Vila Real Gets Real

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April 15, 2013 by jennaljackson

HELLO FROM VR. Second week down, almost. It’s a dream and a half here. Do we have investigators? Nah not really. But we are trying our hardest to get them. A lot of people opened the door when we were knocking yesterday so I hope some of those will eventually come to some sort of fruition. 

 Some funny things that happened this week:

 -My companion told me I look like Taylor Swift. I’m sorry, what?? Like that’s a huge compliment but not one I’ve ever heard before. Is this what foreigners think of all American people? If so, so much the better for us. She also likes to compare a lot of things to Rihanna and loves the phrase “shine bright like a diamond.” I did glitter nail polish this week and she said I had Rihanna nails. I had no idea what she was talking about and then I realized it was a reference to them “shining bright like a diamond.”  Hilar.

 -So we live with these 2 other sisters and one of them is Cabo Verdean and hilarious, especially when she tries to say things in English. It’s clear that she learned everything she knows from tv, songs, and possibly elders. And she likes to use them as friendly insults. For example, last night she told her companion before bed ´I PEE YOU……LIKE A BOSS´. She literally screamed this. Her companion and I (the only Americans) needless to say were dying laughing. She also has an inappropriate relationship with the “n” word that I regret to say is hilarious. Also sometimes she pretends to striptease us. It’s good times. 

 -This week I had my first person scream in my face! It was a homeless man who I guess the sisters had been talking to before I came and we had spoken to him once before to invite him to conference. He did not come. But then the next day we were talking to him and he’s all I don’t believe in god and then he got very irate and so we left to talk to his other homeless friend like five feet away. Like I said last week, lots of homeless people. He then came up to me, looked at me and goes SHE WILL UNDERSTAND THIS and screamed the worst obscenities he could think of in my face. Mom and Dad, sorry, some terrible things are going to happen to you if his words come true. I didn’t cry, though I wanted to. I never thought I would have trouble loving the people, but turns out sometimes its hard. 

 -It is getting warmer here and it’s THE GREATEST. Sometimes we say things that are like “Oh I will be happy once this happens, my life will be so much easier once this happens” and we’re totally wrong.  But that is how I felt about the warmth and I was right.  It is way easier to get up in the morning and shower and exercise (“exercise” lol at least my Cabo Verdean roommate wants to go running with me…soon) when it’s not deathly cold.

 For my spiritual thought, I leave you with D&C 6 33-34. 

 This used to be my favorite scripture, but I had forgotten that for a time and I accidentally came upon it in personal study when I was looking up another scripture and had a new appreciation its application in my life. It says:

 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

Sometimes here it really is difficult to “fear not to do good” when facing rejection, self-doubt, fear of speaking to people who you can’t understand and who can’t understand you, and when it seems like you sow all day and then everyone ditches your appointments and doesn’t pick up your phone calls. But we have that promise that if we sow good, we will reap good. Doesn’t tell us that we will reap baptisms every week (oh how I wish) but the world will be somehow in some way a better place for what we do every day. Reminds me of a poem that was posted in our MTC classroom- 

Father, where shall I work today?”
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no; not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done;
Not that little place for me.”
And the word He spoke, it was not stern;
He answered me tenderly:
“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.
Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”

Basically Vila Real is this for me right now. But I know that the lord has prepared people and I only need to have faith. I still have lots of difficulties with the language and feeling like it’s my fault when we don’t teach lots of lessons every day. But I pray and study and keep this phrase in mind–look heavenward, press onward. I know the lord has great things in store for the people of Portugal and I’m glad to be a little part of that. I try to find joy every day in doing whatever little part I can do. I keep you all in my prayers and hope that all is well. Thanks for everything you do!

Sister Jackson


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