Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
This week was an absolutely incredible week! it was full of spiritual promptings and miracles, and I know that the Lord is hearing and answering my prayers. We have been working with an incredible thirty nine year old woman. She has been working with missionaries since September and has been progressing off and on. She has been going to church off and on, but wasn’t ready to become a member. She had a ton of doubts and excuses, but knew she had found the truth and my love for her is indescribable because of her perseverance. She changed her entire life in order to be baptized yesterday. She quit smoking after twenty years, stopped drinking coffee, went against everything negative her family was telling her about the church, searched and studied for answers, accepted that we have a living prophet, and then listened to the spiritual prompting to be baptized. We actually had her baptism date marked for the 25th and she asked to move it to Feb 1st because of health situations, but on Wednesday during our lesson my comp and I felt prompted to go through some of the interview questions with her. She passed and we invited her to be baptized just a few days later. She accepted and had a beautiful baptismal service Sunday after the meetings were finished. She was so excited! My testimony was strengthened. We cannot give up on those we are teaching, if they have found the truth and have accepted the message of the restored gospel, they will come unto Christ and be baptized!
It is the same with each of us. Once we have found the truth, we need to stay firm in what we know and more importantly share what we know to be true. I am so grateful for my testimony and knowledge. Before the mission I didn’t really make a huge effort to share the gospel with my friends. Yes, I invited them to dances and activities, but never to hear a message from the missionaries. Why not? Why didn’t I? I know that after my mission I want to help the missionaries and more importantly help my friends feel the joy this gospel brings. Think about those you can help feel this joy, and invite them to hear a special message about our Savior Jesus Christ. Inviting is the first step :) then they at least have the chance to choose to accept :)
I love you all so much!!
Have a wonderful week!
Dear Family and Friends,
What a wonderful week! I am serving with Sister Bargas and literally couldn’t have a better companion. She is from Goiânia (dentro um outro estado do Brasil). I can’t explain it, but my desire to serve has grown so much and I know it is because of our obedience. Obedience really does bring miracles. The spirit when teaching with Sister Vargas is so tender and I often find myself wanting to just sit and soak in the pure joy we get to share. This week we set a ton of high goals. I was super nervous to start serving as senior comp just because the situation of the area is a good measure of the work of the missionaries especially senior. (and knowing how I am a perfectionist, I was nervous). Our area really struggled last transfer and I was nervous to start this transfer the same way. So we set tons of goals, fast and prayed more this week than ever. Then we hit the ground running. Miracles happened this week! We achieved every goal we set and some we had to set even higher. We have started teaching amazing people and I feel so much amor, paz, e alegria puro! This is the true purpose of missions. To bring others to the joy and giving your all to the Lord. One girl we have started teaching, Tiane, sat with me in church yesterday. It was a miracle she was at church, because half of the members were not at church because of a crazy rain storm. We called a member to give her a ride, but somehow a different member had picked her up already. We couldn’t figure out who had given her a ride. It ended up being the ward mission leader. He had woken up Sunday morning and felt like he should call her and offer a ride. It was perfect. Then during sacrament meeting, she became very emotional during one of the talks and couldn’t explain why. I was able to talk to her about the spirit and she was just overwhelmed with joy and excitement. She was so happy and started begging Sister Vargas and me to stay here in Cidade Nova forever and keep teaching her. It was such a tender moment, but her joy really touched my heart. She is super excited to be baptized on the 25th :) This gospel is true, and I know without a doubt that it changes lives. It is through o evangelho de Cristo cada um de nós pode ficar mais perto de Cristo! Eu sei que esse trabalho é verdadeiro e que Cristo vive! Eu amo cada um de vocês!
Até próxima semana!!
It was downpouring rain all day yesterday and 75.... freezing!! I pulled out my sweater for the first time since July!!
It is normal to have dreams about things that will happen in our lives... one 20 year old Member had a dream that our lunch app fell through. He called the elders the next day, and it had fallen through and he ended up making lunch for us 4 missionaries. really cool!
Dear Family and Friends,
Happy New Year! 2014!! How exciting! New Years is always a great time of year because it is a time to reflect, celebrate and start fresh. Here in Brazil, New Years is as big as Christmas. Everyone throws huge parties and at midnight the sky is full of fireworks. I was able to celebrate New Year’s with my companion Sister Barros as well as two other sisters (Sister Menezes and Sister Shepherd). We had dinner with a family we have been teaching and then had our own little party. We stood on the roof of our house (totally safe I promise mom) and watched the fireworks and looked over the city of Ananindeua. It was magical! Crazy to think one year ago I had not even opened my mission call and was at home celebrating, then did one more semester at BYU, opened my mission call, started my mission in June, Received my visa in July, have learned Portuguese, already lived in Brazil 6 months and now with transfers yesterday am staying in Ananindeua (Cidade Nova) but with a new Companion a(Sister Vargas) and will be serving as senior Companion. Who would have thought my life could change so drastically in one year!? I love to take time and reflect on where my life has taken me and I know that it is divinely guided. The Lord truly has a plan for each of us. He definitely knows when to push us out of our comfort zone and what we personally need in order to grow. That is the purpose of this life. To learn and grow in order to reach our potential. It is a test that if we rely on Him, we will receive more blessings that we can even imagine. His plan is perfect! Remember to put the Lord first in your life and He will direct the rest.
I love you all and am excited to see what this year has in store for each of us!
<3 Sister Sender
-milk is sold in a box or powder form as well as most canned foods. They are stored in little sealed cardboard boxes.
- they don’t use garbage bags. They use grocery bags
- they have a place to glue your envelopes shut in the post office because the humidity would seal the pre-stick envelopes (that happened to all of mine haha)
- they sell live crabs on bikes in the streets. (they are tied together 100+ lives crabs)
I ate liver and pig fat on Saturday (not a fan)
I ate oysters and tentacles yesterday (imported from Rio de Janerio pretty cool)
they eat the entire chicken/animal... including cow hooves and tongue
Everyone calls me a Barbie or doll and think my rosy cheeks= blush.... yeah.. no it is because it is hot here haha
Love you all!
Dear Family and Friends,
How was everyone’s Christmas? My Christmas was wonderful! The 24th here is celebrated more than the 25th, so on the 24th we had a huge dinner with some people we are teaching and the president let us stay out a little later. People here stay up until 4 am blasting music, drinking, and dancing and most people start dinner at midnight! Crazy right!? We woke up at 6:30 Christmas morning to loud music and some funny partied out people. I asked my companion Sister Barros if she would like to read Luke 2 with me Christmas morning. We read together and it was a special moment. Then after lunch I was able to Skype my family. It was incredible! One of the members here told all of us missionaries that we would truly learn and feel the true meaning and spirit of Christmas here in the mission. I was struggling to understand what he meant because at the time I wasn’t feeling anything close to the spirit of Christmas I felt at home. But he was so right! Christmas isn’t about the decorations, Presents, or food. Christmas is about sharing love with those you love. I didn’t open a single present on Christmas day, but my heart was fuller than any other Christmas. I can’t put into words the overwhelming joy I felt talking to my family. It was better than any present I could have ever received. I was filled with pure joy and couldn’t stop smiling, it was like walking on air to spend a few minutes talking to them. It was as if time stopped and every worry was washed away. At the end of the Skype call, I asked if we could have a family prayer and if my dad could say it. During the prayer, I opened my eyes and looked at my beautiful family kneeling together and I felt, just for a moment like I was with them. It was literally a glimpse of heaven. The overwhelming joy and love I was feeling was the true spirit of Christmas and I know that my family was feeling it too. i am so blessed to have such a special family that supports me and love me even with my imperfections. I love them more than words can express and am so grateful for the sacrifices they are making for me. I know the work I am doing had the capacity to change lives and bring others pure joy. The gospel is true and I am so grateful for that knowledge in my life.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful new year!!
<3 Sister Sender
Ps: take time to reflect on 2013 and see just how much has changed/ happened in your life! It is incredible how the Lord really does direct our lives! Love you all!
Dear Family and friends!
Everyone always says that Belém is one of the hottest missions in the world... well I learned an interesting fact this week. Belém actually has two seasons. Blazing sun and Blazing sun with down pouring rain. I am now entering the second season and it is crazy!! It rained all day yesterday and I think I took five showers. (People literally take showers in the rain here). During the day it rains and then gets super humid and then rains and gets even more humid. At night, it storms and rains until the streets are all flooded, it is so cool! Yesterday I was actually freezing cold in the rain (75 degrees and raining is freezing to me!!) I have never seen it rain so hard in my life. It is like someone literally turned on a showerhead for 2 hours or like during a snow storm when you can’t see the road in front of you. It is the same here, but with rain. I won’t have a snowy white Christmas, but I will for sure have a wet sunny Christmas. Almost the same thing right? It is most certainly an adventure.
This week was full of adventures! We had a few funny moments too. One was while we were teaching a 19 year old boy (Flávio) and his sister (Raina). We were teaching about the law of Chasity and when I committed him to live the law his response was perfect. "Yeah duh! I am single!" The whole room started laughing and we were able to testify of the blessings this law brings. This gospel really does bring joy.
We also had our annual Christmas conference with the mission president this week. We got to play soccer and volleyball and then have a gift exchange and spiritual message. I have to say that Brazilians know how to play soccer, but we Americans know our stuff too ;) (They were not so happy loosing). It was a riot! The Spiritual part of the conference was great too. President Scisci talked about joy and sharing the joy of the Christmas season. It is so true. Christmas is a time full of joy and excitement. We need to share the joy and spirit with those we love! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and remember to share the joy! This is my first Christmas away from home, and I am not going to lie and say it is easy, but I know that the spirit and love I can share here in Ananindeua is worth the sacrifice. I love my family and am so grateful for their love and support. I am so blessed to be a "Sender". As my dad once told me, "your name describes your purpose... you are a sender of the true restored message of Jesus Christ". I love you all and hope you all have a marvelous white Christmas! MERRY CHRISTMAS! FELIZ NATAL!!
<3 Sister Sender
PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICOLE!!! 3 years old today :)
PS: I can’t wait to Skype you all on Wednesday :)
PS: cultural thing: here Christmas Eve is more important and bigger than Christmas day. Everyone plans huge parties and stays up all night celebrating on the 24th.