Monday, August 26, 2013

Olhai para miiiiim.

First off, Dad--I had a dream last night that we were walking down the streets and I saw the man from Iron Man, and I ran up to him and asked him if I could take a picture with him just so I could send it to you. He was down with it, because he thought it was so sweet that I wanted to send a picture to my dad. So.....I`m still dreaming about you guys. ...Kinda? 

In other news! So much happened this week! Last night, I was thinking about what I was going to tell you guys, and I got so excited, because WE FOUND MIKAELA!!! But, then I didn`t know we`d lost her. Hahahah. SOOO much happens in a week. It`s actually unreal. BUT. I`ll let you in on the wonderful story that is this perfect little girl. 

SO. We met her and her mom like a month ago or something, but they were just here on holidays and they were leaving for another city, so we got their info and passed it off to the missionaries there blah blah whatever. And then last Sunday, we were walking down the street and we saw this little girl waving to us. I was SO confused, because NO ONE ever calls OUR attention, so we waved back and then ran over and talked to her and she could not be more elect! Anyways, we went back and talked to her the next night, and turns out her dad works in a little cafe here in Viseu, so she was here again! Well....we taught her the first lesson. She loved it. She was holding onto the Book of Mormon like it was gold and I think my heart was overflowing with joy. She actually reminds me a LOT of Milena from my first area, so it makes me really happy. But anyways, so we marked to go back on Tuesday night, and we show up and......her dad says she went back to Coimbra. WE WERE BROKEN HEARTED. Seriously, it hurt so bad.

But, we kept going by her dad`s cafe everyday and we are teaching him some English words and we washed his dishes and he`s funny and Brazilian and WHYYY OH WHYYY AM I NOT IN BRAZIL? Hahah just kidding, I love Portugal. Well....I LOVE Brazilians so... kind of just kidding. 

BUT. Then, on Saturday night, we had about an hour and half to work still and ALL of our plans and back up plans and back up back up plans had fallen through, so we prayed to know where we should go and what we should do. I got this really strong feeling that we should go visit Paulo (Mikaela`s dad), and then I was like...`Ugh, but he`s always working and we can never really teach him and we need progressing investigators` (Yeah, I know...I`m really good at listening to the Spirit.) But Sister Stokes felt it too, and I still couldn`t shake the feeling, so....we walked over there, started talking to Paulo, and then all of a sudden he goes, `spera aí....minha filha (hold daughter).` YOUR DAUGHTER?!?!! AND THEN MIKAELA CAME RUNNING IN!!!! HAPPINESS JOY FELICIDADE AMOR!!! AHHHH!!! SO HAPPY!!! 

Then we talked to her again, and LISTEN TO EVERYTHING SHE TOLD US. She told us how her mom and her were actually riding behind us on the bus back from one of our zone conferences and then after that, they saw us everyday for the next couple weeks and we still hadn`t talked to them, so her mom said that we must have been their angels protecting them, because we were just walking around in their same paths. And then when we did talk to them, she was like they really are our angels!!! was the coolest thing ever and I love her SO much and she is SO perfect and I just want to take her with me everywhere. Anyways, we`re meeting with her again tomorrow night so...phew. She`s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Also, we met this SUPER nice lady this week, who is actually Russian, and I`ve realized I have such a soft spot in my heart for Russians, because they just make me think of Julia and Olga and then I just get happy. But anyways, she asked us what we do all day long, so we told her---talk to people about our message of Christ, and she goes, ` basically do nothing.` KNIFE IN THE HEART. Except I totally see what she is saying,`s SOO hard. It`s the hardest nothing I`ve ever done haahha. I know, I know, it really shouldn`t be... but it is. 

There are so many other things I have to tell you, like how this man Luis met the Elders and bikes 80km back and forth to get to church every sunday and he heard a message from the Elders when he was 15 and he hasn`t been able to stop thinking about it since then and now he`s 50 something and he hadn`t seen the Elders again until he saw them and he contacted them and told them that they had to come to his house and he got baptized this Saturday and HE IS SO INCREDIBLY AMAZING IT`S UNREAL......but there is no time, so....sorry. 

Also, there was a fire this week and it was raining ash, so...that was a first. 

I just want to tell you all that I know how much God loves each and everyone of us. We are all His children and I can feel His love for other people every single day. I know that through Him we can overcome anything. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the way I can learn more and more everyday how Jesus really is the Christ. I am so grateful for the Atonement and that He loved me enough to be willing to take upon himself all of my weaknesses and doubts and stupidities. I am so grateful that I can pray every day and He will give me the strength and power and He will just pick me up and LET me be an instrument in His hands. I know He is our Savior and our Redeemer and I know that through Him we can return to our Heavenly Father again. And I know that He can do all of that for you too. We just have to have faith and put our trust in Him first.

Thank you all for lifting me and supporting me and making me want to be a better person and missionary everyday. I could not be more grateful or more blessed. I love you so much. I love this work so much. I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so SO much.

Sister Brooks

KRISSY-TAN!!! G-DAWG!!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPPPPYYYYY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! Kristan---have a ball in Prague and Vienna. Send me a postcard. Play in some water? See cool things and scope out all the good things so you can take me back for your 31st :) I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH AND I HOPE IT`S THE HAPPIEST 28TH OF AGOSTO YOU`VE EVER HAD!!!

Just casually chatting on the phone in Portuguese in the middle of Portugal. And look at that almost empty water bottle!

Monday, August 19, 2013

We found Waldo!!

Or Aldo, but it`s basically the same thing right? He seems legit, but we`ve only met with him once, so....I`ll get back to you on that one. 

MOM! DAD! FAMILYYY!!! Hiiiiii. How are you?!! Sorry I`m late today. We decided to have our District P-day today and we went on a walk to Africa to go to some Brazilian restaurant that was actually closed, so...that was funny. But no worries, because in the end, we ended up at the mall and we got frozen yogurt yay! 

Also, last night, I guess the Tour de Portugal or whatever was ending on our street, so the streets were lined with peeps and everyone was waiting for the bikers to come through and it was chaos and it reminded me of that episode of Gilmore Girls where all the bikers come through like hours late and they`re all mad and it`s so funny and then everyone`s falling off their bikes. Anyways. It brought joy to my soul. That and when the Elders started talking about Disney Channel Original Movies and they love Brink and Motocrossed too dad! Hahah, I`m sorry my mind is so sparatic. 

THIS WEEK, THE COOLEST THING HAPPENED. Actually lots of cool things happened. First, we had interviews with President and we had this really cool training on planning and I won`t bore you with everything I learned, but I LEARNED SO MUCH! And I am so excited, because we have been applying all the things we learned and it is realllyyy improving how we use our time and the people that we meet and everything. Like instead of just saying we`re going to go looking for people to talk to in a certain area, we write down road names and paths and it`s SO cool, because the Lord really does put specific people in our paths. 

FOR EXAMPLE. One morning, we were about to head out the door to do what we always do, and I thought to myself, I should put that `Perguntas da Alma` (Questions of the Soul) paper inside the Book of Mormon. I kind of paniced, because cutting and pasting and having all the page numbers on there might take some time and we only have like 2 minutes to get out the door and I didn`t want to be late, so I thought...`Maybe I`ll just do it at lunch,` and then i thought, `No, you can do it in 2 minutes. Do it now.`So I said, `Fiiiiine Ill listen to the Spirit and have faith.` So I did, and then we were walking and walking and walking and we were on this road where there are like a bunch of abandoned houses and stuff, but it`s an area we haven`t really every explored, so we were there, and then all of a sudden there was a door that looked relatively clean (it didn`t have cobwebs around the door handle...yay!) So, we rang the doorbell, and this kid answered and he opened the door and everything! Then he started going off about how religion is so confusing and how can he know if there is a God and if God loves him and ALL THE QUESTIONS OF THE SOUL THAT THE BOOK OF MORMON ANSWERS!!! And so, we opened the book, and I said, `Listen, I felt like I needed to put this in here this morning, because God knew that we would meet someone who would have these questions, and I KNOW that that person was you.` And then he was totally down with it and said he`d read it and I asked if we could come back and he said yeah, next week. And then he said that he will have to get reading if he`s going to have the whole thing done by next week. We assured him he didn`t have to, but how freaking cool would that be if he did?!?!? ANYWAYS. He`s SO cool though and suuuper smart. He`s going to be a stake president in 20 years...I just know it! Don`t mind that he doesn`t realllyyy believe in God, but he will! See people as they can become...right? Well, I`ll let you know more next week....  

We`ve been working really hard on just being happy and trying our best, and it is making ALL the difference! People are being really nice to us, because we are just going up and talking to them and being funny and normal and nice and then hitting em with the greatest message there is! And we`ve had a lot more contacts and a lot more people who are actually picking up the phone when we call! YAY! 

Sister Stokes and I are just loving each other so much and we are working together so well. I am seriously SO proud of her! We have made all sorts of goals to only speak in Portuguese and for her to take control of the phone and this that and the other and she is just so incredible. I love her so much, and I am seriously so dumb founded by how the Lord let me have this opportunity to work with her/all the amazing people that I am surrounded by.

I realized this week, that I have COMPLETELY forgotten to fill you in on our living arrangements. Hehehe, but I think Sister Call explains is perfectly in her journal, so I`ll just quote that. `Stupid bed bugs! Whyyy? Haha did I ever mention that our house is freaking crappy? We only have one toilet that works and there`s no AZ or heat and mold is growing everywhere and there`s holes in the doors and walls and window seals (don`t worry, we`ve got socks covering them up). Also there`s no door knob and just a gaping hole instead of a peep-hole. There`s pidgeon nests on the balcony and enough pidgeon poop to build a beaver dam. Also, not to mention the water smells like sewage all the time and it switches between scalding hot and freezing cold spontaneously during showers. The walls are covered in dirt and scum and the floors are always nasty. And of course, THE BED BUGS! GAH! They`re eating us alive!`hahahahahah it would be horrible if it wasn`t just soooo funny. And if the bed wasn`t still soooo comfortable every night. 

Hm...other than that, the work is still going fabulously and we are still dyinggg of heat, but we`re laughing every day, and I`m loving the mission. Also, Sister Call asked President why we have to get rejected so much, and he said, `Jesus got rejected everyday, but He was the most powerful man on earth. Just because we get rejected, doesn`t mean we aren`t powerful missionaries.` So....that brought a lot of peace to my soul too.

I love you I love you I love you. I love the mission. But I really love you. Yay! 

Sister Brooks

TAYLOR NOE----I AM SOOOO EXCITED FOR YOU AND YOUR PERFECTNESS!! Ahhhh. The world`s most beautiful bride!!! Oh my oh my oh my I got your announcement this week and I opened it in front of our whole zone and we all just died over how perfect you are and my mission president`s wife was like, `Wow, they`re so beautiful.` And then she kept asking me how we became friends, and....I still can`t remember. Hehehe oops. I`ve just loved you always. ....Right? 

frozen yogurt

I introduced sister stokes to ruffles with ketchup! and bueno was a good week for her. hahah
hahahah they have the same funny skirt things here that they have in jeru!!

oh yeah, we had a ward picnic this week! also, the Portuguese don`t know how to picnic, so they just bring rice and potatoes and like full chickens and cakes outside. It`s insane.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"vais subir um pequena montanha"

I was trying to give directions to the church. Couldn`t remember the word for hill, so I looked to Sister Stokes, remembered that she didn`t know either, and the next closest thing I could come up with was......little mountain. So...little mountain is was...oops. Didn`t you know we`re actually in Switzerland and we`re just casually walking through the Alps to get to church? hahahah oops. They made it there, so....não faz mal. If only I could`ve figured out a way to say candy cane forest in Portuguese.. I probably would`ve been better off with that. 

Another week? What? I remember when I first got here and everybody was like, `The weeks go by so fast blah blah blah` and I just looked at them with darts in my eyes and was like, `LIARRSSS!!` hahaha but now. I believe it! And it really is crazy. And I actually almost forgot today was p-day. I woke up this morning and my first thought was  `AH! who is going to come to church today?!` And then the panic faded when I realized that I still have another week to plan it all out again. #missionaryproblems

In other news. SISTER BARLOW AND HER PARENTS CAME TO VISIT ME! And it was the sweetest, greatest 5 minutes of all time! She is such an angel and oh my heart. So full of love. And I had this crazy realization where I was just like WOAH. The mission is going to go by SO fast and it has already gone by SO fast and it`s all going to feel like a dream and once we`re all back together, it will be like we were never apart. And it was this weird feeling of both peace and panic at the same time. Actually, I feel like I get that feeling a lootttt on the mission. Also, you guys are going to make fun of me so badly once you get here, because her mom was already making fun of us, and I can only imagine. Oh well...tem que ser. That`s another thing. I can`t speak English like a normal human being. It`s so weird, because everyone that we speak English to can speak Portuguese too, so it`s like this impossible thing to try to understand how someone can`t understand Portuguese. I wish I could explain it better, but I can`t.  

Hm...this week. We have been working a lot with recent converts/less actives and we saw a lot of miracles with week! There`s this one, Ana Paula, and she is so sweet, but she`s always saying she`ll come to church and then she never shows up, so that`s a little frustrating, but she is finally letting us in her house all the time, and she`s praying when we meet with her, so these things are really good!  And! This week, she gave us a ride to the chapel! Which, I know probably doesn`t mean anything to you, but it was a HUGE deal, because she hasn`t given rides to any other the missionaries since the missionaries who baptized her about a year ago! And she`s always complaining about how she doesn`t have gas and things, so it was actually the best and she really is doing better, and she`s going to come back to church--I JUST KNOW IT!! And then, the other day, we went to visit this other less active, and we`d never been to the area before, which is always an adventure, because guys know how I am with directions, buuttt...anyways, we showed up to her door, and there`s this little button thing you have to press before you can get into any of the apartment buildings, and they have to let you in and`s always a gamble, but anyways, I was about to push the button, and THE DOOR OPENED! And no one was around and there was literally no other way that it could have happened, except that it was from an angel and we were SO supposed to go in there. And the girl was home! AND we found a new investigator in that same apartment building! Ah, God`s so good. 

Also, never thought I`d have to have a dtr...ever...but ESPECIALLY on the mission. One of our investigators met with us this week, and after we´d just had this really good talk about the Book of Mormon and we finally got him to pray on his own, he looked up from the prayer and said, `I have a great passion for you.` (Which is just so much worse to write in English...actually it`s pretty uncomfortable to hear in Portuguese too.) And then he said, `Eu amo você.` YIKES. Nails on a chalkboard. So.....after I very kindly told him that that`s inappropriate and that I`m a disciple of Christ and that he loves God, not me, I had to tell him that we can`t work with him anymore, but we`d be more than happy to pass him off to the Elders. Oh no.... I think Sister Stokes enjoyed it wayy too much, because she just kept laughing about it alllll day. It`s not funny. It`s horrible. But it`s kind of funny at the same time. 

Anyways, other than that, we`re praying and fasting lots and we`re working really hard to get some people progressing. I know everything happens on the Lord`s time table, so we`re just talking to the whole world and praying always and running back and forth from place to place and trying to do everything we can to help the Lord help us. It will all come with time.`s to time. Hahah, that makes no sense, buttt....whatever. 

Okay, gotta go play at the fair! EEE!! I`ll let you know if it`s like the ones in America or not, buttt....if nothing else, I know there`s a giant Kangaroo can`t be too bad. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Sister Brooks

AIM!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! AH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! Even if I haven`t heard from you in forever, but it`s okay, because I know that all is well and I love you more than life itself. Hope Chase splurges and brings you to McDonalds. If not, tell him you get a cone on me.


Monday, August 5, 2013

"She´s in a coma..."

Last night, TRANSFER CALLS! Except, this time it wasn`t a call, because we were already with the Elders, was more like run to the computer and find out what`s gonna happen! It was actually really funny, because we had a Serão Domingueiro, which is like a fireside where we acted out stories from the Book of Mormon and it was really funny, and I have no idea what the point of this is, but all the members were there, so they all got realllly in on the situation and were all freaking out about what was going to happen, but anyways.........
I`m staying! And I`m keeping my companion! Finally! Yay! So, yesterday we were talking about how both Sister Barlow and Sister Rojo are going home (today....) and then I said, `All my old companions are dying!` And then Sister Lofgreen said, `Except for Sister Jackson and Sister Mullen.` And then Sister Call said, `But Sister Mullen is going back to Canada,`s like she`s in a coma!` Hhaahhaha. Yup. These are the things we joke about over here. Bad news is, Sister Lofgreen got transfered and all of our hearts broke. But we got Sister Cutler, and she is an angel sent from above, so I know it`s going to be another amazing transfer with the best house and district in the mission! 
This week was amazing! I don`t even know what happened, but I know that it was incredible, and that we were really happy this week! Sometimes it`s really hard to feel like we have faith, but Sister Lofgreen taught us this week that it so important to remember. Faith isn`t a feeling, it`s an action. So, even when we don`t feel like we have faith, if we`re getting out of bed every morning and we`re talking to people on the street every day and we`re praying to our Heavenly Father constantly, then we have faith. And when we choose to have faith and we choose to be happy, even when the work is really really tough, everything goes so much better. Also, I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 1:20-23 and it talks about how God calls the weak, and my heart just felt so at peace, because I am SO weak, and I have no idea what I am doing, but it`s okay, because the Lord knew I would be weak and He knew I wouldn`t know how to do anything, so He`s just using me as the instrument in His hands, and all will be well as long as I keep trying my best and aligning my will with His. 
We had divisions this week, and they were SO good! It`s always such an amazing opportunity to learn from the other sisters. It was a little different this time around, so Sister Campos da Silva (who is from France) came and she just joined Sister Stokes and I. But the day was so incredible! We saw so many miracles. And that night, we went to teach this girl Sara, and she is SO incredible! She`s seriously so cool. I love her so much! And her friend Claudia was there with her, and she was so excited to share what she already knew with her, and it was just the coolest lesson! And they were both talking about how they grew up Catholic, but they have some problems with it, and so now they are searching to know the truth for themselves and to know what God wants from them! And at the end of our lesson, Sister Stokes marked her for baptism, and she accepted right away!! It was so incredible! She`s SO prepared! And she`s so cool, and I love her so much. And she was asking what she has to do after baptism, and I just said continue on keeping the commandments and such, and she goes, `yeah, so just like a whole new life in Christ.` SHE`S SO COOL! So keep praying that she stays firme until the 31st of August. 

On Friday, we had a sports night, which was both....really funny and really fun. We invited sooo many people and all these people showed up and brought all their friends, and then we had them sign up on a sheet of paper with their name and contact information and told them they would get a prize! Someone walked up to me and said, `The Prize is God isn`t it?` Oops. Guess that one wasn`t as sneaky as I thought. Hahaha 
Ah, and Sofia bore her testimony yesterday!! I was bawling! Oh my heart! Could she be more incredible?! Also, Maria has already read ALL of Principios do Evangelho! Okay, amazing. And, when we were talking about temples to Sofia, before we could even invite her to prepare to go, she said, `We`re going to get sealed there in a year!` AH. They`re SO incredible. I DIE! 

Shannan--remember that time you hiked that mountain and you just sat down and said you weren`t walking anymore? Yeah....that`s how I feel every night.... But then, by some sort of miracle, I wake up the next morning and I can walk again.
There`s something so great about transfers! It`s like a whole new start every 6 weeks. Even when everything stays the same. I`m so excited for this transfer! I know it is going to be so incredible, and I know that we are going to keep working hard and keep seeing miracles, because I know that this is the work of the Lord and I know that He is placing people in our path everyday, and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to just go around and talk to people all day long about the thing I love the most!
I love you guys!!
Sister B

K8!! I got your letter and I died of happiness and I may or may not have read it out loud for all of the other sisters and we were dying of laughter and happiness and drama. Too good. Also, I found your recipe for love in my recipe book this week, and I loved it so much. You are perfect. I love you SO much!