Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I don´t know about you, but I`m feeling 22.

Yup. And so so so so old. Literally no. But, whatever. I´m not thinking about it and all is well. 

So, transfers happened and literally nothing changed. I´m spending another transfer in Porto with Sister Briggs! I´m super happy about it, because we get along really well, and I really like this area and it means we get to keep working with our Brazilian family!! Who...speaking of, get this. This week, we had divisions, and Sister Briggs and Sister Silva passed by Adriana and Wellington in their fruit shop. Well, Sister Silva asked Adriana what her name is and then she responded, `Adriana` and then Wellington responded `Adriana....middle name...other middle name...other middle name...last name....AND THEN HIS LAST NAME!` And then they just looked at each other and giggled. OH MY GOSH I DIE. I LOVE LOVE. They`re totally getting married!! AND we get to stay here and keep working with them!! AH I COULDNT BE HAPPIER!!

I´m going to pull a Sister Jackson and tell you 22 things I´ve learned since being in the mission, but that seems like a really long list. So, we´ll see if I make it there.

1. God loves ALL of His children. He knows us individually and personally and He is involved in the details of our lives.
2. The church is true. Literally, it couldn´t not be.
3. NOTHING happens for a reason. Every single experience comes as a way to help us grow and learn and be better prepared to meet our Heavenly Father. 
4. I have the best family and friends in the whole world, and I would be lost without each and every one of you.
5. I have an unhealthy love for mail. And Im pretty sure the whole mission knows it.
6. I can survive almost a year without real Diet Coke. (But not without Coke Light too.)
7. And television. Miracles people.
8. I think I love too much. But, there is no such thing as too much love, so just keep on loving, because really, its the best.
9. The Book of Mormon really can help you come closer to Christ than any other book on the face of the earth. Read it. It´s the best. 
10. This is the most important work on earth. It is the Lord´s purpose and it should be our purpose too.
11. I shouldve paid more attention in seminary--I sincerely apologize to all of you teachers. 
12. God answers prayers. Every. Single. One of them. In his own time and in his own way, but He answers our prayers. Even when it is just that the bus is 10 minutes late and still hasnt come, and you dont have an ounce of energy left in you to walk, so you say a little prayer ´seja feita a tua vontade´ and you open your eyes and the bus is coming around the corner. God is good always. 
13. Hotels on missions are real things. Like Dad said, you never know unless you ask. Well, guess who asked, and guess who has been living in a hotel for the last week? #highlife #notmad #imgonnamisshavingmaidsnextweek #portugalmission
14. Revelation is real and the promises in the Book of Mormon and from our Prophets are real. The Lord is bound when we do what He says. Also, personal revelation is real and the coolest thing that anyone can ever experience. And the Spirit is the greatest feeling in the whole world.
15. I will never adjust to Portuguese food, and I think I could survive without ever eating rice again. Or lettuce with 
16. I think the Lord sent me to Portugal so I would love Brazilians, because if I was in Brazil I wouldnt have appreciated them enough. And oh they are truly such an elect people. I love them I love them I love them. 
17. The Lord is preparing His children EVERYWHERE. Literally, everywhere. Keep sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
18. Memorizing scriptures is actually really fun and really useful---except when you realize that you only know them in Portuguese and you have no idea what is says in English and thats not going to help you very much in a year from now.
19. I am so so so so SO blessed. I cannot even begin to understand why the Lord has blessed me so much, but I could not be more grateful.
20. Prayers of just gratitude are so powerful and so important.
21. LIFE IS NOT THAT BAD. Seriously. Life is actually SO good. We are so blessed. Every single person has blessings in their life. When we focus on the good and keep a positive attitude, every thing goes a million times better. Plus, we are here to be happy. Why not have fun along this marvelous journey and just laugh when a bird poops on you twice in on week? 
22. Forget yourself and go to work is real, and so so so good.
23. I love this Gospel more than anything. Following the Lord´s will is more important than anything else. He wants to bless us. He is just waiting to give us his blessings. He knows what is best for us, and if it is in his plan for us, it will happen. So, we have no need to worry about ourselves, we just do the Lord´s work and focus on others, and we will be blessed. The Lord knows the desires of our hearts. 

Yeah, okay, I made it to 23, and I could probably keep going, but thats good for now. I love you all with all of my whole heart. All of those Sam Week and DC pics brought so much joy to my soul. You are the most perfect humans in all of the whole world and I love you more than you know.




Sister Brooks

Porto 1 e 2. Goodbyes are so hard. Except....whatever ahha. 

birthday life. dc and hotel rooms.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

`Fome de pão e agua sim, mas de Diet Coke....não.´ Sister Prieto

This week, we have crazy Ukranian men coming into our house every morning at 8 o´clock, tearing it down, and then fixing it again, so obviously you know we are trying to come up with any possible way to get out of that place. Well, one of us (i dont know who) gave the option of staying in a hotel, someone else got scared of going hungry (apparently, like Amy, she doesnt understand that hotels have food), and then our sweet little brazilian, Sister Prieto, responded with that blessed line above. #trainingthemsowell #proudmother Also, dont worry about the scary men, Pres is working on it.


Ah. I have no idea what I have to tell you this week. I actually feel like this becomes more of a struggle every week. Not because I dont want to tell you everything, but because there is sooo much to say and then nothing really at the same time and mostly I just love you all so much that I get on here and I think about how much I love you all and then my heart is so full that I just....I cant. AH YOU ARE PERFECT I TELL YOU. PERFECT.

Anyways, this month we are focusing on working with the members and taking up the invite from President Monson. Well, we decided to pull out our ward list and just pass by everyone in our area. Because, I dont know if this is just a Portugal thing, but we look at the things and of the 12 pages, we recognize like 20 names. Oh, it hurts so bad. But anyways, we started passing by members and menos-activos and we have just been seeing sooo many miracles. So many people who need so much help, and the Lord placing so many people in our paths on the way to meeting these people. It´s actually an incredibly better use of our time, and I really feel like we are always fulfilling our purpose, not just wandering around aimlessly and trying to talk to people in the street that just reject us. Also, kind of breaks my heart to see how easily offended people can get. Yeah, people are crazy and they do stupid things, but we are all so imperfect. We all have our one trials and struggles and problems. And we just need to remember that the doctrine of Christ is perfect. God´s plan for us is perfect. We are not perfect, but He is. He loves us perfectly, and we need to just try and love him back perfectly. 

Olivia was talking about how she had always felt the need to enter our church before, but it was only open on Sundays, so she didnt ever make it, and then when Rosa stopped her on the street, she just knew is was what she needed. It is so amazing to me how the Lord prepares His children. Even His children that dont seem like they are prepared or elect. He is preparing ALL of His children, because He loves all of us equally. Oh, God is SO good.

Also, Manuel and Adriana and Wellington and Kawany need your prayers. Pray for them. And pray that we can do everything in our power to help them and to keep encouraging them and preparing them for these convenants they need to make with God.

Also, yesterday, church included us teaching Primary, Gospel Doctrine, and translating from Portuguese to English, so....NO idea who thought 21 year olds were capable of running a ward, but holy so stressful I tell you. 

And we found out that one of our families in our ward that isnt really a family, has decided they are getting married!! and they are going to go to the temple after!! yay for more temple marriages! and eternal families!!

I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO MUCH!! YOU ARE ALL PERFECT AND MY INSPIRATION!! thank you for loving me and putting up with me and always being there for me. God is so good that he gave us families and I am so lucky that He gave me you. I love you I love you I love you.


Sister Brooks

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why does Jesus have so many palaces?

Kawany asking about temples.

Okay, LITERALLY I DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH WORDS TO EXPLAIN HOW AMAZING THIS WEEK WAS. Seriously, I wish I could express to you all everything that is going on in the most perfect, understandable way, but you just get my scatter brained freaking out....sorry.

WE MARKED MANUEL FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!! Birthday baptism, selfish? Maybe. Mad about it? Not at all. Literally best way to celebrate. Yesterday, after church, we asked him how his reading of the Book of Mormon was going and he was like ´Yeah, Im reading it and I know it´s true.´ So, obviously, we took advantage of that moment. Read the end of the introduction. Talked about how if the Book of Mormon is true, then it is all true. Invited him to be baptized and he said YES!! SOOO excited about this incredibly elect little Portuguese man. Also, he said he found a euro on his way to church and on his way home from church last week, so it´s gotta be a sign. I said it means he´s on the right path. Bad? Hope not, hahha. 

Yesterday, we brought our freaking amazing Brazilian member, Isabella, with us to our Brazilian family, and it was honestly one of the most perfect, incredible lessons I have ever been a part of. We watched the Restauration and the Spirit was so so strong. It was honestly--lke there arent words. And afterward, they were just like woah. That was so beautiful. And then Wellington went on to tell us how he wanted to get up and bear his testimony today during testimony meeting, but that he didnt know if he could or not, because he´s not baptised, but that he just felt a beating in his chest that he couldnt explain and wanted to share with everyone. I DIE. Then they are all talking about why they havent been to church in the last month, and Kawany goes, `Just because youre tired isnt an excuse to miss going to the church of Jesus!!!` Literal silence. SHE IS SO PERFECT. Then, we are talking about how they want to get baptized, because they love the Spirit that they feel when we are there and that they feel in church and that they know that it is where they need to be. And Isabella goes, ´Okay, so you have to get married woman. Just do it, because you know it is the only way you are going to be truly happy and you love him and he loves you, so get married. Be a real family.` OKAY I LOVE direct/bold/native speakers. And then......ADRIANA SAID SHE WOULD START WORKING ON HER PAPERS SO THEY CAN GET MARRIED!!!!!!!! LITERALLY CRIED OF HAPPINESS! I never in a million years thought this would happen slash it did and I could not love this little family more or be happier to see them be a family forever. Maybe I´m SO excited to plan another wedding/baptism slash dying because I CANNOT BE TRANSFERED. Also, definitely already trying to convince them to get back to Brazil next year, so they can go to the temple there/so I can go to the temple there. Yeah, okay, I really gotta work on this selfishness thing. BUT CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?! MY PERFECT BRAZILIAN FAMILY IS REALLY GOING TO BE A PERFECT BRAZILIAN FAMILY!! Pray for them pleaseee.

Also, made up a Jazzercise/Zumba routine this week for the YW´s Palavra de Sabedoria activity. Hahaha, I die. Watching these Portuguese people was almost as good as the old ladies in your class, Mom. 

Also, Bishop´s moving. #wardgossip If you thought guessing who the new bishop would be at home was fun.... imagine doing it as a missionary..heheh.

This week, I had the most amzing revelation. I dont know if I will be able to write it out so that you can understand it or so it makes sense, but I will try my best. I was ready 2 Nefi 9 and I just... I love this so much. I am SO grateful that the Lord loves me so much. I know that this Gospel is true, not because of the change that I have seen in make in the lives of the hundreds of people around me, or the wonderful people I have worked with here in Portugal, but I know that this is truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His path, because of the change I have seen in myself. The desires of my heart have changed 300 percent. Okay, okay, I am still myself, and I´m working on changing that everyday, but its just like.. there is nothing more important than this. Why would I want to spend an eternity in the telestial or terrestial kingdoms, just because I wanted to wear a shorter dress or because I didnt want to go to church for all 3 hours or because it was easier to watch tv for 12 hours than fulfill my calling? This time we have here on earth is so so short in the grand scheme of things. We really are here to prepare to meet God and to help prepare others to prepare themselves to meet God. The ONLY way we can do that is through repenting and changing ourselves everyday. Our loving Heavenly Father created this plan for us, because He LOVES us. He loves us SO much. So individually and so perfectly. I know it, because I can feel it. I can feel how much he loves every single person, because every time I talk to these people who I have never seen before, I FEEL his love for them. This is the greatest opportunity we have--to be here and to work on changing ourselves and preparing ourselves and making ourselves more Christlike everyday. I could not be more grateful that the Lord gave me this time to work of myself. I could not be more grateful that He prompted me to come on a mission and He sent me here to Portugal where He knew I would have to work so hard and have so many challenges. I could not be more grateful that I put my faith in Him and trusted Him and went so blindly into this year e tal of my life. I wouldn´t change that decision for anything. I KNOW that this is Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is can bring us more joy and happiness than anything else we could ever imagine. 

I LOVE YOU ALL. SO SO SO MUCH. there are not words, but I hope you really know and feel the love I have for you.
Sister Brooks

D$4L--Sending a heart full of love and all of my prayers your way. I love you all so much and I think of you all every single day. I hope you know that God is watching over each and every one of you and that His angels are all around you. I love you and I miss you all dearly.

Jen Farrell Whatever your new last name is---HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVE YOU SO!!! I hope it is everything you want and more and that your wedding was as perfect as you are. I love you and I miss you so!!!