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.
3 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.
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!