"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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Greetings from Coimbra

Olá From my new area, Coimbra!
The only city in the world where you will see random students wearing Hogwarts robes. FUN FACT: JK Rowling got her inspiration to have the Hogwarts robes as uniforms from the University of Coimbra! So yes, there really are students with long robes at the grocery store and it´s pretty normal.
   And it´s awesome.
  My new house has a fireplace, so we put the tree and the stocking up and I use the doorknob hanger! Also, there´s been non-stop Josh Groban Christmas playing in the house. I also like to torture myself by playing "i´ll be home for Christmas" on replay.
   It´s great.
   My new area is huge! Coimbra is really big! But we have a BIG chapel in our area, and we also have a ward, so we´re in the Coimbra stake. We have a bunch of buildings, some main roads. But it´s a really nice area and the members like to help us out with missionary work! We also get fed a lot. It´s great! But also strange because my 2 areas haven´t been too good with missionary-member working together-ness, so i´m learning a lot here. We also have a great bishop!!! He´s so good that President Fluckiger says that he´s the best bishop in all of Portugal!
   Unfortunately, we have no investigators, so it´s almost like white-washing all over again. We´ve been doing a lot of street contacts this week, which means lots of walking. LOTS.
   ALSO, My new companion, Sister Donahoo. She´s like a mission prodigy. But I´M the one supposed to be doing her 2nd transfer training! She hasn´t spoken English since her 2nd day in Portugal. She speaks less english than me! It´s crazy! She´s super dedicated and she wants to be consecrated so bad, so since i´m her trainer I have to be the example, which has helped me to be the best missionary I can be. We´re exactly obedient! She is really great. Her last trainer was one of the best missionaries on the mission and i´m really nervous because i´m nowhere near as good as her. But, yeah, Sister Donahoo is so hard working and sometimes when I wanna give up, she´s like, ´come on, let´s hand out five more cards!´ She thinks i´m her trainer, but really...
   They´re not kidding when they call it greenie fire.
   Hope everyone has a great week before Christmas!
Sister Mancuso

Monday, December 8, 2014

I am in Coimbra

HELLO! I love love love email, but this week i´ve been travelling for my entire p-day! IT STINKS. And that only means that i have 20 minutes of email. i´m sad :( I have NO time to write, but they transferred me to Coimbra 1B!!!!!! So now i´m in SUCH  a beautiful city! I don´t have the really pretty part, though, but it´s still gorgeous. There´s a huge old prestigious university here. Did you know that this university is where JK Rowling got the inspiration to use the robes and costumes in Harry Potter? Yeah, it´s THAT kind of university. I love it! It also means it will be colder than the Algarve, so that´ll be great. YES! I wanna see pictures of the christmas tree and decorations! I miss you so much! But last week in Portimao we went christmas caroling and it was AWESOME! I loved loved loved it. What else? OH WE MARKED THE RUSSIAN FAMILY FOR BAPTISM! THEY´RE GOING TO BE BAPTIZED ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!! I wish I could go, but i´ll be here, so... Also, I LOVED Sister Baird, my comp in portimao! We bought matching sweaters and we were always having a good time and it was awesome!
   What else? OH I´M TRAINING! I´m training someone in their second transfer, so i´m really excited! Her name is sister Donahoo!!! She´s really sweet and so nice, i can´t wait! And what else? AHHH I HAVE NO TIME TO WRITE! I love you so much! ciao ciao!!!! Beijos!


This week I missed you all so much because I had my birthday and thanksgiving, but it really was the best thanksgiving and birthday I could´ve had while not being at home!
   Where do I begin???
   Monday: We went to the beach.
   Tuesday: We had district meeting (I made cake for my district leader because his birthday was close too) and Sister Baird and Sister Rosemann had to do divisions, so we split up once again. We travelled to Lisboa and the Office Elders picked us up at Oriente Train station (BEAUTIFUL). They tried to take us to the Odivellas sisters´ house, but we ended up getting lost for an hour until we got there.
   Wednesday: My residency in Lisbon took all of 20 minutes... Then we had to go to the bus station in Sete Rios to take the 3 1/2 HOUR bus back to Portimão. Sooooo we didn´t get to go to The American Store :( We did proselyting as best we could and then we went home late to start cooking for Thanksgiving.
   THURSDAY WAS RIDICULOUS: Since two of our sisters were still on Divisions, we had to cook everything. I made sweet potatoes with marshmallows, stuffing, and apple pie (ALL FROM SCRATCH). It´s so weird because I have been the sister that cooks the most in our house. Weird, right? Nevertheless, I could only find pink marshmallows (they don´t really sell them here), so we had pink sweet potatoes. That was just during our study time! Then we had to go out and proselyte! And then Sister Baugh had a doctors´ appointment and then the sisters got home and it was just CRAZY. But later on, we had thanksgiving with te Stuckis´ and 3 other americans that live in our ward. The Elders made mashed potatoes, and you can´t really find a whole turkey here, so Sister Stucki just made chicken. There was pecan pie and everyone loved my stuffing and Sister Stucki makes THE BEST GRAVY EVER. It was so nice and so fun and the room was just full of love. After dinner, we went around and said what we´re thankful for and it was so nice.
   Friday: We had weekly planning and were out the door for the rest of the day! We had lessons with some investigators (A FAMILY!!!!!) named Eliseu and Clarice and their children. They have so much potential and they like it when we come over. The whole family is ready ready ready (just add water) except for the dad. He has a smoking problem :( but we´re working on it! His daughter is a member of the branch and she´s marrying this RM  and they are the CUTEST COUPLE EVER. We also visited another investigator named Vladimir and he is kind of progressing, but you can tell he still has a long way to go.
   It was THE BEST DAY EVER! Sister Baird woke up a teeny bit early and made little papers to put on the wall for when I woke up (with things like "you´re an iron chef!" and "you bring disney into our lives everyday!") and the sisters sang happy birthday and it was awesome! They made crepes cause they know I love crepes, and then... I opened the rest of my presents from home. I FLIPPED OUT When I got the Elsa costume for my build-a-bear. FLIPPED OUT. I was so excited! I think that was my favorite present :) AND for my birthday we also found... 2 new investigators! That´s what I REALLY wanted. I´m so excited cause they seemed pretty firm. We also went to this little old lady (she´s a member, but she´s too old to leave the house. She´s blind and it takes a lot for her to walk and answer the door) and she has my same birthday so we sang happy birthday to her! She was so happy! The Elders also called and sang happy birthday and then they gave me Oreos. All four of us sisters went out for lunch and we went to this all-you-can-eat chinese restaurant (YES. I haven´t had chinese since the U.S.) and we stuffed ourselves and it was GREAT! We had a full day of proselyting and then we had an activity at church (noite de integração) and there were lots of deserts and members and investigators AND THEN they all sang happy birthday to me! But that´s not all! When I got home, I found out that the sister had actually made me a cake! A funfetti cake! Boxed cake! AMERICAN BOXED FUNFETTI CAKE! Sigh. I love my sister so much. And Portimão :) Next week is transfers, so I don´t know if i´ll be staying or going! Presidente Fluckiger said that so many missionaries are leaving that they have to close some areas with 6 or more missionaries. That´s us. So probably one of the sisters duplas are going. So...
   Sunday: Funny story, because they asked me to speak yesterday in sacrament. So that was fun. I talked about (surprise) misisonary work! But I really do like the branch. It´s the biggest in the Algarve and there are a bunch of members and we have an awesome branch president and everything! We have a stand alone chapel, too. We had lunch at this member´s house. She´s so cute! She´s 76, and she loves to cook for us. We had a church tour for this guy who is an investigator. Then we had dinner at a different member´s house and it was her son´s birthday so we had some REALLY good cake. Did I mention that that day, all 4 of us sisters ate the WHOLE funfetti cake in one sitting? It was crazy.
   Soooo... That was my week!
You are the best! All of you! I LOVE YOU!


More pictures from Portimao

What a beautiful place!!!!!

Venezuelan wherever she goes!!!

Their apartment in Portimao

Good morning Portimao

Hey! How is everything? Sorry for not writing lately! I´ve been transferred to... PORTIMÃO! Right next door to Lagos! It was actually pretty funny! We´re Pink-washing (which means opening a new area where there weren´t missionaries, which in this case, was just splitting the Elders´area) with 2 other sisters!!!
   This week was good. A little dismal, but good. Since Sister Baird and the other Sister Training leader had to go do divisions this week, me and Sister Baugh were left alone for two days! It was rough.
BUT... Full of miracles! We found 2 menos ativos and we didn´t have any new investigators, which we need badly, but it wasn´t because we didn´t try! Since you know me and i´m kinda shy when I need to talk to people, I´m not the best at contacting on the street, but I do like it. But since I figured I need to lay my fears on the altar of sacrifice (I´m working towards becoming a consecrated missionary. It´s my long-term goal.), I TALKED TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON I ENCOUNTERED! And it wasn´t that bad! I opened my mouth and I talked to so many people, and I was the one to do it! It was awesome!
   What else happened?
   OH I had an interview with Presidente Fluckiger this week! It was awesome! He came down to Faro (the Algarve zone meeting place) and he had interviews with all the missionaries. In my interview he said HE HAD CONFIDENCE IN ME. He said I was doing a really good job for a young missonary. He said he might have to put me with a much younger companion (which means I might be training!!!!)... But it was a very good interview and i´m so happy I had one with him.
  We found a ton of menos ativos this week! Since we don´t have too many investigators yet, we just look for a lot of menos ativos and we found a few! One was this really old lady, and another was this little old man, and some jovems, and it was awesome! We´re working on reactivating a couple of moças who stopped coming, but are really cool!
  They need to serve missions...
  This week is gonna be crazy! I´M GONNA BE 20 ON SATURDAY, I also have to go to Lisboa to do my residency (can you believe i´ve already been in Portugal for 3 months????) this wednesday, so we wanna make a pit stop to The American Store in Lisbon (where they sell all things American) And try to find pumpkin pie filling, spices, mac and cheese, you know, all that fun stuff. But it may not happen. But I love Lisboa, so i´m excited. But i´m not excited for the 3 and a half hour bus ride there. IT´S SO LONG. But i´m already used to using a lot of public transportation soooo...
   Also, we´re getting things ready for Thanksgiving this week! We actually are having Thanksgiving with the Stucki´s (YES) and i´m making sweet potatoes and it will be awesome! The only thing is that we may not find a turkey so..... We will probably have to find a big chicken. BUT I am definitely making sweet potatoes and we will have stuffing and pumpkin pie and pecan pie and mashed potatoes and gravy and salad and all that good stuff! IT WILL BE AMAZING. And while i´m there I will be thanking Heavenly Father for all of you :)
   Also, I´ve barely told you all about my companion.  She´s the best! Sister Baird is AWESOME! She´s so sweet and we just get along together so great! We´re always laughing and smiling and we teach well together, so i´m happy. She loves to eat healthy, so i´m learning to eat healthy too. She loves to eat gourmet too, so it kinda reminds me of Sarah. BUT Lagos trained me for the craziness of always walking, so now my calf muscles are ridiculous and when she wants to sit and rest, I´m not even tired!
   ALSO, I have realized how much i´ve actually learned while i´ve been on my misison. SO much. My testimony about the gospel has grown so much since i´ve been here. Not only has my portuguese improved, but my testimony has grown! It´s so hard to contain sometimes! I just want to tell everyone everyhting about how much I love this gospel! So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought i´d add a few things that i´m thankful for:
-Being a missionary
-Having a great companion!
-Being in Portugal
and of course,
-My family and friends back home (that´s all of you!!!!)
  Also... I hope to get lots of emails in my mailbox this week... *hint hint*
Love you all and have a great week!

Amazing place!!!!
With her companions at the beach

At the beach in Portimao
At the beach in Portimao

Pictures from the Jeffers

The Jeffers are a missionary couple assigned to Victoria's area. Ocassionally they send me pictures.I appreciate that so much!

Hi Sister Mancuso
We attended a multi-zone conference in Lisbon of Friday. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke to us. I attach photos of your daughter at the conference, and one of Elder Cook. I hope you enjoy.


Heyyyy family!
   How is everyone?
   I miss everyone so much! I have lots and lots AND LOTS of news!
   I GOT TRANSFERRED OUT OF LAGOS!!!!!!! Now i'm in Portimao, which is THE CITY RIGHT NEXT TO LAGOS. I mean, like, I come here every week for district meeting. And shopping. But now it's my new area! Sister Da Luz is going to Leiria, where I wanted to go, and she wanted to go here! It's just weird because out of all the places in Portugal I could go, I come half an hour away from my old area! I'm still in the same district and everything! The Elders in Lagos moved into our apartment so we had to DEEP CLEAN everything! I went to bed super late and got up super early. Not to mention my suitcases.
   MY SUITCASES. ARE. A. HEADACHE. now that I bought a blender and I have a yoga mat and a scale and the quilt and a blanket... Let's just say I had to use the extenders on all of my suitcases and use my backpack and carry stuff in my bag. AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH. And the elders helped us with our suitcases to the bus station and they said my suitcases were really heavy... So i've decided you don't have to send me my scarves and reindeer shirt. Really, like don't. I have way too much stuff already. And ANYTHING you buy there you can buy here. You can still send me the rest of the stuff, just don't send me any clothes... please...
   And Portimao has a senior couple!!!! The Stucki's! I'm actually at their house right now doing email. But I don't have my camera so I'll send pictures next week!
   Also, My new companion is Sister Baird, a sister Training leader!!!! I'm not gonna be, but she is, so that means she's a really good missionary!
   Last P-Day was really fun! We went to Ponte da Piedade again, but this time with our district. It was really fun!
   This week was really great. I felt like we got closer to some members and we got closer to our investigators and right when that happened, I had to leave! I love Lagos so much. I never thought I would say that because at first, I hated it.
   Funny story about the cupcakes, I made them and we went door-to-door in our apartment building hoping to give them to our neighbors, but no one was home! So we just ate some and gave the rest to the Elders. They liked them. Yeah, those cookie mixes would be nice!!!!
   I love the story of Elder Clarke! I told that to the Stucki's and another missionary here waiting for his comp, and Elder Stucki said that Elder Clarke is his best friend!!!! How funny is that! It's such a small world! BTW, I ALWAYS ask EVERYONE if they're reading the book of Mormon. EVERYONE. So don't worry :)
   Also, it's kinda funny, cause this week we got coupons for burger ranch (a hamburger joint) and we used them on saturday for lunch. While we were there, we got a call from the AP's and that's when we found out they were taking sisters out of Lagos.
   The main reason for all of that was because NO ONE could find an apartment for the elders, and our branch president really needs priesthood because we don't have anyone for callings, so that's mainly why. But everyone was heart-broken (because most everyone likes sisters better). Also, I'll be sharing an apartment with 2 other sisters in Portimao! I'm SO EXCITED!
   AH! I'm out of time! I love you all SSSSOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ja passei a roupa a ferro

So, interesting story this week:
   One of our investigators lives with her parents, and her dad is 80. The whole family likes it when we come over to visit. The other day, We walked into their garage to see that it was like a museum because it had so much old stuff! Gil (investigator´s dad) gave us a tour and then gave me a REALLY old clothing iron. So I had to cart around an old iron (we´re talking like 5 pounds) for the rest of the day. But it was really cool!
   Yesterday we had a family home evening in our investigator´s house and it was really cool!
   Also, we had in interesting english class (i´m the teacher). One of the pupils is this portuguese man who decided to turn our e

nglish class into a let´s-trash-the-brazilian-accent class! It was pretty funny cause one of the elders is brazilian!
   This week we also had zone meeting! It was awesome! I was so pumped up for the rest of this transfer and the next one! I know the churhc is true!!!!
   Also, I got a package! It was awesome!
   Hmm... Ah! Next week is transfers! Will I stay in Lagos? Will I not? questions, questions....
   Ah! I´m running out of time! Well, until next week! Write me!
Sister Mancuso