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!


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.