"And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my Gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength as is not known among men."

-D&C 24:12

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week Three: Down!

Dear Everyone,
Hello! Thank you all so much for emails, i love them! keep writing to me!
  What's new?
  OHOHOHOHOH If you're not mormon, we have something called Mormon messages, which is like short videos about something like being kind or about Jesus Christ, or just any other topic. And on Sundays, we're allowed to watch a bunch. So we were watching one about bullying, and then we went to a devotional. And guess who I saw at the devotional (at a devotional, EVERY SINGLE missionary is there. Hundreds. Like a whole huge gym full.)... The main actor in the Bullying mormon message! It was so cool and really funny cause our whole zone was freaking out. HE's going to the martial islands, so that was my fangirl moment of the week.
  Oh and during relief society on Sunday, I got to hear from Sheri Dew! She's super cool! She used to be a counselor in the General Relief Society presidency (that's like a huge deal). Her talk was amazing, of course, and I loved it.
  I'm going to audition for a solo for a musical number for a devotional or other reunion! They hold auditions every thursday, and I thought it would be something fun. I'm going to audition with "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing", if you haven't heard that hymn, it's beautiful and you should hear it!
  OH the other day ion the MTC cafeteria, I ran into an elder who used to serve in my ward! it was Elder Meza (he works there as an "investigator"). It's a good thing it was a quick conversation, because the elders in my zone (they are obsessed with doing this, it's so immature) like to quote PG. 33 in our Missionary Handbook, which is about not flirting with the opposite sex. But you don't understand, if they see ANY sister talking to an elder, they walk up to them, read from PG. 33, and it's super embarrassing.
  Spiritual thought of the week: PLEASE read Matthew 21 in the Bible. It is so beautiful! We read it in class the other day and then we read Acts 7 to show Peter's Transformation and it's so beautiful. Jesus said " Simon, Son of Jonas, Lovest thou me?" When He said that, he was referring to him as his name before he became one of Jesus's apostles. In Acts 7, He is once again Peter and they likened it kind of to us. Right now, at this point in my life, I'm no longer Victoria. I'm Sister Mancuso, and honestly, it's really hard, but I love being called that! I'm ready to change for the better and to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Portugal.
Love all of you!
-Sister Mancuso

Bullying video!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week Two: Check!

Hello, Everyone!!!!
  I just want to thank everyone who wrote me SSOO much! I got really happy when I saw all the emails I got! It's so hard having one 1 hour to answer everyone's email, but I will try to reply to you! If I don't, i'm really sorry!!!!!!
  Where to begin...
  OHOHOH They assigned me as the Branch Music Coordinator! lol so even though I don't conduct in my home ward anymore, I get to conduct in our branch! 
  I keep learning more and more portuguese, and I love learning about it! E muito Bon e gosto de fallar com minha companheira. A lot of portuguese is said the same way spanishis, but written differently, so that takes some getting used to. 
  Oh, I have THE FUNNIEST story to tell! On Sunday, and elder from my District spoke about Baptism in sacrament meeting, and he decided to relate the Gospel to Star Wars because he loves it so much, but he was totally serious, and he got his point across, so that was funny. I have become pretty good at studying, so that's good. 
  This time zone change is KILLING ME! I can't sleep for hours because since I have no time to think during the day, I just think at night and I try not to, but it's so heard since technically in eastern time i'm going to sleep at 8:30!
  I've also learned a few lessons this week. I've learned that when you think there might not be anyone to talk to and you're lonely and when you miss you family and your dog, The Lord is ALWAYS there for you. He hears you and he answers your prayers, and I promise that if you pray to Him, he will answer your prayers. I know that Jesus Christ has played a huge part in my life and in the life of every single person here on earth. He knows EXACTLY what everyone has gone through, because he has felt it. Not only our sins, but our embarrassments, our sadness, and it is so wonderful that He is always there, and that Heavenly Father will always answer your prayers. 
  Lately i've been reminded of a poem by Victor Hugo which happens to be my favorite:
Be Like the Bird
That pausing in her flight awhile
On boughs too slight
Feels them give way beneath her,
And sings,
Knowing she

hath wings.
  The thing is, this is a totally new step in my life, and to be set apart as a missionary literally means to be separated from everything evil in the world to focus on the Lord and the work He would have me do. And it's not my job to convert people, only you can do that. It's my job to do what the Lord would have me do. It's my job to spread happiness and to help people be the absolute happiest I know they can be, through love, because i've felt that happiness for myself. It's my job to invite others to come unto Christ and help them to receive the restored Gospel. I know that it's possible to feel the Savior's love everyday, and He is so loving and only wants us to come unto Him. I know that through His atonement, we can be healed, cleansed, light as a feather, regardless of what it is we have done. I love all of you so much and I know that the Savior loves each and every single one of you infinitely. He sees you as what you can become, and we all have the ability to feel that for ourselves. I miss you all and keep writing me and telling me what's new in your life!
Sister Mancuso
P.S. If you all haven't seen this video, PLEASE watch it. It's only one minute long, but it is MY FAVORITE VIDEO EVER!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week 1: Check!

Dear Everyone,

  First of all, I miss all of you and thank you so much for reading my letters!
My first week definitely took some... adjusting. But thankfully, my new companion, Sister Lacey, is AWESOME. We get along really well and we both share a lot of the same interests. For example, WE BOTH LOVE JANE EYRE. Also, I LOVE my roommates! We are all going to Portugal at the same time, and we all get along so well. We have so much fun, but we still do everything we're supposed to do. My district id really cool. Me and Sister Lacey are the only sisters in our District, and we have 4 other Elders there. Each classroom is a district, and we have 3 classrooms, so there's 3 districts in our zone, and that's who we have our sacrament meeting with (because we're all in the same branch too).
  My daily schedule consists of getting up at 6:30, getting ready, studying for 45 minutes, Breakfast, studying for 3/4 hours, Lunch, Studying for 3/4 MORE hours, 30 minutes of gym time (I've never been so happy to go to the gym. and we use that time EVERY DAY), Dinner, 3 MORE hours of studying, getting ready for bed, and then we go to sleep. It's quite a rigorous schedule. I eat, sleep, and breath portuguese, but i'm pretty good at it, so I can't complain. Of course, I only really know how to pray, and everything else I have to write down or look somewhere for reference. But it's REALLY similar to spanish, so that's good. My poor companheira is trying so hard, and she LOVES studying, so whenever we don't have scheduled study time, she likes to study, and since I can't really do anything about it, I just study too. 
  We taught our first "investigator" this week, and it was really cool. We had to write almost everything down, but I could definitely feel the spirit, and (with my limited portuguese) we tried to teach in the way it was trying to guide us. Her name is Sonha (pronounced Sonya), and she only speaks Portuguese (she's actually a teacher here, but they do role play as investigators also). we've had 3 lessons with her, and I can understand everything, but Sister Lacey can barely understand anything, and it kind of gets her down, so I'm trying to help her with that, but we are definitely improving and getting better, and it's only been a week!
  This week has been a testimony to me of how missionaries really do have the gift of tongues (the ability to learn languages faster). Most of those elders have no background in spanish or portuguese, and my teachers ONLY speak portuguese, and they can understand most of it already, even if they can't speak it. We can give simple prayers and simple lessons, which, in the long run is good, because the Gospel is simple, and we don't need to speak elaborately.
  I am here to better learn how to serve the Lord and how to bring others unto Christ. I also learned how to say and memorize my purpose in Portuguese:

Convidar as Pessoas a achegarem-se a Cristo,
Ajudando-as a redeber o Evangehlo Restaurado
Por meio da fe em Jesus Cristo e em sua expiacao,
Do arrependimento, do batismo,
E de receber O dom do Espirito Santo,
De se perseverar ate O fim.
  My FAVORITE part of getting ready in the morning is being able to put on my name tag. I am SSSOOO happy here. Don't get me wrong, it may be the hardest thing i've ever done, but it is well worth it. SO MUCH STUDYING. and for anyone who really knows me knows that I hate studying, but I actually don't mind studying here. Isn't it funny that whenever they give us additional study time (to study whatever we want), I get really excited? 
  Please, everyone let me know how you're doing! I opened a COMPLETELY empty mailbox today (on my very first P-day) and I got really sad because everyone had at least five emails.
So, please.
Don't be shy.


  I love everyone and I hope everyone's doing well! Until next week,
Sister Mancuso