Monday, March 24, 2014

Porto Pancake Party!

Color Coordinated Porto District before Pancake Party
Well, this week absolutely flew!

Tuesday we had a double zone conference with porto and porto north, and president came and we had lunch and such, and it was a really really good conference. These past months have been so hard, between having a sick comp and the work going really slow, i was just down. But this zone conference was really spiritual, and just really reinspired me. and i got to hear the last testimony of one of my friends who goes home at the end of the transfer, and i think something inside me just changed. i think i was finally humbled sufficiently, and just decided to believe. i had a different spirit around me.

And we only had a few days to work this week, the zone conference went almost all day, friday between weekly planning and getting ready for the ward activity on saturday, and saturday being there at the activity all day, we didnt have a whole lot of time to work, but the days we did work, we had pretty high numbers and found some cool people. the activity we planned, a pancake party with a spiritual missionary part at the end, was a hit with our members, and we all had investigators come and our members were being so helpful with them. and then on sunday we had four investigators in church! two of them came out of the blue, one was a friend of a recent convert, and the other a lady that we had since dropped, but called us that week because she felt she needed more spiritual force. it was so cool. and we had done a fast the week before to have people in church, and we literally doubled the number we had. it was cool, and it was a miracle. little by little, the work is picking up and its cool to see. and we just gotta keep working our little hearts out. 

This week we got yelled at by some evangelical guy who used to be a member of our church. we bore very very sincere testimony, but he didnt want to listen. as he was yelling, i was just thinking how confused he was, how he was so lost and didnt even know it. it was rough, but I just thought about how Christ must have felt His entire life, and i knew He was standing with us at that moment. And there have been people like that since the beginning of the restoration, trying to tear the church down, and it hasnt fallen yet, nor will it ever. we walked away fromt the conversation with testimonies stronger than ever, even after all that. 

when the activity came around this week, we sent text messages out to literally everyone, every number we had in our phone, everything. and to our suprise, one ex investigator showed up a couple hours late to the activity. unfortunately, she was completely drunk. she kept on asking where the pancakes were, and then as part of the spiritual thought, i had everyone stand up and say there name and where they were from, and when her turn came, she stood up and said, im Helena... i love you all. and blew the whole room kisses. yep.

Me and my comp laugh so much together. everytime we hear a song that we shouldnt be singing as missionaries, we start changing the lyrics to stuff about missionary work. she does some pretty funny impressions of people. its just one of the million things we do to keep ourselves entertained as we walk around all day and talk to people on the street. Shes fantastic. oh and mom i heard you guys are friends on facebook. that also is fantastic.

hey can someone tell me when amanda monn is getting married and if we can get cardboard kelly out there to the wedding?

Thanks for all the mail, love, prayers and support. i just wanna end with a little testimony.

I know that this church is true. And i know that because this chruch, this gospel, has brought me closer to my savior jesus christ than any thing else could have. This truly is His church because its in His name that we preach. Its Him that we follow, and everyday, i strive more and more to be like Him. yes, we have efy and activites and ward parties and girls camp and what not, but I will never leave this church not just because of the people, the social aspect, but because this church teaches truth, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. And thats pretty cool stuff.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

sister Briggs

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day! Wait, . . .

when they invited us over for dinner I didn't think . . .

Camera central in Porto
Hello everyone! i loved getting letters and such from all of you this week. thanks so much for everything. also, I have post cards waiting for like a million people, i just need to make the trek down to the post office. next week, when i have money, for sure.

This week we had some miracles. the work is oh so slowly picking up. We had the most elect contact on the street, we taught the whole first lesson in a contact in like 10 minutes. she has already been baptized in some evangelical church, but we invited her to be baptized, right there, on the street, and she accepted because she says she doent feel clean still. well, we can help with that. we have an appointment with her tomorrow.

We had a lesson with a brazilan lady this week too, and it went awesome. she too accepted the convite suave. it was the first real lesson we have taught in a while. now we just gotta get these people to church.

Little miracles, but other than that the work here is still pretty slow. but we keep working hard so hopefully in thee next few weeks we will have some real people to teach, some real miracles.

We also managed to get into the house of this incredibly old lady, taught her a lesson (this was the only other real lesson of the week, the rest were on the street) and at the end we tried explaining baptism and then she finally put two and two together and realized we werent catholic. that was fun. we had a good laugh at that. THERE ARE SO MANY OLD PEOPLE HERE!!!! it blows my mind.

we were gonna do a fast this week. we had a huge lunch so we could make it through the rest of the day... and then we passed by a member at like 9 at night to get something from them to have them help with the activity we are planning... and when we walk in the table is set and we had to eat dinner with them. we rolled home. and had a good laugh about that too.

We have been being more obedient and working harder and trying to do more and more and so im really really really really really hoping to see some results here soon.  But we have an activity planned this week and im really hoping it goes over well. and that we can have the support from our members more.

The Chruch is true. Jesus is the Christ. the Book of Mormon is the word of God. We have the priesthood authority from God. We have a living prophet. Heavenly Father loves us. These things will never change.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Briggs

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sunny in Porto!

Sister Thornley has had this sweatshirt forever and finally met a Minnesotan!
Porto relief society

This week. 

This week was good. things are getting better. Im here in Porto with sister Thornley and i love her so much. she is so funny and so positive and is helping me be so positive without being annoying or unrealistic about it. We have a blast. Its also my first time serving with someone younger than me but ive just stepped right up to it, it feels so good to work, to speak portuguese, to open my mouth, even when it doesnt go how i want, i just feel good at the end of the day because i know i did my part. We contacted at least 20 people everyday and saw some miracles, and we are starting to find some cool people to teach. and one day we found like, four brazilians and it was the best day ever. Things are slowly starting to pick up in this area. slowly. we didnt have any investigators in church on sunday which was rough, but it just gave me even more of a desire to work hard and bring people to church, and find people that want to go to church.

we are coming out of winter here and its the best thing ever. we left the house one day without jackets or anything! happiness. the sun is out, the weather is getting warmer and its wonderful. and its easier to work in weather like this too haha. 

Today as we were leaving the house, we usually do a prayer in the doorway right before we leave, and sister thornley starts doing it in english, without thinking, and then goes, wait, i mean... 
it was soooo funny. praying in english again is going to be a transition. 

We have an investigator who has a ring back tone of the song new york... you know, that one where its like, these lights will inspire you, lets hear it for new york... singing over email doesnt work out so great. but anyway, everytime we call her that song get stuck in our head so now we are making up our own chorus and rap for Porto instead. its gonna be awesome. i love my companion.

Our relief society had an activity this week and the president asked us to make cookies so we did and it was soo good to see our ward coming together and just being a ward. We as missionaries are planning an activity for our ward to help them have a chance to get to know each other a little bit better and to get them excited about missionary work. we know that all it takes to really ignite a ward is one solid convert that wants to contribute, so we are really trying to find that person. its a process.

So sunday night we had a marked to visit this brazilian family that we hadnt been able to teach in awhile, and they are the most perfect most beautiful little family ever, and i didnt want to lose them and i was gettin really nervous. so we go over there sunday afternoon with one of our brazilian members and we get there and it was horrible timing. the dad was skyping his mom, the daughter was out of control, and they had a friend over from an evangelical church that talks really bad about our church. he wouldnt even look at us and left the room when we walked in. so we decided to come back later. i was freaking out, i thought that the evangelical guy was going to talk trash to the family while we were gone, and it was a little awkward when we showed up in the middle of everything and i thought they might have been annoyed, but sister thornley calmed me down and talked to me. shes an angel. And after, i was like, yeah, im just gonna do my part and heavenly Father will do the rest. its in his hands. We said a little prayer and went out to work, an then when we came back that night, we had an awesome lesson, they love the missionaries so much, told us why they hadnt been able to get to church, invited us over for lunch after church the next sunday and we left that lesson on cloud nine. Ive really been learning to just work my little heart out, and follow every prompting that i get, and trust in the Lord, and if things keep going like they have, we are gonna see miracles. it was such a good night.

Well, now that the sun is out, it seems like everything is going better. keep up the prayers, and ill keep praying for you all. next week post cards will be going out to many. I love you all and the Lord loves you too. live His gospel, follow His example. The church is true.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo, 

sister Briggs

Friday, March 7, 2014

Transferred to . . . .??

Hello Everyone!!!

This week we went to work. After the emergency transfer things were rough, as they always are with changes. Its been good to get out and work again with Sister Miles, i don't spend so much time thinking about other things, i have more chances to put into practice the things that we learn. Unfortunately, we went all week only having one real lesson. the rest were on the street or knocking doors... nothing is happening in our area and its been rough. especially since this week we didn't have excuses, we worked SO HARD all week and not much is changing. 

We decided to get to know the members better, because it doesn't make sense bringing more people into the church if they aren't gonna stay strong.  We visited the Bishop's family and found out that one of the kids had been sick and also that the wife had been very lonely. we had a very spiritual visit, and the family came to church again on Sunday.

But other than that, this week has been walking and talking and knocking, and not much else. But i come home knowing i put my whole self into it, and even though nothing happened, my conscience is clean. I put my whole self into it. Ive fallen asleep way early a couple times this week because I'm just exhausted. And because of that, i can feel more changes in myself. i read a conference talk this week by sister bonnie Oscarson, and it was actually the topic of our relief society lesson, called Be ye Converted. It talked about how more than just having a testimony, we have to put in practice what we learn in church, and what we believe. I invite all of you to read it and take a time to really reflect on how personally converted you are. you don't really know until you have to choose, until you have to act. So find ways to act upon that which you believe, and you will see those changes in yourself.

P-day was awesome today. we went and explored down town Porto again, but it wasn't raining this time around, it was sunny and gorgeous.

Even though Sister Miles had just gotten here and we had just gotten comfortable working with each other when real transfers rolled around we thought for sure we would stay together. but nope, Sister Miles is off, I'm staying one more transfer here in Porto... and I'm with a new companion, and for the first time, with someone who is younger than me in the mission. Her name is sister Thornley, she seems really sweet. 

This week was rough, i cant even remember what happened. But here's a funny story for you all.

So we have had pretty nice weather these past few days. So Saturday we decided to make the best of it and we planned to do lots of contacts that day and work really hard. we planned out the route we were gonna walk and everything. we had back up plans, everything, it was so well planned out. Then we get out on Saturday morning and its raining and windy like it hasn't been in weeks. Oh it was miserable. but we got out there and worked anyway. We were standing on the side of the street waiting to cross,and a carr comes by and splashes water ALL over us. But we were already a ways from home and only had a little bit more longer before lunch, so we kept going. We talked to like, 13 people that morning in the rain,and not a single one wanted anything. so we finally get back home, eat, dry off, and head out again. Our one lesson that we had that day fell through, so we start walking again, and then all of the sudden this huge gust of wind comes, and sister miles is walking beside me and it takes her by suprise, the wind grabs her umbrella and sister miles starts screaming, and then cant fight the umbrella and falls into a puddle behind her. Oh it was funny, SO FUNNY. but the poor girl was crying so i got her up and we walked to the chapel, and on  the way there she broke both of our umbrellas. it was a very very rough day... but at least we got a good laugh about the wind literally blowing her over. welcome to Porto!

Well, beside that, its all good in the hood. hope you guys are well too. My spiritual thought today is just about gratitude. Gratidão. I have a miracle journal that sister brooks made me start that i write at least one good thing that happened everyday, and it makes it easier to see the blessings and feel Him in my life, and at least just be happy and have a positive outlook. Its good. you should all do it, and study gratitude this week.
Well, i loved hearing from you all this week!! I'll try to send one of the sticks back to you guys with pictures on it this week. love you all so much!!! also, in just a little bit, I hit nine months on the mission. that's crazy! Also, thanks to all my other friends and family who write me letters or emails. though i may not have time to respond to them all, they are appreciated more than you may ever know.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH and there's nothing that i love more than hearing from each of you, every single one of you that are reading this blog post right now, write me because i want to hear from you.

paz, amor, casamento do templo,

Sister Kelly Briggs
Sister Fluckiger after zone conference

Sister Isabela from Brazil