Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Probably the last email of her mission........

Dear Family and Friends,
   18 months later and here we are.... what a journey!! Looking back to January 2013 when I opened my call to serve in Belém to right now November 2014 so much has happened! I know that the Lord’s hand is and always was guiding my life. I started this adventure not knowing what the Lord had planned for me. It was a terrifying leap of faith. I truly believe that my mission was a journey and test of my faith. My mission was a mission of Miracles.  
  I recently started reading my mission journals and it is incredible to look back on the changes that have occurred. I have learned that mistake of the past do not define you, they refine you. Everything that I have experienced (before and during my mission) has not only prepared me to serve a mission, but have prepared me for an even better future. Every sacrifice and learning experience was crucial and worth it! Serving a mission was the best thing I have ever done in my life! Everyone always says that missions are “the best 2 yrs (1.5 yrs)”, but my mission was the best 1.5 yrs “FOR” my life. I have witnessed miracles, built a relationship with my Heavenly Father, strengthen my relationship with my Savior, family and loved ones, I have met incredible people and culture, I have learned the importance of self-less service, gained self-confidence, my testimony has grown, I am fluent in Portuguese, I know that the atonement is real and works, and I now know what matters most. Missions are hard and are most certainly full of challenges, but they are gratifying, rewarding and change us. I am becoming who my Father in Heaven wants me to be. His daughter.       
   When I left for my mission, I promised my family, self and  the Lord that I would be obedient and serve to the end with all my heart. I have desired and worked to return with honor. Each morning when I put on my name tag I remember that promise. I represent my family, my Savior, and His restored gospel. I am a representative of Jesus Christ. My calling has been the best calling anyone can hold.      
      Reflecting back, I learned and changed so much in each area and with each companion. The MTC with Sister Clark and Sister Garner, Capanema with my trainer Sister De Lima, Cidade Nova with Sister Barros and Sister Vargas, Icoaraci with Sister Felix and my “daughter” Sister L. Oliveira, Nova Olinda with Sister G. Cardoso, Ribeiro, and C. Cardoso, and finishing with Sister Vargas in Independência. It has been the most incredible adventure guided by the hand of God. I love Belém. I am having a hard time saying goodbye. I love Brazilian lifesyle and the people here. I love my mision. Missão Brasil Belém! Missão de Milagres! (mission of miracles) Só os fortes servem no norte! (only the strong serve in the north) I will never forget the time I spent here in Brasil. Each investigator, every seed planted and every baptism! Every miracle! It was worth every moment! Every minute in the blazing hot sun and down pouring rain and worth every cold shower and mosquito bite. Every hardship, let down, and tear shed was worth it. Every soul that can closer to Christ was worth every effort!   
      It’s like my dad said in an email almost a year ago, “remember that you are a ‘Sender Missionary’ It is in your name. “Sender” of the message of Jesus Christ.  Remember that you are a Sender.” I have done my best to fulfill that call to be a “Sender”
   In the last few weeks of my mission, I have studied the life of my Savior and his earthly mission. He really was a perfect missionary! Reading about His selfless service I began to reflect on my personal mission even more. I am so far from perfect! I searched and prayed to know if the Lord was proud of me and accepted my mission. My answer came when I was reading in Alma 38:2-5,10,15 (I put my name in the scriptures).
 2 And now, my ‘daughter’, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.
 I say unto you, my ‘daughter’, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of ‘Belém,Brasil’.
 4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.
 5 And now my ‘daughter, Sister Sender’, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day. 
10 And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things.
15 And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my ‘daughter’, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My ‘daughter’, farewell.
 The Spirit that I felt when I read these verses was absolutely incredible. The Lord has accepted my mission service here in Brasil and has even more work for me to do one i arrive home. I am honored to be a daughter of God. It is a privilege that we each have to be a child of God. 
 I know that my Savior Jesus Christ lives! His gospel plan is perfect and can provide everlasting happiness. I know that His gospel and church were restored through the young prophet Joseph Smith. Priesthood authority has been restored.  The Book of Mormon is truly another testament of our Savior Jesus Christ and is TRUE! I know that our Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us individually. He hears and answers prayers! He knows what we need/want and is waiting with extended arms for each of us to converse with Him in humble prayer. I know that families can be together forever and are central to our fathers plan. The atonement is real and works! I am proof that it works and that His grace is sufficient. The Lord loves us perfectly to the point that he gave His son to suffer for us so that we do not need to suffer too. I am so grateful for that eternal sacrifice and the opportunity that we have to have joy in this life and the life to come. I look forward to the day when I can return to my Heavenly Father’s presence and embrace Him again. It has been awhile.
"E logo irei para o lugar de meu descanso, que é com meu Redentor, pois sei que nele descansarei. E regozijo-me no dia em que meu corpo mortal revestir-se de imortalidade e apresentar-se diante dele; então verei a sua face com prazer e ele me dirá: Vem a mim, ó bendito; há um lugar preparado para ti nas mansões de meu Pai. Amen" (Enos 1:27). Aprendi muitas coisas aqui na melhor missão do mundo. A missão realmente foi a melhor coisa que já fiz em minha vida! Sei com toda certeza que Cristo vive e esta é a Igreja dele aqui na terra. Sei que Cristo está com braços abertos por cada um de nós. Usa a expiação! Vive o evangelho! Sei que a verdadeira fé traz os verdadeiros milagres! Esta é a missão de milagres! Amo Vocês e A Igreja é verdadeira!!! 
Love you all!! See you all next week!
Love Always,
Sister Sender 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 3, 2014

Dear Family and Friends! 

What a crazy fast week!! So many things happened that I don’t even know what to write!! First off.... I am officially taking my first worm medicine..... pretty cool huh! haha 

This week was full of miracles! We found a ton of new people to teach and are helping an incredible family!! We have focused a ton and the power of the spirit and truly searching for miracles that come when we listen. I know that we are doing the work of the Lord! I know it! That is what drives us to continue on each and every day. Our endurance is increased by the hand of the Lord. Knowing my purpose as a missionary has helped me search for those that are ready to hear our message. We are teaching of Christ and a fullness of joy! Who doesn’t want to feel pure joy?? Exactly!! That is why we are serving. That is what motivates me to give even more of myself each and every day. The smiles and life changes are worth it! It never was easy, but with God it is possible.  

I love my new area and the members here. Our Ward needs our help and we are doing everything we can to bring back those that have gone astray and also to find those that can strengthen the Church here in Independência. I love my companion and we are having a blast working for our Father in Heaven. I know that we are here for a reason! The Lord has a plan for us here!!  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! Strive to find someone to serve this week. Ponder on someone that hasn’t been at church for a while, or that you personally haven't talked to for awhile and visit them!! It will change you live and the lives of those around you!  

Love Always,

Sister Sender 

Ps: Smile too! 


October 27, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!

What a week of change! (and lack of sleep!) On Monday night we received a call from the Zone leaders that we would be transferred. I was super sad knowing that I didn’t get to say goodbye to any of my recent converts :( I called a few and surprisingly a Irmão went and picked up Isabel and she went in front of our house to give me a hug and say goodbye. It was a tender moment. Man saying goodbye was so hard!! Fabio and Andressa surprised us too! It was so hard!! But we are doing to Lords work and we were called to serve in other areas.  

I am currently in Cabanagem (Independência) opening another area! (4th time during my mission.... I was called to open areas haha) I am serving with Sister Vargas!! (2nd time together) She is wonderful and we are excited. 

We also had a "Mission Tour" with Elder Fernandez (Area Brasil) on Friday which was great! I learned a ton and am so excited to help the people here. Our ward needs our help and we are willing to do everything we can :) We are currently teaching two families that we found this week :) We are planning a wedding and they are so excited :)  I think that was the hardest part about leaving Nova Olinda.... knowing that we were teaching a family that was close to baptism. I have learned that many times we plant the seeds and others harvest the fruits.  

With all of the changes and traveling I am exhausted, but am so happy :) We are teaching families!!! I think it is the most beautiful sight seeing a family united through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Lord called me to serve in this area with a purpose, and I am determined to fulfill my purpose here in the time that I have left to serve.  

I love you all!! I know that our Savior Lives! He loves us!! 

Have a wonderful week :) 

Love Always,

Sister Sender 

Cultural/ outras coisas:

- they eat a ton of spaghetti noodles here in my area. (mixed with rice and beans).... my stomach is adjusting yet again... cough cough 

- yesterday at church the members didn’t know that I was American..... that was a cool compliment.... :) 


Leadership conference and zone meeting

October 20, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Another great week :) We had a few challenges (with a baptism falling through), but we are overcoming those challenges. As I was studying this week, I thought a lot about my call to serve. I often thought to myself... what was the Lord thinking calling me? I am just "Sister Sender". I found my answer and comfort when I was reading in Amos. (I finished the old testament this week!! :)  

Amos 7:14-16 "Then Answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac."

I thought to myself! Wow! Amos was a simple man and was called to be a prophet of God! Look at everything that he did and the difference he has made in the restoration of the gospel! I too can make a difference as simple "Sister Sender". We each can! 

I know that the Lord works through small and simple means. He qualifies his servants. I am so grateful to be one of his representatives. I love this gospel and love my savior. 

Have a wonderful week!! 

Love Always,
Sister Sender 


October 13, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow another week!! Where does the time go??? 
This week was wonderful as always! We are now even teaching a wonderful family!!! They are even legally married (that is so rare to find!) They are now reading the Book of Mormon as a family and really searching for an answer. It was wonderful sitting with Maria and Bruna (mom and daughter of the family) yesterday at church. They were so excited!! It is interesting how our desire to serve/teach families grows more and more each week. We search and search and once you find a family to teach you don’t want to let go. We are working really hard with them to help them truly progress. I want more than anything for them to be baptized and one day be sealed for time and all eternity. Only the Lord knows his plan perfectly, but I know he is guiding his work! 
Yesterday was also a wonderful day at church :) Fabio was confirmed (he had to wait a week because of general conference). He bore a wonderful testimony during the testimony meeting and even received the priesthood!! We are so excited for him! In his confirmation blessing was promised with the desire to serve a full-time mission! It was most certainly a goose bump moment and he is thrilled :) My companion even joked with me afterwards. he said "moms get excited for their children, and we get excited for our recent converts!! So true!! 

This week we also traveled to Belém for a leadership training meeting with President Scisci. It was wonderful! I really felt the love our mission president has for us as leaders in the mission field. He is wonderful!  

I think that is about it for this week.... I don’t have a crazy story to share, but I do know that Christ lives and loves us!! I am doing his work, but hope that each of you are trying help in this important work! 
Love you all!! 

Love Always,

Sister Sender

COOL MOMENT!! We were walking under a tree the other day and saw an owl!! it was exactly like a harry potter owl!! (my camera battery was dead ;( sad day)