Monday, April 27, 2015

Wow!  Craziest week of my entire life. I am finally in Santa Maria, Brazil!!! 
My favorite quote of the week...from my companion..."Like Obama says....we can do it!" I thought it was funny because she doesn't even know who Obama is haha. My companion is Sister Auroujo de Souza from northern Brazil (by the Amazonas). She doesn't speak much Ingles, so we speak Portuguese. She is perfect. I could not possibly ask for a better companion. She is my dream companion; I am so lucky to have her. She works so hard, has the biggest heart, and we are so much alike in how we want to serve. I love her with all of my heart. She is amazing. She has been a member for 3 years, has a twin sister that passed away when she was 16, and loves the temple just as much as I do :) haha
Things about my first week of Brazil:
- I have no clue what people are saying, I feel stupid (baby like) constantly. But it is getting better, people just speak way fast
- President Parrella and his wife are so amazing. They are all about obedience and health.
- People try to translate to me in ingles but I don't understand them hahaha
-We walk or taxi everywhere (mom- San Fran on steroids)
-Everything is so expensive and they don't have much of what America has. I wanted to cry when they told me they don't have peanut butter haha
-People are so loving! I love this culture already. Everyone hugs and kisses each other. It is awesome! so wonderful the connection people have by hugging complete strangers. Women walk with arms linked sometimes
-I am in the Santa Maria area. My mission president is around the corner

-No one obeys speed limits or stays in the traffic lines. Ever. On my first day, President Parrella drove like a mad man
-Everyone smells super good, I don't know why. It's almost like they all wear cologne
-Everyone sings off tune and really loud!
-Our ward is AMAZING. Bishop came to lessons with us with his wife and drove investigators to church. So amazing.
-The dogs are missing eyes and are super freaky to look at
-My companion and I are completely new in this area, and it is super hard because the elders left us nothing to work with.
-The language is beautiful
This week has been one of the hardest ever. I have had such a hard time not understanding and people trying to talk to me but I can't say anything. SO HARD. I love these people already, they are so kind and totally the people I was meant to serve.  As I have been here I have seen that this is truly where my Heavenly Father wanted me to serve my mission. Everything about this place is perfect. I feel so immensely blessed to be here and to be able to serve the Gaucho people. The spirit speaks all languages and at this time I need to have more faith than ever. Some days I feel like I will never learn Portuguese, but through Christ, all things are possible. I can't believe I am actually here. I feel like I'm in a dream. But I know that My Savior lives and guides his church and missionaries. I can't do anything without Him; I am only his instrument. I KNOW that this church is true. It is amazing seeing the blessings that come to those who live it. I love Brazil so much and can't wait to someday understand the language and people. I love you all!!!! Besos e Brasos!!
Sister Alena Porter

Goodbye to Detroit!! 
This Sweet Sister made me
 a lunch to bring on the plane.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Last email from Michigan...

Hey hey! I LOVE YOU! And I leave for Brazil in a couple hours!!! ahhhhh! I cant even believe it! My dreams of being a missionary in South America are finally coming true! I am sooo nervous though....this will be a very different experience than serving in Michigan. But I am so glad I got to serve here for a little bit. Heavenly Fathers plans are definitely not my plans, but I know that he knows what people need me and what I need to learn/become.

This week was AMAZING. So stinkin' stressful and hard, but incredible. My heart hurts leaving these people whom I love so much. So much happened this week that I'm gunna bullet point it to make it short.
-TJ: He was still struggling with depression and so we talked about the atonement with him and what Christ did for him. He told us that he smokes marijuana and blasts loud music to numb his pain from losing his daughter. We applied Alma 36 to him and let him know that his pains can be changed to pure joy. We gave him the Book of Mormon and bore testimony. Four days later we went to visit him. He opened his door smiling, laughing, singing, and holding the Book of Mormon with markings all throughout it. He COMPLETELY changed! He was glowing and told us that he hasn't been depressed or sad and that the Book of Mormon has changed his life! He told us that he has never felt this happy or peaceful and has read all the way to Enos! In 4 days! TJ is a living witness that the Book of Mormon changes lives. He came to church on Sunday and said he felt at home and loved how the spirit felt. In gospel doctrine, he raised his hand and expressed his love of the Book of Mormon and how it has flipped his life around. I was so emotional as he thanked us sisters for being a miracle in his life and bringing him the gospel. As I talked to him for the last time, he got emotional and told me that I changed his life. Wow. Nothing describes the feelings a missionary has when they see that the spirit changed a person and that they made a difference in someone's life by listening to it. Best feeling ever. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to see people change their lives first hand all because the gospel is true. AMAZING.
-It was so sad saying goodbye to these people. It touched my heart
-This Saturday we went out with a bang! We found 4 new investigators and got sunburns from being outside talking to people all day.  I love being a missionary. There are definitely days that test your faith. But I have come to learn that when we just trust in God, and have faith that everything will be ok, all things work out. He knows best. He knows who is ready to receive the gospel. He knows you and what your going to do and say. We all need to trust him more. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve in Santa Maria, Brazil. I know that my Heavenly Father needs me there. The mission is hard. Really hard. But God is all-powerful and truly knows everything. I know I don't know the language or the people, but he does and I'm going to try my best. I love you all!!! Boa sorte do Brazil!!!
Sister Alena Porter
My Apartment
Our Bedroom 
(my bed is in middle)
My Desk
The Church Building

Monday, April 13, 2015

 The Three A's ~ 

First off,.....I GOT MY VISA FOR BRAZIL!!!! ahhhh!!! President G. called me yesterday, right after church, telling me I'm leaving straight to my mission in Santa Maria on Monday (the 20th)! My heart basically exploded and I cried for a couple hours. Heavenly Father definitely knows how to throw me curve balls, but his plan is best. I can hardly believe I am going to Brazil in a week. My heart is exploding. I love it here in Michigan. 
I love the people so much and it is going to be heart breaking to leave these people. But, Heavenly Father knew I needed to come here for a month before going to serve in Brazil. I have learned so much in the past month, it is insane. I have felt my Saviors presence with me always and have felt the love of my Heavenly Father more than ever before in my life. I know that these changes will be hard. But I know why I'm here and I will serve my Savior with my all.
This week was incredible! Full of miracles, challenges, trials, and blessings. So many of my questions and concerns were answered. I have been truly blessed to be able to serve here. President G. taught us a lesson about our patriarchal blessings this past zone meeting. It was amazing. I have never felt more close to my Heavenly Father or felt more of his love for me personally than since I have been serving a mission. This week we had a do or die lesson with our investigator C. He has a hard heart and doesn't want to change the way he is living to follow Christ. We bore our last solemn testimonies to him and had to drop him. My heart tore in half. As the sisters and I cried and cried over the loss of one of Gods children, I realized a glimpse of how the Savior must feel when we choose not to give up things to follow him more. There are no words to describe the sorrow that a missionary feels when they see someone not accept Christ.
Pond Village= Best place to find people. They are all accepting of the gospel because they live in humble, hard situations. Everyone is African American and we always have people yell out, "Why are there 2 white girls and a Mexican in here?" haha but everyone we talk to is willing to listen. It is amazing. We have seen so many miracles! It is hard to get use to walking up to groups of huge African American teenagers and teaching them about the restoration. On Friday though, a security officer pulled us over and said, "Think of the most dangerous place you could possibly about an hour you are going to be in the most dangerous place, at the most dangerous careful sisters." we felt so clueless! White girls in Detroit finding so many people, we had no idea. The spirit is so powerful. But we are being more careful to be aware of the spirit telling us where to go and where to stay away from.
Ashley got baptized on Saturday!! YAY! Satan loves to get in the way, but everything worked out. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever and one that I will forever cherish in my heart. Sister R. and I got to stand at the top of the steps to hand her the towel and hug her as she got out of the font. No words can describe the feelings that come when you realize that your efforts in letting the spirit guide your words led to that person becoming a member of the Church. My heart was full and oh how GREAT was my joy!!! The smile on her face, the glow that surrounded her, and the powerful spirit that was felt was out of this world. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father in allowing me to be a part of her life and witness her baptism. This is what dreams are made of!

I am speechless. My heart is overflowing. Heavenly Father is so aware of his children. I don't have a doubt that this is Christ's church. He has led me, guided me, strengthened me, and helped me through everything. HE LIVES. I am so excited to finish my last week here with a bang and share this message with the people here before I can't understand or speak to anyone. haha ;) I know Christ is real. He knows you better than anyone, and therefore can help you with anything. Allow him to be your everything, and your life will be so happy. His plan may not always be your plan, but it is so much better. 
I love you all!!! Tchao!
Sister Alena Porter

Monday, April 6, 2015

       REMEMBER TO DO C.P.R.                                                           

This week was crazy. So crazy. But God is real and so good. Through the ups and the downs (which is constant), Heavenly Father has been there for me. Especially this week. I learned so much.First off, we have A.'s baptism on SATURDAY!!! AHH! I could die of excitement. It has been so incredible to see someone so ready and willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ. She is so amazing. I feel so honored to have been one of the people to help her come to know the truth and witness this happy change in her life. This is what missionary work is all about-helping people change through the Atonement. It is the most amazing feeling. She passed her interview with flying colors and it was so sweet to talk with her afterwards. She had taken the discussions with missionaries for years, but didn't understand what they were teaching her. She said they blasted through the discussions and didn't show they really cared about her. But, that when we visited with her, she understood completely and knew it was true. It just goes to show that the Lord knows what missionaries to send to his children and at what specific time they need them. Amazing.We have been visiting a less active family recently. They are struggling with their rebellious daughter and don't know what to do. The mother asked us about the atonement. It was an amazing experience to share what really happened in the garden with her and to see her eyes fill up with tears as we shared what he did for her. I was so amazed at how strong the spirit touched her as we bore our testimonies of the atonement and Jesus Christ. I love this work and my Savior. We had some rough lessons with our investigator, C.. He is not humbled yet to really want to know if God and the Church are true. I get so frustrated after lessons when they don't want to seek out their Savior or don't do anything to know if the gospel is true when they know deep down it is. It hurts me so bad when they say something rude about God or Christ and you just have to suck up all of your emotions and respect their views. If only these people knew how much we study for them, pray for them, cry for them, and how much God loves them! It's tough. I burst into tears a lot after lessons. I have way too much love for these people. It is hard and discouraging sometimes. But missionary work needs to be that way. This gospel is not a cheap or easy experience.Miracle of the week: We taught 2 full lessons, got 3 new investigators, and return appointments will all of them in just 30 min! CRAZY. God is so good to us. He is in charge of this work. It is so amazing to be experiencing these miracles first hand! The gospel is true, the book is blue, and we are rocking it here in Riverview!General Conference. Best couple days of my life!!! The messages were so inspired and answered so many of my prayers. We are so blessed to have apostles and prophets that are true and living! They are literally Christ's mouthpieces for the world!!


(Happiness of Watching Conference) 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I KNOW it. I have seen the influence of the Savior in my life. He is our constant best friend, older brother, and redeemer. He loves you. He knows you perfectly and personally. I know that as we listen to the words of the prophets and live the gospel, we will find peace that cannot be found anywhere else. The gospel brings true happiness. He LIVES! Because he lives, we can change. We can become so much better than our old selves. "Don't walk, RUN" He is there for you even when you don't realize he is. I love this perfect church. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Always remember to do CPR (church, pray, read) and everything will turn out. Eu amo voces muito! :)
Sister Alena Porter

I love the Detroit cars!! Had to take a pic hehe

Easter!! The R. family gave us chocolate bunnies