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!