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

Summer

This is the longest summer of my whole life! I left Utah when the summer was just ending and I arrived in Brazil when the summer was just beginning. In other words, I´ve had what seems like 9 straight months of summer. I absolutely love summer and I never would have thought that I could get tired of it… but man! I need a little bit of winter! I am dying out here in the heat. Seriously. Thank goodness- the ´fall season´ starts here on the 20th of this month. If I stick around in Bagé it sounds like I´ll actually get cold down here. (Bagé is known for it´s extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters.) I couldn´t be more excited to feel the cold once again. For the moment, the only cold I feel is occasionally during the night sleeping, or every morning that I take a freezing cold shower (yes- our shower is broken.)

This week has been rather difficult- I´m not gonna lie. I seem to have lost a little motivation for the work. Maybe it´s the heat, maybe it´s my companion, or maybe it´s just me and my attitude. But whatever it is, I´m in a funk. I need to get back in the rhythm, get back to my purpose as a missionary.

Also- remember that cool family that we were teaching? Well we just discovered that the parents are not in fact married. This makes things a lot more complicated for them to get baptized. This is just what I don´t understand: they have two kids together and have seen each other through thick and thin for eight whole years- and they are not married to one another. WHAT?!

On another note- this week we finally managed to find Seu Vaulter in his home. He has come to church four times now on his own and had voiced his desire to be baptized without ever having a lesson from us missionaries. We finally managed to find him in his house and teach the Restoration to him and mark a baptismal date. He is a really cute/cool old man. I’m excited to see him progress in the gospel. I know that this gospel really changes lives and is a great blessing.

-Sister Jessop

Transfers

So we just received the news about the transfers and I get to stay here in Bagé! I love Bagé – truly. But I am a little anxious about staying on with Sister L. The friendship was running a little thin during this last transfer. I really hope and pray that this time around it will be better and we can learn to love each other as a companionship.

This week we took that family (Isabel and Luiz) to watch a baptism take place. They seemed to like it pretty well.

This week our power went out in our apartment so the mission secretary suggested that we stay in a hotel for a couple days. Of course we decided to take advantage of the chance at air conditioning so we slept at Hotel Ibagé for three nights. It was one of the most gratifying experiences ever to stay the night there! We got to sleep in air conditioning and have warm showers with powerful showerheads. Not to mention that the maids cleaned up after us when we left so that we always came home to a clean room. I forgot how much I really enjoyed these simplicities of life.

The mission is definitely a roller coaster. I have learned so much already and I have a year to go out here in Brazil. This experience is changing my life. I have become way more grateful and I give more value to simple activities. I can see how important the gospel really is and how much we need it in our lives. I hope that all of you are doing great.

God bless y’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