Saturday, June 22, 2013

O Sisteres de Israel

Transfers always bring a bit of excitement into our daily routine of activities, and this transfer just happened to be a little bit more exciting than normal because not only did we receive 13 new Sisters, but it was the transfer that decided which mission we would stay in; João Pessoa or Natal.  Normally, if you will be training in the upcoming transfer, you receive a phone call on Monday because the new missionaries arrive on Tuesday.  So, when I didn't receive a phone call on Monday, I figured that I was off the hook.  However, I didn't know that there had been some complications in the flight plans of the new missionaries, and 9 of the 12 new Sisters wouldn't arrive until Wednesday morning, bem cedo.  Tuesday, I was going about the normal daily activities when my cell phone rang.  I answered it, and my zone leader said, "Parabens Sister Fernelius, você vai trainar!"  Eu respondi, "como assim Elder?!"  He just laughed and repeated, "você vai trainar, chegue na capela de Manaíra 7h30 amanha!"  Pois é, and so I will be training for the third time on my mission without a break in between any of my 'daughters'!  This is what happens when the Prophet lowers the age for young women to serve missions; they come in waves!!  

Tuesday night, we had a slumber party in our apartment with Sister Johnson and Sister Alves, who are also training.  As it happened, we had two appointments at the same time, so I went to one with Sister Johnson, and Sister Alves went to the other with Sister De Paula.  Our appointment, was a referrel from a member.  The referrel was a friend of his that had recently lost her father due to an automobile accident.  We thought about teaching the Plan of Salvation, but prompting to teach the first lesson was much stronger.  When we got to the part when Joseph Smith went to pray in the woods and saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, the woman become very atentive.  As we finished reciting Joseph's experience, the woman told us that as we were telling the story and when she saw the picture of first vision, she immediately thought of her sister, who had shared with her an interesting experience.  She then described to us how after her father's death, her sister had a vision where she saw her father with two people at his side.  She said that the light that surrounded the three of them was like no other light that she had ever seen.  When she asked her father to give her a hug, he only extended his hand, making the gesture that he could not give her a hug, and then the vision ended.  The spirit was so strong, it was almost tangible.  When we invited the woman to baptized, she accepted without hesitation!  It was an incredible lesson!  I know that the spirit is real, and that He is the true teacher.  Without the spirit, our work is absolutely inútil, yet if we seek the power of the spirit in all that we do, we will become powerful instruments in the Lord's hands! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Man Eating Turtles and Umbrellas

Usually, the animals of concern here in Brazil are the million dogs in the street, your occassional vicious cat, or perhaps a stray cow or goat.  Never on my mission (or my life for that matter), have I been literally scared about what a turtle could do to me!  My companion and I had returned to teach an investigator.  While we were standing in front of his house, a large tortuse came out from the shaded corner, and approached us cautiously.  All of a sudden, he picked up the speed, and charged for my companion's foot!  I know that 'speed' is not a common word to use when talking about a tortuse, but this tortuse could scurry!  If we took our eyes off of him for 30 seconds, he would go in for the kill, and next thing you know he's at our feet with his mouth open ready to chomp!  Well, we entered the house and began to teach our lesson.  The mother of our investigator arrived a little bit after, and stopped outside the door to listen.  Out of no where, she let out this deafening scream.  We all jumped and looked at her.  The tortuse had come up behind her and bitten her foot!  What the crazy tortuse!! 

Just about everyday this week, we have had torrential, downpouring rain.  When we showed up at another investigator's house, his mother took one look at my umbrella and said, "This is an umbrella for a baby!  No wonder why you are completely soaked!"  Saturday night, after all of our appointments fell through, Sister De Paula and I were soaked, cold, and hungry.  We did some quick thinking and came up with a member that we could visit that we had heard always gives the missionaries food.  As we were walking to her home, we passed by the home of a less active that we had always heard about, but had never visited.  As we walked by her street, I had the thought that we should visit her instead of going to the member's home.  Visiting this less active, we ran the risk of not getting any food, but I figured it was better to follow the prompting and worry about the food later.  So, my companion and I headed down the street.  As we began to talk to this dear sister, she shared with us some of the difficulties she was going through and how much she needed someone to talk to that night.  After we conversered, she looked at us and said, "I made some soup and was hoping that someone would stop by to try it.  Are you guys hungry?!"  Wow!!!  Heavenly truly knows each of His children and their needs.  Because we listened to the prompting, we were able to answer the prayer of this sister who was needing someone to listen to her and strengthen her, and coincidently, she was able to answer our prayer and satisfy our hunger!  I couldn't believe how perfectly the Lord had answered our prayers!  It was incredible to see how He is aware of the tiniest aspects of our lives.  I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.  We just need to be willing to act on the answer that He gives us, even if it isn't the answer we were expecting.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Snakes and Lizards

After one year in Brazil, I have officially tried Cevada, which is what the members here drink instead of Coffee.  For one year, I have been buying Cevada for my investigators and telling them to switch it for their Coffee, but I never even knew what Cevada tasted like.  To be honest, it's not all that bad!  When the Irmã found out that I was trying Cevada for the first time, she became super excited, and now everytime we stop by her house, she makes Cevada for us.  This week, while we were drinking Cevada in her home, she began to talk about the large snakes and other delightful critters that they had killed on top of their house or near their house.  The conversation hadn't really bothered me, but I'm no fan of snakes and other critters in real life.  With these stories fresh in our minds, Sister De Paula and I left to go to another appointment.  As we were talking and walking on the trail leaving the member's house, we didn't pay much attention to where we were stepping.  All of a sudden, I saw a black critter in the middle of the trail.  Both of us screamed and leaped back at the same time.  Once we composed ourselves again, we realized that it was just a little black lizard.  The best part about it was that the husband of the member was watching the whole thing from the window of the house.  Perfect!  Now we look like a bunch of ninnies!

I'm pretty sure that missionaries would make the best FBI agents.  We spend everyday tracking down people who gave us false addresses or addresses that hardly make sense.  I love it when a contact in the street says, "Oh you guys will never find my house, but here it is, I'll try and describe where I live."  The look on their faces when we show up on their door step is priceless!  This week we made a contact with a man who said we could come back and teach his family if we managed to find his house.  After asking around a bit, we found his house.  Unfortunately, he wasn't home, but we began to talk to his wife.  As we conversed, she told us that it had been 1 year since she had gone to her church.  These past couple weeks, she had been praying for somone in her old church to stop by and invite her to come to church again.  However, nobody showed up.  Sister De Paula and I said nothing, but both of us were thinking the same thing.  Then, to our surprise, this woman looked at us and said, "but now I'm thinking that you two are the answer to my prayer!"  This Sunday, this woman came to Church with two of her four children.  Her husband didn't come, but we will be working with him!!  I remember a quote from Thomas S. Monson in which he states that nothing is more rewarding than to follow a prompting and be an answer to someone's prayer.  Truly, there is nothing more wonderful, than to go about doing good, and end up answering the fervent prayer of a person in need.  The Lord is aware of each of His children, and He hears our prayers!