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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

More pics of Portugal

 igreja carmo
this picture perfectly sums up portugal for you!

It's gooood...I'm appy!

Bom Dia Alegria Minha Família!!!
Wowza! We had a week full of miracles here in Vasco!
To continue last weeks big news:
Monday night when we were back to working we received a phone call from Presidente Luis and after talking with Alfredo he gave us the amazing news that......
All Monday I was so axious to hear from Alfredo, I basically just paced by the phne all say, so when I heard the news I just about died of Happiness. We were out in the street and I am sure everyone around thought I had won the lottery.
And let me tell you....I did win the lottery.
I couldn´t stop smiling. I knew he would be baptized. without a doubt in my mind.
I can´t even describe the amount of prayer, fasting, and love that the sisters before and we have put into this man. It was honestly the hardest spiritual battle that I have encountered on the mission, but this man is honestly gold so we couldn´t stop fighting for him.
I wish I had words sufficient to describe Alfredo, but you just need to meet him. He is something special and you can tell that within the first few moments of meeting him. I know that this was not an easy decision for him to be baptized, and he did not take this decision lightly. He thought of every possible thing when it came to making this decision. We went over to his house one night this week and he showed us pictures of Guiné. One of the pictureshe showed us was of him and the head catholic bishop there. He explained that he had a large copy of that picture hanging on the wall of his home, and then said that that was one of the things he wanted to discuss with Presidente Luis before making his final decision. He only had 2 questions, one of which was if he had to take down that picture from his home. I mean, this guys literally thought of EVERYTHING!!!!
My goodness he is incredible.
So that was definitely the highlight of our week- We were able to do a very well planned baptism for him on Sunday and we had los of our branch members there to support him.
This decision to be baptized has been eating at him for so long, and when I asked him how he felt after he had finally made a decision he just looked with us with his big ol´smile and pearly whites and said, "It´s gooood. I´m Appy."
He was baptized by Presidente Luis and besides the massive wave that almost drowned out our presidente, everything went smooth!
He gave an incredible testimony after, and I can say with absolute certainty that he will change the church there in Guiné when he returns. I think I want to go with him and build up the church there.
Who´s with me?!?!
He understands everything so perfectly-especially his new responsibility as a member of the true church of Jesus Christ. He knows that he has to return to Guiné and be an example and an instrument in the hands of the Lord by sharing this message with everyone.
Let´s just say that I am excited to see him in the Liahona in a few months from now.
I was talking with sister Anaya at the baptism who was the first sister to find Alfredo and she leaned over and said to me: "the man who is going to change the church in Guiné was just baptized today." I truly believe that with all my heart, and I am so excited for that man.
Watch out Guiné. Alfredo is coming for you!
The rest of the week was super great as well! We found 2 incredible people in particular that we started teaching.
Goggy is the first. We actually found her when we did our new years activity outside of the capela. She was completely unlike he typical Portuguese person-Super Smiley, super energetic, and absolutely loved talking to us...hahah
So it made sence that she told us that she actually grew up in Canada for most of her life. #ohcanada! 
Of course we hit it off great when she found out I was from Canada, and even said I was her Christmas present for the year. Winning! She said that we could stop by her house anytime aswell. We have tried stopping by her house for the past several weeks, but unfortunately we never had any luck. Nobody would ever answer. I told Sister Andrew that we might have to stop passing by as frequently if she didn´t answer that particular day, and do you know what happened......she answered!!
If Canada wasn´t enough to make her a cool person. We found out so much about her life, and she is probably the coolest person! She actually graduated from Harvard law, but is now a stock broker in Lisbon. She told us all about he life from loving extreme sports(she is 62 by the way-you are never too old to go skydiving!), to travelling the world, to talking to people on wall street on a daily basis, and all the hard times in between that. At one point we were about on the floor we were laughing so hard, and at another point we were in tears. That about sums up our experience with her. We were able to testify of the healing power of the atonement which was honestly my favorite part despite all of her incredible stories.  I am incredibly excited to see where things go with her because even though it seemed like she has had everything she wants in life and more, I felt that there was one thing she didn´t have. And I can testify that this one thing is far more precious than anything that she has experienced or has in her life. Because I know that despite all the things that she does have she does not have the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am going to work to make sure she has that in her life as well.
I don´t have a lot of time to explain the rest of the amazing things that happened this week, but some of the other highlights were zone conference with Presidente Tavares, worldwide missionary broadcast, watching Paulo bless the sacrament for the first time, and unlimited flavors of icecream all in one big bowl..... :)
Life is good.
Love you guys so much! Thanks for everything. Have and amazing week and remember who you are! Fiquem Bem!
Paz e Bênçãos!!!!!

Sis Selk


The Church is true - the Book is Blue!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Deus é Grande

We went to Pinhal Novo on Wednesday this week because it was Paulo´s birthday on Thursday, so we decided to get him a little notebook for him, since he always just writes down notes on random loose sheets of paper. He is still by far one of the coolest people I have ever met and absolutely loved the notebook we gave him and the lesson on family history work. We left him with the task to go to family search and put in as many family members as he could by himself, and sure enough yesterday he showed up to church with a paper that he had printed out from familysearch with some of his family on it. 
He just makes me so proud!
He also received the Priesthood yesterday, so let´s just take a moment to give 3 big shouts for Paulo because he is well on his way to the celestial kingdom.
We are currently working with another man right named Rubem. He is in his 20s and has some different ideas about life, but we were able to go pick him up for church yesterday, and what is even more exciting is that he has a family that absolutely loves us, and we are hoping to start teaching them along with him!
I know I have talked a little bit here and there about Alfredo, but he is honestly one of the most incredible people I have ever met before. I think I have explained his situation somewhat, but to review a little bit: He is here in Portugal living with his daughter as he is treated for some of the health problems that he has, but his wife and other daughter are back in Guiné. When he told his wife that he had found a religion here in Portugal that he believed to be true, his wife told him that she would seperate from him if he were ever to be baptized (this is just many of the difficult situations he has had to face), so basically it has been a constant battle to increase his faith enough in the Lord to believe that all will be well if he is baptized! He is so prepared, I can´t even believe it some times.  President Tavares actually called us a couple of weeks ago to give us some advice because Sister Lacey and I just weren´t too sure what else we could do, and his advice was this:
So for the past 3+ weeks we have solely been talking about faith with him. We have had some incredible lessons with him. Some of the most powerful lessons that I have experienced here on the mission, and it has been so hard to see him come to church every week and have that desire to be baptized, but at the same time have the fear that he might jeopardize his family to become a member. It is a tough situation, and at times I have thought, "he has reason", or "Maybe now is not the right time" but as I have continued to study and learn about faith I don´t have a doubt that now is the right time and that the Lord will bless him if he just exercises his faith and is baptized. 
Last night we had another lesson with him. We again talked about faith- about the brother of Jared and we were able to teach with our branch president. I can´t even explain what happened, but after 3+ months of continually inviting this man to be baptized, it was like he finally understood. We invited him to say a good heartfelt prayer last night and to ask with all the sincerity he could muster if he should be baptized and that if he got an answer, that he would agree to be baptized this sunday. 
I have never been so sure that this man would get the answer he needs. I knew from that moment that he would be baptized this coming sunday. 
Well, he called this morning, and said that he just had a few a doubts and questions that he wanted to talk to President Luis about, but then he would for sure make a decision. So he will be talking to him this afternoon, and by tonight we will know if we will be having a baptism this Sunday, but I already know the answer to that.
Deus é grande. I know he is looking out for us and helping us at every step we take in life. He lives and he loves us so much.
I hope you all have an incredible week. Love you all so much.
Paz e Bênçãos.

-Sister Selk

Monday, 11 January 2016

Perseverar até o fim

Minha Família!!!!
Well this week was honestly the craziest week of my life!!! It consisted of a whole bunch of fantastic chaos!
Because I was without a companion for about 2 days I spent Monday and Tuesday with the Sisters in Barreiro. (It is a 4 sister house, so it was basically a huge festa for 2 days, especially because Sister Ventura was there and just so many sisters that I love) :) 
I feel like I can literally travel anywhere in the world so easily now because of the mission. I am getting pretty good at transporting a ton of luggage from buses, to boats to metros. That´s actually what I did for about 3 days straight this week. I went to Lisbon on Monday to take all of Sister Lacey´s luggage, returned on Tuesday and took another sisters luggage, and then we helped Sister Ventura with all of her luggage on Wednesday morning, and then it was finally back to Montijo with all of Sister Andrew´s luggage on Wednesday night. So.....I am pretty much a pro.
Our office elders have stopped giving people rides for transfers so we have to walk a good 20+ minutes with all of our bags and that is not even including the 1 and a half travel we have before that, so after 3 days straight of doing that I was pretty dang exhausted. 
We got a TON of new missionaries this transfer! About 12 sisters arrived along with probably 12 elders as well. We had training on Wednesday morning and then at lunch we finally got to meet the missionaries we would be training! Sister Andrew is probably the cutest sister I have ever seen. She is one of those sisters that just make all of the rest of us sisters feel bad about ourselves.....hahah Sad, but true! She is adorable! She is from Boise Idaho, and it has been so fun to get to know her. She is doing amazing for only having a few days here in Portugal. She has the funniest spanish accent when she speaks Portuguese, and I just love it! 
It has been so interesting to be a trainer!!! As I have gone throughout the mission, it has been hard for me to see the progress I have made, and how far I have actually come, but as I have been training Sister Andrews I have really been able to see the progress I have made throughout my mission. It is amazing. I have felt extremely blessed these past few days. I know that the Lord qualifies those he calls. I have no doubt about that because I have already felt that so much this week. I have felt more bold and confident in my teaching, the language, and just as being a missionary in general. And I can attribute all of that to the Lord.
So besides getting a new companion, we had a super busy week! Sister Andrews got here on a running start! That is for sure. We were preparing this week for the baptism of Paulo!!!!
So let me just take a minute to talk a little bit about Paulo.
Paulo is probably one of my favorite human beings.
He is just the cutest Portuguese man with the best heart.
Ever since we met Paulo for the first time I have just become more and more amazed with him. I don´t know if you remember, but he contacted us in the street my first week here in Montijo because he had talked to the sisters about 13 years ago. And then just a few weeks later he basically hitch hiked and walked such a long ways to get to the church on Sunday, and everyday from the beginning he has been so dedicated to this church. Paulo is EXTREMELY intelligent. He went to university and was studying for a highly demanding program when he was younger and this is when things started going wrong in his mind. I still don´t know extactly what is wrong with him, but it kind of seems like he might have something like asburgers (or however you spell that) because he is basically a genius and remembers EVERYTHING we teach him. It is amazing. Every lesson we have he is frantically writing down notes, and applies everything we teach him. He always talks about "enduring to the end" Ever since we have taught that concept he just can´t get enough of it, and just because of that I know he is going to do amazing things for this branch. 
We were able to get his baptism all organized for Saturday which was a miracle in itself because I was out of our area for so long this week, but I shouldn´t have been surprised when everything went perfectly, and his baptism was beautiful. When he came out of the water he had the hugest smile on his face. It was the most precious thing I have ever seen, and I will remember that moment forever. He looked SO happy! 
During one of the talks at his baptism a member in the branch was talking about the Priesthood which we had recently taught him and he piped up and said, "What do I need to do to get the priesthood?!" To which Presidente Luis responded "Show up with a white shirt and tie tomorrow at church and we will talk more."
I just got the biggest smile on my face when I walked in the church doors yesterday morning to see Paulo standing there with a white shirt and tie.
He is my favorite!
It was such a good week! I loved every moment of it, and I am so grateful for the miracles and blessing that happened this week. God is watching out for us. I know that to be true.
Espero que vocês tenham uma boa semana! Amo vocês come todo meu coração! 
Paz e Bênçãos!

-Sister Selk
I just thought this poster was SO hilarious. You can´t see it in the photo, but what makes it even better is that this dude has braces. so hot.

last breakfast with sister lacey

My companions for the past few days

So many new sisters! And so much luggage!!!
Paulo´s baptism!!! He´s the cute short one :)

Monday, 4 January 2016

I am expecting!

Well fam. The news is out. This sister is going to be getting a filha on Wednesday!! Ahhhhh! 
I really don´t know a whole lot still, but I do know that her name is sister Andrews, so basically she already sounds perfect.
I am extremely excited and extremely nervous.
These past few days have been absolutely crazy with trying to get everything in time. We had an awesome week with lots of exciting things!
First of all. We marked our friend Paulo to be baptized this weekend and he accepted and is absolutely incredible, but I am not exactly sure how everything is going to work out, because our training falls on the only day that we can talk to him this week, so if his baptism isn´t this week it will for sure be next week. Paulo is amazing! Every lesson we teach him just sticks with him! The last lesson we had we were talking about enduring to the end, and we explained to him that he had to stop smoking in order to be baptized. I am not going to lie, we were a little nervous about his ability to quit smoking because he is kind of an anxious person, but when we talked to him on the phone and again in church yesterday he said that he had already quite smoking! I was absolutely blown away! BLOWN AWAY! He said, "I just thought about what you guys said about enduring to the end and I quit." He´s so cool. So if you could keep him in your prayers to coontinue on this path that would be incredible! :)
New years eve was pretty good! We had divisions with sisters Ventura and McChesney, so it was super fun to be able to serve with Sister Ventura again! We did an activity outside the church where we put up posters for people to write down there goals for the new year. It was actually super interesting to see what people wrote down, and it seemed to get a lot of people thinking which was good. I actually met a lady who passed by who was raised in Canada, but is Portuguese and returned to Portugal about 20 years ago. She got incredible excited to know that I was from canada, and said, "Ahh! This is the best Christmas Present!" haha She´s basically just the cutest, spunkiest thing ever, and invited us to pass by anytime, so you know we are going to take her up on that offer. That night we also went over to Familia Bernardo´s house and had a big dinner, and then basically all the sister passed out before midnight, so I celebrated alone by thinking of all my many blessings and was completely fine with that! I am so blessed!
I don´t have a whole lot much more to say about this week. It was just a bit of a blur....and it doesn´t help that we were up until about 3:30 last night packing Sister Lacey´s bags and prepping the house. 
But I hope you guys have a wonderful week. Love you all!
Paz e bênçãos!

-Sister Selk