Monday, February 18, 2013

vou ficar por 6 mais semanas!

Ola familia!!

I am sticking around in Loule, which is really great because I would be sad to leave and because I still have yet to take any pictures of the lovely little streets and general ambient here. Last night the Elders called us about transfers and told us that we would both be leaving and that they would be putting 4 elders in the area and they told us our new areas and companions and everything and being the gullible person that I am I started making a list of all the things I needed to write out for the elders to do when they got here... and it wasn't true. But it was actually really cool because I realized how sad I would be to leave and start all over in a new branch with a new companion and new investigators and everything. And now we are all excited to stay here. So it was good. :)

Hannah! Happy Birthday!!!!! 17! what the heck! it's not possible. You can't be 17 yet. Send me pictures from sweet hearts. I want to see :)
Also, I love your letters and I love that you are having so many opportunities to serve the people around you. I always just want to take the simple, crystal clear nuggets of truth out of your letters and implant them into the lives of the people that I meet here in Portugal (and I should probably start with my own...) I hope you don't mind if I just share this part with everyone:

"Heavenly Father has helped me so much this week, mostly by showing me how to serve the people around me. At the beginning of the week I thought that I was getting no help at all, but after talking to the seminary principal I can see that God has been guiding me a lot. I just don't recognize it because its all for other people and not me. Thinking back on it now, I realize that getting spiritual revaluation telling you how to help others is much better than getting it to tell you how to help your self; because it allows you to serve others and learn what you need to learn."

Sometimes I think I need to remember that the Lord usually works that way. Preach My Gospel tells us to study for our investigators and I think that's one of the reasons. If we want to be taught by the Lord we can't be selfish, and sometimes I just want to hear what will make me feel better or what will answer my questions in my time. But if we are thinking about others we will find the things that we need for ourselves too-- the things we need in order to be the best tool for the Lord that we can be. And consequently, the happiest we can be too. 

And mom, who knew that your selling skills would be just what I needed to help my investigators commit to living the things they are learning and feeling--I think that they will really make a difference this week. We'll see. :) I'll let you know how it goes. 

Dad, I can't think of a better more simple testimony to give than just "I'm going to go pray." Always your actions speak louder than words and I never ever could or can doubt your willingness to do whatever the Lord asks of you. 

Paul, Tom, Will, and Jeremy. Hope everythings going well. :) I love you each so so so much. More than you know. I hope you can feel it. 

I am so glad I have the family that I do! You are amazing. I wish I had a chance to hear grammie's talk. I didn't get a chance to read it last week so I will print it out this week and read it at night or something some time this week. I love how strong the individuals in our family are. Still no one has mentioned where Johnny is going to serve.

Well I'm pretty much out of time... But I love you all so much!

Have a great week.


"A Shocking Lack of Satin"

As always when I opened each email that I had this week I was overwhelmed by how many truly amazing people I know and love and love me. I don´t think that there is anyone in the world who is more blessed than I am and how quickly I forget it. It doesn´t seem fair, I wish that I could share some of these blessings.. and I guess that´s what we´re supposed to be doing as missionaries. Mom, I can always hear your voice in my head saying,"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And I was reminded that that ability is conditional on our humility and willingness to submit to His will by your statement " If I have to sell cars so I don't forget that, then so be it." You are teaching me how to really trust the Lord and really submit to His will and really trust in His strengthen--not just in theory, but in real life terms.
It is so exciting how many missionaries we are going to have in the family at the same time! Nancy wrote me to tell me that she is going on a mission and that Johnny is getting his call. Crazy! This next transfer--a week from today-- we are getting 30 new sisters in our mission! And we are going to continually have more and more missionaries in the transfers following. Things are changing and growing fast. Pray that we all will be able to learn together quickly and effectively.
You are wonderful and I love you lots. Thank you for you confidence in me. It means a lot and when ever I might want to slow down and not work so hard, I can remember who everyone at home thinks that I am and just try a little bit harder to be that person.
Also, I would love you write your friends! 1. I love writing letters. and 2. I love sharing the gospel. Give them my address, or you could even let them email me and I can just print out their emails and write back later when I have more time.  You have an amazing ability to recognize what´s really important. "Christ literally conquered the impossible so we can be celestial beings! " I wish everyone could have this testimony.
you are a missionary right now! You don't have to wait. One of the most surprising things about the mission was that I didn't magically gain new abilities once I became a missionary. I still had to work by study and faith and I can absolutely say that the Lord given me more ability to speak and learn the language and to remember things in the scriptures that were important for investigators and helped me be more organized at times, but He still is the same and still chooses to teach me in the same way--in His time and in His way-- and He lets me struggle, and I know that it is only because He knows it will be for my good and help me realize that He is really in control.
I love you all and I am out of time so I won't even try to add any conclusion of thought and sorry that once again there is a shocking lack of details about anything solid that is actually happening in my life... its a problem I have to be overly general. But I love you!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM

On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 8:52 AM, Stephanie Lofgreen <> wrote:
Things I want:
music to come thou fount.
conversion stories- your conversion story-how you came to know that Christ is your Savior and that His plan for you is real that the Book of Mormon is true-things like that.
miracles of the week (mom is always really good at this).

Don't feel obligated (besides with the music) but if anything comes to mind I would love to hear about it.

This week has been really really amazing for us here in Loule.
1. Its been really warm.
2. We had a district meeting and mom, thank you for your story of Hannah (not my sister, but the mother of Samuel in the Bible). Your testimony of the priesthood and the power of priesthood leadership in that story continues to shape and change my life and my ability to live the gospel. We have so many people who either a)don't think we need a prophet's guidance\priesthood leadership or 2) think that they can pick and choose from what the prophets teach. I am so grateful that I grew up in a home that "follows the brethren" as well as constantly relies on personal revelation to live day to day. We need both ...but as I was saying... we had a district meeting. And I had recognized that I was not using the blessing of the priesthood leadership that I had to its full advantage. I wasn't anxious to receive direction or to know how to improve--instead I just dreaded having to do a practice in which every one could see how bad I am at ... pretty much everything. How self-centered is that. (we all have our moments.) My companion has no fear of anyone or of looking like a fool or of doing something wrong as long as she's doing all she can and learning all she can. I didn't know how to be like that, so I just prayed for Heavenly Father to help me to be humble enough to learn and to be happy and I don't really remember what else. but that attitude changed how our whole week went.

I hope you don't mind me copying and pasting this from my letter to president.
We have seen a lot of miracles this week (7 investigators in church and 5 present for the sacrament! on top of the Lord giving me the ability to love my leaders and companion and myself).
I want to share this one because it only came about because of the faith of a girl in our branch. We met a man in the street on Friday that was really really sad. We tried to bear testimony that the Lord loved him and had a plan for him and all he could say was that he just couldn't believe in it. And so finally we just said a prayer with him, cried with him, left him with a pamphlet, invited him to church and told him we would call him to remind him, even though he didn't say he would be there. Meanwhile a girl in our ward had been praying for this same man, that she could find a way to invite him to church. She had been really sad that she didn't have the courage to invite him and then he walked in in the middle of the testimonies. Because of this, she gave a really powerful testimony that really touched some of the other investigators we had in church and strengthened my faith that the Lord is in charge of this work and is guiding us when we don't realize it.

Once again I am pretty much out of time. But I love you all. and Hannah, you should send me pictures from sweethearts. And I still have never received a letter of any sort from Jeremy.... just sayin. ;)

I am so proud of you Mom. You are amazing and a living, daily proof of the power of continuing in faith. Thank you.
And Dad, thank you for your testimony in your letters every week, even if its just in the things you recount from the week. I am grateful that I have never had to doubt that you love the Lord and that you love us.
Hannah, keep changing the world, one smile at a time, one testimony at a time. :) Sister Fluckiger said something the other day along the lines of: you serve your mission one day at a time. And you are living your life one day at a time. Its not what it is at the end, but your life is really the decision you are making right now. That's why it is so amazing that in every single moment, at any time, we can turn back to the Savior and start again.

I love you all. The gospel's true. And may we never ever turn back.