Padrão de Excelência! (Pattern of Excellence!)

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… 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!

Small miracles
#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

-Sister Jessop

I Survived Transfers

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!!

-Sister Jessop

Life in Rio Grande

My area (in Rio Grande) is fairly rural.  There’s a decent amount of walking, but we do take the bus once or twice a day.  Normally we don’t contact people on the bus at all, but I started trying to talk about the church with random people on the bus just this week.  I always feel a little guilty if I don’t talk to everyone I see about our message.  However I still feel insecure about my Portuguese along with my conversational skills in general!  I feel guilty because I can just imagine meeting them in the Spirit World and them asking me why I hadn’t just turned to them on the bus and mentioned something about the Book of Mormon (or x principle of the gospel).  However, I am improving rapidly and am learning to just let go of all of my embarassment and anxiety and just talk to everyone I meet.  I know that God is helping me with this.  I have to remember that I am a representative of Jesus Christ.  If Christ were in my shoes, He would talk to everyone and smile and serve everyone- so I must try and do the same. (I just thought of this. Yoda: “No try, only do.”  I must certainly take Yoda’s advice into account and just go and do.)  The good thing is that complete rejection is relatively rare here, so I don’t have to worry too much about that. Brazilians are pretty open to any conversation for the most part. :)  I’m so grateful for that.

There are some different religions here.  There are some African ones that meshed with Catholisism.  There’s some Candomble (apparently), and espiritismo.  It’s semi-alarming to see ‘oferenda’ (offerings?) in the middle of the street at night.  An oferenda is just an offering of food to the ‘spirits’ every night.  Hmmmm.. Sounds a little sketch. yeah.  I don’t know why it has to be in the middle of the street though.

There are a lot of Evangelicals and Catholics here too.  Nearly everyone we talk to already belongs to one church or another.  It’s pretty cool that they already recognize God and are excercising the faith that they have.  But it can be frustrating too because sometimes they think that they have all of the information about Christ that they need already.

Apparently in all of Brazil (outside of the CTM) you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet. Hmm.. I did not know this, and I of course put toilet paper in the toilet after arriving at our apartment!  It was a little funny when Sister T (my companion) had to explain it to me. Apparently all of the american foreigners do the same thing.

Anyway this week was just fantastic (for the most part).  I am such a standout in this region – it’s kind of weird.  The only other ‘true blond’ I’ve seen is another American sister in my zone.  I’m sure she stands out too.  Everybody tells me I look just like a doll (or barbie).  It’s weirding me out.  They just kind of stare at me for long stretches and then ask the question “You’re shy aren’t you?”  And then I try to explain to them that I just don’t quite know how to express myself in Portuguese yet…not to mention the fact that I have no idea what to say when they look at me like a little playdoll.

My companion is amazing.  She is from Brasilia.  We get along really well.  I make her do yoga with me or go running in the mornings.  Working out in some format really helps me de-stress.  Although sometimes it seems like we work out more during the day because we are constantly running to catch buses or reach appointments on time. My only complaint would be the lack of progressing investigators.  We need to work harder to get more people keeping their commitments.

General Conference was so amazing and uplifting.  All of it was in Portuguese, however, and that made it a little more difficult to understand what was being said.  I understood Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk the best (you know because he talks at the pace that a turtle walks…slowly).  His pace of speech used to irritate me slightly in the past, but this time I really appreciated it because I could understand the slower translation so much better.  It was a blessing, truly.  And the talk in Portuguese was so dang cool!  History is being made folks.  This church is becoming even more diverse- it’s cray cray.

I think that the best way to approach conference is with questions, and I did just that.  You would not believe how well my questions corresponded to the talks given during conference.  God truly does answer prayers.  Now I just need to put all of my learning into practice.  I hope that I can help my investigators better with this knowledge.  Prophets are so important in this day and age!

I gotta go!

Tell me all about your very favorite talks and what y’all have been up to!  I love y’all so much.  Keep up the good work.  Keep the faith.

-Sister Jessop

First Letter from the Mission Field!

Lots of pics in this one. Okay so I have no time to write! Ah! But I arrived safely. I hope you enjoy all the pictures. I am in Gaucho land in Rio Grande. Everything about the field is way different from the CTM. I already miss the planned meals and schedules. Out here you make your own schedule. Weird. Talking with ‘real’ people is a lot more intimidating. I had my very first baptism already! Yay! Anyway I love you all so much. There is much more to come next p-day. Sorry but today was mostly a sending pictures day. 😛

The view of Rio Grande from my mission apartment.

A pic of Sister T (my new companion) and me after a long day of training and traveling.

A baptism in my first week. A really cool guy.

President and Sister Swenson in Porto Alegre

Sister Remmington (from California,) Sister Larsen (from Taylorsville, Utah,) Sister Guy (my companion from South Jordan-she’s the best) and me at the Campinas Temple

Us saying goodbye (kind of). I love these girls so much.

Elders Willoughby, Ockey, Hale, Garrett, Sister Guy, me, Sister Larsen (sadly in the shade,) and Sister Remmington. My absolutely amazing CTM district. I cried, sweat, and bled (not really) with these wonderful folks. I can’t wait to hang with them after the mission.