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Monday, 28 December 2015

Blessed Beyond Belief

It is true that Christmas on the mission is completely different than any other Christmas I have ever had. It is something I just don´t have words to describe, and has a spirit different than any other Christmas. It was simple, but surely one that I will never forget.
This whole week leading up to Christmas was absolutely incredible. We spend every second trying to help others feel the spirit of Christmas just a little bit more. We prepared a message about the "light of Christ" Based off of Elder Bednar´s talk at the Christmas devotional for our members, and were able to have Family Home Evenings almost every single night this week in their houses. I felt like we were literally running all week either trying to prepare things for an activity, or contacting as many people as we could. We made cookies during practically all of our spare time and left them at the doors of all the people in our building withthe "Nasceu O Salvador" attached, which was super fun, and also were able to give them to random people in the street as well. We heart attacked about 15+ people in a matter of days, and overall it was just a super fun week of service and love.
Christmas Eve we had 2 family home evenings with families in the ward,  we started at Familia Sousa´s house and then went to Familia Bernardo´s house for dinner and the rest of the night. We ate a super Traditional meal of Bacalhau with vegetables and wayyyy to many doces. I was honestly loving every minute of embracing the traditions of Portugal. They are amazing!
That night sister Lacey and I tried and failed to make a fire in our fire place, so instead we just brought the heater into our living room and camped out by our Christmas tree. :) I have to say that I think we probably had the cutest decorated tree in all the mission. #spoiled.
Christmas morning we woke up and were able to open up presents. And let me just say that I am way to blessed. I can´t even begin to describe how much love I felt from all of my family and friends. You guys are incredible. 
As Sister Lacey and I knelt down to start our companionship prayer that morning, I offered the first prayer and I honestly felt like my whole body just got hit by a wave of love and gratitude. I almost couldn´t get through the prayer because of the tears streaming down my face. It was probably one of the most special moments of Christmas for me. I really could not deny all of my many blessing, and the amazing opportunity it is to be serving at this time. We got up from the prayer and started stating our missionary purpose as well as the young women´s theme.
 "Somos Filhas do Pai Celestial que nos ama e nos o amamos." I know this without a doubt to be true. I felt it more powerfully then ever before. God loves each and every one of us. this is by far my favorite point to teach people. It is so simple, and I know that I have already mentioned this in my emails, but It is true. He loves us so much, and this is why we have a Savior. This is why he was born. "For unto YOU was born this day." We have a Savior, and he is so individual, and so merciful, and so perfect. I am so grateful for the Love of my Heavenly Father because without this love I would not have someone to lift me when I am weak and be my light in the darkness. Because of him we can truly hope for a better world, and a place at the right hand of God.
We actually had weekly planning until lunch Christmas day, so we just stayed in the house and then went over to Familia Sousa´s house for lunch. It ate an amazing lunch and then of course I was able to skype my incredible family! Wow. You guys are seriously the greatest!!! I loved talked to you, and I miss you so much, but I know without a doubt that you are all in the hands of God, and I don´t have to worry about you.
After skyping, we actually took the bus to Pinhal Novo to visit a family in the ward that had lost a daughter in the family the day before. It was very humbling to sit and mourn with them that night as most other people would be enjoying the company of their families, but at the same time it was amazing to bear solid testimony that through the plan of happiness that God provided for us through his son, that they would see their daughter again. 
Overall this Christmas week was absolutely incredible. I am so blessed. That is really all I can say. And as a gift to our savior and redeemer, I wanted to challenge each of you to read the Book of Mormon from start to finish from now until the first week in August when I get home. I know that this will truly bring the spirit in greater abundance in each of your lives, and you really will feel the love of the Savior more. I am excited to start this new year and experience all of the things that the Lord has in store for me!
Amo Vocês de mais!!!!!! Obrigada por TUDO. Boas festas e um bom ano para todos vocês!
Paz e Bênçãos!

-Sister Selk

Família Bernardo!!!!

Some Traditional Christmas Food For you! Bacalhau e bolo rei

I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY! Just trying to spread the message to everyone and their goats :)
Noite famíliar com família setas! Claire is basically my BFF and hair dresser

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Michaela's Christmas gift to her family -a poem she wrote about a recent, true incident in the life of a much younger missionary - her nephew Nixon.

Ok, so I wanted to send you this in the mail to have for Christmas.....but mission life happened and I didn´t get it done, but I have this document attached and I DONT WANT YOU GUYS TO READ IT UNTIL CHRISTMAS MORNING BEFORE WE SKYPE!!!!! Tá bem? but make sure you read it before we skype.... :) It is not much, but it is my little Christmas present to you guys.

Love you all! 

Show and Tell

One day in school a teacher said right before the bell,
"Tomorrow's very special we'll be having Show and Tell."
A little boy began to think of all the things that he might share,
"A toy, my dog, my brother, or something really rare?"
His little face was giddy, he just couldn't hold it in
As he told his mom the news he had nothing but a grin.
But soon his eyes grew puzzled and his face turned to concern,
He had one little problem that he had to discern.
"Mom" he said, "I'm troubled...I just don't know what to bring!"
She laughed and said "it's simple son, just about anything!"
So then the searching started as he disappeared from sight,
He didn't want just anything, it had to be just right.
Just minutes after searching the mother heard him grunt
It was a signal to the end of the great big treasure hunt.
"I found it, this is perfect, the greatest gift of all!"
Pretty soon the mother heard his little footsteps in the hall.
He said, "Mom, I want to take this, it's very special to me."
Curious the mom asked, "Nixon can I see?"
Gently he cradled a small picture frame
And handed it to his mom as if it were something of great fame.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she realized what he had,
A beautiful picture of Jesus Christ when he was just a lad.
"What will you tell them?" She asked her son.
He replied so simply, "That Jesus loves everyone."
Finally the day arrived, Nix walked to school with pride
And told his class of Jesus Christ with nothing left to hide.
He didn't care what people thought or the things that they might say.
He was a great example to all of us that day.
May we remember his example this beautiful Christmas season
To show and tell everyone, Jesus is the real reason.

Mission Conference and Christmas Parties!

Some of my favorite people in the world.

I miss them, and I think they maybe missed me just a little.

Fotos from our branch Christmas party last week

I die. The kids in our branch are just too cute. 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Dec 14

Well. I am just going to get right to the main event this week:
I will leave it to you guys to put that in google translate.
But it is true, just when we thought our bad luck was over.....piolhos.
Goodness gracious.
So basically the majority of our week was either spent cleaning, doing laundry, or checking hair.... It literally felt endless. Poor sister lacey has already had piolhos 3 times on the mission, and so when her head started itching on Monday she pretty much knew right away what it was. And sure enough she found eggs in my hair too......ugh. How about I just not talk about this subject because it is just so awful. 
We literally spent about 12 hours straight just cleaning our house from top to bottom and washing ALL of the clothes that we own. The only good thing is that now our house is spotless!
My hair at the moment is also ridiculously thick and hard to manage. I basically wake up with dreads every morning, so I decided to take the oppotunity to just chop off all my hair......sorry mason.
But it just had to be. The task was just to hard and we couldn´t even get a brush through my hair, so I am back to having short hair.
But other than this fun event, we had a good week!
Our ramo had our Christmas party and it was absolutely incredible!! It is so weird to be in a bit bigger ramo because I am used to being a lot more involved in the groups and branches. In my last areas the missionaries basically had to plan any activity that there was, so now I just feel like I am doing absolutely nothing! We just showed up. But I absolutely love this branch! They are incredible! We managed to have 11 non-members at our party!!!!! It was amazing! We were able to set up a lot of appointments in the coming weeks, so I think we will be pretty busy these last weeks of the transfer. Ainda bem because I feel like we have done nothing in our area because of all this craziness!
Also, one last story for the week.
My first week here we contacted a man named Paulo in another city- Pinhal Novo- that is in our area. Actually, to be fair he basically contacted us by asking if we were Mormons. We ended up talking to him and finding out that he had talked to the sisters years ago. And it had to of been at least 13 years ago because this area hasn´t had Sisters in 13 years. Anyways we left him with our information and a pamphlet because he said that he wanted to come to our church. We tried to arrange a ride for him last week to go to conferencia de estaca but it didn´t end up working out. Well, yesterday we were shocked when he just showed up to the church in the morning! He told us he had literally hitch-hiked to Montijo and walked WAY far to make it to the capela! It was absolutely crazy! I was blown away! The only problem is that we think he has a few mental problems, but we will see how it goes in the future! It was pretty funny because we had fast and testimony meeting yesterday and he got up and basically gave us a shout out in from of our branch....I felt pretty cool :)
Oh, and I also felt pretty cool because I got to spend the morning doing some Christmas shopping with Sister Tavares while my companion was in a trunky meeting! She is probably the cutest Lady I have ever met! haha So sassy, I love it. In her words, "Que Legal de mais!" 
Well family....I LOOOOOVE YOU! Tenham uma boa semana. 11 dias minha familia! Preparem-se! Paz e Bênçãos!

-Sister Selk

Monday, 7 December 2015

God Bless You.

Ok fam. I am going to be typing like a maniac because I have limited time on the computer, so hopefully this all makes sense!
First of all because I know mom and dad are curious about my eye:
Really, it is a miracle!
Monday night Sister Tavares called and chastised me a little bit for not saying anything earlier about my eye, because apparently sister Broderick must have sent the pictures to her....well she told me to start taking allergy medicine and call back in a few days if it didn´t get any better. Well, Tuesday morning during studies it got even worse and was super ugly looking, so I finally decided that I should probably call sister Tavares to get a doctors appointment. Long story short....She told me to come straight to Lisboa to the emergency room, so in the end we spent 7 hours in the hospital on Tuesday.......the whole day in the hospital. You all know how much I love hospitals, so obviously i was really stoked to be there. :/ 
And what made it even better what that the doctors there had no idea what it was. The first doctor referred me to an eye doctor which I knew wouldn´t do a thing, but I was annoyed enough to take things into my own hands and not leave there until I had an appointment with a dermatologist. I wasn´t able to get an appointment with him until the next morning, so we ended up working a little bit with the sisters in benfica and staying at their house. I have to admit I was looking pretty good the next morning- I had slept in my clothes, hadn´t taken a shower, had these huge red eyes.....oh and I forgot to mention I caught sister Lacey´s horrible cold. Good times.
That night when we finally got back to our area to buy all the medication and ointment he had perscribed I walked into the pharmacy still looking just rough and I literally had no voice as I tried to tell the lady what I needed. I think she could tell that I was not doing too good because she was super nice, and in the end she just looked at me and said in broken English, "God bless you." hahaha I literally almost died. I felt like I was just the saddest looking thing.
But the good news is, is that I woke up the next morning and my eye looked better than is has in MONTHS! So I am pretty stoked about that.
For other news.
It was the ground breaking for the PORTUGAL LISBON TEMPLE on saturday, and let me tell you, it was incredible! We weren´t able to actually be at the ground breaking, but we watched it in one of the capelas and the spirit was just the same. I got the strongest feeling of joy for this people while I was watching it. I just can´t even imagine how some of these people feel knowing that they will have their very own temple here in Portugal. As we drove to the capela with one of our irmãs she just told us she never imagined that Portugal would have a temple. I can´t wait to prepare this people for the house of the Lord. I already feel a different spirit here. It is incredible.
Yesterday we also had stake conference and it was also amazing. There were so many members gathered together and I could definitely feel the strength. We had one of our friends-Alfredo-with us and I think he was slightly blown away. Other fun fact: one of the counselors from the madrid temple was there and it was crazy to be able to hear and understand spanish!
I am so grateful to be serving here in Portugal at this time. I love this people and I love this country. I am so blessed. So blessed.
Love you fam. Paz e Bênçãos!

-Sister Selk
It was a straight one hour ride to stake conference taking selfies with Clair. These are some of our best

Pday in Lisboa