General Conference Miracle

The general conference was so uplifting and inspiring. I hope that all of you enjoyed it.

So we have been teaching this one family for a while now. Isabel is the mom, Luiz the dad, and they have two children (one girl-Letícia and one boy-Litierry). They are really great. They really like all of the messages, they read the Book of Mormon and they pray about the things we teach them. They are really working on developing their testimonies. Isabel even admitted that we had been an answer to her personal prayer from the begining and that she felt a lot of peace and tranquility while reading the Book of Mormon. They were our golden investigators up until we found out that they were not actually legally married (as we had thought was the case for several weeks of teaching them). They have been together for over 12 years, raised two kids together, yet they have never said their vows to one another. In the following lessons we expressed the importance of marriage and eternal families. They were extremely receptive to the idea of eternal families (who wouldn’t be?), however they were not so receptive to the idea of marriage. They had already had previous issues with other ex-spouses and were not keen on marrying at the moment.

But a miracle happened this week because they were able to come watch the Saturday Morning General Conference Session in the chapel with us. It was absolutely the perfect session for them to have watched because there were three solid talks given about marriage, temples and eternal families. It was so great and inspired just perfectly for them. Tomorrow we will visit them and will find out if perhaps they have changed their minds and want to get married. Fingers crossed!!! I really hope that they were paying attention to the talks as well as the Spirit during the session! I hope and pray that this special family can be baptized one day. :)

With all my love,
Sister Jessop

The baptism of Valter (second one in on the left hand side) along with other baptisms from the Elders in our zone.

Giant Spider

This week I I came to know what a jungle spider really is. I always associated Brazil with jungle, monkeys, snakes and spiders. However I never experienced this association until this week. We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation to a family when I spotted out of the corner of my eye an absolutely gigantic spider creeping up ever so slowly on the mom’s chair. I released a large gasp and the mom ever so calmly grabbed her flip flop and killed the spider in one swipe. Wow. It was the first spider of that size that I had ever seen outside of the zoo. While it scared me, I lived to tell the tale.

We had the baptism of Valter this week. :) He is so absolutely adorable and sweet. He’s like 60 something years old (so that makes it okay to have a little old man crush on him). He had this really big desire to be baptized and he really feels the Spirit when we visit him. The only difficult thing with respect to him is that he has a lot of difficulty with reading. He cannot read very well (almost nothing). I think his eyesight is the problem because he has a hard time deciphering pictures as well. We will have to read the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets more with him to help reinforce his testimony even more after the baptism. We (as missionaries) continue teaching the recent converts for 3-4 months after they have been baptized.

The Zone Conference was really great. It is always a pleasure to here from President and Sister Castro. President Castro is so very kind and loving. He demonstrates his love while motivating us to do our very best without sounding like he is mandating us to do anything. He is absolutely wonderful. It is an honor to have him as my mission president.

I wish you all a wonderful week. I love you all!

-Sister Jessop

Teaching Families

This week has been strangely difficult, but yet very rewarding. I know that the Lord is helping us every step of the way. (*I wish she’d tell us about the difficult part!)

So a couple of weeks ago we found a really sweet family and started teaching them. Initially we just offered to say a prayer in their home to bless their family. Later we returned and shared the third lesson (O Evangelho de Jesus Cristo) in Preach my Gospel. It was during this lesson that the mother (Isabel) admitted that a few days before we knocked on her door she had been hoping and thinking about calling someone to pray in her home. She got really emotional when she said this and said that it was an answer from God. This was just the beginning.

In further lessons we explained the plan of salvation and explained about eternal families and temples. They were super interested and value their family a whole bunch.

Oddly enough the ‘last’ message to share with them was about the Restoration of the Gospel. When we returned to see how their reading of the Book of Mormon went they told us of the wonderful experiences they had while reading. Sister L asked Isabel (the mom) “And how did you feel while you were reading and praying?” She answered, “Honestly? I felt a relief!”

They had received an answer to their prayers confirming to them that the Book of Mormon is true! Their baptismal date is scheduled for the end of this month. I hope and pray that everything goes well with this family. They are so very special.

Have a good week y’all!

-Sister Jessop

The Mission Life Rules!

I love being in the mission field. I see miracles happen every day! There are so many moments of pure happiness in my companionship, with investigators and with the members. I would like to list some of my favorite things from the mission life:

1. It is a privilege to study the gospel every single day. Every day I study at least an hour for ´personal study´and at least an hour for ´companionship study´ (with Sister L!) I love interpreting scriptures from the Book of Mormon, reading talks from modern day prophets, practicing teaching the lessons from Preach my Gospel, and learning about Jesus Christ´s life in the Bible. My testimony is being strengthened a hundred fold by studying the gospel every day. I know more than ever that this gospel is true.

2. I love getting to know all of the members of the ward. There is such a variety of people in each different ward that I meet and the Irmãos are all just wonderful. There are some Irmãs (Irmã Nair) that will feed you lunch every single day (if need be) because they are just so charitable and kind.

3. I really like working out every morning. Sister L and I have started doing Zumba. We alternate Zumba with going running outside…okay so Sister L doesn´t like running much, but she tolerates it. Basically I run in circles around her (doing imaginary sprint intervals by myself) while she either walks or sits down. I´m sure we look super silly. Haha!

4. I love when the people we are teaching really open up their hearts and their minds to us. It is in this moment that I can really see the Spirit working in their lives to convert them to the restored gospel. I notice that they are being converted when they tell us about personal spiritual experiences they had. I love being a part of their conversion story. It truly is a privilege.

5. I love getting 8 hours of sleep. It is semi-rare, but it makes my day a whole lot better.

6. I love eating beans and rice. I´m not joking. I seriously love black beans with rice. The way they cook beans down here is unlike anything I´ve ever experienced in the States.

7. I love speaking Portuguese everyday with everyone. It is such a beautiful language! I feel that my skill with Portuguese is pretty good and that I have really been blessed by God with a good handle on the language. I am super grateful that I can communicate my feelings and ideas effectively in Portuguese. I struggle sometimes but I know that the Spirit will take the message to their hearts of the investigators even if I falter with words.

8. I love having fun with my companion, Sister L. She is a blast and I love all of the little jokes and funny things that happen to us.

9. I love sharing this gospel with the people of Brasil. This is a marvelous country with a rich culture. I hope to be able to help it in some way by helping the people of Brasil come closer to Christ through the restored gospel.

10. Eu amo ser missionária de A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias!!

-Sister Jessop

P.S. I love all of you. Have a wonderful week yáll!

Carnival in Brasil

Last week was the week of Carnaval (which is the Brazilian Mardi Gras). Carnaval is the biggest fiesta of the whole year. Bagé is super peaceful, so we didn´t have much trouble with Carnaval here. The majority of the people that like to celebrate Carnaval left the city for São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or other cities that have beachside locations. In São Paulo and Rio they have these gigantic themed parades. It seems pretty cool actually (minus the part where most of the women have next to no clothing on during the parade). Everybody in Bagé just watches these parades on the TV.

Monday all of the internet cafés were closed (because of the holiday) and that´s why I´m writing now.
I love you all!

-Sister Jessop

The Miracle of Fasting

This week has been really fantastic! We experienced a number of small miracles. Since last week we found a whole bunch of new investigators, this week our goal was to mark baptisms with these people and find out who among these people is really prepared to accept baptism. In other words, this week we searched for those who are the “Lord´s elect.” D&C 29:7 says, “for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.”

So last Sunday was Fast Sunday and here in Brazil they fast for dinner (the Saturday night before) and breakfast the following Sunday morning. They fast this way so that they do not miss out on lunch (which is the biggest meal of the day here). Before coming on the mission, I admit that I did not fast very well. I think I did the ‘lazy fast’ often times. The ‘lazy fast’ includes things such as chewing gum or eating mints during fasting, only fasting for breakfast, or not praying to start a fast (which basically just means you go hungry for a space of time). Well out here I learned how to REALLY fast.

So this past fast Sunday Sister L and I decided to fast so that we could find and be guided to the Lord´s elect. Our fast was answered the following Tuesday.

On Tuesday we decided to work in a residential block which has a bunch of houses lined up one next to the other. We had some appointments set up there, but evidently the people forgot about it because they were not at home. We decided to knock on doors instead. As we were walking around Sister L kept telling me a number: 235. I was a little confused until she guided us to door number 235. We knocked there and a woman named Claudia answered the door and the first thing she said was “Do you want to come in? You´re the Sisters right?” She was extremely receptive and we found out that Claudia had a sister that was a member and that she had known about the church for some time. I thought Sister L certainly felt guided to this door for a reason.

We then taught her about the Restoration. I have never felt the Spirit in the same way before the meeting we had with Claudia. I felt the Spirit helping me a lot during that lesson. I felt prompted to say certain things to her while teaching, and I felt prompted to invite her to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized rather out of the blue. She accepted the baptismal invite and her very next questions were “Where?” and “When?” She is definitely an elect of the Lord. She has been prepared to hear the restored gospel.

I know that the Lord is helping me in this work. He truly guides missionary work. I am so grateful for this experience and I am so grateful for the power of fasting. It is real. You really can receive personal revalation, and peace when you fast the right way. I invite all of you to start making fasting more meaningful.

-Sister Jessop

Bagé – Land of the Gaúcho

I am sitting next to a Gaúcho (who is watching Power Rangers) in an internet cafe as we speak. That´s a pretty good description of Bagé: Gaúcho. Gauchos have a very unique way of life. It´s like the cowboy of Rio Grande do Sul. They are frequently riding horses on the main roads with all the other cars (often with a cart-like thing being hauled in the rear). And they always seem to have chimarrão handy to share with all. They wear pants like Princess Jasmine tucked into boots along with the type of hat that Frenchmen wear. Needless to say- they´re rather unique. But they are also extremely charming when you get to know them.

Bagé is wonderful. I seriously love it here. This city is relatively small and remote. It is surrounded by greenerie. They call it mato here, which is actually a translation for jungle. The jungle smells really good, compared to the fishy smell in Rio Grande. There are rather a lot of hills (lombas or morros) here which is actually really cool. My new companion is Sister L. She is from São Paulo and she is just a doll. I can tell that we are going to get along really well here in Bagé.

We got a whole bunch of new investigators this week (like 37!) by using the ´prayer contact´. The ´prayer contact´ is a really easy way to get invited into someone´s house. Basically you just offer a prayer to bless the person´s family and then mark a specific day to return and teach the Restoration to them. We´ve had a lot of success with that last week. And this week we will teach them (all 37 new investigators) about the Restoration, invite them to pray about the Book of Mormon, and invite them to follow Jesus Christ´s example to be baptized. This transfer is gonna be the bomb-diggity. :) I know that if I keep my faith in God and work diligently we will baptize a family here to help this litte ward in Bagé.

So my district leader is an american (Elder P) and he is really into football, AND he is from Seattle. Needless to say, he’s a Seahawks fan. So last night he called in to get all of our numbers from this week and we had a funny conversation. He called around 9 o’clock, which was exactly the time that the football game was starting up in the US (3 o’clock your time). Haha. Poor guy- stuck on the mission when his team is playing in the big leagues.

I hope that all of you are doing fantastic. I love you all to pieces!

-Sister Jessop