Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 11, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has passed by and I feel like I emailed yesterday. This week was full of excitement. We had a wedding, church building dedication, open house, and baptism for six people. I talked/worked with so many people and could really feel the joy and excitement of the members. They have been waiting more than twenty years for this beautiful chapel and after having church meetings in two different houses, the members here have a church building. The mission president and Sister Scisci were here Saturday and it was wonderful talking with them. They were in shock with my Portuguese and expressed lots of love and concern for us four sisters here in Capanema. After the dedication, we had a baptism service for six people. My first family was baptized and the spirit was incredible. When Idelcina exited the water she hugged me until I was soaking wet. We were all crying as she repeatedly said "I am baptized, I can’t believe it, I really am baptized!" we then watched her spouse Silva be baptized by his son. It is through tender moments like this that my testimony is strengthened. While we waited for the newly baptized members to change into dry clothes, us four sisters and two elders sand a special musical number. The spirit was incredible. Sister Scisci was in tears and many of our present investigators had tears streaming. My testimony was strengthened. I know that the gospel of Christ has been restored and that through Christ, we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. Baptism is the first step/ first door we need to open in order to achieve our goal of living with our families for all eternity. I love this gospel and know it is true. I love you all so much and am so grateful for my eternal family!


Love Always,

Sister Sender

Such Excitement in Capanema, Brazil

November 4, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

How is everyone doing? I can’t believe it is already November! it is funny because I keep thinking "oh winter is coming".. but it is only getting hotter! So strange for me! This week was great! we had another baptism and it was so special. We have been baptizing every week and each baptism is so special. Last week we baptized two young boys and this week was Gustavo (15 years old) and next week we are baptizing a family!! This work is moving forward and we are working very hard to bring the wonderful happiness of the gospel to the people of Capanema.

I wanted to share two experiences this week. 

1) funny/ horrible experience 

Tuesday after a long day we returned to our house only to find we were without power. We have had problems with our electricity bills and the landlord didn’t resolve the problem. Just imagine entering a house that is about 85 degrees without a slight breeze. Our house is next to a canal that smells terrible (and tons of mosquitos) so we cannot open the windows. We usually sleep with a fan blowing but without electricity we had the honor of sleeping in the heat. I took a shower in the dark (terrified that a frog or spider was in the bathroom with me). We, four sisters, slept in the same room with the window and door closed. The sister from Chile slept under my mosquito net with me haha... just imagine. However, let’s make this a learning opportunity... Pay your electric bill! Ok ok.... This experience can be compared to our light or testimony. When we do not pay the bill or nourish our testimony, the light burns out. Then you have to work, call, and pay the bill to have the lights turned back on. Just like our testimony. We have to study, pray, and ask for forgiveness and then pay the bill. ACT! I testify that it is never too late to pay the bill and recharge your light! 


2) In my family we always talk about "pay days! Moments in life when all our hard work pays off. I had a wonderful "pay day" moment this week. We have been doing divisions (switching companions for 3 days). A new sister from Kentucky (3 weeks in Brazil) was here in Capanema and my Companion was in another city. On Saturday, she taught with me. I prayed so hard that everyone would understand my Portuguese and everything would flow smoothly. We taught and prepared young Gustavo for his baptism. He understood everything and was so excited for his baptism. This moments was a huge "pay day" for me. After almost 5 months studying and workig so hard, and feeling like I would never speak fluent without an accent... I achieved my goal. Blessings always come after or trials. I love this scripture in the Book of Mormon. Alma 26:27 "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord comforted us... Bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success" and also D&C 58:4 "For after much tribulation come the blessings" 

Be patient in moments of trial and difficulty. The Lord will give you success. I know this to be true. I have witnessed it here in my mission. My mission has been the most difficult yet rewarding time of my life. 

I love you all so much!


Love always,

Sister Sender 

October 28, 2013

 Family and Friends!

What a week! Sorry I didn’t write much last week, we didn’t have much time to email. This week was so fast that it is hard to remember what even happened! This week was filled with love and change. One of my favorite things about the mission is helping people make changes in their lives. We teach so many people and honestly the majority of them are lazy and do not want to change, but when we finally help someone make changes for the better, the joy is priceless. For example,  Irmã Idelcina and Irmão Silva. They are finally getting married after seven years of working with missionaries. All of their children are members of the church and one already served a mission! We have been working with their family a ton and now they are getting married, two of their children are as well and then on November 9th they are getting baptized :) it is so exciting because the new church building will be dedicated right before the baptism, so the mission president and basically the whole stake will be present for this baptism. I love this family so much and am so excited for them. I am so excited for them to begin this wonderful journey in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are already making plans for them to go to the temple in one year to be sealed for time and all eternity. It is moments like this that drive me to serve even harder here in the mission. I am blessed to watch people change and accept our savior Jesus Christ and am so honored to be serving the people here in Capanema another transfer with Sister De Lima.

  I have learned a lot in the first chapter of my mission. I have truly learned how to love people and how to serve. Many times is life we start to become focused on ourselves and our own struggles/weaknesses. It is during these times that we need to forget ourselves and put others first. We are blessed with so many luxuries in this life and need to remember to serve and more importantly, to love. I have felt my heart expand here in Brazil and cannot help but feel an overwhelming love for those I meet every day. The people here are now a part of me. They are part of my family and I am so grateful for the power of love. Especially Christ-like love. 


I hope you all have a wonderful week and feel of my love and prayers for each of you. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!!!


Love Always,

Sister Sender


Cultural Things:

- When a person passes away they have an open casket service... people touch  and kiss the body, or hold the hand of the dead person.

- they drink soda (can) and juice with two straws because it is faster 

- children run around in their underwear/or nothing and it is completely normal (0-about 12 years of age) 

-it is normal to drink hot chocolate with crackers at night before bed (80+ degrees)

- They eat pizza with ketchup, fork and knife

- salad is a mix of cabbage and lettuce thinly slices with cucumbers and tomato slices. They dont use dressing. They use salt and olive oil or vinegar

- food is packed with salt....so much salt. 

Fun moments

October 21, 2013

Family and Friends,

How is everyone doing? Thank you all so much for the letters and emails. They are wonderful!! This week was a week I will never forget. I saw a lot of pain, sorrow, and Joy. I learned a lot about listening to every prompting of the Spirit and how the Lord really does work through his servants. 


We have been teaching a woman (50 yrs old) for a while, but she randomly disappeared. She owns a restaurant, but it has been closed for a week and her house looks abandoned. On Saturday we were walking past the restaurant, and I felt prompted to enter and talk to Nini. She was alone and we started talking through the window. She became extremely emotional. I dropped my bag, entered the kitchen and just held her. We eventually sat down and talked for a while. She is going through a ton of family problems and moved houses. After a little while I felt prompted to help her with the dishes. I thought no this is a restaurant. I can’t do that. I felted prompted again. I asked if I could helkp and she said "oh no no it will be easy". I stood up and said I will help you I will only take 5 mins. We started washing and literally the entire kitchen and restaurant was clean in 5-10 mins. As we were ready to leave the light in her eyes was brilliant.  She was filled with light and love. Share the light of Christ! Share with those around you! I have washed a lot of dishes here in Brazil and have also gained a lot of dear friends because of it. Look for opportunities to serve this week and you will feel a difference in your relationships with others.


It is short this week!! 


I love you all so much!! Have a wonderful week!!! 


Love Always,

Sister Sender 

Fun in Brazil

October 14, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

What a busy week! I learned a lot this week and really felt like a servant of the Lord. I taught a lot of heart felt lessons and a lots of special experiences occurred because of it. I will share a little bit, but many of the moments are too sacred to share. 

One experience was with 15 year old Khalil. We have committed him many times to read the Book of Mormon and he has not followed through with his commitments. One day this week, Sister De Lima and I had a lesson fall through and she asked me what I wanted to do. I said "let’s visit Khalil". We haven’t been able to find his house because we always teach him at his grandmas. We searched for his house and I told Sister De Lima to enter this one street with me. His house was the first one :) We talked with Khalil for a while and he almost said that he would rather not continue working with us, but I started to talk... I don’t remember what I said, but I spoke in fluent Portuguese with him. I remember feeling an overwhelming feeling of love for him and told him that I pray for him specifically by name every day. I pray for his success and ability to receive a response to his prayers. He became emotional and had goose bumps very visible. I asked him what he was feeling. He said that he felt bad he had not read the Book of Mormon and that he had the evidence of truth in his hands for over two months. I then asked him, "do you think what we are telling you is true?" and he said, after today, yes. I have never in my life had someone tell me that they pray for me and love me. He felt an overwhelming feeling of love and afterwards he said that he would read and then pray to know the truth. (and he did :) I know that the words I spoke to Khalil were not my words. When Sister De Lima and I reflected together, she told me that I spoke 100% fluent Portuguese with Khalil. She understood every word and so did Khalil. The spirit in our lesson was different and very strong. I know this is because we taught by the spirit and followed the feelings in our hearts. The lord  will always give you the words to speak when you are on his errand. 


We also had a baptism of Renato this week. He lives in another city, so we had to travel 1.5 hrs to teach him. He is amazing! He sacrificed everything to be baptized. His family disowned him and he lives alone now. He was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday. He invited so many peple and many members traveled to support him. After he was baptized he came up to me and said "you saved my life. thank  you". This is why I am serving a mission. Renato is now preparing to serve a mission as well. We are also creating a group of members in his city and eventually a branch and then a ward. :) 


I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. My mission has changed my life. My capacity to love has expanded and I know that the Lord sent me to Brazil to bring others unto Christ. I really am serving in the Mission of Miracles


Love always,

Sister Sender



Cultural things:

They bury their dead in marble coffins above ground :)