Tuesday, September 24, 2013

and then I remember...she doesn't speak English

So...let`s just say that more than a few times this week, I have turned to my perfect little companion and started talking to her in English only to see these wide eyes stare up at me like I came from another planet. (Glad to know what I looked like when I first got here.) Sorry I actually don`t know the difference between English and Portuguese anymore and my brain can`t process the switch, so it just comes out. Good thing we`ve got facial expressions to save the day. 

Also, my companion is LITERALLY perfect. She does EVERYTHING right. I didn`t even know it was possible until we started serving together and then I realized that there really are missionaries in the world who can do every single thing that Preach My Gospel tells us. I guess that`s why the Lord put me with her, because He knew I have a LOT to learn. But, it`s the greatest, and I am SO grateful, because I`m just soaking up everything she`s got to teach me. And it`s so nice, because we are both just so focused on missionary work and nothing else and it`s all we do all day long and ohhh my goodness I feel like I`ve been waiting for this day my whole life. She literally does EVERYTHING right. I think I`ve written the same thing in my journal 7 times this week. `My companion is literally the world`s most perfect missionary. She does EVERYTHING right. And as a result, we are running from house to house teaching families and people who are really interested in hearing our message.` Literally, I don`t know how she does it, but I am doing my best to figure it out so I can keep this magic going after she leaves me. 

AND OH MY WE ARE SEEING MIRACLES BECAUSE OF IT. We hit the standard of excellence in ALL of our goals for the mission this week, which I know means nothing to you guys, but I haven`t done that once in my whole mission. And we have found and started teaching at least 3 full families! Families! Guys. I literally think I landed in the promised land.

And we had a baptism this week! This absolutely ADORABLE girl named Inês. I guess she`s been coming to church for forever, but she finally decided to get baptized and her boyfriend baptized her and then they got married this weekend. Oh my goodness, did you know baptisms could be cute? Seriously, she came out of the water and they just hugged for like 5 minutes, and I could have started crying it was so precious. It helps that they`re the cutest couple I`ve ever seen in Portugal. Sorry this actually probably so not the important part of the baptism, but...yeah. #literallytouchingpeoplewhat

In other news, holy wow...I realized how much I`ve missed silence this week. We just walk around in silence in between contacts, and secretly it makes me sooo happy. Man...I miss alone time to think. Ouch. But, that`s okay, because I`m getting a lot of it now. Maybe it`s the language barrier or maybe it`s just her, but I just get a lot of time to sit in my own thoughts and it makes me very happy. Woah I`ve missed being alone. But if this is as close as I can get, I will take it. Don´t take that as we don´t get along, because ohhhh we do. She is so funny and so precious and she has the STRONGEST spirit. It`s insane. And EVERYONE feels it. Literally, I wish I could explain it. She`s incredible. Remember that one time I spent an entire email home ranting about how amazing my comp is? Oops. Sorry.

In other news, we had one of the most incredible lessons with this lady, where we taught the first lesson, and at the end, we invited her to church, and she said she really wants to, but something really strong would have to touch her heart for her to be able to gain forcas to go. And like RIGHT after she said it, she got the chills and goes, well...maybe that`s my sign. And then she starting crying and thanking us and it was the sweetest thing ever. She didn`t show up to church, but hey! There`s always next week.

Also, we just went to a menos activos house and he did our hair, and oh my goodness--Kate remember when you lost a bet and had to play with my hair for an hour? Yeah...it was like that, but a bajillion times better, because no one has played with my hair in foreverrrrr. So...happy p day moments.

I LOVE YOU ALL. The mission is so good. God is so good. The Atonement is real--study it, apply it. YOU ARE ALL PERFECT.

Sister Brooks
DARBS AND MOM--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! My mom at school and my mom in everything :) I LOVE YOU BOTH SO SO SO MUCH! I hope you both have wonderful days filled with lots of happiness and sunshine and diet coke. You are both perfect and I could not be more grateful to have you in my life.

literally. look at them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Here goes nothing.

hahahhaha HIIII. You`re looking at the newest Sister Training Leader in Porto and Porto Norte Zone. BYE. We got the magic phone call last night, and right before we went to bed, I think it actually hit me, because I started dying laughing and then freaking out and then dying laughing again. Hahah. Yikes. So. Much. Responsibility. Basically, I`m a Zone Leader for girls? I`m actually not really sure, but I know we go to the same meeting with President in Lisboa, so....Good news is...Sister Jackson is too!!

So, I got transfered to Porto. Left my little Sister Stokes behind, but her new companion is an angel and from England or Wales and has a fabulous accent, so I`m not worried. I`m leaving her in good hands. My new companion is Sister Alves! She is an angel sent from above. Remember that one time I did a division with her a couple transfers ago? Well, that`s the one. She`s from Fortaleza (YEAH E) and she finishes her mission this transfer, so hopefully I can learn everything she knows really fast. Like....really fast. 

Anyways...as for the week, I really think this was the greatest week of my whole mission. I have never felt happier for every part of every day for a whole week. 

AND GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!! Sofia decided to move up her baptism, because her grandparents are going to the temple next weekend, so we had it on Friday!! It was the most spiritual baptismal meeting I`ve ever been in. She asked me to give a talk, and like a minute into it, she started bawling. And then throughout all the rest of the meeting, everyone was crying, and it was just the most special thing. It can`t be put into words, but I could not love her more or be more excited for her family! Except, we had a really dramatic goodbye last night, and there were lots and lots of tears and that broke my heart. I love that little girl so much. And their family is going to the temple next year! I am just SO incredibly blessed that I got to be a part of that. Seriously, God is so good. 

And then Conceição on Saturday! That lady is so incredible! So...come to find out on Friday night, that we don`t have gas to have hot water in the fonte. So...não faz mal. Sofia kinda complains, but goes through with it. The members freak out about Conceição, and okay yeah maybe they have a point. She is 82 and all. Well, we called her the next morning and told her the problem, and she goes, `Não faz mal, minha filha. Tem que ser.` I`M SORRY COULD SHE BE MORE INCREDIBLE?! Poor thing was scared to death and freezing, but she stood up to the challenge and it was actually super suave. And then immediately after she got baptized, she asked us if she could pay her tithing. We told her she needed to wait til Sunday, and the first thing she did after sacrament was walk up to the Bishop and pay her tithing! She is so so so incredible! 

Also, we put on a talent show on Saturday night, and it was great and you all know I showed the best talent I have-- Abc`s backwards. 

I love you guys so much. No time today, I`m sorry. Transfers and all. Plus, there isn`t really much more to say, except that I know that the gospel really does bless families. I`m really excited to be in Porto and see the work continue to grow here. I love you all so so very much!

Sister Brooks

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELANIE AND KELLI!!! I LOVE YOU BOTH SO SO SO MUCH!!! I hope you have the greatest days and feel lots of love being sent your way.

mikaela....im gonna miss that little girl

Sofia baptism!!

that perfect little family

Conceição`s baptisms!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Sorry family...I`m having a hard time breathing, because OH MY GOSH MELANIE!!!! Literally I don`t know how to express the emotions I am going through right now, but may or may not have read the email, squealed out loud, started crying and ran to the bathroom to have a minor anxiety attack--email time is actually always SO dramatic. But this one was...woah...anyways....

This week was crazy and filled with so many things that the time literally just flew by. There wasn`t a normal day all week. On Tuesday, Sister Cutler was with us, because Sister Call had her residency card extravaganza. On Wednesday, we did divisions with the Sister Training Leaders. On Friday we had Zone Conference. On Sunday we had Stake Conference and it was actually SO incredible! President Fluckiger was there and the Temple President of Madrid was there and the Stake President (obviously) and they talked all about missionary work and temples and it was just so perfect!  

MIRACLES HAPPEN!! AND YOUR PRAYERS WORKED!!! SERIOULY. I don`t know that I will be able to express this correctly through words, but GUYS SOFIA IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!! I wish I could tell you the internal stress/anxiety this has been causing me for the last 4 months. But for the last month, we`ve been fasting and praying really hard that she would start being less 15 and she would understand how important it is and want to be baptized. Well, Heavenly Father answers prayers, because the biggest miracle of all time happened this week!! Okay, so she has been taught slash going to church slash working with the missionaries for over the last year. Her dad is Toze, who we baptized when I first got here. Well, we were worried, because we didnt want her to feel like a number or pressured, because...you know how 15 year old girls are, but we wanted to make sure she felt loved and like it was her decision and that we supported her and loved her no matter what. Well, I was having an anxiety attack about marking her and the Elders we all just like...just do it. She loves you, you love her, just mark her. And I was like, `But I caaaaan`t.` Anyways, I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that she would just feel the need to be baptized all week and that she would mark herself. Well,
 on Friday in Zone Conference, we talked a lot about our purpose and not to be afraid of rejection, and I was like, `OKAY I HEAR YOU.` So, I had all decided in my head that I was gonna do it, when THE PHONE RANG. BISHOP WAS CALLING. HE SAYS, `Sister, you are going to have a baptism on the 20th of September. Sofia is getting baptized.` I immediately burst into tears. He says, `And you want to know what`s even more incredible Sister? She called me. And she asked me if she could be baptized and she picked the date herself.` SERIOUSLY MIRACLES!!!! I LOVE HER SOOO MUCH. GOD IS SO SO SO GOOD. Okay, so here`s to praying I don`t get transfered this Sunday, because holy moly I can NOT miss this day. AH THEIR FAMILY IS GOING TO THE TEMPLE!!!!! I told her last monday that she`s like the little sister I never had and she ran up and hugged me and kissed my forehead, and I have not felt so much love since I got to Portugal. Oh, I love her SO much. So SO SO much. 
And sweet, sweet little old Conceição. We taught her the Palavra de Sabedoria this week, and she just goes pulling out everything in her house asking us whether or not she`s allowed to drink it/eat it. Oh, she has SO much faith! She`s like, `I just want to follow the commandments of God exactly, and I just want to know everything so I can do it exactly right. Am I allowed to dye my hair? What about watching television?` OH MY GOODNESS. She is SO incredibly elect! And she`s already read to 2 Nefi and she was apologizing for not having read more!!! AH! I am SO excited for her baptism this Saturday!! Except, she is really lonely and sad, but she is really excited about temple work and being able to be married to her husband forever, because she goes, `That`s just something I never understood...until death do us part...God can`t want that.` AH! WHY IS SHE PERFECT?!
This week, we`ve been talking and studying obedience a lot, and we are trying really hard to be exactly obedient. And it`s actually so much harder than you would think it is, especially when your mission president is a lawyer, the white handbook has a whoooole lot more rules than I think are actually there, but it`s okay and it`s good and it helps me be a more consecrated missionary. So, here`s to being better in every aspect of the work.
Anyways, we`re spending the day going shopping with Sofia, so....sorry mom and dad :) LOVE YOU ALL!!

Sister Brooks

making cookies with Sofia. Just gotta love her....love the crap out of her.

don`t know whether that water is clean or not, but it was a pretty fountain and im not sick yet....ignore the polygamist braid. it`s hard being a missionary. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

`You guys are my BEST friends!` --Mikaela

First off---Kelli and Kristan. I don`t know why, but it´s three million times worse knowing you are in Europe and not here with me than it is knowing youre in America. So...I hope you`re having the time of your life, because I just want you here with me. #sorrynotsorry

Wanna know something fun? I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese last night!!! Yay! I was pretty proud of myself, not gonna lie. So...I just wanted to let you all in on that accomplishment of mine. #pattingmyselfontheback 

In other news, THE COOLEST THINGS HAPPENED YESTERDAY DURING CHURCH. Listen to this. So remember that 82 year old lady that I told you we taught last week? I actually have no idea whether I told you about her or not, but first off, she is EIGHTY-TWO. okay. Secondly, the members gave us to her the week before last, and we taught her the first lesson, and then she showed up to church on Sunday! Hallelujah! Okay, but then...this last week she couldn`t meet with us and she lives really far away, so we didn`t know whether she`d be at church again or not, but we prayed and fasted that she would be and low and behold, she was! Yayay! IT GETS BETTER. Then we`re sitting in Princípios do Evangelho, and she`s turns to me and goes, `How do you baptize in your church?` And so..I tell her `In the way Jesus Christ was baptized and yada yada, and then she goes, `Well, I was talking to my neighbor this week (the member that gave her to us), and I asked how I could pay my tithing (our lesson in Princípios do Evangelho last week!!!), and they told me I have to be baptized to pay tithing, so... when can I be baptized?` YEAH. I about fall out of my chair and said, `Well, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized on the 14th of September?` She goes, `December?` I go...no no no you sweet old lady that cannot hear, in two weeks. She agreed and I about died of happiness. Just marking people for baptism in the middle of church. #neverbeenhappier. Then she wanted to see the baptismal fonte and I just couldn`t stop thinking of the JST in Mateus where Jesus says, `Deixa-me ser batizado.` Seriously, what a miracle sent from above. She said she knows tithing is a commandment from God, and she wants to be able to keep the commandments of God, so she wants to be baptized. AHHH!!! How do people this incredibly amazing and prepared exist?!?! And WHY am I lucky enough to work with them? Seriously...mind blown. She actually reminds me a lot of Grandma Mishoe, except not at all, but kind of at the same time haah. I know...that made a lot of sense.   

In other news, Mikaela is still the world`s most AMAZING 12 year old and seriously, my heart just breaks with love for her. We gave her the Testaments last Tuesday, and when we went back on Thursday, she had already watched it twice! AH! And she told us how everytime she reads the Book of Mormon, she just feels so much peace and she loves it so much. WHY IS SHE SO PERFECT? Also, the saddest thing ever happened. We told her we`d be there at 8:30 to go to church with her on Sunday, so we went there at 8:30 and she wasn`t there. We were really sad, but we thought maybe her dad wouldn`t let her go with us. Then, we went by at night time around 8:30 and she runs up to us and goes, `So...let`s go?!` When we told her church was in the morning and not at night, she literally started crying. My heart broke. I have NEVER seen someone actually upset that they missed church before. Ohhhh my goodness, I wish I could explain to you how incredible she is, but there are literally just no words. She also loves Justin Bieber and Never Say Never and she relates everything back to him and it just is so funny and I love that girls are the same all around the world. Also, it made me miss Erin and Marce and Ethan and Kyle and SJ and Jeru. 

In other news, we have been working with the 15 year old Sofia a lot this last week, and ohhh my goodness, I LOVE HER SO MUCH. Seriously, she is the little sister I never had. And she is me at 15 so.....that`s terrifying. I love myself and I hate myself. But, on Sunday, she ran up to us after church and asked us when we could come over again, and MIRACLES DO HAPPEN PEOPLE!! SERIOUSLY--MIR.A.CLES. We`re having a noite familiar with them tonight, so keep her in your prayers, because we are going to try to mark her for baptism this week and I have never been so scared. Yup, I`m scared of a 15 year old. That`s what kind of mom I am going to be.......oops. 

Also, speaking of tithing...did I ever tell you the story of Sofia and Armando and the secret envelope? Well...sorry if I did, but! If not...here it is. So, a couple weeks ago, it was Armando`s birthday, and Sofia threw a little party for him and to celebrate their wedding. She bought/made a bunch of food and it was precious. Well, she was telling us that she spent a little bit too much on the party on Saturday, and then at church on Sunday, they paid their tithing (!!! yeah they did!!!). Well, that night they were laying in bed and they couldn`t sleep, because they wouldn`t have 5 Euros to pay the lights the next day, and they didn`t know what they were going to do. So they kinda just tossed and turned and Armando was freaking out, and Sofia was just like `It`s okay, we did the right thing. We`ll figure it out in the morning.` WHY IS SHE SO INCREDIBLE? Anyways, so the next morning, they wake up and Armando is walking out the door for work, and there is an envelope with 30 Euros in it!!! And they have no idea where/who it came from!!! The Malachai promise is real folks. Even if it is just the first time you pay tithing! AH! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!

You wanna know how small the world is? Josh`s mission president is the twin brother of my stake president at BYU. So...that`s fun. 

Also, someone tell Eleanor that I`ve never been happier that we are speaking the same language. HOLY COW I LOVE PORTUGUESE. Also, I picked up a Book of Mormon in Spanish this week and I understood the whole intro so.....hollah. 

What I learned this week: Arrependimento é um oportunidade para mudar. Repentence is an opportunity to change. Why do we think it`s a bad thing? It`s not! It`s the greatest thing! An opportunity to change?!? Are you kidding me?! PLEASE. What a blessing. 

I want you all to know how much I love you. I want you all to know that I truly feel the Lord in my life everyday. I know this is His work, and I know that He and His angels are walking beside me everyday. I have never been happier than I am now to have eternal families and the blessings of the Gospel in our life. I know Cam is with me, and I know he is rooting for all of us on the other side. I love you guys so so so so so much. I`m praying for you always.

Sister Brooks

Kelliiiii--I have found your new best friend. Her name is Neusa and she is perfect in every single way. I am so obsessed with her. She is a recent convert in the other ward, and she seriously reminds me sooo much of you. She makes me the happiest and I tell her every day that you guys have to be best friends. It hit me that there might be a liiiittle language barrier problem, but....whatever. We can work through that.

I carried a watermelon.
New Shoes!

Our Zone.