Monday, January 18, 2016

I want to thank everyone for the emails I got last week and for all of the birthday wishes I got too. It is crazy how the time flies! 
This week was amazing and full of miracles and tender mercies. Every day I see the hand of God in some way. I have decided to write more in my journal because I don't want to forget anything, especially the miracles. On Tuesday, after district meeting, I headed for the bus stop and traveled to the city of Alegrete to do divisions with the sisters there.  It is about two hours away from Uruguaiana by bus.

I still feel weird sitting alone on the bus without my companion, but the scenery is amazing. 
 My bus ride to Alegrete was awesome. I loved it!
I love to travel and see new places. The whole time I kept thinking about how I am so grateful that my parents took us kids to see other countries and cultures throughout my life. I am a different person because of the things I've learned from each culture, the people, and their way of living. I'm especially grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Ecuador all alone to help those sweet orphans a couple summers ago. I went all alone and I didn't fully understand why I felt so strongly that I needed to go, but it was an experience that has changed me and helped me so much in preparation for my mission. God really knows all things and knows us so personally. I was so excited to be serving with my old companion again, Sister Hanson. It was a little strange knowing that she basically trained me on the mission and that I was there to train and help her. She is heading home in February and so it was sad knowing I wouldn't see her again for a long time. The division went well and the spirit was so strong. Her companion is still being trained and it was so cute seeing that she was nervous that I was there and remembering how I used to be nervous when the sister training leaders to divisions with us. I loved helping them out and learning from them. Her companion, Sister de Oliviera really opened up to me with all of her fears during our feedback after the division.  I loved being able to help her know what to do with these fears that I too once had. Sister Hanson cried so much, it was so neat sharing our testimonies. I love this calling already. I'm learning so much from the sisters.

N. will be baptized this Friday and E., her husband, was interviewed today and was counted worthy of the Aaronic priesthood.  So, he will be baptizing her! I will never forget the beam and happiness in his eyes. He's been inactive for so long and now is strong and is working towards his eternal family. We were fasting one day and this couple offered us food and we explained to them why we couldn't eat and we refreshed his memory about fasting. He was shocked. A couple days later he said, "Sisters, I fasted! We were in shock. He said he fasted for 24 hours to find a job that would let him take off work on Sundays and within hours of completing his fast, his boss called him saying he doesn't want him to work Sundays anymore. He was so happy and his testimony grew. But what was more amazing, was that N. didn't believe that God existed, and gained a testimony of the reality of God through this experience too. Just because of a simple fast that we did, E. reconfirmed his testimony and faith, N. believes in God, E. received the priesthood and is strong in the church, he will baptize his wife this week, and they will be sealed in the temple in one year. Talk about "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass!" We are overjoyed as missionaries. God really does bless the obedient. We are teaching so many people, clapping many houses, and talking to everyone. I. didn't come to church because she went out of town and so she will now be baptized on the 30th. I love my companion. She is so funny and we have a good time together. She's a powerful missionary and I truly feel like she is one of my good friends. On Friday, after lunch, we received a phone call from President Parella. He spoke with us about how Livramento (a city nearby) built a new chapel after it had been burned to the ground last year. He told us that the members, less actives, and all of the people in the city, need to know about the chapel and go to the open house. The area only has elders and so he called us to go to help these elder spread the word.! I am so excited! When the chapel got burned last year, the only part of the building that didn't catch fire was the family history room and the room that holds all of the church records and documents. So we will be using these records to find the less active members to come back to church. Everyone wants to work there in this mission because it is on the border of Uruguay. Things are super cheap there, and the people are so receptive. Sisters haven't worked there for over a year now and we are beyond excited to be working there. We are heading out by bus next Monday and get back Friday. We are feeling pretty lucky and blessed to be serving there. We are truly seeing God's hand in all that we do. Right now it is super humid and hot in Brazil and we get worn out and tired super easily, but God is giving us strength to press on with his work. We laugh, because we both try so hard not to fall asleep in the lessons. We were teaching a less active after lunch in the heat, and after we had walked for miles, it was hilarious seeing how we could hardly sing a hymn for her. Every time we would switch speaking, the other companion tried so hard not to doze off ha ha. But really, there is no way we could do this without the Lords help. Sometimes we feel like we don't have the energy or strength to take one more step, but the Lord carries us through. Being a missionary is tough, but really the most amazing thing ever.
Love you,
Sis. Porter

Muddy shoes...wahhooo! 

New shoes!

Family night with N. and E.!

Lunch with a cute member in the ward

A brother in the ward sees us walking in the sun all day and told us he had a present for us and gave us sunblock! haha it was hilarious.

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