Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hola from Funchal, Madeira!!

Sunday night we got the transfer calls. I was really praying to go to lisboa, because the areas in lisboa baptize more than they do in the north, and i was really hoping to have a little more success on my mission. So when i got the call to madeira, i was pretty disappointed. the islands are like a whole other mission, you're literally separated from everything.

But im not at all disappointed anymore.

IT IS GORGEOUS HERE. I can see the sea almost every where i go and our area goes right up until the beach and the entire island is a mountain so we have to go up into the mountains to work and the views are incredible. i don't feel like a missionary, i feel like im just a visitor. Seriously. i will take lots of pictures today to send next week. I'm in a whole other world from Porto, its warm and gorgeous here and just completely different, from the second i stepped off the plane.

The work here is actually going better. They baptized a lot shortly before i got here, so now we are building the work back up again. Im so excited to be here and work with them. The challenges to this area are that its pretty touristy. we cant work in some areas because none of the people we contact are portuguese, and its always a challenge to distinguish. But its worth it.

Im serving with sister Carroll. She is awesome. and hilarious. we already get along great. She tried to make me surf on the bus here, like the second day, aka stand on the bus without holding on to anything, and i fell. hard. all out. on the ground. It was embarrassing and we had a good laugh about it. I also did a contact in english because we heard an american accent, so we went running to talk to this guy... and that contact was the most awkward thing ive ever done in my life. im so not used to making small talk not in portuguse. at the end of it i was like, hey! maybe someday you guys can go the temple! its really pretty inside!! and then we said bye and walked away. so embarrassing...

The elderes in Porto this past week had a baptism of a young man that we found and began teaching. he is incredible. His name is Paulo, and next week i will send an email of just a picture of him and his story, and you guys will be blown away.

We also had another really cool experience in Porto. One day me and sister thornley were just walking... we had no plans for that day and had already tried to talk to almost 20 people and no one wanted anything. Then all of the sudden this car passes us in the street, slams on the breaks, backs up, and rolls down the window and says, where can i buy that book? pointing at the book of mormon in sister thornleys hand. our jaws dropped and we gave him the book. then he asked whjere the church was so he could go. we gave him our card, got his number, and then he had to drive away. a couple days later we had a lesson with him, and it was incredible. he was asking about the prophet and why he is called that and who he is and when he could talk to us next and such, it was SO COOL. we found out that this guy used to be in the air force and while he was there his friends talked to him about the church, and now hes totally open to anything. he accepted to be baptized.

family, friends, loved ones, if we open our mouths and talk to our friends about the gospel and invite them to hear more, we will see miracles. read doctrine and covenants 18 for me and please please please, invite your friends to come to activites, to go to church, to recieve the missionaries.

And even if i leave my mission with only one baptism, what a privelege it will have been to serve him and do this sacred work and be his servant and His hand here in portugal. I am so grateful He has let me have this privilege, and that i have had the blessing of seeing such miracles. I know that He lives and that this is His church. I love you all.

paz, amor, e casamento do templo,

sister briggs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

General Conference. Also, MADEIRA!!!!

Yes, I've been transferred to the island paradise of Madeira!
My companion is sister carrol and she is fantastic, super sweet and super chill. i have lots to tell you but i only have fifteen minutes to write so let me just give you my new address
Rua casa branca numero 33 -1 andar
Funchal, 9000-113

leaving porto was hard because i was there for awhile but im excited to be in a new place. they actually closed our área there, im not sure why, maybe there just wasnt enough work to do. but we saw some miracles at the end of that transfer. I will send lots of pictures of the sea and of the last days in porto when i write next week, i only have a little bit of time right now.

I'll miss ya Sister Thornley!

This week was good. Mostly because we had the hope of conference at the end of the week! 

On the metro one night, we sat down and i saw one of investigators, a braslian lady named isabele, and she was the sweetest girl ever and understood everything perfectly, but then we could never get a hold of her which made me sad, but then we saw her on the metro and got off to talk to her and marked an appointment with her and then we stayed in the metro to catch the next one and we were all happy and dancing and what not, and then when the next metro comes, who is there but our favorite member ever, our other brasilian isabela! that was fun.
We taught this lady who has been studying with the jehovas witnesses. here they are testemunhos de jeova, so we just call them tjs. anwyway, we taught the first lesson, and when we got to joseph smith and the book of mormon, she was like, no, we cant have anything besides the bible, etc etc, and we tried to show her john 10:16 and such, but she just kept talking so i just came in with the most sincere testimony that i could of the book of mormon, and you could feel the whole spirit in the room change. and at the end she was like, alright, ill give it one more little reading. it was awesome. even if she doesnt get baptized, i know i did my part. i could feel the spirit in that room. and thats one thing that the tjs with all their bible bashing cant do, bring the spirit. 
General conference was incredible. i dont know if its always been this awesome and i have been missing out or if this conference was especially incredible or if its just because im a missionary. but it was awesome. the words i heard most were discipleship, covenants and obedience. there was an overlying theme of how important it is for us to stay on the covenant path and stay true to those covenants and keep being true disiples of christ, even though its hard. And its only going to get harder and the way of the world and the way of the Lord grow farther and farther apart. KEEP GOING FAMILY AND BE STRONG!!! oh the church is so true. Its so true i cant even handle it.
I encourage you all to read, study, and APPLY elder ballards talk. please please please. oh family and friends, you guys all have such great potential to be good missionaries.
I know this church is true because of the changes i have seen in myself, in my desires, in the things i want, in how i want to live my life, who i want to be. the difference i can see in the way i treated conference, just from october to now, blows my mind. this gospel is real, and it changes people if you let it, if you work at it. let that change happen in you.
paz, amor e casamento do templo,
sister Briggs


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hump Day with the Porto Dragons!

Well, this week.

We got this crazy elect reference. This young man who had visited the other chapel in Porto several times before, just showed up at church when one of his neighbors who is a member invited him, stayed for all three hours, participated, and liked it a lot. we had a lesson with him monday night and he accepted everything, understood everything, and asked the best questions. It was so cool!

And then we had to pass him to the elders because president likes us to teach the young single adult women, and the elders, the men. it was so sad. they marked him for baptism the next lesson they had.  
But, i have faith that we will be blessed for our sacrifice to be obedient. 

I hit nine months this week!!! It was crazy to think that when i was young in the mission, i looked at those sisters with nine months, thought, wow! they have been here forever, and now I think wow, i have been here forever. and frankly, sometimes it feels like i will be here forever haha. but we just keep going forward. we ate several pastries that day to celebrate, and i took the classic nine month photo, but they are on my comps camera so ill send them next week. 

This week we had a fast as a mission that started after lunch one day and ended at lunch the next. but that morning of the fast was weekly planning. which is prime snack time for missionaries. its impossible to survive weekly planning without a snack. it was the longest planning session of my life, but i made brigadeiro the night before, this kind of brasilian fudge, so we dove into that the moment the fast ended!

We want to teach a family. so everytime we see anyone witha  stroller, young kids, be what it may, we contact them. we found this man this week who is from south africa but is living with his portuguese wife and family and accepted to meet with us so fast. he was born and raised christian and loved when we talked about the importance of families. he said a family that prays together, stays together. im excited to start working with them.

we also got picked on by our anti mormon friend again. im over it. i studied all the scriptures he sent us in the bible, and my testimony was just strenghthened. the church is true, and the truth will never be taken from the earth again!!

Im sending more pictures this week because this letter is short.

thank you ALL for the letters, prayers, love and support. im doing my best and getting better at doing my best every day.

Paz, amor, casamento do templo.

sister briggs