November 15, 2010

"leaving paradise"

well, its happened... Im leaving paradise! I love this area... but i got the call today... Im being transferred. I am leavin Mem Martins and going back over to the other side of the river, to Almada. It is in the same building as Miratejo, which is where i started my mission. Im excited to see all the people that i got to know in Miratejo, and to help strengthen the Almada ward a little bit. I will be serving with Irmã Greco. Shes from Arizona and has been here for about 4 months. Im super excited. Shes a super cute and nice irmã. We are doing a whitewash... (ah!!!!) which means that the irmãs that were there before are both leaving and two new irmãs that dont know anything about the area are coming in. It will be a good transfer Im sure.

As far as this week goes... we had an amazing week and i definately learned so much about faith and the power of prayer. So, this week started out with a phone call from our Zone Leaders telling us that we needed to baptize this past weekend. (in their normal pushy way) And our dear Maria that was lined up for baptism had fallen and drank coffee again so we didnt feel like she was ready for baptism and she hadnt been to church that week... so we unmarked her and our goal baptism was going to be a miracle, in other words it was a goal that we had of faith. They didnt like that and said we needed to pray and go through our area book until we felt someone. so, we went to work praying, fasting and looking for someone. We pulled about 10 people from the book and prayed for them by name. At the end of the prayer irmã reis asked me who i felt... I said Maria, but not the Maria that we had been working with. She was like uh, i didnt say the name Maria in the prayer. So we went through the book again and pulled all the marias (its portugal, theres TONS of Marias!) We called all of them to try and pass by... not one answered. so we decided to try and pass by their homes. the first one we tried her record was a year old and so we went to her house and the whole building was vacant and abandoned (sp?). So on the record it had the address of her sons house... so we went there... noone answered there too. We were about to leave and i said no, we need to call her. so we did. she said that she needed a prayer so we met with her 10 minutes later in the chapel. When we were there with her, oh my goodness, the spirit was so strond durning the prayer and the lesson that we had with her. She is so elect! She gave us a ton of references of family and friends that needed to hear the gospel. When then invited her to pray about baptism. (she had been to church tons of times and had all the lessons... she even had a baptism date marked and was interviewed and then just fell off the face of the earth.) later that week we met with her and a friend of hers that she said needed the gospel too. They both said they want to be baptized and want to be baptized the same day. How cute. Really, this experience strengthened my testimony so much of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. It was such a surreal experience to sit and talk with these two ladies who were really and are, passing some really really hard times and how much they just need to know that Heavenly Father is here for them and has a plan especially for them. It also fortified my testimony that I know what I am doing is the Lords work and will here in Portugal. I can see and feel how we are really the tools in the Lords hands. I hope that Im being a power tool. (thanks dad! loved that analogy!) I know that this gospel is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that with the authority and power of God he restored the gospel here on the earth. I know that the book of mormon is the word of God and that it really contains the "secrets" of happiness. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer, that He lived and died for me, for all of us. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have for a year and a half to share my testimony and this gospel with the people here in Portugal. I love them. I love Portugal. I love this work.

irmã graf

Hip hip horrayy for Butterfingers!!!!

super dilligent journal writer!

this is going to be super short im super sorry... and i know dads gonna write me and tell me i need to write more or i will forget it all. but dont worry dad, im a dilligent writer in my journal :)

so this week we had a really really hard week. all of our lessons fell through... k, not all but close. it was horrible. noone wanted to hear us this week. we had tons of doors slammed in our faces and people yell at us and tell us no... BUT, we had an amazing baptism of tito miguel. hes an awesome kid! 15 and super fun.

other than that, this transfer is at the end! only one more week! lets see if my pattern stays the same... i always serve 2 transfers in the same area and then im switched out.

well, just to end the email. despite the hard week, i know that this church is true. have a tough week just makes me bugged and makes me more determined to find those people that really need and are looking for the gospel in their lives right now. i know that joseph smith was a prophet and that it was through him that Heavenly Father restored the true chruch, and the plentitude of the gospel. i know that this work that i am doing is the work or God. There really isnt any other place i would rather be right now.

have a great week! love you all!

irmã graf

October 19, 2010

Happy Happy birthday, Irma Graf!!!!

so. not much this week but some pictures from my birthday... um the elders that im serving with in my ward suprized me with brownies... which really are cake stuff doesnt cook the same here... haha. and it was still warm when they put the candles in so they melted into the cake haha. it was so funny but everyone at church still ate it! wax and all. um... the other pictures... a cool house in our area that i LOVE! a traditional portuguese-ish house thats not old and in the city... the cool road signs that are done in tile... um... what else did i include... a random picture of me on my birthday... im 22!!! and my hair is attroshish! ( i have no clue how to spell that... but my hair is that... nice and wavy and gross... but its growing... so im not complaining too much... um... then that night after planning we had an ice cream cake in our house and had a mini celebration... it was a great day. nothing special, but over all it was just want i wanted in the mission... a day that was just like any other. and thats what i got :)

dont worry, i celebrated last pday and bought a cute pair of boots and a super cute pair of gray shoes that i LOVE. the boots really are a necessity here because of the rain and the shoes... well, they go with my gray skirt! :) thanks daddy! youre the bestest ever! (dont worry this was the first time i bought something like this... promise).

okay... so this week... i have a cool story... last transfer we were contacting, knocking some doors and this guy answered and when we asked if we could offer a prayer (prayer contacting... i think i talked about it when i first got out in the field...) he was like i have to ask my wife... irma howard and i looked at eachother and thought okay what a weirdo... who does that... hes the man of the house... he came back and said she said no not now. so we asked when we could come back and talk to them he went back and asked his wife... at this time we really thought he was weird. he came back a second time and said he didnt know. she didnt want us to come back. so we just thought whatever, and we gave him a card, one of those offers for the finding faith in christ dvds with our number on it and left. later, like a week later we ran into him on the train. he looked at us like he knew us... (its normal for people to look at us... two giant americans in dresses...come on. its not normal.) and so i smiled and said hello and asked if we knew him from somewhere... he took the card out of his pocket and said yep and asked when we would pass by. i told him in the next week. well, that week irma howard was transferred, i got a greenie and it was super hectic and, honestly, i forgot about the guy. then, 2 weeks ago, we ran into him on the street when we were with an investigator... i said hello as he passed by and then he turned around and said hey! ive been waiting for you and you never came to by my house! I apologized, got his number and marked an appointment... i really honestly still know who he was... i had forgotten about him again. so, we met with him and he was receptive. i called him the day after to see if he had read and prayed, he had and he wanted us to come over to his house and talk to his wife about it too. well, we did but it was irma reis and a member because we were on division. he helped to teach the lesson to his wife. then they came to church and it was good. then we passed by last tuesday and i asked him how the reading was and the prayer to ask if the book of mormon is true. it was the most amazing thing to me when i asked his face lit up and he started talking about how he felt when he read. he is so ready for baptism! its crazy! they only thing is that they arent married and the wife is a little bit slower with the whole thing... ill give it to her... she recently had a baby and has her hands full with the 3 week old baby... but still... we are working with them and they are doing great! i learned so much from this experience... that really, its not our place to judge who can and cant accept the gospel, who does and doesnt need it. i learned just a little bit more really how much our heavenly father loves us and how he will prepare our paths, our lives... everything that happens to us, in our lives, happens for a reason.

i am so glad to be here in the mission learning and growning... but also, i know that this was a part of my life that heavenly father prepared for me specifically to help others, but also to prepare me for later in my life. i love this gospel and i know that it is true and that if we follow it, we can have eternal life. I know that this church, is the true chruch, the same church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth, and that through joseph smith, a prophet of god, it was restored to the earth.

have a fabulous week!

irmã graf

7-up and soda crackers

um... this week... was a good week... just working hard and trying our best to do what the Lord wants here in Mem Martins... and of course loving every minute of it.

this week it rained for 3 days straight... its so weird here... it rains and its windy but it really isnt that cold right now... so i had an umbrella for the rain and then just a cardigan... i got sick... it was lame. but it was fun because we did a divison and i stayed in the house of Sonia (the recent convert that had the wedding and i sent the pictures) she says shes my mom here in portugal and she let me rest in her bed and she fed me soup and 7 up and crackers and i watched legacy in portuguese... it was so funny. but it was only for a couple hours... because i almost fainted in the street... fabulous. but im all good now, ive learned that here even if it isnt super cold if you arent dressed properly you will die. haha.

my filha (daughter) is learning a lot and so am i and its awesome. i love training! oh, also, we found the coolest and most elect couple ever!!! they are golden! We stared teaching them this week and they are so open and receptive... they just need to get married... freakin people here... noone is ever married!!

well, thats about it for this week... thanks for everything! i love you all!!!

irmã graf

Miracles in Portugal

Alright family, Im going to try and write a really long email... because i have been slacking lately and really, there has been so much happening that i should be writing about its ridiculous!

as you can see that ive titled this email week of miracles... really it has been... and i want to tell you about all of them, but i want to start off with the last miracle that happened, that is the biggest and most important to me.
Big miracle, i want to talk about the AMAZING conference that we had this past weekend... not only were the talks excellent, the spirit extrememly strong, but the most incredible thing was announced... WE, HERE IN LISBON PORTUGAL, ARE GETTING A TEMPLE!!! let me just tell you about my day saturday... we were late to conference because to watch it we have to go to a different chapel... well, we had a family of investigators that really didnt want to go to church that finally agreed to go to the first session on saturday with us... so we were late because of them... as we were walking to the chapel my district leader called me and says i have some really good news to tell you... we are getting a temple. I cant even explain how i felt... at first it was unbelief because he likes to joke with me. But then it sunk in and wow... the amount of gratitude that i felt right in that moment is indescribable. I imediately wanted to kneel down on the sidewalk and just offer up a pray of gratitude to Heavenly Father... but i was already acting really wierd and the investigators were already staring at me really funny, so i refrained myself. but when we got to the chapel i knelt down and just poured out my gratitude. You all probably think im crazy, but in the past 7 months that ive been here in the country working towards a temple has been our focus... to have the saving ordinances available to all these wonderful people here. I am sooooo grateful for everything that i have been apart of here in Lisbon. I KNOW that this work that we are doing is the most important thing ever. I KNOW that i was called here for a reason, to learn this language and love this culture... to serve the nobel people here. After the first session was over the stake president got up and talked. with tears falling from his face and everyone elses in the room, he bore an amazing testimony and then we all knelt down and the oldest member in the room offered a pray. it was the most amazing experience for me, to see the love and gratitude of all the members there. Really, talking about it now i can still feel and remember just how strong the spirit was in that room. What a miracle, what a day of miracles saturday was.

okay, to back track... the week started out and i got my tansfer call... that i was going to be training... i was excited but super nervous. I started a fast to help me to be the best i could be. I started praying a ton! the first full day of work we had, was amazing. we found tons of people that are interested and we even taught a few of them.

then, friday, we decided to do some finding in the area book... basically to look and see if anyone that had already been taught jumped out to us... as we were doing that a tiny thought came into my head that we needed to leave the house. and really, to be honest i wasnt sure if it was the spirit or me... but i thought, where would we even go... we dont have much time. and the thought came to me, go to the building right next to yours and start knocking. so i told my comp to put her shoes on, we were going out to work. she looked at me like i was retarded. so we started buzzing the little box thing outside the apartment building... the 4 one we touched let us in. it was a whole family!!! they are amazing! they and super nice and want to learn more. we talked a little and taught them and right as we were about to leave the oldest brother, hes like 35, said to us, "i know you were inspired by God to come and find us. I can feel something different about you girls when you are here in our house. Thank you so much for finding us." um, hello elect person. i really know that Heavenly Father is with us doing this work. I also know that every time we follow him and do what he asks of us it is that much easier to know his will and do it the next time.

I am out of time to tell stories, but there were tons more miracles that happened this week! really, i love this work! I am learning so much! it so awesome! I love portugal! I love the people!!!

com amor
irmã graf

my own greenie??

okay really fast... just an fyi heads up... IM TRAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i recieved my greenie, irma reis (yeah sister kings) today. we are staying in mem martins... um... yeah. thats about it. shes from Porto... up north. shes awesome love her. this transfer is gonna be awesome. lots of learning by the spirit. until next week love you all!

irma graf