Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Another wonderful week!

It's beginning to feel a little more like Christmas, even here in the blistering sun!  EVERY Sunday at church, the member always laugh because I am ALWAYS super burned and red, and my name is "All-red".  Haha... it never gets old to them... but it's the truth!  Even with layers of sunscreen, I burn up!  You'll see on Christmas :)

This past week was a good one.  We had a wonderful time re-teaching the lessons to E____ and her family, and preparing them for their confirmation that took place this Sunday.  E____ cried again when we asked about her baptism, and told us how wonderful it was to be part of a new family.  Her father left her family, and her mother was a drunk, and ever since she was just seven years old, E_____ had to raise her family and be the Mom.  She has lived a hard life, recently divorced her alcoholic husband, and has been searching for peace.  She told us how wonderful it was to be so warmly accepted into a church family - she has never had anyone who cared in that way for her.  It was touching.  She and her family are so excited for this new journey in the gospel, and C____ - her 14 year old son who was baptized with her - is already wanting to serve a mission!  it is incredible!  E_____ wants to bring her WHOLE family to church so they can experience the change she is experiencing, too!  

This week, we baptized her granddaughter, E_______.  A sweet little spirit whose life will be changed forever if she stays on the path.  We're hoping to marry E_______'s parents, and baptize them in the week/months that come too.  :)  HEAVENLY FATHER IS GOOD!

Saturday, we heard some honking at the gate of the church in front of our house, and who was it?? SANTA CLAUS WITH MY SUITCASE FULL OF AMERICAN GOODIES FROM A THE SWEETEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!  Holy cow... I almost started crying... That will feed us for a while!  THANKS MOM!!

I think things are looking up.  Things get a little complicated with christmas - lots of people traveling and such - but I feel happy and hopeful, and it feels good!

Just one more highlight this week.. Haha so every day we knock doors for about 4-6 hours, and about 99.99% of the people we talk too are SUPER rude. Buuuut... this week, we knocked on a door, invited this lady to church, and she said to us, "Wow.. I really have been needing to go to church... Maybe I'll even become a member of yours.".  Cool!  Never happens here, or anywhere I think... haha.  We'll see how sincere she was when we pass by this week.

I LOVE YOU!!!  I can't wait to talk to you in just 10 days!  WHAT?!?!  It will be wonderful to see and hear you all again.

Have a wonderful week!

Love forever,

-Our mission Christmas conference!  Can you spot Elder Allred?

- Miracle suitcase!

- E_______ :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Wow... what a marvelous week!  It was so good reading your letters and 'catching up' with you!  I can't believe it's almost Christmas already, and in just 17 days we'll be talking via skype!  WOOOOOO!

This week was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.  Literally.  It was peaceful, and happy, and hopeful and just wonderful.  That elect family we found last week and brought to church was BAPTIZED!!!  E______, G______, and C______!! 

 Let me just share a few little tid bits about them that really wowed me this week, and strengthened my testimony of "the elect of the Lord".

- Ever since we met E_____, I felt a familiar connection.  I had seen her before... I had known her from someplace... One evening this week as we were teaching them, she opened up to us that she let us in that day to teach her because she knew us and recognized us from somewhere - from a dream or from something else, she didn't know, but she knew that we were truly sent from Heavenly Father to her at this time.  My heart smiled when she told us that because I felt the Spirit whisper to me that she was one of the people I had promised in the Pre-existence that I would find and remind of the truths we learned together there. She was truly someone Heavenly Father prepared to receive us. 

- Before we taught about the Word of Wisdom, she had already stopped drinking coffee.  EVERYONE smokes or drinks coffee here in Brazil, and she had been drinking coffee for her whole life, and she told us that the day after she went to church for the first time with us, she went home, made coffee, went to drink it, and spat it out.  She told us she didn't know why but she had lost all taste and desire to drink coffee. #elect  

It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know this family, bringing the kids to seminary and mutual, and then baptizing them.  E_____ just cried and cried and cried and was so happy and thankful for the experience.  It was a touching baptismal service because E_____ and her family had a lot of ward support (this ward is AWESOME with integration, and it is pretty rare to find a golden little family!).

Holy moly... I know that literally Heavenly Father is aware of His children. He knows what each of us need, and when.  I am so thankful for the gift of having been here to help these people and see how beautiful the Gospel of Jesus Christ is when it changes the lives and hearts of others.

The Church is true.  God lives!  He heals.  He blesses.  He loves.  I am so thankful for the eternal blessings that await us if we live faithfully and endure to the end.

Love forever, 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  Judging from the pictures, it looks like it went pretty well!  I'm already excited to stuff my face with you next year and run that race!  This has been a crazy past two weeks! 
I think these past two weeks may have been the most trying of my mission so far... this area is a tough one, and this was my first transfer not baptizing anyone.  For nearly two weeks, almost no one opened their door to us, no one came to church with us, no one even cared.  I started to feel pretty down about myself, my mission, my purpose, when Elder E. Silva and I decided to fast one day.  NOTHING had been going right, and we were both super discouraged.  We gave it up to the Lord and decided to keep working through it, even if it seemed like there were no results.  Saturday arrived, and we still had no one to bring to church , very few lessons, and super hunger, but then... a miracle happened!
We were burned out, and decided to pray in that moment, asking Heavenly Father to send us where someone would accept us.  As soon as we finished the prayer, we both felt impressed that we needed to stay on the same street, and start knocking.  The first house we knocked, G______ and I_____ (mother and 17 year old daughter) answered the door.  They let us right in, we taught them, and the next day brought them to church.  They LOVED church.  When we went to visit them after church to answer questions/doubts that they had, they couldn't stop talking about how much they were touched by the special spirit they felt there, and how badly they wanted to return, and bring their entire family with them.  THEN THEY ASKED US TO BE BAPTIZED.  WHAT?!  It was such a crazy, tender, wonderful miracle from Heavenly Father.
I remember that day we were fasting, I was asking Heavenly Father for a confirmation that fasting works so that I could have more faith in this sacred principle.  He blessed me with this overwhelming experience that confirmed that truly - fasting and humble prayer works.  I was taken aback at this experience, because it's not everyday (in fact, it's almost never) that a person will seek the truth as they are seeking.  As they told us their story (they moved about 1 year ago from São Paulo to Curitiba, and missionaries had already knocked on their door before) it became clear to them, and even more clear to us, that Heavenly Father has truly been preparing them to receive us, and receive the sweet joy of the Restored Gospel.
In every mission call, there is the promise that:
"As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized."  

As I re-read my mission call this morning during studies, it hit me strongly that the Lord will always keep His promises.  I am so thankful for the sweet manifestation of His love and mercy with us this week, and for Him having prepared these special daughters of God to receive greater peace, light, direction, and happiness in their lives.

Sorry I wrote a bunch this week, but I just wanted to close with a scripture that reminded me of G______ and I_____, found in Alma 32:16

" Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe."
I know that the Lord is preparing people in every land, in every corner, of every part - His elect who hear the voice of His representatives as the voice of the Good Shepard, and have the courage and faith to act.
Love forever,


This week we had the mission Christmas conference, and the entire mission got together for an all-day event!  Super fun!  ALL OF THE SISTERS IN THAT PICTURE ARE FROM MY DISTRICT IN THE MTC AND ALL OF THEM ARE HOME NOW.  

- a pretty sunset here in Guabirotuba

- a wild rabbit that we found on the way home one night... #rabies!