Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Família amada,

So this week we discovered all the challenges this area has, but I really feel the Lord guiding us and I know He will show us what to do.  Our area is ENORMOUS and none of the members have cars.  There are three bairros in our area, Funcionários, Grotão and Colinas do Sul.  The first two are pretty normal, each one we have to climb a super big hill to get to the next.  We always have a super pretty view.  It´s a whole lot more rural with lots of farms and forests and is pretty much more what you would picture Brasil being like. The weird gigantic part of our area is Colinas do Sul, which takes almost an hour of walking up a really steep hill to get to.  You get there, and what it is is a huge neighborhood built by the government with free homes. It´s all the same house, there are no trees, and goes on FOREVER like something out of the twilight zone. Here no one wants to go to church just because it´s so far away so we really need some super elect pioneers.

This whole experience with this neighborhood has made me think a lot about the pioneers, all they sacrificed, how long they walked, how much faith they had to go to Salt Lake in order to follow this same church.  I´ve been praying to know how that actually happened.  But really, the Lord just calls His people and the elect will follow.  If you guys have ideas or want to send me pioneer stories, I´d love it.  I want to help build Zion in Colinas!  I know tons of super humble families live here.

So far, it´s been really apparent that working close with the members has been the way to go here.  The Elders before us were super discouraged and our ward doesn´t have great church attendance.  A few members are really super golden.  Marcos is the one who just got off the mission and he´s been introducing us to his family. 

I am so glad that I know my purpose here on earth.  We aren´t here just to waste time and do nothing.  We came here to have joy and to prepare to return to God´s presence, using all He has blessed us with and our faith to get there.  It really is so simple, but this plan really isn´t for people who aren´t willing to try.  God has expectations because He knows our potential.  It is so frustrating to me how people don´t understand this, but then I think how much more frustrated Heavenly Father is.  He provided a way, He sent His son, He promises to help us, and still we keep forgetting who we our and what our purpose really is here.  

I have such a strong testimony of the importance of family now that I have seen what the other option does.  How can God´s plan work if we aren´t respecting our sacred power of having children and then raising them with correct principles?  The fact that our church focuses on family isn´t just a cute little suggestion, it´s God´s plan for us.  It´s how we learn to understand that God is our FATHER.  We are a family.  We can have all that our Father has and we can´t gain that without an eternal family.  My mission has been preparing me so much for this, and I´m so grateful for the family I was raised in.  I will always associate the happiest times in my life with my family and for that I am soo lucky and blessed.  I am praying so hard to be able to bring that to someone else here in Brasil.  

You guys, the church is true.  Not only is it true but it´s unbelievably amazing.  Do we even realize what it is we have?  I love you guys so much!  Have an awesome week!

Sister Moore

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 20, 2014

Transferred to the Jungle, Colinas do Sul

Sister Quintanilha from Rio, Sister Sciammarella from Utah, Sister Moore from Colorado and Sister Christensen from Minnesota.


Okay, so a lot happened this week.  Like, a lot.  After Sister Seal left there was just something wrong and I was still not feeling very well and I was just overcome with stress.  Stress about helping the area, meeting  expectations, staying home sick too much, our zone suffering.  I just got really sad and just had this feeling something was going to change. So I was still home with a cough and just exhausted so I went to sleep at 4 in the afternoon.  9:40 at night the Sisters came and woke me up and said I´m getting an emergency transfer to Torre.  I didn´t even know what to say, so I just kind of silently packed my bags, called Jaqueline, gave Sister Hicks instructions, and the next morning Sister Sciammarella came and picked me up and we switched companions.  

So this was literally inspiration in the moment.  Zona Torre had interviews with the President that day and he told Sister Sciammarella in the interview about the change.  Not only companions, but that we would trade areas with the Elders, so they aren´t in the same ward anymore.  Then she called Sister Hicks with the assistants on the line later that day and even the assistants didn´t know.  No one told anyone, just President Nogueira to Sister Sciammarella.  No one really knows why, but now I´m her companion and we´re opening an area together, living with two other Sisters, Sister Christensen from Minnesota and Sister Quintanilha from Rio.

We live way far away from our area, so it´s literally going to be a hike every day.  But this ward needs us.  It´s the first time they´ve ever had Sisters and they are all so excited!  Whereas Prossind had way too may inactives and they didn´t really help us much, Colinas do Sul wants to grow.  Our goal is to open a new branch, which is the most exciting thing ever!  Miracles are going to happen this transfer.  

Sister Sciammarella is incredible and we already get along unbelievably well.  She´s from Utah and went to beauty school and loves to do church drama, like the Palmyra Pageant.  She knows tons of musicals and is just super super fun.  She was trained by Sister Johnson!  She´s also really good friends with Sister Seal.  It was totally inspiration and I know we´re going to have miracles and awesome stories here.  I´m so grateful.  We have no one to teach yet, but it feels so good to have a new start, in a new ward that already loves you, with a companion I already love.  The Lord is so aware of me and this whole week just felt like a test of faith.  He always provides a way for us to get through anything.  He knows what we need to learn, what we can handle, what we can´t.  This transfer my attribute of Christ that I will work on is hope.  I am hoping for so many more families, so many more miracles, so much more love for the people and the members and the other missionaries.  

Hope in Christ really is the only way to have peace.  I´ve been pondering a lot about how much easier it is to just trust Him and not feel like everything is your responsibility.  Pray every night to know if He accepts your mission.  He wants you to love the journey.  I really get so much more than I deserve here and I am so so so so so grateful and excited for this sudden change!  Bring it on!

I love you all so much!!!!  Pray for me to get better because I still have a pretty icky cough.  I´m taking care of myself but I just want to work with all my energy so badly.  I promise it´s not that bad and I´m not dying, I´m just so sick of being sick.  Just know I´m so thrilled to be here and my companion is an angel.  I know I have more to say but for now that´s it.  

Oh, I want to learn all the scripture masteries so you should send me a card with all of the new ones on it.   

Keep being awesome missionaries and know that the Lord takes good care of His children.  I have never ever been happier in my life than I am serving the Lord 24 hours a day.  Why doesn´t everyone just do that?

Batize multidoes!!!

Sister Moore

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 15, 2013

Querida Família!!!  EU ESTOU VIVA NÃO SE PREOCUPE!!!

But really, Brasilians in general are insane about health.  You get a sniffle and they send you straight to the hospital.  I AM FINE.  I will explain everything, but first, this week was very huge.  And yes, every 6 weeks is transfers so the next will be the end of February and I will write Wednesday instead of Monday.

I have some pictures this week!  It was an awesome week :)
We had a baptism!
Sister Seal, Sister Moore, and Sister Hick's (Hannah's New Companion)

And I´m still in my same area with my same cool Zone Leaders, Elder Georgianna and Elder Herrera.  Haha I just really love this picture. Zona Rangel

So where do I even start?  With the baptism I guess.  Antonio (haha yes, another Antonio) was taught by Sister Seal when she arrived here in Brasil.  He was a very heavy smoker but he wanted to change and get baptized.  The first time he was taught, his brother in law yelled at them and told them they could never come back.  Apparently that opinion changed because we talked to Antonio again, who really wanted to be taught again, and so we did this time without any trouble from that guy. We brought a member to give him a blessing to help him stop smoking which was SUPER effective and he just stopped that day.  He also is trying to learn to read for the first time in his life and so we´re helping him read the Book of Mormon.  He is a super genuine guy who really wanted to be clean and change his life.  His baptism was really sweet and he is just so happy and says he feels free.  The story of Alma the younger´s suffering and joy touched his heart, and I just know he´s truly repentant.  Great guy.  He also has a really crazy sister who likes to sing and dance to American 80´s music while we´re there. hahah not quite Whitney Houston but getting there :)

I was starting to think maybe Alcicleia didn´t want our message after all because we had a whole week where she was super flakey and hard to find at home.  After she didn´t go to church I thought she would just fall through the cracks will all the rest of the people who don´t keep commitments.  But instead, I called her one more time to set up an appointment because I wasn´t ready to give up.  She answered the phone crying. Turns out she wasn´t at church because someone killed her brother and she was visiting her mom to help comfort her.  She accepted an appointment for us to pass by Sunday night.  We got there and she immediately broke down, her four kids playing rambunctiously around her.  We went outside and she just told us how she wanted to know her purpose in life.  Her life has been tragedy after tragedy, and her mom is suffering even more than she is and she doesn´t know how to help her.  After that conversation, she thanked us for listening and we returned the next day after prayer and study to teach her the plan of salvation. And what a lesson.  For the first time I feel I´ve found an investigator who was waiting for me, and who God had to prepare ME to teach.  Everything applied directly to her, the spirit was delivering every word to her.  In the end she said the prayer and it is very clear she wants to follow a religion and change her story.  This Sunday she´ll tell us if she´ll be baptized on the 26th, which would be with two of her older daughters too.  I LOVE HER.  

That lesson was yesterday right before learning about transfers, and man did I want to stay after that.  Sister Seal has always been craving change, and she got it this time.  She´s going to Mamanguape!!   I know she´s going to rock it there and it´s gonna give her tons of energy for the work.  I didn´t even know how to react to the news.  We both got what we wanted, but I will be so lost without her, and the other way around too.  It seems like we only know how to work with each other.  I was also really expecting to be senior companion or train this transfer because that´s what all my leaders were saying, but instead I´m with one of the Sister Leader Trainers.  Sister Hicks studied dance, is the youngest in the family with four older brothers and is from Virginia (doesn´t know Melecia)  Her old companion arrived with me and is now training, along with Sister Christofferson from the CTM.  My prideful side keeps making me think a mission is like a casting call, but I know it´s not.  I know I´m capable of training, but with Sister Hicks, I will learn SO many things.  She is one of the only MISSIONARIES,  not just of the Sisters, but including everyone, who baptizes every week. She´s a powerhouse.  I know it´s going to awesome, she´s awesome and super sweet, I just need to swallow my pride and be junior for a little while more.  I´m going to miss Sister Seal, I trust her with my life and no one will replace her for me.  Jaqueline is devastated.  But oh well, transfers are always weird at first, but this transfer really is going to blow them all out of the water.  Sister Hicks and I are an unstoppable combination, I´ve already done divisions with her.  So I´m still in good hands, the best we´ve got here in fact :) And the other two Brasilians still live with us.   

And now you guys probably want to know what happened with my health this week.  Yes, I had a fever, yes, I spent a lot of time resting at home.  I went to the hospital twice (yay free healthcare) and I wish I had the sketchy photos that make it look like I´m dying.  No matter how sick you are here, they ALWAYS give you medicine through an IV and they give you oxygen.  Just cause they can?  I don´t know but I´ve had FOUR IV´s in my arm this week. The first time I almost panicked but the second time some members went with us and they were a lot more helpful.  My fever is finally gone, it was just a virus, not dengue or any kind of infection, and it just had to pass through my system.  The ward took really good care of me, so did the other Sisters and Presidente and Sister Nogueira also.  Right now all I have is a cough.  

Well that´s about it this week!!  I love you all and I can´t believe my hour's already up!  Until Monday!

Muito amor,

Sister Moore

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

Queridíssima Família,
I know I say this a lot but this was for sure one of the coolest weeks on the mission.  Every time I say that it means SO much more than the last time haha.  This week I really learned the value of the baptismal invitation and the power of my calling.  The way we´ve been doing things lately has been just pushing people to go to church then dropping then afterwards because they can´t be baptised the next week.  It sounds awful, but it´s pretty understandable here.  For two weeks we´ve just been running behind people, hoping to mark baptisms in church for people who go.. but no one went.  I realized that we aren´t here to bring people to church, we are here to call people to repentence and baptism.  The one thing we changed this week was inviting EVERYONE we meet on the street to be baptized, and miracles happened.  We had five people in church yesterday and they were the people we invited to be baptized.  Alcicleia may or may not be as elect as we thought, but I think the reason she wasn´t there yesterday was because we had fear to invite her to be baptized the first time we talked.  But just let me count some of the miracles:
Jofesa and Maria: Josefa has a alcoholic son who we see on the street every day and finally we talked to her while she was sitting outside and she said she really wants help for her son and to come closer to God.  She is actually a little bit crazy and I don´t think she understands that we aren´t evangelicals, but we taught her the first lesson with her daughter Maria.  Maria is the reason we met Josefa.  Throughout the lesson Josefa kept getting way off track talking about nothing and Maria kept stopping her and saying ´keep going, I want to know who this prophet is´´.  It was kind of funny, but Maria really does want to find an answer.  They both came to church and Maria was very very engaged in the Gospel Principals class, marking pages in her Book of Mormon for later and flipping through the class manual.  When we asked her to be baptized she just looked at us for a second and then said ´´of course, that´s what I have to do.´´  She didn´t accept for this Sunday yet but that´ll change :)
Luzinete: A referral with a family!  We had a really inspired lesson where we just talked about eternal families.  We almost didn´t invite her to be baptized, but I just whipped out my little picture with Christ and John the Baptist and told her that her family can be eternal through living the Gospel and baptism is the first step.  She accepted with a date, this Sunday.
I don´t have enough time to talk about the rest of the baptisms we marked but I am literally addicted now to whipping out the baptism card.  This is my mission.  This is what I´m here to do, and there are power in the words `Will you follow Jesus Christ?´
I have learned a lot about inspiration.  I´ve always been a hesitator, and the adversary knows that, but I´ve learned that if it invites others to come unto Christ, just DO it.  You won´t know if it was inspired until you do it.  One of the assistants and one of our LZ´s came and worked in our area and asked where they should go contacting, since we recieve revelation for our area. I wasn´t feeling particularly inspired but Sister Seal and I thought the same place and they went there and found a woman who wants to be baptized.
Só vai, só batize!  The adversary wants to block every baptism possible.  The Lord promised to prepare people in our path.  My testimony of obedience has also increased a lot.  Our zone goal is 40 baptisms, a goal our LZ´s prayed about.  God prepared at LEAST 40 people.  Whether or not we will baptize these people is on us and our willingness to do it the Lord´s way.  And it´s always the little things, like studying dressed in the full missionary standard, or always speaking the language.  And obedience always leads to charity. If you want to have charity for someone, serve them.  Anything but exact obediece shows that you care more about yourself than that person and you will not develop charity.
It´s just insane how much happens in a week.  I almost forgot about the dream I had at the beginning of the week.  I had a dream that a whole bunch of Sisters were sent home just because we weren´t helping the mission enough.  It was a very long, real dream and I remember everything from the plane ride home to arriving at our house.  I realized I hadn´t accomplished yet what I was here to do, not even close.  I woke up in tears and since then I haven´t even had the slightest inkling of a desire to be back home.  Not that I don´t love you guys or look forward to seeing you again, but I have reached the point where I just wish it would all slow down.  My heart is here.
I really want to thank you, my family, for so many things.  You guys are awesome, you guys are batizadores.  d I´m just so grateful for the family I have.  Mom, you are the best missionary mom who ever lived.  You did your part and sent 6 children on missions, and you continue to support the missionaries in the ward and your own kids in the best way you can.  Dad, this country is a part of me now like it is for you, and I´m so glad we have that.  If you have music you want to send me, you can scan it and email it.  You guys were right about pretty much everything you taught me growing up.  Except I still should´ve have a horse ;) Joking, kind of..
Pray for this mission, pray for the Fort Collins Mission, the Macon Georgia Mission, pray that the missionaries are kept from temptation.  Pray for the people I mentioned above and also Antonio, Rafael, and Paulo who will also hopefully be baptized in the next two weeks.  Pray for Jaqueline.  She is being an example to the whole ward.  We do not have enough time in this life to not show our love for other people.  She hasn´t moved yet and I don´t know when she will.  I forgot to tell Dad that she got really emotional when he sang that song.  That was really cool for me that you got to talk to her.
Te amo demais!
Sister Moore