Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12 ,2014

Dear family and Friends, 


Happy belated Mother's Day! I hope yesterday was a wonderful day for all of you. It was an incredible day for me too :) Being able to Skype with my family was priceless. I felt like I saw them just a few days ago (Christmas) and then after ending the phone call it felt like a dream. It is hard sometimes to understand and feel that we are so far apart and in two completely different countries. Technology is really incredible. As I was talking to my parents, brothers, and sister, I could not help but feel reminded of what pure joy feels like. To hear Nicole talk about life and how excited she was to tell me that she said the prayer in Primary yesterday was so special, and to even hear that she even organized my new closet for me in our new purple bedroom. She is adorable and really knows how to make her big sister emotional. I am so grateful for my family and the support and love that they give me. I am so proud of their progress in the gospel and in life in general. I really am so proud to be a Sender. I am constantly reminded of that each day when I put on my nametag. I am a sister. I am a Sender. And I am a servant and representative of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is an honor to put on my nametag each day and remember what I have been called to do and who I represent. 


I have been thinking a lot about my calling to serve and also a little bit about my future calling to one day be a mother. The other day when i was studying 1 Nephi 11 I learned quite a bit about a mothers love and purpose. Chapter 11 is incredible and talks about when Nephi is shown in a vision the Tree of Life. Nephi sees the life of Christ, His baptism in the Jordan River, His ministry, and his atoning sacrifice, but the part that stood out most to me is verses 13-23. (Please patiently read this and try to understand me as I explain my thoughts)

The angels shows Nephi, Mary in Nazareth and describes her as "a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins" Then in verse 16 the angel asks Nephi, "knowest thou the condescension of God?" Nephi responds in verse 17 saying, "I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." This showed an interesting idea. Nephi, doesn't know all things, but he knows that God loves each of His children. The angel then testifies to Nephi in verse 18 (returning to the story of Mary), "The virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God" and then in verses 20 &21 Nephi says, "I looked and beheld a virgin again, bearing a child (Christ) in her arms" (20) "and the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!" I love the next question the angel asks, " Knowest thou the meaning of the Tree which they father saw?" and Nephi answered "yea, it is the love of God... wherefore, it is the most desirable about all things" (22) and the angel responded "yea, and the most joyous to the soul" (23).Nephi wanted to understand his father's vision and as a result of his faith, a angel of the Lord showed him the same vision, but in order for Nephi to understand to meaning of the Tree of Life, he needed to understand what is the love of God. Nephi finally understood after seeing Mary, the mother of the Son of God and the purest love of all. A mother's Love. 


Once Nephi understood pure love, he could understand God's love for each of His children. He also understood that the Tree of Life is a symbol of God's love as our goal to one day partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life. I love the description Nephi and the angel use to describe the love of God. He said it is the most desirable above all things and the most joyous to the soul. We each desire pure love and the love and acceptance of our Father in Heaven. It brings pure joy. However, when I think of a mother's love, the love my mother has for me and that I have for her, I can truly understand what is pure love and pure joy. 


I am so grateful for my mom. She loves me for who I am, even with all of my imperfections. Her love brings me pure joy and it is something that is most desirous to me. Mom, Thank you for choosing to be my mom and for just loving me for me. I am who I am today because of you and your example. I look forward  to one day being a mother and sharing even more pure love with my future children. 


As I ended the skype call yesterday, my family knelt in prayer. First, Nicole said a heart felt prayer, and then my dad offered a spirit filled prayer asking for so many needed blessings and for my success. In that moment, my family was together again. I wasn’t in Brazil, Nathan wasn’t in Louisiana, my parents, Ben, Zach, and Nicole were not in Ohio. We were together in the most calm peaceful place. As I said goodbye and I love you to each of them by name, I wont ever forget the look on my dad's face, as he said looking into my eyes, "Haley, (Sister Sender) we love you and I am proud of you". I hope that one day our father in heaven can look each one of us in the eye and say the exact same thing. This is our goal and purpose in this life. Return with honor. 


I love my family and I love my mom more than words can express. Talking to them yesterday was the best gift I could have received. I hope you all have a wonderful week and feel of my love and prayers. Like I said to my family, " See you in November!"


Love always,

Sister Sender 


May 5, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow the time doesn't want to slow down!! Another week has flown by. This week was a tough one but wonderful. We are working a ton and trying new things to find people to teach and to help strengthen this area. On Saturday we had an awesome activity at the church. We organized a breakfast, and taught members of the ward how to do street contacts with a pass-along card. We then went all over the city doing contacts. It was wonderful and the ward members loved it. Then at church yesterday there was a small glimpse of change in the ward. They were smiling a little brighter and a little more united. As the members bore testimony, they each shared an experience about the activity and the power of missionary work. As a little 8 yr old boy bore his testimony he talked about a contact he did with an elderly man. He expressed how he knows that the church is true and that that same elderly man was present. The whole ward looked at the Elderly man (Luis) and his eyes were filled with tears. That little boy touched my heart. His testimony was pure and heart felt. He testified of the importance of helping the sisters and our loved ones learn about the gospel. My testimony was strengthened. 


I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. It is the church of Jesus Christ reestablished here on the earth. We each have so much to offer and share and one of the most special gifts we can share is the gospel of Christ. I honored to be serving a mission at this time in my life, and know that I am doing the Lord's work. 


I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! 


Love Always,

Sister Sender 


Fun Photos

April 28, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Another wonderful week here in Icoaraci!! Miracles are happening and we are starting to feel a huge difference in the members here. Saturday we had a baptism for Elton (28 years old) and it was wonderful. It was the first baptism this ward has had in over 5 months and it was wonderful. My companion was so excited and I couldn’t help but thank my father in heaven for helping us bring one more soul unto Christ. Elton has an incredible story and i am so honored to be a part of his journey in the Gospel of Christ. As I watched him enter the waters of baptism i was again reminded of the joy that this gospel brings and also of my purpose as a missionary. We are to invite others to come unto Christ by making and keeping covenants with him. I am so grateful for this calling. We have the best job in the world! Invite others to accept Christ and then feel of the power and love the gospel brings. 


I learned a lot about repentance and charity this week. I had many moments this week when I felt like I should be doing so much more. Teaching more, inviting more, helping, serving, and loving more  sincerely. I had a pretty good conversation with God and felt that he has and is accepting my work here in the mission field, but I know that he has a even greater potential for me here in Brazil. i am determined to fulfill that purpose. This life is full of difficulties and hardship, but I know and testify that it is through difficulties that we learn and grow. He breaks us down so that we can raise up stronger than we were yesterday.  I am feeling this strengthening process in my life daily and know that he is just guiding and helping me become who I need and want to be. 


i love this work and love this gospel. I know that this work is the work of the Lord and that he is guiding his church. It is like Elder Holland said, "why is this work so difficult? Because salvation was never easy". I know that if we do our part and keep the commandments of our Father in Heaven He will bless us more than we can comprehend. 


I love each of you! Have a wonderful Week! 


Love always,

Sister Sender 



- they mix avocado with milk and sugar in the blender and drink it like juice. They think it is weird eating avocado with salt. 

- when we wash dishes. you don’t rinse off the food before washing. just use the same dirty sponge and soap and wash everything and once everything is covered with soap bubbles rinse and dry. (with cold water of course) :) 

- shower curtains and doors don’t exist the bathroom is just a open space and you squeegee the floor after wards. 

- after lunch it is normal to put the food back in the pots and pans with a lid. or back in the oven (turned off). and then at night just turn on the stove and eat again. 

- we hug and kiss everyone... yesterday my face was covered with lipstick at church haha 


love you all! 


April 21, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,


Another week já!! crazy!! The time is flying by so fast that I need to catch up. This week was a tough one, but I learned a ton and training has been wonderful. My companion is great and she is always so excited to try new things. Easter was also wonderful. It was wonderful to take a moment and remember the sacrifice our Savior made for each of us and the beautiful resurrection. I look forward to the day that we will all be resurrected and reunited with our Savior. 


I was feeling a bit down this week. I have been super sick and just stubborn about it. (I know it is not good to be stubborn). I kept thinking about what my dad always taught me. Get up, take a shower, and start your day. I did just that and somehow managed to work all day every day this week. I know that I was not the one walking the streets of Icoaraci this week. One day Sister Conforme (a sister from Ecuador that lives with me) shared a scripture with me. 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.". When I read this scripture I was touched and felt strongly that the Lord sees and is aware of my efforts here. He will give me the strength to continue strong. I know that he is guiding this work and that I am just the instrument that He is using. It is like I said every day this week when the Sisters were shocked that I was working, studying and not resting being super sick, "it's because I am a Sender". We don’t have time in this life to take a break or stop giving our all. When times get tough, keep pushing forward and the blessings will come. I know this to be true and have truly experienced it this week as we have been teaching may of the true restored gospel of Christ. 


I love this work and wouldn’t trade my time here in Brazil for anything. 


Love you all!! Happy belated Easter!!


Love always,

Sister Sender 

April 14, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!


Happy Easter!! I hope you all have wonderful family Easter plans :)


This week was a fun, tough and learning filled week. I got super sick this week but kept working along. When I finally woke up burning with a fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, aching I spent a few hours with a member of the ward who took great care of me. I am almost 100% better which is such a good thing. We don’t have time to get sick on the mission and I am training so I don’t have time to stop working. I love this work :)


This week was a week full of learning and I had moments when I got a glimpse of how our Heavenly Father feels when we "slip up". Our investigator Surely went through a ton of huge changes this week and was progressing wonderfully. She has been living the word of wisdom and Law of Chastity and changing her life. It has been remarkable to see the hand of the Lord molding her. I love her so much. Satan has been working so hard on her this week too, and sadly he earned a few points this week. The day of her interview everything feel through and as we sat and talked with I couldn’t help but feel heart-broken, frustrated, sad and just wanted to give up. After doing everything that we could do, we left her house and I took a moment to offer an emotional prayer to my father in heaven. In that exact moment I felt exactly how our heavenly father feels when we sin or step off of the path. We spend our whole life trying to stay strong and hold on to the rod, but then fall time after time. Every time that we fall, our heavenly Father's heart is aching and he just wants us to do what is right. I felt that for Surely this week. I just wanted her to stay strong in the perfect gospel of Christ and accept the blessings that lay ahead of her, but Satan works 24-7. I know that through the atonement of Christ we each have the power to stand up again, repent, and stand strong against the power of the adversary. He doesn’t have any more power over us, but that which we give him. i have grown to love the people here in Icoaraci and just want to help them feel and see the hand of the Lord in each of their lives. I know that he lives and that he resurrected on the third day. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his eternal love for each of us. I know that it is never too late to stand up and try again.


I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and take time to remember our Savior Jesus Christ.


Love Always,

Sister Sender



-They don’t cover anything before putting it in the refrigerator

- tissues are super expensive so they use towels.

- when you are sick they make you eat 5x more than usual.... so yeah those few hours with the member..... i ate so much.... and had no desire to eat

- clothes are optional.... haha 


April 7, 2014

Dear Family and friends!

How are you all doing!? This week was full of surprises! Monday night the zone leader called and told us all about the transfer again. He had already said that i would be staying in Icoaraci with Sister Felix. I was excited. But then Monday night he said that Sister Felix would be transferred to a different area and that i would be training. It was a tough change, sister Felix was pretty emotional saying goodbye. :(  so yep I am now officially a "mom" in the mission and my companion calls me "mãe" it is kind of silly if you ask me haha. Sister L. Oliveira is from São Paulo (4th companion from SP) :) i have officially changed companions four 4 transfers straight... maybe something is wrong with me.... haha

We also had the chance to watch general conference this past weekend. It was wonderful to watch it in Portuguese and understand everything and even translate a little for a new American sister. I loved all of the talks, but i especially loved President Monson's talk about loving one another and President Packer’s talk. I loved when President Packer talked about our father in heaven and how that out of every possible calling he could have chosen; He chose to be a Father. He chose to be our loving Heavenly Father. We truly are so blessed to have someone love us just as much as our father in heaven loves us. I think about how much I love my family and just how special they are to me. Imagine how Heavenly Father feels about us. It is incredible.

I love conference and the time that we get to listen to a prophet of God. I know that we really do having a living prophet that leads and guides the true church of Christ here on the earth. One of my investigators that was with me watching, "Suely" she was amazed by the talks and the overwhelming spirit. She had earlier this week separated from the guy she has been living with and filed divorce with her actual husband. She has been making so many huge life changes, and after conference she was truly comforted and received every response that she needed. She bore her testimony to us sisters and accepted to be baptized this coming Saturday. She is incredible and I am so excited for her. This gospel really does bring others unto Christ and helps us make the necessary changes to one day return and live with our father in Heaven.

I love my Savior and know that he lives! I know that His gospel has been restored and that he is guiding each of us on our journey back home.

Have a wonderful week! I know I will too :)

Love always,

Sister Sender


March 31, 2014

What a week of running around! We are working even harder than ever here in Icoaraci. I think the members are a little shocked that we are actually trying to change the current state of this area. I talked with the mission President about our area on Friday and he is really excited to see the progress we are making. We have planted a ton of seeds and now this transfer we have faith that they will grow into a miracle.

This week was again focused on the Plan of Salvation. Our activity on Saturday was a success and we were able to teach the entire ward and investigators about the perfect plan of Happiness.

 The Activity started out by "traveling" in an airplane (yes I stood in front of the ward with my arms stuck out pretending to fly on a airplane) We arrived in Las Vegas where they had the opportunity to play some games and use a little envelope of play money. They also had the option to play spiritual games. After a little bit of time we "boarded" the air plane, but on the return the plane crashed and we all passed away. Us four sisters were able to teach about the spirit world, resurrection and judgment and then depending on how they used their play money during this life on earth (Vegas) we prepared the three kingdoms of Glory.

I had the opportunity to teach the people inside of the Celestial Kingdom. It was an experience that I will never forget. The spirit was so strong as each person shared their testimony and we discussed the purpose of this life and the beauty of the life to come. When we opened the door to leave, we could hear the loud talking and craziness of the other kingdoms. We closed the door and stayed in our little piece of heaven for a little bit longer. I know that the Celestial kingdom will be full of peace, love and the spirit of our father in heaven, and if we do our part here on the earth, we can receive all of the blessing our father has in store for us. It is up to us and the decisions that we are making each day. I look forward to spending eternity will my current and future eternal family and am doing everything that I can to become better each day to one day stand face to face with my Savior and father in heaven. I hope each of you are striving to reach this same goal.

I love my Savior and am so grateful for the sacrifice he made for each one of us. This time of year is so special, as we remember the atonement of our Savior and also the beauty of His resurrection. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us, and I know that He is always at our side.

I love each of you and hope you have a wonderful week and wonderful General Conference!

Love Always,

Sister Sender

Funny things this week...
-Well I successfully broke a fan with my hand this week (I don’t recommend trying it...) I also flooded the bathroom taking a shower with a huge bucket of water when we didn’t have running water to take a shower.

-we had to turn off the energy because the ceiling filled with water and the light bulbs were filling up with water (huge rain storms this week )

- a parrot made a #2 on my companion during lunch one day

-ate giant shrimp and had to break off the heads and legs :) They were huge!


and many others that we will save for after the mission ;)

March 24, 2014

Sorry this keyboard is crazy!!

  Dear Family and Friends,

This has literally been the fastest transfer of my mission thus far. We are entering week 6 and I cannot believe it. I have learned a ton with Sister Felix about the importance of Relationships with people in our area and the importance of organization and leadership. When I entered this area, I became a little stressed out looking at everything that needed to change or improve. Our ward has more than 450 members, but only about 60 are truly active and those that are active are divided.  We started trying to schedule meeting with the leadership, but  nothing was working. The ward was unexcited and full of offended members. Finally Sister Felix and I sat down and planned, brainstormed ideas about how  we could help the ward here in Icoaraci.  We started fasting for the Icoaraci ward. Things started to change. I have gained a strong testimony of fasting and that truly through God all things are possible. This was the result of our fast the Lord's help.  We have scheduled four families home evenings this week to invite friends and re-activate less actives. we created a schedule for when the women of the ward can go  out teaching, and they  actually starting teaching with us daily!.  The bishop called a couple to be ward missionaries. We planned a combined activity with another ward for this coming Saturday and has a planning meeting with more than 30 youth and the ward is excited!  I started teaching English at a local school three times a week and we have met a ton of interested people. We also started doing more that 100 street contacts per week and yesterday had our first ward council meeting for the first time in 10 months! We presented our new ward mission plan which was approved :) I can feel a difference forming. The leaders are starting to fulfill their callings and the excitement for missionary work is being re-lit. I am honestly so grateful  for my companion Sister Felix and the spirit that we are able to share with the ward. We are working hard and trying everything we can to help this ward grow in the gospel. It is an ongoing process. We are working side by side with the members and trying new things. One thing I have learned here in the mission  is that to obtain  results like  you have never seen before, you have to do things that you have never done before.  Change is a good thing. It is a hard thing, but it is through hard times that we truly become more like our Savior.

I love my Savior Jesus Christ, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice he made for me and know that he really does live. He is  at the head of His Church    and standing at  our side with answers to every problem. We just have to ask. I know the Lord calls each o us where   we are needed and will magnify our abilities to accomplish the tasks placed before us. I could have never served  a mission alone or had the courage to do things as boldly as we have here in Icaoraci.  I know what the Lord's hand  is guiding this work and that we never are, were, or will be alone as long as  we remain faithfully enduring to the end.

I love this work and the special time I have to serve the people here in Belèm, Parà.  This time is priceless.

Have another wonderful week and remember to smile :)

Love always,

Sister Sender

PS: 2 funny moments of the week

1) Is we were waiting to cross the road   one day, a homeless (I think hungover) man came up to me and said "you are really pretty . . . but you are a servant of God.... you can’t be pretty..... that means that you are a prostitute of God.... I just said "Boa Tarde" (good afternoon) and we crossed the street smiling haha (we saw him the other day and I don’t think he remembers....
Moral of the story.... missionaries can’t be pretty.          

2) we were walking past a church looking trying to find the address for our lunch appt and I saw a teenager moving rocks on the sidewalk. Water exploded out of the ground and he smiled at us. and  woop....(read between the lines) he started taking a shower.... soap  and all.... we turned away super fast....        

pictures of Haley

March 17, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

 I can’t believe another week has already passed by. My time in the mission field has passed by faster than any other moment of my life. Crazy to think I hit the 9 month mark this past Wednesday! I am now considered "old" haha

This week we has a mission conference and President Scisci taught a ton of new principles and corrected other old habits. It was incredible! He talked about 4 types of missionaries and the consequences of being each one.

Missionary type one:

Description: Disobedient, and does want he wants when he wants.

sent home, didn’t have results/success in his mission, loses a little faith, will feel embarrassed and unaccepted and wasn’t changed by the mission.

Missionary type two:


Description: Disobedient, does want he wants, but serves his entire mission

Consequence: less success than he could have had, feels guilty, thinks "what if", and wasnt changed by his mission

Missionary type three:

Description: obedient and worthy, does and completes what he should, serves faithfully, but not with all of his heart. Does the Lords will, but does what he wants too. Sacrifices what he wants for the Lord's wants. Tries to be better, compares his success to the success of those around him.

Has a ton of success, strengthened faith, is filled with the Spirit, changed a few habits or behaviors, a little frustrated and unsatisfied, gained a little knowledge, but wasn’t changed by his mission.

Missionary type four:

Description: obedient and worthy. Submits himself completely to the Lord. Has charity, is full of success personally and with others. Desires to do exactly what the Lord wants him to do. Disciple of Christ.

tons of success, is full of the Spirit, has a strong testimony and faith, is converted in his heart, is happy and confident, changed by the mission and gained a lot of new knowledge. Is redeemed.

I loved this and felt even more motivated to serve with all of my heart. I am striving each day to become a 4th missionary. Through obedience, hard work, and staying close to the spirit, I have seen miracles. This week was full of miracles. I know that this work is crucial in God's plan, and that each of us has a special part in that plan. Each of us can be a 4th missionary, member, or person. WHen we do our part, the Lord will do His. Like it says in D&C 3:2 "For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore His paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." When we stay firm to our Father's ways/plan and forget our ways/plan, he will magnify us for our call to serve in his marvelous work.

I love each of you and am serving with all my heart.

Have a marvelous week!

Love Always,
Sister Sender


March 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

How is everyone doing? I hear that it is warming up there :) finally! Just think in a few months you will be able to relate to the weather here in Brasil. 


This week was full of learning experiences and I really saw a tiny glimpse of what our Savior went through during his earthly ministry. This work is hard, but so wonderful. The other night I returned home a little sad thinking about one of my investigators and what was going on with her. I was honestly frustrated. I definitely remembered that Satan works 24 hrs per day and we only work 15 per day. those 9 hrs make a huge difference. If only we didn’t need to sleep! ;) I was comforted by a talk given by Elder Holland to a group of mission presidents a few years ago. He spoke about the common question missionaries ask, "why is this work so hard?" I loved his response and will never forget it. Elder Holland responded, "Salvation is not easy". It hit me so strongly that we are literally fighting for our personal salvation and helping others understand and fight for their salvation too. Of course it is not easy! It requires work and also requires a ton of faith on our part. I know that this gospel is the only way, the only path on the road to one day becoming like our father in heaven. He is perfect. We will never reach perfection on this earth, but if we put in our best, we can become our best. 


Yesterday I have the opportunity to speak in church and after pondering I decided to talk about our personal conversion and how we can personally develop our personal testimony. I felt an overwhelming love of our Savior yesterday and I know that when we truly strive to become closer to him, converted in this gospel, we can feel of his presence more clearly and then have a desire to share this powerful message with those around us. it starts with us. It starts with a simple testimony of the truth and then the rest can grow little by little each day. It is by small and simple things, great things come to past. 


I love my mission and love my area. The work is moving forward! Love you all! 


Have a marvelous week!

Love Always,

Sister Sender 



       the other day the street we needed to cross was completely flooded. We had to walk through the water.... it was wonderful looking at all of the hidden surprises.... thank goodness for soap! 

     there are hundreds of giant frogs here that jump in the streets and I see white cranes everyday 

     we have been running in the morning at the "orla" a path along the river and it is breathtaking 

there are hundreds of species of ants here. if you leave any type of food out for more than 3 minutes, the ants already attack it. They even get inside of the refrigerator! I don’t know how they do it! 


we eat rice messed together with bananas quite often here