Here are Sarah's emails from her past three weeks - sorry it took me forever to get them up!!!
She was recently transferred (finally) to Gaia, but has the same companion - good thing they get along, eh? Haha... I hope everyone is taking time to write her. She has expressed that she doesn't hear from anyone much, so PLEASE take the time to write - it means the world to her and me! Thanks and ENJOY!
"Sister Sarah Ray
May 25, 2009
So, this week was nuts....we were in Porto and Matosinhos for 3 days because we had a new missionary meeting (for Irmã Egbert) and then we had the AMAZING experience to have meetings with Elder L. Tom Perry for three days. He came to the porto norte stake conference and the friday before we had a reunião with just the missionaries. It was an amazing experience as we got to ask him any questions we wanted and we all got to know him. It is so easy to see that he is guided by the Lord. I am so thankful to know that we have people guiding the church who recieve modern revelation on a regular basis. He shared the experience with us of when Declaration 2 in the D&C was recieved. He was there, how cool is that. The spirit was so strong all weekend, and it really was an amazing experience. Unfortuntately that also meant that Satan worked twice as hard this week, but that is okay. We know how the game ends, we win. Sunday he also really focused in on the family. He showed how every book of scripture starts in a family setting and how important it is for us to teach each other in families and be united, especially with the world right now. It was really a great experience, even if it made me miss my family a whole lot.
The funny part is that I was asked to lead the music...well President has it all settled how he wanted it to happen when Elder Perry entered and so he said to start singing the first verse of when he gave me the signal, and just sing one verse while they got in position so that we could all file past and meet him. Well, president gives the signal, I start everyone singing....and nothing happens.....so I frantically wave my hands to communicate that we will sing the 4th verse too....still no Elder Perry...so we sang the second verse and finally he came in the room. It was pretty funny, but it worked out in the end. I was even complimented for not missing a beat. I almost had to catch him as he fell coming on the stand though. Fun times. Don´t worry he just told the elders they had big feet and challanged them to a basketball game. The institute ELders did get to play ping pong with him though.
Anyway, transfer calls are this week, so we will see if I hit my 9 month mark in Braga or not. My interview with President was pretty funny... I told him that someone switched my mission call, and I opened a new mission just for Braga. At least he thought I was funny.
Love you all, Have a great week!!!
Sister Sarah Ray
June 1, 2009
So in answer to the big question.... I am headed to Gaia 1 this thrusday. I did get transfered. My new area is part of Porto, it is just on the other side of the Duomo river, and is really really pretty. I am just hoping it isn´t as hot as Braga (we hit 104 this week....pretty brutal with no air conditioning and only your two feet as transport). The funny news about this transfer is that I will be opening the area...So the first sisters there will be me and my companion...who happens to be Irmã Polito. Yes, that is right, Irmã Polito and I are being transfered together to open an area. Crazy...who has the same companion for 4 transfers in a row. I guess there is something that we are really supposed to learn from each other.
Yesterday we had the farewell fireside for President and Sister Henry. I know they don´t leave for a month, but we didn´t want transfers to mess up the combined youth, missionary choir that had been practicing in secret for a couple of weeks. Plus we would have lost the Piano man who wrote the whole arrangements. It was actually a really cool experience, pretty much everyone cried and it was all a surprise to the Henrys. It also seems that I have become the designated music leader of Portugal, because even though this was a stake event, I still got to lead the music. It was funny because we sang the EFY medley in Portuguese, which was a different experience for me. Maybe it is bad, but I seem to have lost the ability to sing that song without laughing. Everybody got emotional, they were all crying and I could just remember the 15 million times that I have sung it and it just made me laugh....maybe that makes me a sinner. Opps.
We also put on the Musical in the stake here and it actually went really well. It took forever to translate everything into Portuguese, but it was worth it, because it was a really good experience for investigators and members. Because it was a multi stake event I even got to meet a whole lot of people from my new area...they are super excited to have sisters instead of the elders (opps, we are displacing an elder companionship since we lose 17 elders this transfer) and we actually are walking into a baptism, so luckily I got to meet her before we just show up and take over as the missionaries 2 days before her baptism. There was a really strong spirit there and I was so thankful that I could be on a mission. I know there is nothing better that I could be doing right now. On the funny side again, all the extras that were the mob in the musical, were missionaries. Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny that the missionaries were the ones that were doing the tar and feathering as well as the murder. At least they took of their tags.
Well, I think that about sums it up for the last new broadcast from Braga. i am actually really going to miss it, but I am excited for Gaia. Apparently it is the strongest ward in the mission. The bummer is that they closed Madeira for the sisters....but President said when we get a couple out there again, the sisters will go back. Maybe next time!
From Sister Sarah Ray
June 8, 2009
Weird, no more emails from Braga. However, I am loving our new area. We managed to make it here safe and sound with only one broken suitcase this time. Irmã Polito does not seem to have good luck with suitcases. Probably because she has about two times more stuff than she can move alone. Unfortunately as we were transfering together, we had no help. Well, she used Irmã Egbert....I did it solzinha. It was quite the adventure to get to the station, on the train, off the train, on the metro, off the metro, and all the way to the mission office. Luckily the Elders from Gaia were transfering too so they at least could show us where our apartment and the church were (which happen to be VERY close....yay!!! no more walking for 45 minutes to get to appointments...our Gaia area is very small, and we use the bus and metro).
Well, we started off with a bang as we had the chance to take Iolanda to her baptismal interview about 20 minutes after we arrived in Gaia. Luckily she passed and we had a great baptism that was almost without problems. We had a bit of a moment when about 10 minutes before the baptism the RS president hadn´t shown up with the key to the closet that had the baptismal clothing. SO, being the resourceful missionaries that we are, we picked the lock. Just to discover that it wasn´t the right closet. Blast! It was pretty funny and eventually we found the bishop, got the clothes and everything worked out okay. Unfortunately I have no pictures of our adventure. Maybe we will have to reinact that moment.
On another note, I am pretty sure that I am going to LOVE Gaia. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, part of a big city, the ward is amazing. We had ward council our first day here, and this ward runs like it should. It was so nice to see that the ward has set people that teach the lessons for after baptism, the worry about the people being baptized and the investigators and they even do what they say they are going to do. They even have a ward calendar to work with the missionaries! THe sad thing is we know that only one of us gets to stay after this transfer....they won´t leave us together for 5 transfers...it is half our mission! But, the ward here is super excited to work with us, all of our lessons so far have had a member there. I guess it pays to be the first sisters in an area....at least we have one perk. Other than that we are just getting lost a lot...a map of all the streets with a way to find them doesn´t really exist...gotta love Portugal.
On a happier note, we had a lesson this morning with someone that we are working with and it was great. We got to the end of the lesson and asked if she had any questions. Her question " Can I be baptized on the 20th." Yup, I think I am really going to like Gaia.
Well, time is short, so I will go, but have a marvelous week. Thank you all for the support! Should anyone have interest here is my new address:
Irmã Sarah Ray
Rº Estado de India
nº 454 Hab 0.3
4430 Vila Nova de Gaia
Make time to write Sarah, and here is how easy it is!!!:
1) On the internet go to dearelder.com 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
Portugal Porto Mission
Rua de Amalia Luazes
No.23 Sala 1
Or - Use the address above!!! Thanks y'all!!!