Monday, September 8, 2014

Ola Familia!!!

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 is not a cheap experience. Salvation never 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 and 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,” 16  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

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