Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

My dear, wonderful family!  Happy Memorial Day!  I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying the warm, lovely spring of the United States.  IT'S COLD HERE!  Haha already I've busted out the gloves and winter coat.

We had another great week here in Almirante Tamandaré.  We stayed busy visiting the family of A_____, his daughters, and his granddaughters each day to help support and strengthen them along their path of conversion.  A____'s daughter, L_______, accepted the Savior's invitation to be baptized, too!  NOSSA!  It has been such a joy working with this family.  It is still remarkable to me that the Gospel can change all people; no matter the problem, doubt, or difficulty.  I LOVE THE GOSPEL!  It all started with A_____, and because of his decision to be baptized, the door was opened for the rest of his family to follow his example, and learn more.  We've now baptized his daughter, two of his granddaughters, and the missionaries are teaching his other living daughter as well in her area of Curitiba.  I am SO excited for this family!  It is miraculous to see the mighty changes that take place in the hearts and the actions of people who truly come unto Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  The Gospel heals.

This morning, I was studying in the Book of Mormon in Alma about the Sons of Mosiah and their difficulties and struggles as missionaries, and came across these verses that really struck me:

10 And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comfortedAnd they were comforted.

11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my handsunto the salvation of many souls.

12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto theLamanites to declare unto them the word of God.

13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.

16 Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken the work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption.

I LOVE these verses.  I love what we can learn from them.  This is what I learned:  
-  God comforts us in our times of trial and need

-  Before we came to Earth, we were given a "call", too.  Like the sons of Mosiah, we committed to Heavenly Father and our other brothers and sisters that we would go down to Earth, that we would be patient in our trials and in our afflictions, and that we would go amongst our lost and fallen brothers and sisters and save them.  We promised Heavenly Father, and our dear brothers and sisters in the pre-mortal life that we would help them; that we would find them; that we would bring the perfect Plan of Salvation back to their remembrance so that they too could return and live with our Father in happiness and glory forever.

-  This is our mission:  To take courage and trust in Heavenly Father, that He truly will make each and every one of us an 'instrument' in His hands for the salvation and eternal happiness of others.  Our cause here on Earth is great.  It is precious.  We must be patient and long suffering in our times of trial, but we have to remember our promise to Heavenly Father, and go forth, like the Sons of Mosiah, full of faith and confidence and power, and help our brethren.

I know that we all are truly children of a loving Heavenly Father.  He knows us.  He loves us so perfectly.  I know He loves all of His children.  I hope that in the end, we can all meet together, " the end of the harvest" with our other brothers and sisters who are lost now, but can be found. "Great" is the work we have undertaken here on Earth.  We are all part of it!

I love you!  I know it was kind of random today, but I know the Book of Mormon is true, and as we apply the principles within, our mind will be opened, and we will be blessed.

Love forever,

Photo:  Baptism of Luciana!!  EVERYONE in that photo has now been blessed by the ordinance of baptism!!  Woooo!  #PartyInHeaven

Monday, May 19, 2014

Letter with photos! -- May 19, 2014

FAMILIA!  Heyyo.  Gosh, it feels like just yesterday I was writing you!  Time is really starting to fly by. 

NOSSA one year ago I went through the temple!  I am SO eternally grateful for the temple.  I love feeling Heavenly Father's love for each of His children.  I love the simplicity of the Gospel.  I love the peace and perspective that comes from the House of the Lord.  I'm so glad that I got to share that special day with so many of you!

Things are going well here in Almirante Tamandaré!  We have been working hard to get references, and find new people to teach.  We had two miracle baptisms this week!  The two granddaughters of A_____ (the man we baptized last week) entered into a covenant with Heavenly Father this Sunday!  It was so beautiful.  The came for the baptism of their Grandfather last Sunday, and ADORED it, and wanted to learn more.  We went over there almost every day this week, and taught them everything, and they ate it up. They both are devouring the Book of Mormon on their own, and both comprehend the Gospel amazingly well.  They were so excited to accept baptism, and start a mighty change in their lives.  Woohoo!!!  Minha nossa... it is THE BEST thing, teaching the elect of the Lord.  These sweet sisters cried and cried during the lessons, as the Spirit testified of what we were teaching.  They are so great, and I know the Gospel will bless them, and become and anchor for them in this unstable world.

This past week, a Seventy came to our  mission to visit with us/counsel us.  It was a marvelous experience.  It is always so neat to receive a lesson from someone who knows the Gospel, you know?  It was like our very own little General Conference, but in Portuguese, of course!  It was great.  THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!

Things are looking up, the the temperature is going down, and the days keep going.  FAMILY.  IN ONE YEAR I WILL BE BACK AT HOME.  What?!?  So many mixed feelings!  

I wish I could send pictures to you all!  Goodness gracious I have about 20 to send off, but this cheapo Brazilian card reader that I bought doesn't work....  I was going to send pictures of the baptisms, and some of our area.  SO. MANY. HILLS.  I'm getting calves of steel, though!

I LOVE YOU!  I know this Gospel is true.  The more I study the scriptures, and try to teach people, the more I know it is true.  It is simple.  It is wonderful.  It is perfect!

Have a MARVELOUS week, and know that I'm thinking of you!


(He was able to borrow a card reader from someone, so here are the pictures he sent!)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Feliz Dia das Mães!! -- May 12, 2014

I LOVE  MY FAMILY!!!!  It was so marvelous hearing AND seeing you yesterday!  Gosh, I felt like I was there with you!  Too bad it was only 18 minutes.... :(  I'll be sure to get my full 45 at Christmas :)
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, MOM! :)  Thank you for being the best mother I've ever had!  Haha but seriously, thank you for being such a strength and boost to me these past 19 (almost 20!) years.  You have shaped me, helped me, encouraged me, and believed in me.  You have been my loyal friend through thick and thin, and I am SO eternally grateful for a kind, loving mother like you.  I hope "your day" was perfect.

Minha nossa... this week was c-r-a-z-y, but good!  I got transferred to Almirante Tamandaré, a town just outside of Curitiba.  It is HUGE! I still have 6 missionaries in the ward, but we all live separately, which I think is a blessing.  Our house is an apartment added on to a member's home, and we have new appliances!  It's wonderful, and stays clean.  My new companion is Elder Gilguero, from Argentina.  He is a great missionary, and a wonderful teacher, so I'm very grateful for the chance I have to learn from an obedient, skillful missionary now that I know a little more Portuguese and can apply it!

We had a baptism this week, too!  A____ is a wonderful man, who has had many tragedies in his life (two of his sons were murdered on their street...)  He accepted baptism, and entered into a sacred covenant with Heavenly Father yesterday!  Saturday, I FINALLY got to wear service clothes and get dirty!  We went and helped A____ make a cement carport, which was  a lot of fun!

Holy cow!  This week we were knocking doors and found an ELECT.  Her name is R____, and she let us right in and shared with us her life story through tears.  She loves God, and has a TON of faith.  When we taught her the Plan of Salvation, she knew it already.  When we taught her the Restoration, she wept when we related the first vision, and said, "I know it's true!".  It was such a tender, special experience that reminded me that Heavenly Father truly is preparing people to receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It blesses lives!  I know that R_____ was able to remember her first lessons in the Pre-existence. 

We are doing our best to stay busy, work hard, and live for miracles.  Already this area seems full of potential, and I'm excited to be here!

I LOVE YOU!  Thanks for the love and prayers.  They really do help! 

Have a super duper week.


PS - Sorry for the lack of pictures! My card reader got stolen in my last area... I'll try to find another one!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Curitiba Here I Come! -- May 5, 2014

BOM DIA!!  I hope all is going well with my favorite people this week.  This week was INSANE.  Holy cow.  Satan is SO real... But God is SO MUCH STRONGER.  Let me tell  ya... 
We worked reeeeeeeeally hard this week, trying our best to make sure we were exactly obedient, and teaching/contacting as many people as possible.  Out of the three baptisms we had planned for this week, only one came to pass, but the other two WILL happen two weeks from now.  Satan was in full force this week against Josue, the young man in the picture.  After we committed him to be baptized, the night before his baptism pastors from other churches came and tried to persuade him out of his choice.  His family and friends were against it, too, trying to convince him that he wasn't ready or worthy to be baptized... YIKES.  But as soon as we committed him to baptism, we gave him a blessing, and I know it was that blessing that got him through, and got him baptized.  Even the DAY OF his baptism, everything was going wrong.  Because Josue only is 15 years old, we had to go with his brother (the one who is getting baptized in two weeks) and dart to his house during church to get his mom to sign the form.  ON THE WAY THERE TO HIS HOUSE, 4/5 bolts on the car's tire came out, and we barely glided into their carport before the fifth went, too.  THEN the car blew a spark plug and had to be fixed real quick before we hustled back to the chapel in time for the baptism.  The thing is, it wasn't just us... ALL of the other missionaries who had baptisms that day had similar issues.  Everything that could have went wrong, went wrong, but at the end of the day, Josue was baptized, and so were the others.  It was a testament to me that Satan has real power, which is scary to think about, but Heavenly Father has more.
More news!  All 6 of the Elders in my apartment are getting transferred, and we're getting replaced by Sisters.   Haha I don't know exactly where I'm getting transferred, but I do know that I'm headed for Curitiba tomorrow!  Pray that things will go well there! 
Minha nossa... this transfer was soooo long... but I think Heavenly Father had things for all of us, especially me, to learn.  I'm so grateful that we have good times, and bad times, to learn more about ourselves, and to rely more fully on our Savior Jesus Christ.  He lives!  What a miracle that through Him, we can all find lasting, eternal happiness and rest.

I love my family!  Can't wait to talk with you in just 6 more days!
Ame para sempre,