Monday, September 28, 2015

Oi todos! I hope that you all are well! Gee, thanks for the lovely pictures of you all eating at my favorite restaurant. I feel so loved haha This week was crazy as usual. Tons of things to do and tons of people to visit.
First off, we got transfers and I will be staying here with Sister R.! I am so happy to be staying here, we have work to do here still. I cant believe I have 8 months in the mission today. Crazy how much I've learned and grown. I am so excited for conference! First time watching in Portuguese! We don't get to see the women's conference the same time as the US. We get to watch a week later, but I'm so grateful we have the oppurtunity to hear from our dear prophet. We are so blessed.
Our district. The elder with the red hair is being transferred to Santa Maria.
A funny thing happened this week. Our investigator R. talks to me in a very.....odd way. Lets just say he's obsessed with me and sends us texts every morning in English and sometimes they are on the creepy side.  So ya, I couldnt take it anymore and told my companion that we need to tell him he can't send us messages and needs to back off a little. So we marched down to his house and I told him "R., i know you like to goof and play around and send me messages, but you can't mess around with me. I am a missionary of God and represent the Savior and I know that you wouldn't send the same messages you send to me to Him. So please don't do it anymore. He understood and now calls us every day and just says "Have a great day sisters"  haha it was for sure an experience. 
E. and R. will receive their papers any day now and we are so excited for their wedding and baptism. But they want to wait till January or December. ahhh! I just wanna yell out "people, get married already!!" haha But people have agency. There are so many families we are teaching that can be baptized but can't because they need to get married first. E. and R. are such examples to me and have truly changed my life by their example. Their family is doing everything to get married, baptized and sealed. They don't have much...literally their house is the size of my bedroom back home. And they don't have much work, but still are so happy with practically nothing. This week E. said that they went without gas and food for 5 days. She said that she gave every bit of food to her kids and just drank water but with the time she had suffering with hunger, she still read her Book of Mormon. I am amazed at the commitment and love she has for the gospel. She had a smile on her face while telling us about her trials. She only told us the good from all of this and told us how much God has blessed her. These people have changed my life forever and strengthened my testimony. The gospel is so perfect and is truly the key to happiness in all aspects of life. God bless you all!!! Tchão!
Sister Porter
Our friend, Nathaniel, from the branch got his mission call.

The sister asked us when we met her what we did as our professions before the mission and I told her. We went to visit her and she said, "Can you please do it for me?" haha I was in heaven. It was so fun. Yes...that is the face of pure joy haha

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oi! (Hi) This week was awesome because it was 20 de Setembro! Dia dos Gaúchos! (Guachos Day) ahh foi muito bom! (ahh it was very good). The entire world here were riding their horses yesterday and got all decked out in their gaúcho clothes and had a huge matiada (party). It was legit. I love this culture so much.          
I also realized that I recieved my mission call a year ago and that I am almost at my halfway mark! Ahhh the time is flying by sooo fast! I remember the overwhelming feelings I had that day. I couldn't even breathe reading my call, but thats ok. haha. I feel so grateful to be where I am right now helping so many people that I wouldnt have even dreamed of meeting a year ago.
This week we found new families! It was amazing talking about Gods plan for them and how they can be sealed forever. P. and R. are so special and we are so excited to teach them. E. & R. are still waiting for their papers, it's killing me. They are such a special family. E. is someone I know that Heavenly Father needed me to teach. I love her more than words could ever express. It is amazing to see families come together through the gospel.
S. & L. are still struggling. He started smoking again and she is trying so hard to be strong. It breaks my heart. Agency is such a difficult thing, but such an amazing gift. We taught a woman named N. She completely accepted everything and accepted to pray about baptism, but when we came to visit her again, she said she doesnt want to stop smoking and partying, so won't commit to baptism. ahhhh People are killing me! They won't leave the world behind. It's sad.  L. is planning on being baptized this comming month. She is so special and things are going great here! Lots of lessons, lots of running from place to place, lots of stress, but it's all wonderful!
Ever see the movie The Errand of Angels? ya, well that was basically my life for the first couple weeks with my companion, but things have gotten so much better. I love her! She's amazing and we have a great time together.
This Friday we find out transfers and I'm so nervous. I don't want to leave this area. We have E., L., and S. that will be baptized this next transfer and I'm sick of leaving when they get baptized. haha but I know the Lord will send me where he needs me. I love this work. I love my Savior. There is no place on earth I'd rather be than here in São Gabriel, Brazil. I love you all!
Sister Alena Porter

(My companion and I doing service in the house of Sister Cristina. It was very good! International and Guild are football teams here in Rio Grande do Sul.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oi!!! Estou ainda amando São Gabriel e as pessoas aqui! (Translate: Hi!!! I'm still loving San Gabriel and the people here) sounds like everyone is done with weddings and making good memories. I hope you all are well and happy! This week was interesting. 
First off, we have been finding new people and it has been wonderful. On Wednesday we had divisions with the sister training leaders and it was a blast! I love divisions! I got to work with Sister Brito from Northern Brazil and it was so much fun. I love Brazilian sister missionaries, they are so amazing and strong in the gospel. Every time it is so fun learning from other people and seeing what I need to improve to serve these people better. 
We are still working with J. and helping him to come to church. The people here are so open to letting you in their home, allowing you to teach them, and will even read and fulfill what you tell them to study. But when it comes to commitments like going to church, praying specifically for an answer, or being baptized, they run away. When I got my mission call here I thought that for sure we would be baptizing every weekend like my brother in Mexico..haha, ya no. The people here are so loving and willing to listen, but won't do anything about the feelings and answers they receive. J. has a testimony and knows the church is true, but doesn't want to change his way of living. He lives with his "girlfriend" and knows he is living in sin. He is just one example. We are teaching so many people who are a little tough when it comes to commitments. We taught a family this week about the Restoration. Everyone was in tears and the spirit was SO powerful during the entire lesson. They understood everything, but when we invited them to be baptized, they say no, or they will think about it.ahhhhh!!! Frustrating! but then I remember how frustrated Heavenly Father is with us when he has blessings waiting for us and we don't want to change our ways and receive what he has to offer that is so much better than we could ever imagine. 
We are teaching so many amazing people. I love this area!! E. and R. will receive their marriage papers soon, so I am hoping I wont be transferred in two weeks haha. R.and E. are still fighting in their relationship. R. comes to church every week. He stops work and without fail is there every Sunday ready to learn. He could be baptized but needs to separate or get married. It's so hard here too teaching people that need to get married cause they have to wait forever to get their papers all worked out, but for sure he will get baptized someday. 
Last night was awful. We felt to pass by L. and S. home. (they need to be married so she can be baptized. He is a less active member) so we stopped by. But right as we got to their door, we could hear them arguing, but we still felt to meet with them. So we clapped their door, entered into their home, and immediately I could feel something was wrong. The house smelled like cigarettes and the spirit wasn't there. I immediately asked them what happened and oh man. Remember how they stopped smoking? Well S. told us that L. went out drinking with his friends and came back late completely drunk and smelling like woman's perfume. Um ya and now he's smoking again. AHHH! I couldn't believe it. He fell. My heart broke seeing S. trying everything to be baptized and sealed in the temple and her husband making wrong choices. I have learned so much in my mission about families and marriages. Let's just say I know what kind of man I need to marry and what kind of father my children need for sure now haha. Satan is so real. He knows our weaknesses and is waiting for moments of vulnerability that we may give to him.
I know that sometimes times are hard but there is such a powerful tool that all of us can use to change and become better- the atonement. We are never too late to use it and never too far to reach forgiveness. It is so real and so powerful. I have seen it change lives. I know my Savior lives and was the only person who could have performed such a task. Look to him in all things. He can heal anything! I love you all!!! Beijos!!!
Sister Porter
PS. I love you and will send pics next week sorry didn't have time this week.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Oi! Tudo bem?! Ok so today is Brazilian Independence day and EVERYTHING shuts down. And I mean everything so I'm at the bishops house using a tablet to write you.  Thank you SO much for the amazing package I got last week! I may or may not have shed a tear opening it and seeing all of my favorite snacks. Ok, I shed tears, not gunna lie. You know me so well it’s insane mom. I love you.
This week was great! My comp is starting to be more positive, thank goodness. She only has 3 months left in her mission so she is very much thinking about home. It is awful and super frustrating for me. She is a very special person and it’s great working with her because we feel the spirit the same way. We are learning a lot together. It’s so funny because I'm teaching her English and her accent is so strong!
E. and R. will receive their wedding papers soon and we are fasting and praying that E. will be baptized soon and that they can get married fast. S. and L. also will receive their papers around the same time, so we are planning on having 2 marriages and 2 baptisms the same day! I am dying! God is so good.
Tuesday we were walking down the street and I felt the impression to visit one of our investigators, J., but my comp was complaining that it was dark and far from our house.  I still felt the spirit telling me that we needed to visit her so I convinced my comp. We taught J. about the Restoration. The moment I started to talk about Joseph Smith and his first vision, the room got completely silent. The spirit was so powerful. She burst into tears. She told us she can’t believe the feelings she was having and that she wants to be baptized. The spirit is real. I am so grateful that I followed the promptings I had and that I was given the words to say to let the spirit teach her and touch her heart.  This work is really only the spirit. I read Alma 29:8-10  

(For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.)

the other day and remembered when I read these verses before the mission and how now they have a completely different meaning for me. I know that Heavenly Father helps his servants learn languages all across the world so they can bless those specific people. As I have spiritual experiences every day here and watch the gospel transform lives, I am reminded of the moments when I wanted to scream out the gospel to the whole world. This gospel truly is the key to happiness and our map back home to our Father. I am so grateful that I was one of the few chosen of the many that were called to serve as a full time missionary. I know that he leads us. I testify that the spirit is real. As a missionary, I have seen that He literally speaks to me, puts thoughts into my head, tells me what words to speak, and directs my steps.  I cannot deny it. I know this church is true without any doubt and Christ guides it still like when He was here before. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Sister Alena Porter