Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 3, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Fastest week of my mission thus far. I feel like I am running a marathon and absloutely love it! We are teaching a ton and trying to strengthen the people here in Icoaraci.  Sister Felix and I have set a ton of goals and are giving our all and I know that success is around the corner.  This week was full of spiritual experiences and miracles.  Literal miracles. One cool moment was on Monday afternoon. We went to the "orla" (river docks here in Icoaraci) to take pictures and see a few historical sites with a few members of the ward.  At the docks, we saw a cruise ship and tons of tourists from the USA!  An elderly couple passed by smiling and waving. I smiled back, but thought nothing of it. A few minutes later this couple walked over to us and started speaking English. My companion/ members and other sisters with us all started looking at me.  I tried to speak English and couldn't!  I tried to translate, but everything came out in Portuguese!   This couple was from Salt Lake City, UT and were members of the Church. I tried my best to speak with them, but my English was awful.  They could not understand completely! It was honestly a little embarrassing. I couldn't remember the basics of English... A little bit later the members with us starting joking with a man saying "give me money" or "hello". He responded laughing in basic Portuguese.  They told me to speak English with him. I tried again and it was awful.  (I think my sister Nicole could have done better haha). He was from Australia! He lived in Texas for a few years, Angola, and now Australia.  I ended up talking to him about the Church, sharing a little mess and explaining the purpose of my mission I tried my best to speak fluently. SO HARD!  He took a picture of my nametag and was interested in learning more, because he has met a few members of the church at work. Never know.... :) Skyping with my family in May will be interesting. 

It is crazy how I grew up speaking English and after 9 months I have forgotten how to speak my native language. It really is an example of when we don’t practice our talents, or use our knowledge, we lose them. It is like our testimony. If we don’t share it, study and pray to strengthen it, it will become weak or we will lose it. I know that the Lord gave each of us personal talents and experiences so that we can help those around us. We each have something special and unique to give and need to search to know what our talents are and then share them. 

     This week I reflected a ton about the early saints and the sacrifices they made for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They journeyed across the USA pulling wooden handcarts, starving, freezing, and loosing many loved ones. Even through all of their hardships, they were humble, Christ-like, and remained true to the faith. I am so grateful for the example and sacrifices they made for me. I am here in Brasil because of their self-less sacrifice, faith and trust in the Lord. It is like Alma taught his people at the waters of Mormon, (Mosiah 18:8-9) ", as ye are desirous to come  into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one  another's burdens, that they may be light; yea and are willing  to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places..." The early saints truly were God's people and were willing to trust in   him 100% and serve one another with every ounce of energy they had.  This is how we should each live our lives. I am trying to help everyone that I can, serve, comfort, and love, mourn, laugh, lift up the sad, and bring the truth to those who are ready to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This is our purpose. This is my goal and I know that all this are possible through our Savior Jesus Christ. I love my Savior and His gospel!

I hope you each have a wonderful week!

February 24, 2014

 Dear Family and Friends,

 Here we go again with  a beautiful new area, new companion, and new people to meet. Icoaraci is wonderful and I already love it :) There are so many beautiful places here and I can’t wait to meet more and more people. This week was a week full of changes and learning. One huge change is that I am losing my accent!! All week people were asking if I am from São Paulo or forteleza and when I said the USA they just sat in shock... everyone keeps saying I don’t look like an American... I don’t know if that is a good thing or not, but as of right now that is a huge compliment :) My companion Sister Felix is wonderful and such a great example. We are working super hard and trying to strengthen the area a ton. She really loves the people here. It is great!   

I have been thinking a lot about our fathers plan this week and just how perfect it is. Our Savior gave his life for each of us, because of pure love. Pure love.  Also known as Charity. Christ was perfect and he choose to feel what we each feel and suffer what each of us has suffered. That kind of love is priceless.  Jesus Christ is the only person that truly understands and relates to each of us perfectly  because He has already lived every moment of our lives.  As I have started serving the people here I am learning how to love more like Christ.  My new area is filled of the humblest people I have ever met and I want to share my heart and just love them all. When I think of  how  our Savior loves them, how each of us is a child of God, I can’t help but  feel a drive to serve harder, love more fully, and fulfill my father’s work here in Icoaraci. I know that our Savior lives and loves us. He is at our side ready to help each of us. He knows the solution to every possible problem or challenge that we are facing. All we have to do is ask him and do our part and he will guide us through. I know this to be true because I have seen and felt his hand in my life. I know that He is aware of each of us personally and he will never leave us comfortless. That is the greatest blessing! We are never alone! I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that it is through our Savior, we can do all things! 

Love you all!!

Love Always,

Sister Sender


The  month of march is  "carnival" google carnival in Brazil!! It is like martigrau in New Orleans  

- my  new area is filled with  wooden houses floating on water with bridges connecting them.                  


washing machine

                                                                                              red kiwi

February 17, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has flown by and another transfer as well. I do not feel ready to leave Cidade Nova (Ananindeua) but here I go. I am off to serve in Icoaraci! Changing companions once again... I love Sister Vargas so much and the past six weeks have been incredible! We have seen miracles, laughed, cried, and loved the people here. We have a wonderful teaching group of more than 30 people, and honestly I am sad that I won’t be here to help them progress in the gospel of Christ. I know they each have so much potential and Sister Vargas will help them understand the importance of the Gospel in their lives. I leave for Icoaraci Thursday morning and will start another adventure in my third area. My new companion will be Sister Felix (from São Paulo)... it will be great. I have absolutely loved my time serving in this area and love the people here. Sister Vargas has become such a close friend and was exactly what I needed at this time in the mission. A new area will be exciting too. I have heard good things and know that the area is more dangerous than my current area (sorry mom), but has tons of potential. Def bitter sweet living. I am not very good with goodbyes and people crying. When the members start crying and expressing thanks, I can’t help but think, "I was just serving the Lord and being 'Sister Sender' what is so special about that", but it is so humbling to feel and share a special love with each and every member and person here that I have been able to meet. I really do love the people of Cidade Nova! 


This week was a week full of celebration and miracles in my district! Valentine's day, reached the 8 month mark, Elder Poaletti's b-day, 7 month mark for Sister Vargas, Elder Ritz finished his mission, transfer, b-day of a recent convert, huge ward activity full of investigators, and achieving a ton of personal goals. It was an exciting week and through all this excitement, we worked and taught a ton. My personal testimony is expanding and I am starting to really feel like a servant of God. it is indescribable. When we enter a house or talk with people, our focus is helping them feel of our Saviors love. I love to have others solve their problems, answer questions, and share my testimony of the Restored Gospel of Christ. I know that through the gospel of Christ we can truly feel true happiness. I wanted to share an experience this week...


We were visiting Debora the other day and she was feeling really depressed. We had felt prompted to visit her and share a brief thought. It was exactly what she needed. We were able to help her prepare food for her work and just bring a smile to her face. When we were leaving her house, i felt prompted to pass by a house of a young man (Junior) that we had met a few days earlier. When we clapped at the gate, he said that he was about to leave to go to church. We scheduled an appt with him for the next day. We then passed by his friend's house to see if he was home. We ended up bringing along a member (Aline and her son Lucas). We were welcomed in and started conversing with him, his grandma, and sister. Then all of a sudden Junior walked in with a group of young men. They all were getting ready to go to their church. They ended up staying and listening to our entire message about the plan of salvation. They were each actively involved and wanted to learn more. I was a little nervous, but through the spirit we were able to teach a powerful message and commit each of them to baptism. It was so exciting! Then Saturday they all went to our ward activity (more than an hour away from their houses- walking) and loved it! They are progressing and i know that the gospel with change their lives for the better. 


I know that the gospel of Cristo is true and that our Father in Heaven knows us personally. I am so grateful that our Savior gave his life for me personally and that if we each live our life to the best of our ability, we can each one day return to live with him. This is the greatest blessing of all. Eternal life. 


I love each of you! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! 


Love Always,

Sister Sender


Ps: Cultural

they use the same sentence to say, take a shower, walking in the down pouring rain , and swimming in a pool. "tomar banho" no chuva (the rain) na piscina (the pool) or the shower is just "tomar banho" 


They make lunch and then put the food back in the pots and pans after they eat and then the food sits on the stove until 7 or 8 at night and they re-heat it and eat it for dinner. 


washing your hands here is the same with or without soap.... water cleans your hands in their opinion. (I like soap haha) 


I tried a ton of new fruits this week. one was a neon purple kiwi! so cool 

February 10,2014

This week was full of incredible experiences and my relationship with the Lord grew immensely. I was able to both laugh and cry with many investigators as well as members here in Ananindeua. I really feel like I am serving my Savior and acting as he would act if he was here serving a mission in Brasil. I learned a lot about relying on the spirit and truly know that the Lord puts angels in our lives when we need them most. I wanted to share an experience. 


The other day I was reading in Mosiah 7 and was really touched by verse 33. (I will write in Portuguese because the translation in English has the same message but I like the literal Portuguese translation). "Se vos voltardes para o Senhor com todo o coração e colocardes vossa confiança nele e o servirdes com toda diligência de vossa mente, se assim fizerdes ele vos livrará do cativeiro, de acordo com a sua própria vontade e prazer." I love the first part of this scripture "Se vos voltardes para o Senhor com todo o coração" it explains. "If we return our hearts to the Lord". What does it mean to return our hearts? Sometimes we start to move away from the Lord, or create just a little bit of distance. I was feeling a little bit of this with my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I knew and know it is true, but wanted a stronger testimony. So I needed to "return my heart" even more to the Lord. The scripture continues to say that if we put all of our trust in the Lord and serve him with all diligence of mind, he will lead us out of captivity according to his own desire and pleasure. He promises us that if we do our part and turn to him, he will provide the rest for us and lead us out of the darkness and into the light. This is exactly what happened with me this week and my testimony of the Book of Mormon. 


We were teaching Daniel and his mom came in and told us that he was born and raised in "Espirita" (a religion here in Brazil) and would not be changing. She said we can exchange ideas but he would not be actively involved in our religion. In that moment I lost a desire to help him, knowing that his mom wouldn’t let us. But then he asked about the Book of Mormon. I explained what it is and testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I asked him if he had a desire to learn more and read the Book of Mormon. He refused. I felt the spirit suddenly testify to me so strongly. The Book of Mormon is true! The truth was/is resting in my hands and he doesn’t want it! Why?! How?! The gospel can change his life! Bring him everlasting salvation and he was rejecting it. My heart started to hurt. I thought of the words of Elder Holland. When people don’t fulfill or complete commitments, don’t just let it go. This is their salvation and we need to be sad, upset, and teach people why the gospel and fulfilling their commitments is important. I needed to somehow get him to read the Book of Mormon. The member that was with me started talking about what makes up the church of Christ. (Prophet, apostles, and authority of God) I turned to 3 Nephi 27:8 and asked him to read. When he read, the spirit was powerful. He felt it too. I know it was because he was now holding the truth. When he finished reading, he tried to get me back the book, I said "no, I don’t want it back." He was confused. I replied "This Book of Mormon is now yours". He lit up and promised that he would read. I expressed how precious the Book of Mormon is and he finally understood.


I know that the fullness of the gospel is here on the earth today and I have the privilege to share it! We each have this opportunity to share the gospel. Share our knowledge and bless the lives of others. I am so grateful for this gift and know that the Lord is counting on each of us to share he everlasting happiness with those around us. 


I love you all so much! I am doing great :) transfers are Sunday and I am not ready to leave or change companions. vamos ver! (lets wait and see)


Love Always,

Sister Sender 



Yesterday.... this is a little TMI... I was in a house were the bathroom wasn’t working and they said "oh just pee on the floor in the shower and then turn on the shower head when you’re done".... I was thinking "no way" but they were serious and would be offended or super embarrassed if I rejected to use their bathroom.... never again. 


- açai is a fruit here that they eat as a liquid with tons of sugar and a type of flour that is really hard and crunchy. (looks like sawdust). yesterday a baby was drinking this in a bottle. 


- they have a fruit here for every day of the year. 


-it rains every day after lunch starting at 2:30 and then rains on and off all day long. 

February 3, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry my letters have been super short and slightly scattered this past transfer. Email time is short and it is hard to write everything I would like to write. 


This week was another good one :) (I think I write that every week) I learned a ton, and know that the Lord puts us in situations so that we can truly learn and grow. We each have weaknesses and things that we personally need to change. But the real question is "How?" How can we personally make changes and recognize that we need to change. I have a hard head, but one thing I have learned in the mission is how to accept critique and then change. It really comes down to our purpose in this life. Our purpose is to learn and grow so that one day we can stand before the Lord and He can freely say "welcome home there is a place prepared for you" I love the story of Enos and how that the very end of his teachings he tells the people that he is about to reach the end of his life and that he looks forward to the day when He will stand before the Savior and He will say  "welcome home, there is a place here prepared for you in the mansions of my father" This should be our goal in this life! To endure to the end, and one day be worthy to stand in the presence of God. I know that this is possible through the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, and through the choices we make each day. Repentance is a wonderful gift from God and I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to improve and be a little better each and every day. 


I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week! Stay warm!! (I am not so jealous about the -18 hehe) 


Love always,

Sister Sender