30 May 2012

family away from home

Hi!
 
Ah my heart is so full today! First of all I get on my little myldsmail account to read all of your wonderful emails and then BAM BAM BAM like 10 people got married, engaged and are preggo. Everyone better email me pictures!
 
This week was amazing. Yesterday Mohamed got baptized. Then Fransisco, the man from Angola I contacted on the street my first week here comes to church every week and agrees with everything the church stands for. He wants to be baptized but won’t commit to a date. We brought the zone leaders with us to an appointment and he accepted. But then on Sunday he said in sacrament meeting he wanted to wait. So we will continue to work with him. We also marked Flavio from Mozambique for baptism and he's going to fast all week to prepare for this baptism next weekend. I can barely fast one day! This man is truly a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. I love my area here in Porto, I love my companion, I love Lucia and her husband (who will get baptized one day), I love Vanessa and the cute little Brazilian couple Cassandra and Lindenburg, Silva and Irmão Carvalho. They all help us so much with the missionary work here. They are my family away from home. I swear I´m spoiled rotten here.
 
Today for p-day we are hanging out at our chapel playing basketball and writing letters and emails. I realized that Portugal doesn´t have Memorial Day. Today I am really missing my cousin Riky. He passed away November of 2010 and I think about him every day. I know he is in a better place now but I still catch my self wishing I could talk to him again. That's why I am so grateful for the Gospel. We can be with our families again after this life. The Lord's plan of Salvation is so clear and gives hope to each of us if we follow it and keep the Lord's commandments we can all be together for eternity. 
 
Thank you all for writing me and not forgetting about me. I’m so proud of all of you and I miss you all each day. My missionary, little Jenn Woodward wrote this to me in her letter last week and I want to share it with you, "I feel like you start your mission and end it as a completely different person in many ways. It's like the scripture about turning yourself over to the Lord and He will take your heart away and give you a new one. That's how I feel with every person that I´ve met or taught, every ward/branch I’ve served in and every companion and city you give away a piece of your heart and you´ll never get that piece back....but in exchange you receive a new piece...it's not the same, it's different, it allows your heart to feel something it’s never felt, and it fits perfectly where the other piece was. But it's not at all the same. And this giving and receiving cycle goes on and on through out your whole mission...or life...and at the end you have a completely different heart. You experience a literal change of heart". I swear Jenn needs to write a book or something. She always has the perfect things to say. I can’t believe she ends her mission in Paris soon. This is happening to me. I'm experiencing that change of heart. When I leave Porto I will leave a part of my heart here. I'm excited for what is in store for me in the future and what the Lord has planned for me.
 
Thank you all for being a part of my life. I love you.

 
Beijinhos,
Irmã Nelson

27 May 2012

5+ months down!




 
Can you believe I´ve already been on my mission for five months and in Portugal for three? Some days I feel like I have lived here forever and others I feel like I just arrived.
Getting to Skype my family yesterday for Mother’s Day was so fun. Seeing your faces was exactly what I needed. You all know exactly what to say to make me feel better and carry on. I don´t know what I did to be so blessed to have such a great family.

This week was really good. We have several investigators marked for baptism and I’m so stoked. Everyday I’m growing better in the language and in my knowledge of the Gospel. I know I will never be perfect
but I will never stop working hard and learning from my mistakes. If we truly pray for the Lord to help us He will prepare a way. The rain finally went away and now it’s really sunny and hot.
Really hot, but I love it. I’ll take heat over cold any day. I’m sorry my email won’t be very long today but know that I love all of you very much. I’m so happy to be here in Porto and to be serving another
transfer with my companion. She helps me so much. I love you all and miss you. Have an amazing week. You’re always in my prayers

Irmã Nelson

Mother's Day Skype Session!


AH SUCH GREAT EMAILS THIS WEEK! Time is seriously my biggest enemy. I don’t even have time to write in my journal! I try to play catch up but it’s so hard.
YESTERDAY WAS AMAZING! WE HAD FOUR BAPTISMS! This work is so inspired and the Lord has so many people prepared for this Gospel and I´m blessed enough to be the one here with them holding their hand. It was such a miracle. We have been working with this mother and her daughter since I arrived in Porto, named Olivia and Rosinda. Every week we would invite them to follow Christ’s example and be baptized. Olivia would say the same thing "não filha, não filha". They go to church every week with us and institute. Last Sunday Olivia FINALLY said yes. Her daughter was a little more hesitant. She finally prayed out loud with us for the first time in almost four months on Saturday night, asking Heaven Father if she should get baptized. It was one of those moments that fill your heart with so much joy. My favorite part of being a missionary is kneeling with an investigator hearing them pray out loud for the first time. I cry every time. These people are earnestly seeking the truth and are sincerely asking our Father in Heaven for an answer. So the next morning at church she ran up to us and told us she received an answer and wanted to get baptized with her mom that afternoon. Ah I love being a missionary.
 
Another miracle this week. We have been teaching this family who is from Mali, Africa for about three weeks now. They are the most humble people I have ever met. They just want to be happy and be together for eternity. The mom Miriam we met at church three weeks ago. A recent convert neighbor brought her to church. We began stopping by every afternoon to teach her and her two sons, Abdulaye (28) and Mohamed (20). Mohamed is Islam and was very against changing religions. He always listened but refused to pray with us and accept Christ as his Savior. But last week when we came over the first thing he said was "Sisters, I have good news. I prayed and I know the Church is true and I want to get baptized. It won’t be easy but it’s what God told me; along with my mom and brother.” On Thursday we went over to teach them and we were talking a little bit about being missionaries and why we leave our friends families and lives behind for 18-24 months. I was saying to him that we are here because we know the Gospel is true, we love our Savior and we’re here to find people like you and invite you to come unto Christ. I was saying that it’s not easy. It’s very hard but it is all worth it for the tender mercies and the little moments like him telling me that he had good news and wanted to be baptized. I went on to say that my mission is changing me and the people here. He stopped me and said "no, you are changing ME" and I of course we both started crying. This is why I’m here to see the Lord change these people. His mom and brother had both attended church once so they could be baptized on Sunday, but their father lives in France and they couldn’t get a hold of him to get his permission. Since he’s Muslim we needed to get consent. So only Abdulaye was baptized after church with Olivia and Rosinda. We went to dinner at a member’s house with people from the ward and the zone leaders called us and said that given the situation, President said she could be baptized without consent from her husband. We went back to the chapel, re- filled with font and had another baptism :) Mohamed will be baptized this next Sunday.
 
I’m so grateful for this Gospel and miracles in my life. I know I was sent here for a purpose. It requires a lot of hard work, including my first two splits this week which was so intimidating teaching without Irmã Young with me, but the Lord puts the exact words in your mouth that the people need to hear. I’m so grateful for this Church and all of the tender mercies. You are all tender mercies in my life. I pray for you every day and I can always feel your prayers. Thank you all for everything. Congrats to everyone who graduated; Brandon, Sheree, Court! And all the engaged and preggos! I love you guys :)
xoxo
Irmã Nelson

11 May 2012

Bed Bugs and Baptism!

To answer your question, yes I still have bed bug bites. They won’t go away. Irmã young wrapped me in Neosporin and gauze last night to keep me from scratching them.....it’s better than the cone of shame.
 
LUCIA GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY! I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful baptism. She is my angel. Every hard day of my mission is worth it to see her make this covenant with our Heavenly Father. I was dying laughing because when she put on the baptismal clothes she started doing karate kicks and HIE-YAS all around the dressing room. I love my crazy Lucia. Then she ran around the lawn outside the chapel while we were taking pictures and wanted pictures with a basketball she found nearby. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. She was baptized by this cute young Brazilian named Lindenburg. He and his wife are in our Ward. He has an adorable little wife named Preggo. We love them so much. She’s the one who started giving me a manicure during FHE a couple of weeks ago. We’re going to buy a white little dress today for their baby’s blessing.
 
At the baptism I gave a talk on baptism and our Ward Mission Leader spoke on the Holy Ghost. It was so funny; Lucia’s feet went flying in the air when she went under the water so they had to do it again. She’s the cutest little thing. She weighs probably 80 pounds. I made chocolate chip cookies and the entire ward was obsessed with them and wants the recipe (And you thought I couldn’t cook). They call them "bolachas Americana’s." They don’t bake chocolate chip cookies here and chocolate chips don’t exist here either.  
 
Lucia and her husband fed us after church. Her husband agreed to let us teach him one lesson if he could take us on a drive by the beach and the river. It was the most beautiful sight ever. I’m in love with Porto. Transfers are Monday and I hope I don’t get transferred. There are still so many people here I need to see baptized. We have some awesome new investigators that are so ready to be baptized. 
 
Ah I love being a missionary. I was a little run down this week but our Ward Mission Leader Irma Carvalho gave me a blessing and I’m feeling so much better. I have a strong testimony of the power of the Priesthood. We need to take advantage of it more often and all worthy Priesthood holders should use this amazing power more often as well to bless the lives of those around them. 
 
I’m so sad the senior couple here, the McConkies, are leaving tomorrow. They were my family when I first arrived in my area. They are such amazing people and I will miss them so much.
 
I received an unexpected package of letters from the Tempe University 4th Ward this week. It was so randomly perfect. Thank you so much.
SHOUT OUT TO KATIE SCERRA! Love you chica! 
 







This Church is so true. I know it with all my heart. My testimony gets stronger each day. I’m so honored to be doing the Lord’s work here in Portugal. Thank you for all your letters and prayers.
I love you
Irmã Nelson

Chuva Chuva Chuva!

Chuva Chuva Chuva!
 
Bom dia! Well today is another rainy day in Porto. Its been raining non-stop all month. I started putting all my warm weather clothing in my suitcases then had to take it all out and wear it because it’s been cold and rainy all month. But May is going to be so beautiful. They have the prettiest trees and flowers. There is an area here called Gondomar where we have some investigators and it’s honestly so gorgeous and green and full of vineyards and has a pretty view of the city. All the rain is making everything neon green. I love it. 
 
I was little sad last night because Augusta wasn´t baptized. Her son took her out of town and wouldnt give us their number or address. So we weren´t able to baptize her, but as soon as she comes back we will baptize her right away. She has such a desire to be baptized and knows that this Church is true. I love my little old Augusta. I know the Lord has plans for her. She truly is so special. 
 
Our investigators and recent converts are always feeding us. They are such humble giving people and are following Christ’s example. I love my Ward here so much. They are so involved and all want to be missionaries. The ward missionaries have been helping so much this week going out on lessons with us. I’m sorry my email is so short but you guys know how it goes.
 
My bed bug bites still haven’t gone away yet so I look like Ii have chicken pox or some weird disease but whatever, who am I trying to impress. I’m getting better at street contacting
 
Four people this week on the street asked if I was Portuguese. They told me I have an amazing accent. This is the best compliments ever. I´m still working on understanding every little word but it will come with time. Im actually leading the lessons now and do pretty well on the phone.
 
  WellI have to go. We’re taking our recent convert Vanessa to find long skirts for Church. Her new calling is so perfect for her. Shes so excited and I couldn´t be more proud of her. 
 
Mom, she loves the CTR ring :) Please remember how much I love and miss all of you. Please continue to pray and thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings He has given us.
 
I love being a missionary. I know this Church is true with all my heart and I am so blessed to be His servant here in Portugal. Fica Bem! Beijinhos! Amo Vocês!!
 
IRMÃ NELSON

the work is marvelous

HELLO!!!I´m sorry I didn´t write yesterday we had zone conference and interviews with President Torgan! Honestly President Torgan is one of the most amazing men I know. (next to my daddy of course) He is so close to the spirit and constantly telling us that nothing is possible without faith in the Lord. Reading Ether 12 &chapter 9 in preach my gospel has become a daily thing for me. I’m so obsessed with the scriptures and Preach My Gospel it’s not even funny. They have answers to EVERYTHING. PMG is not just for missionaries. EVERYONE should be reading this book. Please use this book along with your scriptures and it with amplify your study and help you serve others.

THIS WEEKEND WILL BE MY FIRST BAPTISM! she is seriously the CUTEST little thing you have ever seen. Her name is Augusta and she about 4.5 feet tall and is 78 years old.  She lives alone and the first day we met her she asked us to live in her big house with her. She always calls us her maninas (girls) and she basically contacted us! We were waiting at the bus paragem (stop) last week asked about the book in our hands and our names tags. Ever since we have been teaching her (she was stanch catholic so she’s still trying to understand everything she still thinks we need a papa (pope) but we explained that a prophet is called of God and not elected by the people like the pope. She has already come with us to sacrament once, a church relief society activity and President Torgan gave a fireside in our stake on Sunday and we brought her to that. After the activity on Friday we asked her if she would be baptized next Sunday and she said yes! she always carries the book of Mormon in her purse and read all the pamphlets we gave her before she goes to bed. she always likes to walk with her arm linked with mine and told me she has a facebook! I’m obsessed with her!

last Sunday we ate with Lucia’s family. She is such an amazing person and has so much love for others. We´re helping her prepare for baptism she’s so close! I love her very much. the bed bug problem is getting better since we don’t have a washing machine the sister in our ward took all our linens etc to be washed. the bites are slowly going away. and I haven’t found any new ones.... yet.

Every time I think if the bed bugs I think of jay on his mission when he told me that they’re clever & crawl up the wall to the ceiling and fall back onto the bed.  weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! stupid little guys stop biting me.

today we only get 3 hours instead of a regular pday so I apologize for not writing much. this work is so hard but I’ve never been happier in my entire life. you care SO much about your investigators that you begin to forget about yourself. but that’s what we learn in the scriptures if we lose ourselves in the service of others we find ourselves.

I love you all so much it hurts. I can’t thank our Heavenly Father enough for all of you. I don’t know what I did to have such an amazing family and friends. thank you for  everything you do and your prayers I feel them every day. I also thank him for the amazing companion I have. She teaches me so much everyday and helps me to keep focused on my purpose. This Work really is marvelous. I couldn’t be more lucky to be serving in this beautiful country. At times it doesn’t even feel like work but if were not working were not doing our job.

We are on the Lords errand and I only get 18 months to serve. Thank you for all of your examples I love you so much.
xoxo-
Irma

11 April 2012

BOA PÁSCOA!

BOA PÁSCOA!
I hope you all had an amazing Easter! I missed all of you very much. This week was a good week. Remember Adelberto? He was our golden contact we found my first week here but his phone was disconnected. Well we found him this week and marked him for baptism but then his phone was shut off again. He told us things in his life are so hard right now that he couldn’t pay his phone bill. He wants to be baptized so badly but Satan is working so hard to keep him from it. I will keep you updated on him. 
We´ve been working with Vanessa this week and she seriously has the strongest testimony. She truly is my miracle here in Porto. She’s not just a recent convert but also a best friend. I’m going to visit her after my mission when she moves back to Mozambique. She’s always cooking for us and coming with us to teach. I thank my Heavenly Father for her every day. Yesterday for Páscoa (Easter) we had our fast and testimony meeting and then ate at Vanessa’s. She made us lamb. It was the first time I had ever eaten lamb and I loved it. Everything she cooks is amazing.
I’m sorry my email is short again this week. There is never enough time but remember how much I love each of you and that this Gospel is true. We need this Gospel in order to return to our Heavenly Father. It’s so important I might just send missionaries to all of your homes, so watch out. Well at least be nice to them and give them some food.
Have a good week everyone and remember to always have charity and love in your hearts for others.
xoxo
Irmã Nelson

06 April 2012

General Conference and Happy Easter



I’m so sorry but this week is going to be a little short! HAPPY ALMOST EASTER (pascoa in Portuguese)! AH GENERAL CONFERENCE! ~I was only able to watch one and a half sessions but I loved every minute. Our Prophet and Apostles truly are men called of God and every message is so divinely inspired.

My new companion is amazing! Irmã Young is a small town cowgirl from Delta, Utah and has taught me so much. She gives me hope that I will one day be fluent in Portuguese! It was fun to see a lot of the missionaries from our zone at conference and watch their baptisms. I always get teary eyed watching new converts come up out of the water cleansed through both baptism of water and fire.

Hearing the choir sing "Come Thou Fount" of course made me have he biggest pit in my stomach thinking of my farewell and missing each of you so much. I can’t believe that 6 months ago I was watching conference surrounded my family and friends at the ranch. I love each of you more than I can say. Remember how much the Lord loves you and that you are NEVER alone.

Com amor

End of First Transfer!

I have officially ended my first transfer and Irmã Dos Santos is gone. :( My new companion is Irmã Young. She was in Maderia (an island in our mission) so she won’t get here for another hour or so. I´m so excited to meet her. She is American and I saw a photo of her and that’s all I know. Today has been crazy. All morning we cleaned and organized our apt because my companion had a ton of organizing to do. Then Irmã Palmer (she’s so awesome, we arrived in Portugal the same day) who came here from Viseu (another area about 2 hours away from here) and wanted to hang with me until our companions show up. It’s been fun but a ton of getting lost and running around.

SARA WADDELLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIMA PERU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot express how excited I am for you! Missions are amazing and you will change so many lives. You have such a powerful testimony. I must have received at least seven emails about your call. Everyone is so proud of you.

General Conference is this weekend. I´m so excited. They told us that they will have it in English and because of the time difference we will watch the 1st Saturday session at 5 pm on Saturday, the the 2nd Saturday session at 1pm on Sunday, the Sunday session at 5 pm and the last session at 9 pm. They announced our new Mission President. He is from America. It’s definitely a bittersweet thing. I love President and Irmá Torgan...especially when they try to speak English. Hehehe so cute.

We found a lady when we were contacting this week named Paula. Honestly one of my favorite people I´ve met thus far. She was worked with many of the past sister missionaries here in Porto and was almost baptized. But when the sisters left it didn’t happen. Thursday we found her! We’re pretty much obsessed with each other and she can speak a little English. I feel the strongest spirit around her. She brought out this bag with her scriptures, manuals and all her church stuff all delicately covered with pretty paper as covers. She wants to get baptized but she said right now her heart is closed. She feels so alone in her life right now and I tried to explain to her that this is the best time to let the Lord into her life. We´ve only talked to her once but I’m so excited to see her again.

Alright I’m all out of time but I love all of you so much! Honestly, the best emails this week. Thank you all! I’m sorry I never get enough time. I love you all.
xoxo irmã~

21 March 2012

beijinhos





BOA TARDE!!!
Ah today has been so great. And getting on email and seeing your emails makes me giddy. Seriously everyone stares at me in the internet cafe because I’m grinning and giggling with my face two inches from the computer screen. No kidding. Well the creepy guy with dreads next to me is into it...anyway thank you for all the updates! I can’t stop apologizing for the lack of responses to emails. They are so long and full of awesome detail that I would need an entire week to write what I would actually like to write back. BUT I need to clarify real quickly. When I sent my address I wrote it wrong and just now caught it. 
It’s Ornelas not Omelas.....but I’ve still been getting everything! The mailman must know that I just don´t know how to read.

This week we found Francisco, a single father from Angola and he brought his daughter to church yesterday and calls us his angels! Hopefully everything turns out okay!


Okay so yesterday we ate at our Bishop’s house after church it was really good and they are all about manners. They all eat with a fork and a knife here and it’s rude to just use a fork. You have to use
your knife to scoop your food onto the fork. It’s very hard for me. They totally knew I had no idea what I was doing cause I was just holding the knife pretending to use it. And when you want more food you like place your silverware a certain way and when you’re done you put them pointing to the left and parallel? News to me. Vanessa started fighting with me because she said these are universal manners and people in America do it too....um I’m from America and I’ve never see anyone do this. She was like then how to people know you’re done eating? And I was like idk you say you’re done and stop eating? And she was like NOOOOOOO. And I was like YESSSSSSS. Am I the only person
in the world that didn’t know this?! Whatever, she’s never been to America. When I come back I’m not using a knife.

In other news I have an addiction to pastel de natas. Google them. I have like two a day. Irma Dos Santos says I have a problem.... I say I’m only in Portugal once. Works for me.

Our ward is taking a Temple trip next month to Madrid and every time some one talks about it I die a little inside. I want to go so BAD. You have no idea how much I miss the Temple. I can´t wait to be able to go again. I haven’t heard any updates on the Temple in Lisboa. But its already my favorite in the world...next to Mesa and Oakland.

GENERAL CONFERENCE is SO SOON! I´m dying I´m so excited. I miss watching it being surrounded by my family and friends eating a massive breakfast in our pj´s. But no matter where you are watching
conference, the message is the same. I invite EVERYONE members and non members to watch.
They will be broadcasting it in the chapel here and in the garage they will have it in English! I’m actually excited cause the senior couple is making food and there are couches in the garage :) score.

Finally.... I´ve been impressed to tell all of you about being a missionary. Missionary work is nearly impossible with out help from the members. References and having members present makes all the
difference in conversion. I challenge all of you to be missionaries. Talk to everyone you know about the Gospel. NEVER be ashamed of your faith. Yes we can be shy sometimes but we need to understand this Gospel is MANDITORY for EVERY soul. And if we don’t share it with others His Kingdom won’t grow. It we want to be with our families forever we need to do all that we can to share the Gospel. And it all starts with being an example. When you live your life worthy of the
Holy Ghost people will feel it and it will spread and your light will shine. Others will see that light and want to be a part of it. Be friends with the missionaries in your area. Form strong relationships
and introduce them to you´re friends. I love you all and because I love you I want all of us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Please have a good week :)
beijinhos (kisses)
Irmã Nelson

15 March 2012

Pretty Porto





HELLO!!!
Thank you for your emails, honestly they make my entire week. This week was a better week for teaching. We had a zone meeting on Wednesday to talk about what we could improve in our zone. I could actually kind of understand. So I think I’m getting there with the language. I see you got my pictures. Right after emailing last week we went over to that bridge and it was the most breath taking view I have ever seen. 
 
We didn´t have a lot of time (we never have enough time; people who have served missions know exactly what I’m talking about). I wish so bad that I could write individual emails back to all of you and say what I really want to say and go into detail but never have the time. But we will all just have to talk for a really long time when I get back :)
 
This week I received an email from Dene, Paris and Jenny. I died I was so happy! I need more stamps so I can respond to your letters. But finding stamps here to the US is nearly impossible.
 
This week we helped several people move. One was this adorable lady named Giselle from Germany. She has lived in Portugal for 27 years teaching ballet and has two sons. One is a member and one is not. We are trying to help the one son to accept the Gospel. We also taught one of our recent converts Vanessa a few times. She’s adorable and from Mozambique and has the whole Rihanna thing going on. We´ve also been helping her move. During one of our visits she said she came across a ton of anti-Mormon videos and websites that started to make her doubt her faith. It’s heartbreaking to see what people have to say out there about our religion. It’s Satan working so hard on us to deny what we know is true.
 
I know without a doubt in my mind and heart that this Church it true. The Spirit has born testimony to me so strong of the truth of these things. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. Every time I watch the restoration video (I nearly have it memorized in Portuguese), I know that he saw God the Father and His Beloved Son. Sharing this gospel is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can´t wait for the day when I´m finally fluent in the language and can really make a difference in the lives of the people here.
 
I´m sorry my letter is so short this week, but the most important thing is that you all know my testimony and I invite all of you to thank your Heavenly Father for all of the many blessings in your lives. He loves each of you so much and knows each of you individually. Thank you all so much for everything. I’m sorry I don’t have time to answer all of your questions but know that I’m perfectly happy, working hard and seeing miracles. And that I love each one of you.
 
You´re always in my prayers...
-Irmã Nelson
Oh, this week we found a McDonalds by our house. It’s seriously the most glam place I’ve ever seen. They are so nice in Europe it’s insane. They even have different food, nice couches and super dressy outfits! ( McD´s in the USA needs to take a tip or two from these people) and we may or may not have eaten there twice.....don´t judge me

06 March 2012

Pics from Portugal!




Presidente and Irmã Torgan


first companion- Irmã  Dos Santos
 

Porto's church building

BOM DIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love all of your emails. They seriously make me miss all of you so much. Thank you for remembering me. Okay we are really limited on time today but I will fill you in on our week.
 
The language is still hard but I´m beginning to understand a little better. Everyday with the Lord's help I will continue to learn more and more. Some days are hard and I think to myself that I will never become fluent in the language but then I remember all of your encouraging words and I feel much better. I absolutely love being a missionary and in time I will learn everything I need to know.
 
Last pday was awesome after I finished writing you guys. my comp and I walked around Mercado do Bolhão. It’s really pretty.We went in to a huge Catholic cathedral and the people inside stared at us because of course they know who we are. My companion let me go into Zara and I found a killer skirt for $5. I was pretty happy about that.Then we went to this store called Continente which is like Wal-Mart Super Store plus Target. So big and overwhelming.I finally saw the dried cod situation. So bizarre. So much fish.
 
The bus drivers (motoristas) here are so glam. They wear massive trendy shades and have Euro hawk haircuts. One had really long hair with a plastic headband. So funny. They never smile, they´re just too cool.
 
We were a little sad this week, several of our appointments fell through. We have people that we pray for each week that we want to be baptized called Revelados.We had a couple (Annabel and Manuel) and their daughter who have been in church the last two Sundays.We stopped by their house everyday and some times twice a day and they were never home (I felt like such a stalker, but my comp and district leader told us to do it).We called them over and over and they wouldn’t answer.A sister in our ward sent us to her (Claudia) granddaughters house and we get to the door and her little boy answers the door.Then Annabel comes to the door and Claudia comes to the door and screams at us to go away and slammed the door in our face.I was so sad.Then it started raining and the bus stop was a mile away. It was a great time. But we just calmed down and ended up laughing about it while we walked in the rain. Adelberto didn’t come to church this week so we have to push his baptism date back another week. Hopefully he is still doing well.We haven’t heard from him in two days.
 
Well I have got to go. Thank you all for everything. I´m so grateful for this Gospel and my opportunity to serve. This mission is teaching me so much and I´m having so much fun learning a new culture. The work is so amazing and it is such an honor to teach about God and His beloved Son everyday. I know this Church is true with all of my heart.
I miss you all.~
xoxo
irmã nelson

01 March 2012

Bom Dia!!

BOM DIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
HOW IS EVERYONE?!
So much has happened this week. Thank you everyone for your sweet emails they are so encouraging!
 
So to answer some questions, my health is good I can walk for hours and it doesn´t bother me a bit. These boots may ware out soon but I guess that’s part of being a missionary. It´s still pretty hard to communicate with my companion, it really is like a guessing game and charades. But my companion had a quote in the MTC on a magnet she loved. It said that "life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. 
 
We met a man named Isaque from Brazil the other day on the rua (street) and taught him a couple of days later in a park. While my companion was teaching the 1st lesson and I tried acting like I knew that she was saying a pigeon pooped all over her. It was so sad but she wiped it of her face (it was everywhere in her mail, on her face, on her clothes) (I hate pigeons btw) and kept on teaching. She really is such an example to me as a missionary. She’s a great teacher and so obedient. One day we will communicate really well.
 
Some of the things I love about Porto; obviously the people here worship soccer (futebol) and the stadium here like owns the cardinals stadium. When a game is one no one is out on the streets and they’re all completely focused on TVs inside restaurants cafes and bars. It’s hilarious. But also makes proselyting a little tricky. Another thing I love here is obviously the bread and all the building have these beautiful wall tiles. I want them on my future house. 
 
One night as we were heading home we met a man named Adelberto. We have taught him two times now and he already wants to be baptized. We´ve set a date for the 10 of March and we threw a little birthday party for him (we couldn’t actually stay) at the center for jovens (youths), he was turning 22. The youth center is under our chapel. It is for LDS and non LDS people 18-30 to hang out, etc. and a senior couple serves and cooks them food on Fridays and Saturdays. They have a ton of jovens. He was awesome and will be the first person that I street contacted and hopefully gets baptized. 
 
Yesterday at Sacrament Meeting the Bishop had me share my testimony with the Ward in Portuguese and everyone came up to me after and told me I spoke really well. But I still can´t understand anyone. But I’m getting there. I love our little English Gospel Essentials class. Elder McConkie taught us and he is so knowledgeable about the Gospel. Oh and I was informed at church by the Bishops wife that she will be helping me learn the Porto accent. She said that in Porto it is rude to use voce and tu (their forms of you). So basically I have to start all over again. I have to use senhor and senhora always. They are extremely formal here and their accent is nearly impossible to master. So that’s going to be fun.
 
Well, I’m all out of time but I love you all. I’m so glad to hear Jami Pond and Richard Cunningham are home and well and that Darien’s baby is perfect. Courtney filled me in on all the celeb gossip and mom always updates me on Mitt Romney.
 
Thank you all for your prayers--
This week in the scriptures I read section 31 of the D&C and put my name in instead of Thomas Marsh and it brought me so much comfort. I`m also reading in the Gospels right now in the book of Luke. I love reading about the life of our Savior. He was so selfless and leads by example always. I’m so grateful for Him and His atoning sacrifice. He loves all of us so much.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH and you´re always in my prayers
xoxo
Irmã Nelson

24 February 2012

Reporting from Porto!

I have no idea where to start so I will just start from the day I left the MTC. We left Tuesday around noonish for the airport after I finished packing my extremely over weight suitcases and mailed nine boxes of stuff from the MTC. Seeing mom and dad at the airport was wonderful. I love them so much. The PMGs are perfect! It was funny because there were so many of us on our flight. It was hard because they played three of my favorite movies on the plane but I read my scriptures and slept instead. 
We had a long trek from one side of the Paris airport to the other to our flight so I started talking to people. I met this cute couple from Canada that was going to vacation in the Algarves. Apparently it’s super glam down there. The guy is like, oh I have an article to show you and it’s about why people shouldn’t trust Mormons from some Canadian magazine. We were like uhhhhh you can trust us! Then we met a cute French girl and gave her a pass-along card as well. 

On our flight to Lisboa I sat next to a Portuguese couple with a cute baby and out of nowhere the lady starts breastfeeding in the open and doesn’t cover herself so I get really uncomfortable and pretend to sleep for the rest of the flight. We landed and it was the coolest view of Lisboa. When we got there 15 bags in our group were lost but not mine thankfully.  

I met President Torgan and Irma Torgan. I love them! We got to the mission office and he gave us our assignments. I am assigned to Porto!! We have the cutest chapel ever, I’ll send pictures next week. So then after we get our calls we had the best dinner I’ve ever had. Then we had a testimony meeting where I fell asleep. After the testimony meeting we went to bed. Sister Gourley, Sister Walton and I slept in one giant bed because we are clingy and it was our last night together. 

We all woke up at 4am because of jetlag. We had another really good meal for breakfast. We went to the mission office for orientations and I met my new comp. Okay so....she doesn’t speak one word of English. She is from Brazil and finishes her mission in 5 weeks so I will get trained by someone else who doesn’t know our area. When she leaves I will have to show my new trainer the area and introduce her to the members and investigators. Scary. So after we had all our meetings we were off. And because of my ginormous suitcases and the box that mom sent to the mission home it was tricky getting everything to Porto from Lisboa. So they piled like 10 of us in a van and we drove to the train station. We took a three hour train ride to Porto, then a metro, then a bus and up a giant hill to our apt. 

Our apt is on the top floor so that was fun getting all of it up the stairs. Our apt is big but old and there’s no light in the kitchen, no washing machine (so a member in our ward does our laundry) and very little warm water for showers. The apt is freezing so we study with blankets and coats on. It’s colder inside the apartment than outside the apartment. So imagine doing all of this and trying to communicate with a native comp. HAHA it’s been tricky. So our first night we went out tracting which was fun. I met Vanessa at our chapel and she’s from Mozambique and looks exactly like Rihanna. She’s adorable and speaks English. On Friday my first full day we had weekly planning. I wanted to cry because my comp kept handing me huge stacks of progress reports and I had no idea what she wanted me to do with them. So I acted like I was doing something and she obviously figured it out. So funny.

We have some awesome people in our ward and it’s a pretty big ward. We had 80 people in church this week. There’s a cute senior couple that speak English and we have a Gospel Principles class in English with two recent converts from Ghana. I love them. Oh and they have RS, then Sunday School and then Sacrament Meeting. At church a man who was completely drunk walked in yelling at people. We were like uhhhhhh that’s new. I cooked a meal for my comp after church, then we went tracting and I had my first meal at a member’s house. It was with two sisters, one speaks English and is 23 and her sister is 19. They have a Brazilian member living with them. They are awesome and can speak a little English. They made a casserole with tuna, pineapple, noodles and cheese. So different and I had to eat the whole thing because if you don´t they will get offended. I loved desert it was rice pudding but they use noodles instead of rice, with cinnamon on top. They call is aletria. It’s a traditional Christmas dish but they like it so they made it for me. I swear the only food here that is the same as home are green olives and diet coke. So great. 

We have some awesome investigators. I don’t talk much but they think its endearing that I’m here and trying to learn the language. Lucia is so cute and reads the book of Mormon but is nervous to go to church, Americo is like 70ish and we met with him at the church and had this awesome member present and it was the most intense debate that I could barely understand. We have many others and it is amazing. We were walking down the street and this guy Leonardo, who was so drunk with a cigarette in his mouth yelled to us. Normally I would have kept walking but we stopped and talked to him and he actually listened to us. We told him about our church and how drinking and smoking is very bad for us and Christ wouldn’t want us to do it. We handed him a pamphlet with the picture of Christ on it. He started crying and kissing the picture of Christ and then I started crying and we said do you want to be baptized and he mumbled yes I do. Even though we had no idea what his problems were and even though he was drunk, we knew he was sad and wanted a different life. We got each others numbers and set up an appointment to meet again. When we said goodbye he tried to kiss me on the cheek and Sister Dos Santos was like NOOOONONOOOO! I like the whole kissing on the cheek thing they do here, obviously not with the males but every woman I meet does it. I feel so European or something hahahah. 

Two days ago we wanted to drop by Leonardo’s house so we spent two hours trying to find it and he wasn’t home and wasn’t answering his phone. But we left a note and he called us this morning and we are going to teach him tomorrow. I can’t wait. Yesterday was our pday but we had zone conference so two zones Porto and Porto North got together and President Torgan taught us. We met a bunch of Elders. They speak so fast it’s so hard to understand. I was talking to one of my friends from the MTC, Elder Palmer about my bus pass and Irma Torgan’s mom yelled at us for speaking in English. It was funny because she doesn’t remember that I’m new. So because of our conference yesterday we have our pday today. Sorry I’m out of time. I love you all. 

Irma Nelson


NEW ADDRESS:
Irma Nelson
Rua de Aries de Omelas Nº7 2
Porto 4000-023
Portugal



[Images via google. Just an idea of where she is serving :)]







15 February 2012

Off to PORTUGAL!


Hello,
 
I feel like I've been here forever. I'm so ready to leave but it’s so very true how my companion put it, she said that the MTC is like our womb. We're so safe, protected and comfortable here but it’s our time to leave. I have loved every minute here and all the wonderful people I've met and relationships I have made.
 
This week was great. We were so excited to go on our last temple walk yesterday but we were snowed in and weren’t allowed to go.  So we took tons of pictures inside with the branch and made it fun.
 
We had infield orientation on Friday which was pretty cool. They talked about how we contact, find and how to work with members in our missions.  We were able to meet some of the missionaries from “The District", they're like MTC celebrities. It's funny because we've watched video clips from their missions every class for the last two months.  We had our departure devotional last night; it was nice so see all the missionaries that are departing.
 
At orientation they told us they have a 12 week training program that started in August where all new missionaries have one extra hour of companionship study in the morning.  In Portugal we wake up at 7am not 6:30am and go to bed at 11pm instead of 10:30pm because Portuguese people stay out and eat dinner around 8-10 pm.  So this should make us more effective as missionaries.  Our teacher Brother Mateer was in our same mission (he has been home for about a year).  He told us about the food, culture, President Torgan, and different areas in Portugal.  I don’t think I've ever been so excited in my life! I'm nervous because when the Portuguese people start talking to me and I will think to myself this is not what I have been learning the last 2 months!
 
This week what I have really been learning over and over is to stop wanting what I want and want what the Lord wants and to completely subject myself to the will of the Lord. Every time I pray I should pray for help to make His wants, my wants. This Mission is not about me. The more I serve others and completely trust in the Lord He will shape me into the person He wants me to be and help the people He wants me to help. If I do so, then I will feel closer to the Spirit and let it guide me to people who are prepared to accept the Gospel.
 
Yesterday during our fireside I was thinking about all the powerful testimonies I have heard over the years that have stuck with me, especially the testimonies of all the members of my family, my friends, my seminary teachers, my advisors, my church leaders and powerful converts.  These testimonies have always resonated with me and helped strengthen my own testimony.  Thank you all for your faith.
 
As soon as I get to my new area in Portugal I will email my new address.  I'm so excited I can barely stand it. A man from orientation challenged me to make the first contact before my trainer does.  I'll probably just run up to some random person and yell OLÁ!....and then not know what to do next.  It will be awesome and awkward all at the same time.  I can't wait!
 
Well I love you all and I'm looking forward to writing you all next week from PORTUGAL! Ah I wonder where my first area will be. I know it will be just what the Lord wants :)  Have a wonderful week. You're all in my prayers!
 
xoxoxo
Irmã Nelson