Monday, February 29, 2016

Braga Part 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT UP FAMMMMMMMM TUDO BEMS TODOS?!?!? We got transfers last Tuesday and we all, the whole district fam, are STAYING here in capital B Braga and we are FREAKING THRILLED. Seriously, Braga rocks and they do some crazy things for Easter which is this transfer and the ward is amazing and its all just one giant wonderful BÊNÇÃO.

   - First off, not only did the district fam stay but we have 2 ADDITIONAL FAMILY MEMBERS and one is half Portuguese and the other is a baby from the good old US of A. It has been really entertaining to watch the ward members faces when Elder Ward, the friendly neighborhood Portuguese American, starts speaking to them in his perfect Portuguese. Entertaining and also incredibly frustrating because theyre starting to realize just how horrible all of our American Portuguese really is. Huh, maybe this is actually backfiring....
   - We have made the recent district discovery that John the Beloved is actually incredibly beautiful. As Elder Erickson says, "why do you think he was beloved??". But really though, this is factual and we have the religious art to prove it. You can go to any, literally ANY picture or statue or SEJA QUAL FOR of John the beloved and he is always, ALWAYS, clean shaven and the best looking one there. Test me on this fam, you will not be disappointed.
   - So we are teaching these 2 ladies, Isabel and her mom, from Brazil and they are slightly crazy. Super sweet and adorable, but Isabel is basically a TJ and has the entire Bible memorized and mostly just likes to argue doctrine with us for a good couple of hours every week. So we tried a different tactic and showed the 2 of them the Joseph Smith prophet of the Restoration film, the long beautiful one that is really intense and wonderful, and afterwords we were like "so what did you think yall??" and Isabel is immediately like "HE WAS FOOLED BY THE DEVIL" and whatnot, so we turned to her mom (who is about 80, really really cute and super sweet" and we were like what about you Maria, what do you think? And she sits up and just says "I loved it and I know, without a doubt, that this Joseph Smith man really existed". HAHAHAHAH. I couldnt even hold back my laughter. First step folks, she knows that Joseph Smith really lived!! Now we just have to move into the prophet concept and we have her
   - Me trying to talk about actually missonary work moment: we found a woman a couple of weeks ago named Cecelia, shes from Brazil and we finally had the chance to teach her this week. As it turns out, she had already been taught by the sisters a couple of years ago, to the point that she nearly got baptized, but then went back to Brazil where the church wasnt there yet. BUT guess whos back, back back, back again in Braga!! She has already read the Book of Mormon, already has a strong testimony, and is excited to come back to church. WHAT THE WHAT. I literally think this may be the biggest blessing slash miracle I have seen on my mission so far. Braga is filled to the brim with amazing people with tons of potential and I am so so crazy excited to be serving here and be a part of it!!
   - Ok Im sorry I have one crazy long story after another, but this one is possibly my favorite, ever. We went to visit an old investigator of the sisters and right as we knocked on the door, she answers and goes AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Just kidding, come on in sisters!! Literally screamed right as she opened the door. THAT WAS PROBABLY A WARNING SIGN. Then she goes ahead and introduces us to her friend, a homeless man that was staying over who very aggressively tried to give me beijinhos, then invited us into her house, which was pitch black because, oh yeah, they cut the lights the other day. Hahahahaha I nearly started crying I was trying so hard not to laugh. She asked if we could pray and said she would offer, so she grabs us all into one big group hug and just starts shouting "BLESS US LORD BECAUSE WE ARE GOOD PEOPLE AND EVERYONE IS JEALOUS OF ME BUT YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE GREAT PEOPLE LORD".... and I just had no words. One of the greatest lessons that has ever happened, ever.
   - If anyone remembers the crazy investigator Antonio from Gaia, he called this week. Yep. I asked how he got the number and he was like "You dont need to know. Im an investigator and I investigated" hahahah classic. Anyway, he asked for my address, which I obviously couldnt give, but I was like "oh heres a number that will help you Antonio" and it was the number of the office elders. HAHAHA SWEET REVENGE. Hopefully they didnt actually give our address though...
   - OH MY WORD I CANT BELIEVE I DIDNT SAY THIS ONE FIRST THING. THEY. FINALLY. HAVE. MCMUFFINS. AT. MCDONALDS. McDonalds hasnt served breakfast up until THIS VERY WEEK and we went on THE VERY FIRST DAY and were the ONLY PEOPLE to get mcmuffins but it didnt matter. It was glorious. I cried real tears and Im not even ashamed to admit it.

Alright alright alright Im done I promise. Congrats if any of you made it all the way down here. If so, lots of love to one and all and have a great week, todos!!!


xoxoxoxox bjs Sis P

(Pictures pilfered from comp... sure she will love me posting this first one!)

Monday, February 22, 2016

The path to hell is paved with good intentions


We had another wild week here in Braga!! It was actually pretty ordinary so I will see what I can scrounge up to talk about for the fam:
   - First off, that glorious email title. It comes from, you guessed it, our beloved mission president!! That was actually a long time ago but its one of the wonderful things that he said to me once in an interview and I forgot how hilarious it was so here you have it, wise words from Prez. Apply it, people.
   - WAIT I ALMOST FORGOT WE ACTUALLY HAD THE COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Elder Patrick Kearon from the presidency of the seventy came down to Portugal and we had a MASSIVE mission conference and IT WAS THE COOLEST THING IN THE WORLD. First off, getting the whole mission together is just the greatest because you know I love me my missionary friends. And second, Elder Kearon is ACTUALLY INCREDIBLE. He thanked us over and over again for our service and gave about the most uplifting and spiritual and simultaneously hilarious talk that has ever been given. It was the actual best thing in the world. I LOVE THE MISSION AND THE CHURCH AND THE PEOPLE IN IT.
   - WE GOT A MEMBER REFERENCE THIS WEEK!!! Dude those are a serious rare-find Pokémon out here so it was completely golden and wonderful!! Its a less active from the Açores that wants to come back to church and take his wife with him. Milagres on milagres on milagres. They were super sweet and, more importantly, make really good cakes. CHURCH IS TRUE FAM
   - For some reason I always forget to talk about this but our RC Antonio has 3-4 friends that we teach in a café every week and it is the actually highlight of my semana, always. This week we spent all our time trying to teach english slash drawing maps of the US slash singing Beatles songs together. Missionary work at its finest, folks.
   - For some reason President hasnt approved our transport money yet so Sis Runyan and I are completely broke so you know what that means.... NO BIG MACS. I HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN SURVIVING. I literally havent eaten a Big Mac in like a 6 days and the withdrawls are realer than real. #PRAY4SISPARKINSON2016

Oh my goodness these emails have gone downhill big time. A THOUSAND APOLOGIES but thats all Ive got for now. Transfers are this week so we will see what happens and I will try my hardest to get us into more weird situations this week!!!!


paz e bênçãos everybody

xoxoxoxoxox Sis P

OK WAIT THIS IS ACTUALLY SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT YES FINALLY REAL-LIFE MISSIONARY NEWS!!!!!! There is a family that I taught the whole time I was in Porto and they are the literal best and most adorable people in the world. Sandra was a less active that stopped us on the street and shes living with Helder, her really cool boyfriend and their 2 kids. We went to their house every week for dinner and FHE and it was the GREATEST, and this week THEY CAME TO VISIT ME IN BRAGA!!! And even better than that, Sandra and Helder have plans to get married and then HELDER IS GETTING BAPTIZED here in March!! They come to church every week and are actually real-life active members. I ACTUALLY CRIED WHEN THEY TOLD ME ALL OF THIS. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THEY ARE THE BEST AND I AM SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED. HOLY COW. Now just comes the part where I have to ask Prez permission to go.... PRAYERS FAM PRAYERS. I love this family so muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Monday, February 15, 2016

Always in the Splash Zone

WHAT UP FAMMMMMM TA TUDO NA BOA?!?!?!?!?! I hope yall had some rockin semanas and tudo isso.

   - First off, the subject line. Hahahah so the rain and cold has been OUT OF CONTROL this week. Seriously though, I have never been more wet and more cold. I didnt realize I was serving in Siberia?!?!?! But anyway, you know those scenes from movies where the cute female protaganist is walking along in the rain, minding her own business and then a huge truck comes by and splashes her with dirty muddy cold rain water?? WELL THAT IS REAL, AND IT IS MY LIFE. This has seriously happen like 298375 times this week and somehow I am the only one who ever gets splashed?? Its a curse. Living life in the splash zone.
   - Lately Sister Runyan and I have been thinking up new jokes based off the line "a Portuguese, Italian, and Iranian girl walk into a bar...." because we were knocking doors one night and got let into a house with exactly that combination. You have to love living by a university and getting the craziest combos of people in the world.
   - We taught ALL THE CRAZIES THERE ARE this week. Hahaha but really thoughhhhhhh. The first was Antoneita, who doesnt like religion, just spirituality, and has taken negative words out of her vocabulary. After arguing with us for like 20 minutes I just gave up and was chatting with Sister Runyan while she read a scripture and she goes "EXCUSE ME.  I AM TRYING TO READ THE WORD OF GOD HERE". Hahaha classic. She has a point. The second was Antonino, a preacher from Brazil who has seen visions that he cant even explain to us because he is so much more spiritually advanced than we are. Right. A WEEK IN THE LIFE FAM. I wish I had 857439 hours to tell you all the ridiculous stories we hear out here. PORTUGUESE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. I love them to death and they are all completely insane :)
   - I had this super intense mental breakdown this week (not really, but you get the idea) because it was raining and my shoes broke and I was so very very very wet, and then Manuela, our crazy 90 year old friend that we bring the sacrament to, was sick and canceled on us and THEN we saw a dead dog on the road and it was just too much to handle and I completely lost it in the middle of the sidewalk. Poor Sister Runyan. But like the wonderful comp she is, she handled it by forcing me to eat a ton of chocolate. In case anyone is wondering why I am gaining weight here in Braga....
   - Speaking of which, 6 MONTHS TO SEXY IS GOING SO WELL. I just did a evaluation of our week and it looks like I had 2 françazinhas and 3, possibly 4 Big Macs. On this diet you can bet I will be comin home thin as can be!!! Watch and see fam!!!

Alright thats all I got. I know, the emails get worse and worse. I try fam, I really do. Just know that even as I freeze my little buns off and am wet as can be, I am happy as a clam eating everything in sight and teaching all the goofballs of this country. AND I LOVE YOU ALL. Thanks for the love and support from everybody!!


xoxoxoxox Sis P


aka proof that my big mac 6 months to sexy routine is workin its magic


1. I am realizing that this looks like a 7 but its supposed to be a 1. As in 1 year. Whoops

(This picture was on her current companions blog... I think the lighting is better )

and 2. We went back to Bom Jesus, the crazy beautiful cathedral, and this is accidentally literally the only picture I took. YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME FAM

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pillow Fights and Actual Fights: a Week in the Life


Another normal week here in Braga town!! Which of course, means that it was slightly odd and weird things happened everyday. Such is the life of a Portugal Porto missionary. Especially one like me that tries my very hardest to have weird hilarious stories to tell every week. Here is an example of a typical conversation between me and Sister Runyan:

Me: theres a creepy man that wants us to go over and is sending us weird texts!! .... Novos??
Sister Runyan: thats actually an exceptionally bad idea
Me: But we need novos!!!
Sister Runyan: but we also dont want to die
Me: BUT THINK OF THE HILARIOUS STORIES WE CAN TELL SISTER RUNYAN. Everyone knows you need good stories from the mission!!
Sister Runyan: Yes you need good stories BUT YOURE NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK FOR THEM LIKE THIS

... She probably has a good point. But usually, we end up talking to the creepy people. All for the sake of the novos fam!!! And the hilarious mission stories!!! WORTH IT

Anyway, for this week:
   - The pillow fight part of the subject line: every week we go over to an old lady, Manuela, to give her the sacrament on Sunday night. It is LITERALLY the greatest part of the week slash my life. She is hilarious and tells crazy stories about when she lived in Africa and fought lions and stuff like that. Literal gold. Well this week I was bored during one of her stories so I started casually hitting Elder Jensen with a pillow. Well Manuela sees this, and, being the crazy lady she is, gets really into it and starts grabbing pillows from around the room and literally punching them at the elders. This is a 90 year old woman, people. I dont think I have ever laughed harder at anything
   - The actual fight part of the subject line: DONT SURPRISE PORTUGUESE PEOPLE. THEY DONT LIKE IT. But really though, we tried to do Project Cookie (normally a success I promise... DONT DOUBT MY MISSIONARY METHODS GENTE I SWEAR I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING) but we made the mistake of going over during lunchtime. Well you can enter a Portuguese household during lunch without leaving with a lunch, so we ended up sitting down with them after some drama and I, trying to make small talk and having learned from Prez that fat jokes dont worry too well, went for the classic "how did you two meet" story, which led to a 2 HOUR ARGUMENT with real life tears and many "endure to the end" comments. WHOOPS. Nothing has ever been more awkward, ever. I guess next time I will have to take a leaf out of Presidentes book and tell mother-in-law jokes, theyre safer
   - We left our phone in the chapel one night and we didnt want the elders to think we had died so we tried knocking our predio to ask to use a phone... Turns out the sisters a couple transfers ago ACTUALLY CONTACTED OUR PREDIO so nobody would answer the door. So kids, the lesson to be learned here is, dont try and contact your neighbors if you ever want favors from them in the future
   - WE ACTUALLY WENT RUNNING THIS WEEK (I hope you were all sitting down for that piece of news fam) and it was HILARIOUSLY AMAZING because there is a giant nun convent up the hill from where we live and we wanted to check it out so we ran up there, ran inside to take a look around, and then tried to leave out the place that said "saida" and we got all the way down the hill and WE WERE LOCKED INSIDE. So we naturally took it really calmly, acted real cool (you know me) and started running around trying to jump over the walls without looking like criminals, then taking a different path only to be chased by dogs and then just completely panicing and sprinting back out the way we came. I half expected there to be a news article the next day "2 nuns escape the convent" without our pictures. And I still slightly hyperventilate when we see nuns in the streets. WE GOT TRAPPED IN A NUN CONVENT EVERYONE
   - Some random ladies showed up to our aluas de inglês on Friday, so here we are thinking "wow what a blessings 3 new investigators" when it turns out they were trying to find the crazy gypsy Reino de Deus church. Whoops.

Alrighty, thats all fam!! Looks like I still havent improved in telling stories about missionary work.... We will get there. Someday. I LOVE YOU ALL LOTS AND LOTS DONT FORGET TO PRAY AND READ YOUR SCRIPTURES AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT AND ALL THAT!!!!!!!!!!!


xoxoxoxoxoxo bjs Sis P

(found this picture on another sisters blog from Christmas... apparently Carly participated in a musical number)

Monday, February 1, 2016



First off, I have gotten a bunch of emails and letters lately from people asking if I ever actually teach the gospel or do missionary work or anything like that. REST ASSURED FAM, I do actually do real life missionary work that is not just eating everything in sight and playing ridiculous games with my districts. I have a personal, 2016 goal to try and actually talk more about the stuff we actually do that is real missionary work. WE´LL SEE HOW IT GOES YALL

But for this weekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk:
   - As you can see from the subject line, we are tryna improve member relationships here in Braga. You know what that meansssssssssss.... PROJECT COOKIE. I AM SO EXCITED. Lets just say we bought like 7 bags of flour this week doing our compras. I firmly believe and I am sticking to it that the secret to missionary work is cookies. COOKIES ON COOKIES ON COOKIES. So here we go, testing the theory on the good members of the ala de Braga. GET READY FAM. Also get ready for me to gain back every single pound I lost in Foz when we didnt have members to bring cookies too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahaha... hahahha.. ha. 6 months to sexy anybody??!
   - Speaking of which, WE HIT A YEAR THIS WEEK. WHAT THE ACTUAL WHAT. I DID NOT SEE THIS ONE COMING. I am pretty sure I am still the newest little sister missionary in this mission and yet, I somehow am hitting the home stretch and ITS THE WORST THING EVER?!?! THE MISSION SHOULD LAST FOREVER?!?!?! NOT SURE WHAT MY LIFE IS?!!?!?
   - But, panicking aside, the mission is super great. The literal best. This week we felt like changing things up and focusing a little more on our less actives and it led to some freaking MILAGRES. Seriously though. We found a little family where the dad has been missing the church so much and is just dying to come back. The ward all misses him and loves him to death and, milagre of all milagres, HE CAME TO CHURCH THIS SUNDAY. AHHHHHHH. I think that kind of happiness is even better than when investigators come because people are cumpriring with their convênios and its so so great to see. We are working with a couple other people with potential to voltar as well and its all superduper exciting!! CHURCH IS TRUE FAM!!
   - SISTER RUNYAN FAZERED ANOS THIS WEEK AND IT WAS A PARTY!!! 21 AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!!!!!!!!! Well, for us it meant crepes and a lunch out and going to bed early, so there ya go. Life of missionaries. BUT let it be known that my dear sweet comp is the very very best and that I love her to death and it is such a party to serve with her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS RUNYANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
   - The elders went to a crazy, 2 day conference down in Porto all week and we were SENTIRING THEIR FALTA big time. We called at basically every interval just to see what was happening and be annoying sisters (you know me, fam). In the end, Elder Jensen who is in his 2nd transfer and GREEN AS CAN BE was out on divisions the whole time WITH ANOTHER GREENIE and they didnt have a phone with them and they got lost in Porto AND WE ALL THOUGHT THEY WERE GONNERS. BUT REALLY THOUGH. That may have been the hardest I have ever prayed in my life. I dont think you understand, Elder Jensen is REALLY REALLY GREEN. But anyway, they made it back okay thanks to the prayers of the faithful. hahahahaha we are all just hashtag grateful they are safe and alive and well

Alright thats all I got. I feel like my emails get worse and worse?? Sorry fam, I will work on it I swear. 2016 goals everybody. BUT I LOVE YOU ALL AND THANKS FOR ALL THAT YALL DO. YALL ARE THE BEST. MUCH LOVEEEEEEEEEE

Have a great week gente!!!!

xoxoxoxoxox bjs Sis P

(A couple pictures courtesy of Carly's current companion)

(Her companion mentioned the mission president sent the missionaries these cool binders/folders)