`s incredible. I wish I could tell you every single experience I`ve had, but that would fill a book, so...I`ll just do that instead :) 

Anyways, I LEARNED SO MUCH THIS WEEK. President is SO incredible and so are the assistants, and during our training meetings, I was just soaking up every word they had to say to us. They are seriously SO inspired and they are such amazing missionaries and they do ALL the things that Preach my Gospel says, and it`s so incredible, because it just proves that this work and every aspect of it really is inspired by the Lord. I`m always so blown away, and I just want to keep working harder and harder so that I can be half of what they are. 

But anyways, on Thursday, I PICKED UP SISTER STOKES AND SHE IS AN ANGEL SENT FROM ABOVE!! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!! She is SO happy and she is just perfect in every way. AND she loves Pitch Perfect. And her favorite part is the arm raise at the end too,`s a sign. We were meant to be. She`s SO incredible though. It`s so crazy watching her and seeing how far I`ve come without even realizing it. Like how she is so stressed about the language and how the people in the street speak so fast and use all these words she doesn`t know. But, não faz mal, because I don`t understand half the words the people in the street say either...oops. But she really is SO incredible, and she has so much faith, and we are working SO hard, and our first day of full work together, WE FOUND 9 NOVOS!! Which I know means nothing to you, but it`s more than I have ever found in one day in my whole mission!!! And I know it`s because of our faith and diligence. Except for maybe the one car contact that we did where two boys drove by and honked and then circled around and then stopped to talk to us and then we contacted them and prayed with them while they were still sitting in the car, and we were on the sidewalk, but hey....they were still cool. 

AH BUT THE WORK IS SO GOOD!! WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK! Maria got baptized!! The Spirit is always so strong at baptisms and confirmations. It is unreal. On Monday, I found out that our family that was supposed to get baptized this weekend too that I thought was a family isn`t actually a family, because they aren`t married.....oops. BUT! No fear! WE`RE HAVING A WEDDING!!! GUYS I GET TO PLAN A WEDDING!!! COULD I BE MORE EXCITED?!? Probably not. Sofia just laughs at me all the time when I tell her how excited I am. I might be more excited than she is, and she`s been waiting for this day for 10 years! She said she`s always wanted to get married, but he has had some problem with it, but `now he`s had a change of heart, because he`s found God.` ah I die!!! The Gospel really does bless families!! THEY`RE SO COOL. At the baptism of Maria, (their neighbor, who they invited to go to church with them) Sofia gave the closing prayer!! And she was sitting next to another investigator, and when the investigator asked her how she knew that she needed to be baptized, she said, `I feel a peace in my life and in my home so strongly that I can`t deny it.` Seriously?! Could she be more awesome?! AH I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!! And they have the two cutest little boys in the world that run around without pants on all the time. The Portuguese are so funny. GUYS I GET TO PLAN A WEDDING AND A BAPTISM ON THE SAME DAY! This is like my dream/every Sister missionary`s dream come true!!

AND the other day, the day we taught Palavra de Sabedoria, I noticed that they had a cabinet filled with different types of alcohol, and I got nervous, because what do you do with that? BUT NO FEAR, because when we went back there the other day, IT WAS FILLED WITH DECORATIONS AND MOVIES!!! I could not have been happier, and they could seriously not be more amazing!

Funny story. Ward temple trip this week. Bishop and his wife have a 4 year old son. When they told him where they were going, they said to the Lord`s house, and he got so excited. Then when they got there, he says, `Okay, where`s Jesus?` hahah, and then when they tried to explain it better, he said, `Okay, but he`s coming right?` I die. So precious. 

So this week, when I was in Lisboa, we were in the office, and I was so happy, because that meant MAIL TIME!! So I ran downstairs and looked through our box, and I WAS SO HAPPY BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MUCH LOVE IN THERE FOR ME!!! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST EVER AND I LOVE YOU SO!!! And then! There was the mail from that day, and I thought to myself, I won`t have anything, but why not? So then I flipped all the way through it, and at the very end was A LETTER FROM MELANIE!!! AH I WAS SO HAPPY!!! AND I LOVE YOU SO MUCH SHMELLY!!!! I`ll write you back ASAP!! I LOVE MAIL TIME!!!




Sister Brooks


Sister Stokes!

President and Sister Fluckiger

MARIA (The neighbor of our family!) GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!

The most precious child in all of the whole world--Tiago (James)