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!