Update from Bagé

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. :)

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!

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