Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sept. 2, 2013

Hey family!
So this week was good and I made a list of things to tell you about, but now I don't know what I actually want to say.
The list makes it so that I am not thinking about the things that I learned and processing how I changed and grew this week, so hopefully I will get a chance to think about that this week too.
This week had lots of individual things happen where Ifeel like I learned and grew and did things right and did things wrong and they haven't all melded together in my mind yet to one or two or three over arching lessons that needed to learn.
But some things I was thinking about yesterday in fast and testimony meeting. The power of people's testimonies really is not at all dependent on their speaking abilities. They are carried to our hearts by the Spirit and their strength is much more dependent on the consistent role that those principles play in the people's lives. For example, the most powerful testimonies that I heard were one by this little old man who didn't really say that much, I don't think he actually even mentioned Christ in his talk, he just said how important it is to stay strong in the church and in the gospel. and I know that he feels that and lives that and relies more on the strength of Christ's atonement from that simple statement than so many eloquent people that I talk to that don't make the simple, good, daily decisions in their lives that he does.  read the scriptures every day. pray every day. talk to god like he's your father because he really is. love the people around you with all of your actions to the best of your ability because they are god's children too. work every day to build the kingdom of god on the earth. (that includes most especially everything we do for our families [aka studying and working to be able to take care of our families and future families]).
and I was thinking about how callings--working and serving in God's kingdom here on the earth--is one of the best ways that we have to learn and grow and CHOOSE to be humble instead of being forced to be humble like alma talks about in the beginning of alma 32.* That's really hard. and it comes in little choices. like this one from this amazing talk by Elder Bednar (that everyone in the world should read. I heard it in the MTC and I still think about it ALL THE TIME. it absolutely changed my life because it changed my daily choices and the way I see things and the things I am working to, ou seja, it made me want to work harder and more specifically to be like the savior.)

Elder Bednar's Talk: "On the day of her daughter's funeral, this Relief Society president from my home ward received a phone call from an irritated sister in our ward. The complaining sister had a cold and did not feel well, and she basically chewed out the Relief Society president for not being thoughtful or compassionate enough to arrange for meals to be delivered to her home. Just hours before the funeral of her only child, this remarkable Relief Society president prepared and delivered a meal to the murmuring sister."

These amazing people, quietly making decisions to put themselves last, even when they are perfectly justified in being offended or angry or in taking a moment to take care of themselves are those who change the world through their love and example.
 anyways.. on to some stories of things that happened this week.
 We had a baptism!
F. This super awesome lady who with every time she has specifically prayed about a question has found an answer. I think I talked about her a little while back. well, she finally picked a date to get baptized last week and then on tuesday we moved it up to this saturday and she got baptized and received the Holy Ghost on Sunday and it was amazing because it was one of those moments when you know that SHE really knew what she was doing and that it was important in her life. and she got up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting after and it was awesome.

Another awesome little miracle from Saturday was that 7 of our investigators showed up at her baptism! which was sweet. and even better, the members really made an effort to make each and every one of them feel welcome.
I was called to Portugal, but sometimes I feel like I'm serving in Africa, because most of our investigators are from Capo Verde, Angola, and Mozambique. and at the moment a lot of them are 19-25 yr old boys who like to play futebol by the river every day and so we just get them to come have lessons with us when they stop playing. Because of this, Sunday night after church we were still fasting and we had about an hour to go look for new investigators and we had planned to go to this park by the chapel. And because we had been joking about our stereotype investigator, we just walked by this kid who fit it perfectly without really talking to him, we just said hi as we passed by, but then he stopped us and was like "hey, are you from the church?" and we just kept talking to him for a while. We started teaching him the first lesson and in the middle he just interrupts us and is like 'when you guys said hi to me I felt something really strong. This really strong feeling, like you are creatures of God (which really at the moment and in português was way less weird...) and I have that feeling right now, like nothing bad could happen. did you get that feeling?" and so we talked about the spirit and how to recognize it and how we feel when we feel the spirit, but it was just one of those moments, those tender mercies, that Heavenly Father gives you to let you know that what you're doing is important and that the Spirit really is guiding you and that there really are people prepared all over the world to hear our message. Sometimes we just have to start talking and we might not have the right words to us, but the spirit can take care of things if we just open our mouths.
Oh and my companion and I each got proposed to twice this week.. that's always fun... and by that I mean its not at all fun. One of them decided I was prejudiced against Muslims because I wouldn't marry him after having met him 5 minutes before hand.. and it doesn't help when your ward mission leader decides to tell one of them that you can date them when you're done with your mission in a year and a half... don't worry he didn't mean it and he owned a fight club, so I think he can help us out.
Also.. I'm having a hard time being exactly obedient because everyone keeps handing me black babies (my ward mission leader an his wife for example). pictures attached.
And I better go so that I can get some other things done today, but I love you all so so so so so so very much. and i want you to always remembre it and study the words of the prophets and apply something every day and forgive me if I didn't say anything that I needed to and trust the Spirit to help you know what you need to say when you need to say it.
Have a great week!!!!
And read that Elder Bednar talk. here's the link one more time:
Love you!
 Steph\ Sister Lofgreen
P.S. Fight the good fight. and remembre what's most important (always people).
And take my mom's advice this week and always try to be present the moment. that's my goal for the week.
p.p.s. I left our phone at Pablo's last night and we had to run through the city after hours to get it and then cal the zone leaders to tell them we were late and why after having had to cal them earlier that day to give lots of excuses for why we didn't get Fatima's baptismal ficha signed. we are awesome...

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