Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mission Accomplished November 12, 2013

First Day Home
Coming Home!!!!



with niece

Mary Ann's Mom, Wow! Last e-mail from you Mary Ann while you are on your mission. We have loved getting your mission e-mails. We love the spirit we feel when we read them. We are so happy you are coming home. We know you are a great missionary and that while you've been serving God  that he has likewise been blessing you as well as the people you have taught. We also feel very blessed from you and your sisters serving missions. What do you most want us to fix you for dinner now that you haven't had American food for a year and a half? See you the day after tomorrow!!!!


Mary Ann's Dad, Both scriptures are perfect!  We look forward to you coming quickly and seeing you fact to face! 

Amen to the comments of your mom!

How wonderful to receive the feeling of comfort and peace!  This comes from Heavenly Father!  Indeed, mission accomplished!! 

We will do well to have this comfort and peace as we live each phase of our lives. (D & C 88:3-4) 

You are a wonderful daughter, in whom we are well pleased!

with parents

November 12, 2013
I love you all!!!! And I´ll see you this week!!! WHAT?!!!!! 

Thank you for all the letters and support that you´ve all given me while I´ve been here on a mission!  I love you all and I am so excited to see you!

Today is our pday because of transfers, but it´ll end a little early so that I and Sister R can take the new sisters out to do contacts.  Then she´ll stay with them and I´ll go to dinner with President and Sister C and the elders that are going home.  I´m the first sister to go home from the Juiz de Fora Mission.  Tomorrow morning, a van will take us to the airport in Rio.  We´ll get there at around twelve and since the flight doesn´t leave until like 10:40 at night, we are all going to the Cristo Redentor Statue.  I´ve been wanting to go there since I´ve gotten here, but didn´t think I would be able too cause of the mission split, so hopefully all goes well! :)  Since I am the only sister leaving, I´ll just have to stay with a group of elders.  But I am way excited!  

Well I am SO grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve a mission here in Brasil in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. I LOVE Brasil, the people here and their warm, loving culture.  I am so grateful for all of the experiences that I have had and for the things that I have learned :)  It has been a wonderful year and seven months :)

The feeling I have now is definitely a bittersweet one.  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but I´m grateful for the love that have gained for them and I know the difference that they have made in my life.  I´ve had a good feeling these days though - pondering my mission and the way that I´ve served and its just a feeling of peace, a mission accomplished - missão cumprida - type of feeling.  I feel like I´ve done what the Lord sent me here to do and that now he has other plans.

well, I love you all:

2 John 1:12  

or is this one better?

D&C 33:18

November 4, 2013

At the Cemetary

November 4, 2013
It definitely seems surreal to me that I will see you all in a little less than two weeks! what?!  Crazy!!!!
I love you!
Well.... This week has been a difficult one. My companion is awesome though.  She is learning Portuguese super fast and is going to be THE best missionary ever.  :)  Sister P is super funny and great and really cares about each one of our investigators.  I love her!

 Not too much is new.  Working hard and loving it as always.  :)  We did an AWESOME activity week for the day of the dead they had on Saturday.  We all went to the cemetary with our zone and several members from our ward and stake.  There were a TON of people there paying respects to their ancestors.  The stake donated a ton of Liahona´s to give out and after that we used the plan of salvation pamphlets and pass-along cards.  It was super cool to be able to talk to people about the plan of salvation and the spirit was super strong.  :) it was great.  
Which day is stake conference?  The 17th  what pictures did you send for that?? embarassing?

This is an older picture from when I was with Sister C.  This was the Baptism of A.  C wrote me telling me that she passed away this past month. :( 

October 28, 2013

Juiz de Fora sisters

October 28, 2013
Man! It´s funny how much changes in such short period of time!  I hope you all know just how much I love you!!  It sounds like you are all doing great!
This week I went to Volta Redonda in Rio to do three exchanges.  Anyways, I had a pretty legit experience there.  The sisters were teaching this lady who has been a member of her church for about fifteen years and super happy with it and doesn´t want to change - she told us exactly that during the lesson - super firmly.  We taught, bore testimony, etc and then she said that on Sunday she would go to church and see what it was like - but without any comittment whatsoever.  But anyways, I knew that I needed to invite her to baptism, even with her responses.  And so... I started talking about the Book of Mormon and how it is another testimony of Jesus Christ, etc.  and she read the promise in moroni 10 and the spirit with that.  we talked a lot about real intent as well.  And guess what? She accepted to be baptized on the third of november.  I´m just way glad that I followed through and invited her to be baptized even with the things that she said.  She has already had several experiences that lead her to believe that our church is true and so that helped her a lot as well.

We only go back from the exchanges on thursday afternoon - so we weren´t able to work in our own area as much as I wanted.... but the Lord blessed us a TON.  This week we were walking down this HUGE set of stair that goes down a giant hill (did I ever tell you how hilly Juiz de Fora is?  well. it´s like ridiculous!  I´ve now seen a place with such rolling hills as they have here.  sometimes they seem like mountains.  Our house is actually at the top of a hill.... ) but anyways we stopped and talked to him, he let us in and we taught him and his entire family - there are like seven of them that live there. but yeah, it was a pretty normal lesson.  Anyways, we went back Sunday morning and he told us that he was praying the other day for direction and then went out and sat on his front porch and well... that is when we came along.  and his question after that was like - now what?  He kind of recognized it as a response from God, but didn´t know what it meant for him - what he should do with it.  So yeah.  We used that experience that we has and of course invited him to baptism, which he accepted.  His name is C and he got out of the hospital recently (i think something because of smoking) and realizes that his life was preserved by God, but now wants to know why and is searching for that.  It was pretty sweet.  

October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

... has it really already been a year and a half?
so.... the first thing I really want to do when I get home is go to the temple. ..  Can we do that?  We could even just go straight from the airport to there and that would be fine with me! :)  And I´m not sure how getting released works, but I would really love to go before that if its possible:)
I love you mom and dad!  Thanks for all of your love and support as I have been on a mission.  I love you!
You are the best parents EVER! :)

O has his wedding date - it´ll be on December 7th and then he´ll be baptized on the 8th.  I am SO happy for them!  They are SUCH a wonderful family.  And I´m glad that the Lord has been able to use us as an instrument in His hand to find them.  A contact in the street to a family being completed and next year sealed in the temple!  How exciting is that?! I won´t be here for the baptism, but they promissed to send pictures... 
We are working hard, like always..... I love my companion, Sister P.  She is THE best.  t I can really see her learning things quickly - even though sometimes I don´t think she can see it.  
I love being here and working.  There are always challenges and things to confront, but those are the best learning experiences.  I love that the mission is such a good opportunity to "forget yourself and get to work".  I love this work and I love the people here. 
We are teaching a family who left the church about six years ago and you can really see the effects of that on them.  They have one son who is now seventeen and the other is twelve - and never baptized.  The one who is seventeen .  It has really been interesting to teach him.  He is super smart and has a TON of good questions.  He questions everything.  His questions are really valid too, but the gospel and the plan of salvation answer them all.  We taught them on thursday night and I could really feel the spirit there.  

October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013
We just watched conference in portuguese, which is fine by me! :)  but we were only able to watch the sunday sessions :(
My companion is..... Sister P!!! The only american who actually got her visa.  (there were suppossed to be like ten more)  But she is AWESOME!  I have loved being her companion!! She is super fun to be with and I love working with her!  haha.  It´s been good too cause she´s been helping me re-learn my english.. hahaha  Never thought that would happen.  Whenever president was talking the first day, I was translating for her and I couldn´t for the life of me think of the translation for the word - "cobertor".  I sat there thinking for a minute and just said the closest word that I could think of - which was lençol or sheets.  and she just started laughing.  But I mix up my words/grammar like all the time in english.  its  funny.  and kind of sad.  
She is twenty and is from Wisconsin.  She stayed in the provo mtc and got to Brasil this past week. she is super dedicated and she is going to be THE best missionary.... :) I love her!  I remember how hard it was for me whenever I got out into the field and its interesting being on the other side of the spectrum now.  
Here's a picture of all the trainer's and trainees:

We had the mission counsel this week:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

September 30 and October 7, 2013

Bishop and wife with Mary Ann

October 7, 2013

All is well here.  We found out about transfers a few minutes ago.   So yeah - remember how I was training two sisters just now? Weellll... BOTH of them will be training this next transfer!!!!!... opening areas and training :)  I´m excited for them and hope that I was able to pass everything to them that they will need to be successful missionaries.  I will be staying here  and will also be training.  There are only four new sisters coming on the mission and so it´ll be us three and one more sister training.   I think President wants to keep me here in the big city because it is central to all of the sisters.  He has a lot of the sisters areas here close and so it makes things easier with me here and doing divisions and such.  I love my area though and so it´ll be way good to stay!  And this is definitely the longest that I´ve stayed in one place! :)  

 And yes mom, this is my last transfer!!! :(  Crazy, huh?  I am excited to work hard this transfer! It´s definitely going to be the best yet!

September 30, 2013
I´m doing good. I guess you guys have gotten a copy of my travel plans..... that seems so weird to think that I´ve been out for more than a year and five months!  The time has passed by so fast!  But I am so glad that I get an extra transfer to work and serve the Lord!!! 
Everything is going pretty well here..... They changed our bishopric on sunday which was a HUGE surprise! 

September 16, 2013 and September 23, 2013


September 23, 2013

Sorry about the short emails.  Its just cause everything is super crazy busy.  We only have an hour to e-mail.
Everything here is going well... pretty normal....  The best thing to see though is the progress of the recent converts.  V, who was baptized this month and bore testimony on the day of her baptism, was asked to give a ten minute talk this coming Sunday, which she accepted!!!!  She was telling me before she was asked that to get her mom to come, she´d have to give a presentation or something as an excuse and so this´ll be perfect!  She got a little nervous, but she´ll do great!!!! :)  It was way cool...
  Did I ever tell you about O?  It was pretty cool.  We were trying to find a street one day  and asked a girl for directions.  She said she was headed there and that we could go with her.  On the way, we started talking and she said that before she was eight, her family had gone to our church for awhile and that she had been a part of the primary.  she said that we could come back another day - her name is B and is about 24. We went back later, but she was leaving, but O answered the door and we talked to him for a bit.  He didn´t show interest, but said that maybe his wife would be interested and he gave us her phone number and left a pamphlet of the restoration with him.  but anways a member told us he would go to church the next day and guess what? he went!!!   so yeah.  His wife is a member -  well actually they´re not married (it is pretty common here for people to live YEARS together and never get married legally).  They´re working on their papers right now and in about a month, they´ll be able to get married and O and their son M will be able to get baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Marriage is a SUPER long process here and SUPER expensive as well.  Its about a month´s salary and pretty much no one has that on hand.  but O is super dedicated, already has all of his papers in order and everything is going super smoothly.  Since we´ve met him, he´s already read into third nephi! he knows the book of Mormon is true and that this is the path that he wants to follow.  A true miracle!:)

September 16, 2013
mannnnn.... things are so crazy here!  but its a good kind of crazy. That is SO cool that Michelle got her visa and is on her way to Brasil!!! That is super legit!!! She is going to LOVE it here.  

Welllll.... Things are good, but different.  I like doing divisions with the other sisters but it is also weird being away from my area and the work here.  At least my companions are able to keep up the work with our investigators, but even still its kind of strange for me.  Today I´ll be going to do a division..  I´ll stay there tomorrow and get back Wednesday afternoon.  It seems like forever for me to be away from my companions and my area - especially since I´m the one training them and I´ll be leaving them to work on their own..... but they are super awesome and work super well!!! :) 
We had a zone conference on Tuesday this week.  It was super good!  ha. And I got a call on Monday night asking me to give a talk in it on the book of mormon. :) 

TWINS! September 2, 2013 and September 9, 2013

Mary Ann, twins and Brazilian girl at baptism
September 9, 2013
Things are going well here.  i am really liking my new companions.  It is really a lot of responsibility being sister leader as well as training two sisters.  At least I have Sister R to help me now as sister leader.  She is awesome .  This week we went on a division with a couple of the sisters (we´re both in trio and so we left our companions working in our areas and went to help the other sisters)   

September 2, 2013
On the mission we have this joke that when you train someone, you are their ´mom´or ´dad´on the mission.... well this transfer, I am a mom of TWINS!  and yep.  you understand that right.  I am in a trio.  My new companions are Sister M (from Natal, Brasil) and Sister S (from São Paolo, Brasil).  They are both 22.  They both arrived Tuesday from the missionary training center. It´s only been a few days since I´ve been with them and it´ll definitely be a new experience.  At first I was apprehensive, but I am also kind of excited.   It´ll be a new experience and there is a lot that the three of us have to learn together!  And I have found that when the Lord calls us to do something, he prepares a way for it to be accomplished when we have faith and trust in him.  I really like the both of them :)  I just hope that I can train them well and help them be prepared to train in the next transfer, if need be. 

The companion that I was training, Sister F, is now training. I know she only had one transfer on the mission and didn´t even finish her own training, but there are so many sisters coming on the mission that they needed her!  She´ll be absolutely great though!  She is a great missionary, super dedicated and obedient :)  I love her!
Sunday, V was baptized.  This was the fifth Sunday that she has come to church in a row.  But man.  I have really seen the influence of the spirit in her conversion.  At first, she had a good impression of the church, but didn´t want to be baptized at the moment to be able to have more time to get to know it and such.  She read, prayed and received a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  Then it was her that decided to be baptized, but her mom wanted her to make sure it was what she wanted to do and wait longer.  Praying and fasting, we took the bishop there to talk with the two of them.  That was what really changed the mom´s idea.  Last Sunday, V came to church and told us that her mom would authorize her baptism!  Friday, we went there and she was still a little hesitant, but with some scriptures and the Holy Ghost, she accepted to come to church on Sunday to see what it was like as well as V´s baptism on Sunday.  She was interviewed Saturday and bishop called someone to take them to church on Sunday  which was super nice of him to do.  I was sitting by them both in sacrament meeting and invited V to go up with me are share her testimony - you know kind of like what we did at home - the I´ll go if you go kind of thing.  When her other friend on her other side said the same thing, she accepted and the three of us went up to the stand together.  V bore her testimony first and it was wonderful!!! I think it was especially good cause her mom was there to hear it :)  After church, she was baptized and it was wonderful!  I love that girl! :)  The picture is of me and my companions, V and Z, her mom.

Mary Ann and twins and Brazilian girl and mom at Baptism

August 26, 2013

Maan.... I wish that there was a way to put everything that I was feeling into words. 

This week has been GREAT!  I´m not sure what made it so good, but its probably just cause I felt the spirit so strong......   Not everything went the way that we were wanting it to as J and V weren´t baptized on Sunday, but everything is in the Lord´s timing, I´ve learned.  And I´ve seen many many miracles along with that.  Friday, I fasted specifically for them.  That day we went with our bishop (who is THE best!)  to visit V and her mom.  V is sixteen and we´ve been teaching her for awhile now.  Since she started coming to church, she has always liked it and felt the spirit there, but at first it was her wanting to wait a little longer to learn a little more and meet more people.  but she accepted to be baptized on this last Sunday (she´s so sweet! and has already received a testimony of the book of Mormon).  but then her mom said that she wanted her to wait some more time and make sure that it was really what she wanted to do. (V´s older sister is a member, but inactive).  The visit with the bishop went really well!  He was able to help Z, V´s mom, understand and take away her doubts.  It was super awesome!  And then Sunday when V came to church, she said that her mom had agreed to give her permission!! Anyways, I don´t know if you can tell it from what I´ve wrote, but I´ve really felt the spirit these past few days - the peace and happiness that it brings - and I know that it was God answering our prayers and our fasting.  I have really seen His working in the lives of these people that I love and want to help so much.  

Today we had a p day with all of the sisters of the mission - all ten of us!  It was super sweet - we went up a hill they have here - morro do cristo - that has a tiny little statue at the top and had a picnic there.  Sister C planned it and it was super sweet to see everyone together :) I love the sisters here!  

but then it was super sad because Sister G left.  She was called to serve for one transfer (so that it wouldn´t end up being uneven and having to have a trio) and just got her mission call to serve in Santos, Brasil -  she´ll be going September fifth.  but yeah it was super sad to say goodbye to her.... and they´ll be a lot more of goodbyes that I´ll have to say in the next few days because of the transfer..... the other sister´s are switching houses and either I or my companion will be transferred :(  but yeah, I´ll let you know next week what happens!!  There are nine sisters coming and we´ll meet them tomorrow, help them do contacts in the street and then they´ll all sleep in our house at night.  But it is only on Wednesday when we find out who will be our companion! These sisters that I have been working with have really become some of my best friends! I love them so much! :)

This is on our way up to the Morro do Cristo.  The attributes of Christ were part of the activity that Sister C had planned. 

August 19, 2013

I am doing well.  I wish I could just tell you just how much I am learning here.  I love the work of the Lord.  I love the gospel.  I love the influence that it has in people´s lives.  and.  I love you!
This week we had several cool experiences.
Last weekend, I made a contact with a man, J.  It was a normal contact and I ended up leaving a pamphlet with him and we marked to go back Tuesday at seven o´clock.  And so - Tuesday at seven, we went there and tried to find his house, but we couldn´t find the number and so... we started walking away.  As we were leaving, someone comes out behind us calling "moças, moças" (which means girls, girls).  And so we turned around and lo and behold it was him :)  (His house is on the street that we were looking, but there is a little stream that goes in front of it and a lot of trees around it, and it was also dark outside and impossible to find).  So as we were talking to him there, he said that he had read the pamphlet that we had left (had a few questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which we answered) and said that he wanted to go to church.  It was awesome.  So then we went back and taught him about the restoration and invited him to be baptized next Sunday the 25th.  At first he said that it was really soon, but we talked to him about the blessings and he said that it was what he wanted.  He went to church Sunday and really liked it and received a priesthood blessing to help him with the word of wisdom.  It was cool how we ran into him though.  I can really see the Lord guiding in situations like these and others that I have had.  
We´re also working with V.  She´s sixteen and has a sister who is an inactive member of the church.  She really wants to be baptized this Sunday and just needs permission from her mom. 
I have really learned a lot here.  I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and the peace that it leaves us even in difficult situations.  I am so glad that we can trust in the Lord and that he will lead and guide us. 
My companion is great.  I love how ready she is to learn and to work hard.  And well... she´ll end up training this next transfer because there are so many new sisters coming in, which´ll be hard but I´m sure she´ll learn a ton.  I think its really in these moments of new responsibility that the Lord really streches us to help us learn and grow. Transfers will be next Wednesday and so we´ll see what happens!! ahh!

August 5 and August 12, 2013 Milagres (Miracles)

Brazilian family baptism

August 12, 2013
Training is going well.  My companion is super awesome!  I love her :) 
There are 9 full time sisters here (with one who was called for six weeks and just got her actual mission call to Santos, Brasil .... and so nine sisters here with nine more coming in.  Which means the sisters who just barely got here will train even before they finish training! And... since I´m the sister leader trainer, I´ll be there to help them and train the trainers... haha.  But I really hope that he calls at least one more sister leader! 

August 5, 2013
I am doing GREAT. If I had remembered, about two weeks ago, I would have written something to the effect of : "Tonight we´re gonna teach a pastor!!"  And so... let me fill you in on the story.  Sunday - A member brought a family to church - mom dad and three kids.  That was the first miracle.  And so we marked to go back and visit them Monday night - and someone told us that he was a pastor in another church. We went there Monday night with the bishop a little nervous, but it went over perfectly.  It was a perfect lesson and they accepted everything easily - including the baptismal date for this Sunday the fourth.  We left super excited and happy.  Tuesday night we went back - and thank goodness that we took a family to go and teach with us!  Everything was off when we got there and we quickly discovered that they had been fighting and well... they continued their fight in front of us.  But yeah, the family that we brought helped them to resolve these conflicts that they had been having and we left them with the spirit.  We kept teaching them during the week, but when we went there Saturday night, A didn´t even want to receive us.  She pretended that she was sleeping and we just talked to T on the front porch.  And so Sunday, only T went to church.  Needless to say, we were bummed and not sure of what happened - I think it was just problems such as the church that she had been going to was a lot closer and easier and stuff like that and also another member that may have set a bad example, BUT  the members in our ward are PERFECT.  They went to visit them on their own and talked with her and helped her to see the blessings of the restored gospel.  We could see a HUGE change when we went there next.  We left a message with her and re-invited her to be baptized which she accepted with more conviction.  It was awesome.  So we continued teaching them and preparing them to be baptized.  We also discovered some past problems that T had, but he also has a HUGE desire to change his life.  Saturday.... the day of the baptismal interview...... was a funny day.  Fist of all, pretty much everything went wrong for us and then when we finally go there with the elders, Elder S started interviewing them and well.... Then a group of women from the Pentecostal Church arrived - the church that T used to go to. And well... it was a funny sight.  Four missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and these four women (this moment definitely strengthened my testimony as to the authority that we have as Christ´s true representatives).  They conversed with T during the other interviews and then the elders left and we decided that it would be better if we stayed until the ladies left.  And so... we stayed there and listened to their message.  It was a good thing that we did.  They made a lot of side remarks that were meant for us and to deter them from being baptized.  The most interesting part was whenever they prayed.  They had the family kneel down and the four of them prayed at once, talking in loud voices and citing scriptures and praying, putting their hands on the family´s heads and such - it was a huge difference from the quiet manner that we´re used to praying.  It was funny because in the middle of this, the youngest daughter - A - ran out from the middle of it and came and clung to us.  She definitely noticed the difference in the spirit.  And then they left and we stayed.  We sang with them and then bore our testimonies, trying to help them notice the large difference in the spirit.  A and the kids were firm in their choice to be baptized, but T started to remember the way that he had done things in the past and what he was used to and was a little less firm.  Sunday came and T got there first and said that the others were on their way, but we started to worry a little bit when they arrived late to church - but it was just because there was a water outage and it took a little longer for her to get all of the kids ready.  T  wasn´t baptized on Sunday, but he´ll have another interview this week and we´ll help him to prepare so that he can enter into the waters  of baptism.  But I, A and Y were all baptized yesterday. Their baptism was beautiful :) The spirit was strong and they felt it as well.  I love them SO much!!!  But yes, a lot of fervant prayer and fasting went into it.  I could definitely see the Lord protecting them, but also the other side trying to mess everything up. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 29, 2013 Extending one more transfer!!!

Mary Ann and Sister C at Baptism

Things are going good here. workin hard and lovin it.  This week has been good.  My companion is great!! 
Also, I get to stay one more transfer on the mission!!!!!!!!! If that´s alright with you that is :)  That´s until the 12th of November!!! So I´ll get home at the perfect time :) right before all the holidays.
Oh and the second picture is S and R together.  S was a reference to a member and R a reference from S :)  Another picture of her baptism is here with Sister C.

Mary Ann with S and R


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22, 2013 Training!

This transfer..... well.... pretty much EVERYTHING got switched up.   Pretty much all of the sisters switched areas - Only I stayed. They split my area and now the assistants to the president will be working on the other half.  And well... I´m training, my companion is Sister F and she´s AWESOME :) She is 22 as well and from Terezina Piaui (not sure how to spell that?)  I am also sister leader trainer - by myself!!!! Usually its the companionship and so this is different as well... And so I am responsible for ALL of the sisters here on the mission - all of which are training for the first time and the ones who just got here will probably start training this next transfer since there are a LOT of sisters coming!!! so yeah.... that´s a lot of responsability to make sure that they are all trained well.  Thank goodness the Lord is here to help!! :)  Tuesday will be the first mission counsel, so that´ll be interesting.  Man.  When I first got the call, I definitely felt the weight of the responsibility, but I know that the Lord is here with me to help me and strengthen me.  And it´ll be a wonderful opportunity.  I´ve already had the opportunity to help some of the sisters adjust to these new changes and so that has been wonderful. 
And as there are so many sisters coming on the mission - I think president needs sisters with more experience to help out - There are a LOT of sisters coming and they´ll probably have to train before they even finish being trained.  So. I´ll be home by Christmas, but that is as much as I know :)  haha. I actually offered to stay and president´s taking me up on it :) 
This week has been rushed with a lot to do, but its been good.  Ri was baptized yesterday.  She is 73 and is in a wheelchair.  She was a reference from our recent convert, S.  She is doing well and her baptism was beautiful.  They had two people in the font to help her be baptized.  It was beautiful! :)

This is right before we found out who our companions would be with President.  Mine ended up being Sister F - the one in the blue skirt :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

 I am still in a trio - until Tuesday!! and then I´ll probably train.  They´ll call us today and let us know everything.  My companions right now are Sister R and Sister C.  Sister C is 20 and from Rondonia, Brasil and Sister R is 19 and from Curitiba.  and guess what? she has 20 brothers and sisters!!! Beat our family by a ton!  Its funny whenever we meet people because whenever I say however many brothers and sisters I have, they give the usual surprised/ impressed response and then she says how many she has and well.... its just a really funny reaction. 
but yeah.  the mission started with five of us sisters - there are four more coming tomorrow and so everyone will train and someone will be in a trio.  and that´ll make nine sisters on the mission - pretty much doubled! and then the next transfer - president said that there are NINE sisters coming, which means that EVERYONE´ll probably train - even those who will get here tomorrow.  well... at least that´s my guess as to what´ll happen cause I don´t really think he´ll put someone training two.
Hey Mom - what would you think if I decided to stay more time on the mission?  please say yes! :)
Oh... and what is this article that they wrote about me, Laura and Michelle?  I haven´t read it, but its made its way all the way to Brasil.  haha.  I think they sent a copy of it to President Lima, who sent it to our mission.  And well... I think that its passed to everyone except to me! hahaha.  Church on Sunday, one of the members who put his papers in to serve a mission, came up to me and showed me how he had put it on facebook and sent a copy to the bishop.  Although I´m not sure how much they all understand cause it was still in English. haha  but if you have a copy of it, could you send it to me?  I think it must have been written awhile ago cause it said I had ten months on the mission. 

Facts about Juiz de Fora, Brazil

  • Juiz de Fora has a population of over 500,000 people.
  • Juiz de Fora is between three majors Brazilian cities- Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
  • Juiz de Fora is located in southeast Brazil.
  • Juiz de Fora is a very humid city with an average humidity of 80%.
  • Juiz de Fora has temperatures year-round of about 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
President and Sister Cascardi-first president of new Juiz de Fora mission
Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission
Luciano Cascardi, 49, and Ines Sangali Cascardi, three children, Vila Prudente Ward, Sao Paulo Brazil Ipiranga Stake.
Brother Cascardi is a stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, high councilor, bishop, and missionary in the Brazil Recife Mission. Franchise co-owner and business administrator. Born in Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Francesco and Ivanete Lopes Cascardi.

Sister Cascardi is a counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency and is a former stake Young Women president, ward Relief Society president and counselor, ward Primary president, and counselor in a ward young Women presidency. Born in Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

July 8, 2013

New Juiz de Fora Mission

Things are going great!
We had a conference with the new mission on Friday and I attached the photo of everyone.  The meeting was super spiritual. President and Sister Cascardi introduced themselves, along with their children, they discussed the new rules (as there are two misisons coming into one, they had to re-establish a couple of the rules that are different in each mission- for example the music we can listen to - now it´ll just be hymns, tabernacle choir, etc and not efy.  but now we can run outside even though we couldn´t before). President also gave a training, which was wonderful!  I loved it and learned a lot!  I know that President Cascardi was called of God.  I love him and Sister Cascardi.  They are in our ward and came to J's baptism yesterday.  First baptism of the new mission! It was super special.  I´ll send you pictures later.
But things are going well here.  Things have been crazy lately being in a trio and working in two wards.  We´ve been doing divisions like crazy to keep up the work in both of the wards when we can. 
Saturday I did a division and well.... ha. It was awful - I felt really bad because everything went wrong.  We went to visit some people, but no one was home.  Then we went to a different part of the city further away and once again, we wern´t able to teach anyone.  Sad day!  It made me sad because I wanted her to have a really good experience, especially since she´s preparing to go on a mission.  But then at church on Sunday, she bore her testimony and said that it was one of the best days that she had in her life.  haha.  She said that she could feel a little bit of what a missionary feels and that she was super grateful for the opportunity.  Its funny how the Lord works sometimes.  I felt the spirit really strong in her testimony. 

June 10 and June 18, 2013

June 10, 2013
So I guess I´ll stay in the new mission for sure then?  I was pretty positive I would.  It is exciting, but different as well.  Even our investigators are having dreams about the mission split... hahaha.  We went to visit a family yesterday and he told us how he had read the book of mormon and prayed about it and then had a dream.... he was walking along he street and passed by us, but he passed by pretending that he didn´t know us and hiding himself.  but then he got to the house he was going to and there were more people there teaching about the Messiah.  Then he left and the street was full of people teaching the same thing.  It was funny cause we invited him to be baptized and he tried to get out of it, like he did in his dream, but he´ll look back on this experiecne and know that he already knew.

June 18, 2013
Laura and Michelle! Congratulations!!!!! You´re goin´on a mission!! I am so excited for you both!  Laura, are you going up to Utah early, or just the day before?  Michelle, did you get your passport and everything?  Will you come straight to Brasil?!  I love you both!  Good luck and I am excited for you!  Just one more week, can you believe it?!  And make sure to send me your new emails :)
weell.... the new mission will officially come the first day in July.  President Lima already came and had a little farewell here.  He talked  And I went to Rio the last time yesterday :(  I had to go back to the federal police to get my visa renewed so it was good to see Rio one last time as well as the group that I came with :) so that was cool. My companion will be going back to rio before the division (the 29th) and I will stay in trio until the next transfer.... We´ll be working in my ward and in the neighboring ward and so we´ll probably just try and go on splits everyday to keep the work up in both of the wards.  There´s a lot of changes with the division, but its going to be good.  The Lord´s work is really going to spread!!! I know that there are so many people being prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel!
oh and make sure that anything you send  goes to the new address, or else it´ll probably get stuck in Rio.. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

June 3, 2013 Missão Juiz de Fora

On June 7,2013, we received an e-mail letter from President Lima telling us that Mary Ann will be serving in the new mission of Juiz de Fora. They are forming a new mission because of the increase in missionaries. The new mission will be formed from part of the Rio de Janeiro mission and another Brazil mission. How wonderful to see the growth of the church and the great enthusiasm the young people have in going on missions!

June 3, 2013
So... Things are going well.  Tonight we´ll be traveling back to Rio for the mission counsel tomorrow and then back again to our area. whoop!  But this week has been good.  We´ve been praying to find families to teach and the Lord has been answering our prayers.  It has been wonderful.  

Everyday I learn a little bit more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and His atonement.  I´ve learned that we can never be too low that He can´t lift us back up.  I´ve learned that His gospel is for everyone - literally - it doesn´t matter who we are or where we´ve been, what mistakes we´ve made, we are all children of God and He wants us ALL back in His presence.  I´ve learned that it is our responsibility and privilege to make this known unto others.  I´ve learned that true happiness comes as we live the Gospel, having and exercising faith in Christ, repenting, keeping and renewing the covenants we´ve made with Him, following the Spirit, and never giving up, but keeping His commandments and enduring to the end.  I know that God loves us.  I know that Christ lives.  I know that this is His gospel which will lead us back into His presence.  I know that families can be together through His plan for us.

oh yeah. And below should be attached a picture of  A and G  She´s been super active, and he´s the miracle I talked about whenever He came back to church.  

Pineapple/Mint Juice
2 thick slices fresh pineapple, peeled and cored, in 1 inch chunks
1 tall glass fresh cold water
handful of mint leaves
3/4 ice cubes
sugar to taste (I don't use any, but some might prefer a sweeter drink. Brazilians definitely do!)
Put everything except sugar into blender. Blend until thoroughly amalgamated. Check sweetness, add sugar if desired, and blend again to dissolve sugar. Serve immedia

Sunday, June 2, 2013

May 27, 2013

 I am doing well.  Sunday we had the baptism of A.  She is a super special young woman we have been working with.  One of her friends has been bringing her to church.  After our first lesson with her, we invited her to pray about the things that we had taught.  When we came back,  she told us about the response to her prayers.  It was super sweet.  She said she prayed and felt peace in her heart and felt that God said that "yes" it was true en her heart. It was so cute. I love her!

This week has been an interesting one...... Without light in our house. Before we got here, there were two months of electricity that had gone unpayed and so it got switched off on Wednesday, I think...... and well, its been payed since them, but they still haven´t gone back to turn the lights back on!  It has been interesting though, taking cold showers, putting the iron on the stove to heat it up and pass our clothes, trying to be creative to figure out what to do with our here, and etc.... But I´ve also felt super grateful and blessed.  I can really tell how the Lord has been looking after us.  We have water and gas to cook food.  And our neighbors are wonderful!  There is a member who lives upstairs and a family of investigators of the other sisters that live above them and they have been absolutely wonderful to us!!! and our other neighbor as well!  They have brought us food, let us use their emergency lights and etc.  They are awesome! :)  We really haven´t been in need of anything!  And I can tell it is the hand of the Lord.  

 This week was transfers and I will stay here with Sister O! :) yes
This transfer was only five weeks and so it was a little bit shorter than the others, but yes, it has gone by way fast!! 

May 20, 2013

Yesterday we had an interesting experience.  A miracle, in reality.  Yesterday we had lunch with a sister in the ward and when we got there, we found out that she was married, but that her husband was inactive.  We spent the whole lunch talking with them about the gospel, their daughter that is on the mission and well - spiritual stuff to help him.  After lunch, I left the message, inviting them to prepare be sealed in the temple and inviting him to come back to church.  It was really interesting because he kept saying no, that he needed to prepare himself first, that he would go next week, but not today.  And so..... we kept talking to him - teaching and testifying - and the spirit was really strong.  Anyways, all in all, we invited him to pray then and there and it was funny cause we just sat there with our eyes shut (praying for him as well) for a couple minutes.  He finally started with our help, but pretty much said the whole prayer on his own after Dear Heavenly Father.  He prayed for his family. And after that, the spirit did the rest of the work.  He hopped up and said. eu vou! i´ll go! Then he went and grabbed clothes and got ready and we went with him to church.  It was awesome!  We talked to him after church and he said that he felt good, relieved, peace etc.  And that he would come back next week.  It is amazing to me how the spirit works on people.  It touches the hearts of the individual.  And I can also testify to how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the lives of all it touches.  :)

May 13, 2013

zone photo 1

haha.  Mom - you don´t need to worry about the food that I eat - we actually eat pretty healthy here :)  We eat soup, toast, fruit smoothies, etc.  Depends on the day.  (Mary Ann was answering the question about what the missionaries eat for breakfast and meals that aren't at the members homes)

And yes, we do only drink filtered water.  The mission reimburses the filtered water that we buy and it usually works out pretty well...  So no, you don´t need to send one.  Also, the blanket I have i super warm - they also keep more in each house so there are more if I need them.  I´m doing pretty good on bug repellent and sunscreen - I still have a lot left.  As for a coat - I wanted to ask you about that - do you think it would be better for me to buy one here, or for you to send one?  The one that I´ve seen that´s actually good, is about 100 reais or fifty dollars.... what do you think?  But I do still have my coat at home too.... but yeah, the only other thing I can think of that I would really need is clothes - shirts and skirts!!! and maybe an undershirt.  but yeah, besides that, I can´t really think of anything.  just maybe some church shoes....

Weeellll....  To answer your questions:

Tell us about the nice, thoughtful things members or investigators  do for you. 
This ward is really awesome!!!  Our first Sunday here, the two wards that meet in our building were combined and we had a couple people come up to us and ask us which ward we were in - and then give us a bag of food!  They gave us milk, crackers, and bread!  And they do the same thing every Sunday   What they give switches, but every week, someone from the ward gives us something! Which is super nice and thoughtful and helps us out a ton!  I am so grateful for his ward!  They are awesome :)

Tell us about the nice things the missionaries do. 
So this is only the second transfer that I´ve lived with other sisters, but it is turning out to be really awesome! The other sisters are great! Everyone works together and helps each other out.  Someone´ll usually make breakfast everyday, and we all kind of switch off without really having anything decided, everyone just helps and works together! :) It is super sweet! I love these girls!  ha we even share clothes at times! :) as you will see in the photo! haha.  

Tell us about when you feel the spirit in a lesson and what you were teaching the people. 
So the other day we were teaching a lesson to a family that needs to get married in order to get baptized.  It was a really good lesson and as we were bearing our testimonies about temples, he received an answer in that moment.  

Tell us about the reactions people have to your message and their commitment or lack thereof to change. 
haha... This question has such a varied answer!  It really depends on the situation.  For example, we do contacts everyday in the street and there are plenty of times when people don´t even give us the time of day.  Others when they listen politely, but really aren´t interested.  But then again, there´s been some instances when we´ve started to talk to someone and they start to cry and say that we were an answer to their prayers.  Ha. I had one time when I talked to a girl and she declined respectfully, but then about three minutes later, she came back and told us where she lived and when she would be home for us to come and visit.  I think that when the people really let the spirit into their hearts, they become committed to follow the Lord.  

And the way they overcame their struggles and the testimonies that they share. 
I LOVE the testimonies of recent converts.  We went to visit a family of recent converts the other day and well, the spirit as they shared their testimonies was SO strong!  The dad went from smoking and drinking one day, to getting married and being baptized.  They feel the spirit and have the desire to share these same blessings with others.  They´re working to go to the temple.  It is absolutely amazing the change the gospel has on the lives of everyone who lives it!  It brings so much more peace and happiness to our lives :)

oh and the pictures attached are from the zone conference that we had.  One is just our zone of Juiz de Fora and the other is our zone with the zone of Volta Redonda.  These are the other sisters that we are working with and doing splits with :)

zone photo 2