Monday, October 10, 2011

Lizzie's Homecoming

Dear family and friends of Lizzie,

Stepper here. I know you are all as excited as I am - well, no. Strike that. There's no way any of you could be as excited as I am, sorry. But I know you are all excited, because...'s time.

Lizzie has served a faithful mission, and her service is now complete! Lizzie will be returning to the states tomorrow evening (Tuesday), when we will pick her up from the airport, bring her to our home, and once again indulge in person in the force-for-awesomeness that is Lizzie McCrery.

Lizzie will be speaking in church about her experiences on her mission on Sunday, October 30th. She will give her homecoming talk in our ward here in Highland. The meeting begins at 12:00 noon and lasts approximately an hour. They usually have missionaries speak last. After the meeting, EVERYONE is invited to come to our home for lunch and a chance to mingle.

The deets, should you care to join us:

Church address (Close to Mt. Timpanogos Temple and across from Lone Peak High School):
10494 N. 4720 W.
Highland UT, 84003

Please message me if you would like the house address (stepperthemighty at gmail dot com).

We are very excited for Lizzie to come home! Like, kinda beside ourselves excited . You will all join us in the excitement, yes?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Like the Temple...

Hello Stepper and all,  

First I want to say thank you thank you Stepper for the package which you sent SO promptly! The dress and shirts fit Liliana perfectly! She wore it to church yesterday and loved it. Today we are baking the second and third batch of cupcakes to share with people, they are a serious hit especially with my comp. Irmã João. She loves them! So basically the package was PERFECT! Also I already ate ALL of the pringles and we are snacking on the chex mix. You´re the best. You will see the pictures of the dress here in a couple weeks....weird.
OK let me just write a tidbit of the miracles we saw this weekend. Anabela(Liliana´s mom), Anita(Liliana´s little sister), and Rita(An incredible woman I will tell you about later) were all baptized!!!!!!!! It was amazing. We found out on Friday that they would not be able to be confirmed and receive the gift of the holy ghost until the 9th of October because of general conference. So we prayed and prayed and prayed some more to know what we should do. We had already felt so strongly that the three of them needed to be baptized on Sunday and not Saturday, we couldn´t explain why, but we knew it was the will of the lord. So we prayed about whether they should be baptized before church on Sunday so that they could receive the gift of the holy ghost in sacrament meeting. After lots of pondering and praying it became crystal clear that they should be baptized before church on Sunday. Did I already mention that church starts at 9:30 in the morning....ya that's early for people here. But we knew it needed to be done in the Lord´s way and he told us it was His will. So we planned called, worried, prayed, doubled checked our plans. triple checked our plans. Because the problem is that Baptisms should never interfere with church meetings, and if things ended late, it would be bad news.
Needless to say, we woke up very early that morning. We went to the chapel when it was still dark and the sun was just about to rise and we started to fill the font with water. I have never had an experience that went so well with a baptism. Usually SOMETHING happens to make things harder, like the water isn´t hot or people show up late or people don´t show up or someone forgot a towel. But nothing went went so smoothly and it was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have been to. It was so peaceful and reverent. The three of them were beaming with pure joy and excitement. They were truly converted and ready to start their lives again. After the baptism our bishop commented how special the baptism was and how he truly felt as though we were in the temple. And it was so true! I felt like I was in the temple.
Well it´s not long before I see you all again. I sure do miss you all! But now I have to get back to work! Love you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello Home!

Hello home!

To my dear loved ones. It feels like it´s been a while since I wrote an email with the intent to post on the blog. But here it is. As most of you know I come home in about 3 weeks. It´s crazy talk I know, but it´s true. I miss you all a lot and I´m very excited to see everyone again. It feels like this time has passed like a blink of an eye and at the same time 25 years here in Portugal. But the fun is not over. We are seeing miracles here in our area. I wanted to tell you about a dear friend Liliana.

Liliana is 14 years old. We found Liliana and her mom and sister while we were walking to an appointment one night. We stopped them to help them with their groceries. We talked with them and said a prayer with them. We passed by later in the week and after explaining about our message of the restored Gospel, they whole heartedly accepted the invite to read a little bit in the book of Mormon and to pray to know if it is true. When we invited them to do this, Anabela(the mom) cheerfully said ``I already know its true! I already know because that night when you found us on the stairs with our groceries, after you left and we kept walking we talked the whole way home about how we knew that Jesus Christ was in that church, we felt a peace like nothing we ever, I already know!´´. And it was the same feeling with Liliana.

As we began to teach the family, Liliana gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith through reading and prayer, she has a faith that is unshakable. She is something special. I knew it was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to be able to meet and teach Liliana. Because there was another girl like her, who was 14 years old when she learned of the Gospel, and lived in a home with only one parent, a  girl who understood the pressures of the world around her, but something inside told her there was something more. That girl was me. As we taught Liliana I thanked my Heavenly Father each night for the chance I had to learn of the Gospel at the age Liliana is in. And I´m so happy and grateful to say that Liliana was baptized yesterday! As she left the water and we met her on the other side of the door, she said `´I feel so light!, what is this??!?``. I thought to myself, she has no idea the blessing Heavenly Father has in store for her, she has no idea the love the Heavenly Father has always had for her and how He will help her through her deepest darkest moments and will rejoice with her as she does those things which I right and true. When she enters the Temple someday she will have the same feeling...that she feels light and she will know that it is the Spirit comforting her. Liliana´s mom Anabela will be baptized this Sunday along with her little sister!

The Restored Gospel in true. It is perfectly simple and true. God loves us, always has and always will. 


Monday, August 22, 2011

Old Bananas, a Matter of Priorities

I love banana bread. It smells so good, and tastes even better. It´s the best when it is warm with butter. The best recipe is aunt shirley´s (something I forgot to write down). Banana bread is so satisfying to make because you take something that is no longer desirable (black bananas) and turn it into a delicious comfort food. I always feel like I´m being so thrifty when I make banana bread, even if the cost of other supplies outweighs the price lost if the bananas went unused.

This last week we had 4 bananas that had reached their ripeness and when they passed the eatable ripeness they passed right into the banana bread-able ripeness. These four bananas were ready for banana bread last Monday, but I was too lazy to make banana bread on p-day, I figured I would wait until a night that week to ´´whip up´´ some banana bread, really quick, it wouldn´t even get in the way of anything...But this was a lesson I learned before, but forgot along the way.

There those bananas sat on the counter, each day I would look at those bananas and in my head I would think, ´´Oh I have got to make that banana bread, Maybe right before studies in the morning.....`` and then I would think ´´ NO! It will take much longer than I think, and I will be late starting my studies and I won´t get all the studying in that I need´´ So I put off making the banana bread for the moment, but during studies I would every once and while glance over at the bananas and think ´´Ya, but it has been so long since I have baked something and I love to bake, I should just cut my personal study early and ´´whip up´´ a quick batch of banana bread. But I would yet again resist the urge, remembering how important it was to study so I could be ready for the day. The days went on and the same thought process happened, until Friday morning. I was determined to use those old bananas, because it would be so thrifty and I really wanted to bake! So I woke up, said my prayers took quick a shower and went strait to the kitchen to do what I had been dying to do all week, make banana bread. And you´ll never guess what happened....I did it. It took the whole morning right up until studies, and I was only a few minutes late for studies. But the whole time during my studies I was getting up and walking over to the kitchen to check my banana bread. In the middle of studies it was done. It smelled like heaven and it looked perfect! What pride I had in my banana bread! I´m so thrifty, and still good at baking stuff, I thought to myself. Well I set the bread out to cool and went back to my studies, now interrupted 5 times.

As we ended our hour of personal scripture study, I got up to check my banana bread only to find that my light fluffy banana bread sank in the middle, and looked rather disappointing, but determined that it must still taste delicious I flipped it over on the a plate. The bottom was burnt. Black. In the end it turned out to be one of the worst batches of banana bread and one of the worst hours of personal study.
It was a matter of priorities.

Those old bananas were ready to be used on Monday, it was a blessing, I had all the time in the world to ´´whip up´´ some banana bread on my p-day, but I got lazy a took a nap instead. So then later in the week my priorities were all muddled. I chose the banana bread over doing what I knew would be better for me. In the end I wasn´t thrifty or good at baking, or good at focusing on the more important task at hand. That day I was reminded of my three options ``good, better, and best``, Old bananas didn´t make the cut at ´´best´´ that morning.

And as Bil would say at the end of a introspective story like this, ´´Sometimes I don´t know why I write you what I do, but glean what you can from this story, lizzie´´

In other news... Gino and Beatriz were baptized yesterday!!!! Two of the coolest, smartest, most humble kids I´ve ever met. Gino is 9 and Beatriz is 8, we will invite their mom to be baptized this weekend, and in two weeks they will be moving to Denmark! It was a week of miracles.

Also we have a new investigator her name is Archna. She is from India. Our first real lesson at her house, she made us Indian food. It was divine, but also the spiciest food I have ever eaten in my life. She doesn´t know very much about Jesus Christ so teaching her was really different and exciting. Because I got to strip down all of the fluff that comes with a habit of teaching and tell her exactly who He is. After the lesson with her, I realized that is how I should teach everyone. It was a tender mercy.
Side note: Does everyone know that I no longer have access to my ldsmail account? All emails that have been sent in the past 2 months I have not received in mylsdmail, so send ´em to this email please (!

Ok well that's all for now. Transfers are in a week. I think I´ll be stickin around Hogwarts for another term. Hopefully my cloak comes in the mail soon.....

Sister Liz

Monday, August 8, 2011

How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house....

Bil (and Stepper and everyone),

Great update, Bil! My favorite emails are the ones where you start ranting about the uselessness of subject lines, and then the email ends up describing the type of poop your children had this week. Truly a Bil email classic move. But I´m not being sarcastic when I say it never gets old. Really it never gets old, I love it. I love hearing about your little family. Sounds like a little bundle of joyful trials and growing moments that will echo in your memory forever Bil. You are a Dad, did you know? Do you keep a journal? Because one day you will forget about that Nerf fight, and you will want to remember.

Speaking of throwing up I forgot to tell you about a funny story. One night a couple weeks ago we had a lesson that was super important (you know one of those make it or break it, they are on the line deciding if they really should be baptized that weekend or not) and we brought a member with us. We taught a lesson about the Plan of Salvation(my personal favorite), and the spirit was so strong, we had explained up until the three degrees of glory and as the member was bearing her testimony I glanced over at Irma De Sousa, she mouthed the words ´´EU VOU VOMITAR!´´ with out making a sound. That translates to ´´I WILL THROW UP!´´. And boy did she start to look like it. So I slid my water bottle over to her ever so casually as to not disturb the strong spirit. But that girl could not hide it. She quickly asked ´´Can I use your bathroom?`` and scurried off to the other room. We all pretended like nothing happened. She came back sat back down and tried to be normal....she ended up being so not normal, she still looked so sick. We quickly finished the lesson and got out of there. REASON WHY SHE THREW UP #1: She is companions with Irmã McCrery who can eat anything, so went we had gone home for dinner and I grabbed some bread with some nutella slathered on, so did she...and then she decided she wanted another and another. She ended up eating 3 nutella sandwiches before the lesson... duh, who wouldn´t throw up? (I only ate one for the record). But I am a bad influence.

OK somehow I always get distracted in my emails and write things that are probably not very interesting or important.

But this week we had interviews with the Presidente Torgan. It was great as always. Now that all of Portugal is one mission we are seeing miracles in full force here. I don´t know if you have heard anything about the prophesies about Portugal from years past, but on various occasions church leaders have prophesied that Portugal would become the ´´lighthouse´´ of Europe, that it would be an example for the rest of Europe. Our President stood before our zone and informed us that in the month of July, 115 of Heavenly Father´s Children entered the waters of baptism. That's big. Really big. He then stated very clearly and powerfully that last month the prophesy was 100% fulfilled. The prophecy that Portugal would be the light house of Europe, was fulfilled.

It was a humbling and powerful moment. To know that in spite of our weaknesses and inadequacy that the Lord has allowed us to be instruments in his hands. It was a moment I will never forget. As I had my personal interview with Presidente Trogan we talked a bit more about the miracles happening in the mission, and he explained very humbly and gratefully that he had prayed at the beginning of the month to know how many of Heavenly Father´s children would enter the waters of baptism. He felt a goal of 100 people, and with tears welling up he looked at me and said ´´But he gave us more... he gave us more.´´ It was a seriously tender moment.

Do you realize where I am right now? Portugal.

How did I get here? And how I have I lived here for over a year? How is it almost over?

Let me tell you about a funny story from the other day, can I?

Irmã De Sousa and I were walking down a street called Rua de Brasil, it´s a busy street with old architecture mixed with the new. But there just so happened to be a house that I had seen a few days earlier and wanted to return to knock the door. As we approached the house, the door bell looked a bit old and almost like it didn´t function, but we rang it anyway and waited patiently. While waiting we looked around, and all of a sudden I saw an old man across the busy road leaning out of his vintage balcony. He was signing to us something, he was trying to explain something, but because of the traffic we couldn´t hear him. But as we kept looking, we realized he was telling us to go around back and then up some stairs. We looked at each other

Normally old people just tell us that no one lives in their neighbor´s house. But our guardian seemed to have a heart of gold.

Also the other day I saw a wild pack of stray dogs, none of them had milkshakes, neither was it a pack of family dogs, but as we rounded a corner we were surprised to see about 7 dogs of all shapes and sizes meandering down the street. It was classic. It reminded me of one time in the Azores when Irma Morrison and I were walking through a little poor neighborhood and we said hi to a group of kids playing in the street, and slowly but surely we looked back and the kids had started to follow us with curiosity, and slowly but surely, there accumulated more kids, a couple here and a couple there, until we had a serious fan club following us through the street, but as soon as we rounded the corner to get out to the main road, like and good kids they turned back toward home. Wild pack of azorian kids.

Did I tell you that I talked to Pres. Resendes (The old branch president from my branch in the Azores) on the phone the other day? It was a real treat. But the funniest part was that I couldn´t understand what the heck he was saying because of the wonky azorian accent. I couldn´t believe it´s been so long that I had a hard time understanding him! Isn´t that nuts?

Well, here is to another week, in the wonderful world of a mission. I sure do love it. The work is sweet and time is short. October is coming quicker than I expected. I miss you and love you.


P.S. This one is for the blog,please.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

tear drops on the keyboard...

To all:
Ok did you like my emotional subject line? Well as you could probably have guessed at this point, my email account is still locked, and I have never had such a let down coming to the computer ready to hear from my family, dying to hear whats going on because it´s been two weeks...and its locked. Did you get my email from last week? Can you re-send your email from last week, today and from now on to this email address too (, just in case? OK well I just quickly chatted with eric taylor and told him to call you so that this probelm could be fixed. That was a desparate move.
Ok but let me get the news from these parts. Basically its like this....
I live in Coimbra, Portugal. I live on the other side of the city than the University. But I can practically smell Harry Potter from here. The University is actually in the Elder´s area which means I don´t get to see it everyday.
I love this city. It was like coming home when I pulled in last monday. The sky was overcast and the city is tucked in rolling hills of greenery, but full of tall apartment buildings. It is so famiiar here but at the same time completely different and unique. It turns out that I didn´t end up taking the train to Hogwarts, but the bus. A little less epic. But I will say that I have had the Harry Potter theme song stuck in my head everyday without fail. It is so diverse here. There are parts of the city that are 800 yers old, mixed with buildings from the 70´s and then totally modern architecture around the corner. The weather is nice, breezy. We don´t live too far from the grocery store and barely 5 minutes from the chapel! Ok do you have a vision of where I am living now? There is a river that borders one side of the city. Ok now you know.
This Saturday a guy nmed Delcides was baptized! He is awesome. 22 years old and from Brazil he is studying at the university. He was seriously prepared for the Gospel, by the time I got here we just had to teach a few more things before his baptism. But basically it was such a blessing to be here for his baptism, also he is already starting to prepare for his mission. He is so excited to serve a mission. He will start teaching lessons with us and the elders.
The ward here is really very small, about 42 people attend each week, is what they are telling me. But lots of people are gone on vacation right now, so there were not very many people this sunday. But let me tell you about the Bishop here....
Bishop Pitarma and his wife Irmã Ana. From the fist 10 minutes of being in bishop´s home, I felt 100% at home. Do you know why? because Bishop Pitarma and Ana are Bil and Stepper´s Portuguese-personality-twins! It was like walking into Bil and steppers house. Bishop is 31 and Ana has got to be like 26. They have two sons Guilherme is 2 years old and will turn 3 in a few months (aka Portugese-twin for Wyatt) But seriously, even the way that Guilherme look s reminds me of Wy Guy. And then, the baby Salvador is probably like 1 year more or less. Basically, if Bil and Stepper were Portuguese, this would be their life. I will have to take a picture with them. Bishop Pitarma is awesome. He got back from his mission like 3 years ago. So misionary work is a priority in this ward, HOW REFRESHING! Irmã De Sousa (my comp) says that he´s got our back, that he will always defend us if there are problems in the ward. Right on. Talk about tender mercy from the Lord, after my refiner´s fire experience from my last area.
Ok also I just found out that Eric Talyor is getting married on wednesday. Cool!
Did you get my address from last week?
Irmã McCrery
Escadas Praceta Pedro Alvares
Nº5 1ºC
3030 Coimbra
We live super close to the mail office, so any packages sent here will be super easy for me to pick up...wink wink nudge nudge.
Also one more fun fact. Supposedly there is a place here that is like a little park filled with miniature versions of buildings and monuments in portugal. I´m dying to go there. They will be novetly size. Novelty size Portugal. What more could I ask for?
Peanut BUtter. Thats somethign I could ask for. Apparently northern Portugal has never even heard of skippy.
Also, the work is going great so far. Lots of changes with my new comp who has been playing by a different rule book with a different mission president.... but forward ever forward, we will whip this area into shape!
I actually really love being  a missionary. I love the work. Have I told you that lately? I do. I can feel it slipping through my fingers and I don´t want to miss a moment. Next week maybe I will go a bit deeper and talk about more than the weather and Harry Potter.
Please don´t forget to send me the emails from last week and this week to this email.
I love you all!

Monday, July 18, 2011

2 Letters...


My LDS mail is not working! I´m so frustrated! I have such exciting news, but now I´m breaking the rules to write and I can´t even read the emails that you guys sent me this week!

But get this...... I´m going to COIMBRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That is the northern part of Portugal, a part that I never would have served in if the missions hadn´t combined a couple weeks ago!!! This place has the university Coimbra which JK Rowling based Hogwarts off of.... so basically today I ´m getting on the train to Hogwarts and I will probably stay there for the rest of my mission!! Cool! Ok let me try my LDS mail account again. I don´t know what happened.

ate ja!
University of Coimbra, Coimbra Portugal. Very Hogwarts-like!
One of the libraries at University.

Is this reminding anyone else of the Great Hall in Hogwarts?
OK, I'm Back and Bitter

Dear Stepper and gang,

So basically I just wasted 15 precious Internet minutes trying to figure out why ldsmail won´t let me sign in. But I just have a feeling that I have some gem emails waiting for me there, but like I already told Stepper I have big news! I´m going to Coimbra! In the northern part of Portugal. It will be such a treat. I´m going to serve with a Brazilian Irma. It should be good. She has been in the mission for the same amount of time as Irma Lima (my old comp rom cabo verde) they came to the mission at the same time. So she is a younger irma in the mission. I´m so excited. I also found out that my dear old friend irmã De Almeida (my favorite Portuguese companion) will being going out the Azores for her last two transfers...It will be incredible to meet back up with her at the end of our missions, and talk about our experiences!

This last week in quinta do Conde was awesome. We were reminded that there are no weak areas in a mission, only weak missionaries. I had been a bit weak these past few weeks or so. A little bit burnt out of being in the same area for so long, and over all just a downer. My poor comp irma thayer got me on the tail end of a rocky road. But after these few weeks with irma thayer, I have grown to love her. As we really got to work, and stepped up our game, we started to see miracles together. This past week we found some people that I won´t ever forget. One of them is Eliseu (translated is Elijah, like the Prophet). On Thursday as we were getting ready to leave we prayed to know where we should go to find those who are prepared to hear the Gospel. After our prayer irmã Thayer said that she felt like we should go to a certain road right on the outskirts of Quinta do Conde, as we trekked our there, I felt a comforting feeling of faith that we would truly find someone up on that road that was waiting for us. As we knocked that street either people weren´t home or couldn´t care less. but we kept going until the end, when we reached the end we got the the cross street and saw a house that looked abandoned and didn´t think much of it, we turned the corner and kept going, but as we round the side of this ´´abandoned´´ house we saw towels drying on the clothes line and realized that the house in fact was not abandoned. So we turned around to find the front door and saw a man with a hard hat digging around the side of the house. We politely called his attention........ TO BE CONTINUED... our ride just got here.... see you at Hogwarts....

Escadas praceta pedro alveres cabral Nº5 1ºC
3030 Coimbra