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


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 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?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Feliz Novo Ano!!!!!!!

Oláááááá!! Feliz ano novo para todos de vocés!

I hope that the holidays treated all of you well and that you also had the opportunity to reflect on all the blessings that you have and how you can improve. Sister Tanner wrote about her New Year's tradition to wake up early New Year's morning and write down all of the blessings and good things of the previous year, and view not only the progess, but the things to improve as well. I really like this, oftentimes we try to make these ridiculously grand goals and dreams for the following year but end up forgetting or giving up a little ways in. Rather, it is better that we count our blessings, thank the Lord, and constantly strive to be better everyday. So for this new year, I am recommiting myself to be better every following day.

As far as the work goes for this week, it was definitely a lot different. With Christmas and Sister C leaving, we essentially had three P-days in a row, and of the rest of our four days of work, two were holidays! Needless to say, the work was different, but Sister P and I really kicked it into gear this week, despite it all. On tuesday we got to go to the temple for Sister C's last day. It was a special treat. I'll also call this week American week, because we went to Walmart and Subway! It almost felt as if we were back in the states! We definitely sense a lack of Sister C in our companionship, but at the same time, we have a new spirit and determination, especially with this new year and new transfer.

With the whole world travelling for the month of January, finding new people is a little difficult, but we are being blessed everyday. We continue to find less actives everywhere it seems, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to help them endure to the end and improve their relationship with Heavenly Father. I am amazed at the casualness of people concerning these things here. And how little people realize the importance of the Gospel in their lives! We can't afford not to have it! I really hope that we can help the people here find their faith again and enjoy the blessings of peace and joy that come from living the gospel.

This week it has also been really neat to see how the Lord prepares us for the work. Our training for the week was on the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion. And it seemed that the majority of the lessons we taught this week focused on exactly just that! A testimony of the Book of Mormon is essential in our lives. When we have a testimony of the book of mormon, we have a sound and sure testimony of the rest. If you have yet to gain this testimony of the Book of Mormon. I testify to you, like I did to so many this week, I know that this Book is true. I know that it not only contains good things, but contains the word of God. I came to know this through faith and the power of the Holy Ghost. I challenge all of you to take the challenge found within the book: Read the words, think about the things they are saying, and with a sincere heart ask God if they are true. If you have faith, desire, and patience I know that you too can come to know with a sureity that this book is true.

May the Lord bless all of you with peace, joy, and prosperity this new year.I love you all and am praying for you.Fica firme, fiel, e feliz!