Thursday, March 15, 2012

February 2012

Feb 6th - 2nd Degree
So. I thought I would start doing titles to my emails to get you all hooked! Is it working?
Anyways. Answer time: Grandma: 1)Yes, it's still the summer and will be until March. 2) We walk a lot! This area especially. We pretty much have to walk an hour in whatever direction to get to our investigators because the neighborhood we live in is all apartment buildings we can't enter without a name and we don't teach very much in our own neck of the woods. So, normally its leave home, walk an hour, lunch at a members and then walk around to our lessons and visits and then walk back home an hour. But we also have an area thats about 2 hours away so we plan 1 or 2 days a week we go there. Em fim, we walk a lot. :D 3) Yes! We have a fan in our house. Two actually! And I say my prayers and thank Heavenly Father for it everynight because I heard a quote once that said, ''What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday.'' And I don't want to be without a fan. It probably doesn't help that I ALWAYS sleep with the blanket my mom made on top of me. I can't help it. I love it! Dad: No. The SuperBowl is NOTHING here. I didn't even know who was in it until we had lunch with a member that happens to be in love with American Football. One member. That's how big the SuperBowl is.

This week was another hot one. I now have to be a nerd and stop randomly throughout the day to reapply sunscreen. I was just applying it in the morning (50SPF Sport), but I still sweat it all off and wound up with a 2nd degree burn on my nose...that was hot. So, we're bringing out the big guns. Not really, I'll just put on more sunblock more often. But I'll for sure die of skin cancer one day. 
We had a really good week spiritually and teachingly speaking (does that make sense?). But we didn't reach our goals...which I'm trying to tell myself is okay. We had a great lunch with a member that served a mission that gave us some great advice. She told us that this is the one time in our life we have to teach with power and authority and to promise blessings that Heavenly Father has for our investigators. When we have to take our nametags off the power is gone. Elders will have this power anytime they have a leadership calling in the church, so we have to take advantage of our time. We left that lunch with fire under our feet, ready to teach by the Spirit, and the fire stayed all week. We taught some amazing lessons, completely led by the Spirit. Super cool! Also, we found some great families that we're teaching and hoping that they'll make it all the way to the font. Finally, the ward is helping us too. We started really getting to know and to love the members during our one hour of lunch with them and it's really helping. Members come up to us Sundays and talk and joke and give us references. It's amazing! We also taught the lesson yesterday in RS about Missionary Work. Me and Grandma Bowen. It was really good! 
Yesterday night we ate pancakes at the Soneghet's house. The Soneghet's is a family you will have to meet. They are super old in the church. Both Kátia (mom) and Adilson (dad) served missions and Gabi is in Rio serving right now and Raquel (19) is getting ready to serve. I have never met a family that does more for the missionaries and other people than this one. We have lunch with them once, every week, and every Sunday we go over there at night and there's always a bunch of people there and a bunch of food. It's amazing. When Adilson saw my nose, he got all worried and kept checking up on me, like a dad. Kátia is always worrying about our lunches and stuff. I find a family wherever I go! But the Soneghet's are different. I knew them when I was in Itaparica because they are that awesome. They're like famous members of the church here. I love them.
Funny story. So it seems like all drunk men speak English and they always wanna talk to the American girls walking down the street. But instead of saying like, ''Hello. How are you? What's your name?'' Which would be normal...they want to say like everything they know in English, so its like, ''Hello. 1 2 3 4 5 7 Morning. Whats your namey? Beautiful.'' Its hilarious.
So. Thanks for writing me! DMaceemo, how are the papers coming? Now that you got your wisdom teeth out...its coming up! Jenna, everyone's dream here is to go to Disneyland or World. Its funny, because in the States its every kids dream too. Bowen, sorry to hear you were sick and now the kiddos. :( But, I love to hear you talk about going through the temple. I pray for you and Maliá every night! Dad, good to hear life is normal and lots of cool things aren't happening without me. How's the ward? Mom, you didn't write, but I love you, thanks for being my mommy! 

Feb. 13th - I've got Sunshine!
I've got sunshine every SINGLE day! Misericórdia! (aka: mercy!) They really say that here.

So, let's begin. I'm still getting blisters and peeling on my nose but I'm putting on more sunscreen throughout the day and stuff. I just know I will NOT walk with an umbrella. Lame-o! Mom, reading the Book of Mormon in personal study isn't hard, I understand it, sometimes when I have to read verses during lessons it gets hard to pronounce, but just reading I love it. Everytime you read the Book of Mormon you understand new things, but when you read it in a different laguage it opens up a new world of teachings. I love it! Bowen, thanks for your email. Its so good to hear it sounds like everything is going amazing in your life and it all comes from doing what is right. We finally got one of our investigators to understand that this week. Her son is on trial for rape and it sounds like he's guilty. He's 16 and the girl is 13. Yup. Welcome to Brazil. Anyways. She finally understood Thursday how the commandments just make sense and our lives would be so much better if everyone lived them and that's why we have the gospel! I'm so excited for you two to go through the temple and for you to be a policeman too! How cool. I knew you guys ate pizza and wings this week because I was craving them like crazy! Dallin, when you get back from your mission we're going to Brazil together home skillett! None of this Chicago weak sauce. Jenna, PDays are pretty boring. I like them like that. I like to write letters and sleep. Last week we went to McDonalds and my ''sister'' from Itaparica came and ate lunch with us. It was so good to see her and talk to her. But, thats about it. Other than that we hang out with Sister Araújo, that's ALWAYS entertaining. Grandma, yes, I get tired walked AND the time passes fast. So its the best of both worlds. I'm waiting for my body to get used to walking so much and so much sun...its taking a long time! My ''release date'' is October 27th, but I don't know if the transfer will be before or after that. ?

Mom, to answer some of your questions about coming and getting me. 1) I know its expensive and I know you put more value on experiences than on money so I will try to still love you if you don't come and get me....but it will be really hard to get me to get on that airplane alone. 2) Presidente Araújo LOVES when parents come and get their kids. I told them you guys are trying and he's all excited. 3) The church pays for my flight so they will put me on the same flight you guys take, I think. 5) I'll check about this timing thing of if they know when exactly we'd be leaving. But I'm praying that you guys have the resources to come and get me and I think every night this week I had a dream about maybe its meant to be and Heavenly Father will do a miracle! (is that right? do a miracle?....I don't speak English!)
So. Sorry. I'm already running out of time to write. But we are teaching a really great family with two kids! Cláudio, Ruth, Eduardo and Isabel. They are super awesome and we're fasting and praying a ton that they will get baptized this transfer. We've been fasting so much I don't even have to buy food again this week! Sweet right?! I'm learning the worth of working hard for something worthwhile. And if the worth of souls is great in the side of God then it will be a huge battle to help save them! You'd think it'd just be, ''Hey. We have the restore priesthood authority, a living prophet and 12 apostles.'' And people would line up to get baptized...but Satan is crafty...jerkface! And he winds the truth in with his lies in every other church.

I had a rough weekend. Saturday we didn't teach ONE lesson. Not ONE! We just walked in the hot sun from house to house. No one one home or every one was ''just about to leave.'' It was rough. I was exhausted. The next day, Sunday we got to church and our Ward Mission Leader gave the lesson for Priesthood and RS and a brother from the church raised his hand and gave ''constructive criticism''on the missionary work we and this ward are doing.  Just complaining basically. So after the Saturday I had and then having to hear that I started to cry. I felt very humbled. I also felt sad, but I know I have weaknesses and I know that the gospel will be preached by the weak and the simple (D&C 1:23) so it seems like I'm on the right track huh?! It was sad at the time...but you know me...I can't stay sad for very long. After church we actually had some great lessons! And because Heavenly Father still works miracles we happened to be at the right place at the right time and met a young guy named Felipe that seems really open to hear the restored gospel. Also, Sunday night I got to eat pancakes again, with syrup. Mmmmm! We literally ran to get to the members house. I ran for pancakes.
Anyways, sorry this email is a little messy. Hope it makes sense. I hope you guys can tell how much I love what I'm doing and how much it is changing my life. I pray every night that Dallin's mission will be the same for him. I understand now what people say about missions. The cliche phrases. ''Best two years'' and stuff like that. I'm serious. It will be really hard to get me home.
I love you guys. Thank you for all of your love, your prayers, your support, your emails, pictures, everything!!! I hope the Lord is blessing you as much as he is blessing me and that one day we will all receive the greeting of which Enos spoke: ''Vinde a mim, o bendito. Há um lugar preparada para ti nas mansões de meu Pai.'' Enos 1:27
PS This weekend is CARNAVAL....I'll let you know how that goes....I think we'll be staying with President a lot!
Happy Valentines Day! (Valentines day here is June 12th...waaa waaaaaaaaaa

Feb 20th - Yes Satan?

Oh. I´m sorry I thought you were somebody else.
So......I´m emailing from Presidentes house, so if this email is a bit random its because theres a lot going on and I´m not paying much attention. It was Carnaval this weekend and all the Internet Cafes are closed. What a party. Basically, this whole weekend we´ve just been hanging out at Presidentes at night and doing some slow visits during the day. I don´t even think the US has a holiday like this where everything just shuts down. All the rich people travel and all the poor people get drunk and party. So we played Scrabble with Sister Araujo, English and Portuguese. I won McDonalds.
Sunday we didn´t even have teachers so the member of the Bishopric asked us to teach...apparently Sister Peterson thought us meant just me because she sat down and I taught the class about The Holy Ghost. 3 new members and an investigator. I got a compliment at the end of how well I did, so I felt good afterwards.We invited part of our elect family to be baptized and they ACCEPTED! Woo hoo! We just need to get them to church and they´ll love it, they´ll feel the Spirit and not have a  problem! So, I have a lot of faith that all this work this transfer isn´t in vain. A lot of work! I hope I stay here another transfer...but, the Lords will be done, ne?
Thanks for your emails and your love. I loved what you said Bowen about gold....its so true! I´m handing out gold and people are like...nah, I´ve got brass, I´m good. Lame-o! But, I´m doing my part, right?! This mission thing is rough when you think you´re doing everything possible and NOTHING is happening. But, I´ll just keep on, keepin on...nothing else I can do. Can´t give up.
We have half the sisters sleeping with us tonight because we have Sisters Conference tomorrow! Woo hoo! Sleepover!!! Thanks for your love, support, emails, trying to come get me at the end of my mission.You are all the best!!! You don´t even know how much I love you!!
P.S. The date of my last day in the field is November 6th....if you need to know for plane flights and such. Also, dad, I´ve been using my card a little bit because we´ve had some problems with our cards here. Hope the government gives me a fat refund for all the work I did at SimonMed. Thanks for doing my taxes!

Feb. 27th - Murderer's Girlfriend
I love your emails so much. They are always so funny and entertaining. Its always good to know you guys are still living and having fun even though the life of the party is in Brazil....oh wait, Bowen is still here...hahahaha. Just kidding. I know I'm awesome. Haha. Sounds like the desert was awesome and Haiven's blessing was great too. Good job Bo. I'm super proud of you and all the great choices you're making right now in your life. All the blessings of the Lord will be poured out upon you that you won't even know what to do with yourself!!! I'm noticing it all now. Dallin is putting his papers in at the end of March? So we'll miss each other by like 3 months?! Misericórdia! Ah. I love you guys so much!

So. This week we had a Sisters Conference. Its supposed to be a training for the Sisters because we can't do splits with the Assistents to be trained...but....Sister Araújo was in charge, so the Assistants weren't even allowed to come. It was really awesome. Sisters are so spoiled. 4 of the Sisters came and stayed in our house for 1 day and 2 noghts At the Conference, Presidente and Sister Araújo spoke. We talked about our areas and our difficulties and our triumphs. Then we ate lunch. Then we had closing remarks by Presidente...then we had the choice to go home or stay and hang out or stay and watch a movie. Of course, 12 Sisters were piled in the living room of Presidente and we watched Tangled (Enrolada). (Presidente calls his living room with the television the apostasy room because its where he watches his soccer highlights) When Tangled ended we kind of sat there, all thinking the same thing and then blessed Sister Vieira said, ''Can we watch Enchanted?''  So...we watched Enchanted too. Hilarious. Its good to be a Sister. I should make a that rap song ''Dang it feels good to be a gangster''  ''Darn it is good to be a Sister''  Elder Spencer was jealous when he called that night and found out. Muahahaha.

Wednesday Carnaval ended and the real work began. Finally. After all the fun and stuff it was good to get back outside and do what really makes us happy! Missionary work!!! We're still teaching the girlfriend of an inactive member that killed somebody...he killed somebody...not her. She is amazing. Her name is Thyss (tie-ees). We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she loved it. She kept sighing, like happy sighs and smiling and saying. Wow. Cool. At the end we invited her to be baptized and gave her a date and she said she has always wanted to be baptized. When preachers in church invited people to the front to be baptized she always went, but never was baptized. She said, ''I think the Lord was waiting for me to hear this plan (of salvation) to be baptized in this church.'' It was so amazing. It was the fruits after a LOT LOT of labor. That was probably the best thing that happened this week.
Saturday our district came to our area and we set up a table in a square and talked to people and gave away pamphlets and Ensigns. Elder Spencer is hilarious. He likes to give all people walking holding hands and all girls wearing revealing clothes the pamphlet of Chastity. It was a special activity too because Maurício our teacher from the MTC in São Paulo is here. So we got to catch up and talk to him too. I love my mission. I can't tell you how many times a day I say that. ;)

Just one more thing that I thought of yesterday at church. I've been realizing the importance of the covenants that we make with Heavenly Father and how we have to do our part to fulfill them. At baptism and in the temple. I remember a talk from Elder D. Todd Christofferson that said, Jesus Christ didn't ask for a little...he asked for our very lives. I think we have to remember that we made promises to give all of ourselves to the gospel and to the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that when we give all we have, it still isn't enough, and that is when the grace of the Savior comes in. Also, when we are giving all, we forget ourselves and we are the happiest. We have to be diligente and obediente. Even Jesus Christ, after he suffered for us and died on the Christ, He, who above all, deserved some rest, immediately went to the Spirit World and taught the gospel and organized a missionary army and continued working and serving. He is our perfect Example and when we turn to Him we will recognize our weaknesses (Ether 12:27) and He will make them strong through His Atonement. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL. It's so perfect.

Sister Kelsi Kate Johnson
Left to Right: Elder Collins, Turner, Spencer (woo woo!) McBarron, Pettitt

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