"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

Monday, June 29, 2015

The law of opposition is TRUE

Hey everyone!
  This week was... interesting. Wow. Where do I start?
  Well, like I said last week, we had the amazing baptism of our investigator André. Man, he is gonna be a big leader in the church one day. I can feel it. But just as I can feel it, the enemy (Satan) can also feel it, and he was working hard last week to make that not happen. I see this a lot on my mission. We missionaries call it "A lei de opposição"- the law of opposition. I know that it truly exists because i´ve seen it time and time and time again on my mission, and in my own life as well. Every time we make a decision to do good, Satan is right there behind us trying to steer us away from that.
  Long story short, André was definitely feeling that opposition this week. Without going into too much detail, lots of strange things were happening and we decided to have a lesson with André and the elders, and the Elders gave him a blessing of comfort and peace. We spent a lot of time with André, Joana (she´s 7 and getting ready to be baptized too), and Elisabete (their mom). They are starting to see the difference of living the Gospel in their home, even though it´s not easy. But it´s worth it. 
  And we felt so proud of them when we all went to McDonald´s and Joana traded her iced tea for a juice box. *sniff sniff wipe off a tear* AND He was confirmed yesterday at church! He now has the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is super important!
  We also had our very last Zone conference with the Fluckigers. They are leaving Portugal next week and we´re gonna get new mission presidents! It was super spiritual and we all cried, and me and Sister Cardoso made SO MANY COOKIES for our sisters here in the Algarve.
  Fun Fact: Portugal doesn´t sell chocolate chips, so we have to cut up chocolate bars every time we make cookies.
  So that was my week. I´ll finish off with my favroite quote of the week! Love you all!

“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
-Joseph Smith
Sister Mancuso

Monday, June 22, 2015

Batismo em Praia de Faro

This week was great!
  André, our investigator, got baptized yesterday at the beach! Another Jovem (youth) baptized him and he was really happy. The opposition for him was so strong, but he did enter the waters of Baptism and he loved it and now, life is good! He´s only 14, but he was such a bright future ahead of him! I have a feeling he is going to serve a mission one day :)
  His mom was a less active for most of her life, butnow they are all coming to church, and they make me so happy! Sometimes I get scared when i think of the future, but then I think of the scripture that says "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
  Needless to say, yesterday was one of the best days ever.
  What else?
  We did a division in my old area of PORTIMÃO!!!!!! It was so great to be there again and to see everyone! it was also strange because last time I was there was when I was in my 3rd transfer, and now I came back as an STL and in my 8th! It was surreal, but so worth it. I did a division with Sister Marinho (YES, Sister Marinho (mother), I know you´re reading this!!!) and with Sister Steagall, both of which are stunning sisters. They teach with the spirit and I just love divisions because they teach me so much!
  I know that this church is true, and I know that the Lord loves us!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hello Everyone!!!!


Shout-out to my little sister SARAH! Sarah got her mission call to serve in the ECUADOR QUAYAQUIL WEST MISSION! I´m so proud of her and so happy that she´s going to serve the Lord in Ecuador for a year and a half!

WOW. The rest of my week is gonna seem boring compared to that news.
   But i´ll tell you anyway. SSSOOOO on sunday night, I got THE CALL from Sister Fluckiger (the one that means that SOMEONE in the house is gonna be sister training leader next transfer) and it turns out... I got transferred to Faro! After only 2 transfers in Braga! Sister Gutierrez is staying in Braga one more transfer. I have to admit, I predicted it, but my predictions never come true, so that´s why I was surprised it actually did this time. During my last week in Braga, I got REALLY bad allergies and my lip and half of my face swole up! It was crazy, so we finally reported it and sent pictures to a doctor. I think that might´ve been a factor in my being transfered to Faro. But now i´m going to be STL in the Algarve and I get to visit 2 of my old areas- Lagos and Portimão! I´m stoked because this was my dream! Not to mention, I´m gonna stay in my mission! I was preparing myself to be in Porto, but here I am in Lisbon! AAHH!!! 

So that was a major plot twist.

Anyway, I stayed up late packing, and we left early in the morning to go to Lisboa. 6 hours and a bus ride later, I got there! And I met my new companion, Sister Cardoso. She´s portuguese, but she also speaks really good english, so we speak both english and portuguese. We stayed in Lisbon on monday so we could go to Conselho de Missão (some Elders like to call it Jedi Counsel...). IT WAS AWESOME!

Conselho da missão was amazing! We recieved amazing instructions and recieved tons of revelation, and I felt so happy and grateful to be a missionary! It was President´s last one, and the spirit was so strong! It just got us all ready to go out and do our best and keep on trying hard!

After that, came the difficult part: lugging my suitcases all the way to the Algarve... ! It was a nightmare, but thankfully everything turned out fine. After another 3 1/2 hour bus ride, we finally got to Faro, and had to run home because it was already super late! The Faro house is so pretty, and so close to the Chapel! We have blue tiles on the walls and There´s also this giant wardrobe that reminds me of The Lion, the Witch, And the Wardrobe. It happens to be where I put all of my clothes...

And so began the first few days of my transfer in a new area with a new companion and pretty much a new everything. The first few days are always awkward... But now it´s fine. I´m adjusting and getting to know everyone!

The north and the south are so different from one another. It´s like the difference between NYC and New Orleans. So different! But beautiful, nonetheless. 

My Quote of the week: "Everytime we reach out, however feebly for Him, we discover He has been anxiously trying to reach us." I testify that this is true! I have seen this so many times on my mission. God loves us so much, and anytime we do our best to achieve what we wanta nd use the power of prayer, we will achieve it if it´s His will. I love my mission and i´m so excited to take on Faro and grow and help others grow even more!

I love all of you!
Sister Mancuso

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bracara Augusta

FUN FACT: Braga has been around for thousands of years, and was the capital of the roman state of Galecia, and it was called Bracara Augusta. Pretty legit. So this week there was this big festival in the city center and there were lots of people dressed in togas and street vendors and random roman bands playing music. It was really neat! Obviously we did´t participate, we just walked through to get to places, and it was still interesting.
  This week was... stunning. But definitely a roller coaster. We went to Matosinhos (Pronounced Matosiños), just outside of Porto, AND IT´S SO BEAUTIFUL THERE! Even though, it´s an hour by train, and then by metro, it´s great! I like to look at the portuguese countryside, even though I get a little anxious when we travel. Don´t know why. 
  But... We did a division with the sisters there and I LOVED IT. I went with Sister Hillam, who is amazing! She is so happy and bubbly, and she was praying that this division would be miraculous, AND IT WAS. It was literally one miracle after the other! We met so many families who were willing to listen to our message, and we also ran into a couple of less actives and had great lessons with them! I know that that day, the Lord placed us where we had to be exactly at the right place and time, and the best part was that it kept happening again and again! We talked a lot about how important obedience is in our lives and if we´re obedient, we will see the blessings of it. Sometimes it won´t be immediately, sometimes it´ll take awhile, and (as Jeffrey R. Holland once said), some don´t come until after this life, but they do come! Obedience is the first law of heaven! Never forget that!
  Oh, And... In the morning, we all went running to the beach, and we decided to go sword fighting with the Elders!
  Oh. let me tell you all a little something about Portuguese Pastries. Most of the time, we abstain from eating them simply by not walking into the confeitarias, But in Matosinhos, we cracked... And it was so good. Pasteis de Nata. Uma maravilha... :)
  On monday, we went ot visit this family whose son (his name is Kelvin. He´s awesome!) really likes church and goes with us almost every sunday. There are 3 other little sisters at home, and they are so cute! The youngest one is 7, and we decided to pray with them, and she wanted to say the prayer. After I helped her, she just looked at me and said "I can feel it. A warmth in my chest." and she just pointed up. The feeling in the room was so strong and everyone was quiet because the Spirit was there, testifying to all of us! It was amazing.
  Also, we have this investigator from spain and she only speaks spanish, and she went back to Cadiz this week, but she loves the Sisters and she feels the spirit so strong everytime she´s with us! I gave her the only spanish Book of Mormon I had, and she said she´s gonna read it and find the church in Cadiz. I love her!
  Well, that´s all for this week! Hope you all have a great week! Here´s a picture of me sword fighting an Elder!
Sister Mancuso