Friday, August 31, 2012

Hormones & Chocolate

I don't know if Elders have the same problem, but I always feel like my hormones are going crazy on the mission...sometimes I'm scared to even talk to myself.  Perhaps its just the business of our schedule everyday or the challenging work.  Whatever it is, I find myself craving chocolate on a regular basis...not necessarily a bad thing (except when I'm craving Reeses or Snickers and I know I can't buy one of those delectable chocolates here...*tear*)  Now in my second transfer in Guarabira, I've made the determination that Guarabira has the potential to break me or make me stronger; and with most things in life, it's up to us to decide what it'll be.  I've decided that Guarabira will make me stronger.  It's kind of like sports (any aspect of life is kind of like sports) It's the coach that really pushes you to reach your potential, even if you want to die in the middle, it's this coach that you truly love and respect.  Heavenly Father is the best coach I could have right now.  Sure, everything I'm going through and have gone through in Guarabira hasn't been necessarily pleasant, but as long as I don't fight against my Coach, but instead learn to trust in him and just go to work, I will become stronger, I will become better, and I will become the powerful missionary that He needs and knows I can be.

Today I had my first P-Day de zona!!  We all met up at the Chapel and played some volleyball, basketball, and football (just throwing around the ball)!  Gosh it's been such a long time!  and wow did it feel so good to play sports again!  To be honest, I can't believe I've survived almost 5 months wearing a skirt everyday...miracles still happen!  However, I do have to say that sweating in a t-shirt and shorts is a whole lot more pleasant than sweating in a skirt! heehee!

Thanks so much to everyone that has written me!!  I appreciate the letters very much!  Your support and encouragement really mean a lot to me! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


As I've been pondering about faith, I came across the scripture in Moroni 7:37 that says 'it is by faith that miracles are wrought' and if miracles have ceased it's because the faith of men has ceased.  As I thought about this scripture, I thought about different situations that had occured in my life previously, or that are occuring right now; and I realized that sometimes 'miracles cease' in our lives not because we lack faith, but because we cease to recognize the miracles that we are receiving.  The thing about miracles is that we don't always get to choose what miracle we receive.  A miracle doesn't need to be something huge - a less active member who returns to church, a member who offers you food 10 minutes after you and your companion have mentioned how you could really use something to eat, a ride in the back of a truck to a member's house that is a 30 minute walk away and you and your companion are already beat, just the fact that we wake up each day with the opportunity to share the Gospel and improve ourselves is a miracle!  Sometimes, the miracle is something everyone can see and appreciate; other times the miracle is something that changes within us that only the Lord and our ownself can perceive and appreciate.  Whether outwardly or inwardly, the Lord is working miracles in our lives everyday!  As we choose to look for and recognize the tiny miracles in our lives, our faith will grow and our happiness will be abundant!

Monday, August 13, 2012


I don't know if it's stupidity sometimes or faith in the Lord, but there are things that I do as a missionary and places I go as a missionary that I would never do if I wasn't wearing a black nametag!  For example, right now we are teaching a handful of families that live on the same street.  There is one part of the street that is a little dark and doesn't have any houses.  Sure it's kind of spooky, but the sun always sets at 5:00 so I'm used to walking around the streets of Guarabira in the dark.  The first day my new companion arrived, we were walking in this street and she asked me, 'Is this street safe?'  I shrugged, 'I haven't died yet!'  That night, every family that we talked to (3-4) mentioned something about how dangerous that street was.  Not only because it is a little dark and sketchy, but also because there are a lot of dogs that have been known to bite people.  Everyone was surprised when we told them that we hadn't been attacked by the dogs yet!  Needless to say, my companion and I have found a different road to walk on.  The Lord protects His missionaries!

Lately, I've been pondering a lot about faith and 'the trial of our faith'.  At times I feel like I have faith that the Lord will bless me in my missionary efforts, that we'll be able to find elect people to teach, that an investigator will come to church, that a family with study the scriptures together, that we'll be able to accomplish certain goals that we make.  I believe that with the Lord's help and a lot of hard work we can do anything, yet when nothing happens I wonder if I am lacking in faith.  Yet, as I studied more about faith I learned that the Lord doesn't try our faith simply by holding back blessings or waiting long periods of time to answer our prayers.  The trial of our faith is learning to accept the Lord's will even when we can't understand it or see how it will truly bless our life.  When we seek to understand and know the Lord's will, we will stop fighting against the Lord, and start working with Him.  In every aspect of our lives, and especially missionary work right now, I need to seek to understand the Lord's will.  Once we our both on the same page, we truly can accomplish anything!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Goats and the Gospel

Well, today was transfers, and I'll be staying in Guarabira! Last week Sister Peterson and I found an incredible family!!  We taught them about the importance of the family, and they shared with us some of the desires they had for their family.  Everything they said, sounded like something written in 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World'!  We then asked them if they were married (almost 95% of couples in Brazil are not married legally) and the wife replied that they were married legally, but she's always had the dream to be married in the Church.  We jumped at the opportunity, and taught them about the temple and how they can be sealed for time and all eternity.  When we finished explaining this, the husband and wife immediately responded, 'when can we be married in this place?'  We explained to them that they would need to be baptized and attend Church meetings every Sunday for one year, and then after one year they could be married in the temple in Recife!  They became very excited (including their three young children, who jumped up and down in front of us exclaiming that they wanted to be baptized (even though they are only 5 and 7)).  We committed them to be baptized at the end of August and they both accepted!  This family has been truly prepared by the Lord.  I have never seen a family so eager and excited to learn about the Gospel.  After we taught the husband how to pray, he told us that he would begin to have family prayer with his family every night!  Oh! how I love to see families and people embrace the precious and simple truths of the Gospel!!! 

The people in Guarabira are very receptive in that no one minds letting us in to their house for 30 minutes or so to talk about the Gospel, but not very many are interested in reading the Book of Mormon or coming to Church.  However, this means that we never know what kind of excitement we'll have during our lesson, or who might walk in.  In one home, I was in the middle of teaching about the importance of baptism when I realized that there was a large animal in front of me.  I'm used to dogs and cats constantly walking through our lessons, but this animal was much too large to be a dog...nope, it was a goat!  The goat had walked through the front door, passed through the living room where we were sitting and teaching, and headed for the kitchen.  The woman who we were teaching waved her hand and said, 'oh don't mind him, he always walks through here!' hahaha!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Country Roads and the Hallelujah Chorus

We often have to travel to a city called Mamanguape for zone meetings, interviews with the President, or other random meetings during the week.  Mamanguape is about a 45 minute drive from Guarabira.  No one likes to call it hitch hiking...alternative transportation is more sophisticated...but in reality we have to hitch hike everytime we go to Mamanguapi.  There are a few places in the every city were a group of men will stand and wait for people to ask for a ride.  Or, the men will shout out a name of a city as you walk past, "Belém, Belém, Belém" -- "Mamanguapi, Mamanguapi, Mamanguapi!"  We then do a little bartering to get the price we want, and then everyone piles into the car and we're on our way!  This past week, we had a random health meeting at 1:00 in Mamanguapi.  This is right during the time of day when everyone is eating lunch, so we were worried that we wouldn't be able to find a ride to Mamanguapi.  Thankfully, there was a man who was willing to drive us there, but he already was taking a woman to João Pessoa.  So, the four of us missionaries had to pile in the back seat for the entire 45 minutes!  We had gotten about 10 minutes outside of Guarabira when we were stopped by a military police.  He was just parked out on the country roads stopping people at random and doing whatever military police do (which I have no idea what that is...).  He looked in the car, saw the four of us missionaries crammed in the back, looked at the driver, and said, 'You've got a full load today,' and then waved us on.  Being my curious little self, I asked the driver why the military police hadn't done anything about the fact that there were four of us in the back.  He replied that maybe if we were in a city it would be a problem, but we were just driving on country roads, so it wasn't a big deal...

One of the Elders had brought along a CD of classical music and asked the driver if we could listen to it.  As if our trip wasn't exciting enough as it was, we soon had the Alleluja Chorus and other Classical music playing from the open windows of the car as we passed through tiny Brazilian towns and countrysides!

A couple weeks ago we found a woman who had been baptized in
Rio, but had stopped attending Church.  We had given her a Book of Mormon to start reading again, but when we returned a few days later she gave it back to us and replied that she had moved on with her life and that she was 'too old'.  In the moment, my companion and I didn't have time to sit down and talk with her, so we returned this past week.  As we talked with her, we discovered that when she had been baptized in the church she had never developed her own, personal testimony.  She had never prayed and asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true!  We explained to her the importance of asking and receiving a personal testimony of these things, and than invited her to pray that night and ask Heavenly Father.  She replied that she would, and then to make it even better, she told us that when she received an answer she would act upon it!  I am excited for her to recieve an answer, and I am praying that she will be able to recognize her answer; becasue Heavenly Father always answers our prayers, it's just that sometimes we aren't listening as well as we should.

With every fiber in my being, I know that this Gospel is true!  We can't rely on the testimony of anyone else; we must have a personal testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel.  If you haven't prayed about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Church, or any other principle of the Gospel, DO IT!!  As it states in Preach My Gospel, No one can know the truthfulness of spiritual truths without prayer.  Heavenly Father doesn't want us to have doubts; He doesn't want us to be confused.  I can assure you that Heavenly Father wants us to be confident and sure of ourselves and the decisions that we need to make in our lives.  Pray; seek His guidance, and I know that He will respond!

 Brazilians have three food groups: rice, beans, and leite condensado (sweetened condensed milk)!  They put sweetened condensed milk on everything and it is delicious!!  I love it!!