Monday, January 20, 2014

Transfers and . . . .

This week. what happened this week.

Well, frankly, not much. Sister Brooks got sick with the stomache flu on tuesday after lunch and has been throwing up ever since. she had to go to the hospital on her birthday, poor thing. she still hasnt been able to keep food down and has lost 10 pounds and is running on empty... so shes going to the hospital again tomorrow to get the results of the blood tests and to see what they can do. So my week has been kind of stressful, between worrying about her and then our area and having to do divisions with the other sisters and sister training leaders... its been hectic. The one upside? the mission moved us to a hotel for the week! just in time for sister brooks to get sick too. its been nice, not gonna lie, although im ready to get out of a suitcase and back to a normal schedule. But hey, im not complaining for now haha.

PS shout outs to everyone who sent me their family christmas card!!! i loved it! also special thanks to bonnie bemis who made me feel oh so included in family brunch. and kevin and leslie for the monthly letters. And everyone else who still loves me and writes me. i love you too. and people that i made pots for should really write me.

Tranfers happened this week! so there was a lot of build up to these last transfer. Sister brooks was finishing her 3rd transfer here in porto and usually 3 is when people leave an area. I had just gotten here and figured it was about time for me to train and step up a little. But i also got a call from the office that week asking me if i had a drivers liscence and if i drove stick. and sister brooks was having these feelings that she would stay. And then president had a phone conference with all the leaders and said we were getting 26 missionaries and that they would be making a LOT of changes this tranfer. Lies. me and sister brooks are both staying together, sister mendes went to the açores, sister vomocil and sister rosemann are now living in the same house in viseu (literally cried when i found out about that) And there were some other minor changes, but other than that, of what i know, not much happened. Im dying a little bit here in Porto, its rainy and cold and depressing. But ive decided this transfer im gonna push myself to be super obedient and positive and dilligent so that way heavenly Father will HAVE to bless me next tranfer, right? im going to start praying and fasting weekly for 2 baptisms this transfer, and your guys fasts and prayers would be appreciated.

Ive been studying patience a lot right now in my studies and i think heavenly Father just put it to the tests with this transfer. I love sister Brooks so much and i was getting nervous to leave her because we have a pretty comfortable companionship. But at the same time, its been eight weeks, and at the end of this transfer, it will have been 14. thats a really long tme to be with someone 24/7. Also this area is kind of sucking the life out of me, and now its pretty much certain that ill be here for 2 more transfers, and the idea of that just scares me. So from here on out, im not gonna complain. im not promising that ill like it, but im not gonna complain. because what is 12 weeks in the perspective of life? nothing. And im really gonna work hard to turn this area around and learn to love it. I would advise you guys to study patience with me, from preach my gospel and the topical guide. its good stuff.

I love you so much!!! Thanks for all that you do family!!! keep being good and doing good things!!! also, start preparing your friends to recieve the gospel. Thats all i have to say.

paz, amor, casamento do templo,

sister briggs

mais uma semana da vida missionaria. e mais uma carta da sister briggs para colocar no blog dela

Hello Everyone!!

Well, this week was interesting. it absolutley flew by, but that because i think there was sun outside and we were just loving it. But also because we basically lived in the chapel this week... Intersesting situation, the mission office, after many complaints about our house, decided that the sisters porto were going to move houses. So they decided not to renew the contract, but we still have four months to live there while we look for a new house. Well,the land lord lady now knows were moving and wants the house to be really nice to sell, So, even though we are still living there and will be for the next four months, sent workers into our house to do some construction on the ceiling and holes in the wall. This means there are men in our house from 8 in the morning to six at night, and we had to move out of half of our house for them to work in. Its basically horrible. luckily we live sups close to the chapel which is really nice, so we get ready in the morning, let the guys in, say a prayer to protect our stuff, and do our studies and eat in the chapel. And i love that chapel because its older and super super cool. But its still a bummer to wake up and go to sleep every night in that disaster of a house. were looking into hotels and new houses and working with the land lady. No worries.

Transfers are next pday! my guesses are that ill stay here and probably train. Ive been avoiding training too long. The only thing is, i dont wanna train in this area! i still dont know where i am a lot because we take buses and metros everyday and i still get disoriented. and everyone LOVES sister brooks so its gonna be hard to take the load if she leaves. But, the Lord knows better than I do. I think sister brooks will be headed down south to the algarve, at least i really hope so because she deserves that warm weather and work thats down there. Im gonna miss her a lot! weve gotten a long great, ive learned a lot and had a solid eight weeks together. But, em fim, ill tell you guys what happens this coming monday.

This month, presidents focus has been working in the members. We have some really cool, really strong members in our ward. The only problem is that our ward is super disunited, even the strong members dont know who each other are. so its really hard to bring people from outside to our ward, because the members dont do a lot to help them stay. At the end of this year, we looked at retention, and we have a retention rate of about 30 percent. Our bishop is also moving to france (literally everyone is fleeing this country, people talk about it all the time, its a thing). And this past week in church, i played the piano, the elders taught gospel principles and i was teaching primary. It was a little ridiculous how much we had to do. So were gonna work better with the members, as in help them be members, Help them do visiting teaching and home teaching, help them fulfil their callings, help them have more activites and above all, help them do missionary work! We decided as a district that its not worth bringing more people in from outside if they dont stay active, were gonna work with what weve got. I mean, of course we still have investigators and are always looking for new people to teach, but our priorities are just a little different. Our ward is actually the size of a branch right now, which means lots of room for growth.

Okay, i get lots of emails and letters and what not from people that are like, were so proud of you for bringing the gospel to the world! your doing a great thing and changing peoples lives, etc, But what you people need to realize is that there are not a whole lot of people out here that want to hear the truth, or that are looking for it. I havent changed anyones life becuase no one wants their lives changed. Its the most frustrating thing in the world. And if there are people out there who are want the truth, they are utterly avoiding me. Just a little reality update for those of you out there who live in a bubble. the world is not such a happy place somtimes.  But your emails and letters lift me up, so keep em coming!

But the light at the end of this tunnel is that THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!! I made myself some goals for this year, and one of them involves my studies. every month president gives us an attribute of christ to study. I decided im going to take advantage of those studies, and really
work toward gaining that attribute, so that i can leave that study and that month a better person and more like Christ. I know it will be hard, but these are changes, this is growth that I want to see in myself and in my life, and I know this is only possible through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have the fullness of the truth, the plentitude of the gospel, right here, in HIs church. Its these teachings and this doctrine, what we learn in church, that confirms to me that this is the true church, because we really learn the doctrine of Christ. I know that this church is true, but even if it wasnt, i know that because of this church, ive lived my life in the happiest way Ive could of, and im the best person i could have been because of what ive learned in Church. and for those of you reading this, I INVITE YOU TO COME AND VISIT AND LEARN MORE!!!! it will change your life. a happiness you dont even know is waiting for you. for those of you reading this that already have the priveledge of knowing the gospel, please, prepare your friends to hear the missionaries. Invite them to learn more. Share this incredible gift you have.

Love you family. keep praying for me please! I love you so so so much.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs

New Year's in Porto!!

Happy New year !!

shall we reflect on this past year?

Got a mission call to Portugal

Played the guitar a lot

went through the temple

started playing rugby again for the first time in almost a year

went to the MTC

got to portugal

learned portuguese (mais ou menos)

learned to love and live this gospel like I never have in my life.

Its been a good year. I have yet to make solid goals for the year to come... but considering Ill be on a mission the entire year, they should be interesting haha.

This week it rained LITERALLY non stop for the entire week. sometimes harder than others, but i was sooo damp and cold and just annoyed. portugal rain is the most annoying thing in the world. So, because of the fact that we were outside in the cold all day, all of the sisters took turns getting sick, except me. So I got to do divisions with the brasilians, which was real fun. Its so cool to see how my portuguese is improving every day, and also to see how these sisters work and how much i can learn from them. I was glad i could give all the sister a chance to take a break from the rain too, because sister Brook is from georgia and gets kind of grumy with bad weather haha.

When i did a division with sister Prieto, we had to go to the chapel to print something out for an investigator of theirs, but we forgot the keys. so what do we do? Of course i jumped the fence in a skirt, opened up the gate and then we found an unlocked window and went in haha. Only with a brazilian. love it.

There was a couple times this week where i just got really down on myself for the lack of success ive seen on my mission. I felt like it was my fault, i wasnt doing enough or i was just not good enough to deserve it, and I got really mad at Heavenly Father for not helping me out more. But i decided to have more patience and faith and just keep working harder. Well, sunday rolls around. we start out with no investigators in church, and then walk in our investigator Manuel, and out little brazlilan family! i was so happy! we had a lesson right after church with Manuel and a member that used to be a member of the same evangelical church and it was really good and we MARKED HIM FOR BAPTISM on sister brooks birthday, of all things haha. that. was the coolest thing of my mission. last sunday he was totally against it and this week, after my fasts and prayers and everything he was like, yeah. ill get baptized. man. and hes firm too, hes not going in active, hes got too much faith. Later that day we had that lesson with the brasilian family, and the member we brought served a mission in brasil and helped them see that they need to get married to get baptized and then get married in the temple. absolutely incredible. its days like that where im just like, IM SO GLAD IM ON A MISSION! They make it worth it. Its unfortunate that here in portugal, those days are few and far between.
This week we were teaching a brasilian family, and the lesson was going really really well, and the dad was talking about how he felt that he really had to go to church that week, something was just touching his heart and telling him he had to go even though he was tired, and then the little eight year old daughter goes "mas cancaço nao e uma desculpa para faltar igreja" ou seja, but being tired isnt an excuse to miss church! and all five of the adults in the room just looked over at her and it got quiet for a second, and i was freaking out inside because that was SO SICK!!!!! hahaha She just threw it down to her parents. Later in that lesson she was going though my scriptures and found a picture of the salt lake temple and was like, is this a palace??? and then we started explaining a bit about temples and she was like, why does jesus have so many palaces??? it was pretty funny. #lovebrasilians
THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!! hopefully you guys can see the iportance of the members in that last story. Of the 15 baptisms the ward im in has had this year, only about five are active, and its the ones that were member referalls or well integrated with the members. I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARING YOUR FRIENDS AND INVITING THEM TO RECIEVE THE GOSEPL. and then working with the missionaries.

I love you all family!!! Thanks for all you do!

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


So, here in porto i live in a house with another dupla of sisters, and they both happen to be brasilian. one of them speaks english and the other doesnt. But shoot, living with brasilians is something else haha. weve lost a lot of sleep these past couple weeks from staying up talking. Ive learned how to make rice and have eaten a LOT of rice and beans and other things that i never would have put together in a meal. they taught me how to samba, and not just like so you think you can dance, but like the real samba that they go do on the weekends. we changed the lyrics to a song i can play on the guitar to make it about serving in porto, and i helped write those lyrics IN PORTUGUESE and then we recorded it. Basically, its a whole lot of good fun.


Someone asked about the language last time... am i fluent? do i understand everything everyone says? no no no. am i pretty comfortable where i am and feel capable of doing my job and feel like i can be more fluent at some time in my future? yes. are some of my favorite people on the mission natives? yes. ill show off a little bit to you guys when we talk. 

so yesterday after church we got a call from president and sister fluckiger that said they had packages for my comp and some other people in our zone, but they were going to a branch about an hour away and didnt have time to pass porto. so, this morning, we got to go to villa real to pick up those packages. it was a little bit of a waste of pday time, but not really because villa real is this little city up in the mountains so the hour and a half bus ride there was absolutely gorgeous. made it worth it. its times like that, where im just watching the country go by, that im like, shoot, im in portugual, i speak a little bit of portuguese, and God is good. 

A scripture that helped me this week that my comp found for me. its in john 15, and it says that if ye are hated of the world, remeber that the world hated Him first. It just made me remember, Im on His side, we are fighting this together, and there has already been someone, the Savior himself, who suffered through this and was rejected. i dont have the scripture in front of me, so i cant tell you in detail my thoughts, but for anyone who is struggling for what they believe in, or on  a mission or whatever, you should read this. 


side notes... thanks for the letters for christmas... but i got so few letters from the list of people that i made for you. could you guys get on those peoples cases and make them write me? please? thank you. love you. also mom i got the package and I LOVE IT THANK YOU SO MUCH. 

Well, this week was very uneventful. There was not a lot of work to do because of Christmas, so I dont really have any good stories or anything. I know dad wanted me to tell you guys more of what every day missionary life is like for me, but its really not that exciting. Our alarm goes off at 7 am, i roll over and pray and try not to fall asleep. when it was warmer we would do excercises but now that its freezing we just huddle by the heater and complain about how cold it is. Then we take showers and eat and get ready, and at eight thirty we are in our little study room, and im doing a prayer again. we have an hour of personal studies, where i have been reading the book of mormon in portuguese (AND FINISHED IT BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!! forgot to tell you guys haha) and preach my gospel and whatever other topic i feel i need to study. then we go into the sisters study room sing a hymn with them, pray, recite our purpose and some other scriptures that pres has us memorize, then we go back and we do our comp study. first we share what we learned in personal study, and sometimes we do that in portuguese, and sometimes we do that in english. depends. and since we dont have a lot of people to teach or lessons to prepare for, that usually takes the majority of that time. we get into really deep religious discussions sometimes haha. And then we do a half our of language study, where i just try to expand my vocabulary, and we head out. in this area, we have to catch a bus to get to our area, so that takes about a half hour. its fun. so, thats a regular morning for you... idk if thats what you wanna hear. next week when i have more stories, ill tell you more about what we do during the day,and how it goes. 

So Christmas was good. Christmas eve we had a big dinner at a brasilians house where we ate bachalhau which is so good, and  talked about brasil all night, and i just laughed. it was awesome. That night, me and the other sisters stayed up, read luke 2 in portuguese and sang some hymns. Sister Brooks wrapped a bunch of things so we had a stuff to open the next day, but we also did secret santa with each other. christmas morning we woke up, opened our presents, got ready, and had a big lunch with the other missionaries of the other ward in porto. we visited a few members who wanted us to pass by, and then we came back to the chapel and i talked to you guys! it was a good christmas. 

I wish i could have talked to you guys longer! all of us said after it was over that we just felt, incomplete. it wasnt quite enough, but i think thats the point of those, so we dont get too trunky. i wish i had more time to tell you guys more stories and laugh more and tell you more of what i thought and felt, more specifics, but thats okay. 

Today we had a double district pday and hit up all the sites in porto. well, a lot of them haha. porto is huge. but we went to a convent and a castle thingy and a big church. look up vadoma in portugal. thats where we went. it was awesome. ill finish with pictures. love you guys so much!!!!! 

love you family!

paz, amor, casamento do templo, 

sister kelly briggs