Monday, November 24, 2014

Ola Familila!!

Hey Guys!!

Crazy it has already been another week! And I have been in Portugal for I think 3 months now! Seriously crazy!! I am actually headed to Lisboa tonight and will stay there for a day or two for my ResidĂȘncia already! Crazy!

We had a wonderful lesson with Silvia this week. We have been trying to help her stop smoking and we had a lesson with her and the spirit was so strong. Sister Fuertes asked a really inspired question and said, Silvia Why do you want to stop smoking and she said because I want to be healthy and live longer. And then I said Well Silvia I think that is your problem. And she said What Sister Lacey. And I said I think you need to change your perspective and say you want to stop smoking because you want to be baptized and want to be sealed to your family in the temple. The words literally just flowed out of my mouth. We then invited her to pray about a specific date to stop smoking and if to ask the Lord if she really could stop before that date. We all knelt and the spirit was literally so strong. She finished the prayer and we all just sat there. We just cried and she said well I think that is a pretty clear answer. I don't think I have ever felt the spirit so strong on my mission. We do have a loving Heavenly Father and he does answer our prayers!!

This whole week my personal study has literally carried me through the rest of the day. Elder Cook told us to read all the accounts in the Bible of the Risen Lord. So that is the last chapter of Matthew, Mark, Luke, the last 2 of John and the first 8 verses of Acts. It is seriously incredible. I have really thought about the account in Luke 24 Christs appears to two of his followers and they do not recognize him. And that really hit me and I asked myself if Christ walked up to me would I recognize him? Do I of him and about him or do I really know him? I started to study more in The Book of Mormon on How to really know Christ and in Moroni 7:48, it says, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."

So in order to truly know Christ and recognize him we must become like him. It is so simple but so profound. In English we only have the word "Know" but in Portuguese there is the word Saber meaning to know a fact and then the word Conhecer which is to be familiar with. So I need to conhecer Christ on a personal level. And in order to do this I need to not think of my self but focus on others and be filled with the love that He has for others. 

I am so grateful for this gospel. It is truly Christ's Church on the earth. I love you all so much!! 

Sister Lacey

Monday, November 17, 2014

Elder Cook!!!

Elder Cook with the missionaries in the north
A beautiful day turned to a rainstorm in a hurry
With Irma Fernanda who loves to teach with the sister missionaries
Ola minha familia!!

Okay first of all I am seriously so happy for Brookie!! Isn´t the temple amazing?? I literally miss it but every time I think of the covenants I made there I want to work harder so the people here in Portugal can have a temple. This week has been amazing!!

On Tuesday we had divisions with our Sister Training Leaders. A sister from Brazil named Sister Correa stayed in Gaia with sister Torres and I and then Sister Fuertes went to their area. So we had our divisions. First of all it was pretty cool to be with 2 Portuguese speakers for 24 hours, but I seriously learned so much. Sister Correa and I talked about how there was a study done by the church about how many times recent converts heard about the gospel before they were baptized and the average number is 8. Eight times from members and missionaries before they accept to learn more or come to church. So, when we would contact people and they didn't want anything, we would say alright they just need to be contacted 7 more times :-). It made everything more positive and made me realize that they are not completely rejecting our message of Jesus Christ but they are just not spiritually ready right now. I have already had so much joy in this work. I love my Savior and his work. We truly are his hands and we are all he has. 

One funny story. On Friday night we had our ward activity and we had 8 Elders there because they stayed the night at our district leaders house. Well, they were all joking around because some of them have 3 weeks left so they were talking about girls and dates. Anyways you all know me... I have trouble keeping things to myself when I hear not so intelligent things. Haha Anyways lets just say that I am still known as the sassy sister. Haha And I was speaking in Portuguese. The Elders are lucky that I am not speaking English right now. Haha

Okay now about Elder Cook!!! Awe he is amazing. We all traveled to Porto about a 30 minute metro ride and then a 15 minute walk to a capela there. It is pretty fun traveling in a big group of missionaries. Anyways we had about 40 missionaries there and Elder Cook and his wife wanted to meet all of us. It was so cool! I literally learned so much. He was so loving and said how much he and the Quorum of The 12 and the First Presidency pray for the missionaries. And he said missionaries we are in this together!! This is the Lords work and we are his hands! He also talked about when President Hinckley called him into his office in 2007 on a Thursday night (I think shortly after we met him at that stake conference) and extended the calling to be an apostle. Elder Cook said he asked President Hinckley, "Couldn't The Lord  have found someone better than me?" And President Hinckley said, "I don't want to hear any of that." Anyways he told us this because he felt completely overwhelmed. That Saturday he would be sustained an Apostle and give a talk in General Conference. He said I talked to my wife and said honey we are in BIG trouble. And he said that they both wept. Well he also said that he prayed and the impression came to him... "what does an Apostle do?" And he thought well they are a witness of Jesus Christ and then he thought, well I have been since I was baptized so I can continue to do that now. He told us that he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and love and not because of his own personal ability but because of the love he has for the Savior and for the strengthening Power of the Atonement. 

He shared so much more about that we need to change our thoughts and beliefs and overcome ourselves. He also said Elders and Sisters I know this isn't Mexico or Brazil.  I understand that there are a few more baptisms there. But more faith equals more success, so have more faith. The people of Portugal need a temple here. We need to double our numbers here. He told us that after every transfer or once we leave an area it must be stronger than how we found it. The young men and young women should want to serve missions because of you and the Bishop should have complete trust in you. It was seriously amazing. He ended by leaving a blessing with us. He said I know you have left behind families and loved ones, and you miss them. But I promise you that what you are doing here on your mission will effect them for good and they will be blessed and protected. And not only them, but your future family will be blessed daily for your service here. The spirit was seriously so strong. So guys, just know an Apostle of Christ left a blessings for you guys to strengthen you. On Sunday we went back to Stake Conference to here him speak and he spoke a lot about strengthening families and to always have prayers morning and night and family home evening. 

I know he is an apostle of The Lord. We are so blessed to be members of this gospel. He also talked about how we need to teach people, not lessons. He said you need to feel what your investigator is feeling. In the past (a few days ago) I always thought, well if you believe the Church is true then quit smoking or get married. But now I am really trying to feel the way others feel. For example, I like chocolate a lot, but I'm not addicted to it but I expect others to change when I am not willing to stop eating chocolate or have more patience with companions. Anyways, sorry if this doesn't make any sense. I am having trouble writing some words an English, weird.... Haha

I love you all so much!!! I am so blessed to be a member of this gospel. I know it is true. This is Christ's church. Don't be afraid to share the gospel! I love you all so much. Be safe and have a great week.

Sister Lacey

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ainda em Gaia!!

Hey guys!!!

I am still in Gaia. I am seriously so happy, I was not ready to leave. Thank you all so much for the emails.  You are all awesome!! Seriously (Brooke) Japan!! I still cant get over it. Haha

This week has been great I was out for one day though. I had the flu... not very fun. One of our investigators was sick with the flu and I got it too. We have a doctor that we are supposed to call if we get sick and I wouldn't call her so my companion did and the doctor said I have to stay inside and not work for the whole day. Anyways I am good now. 

So I have a new companion. Well Sister Fuertes and I are still together, but for 2 weeks we have another companion. She is from Portugal ans she is waiting for her visa to Brazil for her mission. So it is a lot of fun in our house right now. We have Sister Fuertes with her Spanish Portuguese mix; Sister Torres with her pure Portuguese and me. Haha We are having fun. 

So I have realized something this week. I am a lot more happy when I am not thinking about myself. Weird right :-). I think it has just been an adjustment for me because before the mission at Dixie, every thing was about me. I went to class for me, I worked for myself, I ran because I loved it. I mean everything. And now there is a ward, a Bishop, members and this whole area that needs me to be thinking about them and I actually really like it. It was an adjustment for sure, but truly The Lord needs his missionaries, because people need us. It is just really cool how much the ward and less actives and recent coverts rely on us. And Brookie will see this too. You will help people quit smoking and help people come back to church and help people get married....

So one of our investigators got engaged lest night!! I am so excited. She is living with her boyfriend and he is a less active who was baptized when he was 8 but shortly after his mom stopped taking him to church. Anyways they have a daughter and they come to church every Sunday as a family and we have been talking a lot about the law of chastity and they said they want to get married in a year. So we have been working with them a lot and then last night we had dinner with them and he proposed to her. And they are getting married on Dec. 5th!  I am so excited! 

I am so thankful for this gospel. There are days when it gets pretty tough and then the Lord just blesses us and shows us that He is still in charge of this work. I love you all so much!! I know this is Christ's Church on the Earth. We are so blessed. I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ola Minha Familia!!

At Ward Halloween Activity
Bobbing for apples at activity
Sister Fuertes and Sister Lacey
The sisters, Claudia and her friends

First of all!! BROOKIE!!! Ahhhhhhhh!!! Seriously I am so excited!! Japan!! How cool is that? I am seriously so excited! Did I say that already? There will be two Sister Laceys out at the same time!!! Awe!!!! I am so happy.

This week has been great. I am so sorry about last week. To start off, the members here are amazing! I love the ward here. We have activities every Friday and have dinner and we (the missionaries) share a spiritual thought and then we play games. Well, on Thursday we had a lesson with a family and we invited them to the activity.  They said maybe they would come. Well, Friday came around and one of them (her name is Claudia) came with 4 of her friends all dressed up for Halloween!  We had so much fun playing games; it was literally so cool. 

So on Thursday we had a lesson with a member and we have been working with her for a while to help her quit smoking and start coming to church with her sons. Well, she has come to church 2 times now, but on Thursday she said she wouldn't go this week because her son who is 8 doesn't want to go. Well I was pretty mad because her son told us right there that he loves church. Anyways she was basically making an excuse because she doesn't want to go and I was just frustrated. So Sister Fuertes and I were pretty bummed and we were leaving and I tripped on these stairs and fell. It was pretty funny. Anyways, my ankle hurt a bit which is rare for me because my kankles are pretty sturdy. Haha So we sat down on a bench to check it out and I looked up and saw this kid and the thought came to me to talk to him. And I thought, no he is like 15 he will not want to hear anything, but then I turned to Sister Fuertes and said, " He is going to serve a mission".  And that is the only impression I had. It was seriously way cool. So we talked to him. And he told us he doesn't really know if he believes in God but he wants too. And then his sister came outside and she is 14 and amazing also. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and how they do not need to believe us but they can pray and find out for themselves and we said when you do God will answer your prayer. And his sister Beatriz literally gasped when we said that and her face lit up and she said God has answered your prayers? And we said yes!! Bruno her Brother said a prayer with us and it was the first prayer he has ever given. He was so happy after he said it.

Afterwards Sister Fuertes and I said a prayer of gratitude. We do this a lot during the day. It just helps turn everything over to the Lord. Anyways ,during the prayer I just cried. I was just so happy. I literally just cry here out of pure joy. When you bare your testimony and feel of the love Heavenly Father has for not only you but for those you are speaking to there is just no better feeling. I am so grateful Brooke will be able to experience this soon.

I know this gospel is true! I love my Savior so much. This is his church and he knows us perfectly and he knows how to help us. I love you all so much!!!

Love Sister Lacey