Sister T. has just been transferred away from me. Man, I am so doggon sad about it. She is literally one of my best friends and now I have no idea when I will see her again…. it could be years away after all because she is returning to Brasilia after this next transfer. I didn´t think that we would or could ever get this close but I have learned so much being with her. She is so spirited and amazing it´s hard to describe. In reality we have very similar personalities (snarky, unbegrudging, intelligent, pensive, joking, altogether happy souls.) I think that this is primarily why we fought in the beggining as well (we were too similar.)
However I knew it couldn´t last – she could not be my companion forever. And now I have to teach my new companion (who doesn´t speak a lick of English) where everything is in the city, which scares me a whole ton! I feel inadequate with the language, the doctrinal knowledge, and the layout of this area without Sister T. However I know that it´ll all work out fine in the end. In the words of Justin Beiber `Everything´s gonna be alri….ai…ai.ght. Be alright.` (that one´s for you Alex 😉
Heavenly Father certainly knows what he´s doing here. First, He gave me Sister T. to help me really get the spirit of the mission field among other things that I never even imagine I lacked. I have really learned not to stress about the minor things and also how you can show love for those you serve and work with. Now God is giving me another learning opportunity. He is giving me an even greater chance to learn and grow with this new challenge of helping my new companion learn the area.
So this week we had a division with the Sister Leader Trainers. A different Sister T. (from Texas who will be going to BYU in the winter semester) decided to stay with me here in the area Junção. The division helped me see that I was pretty prepared for the transfer because I realize that I know the roads pretty well.
That same day that I did divisions, I took three baths. Okay so not literally three baths in the shower. I took one shower in the morning to get ready for the day (y´know- don´t want to be a dirty, smelly and gross missionary!) I took a second bath in sweat the moment I walked out the door of our apartment (man is is hot here sometimes!) And the third bath happened when we were returning back home after our day’s work. A crazy tempest struck and, my goodness gracious!… I have never experienced such wind (nor such a sheer amount of water) in all of my life. It was so crazy, but we did make it home safely. Please give a big THANK YOU to Jeremy and Angela for this waterproof bag they got me. It saved my life that day as it has done so in many other instances here on the mission.
The latest baptism that Sister T. and I had went off without a hitch. Needless to say Alonso is a rock-star and his family is nothing but supportive. I love the mission!
I´m so jelly that the Christian Butler family is staying at our house for Christmas! That´s so super cool.
I love you all dearly and I wish you the absolute best this Christmas season! I cannot wait to talk with all of you folks. 😉 😉 😉
This week was a roller coaster! The baptism we had planned for last Saturday fell through big time. Wow. Needless to say there was another woman involved in his life. However we have a baptism for this week that I am so excited about. This kid Alonso is seriously cool. He is way zoned into the gospel. He is reading in Mosiah already in the Book of Mormon and he attends every single church meeting possible. Seriously. He is certainly an elect person. This week for example, we tried to find him in his house several different times to teach him a lesson (because his baptism is fast approaching!) but he was always gone for various reasons. However Sister T. and I didn´t fret because we knew he´d always be there on Sunday morning for church. He is super dedicated. He is just the type of kid that drinks in information about the gospel. He’s a sponge. I just love working with people that just click with the gospel and understand it so well. I really hope he has the opportunity to serve a mission someday- along with the other young men we have baptized already.
Speaking of which, my first baptism (Lenon)- went to the temple in Porto Alegre with a youth group to do baptisms for the dead. So cool! Lenon is reading Preach my Gospel, participating in all the activities, and bringing friends to church. He is a missionary´s dream! I hope that I can find more people like him in the future. People that are already prepared (or preparing) to receive the restored gospel.
How come no one told me what went down on Katy´s birthday?! I need details people… There better have been a party involved. 😛
I have not received any of the packages yet. They have likely arrived at the mission home though. The problem is that I have to wait for the next time that the Zone Leaders go up to Porto Alegre to retrieve them. They carry all of the packages and letters down here from Porto Alegre. I think that I´ll only be able to receive everything in a number of weeks. I can´t wait though!
Transfers are next week. (As in we find out next Monday what will happen). This next transfer decides weather or not I will stay with Sister T. This next transfer will be her last transfer ever! And then she goes back to Brasília to study Chemistry and what-not. Man I´m gonna miss her. My ´new mother´ (my trainer) is leaving me.
In reference to Mr. Davis and Owen – oh man! I feel for you here in Brazil. It is especially sad when people die so close to Christmas. Give Katy a big hug from me and Stix and her family also. ;(
My invitation to you all is to reach out in service during this holiday season. I recently spent an big chunk of time cleaning a very dirty house for a member. Serving really brings you closer to God and allows you to just forget yourself and all of your troubles. I know that people in the ward (whichever ward you may be in) are in need of some type of service. And if you ask and they say they´re not…well then you´ll just have to make cookies for them instead. Christ is our example this holiday season. He gave His whole entire life serving us. Use this holiday season to show the love you have for Christ and for God´s children by serving.
Thanks for all of the support that you give me here on the mission. I know that it is a really busy time of year so thanks for taking the time to email me. I love you to the moon and back. 😉 You are in my prayers.
This week we had a meeting with Elder Morôni Torgan of the Seventy. Man, it was super legit. He has a serious fire in the belly. He called each and every one of us to repentance hardcore. He certainly singed our behinds. The term ´fubeca´ is used for disobedient missionaries, and at one point he called us ´fubecas´ burros (which means asses…except that it´s not a swear word in Portuguese). He also spoke a lot about the atonement and all that Jesus Christ went through to allow us to repent of our sins. He really motivated me to be a better missionary. We all have weaknesses and we all commit errors, but the atonement of Jesus Christ will always be there to cure us of our heartache, our pains, and our afflictions. Jesus is the Christ!
The kid in the West Side Story got baptized this week!!! All of the issues resolved themselves (more or less), and he still had the desire to get baptized. Although he was extremely nervous before the baptism, I could definitely see a difference in his countenance after he emerged from the water. He was seriously so happy and just calm. It was a testimony to me of how the Spirit really works in people´s lives.
I really hope that his mother (who attended the baptism) has the desire in the future to hear more about our messages. She is into african religion stuff (Batuki). Because of this her son and husband both agreed that she would be very difficult to work with on the subject of religion. However she looked really moved during the baptism of her son. Fingers crossed! (Or rather arms folded and knees bent in prayer! Haha)
So of course all missionaries learn things on the mission. Well my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has strengthened so much since this whirlwind of a trip began. However I have also obtained a testimony of getting enough sleep. (Tangent!) One night this last week we had to take a trip late at night to another area (of sisters) and pick them up to have a sleepover in our condominium. The following morning we woke up early to travel to Pelotas. Needless to say, we got around 3 hours of sleep. Let me tell you- my body doesn´t function well on 3 hours of sleep. My companion and I suffered for 3 days straight from that one night’s lack of sleep! We´ve been extra irritable and overall just less effective. So my advice is- go to bed at a decent hour!!! It´ll save your life..
I love you all to the moon and back. Please excuse the randomness of this email. All is well in Rio Grande. I hope you celebrate Katy´s birthday like there´s no tomorrow!
(Mom’s note: Oh Lizzy!)
This week we had to go to the dermatologist for Sister T because she developed a hideous rash of some sort (just kidding- it´s not that hideous…it´s only mildly disgusting.) The determatologist thinks that it´s some sort of tree down here that´s causing the skin reaction (Aroera maybe?) Of course, I didn´t believe it and I jokingly passed several different tree leaves along her arm the other day and guess what happened….? More little bumps started to appear on her arm where I had passed the leaves. Ba! I´m brilliant… Well it´s okay though because now she has some sort of cream to help her skin and we have narrowed the poisonous tree down to one of just a few options. 😉
Also this week I had a West Side Story moment. We visited one of our investigators (a 14 year old) who was planning on being baptized this Saturday and we brought along a less active 11-year-old in the ward. No sooner had we walked up to his house when our investigator pinned the less active kid to a wall. Sister T and I were extremely confused! The younger kid walked off crying and while we were questioning our investigator about the motive for such a rash action, the kid returned with 5 buddies! It was so scary! It was straight out of West Side Story. Just imagine a gang of young hoodlums lumbering towards you with BB gun-type weapons. Our investigator then got set-up to fight with the biggest guy in the group. Meanwhile, the mother of the investigator was getting up in everyone´s business. Initially I thought that she was trying to break up the fight, but it turns out that she was cheering her son on – shouting ´Macho!…etc.´´ Goodness – I was so confused. Thankfully my wonderful companion realized what was going on and broke up the fight. Yes, you heard that correctly- my companion (a sister missionary) stopped the fight. Wow. We are certainly not in Kansas anymore. We´re not so sure about how his baptism is going to go now.
We´ve had some more miracles this week. Really- every day I see the hand of the Lord working miracles in my life and in the lives of our investigators.
Mom- You have to invite the missinaries over for dinner. It is so fun eating at member´s houses and I think that the boys would really like it. And they´d learn a lot from real missionaries. Please?!
I love you all and I hope you have the very best Thanksgiving without me!!! I´ll certainly be missing all of that wonderful pie! This Thanksgiving I´ll be in Pelotas for another mission wide meeting with member of the Seventy. Pretty cool!
So today I told Sister T. I was sick of taking so many trips to the grocery store (for it is rather far away). So we decided to get all that we would need from the grocery store in one trip. Wow! You would not believe how heavy all of this stuff was. I carried 12 kilos of milk along with 2 kg of flour along with a bunch of other stuff. Not to mention we were fasting…..talk about a bad idea. But we survived! And I hope that all of these groceries will last for the next month. 😉
In response to Jack-Jack´s worry- No, Sister T. and I are not being rejected 😉 Y’all needn’t feel worried. Brazil is definitely what D&C 4 was talking about. Baby, the fields are white and ready to harvest!
This week was fantastic. As a mission we have some goals. These goals are called the Pattern of Excellence. The Pattern of Excellence sets a high standard for us missionaries and helps us achieve the maximum possible out in the field. This week Sister T. and I were really blessed because we achieved the pattern of excellence!!! It´s kind of a big deal for us because we’ve had some previous abysmal weeks. On Sunday we had 13 investigators show up! (That number is mostly because we are teaching a bunch of hooligan children at the moment…but still… 13?! Como assim?!)
Sunday was the clutch because we still lacked 2 baptismal dates marked at the beginning of the day. But let me tell you- the Lord is merciful-because a family that we had previously contacted was randomly at home on Sunday and they all (the parents and the one daughter above the age of 8 that is) accepted invitations to be baptized. I absolutely love teaching families out in the mission field. There is nothing more satisfying than testifying about the reality of the eternal nature of families to a cute little happy family. We have been really blessed this week to find families to teach. I hope that all of them accept the gospel. I´m certainly praying that they will I have learned that parents really lead by example and that it is really important that they teach their children principles of the gospel!
#1 One of our investigators is 14 years old (named Alonso). I kind of underestimated him initially because I thought he kind of just went to church to participate in the activities with all of the young men. However this 14 year boy wrote his testimony of the Book of Mormon on a little sheet of paper and very slyly handed it to us during an activity. He is so awesome. We want to start working with his whole family now. 😉
#2 We started teaching David this week from a reference from his namorada (girlfriend) in Pelotas. He is just generally a cool dude. We started out with the first lesson but then diverted when we found out he didn’t have a firm belief in Jesus as our savior and redeemer. Basically we just testified of the reality of Jesus Christ the whole time with him. We asked him to say a prayer and ask if Jesus really is the Christ. It was such a spiritual and cool lesson. Then on Sunday he showed up for sacrament and we asked him if he had prayed and he got all quiet and said, ´”yes and I felt it.” Wow!!!!!!! He is so awesome! The power of prayer is real! The spirit certainly testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, and our friend. He loves us and helps us in our times of need.
I love you all sooooooo much! Have a good week
So today we got the news of who would be transfered and good news! I get to stay in Rio Grande with Sister T. 😉 Hallelujah. This is the place to be during the summer.
I was chased by a horse this week and I met a baby goat. Goats seriously chew everything in sight. We were standing there talking to this one guy about the gospel, meanwhile his goat was just nibbling on the end of his shorts. No big deal. haha.
We did service this week with Maos que Ajudam (Helping Hands). We did yardwork and cut grass with cleaver things. Oddly enough doing yardwork made me miss home a little.
I have decided that I hate dogs on the mission (sorry Dash). The dogs here are the stupidest creatures alive. Wow. When they follow us around town they disrupt all of our proselyting. They always wake up the masses of dogs just resting behind the fences. All of these dogs turn into an amazingly annoying barking choir just welcoming us down the pathway.
I´m super jealous of the Halloween party. It looks super legit. I love all of the costumes. As far as the costume contest goes: I think that Andy and Natasha tie with Jack for 1st place. Jack is just so darn cute in that Harry Potter gettup. I miss the holidays. Darn it.
I love you all so much!!
Can you believe that I´ve had three Fast Sundays out in the field? Here in Brazil the biggest meal of the day is always lunch. Therefore they always fast from lunch to lunch. It´s a bit different, but I think it´s actually easier to do.
I´m amazed by how much I´m used to Portuguese at this point. It stopped being weird that everyone I talk to only speaks Portuguese (minus my companion). I can understand just about everything anyone says as long as they talk about gospel topics. However, I have realized that my vocabulary is insufficient to speak on every topic under the sun. For example I have few words to describe scientific things, or express myself through reasoning. However even worse than that is when people try to make jokes. My level of understanding plummets when people make jokes because they´re always a play on words and I never know the double meaning of the word. Oh well.. Some things will just take time to understand.
This week was extremely weird and unproductive. We tried to find a bunch of less actives in the city and a lot of them have moved houses, cities, etc. It was pretty funny actually. For some reason the weirdest looking, smelling, and sounding house was always the house of the less active we were trying to find. I don´t know why but that´s just how it worked out his week.
Adventure #1 We woke up one day and the power was out. I absolutely had to take a shower though because I hadn´t taken one the day before. So I took a freezing cold shower on a rainy day. ;P
Adventure #2 So the other day I was taking a shower and the water stopped coming out of the faucet. Of course at this point I had just finished soaping up. My companion thankfully brought me a bucket of water from the sink with a little cup to rinse off with instead.
Adventure #3 I just figured out (like this week) that you can change the water temperature in the shower. Yep I´m blond…and extremely short…The knob is very high so I naturally just considered it impossible reach that high and change the temperature. (I have to stand on the toilet and lean over the glass wall of the shower to change it…talk about strugglin´…)
So remember the girl that didn’t believe in Jesus Christ but believes in God? Ya well, she went to church this last Sunday and she has a baptismal date set for the 22nd! What!? God sure does work miracles!
I hope that Halloween went well. I can´t wait to see the pictures. I´ll send more pictures next week as well. I hope that all is well in happy valley. Sorry this email was so random.
This week we traveled to Pelotas for a conference with President Castro. It was a blast. It was also a spiritual rejuvenation. I love meeting new missionaries from my mission. The leaders in our mission (zone leaders, APs, and district leaders) truly inspire me. I am thankful for their testimonies.
It has been pretty hot this week. The sun is super penetrating. I actually started putting on sunscreen (your welcome Mom!) However my missionary tan line has already stared to appear. I don´t know why but I´m irrationally happy about the watch tan line that I´ll develop. It has also been humid. Like things (clothes and dishes) don´t really dry in the house. I come home pretty sweaty every night and it´s not even summer yet! Oh well- I heard that Rio Grande is the best city to be in during the summer. Apparently it´s cooler than other parts of the mission due to the ridiculous proximity to large bodies of water (an ocean and a huge lake). Right about now my body is getting a little confused because I’ve been so used to the Utah weather cycle for so long. I mean- shouldn’t it be getting colder by now?? Haha. We share a ward with the zone leaders and they are super amazing people Elder I. (from Argentina) and Elder T. (from Bahia, Brasil). They´re super funny and super spiritual.
The other week a teenage ward member managed to figure out where Sister T. and I live. It caused a lot of a ruckus. (*I wish she’d elaborate on that!)
I seriously feel that the mission field is like Marriage Prep 101. It is teaching me what it would be like to live with a ´stranger´ for 24 hours a day. You must deal with them in all types of moods, and situations. You must be able to put away your desires for the better of the whole (relationship).
Living with Sister T. has not been a piece of cake. Wow. I cannot read her at all sometimes and we have very different personalities. However, I know that the only way we can have the spirit and be effective missionaries is when we work in unison. This can only happen when we are completely communicative, happy and open. I am trying my best to enhance our relationship so that we can succeed.
I honestly keep thinking ´´Thank goodness I don’t have to marry a girl” because girls are just dramatic in general. 😉 Thank goodness it’ll be much easier to get along with my future husband. Hehe. The plan of salvation for families is truly inspired.
I’ve been trying to run everyday with Sister T. There is a free exercise location here a little down the road. She doesn’t like running all that much, but we figured out a good exercise plan that makes us both happy. She rests/lifts weights in the middle while I run around in circles on the makeshift track there. We do this in order to remain within sight and sound of each other (as such is the rule in the white bible/missionary handbook). It is so great to be out experiencing the fresh air that early in the morning 😉 …That is as long as we went to bed at the proper hour the night before. ;P
I can´t believe my team took state! I seriously miss soccer out here. Seriously. Saudade. I made lemon bars today! They turned out really well. 😉
I love you all.