Monday, March 30, 2009

Braga, On My Mind!

Hey Y'all! I have an update from Sarah and her family!!! Here are the group emails she has sent out these past two weeks... Enjoy, and PLEASE keep her in your thoughts and prayers - and please WRITE HER!!! :) - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

P.S. There are some great photos attached below, too!!!

"March 16, 2009

Hello everyone!
Well, the good news is we have sunshine here in Braga. We have also managed to have a ward activity in which people showed up! YAY. I think the two things might be related. Or it could have something to do with the failproof method of telling people there will be a churrasco at the end. Either way, we had a really fun activity and even had several investigators there. One that we are working with is going to set a baptism date this week! The bummer is that we might end up passing him to the elders because he seems to be becoming a bit attached to my companion.... awkward. As for your question Mom: yes, we do get harrassed in the streets a lot. I guess that is what you get with two 23 year-old girls walking down the street together.

This week has included a lot of trying to reorganize since we are down one dupla here in Braga now. The good news is it seems like the work will pick up now that the weather is good. People are more willing to talk to us, and every weekend there is a open air fair type thing in the center, so there are a lot of people to talk to! Yay.
The funniest part about us loosing a dupla of elders is that our district now consists of the Zone leaders, two sets of sisters and the district leader (and companion of course). SO, because the Zone leaders are hardly ever there in the meetings, our district now has more sisters than elders. Weird isn´t it. As a result Elder Winters has been called, not as distric leader, but as the new Relief Society president. We all thought it was pretty funny.
Well, that about sums it up for this week. I forgot my list of things to write about, SO, hope that everyone has a fantastic week and that everything goes well. Love you!!

Irmã Ray"
AND - THE NEXT LETTER!!!!!!!!!!!

"March 23, 2009

Yay, more Braga. How fun and exciting!

Actually Braga is fun and exciting, or maybe that is just the missionaries. I think we have decided that to make up for the lack of enthusiasm that exists in the whole of Portugal, the 4 of us in Braga have decided to pretty much take over. I´m not exactly sure what president was thinking putting all of us together, but it is crazy!!! Probably because we are the furthest North the mission goes...President wanted to be way far away from all of us. We had a street meeting yesterday that was really good. Now that the weather is nicer they have all of the area artisans in the city center every weekend, and all the families show up, the sell cotton candy and balloons and everyone just has a grand old time. This of course means the missionaries show up and draw the plan of Salvation in chalk on the side walk and the Irmã target the moms with strollers. We have discovered that if you talk about the kids first, they will listen to you more about the gospel. I am actually starting to have fun vs fear with walking up to random people who speak a different language and trying to start a conversation about the gospel. WHo knew. It really is true that the Lord lets us know what to say. Doubt not, Fear Not. That is the sisters new motto for the transfer. (D&C6:36 if you were wondering)

Anyway, The work in Braga is looking up. We have 2 baptisms on the horizon already set and hopefully two more that are close! The unfair thing is that all the people who have just shown up in church of their own free interest live in the Elders area, but that is okay. Irmã Polito and I can knock doors with the best of them. It is really cool to see how things just seem to come from no where when you have faith.

As for other news, apparently it is only our district that is going to zone conference this week because we are not only speaking, directing the music...we have also been chosen as a district to provide the musical number. This is pretty much a joke by Elder Doty who left the glories of Braga for the drudgery of the assisstant. I think he thinks he is funny considering in our district....2 are tone deaf, 2 don´t like to sing, 2 are scared to sing, and then there is me and Irmã Polito. Luckily she can this week will definitely be interesting. We are thinking earplugs will be a good idea to hand out this time.

Well, time is short and as we are going up the mountains today as a district activity...we better not be late. Love you all and have a marvelous day! The church is true, the gospel is worth it!

Irmã Ray"

The Best way to write Sarah is: 1) On the internet go to website. 2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Portugal Porto 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. This site does require US $.94 Postage. You can set up an account and it will deduct the postage each time you write. 2) The alternate way for sending anything (i.e. letters, packages, etc) through regular US mail is below. This method requires US $.94 postage for letters.

Sister Sarah Ray

Rua Padre Antonio Vieira

Nº91 5º Tras

Braga 4710-374


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little Tid-bits of Her Letter to Me!

So, I haven't had an group emails from Sarah in the past two weeks, but I have gotten letters and emails from her each week. Thus, I thought I would post some of the stuff that she has written me that I know she wouldn't mind me sharing. Here are so things she has written me in her last few letters...

"We don´t actually have daylight savings here for another 3 weeks. Why is it different...I don´t know. Because Portugal has this weird desire to do everything different. Strange strange country. BUT...I love it! Definitely miss some things about the good old USA, but I do love it here too."

"The church is true, the gospel is the most important message in the world. We are so lucky to have it. I see the miracles in my life every day."

"Okay so I have to admit, Knowing that dancesport was last weekend made me a bit trunky. I was sad, but then I remembered I am doing something better... so It doesn´t matter...yay. I´m glad it was good though. I want pictures. Mostly I want pictures of you." - She meant this about ALL her friends too, so send her pics!!!

"As for the progression of the work....Braga has been pretty dead for a couple transfers. Probably helps that my companion, as much as I love her, doesn´t get out of bed until 11-12 every day, so we never have studies, we never really plan and we hardly have things marked. Of course then she doesn´t want to knock doors both as no input of what to do then. However, Irmã Ray laid down the law this past week and things have been looking up. We are teaching a couple people, almost none of whom are actually Portuguese. It is hard, because these past couple weeks I have felt as if I am not doing any good here, and that someone else could do a much better job. It is sad to not be able to see all your work going anywhere. HOWEVER, I have faith that it will get better. We are working better this week, and we are even marking someone for baptism....if all goes as planned.

I had an interesting thought from scripture studies that I am going to share. In Alma 20:23 the King offers up half of his kingdom in return for his life. Two chapters later, 22:15 he says that he would give up everything for the knowledge of the gospel. Interesting huh....his life was only worth half the kingdom, but the gospel is WAY more important than that. I thought it was cool!

And, now that I have written you a book, I have to go. Sorry the letter was late last week. We switched our P-day so we could go to the castle, cause everything cool and cultural is closed on Mondays. Go figure."

Please everyone! Keep writing her, or START writing her, and send her your support and love! She really missed home this past week and a half! I hope to have more to post tomorrow night.... Her address is in the entry below, so check it out and WRITE AWAY, RIGHT AWAY!!! :)

- Ridiculouslygoodlooking

Friday, March 6, 2009

Catching-Up - 2 weeks worth!

I just received Sarah's last two emails from Braga and I happy to report she is doing well~ however, things for her have been really hard lately. Thus, keep those prayers coming for her! She wrote in these letters that things were a bit tough, but she also wrote me this week and said Satan is REALLY hitting her hard these past weeks. I am so proud of her faith and positive attitude though... Let her know you're there for her too, and drop her a line. Instructions and the address are below of you need them... Otherwise, enjoy this week's (and last week's) readings from Braga!
- Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"From Sister Sarah Ray
February 23, 2009

SO sad day, I just wrote a really witty and fun email to everyone, but the wonder of Portuguese technology, or maybe that we are in a free internet place, decided to kick me off and it was all lost! Grr. Anyway, this is the gist. This week was good. Once again I was on divisions so I spent half of it in Póvoa de Varzim (The Balboa Island of Portugal). We got to do contacting on the boardwalk of the beach. Pretty awesome, especially considering that I was with the sister that just got here 3 weeks before me, so we had the two newest sisters together for a while. We had a lot of fun, and actually had a lot of work which was great since it is a brand new area.

We are now in the midst of Carnival. A holiday that begins with Valentines day and continues up until the 24th. I still haven´t figured out exactly what is being celebrated, but it includes kids being dressed up like Halloween for a week and a half during the day and everyone parting during the night. Luckily it is much more tame here than in Brazil so we can actually get some work done. Needless to say though, I will be VERY happy when it is over. The ward is actually having a big service activity to celebrate tomorrow and ending with a big churrasco, so the missionaries are pretty excited about that one. ´«

Well, the church is true and I am so thankful for my opportunity to watch the gospel change lives on a daily basis. If anyone needs something to pray for pray the hot water starts to work in the chapel before Saturday or we are going to have a really cold baptism...yeah, the hot water isn´t working. THe bishop promises to have it fixed by Wednesday...stay tuned. Love you all, thank you for your support!

Irmã Ray

From Sister Sarah Ray
March 2, 2009

Well, the cold has come back with a vengance to little old Braga. We had two full weeks of sun and 60 degree weather, so apparently that was enough to brighten our spirits and we are back to the cold. Oh well.

Good news is Carnival is officially over, and I escaped without any eggs, flour or anything else you can think of being thrown on me. Probably had something to do with the fact that we were in our building for the whole night...apparently it isn´t a good idea for missionaries to leave their apartments during that time. We, however went above and beyond and due to the fact that Irmã Polito was sick, we didn´t leave the appartment for almost 3 days. At least I got a lot of studying done...even if nothing else happened this week. Sorry there are no interesting stories about the inside of my apartment. HOWEVER; we did learn something really cool at District Meeting this week. Apparently it has become necessary to teach all of the missionaries how to block their number from our cell phones so that the people actually pick up when we call them. The sad thing is that it actually worked with some of our investigators that have been dodging us.

Divisions...we are usually there for two days and pretty much two of us just switch places. yes I spend the night there, and my companion was Brazilian-again. She doesn´t speak a word of English so it was fun. Actually people have been asking me if I was Brazilian on street contacts...guess my accent has switched over. Actually, one girl thought I was a Miss America contestant, so that was interesting, but complimentary... Hot water did get fixed...bishop had motivation, he was doing the baptizing. Although, the font did break and started to leak out all over the chapel, so that was a fun experience. BUT, she was baptized. So pretty much the movie "Errand of Angels", is my life right now. We even had an awkward boyfriend lesson...remember that part. and the umbrella thing. It is amazing how accurate it was!

experience of the week:
We had one investigator tell us she didn´t want to hear the lessons anymore because if she joined the church she would have to give her daughters to the Bishop, all of her money and we do sacrifices in hidden rooms in our chapels. Who knew. The really funny part is that she wouldn´t let us in the door to the building so our whole 10 minute convo was through the apartment building intercom. Wow, what a day. That was after being stood up for church and for an appointment with the person who was marked for baptism but is now apparently avoiding us, someone calling my companion a Prostitute and us getting rained on once again. HOWEVER, we are still going to win, no matter how much Satan thinks he is doing! THe church is true, and he doesn´t have a chance. We actually ended up teaching her roommate the 1st lesson and it was really powerfull. We had the spirit with us, and she was really amazed at everything we had to say. We were leaving and she just kept telling us thank you for letting me know about this, was super excited to read the book or mormon and kept saying how she just felt to light inside and she was thankful to know that she could pray in her own manner, it didn´t have to be hail mary... It was really cool. Unfortunately she is moving to Lisboa. TOday. BUT, maybe my MTC companion can teach her!

Irmã Ray"

Here is how to write Sarah:

1) You can use the website. This still requires $ .94 postage. It is not free like Bryan's.
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter his mission which is Porto Portugal 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.
5) Again, this requires postage so you have to set up an account and put money into it and then it will subtract each time you write, the $ .94 postage.

OR - The alternate way for sending anything (i.e. letters, packages, etc) through the mail is below. This method requires a $.94 cent stamp for letters.

Sister Sarah Ray (Mission Home):

Portugal Porto Mission

Rua de Amalia Luazes

No.23 Sala 1

4200-052 Porto


Braga Address:

Sister Sarah Ray

Rua Padre Antonio Vieira

Nº91 5º Tras

Braga 4710-374