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.