Progress, Hipsters, and the Pony Express

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May 6, 2013 by jennaljackson

Hello dear ones,

We are now in the last week of the transfer! Semana 6, who knew I would actually get there, ne? Just kidding. It’s actually gone way faster than I thought possible at the beginning of these 6 weeks. In 6 days we get our phone call to know who is staying in Vila Real and who’s leaving. I hope against hope that both Sister Suzarte and I stay, but who knows! An elder in our district made a bet with me that I’ll train next transfer, which is like, my worst nightmare…but we sealed it with a pinky swear and theres a subway cookie on the line, so it’s serious business. Hopefully I prevail because I really like subway cookies AND I won’t have to train, so double win. But apparently he has some kind of spotless record with transfer predictions, SO. 
It’s funny that at the beginning of the transfer I was so scared that Sister S and I would never be friends and now I don’t want a new companion. A lot of that came with our ability to communicate (lolz) but also hearing her stories about other comps she’s had makes me feel like we have a really nice relationship (or suave, as they say here). She’s supportive when I want to try something, practice something, etc. but she helps me by taking the lead when I don’t have any idea what’s going on. I need to be more assertive with some things I think and not lean on her quite so much, but when I think about where I was 5 weeks ago I realize that I have, in fact, made progress. At least I know where some things are now. We all know how great I am with directions…I think heavenly father blessed me with this tiny area because he knew if I was in a city my head would explode. 
But like I was saying, Sister S and I are having fun times here. My favorite is when she tries to speak english to me. She has inherited most of her English from other missionaries of course, and far and away the phrase she uses most is BOB SAGET (as a kind of catch-all expletive). Apparently that’s a thing. But seriously, probably says it 50 times a day and it’s always really loud. Sometimes she adds other nice phrases on the end to really add emphasis…for example this week I heard a lot of BOB SAGET FREAK SHOW. I don’t know who is teaching her all this ‘cool slang’ but thank you. Also…..when she tries to say Arnold Schwarzenegger it is probalby the funniest things I’ve ever heard. Phonetically it goes something like this: arr-narrt sveishnerrrrr. one of those things you have to be there for. I’ll make her do it on skype for the fam next sunday. Also I tried to explain hipsters to her the other day and realized it’s impossible. some things you gotta see to believe. merica. 
Also, bear with me, but I want to just take a minute here to say congrats to the world on mail. Seriously guys sometimes mail amazes me. I can just stick a letter in a box outside my door in portugal and 4 days later it’s in virginia or provo or wherever at someone’s house. CRAY. I realize this is a little bit like gilmore girls when Luke says there are no stupid questions and Lorelai goes HOW DOES INK COME OUT OF PENS? and he goes ok i take it back but seriously. I mean we can’t agree on how to measure length or weight or shoes or clothes but at least we all got together on the mail right? and the hour/minute thing, that’s also convenient. Also another amazing mail related thing I learned at Zone conference this week is we can just hand off letters to friends in the mish to the Assistants and they deliver them! They’re actually the pony express. i died. (I made the pony express comment to the Assistants too but I don’t think they thought it was funny considering they didn’t laugh) (it’s a serious job they have)
This week we got to go to Chaves, which is in our area but is like 1.5 hours away and is right next to the Spain border. We dont have missionaries there yet and were not allowed to proseletize, but it is opening up next transfer with the huge influx. It’s going to be a tiny group for awhile but I know the Lord will bless the missionaries there with growth. Anyway, I enjoyed the bus ride because when we get to leave the city, I realize how beautiful portugal is, especially the north. It’s all these rolling mountains, tons of green, little towns dotting the landscape. (plus when you’re seeing the towns from a distance you can’t see that it’s all kinda old and dirty and it looks way more picturesque) It always reminds me of the drive to Virginia from Utah when you’re going through Pennsylvania and listening to Fleet Foxes and it’s all these rolling hills with little hamlets and you’re just like do people in those houses even know the real world exists? Anyway, something I wish you all could see. My camera doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. 
In terms of the work, Otilia was confirmed this week and was even able to come to all 3 hours of church, which was an awesome surprise. Usually on Sundays she has to take care of a bedridden sister so it’s hard to make it there before Sacrament meeting. But she was totally participating the whole time in gospel essentials and our branch is great at welcoming, so I think she had a great experience. We talked to her about missionary work this week and this Sunday she gave us a reference! Unfortunately it’s in the other sisters’ area, but so cool to see that all our teachings are sinking in and she really has a desire to share the gospel. 
We’re excited to be working with another family, well sort of-it’s an aunt and a nephew. They’re both Brazilian. The nephew’s name is Everson and he’s been in Portugal for about 3 months now, and the aunt (Maria) has been here for a long time. We contacted them on the street and it’s been a long time until we could visit them, so we didn’t have too too high of expectations. We taught the first lesson and left them 3 ne 11 to read. When we came back, we were so excited to find that they had both actually read (small miracles right)! We were like that chapter was when Christ visited the americas and Everson was like ‘yeah and taught how to baptize the people!’ and we were like yes….YES. We both feel really good about him and his chances to be baptized, and I know how much the gospel can bless the life of a person that age. We have other people we are hoping to really try with this week–Manuel, Raquel, Youssef, if you want names but we also need to focus on finding more. 
Sorry for the langa langa (basically means blah blah) but I hope you got a chuckle or something. It’s been a good week here, and I’m stoked to finish this transfer strong. My next email I could be singing a different song, a song of stress, a song of despair (if i train obviously) but for now I’m happy to be here. It really is an amazing thing to be a part of, guys. Treasure the opportunities you get to share the gospel in little ways because you honestly never know what effect you’re going to have. Can i just tell you how happy we are when we knock on someone’s door and they tell us they once had a good friend who was Mormon? Otilia had lessons from the elders 17 years ago. 17 years before we found her again and she was baptized. We just don’t know. So get out there and make people’s lives a little happier and then let them know who you are-you won’t regret it. 
Thanks everyone for all your encouraging words, letters, prayers and support. I couldn’t do it without you!
Sister Jackson

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