Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

Hello my wonderful family!  WHAT A CRAZY WEEK!  Haha wow... 
We have been working very closely with L_____ and her family in efforts to re-active them and baptize her and her daughter, F______.  We marked their baptism for this Saturday, and you know what happened...?  Let me tell ya...  THE DAY AFTER WE MARKED THEIR BAPTISM L_____ was riding her bike with her daughter to a doctor's appointment, and her front tire hit a huge hole in the road and sent her flying!  She broke her four front teeth, busted her face (black eye swollen shut) and almost broke her hand... yep.  So this Saturday didn't work out.  But she told us she recognized this accident as Satan trying to throw her life changes off... she said she will not give up, just has to heal first!  Haha sometimes you just have to laugh at life!
On a brighter note, our mission as a whole confirmed 346 people this month!! That has NEVER happened here in Curitiba. President and Sister Monteiro  are planning a fun 'Super Pday' for the mission.
This week was one of the hardest of my mission so far.  Not sure why... I think Satan was really trying to discourage me because so far in this area, we haven't been able to baptize anyone, then our two baptisms we had marked fell through. Our mission as a whole is having a LOT of success, but we seem to be missing out on the experience...  I was feeling so overwhelmed and sad about it all when I said a prayer, asking for a calm, or a peace, or some guidance.  I picked up my Book of Mormon and read the first thing I opened.  This was what I read (Alma 38:1-5):
My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence.
 And now, my son, 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.
 I say unto you, my son, 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 the Zoramites (Tarumã).
 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.
 And now my son, Shiblon, 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.
It was such a beautiful, direct response to me in my moment of sadness.  I think we ALL pass through trying moments.  One of the most powerful things I've learned this week, and throughout my mission, is that the scriptures LIVE. That they literally have the answers and guidance we need in our day-to-day difficulties and trials.  I am SO thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who heard my prayer and answered in a form so sweet and simple, even when there were MILLIONS of other people with bigger problems to be resolved.  He hears. He is listening always.  He will ALWAYS reach out to us when we reach out to Him.
I am so thankful for the peace that comes through the Restored Gospel of Christ.  TRUE happiness and eternal life are the fruits of this gospel.  I am so thankful for this Easter season we have now to reflect and remember all that Christ has done for us that we might have joy in this life and the life to come. :)
This video is one we are sharing with all people we come into contact with.  Watch it! Share it on your facebook and with your friends.
Have a wonderful week, and a wonderful General conference!!
Love forever,
- This pioneer got lost on the trail and ended up in Brazil instead of Salt Lake!

- Our area

- Funny TINY lawn mowers that they have here (creeper shot)

- a crazy dear lady named S____ we're helping to quit smoking so she can get confirmed next month 

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

What a crazy week!  But it went by real fast.  Again! 

Gosh... it is LITERALLY EXHAUSTING dealing with other people's agency!  Holy cow... we were finding people this week, and teaching them, and then when Sunday came around, so did SATAN.  Haha sometimes you just have to laugh at how obvious he is... Had some good people to bring to church, but.... it will have to wait until next Sunday.

We are knock-knock-knocking on heaven's door these days, praying for miracles!  And it seems like they're coming.  This week, we got a call from an Elder in another area who had a referral for us.  L_____ was baptized a year and a half ago, but never confirmed.  She has a ROUGH life (7 kids, cannot work due to health problems, etc.) and was praying to Heavenly Father to send someone to help her.  The very next day, she was in a different town, and the Elders talked with her.  She said it was a direct  response to her prayer, and welcomed us right in two days later.  Because she was never confirmed, she needs to be baptized again.  She already had a dream where God told her she had to be "born again" to avoid death... Whoa.  Prepared!  She also has an 8 year old daughter.... :)  We are working with her and against Satan to get her and her daughter, F_______, baptized this Saturday or Sunday!  PLEASE pray for them...  it is SO frustrating how Satan works so hard to trip up people from doing something GOOD.  But it will all work out.

It has been raining sooooo much here!  Even with umbrellas, we get soaked!  We're getting lots of pizza to stay happy.  It helps!  PIZZA HERE IS SOOO GOOD!  And cheap!  The dollar is 3/1 to the real, so now's the time to buy! ;)

Are you excited for conference?  Because I'M SO EXCITED!  Conference is always a wonderful opportunity to hear the prophet and learn exactly what we are needing.  I always leave conference with more faith, hope, and determination to be better.  I am SO thankful for this Easter season we have to remember more fully the Atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is literally all because of Him that we can have hope and joy and miracles each and every day of our lives.

He lives!

Love forever,

- M____ and her recent convert husband, L___

- a crazy caterpillar that we have a bunch of in our house

- the steps to our house (or really, the WATERFALL to get to our house.  Haha see the water  gushing down from our door trying to drown us?!)

- some soaking elders

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

Hey family! 

What a week!  It was another work-filled, crazy week, but it was a good one.  Everyone here in Brazil keeps talking about how the US is getting hit with so much snow.  We're just getting a loooooot of rain!  Rain is our enemy because people shut up their houses and it is hard to talk with people, but things still happen.

This week, man oh man, we talked and talked and shared scriptures and testimonies with M___, but she is one tough cookie! She said she WILL get baptized, but only 3 months from now... haha so yeah.  She made a 'pact' with us that she is going to read the Book of Mormon with her Recent Convert husband 30 minutes each day, hold family home evening each week, and attend all of the church meetings in this time to be 'more prepared'.  I guess some people just really need more time.

We found a few neat people this week after a rocking, motivational mission conference.  There is so much energy and such a strong spirit during mission conferences when alllll of the missionaries are untied with President.  It is something that I'm already starting to miss.... We left the conference pumped and motivated to find some people, and Heavenly Father opened the door of W_____ and W______ - some cool guys from the sticks of Paraná.  They had lots of questions and became our friends so fast.  Only W______ came to church because of a mis-communication, but hopefully this week, W______ can come, too, and we'll be able to find some elects.

It's funny... whenever you plan something GOOD for the people you teach, it all goes wrong!  Our ride bailed to take W_____ to church, so we scrambled to call a taxi, (because the bus would have taken another hour...) and then church seemed to drag on forevvvvveerrr!  Haha but the elects of the Lord don't notices gaps like that, so hopefully, we'll be able to teach him and baptize him!

The weeks are passing by SO fast now!   We're trying to fill all of our time with meaningful work here in Tarumã.

I LOVE the Book of Mormon!  I LOVE all of the scriptures.  It is all so plain and obviously laid out the path we must tread to return to our Father in Heaven.  I have a goal of finishing D&C before I get home, and have loved studying the revelations received.  One of my favorites is, D&C 82:10

 10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

It's that easy.  When we obey, we're blessed and have the promise of GOD. When we choose to disobey for whatever reason (no matter how "justified"), we don't have the blessings or protection of the Gospel.  Our joy cannot be full.  I am so thankful for the simple, eternal and priceless gospel truths that guide and direct us to happiness.  It's a time-tested, fail-proof way to be better, live better, and to have true joy in this life and the life to come.  It's TRUE!

Love forever, 

- Sometimes when the days are hot and things aren't going too well, we and the Sisters get some free ice cream!  Ice cream makes everything better!

- Our chapel being reformed

- Bairro Alto/Tarumã

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

Another week down!  This one passed more quickly.  It was a toughie, too, but much better than the first!

It's raining like c-r-a-z-y here in Curitiba!  Haha but the work goes on.  This week was full of lots of doors, lots of contacts, and lots of prayer and fasting.  We met some good people this week that might have potential next week to come to church.  We were able to bring a nice, studious lady named M____ to church with us this Sunday.  She's the wife of a Recent Convert who was studying with Jehovah's Witnesses, but now is thinking that our church is the way to go.  She has been to church 3 times already, but the Sisters in the past offended her, and she stopped progressing.  We passed by there last week, and picked her back up!  She really likes us, and is a lot more open with us.  She's studying the Book of Mormon a lot and we'll be passing by each day this week to help her get baptized this Sunday or the next!  PRAY FOR HER, PLEASE!  She has a lot of doubts, but wants an answer.  I have a lot of faith that she will feel the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel through the Spirit.  I love how the Spirit works!

Looking forward to another week full of work and miracles!  We were praying and fasting a lot this week that we could have success in teaching and in bringing SOMEone to church.  Heavenly Father helped us out (as always!) and we are more hopeful and more grateful.

Here are some pictures! 

Get to know Elder Cruz dos Santos!  He's from Manaus (super north and hot part of Brazil) and is a silly goose... haha he's kinda crazy but it will be a good transfer.  He's very new and doesn't talk much with people, soooo it has been good Portuguese practice for me!

Our little house (or room that someone built behind their house to rent to the missionaries) is quite humble but good!  It has all the things we need (washing machine, microwave, and refrigerator!)

THERE ARE A LOT OF BUGS HERE!!  A huge 4 inch spider came crawling down to meet us during studies!  not fun!  Only Elder Cruz dos Santos had the guts to kill him for us... 

Pizza is a miracle from heaven!

Love you guys!

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015


Oh me oh my... what a CRAZY week!!!  It was a reeeeal whirlwind, and man... I'm pooped!

I was transferred to "Tarumã" - a suburb of Curitiba.  It's a nice area... a richish area... yikes!  Haha it is part of "Bairro Alto" which means "Tall town".  It is verrrrry hilly (which is good to get in better shape, right? :))  My new companion is Elder Cruz dos Santos - a new Brazilian!  He has 12 weeks on the mission, and is a funny little guy.  I HAD  a picture, but I left the card reader at home, so you'll have to wait until next week to see him and our area.

Holy moly... this area will be a trial, but it will all work out.  Our chapel is being reformed, so we have to take the bus to get to church (and to get people to church).  The Elder whose spot I took left no notes, no investigators... nothing to work with (and left the house a huge mess!)  We're basically starting from zero.  Which is good!  Change is always good.  Because we literally have nothing to work with here, we'll really have to rely on the Lord to help us, and show us where there are people who are waiting to be taught.

I have never knocked so many doors or made so many contacts in my life!  Our plan is to work work work work and pray pray pray pray and do our very best.  SOMEthing will go right, and Heavenly Father will bless us.

It was a tough week, but a good learning experience.  Pleeeease say a little prayer that this week will show a bit more promise.  I'm trying really hard to give my new companion good learning experiences here on the mission (teaching people, baptizing, etc.) but man oh man... we're needing some help!

This week being thrown into a tough situation, I've been praying much harder and studying more sincerely.  It has been a good learning experience for me to realize that Heavenly Father hears and answers all prayers, but in HIS time.  I think here in this area I'll learn a bit more patience. ;)  IT'S ALL GONNA WORK OUT!

Love forever,