Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hola from Lisboa!

Well, HAPPY TWO MONTH MARK!!!!! Literally can't believe its been only two months since I left. These past two and a half week here have felt like two years. I have LOVED GETTING EVERY ONE OF YOUR LETTERS!!!  A year ago around this time I was just starting the best four months of my life at BYU. I still have faith though that this next year or so will be better.
Well, Dad thanks for the quotes. and the letters. all the letters. Love them all and all the advice. I put the one about not doing anything because you can only do a little, do what you can.... that one in the front of my little pocket dictionary that I bring everywhere. Just a reminder for me as i'm struggling to learn this language that i gotta keep trying. Thats one thing that really helped this week. I started opening my mouth more. I initiated a lot more of the street contacts, helped out more in lessons. Tho i cant do everything, doing something, actually fulfilling my purpose here, makes it so much better. Still hard, don't get me wrong, but things are improving. I have moments during the week where i think, yeah, i can totally see myself loving this. I can totally see myself not wanting to leave.

The ward here is great, but honestly its riding on the back of one big family, like the only family that gets it, ya know? The grand pa is the Sunday school teacher, dad is the bishop, bispo's younger bro is the executive secretary, grandma is primary president, another daughter is in the yw... its crazy. so glad that they are here haha. There are a lot of other really strong members, but not all of them get it, ya know? That's okay, it's why we're here. 

Like i said, the more I go to work, the easier it is. i really am understanding more every day. I measure it by Sundays. The more I can talk to ward members etc every week, the better.

you know how sometimes people here say stupid? like, just the one word, to be funny? yeah, well i heard this old man walking down the road and we all almost got hit by these kids on bikes and he says "estupido". not kidding. laughed so hard.

I'm so blessed to live by the mission office. Its so great. There's a whole bunch of stuff in the basement that other missionaries left and paper, etc. its fantastic. I found a rain coat down there. Soo glad we didn't buy one before haha. Also i never feel too alone because the elders are always there. Also, don't tell anyone else in the mission this, but we go out to eat for free once a week because there's a member that works at this Brazilian buffet, like Tucanos for you Provo peeps, and they pay for us to go. its sick. 

I love the ward here. Two ward members had birthdays this week and they both had parties at the chapel and half the ward showed up. So great. There was also a talent show. basically its fantastic and its the only place i feel really at home, except that i don't know how to tell any of them that. Also every thing here except church starts one to two hours late.

Family and friends, you are all so incredibly blessed to have the wards and support that you do. LITERALLY never take it for granted. Live the gospel you love, enjoy every moment. enjoy being hungry at church and the awkward small talk you make with each other and checking out the deacons and priests during sacrament and napping on fast Sundays because you are so blessed to have that gospel. live it. love it. so many people... they don't know. And they may never know.

SHOUT OUTS to mom, dad, Emily, Mary, Tessa Ostvig, and Sarah Wichman for letters!!!! They should be getting some soon.

Pics coming. promise. and i want pictures [prints] from you people!

This week we had a zone conference and I had an interview with president. Instead of getting on my case for having a hard time and not sucking it up, they were so nice. Pres said something in my interview that made me really think. Not knowing the language at the beginning is a blessing because we learn to rely on the Lord. I never would have thought of this as a blessing. I'm making it a goal to truly learn to see the Lord in my life during this time as I'm learning. Things that give me hope, there's like a hundred missionaries around the world and a good number in Portugal that wake up every morning feeling the same way I am, having the same struggles and I'm not a lone. Not a single missionary that has come through here, or any mission, hasn't learned Portuguese, and I won't be an exception. I will learn it, I just have to be patient and keep chugging.
That's about it. ill put more specifics in about who I'm teaching and what we are teaching in my email next time. I love you all more than you know and more than I want to think about for fear of getting home sick again. Be good so you can have all the blessings that I ask for you all daily.

Paz, Amor, e casamento do templo.

Sister Kelly Briggs

Stacie C!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Ola from Lisboa!

First things first, I’m here, I’m safe. The mail address that dad sent me the snail mail through is perfect, I got it already. If anyone wants to mail me, tell them to use that

OKAY!!!! So. I don’t speak Portuguese. More importantly, when people speak Portuguese, I can’t understand a lick of what they’re saying. So... that stinks. When they’re talking to people, they don’t even look at me because I don’t say anything, I just stare and smile occasionally when other people are smiling (smile and wave boys...) I’ve never relied so much on the lord. ARGH not fun, but I’m learning and doing alright. 

Oh btw traveling was fine, except that I didn’t get to call much. That was hard. But other than that it was smooth.  Also I didn’t place a Book of Mormon because I was sitting with missionaries the whole time, which was actually nice. People in London really do have bad teeth, it’s not a myth. 

Here’s an example of how bad my language is. We're supposed to do this thing called convite suave... or smooth invite. It's where you ask, when or if you receive an answer, will you be baptized? Well I’ve tried to do it three times during lessons, and all three times they just look at me confused, and my companion has to jump in and help. haha it super stinks in the moment but looking back its pretty funny haha.

It’s hard to remember I’ve been here less than a week when everyone around me is fluent. I just wish I knew what was going on around me mostly. I wish I could understand what these people are saying so I could help them.

So my Zone is Lisboa, my area is Benfica. We live right above the chapel and the office which is sweet! All the mail goes to the office so I could get it the day it comes in, the elders are always there so I never feel too isolated, and it’s just a cool place. A tender mercy for sure. 

Benfica slash Lisboa in general is just one big giant dirty smelly gross city. That’s all. All I see in any direction is more buildings.  Flying in I was so excited because I could see all the pretty red roofs and stuff, but once you get closer it’s just like, this place is gross. ugh. 

Well, in my first five days of being a missionary in the field, I’ve done everything a missionary could do. Had two baptisms, eaten with members, slightly offended one because I didn’t take a banana home, walked through the ghetto, been proposed to, walked everywhere and sweat like never before, met Angolans, Mozambuiquans, Capo Verdianos, and Brazilians; been rejected, gotten into arguments about religion (okay well mostly my comp did that) but yeah. It’s been real.

My second day I was already weary, so Heavenly Father sent me a tender mercy of getting to eat out! Someone in the ward works at this buffet place and lets us eat there sometime. It was Brazilian food but it was dang good.  Someday I’ll figure out how to send a pic. 

They do bejinos here, or little kisses. The kisses on the cheek thing? Yeah. Not a fan. But it’s just like second nature to these people. I’ll meet someone new and they’ll come up and put their face in my face and I’m just like, what’s your face doing up in there??? Get that out of there!!! But no, instead I give them little kisses. ugh...

My companion is Sister Echeverria. She’s from Vegas but her parents were from Guatemala. She’s been here two transfers and is already basically fluent. Maybe me someday? Sure hope so. The first day she didn’t speak any English to me and I almost lost it... that was a rough day, so now she’s going easier on me and were doing well. This area is super successful. Seriously, I had a baptism in the first hours of being here. It’s cool.

Funny story, our elevator was broken for a little bit, and we live on the seventh floor of a building. That was not fun. Thankfully it’s all better now. But yikes, we were basically living in the church for a bit because we hated walking up all those stairs haha. 

So I had to give a short short talk at one of the baptisms, about the Holy Ghost. One of the members even said to my comp when they saw my name on the program... Sister Briggs doesn’t even speak Portuguese! How is she gonna give a talk???  But I got up there and it went great. When I sat back down the elders’ faces were straight up shocked. They told me later I’m speaking great and they were way impressed and I speak way better than they did when they got out here. That’s great; mostly I just wish I could understand people haha. But it was a nice self confidence boost. 

Dad it was funny that you told me about buying milk in bags on your mish because I bought milk in boxes this week. Except it’s more like chalky water than milk... but it does the job with cereal. 

Sister e has some sweet tricked out primary music that we listen to and I love it. I’m talking straight up dropping the bass techno music. Only with book of Mormon stories as the lyrics. It’s fantastic.

Well, that’s really all that happened other than lots of walking, lots of teaching, lots of sweating sleeping planning reading struggling and most of all praying. I’m sure more happened but I wouldn’t know, I can’t understand anything haha.

I have never learned to rely on the Lord like now. I’ve never know what it’s meant to endure trials well until this. I’ve never felt humility, felt that I truly am nothing without him until this. I hope you all can humble yourselves enough so you don’t have to go through anything like this. Prayer works miracles. That’s all I’ve got for a spiritual thought this week.

FAMILY I LOVE AND MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! Mom, Dad, Erin, Emily, Claire, Mary, Audrey, Ailene. It’s rough, but rest assured I’m doing well. Lots of love and prayer headed your way.

P.S.  Thanks to all that emailed me and have been praying for me. Also Sam Wright and Dad for sending my first two letters out here!!!!

Peace, love and temple marriage (in the best language ever)

Sister Kelly Briggs

Sister Echevarria, Sister Briggs, Sister Fluckinger, President Fluckinger

Benfica part of Lisbon below