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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Too Much To Handle!

Mafra was exploding with miracles this week! I couldn't believe it! This is the first time in my mission that I have experienced so much success in so little time. We were running the whole week from the last time I emailed you guys. Literally that day we got back to our apartment, dropped our bags off and sat down for one second to verify our plans for the day. We wanted to visit an irmã in our grupo that lives in Igreja Nova, so I checked the bus schedule right then and realized that the bus had supposedly left 3 minutes before that time. We decided to have faith, grab all our stuff and RUN to the bus station to see if we could still make it and by some miracle it was late that day and we were able to catch the bus to her house. 
The whole week consisted of these types of tender mercies from the Lord.
We were able to finally get together and teach a lesson to Joana-the woman who showed up for church last week! Happy news! She is GOLDEN and we marked her for baptism in the first lesson for this coming saturday! We have been teaching in a new way where we mention or testify a little something about baptism in every point of our lesson, and within 5 minutes into our first lesson she was asking how baptism worked in our church! She has so many questions and is so excited to learn new things about the church. She has accepted EVERYTHING we have taught her! I can't even believe it sometimes. I didn't think these types of people existed in Portugal. She showed up for church again on Sunday and was actually there before us, which was another surprise! So now we just need your prayers that the baptism will go through on Saturday.
I got to see Tina and Silvio this week! Tina just about smothered me in beijinhos when she first saw me....I was a little scared for my life and Sister Tilton didn't know what to do hahah We only got to talk with them for a little bit because we had other lessons set up and they would be going back to Lisbon, but I still think if we just had a bit more time with Tina she could be baptized in the near future. 
Oh....and just a warning for mom and dad.....I think she wants to come live with us in out! hahah She is crazy. I love it.
We spent a ton of time this week inviting less actives and members to our relief society activity that we had on Saturday. We did a ton of work for this activity but it ended up being absolutely incredible!!!! We invited irmã isabel (A member of our grupo here who has left the church because of some personal problems) to teach us how to decorate bolos. She doesn't really want anything to do with the church, but I knew that she LOVES decorating bolos and thought that maybe we could use that to our advantage to at least get her into the church to feel the spirit there again. Like I thought, she was super excited to be able to help us with this activity and it was so amazing to see her in the church interacting with all the ladies there again. I am hoping it will have some sort of an impact on her and she will realize what she is missing because she really is amazing. 
We had so many ladies show up for our activity! We were a little bit worried because at 5:00 when the activity was supposed to start there was absolutely no one there, but Portuguese Mormon standard time is even worse than Mormon Standard time, so finally by about 6:00 we had about 16 ladies there! We couldn't believe it! Sister Tilton has already served in a ward here in Portugal and said that is was probably the best attended activity she has been to here in Portugal. I think everyone really loved it, and even better was that we had 3 people there that weren't members!
Church the next day was just as amazing. Like I said, this week was just bursting with miracles. We had 3 people show up for church. Joana, and 2 other contacts that we had made earlier that week. I am extremely excited to teach our other 2 friends- Roxo and Edinei. Both of them are Brazilian. Edinei is about 27 and super nice, and Roxo is the man that I think I talked about last week who was on a walk thinking about Christ when we contacted him. Both are so incredible, and so ready for the gospel. 
We also showed up to the church and Kamila, Sebastiana, Luis and the rest of the family were there! They have been attending church in Odivelas, but decided it was time to attend church here in Mafra. I just got the hugest smile on my face when I saw them. It was the best surprise! They are going to be such a strength to this group, and that means we have one more holder of the priesthood! I have so much faith that we are going to turn Mafra into a branch by the end of the year. Altogether we had 26 people in church on Sunday! We were talking to Enivaldo (the president of our group) and he said that this is the most people that he has seen in the time that he has been there. Basically every seat in the chapel was full.  I couldn't stop smiling in church looking back and seeing so many people, and then we got the announcement that we will be having the ground breaking of the temple here in Portugal on December 5th. Fam. I think I just about exploded with happiness. I think I understand a little bit better what the term pure joy means. 
The Lord is preparing the way and preparing the people here in Portugal. It is incredible to be a part of the work at this time in this place. I LOVE MY LIFE! 
Amo Vocês!! Ficam bem. Paz e bençãos.

-Sister Selk

Sometimes we like to make smores, watch church videos and camp out in our living room the night before pday. I am pretty sure Sister Tilton and I have way too much fun together.

to explain this picture: I have more value for my books than my body somethings and i´d rather be soaking wet than my books so this is usually what happens.

Happy halloween-love the district.
 The Activity!

Irmã Isabel!!

I got attacked by chocolate, and then I got attacked with Irmã Gloria´s kisses

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Oct 21, 2015

Well as you can probably guess...this week has already been another crazy week. Long story short, our district meeting got moved to today and yesterday we wanted a full day to work in our area, and being that there is no internet in we are on Wednesday. #Mafralife (Oh also, we got switched back to the mem martins district and are pretty dang excited about it.)
It seems like last week was ages ago, but at the same time the past week and a half has flown by because of all the craziness. So much has happened in such a little amount of time.
We finally made it back to our area last Tuesday night with our phone....that's a whole other story that I don't even want to begin to explain, but just when it felt good to be back working in our area we got told that on Thursday we would have a zone Conference in Linda Velha! So Wednesday we worked in our area as long as we could and then caught the bus to mem martins to spend the night with the sisters.
Zone conference was a lot different than it has been in the past. We had our regular training with the president etc. but then that afternoon at about 5 we were told that every single missionary in our zone work would work in Linda Velha for the rest of the day. It was crazy. We basically just stormed the streets with 50 missionaries, and at first it was a little bit ridiculous (getting stopped by about 20 missionaries is a little bit intimidating and useless in my opinion), but eventually we got split up enough and Sister Tilton and I were able to have see some real miracles happen which totally changed our perspective on the whole activity.
The first miracle we saw was that we actually ended up running into a less active member of the ward there in Linda Velha on the street. Her name was Odete and when she saw us she had a huge smile on her face and said "Sisters!!" Of course we got talking, found out she was a member, and we were about 3 steps away from her apartment so she invited us into her house. Because we weren't planning on having this lesson I decided I would share my favorite scripture in Proverbs 3:5-7. As she listened she began to cry and got really emotional. I bore my testimony and asked what she needed in that moment. She said that that scripture was exactly what she needed. The spirit was so strong and it was amazing to see how the Lord had put us right in her path. 
That was definitely the highlight from our adventure in Linda Velha, but we were also able to make some amazing contacts for the missionaries there. Because we worked there basically the rest of the night, we weren't able to make it back to Mafra that night. Surprise. 
Mafra definitely got neglected this week!
And to top it off, Saturday we were so excited to have the whole day to work in our area, but we woke up to a hurricane. I kid you not. It was literally like a hurricane outside. It was like that horrible horrible southern alberta wind that always destroys houses and fences with a down pour of rain. So we stayed in our house that morning and did some much needed cleaning of our house. Luckily that afternoon the weather completely cleared up (It was crazy how fast the weather changed!!) and we were able to go out and work after lunch.
Although we didn't have a lot of time to work in our area, we did still have some amazing experiences! We contacted a lady named Joana in the street Saturday night and invited her to church, and she actually showed up to church the next day! I think Mason said almost the exact same thing in his letter this week that usually "it's not that easy". We have an appointment set up with her tomorrow, so we will see how it goes, but she really seemed to like church, so I am excited! 
Sunday night we also contacted a man named Rocho in the street, and he is probably the most elect person I have contacted thus far. When we stopped him he said he was just on a walk thinking about God and how he could help his family have more faith in God. We talked for about half an hour about his family and God, and he said he would love to visit us in our church. Sister Tilton and I walked away from that contact pretty much dazed. We couldn't believe it! So incredible.
Speaking of Sister Tilton. She is amazing! I think she is probably my companion most similar in personality to me that I have had thus far, so basically we get along great and I am stoked for this transfer together. It has already been amazing.
We have been planning an activity for the relief society this week, which is going to happen this Saturday and I think it is actually going to turn out amazingly with lots of success! I will have to tell you how it goes next week.
Hope you all have an incredible week! Love you guys! Andam com Deus.
Paz e Bênçãos.

-Sister Selk

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Sisters of Mafra

6 transfers down and 6 more to go! I can't believe I am almost at my half way point! What in the world. 
To be honest this week was a bit of a blur. It always seems to be like that the week of transfers. So much to do, and my head was in about 101 places at the same time. Hopefully I can try and remember some of the things that happened this week!
We had a ton of birthdays this week. First with Claudia! I can't remember if I have talked about Claudia before but she is a recent convert, but is having some extreme difficulties with the book of Mormon right now because of some antimormon literature her sister showed her (So keep her in your prayers because I know she will return!), but we visit her and her family every week and she is probably one of my favorite people here in Mafra. She is adorable!!! She had a birthday on Monday, so we were able to go over to her house Monday night and have a little party with her, gave her a necklace, and it was a super good time.
We also had our last district meeting this week. #tear. Oh my goodness, I loved my district this transfer! We had too much fun together, and Sister Ventura and I even made up a song the night before on our ukes that we played in our district meeting. It was solid! It was Elder Nogueira's birthday the day of our district meeting, so of course we had to buy a cake and celebrate! 
With this new transfer we switched districts, so I am pretty bummed that I am not going to be seeing Sister Bryner every week etc. 
Our family from Brazil is doing well! They are sooo cool, and so elect, but the only problem is that we basically can only visit them once a week because they live quite aways from Mafra, and right now our focus has been teaching them English, so teaching them is going to be slow....but SO WORTH IT! This last visit the dad talked about how he had a dream about the second coming of Christ, so we were able to talk about that for a while and I shared some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It all went really well.
Well, I already talked about it a little bit, but this week was transfers! I was 99% sure I would be staying in Mafra....and I was right! haha I also knew that Sister Ventura would also be leaving me....and I was right! BUMMER! I loved serving with Sister Ventura and I learned so much with her, but I am also excited to now be serving with Sister Tilton! She is from Maryland and I already like her. I have had a lot of luck with my companions! It has been super strange the past few transfers because basically every companion that Sister Doman has had, I get after her. Sister Tilton and Sister Doman were companions last transfer, so I know it is going to be a good transfer. The weirdest thing is that Sister Tilton was serving in Torres last transfer and we are now in the district of Torres.......and long story short, we ended up sleeping in Torres last night with Sister Doman and her new companion, so it was all super strange. I also forgot to get our phone from Sister Ventura before we said goodbye and so yesterday we were without a phone and I have never felt so alone in my life! hahaha It doesn't help that we don't have any members in Mafra that could help us, and needless to say, I definitely gained an appreciation for payphones. 
We still don't have our phone, so we will see what happens today.....Always an adventure with the Sisters of Mafra!!! 
Have a good week fam. Love you SO much! P.S. Happy late Canadian Thanksgiving! Participam bem. Paz e Bênçãos. 
-Sister Selk

President Enivaldo and his wife

This is Claudia´s son David! He is probably my favorite person in the world! I cannot not smile when I am around him. My favorite thing is his prayers! "Todo gente precisam de ti pai."

Irmã Maura! I absolutely love this woman! and she makes the best beans and rice

Had some adventures with rain and snails this week. No more explanation needed

Monday, 5 October 2015

An attack of fotos!

Last week's pday with Kamila

Sister Bryner + pastries for days = Felicidade

PJ Party!

Irma Gloria got locked in her house....long story

Lucas drew on my uke for cool right!

First experience with Bacalhão....don´t know how I lasted so long

Lunch with Irma Ana Bela!!

A visit to Sintra!

It has been about 3 days since we have taken a shower, so this sign is completely accurate

Sintra is literally like a fairytale land

October 5, 2015

Well we might as well start off with general conference since that was the highlight of the week! I won't say too much about it because yáll already know that it was incredible! 3 new apostles and lots and lots of inspiration! All the talks were spot on, but some of my favorites were Elder Lawrence, Elder Holland, President Nelson, President Eyring, and Elder Durrant. On Point. Because of the time difference we watched conference from 3-7 on Saturday and then again at 1-3 and 5-7 Sunday and finished up the last session this morning. One thing that I was thinking of during conference was that we could all apply the council of Elder Durrant and each week pick a scripture to ponderize together as a family. I think it would be a neat way to still have a bit of family unity while we are all scattered in various places. what do you think? This week I am going to ponderize John 3:16-17. I don't know exactly how you guys want to do it. Maybe we can all take turns to pick a verse of Scipture? Let me know what you guys think. I also wanted to share one quick experience from conference that touched my heart just as much if not more than the talks themselves. 
Meet Antonio.

We have one recent convert in Mafra named Antonio. Antonio is about 60+ years old, has a bit of a homely appearance, poor education, and overall doesn't have much in his life. I am ashamed to say that if I passed him on the street I probably would think he would have no interest in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But Antonio is one of the most dedicated and converted members that we have in Mafra. Out of every member in Mafra, Antonio was the ONLY member to attend conference with us, and it is incredible because if anyone has excuses not to make it to conference it is him. He lives about an hours walk to the nearest autocarro station in Mafra, and doesn't have money to meet his basic needs let alone a bus ticket for conference, and not only this but when he walks he has EXTREME pain in his leg. Yet when we called to invite him to conference this week he didn't mention any of these things. He simple said he would be there. When we showed up to the bus terminal yesterday morning he was already there waiting for us ready to go to conference. However, when we got to mem martins, there wasn't one member in the church to watch conference. (Lunch is a big thing in Portugal so they all watched that session in their house.) Because of our rules as missionaries, Sister Ventura and I weren't able to watch conference with him and had to go to another room to watch conference while Antonio sat in the chapel and watched it alone. I can't explain how powerful it was to walk by and see about 100 empty shares with one humble man sitting by himself watching the prophet and apostles of God. I never realized the kind of sacrifices people make for this church before I came to Portugal. It is truly incredible, and I learn from their examples every day!
This week just flew by!! It was basically just a festa with the sisters of Mem Martins the entire week which was incredible! We spent Monday and Tuesday with them because of District meeting and then the very next day they came to do divisions in Mafra!!!! It was so fun to get to be companions with Sister Bryner again! We had way too much fun together and definitely saw lots of miracles. While we were on our division, Sister Bryner and I tried to visit Lucas and we were waiting outside his apartment building when a woman walked past with a whole box of pastries. We said hi, and randomly she just offered us the whole box of pastries!!! It was the craziest thing! We were literally in shock just wondering if we heard her right when she handed us the box and went inside. We just kind of sat there for a moment and then realized that we should go find her and thank her! haha we entered the building and found her door was still open because she went and grabbed sumol and cups for us too. Acts of kindness fam. They still happen, and they make a difference, so I am definitely going to apply this principle more in my life and would challenge you to do the same. Little things can make all the difference in the lives of others.
During our division we also contacted an amazing family! We walked past a man in a work van and said hi, but continued to walk on. Yet just a few steps after we passed by both Sister Bryner and I looked at each other and knew we needed to go talk to them. They are a Brazilian family that have been living in Ericera (another town in our area-super beautiful by the way you guys should google it) for only the past 3 months or so. We set up an appointment to visit them because they want to learn english and we told them we teach it for free. We were able to visit them on Saturday before going to Mem Martins for conference and they are soooo cool! We will probably be going to Ericeira every week now to teach them english, but it was cool because we had a picture of one of the brazil temples with the articles of faith on the back that we showed them, and the dad was super interested and asked if he could keep it. They are currently evangelical.....soon to be LDS. hahah
As you can see it was a pretty jammed packed week! Time is absolutely flying. I can't believe I hit 8 months this week!!! Thanks for all your support and love fam. Participam bem. Amo Vocês MUITO. 
-Sister Selk