Dear Family,

Sometimes the sister missionaries like to compare our missions to a 3 lap race, every lap being 6 months. And I’m starting 2nd lap tomorrow!  I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I have already been gone 6 months! TOO FAST.

It’s been a crazy week. But we saw a bunch of miracles last week. We have gotten 55 or more contacts a day and I literally have zero fear to go up and talk to anyone, even huge groups of people because of it. Funny when you rip yourself out of your comfort zone enough times, eventually it stops phasing you. I didn’t think I would ever get to that point. We have a lot of progressing investigators, and we are really really hoping some of them receive the testimonies they need to be baptized. 

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 I don’t talk about it too much, but my foot has been quite the pain for the last two and a half months. It just hurts a lot when I walk, which I do all day long. But pretty much since it started to hurt we just sucked it up and worked normally. I thought I was being a good missionary, working through the pain. But it’s not been very fun.

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So last Monday, President Amorim called us and told us to come up to the mission home and Sister Amorim would take me to the hospital to get my foot checked out. The doctor then sat me down and showed me the x-ray of my foot, and showed me where it was fractured and where it was trying to heal. This is all in Portuguese, so I asked him again to confirm that I had been walking on a broken foot for over two months. And then he confirmed to me that my foot had actually broken. He showed me where the crack was, and then this huge ball of cartilage or something forming around it. 

By this point I was seconds away from weeping. I couldn’t swallow the fact that I have a messed up foot because I worked really hard on a broken bone for over 2 months. How did this even happen?

The doctor told me to rest my foot for 5 days and then go back to work, but to take it slow. He said it would probably hurt and be a mess the rest of my mission. I asked him when it would heal completely, when the cartilage would go away, and everything. He said “never.” 

The doctor explained to me that the type of foot fracture I have is the same type of fracture that was really common back in the day when the soldiers would have to walk/march miles and miles a day during the war. I thought that was sort of ironic, #armyofhelaman #moderndaywarrior. I am just serving full time in a different type of war.

So after that, we just went home like normal. I about made myself crazy sitting in our tiny hot apartment all day and watching my companion leave with members to visit our beloved investigators. I felt like a failure, pretty useless. I felt guilty for not working, even though I couldn’t. It was a really, really hard few days. I couldn’t swallow the fact that I’m going to have to “take it slow” for the rest of my mission like the doctors said. I still have a year out here! I never wanted to be that missionary! I want to be the missionary that walks 10 to 15 miles every day. I want to be the missionary that gives everything she has. All her heart, might, mind, and strength. And some doctor was telling me I can’t do that?? I wasn’t having it. 

Then President called us again. He told me to come back to the mission home and stay here for a few days with another sick sister so our companions can go work normally together. It has been the best last couple of days with them. I know every missionary in the world thinks their mission president is the best out there, but I am FOR SURE right about this one. He only has 1/2 a p-day a week, and he spent it grocery shopping for the other sick sister. Then he came home and called my dad, letting him know what was going on. Then he came in to the kitchen and made us cheesy bread. He truly cares about us and shows it. I can’t believe I have the opportunity to sit around the dinner table as he tells us all these crazy stories of how he worked his way up from having nothing to being a successful businessman. He spent every free second for years teaching himself English, got into Harvard Business school, dragged his family of 3 little kids to America, and worked so hard. Even though they are incredible successful, family is number one and they give everything to the church. They are frugal even though they don’t need to be. They are kind to absolutely everybody. It’s almost worth all of this just to be in their presence for a few days, and to learn from them. 

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I have learned so much this last week. Even though I still am so unsure of what is going to happen, I have peace that this is part of the plan God has for me. I can still be the missionary that I am expected to be. And though even though this really hurts, I can have moments of pure joy within this trial. The Savior has carried me through this and I know he will continue to do so. Everything can change in only a day, but one thing will ALWAYS stay the same. The Savior will always be there, right by my side. He will always be there to shew away Satan who tells me I’m a failure. He will always reassure me that he is proud of me, as long as I am doing my best. And I love Him so much for it.  I will try to always remember what President Amorim told us: “Don’t be afraid to be happy!!”

I love my mission so much and although I feel the weight of the responsibility grow every day, I am so happy to know I am on His team, a team and side I know will win in the end. I love this simple gospel and Christ who made it all possible. 

I love you all!

Sister Elizabeth Ann Barratt

Portugal Porto Mission