Monday, February 29, 2016

FULL HOUSE AT CHURCH


This week was really good. We taught a lot of people. Our president came into town and we had interviews and a little devotional with him. My companion had her birthday this week and we went over to a members house and they surprised her with cake and food. Her parents sent a video for her to watch of her family talking to her. It was really cool! I think that you got a picture of the party. My companions camera is super nice. It has Wi-Fi and so she can send pictures to any email by Wi-Fi. So just know that is how you got it. This week too I got to speak with my past companion. I served with her in Santiago and she is in San Gabriel right now serving with all the people I taught there. She said that I. cut her hair and she bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting and that it was super scary for her to go up there and talk to the people but she was super powerful. Her testimony is really strong. It made me super happy to hear this and it was really nice to talk to my companion again. I think that there is a special bond that we have with our companions. I think that we will always be such good friends, almost like sisters forever because we have shared so many spiritual experiences together. She visited an old man that I used to teach. (I sent a photo of him a couple months ago.  He is this old guacho, super sweet old man.) She handed the phone over to him and I about died, I literally cried talking to him. I love these people so much! He talked to me about how he misses me and sister R. and how he feels like we're his granddaughters. It was really cute. Sunday we had A whole family of six come to church. It was really neat because chapel was full of people. The elders, along with us, brought a lot of people-  A lot of investigators to the church. It was really neat. They don't really have anything and are very poor but hey are so humble. I am learning so much from these people that have nothing but are so happy. 
Right now we have P-day and it's really fun to just relax and do whatever we want. I love the mission and I never want to leave. Crazy to me how much the time passes. It's already March and it's freaking me out. I think I would stay here forever if I could. It's definitely not easy. There are some days when I just want to roll up in a ball and cry my eyes out but it's such a learning experience. I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity. I just wanted to thank you for all that you do. I hope that your week was good. I'm having a super hard time speaking English- It's embarrassing. I'm excited to see you guys on the 12 of July and to talk to you on Mother's Day. I looked on the calendar and saw that it's going to be my moms birthday! What a special day this is going to be to talk to my mom on Mother's Day, on her birthday. Just know that I love you all and I think about you and pray for you. You all are amazing!

Journal
Saturday February 20th 2016
Today we saw a miracle that I never want to forget. We had lunch with a sweet member I. and after we ate lunch, and left a message with her, we asked her if she knew anyone we could visit. She thought for a while and then told us about a neighbor who already received the elders in her home for years. She told us that she let us in and let us share a message, but that she is very Catholic and doesn't want to ever change. But she said, who knows, maybe I'll change one day. So we went to visit this woman I.. She let us in and we began to converse about her life and we got to know her well. Her two adult daughters were there too. The whole time they kept sharing how elders always shared messages with them and how their whole family is Catholic. I kept thinking these ladies don't want to listen to us let's just share a scripture quick and leave. But as they accepted to hear the message and as we started to teach, the situation seemed so right to share the message of the restoration. The words that we needed to say just flowed out of our mouths as we talked about the restored Church of Christ, the spirit literally took over. We taught the first lesson about Prophets, Joseph Smith, and how Christ established his church on the earth. They were all asking questions and understanding everything. At the end of the lesson, we invited them to pray about the message. I kept thinking to myself, they understand the message, and feel the spirit, but we can't scare them away by inviting them to be baptized. But the spirit told us otherwise. We explained about how baptism needs to be and we challenged all three of the women to be baptized. All three accepted immediately. We were in complete shock. They told us that they have been having doubts about the Catholic Church and now understand the truth. God really does know when his children are ready and prepared to receive the gospel. After so many years of receiving elders, all these women needed was time, humility and sisters. I am so grateful for the many tender mercies and miracles that I see everyday. God is so aware of his children.
Found a twin to my dog, 
Casper, here in Brasil! 

Wednesday February 24th 2016
Today President and Sister Parrela arrived in Uruguaiana to have interviews and to inspect our homes. The Zone leaders called us and told us that we needed to meet at the chapel for a meeting with the president after lunch. 

Our whole zone was at the church building and President Parella talked to us about the new mission vision and strengthening the priesthood and youth in Brazil and how we needed to work with the members to fulfill this vision that God has inspired the church leaders with. He then started having interviews with each one of us. While we waited, we chatted with the other missionaries, shared experiences, laughed a ton, and Sister Parella checked our homes. We waited all day for our turn to be interviewed. Literally missionaries have a lot to talk about. I finally got to talk with him at about 8 o'clock. It took forever, especially in the humidity, heat, and without air conditioning in the chapel all day. But it was so worth it. I entered the room and he greated me like he always does. In English and with a firm handshake. He began to ask me about how things were going, and about obedience and if there was anything I needed to help with, or worried about, or wanted to know. I told him everything was fine, that I was obedient, and that there wasn't any particular thing he could help me with. But I knew that this interview would be a good time to ask him anything. I asked him, "President I am curious to know how you receive answers to who needs to be with who, and what callings need to go with what people and how you knew I needed to be in the calling I have right now as a sister trainer leader? What went through your brain?" Haha I explained to him how I feel so inadequate and other sisters could do better. He looked at me and said, do you really want to know? I think it's fair that you know what happened. He explained to me how he fasted for 3 days only eating lunch and then kneels in front of the board in his office with our pictures and prays. He said he feels he needs who needs to be with who and if something isn't meant to be, he removes and tries again following what the Spirit tells him. He said that he knew immediately that I needed be a leader that I was prepared. He said our mission needs powerful sisters and many times I wanted to call you to train new sisters coming into our mission, but Heavenly Father wouldn't let me. He made it clear that you need to help train, teach and be an example for these sisters. My heart sank. I always wanted to help the new sisters and train a newbee. But God needed me to help train them all. I began to shed a few tears. He looked deeply into my eyes and with the sweetest words look deeply in with the sweetest words then thanked me for my service and example. He expressed how Heavenly Father calls those who think they aren't capable to do hard things or have a leadership position because they will be humble and learn how to lead with love. He thanked me for staying strong during difficulties and trials, like being sick, learning a new language and dealing with tough companions. He explained how through these experiences, I will be able to know how to help the sisters in the mission with the knowledge and strength that I've gained. I shed many tears hearing this from my Mission President. What a blessing he has been in my life. I will forever be grateful for him in the confidence and faith he always puts in me. I will always treasure his fatherly love and concern and his words of wisdom and comfort. What a powerful man. I am so blessed. We ended way late. It was just my companion and I and two other sisters left. We all were hungry and so what did President do? We all ate a super nice Charasco dinner with him and Sister Parella. Gotta love Gauchos.

Sunday February 28th 2016
Yesterday we had a family night with our ward and our investigators at the church. We brought the C. family. C. is a woman we found as we were looking for an address one day. She has six children and is super humble. Their family literally doesn't have anything. There is a part of our area that is super poor. Like third world, really bad poor. When we went to visit them this week my heart broke. We were teaching them about the Book of Mormon and during the lesson the kids were fighting to eat burnt rice. They have two beds, and one little fan. In this heat you need more than one fan and I don't know if the bathroom exists. I have seen poor, but not to this extent. Her husband works all day parking cars and only receives coins that the owners give him. When we teach, they all listen so closely and the kids hug us and give us anything and everything. We came to pick them up today for church and all were dressed and ready when we got there. C.carried her one-year-old and we walked about 40 minutes to arrive in the church with a flock of children early this morning. 


It was amazing the ward members were dying with excitement to see a whole new family at church. The family loved all of the meetings. They will be baptized for sure one day. We took pictures with them and as we took the pictures C. asked, "Can you girls print these pictures for us? I don't have any pictures of my children. I would love one of me and my new baby." Wow! I almost cried then and there. The smile on their faces was so amazing to see as people make them feel welcome and loved. God is so good. I love the gospel. It helps all because it is the Church of the person who saved and helped all mankind. What an amazing blessing it is to be part of this incredible work of the Lord.



Monday, February 22, 2016

THE LORD DID STRENGTHEN ~ Week of Training & Divisions



Sirio letting us meet his chickens
Selfie from today & 
Sunday with my companion 
I don't know why the email did not go through from last week but here it is, along with this weeks~ 
February 15th, 2016
Oi oi oi!!! Happy Valentines day everybody!!! This week was full of divisions with the sisters in our zone, miracles, deaths, teaching, and a ton of sun and rain! We are still dying in this heat and humidity, but loving every minute of everything. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!
JOURNAL:
Monday, February 8, 2016.
Today we taught such a powerful lesson. We are teaching a woman, F., and her husband, M. They are friends with N. (a recent convert) and E.. N. invited them to come to church with them and they came! We are so excited to be teaching them. They have been seeking out a church and felt good at ours. They already have testimonies. Members invited them to the ward youth encampment and they loved it and got to meet so many members. All because someone invited them. It has strengthened my testimony of member missionary work. We taught them the restoration and Wow! the spirit was so strong. Always when it comes to the first version of Joseph Smith, the people feel the truth. It's my favorite part to teach. The lesson went perfectly. We work together so well because my comp has a gift of speaking directly and clearly the doctrine, and what is needed to be understood, and I have the role of helping them feel the spirit and receive that confirmation in their heart that it's true. It's a good blend. We learn so much from each other. When it got to the part about Joseph Smith in the lesson, the whole room was so still and the spirit was undeny-able.  They both understood. They both felt the power. They both shed tears. What an amazing feeling it is to be an instrument in Gods hands. I love being a missionary more than anything. There are no words that describe the amazing feeling we get when the spirit takes over our actions and words. It's amazing!

2 Paulistas 2 Americanas




Tuesday, February 9, 2016.
Today, Sister Gregatto and I gave a trainment in our zone conference. Sister training leaders always give trainment to the elders and sisters in their zone at zone conference to help with the work and teach the zone about what can be improved. I thought, "Ah, we are just teaching the zone, it will be super chill and easy." But man, I was wrong! I'm not used to talking in front of a huge group of people, especially missionaries. It was so weird giving advice and training them on what they need to do. But it was a great experience. I love being able to serve and know God is preparing me for other things in my life right now. He always pushes me out of my comfort zone, but he always makes me stronger and better through it all. "There's no progression in comfort zones" - President Parella
We also started divisions with the sisters. I got to serve with Sister Condena for one day. She is from Cusco, Peru and is so sweet. 
I loved being able to serve with her. We talked and talked with so many people. Her comp is new to the mission and it was neat remembering my first division with the sister training leaders and how I was so nervous. Her companion was so nervous and quiet. I was so glad we could help her feel more comfortable. It is so great to be able to serve these amazing sisters with the same struggles and stresses that we once had ourselves.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016.
Today I went on divisions with Sister Alencar from Bahia, Brazil.

It was awesome serving with her. She was nervous at first, but when we got talking and got to know each other better, she completely changed. She really opened up to me about her feelings, worries, and struggles. I love being able to help her. This calling is such an incredible honor. I feel so blessed to be able to meet and help so many sisters from all over the world. I truly feel a sisterly love for each of them. I feel so immensely blessed. I'm learning and growing so much.


Saturday, February 13, 2016.
We received a sad text message today saying that E.'s dad had passed away. They asked us sisters to go to the funeral and help give comfort. Man, it was sad. The whole time I wanted to cry thinking about how hard it would be to not have a dad. Then, as he said his last goodbyes to his dads body, I couldn't help but shed tears thinking about how extremely sad it would be to lose my dad and to say goodbye to him. Saying goodbye to him in the airport when I was heading out to the MTC was hard enough. I can't imagine knowing that I wouldn't be seeing him every day for the rest of my life. I reflected so much on this. My dad means the world to me. I am who I am because of him. He has always, and will be forever, my example. I'm so grateful for my sweet dad and incredible man he is. Our relationship is so special. I love him with all my heart. What an honor it is to be his daughter. What an amazing knowledge we have of the plan of happiness. God's plan is so perfect. I know that my family will be together forever. There's no greater promise or comfort them this .



We are literally dying it's not even funny. I've never been so grateful for air conditioning in my entire life. 
I love the dogs here, they make me miss my Casper haha

Tuesday, February 16, 2016.
So, we were walking down the street and a man started yelling at us, "Hey! I want a book!"  Um, ya.... When someone yells at us from the side of the road it's normally because of three things – they want to rob us, they are on drugs or have been drinking, or they are crazy and aren't thinking straight. So, of course, we ignore and keep walking. This happens often as missionaries. It's normal. But this time he kept yelling at my companion went over to talk to him. Ahhh! I kept saying, no, sister no! She went over and started talking to him. Surprise, he is a less active member of 20 years and served a mission in São Paulo. He told us that he wants a Book of Mormon and after we had talked to him for a while, he said he felt good and wants to come back to church. We were so amazed. He has been inactive my entire lifetime and is wanting to return. God definitely works in mysterious ways to use us to help his children. It was an amazing experience to see him recognize the spirit again. We hardly spoke a word. We just listened to what he wanted and needed to say. And because we listened to him, he felt the spirit just by us being there with him.  The spirit is so powerful.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
Today rained a ton, but we talked to some amazing people. We are teaching the son of a recent convert, L. She is the sweetest lady and treats us like daughters. We have been teaching her the lessons again and she expressed her concerns for her son, M. He drinks a ton and is trying to stop drinking, but doesn't know how. We asked her if she could talk him into talking with us and receiving the missionary lessons too. He has hit rock bottom with his addiction to drinking and accepted to listen to us. Man, we were so excited! I love helping people like him. -People that are addicted and want to stop. That want help. The only person that has power to cure and heal anything is our Savior, Jesus Christ. The gospel helps all. So, we started teaching him and he was super interested. We challenged him to baptism and he accepted! We are super excited to help him and teach him. The atonement is so real and so powerful.
Thursday, February 18, 2016.
We have been instructed by President Parella to have the sisters come to our area for divisions so that we can be an example to them of how they need to work in their area. But yesterday evening as we were planning for the next day, something didn't feel right. The sisters working in Livramento we're going to be coming to Uruguaiana. We always call their zone leader before the division to see what we need to accomplish, what difficulties they have, and what we need to help them with. Their zone leader gave us his concerns. The sisters aren't working how they should and they are opening the area as new sisters. The sisters don't have much experience because they have only been in the mission for a little time. The spirit was telling me strongly that we needed to go to their area to help them. My companion agreed. We called their zone leader and then he called the assistants to see what could be done. The assistants talked to President Parella and he allowed one of us to go there and help one sister and the other would stay here and help the others. President said that their senior companion would arrive here and the junior companion, that is being trained, would stay there. But, he said it didn't matter whichever training leader could stay or go. So, we prayed to know who needed to stay and who needed to go. But we didn't receive an answer. We wanted so badly to know God's will so that we could help the sisters how he wanted. This morning, before my personal study, I prayed hard to know if God needed me to stay or go. He knows his missionaries and their needs, so he is the one that needed to let us know where we were needed. After my prayer, I began to read my Book of Mormon. And to my surprise, my prayer was immediately answered. Mosiah chapter 23. Every phrase talks about traveling. The words hit me so hard. I knew what I needed to do and where God needed me. He answers prayers. I am a witness and cannot ever deny! I kept reading and in verse 10 he gave me an answer that made me emotional. What an amazing experience. I will never forget this answer that he gave me and the sweet comfort that he gave me knowing that he would use me as his instrument. I felt such peace knowing what God wanted me to do. So I headed out to Livramento. The bus ride was so amazing looking out at the wide-open spaces of grass and cows.
I got to serve with the cute Peruvian sister named Sister Barbosa. 
I love Peruvians. They are so sweet. She's from Lima, Peru and arrived in the mission three months ago. She was so sweet to the entire time. I love being able to help her. There were lots of problems that needed to be solved there. As I gave feedback to her and asked her if there was something she needed to talk to me about, she opened up completely to me about her worries, struggles, and concerns. We talked for a good amount of time and I understood and that moment why I needed to be there. She had some of the same concerns and difficulties that I had when I began my mission. When I got there, she seemed sad and didn't say much, but wow, how she changed in one day! We became such good friends, laughing and enjoying the work together. Her whole attitude changed. It was such an amazing experience for me to help her. I noticed her doing and saying the things that I do and say. I feel so grateful that Heavenly Father knew I needed to be an example for her and help her know that she can do difficult things. At the end of the division, She thanked me so sweetly and said, "Sister, thank you so much. I wish you could be my companion." I couldn't have felt better knowing that God used me to make a difference in her life. I love being a missionary and know that God uses his servants to fill his work of salvation and happiness.
A man in the street dressed like a woman for Carnival...haha
My companion & I cooking in the humidity. haha 
I said, "Give a look to the camera of how you are feeling right now." soooo HOT


We had to walk up this for lunch...killed me haha



Monday, February 8, 2016

WHERE IS "MARIA" MIRACLES


Esta semana foi cheia de milagres! (This week was full of miracles). I am loving my new companion, Sister Gregatto.

My cute companion & I on Sunday with our polka dots.

We are working really well together and I feel like I have known her for years. She reminds me of my cousin, Rachel, in personality. I am loving Uruguaiana still and am excited to see what this transfer holds. I got some Christmas Cards this week and loved them!!! Thank you all :)
Some funny things that happened this week were:
-In the middle of a prayer I was giving at an investigators home, I fell asleep!!! Ahhh I didn't think it was possible to be in a lesson, giving the prayer, and talking in your sleep. But it's real!! Being tired is a serious problem haha. My companion and I laughed so hard afterwards because she fell asleep too haha.
-I was saying my nightly prayers when I completely fell asleep (I'm having difficulties with this haha. I am getting wiped out a little too much) and woke up 30 min later with the lamp still on and my knees completely red. Man it hurt haha. The power of prayer is real!!! Gotta love being a missionary ;) 

Journal ~ 
Monday, February 1, 2016
I can't believe it is already February. January flew by! Today was an awesome, yet busy, P – day that I won't forget. I stayed in a trio companionship with the sisters we live with since my companion had already left. We went to the computer place to write our families and then I was off to Santa Maria, by bus to participate in the mission council and leadership training meeting. I was so excited to be going back to the area where I started my mission. It had been about nine months since I was last in Santa Maria. I was still being trained and didn't speak well. I was anxious to see the place after so much time, and after so much change. I was the only sister missionary on the bus with, of course, a ton of elders. We showed up in Santa Maria and there wasn't anyone at the bus station to be my companion, and so an elder stayed with me. Weirdest feeling ever being stuck with an elder, but better than being completely alone. I know I'm going to have a shock returning home some day without a companion. But the taxi dropped me off at the apartment of the sisters. I was dying at how many memories came to mind of that apartment. I rang the doorbell and the sisters had not arrived home yet. So, I went to call them and saw I didn't have any battery left on the phone. I felt so alone. There I was alone, without a phone, without a companion, and in the dark. I freaked out a little. But a man came to the door of the building and let me in, gave me a chair and I sat outside the door.
Eating outside the sisters apartment, alone. haha
It was really funny. But I couldn't handle being alone. So, I knocked on the neighbors door and just started talking to her. She had lots of questions about the church and about what us missionaries do. As I talked to her, the sisters showed up and we all had a good time. There were about 10 sisters in one apartment. A little crazy (kinda like girls camp) but it was fun. I met my companion, Sister Gregatto, and I'm super excited to work with her. She is from São Paulo. She grew up as a member, but went inactive as a teen and stayed in active for years. But she returned strong and firm and is now an amazing missionary.    

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Today we went to the leadership/mission council meeting with all of the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and President and Sister Parella. It was so neat seeing some of my friends and chatting with them. The meeting went well. The Assistants to the president talked with us and President and Sister Parella too. They really touched on how we need to be examples of how to work hard and how to teach well for the missionaries we work with. It was so neat. President Parella is inspired by God. Sister Parella is so special. I love them both so much. My favorite part about the trip was how I got to see how much I've changed and grown since I arrived in Brazil. The meeting was held in the same chapel we had church in every Sunday. I slept in the same apartment and C. G. came to see me with her family. She would go on visits with us when I served here and met up with me. I couldn't believe how amazing it was to understand her words and to have her see how much God changes missionaries so he can fulfill his work. I loved every minute of Santa Maria and couldn't be more grateful for the blessings and miracles God has helped me to see.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Today we saw miracles. It has been hard with practically opening this area together. Being that I haven't been in this area very long and my comp arrived this week, but we are working a ton to memorize the area and find people to teach. Right now it is a little tough to find people to teach because of the extreme heat. No one wants to talk, they are always sleeping or eating.
My cute companion & I dying in the heat walking to an appointment
I said, "Sister, make a face to show how you're feeling right now" ahahaha 
We were sweating so much. It's sooo hot here.  
I love my new companion she is way cute and fun.
But anything is possible with God. Last night, we were planning for the next day and we had no clue who else we needed to visit. We had written down everything, but had no one in mind for 6 o'clock appointment. My conflict at me and said, "Maria". I looked at her with A confused face. She again said, "Maria". I asked her who she was referring to and she said, "I don't know who she is, but we are going to find her tomorrow." And so I said, "Alright! Let's find her!" We prayed really hard for God's guidance and help. Today, as we were trying to visit the people we had planned to see, every plan fell through. Every single one. No one was home. It was super hot and humid and no one was in the street. I looked at my companion and said, "well, let's find some new people." We saw a woman and we went up to talk to her. I began, "Hello! Good afternoon! We are missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ. We are sharing a special message with people about Jesus and how he is our savior and how he can help us in our lives. Can we share this message with you?" The woman immediately said yes and invited us in. We introduced ourselves and she said, "It's a pleasure to meet you. I am Maria." We about died. God had led us to her. Maria! We taught her the restoration and she excepted baptism. What an amazing tender mercy and experience. I know God hears our prayers and always answers. He guides his servants. N. and E.are so happy now that they are inviting their friends to come to church with them and so now we are teaching them. They are young couple with a baby on the way. They need to get married, but want to know more about the gospel. We taught them the plan of salvation today and they loved it. The plan really is perfect. But it was so wonderful to see the excitement and love of sharing the gospel in E. and N. eyes. What an amazing work! This is the work of true happiness.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Today we were trying to find an address, but ended up talking to a woman holding a baby near her home. She let us to her home and I couldn't believe my eyes. We usually don't work in her neighborhood because it seems a bit dangerous, but we saw how humbled the people are there. This woman didn't have anything, but let us in her home. Dirt floors, no food for the six kids, and we stood because there was no where to sit.  It was obvious they had had some rough times in their life. She asked us to say a prayer for her sick daughter and when we finished, tears ran down her face. Her husband was so sweet and kind too. They thanked us and we shared a short message. What an amazing moment to see how God uses us as his servants to bring peace to those who need him.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Today was fast and testimony meeting. I love this day. So many people are out of town, or out the ward camp out because of the holiday "Carnival." The Brazil has a huge party Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday here where they celebrate carnival. There is music playing everywhere and so many people are drinking and partying. It's not good. The members leave town to escape at all. I'm so glad I'm not serving in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro because it's so bad there. The missionaries don't even leave their homes. I loved the meetings today. I always learn something new. I love bearing my testimony to. Words mean so much
more in Portuguese. I feel like I can express my feelings better in Portuguese than in  English and so it is easier to share your testimony. I love the members here and I'm so grateful for all that I am learning. We are teaching a woman named Linda who is from Lima, Peru. She's so sweet and talks Portunol ha ha. She basically speaks in Spanish with some Portuguese thrown in there. It is super funny. But amazing being able to understand another language. I'm learning Spanish without even trying ha ha. I love this work and the sweet people. There's nothing I'd rather be doing.

Churrasco on Sunday!!! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

SPECIAL MEMORIES IN URUGUAY & BRAZIL!


This week was soooo cool! I loved being able to go to another country and see their culture. I. was baptized!! 
Ahhh it was so amazing and so spiritual!!!

I love her so much it's insane!

We received transfers this week and I will be staying here in Uruguaiana with my new companion, Sister Gregatto. 

She is from São Paulo and also was trained by the same Sister, Sister Araújo de Souza. I am way excited to work with her. I met her once in the bus station and we took a picture haha. 
My companion sister Coelho is headed home (Pará) today and it was so bitter sweet saying goodbye. 

Saying goodbye to Sister Coelho!
Our apartment building

I will be heading to Santa Maria today for a leadership meeting and hope I can see some of the people I taught there. I am loving the missionary life and hope you all are doing well!!

Journal ~ Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Today we went to Livramento, which is on the border of Uruguay, to help the elders spread the word about the new chapel that was built. It was so cool being able to come to Livramento. We got lucky. When we got there, the elders took us to the apartment we would be staying at. And where did we get to live? In the elders apartment. They moved out for the week and we are living in their house. So weird. Elders don't clean properly and it is so strange knowing that it is their apartment. But it's a place to sleep and we are so excited to be here to help. 
The cool mirror at the elders apartment.
Ummm ya, what is this?! 
We found this in the elders appartment. Elders!...hhaha

We are here with tons of elders. There are 14 elders and two sisters….Just us! We joke that Presidente Parella called us to serve with all of these elders to show them how to work, ha ha. They are all so funny and we are all such good friends. We spent many hours after arriving in the city at the park talking to people. It was awesome! We set up pictures and passed out invites to the chapel open house. I loved it. There was a man, however, who treated me poorly and said some harsh things. But when this happens, even though it's tough to hear, I always remember that my Savior had it way worse and he is always by my side. This gives me the strength and confidence that I need during hard moments.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today we entered Uruguay! There is a border line and we got to cross it. It was so cool, and so funny. 
Livramento & the border!

Gotta love it ~ Uruguay & Brazil!!



A lady said to us, "Buenas  Dias" and we all looked at each other not knowing exactly what to say back…"Uhh...Bom dia!" Haha. It was hilarious. Knowing Portuguese now, Spanish sound so much different than it did before the mission. I can understand almost everything that people say if they talk slowly, and they can understand us too. It seems like it's a little more difficult for them. The hard part is, we can't respond in their language. We contacted people the whole day in the park again and talked to so many people. I don't think I've talked to so many people in one day in my entire life like we did today. Even the news people interviewed us, it was so cool! I never thought I would make it onto Brazilian news on the Internet, but it was way cool speaking into a huge microphone and talking about what we were doing at the park as missionaries. After the park, I got to teach English class to a group of people in the new chapel.  It was such a neat experience being able to help them and use language as a way to help them visit the building and learn more about the church.  I love teaching and I had so much fun with them.  

Me teaching English!!! wahooo!!!










The view from the church building
Thursday, January 28, 2016

I can't believe that I have been a full-time missionary for one year now. 
1 YEAR!!!! ahhhhh    

The time flies way too fast. This year has been the best year of my entire life. 

Xis- sandwiches here that are super famous. We ate it for my one year mark! SO GOOD!!!! 
mmmmm

I accomplished so much this year with my Savior as my companion every step of the way. I have changed completely. My Heavenly father has molded me and push me to do hard things that seemed impossible. Nothing is unachievable with his help. I read my moms email this past week and loved how she reminded me that God does strange things that don't make sense to us, but because he is the almighty, it makes sense to him. He had Jesus cure people by spitting on his hands and touching their eyes. He told Moses to make a snake out of his staff. He calls us to certain callings, or positions, today that seem impossible to us. But, when we have full faith in him and rely on his will and plan for our lives, everything goes right. I have seen this happen this year in the mission field. I know God wants me to serve in this mission because I received an answer from him. Even though it scared me, and made me nervous, I went on my mission knowing he would take care of me because I was doing his will. With so many struggles, trials, and difficult times, he has been my support and strength. My closest friend and constant companion. Through it all, shaping me into the person he wants me to be and knows I can become. With one year as a missionary, my testimony has been strengthened into a witness. I know he lives. He is very real. I have felt his love and presence many times. I know he knows each of us personally and loves us so much more than we can imagine. I love being his instrument every day, all day. It is an easy, but because he is a God of miracles, he performs miracles in his own way. I have learned how to have patience, love, charity, be obedient, have a positive attitude when things got rough, And so much more. He knows what we need. I love him with all my heart. He has made me a completely different person. I'm much better, and so much stronger of a person. I love seeing people and families change completely because of the truth. The church is true. We have all that we need to be happy forever. What an amazing year it has been. I could not be more grateful for all of the people I've met, the experiences I've had, and the help I've received daily from my Heavenly Father. I've never been so happy.
Friday, January 29, 2016

Today was super cool! We went to the border before lunch with the zone leaders to visit the chapel in Uruguay. 
The chapel with my cute companion and I at the border!!

When we got to the chapel, Sister Coelho and I spotted some sister missionaries that were arriving at the chapel! We went to talk to them and quickly realized that it would be difficult to communicate with them. It was so funny talking to them in two different languages. Luckily one of the sisters was American, and so our only way to communicate with them was to have her and I talk back and forth. Spanish is so different. As we struggle to talk, a whole group of missionaries showed up at the church building. It was so neat to see how even though we work in a different country, mission, speak different languages, the work is the same and we have the same purpose. They are from the Uruguay, Montevidel West Mission. 
Uruguay with the sisters & elders. It was sooo much fun!!
I was sad to not see my cousin, Lexa, but it was so cool. Each mission is so different. I saw how truly the Brazil, Santa Maria mission is exactly the mission for me. I love Brazilians and received more of a confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be.
The elders came to say goodbye to us at the bus station...it was so funny! The trip was a blast!


Saturday, January 30, 2016
I. was baptized today! 
Even though it was pouring rain, I. had a desire to walk with us all the way to the church building to be baptized. Very first time we met I. was in the street. We told her we were missionaries from the church and that we had a special message about Jesus Christ. She told us she had already excepted the lessons years ago with elders and told us to pass by another day. So, we passed by and have been teaching her for a short time. She had so many doubts about the priesthood and knowing what church really was true. She always told us that she liked the church she attended, Universal. But as we taught her and explained to her the gospel, her eyes opened and her heart changed. Every lesson with her was powerful. The spirit really guided our words and used us to help her gain a testimony of the truth. She stop smoking and drinking coffee super fast even though it was hard for her to stop. She needed to receive a confirmation from God that this church is true and we bore testimony of the power of prayer. She promised to pray about everything, and called us while we were in Livramento on Saturday. Que alegria! Sister Coelho and I hugged each other and screamed for joy. What a miracle and blessing! She never had been baptized in her life, but when she received a confirmation from God, she was determined. The baptism was so wonderful. She is so strong and amazing. Everything went well. What an amazing experience it is to see people change and to see how their knowledge and testimonies grew since you met them. Being a missionary really is the most incredible experience and honor. I'm so grateful for the miracles I've seen. Heavenly Father leads us to those that are prepared to receive his gospel. I. had already received the missionary lessons, but we needed to find her that day in the street and teach her the lessons again during this time in her life  when she was more open and willing to do God's will. This work really is the work of God.


Eating with I. & her husband!
Sunday, January 31, 2016
I. receive the Holy Ghost today in Sacrament meeting. I cannot express the feelings of joy that came into my heart. Her husband was baptized when he was young and has been in active ever since. But since we've been visiting her, he has stopped drinking and came to her baptism and confirmation. It was so neat seeing the change in him over time. He is returning! E., Who had been inactive for years is now over the young man in the ward and N., who was baptized a week ago, invited her friend and her husband to come to church to and they came! We are now going to have another family to baptize. My heart was so full today recognizing the miracles God has given us. I got emotional singing the sacrament hymn "Assombro me causa," I stand all amazed. Really I am amazed at all that God does. This gospel is perfect, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it.

Sister Porter

The church building in Uruguay! 
Cute little lady that gave us lunch.
I love Sister Coelho.




A sister took this picture of us after a long day walking in the sun....hahahhaa we were dying! (we didnt even know she took the pic).