Monday, December 16, 2013

Ora Viva!! Sure could use your letters and prayers!

Im SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS for doing missionary work! every ward ive served in, ive had a favorite member, the one who works with the missionaries all the time, who is just on fire in the gospel, the one who drops everything to help us last minute, the one who prepares their friends and then gives them as references... be that member!!! Im so proud of the work you are already doing tho.

This week was the worst week of my mission since my first transfer. we taught six lessons this week. welcome to europe. its not that we werent working, but no one, literally no one, wanted to hear from us. six lessons, seven days, thats a lot of walking and talking and knocking and getting hard core rejected. It was rough. I would really appreciate your prayers to help me find some success as a missionary, because quite frankly i feel like Im a bad luck charm. Im sure there are people out there that are prepared but i dont know if i will ever find them. Every morning when i wake up, its not that im depressed and wanna go home, but im just like, this isnt fun anymore. I know what i have to do and i do it, but i personally havent seen any of the success that makes what im doing worth it, and im starting to really doubt if i ever will, or if im just wasting my time, the lords time, and bringing my bad luck on these areas where i serve. It was a really rough week, but im really struggling to know if it will ever get better.

now that i live with brasilians, the language is coming. love living with and speaking with native speakers. its funny how when brooks and i are speaking english, portuguese words and phrases slip in. im by no means fluent, but its coming and as soon as i serve with a native speaker, it will be awesome. but mark my words im getting a job in brasil or something someday, im not losing this, it was too hard to get in the first place.
i wish i had a spiritual thought for you this week but im running on empty as far as spiritual stamina goes. go look up phillipians 4 verse 13 though. short, sweet, and to the point.

i love you all so much!! friends, i hope to hear from more of you around christmas! family, im SO excited to talk to you!! ate proxima.

paz, amor, casamento do templo,

sister briggs

Funny story from Porto!

So this week we were in a lesson with a recent convert of ours and she got a call from her daughter in the middle of our lesson from her daughter who lives in spain. So then we were asking how she was, etc. And then out of the blue, this lady was like, minha filha era meu filho. Ela era um homen. or in english, my daughter used to be my son. She used to be a man. I was like, am i just not hearing this right? is my portuguese understanding this correctly? And then this lady went to get pictures to show us and sister Brooks looked over at me with this look of being absolutely weirded out and i about just died laughing. it was all we could do to keep from laughing as she showed us the photos. Then as we left for our next appointment, we were talking about how crazy the portuguese are, and as we turned a corner of an apartment building, we see a lady out in front, walking her pet DUCK. we about died again.Oh portugal.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Preachin' in Porto!

Hey everybody!
So, this week has been interesting. Ive been in porto for a week and it feels like its been a month. Im living in a house of four girls again which is great. Porto is a pretty cool area, we actually had a baptism this past saturday! it was really cool to see and how a recent convert friend of hers helped bring her to the gospel.

So let me tell you some deets about the new area and such. We dont live in our area... we actually live in the area of the elders of the OTHER ward, so we have to take either a bus or a couple of metros to get to our area every day, and it takes anywhere from a half hour to an hour. so basically once we leave the house, we dont come back until at night. My companion sister brooks is wonderful. Im so excited to work with her. technically transfers are this coming monday but we are just both assuming that we will stay together for the next six weeks. I really hope so, im not ready for more change and i love sister brooks!! the other two sisters are awesome, one is sister call who came in with me, and the other is sister mendez, whos brasilian but lives in portugal and is being trained right now. I love them all! the other day during a meal we all just started talked about really deep aspects of the atonement and stuff like that. I love them alot!

Missionary work is like this. we go out, we start heading to an appointment, if we have time or if that appointment isnt really firm, we spend a lot more time talking to people on the street. so between street contacts and occassionally passing people by and teaching a lesson, thats mostly what we do. we also have district meetings and ward council and such too, but thats mostly what missionary work is. work.

last night and part of today we and some of the other girls that came in with me got to go to lisboa to do our residency card! since my first transfer i have been looking forward to going and doing that. It was fun to take a train ride with three other girls that came into the mission at the same time as me and just talk about what we have learned and how we have changed and such. bummer it was on a pday though.

One thing ive been thinking a lot about is how missions are just as much for the missionaries as they are for the people that we are teaching. if we dont leave this mission converted to the lord and ready to live the gospel, it doesnt matter how many baptisms we had, we have failed as a missionary. I had a really spiritual experience right before i came to porto. The strongest ive ever felt the spirit testify to me. Sister Warburton and i were just talking, and we talked about how many people go inactive in the church and how sad it is, and i just looked her straight in the eyes and told her, with a surety and a power that ive never felt before, that i would never ever leave this church. and she just looked at me and said, wow, did you feel the spirit right now? because i just did. and I did and i realized how much my testimony has changed and how strong ive become and i cried a little. I have changed because of this mission, and therefore i know i have been successful.

Well, im still getting cozy in the new area so there isnt much to report. next week is technically transfers but we will see. i love you all so much!! thanks again mom for the christmas package! i havent got the christmas sweater yet but im waiting. love you so much! oh also i will be skyping you so send me the skype name i should sign into and the skype name i should call. more deets to come. SO MUCH LOVE!!!


sister kelly briggs


Sisters in Viseu

Fresh grilled sardines!!

Okay so yeah, i got emergency transferred. heres the story:
So the past couple of weeks have been rough, just because we were resting a lot because of Sister Durans ankle. This week we had training and interviews with president, and we got put last. So we finally get around to getting in there, and sister Duran goes in first and comes out with this smile on her face and then shakes my hand and was like, your in for a suprise. I get in there, we say a prayer, and then first thing president says is that Sister Duran will take over the office work from a senior missionary couple down in Lisboa. I was surprised, but thought, thats great! she gets to stay out on her mission and stuff, and Ill probably get a new comp or work with the other sisters for the next two weeks. Nope. Im up here now in Porto with Sister Samantha Brooks. Shes 21, cute as a button, was at BYU before the mish, knows elenor jackson and lucy taylor, and its great. We have a baptism this saturday and a few people that are progressing. and because Porto is closer to the coast, its not as cold here!! Im excited to be here.
I got the christmas package you sent me mom!! thank you!! i love it and am so excited for it! any other mail that has already been sent, no worries, it will get to me eventually.
new address:
Rua Aires de Ornelas nº7 2ºandar
4000-28 Antas
That being said, a part of my heart is still in viseu with that incredible ward and with the other sisters in the house. It was so fun. I woke up this morning and was like, wait, I dont wanna leave!!! I am excitd to get to work though, and Ill see those sisters next week at our big zone conference. we also recorded something to be on the mission christmas cd. videos to come.
Miracles: So I left benfica on a super low note, the one baptism we had didnt come to church that last sunday, we had no progressing investigators, etc. It was rough. But then i got a call from Sister wach yesterday afternoon and she was like, you will never believe who got baptized this week. Story:
Me and sister wach were heading back from working to go eat lunch or something and this 20 year old portuguese guy walks up to us and was like, can i get joseph smiths bible from you guys? jaws dropped. we handed him the BOM that we had with us. We explained to him what it was, marked an appointment with us, and then walked away so excited!. Well, that appointment fell. Then the next week we saw him in a bar again and we were like, no way! he talked to us for a bit, actually told us that he had been learning about the church for awhile and put his name in for a visit over a year ago and never got one. So we marked for another time and walked away. five minutes later he called us back... and started telling us about the magic mushrooms he smokes, how awesome they are and how we should try them... we were a little freaked out but just planned on teaching him the word of wisdom asap. well, that plan fell too. and so next time he tried to mark with us we said, here, you come to church and then we will talk. Well, he never came to church while I was there. His name is Eduardo, by the way, we called him mushrooms man. But sister wach told me that about two weeks into the transfer, he showed up to church uninvited, and they couldnt believe it! they visited him that week, marked him for baptism, and taught literally everything else in 2more visits, and he was baptized yesterday. Eduardo mushrooms got in the water. I cant even believe it. I was so happy. The lord really is preparing people!
Jessica, our other recent convert, is still doing great. One of the young women picks her up every sunday and she sang in the primary program and everything. It made me really happy to hear that.

Well, thats really all, this week we were inside even more than usual so I dont have any stories from street contacts or door knockings or anything. I love you all!!! I feel your prayers and pray for you all. Happy thanksgiving! ill eat a pastry to celebrate.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,
Sister Briggs
ps to my teammates reading this, i love and miss you all. Cougars!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hello Everyone!

A few buisness items... if you wanted to send me anything for christmas, it needs to be mailed before the 21st of this month or else I wont get it for christmas. All I want is letters from friends with an update on their life, a memory, and their testimony. You could make a facebook announcement about that for me!! that would be wonderful. If i made a list of people i want to hear from, could you do that for me to? also, if you wanna be great and send me a printed off picture of my "band", that would make me very happy haha. ive showed lots of people that halloween picture and they LOVE it!!

This week and last week other missionaries in our district had baptisms, and for both of them us sisters did a musical number. Last week I played Lord I would follow thee, in my own fun little way, and the sisters sang. it was pretty cool. Then this week I played a poor wayfarying man of grief on the guitar (which our sister training leaders brought for us) and then there was an elder on the piano and the other sisters sang. It was so awesome, both spiritually and musically. Now were making a mash up to come thou fount and i need thee every hour with the guitar for the missions christmas CD haha. Im pumped!!

So sister Duran has a hurt ankle, and has had a hurt ankle since the beginning of the mission and has just been pushing through it and now its really starting to hurt her to the point where we cant work much. So this week there was a lot of sitting inside and resting and its killing me a bit. Our numbers are almost all zeros. We did divisions with the other sisters some and she stayed at a members house one day but I just dont know the area as well and its just been rough. I mean, im fine emotionally and what not but its never fun when the work is going slow. We got more transport money and took a couple taxis this week which was kind of fun. Always gotta look at the bright side!! Im not sure what we will do this week, its getting progressively worse and is only going to get worse with the cold weather. vamos la ver. 

We had lunch at a members house this week and she is black and made cachupa, a traditional caboverdiano plate. Its kind of like chilli, and its pretty good when done right. But Im almost 100 percent positive I got half of a PIG SNOUT on my plate. It was this nasty cartilage looking thing with the hair STILL ON IT. I couldnt make myself do it. So i hit it under my chicken bones and hoped they didnt notice. 

go on to google maps and search Viseu portugal. Zoom in until you get to the very city center, called the Rossio. i go there almost every day. Its this super cute city square with fountains and trees and such. and this week they turned on the christmas lights in the Rossio for the first time!! it was like magic. i was so happy. When december comes we are gonna start singing christmas songs in there weekly. Christmas. Lights. Rossio. Portugal. can you get any better than that?

I have to gush about the members here a little more. This week in ward council, the ward noticed how few investigatores we have (due to the little amount of time we have been working) and someone said something about it and instead of getting on our case about it, The rest of the ward council was about how it was the member work to bring the missionaries people to teach, how they should be embarrassed about how few people we have to teach and what they can do to give us more references. It was inspiring to see the members pick up their duty of missionary work like that. I wish we could work harder for them!!! I would be okay staying in viseu for a long time, just so I could continue to work with the members. 

Some scriptures I found this week: Hebrews 12:9-11 talks about trials. How our heavenly Father lets us struggle but its always for our benefit. How trials are never fun when you are in the middle of them but when they are over and you look back, you think, wow, I grew a lot, Heavenly Father was really with me and my testimony is so much stronger now. And 1 peter 1:7 talks about how the TRIAL of our faith is worth more than gold. not just our faith, but our faith after its been burned by fire. I know this is true. And thats why heavenly Father give us difficulties, to help us trust in Him more, to see His hand more clearly and to know that He loves us. And the more our faith grows as a result of it, the more He is glorified in our spiritual growth. I hope that these scriptures give some hope and perspective to anyone out there struggling. Know that He is above all and has a purpose in all things.

Until next week!! Contintue to pray for me and my companion!

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

bom dia familia, tudo bem?

This week was pretty great!! I love Viseu!!! its absolutely gorgeous here and with the fall leaves coming in and then Christmas on its way, I'm just so grateful to be serving here. Its such a privilege.
Another reason serving in Viseu is so wonderful, the ward here is absolutely incredible!!!! Last week the second counselor in the bishopric called all the missionaries (there are 4 of us assigned to this ward) into a room to chat for a second, and he said there is something very disturbing happening in the Viseu 2 ward... the missionaries are sitting with their investigators. I was thinking, this is a problem why? but he went on to say that missionary work is the members work when we are in the chapel. I was absolutely amazed. This week we had 5 investigators in church and the members sat with all of them. It was awesome. We got a member reference this week and they are going to get baptized, com certeza, they just don't know it yet, and then today a couple members took all the missionaries on a drive to this tiny village about 45 minutes outside of viseu and then took us on a hike nearby. It was absolutely beautiful and so fun. The members here are so awesome!! I hope everyone at home reading this takes a hint from this letter from a missionary and ups their effort with the missionaries :) And not just with dinners and such, but with real missionary work. We need the members! we cant do this alone. 

So, the member reference we received this past week. Truly a blessing from heaven. Ive been working for awhile with out really seeing success and its been a little rough. But then this member reference came through, Tina from Brasil and her son Dudo (yes that's really what people call him). We didn't even find her, she found us! We had just a family night slash dinner at her house one night and it was wonderful just to make that foundation of friendship, etc. Then this past week we taught the first lesson and she accepted it completely and then we asked her to be baptized once she received an answer about the Book of Mormon, and she answered with a "claro que sim" or of course. I walked out of that lesson about to cry. The Spirit was there and God has really prepared her well. Her whole family is catholic but she has been thinking about changing religions and just has a lot of faith and is incredible, to sum it all up. I know that she is a blessing for me, after weeks and weeks of work to finally have someone to teach and someone who is progressing. He hears and answers prayers!! And I'm sure our encounter is a blessing for both us as missionaries and Tina and Dudo as individuals. Working with them has been such a testimony builder for me. Its moments like that where I'm like, I love being a missionary!!!

This week we also did splits! we call them divisions here, or divisões. My sister training leader this transfer is Sister Seidmann, that little brasileira that was with us for a few days in Benfica. She is so great and it was so fun to do a division with her. Not to mention shes brasilian so she speaks perfectly and did all the work for me. I love doing splits, its just a nice change and somehow my Sister training leaders always know what I need to hear. 

Ive actually been doing splits a lot this week because of Sister Duran´s foot. She hurt it at the very beginning of her mission and its been bothering her ever since but shes kept going, and now shes really paying for it. These past few days entirely shes been at home. One day sister Fuller and I went out and worked in the other sister´s area, one day sister Warburton and I went and taught a lesson and did some contacts in our area, and then I stayed at home with sister Duran one night. While I've felt kind of like a slacker because of it, its also been cool to work with the other sisters. The first time we taught Tina I was actually with sister Warburton, and it was so awesome. 

This Pday we went to the aldeia, or village, of Pena, this tiny basically abandoned village that's about 300 some years old. It was so cool. One thing I love about Portugal is that this place just oozes history. Its built on its own History, its history is so deep and rich. The people of Portugal are a people so connected to their past and so attached to their traditions. I love seeing how their culture works. The members we were with drove us to the top of this mountain where we could see all the other tiny aldeias or villages that spot the country side. There were people that lived and died in those villages, with out knowing anything else. And there are still people that live there. Blows my mind. Oh, also, at the top of this hill that I was on, There was a 200 year old catholic church made of stone. Seriously, the top of this mountain in the middle of no where. Of course. Welcome to Portugal.

Family, I love you all so much. This church is true. Heavenly Father loves us and truly sent His son to die for us, and now He leads this church today.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs

Monday, November 4, 2013

By cold, I mean high of 60, low of 50

HELLOOOOOO family and friends.

So Im in viseu!!!! Its close to Porto which is in the north of Portugal and let me just tell you how ticked I am that I got transferred to the north for the winter... not happy at all. it was just a 3 and half hour bus ride from lisboa and its already like a million degrees colder. like seriously. 

So on that note, family, I'm gonna have to buy some warmer skirts and clothes here this week, so keep an eye on my account just to make sure. you don't have to send me anything, ill just buy it, but im going to have to buy clothes or else i will die of cold,... So i'm just letting you know.

Mom, i love you!

So lets talk about how perfect viseu is. its out in the country side and theres lots of hills so depending on where we are we get some gorgeous views. the chapel here is up on a hill and its absolutely breath taking. the city is super clean and has lots of parks and beautiful old buildings and lots of history and gosh i just love it. Multiple times a day im just like, WOW THIS IS GORGEOUS MY LIFE IS PERFECT WHY ITS SO PRETTY HERE I LOVE IT. Its seriously awesome. 

Since Viseu is kind of out in the middle of no where, no one actually lives in the city. They all live in their aldeia, or village thats like 30 min to an hour outside the city and they go there everyweekend so its hard to meet with people or get them to church. its a little bit ridiculous, but the whole country-side with a city center type life just makes this place even more perfect. also viseu was the only zone in the entire mission that didnt baptize last transfer... so thats a little rough but it also takes a whole lot of pressure off my shoulders haha. 

The church is very strong here. its a tiny town but it has two very strong, perfectly functioning wards. How cool is that? Its awesome. The first sunday was awesome. 

Sister Duran is way cool.  Shes only got 4 months left on the mish, which is sick for me because she is actually like, a sister missionary in my mind. Like, not just one of the million sisters who came out because they could when the age changed, but actually made the sacrifice to be there and not all of thier friends are serving missions too and when they came in there were like, 30 sisters total in the mission and what not. Its legit and I love learning from her and hearing stories and such. Its cool to hear the histories, like who trained who and who opened what area and who was where and stuff like that. its harder to keep track of that stuff because there's way more sisters now, so that's why i respect these older sisters lots. 

I'm currently living in the skankiest apartment EVER!!! this thing is so ghetto haha. all of viseu is like perfect and beautiful... except for our apartment, i swear haha. its funny because I remember my first transfer a sister came and stayed with us for a night when she was renewing her visa and was talking about how nice our apartment was and how awful hers was, and i was like, shoot i hope I never have to go there... and now im living there. haha ghetto apartment, north for the winter, all that good stuff. Its got its perks though. Living in a house with two other sisters is SO fun. The other two sisters are assigned to the other ward but they are wonderful. Sister warburton is also an older sister and she is from ENGLAND so she has an awesome accent and i just love her so much. Shes finishing of the training of sister Fuller who is 19 and was actually trained by my trainer sister Echeverria. I love them all and we get along great and we have a great time  and we laugh alot. Its more like having roommates than anything else. we eat together and sometimes do studies together and just spend a really long time talking together. its awesome. I really love serving with sister Duran. 

Halloween came and passed and I almost forgot. They dont really have halloween here. but the weather was perfect that day and I couldnt get over how freaking beautiful and perfect viseu is and I bought a little cupcake with a witch´s hat on it. im giving myself until christmas to just let myself get fat. its happening. 

funny story of the week. So we were street contacting and met this 40 year old guy named antonio who was pretty cool, talked to him and stuff, did a prayer with him, and then we got his number and said goodbye. well, that night he called us and wanted to talk to us and sounded upset, so we met him in the rossio, like the city center, and then walked to the chapel with the other sisters and him. he was completely drunk, he couldnt walk straight. Then we came in and talked to us and hes really going through some rough times. The lesson was good... hopefully he remembers it. So then after we had english classes and he stayed for that, and the topic was cooking. So we were learning vocab and stuff for cooking, and Antonio speaks english alright, and so sister Warburton was like, whats something you find in the kitchen? silence from the class, and then Antonio goes, The wife. it was pretty funny. then the lesson continues and in the middle of sister Warburton teaching Antonio just says ´Hot`. And we were like, huh...? and he tries to describe what a hot is and then we finally come to the conclusion that its the vent thats above the stove. It was freaking hilarious. So now around the house we all just blurt out ´hot´ every once in awhile. He also thought that the word for apron in english is sex. good job buddy. soooo drunk. But it was pretty funny. Im glad that in his drunken and depressed state, he turned to the missionaries. We will have the elders teach him though haha. 

we also got stuck in an elevador for a bit this week and had to call a fireman. it happens, nbd.

Ill probs be in this area till christmas, and all i want for christmas is letters from all my friends with their testimonies written in them!!!!!!!! Ill buy my own christmas presents, you can just put the money on the card :) I will make a list of people i want letters from though. oh but Mom if you could find my favorite christmas sweater, the red one with the collar, and send it out like this week so I could get it at the office here soon, that would make me ridiculously happy. Just send that to the office. packages are a little tricky here, if they are too expensive or too heavy, you have to pay a tax to get them, so just let me buy the things i need and keep sending me letters. Viseu address:

Ave Antonio José de Almeida
Lot 4-352
Apt 302, 3º Direito
3510-44 Viseu

Im sending a couple SD cards home today or tomorrow... and i know i said that last time but i really mean it this time. I actually know where the mail is haha. 

Thats really all for this week. Im a little chilly but still happy and doing well! scripture for you all to look up: isaiah 41:10.

Paz, Amor, casamento do templo, 
sister kelly briggs

Monday, October 28, 2013

I've been transferred!

why yes indeed, i was transferred!!! I am currently in Viseu with Sister Duran. Im definitely going to miss being close to the office and all the perks that came with it, but im excited about this fresh start. Sister Duran is like, the real deal. Shes 23 and goes home in 4 months. Ive been out on the mission for four months. So... this will be interesting haha. no but im way pumped. We are living in a house with 2 other sisters that take the other half of viseu. one is from wales and the other just got done being trained by none other than my trainer, sister Echeverria. prospects are good.
This week was beyond rough. Everything was falling, we werent reaching our goals, it was raining... just an awful week. Also i kind of felt that I was going to be leaving the area so I was just about ready to be done. But the last part of the week we really really pushed ourselves to do more contacts every day like president wants... and nothing happened. It was way hard.

Sunday, between the six missionaries assigned to the ala of benfica, we had 0 investigators in church. But sunday ended up being a good last day. There was a baptism of a little girl of a family in the ward that was baptized a few years back and it was so beautiful. It is sooo good to see the joy that this gospel brings families. She was baptized by her older brother and confirmed by her dad. man i was just crying! I got to say goodbye to everyone in the ward which was awesome because i love those jovens so much and then we went to Jessicas house and I said bye to her. and then I got a phone call that said i was leaving, and I went home and packed.

couple funny stories... This guy named pedro called a couple days in a row asking for us to come over but it sounded kind of sketch and so the first time we gave the phone to the elders and they told him not to call back. well, he did, and he totally thought he was calling prostitutes. he coulnt believe it when he found out the service was free. I thought I made it very clear that The only service we offer was teaching the gospel of Christ, and we were gonna ask him to be baptized just to mess with him, but then he asked sister wach if she was a virgin so then we hung up. Sorry about this PG-13 letter home haha. It was pretty funny.

We tried to visit a menos ativa this week and We finally got in. I was thinking she was gonna be a portuguese lady that got offended and didnt wanna come back... but no. She and her husband spoke perfect english and it turns out that the elders of the area used to live in the same building and thats how she was baptized. She knows all about the church and the elders and has had some come back to visit portugal and stay with her. We were just like... what? what is going on? but her husband doesnt like the church, so we arent allowed to preach, but they would love if we come over and ´hang out´haha. people are crazy, but finding them that day was a big tender mercy, it was raining cats and dogs.

Well, thats all for this week really. If im getting friend requests on facebook from anyone named aline, junior, ruben, luana, edimar, kemer, accept them!!!! they are my friends!!

This week in relief society we studied a talk thats called our responsibility to rescue, by Thomas S Monson. It was beautiful, and it just made me think, there are so many people out there that fall away, that taste the fruit and go toward the great and spacious building. and thats why members in missionary work is so important. We as missionaries are trying to bring more people to the fold, but we need YOU to keep them in there and rescue them when they stray. I wish i had the time or the force of words to tell you family how bad i need you to go onto our member list and visit those people you dont know. Make that a goal this month, visit an inactive member or family. Please.

I love you all! this is hard, but the church is true!!! Just 14 more months!!!

Paz, Amor, Casamento do Templo,

sister Kelly Briggs

Hola from Benfica!

hello again!!!!
Any way...
This week was roughhhh. All of our plans are falling, we arent finding new investigators, no one is progressing.... its been rough. This friday we tried to do these visita guiadas of the chapel... standing out on the street and singing and inviting the people who live close to come in. well, it starting raining hecka hard during it and we had a grand total of... one person enter!! oh and also it was just me and sister wach doing it... the elders ditched out and no members showed up. Can you say disaster? Haha man. One of those days where im just glad it ended.
Well, this is the last week of this transfer!! time is really starting to go now. Im not sure what will happen, there is a good chance that ill be headed out of here. Pray for me!! Im about ready for anything at this point. Its good that this was my first area, I know ill get to come back at least at the end because the mission office is here, so that will be cool to see how the work has grown in a year and a few months. Wow i hit four months this week. wow.
So the work has been rough, like I said. This week we got a call from one of our ZLs, coolest dude ever, Redheaded Elder Ryan from Ireland, like 25 years old, converted less than two years ago and was in an Irish rock band or something like that before his mission. Shoot. Well, i just let it slip to him that we were having a really rough time and he just responded with an outpouring of love, letting us know that if we keep working and praying with faith, Heavenly Father will give us power from on high. He has such a testimony that i started crying. over the phone. And the next day our district leader gave us a little spiritual thought in the office (after i gave him some faca for being kindof a jerk to us) about our missionary purpose and what a successful missionary is and how Heavenly Father is just grateful for the work we are doing. Cried. again. Then that night our sister training leader gave us a call just to see how we were doing. Sis Pieper is our training leader, and it was good to hear from her. Every single one of those was a tender mercy from the Lord.
Milestones Reached:
My hair is long enough to put in a little bun on top of my head!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!
I was asking myself again one time this week, as I have so many times before, if president let me go home right now with out any consequences, would I? the answer this time was a resounding and firm NO. For the first time! Its hard, but i love being out here.
Last night I had a dream that I lived in a house, and we had one cat and then all of the sudden these cats started multiplying and taking over my house and it was really awful. I think its a direct effect of the portuguese, they love their pets more than their children. There is animal poop EVERYWHERE in benfica. We went and taught this old lady the other day and on the wall was like a montage of pictures of her and her bunny that recently passed away... and then she went and showed us her current guinea pig. I will never forget the way she coddled that thing
. People are crazy.
Speaking of crazies, we kept getting these text from this dude named Sergio whose number we had saved in our phone but I couldnt find his teaching record anywhere and we didnt know who he was and these texts we were getting were weird. But then he asked us a specific question about our beliefs and we just told him to Well, a couple days later we get another text saying that he did. And me and Sister wach were like, what...? an investigator thats actually keeping their commitments?? haha. so we decided to meet with him and he was just as insane as we thought. He was trying to speak english to us the whole time and it was awful. I handed him a portuguese BOM to have him read a scripture, told him to read it in portuguese and then he replies in english: okay, i will translate it to spanish. And reads the verses in spanish. why? we got out of there real fast after that.
Some cool people that Ive met: a brasilian joven in our ward named Riardson, neither of his parents are members, he walks like 30 minutes every sunday to church and twice a week to go to seminary and brings his little sister so that shell stay active. Another brasilian youth who was baptized against her parents will and also walks like 30 minutes to everything and LOVES helping the sister missionaries. shes awesome, ill send a pic one of these days. Her name is Aline. Also, Jessica finally got confirmed this week, but it is so cool to see her progressing. We had one of the youth pic her up since she isnt allowed to walk to church alone. She gets there and walks in, already packed her bag with her own snacks, waves to us and then is like, Vou para primaria agora, Tchau! Shoot girl, you go for it. She was the first one in there and just waited for the teacher to show up reverently. I can see her serving a mission. makes me happy.
Spiritual thought: 2 Nephi 25:23, it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do. Its just been something ive been studying and pondering lately. He will bless us after we have done all that we can do. This grace means the saving, atoning grace of the savior and also the day to day support and comfort that he gives us. Just some thoughts.
SHOUT OUT to nicole mcullough with the package full of halloween candy!!!! that was finished off within a few days. I LOVE YOU!!!!!
card full of pictures coming soon. Thanks for the pictures back of my first transfer, except i accidentally forgot that i left it in my camera when we went to go see a monument today. We saw the monument of discovery, or something like that. it was siiiiiick. But last week we went to Lapa again and ran into the sisters from odievelas which was awesome so that was fun.
Anyway, love you all, thanks for the letters, prayers, support. Keep building your faith!!
Paz, amor, casamento do templo,
Sister Kelly Briggs

Two weeks till transfer!

Another week down. Now ive only got two weeks left of this transfer!! woo hoo!!!
This week was interesting. We´ve decided to drop a lot of our investigators that just arent progressing and so we visited a lot of novos this week. and did a loooooot of contacts on the street. Thats presidents emphasis this week so it was good. one day we had eight lessons throughout the day, four of which were on the street. it was cool. Im getting a lot better at my contacts... but my portuguese is still rough. and when i say that i mean i have a really hard time understanding people. tis incredibly annoying. They hear me and are like, wow you speak so well!!! and im like what? i didnt understand you... not literally but thats how it feels. argh.
Actually this week was kind of rough. we had some new people with a lot of potential and then our plans with them fell through. one day we had three incredible lessons lined up and lesson by lesson every single one of them fell. We had thirteen people that said they would come to church and only three came. And those three were people that i was thinking, wow, these guys are going to get baptized for sure. Well, they got to church and started talking to us about how they go to the spiritualism clinic and how they communicate with spirits and how there are good energies and bad energies and all this stuff...yikes! They came to church tho and agreed to meet with us this week so we will see. im going to give it one go and if nothing happens, im out. theyre nuts. they talked to us or other mebers for a solid hour and a half after church ended. yikes a bee.
I saw my first nun last night!!! We were going to give one of the extra efy CDs to this girl that is in the ward that is beyond incredible. IM pretty sure she is an orphan and lives in a catholic orphanage. Shes 17 and goes to school and works and walks 40 minutes to church every week and gets there EARLY which is way impressive for anyone in portugal and shes just the sweetest thing and i love her. So because our crazy investigators were talking our ears off after church, we decided to go visit her (Mariza) last night and bring her some cookies and the CD. We didnt know she lived in a catholic orphanage until we got to the giant oak doors and called her and she came out and we peeked in and there were nuns walking around giving us stares. It was soooo funny. Gosh that girl is an example to me. Would i walk 40 minutes to church every week by myself? Would you, sisters of mine?
One thing ive been thinking about a lot this week has to do with that quote that dad wants me to memorize by lief Erickson... We and the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves. Hey look at that, I memorized it!
Well, he sent me that first in the MTC and i was like, shoot, thats a little intense... But as Ive been out here, I realized its so true. Satan is real, the lack of religion in this world is the way he blinds the eyes and heardens the hearts of men. There are many that partake of the fruit and are baptized, but then become ashamed because of the pride of the world and leave the path because of sports on Sundays, jobs, whatever it maybe. And Im on the front lines of this never ending battle. And sometimes my testimony is shaken. Im wounded. But as I look to the other missionaries, members, and most of all the scriptures and the words of the prophets, I am restrengthened and get back out on the street and share the gospel. We truly are at war, and friends and family, we truly do need to arm ourselves. Deepen your testimony so that when doubts come or temptations face you, you are built upon Chirst and cannot be shaken. Make the gospel a part of your way of life more than just running through the actions, give it meaning. I cannot emphasize this enough.
The ward mission leader here is named Edison Gomez. He was converted when he was younger, and now hes married with eight kids, most of whom live in the ward here and basically run the ward. theyre incredible. But one thing he always says during our meetings is "Estamos na Guerra". Were in the war. This man never served a mission, but ive seen him several times at night biking around visitng less active members, and whenever he has the chance at work, he hands out a book of Mormon. Hes handed out like 20. He lives his testimony, and becuase this gospel means so much to him, he knows how it is. He knows that we really at war. because we are!! sorry for this long, drawn out, rather deep comparison, but I hope you guys can see this and truly do begin to arm your selves. Basically I hope i can be edison gomes someday.
I love you all and hope to hear from ALL OF YOU soon.
Paz, amor, casamento do templo,
Sister Kelly Briggs

Monday, October 7, 2013

3 Months gone by!


So, last week I was all like, wow I love the mission it’s so great!!! And then that night and the next day were awful. Rain, plans falling, etc. so I guess I have to be careful what I write home... shoot.

Dad, I never found the note you put in my suitcase! Where is it? And I’m still waiting on more quotes. Also I need you guys to send me that memory card back before I can send more pics. Mom, I got your packages!! Did you get mine that I sent for your birthday?? I would like a picture of you and that. Also one of the twin’s baptism, and one of Erin at her grad party. That’s all I’m asking. Love you guys! Thanks for the letters!

Okay! Last week I hit three months on the mish and tomorrow is two months in Portugal! Time is passing for sure, not flying yet, but passing. It’s just a cool thing, I can’t explain it.

After those two awful days last week, I did a division with Sister Pieper. She came with us that one pday when we went to Lisboa, so that you have a face for the name. She was super grumpy that day and she’s been on the mission for 15 months, so I was like, great, I’m going to hate my life for the next 15 months of the mish. So I was not looking forward to doing splits with her. But she turned out to be sooooo cool. I got to go see her area and how she works and she gave me so much advice and I just loved it. She really built me up, telling me I was doing way well and that I’m ready to be senior comp or trainer and that the Lord will work miracles through me. Which I would be okay if that didn’t happen for a few more weeks... haha. Not sure if I’m ready for that.

Anyway, that division was probs the best day of my mish so far. I just learned so much and it was so fun. And then I got back to my area, the sun was shining again, I was talking to people on the streets and felt like I was fulfilling my calling, it was awesome. And then we found the guy on the street who we had found last week. Actually he found us, he walked up to us and asked us for Joseph smith’s bible. He’s been looking at stuff about the church for a while and has lots of questions. But our plans with him earlier that week had fallen. But we found him! He had read all of the intro and the testimonies at the beginning and then read the book of ether... because it’s a drug. First red flag. We talked, set up another appointment, and left. Then he called us three minutes later and asked us to come back because he had one more question. We came back... and he started talking to us about magic mushrooms, how incredible they are and how we should really try them. Yes, this is real life. hahaha man it was funny after, but in it, it was a little freaky. I still have hope for him though.

I’m really worried I’m gonna train next transfer. ahhhhhhh.

One day this week we stopped by the office and Sister Flukiger was in there! She is the nicest lady in the world and told us to come talk to her for a bit. She invited us to Conference at the mission home (YES)  and then offered to come with us for one of our lessons that night. And she would drive. (YES). Well, we really botched that lesson. We went from repentance to abortion to baptism to temples to the Holy Ghost... it was awful. And sister flukiger got to see it all. Let’s talk about good first impressions... haha man I just had to laugh it off. Hopefully it will be a blessing because shell tell president I’m not ready to train next transfer.

So we went to Gen conf at the mission home!!! #perksofbeingtheofficesisters. It’s so beautiful there, right on the river and the house is gorgeous. We watched in English and got dinner and it was bomb. And cool to hang out with President and Sister F. Conference was so awesome. It was funny how all the missionaries got so excited, like byu students get about watching the big football game, it’s the same thing. Trends I saw: the importance of FAMILIES!!!! I think that is definitely a reason the mission age changed, to give more people the chance to serve missions so that future families in Zion will be much much stronger. Also, that Gods laws will not change despite what the world believes, which I loved and is so needed right now. The importance of covenants!!! People, make your covenants mean something to you!!! And then just the hastening of the work of salvation and how important it is for members to work with the missionaries. Because it so is, I can't even describe it.

Today I went to the Zoo with the elders. I LOVE the elders. They are so great. It’s a bummer that one is from Mexico and the other from England, because I want to be their friends forever. Today I changed the lyrics to the song jumper and played it for elder fuller so he would come to the Zoo with us. Don’t worry, I’ll make a video. The zoo was way fun but I heard lots of music there that made me super trunky... luckily efy music has gotten loads better and I now have a cd. yesssssss.

This week I’ve studied a lot about faith and action and power. As missionaries, we have the given authority to preach the gospel, but the power of our calling and the power of the spirit only comes as we act. Similarly, when we have faith, we will want to act, but if we don’t have faith, we can get that faith through acting, doing things like reading, praying, keeping the commandments, etc. see john 7:17. Family and friends, if you go to bed one night and don’t feel like praying, you need to kneel and pray until you do. Because that is faith, acting when you don’t see any real benefit or consequence. That’s what I’m asking you guys to apply and study with me this week.

I love you all!!!! Keep praying for my language... it’s just annoying at this point.

Paz, amor, e casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs

The Rain in Portugal . . .

This week was the first week that we had clouds and rain. It wasn’t cold, just wet. My hair was a mess, every day. But it was also the best week of the mission for me. Idk what it is but every day and every week just gets a little bit better. I love getting to share this message and seeing little miracles and even when I’m wet and cold and we have nothing to do, I just love this gospel so much it doesn’t even matter. And my unnatural amount of positiveness is probably annoying a few people who are reading this, so... sorry about that. 

This week I thought I said good bye to one of our investigators that was going to prison... He used to be a huge drug lord but since has mostly left that life and wants to be baptized, but he got caught in a car with a few friends who had lots of drugs and was going to go to prison for 2 and a half years but when we visited the barrio (aka the slums) again that week guess who we found? Cecelio. The last time I saw him was him running off into the distance crying after telling us not to forget him... yes this is real life. I’m teaching an ex drug lord the gospel. And he loves it. He wants to give away all his money he earned through drugs and join the church. The thing is we aren’t sure what his legal issues are right now so we don’t know if he can get baptized. We don’t want our members in prison, ya know? But it’s cool. If he never gets baptized, at least that’s a crazy story I can tell people.

I have a lot of moments now where I just look around and think, is this real life? Am I really walking these cobblestone streets in the rain with o livro de mormon in hand and I get to talk to everyone I want about it? Am I really eating this strange Brazilian food in front of me that’s a mix of rice and potatoes and meat and cheese and tastes good? Am I really chilling in the nastiest slums of all of Lisbon with a black guy that wants to be baptized? It’s just incredible and I love it. It still stinks when you don’t meet your goals or plans fall and you have nothing to do and I STILL DONT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING AND ITS SO ANNOYING but you know what? I still love it here. And I love this gospel.

Another reason this week was so bomb is probably because we had a BAPTISM!!!! Hoorah. 10 year old girl, Jessica, I think I wrote about her last week. She is incredible. She is so smart, we walked in on her at home one time doing her homework by herself, mom wasn’t at home. She already has friends at church and loves primary. The baptismal service was awesome, we had mostly the ward do it which was good because I know she is in good hands when we go. We as a district also did a special musical number... I played I am a child of God on the guitar and the others sang. Yeah btw... that simplified hymn book that we bought? I’ve used that more to play the guitar than I have to play the piano haha. Sorry. I sometimes play it when we sing hymns in the morning or our one crazy investigator André likes when I play so I bring it to lessons and we sing hymns and I’ve brought it to ward FHE a couple of times to play. It’s way fun. Everyone loved it when we did it at the baptism. 

The coolest part of the baptism though was the mom of Jessica, Asto. Every time I’ve been over there before she’s been down cast and distracted and doesn’t smile... but ever since we told her Jessica is getting baptized, a new light has come into her eyes. She smiled and laughed several times during gospel principles and just watching her watch her daughter’s example... it was so good. So so so good. And then afterwards we were like, so you’re next right? And she was like, yep, but I’m not ready yet, and I said, well that’s what were here for, and she was just content with that. She’s so getting baptized. Now we just have to help them stay firm. It was way cool.

Funny story, one night we came home from an awesome lesson and this dude on the street saw us and was like, hey, you guys are Mormons? And I was just on cloud nine so I go up to him and shook his hand and was like, yep, wanna be baptized? He basically ran away from us after that. 

Also Hogwarts is literally based on a school here in Portugal, and on the street sometimes I see people in like capes and stuff. Like literally harry potter robes. I’m not even kidding. I’ll try to snap a pic this week, it’s the funniest thing ever. Like, what are you doing?

The word for pigs is porcos. That’s like calling cows beefs. Don’t even give them the respect of being animals. 

I’m trying to be funny now and I’m not sure if it’s working...

Mom I hope you’re okay and I’m praying for you to get better!! But in your free time just write letters to me!!! And kneeling prayers are important!!! Study prayer this week while you’re chilling on the couch.

Dad I wanna hear what you are learning as you teach seminary and how it’s going! Also send me more quotes, I’m making a little book of all of them. It’s sweet.

READ PRAY AND GO TO CHURCH. If I could get all my pesquisadores to do that, all of Portugal would be active members. and it scares me to death to even imagine that the people I love most might not be doing it... so do it. Because I love you and God loves you.

GENERAL CONFERENCE IS NEXT WEEK!!!!  It goes till like 11 at night here on Sunday haha. I’m so excited. I wanna hear from EVERYONE what they learned and what talks they liked, etc. You guys have no idea how incredible it is that we have a prophet. I teach about prophets daily, on the street and in lessons... He literally speaks for God. We have the authority here on the earth today. This is something that no other church has. Please please please, I implore of you all, take advantage of this opportunity. 

Shoot I didn’t really plan a spiritual thought this email. Sorry guys, I guess you’re off the hook this week for feeling guilty for not being better... 

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! I’m doing so well, but the language still stinks. Please pray that I don’t train next transfer...

paz, amor, casamento do templo,

sister kelly briggs 
Me, Sister Wach, and Jessica!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Transfer week, plus TONS of pics!


Six weeks that felt like six years. I’ll be staying in Benfica so you can still send as much mail as you want to the same address. I have a new companion named sister Wach!  Pics coming soon.

Quick shout outs to Donna Ostvig, Kevan and Leslie, Brittan Steffel and of course my Mother and Father. And Claire. Whose letter I loved with all my heart.

Money, they give us like 180 euro or something every month on a card for whatever we need and it’s been plenty, I usually only pay for food.  Thanks for the package mom!! Some good old state fair cookies. So much happiness in my soul. But I’m good for now, no worries. If I need something, I’ll let you know.

Language is coming I think. I’m teaching more and people tell me I speak well. Understanding is another story. I’m hoping things change this transfer. Funny story, today we taught a lesson, it was the plan of salvation, and I asked if she knew the story about Adam and eve and she started telling it and I was just nodding... one of my companions (we were a three some today) cut in and started teaching... I found out later she was going on about the serpent biting eve and then she died... how did I miss that? Haha you have no idea. Language ugh!

I had my first baptism this week. It was cool.  The thing is though, it’s a personal choice. Your salvation is your own problem, no one else’s. So family, friends, everyone, I exhort you will all of my heart to do all you can right now and decided today that you will follow Christ. I can’t make that decision for you, as badly as I want to, but I can bear testimony that I know this church is true and we have a prophet. We have a prophet!!! Do you know how incredible that is? We have someone that talks to God for us and tells us how to be happy! Someone whose testimony we can always trust and who is a rock in these times of confusion. We have the priesthood. This gospel is incredible. Joshua 24 verse 19. Choose ye this day!!! I love you all!!

Elder Munoz, our beloved district leader, says hi.

Um... That’s really all for this week, I think the pictures that you will get in the mail this week will have way more detail and way more stories than I want to put in here.
One more thing, Portuguese people are so tiny and all the old women have hairs on their chins.

So much love family!! Look to the mail this week for a memory card!!! And people reading this, esp at BYU, I wanna hear from you!!!! Write me!!

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,
Sister Kelly Briggs.

Grocery shopping on P-day

Random sculpture at the mall

Water Garden on mall rooftop

ward party

Birthday party at the church

Me and Sister Echevarria

Love the quotes from Dad

Fav pastry shop - 'bread of God' 

Andre - wants to change his life!

I finally caught a lizard!  These things are everywhere!

Sight seeing on P-day

this investigator was so stiff!

Sisters at Zone Conference

Where I study the gospel and the language!

Adriano from Romania