Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

... And I have the PERFECT gift for y'all! Sarah's first email from the MTC is up and posted for you to read!!! She is doing really well and having MUCH success - especially with the language. Everyone is very impressed with her! However, I know she is struggling to feel use to Portugal and the culture... She brushes it off as though it is nothing, because she is awesome like that, but I know it is tough for her right now. THEREFORE, the job I have for YOU is to WRITE HER! Write her right NOW! Haha....

Enjoy the Christmas post and as she said, think of the reason we really celebrate Christmas and rejoice in that! Remember to SHARE the good message of Christmas with those around you, just as she is doing... Merry Christmas!!! - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"From Sister Sarah Ray
December 22, 2008

Family and Friends!

I feel very overwhelmed at the moment here in Braga, but I know it will get better. The ward is fantastic...we have already been fed 3 times. Our ward also has 5 missionaries out and serving right now. Rock on Braga! We have the strongest ward in the mission so i´m really going to be spoiled after this. Right now I am in a tripla for one more week. Irmã Souza goes home a week from today to Brazil. I´m actually kinda bummed because we are doing a good job of teaching each other the language. She only talks to me in English and I only talk to her in Portuguese. It is grand fun trying to describe things to each other to get the right words.

So, we have 6 investigators right now that are progressing and 1 marked for Baptism. Unfortunately she has now left the country for Christmas so we might end up pushing the date back...she has to come to church first. I don´t know a whole lot about them right now because I can only understand about 60 percent of what anyone says. Everyone keeps telling me my language is a miracle but I still can´t understand. Everyone keeps asking me where I am transfered from and when I say the US they get really confused. No one believes me that I am fresh out of the MTC.

So, speaking of speaking, yesterday I made my first solo contact in a street meeting. It was SCARY! Also wans´t very successful because I probably answered the wrong question knowing my skills with Portuguese. It is also way hard because Braga is SUPER Catholic. the city has two names.... the city of many churches- which are all Catholic or better yet the Rome of Portugal. Needless to say we talk to a lot of really Catholic people, but it is fun.

Portugal is interesting, the entire city is paved in cobblestones, and there is no such thing as insulation or heat. It is pretty cold here, and even colder in the houses. The only heating that we have is our one little space heater that we have in our bedroom. We keep the door shut and wear lots of layers- Dad you would be proud. We need to be dressed in our Prosyliting clothes before we do study so we faithfully get ready every morning. Then we put our PJ pants back on under our skirts, hoodies, slippers, blankets and anything else we can find while we are in our study room. Mom, you would die. We also don´t really have hot water. We have a tiny little gas heater that we have to turn on before we take showers, but it only gets kinda warm. it is very similar to the water flow out of a broken sink faucet. However, we get by, plus it makes great stories. Especially since out bathroom door is broken- so it is quite the adventure to get it open.

Let see, other fun facts about Portugal...I can not eat enough to satisfy the member here...I keep trying, but I keep failing...I think it would take both Bryan and Andrew to satisfy them. We also eat at about 9 at night. In the Europe west area our time is different so we don´t get up till 7 and we are out until 9:30 or 10 if necessary. Last night our lesson didn´t end until 10 becasue one of our new members was really struggling so we were working with here. Well, we are supposed to be in our appartment by then at the latest so we sprinted home. Irmã de Macedo was already at home with a member (she is on bed rest with her foot- we aren´t quite sure what she did, but she can´t really walk so thank heavens we can do splits and irmã souza and >I can still go out) so there was the two of us running as fast as we could to get home in time. I kinda wish I had a picture.

I´ll have to start keeping a list of things that are funny or strange so that I can keep you aware of how things go in Portugal. Can´t wait to talk to you this week. Pray that it all works out okay! I know that we are all being blessed for this, even though it is really hard at times. LOVE YOU ALL and remember the reason we celebrate Christmas! ~~

Irmã Ray"

Her Portugal Address:

Portugal Porto Mission
Rua de Amalia Luazes N 23 Sala 1
4200-052 Porto


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Watch Out Portugal - Here She Comes!!!

Here is Sarah's very last MTC email! She seems to be doing well and I hope that all of you are writing her, especially around Christmas!!! Here it is:

"December 12, 2008

Well, the time has come that my entire district has started to freak out. I guess that happens when you are down to 4 days before departure. Half of our time has turned to packing, making sure we know where everything actually is, and trying to figure out what to cut out of our suitcases so we don't go over weight.
We had our last pretend teaching appointment, and I actually feel as if I may be able to do this....maybe. I know I need a lot of help, but luckily the Lord looks out for us, and I know I will get the help I need. I figure if we can get to the point, in two months, that we can communicate decently in a different language, we can do anything.
Anyway, as for the funny moments in life, the good times just keep on rolling. Mom, I got the jump rope in the mail- who knew that they sent jump ropes with instructions. First, it teaches you how to jump up and down without the rope. Good thing, because jumping in place could be hard for some people. Needless to say there are 7 pages of progressively more advanced steps that eventually carry the reader to the wonderful world of jumping rope. If anyone is confused about how this works let me know and I'll send you the instructions :)

Top ways to know you have been in the MTC too long:
10. You have started to forget your own 1st name
9. You vaguely know what cell phones and cars are, but you don't really remember how they work.
8. You completely plan your schedule based around when you can wear jeans.
7. You can predict the opening song of every devotional- okay that one isn't hard. Every week it is Called to Serve.
6. The clothes your brought have mysteriously shrunk in your closet.
5. You know the menu and can predict what you will be attempting to eat.
4. You have a favorite shower based on different times of the day.
3. You know where all the secret computer labs are- so you don't have to wait
2. You have figured out exactly which washers are the fastest during laundry time.
1. You pick the Sunday night movie based on which Joseph Smith is cuter

Yes unfortunately, all of these have been contributed from actual experiences of those around me. I know, we are sad. However, we are also very happy people, and I have loved the MTC experience. I also can't wait to get to Portugal in 4 days, even if I can't speak the Language quite yet. I know that will come.
Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope that you have an amazing holiday season. One thing I have learned is that the best way to enjoy the season is to serve other people! Hopefully everyone will find an opportunity to do that. Love you all and it is great to hear from you.

Irma Ray

PS. so we had a devotional last nigt that was really quite inspiring. Apparently there was a prophecy about Portugal by someone in the 12 that is will become the lighthouse of Europe in relation to the Gospel. I don't have the direct quote, but our devotional was on that last night, and it was very motivational. I feel blessed to be able to be part of this work! We went to the temple today for the last time before we leave, and I really have realized yet again how blessed we are to have the gospel in every aspect of our lives!

So funny story... I have been assigned as the travel leader for our group. Besides making sure that no one does anything stupid or gets lost/misses the plane, I am in charge of assigning companionships for the journey. My packet stipulates in large letters that one Elder and one Sister are never to be assigned as companions. Well, my travel group consists of Elder Roberts and I....and that is it. This leaves me with a small dilemma in assigning companions, but I am happy to note that I have solved the problem. For the trip we will both have split personalities! After I suggested this, it was brought to my attention that we did have split personalities....our missionary selves and our real I guess it will work! Anyway, love you lots, and I thought I would share that little snippet with you! Hope you get a laugh from it!

Irma Ray"

Note from Ridiculouslygoodlooking:

Sarah leaves for Portugal on Tuesday!!! So, if you didn't already send a letter, it is too late for you to send an MTC one. However, she still needs mail in Portugal - probably more so!!! As her dad stated, stay tuned, I will include her new address to write her in Portugal when I receive it. Let's keep supporting Sarah past her MTC experience!!! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The ten day coutndown to Porto!!!!!!!

This is the second to last email I will post from Sarah's MTC experience! I also received a letter from her and she is doing well. She had Elder Holland come and speak to them at the MTC and said it was a neat experience, but he looked exhausted and said the world is really becoming a tough place out there... Keep strong, y'all!!!

AND, PLEASE write her this week while she can still get it at the MTC! Otherwise, send her some Christmas love in Portugal!!! :) - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

December 6, 2008

So, the big news of the week is that I get my travel plans!!! Crazy isn't it? The problem is I still can't speak Portuguese! Oh well, I guess I will have to learn over there right? I have 10 days left here in the MTC and then it is back to the real world.
Hmm, lets see if anything interesting happened this week....
The Brazil group got their visas on Tuesday, and Wednesday they were gone. 22 people left and now our zone racks in a whole 20 people. We are little. Of course that also means that once again I am companion-less. I swear I'm a nice person, but apparently I scare away my companions....oops
Funny story of the week. I was in helping the newest district with their Portuguese one morning and there were telling me how they were working on memorizing the first vision. I though, " hey, thats great- good for you." A couple minutes later I was sitting there and I looked at the wall where they had a poster with the first vision written out. After a couple seconds I figured I should ask a question. " Why do you have the first vision up in Italian?" Needless to say, they didn't realize that what they were attempting to learn was not Portuguese. I thought it was funny.
Well, this week has been pretty mellow- I think we are just all a bit nervous that we are leaving soon. The travel plans are the exciting thing of the week. Of course that also means that all of you who have those letters you haven't sent yet have one more week before you have to send them to Portugal! Anyway, hope that everyone is doing well and good luck with Finals that are coming soon--at least I think.
So- Portuguese word of the week is atacadores. It means shoelaces, and always gives me this random mental image of some guy being attacked by the old school high top tennis shoes with really long laces. Thought I would share that- maybe it will give you a laugh.

We have put up the lights and little tree in my room, so we are in the Christmas spirit as well. We are even in the process of re-writing the song "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" to "I'm gonna be in Portugal for Christmas." Quite interesting actually. Keep up the good work, I miss being there, but I'm excited to be here!
I am so thankful for the ability that the gospel has to bless lives. We have a mock investigator that we have been teaching for a couple weeks now, and it is amazing how, even though it is fake. I am so excited when he finally received a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true and when he said that he could see the effects in his life. I know I'm a nerd, but it really made my whole day! The church is true and the gospel is worth it- no matter what it happens to be! Love you all!

Irma Ray"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December. Write her now while it is still free.

The best way to write Sarah, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Her contact information for US mail (letters and all packages) is:

Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailvox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

Monday, December 1, 2008

Merry Christmas Season!!!

Hey there freinds and family of Irma Sarah Ray! I recieved the weekly email today as well as a letter from here on Saturday - so, needlesstosay, I was a happy camper this weekend! Haha... She is doing really well and would, as always ask, love to hear from you - especially during this Christmas season. I know she will be missing home right around now, so any contact will bring her a lot of Christmas JOY! She's only got about three weeks left and then she will be off to Porto, Portugal to teach the people there. I am very excited for her!

Anyway, here is her weekly email - posted and ready for you to read right here, right now. :) In the words of Sister Ray, Merry Christmas season!!! - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"November 28, 2008

Hi Family and Friends!!!! Merry Christmas Season!The lights here at the MTC are officially turned on and the nativity scenes are all over now. I know more than to hope it is that way at home since I'm not there to do it! I hope that your thanksgiving was grand and that everyone had some awesome opportunitites. Thanksgiving at the MTC was definitely a unique experience. It was my first thanksgiving that involved no football or pie. BUT, we did have the opportunity to do service. We worked with the Humanitarian projects from the church and put together 10,000 first aid kits to send to Cuba and Haiti. It was very similar to the kitchen kits we did. (Was that last year?- our stake actually made it into the humanitarian presentation for the Katrina stuff. The movie also talked about the wheelchair program which of course made me cry remembering my wonderful people from Ecuador.) It was pretty much the best Thanksgiving ever as far as not thinking about myself went. We also had a whole bunch of devotional speakers and spent most of our time doing that.

As for the top 5 of the week
1. Funny Portuguese moments courtesy of district 54-B: Elder Terry in recounting the first vision dropped an E out of a word so that along with a little bit of mispronunciation told the investigator that God the Father said to Joseph Smith " This is my Beloved Son, Egg" oops. We all had a pretty good laugh over that one. Of course- since i'm perfect, I don't make mistakes....okay so thats a lie, I just get to control what goes out from my I don't share my embarrasing moments. I'm sure that I will have many more coming since I leave the MTC in 17 days.
2. My roommates gave me a Swedish name this week. Unfortunatly I can't type it because it has cool sweedish letters in it, and I don't know how to get them on the computer. Triste
3. Um, my companions all left me. I'm not sure that is a happy thing, but it took up a big part of the week. They are all in Portugal now...and there wasn't room in the suitcase for me. It was a cool site to send them off though to see the bus loads of missionaries headed off (at 4:30 am) to different places all over the world.
4. I got a new companion. Her name is Sister (yes, she is a sister- going to Brazil) Hunter from New Mexico. She is great, but watch I bet she gets her visa and leaves before I do!
5. Thanksgiving was great...I already mentioned that we had a great time, but I have been constantly reminded this week of how important it is to count your many blessings. Not only will it make you realize how wonderful life really is, it makes you more willing to help others. I would include a list of things i'm thankful for, but I don't get 10 hours on the computer- SO, to sum them all up. I am super thankful for my family and for the gospel in my life! And all of you great friends!
Have a fantasic week everyone and I Love all of you!!!!
By the way...I get travel plans this week- SCARY!

Irma Ray

P.S. I have gained so much more of a testimony this week that our Father in Heaven knows each and every one of us and what we need. I know that prayers are answered and that all we have to do to receive help is to ask. We are so blessed to have that opportunity. Don't take it for granted!"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December.

The best way to write Sarah, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.
Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Her contact information for US mail (letters and all packages) is:
Sister Sarah Ray

MTC Mailvox
12162005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793