Monday, September 29, 2014
First of all... JASON!!! I am so excited! I loved all of the pictures. You guys are awesome. I seriously am so happy!!!
Okay well I got a call last night atand I am getting transferred to Gaia. It is in northern Portugal. And I am taking a 3 hour train ride in about 20 minutes. Crazy huh?? I seriously did not expect it. I cried. And then we ran over to see Manuela and her family and we all just cried. Anyways I am really excited though. My new companion is going to be new to the area as well, we are "pink washing" the area. Haha I might be able to get on later today. But I just wanted to let you all know.
I love you all so much!! You are all amazing. Love you love you love you!!
Love, Sister Lacey
Monday, September 22, 2014
|Victoria loves to kiss Sister Lacey on the cheek because she knows she's still getting used to kissing greetings :-)|
First of all you guys are awesome. I love hearing from you! I miss you all but I am loving it here. Portugal is amazing.
So we had a Family Home Evening with Manuela and her family and it was a blast. They made us some African soup and it was sooo good until I saw a fleshy thing on my plate and I think it was a pig nose. I am pretty sure they just cook the whole pigs head in the soup. Haha It was still way good though and I managed to eat around it. They are so fun! I just love the people I have met from Africa. We are always laughing and they are always so patient with my Portuguese.
So a few weeks back we contacted this 18 year old girl on the street and she gave us her number and said we could come by and teach her more another day. Well we did this last week and she is AMAZING!! She is neighbors of a recent convert in the ward and she said she noticed a change in him after he got baptized and that she is willing to change as well. We taught her the word of wisdom and she said well I have a problem with 3 of those things but I want to change so I will try my hardest to give them up. we had another lesson with her and we had left her a chapter in The Book of Mormon which she read and she said she prayed about it and knows it is true! I mean seriously is this real life? She is amazing!! And then she said she only smoked one cigarette the day she read and prayed she said she knew it was the Lord blessing her. It gets even better. We went on with the lesson and started talking about our missions and she said how long after I get baptized can I go on a mission? I mean seriously!!! Is she not amazing!?!
Another really cool story. One of our lessons fell through (they said they were not interested) so we had time to knock some doors. We prayed and decided to knock this one building. We took the elevator to the top and no one even opened up the door until we got to the last door in the apartment building. A women opened up the door and she said years ago she met with the missionaries but she was working a lot of hours and so she could never go to church. Well anyways, she said that she is working less now and she just recently began thinking about the missionaries from years ago. We have a lesson with her . I am so excited!
The more I am on my mission the more I just rejoice in My Heavenly Father for letting me see His work be brought forth. In Alma the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word." He literally is preparing the hearts of the people here. We are just here to be worthy to find His children that are listening to the spirit. I am so thankful for this gospel. I know it is true. I love my Father in Heaven and his Son for this is Christ's church and I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost touching the hearts of the wonderful people here. I love you all so much!!! it says, "...
Love Sister Lacey
Monday, September 15, 2014
|Baptism of Manuela, Euclides, and Victoria - Saturday, September 13, 2014|
|Sister Lacey and Victoria|
|Sister Lacey and Manuela|
|Abandoned ship in the bay, Seixal, Portugal|
Hey guys!! Can you believe it has been a week already?! Because I cant. I don´t know if I have told you guys yet but I LOVE PORTUGAL!! I love the country, most of the food (Haha) and of course the people. I actually have not met that many Portuguese people; there are a lot of people from many different countries in my area and I just love them! Anyways this week has been amazing!
Well first for some not so great news. Erica called us last Sunday and said she couldn´t come to church and we saw her later in the street and she had completely changed. Normally she runs up to me and hugs me and is really excited to see us but she gave me a little side hug and when we asked when we could see her during the week she said she was busy. I was so sad, but I thought maybe she was just having a rough day. Well, we had a time set up to meet with her and her mom, (who isn´t the biggest fan of us) and when we went to see them, Erica answered the door and said her mom wasn't there but we could hear her talking. Well, we had a little lesson in the doorway with Erica and she did not really listen to us at all and when we asked if she would read a chapter in The Book of Mormon she said no she is too busy. We left and I lost it. I literally just cried. My trainer seemed a little shocked; but Erica was the first investigator that I met in Portugal the first person who I taught and really the first person here who I really cared about. And she wants nothing to with me. But what made me even more sad is that she wanted nothing to do with the gospel anymore. I know it is because of her mom, but it still just made me really sad. Erica used to read a chapter out of The Book of Mormon and take notes on it and then talk about it with us. So anyways I cried for a little while, then I said a prayer and I felt complete peace and I know that someday when she is older and not living with her mom anymore she will come back to the truth she once knew. So sorry for the sad news we are still going to go by and see her this next week.
Okay now about Manuela, Euclides and Victoria. They are amazing!! We had a lesson with them everyday last week and can I just say the Lord did all the work! We just had to invite and follow up. I don't think I mentioned Euclides in the last email but he is Manuela's son who is 15 and he is deaf. When we would go to teach the lessons he would come and shake our hands. Well, Sister Briggs decided to start giving him the pamphlets and then we would write questions on the back and communicate back and forth through writing. Well one day we wrote do you want to be baptized with you sister and mom and he got the biggest smile on his face and nodded over and over again! Our district leader said he felt the Spirit so strong when he interviewed Euclides as they wrote back and forth and when Euclides wrote he knows the Book of Mormon is true. He is amazing. So they were all baptized !! After Manuela was baptized, she hugged her cousin, Jericly (the Young Men's president) and she just cried. Everyone was so happy and then after she came up to me and hugged me and cried and she said Obrigada, obrigada obrigada (Thank you, thank you, thank you). She was crying so hard and we just hugged for a long time. It was probably one of the best days ever.
I know this is the Lords work because without him we could do nothing here. He prepared the hearts of this family. It was not our teaching. I am so grateful that the mission age change happened. I feel like I am being taught more than I could teach anyone. Everyday as a mission we study the Atonement for 15 minutes and I love it. I read this quote from Elder Holland the other day with this scripture. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John ).
Monday, September 8, 2014
|Sister Lacey in Seixal, Portugal|
|A hike to a castle on Preparation Day|
|A castle in Setubal!|
Hey guys!! Awe I miss you all so much! Sorry I got on so late; we went to a castle in Setubal, so cool! I will send pictures. This week has been so good but first I am sorry if I have seemed so negative in my past emails. I need to work on that but I have realized when I think less about myself I am happier... weird what a concept. Haha
The language is still coming slowly but it is fun how much more I do understand, well I pick up some words here or there. I just love the people in Portugal. They are hilarious. We went to a recent converts house and when we asked how is day was he said, "Horrible, I hated it." Haha I laughed because he was mostly joking... I think. Haha Anyways well I am kind of getting over my not so touchy feely side. The last place I thought that would happen was on my mission. Everyone well every girl you meet kisses you on both cheeks and I mean everyone. And men here kiss girls on the cheeks, besides the sister missionaries. Haha I am starting to get used to it though.
I told you all last week about a little girl named Victoria who came up to us after Sacrament meeting and said she wanted to be baptized well it gets even better. We went to teach her and her mom, Manuela came to listen in. Well we taught the Restoration and the spirit was so strong I knew we had to ask Manuela if she would be baptized. So we were finishing up the lesson and Sister Briggs just kind of looked at me and I knew she was thinking the same thing so I asked Manuela. She looked at me smiled and said, "Ta bem". (Okay) Her daughter Victoria was so excited! Well so was I haha. Victoria said, "Mom! You are going to be baptized on the 13th! The same day as me?” It was amazing to say the least. I don’t think I have ever smiled so much. And it just made me more thankful for our loving Heavenly Father. We really did nothing. They have been prepared by The Lord and by their family members who are members. We just had to invite and then let the Spirit teach. It was such a miracle.
We had a not so good lesson last night however. There is a 14 year old who has been investigating for a while now and he went to EFY last week and he came back and said he wants to serve a mission. And we said well you need to be baptized first and he said well my mom wont let me. The funny part is that is mom in a member but just really inactive. So we had a lesson last night with them. The young men’s President who happens to be Victoria’s Uncle came with us. The spirit could not have been stronger but her heart is so hard. She said my son is not going to be baptized into a church that has so many rules! She went on about this for a while just yelling and literally not making much sense. I was pretty mad at this point and so I stopped her in the middle of her rant and said basically what I could in Portuguese, " I am confused. Why were you baptized into Christ’s church if you already knew about all of the rules?" You should have seen her face. She started to rant again and I said kind of loudly, "Por que?" (Why) I feel sorry for her... It is not the "church" that sets our rules. It is Christ’s church so its His commandments that will help make us happy.
I read a talk from Elder Holland called Missionary Work and The Atonement, and I am going to share a lot of it because it seemed like he was speaking exactly to me. He said, "Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because Salvation was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,”then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
This talk literally was for me. I asked those questions. I have never prayed so hard. I have said to my Father in Heaven, "I know this church is true so why isn’t this easier, why don’t more people accept it?" And when I read this talk it just hit me. Christ our Savior who was a perfect teacher and a perfect person was rejected. I have also realized more and more that the Atonement is not just for our sins it is for our pains and afflictions and I can honestly say that it carries me daily because I know that my Savior has been lower and he knows all I am going through. Why would Christ’s work, Christ’s church, be easy when nothing was easy for him? I love this gospel so much. I am so glad that this isn’t easy because if it was then I wouldn’t grow and I have a lot I need to improve on. I love you all so much!!! Thank you for all of your support!! Love you, love you love you!!
Love, Sister Lacey
Monday, September 1, 2014
|Cobblestone streets of Arrentela, Portugal!|
|With Sister Harper (MTC roommate)|
This week has been filled with miracles. It has been hard trying to adjust to the language and the culture shock, but I have also recognized the Lord's hand here everyday. We have a couple who have been investigating and they are amazing. They are willing to read and keep commitments.morning however we got a call form them and they said they would not be able to come to church. I was feeling really down so I said a prayer and when I got up I looked in my planner and it I had written to read "A Consecrated Missionary" that morning and so I did. I love when it says, "Sometimes in life we just have to square our shoulders and do it ...no passage of time that strengthens us, no memorized approach that embolds us." And then I read D&C 60:2 And when I read this scripture it sounded like this, "Sister Lacey, with you I am not well pleased, for you will not open your mouth but you hide the talent which I have given you for fear of men." I do speak here, but sometimes I think, well my companion can say that clearer so she should and I just realized that I am not being a consecrated missionary. The talk says,"My all is a small repayment for his all." I went on and realized that I need to be happier because I am a member of this gospel and if I give my all the Lord will lead me. So we then went to church and only one of our investigators was there but then during the second block we were in Gospel Principles and in walked another one of our investigators! After Sacrament, the Relief Society president and her husband came up to us with some of their family members and their niece said, "I want to be baptized." She said she wanted to be this weekend! I could have fainted. Well we found out that her mom and brother our also interested and want to take the discussions. The Lord literally handed them to us. We did nothing and it just helped me to realize even more that this is His work, not mine. We are so blessed.
So last Monday we had dinner at a members house. I walked in and smelt... FISH!! Haha I was so scared. It was cod fish. The only way I can describe it is that it was like funeral potatoes with cod fish. It was surprisingly really good! My companion though told them that I don't like fish so they invited us out for a picnic with some recent converts in the ward and they bring out this huge bowl filled with a ton of dead fish just staring at me. They were Sardines! They grilled them and I ate one whole fish. They said Sardines have the strongest flavor out of all the other fish and that was an understatement haha It really was pretty good. Brother Rocha, who was in the quorum of the Seventy, saw my face and said, "Sister Lacey just enjoy it!" Haha I told him I was trying but I didn't like the fish staring back at me! Haha I had a lot of fun.
One more funny story. Dogs here are pretty annoying. Kind of like Clay said they were in Italy. They do their business whereever they please so I am constantly watching my step. Well the big dogs like to stick their heads through gates to try and bite you. We were walking to an investigators house about 40 minutes away and this dog scared my companion half to death. Well, we went to the investigators house and they canceled on us. I was pretty frustrated so as we walked home we went past the dog and I saw it waiting there to try and scare us so I just stood there and stared at it. It seemed a bit confused. I then jumped towards the gate and I have never seen a animal so scared. Haha It probably saw a whole 2 weeks of stress in my eyes. It literally ran way crying... no joke. I feel kind of bad. Haha
I am so thankful for this gospel. Dad, like you said, each rejection just brings me closer to that one person who is ready for the gospel. So every time I am rejected I try to smile after because I know this gospel is true and my family and my future family will be blessed by it. I love this gospel so much. D Todd Christofferson said, "It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did know sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause." Isn't it just a miracle that we can even pray and receive answers and comfort from our Heavenly Father? And in Doctrine and Covenants the Savior said,"Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and I am your advocate with the Father, and it is his good will to give you the kingdom." Our Father in Heaven and his beloved son love us so much.
I love you all so much!!