Saturday, December 17, 2011

December

December 5th - Let me first answer Questions: 1) I can totally have a Calendar - in fact I really need one - I don´t know why my thing said I can´t so send it on down! Woo hoo! 2) The Elders are awesome! In fact, Elder Collins that came to Vitória from my district in São Paulo is in my Zone and he´s training! Thats how awesome he is. And the Elders are SO nice. The first thing they always do is shake our hands and ask how we´re doing. I love Elders! 3) Jenna - The Temple...the closest temple to Espírito Santo is in São Paulo about 15 hours away....so no, we don´t get to go to the temple and I am missing it so badly! I think I´ll have to start reading Moses every week. The members here have a caravan a few times a year and they go to the temple together and stay for a day. In fact, I´m learning a lot about the statistic of the Church with temples...our mission Presidents goal is to get a temple in Espírito Santo which means 10 stakes...we have 3....so we´re getting to work. But I didn´t know that the criteria for a temple was 10 stakes. Cool huh? 4) Dad - I´ve had 5 baptisms in this area, 3 were a family
 So.....sounds like we all got sick this week! I had to stay home Wednesday and Thursday and I just slept and slept and slept and read Jesus The Christ. I think it was the flu or a bad cold. But, eh, what´re you gonna do? So that was fun it´s Sister Owens dream to stay home and study and she got to do just that for 2 days. :D Friday and Saturday we just took it really slow because I still wasn´t feeling awesome and discouragement crept in because its awful to stay home for 2 days when you know you have poeple to visit and the gospel to share...but it doesn´t help being out in the rain making it worse.
Oh yeah, rain. It´s been raining for I think 11 days straight. Its crazy! I have a new umbrella thanks to my mission mom (its from the Elder that went home because he got his leg cut off by a train...thanks Elder Bagley!) so, I´m good now.
So. Friday we were walking to one of our appointments and passed by one of the thousands of churches *cough* (apostasies) that exist here. You know, walking normal and all of a sudden I hear ´Raaah!´ and bird swooped down and attacked my head! I squatted down at about 103.7 miles per hour and screamed. Just thinking and writing about it now I feel all, ´Uggghh´ Apparently this bird had a nest near by. So what did we do? Naturally, as missionaries, we stopped, grabbed Sister Owen´s camera and she did the same thing so we could film it. :D


video


 Saturday we were bummed out because one of the first things we saw leaving the house was Geter (our recent convert) smoking in his car. :( When I say bummed I mean depressed, thinking about it makes me sick, and it was hard to want to work seeing the fruits of your labors on fire....Satan is friggin good at what he does and I don´t like him one bit!
 But! Sunday testimony meetings in Itaparica Ward were amazing and we had a Stake Fireside about Missionary Work that was REALLY GOOD! And I got to see Elder Collins...so the Lord ALWAYS sends His angles when we need them!!!
Thanks for your love, prayers and support! I´m praying so hard that I WILL NOT get transferred for Christmas. I guess I better learn more about humility. But I will know next Monday about transfers and email you then!!!
It´s SO GREAT to hear that you´re all doing awesome. My week just got SO SO SO much better. I love you all so so so much! Thanks for all your love, support, emails, pictures, prayers, thoughts and for being MY FAMILY!!!

From Tues Dec. 13th (Kelsi emails on her P-Days which is usually Mondays)
Hi Family! 
Nobody panic. We had a different PDay thing yesterday so we´re emailing today. Yesterday we had a Chirstmas Party with the whole Mission and everyone that was transferred (including me) moved yesterday and we get to email today. 

First things first. I´m in Jardim da Penha em Vitória! It´s part of the Presidents area and I´m Senior Companion....I don´t know what Presidente is thinking. And Elder Spencer is my District LEADER!!! :D I will be able to Skype Christmas day but I don´t know what time still because church here is 9am until 12pm....so the time you guys want probably won´t work. But I (almost) promise I will know everything next week.
So. Yes. I was transferred. My first transfer and I´ve never been so sad in my life. By a miracle President told us Saturday morning so we had time to say goodbye to people. If not I don´t think I would have been able to leave. Saturday we went to the members houses and said goodbye. Cristiano was annoyed that Presidente did this, but trusts the Lord. Him and his wife Ana Paula joked that they won´t make lunch for the Elders and will send them away. Cristiano earlier this week wanted Presidente Araújo´s number and I asked him Saturday if he still wanted it and he said, ´´No. I don´t want it now. I´m annoyed with him.´´ Then we went and told Cristina and Sabrine. We were all so sad that we couldn´t even keep a conversation going. We´d talk and then get sad again. Then we went and told Isabella and Julia. Julia started to cry immediatley...which made me cry and Isabella was sad but understood. She´s going to miss me a lot and I her, but this is a mission...I´m learning...
Sunday we got to church and Bishop was the first person to greet us. He told us how sad he was and that we were great missionaries and the whole ward would miss us. When Ana Paula announced in Releif Society we were transferred everyone went, ´Awwwwww!´ and I cried through the whole closing song. Then in Sacrament Meeting Carol spoke (my recent convert thats 15 and was soooo nervous...Dallin suck it up and give a talk) and then I got to bare my testimony. Luckily all without crying. Sister Owens spoke too and then Irmão Jerônimo. Then Cristiano, who was conducting, got up and said how great of missionaries their ward was losing but that our church is a church of revelations and we have to trust in the Lord. By the end I was CRYING and some of the members too. After Sacrament it was just a big cry party. We had lunch and they went to say bye to everyone again. I can´t put into words all that happened but just know that I have a BIG family here that love me very much. More than any other missionary. I don´t even know how to say it in English. But I am loved.
Our last stop was Cristina. Cristiano and the whole Bazilio family was there (my family). We just sat around the table and talked and joked and made fun of everyone (JUST LIKE I do with you guys). Then Cristiano gave me an amazing blessing and I said goodye to my mãe and my irmã and my tio. As I was hugging Cristina (mãe) we were both bawling and when I let go EVERYONE even Cristiano was crying. It was harder to say goodbye to them than to you guys. I think because I prepared myself to say goodbye to you...I didn´t know I´d meet another YOU in Brazil. I love this people.

I´m hoping these feelings will pass. I was crying even yesterday during the Christmas Party off and on...Sister Nicascio kept saying. ´´I know how it is. Cry, my daughter. Cry.´´ And it would make me laugh and cry and Presidente and Sister Araújo kept looking at me like, ´´What are we gonna do with her.´´ Sister Powell said Presidente told her my Bishop even called and told him that we could stay one more transfer. My ward was NOT happy that Presidente did this right before Christmas...but Presidente transfered half the mission. I still call Itaparaica ´´my ward´´ and ´´my area´´ and I think it will always be. :D
The Christmas Party was awesome. Each zone did a skit of a scripture story. It was all SUPER funny...but not if I explained it. So just know that it was funny. And ... it was good ... but I felt lost and sad ... but laughed a lot too. 

So. Back to the world of now. My new companion is Sister Vierra. She is amazing. We are going to work a LOT! She is the only member in her family and her dad died a few months ago. She arrived in the field with me at the same time...I just have more time than her because us Americans stay in the MTC longer. Her mom is very Catholic and she said her mom is commanding her to come home, but she doesn´t want to...I think...but I will learn SO MUCH from her. I have no idea why I´m Senior. But the Lord knows what he´s doing adn I don´t have a single doubt that I´m supposed to be here in this area with Sister Vierra...its just going to be hard to adjust.
But. Onward, I guess. I don´t know if mom and dad are still planning on coming to Brazil to get me at the end of my mission...but if you are I don´t know when you´d have to start doing the Visa stuff and I DEFINITELY have a house for us and everything...in Itaparica. Cristina is already planning everything. So, let me know when you know you know you know.
So. I love you guys a TON! I´m excited to call you and see you in 12 days!!! Oh my gosh! And whatever time I call everyone better be there!!! Once in a life time yo. 
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!
Sister Kelsi Kate Johnson

P.S. Now send my package. :p

Fotografias !!



It's Summer here - Volleyball for P-Day. And yes, everyone wears Speedo's!


         

                     Some of the scary things.... The creepy doll and a GIANT Moth!


My Christmas Decorations


And the Thanksgiving that my Brazilian Family made.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

End of November

Hi Family,
 
I´m so glad to hear you´re all alive! I told Sister Owens last week that no one emailed me and I said, ´They better all be dead.´ But I didn´t mean it and I´m glad you´re all alive and well! Thanksgiving sounded fun, fight with Grandma Johnson included. Good to hear all the same things are still happening.
 
Let me answer some of your questions. Bowen: 1) Yes, I speak Português. I´m still learning every day, but if you left me on my own I´d be fine. Miracle huh?! 2) gangs...theres gangs and a lot of violence here but its only happens to people who are involved. Its funny you asked because a lot of people have been telling us to be careful because a man and a woman were killed right by our apartment...but they were drinking at 8am (which sadly isn´t too uncommon) and were involved in some drug deal. Plus I´ve got the Lord and if I die...its straight to the Celestial Kingdom baby! 3) No, we don´t have sacrament bread...we have to use Doritos...yes, we have sacrament bread and every Sunday its different, but its not like the sliced bread its more like sub sandwich bread...I don´t know how to describe it...but it renews my covenants! 4) part of my mission is part of the State of Rio but not the city. But my Brazilian family is from Rio and when I come back to visit we´re having a party down there! You´d love this family because its OUR family...complete with a grandma johnson. Jenna: 1) I don´t get really homesick to where I cry or am sad...just when I talk about one of you guys or something funny we do I just say, ´Que saudades!´ Which basically means I miss them. So far so good with homesickness. But I do love you and miss you and sometimes wish I could see what you´re seeing with the girls and HD and all. 2) If you want to Google Earth or whatever you´re doing I think you´d have to look up Vila Velha and I´m in the area of Santa Monica, Araças, Jockey, Coqueiral (where I live)...around there.... :D
 So, Thanksgiving they don´t have. But we were lucky enough to have lunch with my Brazilian Family and she made a chicken...like a turkey and went all out. It was perfect. And we stayed there and ate a little longer than we should have so that was my Thanksgiving present. :D I told Sister Owens the other day that I´m getting to know this area so well that I feel like George Costanza...I know where all the good and bad bathrooms are here. But, I´m still praying I stay for the Christmas transfer.
Mom: Set up Skype because I think whatever area I´m in I can Skype...but I won´t be able to plan the time until Dec. 12th and I know if I´m staying or going. And if you´re sending a package I just need Clean and Clear benzoyl peroxide. I´m emailing a picture so you know which one to buy. Thanks!!!
 
This week I´ve never walked through so much rain in my life. The streets are RIVERS here! I think I´m getting a little cold because of it too. For the most part Sister Owens and I just laugh at how drenched we get...its better than the heat...that I know is coming!
 My elect family is doing great. Geter is the new teacher in Priesthood and Sunday he gave a lesson on the Millenium - his first time! I know right?! Julia, their daughter, gave her first talk in church too! Tonight we´re having Family Night with them. Woo hoo!
 Our other elect family isn´t so elect anymore. We kept trying to visit them but they were never home and when they were home, she´d send her daughter out to say she wasn´t home. So....Friday we called and she said we could pass by 8pm. So, we grabbed Isabella and went to her house 8pm.....yeah.....she moved. There wasn´t a single thing left in her house. First thing Sister Owens said was, ´I think she forgot to give us her new address...´ Hahaha. I think so! Hopefully the missionaries will find her in her new home.
 So, other than that we´re still searching for the people prepared by the Lord to hear and accept the gospel. All this searching and teaching and no results is teaching me to be more bold and testify better. I think being bold is my mission goal, but still be polite and proper...but I think I´m starting to firgure it out. We were teaching a lesson the other day and the man asked what we think of other religions. I said all other religions try to teach good things and from the Bible but they´re lacking all of the truth, which leaves them teaches wrong things and through the restoration we have all the truth again. I think he understands better than a lot of people our message because the people of Brazil are very simple and many aren´t very educated that we have to teach at their level. So, teaching according to the needs of our investigators is priority and I´m learning every day!

True life Mason! Nov. 14th

Hi family,
 I guess I´ll still email you guys today...even though the only person to email me was my sweet grandma Bowen. (I hope nothing horrible happened or I´ll feel really bad). Anyways. I still love you all...for now. ;)
 So, this week was adventurous. I think my new favorite thing to do is find people to teach. We came across a lot of crazies this week and a lot of good people to teach as well, but the crazies seem to always stick out more.
 We went to the police station to return an ID Card we found on the street and ended up talking to a cop in the office for 2 hours. His name is Luis Manuel de Vilaça. He sang us gospel songs and told us how much he loved his kids and wants to meet a good woman of the gospel. When he started to sing, he told us he wasn´t embarassed and just belted it...he actually sang really well, but it was hard not to laugh at the whole situation. So...that was fun.
 DAD! I have the best story for you! I know a Mason! I true life Mason. He´s in our Ward. His name is Dimas. We had lunch at their house Saturday and it was the best lunch conversation I´ve ever had. Dimas and Ivone are so funny and so cool. They are a couple in our ward, I think they´re in their mid fifties. As we were eating and cracking up because I asked Dimas if he wanted to be the President of a Mission and he said, `No. I want to be Presidente of the Church´ And then he began to tell us his ideas..´if I were President of the Church...´  Super funny. Then his wife, Ivone said, ´Did you know we´re not sealed in the temple? And its not because we haven´t had the chance. Dimas doesn´t want to get sealed.` All of us laughing, I told him if they´re not sealed he can´t be a God one day, he´ll just be an angel and Dimas replied, ´An angel REALLY cool.` Hahaah. We were laughing so hard. Then Ivone began to tell us about a wedding they went to that was a Mason wedding and Dimas was dressed in his Mason clothes (don´t know what those are) and had a sword and Ivone just laughed and laughed the whole reception. She said she knows all the Mason secrets because Dimas talks in his sleep and answers her questions. How hilarious is that!?! Surreal?! I told Dimas my dad loves studying about the Free Masons and our forefathers and Dimas thinks dad is a Mason now. But he told us a few things about them. He said all the things we´ve heard about Masons and the Church is true. And that they only do good things. And a lot of their ceremonies are a lot like the temple. But the whole not wanting to be sealed thing is just Dimas. Ivone said when he dies she´s just going to get sealed to someone else and lock him out of the Celestial Kingdom. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. So...I know a Mason.
 We found a few great families we´re teaching and praying that they are the elect of the Lord. A few of our progressing investigators have dengue...so that´s putting things off course...dang dengue! I guess now is the season of dengue. Fun, fun. But, we´re just working hard and trying to follow every whispering of the Spirit. Super simple things like, knock here. Talk to them. And it seems to be working. I love being this close to the Spirit!
 Other than that life is good. It was cool and rainy this week. My umbrella broke so Saturday I got drenched, but Presidente and Sister Araújo had an extra they gave me of an Elder that left it. Miracles happen!!!
 Today our Zone is Hiking Morro do Moreno (Hill of the Brown Man, I think?) Hopefully its worth it. I just wanted to sleep at home, but Sister Owens wants to go....so, I´m learning every day how to be a better wife and mother. Good thing. I think I really needed it! Love you Guys!

November 7, 2011

Helllooo everyone!
 
I realize that a new baby was born but you can still send a quick email! Haha. Just kidding. I got the picture that Jenna sent me of baby Hayven. He looks like Bowen...I think. So cute. I can´t believe I have a nephew!!! Woo hoo! I´m so glad that Lynlee still remembers and loves me ... it makes an aunt happy. I also got a letter from Tommy and his family. It is so good to hear about them. I KNOW Bridon and Talon are GROWING...grandma sent me a picture back in September and it was ridiculous! It´ll be crazy when I get back. Its funny to hear about the cold there...what is cold? Haha. These past few days haven´t been too bad it was pretty cool and windy but I know the heat is coming. Its gonna be weird to have a hot Christmas - but hey, whatcha gonna do!
 This week was SUPER SLOW and we were super discouraged, just walking all day, knocking doors, no one wanting to talk to us...NO ONE! But, we fasted Saturday to Sunday and I know this week we´re going to meet the Lord´s elect! I KNOW IT! The Lord sees our efforts even when they bring no fruits. I love Sundays on a mission, they are the best thing ever. Especially when you´re fasting. Taking the Sacrament is really like being re-baptized. I also bore my testimony in my new ´Home Ward´. They´re all so excited I stayed again and me too! And with Sister Owens! Its the best thing EVER!!! We have so much fun preaching the gospel together!
 We´re teaching a few great people. We still have the elect family of Adriana and her son Igor (15) and daughter Dayane (8). We stopped by the other day and Adriana wasn´t there and we were just going to leave and come back another day, but Igor said, ´You guys don´t want to come in and pray?`  SO CUTE. So, obviously, we went in and taught him and Dayane about when Jesus visited the Americas and blessed the children. We´re also teaching the husband of a member and he´s preparing to be baptized. It is going to be really hard for him because he smokes, drinks a lot and never really learned anything about religion so we´re taking it really slow with him. But him and his family are so special, I´ve never felt so much love that I wanted something so much for someone as I do this family.
 Sister Owens and I also had a very special day with Carol...she was a 14 year old girl that got baptized two transfers ago. She did visits with us for a whole day and we learned so much about her. She bore her testimony in one lesson about how terrible her life was before the gospel. And it really was terrible. Her cousin that she lives with is horrible to her and Carol said she didn´t want to live anymore, that her life didn´t have purpose...and then she said we knocked on her door and taught her about the gospel and she started going to church and she was happy and she had friends and a new mom and it changed everything. Well, the end of that lesson EVERYONE was crying...including the investigator. It made me realized even more why I´m here and what a sacred work I am involved in. I wouldn´t trade it for ANYTHING...even the hard times.
 So, I got my Christmas package!!!! Thank you so so so so so much! We put up all of our decorations and I didn´t open a single present and I won´t until Christmas day! Are you guys setting up Skype so I can talk to you? I hope so! I´m so excited for Christmas in BRAZIL!!! Woo hoo! Thank you for my cards, the pictures (that are now always with me in my Português Livro de Mórmon), the presents, candy, PEANUT BUTTER, love and everything that you sent! A package means so much to a missionary! I LOVE YOU GUYS!
 

Feliz Dia das Bruxas! 10/31

Oi Família!
 
So, let me start off by trying to answer your questions. Yes, they technically have ´Halloween´ here and its called Dia das Bruxas (Day of the Witches) way cooler title than Halloween I think....but no one does anything. I think its just a thing they adopted because its such a big deal in The States. Answer to some of grandmas questions - they have McDonalds here but not as many as we have and its really expensive. A Big Mac Meal is like $12 or R$20 they also have a place called Bobs thats fast food, but its also expensive. We eat with members every single day and I´m not sure if its being a missionary or being a missionary in Brazil, but I think they think we are starving because they just force the food down us every day at lunch. I will eat to the point where you´re eating and throwing up at the same time and the members will still say, `You didn´t eat anything. Did you not like it? Do you want me to fry you an egg?´ I don´t know why they think we will eat more than them. Its really funny. We don´t really COOK that much because I will not use a gas powered stove - I´m too scared - and we don´t have very much time. I usually just snack on crackers and yogurt and the amazing fruits they have here that we don´t have in The States. Hope that answers your questions!
 
Yes, I got the photos of Lynlee and Ellee. SO cute!!! Love the spaghetti. I can´t believe how big they are getting! I only have one picture of Liv that grandma Bowen took in our pool. I printed it and put it in my Hymn Book of Art along with some of Lynlee and Ellee. I can´t believe I have a nephew coming!!! Woo hoo!!! Tell me how everything goes and send PICTURES for goodness sakes!!!
Mom, you sound like you are being a perfect missionary with your friend KB at work and she sounds awesome. I think the only next thing is to go with the Missionaries to her house!!!! I love visits with members. Its so much better. I´m glad to hear you and Dallin are studying together and I hope he gets his Patriarchal Blessing soon. That would help so much. It is really essential for a mission...I´m learning. Sister Nicascio is so funny. She is in the tribe Manasses and she keeps telling me she wants to be in the tribe of King Benjamin because she loves him from the Book of Mormon. I keep telling her they´re different people - but, what can you do. She is so hilarious. I love being with a person who only has 2 years in the church. We´ve learned so much together!!!
So it is HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT here. I can´t even describe it and it was only 32 degrees Celsius yesterday...its only the beginning. Blech. But even at night it started to rain and we were walking to a members house it seemed even hotter. It reminded me of dad. Every morning when he used to take me to school on his way to work and it was cloudy and rainy he said, ´I loved days like this on my mission because the clouds keep the warmth in the air.´ Well, I don´t love days like that on my mission. :D Haha. 
So, transfers are tomorrow and I´m staying again! I don´t know how I feel because I think, definitely I will be transfered next time which is right before Christmas...but what´re you gonna do? Follow the Spirit! Sister Owens is staying too and Sister Nicascio got transfered. Another 6 weeks of adapting, teaching and learning from new experiences. Wahoo! Missions are so weird. But AMAZING.
So, the crowning moment! Geter got baptized! Family complete! At the end he thanked me for being persistent. Haha. Bishop said they could go through the temple in one year...I´ll be just finishing my mission. How perfect! I can just see him baptizing his son in two years and going through the temple and being sealed to his family FOREVER! I love this work that I have the priviledge of being involved in. I´m growing and learning so much...even when I don´t know it. I passed my 6 month anniversary this week...one more year focused only on the work of the Lord! I better take advantage.
This week was full of trials and challenges, more than the other weeks if you can believe it...but it sufficeth me to say to you that you don´t need to worry about me because I KNOW that I have angels watching over me and taking care of me. Its undescribable the miracles that happen when you are an instrument in the Lord´s hands.
I hope everyone is doing good and excited for Christmas! I am! We have a phrase here to have a White Christmas...people dressed in white to get baptized!
Thanks AGAIN for all your love, support and your prayers. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!!!!
Sister Kelsi Kate Johnson