This week was really jam-packed with things to do. First we had a conference in Pelotas with our new mission president this last Friday. Presidente and Sister Cruz seem really nice. Presidente Cruz is funny, yet he also is super spiritual. We got to know them a little bit and see a bunch of other missionaries that were there as well. I got to see Sister G. and Sister R. again along with other missionaries that arrived with me on the mission at the same time.
I think that Heavenly Father is really looking out for us missionaries because this week we were short on money and without food at home and yet we did not starve. It reminded me of a scripture in the book of Matthew 6 that goes, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we beclothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
We managed to not starve to death because on Saturday we went to celebrate a birthday in the ward at Irmã Santa’s house, and we also had dinner at Lucia’s house that same evening. Irmã Santa made the b-day cake and we also ate mini hot dogs there. For dinner Lucia made really yummy lasagna for us. It was a serious mini-blessing that we witnessed here in Bagé.
The other thing that happened this week was Lucia’s baptism!!! It was so very special. We were visiting and preparing her this whole week to get baptized this Sunday. When we went over the baptismal interview questions with her she mentioned that she might not be living the law of chastity. However the following night our zone leader came to do the actual baptismal interview and she left the interview really excited for baptism, and extremely excited to start a new page in her life. The following Sunday (yesterday) they announced the baptism and she was baptized the following evening.
The ward was so dang supportive of Lucia on the day of her baptism. Almost the whole ward showed up! Without asking, the members brought lots of cake, filled the baptismal font and gave lots of encouragent for Lucia. Overall it was an extremely uptifling experience for Lucia and for everyone in the ward. Lucia seemed super happy during the whole meeting. She really is changing her life by being baptized in the true church of God. From the very beggining she started to read the Book of Mormon, pray and go to church. Her conversion was a quick one. She gave up coffee really quickly (even though when we were teaching her about the word of wisdom she told us that she always needed her cup of coffee in the morning and before bedtime.) She is an absolutely amazing person and I am so glad to have met her and shared the gospel with her. Did I mention that it was me who decided to knock on her door the very first night? Que felicidade que o evangelho me traz!
So today we received the news for the following transfer and will in fact be leaving Bagé. I am going to open a new area in Porto Alegre (an area that was previously Elders). I will be opening it with a new missionary which means I am going to train a new sister! Woohoo! Haha. I will be a mother (on the mission). All of this put together means a whole lot of responsibility for me. Wow. I am super dang excited for this new part of my mission. It will be such an adventure working in the very heart of Porto Alegre. I have heard that this zone is really at the heart of the city and that never before had there been sister missionaries there. I’m nervous, and excited all at the same time. Pray for me! I am going to work my tail off in this next area and my new daughter and I will batizar até o pó! Haha.
However I am very forlorn to be leaving Lucia and all of the other wonderful people I met here in Bagé. Bagé will always have a place in my heart.
Wish me luck in Porto Alegre! Amo Vocês!
So this week we worked really closely with our investigator Lúcia. She is progressing extremely well and I pray and hope that she will be baptized this week before I am transfered out of Bagé (which very likely will happen because I have been here for 5 whole months of my mission). This week we met with her three different times. We had a lesson with Irmã Nair which went really well because they hit it off super well. They have a lot in common (they both take care of their sickly mothers). It is really important that the members develop friendships with the people in the ward because it is the ward that will help them stay firm in the gospel. We also had a lesson with the bishop and his wife present. It was really awesome to see them bearing their testimonies about the commandments we were teaching her. Lessons with members present makes missionary work so much more productive and so much more enjoyable! This ward gets so excited when there is a baptism. I think that everyone in the ward just fell in love with Lúcia when she started coming to church with us. After all, she is so likable and friendly. What’s not to like about her?
This week we said goodbye to two different Elders that are returning home. My district leader (Elder Pexton), as well as well as my zone leader (Elder Wagley). It was bittersweet. They both served honorable missions and were great missionaries and great friends.
Transfer is next week and the new President Cruz will be entering the stage here in Porto Alegre Sul mission! I wonder where I will be serving next. There is a slim chance that I will stay…but we shall see what will happen. Bagé is treating me really well. Don’t worry about me.
I love y’all.
This week we had a pretty cool activity in the ward called a “Festa Junina.” The translation is literally “June Parties.” It is a pretty cool tradition here in Brazil to throw a ‘June party’ during the months of June and July. Everyone dresses up like hicks (or kind of like farmers…I’m not really sure) and there is grape cider (quentão,) lots of popcorn, and lots of peanut-related snacks (like rapadura, pé de moleque, etc.). There is also a traditional dance as well. Well Sister O. and I invited a whole bunch of our investigator to the party and we were really blessed to have a lot of them show up. Our golden investigator, Lucia came to the party and even brought her niece and her niece’s family. We also picked up Toninho (11 year old investigator) to come with us to the activity. His mom and sisteres were not able to come, but he sure seemed to like it a lot. There was a ‘pescaria’ (kind of like a lottery) and Toninho won like four times!
Overall the activity was a smash hit with lots of laughter and lots of opportunities for the members to bond with our investigators. It was great!
Anyway I love you all very much. I hope you are all enjoying the heat back at home because around here it’s dropping down below freezing. Haha. I wake up with frost on all of the windows. Tchau! Beijão para todo mundo!
A kind member sent us these pics of Lizzy on her birthday!
This week has been absolutely wonderful. This week we had interviews with President Castro. I love interviews with Presidente. They are an amazing opportunity to get inspiration as if it were directly from God himself. President Castro has an amazing love for all of us missionaries. Seriously. When he talks to you he emanates love, and peace. He truly is a man of God. President Castro is an extremely spiritual man. We also had the opportunity to say farewell to President and Sister Castro this week because they will be leaving at the end of this month back to their own homes and their own lives. I am truly grateful to have met them. President and Sister Cruz will be our new ‘mission parents.’ They are from Rio de Janeiro.
So other than interviews, we decided to work close to the chapel this week. We found a number of families close to the chapel that we have started to teach. One lady that we found is super special (Lucia). Her work schedule is super crazy and she works just about every Sunday. However this last Sunday she was able to come to church in the afternoon rather than in the morning (during a sacrament session that is not part of our ward). She asked us to accompany her (as she didn’t know any of the Irmãos). As luck would happen, President and Sister Castro participated during the fast and testimony meeting. The testimonies born were really great, the spirit was so strong and overall it was an absolutely smashing meeting. It truly was a wonderful experience for her and I look forward to the day of her baptism. She is so special and has such a willing heart. Her baptism is marked for two weeks in the future. I hope and pray that she will be prepared for that day! The gospel truly does change people’s lives. One of my very favorite things is see the change that occurs when people come to know the truth and when they let the atonement work in their lives. Truly wonderful.
So the other day we won avocados (like 4 whole, giant, almost football sized avocados) from a random lady that has an avocado tree with bunches of avocados. We ate these numerous avocados in many different ways: with sugar, in an omelette, and in a smoothie. Well we shared one with Rosangela the other day and after that she said if we could she would like more for herself. So we were walking past this Avocado Lady’s house and she was sitting outside in a lawn chair. We then went up to her and had the courage to ask for a couple more avocados. She came out of her house with SIX more avocados and lemons for us. Wow. The people here in Bagé are so giving it is so wonderful to get to know people so generous. I am still looking forward to eating this bunch of avocados. They are not yet ripe enough to eat.
So the last p-day we had a big bike adventure. We borrowed one bike from a member (Elizeu) and decided to take a trip to Rosangela’s house. Rosangela is basically my mother here in Bagé. She is absolutely amazing. She is the mother of a member of almost one year. She always takes care of us Sisters. She is a hardcore smoker, however she has a heart of gold. She is one of the purest, most honest people that I have ever met. Anyway the other p-day Sister Oliv. biked alongside me while I ran to Rosangela’s house. It was pretty cool. It had been a long time since I tired myself out like that. Gosh darnit, I love running so much. I miss exercising so much, but every opportunity we have out here to exercise is so very valuable to me. However running at 6:30 seems more like I waking up at 3 AM to go running.
So we have this golden investigator (Dalmira) that has been to church several times and is really, REALLY searching for the truth. It seems like she is so ready to be baptized, however she is not married. This is her great stumbling block. Her husband is rather ‘cold’ to the church and is not very willing to get married anytime soon.
My companion. Sister O., is really super. She is really good at teaching and when she teaches it is with her whole heart. We get along super well, even though we get super trunky every once in a while. Now that the transfer has come and gone, I will stay with her for 6 more weeks here in Bagé! I have a feeling that miracles are to come in this next transfer. Just wait and see.
My new companion is from Minas Gerais (another state in Brazil). She is actually shorter than me and is really quiet but super cute. Living with a completely new person always takes some getting used to, but I can tell that we are going to be really good friends. This week I had the wonderful experience of showing her around the area and everything. I think that my map skills are improving drastically out here on the mission- yeah it’s pretty cool. I wonder if these skills will ever be worth anything when I return home to the world of google maps and cell phones… I don’t think so. 😛
So this week really got a whole lot colder and I came to realize that I did not prepare for the winter of Brazil like I should have. I will have to buy boots, gloves, scarves, tights and a whole lot more to keep me happy during the winter time. Bagé is pretty darn cold. The other night I slept wearing a nightgown, pj bottoms, 2 shirts, 2 socks, and a sweater. haha. Yep it gets cold down here in Brazil. Who’d have thought?
So on Saturday we went knocking door to door, however we weren’t having that much luck. No one was letting us inside which was really letting our hopes up. Then finally a little old lady let us in her home. The second half of a soccer game was starting on television when we entered her house. We found out that there was a Grenal going on (a soccer team against the two rivaling soccer teams in the Rio Grande do Sul). We both thought “Ah..! That explains exactly why everyone was rejecting us.” Brazil and soccer. It’s intense. haha.
So we had a small victory this week. Remember that less active who was having trouble quitting smoking? Well when we visited her this week she had been off cigarettes for three whole days! I just about died of happiness. Seriously this is such good news for her because she will undergo a heart surgery soon and her daughter just brought a brand new baby home from the hospital. I’m so happy for her.
Have a good week folks! Thanks for all of the emails. Until next week! I love y’all.
So the news of this next transfer is that I will stay here in Bagé with a new companion Sister O. (I don’t know her). Sister L. will be transfered up to Porto Alegre. I am super psyched for another different learning experience with a new Sister. I will have to go up to Porto Alegre with Sister L. to pick up my new companion.
Sister L. and I grew to be really good friends this transfer. I am really grateful to have had this experience here with her in Bagé. We came to be really close friends with each other and the people in this area. I really hope that in the future we can continue with this friendship after the mish.
Sorry this email is so short today- things are a little crazy because of the changes that will be made in the area (the transfer).
You guys all are looking so good! I am so stinkin’ jealous that y’all went to Moab. Seriously. Wow. Just a heads up: Y’all should start planning the Moab trip following my return from the mission field right now. Let’s just say that this trip will top all of the others. haha Ba! I miss y’all so much!
So this week we did a cool service project for an Irmã in the ward. We made rapadura with her as part of her ‘home employment.’ There are a lot of women here in Bagé (and in all of Brasil) that make goods (food or otherwise) to sell on the side. Rapadura is kind of like fudge. It is semi-hard and sweet to taste. It requires only milk and sugar (and a few other things I forgot). It sits on the stove for 2ish hours and has to be constatnly stirred (so as not to burnon the bottom). Now this Irmã (female member in the ward) has an injured arm, which incapacitates her from stirring for such a long time. So sister Lat. and I stirred for her and helped her out. It’s pretty cool. I’ll have to take a picture the next time we do it.
We also had a Family Home Evening with some less actives in the ward on Monday. They are super cool family: Alemão/Sergio(dad), Claudette(mom), Fabiane(pregnant daughter), and Junior(16 year old punk..hehe). We came up with a pretty cool interactive message to give during the FHE. We hid and then had them look for easter eggs inside of their house. In each easter egg was a question that they had to answer (questions about the day of their baptism, how they exercised their faith daily, what repentance means, etc.) The FHE went really well because I think that all of the questions really helped them to remember why they got baptized and the importance of living the gospel. They all seemed to like it pretty well. And this last Sunday we returned there to see how Claudette was doing (because she was goining to have to have a heart scan for problems). We then found out that Fabiane had just had her little one in the hospital! She gave birth to little Pedro. I can’t wait to see him.
Sister L. and I have been getting along much better lately. I have really enjoyed being her companion. She is an amazing young woman.
Anyway I really love it here in Bagé. Have a good one.