Sister Campos: she taught me how to sacrifice for other people. She always put the other person first. When she left, she made sure that I would give the better umbrella to my companion, rather than use it myself (and in Viseu umbrellas were precious!)
Sister Da Luz: I understood how to be happy! She was going through a lot of health issues, but she showed that happiness is a choice and doesn't need to depend on our circumstances.
Sister Smith: With her I learnt how a mission can be fun. She also helped me see that we are part of a team with the other missionaries and the members.
Sister Waddell: I certainly learnt that it is better to share our feelings rather than keep them to ourselves :) When we sincerely ask how other people are, we are able to develop deep and lasting friendships.
Sister Fernandes: she taught me how we should be equal as companions and work as one rather than worry about what the other one thinks of what we are saying or doing.
Sister Gouveia: I learnt to act for myself and the best satisfaction comes from our own actions and decisions. She taught me to have faith in my own ideas and in the end we will see the light!
Sister Sousa: she taught me how to do really good contacts and treat people as people rather than numbers. Really, our investigators should be our friends and this shows a true love.
Sister Bento: She never gave up with anyone, even when she had left the area! It was funny because we always wanted to become more like the other - she wanted to be more serious and organised and I wanted to adopt her happiness and calmness in the face of challenges!
Sister Hansen: with her I learnt that to be a good companion was not always the same as being a good friend and she was a great example of being open and friendly with everyone.
Sister Jones: I learnt so much about the kind of person I should have been at the beginning of my mission! She never cried, never showed her stress and was always looking to be better in every aspect!
Sister Sivertson: I learnt that sometimes we have to force ourselves to do things we don't want to in order to gain true satisfaction. She showed me how to give people their space and not to be scared of dropping people that are not progressing. She also explained how we don't have to completely understand what someone said to be able to love them!
So, I had quite a few really. I feel very blessed by all the missionaries I worked with and there is definitely a power in united obedience and diligence.
I also feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn Portuguese. This really is a beautiful language and I hope I will get to use it in the future.
I really feel that I was sent to Portugal, that I was MEANT to come here, and just that knowledge is a big blessing.
And obviously General Conference was a big blessing. I just loved all the talks. The words themselves and the spirit that you feel at conference just answers all your questions and gives you the strength to carry on. There definitely seemed to be a theme about drawing closer to Christ to increase our faith so you can overcome life's little challenges. You should just watch/rewatch it all, but some of my favourite talks were: by Ulisses Soares (you know, because he should be speaking Portuguese!)
with mention of a truly beautiful (yet previously unknown to all the missionaries and Portuguese people in the room at the time) hymn that is only found in the Portuguese hymnal 'not now, but in the coming years'.
I obviously LOVED Jeffry R. Holland's talk about how there is space in the 'choir' or 'church' for everyone, and we need slightly different voices (even though we all agree to sing from the same hymn sheet and follow the same conductor) I loved how he talked about those of us that like to stand close to the people we think are singing particularly well, because then we sound better an generally know more what we are doing. In this way we should stand closer to the Saviour so that we truly become better 'singers'!
Gary B. Sabin talked about a boy out camping who passed the whole night cold and not sleeping because he wouldn't unravel his sleeping bag, knowing that it would take a few minutes of work to wrap back up again. How much we need to be 'all in' and put in a bit of effort to truly reap the blessings.
Finally, I loved Joaquin Costa who basically gives a good idea of what it is like as a missionary to try and help someone truly convert to the gospel. I know that it is so worth accepting to listen to the missionaries, listening to the spirit in church meetings, reading and applying the Book of Mormon so that we can truly repent and feel pleased that every day we are a little better than the last.
Last of all, I am so grateful to have received so much support and messages from you all. I can not believe I have got through this amazing missionary experience. I knew I would never regret it, but now I can truly say it has been worth it. The hardest things usually are. May we always follow the Prophet's counsel that it is better to 'choose the harder right, than the easier wrong'
Obviously, I would have to finish with a President Uchtdorf quotation from Conference, changing just one word 'Love turns A MISSION into a blessing rather than a burden' and so can accepting and emulating Christ's love, change our troublesome lives into beautiful blessings.
For the very last time...