Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 17, 2013

DAD!!!! I love you sooooo sooooo soo oooo much!!!!

I hope you still have that pocket watch.
A. because pocketwatches make everyone classier.
2. because you probably need to know what time it is a lot of the time.
And III. because its true! you are the best dad (or whatever other derivative of that is on there).
Ola family,

Hope all is well in the good ol' US of A.
I am well. I am happy almost all of the time and almost all of the time means like 98% of the time. And then every once in a while things feel really hard. and then I learn stuf like this: I think that maybe part of it is just so that I can know and remember that I am only even happy because the Lord is supporting me. He leaves me to feel my own strength and feelings every so often so I can just remember and be grateful for all that He is doing and build my trust in Him that all these impossible things are possible through him.
You remember that one time when my mom was trying to decide if she was going to do all of those classes or not because it just seemed completely impossible and then she remembered that she could even do one class alone and so she then decided that she should just do what Heavenly Father wanted because he could make it work out better than she could anyways.
I feel like its like that. In order to help me have the faith in Him to get through harder things and do bigger things, He lets me just break down in my own strength\weakness so that I can see that He is already working miracles in my life. To get people to church or change someone else's heart and mind and life is no more of a miracle and no harder for Him than to touch mine and give me the strength and happiness that I feel every day. How amazing is that! Heavenly Father loves us so much.

And I love D&C 84:88 "And whoso areceiveth you, there I will be also, for I will gobbefore your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my cSpirit shall be in your hearts, and mine dangels round about you, to bear you up."
And guess what I found out about that scripture, those angels are angels literally, and our ancestors and future family, but what I hadn't really realized before this last transfer is that they are also our companions and friends and just nice people on the street. I am so grateful for the other sister who live in my house who are my angels with a comforting word and hug and just love (or cookie dough) when we get home from a long day. And they are inspired friends who email you or send you a letter just on the right day. and Elders who are randomly in your area to put a smile on your face by smacking each other in the face with their ties after a string of rejections.
I'm sorry that I don't write down during the week all of the stories during the week that I wanted to tell you and then I just write about nothing when I get to the computers.

The title of the email is a quote from Sister Brooks after we came home and told her about my companions first experience with an evangelical prayer (they like to start whispering in the middle of your prayers).
Other random thoughts:
The ninety year old lady who goes walking every morning while we're running and yells after us about how crazy we are for running every morning.
Moss on everything.
Every morning: I can't believe I'm leaving the house with my hair like this.
Our recent convert bearing her testimony to the ward in gospel principles about how happy she is because of the gospel.

And I love you all so so so much! You have no idea how much I really truly genuinely mean that and FEEL that every week.

Fight the good fight and stand up for the truth.

You are loved by the most powerful, glorious Being in the universe. He's our father. (That makes father's day pretty special. You have that same role of being my father, Dad. and I really really appreciate that. That you honor your priesthood and my mom. and that I've never had to doubt that you would do whatever Heavenly Father asked of you or if you loved us and mom.)

Have a wonderful week.

Steph\Sister Lofgreen

June 11, 2013

I love tender mercies. They make it all so much more possible. Just a little added proof that Heavenly Father really does know and care about what's going on.
And thanks for sharing them.
In contrast, the hard times also make us so aware of Heavenly Father's presence in our lives, if we let them. I have had the most wonderful week of hearing and feeling of people's testimonies of the power of Atonement to help us overcome hard times, of the power of the Spirit as a comforter, and the personal nature of Heavenly Father's love for us. (It makes me a little nervous when things like this happen for fear of what's coming next, what Heavenly Father might be preparing me for.. haha) But really, there are so many amazing people around me who have such amazing testimonies of this, such strong witnesses of the power the Savior has to lift our burdens and to sweeten our sorrows. Because through them we come to rely on Him and come to know him and then we can understand a little better Matt. 17:3 "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." I am absolutely certain that learn to rely on them we feel the joy that is promised to us for this life and the next. And when we serve them, we come to know them, because they are always working by our side when we are employed in their service. And so one day when we go back to see them again, they will be familiar to us.

Thanks mom, for your constant reminders to work, because I feel like in this area I have been applying my self better and more and I have definitely been happier in my service here than in any time before, and I have definitely felt my testimony strengthened here even more than in any time before.

And Dad, thanks for the update on the move. It seems like one of the first updates I've gotten about what's really going on with that. Which I guess isn't really a problem since its not what I want to be thinking about all the time. but its still nice to know. But sincerely, every single one of the stories you had to go with each one of those houses sounded super sketchy... haha. I know you guys love Lehi 2nd ward, but please don't move to 'slumville' as Dad put it.... unless, of course, you really felt like that's where Heavenly Father said he wanted you to be, in which case it would all be ok and He would protect you. (Actually that makes me think of when I was sitting in conference listening to the talk from... somebody... and he talked about one time when a family called him to know what ward needed a good family, and I thought, yeah, my parents would absolutely go wherever Heavenly Father needed a good family to help out. Luckily Heavenly Father also wants the best for us too, so we never have to choose between one or the other. He always does both.)

Also, at one point this week, we passed an investigator to the other sisters and I was talking to them about him and that I was so happy that he was going to quit smoking and get baptized and go to church and my dearest sister Brooks said to me "that's so great! because it means you really love your investigators!" and I was like ´you know what? you're right!´ and it seems like nothing, but it was really a big lightbulb happy moment for me to know that Heavenly Father is really changing my heart and helping me to love these people that I barely know. He's so amazing how he knows our hearts and our fears and our strengths and our weaknesses so well, that he can answer our questions and soothe our fears, sometimes before we are even aware of them enough ourselves to recognize that they're there.

Sorry about the english, I know its all weird..

But I love you all so very much!
Have a wonderful week!
Fight the good fight!

Steph\Sister Lofgreen

p.s. Jeremy, any news on the internships? or school plans? (or that one girl who doesn't like az..)

June 3, 2013

Thank you for the Les Mis update. I am glad to not have to be so disappointed every time I walk by the poster from now on.. ha ha. but really, that was the best news you could have given me. haha.
also, I will be working to have the courage and the words to say to Paulo if that is his store. (its a really pretty store by the way.)

This week was interesting and great and difficult, but mostly great.
Its amazing how many different ways you have to learn to be humble. It seems sometimes like that's the only lesson we're ever learning just in a thousand different ways. Heavenly Father chips away this portion of your pride and then that portion until someday we will be ready and willing to really accept "all that the father hath" because we will have space for it in our hearts.

I didn't know if I wanted to tell this to the world, so I will put it here unedited first. Mom will understand the amazing blessing and trial of this week. We had 2 baptisms. They were of this investigator (who was found\referred to the elders before we got here by her dad) and her 8 year old daughter. She is amazing and last week she got over her hurdle of her doubts and really gained a testimony of the book of mormon. Its really been so amazing teaching her because we have been teaching with lots of members and we started out teaching with the elders and I really feel so blessed that Heavenly Father has made up the difference for my weaknesses. (my specific prayer from the last few weeks.) And that He allowed me to feel that He is happy with me. I guess as I am writing this that Heavenly Father is just showing me that He has been answering exactly MY prayers.**

**(And that's why its so important to develop righteous desires and have the desires of our hearts and our prayers be the things that we really need to be with God again and to bring about miracle in the lives of others. we need to really really really want it way deep down in our hearts.)

I prayed this week that even if no one else could see that I was doing a good job and even if I didn't gain the respect of the elders or anyone else that I would be able to feel that I had done my best and what He wanted and that Neusa would be taken care of. And that is exactly what happened and that is a way greater blessing for right now and for the rest of my life than having other people think that I am a good missionary or than a lot of other things that I have been worried about.

I will explain the story behind this a little better. We taught Neusa the rest of everything this week. Tuesday when we went by we finally were able to resolve all of her doubts about committing to baptism for sure on Saturday, except for her parents schedule (she wanted her dad to baptize her, clearly that's important). So we left Tuesday with the commitment to pray about saturday. And so monday morning I called and she said she was all good for sat. But her daughter hadn't been sitting in all of our lessons (partly because of my lack of effort to teach them both when the mom and so many doubts). So I didn't think we could teach her and have her ready for sat, and much more than that, that her mom would think she was ready for sat--she thought she needed to be more prepared. But then the ward told me wed night to call her and see if sarah wanted to get baptized so I did. Neusa didn't sound happy but she said she would ask her. then the next day (thurs) she said she wanted to, so we cancelled lots of things and called every member of the ward to try to get a ride over there before our appointment with another member's friend to try to teach sarah the first 3 lessons in 45 min... not the best atmosphere.. teaching with the spirit in a timed pressured atmosphere with an add 8 year old. But we did it and she was excited for baptism.
I'm including too many details and I'm going to run out of time.
Basically friday night we went to have the interviews the elders called me 3x to get me to get the rides set up. Then the member was late. Then we were all late to neusa's house to have the interview. Then the interviews didn't go as smoothly as we would ahve hoped (I hadn't been clear enough in going over the interview questions beforehand.) so we had to call president as we were leaving 10 at night (when we should be home at the latest) to schedule an emergency interview. (Not to mention Neusa's heart was pretty much broken to have a houseful of people she loves see her not be ready for baptism with her parents coming up from lisbon to her baptism the next morning)
Sat. morning we still didn't know about the interview. I called Pres. a second time (this was the sweet tender mercy of Heavenly Father, that He let me recognize that in that moment I was following the Spirit, that He was guiding me and that He forgives me for my shortcomings and would take care of Neusa and make sure that she had a wonderful day.) And then on top of that the elders planned the whole baptism, took care of the water, the clothes, the programs, did a musical number, took care of the baptismal fichas afterwards, and we burnt the cookies.

But in the middle of all of that Heavenly Father was able to bless me to feel and see what I said above: "I would be able to feel that I had done my best and what He wanted and that Neusa would be taken care of."

Mom you know me. You know how hard it is for me to feel like I'm not capable. to let other people do things for me. So you will understand why it was so hard for me to write down that we had two baptisms (when the elders found and taught and did pretty much everything else) and to feel ok with how things went this week. And you will see what a huge, gigantic, enormous, and incredibly important blessing it was for me to not be able to do everything and to see Heavenly Father take care of these people that I love so much and to in the process show me that He loves me and is proud of me and happy with me anyways.

And this is probably why I never tell stories... They are always way to long and unorganized.

Also I forgot to mention last week, but last week I accidently made a blind man run into a telephone pole.... sometimes the mission's rough.. haha.

but Heavenly Father loves us so, so much. I could never ever ever deny that. He has shown me again and again and again and it doesn't seem fair. .

Sorry for the lack of organization and the lack of responses to all the things you guys said to me.. But i really do love love love your emails and letters and read and soak in every word of them.

Fight the good fight. and just be good people :) Christ makes all the difference.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."


May 20, 2013

Mom!!!! I love you so much!
And Dad!
And Jeremy! and Hannah! and Paul! and Katy! and Tom! and Will!!!

You guys are all so amazing and I don't know what I would do with out you all!
and, Thank you for all the birthday wishes!

As for my plaque, I don't know. You can choose the picture; I trust your judgment, plus, I won't be the one looking at it :) As for the scripture, its never been a very nice thing to ask me what my favorite anything is, and as a missionary, picking a favorite scripture is especially hard. But I hope you won't mind my stealing the family theme: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 1) because I have had to learn every single day of my mission that He is and has to be the source of our strength, focus and desire to be happy and to do anything worth doing here, and 2) because its our family theme and second to our Lord and Savior my greatest source of strength is the love and support of family. So yeah, use that one.

I am in Viseu and it is beautiful. We split an area here with the elders and they have been so wonderful in helping us with everything, where everything is, who everyone is, what they need and what they have already been taught, not to mention going to lessons with us to pass off investigators. I feel like I have learned so much in the few lessons that we have had with them and that the Lord is really answering my prayers to make up the difference in so many different things. My new companion is amazing too, she is so happy and so willing to just do what needs to be done even though she can't speak the language yet and has only been here four days, she is already teaching me so many things by her willingness to just do what needs to be done, just worrying about the task in front of her and not getting caught up in all of the other things that have to be done later. One of the greatest blessings here has been the investigators that the elders have been working with that they left to us. Things were a little confusing for a little bit about who was going to teach who, but finally we worked it out. But before that, we got to teach this guy with them who is going through a really rough time and his dad who is a branch president near Lisbon called and gave a reference to the elders. Well we got to go teach him and talk to him about the power of the Atonement to help us overcome difficulties and that God loves us enough to let hard things happen but help us become so much more by overcoming them, and my new companion got to invite him to be baptized on her 3rd day in Portugal. He will be baptized with his sister on the 1st and their dad will get to come baptize them.
I feel so incredibly blessed to walk into the middle of this miracle and see how the Lord prepares people and families to be happy forever and how he can in the middle of all this orchestrate a way for me and my companion to learn the things we need to and just give us the little reminders of His love for us.

Well sorry this is a little bit scattered, but I love you all so very much and pray for the people in our area to be open to two lost little girls to teach them the gospel, just the most important things they could come to know and live in this life.

I know the gospel's true and I'm working to live it and trust in it more and more every day.

Love you so much,


P.S. fight the good fight. It's worth it.

May 13, 2013

Hey family.
It was so wonderful to see you yesterday!!
and this was wonderful also:
in the missionary handbook it says that we should be careful that calling home doesn't take our thoughts away from the work. But I never feel like I have to worry about that with you all! You make me want to be a better missionary and do more good and live up to at least a tiny portion of the good that you all see in me. In a talk I was reading by Pres. Eyring, he starts off by saying that anything he has accomplished in the priesthood, he has only accomplished because someone else first saw gifts and talents and good in him that he didn't see himself. And then he chose to believe them and try to live up to what they showed him. So thanks.
I'm really really happy that you are all taking good care of each other and that Jeremy and James will be able to get the house all ready to sell. and that they will get to be together again!
Btw, when does\did Nancy leave on her mission?
Everyone always complains that I don't ever tell about stuff that is going on, things pertaining to missionary work that are actually happening with me.
Last week, we found this guy from Ireland who is super cool and already been to church and has friends in the church and wants to do good. The only thing he really needs is to understand the restored gospel! We also found this part-member family. The dad has been inactive for quite a while (like 10 or 15 years I think), the mom has already had the lessons in the past, but is very open to working with us again and really wants to get her husband to do things like say family prayers and stuff that would unite the family, and the coolest is that the 13-yr-old son really responded to the story of Joseph Smith and the knowledge that he could really know this for himself and not just because anyone told him. And we found some other really cool people that we are excited about. So I hope it all goes well for my companion.
I'm headed up north to Viseu where we will be splitting an area and I will be training (we're getting 35 new sisters tomorrow along everyone else who isn't a Sister Training Leader which is like a zone leader but a sister-- they revamped the mission organization with all the new sisters in the world :)
This transfer is going to be crazy! as far as the whole mission goes. We are going to have 2 new zones 25 new areas, and 50 new missionaries. and to put that in perspective we have about 180 maybe 200 right now.
so there's my short story-ish email.

also, Eduardo is getting the priesthood and a calling sunday!! which is awesome. :)
He is a regular ol' missionary, bringing people to activities and church and carrying his Book of Mormon around everywhere.
Have a wonderful week!!
p.s. As mom requested, an excerpt from letter to president:
Esta semana, encontramos alguns novos pesquisadores sobre quem eu estou mesmo animada. Um destas experiencias aconteceu quando nos tivemos muitas outras coisas para fazer. Tivemos duas pessoas para visitar e não muito tempo antes de nosso autocarro. Mas no fundo de minha mente eu me lembrei de um endereço numa lista antiga de pesquisadores em potencial. Eu senti que devíamos ir lá, então fomos mesmo com pouco tempo. Encontramos um homem de Irlanda que já foi para igreja lá e tem muitos amigos na igreja. Ensinamos o primeiro lição e ele está animado que nos voltemos. Mas mais que tudo, sou grata que o Espírito testificou para todos nos que estávamos na lugar certo no momento certo.

Vou orar muito esta semana para ser humilde suficiente para FAZER qualquer coisa que o Senhor disse para mim--ou, seja, qualquer coisa do bem que entre em minha cabeça.

May 6, 2013

Hi family!

Happy almost mother's day, Mom! and Happy almost birthday Paul!! I can not believe how old our family is getting.
This week we have had several investigators reading things about the history of the church, and so I have been talking about that. and I have been so grateful for all the amazing people that have sacrificed so much so that I could have the life that I have. All the pioneers who sacrificed so much, but even more than that all of my ancestors that I know have been so involved in my gaining a personal testimony of the gospel. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair how much help and support and how many chances I have been given to learn about and stay strong in the gospel. Pretty much anything semi-good that I have accomplished has so much more to do with the sacrifices of the people who went before me, of church leaders and friends, to say nothing of you guys, Mom, Dad, Hannah, Jeremy, Paul, Tom and Will and Katy. All the way back to Willard Richards, Paul and Anders, Grandma Nonie. So many amazing people. I want to one day be able to sit down with all of them and you and feel good that I didn't let their legacy die and that I honored the sacrifices they made for me.
Most of all, thanks Mom for giving so much of yourself to us every single day and for loving us inspite of all the mistakes and silly things we do.
I will hopefully be skyping you Sunday at about 3 our time which should be about 8 your time. I hope that's ok. I'm sorry I didn't plan ahead better...just email me yours and dad's skype names and I will try to talk to both of you at the same time.

So I didn't really say much last week, but I wanted to tell you a little more about our most recent convert. He works at a golf course. well sort of. He finds all the balls that people lose in the water and on the street and stuff, cleans them up, repackages them and then sells them on the side of the golf course. But all the unusual ones he gives to us. So we have about 50 golf balls in our house. I counted the other night and we had 48. He is really great and hopefully will be receiving the Aaronic priesthood sunday and bringing 2 friends to church!

And I'm about out of time so I'm just copying and posting this from what I wrote to Katy, so I hope it still makes sense.

Mostly I am struggling with and working on every day being humble enough to DO what the Lord needs me to do and to be humble enough to work to do many things of my own free will. Sometimes faith is hard. Its so simple and I am going to have to keep working at it for a lifetime. To have enough faith and trust the Lord to do whatever He says and to really want what He wants, and to believe that He can do His work with me. I am so forgetful, and lazy, and imperfect and unloving and I let all those things rob me of my faith sometimes, and that's not the person or missionary that I want to be, but its HARD, really really hard to change, to take that step to do things in a different way and to face the possibility of failing, but that's just a lack of trust too because if I really know that the Lord wants the best for me and will help me and strengthen me, then why would failing even be a problem. There's only two options, success or not, whether that comes by failing and learning or by not trying...
And I was reading in 2 Ne3 today when the lord is speaking about moses and that He knows that He didn't make him mighty in speaking and then still told him to go talk to Pharoah. He doesn't just say, well Moses was a little bit weak in this, but I can do anything anyways. He says purposefully that He DIDN'T make Moses mighty in speaking. like it was a conscious decision to make him weak in that area and then give him this seemingly impossible job so He could learn how to trust. Well, I would like to be as cool as Moses, so maybe I can try to accept my weaknesses and pray and strive to be humble enough for the Lord to part the "Red Seas" that I face.

I love you all so much!

Fight the good fight!

And let me know what's going on with the move and stuff! (Jeremy, I haven't heard from you in ages!)


April 29, 2013

Ola família!

First off, yesterday our good friend Eduardo was finally baptized. And it was wonderful because he was so well prepared and really knew what he was doing and why he was doing it. And almost the whole branch made the trek to the capela in faro to support him (which was really great even though we did not have enough food for all of them.. which I will explain in more depth in a minute.) One of the coolest things about this baptism that I got to witness is just that, that I got to witness it. It wasn't like 'my baptism'. it was Eduardo's baptism, it was his journey and his goal and I have just been able to be here to see it all, and clearly I learned and changed and grew along the way with him, but really all of those things that happened to him (personally witnesses of the Spirit, lifechanging decisions of quitting smoking, leaving the religion of your family, learning to forgive people, and so many major experiences) really did just happen to him. I couldn't have made a single one of those choices for him as much as I wanted to so many times. After the baptism, I said to my companion, 'I don't feel that different.' and she said, 'Well of course not, you're not the one who got baptised.' and I love that. I don't know that I really explained that very well, but I am so happy that the gospel is really happening in the lives of other people and not just mine.

As for the food, I feel I have to tell this experience. We tried to make cookies and we bought all the stuff before hand and made the dough the night before and were all ready to go in the morning. And then , we burnt all of FOUR pans of cookies.... yeah. I don't know how that happened. but finally we were out of time and out of cookies and out of any sort of resources... and I only have one more minute, so the short of it is: we served green American jello (they don't really like strong flavors here) and a few cookies and some cream cheese salami sandwiches and chocolate mousse made by the elders that was really chocolate soup....

But Eduardo was happy and felt loved so no worries.

sorry I couldn't upload the pictures... next week, and more details.

love you all. the gospel's true.


April 22, 2013

Hey family!

We had zone conference today, so I don't have a lot of time, but I just wanted to tell you all that I love you! and that I know absolutely 100% that this is the Lord's church and that He is guiding this work and that He will guide our individual lives too if we let Him.

I'll pray for you to have everything work out well with the move and with getting everything ready with the house and with all the changes that are happening right now.

Have a wonderful week!


April 15, 2013

Ola Família!

I'm still here in Portugal! and its still lovely loulé. Except that its even more lovely now because the weather has changed. and for the first time in my life I am grateful for dayight savings. Its warm when we leave the apartment and the sun doesn't go down until about 8:30 and then its still not really cold which makes it great for talking to people in the street ALL DAY LONG.
There was a massive festa here for some saint or other. There are often festas here. But that meant that the only people who stayed home were people who really didn't believe in saints. Which was cool. We met this guy named Miguel who when we first showed up said that he didn't believe in God, but then we kept talking to him for a while and he opened up a bit more and talked about how its so wrong that everyone goes to worship the saints and that we should only worship God (its so funny how often people who "don't believe in God" have things to say like that) and then he said that if God really existed why didn't He ever come talk to man, why does he only send Christ. Basically he was all primed to accept the 1st lesson so we taught that as simply and briefly as we could and invited him to pray. So when we find him at home today or tomorrow I hope he will have prayed. Because I know, 100%, that Heavenly Father answers every humble heartfelt prayer, in His time and in His way, but He absolutely answers, and that ANYone who prays sincerely to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith is a prophet will receive an answer. Its that sincerely part that gets people, because God is so incredibly merciful that He doesn't give us more light or knowledge than we are ready or willing to receive. He respects our agency soooo much and wants us to succeed sooo badly.
I love this simple explanation in Alma 32 for the question that soo many people have.

17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us aasign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to abelieve, for he knoweth it.
19 And now, how much amore bcursed is he that cknoweth thedwill of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into etransgression?
How merciful is the Lord that He lets the specific direction we need be the part that sinks into our hearts. If we don't have any intention of following the direction He gives to us He only gives us a little and then we can't be punished for more because we didn't know. That we can't see everything is really a huge blessing because it gives us the opportunity to learn a bit at a time instead of being responsible for everything all at once. It makes enduring to the end possible and worthwhile.
Those people who really know how to trust the Lord, who are really willing to do what the Lord wants in that moment often receive the direction more quickly than those who just think it would be nice to know. 
The Lord is preparing people everywhere.(Did you hear how many times the prophet and apostles talked about that in conference, about sharing the gospel?!) Its up to us to be worthy and willing bear testimony of the truths they need to hear wherever and whenever its right for them. And like mom taught me last week: He promises to give us the words in the exact moment, and if its not the right moment their not going to remember anyways :)
I love you all!
Also, Hannah: Andreia is a girl from our ward, she's been a member for a few years now and is the only member in her family. She speaks English really really well (written its probaby less perfect but spoken its completely normal). I told her to go find you on facebook cause she likes speaking english and you like writing people and you're about the same age. So you should just be friends with her and be willing to share you testimony with her too- things you learn in the scriptures- as well as just be a normal teenager cause she's cool and watches shows you like. the end. love you.
Also, as for advice: make the most of your last moments in school and your last summer in Utah (if you guys don't move before then). You won't ever get these moments back, so go help somebody or make cookies for neighbors or help mom with cleaning and try not to stress about that italian.. He will be ok if he's half as good as you say he is. If he trusts the lord and loves his family enough to be working to help them the Lord will teach him the things he needs to know for life with these experiences. Its up to you to learn what you need to know for your life right now :)
Oh and Heather emailed me so no worries.
Also, when you guys move I need your new address to give to the mission office.
If anyone wants to here's the study plan Pres. Fluckiger just gave to us:
In a clean copy of the Book of Mormon, underline the following in 4 different colors:
1. Every reference to Christ (any one of His names or pronouns referring to him or the prophets describing what he did during His minister on earth
2. His words (spoken by Him or by prophets when they say "thus said the Lord"
3. His attributes, and
4. The doctrine of christ (faith in Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism (water and fire), and enduring to the end)
At the bottom of each page, count the total number of each reference you underlined (1-4 above)
Numa cópia limpa do livro, sublinha o seguinte com quarto cores diferentes:
Cada referência de Jesus Cristo (qualquer um dos Seus nomes ou pronomes referentes a Ele ou o que os profetas descreveram o que Ele fez durante durante o Seu ministério na terra);
  1. As palavras Dele (faladas por Ele ou por profetas quando eles dizem, Assim diz o Senhor);
  2. Os Seus atributos; e
  3. A Doutrina de Cristo (vejam o cartão o nosso Propósito e PME p.5).
No fundo de cada página, conta o número total de cada referência que sublinhaste (itens 1-4 acima).

April 8, 2013 "Just keep Swimming. . . "

Hey family.

Dad, don't stress, you're not stressing me out with any of the things you said about the move or anything. I'm really not all that worried about it. And even so, the most amazing thing was that as I was listening to conference and all the things that the speakers said about the power of strong families and the importance of families being centered on Christ and on the teaching of the gospel and on service I was so happy to be able to think, "my family is really trying to be that way all the time." I was grateful to know that you are all praying to know what to do and that you all will be willing to do whatever the Lord asks because of the testimony that you each have of the Lord's love for us and for His other children as well. And since I know you have all been praying I can trust on the words of D&C 6
14 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast ainquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
15 Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy amind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been benlightened by the cSpirit of truth;
16 Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that aknowest thy thoughts and the bintents of thycheart.
So I'm not worried. I know that you want to follow the Lord and that He knows you well enough to give you the inspiration and direction that you will be able to recognize and follow even if you don't always know that you are.

I have a lovely new companion, Sister Vernon. She's from upstate New York and I am already learning so much from her, not the least of which is to have more patience with myself and love everybody more. We're not perfect and the Lord doesn't expect us to know how to do everything all at once. And in conference in somebody's talk (I don't know whose at the moment) I heard the promise that the Lord knows that we aren't capable of focusing on all the things that he has asked us to do at the same time, but that we have the promise that He will help us to know what it is that we need to be focusing on in our own lives at the right times.

This isn't my story but its something I needed to hear this week that someone else shared with me and so now I want to share it with you:
“Our District Leader called us one night and asked us to find 3 new investigators! It was pretty late, and putting all doubt aside, I simply replied, ‘we will.’ Kneeling in prayer, I asked for the spirit to literally lead me to those that would hear our message. I stood up, and just started walking. To make a long story short, the Spirit lead us to 5 different people, all of whom accepted our message and gave us their contact information. It was such a testimony builder to me, of how aware God is of each of us. And if we trust in him, we can do ALL things.”
For me this week we had a somewhat similar experience. We had zone conference and I wasn't feeling so great, but our zone leaders promised me that we would be able to find new investigators that day who would progress and new investigators that week that would be important to me for ever. And so tuesday I decided that I would trust that, that I would trust in the testimony that I have of the power of priesthood and that those elders hold the priesthood keys to lead and guide me and so that day we found 4 really great people who said we could come back. One lady said she had a Book of Mormon and she didn't really know what it was but she likes to read it when she is feeling down because she always feels better, a kid who is the cousin of another youth in our branch who promised to pray to know if God is really there and loves him, and two other teenagers-one who started out saying he didn't believe in Christ but believed in God and after we explained about 30 sec of why Christ is important he said, yeah that make sense. There are always lots and lots of other little experience to share, but I'll stick with that for now and give you another short update next week.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the last session of conference (I think we will watch it right now). But I'm looking forward to Elder Holland's talk since everybody talked about it so much.

Thanks mom for this:"Remember that God will direct you if you turn your day over to Him. I am working hard on it. That one decision moment by moment is the best and hardest. To just be obedient in all things is the big test. And I'm learning it little by little."

Hannah. You're so good. Just keep praying for what's right to happen and it will work out.
Paul. You are awesome. Did you know that? You are going to do some amazing things in this life. You already are doing amazing things in our family.You have been the most amazing example of cheerful obedience ("Sure, mom, sure!") and Pres. Monson told us yesterday that ultimately that's all we need to do. Be willing to do all the things that the Lord asks of us and to do them cheerfully. I know that if we do that we'll be happy. If you want to know what type of cheerfulness I think of when I think of you look at will on a day when he is happy and proud of himself for helping and accomplishing something.
Tom! You should write me a letter this week since you like writing so much :)
And will. Keep smiling :)
Jeremy! what did you like from conference? Do you have any inspirational advice for your big sis? How's Elmira? How are you feeling about the move?

I love you all so much


April 2, 2013

Ola familia!
Transfers happened yesterday, so sorry you didn't here from me. But all is well, I have a new companion (Sister Vernon) and the lovely Sister Campos went to my first area, Quinta do Conde. Funny how that happens. Also, an Elder I met yesterday during transfers played football with David. Life is funny and the world is small.
I was\am a little nervous about Sister Campos leaving and me being the one who knows how to get around and knows the investigators and members here and everything and the responsibility that implies (as small as it is), but my new companion is really great. She immediately started asking questions and talking about goals that will really really help this area and already helped me feel a bit more focused and not so flustered. So I am already excited for what we are going to be able to do this transfer. Also, she's from New York and knows Elmira. Small world.
This last week has been one of pequenas milagres. One to see how much the Lord has and is blessing me and those around me. The Lord gave me answers to all of my questions before I even realized the questions. One of our investigators finally had a bit of time off and in this short bit of time that she was able to give more of her time to the Lord, receive an answer about the Book of Mormon and begin to realize how important it is to give our time to Him. One of our eternal investigators finally had that lightbulb moment of "oh, I actually want to get baptized, this actually is a great blessing for me!"
Also, General Conference is this weekend!
I wish I could give everyone the excitement that I feel to be able to hear the words of a living prophet, in our own language! I don't know how to impress on people the knowledge that God is speaking to His children, that all the answers they need in this moment are right there, they just need to take a bus a half hour away and sit for a couple of hours and listen and they will have answers to what they need! How amazing is that! and how amazing it is that its to big a trouble for so many people to get out of bed on Sunday to go hear.
I love you all and I know that this gospel is true. That we have prophets on the earth today and that God is doing a marvelous work and a wonder in our day and age!

March 25, 2013

Arizona! Congrats to all who prefer the heat and to Dad who gets to do what he loves in the town he loves closer to family. :)
Mom and Dad both said so many times that moving to Arizona will have a big effect on me, but I don't see how that could be. I'm in Portugal. So no worries. We don't have to worry for quite a while (well over a year). :) But I will be praying for Jeremy and Katy. And for you all to know how to get through and succeed in whatever new circumstances you are faced with. I will be praying that you will know what to do with each and every decision.
Most of all in both of the emails from mom and dad, what stood out was that the Lord is answering your prayers already. The details aren't in place, but that desire to know that direction you should head in was finally answered and it seems like that has been something that you have both been looking for. So I'm happy.
Scripture of the day:
Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.

Sorry this is short, but I love you all a lot.
Fight the good fight.


Yesterday we went to the baptism of two young men in our district in the elders' area with one of our investigators (Adriana) who I happen to love a lot. Adriana has been investigating the church for quite a while and always has one more doubt, one more question, always has one more fear of being wrong. One of the young men being baptized met the Elders last week, prayed and then decided (after hearing about fasting) to fast to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and then followed through with that decision. Both of these investigators are working and praying with all their might to do the will of the Lord, and because He knows their hearts and their desires He has the ability to answer them in the exact moment that is right for them, for them to know and not fall away.

March 18

Hannah. I laughed way hard at your #hannahprobs. Not the problems themselves but your reference to them in the subject of your email. :) You will do great things in this world:)
Mom said she liked my insert from my letter to president the other day and since it saves on time I thought I would do it again... and then I wrote it in Portuguese... so I'll stick it in at the end and if you get bored you can try to work it out. Maybe google translate can help? I don't use very complicated Portuguese.
Good luck with the interviews dad. I'll be praying for you. You are definitely a blessing to the ward, and I am glad as always to have a dad who always does what the Lord asks of him:)
As always, p-day letter reading and writing time is one of the most inspiring times of the week. It's a time for me to review all of the things that have happened this week and what I've learned and hear about the best and worst and just details that stand out to everyone that I love! I really appreciated the quote that mom sent me "The Lord said he would give us the words in the very hour what we should say... If the time isn't right their not going to remember anyway." I don't think there is anything that could be more comforting to a missionary. Some days, after rejection after rejection you start wondering if you're doing something wrong. Clearly we can always be improving and always should be, but that promise of the Lord's to give us the words we need wasn't dependent on our personal organizational skills or speaking skills or studying abilities or anything else. It was dependent on our efforts to treasure up his words by studying and living and doing all that we can to make it a part of who we are. And his other promises I have come to realize are the same. They are generally connected to commandment. If you pay tithing you will probably learn how to budget and will have a better ability to take care of the things you need, but the blessings of tithing are present long before we learn how to budget or be better. They are short term and long term. They come immediately because of power of the Atonement to make up the difference in our lives, and they come over time as the Atonement changes who we are.
I love you all. Fight the good fight.


p.s. Nos tivemos um pesquisador marcado por baptismo esta fim de semana que deixou de fumar por 18 dias já, mas ainda não um testemunho forte da restauração, Joseph Smith, ou o Livro de Mormón. Então nos esperamos a ensinar dizimo por mais tempo que nos devíamos. Quando nos ensinamos, não foi muito bom e não foi muito mal-- ele disse que cumpriria mas depois quando estava sozinho ele ficou um pouco confuso e chatiato com tudo. Então ele começou a beber e fumar de novo. Ele falou connosco no telemóvel e explicou que ele não estava muito bem e depois perdeu o telemóvel e nos não conseguimos falar com ele novamente. Depois todos nossos compromissos caíram e nos oramos que ele pode ser protegido até ele pode ter oportunidade a entender este mandamento e que nos podemos sentir do paciência e perdão que Cristo sempre tem para nos e para ele. E depois nós o encontramos na rua perto da capela e fomos lá e esta vez, ele entendeu dizimo--porque o ESPÍRITO estava la--nosso ensino foi mais ou menos ou mesmo, mas o espírito foi diferente. Tambem, por meio desta experiencia (não sei como exactamente) ele entendeu que ele não está a buscar uma resposta mesmo. Eu sou grata que o Senhor pode usar nos mesmo com nossas fraquezas para fazer este trabalho.