Monday, April 21, 2014

Hey Mom!
This week was good. It's rained a lot (which we're especially sad about because today we were going to go to an area called Tavira and go to a beach called Praia de Barril and play in the sand, sadly though, we woke up and it was rainy and cloudy, no worries though, patience is a virtue, and we'll just go next week.), but I'm still steadly working on my feet tan lines. Tan lines are the best. As a sister they're graduated tan lines on the legs (because of varying lengths of skirts), and super strong neck and feet tan lines. My face is still really white though thanks to some serious SPF 70 given to me by the dermatologist. Yeah! White face! 
I really like my new area. As I already said, Sister Davis served here, but since then, there has been A LOT of growth. They have a new chapel and a whole lot of members. It's just a branch, but there are 60 or more members every week, which is a lot more than the ward in Almada. The members here are really great too. Almost all of them are recent converts from the last two years, and they're all still learning, but they're willing. They don't feed us though because the sisters in the past didn't want to "get fat" and so they refused all meal offers from the members, and so they stopped feeding the sisters (they still feed the elders though, so I think we can get them to feed us). Some people just get to worried about getting fat in the mission. You just have to be smart, but also remember that we're never gonna get this opportunity again! Speaking of which, my wheat and sugar free diet didn't work out. Sister Dukes (who was here for a transfer and a half before I got here) can't have either of those, because she's allergic to wheat and sugar makes her sick, so I thought that I would be a good comp and try and do the same, but I failed. By Wednesday I had bought 2 donuts and a loaf of bread. Turns out I'm a sugar and wheat addict. We have been exercising really well though, as in, we ran more than 12 miles this week. I think that the most I've ever run in one day in the mission is probably a mile, but on Saturday we ran 4 miles! I almost died. Turns out that I'm a little out of shape. 
Sister Duke is really great. She is super cute and super nice and she always makes me feel good about myself. She's also a hard worker and has no fear. Sister Dukes also likes to run. She ran like I did before the mission, a marathon and just lots of daily distance running. The only difference is she kept running in her mission:). I'm lazy.
The chapel here is really nice. It's on a well known road called Avenida da Republica. It's number 216 if you wanna check it out. It's new and they're painting it again right now just for good measure. Though, actually, I just looked it up on google, and the picture is from before the chapel was there, and so it's just the front of the chapel which is totally graffittied by a famous graffiti artist here called Sen. He gets paid by the government to graffiti the whole place.  But take it on my word, the chapel is really nice, though it's already too small for the use of our branch. Oh, and guess what, they don't have any one who can play the piano here! I've never seen a ward so happy to have anyone plunk away at the piano awkwardly. Who would it be who is playing the piano? This Sister here. Yup. I'm learning to play the piano in my mission. It's going alright, I'm not going to be a piano mastermind, but I've heard worse, and plus the branch here doesn't notice the difference, they're just glad someone is willing to play.
Our apartment is nice. It has a backyard (which is just a tiled area behind the house which is REALLY dirty, turns out that no one has stepped back there in a really long time), which has annoying dogs in the backyard that is next door and also a floor above, who always bark when we come outside. It's a perfect sized apartment. It's not so big that it takes forever to clean, but then not so small that it's  cramped and dirty. We have two rooms and a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room. The water heater works perfectly which makes it already way better than the apartment in Almada. 
I also haven't eaten any fish here yet, though Luis, one of the members, said he would catch some for us and bring them to us. I actually during my mission have eaten some really great fish. It's not my favorite food still, but it's growing on me. 
For Easter we didn't really do anything. It was a REALLY slow day for missionary work, because not only was it Easter (which is not a very big holiday here), but also there was a soccer game between Benfica (my favorite team, and yes, they won) and the team from here in Olhão. Turns out that no one likes the team here, and so we heard honking and music and parties all night long because everyone was so excited that Benfica had won. But we did make ourselves some good food. For breakfast we had banana and chocolate pancakes (made with rice flour), then for lunch, bean burgers on rice cakes (Sister Duke's last comp was a vegetarian and so she taught her how to make them) and a chocolate bar we bought ourselves to celebrate, and then for dinner we had pork with vegetables and rice. It didn't really feel like Easter, though we did boil some eggs. Sister Duke decorated hers, and I was just too lazy, mine are still in the fridge.
We don't really have any investigators, and really aren't teaching anyone. We just do contacts all day with the Jehovah Witnesses. They're EVERYWHERE here. We do have a family, Família Santos, that was baptized last transfer that is really great.          
The mom and daughter were baptized but not the father, who was smoking. He wasn't really progressing because he wasn't coming to lessons or church, but when we went there the other day, he was there. We've decided to really focus on the temple, and so that seems to have been the key. Sunday he came to church, and he's been at every lesson since I got here. Sister Dukes is a beautiful artist and so she drew a picture of the Spain Temple and gave it to them. I also gave them one of the pictures you sent me (it's on their fridge), and we gave them each a small pass along card picture of the temple to put in a spot they can see it everyday. Then, when we went over there the other day, we read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with them, and found out that he has been reading on his own and has read over 80 pages!!! He also is really understanding because he really liked 2 Nephi 4, which is the perfect chapter for people with addictions. He said that he knew it was for him. So his daughter, Tania, took all his cigarettes and threw them away, and then we took the box and we decorated it with the temple and scriptures from the chapter he liked, and then we put in rolled up scriptures that look like cigarettes. It turned out really great and he really liked it. We also had a member with us, Luis, who was reactivated last year by Sister Davis, and he gave him a blessing and did a really great job. The dad, Gilberto, his whole face just changed afterwards, it went from lined and wrinkled and tired to full of light, and smooth. It was really cool to see. He then said he would quit smoking and has been doing well since then as we can tell by the fact that he is shaking. Then we went and visited again, and we read 2 Nephi 31 and Mosiah 18:8-11 with them and we marked him to be baptized. When we teach with families, I really like to focus on the kids. No one makes it simplier than kids. So we were focusing on Tania and I had this idea, and I had her come over and I whispered in her ear things to repeat. It was super cute. I had her first ask her dad if he loved her and wanted to be with her forever, to which of course he responded yes (he loves his family a lot), and then we had her invite him to be baptized on the 27th, to which he said yes (we talked to the district president though, and he is a really smart man, and thinks we should move his baptism to the Saturday after the 27th, so that Gilberto can get the Holy Ghost on Sunday instead of waiting a whole week without it. Which we think is true, especially for someone who has been smoking, a week without the spirit would just be too much of a temptation to smoke, and when people smoke, they tend not to come back to church if they mess up, especially if they are waiting between baptism and the Holy Ghost. Plus, baptism doesn't mean anything without the Holy Ghost, its just like a nice little bath. We don't know how to go about moving the date, but we know it's right, and so the Lord will provide). We're really excited for him and his family. Afterwards, the mother, Ana, she asked if they were going to go to the temple, and he said yes. It was the cutest thing.
Thanks for the email! Have a great week! I love you tons!
Love always,
Sister Wach

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hey Mom!
This week was good. A little stressful though! We found out that not only was I getting transferred, but that Sister Caldwell was getting transferred also! We got blue washed (that means that elders took over our area), and then got sent in all directions! Sister Caldwell is up at the highest part of the country, in the Porto area, in Villa Nova de Gaia. Manuel will be in the Lisboa area, serving in, I think, Linda-A-Velha, which happens to be the area that President lives in. I got sent down far down south into the Algarve, in the area of Olhão. I'm excited to be in Olhão, especially since it's cool because Sister Davis (Kelsey) served here too, right before she trained me! But, so our area was taken over by elders. I'm sure they'll do a great job. It was a little crazy though, because we found out we were getting washed on Friday, and then on Sunday we found out that we and the other sisters were being moved out of our house! So the problem was that at 11 pm, we were running around trying to pack our bags and we didn't get to really clean. Sorry elders. I don't know if the other sisters living with us cleaned, but I sure hope so. We at least made sure that our bedroom and study room were clean, but the kitchen and bathroom needed to be cleaned. There was, of course, hair everyway. That is always the biggest complaint of elders. Just wait until they get married! 
Well, Olhão seems great so far. It's more rural that Benfica or Almada, but less rural that Ponta Delgada (I have yet to see a cow...). We're also right next to the ocean. I've missed the ocean, hopefully we'll get to go and see it! It's also cool because the zone leaders are in our ward and also a senior couple who are really great. I have yet to see any Africans though... bummer. I love them. I'm really sad though that we won't get to see Natalina and Helder baptized next week though. They were supposed to be baptized this week, but it didn't end up working out. It was sad to say goodbye. They'll get baptized next week though, and they'll be great members.
Manuel will head into the mission field on Wednsday. I know that he'll do a great job and that he is really excited.  The bishop of the ward wasn't too happy though because I think they were thinking about calling him as the young men's president... oops:).  I know that whatever happens it will all work out. His life has been truly blessed by the gospel and I'm grateful to have been a part and to now get to watch him bless other people's lives!
My foot is fine, also my cold is gone. I'm just tired now from missionary life, and from not sleeping and riding a bus for 4 hours to a new area.
Here is my new address:
Sister Wach
Rua Almirante Reis Nº 219 r/c dto.
8700-376, Olhão


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hey Mom!
Thanks for the email! Also, thanks for the packet, I got it this week:). Though you didn't explain what any of the stuff in it was! We loved the ranch packet and we ate it with pizza, chicken nuggets and potato chips in between the two Sunday conferences. Oh, by the way, this coming week will be transfers. I think it's really likely that I'll be transfered because I've been here such a long time. 
What you think of conference? I LOVED it! We didn't get to see all of it though, so that was sad. On Saturday we watched the Women's Broadcast, which was super cool. We had an investigator and her two children there, and I think they all really liked it. She's marked to be baptized this coming week. It's a risk though because she works on Sunday and so we're just hoping that something will work out by then. We've been teaching her for like two transfers. She absolutely loves the Book of Mormon and she and her kids read it every night together as a family. We also had three other investigators there, sadly, their mom won't let them be baptized, but we are still working with them. I absolutely loved Elder Holland's talk. I did cringe a little though as he was like yelling at the pulpit, but his talks are always the best. Then after, we watched the first conference for Saturday (it started at 5pm so we were able to watch it all). I thought it was really good. Then Sunday we watched the Priesthood session, which I think was actually my favorite session. Then after we had lunch with a member who is from the US and has been inactive. We had food that was American! The elders didn't know what to do with the salad dressing and their faces were great as they were totally disgusted by it all (they're both from Cape Verde). We ended up missing the second Saturday session and I'm watching it right now. Then we saw the 1st session for Sunday, which was one of my other favorites. I really like Elder Uchtdorf's talk and the story he told about the Alaskan flight. It made me tear up a little. Goofy sister missionaries. The last session, we watched the first hour of because it started at 9pm. President gave us permission to stay out until 10:30pm, which was nice. We had an investigator there also. She kept asking me which one was the prophet, and she was taking notes. There was a drunk man in the back though who kept yelling, so that was really funny. We'd walked him out of the session that was at 5pm (We'd walked in on him talking to three helpless first transfer elders, who had no idea what he was saying or what to do haha. Sister missionaries to the rescue!), and I guess he just decided he wanted to see them all! Hey, whatever, right? Everybody needs to hear the words of the living prophets! It's crazy to think that my next conference will be at home! Yikes! Less than 6 months left! There are only 9 sisters ahead of us to go home before our big group! That's nothing, and half of them are going home next week!
This week was good. Sister Caldwell's foot is alright, we didn't get to go to the doctor, which kind of stunk, because another sister needed the appointment instead because she'd fallen really hard. We got to go to the doctor anyway though because I'm sick. The doctor said it was nothing bad (there are only two kinds of sick here, bad and not bad, they don't actually tell you what's wrong with you:P). It was fun. I'm feeling a little better though. Just a sore throat, runny nose, a fever and a few aches and pain. Life:). But, we didn't do anything for our year mark, though we did take a nap and have some ice cream.
Oh guess what! Manuel will be in the mission next week! He's going on a mini mission (6 weeks!). I don't think it gets any cooler than that! He's super excited and we're excited for him. Though we're attempting to find clothes and things for him because he has pretty much nothing. He has one shirt, two ties, a suit jacket, and a pair of pants that I bought him last transfer. A lot of missionaries are going home this transfer though so I'm hoping that I can talk my district leader from when I was in Ponta Delgada into giving  me his stuff:).
And, I'm gonna get some super cool scriptures. I'm excited. I'm gonna have my Portuguese scriptures rebound and decorated. I want to use them for the rest of forever, like Grandma and Grandpa Wach:).
I love you tons! Have a great week!
Sister Wach

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hey Mommy!
This week was good! We're still teaching a lot of the same people. We're still teaching Natalina, who is doing great. We'd been trying to mark her baptism date, but she just had a whole bunch of doubts and wouldn't say yes, but this week, we were able to have Manuel with us, and he did amazing. We were talking about General Conference and that we have a prophet, and Manuel just cuts in and says to her that he just feels like he needs to invite her to be baptized. So, she says that she's already been baptized (and we had tried to kill that doubt like ten times, but it was just like she wasn't hearing us), and he goes on to say that he's already been baptized 3 times but how he has finally been baptized in the right church, and all about how the Church of Jesus Christ is the only church with authority to be baptized and etc. He did great and he ended up marking her with a date for baptism! I just hope that we can get her to church enough times before that! Why is it that people have to work on Sundays?! Also, Manuel got his patriarchal blessing, and he LOVED it! He said that he's never felt anything like it at all. He REALLY wants to serve a mission. We're excited for him, because he is already a WAY better missionary than us! We've also been teaching his uncle and aunt and it's going really well. They're great people, and the uncle already knows a lot about the church and the aunt is loving the Book of Mormon. They're a great family. The uncle says there is no way I'm from the US, but instead that I'm African. He's really funny. 
We also had Zone Conference this week, which was really really good. It was fun because Sister Sandholtz was there and Sister Radvansky (from my MTC district and she was Sister Caldwell´s comp at the same time that I was comps with Sister Sandholtz) too. The spirit was really strong and to add to it, the lunch was really yummy haha. 
We also got into a nice little fight (of words) with the TJs this week. It was totally my fault. I do not like to talk to them, usually, I'll walk away, but I was bad and talked to them instead. And so it ended with me yelling my testimony and then ending with the words "and Jehovah is not God, it's Jesus Christ" to which the TJs started screaming at. It was not very Christlike of me, and the spirit wasn't there. Bad bad Sister Wach.
Also, I hurt my foot this week! Though it's Sister Caldwell's fault! We were in the kitchen and she was making a snack and she was shaking a bottle of brand new mayonaisse, and she let it slip from her hand and it landed on my foot! It hurt SO bad haha. There isn't any damage that doesn't allow me to walk, but it was pretty funny. 
I love you tons! Have a great week!
Sister Wach