Monday, December 30, 2013

Hey Mom!
I hope things are well and that this week was great! I attached some pictures, one is right before the baptism of Manuel, which was a little crazy but turned out really well, Sister Williams and I look a little crazy because we hadn't showered, in fact, we took our first showers this morning since before Christmas because we finally got the water fixed! The other is at Cristo Rei looking out on the bridge with the statue behind us, and the last is Christmas Eve with the family who fed us that night:)
Well, this week was good, it was nice to talk to you all, and we'll talk again soon, as I'm sure Dia da Mãe (this is Portuguese, by the way, not Brasilian, which would be Dia das Mães, just so no one tries to correct me...;)) will be here before we know it! It's super crazy because I'm gonna hit my halfway mark this week! I can't even believe it! It's the fastest/slowest 9 months ever and I hear it only gets faster! That's frightening. We're gonna go out to eat with the other sisters in our house because Sister Carroll (one of the other sisters), Sister Williams, and I will hit our halfway marks all at the same time. It's gonna be fun:).
Well, for what we did this week, sadly I can never remember haha. Monday we went to Cristo Rei, which was really fun, and then we ate at an Indian restaurant which was really good, and REALLY expensive, but the people who worked there thought we were cool, and so instead of paying 33 euros like we should have, we only paid 10. Sometimes it pays off to be from America;). Then we wandered around in the rain. That's the theme for this week, rain, it hasn't stopped yet! But hey, at least we'll have lots of water later. Tuesday we only taught one lesson, the lesson for Manuel, his last one before his baptism, tithing. It went well, and he ended up explaining it to the member who was there, that was new (we're teaching them together because recent converts have to have all of the lessons again after baptism, and because we need a place to teach Manuel since his mom won't let us visit the house anymore). He's a really cool guy. Then we ate dinner at a member's house, Cátia and João and then Cátia´s grandparents, Rodrigo and Perpetua who are all in our ward. It was fun, and they were really nice to us, but we got home at 11pm! We had to call president and ask for permission to stay out, he was a little annoyed, but I think that a lot of other people had already called also. Meals here in Portugal are big affairs that take hours and start really late (they eat dinner at like 9pm, and it takes at least 2 hours to eat). Then Christmas we got up and we opened our presents in front of our paper tree that one of the mothers had sent. We read Luke 2 for companionship study (all 4 of us together), then we all caroled together in a square. After, we went with the elders in our district and we had lunch at Irmã Lidia´s house. It was a TON of food. There wasn't anything super weird and most of it was really really good:). Then we went to the capela and I talked to you (that was fun by the way! Love ya all!), and afterward all 10 of the missionaries in our ward and the other had pizza together. It was a good Christmas! People always say that the Christmases in the mission are the best, and I can see why, it was definitely cool to get to serve the Lord on that day and really understand the purpose of the Savior´s birth:). Thursday we taught some recent converts, had Manuel´s interview (which he passed! Woot! With flying colors, and Elder Bryan was like "good job on finding an eleito, sisters." That's how we sisters roll;)) Afterward we had dessert at an investigator's house. They texted us because they know that I have a weak spot for desserts and they gave us a TON of cake. I think I gained ten kilograms in 3 days. Serious. Friday, I don't even remember, other than that we had weekly planning, and that the owner of the house we live in came to check out the house and so we spent a while doing a deep clean and hiding our (well, the other sisters) empty cereal box collection from last transfer (imagine 100+ boxes of cereal on top of the cabinets in the kitchen... yup.). Sadly she didn't fix the water, she did give the other sisters a good scare though because they all went and hid and left me to talk to her! Saturday we had lunch with Irmã Lidia again. It was really good, and there wasn't TOO much this time. We had cachupa and mango pudding. It was good. Then we had Manuel´s baptism, which was a little crazy. It was sad though because none of his family showed up, neither did his friend who gave him a reference, or any of the members who were supposed to speak. So, Sister Williams and I gave the talks. The baptismal room was filled with 10 missionaries, the 1st counselor in the ward, one family of four people who I'm really grateful for, and Manuel. Talk about a little crazy. Baptisms on Saturday are hard, but at least it's a lot more likely they'll show up the next day to get the Holy Ghost! Sunday was good. We went to church, where there was a 70 who is from Portugal. He gave the ward some hard faca about getting an education, talking about how we need to know our own religion, and telling them that those people who are out of work are never going to get work again because of the economy. He also talked about the blessings of the temple and how we need to work together to get the temple here, especially since it's been 4 years since it was announced and the fact that people keep being baptized but yet the ward still isn't growing, and is instead shrinking. It was a fantastic talk. We taught a really cool lesson also. We went to one of our investigator's houses, and we brought the Restauration DVD with us, and it just was not working and I just started praying and it started working. One thing I'm learning more and more in my mission is that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that prayer is a very powerful thing! The spirit was really strong during the lesson. I LOVE feeling the spirit! Best thing ever! Then after, they fed us dinner and dessert. I'm getting fat. Today was good too. We got the water fixed! (The man who fixed it, he's a bishop in Caiscais, and  he's really awesome. He was a good guy, and he sang hymns the whole time that he was working. I want to marry someone like that haha, handy, and sings hymns while they work out of happiness!) Then we just bummed around all day.
Well, got to go! Love ya!
Love always,
Sister Wach
P.S. Next time we talk, I'll be on the downhill of my mission! Insane! Scary!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hey Mom!
6 Sisters in the same apartment is alright. We get along well, and we figured out the showering stuff more or less, it's just whoever gets there first! The last person has it the worst because they have like 10 minutes to shower and to get ready! Poor things! But two of them moved out today as they were just waiting for their apartment to be ready. They're office sisters, the first in our mission! Let's see, in our apartment there is Sister Williams and I, then Sister Taylor and Sister Carrol, and then the two who moved out are Sister Duran and Sister Rivieros (she's from Peru and she's 39!!! She cooks for us sometimes, but we're awful because we don't eat it... it's gross haha). I don't know much about any of them because we only see each other at night right before we go to bed, and in the morning when we get up. They seem like nice people, I'm sure they are. My face is alright, it was getting better when I was in Benfica, but it's really humid here in Feijo and so it's getting worse again. I think I must be allergic to the humidity or something because both now and when I was in Ponta Delgada I was having problems with having red eyes too. Super annoying. My ears are the same. My retainer not might make it to the end of my mission, I'm grinding it during my sleep, so I try not to wear it as often. But, no worries, all is good, nothing that I can't wait on. 
So, I have no idea about how Skype is going to work. In Benfica we had 3 people offer to have us over to eat at their house and to call home at Christmas. Here, absolutely no one. The sisters here don't even know the members. That's really sad to me, the members are one of my favorite parts. I'll let you know next week what the plan is. Also, I sent out that package to you today. Sorry, it's nothing special.
Also, I do not want to hear anything about the Hobbit. Just passing the advertisements here I have to close my eyes! Haha
Well, this week was good. We worked REALLY hard. I like Sister Williams, she likes to work hard and we push each other. We've been teaching some cool people, we're teaching a family, but the kids are not allowed to listen to us anymore, so that's a really big bummer because they're fantastic and they all want to be baptized. One of them is still going to be baptized because he's 24 and the mother gave him permission, so we're excited about that. Whenever we teach there, the spirit is just really really strong. The poor little 13 year old though, when she was telling us, she just was sobbing. Also, the Sister Training Leaders came for a division with the other sisters in our house, and man, I felt good afterwards! Sister Nigri just kept talking about how awesome I was and how much she'd heard about me. She says that she's been told that I have a really powerful contact! So that was super cool for me:).
Oh, also, lots of funny things happened this week. First, someone told Sister Duran that I talk in my sleep in Portuguese. No idea who, so that's a little creepy because it means someone is spreading my secrets around the mission... haha. Second, remember how Dad told me to get an electric blanket? Well I did, and I didn't think it was likely to work, but I figured I would try it anyway, well I finally tried it this week, and there was a HUGE pop and sparks! It was great! Then, I also ate octopus!!! We ate it at a members house and it was awful! They'd caught it the day before and they cooked it with rice and it was stringy and chewy and you could totally tell that it was tentacles and the sucking cups and then there were random unrecognizable parts! Yikes! Also, I get to give a talk on Sunday about Christmas, it's gonna be interesting. 
Well, I'm sorry, but I'm out of time already, I have no idea how that happened. I'll find out what the plan is for calling, and I'll let you know next week. 
Love you!
Sister Wach
Oh, and I've sent some pictures, two should be sent to Sister Pinto as she will recognize both... one is Pedro here in Almada, and the other, Santa, is Adão in Benfica! The other of me is my reaction when I realized how much crap I had to pack to transfer!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey Mãe!
Sounds like you've had to much fun for one week! Thanks for all that you do! Yes, I did get your package, I got it probably on the 3rd? So it was good:). Though, it was quite the stress to lug to my NEW AREA:). It was a little rough, the move. Poor Sister Stokes, last night, we stayed up until 2 am and I packed and cried as I tried to figure out where I'd gotten all the junk that I had, and how exactly I was gonna get it all there. Well, long story short on that one, not everything made it here. So be it. I'm a missionary, I can live without it, but somehow I seem to have gotten a TON of clothes! So, I'm now in Almada! It's not far at all from Lisboa, in fact it's just across the river. I got to cross the really famous bridge on the train, the one that looks like the San Francisco bridge. It was cool. I wanted to see the statue of Christ that's here in Almada (it's a copy of the one in Rio, Brazil, the Portuguese are copy cats;)) last transfer, but it wasn't in our zone and so I couldn't go and I was kind of sad because I saw lots of pictures online of it before I came and I didn't think I would ever get to go. Look at me now! It's super close! I'm now serving with Sister Williams who has one less transfer than me. She seems sweet. It's a little weird because we live with 2 other pairs of missionaries. Six sisters and one shower... sounds like tomorrow is gonna be INTERESTING:). Man, the fact that I even got here is a miracle! It was a rough morning. I woke up at 6 after going to bed at 3 (lots and lots of trying to figure out how to pack stuff. Before I leave this area, a large amount of it is going to stay behind). Then Sister Stokes and I got ready and we cleaned a little, and we took the trash out. This caused a bit of a problem. The apartment in Benfica happens to be on the 7th floor, and so we took the elevator down to floor -1 where the trash is, but we forgot that sometimes this causes the elevator to stop working (maybe 1/5 of the time), and we just happened to have luck enough for this to happen. So then we climbed the stairs up and we had to lug my 3 70lb bags down the stairs all the way to the bottom. At one point I just started crying. Poor Sister Stokes haha. Thankfully, as we were dragging the last one down, the heaviest, an angel left his apartment and fixed the elevator. I think we must have woken him up. Then we had to drag them and we flagged a taxi. Then we took it to the train station (poor Sister Stokes was supposed to wait there at the station for her new comp until 1:30! So from 9 am until then, by herself, sitting outside in the cold! I hope it didn't turn out that way!) and I caught a train with my huge bags. The problem with this is that the train stops for about 20 seconds and I knew I wouldn't be able to take my bags off the train, and so I just started praying. It was a day of praying. Then Heavenly Father sent me another angel, a young woman named Joana. She helped me get my bags off the train, then she asked me where I was headed and turned out she was headed there too. Then she helped me with my bags, helped me get to the trax station, buy my ticket, get on, and then get off with the bags, just barely not missing her own traxs train. Then I sat and waited for my comp to show up. I told her to show up at 10 because I figured that's when I would be there. Well, I got there at 9:25 and I had a good little wait until ten in the freezing cold. Thankfully I'm from Utah because it could have been a lot worse for me than it was because all the Portuguese people around me were whining about it haha. Then my comp was sweet and she helped me pull the two heavier bags because I couldn't do it because I had blisters on my hands from lugging the bags down the stairs. Good times. Transfers. But Heavenly Father really does answer prayers, he uses other people to do so. We are his hands. He loves us and he wants us to be happy and to always be comforted. Yesterday, Sister Stokes and I were sitting in the house during lunch and I just started feeling a little tired and worn out and just a little down, and so I just said a quick prayer and I felt like I should just open the Book of Mormon sitting next to me. I did so, and I turned to Helaman 10:2-5. Which says:

 And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, apondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him.
 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a avoice came unto him saying:
 aBlessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with bunwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine cown life, but hast sought my dwill, and to keep my commandments.
 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that aall things shall be bdone unto thee according to thy cword, for thou shalt dnot ask that which is contrary to my will.
Talk about cool. Heavenly Father is the best. Our Heavenly Father is so merciful! He loves us and will never give us anything that we can't handle and he'll be there along the way to help us. That is something that I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn here in the mission.
Well other than transfers, it's been just a good, crazy week! First off, the Accutane is working. My face is clearing up really good, and also, no weird mood swings. I don't know why, maybe it's because it's not actually Accutane but instead is a generic brand? Second, we've had some changes in our mission! We are now no longer allowed to use backpacks, sisters and elders, all must use side bags or not carry anything, and the other is that we sisters will now be driving in some of the areas with cars! That'll be cool. I hope that I don't get moved to one of those areas because I don't want to get anywhere near the wheel of a car for another (little bit more than) 9 months. Plus it's stick shift. No thanks. But it'll be cool for some people. On Sunday, Eduardo was confirmed! It was good. Afterward, he had some interesting questions for us. Turns out he got a new girlfriend and it's one that he's liked for a while, and he wanted to know more about the Law of Chastity. We sent him with the ward mission leader. Haha. I didn't get to say goodbye to Jéssica though, so that was really sad:(. Thankfully the Benfica area is an area I'll visit at least once more before I go home because of the office. We also had a ward Christmas party on Sunday. It was really fun and turned out really well. We did a goofy skit. It was filmed, but I don't know if we'll ever see it, but it was great. We sang this song in Portuguese that goes something like, "If I weren't a missionary, what would I be, I'd be a..." I was a gardener. My lines in Portuguese were "carving the dirt, carving the dirt, oh it's hot!" It was super cool with the six of us because what you're doing is that each person is swinging around in ways that should hit the people on their sides but we were so perfectly in rythm that we move out of the way just in time. Elder Ryan would swing his hands over my head and I would duck out of the way just in time and then he would move and I would stand up and swing my arm and Sister Stokes would move out of the way just in time, and so each one of us were doing this, all six of us. It was cool. Then, we did it blindfolded. The ward thought it was great. Also, we have a man we've been teaching and he's practically ready to be baptized! He's just waiting because he wants to read the whole Book of Mormon first. We tried to convince him otherwise, but we decided that he's reading at a good enough pace (he read 200 pages in one week) that it would be fine. He's a good guy and I'm excited for him. Then one of our usual drunks, João that we talk to in front of the same bar where we met Eduardo came to the movie night on Sunday. The turnout was really sad this time, only 4 people, and all of them men. I think it strengthened their testimonies, but the problem was that we couldn't go in and instead had to stay outside in the cold! But João liked it and he really wants to know more. I love being a missionary! It's totally beyond exhausting, but SO SO good at the same time. 
Love you! Thanks for everything!
Love always,
Sister Wach




Monday, December 2, 2013

Hey Mom!

Sounds like things are going well there!  If I don't email on this coming Monday, it's because I've been transferred. I'm in the hot seat this transfer as I've been in this area two now, so we'll see. Though it's to bad that no one wants to come to Portugal because the weather isn't half bad. I didn't even wear a jacket today. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and there is a nice crisp breeze. It's a beautiful P-day! Too bad we aren't doing anything cool this week because we only pick bad weather days to do cool stuff:P. I'm glad that everyone likes my newsletter thing, it was not anything to special, but that is really what I've learned from the mission. There really is so much to be done that I wasn't doing before. Also, I hope that I do get some letters;). I never get any except the wonderful ones that you send. Everyone else has forgotten I exist and I'm not even halfway through my mission yet;) Though speaking of that, tomorrow is my 8 month mark! Wooot! Super insane. Time flies! That's really cool about Alex! I wish we could do something like that here! Maybe then people wouldn't think we were TJs...:P. We get mistaken as them all the time and it's super annoying. I'm way cooler than any old lady TJ and I've got the truth and you don't have to study 2 years to have it. They love to Bible bash, I just always walk away. No reason to play games with someone who doesn't want to accept the truth. You didn't go Black Friday shopping?! Sad. Next year, I'll drag you out and you'll go with me because you'll have missed me so much;).

Well, I don't have much longer left because I just spent half of my computer time (we pay for it and it's not cheap) helping a sweet little lady figure out how to use her computer and get her plane ticket off of an email her husband had sent her. I hope she can figure it out now because I still haven't written President:). Naughty Sister Wach. That cute little lady, just walked over and asked me if I'd stolen one of her papers. Portuguese people, I swear. Crazies:).

This week was good though. We taught people and we spent a lot of time working with members and some projects that we're working on here in the ward to try and get the members to give us references. We also had a movie night like we had in Ponta Delgada and that was really fun. We had ward counsel and the members keep being like we need to have good activities, so that we can help to integrate the new members and they can bring their friends, but they just talk about how whatever they need to do it needs to be well planned and blah blah blah. Then I presented the idea to do a movie night during the counsel and bishop just kind of brushed it off because it needed to be well planned and they talked for about a second about doing it once a month. So afterward I went to the secretary in the ward and I told him to write down an announcement that we were having "Noite de Cinema" at 7 that night. So we did. Poor bishop. He called afterward to see how it went, and I must say for myself that it went fabulously! We had 19 people there (the first one!!), they were the firm members plus also some less actives and lots of recent converts. It was so great! We watched the Testaments and a lot of them cried! Not a dry eye in the whole chapel! We're doing it again next week too. The only bummer was that then afterwards we had to clean up all the popcorn that the children had scattered over the WHOLE church! We also had Thanksgiving! Sister Stokes and I made a ton of food! We had meatloaf instead of turkey, but it turned out good:). We had to use a bunt pan to cook it in though, so it looked silly:). The elders almost died when they saw all the food. Needless to say we used all of our money for the week on that and instead ate lots of sandwiches and spaghetti the rest of the week:). Sister Stokes sent her mom pictures so just look at her blog haha:)

Love you mom! Sorry that this is so short!

Love always,

Sister Wach