Monday, December 31, 2012

Only through much prayer and fasting

Hellow!!!
Well I learned that when we want to be blessed fr0m the Lord, we must sacrifice. And when we fast, miracles happen! We were blessed to witness two of Heavenly Father's precious children enter into the way to eternal life. M and V were baptized!


And we found so many new investigators this week! And I am being transferred to the Baixada (which I have felt I would finish my mission there since I got on the mission). Wahoo! Adventures here we come, souls to save, hearts to lift, lessons to learn, memories to make! It's a brand new year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nothing brings the Spirit like Christmas music!


Olá!
Tudo bem? Estou muito feliz...adoro Natal! Alright, So week was quite the different week. Yesterday we went around with our ward choir to sing to many nonmembers and part-member families. We all wore santa hats and sang Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, and the Nativity. It was really something special to see, in a world where Natal is only presents and parties, that hearts can be touched, tears are shed, and spirits warmed, just with them memory of the true meaning of Christmas. One of the stops was the Bishop's condominium--there was over 100 people there to listen. There was a ton of pass along cards passed out :) Now we're just praying that they will all call!

Other news of the week, we're hoping to have two baptisms this sunday. A's aunt, M, passed the interview and is very excited. She openly thanked Sister S and I during relief society and told all of the irmãs that she wished us a very special wedding. Ha ha! Everyone laughed. She's quite the character, I hope the ward members will embrace her well. She has such a pure love for the Lord and is so grateful for the Gospel. We also went to teach L and C one night and when we showed up, her other 15 year old daughter is visiting for a few months and well she wants to get baptized too! It's going to be a white christmas--even here in Brazil :)

We had a really fun ward activity on Saturday (thanks Mom, for the Minute to Win It ideas--they were a hit!). 

I know that Heavenly Father loves and knows all of His children, His Gospel is for everyone. It heals the broken hearted, lifts the burdened down, and brings us all closer to Him. May we all be super conscious of this, not only during this Christmas season, but always!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prayers are answered, dreams do come true, I visited the Jardim Botanico....hope you can too!



Alright! So Heavenly Father sure provides a way...I thought that I wouldn't have the chance to go the Jardim Botannico because it's not open on Mondays, so you ahve to go on Tuesday after the temple, but this last temple trip just didn't work...but just a week later, us sisters had a wonderful surprise! Oh and was it so beautiful!

 So that was pretty much the highlight of my week...the Special Sister's Traning was just AMAZING. We had wonderful trainings on the doctrine of the body and the importance of really loving and caring about others. We all left super excited and happy!
Other happenings of the week. I made a contact in english, we were knocking door and the man didn't speak portugues--just english, spanish, and french. So I tried to make a contact with him in english, but it was super hard! The words would hardly come out at all and all I could think was portuguese! People are thinking that I'm latin american these days ha ha. By the time I get home, I'll be brazillian!
So my companion is great, she helps me a ton. We're preparing to baptize A's aunt this week and we've got lots of husbands to teach! Here we go!
One thing we are seeing here is the importance to really care about people and notice them and serve them and LOVE them and integrate them. IT"S SO IMPORTANT! As President Utchdorf said, 
"Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life. Is it?
I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.  I can’t see it.  Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time."
May we all strive to be more like the savior and love and serve all of those around us

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sometime we make decisions that we regret...but that's why we can repent!


 26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.
 27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
 28 Yea, thus we see that the agate of heaven is open unto ball, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. (Helaman 3:26-28)

How beautiful it is when the Lord hears and answers our prayers and His children repent and are baptized into His church! Really I know that all success comes from the Lord and is absolutely dependent on our prayers of faith. And Sister S has faith! A was all ready for baptism and everything, until Saturday, when we had marked to visit her and watch the Restoration DVD with her and her family. We called all day and passed by there even and every time they said she wasn't home, but we had seen her twice at her house when we walked by, so we were pretty worried about it and that she seemed to be avoiding us. Also, to add to it, we had both made the poor decision to forget our umbrella's at home (it's becoming the time of year that you can never forget your umbrella, but I just can't quite get that into my head) and needless to say, we were soaked. We went to A's house, and she had lost her umbrella, so she couldn't even lend us one and she said that she was pretty worried about Angelica because she was sad the night before that her family wasn't being to accepting of her decision to be baptized. So we made the adventurous trek in the rain to her house, and no one let us in. So we started knocking on doors. Still no one let us in--I don't blame them, we looked pretty scary ha ha. And anyway, I felt pretty worried and a little discouraged. But we said a million prayers, really we were praying constantly, and fasting. And like this scripture says, the Lord has mercy on us! She came to church the next day and was baptized and happy and the Spirit was so strong!
What a marvelous work!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hellow there!
So the every exciting transfers news...I'm a step mom! My new companion is Sister S and I'll be finishing off her training...what a switch from an old companion to a new one! But we are getting along really well. She is a sweetheart from M who is always serving me and smiling and bearing a powerful testimony.  I'm  loving it already! 
This transfer is just proof that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. The week before the transfer, Sister T and I both felt that I would be training, but there weren't any new sisters coming in. So we shrugged off that thought. But I was really hoping for a Brazilian companion, and even prayed for one. Well come to find out, President felt that he should put Sister S with me to finish her training and she was told that she was going to be transferred. But then he changed his mind and called her back and said that she wasn't. Then he really felt the Spirit tell him that we should be together, so she got told last minute Tuesday morning and here we are! I'm not really sure why, but I'm sure there is much in store for us! 
We are just working like crazy here! Seriously Sister S and I are just collapsing in our beds at night. We've faced a lot of rejection this week, but we're holding strong! We also found a great new investigator. She asked us to visit her and she told us a lot of life experiences and cried a lot. When we went to teach her we asked her if she had ever heard about the Book of Mormon, and then she asked us if we were Mormons, when I said yes, she jumped up and hugged and kissed us she was so happy--that was a first! We taught her the plan of salvation She was really upset because her mom had committed suicide and she felt like it was all her fault and I could really relate to her. We've loved visiting her, she's super energetic and happy and excited. Loves the church and really wants to get baptized! A will also be getting baptized this week. The Spirit really is guiding us this week. One night we went to go visit A at 8:00 and we waited until 8:20 and she never showed up. We decided to start the walk home and stopped for ice cream on the way, paid and everything, but then I felt like we should stop by A (A's member friend) first and then come back for the ice cream. Well what do you know, who's at A's house? A! So we taught her  and she started off telling us about how the night before she really prayed to know if the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith was true. She said that she just cried and cried and then after felt the strongest feeling of peace that she's ever felt before. She received her answer! She's super excited to get baptized this week! Pray that all goes well! We didn't even have time to go back and get our ice cream that we paid for...tudo bem.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Well hello hellow!
As always, what a week! I must say that Sister T is going out with a bang...if I have anything to do with it. We managed our contact goal for the last 3 weeks of her mission and it's been great. One of our investigators is throwing her a surprise party tonight...shhh don't tell :) 
The biggest news of the week was the opportunity that we had to arrange a trip for the recent converts to go to the temple to do baptisms and President let us go too! Oh how wonderful it was! -quite the group! A just ate it all up, she wants to go back every week! She was so happy and so was I :) Oh what joy it is to see the progress of those you helped come to know the restored gospel--she's on the way to eternal life and she's staying strong! She's bringing others up with her.  What a special, sweet experience to be there with her for the first time. I love that girl so much. Everyone had a great time--A was especially thrilled and said that she felt a surety that those she was baptized in behalf of accepted. V described his feelings and great, warm, spiritual. A was so happy to be back there after all those years after his mission. He even wore the U of U tie :) All of it was priceless. Oh how wonderful! I couldn't have been happier. We watched the sunset reflect on the temple, there was so many parrots in the palm trees and on the temple, at night it was just magical. A day to never forget. One of the strongest times I've felt the Spirit in my whole life. What a merciful loving Heavenly Father we have, that He would provide a way for ALL of His children to make it back to His presence. And we can have a part in that! Afterwards the whole ward went to Habib's and Bishop rented out a party room for all of us.
Let's see, we've been working hard this week. We have two investigators REALLY close to baptism, but they are both scared for some reason even though they love the church and believe it's true...we're hoping that they will be able to exchange that fear for faith and take that step. 
As for funny stories of the week. Last monday was just not my day. We went all around São Paulo and then all our appointments fell through. We were asked to bring something to the district meeting so we decided to make bread and cake when we got home. Well we put the cake in the oven first and then made the bread, and then when it came time to take out the cake, we discovered that our propane tank had ran out--ah! So we put it all in the fridge, but I really wanted cake for breakfast. So in the morning, i took the cake out of the fridge and then put it in a tupperware and put it in the microwave...to your likely surprise, it turned out! And we took the bread to the church and baked it there...yum. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Faith + Action = Happiness!


Hello there!
So this week I've just really felt the Lord helping me strive my hardest to do His work. Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes it feels like the little things we do each day don't really matter. And sometimes we feel overwhelmed, weary, and stressed. But I know that I have the power to change my thoughts and attitudes! I have the power to choose to have faith and be happy, daily. I have the power to make a difference. Our ward mission leader pulled us aside this week and helped me have a brighter perspective. He shared this scripture with us (just verse 17, but I also like verse 16).
D&C 123: 16-17
16 You know, brethren, that a very large ship is abenefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
 
Small and simple things really do make a difference! Our thoughts have the power to change everything! We must always strive to keep our thoughts on the high road. Think and do things that invite the Spirit. I've really learned that this last transfer. Thoughts of home only drive away the spirit. But as I serve with joy and energy, I am full of the Spirit! I've only got 4 short months to serve with all I've got, I can make a difference! So let us all strive to do all things with JOY and then we can have faith and hope that it will all work out.
We had zone conference this week, always a great boost! We also found some great new families! Alice was called to be a ward missionary! And we're going to take our recent converts to the temple to do baptisms this week :) Funny story, we found out one of our investigators didn't understand when we taught her the word of wisdom...she thought that she couldn't eat breakfast, or  "café da manhã" (direct translation "morning coffee" but it's what Brazilians call all breakfast). Poor thing. We threw A a surprise party for her 19th birthday. We exceeded our contact goal, once again! I ran into a fire hydrant today and it really hurt.  
Let's keep putting that faith in ACTION!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Every prayer is answered, if not in our way--the Lord's!

How was your week? Did you just have a great Halloween? They don't celebrate Halloween here, but a couple days later they have a "day of the dead" were everyone goes to the cemetery to pay tribute to those that have passed on. Fittingly enough our Sunday school lesson was on family history and temple work! How grateful I am for those that have gone before me.
So this week Heavenly Father really responded to two of our prayers. One was last weekend we had contacted a reference we had received from an investigator. She was really receptive of us, but we weren't so sure that she would be very receptive of our message because she seemed pretty firm in her own religion. But all week we prayed for her heart to be softened and prepared to receive our message of the Restoration of the Gospel, even though I didn't expect her to be very receptive. When we returned, she had read through the pamphlet to the part about Joseph Smith and before we started to teach her she told us that she felt a lot like Joseph Smith, confused about what church was true! Well what do you know, the Lord prepared her.
Another prayer answered. This week I made a goal with Sister T to get all of our contacts in and reach the mission goal, something that she said she had never accomplished on the mission (and I myself had gotten a little slack on it). So I challenged her to get all our street contacts perfectly for the last 3 weeks of her mission--a lofty goal! Well we prayed for the Lord's help, and boy did he help us. At first we were really frustrated because it seemed that many of our appointments were falling through and we didn't have too many back up plans so we ended up knocking on MANY doors. Then we remembered our goal and our prayers. By the time the end of the week rolled around, we were close to our goal, but because of how the day panned out I didn't think we would reach it. But instead of getting a ride to our last appointment yesterday night, we decided to walk and try and talk to a few more souls.  I know that when we make righteous goals and plans, and ask for the Lord's help, and then do our part, He steps in and does the rest.
Other great news, I and C were confirmed members this week! Woo! Now they have the Holy Ghost, a truly prized gift.  Make sure you included Heavenly Father in your daily life and pray for the specific blessings you've received and hope to receive!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We're being cooked!

So wow y'all are enjoying the wonderful fall weather, I feel like we've been thrown into a fiery furnace! Sister T really doesn't like the heat or sun, so I just joke with her that it is the baking part it the last step in the recipe for a successful mission. Just a little crispy on the edges! Poor thing, she burns really easily...I on the other hand, am turning Brazilian :) (Or so I like to think ha ha).
Interestingly enough, this week seemed to be a pretty rough week as it was going, but when we stopped to take a look back at all that happened, we were quite amazed at how much the Lord has blessed us! We are working with many couples that need to get married. Never in my life have I felt so strongly about the importance of marriage. It truly is a commandment of God. There is no exception. Just living together doesn't make you husband and wife! Ah! But I'm really learning a ton about the importance of the Gospel in marriages. There really is no substitute. We need to base our family relationships on the principles of the gospel--especially love, patience, faith, repentance, forgiveness, prayer, communication, selflessness, equality, etc. We can see a huge difference in the lives of those that we teach that are trying to apply the gospel in their marriage, and the others where the relationship is unbalanced and only on is trying to do what's right. I'm so grateful for the gospel and the teachings of the Savior that help us to be more united with our families.
We are teaching one couple who are really interested in the truth and just want to follow the Savior. She is super sincere in her faith and desire to follow Christ and really wants to pray to know.
I had a great experience teaching a recent convert this week that always goes out and teaches us and seems to be really active. At first I didn't know what her needs were--it seems like she's great on everything. So I said a prayer in my heart that I would know what she needed to hear. I felt I should ask her if she had any doubts on the commandments, especially tithing.Well come to find out there was quite a bit of confusion--she and her sisters were each paying 50% an putting it together under one name. She was so relieved when we told her it was only 10%! I know that tithing is a principle of faith and that the Lord asks nothing more and nothing less. I'm so grateful for this principle.
Another couple that we are working with . l is a sweetheart that really wants to do things right and get married and be baptized, but her husband isn't even there...well this week we taught her about repentance and we heard her bear her testimony of the Book of Momon to her husband about how it is blessing her life. She doesn't have desire to do bad things any more and she even deleted all of her horrible "funky" music. I love how the Book of Mormon changes people, it never ceases to amaze me!
Stay strong. Don't run faster than you have strength. Read the scriptures daily. Don't forget to pray. Do something special for someone in your family EVERYday this week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Who doesn't love to see a few people in white?

News of the week, there's always plenty of that! The biggest...drumroll....I and C were baptized! Oh and what a sweet experience it was. From day one teaching them, they have just always been so receptive to and willing to follow the teachings of the Lord. The week of the baptism, I was passing through some difficulties and she new it was a temptation from the baptism. So she reread 2 Nephi 31 that we had marked for her to give her strength--what a great example!  They are humble and loving and grateful. What a blessing it was to see them start on this new journey together, I know that the restored gospel will really bless their family. A recent convert  from another ward works with I. And one day she was reading the Book of Mormon at work and I said that she used to attend the "Mormon" church about 6 years ago, and would love to come back. When R called us, we thought we were going to visit a less active. As we were conversing with Ieda she talked about how after she left the church, she went to many other churches, but she never felt the same spirit that she felt in ours. When I asked her about her baptism, she said, "No, I never actually got baptized." "Really?!" Well she and her daughter we super thrilled when we invited them to be baptized this month. It's been a great experience. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father works in so many mysterious ways. It just goes to show how much people are watching us and the great example and influence we have on others. We never know when the Lord is depending on us to be an instrument in His hands...I guess in every moment he depends on us! May we all be more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to reach out to those around us and may we all live our lives in such a way that we can be effective instruments in the hands of the Lord. We can count on Him, let Him count on us!
We are working with another family, It was a neat experience this week when we shared the Restoration with them and invited V to be baptized. She teared up and he accepted! Now we've just got a wedding to plan for! And another reference from a member who came to church last week, we went to teach her and her husband this week and she just loved the church and wants her whole family to be members! Just one catch...her husband is a bit resistant. But we'll get there :)
Sister T is great! I'm really enjoying her as a companion. For her birthday on saturday I made her a cupcake for breakfast and later Ieda had made a cake and then we had a little "surprise" party family night for her. She really helps me laugh and enjoy the day, and we just flow really well together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven!

So as always, much novidades here on the mission...First: Transfers! I stayed here in Santo André and am now companions with Sister Tomlinson. She's from Washington state and will be finishing her mission with me this transfer. I was super excited to finally receive a companion that's older than me on the mission...I'm going to soak up all that I can, because I'm sure she has lots to teach me. Already I'm loving our time together, it should be a great transfer...I'll try not to get too trunky ha ha.
I feel like we had a break through in our area. We had 6 investigators at church and 3 less actives that haven't come for years! It was wonderful! Heavenly Father sure blessed us! Last week Sister B and I fasted to know how to help our investigators keep their commitments, especially coming to church, because we've been having a bit of a struggle with it. And the Lord just responded to our sacrifice! He reminded us to teach around the commitments and He did the rest! It was great! We were at the point where we were doing all we could, but it still wasn't enough--but we did our best and then called for His help and he stepped in and did the rest! What a humbling and amazing experience.
We have two baptisms planned for this week--a super sweet mother and daughter that are super excited to get baptized. And we also have received some great references these last two weeks. We have begun working with a few families that are less active and not all are members, and are having quite a bit of success. It really is the best work, completing families! It is so wonderful to see that Gospel light return back to the eyes of those less active members and see the joy that comes from having the whole family united in the Gospel. The Gospel really blesses families!
Before Sister B was transferred, we had a family night with many of the recent converts to help prepare them to go to the temple. It was so great! A already has her temple recommend. And we gave her and early 19th birthday present: Preach My Gospel. She was so excited! She can't wait to serve a mission! She taught relief society yesterday and she went out teaching with us this week and I can tell she's been studying preach my gospel because she just jumped right in and followed up with our investigators and taught about the great apostasy and testified and invited! How wonderful! Sister B helped complete and reactivate a family. The dad had served a mission and everything. But he didn't have any more church clothes, so he's just been coming to church in normal clothes for the last few months. I've felt impressed for a while to give him that U of U tie that George  gave me to give to my mission president...Sorry George, but to change your wishes, but I gave it to A and we wrote on the back, "So you don't forget the sisters from Utah." And he cried so much when we gave it to him. He wore it on Sunday. I was so touched that this humble man was so touched. So thanks George, you're affecting lives!
The week before last we mad e contact with a lady that was really anxious for us to come back. When we went there, I noticed that she was referring to God as Heavenly Father, that really surprised me for Brazil. Come to find out, she was baptized 20 years ago and wants to come back! The Lord sure leads and guides us!
At our ward council yesterday, the ward discussed how it is starting to get really weak. We see that many don't have those three things taught by President Hinckley, a friend, nourished by the word and a calling. So we are going to do all that we can to help strengthen this ward and give them all of these things. I'm really enjoying working with Sister T--lots to learn from having a more experienced companion!

Monday, April 23, 2012

"I like to look for rainbows!"


Soooooooo BIG NEWS!!!!

Guess what member's house we went to last night and felt the Spirit really strong...That's right--G and G got BAPTIZED on Saturday!!! Wahoo!!!! We are so excited and thrilled for them! And they received the Holy Ghost yesterday and are the newest members! It was quite the production, and honestly a lot was working against it for the whole week, everyday had something new, but everyone stayed firme and forte and it was such a wonderful event! The baptism was a miracle. We showed up to fill up the font a couple hours early and when the time for the baptism came around, the font was only half full and the water wasn't coming out anymore! Oh no! Turns out the water to the church was turned off! But amazingly we had just enough water for them to get baptized sitting down. A baptism to remember! And all the ward members there that were so supportive, and loving. Sister B and I sang that "I like to look for rainbows" primary song and the Spirit there was really special and strong. G and G are so special! I love them so much! It has been such a pleasure to watch their conversion into the Gospel and see how everything blossoms from there!

As for other news...We had a special meeting with Elder Quinten L Cook on Saturday too! And wow, were we just fed by the Spirit! It was a marvilous conference and a great privilege to hear from the Lord's servants. We learned and were uplifted and edified so much! Sister B and I and a group of missionaries sang "This is the Christ" and then everyone else sang it in portuguese and it was really special. I had a really typical embarassing moment, too. I was the chorister for the hymns and during the opening hymn I thought we had sung all four verses when we had only sang three. I started to walk off the stage when the pianist just kept playing! Oh dear, in front of the whole mission and Elder Cook. Everyone had big grins, ya know, the ones that say "Nice!"

Other news of the week...had my first personal trip to the hospital. Turns out I have Sinusitis! Yay :) It's been fun, hopefully it will clear up real soon. But the Lord sure blesses me with the strength to work just as hard as ever! We waited in the hospital for 3 hours for them to see me. Come to find out they had called my name 2 hours before, but I never heard. But that's okay, because Sister Bhad some great missionary moments with the others waiting, we even gave out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon! Success!

This week we've also got some really great references that Sister B and Sister S will have a great time teaching! Oh yeah, by the way transfers are tomorrow...I'm going Sister K. I'm excited, but at the same time, I'm torn too. I really love , all of our investigators, the members, and especially Sister B! This last transfer really was just too good to be true! I've had so many great experiences and I've learned SO much!! Especially from Sister B. She is a STAR! I am so blessed to have had her. She's going to take really good care of it here!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Time Flies!!! Ahh!

Well hello there!

Is anyone else just watching the time fly right out the window and thinking, "Where is it going?"

This week was jammed pack with lessons--for me and the investigators! I thinks some of the biggest lessons that we are learning is that the Lord has His own time and that everything will work out according to His plan and will. We've got lots of great investigators that we've been working with these last two months, a few marriages to perform, and some baptisms to plan! But everyday there's a new hurdle to jump, a new fork in the road, and turn in the bend. And all of this opposition is just really helping us strengthen our own testimonies of the priciples we are trying to teach. And I think that that it really how life works. Rarely will it just sail right along without any bumps in the road, but that these little (and sometimes grand) hurdles are just the Lord's way of helping us grow and learn and stretch and become stronger. There is no such thing as an insurmountable hurdle, and the Lord will always give us the strengths and forces that we need to overcome. His grace is sufficient for all of us to overcome victoriously! I really feel like the Lord is teaching me about weaknesses and humility and grace, here on the mission. Yesterday I thought of it in the following way...our weaknesses are like a stick of dynamite that blow a huge crater in our hearts. This crater is called humility and it gives the Lord the space He needs to begin building and shaping our foundation. It is only through Him that we can turn our mound of hard rock into a beautiful construction site into an amazing building where the Spirit can abide. For those of you who are also realizing your own weaknesses, I hope that you too can take comfort in the words of the prophets--Jacob 4:7 and Ether 12:27. His grace is sufficient for you. Just call out to Him and recognize that you cannot do it alone, but that with Him all things are possible.

I've decided that Sister B is an expert at "Looking down the mountain" moments. She's so great at keeping the eternal perspective and helping us to see how far we've come and all the good moments in between. It is so refreshing. She also has a talent for making people laugh. Intentionally or not...this week we laughed really hard. One day we were in this neighborhood that we work a lot in and I was making a phone call on the pay phone, when Sister Brenchley starts getting really excited and anxious. Thinking an investigator or someone was walking down the road, I hurriedly ended the phone call to rush to them. Well come to find out, it was just the bread man on the bicycle coming down the road. (Everyday he bakes bread and then rides his bike around selling the bread, it's become a pleasant treat for us). So we bought some bread and Sister B insisted on getting extra this time. Good thing, because next thing I know she's falling on the ground trying to catch the piece of bread she dropped. That's right, my companions risks her life for bread. Oh it was quite the experience. Even a little bit of blood was shed. And the bread wasn't even saved...May we all be a little more willing to risk our lives for bread--the bread of life!

Sister B is also helping me to work on so many things, like having NO REGRETS and writing down my thoughts and impressions and overcoming my own weaknesses. I love her. I'm so blessed to have her.

Yesterday the Lord really blessed us. We arranged to pick up 8 investigators for church and called all of them and walked to all of their houses and...nada. So we showed up to church a little down, only to find that we had investigators there that came all on their own! What a pleasant surprise! And we got quite a few references! And then they asked me to teach sunday school right when it started. Okay, no problem. What was the lesson on? Chapter 15: The Lord's Covenant People. Okay, now what? I hardly know this in english, let alone in portuguese. Well with the help of Sister B and Irmã M, the lesson went really well and I actually learned alot about the importance of covenants and the Lord's promises. We are so fortunate to have made baptismal covenants and have the opportunity to renew those covenants EACH week! What a blessing! Everyweek we can access the power of the Atonement to refine and improve our lives. I hope that each one of us will have a renewed determination to partake of the sacrament prepared with a broken heart and contrite spirit--ready to change! Try it! It is an amazing experience!

Our goal of the week: "Make every person feel like the most important person in the world" It's what the Savior did and I know that he loves and knows each of us. Trust in Him. Follow Him.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Believe in Miracles!

Hello!

We're just tearing it up here in DC! This month for our mission is dedicated as the "Month of Miracles" and I really feel the spirit in the air. We are all working, fasting, praying, and uniting to make this month something special. We are preparing a "Day of Miracles" at the end of this month too! I really know that this month will be full of miracles. I already feel that it is. Sister B and I have been working really hard these last two transfers and we're really seeing some great progress here in our area. The floodgates are about to open, I feel it! In my interview with the President this week, he too said," You are on the verge of miracles here." Oh I know it! I believe in miracles :)

This week I really feel like I'm seeing how the Gospel has the power to change lives. The purpose of the Gospel is to help us repent and change so that we can make it back to our Heavenly Father. The Gospel is meant for families. Sister B and I had a great discussion about that this week--we really see what a difference it makes when a family not only has the Gospel in their lives, but applies the principles consistently. It really is the little things that add up to firm faith (just like Presidente Eyring said in conference). I love how the Gospel is like a tier or pyramid. You have to build a strong foundation and then just keep adding to it. But you can't set it on it's point and expect it to stand! We really see that here. There is a reason the first commitments we help people to make are reading and praying and not tithing and the law of chasity. Just as you don't put a 5th grader in college, we all have to build our strong foundations and work our way up. The Gospel is full of that! Consistently reading and praying strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father, then we work our way up to the commandments that help us prepare (or keep) our baptismal covenants which in turn help us solidify this relationship and continue preparing for those temple covenants and all of this preparing is really just preparing us to return to our Heavenly Father and fulfill our Divine potential. Oh it's so beautiful. So don't put aside the small and simple things! Keep your foundation strong and keep building that pyramid to eternal life :)

Alright, story time. So this week we taught L and L the word of wisdom. As they agreed to live the word of wisdom, we encouraged them to throw out all of the temptations from their house. So L got up and went over to the cupboard and started dumping out the coffee into the trash! We were so proud of her faith. As she was reaching back into the cupboard, she had an unexpected surprise--a mouse jumped out of the cupboard and fell onto her face! What a shock! As she screamed, we all laughed. No wonder the cat had been sitting there staring at the cupboard the whole time. We also planned to get them married this week, but L couldn't find her birth certificate. We're praying that it all works out.

The Lord is really leading and guiding us. I have a really strong testimony that Heavenly Father really loves and knows each and every one of His children and is involved in the very details of their lives. Nothing is a coincidence. And I know that He uses His children to answer prayers of His other children. It's so beautiful. I don't know how it all works, but I know that it does!

Had some really interesting conversations this week with people who believe in God, people who don't, people who are preaching too, and people who are homeless, jobless. Sad, happy, young, old...And the beauty is, the Gospel applies to ALL of them! I learn so much from the people here. The Jehova's Witnesses that we've talked to this week are just so sweet and really kind, they are willing to listen and discuss and respect. Taught me how I need to be more like the Savior in that respect. Another man said that there was no way that you could "know" anything about God or religion. And my testimony was only strengthen that yes! we can know! and we do know! God speaks to His children and the peace of the Gospel and our Savior leaves a lasting impression that can never be replaced or forgotten.

Well after all this rambling, I just hope that all of you had a wonderful Easter. I am so grateful that we have the knowlege of our Savior's mission, atonement and ressurrection that open the way for us to return to our Father in Heaven. And how blessed we are to know of His plan for us. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. And I know that if we follow Him with all our hearts, He will lead us back home.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Graças damos, O Deus, por um profeta!

Boa tarde, todo mundo lá~

Oh how glorious! The ultimate culmination to a great week: Hearing the words of the Lord's beloved servants, speaking just to us! We are so blessed! So fortunate! We have a living prophet that speaks with God! This is unique and important! Ah. Loved it.

This week we were teaching up a storm, just trying to spread the good news! We've got some really great investigators right now and I love them all so much, I just want them all to have all the blessings of the restored gospel in their lives. We're working hard, and praying for the rest! Lessons learned this week were many. One of them being never neglect to follow a good prompting, even when you think it's not important. Last Sunday we were anxiously hoping for one of our investigators preparing for baptism, J, to be a church. Had everything all set up great, called her saturday night and she was sick...bummer. Told her we would pray for her to get better and call her in the morning anyway because we'd already be on her street. So prayed with faith, woke up and called her. Her sister answered and said that she was in bed and sleeping and still sick so she wasn't coming. Bummer. So we went to pick up our other investigators and as we were walking we passed her house about 20 minutes before church. Sister B thought that we should go and call for her at her house. But she never hears us when we call and everyone else was sleeping and I'd already called her and she was sleeping so I told Sister B that and that we should just continue on. As I started descending the hill by her house, I felt a little desire to see if she was there, but I just shrugged it off...well we went by there on Tuesday and come to find out she had gotten better in the night and stayed up waiting for us to pass by until 8:30. She said that she just didn't turn on the light or anything because she didn't want to wake her son. I was devestated, because now we'll have to push her baptism back. But it happens. Lesson learned: God always responds to prayers of faith and any good prompting is from the Spirit. We'll keep working on it. I'm just going to follow Sister B, she's always really in tune with the Spirit.



So many other experiences this week. My birthday was wonderful. Irmã M made an amazing banquet for lunch and the Relief Society sisters put together a huge goodie basket for me. I was really touched. It was nice, but I felt strange with all the attention. It was so good to just get out and work the rest of the day, trying to help God's children. Best birthday present ever: we went to Lucas and Lene's house and Lene read the Book of Mormon until Mosiah 5!! Wohoo! (They haven't been reading very consistently and she read all this in just two days!) It was so amazing! We were stunned. We kept asking her again and again, "Wait you read the Book of Mormon, the big one. are you sure?" "Yeah, the blue one." She responded. Oh how wonderful :) Then she proceeded to pretty much teach us the Plan of Salvation and bear her testimony. The spirit was strong. It is SO important for each of us to read the scriptures for ourselves. That is how the Spirit testifies to us of God's love and our unique relationship with Him. That is how we come to know of His plan for us and how the Gospel lights our way. That is how we become the children God wants us to become. It's beautiful. God has given us such an amazing opportunity to exercise our agency and learn for ourselves. And He's given us all the tools that we need. So whoever you are, wherever you are, I urge you with all the energy of my soul--pick up the Book of Mormon, open it's pages, and discover for yourself the treasures God has laid up in store for you!

And as for General Conference, wasn't it amazing?! I received many anwers, inspiration, encouragement, comfort, motivation, advice, and love! The Spirit was so strong. We learned about families, teaching, the important significance of making sacrifices, better communication with Heaven, how to receive and recognize revelation from the Spirit, how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ, love in replace of judge, and so much more! If you didn't have a chance to participate, go online (right now!--because you're already there ;) And start watching, pray for inspiration, ask questions, and watch as the Spirit fills your soul! Here are some of my favorite highlights:
"Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected." -Pres. Packer
"Converted to the Lord--United to the Church." --Donald L. Hallstrom
"When we actually LIVE the Gospel, our ability to help others increases." -Paul E. Koeliker
"It's true isn't it? THEN WHAT ELSE MATTERS?" -Elder Oaks
"It is serving others and God consistently that turns our testimony of truth into unshakeable faith." -Pres. Eyring
"His concern is for the faith that you have in the hour you arrive. Don't delay, it's getting late." -Elder Holland
"Our doctrine is clear--we are to be positive and of good cheer. We emphasize our faith and not our fears." -Elder Cook
"Communication with Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter--it's a sacred privilege." -Elder Scott
"Daily reflecting upon and recording our personal encounters of the Spirit help us to recognize His divine influence." -Paul Peiper
"Wherever you are on the road to discipleship, you are on the right road--the road to eternal life. As you love Him, trust Him, believe Him, and follow Him--you will feel His love for you. His grace with do for you what you cannot do for yourself." -Elder Anderson
"Ponder the truths you heard and let them help you become even better than you were." -President Monson

I hope it was a feast for you as it was for me. I know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church. I know that as we live the gospel and strive to be more like the savior everyday, we well not only bless the lives of those around us, but our own eternal progression. As His sons and daughters, we all have the divine potential to become like Him if we follow in His ways.

I love you all. Happy Easter.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Humility = Teachable

Olá :) Como vocês estão? Tudo está ótimo aqui!

Had a week a little rough around the edges, but definitely had the icing on the top! Working hard with all the investigators we are preparing for baptism. Trying to deflect the attacks from Satan. And make sure that in everything we do, we are doing what the Savior would be doing. We've got so many investigators with some really great potential right now! It's really exciting, now we've just got to be really organized and receptive to the Spirit so that we can help them continue on the road to conversion.

Events of the week include, war against the cockroaches (we battled against ten in our apartment and stairwell on wednesday), getting kicked out of investigator's house when the husband didn't want us there, find of the week: Kellogg's Corn Flake (for only $3.69! Yesssss.), protection from the Lord, and many many spiritual experiences teaching and studying together. I feel like everyday I am learning so much, and things that I never imagined I needed to learn. Quote of the week from me, "Lessons with members is probably like the most important thing we can do in this life." With all the seriousness of a weekly planning. We're trying to bump up our lessons with members, adding one more each week. It is so vital, but it's hard. I encourage all of you to help out your local missionaries--offer to teach with them! Love it.

So if I had time to tell you all that happened this week I would, but I don't so I will just try and briefly touch on the highlights of what I learned this week. First off, ATTITUDE is everything. For those of you that know me, know that I am pretty well a happy go lucky kind of a girl. Always happy, looking at the bright side, come what may and love it. But here on the mission, I've let myself slip it seems. Not acceptable. Now more than ever this attutide is crucial! It makes all the difference in everyday, in relationships, in prayers, in confidence, in day to day ins and outs, in lessons, in sleep, everything. Faith=happiness. And it all starts with hope. See Moroni 7. And that hope comes when we control our attidude.WE have the power to change our thoughts feelings. We have the power over our lives. Let us all choose to keep our attitude at the best. It will make all the difference in your life. Try it. Second big lesson of the week I learned from our investigator, Graça, but she does't know that I learned it from her. We read Alma 32 with her and the firest part of the chapter talks about humility and she is really humble and willing to learn more and just accept all that she is learning. She doesn't even know it, but she's taught be that to be humble means to be TEACHABLE. To be willing to learn, change, accept God's will, recognizing that there is always more to learn. When I first got on the mission, I was teachable--just soaking it all up because I didn't know anything. But it's so easy to get caught up in the motions and forgget that there is sill so much to learn. Bu thte Lord will always show us our weaknesses so that we can be humble so that there is space in our hearts for Him to teach us and so that our faith, hope, and charity can grow. Now see Ether 12.

I have such a long way to go to be like my Savior, but everyday I am trying. And all that He asks is our best and He will do the rest. Don't forget to be teachable and keep the good attitude everyday, in every situation!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mais uma!!

Hello, hello :)

So what a week! We are really starting to see the work pick up here...this week we had 13 people with baptismal dates marked! Wahoo!!! Only problem...we just got to get them to church and you know, keep progressing :) The Lord is really blessing us here.

Tender mercy of the week: GB got baptized!!! She's a young woman of our ward that I didn't even know wasn't a member until last month. She's been waiting to get baptized for 3 years because her parents never let her. So she turned 18 this month and voila! baptized and confirmed this weekend. Oh my, it was such a special and beautiful experience. She is one tough cookie with and amazing testimony. We were so blessed to be such a small part of it.

Other great happenings of the week. For my sixth month mark, I made myself some to die for banana pancakes! (and thanks to Sister Ps mom, complete with maple syrup and everything). It's sure been six months to celebrate. So much has happened in this short time, and I'm loving watching people's faith grow (and mine too) and making so many friendships and memories working in the Lord's vineyard! Sister Brenchley and I are really looking forward to one more transfer together here in DC. We're just starting to get a handle on things here and I know this next month with be a month to remember. I love Sister B so much, she helps me learn and grow and laugh everyday. I don't know what I'd do without her...enjoying everyday I have here. This week we had NOVA FORÇA with all the trainers and newbies and it was amazing. All of the new missionaries are so amazing, I think they have us train to get trained.

I'm so humbled to be here on the mission. I have so much to learn and improve. It's such a blessing to be spending everyday working for the salvation of souls. If only everyone else could realized how important it is too! But we'll get there, it's taken me years to get here and we are seeing such great progress with some of our investigators. During lessons I am learning things from them. We taught a lesson about the 10 commandments to G and G, and as we were talking about taking the Lord's name in vain, G talked about how we really need to be careful in our moments of suffering and avoid complaining because the Savior suffered more than us all and not one word of complaint or frustration or cuss escaped His lips. In this moment I learned a valuable lesson from G, that I really needed to be reminded of. No matter what we are going through, the Savior has been through more. And He bore all pain and suffering with patience and love. I think we all can work a little harder on following our Savior's example and take every moment in stride. Restist the urge to complain and always respond with love!

Just working on the road to salvation here, and Sister B and I are working on a new tactic: baptismal invites in the road! It's really fun and motivating to invite people to get baptized from the first time we meet them and help them realize the importance of our message and how we really are representatives of Jesus Christ, not just two interesting american girls trying to make some friends :)Last night was New Beginnings for the moças, and it was so special. Sister Brenchley and I sang and we watched all the young women bear testimony. Germana participated too! I love seeing the young women grow and progress, it brings be back a few years. The organization of the Church is so amazing that all of the programs help each individual grow closer to our Savior and follow in His footsteps. Wherever you are in the world, whatever your situation, the Savior and His restored gospel can help :)

I know the Church is true and the Book of Mormon is God's word. We are so blessed to have the truth and help of our loving Heavenly Father. Stay true to what you know and you'll never go wrong!

Muito amor

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paciência

Oi queridos, tudo bem?

Just another week in the life of a sister missionary here. Hiking some hills, teaching some people, new experiences and old ones too, and of course the ups and downs of missionary work. We discovered a new fruit this week! It looks exactly like a tomato, but it one of the most sweet and delicious fruits I've ever tasted. I just can't remember the name...Started off the week with a great hair cut, probably the best I've every gotten, definitely the most I've ever paid! We were in hurry to get it cut before p-day ended and no one was open. Found a place, ran in sat down and enjoyed the experience, chatting with the cabelheiras...until I got the check and ended up paying $75 reais (about $42) to get my hair cut and dried! Well needless to say we laughed hysterically to relieve the shock and it will be a very long time before I cut my hair again. My companion thought it was particularly ironic because I'm a very "stingy" person and told her that paying $2.75 for 10 pães de queijo (little balls of bread and cheese) was ridiculous. She then proceeded to calculate that she could ahve bought over 250 pães de queijo for my haircut. Oh the joys of being a gringo :)

Then we had a rather distressing lesson with one of our investigators. He's been coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon and everything, really searching and it's been great. Well at church he brought us a list of questions that he found on the internet (probably some anti-mormon stuff) and brought them out during our lesson, in a few words, the Spirit was lost and tears were shed. But testimonies were borne and we'll keep working on it. We went back and had a great Spirit filled lesson on getting answers through prayers and the Holy Ghost. He wanted us to go to his church with him because he's been going to ours. (He loves his church and goes everyday! It's really neat to see that dedication, what if we all had it?) So we went with him to do a visit and it was quite the experience. In my short 21 years of life, I've never been to another church, I've never needed to. And I'm glad that I was privileged enough to be raised in the Gospel and have this truth all my life. It was so loud and strange, the Spirit was missing, and the truth was missing. But the people were nice, and you could see their faith. I'm grateful for the article of faith that says that we all claim the privilege to worship as we will and give others the same respect. It was really refreshing to renew the quiet, peaceful Spirit this sunday. Sadly he didn't come to our church this week, I hope he doesn't give up on searching for the truth. He's such a great investigator with a lot of faith.

We have some investigators that are really progressing. One of our investigators even started going to seminary! But she studies at night, so she will have to start doing the lessons at home. But she is really getting involved in the young women's and everything! Another one of our investigators continues to accept all of the committment and live them everyday. She's staying strong and not drinking with her family, even when they make fun of her. And when we taught her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, she said that it would be so great to have a day of rest! We love her and are seeing how the gospel has the power to change lives. The only thing is that her husband doesn't like it at all. He didn't let her come to church this week and said that if she went she would come home to find him gone :( It makes me so sad. We just keep praying that his heart will be softened.

This week's theme is patience, the capacity to support/endure with calmness and hope, even when the little things go wrong. It's the Lord's way of testing us and He knows what's best. As we are patient, the Lord will surely bless us with the capacity to overcome. (See Mosiah 18 then 24). My companion is really helping me become a better missionary as we both strive to be more like the Savior.

I know tha the Lord answers our prayer, sometimes in a instant and sometimes it takes years. This week we had a neat "instant response" moment. We had planned to have a family night with some investigators and everything was all set up. But when we call the investigators, they said that they wouldn't go because it was raining, and that they wouldn't come to church the next day too. No persuasion was working. So we tried calling all of our other investigators, to no avail. So we decided to put into practice our patience and just go with the flow. We walked to their house anyway, as the rain stopped. When we arrived on their doorstep we said a little prayer that they would feel the desire to go the FHE with us. When came to the door, she told us that she had just barely changed her mind and felt the desire to go and in that exact moment we rang the doorbell!

I know that the Lord is watching out for all of us. He is involved in the very details of our lives. And whether it is an instant response, like this one, or one that takes years to work out, He will ALWAYS respond to our prayers. So confide in Him, trust Him, and be patient with Him. He knows what's best.I love you all. I know that this is the true gospel and work of the Lord.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"And both are edified and rejoice together!"

Olá!Foi uma semana ótimo, e cheio de boas experiências!

We are really seeing the truth of the scripture in D&C 50:14-22. Especially verse 22 that teaches us that those that preach and those that are taught, if taught by the Spirit, will both be edified and rejoiced together. We really see this when we leave lessons full of the spirit, we leave ecstatic and our investgators are left happy and smiling as well :) Gotta love it!

We had an amazing zone conference this week! Left with a renewed determination to exercize the power and authority we were given as missionaries to invite God's children be baptized in His church. What a privilege this is! The Lord is really blessing us this week, we found and taught 3 complete families and have high hopes that they will let the Restoration bless their lives. We've got some great investigators that we are preparing for baptism. We were planning on this weekend, but things fell through. Next week for sure! One of our investigators that fasted to know if the church was true, will be moving back to the northwest before her baptism date :( Second time this has happened here, but we've watched her grow and gain a testimony and see the blessings of the word of wisdom and plan of salvation. I just hope and pray that she can find the teeny branch in her hometown and get baptized there. Another one of our investigators who is really close to getting baptism, put the word of wisdom to the test this weekend and didn't drink at her family party. And though all of her family made fun of her a bit, she said she felt great! Everyone is really seeing the change in her, and especially she is seeing the blessings that come from making good decisions and following the gospel.

One neat experience this week was yesterday when we were going to visit a new investigator that we hadn't taught yet and she forgot about us so we had to mark another day, but her sister invited us to come in and right off the bat she wanted to come to church with us the next sunday and said that she was searching for God in her life. We didn't have much time to teach here because we were supposed to sing at a fireside, but we taught her a quick 15 minute version of the Restoration and she commited to be baptized this month! It was a little tender mercy to finish off our week.

We are really seeing the blessings and importance of working with the members and having them in our lessons. It's a lot harder to plan for and arrange, but so worth it. You guys as members are SO important and valuable. You have a special power to help people see how the gospel blesses everyday people. Every member can be a missionary, by word and example. Don't be afraid to open your mouth and share what you know it true. Maybe it's just a little statement about how the scriptures or church or the temple or families have blessed your life. Or maybe it's a simple invite to an activity or church or to hear the missionaries. All you have to do is invite, as my wonderful mother always says " The worst they can say is 'No' and then your right where you started" :) But seriously, share what you have, and go with the missionaries! Help a poor sister out! :)I hope all of you are enjoying the fresh snow and cool winter. For the first time in my life I am enjoying ice cold showers at night.

Thanks for all your love and support and prayers. I pray for you all the time. I know that Heavenly Father loves and knows each and everyone of us and the the Gospel is the only way to pure happiness in this life and the life to come.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Don't you worry bout a thing...

Oi! So some weeks just seem to happen everything at once, and boy oh boy, what a week!

Started off last monday really stressed about all the investigators we needed to visit after p-day to help them get baptized this week. Showed up at our investigator's house that was supposed to get baptized on sunday to find a messy party going--lots of drinking, and funky, and none of the Spirit--needless to day, it didn't really work out to teach our investigator, and we haven't been able to get a hold of her since :( But we'll keep trying. So then we went to the next one, great lesson: check, running late for the next appointement: check. So we literally ran to our next appointment that was 30 minutes away. As we were crossing a really busy street, some cars started to come really fast and yep, I crashed and burned, tripped on some plastic in the road and slid into first base style. Luckily all the cars stopped for me, any my knee was only a little cut up, but needless to say we were very late for our last appointement and things just didn't quite work out. So that was monday.

Tuesday was a little more tranquilo and had some great lessons. Wednesday was, well, an adventure in the bathroom. Our drain for our shower has really started to stink. So I cleaned out all the hair, but the water doesn't drain all the way, it just sits stagnant all day in our shower. The water is really gross looking and has nasty little black worms growing in it. So Sister B attacked the drain with an old jam jar and some clorox. We got all the water and horrible smelling black sand out. And while the water still doesn't drain, at least it doesn't stink! Luckily sister B had a cold so she couldn't smell anything. I have such a wonderful companion :)

So as the week went on, the stress continued to build. We are really starting to get a lot of investigators and have such high hopes for them to convert and get baptized and we love them so much...we just need like 10 more of us! So saturday arrrived, and we arranged for everyone to get to church and planned a great FHE with our ward mission leader and some of our best investigators. We did all of our visits for the day and showed up at our investigator's house that night to walk to the member's house when we got a phone call from the member "Sisters, where are you? are you coming?" I looked at my watch and said 'yeah, we'll been there at 7:30'...come to find out it was already 8:00 and I had completely lost track of time! It was too late to have our family night, I was crushed. I felt soooo bad. But we still had a great lesson. So we hurried home. Woke up at 6:15 on sunday so we could get everyone to church. Left our house at 7:30 and our district leader called " Sisters, you know that today is daylight savings time, right? It's only 6:30 right now." So we were only an hour early. No biggie. But we had some really great investigators at church and some really great lessons. Yesterday one of our investigators told us that she had been fasting when she went to church and has decided that if any church will go to heaven it'll be our church. Say what?! We hardly knew how to respond we were so excited. The Lord continues to guide us when we ask in faith and follow His Spirit.

Today we got to go to the temple again, which is always nice. This week I've really been thinking a lot about how we can help our investigators understand why the restoration is so important and that salvation is at stake! I am so grateful to have the Gospel in my life. The knowlege of God's plan for us and how we can overcome spiritual and physical death to return to his loving presence and receive a fulness of joy in our families. And while most of the world doesn't realize this yet, we do. And we're just two sister missionaries, trying to spread the word and the love to the people of the world. It's true! We know it! Live it and never forget it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!! Share the love!

Olááá!Tudo bem com vocês? Tudo ótimo!

So this week, the Lord is really blessing us! We're working hard, trying to follow the Spirit, be obedient in the littlest things, laugh and smile, and just spread God's love for His children. And what do you know, we've got some really great investigators with some really great potential! We're working and praying hard for some baptisms these next few weeks. Almost everyday we seemed to find a new investigator that listened to the message of the Restoration and accepted and believed the testimonies we bore. It is such an amazing experience to see people with open hearts and minds, prepared to hear the Gospel. It's a wonderful feeling when people accept the things you hold most dear...now we just got to get them strong, going to church, living the gospel, and entering those waters.

One neat experience this week, that has taught me to never hold back my amazing newbie companion happened when I did a contact with a woman in the road. I testified to her about the Restoration and asked her a question about what she believed. But the contact seemed like it was going no where and the woman told me she didn't understand what I was saying. So my companion just spoke up and asked, "If you knew that your church was wrong and that our church is true, would you want to hear more?" And I thought to myself, 'Oh no, it's never good to tell people there church is wrong, here we go...' Then to my utter astonishment and our excitedment, she said "Yes, I want to hear more." So we taught her the Restoration and bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and she accepted our invitation to be baptized! Only problem is that she doesn't actally live here, so we'll see how it goes. But this was just one of the really neat experiences we had this week. One investigator, G, came to church and said that she was going to come every sunday from now on, and we didn't even have to ask!

This week was a little stressful for me trying to keeping everything organized with the work picking up, but that's a good kind of stress that pushes you to do the very best that you can. Sister B is great, she is always following the Spirit and helping me to have fun while we work. The Lord is really taking our weaknesses and turning them into strengths. Theme for this week: Ether 12:27. The Lord gives us weaknesses so that we can be humble, as we humble ourselves and strive to do our will, recognizing our dependence on Him, he turns our weaknesses into strengths. While I feel weak and inadequate as a missionary, trainer, in portuguese,etc. the Lord is magnifying my weaknesses so that we can bring about success in this area. He really is working with the Spirit through us. The gift of tongues is real, I don't know how I communicate with everyone, but I know that when we humble ourselves, submit to the Lord's will and not our own, miracles happen.

I hope that all of you can recognize the hand of the Lord in your lives and let Him turn your weaknesses into strengths. It's not easy, but with His help, everything is possible. During this special month, share the Love of our Savior in everything you do and say!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh how lovely was the raining...after all the glaring sun!

Oláááá, todo mundo!

Well well well, another week gone by and oh what a week. I picked up my new companion on Tuesday. There were four new sisters that arrived, two americans and two brazilians. I was the only american trainer, so I figured I'd probably get a brazillian to help me with my portuguese. But when I met the sisters, I felt really drawn to one of the americans. We don't know who our companion will be until after lunch and the training meeting. So I talked to alll of them and got to know them and tried to decide who would be placed with who. And I think I was pretty well on the mark. And now, for the big hoorah, my new companion is...drumroll please....Sister B, from Layton, Utah!!!! The very same I felt so connected to.But I am shocked that I am training an American, I didn't feel like my Portugues was good enough or that I know enough. Needless to say we started off this week with a bang and Sister B is on FIRE! First day, we haven't even gotten home yet and she's already talking to people on the bus. Second day she's inviting people to get baptized. Third day she's making plans and goals that will make all the difference her. She has such a big heart, and a desire to testify about the restoration to every person she meets. And she speaks portuguese better than I did when I came, and the Lord is most certainly blessing me with my portuguese so that I can understand all that is going on. I don't feel like I have the capacity to do this, but the Lord is sure giving me His grace. First week together and we had some amazing Spirit filled experiences finding some really special new investigators! I am so excited for this transfer, it's going to be a lot of work, but with Faith, dilligence, and the Spirit, I know that we will have a lot of success.

We didn't have any investigators at church this week, which was a real bummer becuase it was a really spirit filled meeting. Irmão I was confirmed and the Spirit was so strong. He is really special, he teared up when we were talking to him after the meeting. He was really close to Sister P, and misses her a lot already.

This week my testimony is sure being strengthened about the Grace of the Savior. He is sure giving me all that I am lacking in this moment, and showing my weakness so that I can improve, and blessing me with an amazing companion. I hope and pray that I can be the missionary that He needs me to be, and always have His power and the Spirit so that we can find and lead His elect to the fold. I am learning more from my companion than she is from me (but we won't let her in on that quite yet ;) But really we are so blessed here. I know that our Heavenly Father loves and knows each of us individually and that he ALWAYS hears and answers our prayers, in His own time. Miracles happen every day, even years and years later. As Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up." I love you all and pray that the Lord will continue to bless you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tender Mercies

Bom dia! Tudo bem?Eu espero que tudo está bem em casa com todos voçês. Everything here continues to move forward under the direction of the Lord. Muitas novidades esta semana.

First things first: We had a BATISMO!!! OH and how beautiful it was. Irmão I was baptized yesterday, 38 years after his wife was converted. Miracles happen, never lose hope, never give up. It really was a baptism really special. The whole family and membros antigos were there, musical numbers, strong spirit, and the peace of eternity. This baptism really was a tender mercy of the Lord. I hope to be able to go to their sealing next year. I's grandson is serving a mission right now, and the week we started teaching him his grandson had a dream that his grandpa was being taught by two sisters--before he even knew his grandpa would get baptized. Really, the Lord sets everything up so that they could happen at the right time and place. In reality, we didn't convert him--he came to us. The Lord was watching out for all of us here. After 3 months of hard work, we were blessed our last week together to witness this miracle.

Oh that leads me to the second novidade...Transfers are tomorrow! Sister P will be going to S A and I will be staying here in D C. I don't know who my new companion is yet, because she will arrive straight from the MTC tomorrow. That's right, my heart about stopped when I found out I was going to be training this transfer. "Already?!? But I don't know enough, I'm not ready, I wanted to learn from watching other sisters for a while," But I guess the Lord has other plans for us here. I hope and pray that I can be the best missionary and trainer that he needs me to be. I don't have much to offer. Just willing hands and heart. The Lord definitely knows how to stretch us.

As for this week, it was a really good week despite the fact that we spent a day in the hospital and others in the apartment while Sister P got better. She got a nasty case of food poisoning, but we got her all taken care of and she is as good as new! Despite this, we had some of our best lessons and experiences this week. We really started to click in our teaching together with the Spirit, and now we get to learn how all over again. But that's how life works, right? We are faced with challenges, opportunities to grow and just when we think we've got it down and things start going well, the Lord gives us something new to test us and allow us to continue growing. I love what Christ says in John 15: 1-8, how He is the vine and we are the branches and Heavenlly Father is watching over and taking care of us all. And when we are "bringing forth fruit" he purges us, purifies us, proves us so that we can bring forth even more fruit. In reality, our Father in Heaven knows us way better than we know ourselves. He knows our full potential and is anxious to help us reach that potential, even when we can't see the whole picture. He knows and if we put our trust in Him, we will reach more than we could ever imagine. The beauty of it all, is that it is only through our Savior Jesus Christ that we can really succeed and grow and bring forth fruit. And when we "abide in Him", really try to be like Him, do what He did and asks, follow in His path--He will abide in us and everthing will turn out better than we could have imagined. All we need do is trust in Him, He knows best.

I love this Gospel. I love my Savior, and Heavenly Father. I love the scriptures and every opportunity I have to learn something new, make a new friendship, share our Savior's love, and brighten someone's day. I know that, even when we feel inadequate, the Savior's grace is enough to help us overcome our weaknesses and become something we weren't before. This is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what it's all about. This is why we are here. Never forget it.

I love you all,
Fica firme, fiel, e feliz

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh what a week!

Olá queridos,Como vocês estão?

This week has been quite the week. Started off with a really special mission meeting with...ELDER NEIL L ANDERSON! He came and spoke to our mission and we all got to shake his hand. He and his wife even speak portuguese! It was a really special meeting indeed. He spoke about how "You can count the number of seeds in an apple but you can't count the number of apples in a seed." And the difference between conversion and a testimony, and what a great opportunity we have to plant seeds and apples help people become really converted to the gospel. I was really impressed by his humility as a servant of the Lord. What a humbling experience it was! We've really been working hard with some of our investigators to help them get baptized, but things are just falling through with most of them. We're really searching for a family ready to recieve the restored gospel. But we had a really neat miracle happen this week.

On Friday we received a phone call from Irmã M (who we had Christmas with) informing us that her husband, Italio, decided to get baptized after 38 years! They were at a funeral and he really felt the Spirit work in him and will be getting baptized this coming sunday. I'm grateful for this opportunity we have to help complete this family. After 38 years, it is a miracle indeed. My heart is really touched by this experience. Had my first experience teaching a pastor this week. We taught him and his family the first lesson, testifying of the restoration of the Gospel. They listened with respect, answering our questions, but when we finished teaching he started telling us that there was no such thing as modern prophets and that there was no need for them because we all have the Holy Ghost to teach us the word of God. He tried to trip us up with some of his questions, and how one day we would be walking down the street and come to the realization that he was right and that there aren't prophets and we only need the Holy Ghost. He also said that he only defends Christ and no other man. It mad me so sad, because we were testifying of how Christ has restored His Gospel through a modern prophet. That He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I don't know how I held it together until we left. I was so hurt that someone would blatantly disregard my testimony of the Savior and a living prophet. But it only confirmed, even more in my heart, my testimony that we have a living prophet today. Rather than arguing with him, we left him our testimonies of the Savior and the restoration and that's all we can do. I was so let down, the tears started to fall soon after. But, especially after having the opportunity to meet an apostle of the Lord this week, I know that Christ guides His church through a living prophet. The Spirit has testified to me of that truth and no one can take that away from me.

Last night we had a really neat fireside with all the irmãs and young women of our stake. Sister Tanner came and spoke on the family and establishing righteous patterns and traditions in our families. We can be the beginning of a chain of righteousness in our families. "Stand strong and stand togerther in the defense of the family and the defense of righteousness" -President HinckleyI testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. That He has once again established His chuch on the earth through a living prophet. I know that families are central to our Heavenly Father's plan. I am so blessed to have been raised in a wonderful family.

Stay stong. Stay righteous.Fica firme, fiel, e feliz!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain!

Olááááá! Como vocês estão?

It was quite the switch of a week from last week, we had a lot more appointments and LOTS of rain. It's quite the adventure wandering the streets in downpours. The roads are like mini rivers and all the staircases are like waterfalls and we are the explorers. We joked about it being Noah's Ark again.

We found some great people this week with some great potential. And we even had a bench full of investigators at church! It was a miracle, definitely. One woman brought her 3 kids, and we haven't even taught her yet, just contacted her in the road and invited her to church! Another girl came all on her own, and she's been reading the book of mormon for 2 months and says that our church is the only church she feels good in and she wants to get baptized! Amazing! Only problem...she lives in a different area, but the elders will be happy to help her out.

We are really seeing the power of the Book of Mormon this week. On Monday we visited one of our investigators, M., who has problems with her vision due to diabetes. So we bought her a giant Book of Mormon at the temple and gave it to her. It was such a neat experience, she practically cried she was so happy, exclaiming that having this book that she could read was a golden treasure for her, and she immediately prayed a beautiful prayer of gratitude. How often do we take our vision and ability to read for granted. Ainda mais, how often do we take the Book of Mormon for granted? It is so precious and essential for our lives. I love hearing about all of your experiences reading the Book of Mormon and your thoughts and testimonies on it. It really is a powerful book, and a amazing gift from the Lord. We've been helping another less active, M, who didn't even know what the Book of Mormon was gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Restauration. It's really neat, we've gone over there this week and read with her and she has such a strong desire to understand and learn, asking great questions, really desiring to find the truth. I wish all of our investigators could be like her!

Other experiences this week...taught someone who didn't believe in Jesus Christ. This was a first for me. I hope that we can help her gain a testimony of the Savior and understand his role in our lives. Here, it's also really easy to see how easy it can be to fall away from the church one step at a time...not reading, not praying, missing church here and there, not recieving visits from the ward members, lacking friendships and callings, getting offended by the littlest comments...slowly step by step people forget their testimony and their faith. It's really important to keep doing the little things and keeping the big perspective! And I'm really starting to see the importance of Visiting and Home Teaching! It is ESSENTIAL in a ward. When this isn't functioning, the ward is so much weaker. What a great opportunity it is to serve as the Savior, make frienships, and strengthen our faith through visiting teaching. Never miss an opportunity! This is something I will be so much better with when I get home.

And for a funny story..."knocked on the door" (clapped at the gate) at one house and found a really drunk man saying I don't know what, making me really nervous. He proceeded to take out his dentures and show us a picture of himself with his telephone number on the top of them. Oh my goodness, you never know with some people!
I hope that all of you have a grrrrrrreat week!

I love you,
Fica firme, fiel, e feliz!
Sister Bierman

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nossa lei é trabalhar, trabalhar....

Olááááááá! Bom dia! Tudo bem?

Well things are really starting to settle in here, 4 months on the mission and I'm so blessed with the language already. I am amazed that I can understand all that I can! The gift of tongues is real and such a blessing. I hope that I can keep learning more and more Portuguese everyday. This week was definitely quite the experience. Everday we had appointments marked almost every hour, and literally EVERY one of them fell through (and pretty much all of our back up plans too)! It was quite the experience. But needless to say, we are working hard here. This week I think we will be changing our tactics a bit, and continue to pray that we can find the people here that are prepared to hear the gospel. Vamos conseguir!

For last P-day we went to Parque Ibuiapoera (sp?) with our investigator, P. She is 17 years and has become one of our really good friends here. This park is a huge park full of trees and people and walkways. People rent bikes there (but we weren't allowed to). It was so refreshing to be away from all of the hustle and bustle for a few hours and just soak up the green and sunshine!

Other news, who knew that Brazillian bees could be so viscious?! Sister P and I took a trip to the hospital after she got stung by a large brown, flying thing. Her arm got pretty big and hot. But it's practically all better now. Also saw my life flash before my eyes this week at one of our lunches. We were sitting there eating and started to smell smoke. But they didn't think anything of it because their neighbors burn stuff all of the time. Well luckily the little boys spotted the flames and started screaming "FOGO! FOGO!!" We opened the front door to find all the stuff on the porch on fire. The only thing I could think of was, "that's the only exit, grab our scriptures and run!" but Sister P was more concerned about the tanks of gasoline that were heating up right there. Thanks to the quick action of the irmã, we put out the fire quickly and nothing blew up. And lunch continued as normal. Another encounter with fire later in the week...I call Sister P "Our Little Town Hero" now. She spotted a fire on the side of the road and we put it out with our waterbottles. Just call us the next "Bombeiras."

This week, I'm really string to develop the attribute of Charity. It is essential in life. This pure love of Christ is one of the greatest gifts we can seek for. I hope and pray that I can develop it cada dia mais. My testimony has been strengthed yet again that we are led by the Lord. When things fall through and we say a prayer, we seem to be led to someone.

Well that's about a week in the life of a missionary! All in the day's work. I know that this gospel is true, that Jesus is the Christ and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. How blessed we are to have a loving Heavely Father always watching out for us.

I love you all,
Fica firme, fiel, e feliz!
Sister Bierman

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can you say GOOOAAAAALLLLLL!

That's right everyone, we killed a lot of our goals this week! We've been really struggling with our goals this last month, so the first week of the year, we weren't going to let that continue. So what did we do? We made some really great goals, prayed really hard, and then worked until we crashed. Oh what satisfaction comes from putting your mind to something, working really hard, and improving! Needless to say, this week was full of experiences, good and bad. We visited a less active of 10 years this week, and when we showed up he not only had read the chapter we assigned but 12 more! And then he taught us the lesson. He has a great spirit, I hope that he can continue with this desire. On the other hand, we had a less active that we've been visiting for a while now who refuses to do anything--read, pray, hope, believe--really frustrating. It's so sad to see how people's attitudes can be scarred by experiences in the church. But we need to look past the fact that people are imperfect and remember that the Lord is perfect and we can always put our trust in him. One of the lessons that we learned this week, is how important our purpose is. As missionaries, it is our responsiblility to help others increase their faith in Jesus Christ by INVITING them to repent and make committments. The work really changes when we are focused on our purpose and always inviting the people we are visiting to change their lives for the better. And the guidance of the Spirit is SO essential. Don't hesitate to follow the promptings and guidance because you never know if missed opportunities will be made up.

Among other things, this week I've been especially grateful for my family, their strength, support, and for teaching me right from the start. I've been so disappointed with some of the fathers here. We are visiting one less active family where all but the 16 year old daughter is inactive. And the father has started drinking again and is in denial that he isn't living right. And while we were there this week, he threatened to take away church (the thing she most loves) from his daughter because she was staying up really late watching TV. While most 16 year olds are out roaming the streets doing who knows what, and he has an amazing daughter firm in her faith and living right. I can't believe that anyone (especially a member) would take away church as a punishment. It's so wrong. Another one of our investigators, a mom and a daughter, are really doing great! They are reading and praying and coming to church. The only problem is the dad. One night he saw his daughter reading the Book of Mormon and he threatened to burn the book. But she is staying strong and true. Oh it makes me so sad. I am so, so grateful for a loving, righteous father who shows me the way and helps me to live it--thanks Dad!

Other great things this week. We continue to make american breakfast for people here, which is quite fun. Everyone is loving the Danish Pancakes (I think). One sister,Simone, has even started making them for herself on her own. I saw my first banana tree this week...really cool! We found some really great families, I know that the Lord is leading us and guiding us to people here. One day we were trying to find a person that we contacted in the street. I wrote down the address "RC" and we were close so we went there. The house that we thought was hers, wasn't but there were two nice ladies that tried to help us. I invited them to hear our message as missionaries of Jesus Christ and this sweet lady accepted immediately saying who's to say that the Lord didn't lead us to them and that they were meant to hear the message we had. It was really neat. Looking later at what Sister Petitta had written for the address...it wasn't even close to RC. I know that the Lord led us to this family and that he is always aware of and watching out for his children. He knows you individually. He loves you. Trust in Him.

I love you all,
Sister Bierman

P.S. Who'd have thought we'd be hearing all the hype about Mitt Romney all the way in Brazil?