photo 225pxtab_zps3ab577af.png photo hometab_zpsc4ac9db1.png photo MMtab_zps84d1465f.png photo sisterselktab_zps4aeded4a.png photo ibelievetab_zps8c2c9788.png photo abouttab_zps2ebe1350.png photo 225pxtab_zps3ab577af.png

Monday, 29 February 2016

Portuguese Timing

I don´t know what it is with the Portuguese time, but I cannot seem to figure it out! And that is a problem when we rely so much on Autocarros. I like to think I have my head on straight most of the time, and know how to read the bus schedules, but this week we had more than one situation where we missed our bus. But to be fair, we have realized that the Portuguese don´t care much about bus schedules. They will get there when they get there, and leave when they get there. Therefore, lesson for the week: Always show up to the bus stop 15 minutes early.
But this week was another solid week. Let´s be honest. Any week where I get to eat sushi is bound to be an amazing week. So that´s exactly what we did. I definitely got Sister Andrew hooked on sushi from my birthday dinner, and we have an amazing sushi restaurant in our area, so we went there one day for lunch this week, and it just made the rest of the week wasuavi. ha. Lame attempt at a joke. 
I think I talked a little bit about Fernando last week, well...we had a super good lesson with him this week, and we were able to mark him to be baptized! So we are praying that all works out and that he can be baptized within the coming weeks.
One thing that I have loved about a lot of my areas is that they include other little cities within our area. (Rumor has it that President likes to abandon me to where there are no other missionaries near me. I understand. I am pretty ferocious.) Anyways, Sister Andrew and I had yet to explore an area called Alcochete. It is a beautiful little city right by the main bridge and river that crosses to Lisbon. So we finally decided to go check it out, and see if we could find some new people to teach. It has been about 2 years since anyone has worked in the area. It was a bit tricky working there because we only had a very vague map with most of the streets missing, but despite all that we were able to find a less active man named José Garcia, and his mother. It was a very humbling experience to be able to talk to them. They have a difficult situation. José was in a motorcycle accident and lost one of his legs, and all in all they live in very humble circumstances, but we had a powerful lesson about the nature of God and about the trials that we receive in our lives. I have been studying more about the atonement lately, and I have learned SO much about the Nature of God and Jesus Christ. One thing that I have yet to figure out is why some people seem to experience so many more trials than others. I know that some take it upon themselves with their actions, but there are some very good, humble people that go through more than I could ever comprehend. However, what I do know is that God is perfect, and Every Single Thing that we experience in this life will be justified in the life to come. You should all go read 2nd Nephi chapter 9. It´s real good! I was reading in verse 18 and realized that every single one of us has to carry our own "Crosses" of life. We all have to experience just a small part of the cross that Jesus had to carry, but the most miraculous part is that we do not have to carry it alone. Fortunately we have someone so much greater than us to help bear our burdens with ease. This I know, because I have felt that every day.
A couple weeks ago I talked about Nicolae- a member in our branch whose wife is not a member. Well, we got invited from his wife to come back to their house to celebrate Nicolae´s Birthday this week! I was pretty excited that out of everyone she thought to invite us! (That´s a good sign!) Well, I don´t think I have ever gotten so full on the mission in my life! You hear about those missionaries who have to shove the food in their bags because they just can´t eat anymore....yeah, that´s basically what happened. We showed up to their house and there was already a HUGE spread of food on the table, and we thought for sure that that was the main event. We were sorely mistaken. Apparently that was the appetizers, only to be followed by Ukranian beet soup, cabbage rolls, fruit, tea, and cake. Enough said. The food was amazing, but Sister Andrew and I just about died from food coma when we got back to our apartment.
As for other exciting things of the week. We were working hard to create a training for the leaders in our branch about member missionary work from the book that I told you all to read, and we finally got to do that training for them yesterday. I think it ran really well, which I was pleased about because I really did work hard to try and put it together, so we will see if we can see any results from that in the future!
All I can say is that I hope you are all looking for ways to reach out and create new friendships with people outside of the church, because there is no greater joy than being able to share the gospel with others.
Love you all so much! Fiquem Bem.
Paz e Bênçãos.

-Sister Selk 

Monday, 22 February 2016

The Weekly

I can´t get over how fast weeks pass on the mission. It is kind of blowing my mind that we will be going into March this next week! I have definitely been able to sense the change in seasons this past week. It has still been decently cold, but the sun in the middle of the day gets sooo hot.....brings back memories of when I almost melted away in the summer....can´t say I am really looking forward to the summer heat, but I definitely like that the days are getting longer and it is not so sad looking outside!
We had another great week. We are seeing lots of blessing- one of those being that it seems like we have too much to do and too little time! We have such a HUGE area that takes in 3 cities and it has been difficult lately to be able to make time to visit everyone that we need.
One day this week we had to walk 1/2 hour to get to one area just in Montijo and teach a lesson and then we had to turn straight around and walk 1 hour in the complete opposite direction to try and get to our next appointment. The only problem is that the Portuguese don´t really have a sense of set appointments, so sometimes we walk such a long ways and they don´t end up being home....but that´s ok. I like the exercise. I think I have turned into a master speed walker. I don´t even realize it, but sometimes I will get walking and look back to see that Sister Andrew is a good distance behind me. Whoops! 
As for some of the people we are teaching. We had a lesson with a man named Max. He is from Pinhal Novo, and reminds me a lot of Paulo actually! He is a super humble and intelligent man. We had a ride all set up for him to come to church yesterday, but unfortunately he got there late and they had already left so he didn´t get to go, but we will make sure he is there next time.
We also met this man in the street named Jocinto. He called us sisters when we walked by, so we knew he must have had contact with them in the past, because that´s usually the only way they know who we are! haha We invited him to church, and he showed up!! It was super funny because Paulo ended up knowing him because they worked together several years ago, and he just couldn´t believe he was there! For some reason he just thought it was so funny. We were teaching gospel principles class this week, and in the middle of our lesson Paulo just started giggling like a little boy because Jocinto read something and he just had a hard time believing it was the same person. It was pretty funny, but at the same time I think it is amazing to see the change that occurs as people embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We asked President Luis to give a list of 5 names of less actives that we could specifically visit this week, and we had some pretty neat experiences with that!
We met a lady named margarete. We knocked on her door and she was INCREDIBLY nice! You never know with less actives how they are going to receive you, and we definitely got a little bit of everything, but she was extremely nice and were able to talk to her for a few minutes, and she basically said that she stopped going to church because her missionaries left the area. I got super sad to hear that because that is my worst fear, but we are going to start working with her and making sure she has lots of friends in the church so that doesn´t happen again.
The next person that we met was Dionísio. This was probably my favorite lesson that we had this week, because he taught me a great lesson. I love lessons where I learn so much more from the person I am supposed to be teaching than what they learn from me. We invited him to come back to church, and he said he just had one main concern about the church. He continued to ask us where we were from- I said Canada, and Sister Andrew said the states, and then he continued to say, "I just think it is so interesting that it takes 2 girls from so far away to come and visit me. Are we not all brothers and sisters? The only people who have ever come to visit me are the missionaries. Where are my brothers and sisters that live next door, and why have they not come to see how I am doing?"
I am not going to lie, it was an extremely valid point, and a bit of a wakeup call for me. Despite that whole conversation, he is a very humble man, and I think he is definitely going to start coming back to church in the near future.
Yesterday we were able to have lunch with GOGGY! Oh my goodness I love that woman! She is finally back home from the hospital and she saw us in the street and rescheduled the lunch that she wanted to make us. She spoiled us with tons of good food (and even sent the leftovers home with us-a missionaries dream!) and lots of good stories about her crazy life! I can´t even begin to list off the adventures she has had, because I would be here for the rest of the day, but she has been t just about every country in the world except for Russia, and it is so interesting to hear her talk! And in return we got to share a little bit more about the plan of salvation and talked about temples! I just want to get this lady baptized!!!
Well fam, that´s about all I have to tell you this week! I love you lots! You´re incredible! Fiquem bem.
paz e bênçãos!

-Sister Selk

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Do the hard thing

My Birthday definitely didn´t end with emails last week, in fact it got about 10x better after I had already said it was amazing, because that night we went to Goggy´s house, and we finally, finally got to talk with her again!! She has a crazy work schedule and is often in Lisboa like I already mentions, so it has been hard to catch her in the house. But we caught her and she is definitely back in the game!!! Ahhh!! We had an awesome lesson with her, and we were able to explain a lot of the questions she had about the plan of salvation, and she seemed to like and agree with everything we agreed with. But even more amazing than our lesson, was that she told us she had been talking to her son in Canada about us.
Her son had been attending a church there in Canada for the past while, and she never knew exactly what church is was, but said that the whole family had noticed that because of this church he had completely changed. She said he was heading for a bit of a dangerous path, but everyone in the family attributes his changes to "this church". He used to drink, didn´t have much sense of responsibility, etc. but now he is a completely different person.
Well, as Goggy was explaining to her son that she had met 2 missionaries that she had been talking to, he said the following: "HOLY ______ MOM!!! That´s my church!!!"
(I´ll let you fill in the blanks)
I just about fell on the floor.
So basically that was the best birthday present I have ever received! haha
She invited us over to her house of Friday to have dinner for her birthday, but unfortunately she got pneumonia and actually ended up in the hospital in Lisbon, so if you could all pray for Goggy, that would be incredible!
After our lesson with Goggy we went over to President Luis´s house and they made a birthday dinner for me and had cake and the whole works! 
And guess what the birthday dinner was.
Yup, I am spoiled.
They are incredible!
The birthday celebrations just continued on Tuesday because we got to go to Lisbon and hear from Elder Dyches!!! 
The conference was split up into 2 days, so only 3 zones were there, but it was nice because it made it a little bit more personal! elder Dyches was absolutely incredible, and so was his wife.
They talked a lot about "doing the hard thing". That was their motive while he was mission president in Orgeon. I thought it was super interesting to hear all his tips for us not only as missionaries, but also as future members of the church.
One thing that he talked about was not being distracted just because we might not being used to our full capacity in the church. He said that we need to continually be engaged despite our callings. That we need to ACT and not be acted upon, and look for the ways that we can magnify whatever calling we may be in.
Which reminds me. 
We recently got a book in our mission called the power of Member Missionaries. I am going to encourage ALL of you to go get that book and start reading it right now. I definitely think that every member should read that book. (Dad, you being bishop should really read that book)
Ok, one last quote that I really enjoyed de Elder Dyches:
"Successful men and women are always associated with ACTION"
That´s the key folks, so go out and ACT. 
The rest of our week was also super solid. 
We ended up working a lot with part member families.
One of our members has gone a little less active lately, and currently has a boyfriend who isn´t a member of the church, so we finally got into her house and were able to teach both her and him the message of the restoration. I was a little nervous that he would be against the church, but we ended up having a super good conversation with them, and he is incredibly nice. They still didn´t come to church this week was a little bit of a bummer, but we are going to continue to work with them! Maybe prepare them to get married and sealed in the temple?!
We also have another member named Nicolae. He is from Maldavia actually and his wife is from the Ukraine. Nicolae has an incredible conversion story and actually attended church every sunday for 3 years before being baptized because his wife wouldn´t marry him. Well, anyways, I have been trying for the past 2 transfers to try and get into their house, because she is not a member, and she should be. She doesn´t come to church, but she does come to our activities in the church-like the cultural night last week. Anyways, she is super nice, and yesterday we just stopped by without warning, and they let us in and gave us supper and we were also able to have a super good conversation with her! For our cultural night they brought another couple who weren´t members and at the end of our conversation last night she said that that couple really enjoyed our activity and said that they were most impressed by us missionaries. So I am completely stoked about that, and hope that in the near future we can get into their house and start teaching them!
As for the other news of the week!
Sister Andrew and I got Transfer calls last night, and it looks like we are going to be staying together in Montijo for another Transfer!!!! WOOOOO! I was super stoked about that! What I wasn´t expecting was the fact that I would be called as the new Sister Training Leader for our area......WHAT?! The sister training leader area has always been in Barreiro, so I definitely wasn´t expecting that! I have absolutely no idea what I am doing! In the past all the sisters have had senior companions to train them with this kind of stuff, but it´s literally just me and the Lord in this one. So pray for me, because I am going to need it. One more fun fact: SIster Tilton is in my disctrict.....BEST DAY EVER!
Love you fam!! Thanks for everything! I hope you have an incredible week!!! Não Esqueçam de orar para mim!!!
Paz e Bênçãos

-Sister Selk

Our trip to the aquarium last week

Check out this beast!

Some pictures from our cultural night. Just look at swaggin Alfredo! 

Some of the spread of food (Notice the poutine that I made....yup I was pretty proud! It went fast!)

Mission Conference

  Last time seeing Ventura! I can´t believe she heads home tomorrow!!!



(The Português really like to emphasize things)
It´s hard not to have a great week when you hit one year on the mission and turn 21 all in the same week. SUPER GOOD!
To start out this week we found a super cool family that we have started teaching. I don´t know if I talked about Fatinha last week...I don´t remember, but she was a lady that we talked to on the street one night last week. She began telling us about the problems she was having with her daughter, and honestly just began to cry. It was incredible, because she instantly recognized us as "different people." She saw the light of Christ, and she wanted that for her daughter. She told us that we had to come over and talk to her as she was on a path leading to nothing good. 
We stopped by on Monday night, and met ana- her 16 year old daughter. She definitely has a bit of a rebelious personality, but she was super nice to us! It was pretty funny because her mom basically suggested that she should come around and teach people with us, and she totally agreed that she would like to do it! So we might try and bring her along to teach some lessons with us and see how that goes! We left the invite to pray to know the truthfulness of the church yesterday, and both Fatinha and Ana agreed that they would do it. I know that the gospel would fix every problem that they are having in that family in the moment, so I am praying that they really take this invite to heart.
Sister Andrew and I have been planning a Cultural Night for our ward for the past few weeks, and we were finally able to put that on this week! It went EXTREMELY well! I don´t think this branch is used to having activities put on by the past missionaires, so we received awesome support from them even though I was a little bit worried that no one would show up because it started pouring rain just a few hours before the activity. We had ward members present on Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Guiné, Maldavia, Ukraine, Portugal, and of course Sister Andrew presented on the States and I presented about Canada. It was awesome because we  had 7 non-members there at the activity out of about the 30 people that showed up. It was funny though because NOT ONE of the 7 people that showed up to the activity were people or investigators that Sister Andrew and I had invited. That was slightly sad for us, but at the same time it was incredible to see that the members really took our invite to heart and invited all their non-member friends and family! 
Yesterday I got a nice wake up call from Presidente Tavares! I am not going to lie, I love Presidente Tavares, but I hate seeing his name show up on our phone....but he called to tell us that he would be attending our branch for church! I have never had that happen on the mission, so I was actually pretty excited to hear that he would be able to come and see just how incredible our branch is here in Vasco da Gama. And I think he really was impressed! He is a little hard to read, but he seemed very impressed. Let´s just say I am pretty prideful of this branch here. :)
He also told me that this next transfer he is a little worried because there is another large group of sisters coming in, and he is having troubles finding trainers for these sisters because we will also have a good group of sisters going home this transfer. He talked about the possibility of having another 2 sisters come live in our house because our area has been doing to well, and to be honest this branch just deserves another set of Sisters, so I guess we will see what ends up happening this week.
Also, tomorrow we get to have a conference with Elder Dyches! It is going to be super sick, so I will let you know how that goes next week!
In the end, I just want to say thank you thank you thank you for all the birthday wishes! I definitely feel extremely loved and blessed! Vocês são INCRIVEIS!!!! Amo Vocês!! Até Proxima!
Paz e Bênçãos.

-Sister Selk
Thanks to Nixon and Benson for the birthday wishes!!

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Mouthpiece

We will see if I can try and remember what happened this week. It went by so fast that I am not even completely sure what happened!
We had divisions this week! Our mission has switched the way that divisions work, so all the missionaries actually go to the area of the Sister Training Leaders or Zone or District leaders instead of the leaders going to all of the different areas. They are hoping that the Leaders areas will be a type of Model area where all the other missionaries can go and help out as well as learn. It is also super weird because in our mission right now all the Sister Training leaders are training and so there is only one sister training leader in one zone instead of there being a companionship of sisters together. 
So on Tuesday after our district meeting, we stayed with the Sisters of Barreiro and I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous because I would be working with Sister McChesney and Sister Andrew would be working with another sister in her 1st transfer!!! Ahhhh! Two missionaries working in an area both only in their first Transfer! Coitadinhas!  But it was actually super cool because we did some training with them before we sent them out on their own, and actually had them teach the restoration to us, and even though they were limited in their words, the spirit that entered the room when they taught was undeniable, and I was really able to see that God is able to teach despite our inabilities. After that I really had no worries, and everything worked out really well.
I always love divisions because I love learning from other people and receiving feedback and recognizing how I can teach better or improve myself as a missionary. Sister McChesney is such a solid missionary so I definitely learned a lot from her.
(Side note: I am in this internet café right now and there is definitely a new coldplay song playing that I have never heard before......sadness)
As for updates on some of the people we are teaching:
We tried passing by Goggy this week and unfortunately she was never at home-She has a super busy life, so hopefully we will get to talk to her this week.
We finally got to have a lesson with Rubem´s family this week! (Mom the lady who added you on facebook this past week-Noemia Silva-Yup that is Rubem´s mom!) hahah What a character! We actually just taught Rubem´s mom and his 14 year old sister Vera. They are super awesome, and love us, but now we are just trying to determine whether or not they have as much interest in the church as they do in us. We will see, but they are super nice and hillarious.
We worked quite a bit in Pinhal Novo this week. Pinhal Novo is another city in our area, and it seems to have a ton of potential. We were walking down the street and saw this woman walking with groceries. Normally the Portuguese people are super stubborn about letting us help them, but I was determined to help this lady with her bags. She was resistent, but I was persistent and I won :) We were able to help her with her bags and she actually invited us into her house! We sat down in her living room, and I was super excited....until she turned on the television set and had us sit there and watch this super suave brazilian catholic television program...oh my goodness. Sister Andrew and I almost died laughing! It was just sooo sneaky! And the faint piano music, mustache, bazilian accent, and gold backdrops were just too much for me to handle. 
Thank goodness I was able to get her to turn off the television and we were able to actually teach a super powerful first lesson. She was pretty worried about missing her prayer service, so I really couldn´t tell how much of the message actually effected her, but I felt the spirit, so I am sure she felt something. We are going to go back this week, so we will see what happens with that.
Another cool experience that happened while in Pinhal Novo. We were right outside one of the houses we were planning on Visiting, and right next door there is a watch shop. Well, when we walked past there was a woman outside smoking and as first I just walked past, but a few steps later I had the distict impression that I should go talk to her. So I went back and I started asking about her and her beliefs in God. She told me a lot of things, mainly how she wasn´t really sure if she believed there was a god, but that she believed there was something. We continued to talk more and she started opening up to us about how her mom died when she was 10, her sister died when she was 16, and then just 5 years ago her husband died leaving her with 2 children to raise on her own. And she is only in her 40s. It was amazing to be able to talk to her about God´s plan and the Savior´s atonement. She began to cry and said that that day was actually a special day because it was her husbands birthday. From there I just said: I hope that you know that God loves you and is aware of you. I know you need to hear and know this at this moment because I got the feeling that I needed to turn around and come talk to you.
I am not sure what will happen with her. I am not sure if she will continue to accept our visits, but it was amazing to feel like I truly was a mouth piece for God in that Minute. It was such an amazing experience.
Other exciting news! Alfredo received the Holy Ghost yesterday, so he is officially the newest member of the church!!! Woooo so good.
Well fam, I don´t have too much more to say! Thank you so much for all the support! I love you all so much! Fiquem Bem.
Paz e Bênçãos!

-Sister Selk