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