Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 24, 2014

Querida Família!!

Wow, this was a week I definitely had to write everything down to remember all that happened!  We had a baptism yesterday, Antonio (the third Antonio, I´m going for the all-time record).  I really think I´m starting to understand how baptizing every week works.. you have to have at least 3 possible baptisms each week and at least one will :)  But really it is amazing just inviting people to repent and be baptized right when you meet them.  That´s why we´re here!  Next week we´re hoping to baptize Joselha, Antonio´s wife who came to church yesterday.  We know she will eventually but she hasn´t prayed specifically to know yet if the church is true and still thinks all churches are the same.  The gospel really is so simple.  There are only three reasons people won´t be baptized, 1. They haven´t prayed for a testimony 2. The commandments and 3. Family or friends.  When you really think about it it´s all just the commandment.  Just repent and be clean!  Every single person on the earth needs to do this to live with Heavenly Father again!

Our whole mission is doing a whole lot better this week, everyone is baptizing again and I think it was just a change in attitude.  On Tuesday we had a special training with the AP´s where they talked about New Zealand´s undefeatable rugby team, the All-Blacks.  We watched some clips of them playing and also of the Haka, their war dance they do to intimidate the other team.  What does that have to do with anything?  They always win because they know they will win, and will do anything to keep winning.  Jesus Christ already won, so we already know we´re the winning team.  We need the same attitude as the All-Blacks when we teach the gospel.  The people can choose to accept, but we need the certainty that the Spirit will help us and that what we are offering is what they need.  Afterwards our zone learned the Haka, you can YouTube it, and all the zones are making videos as a competition to see who can do it better.  It was super fun and I´m convinced it´s why we´re baptizing haha we´re such Lamanites.  

We also had divisions this week and this time I went to Bella Vista to work with the juniors for two days and Sister Sciammarella worked with the seniors to teach them how we work in our area.  It was pretty cool because I felt like a Sister Leader Trainer, but it´s just always fun working in a different area.  After that our zone did a blitz which also helped everyone a lot.  We all just went to one area and tried to mark as many baptisms as possible, giving all the references to the elders who worked there.  Realizing that we´re all working for the same thing is so important, and we can´t do anything without Christ.  The scripture Elder Wisner read at the end was 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, that says all the workers are equal, the planters and the reapers, but only God makes the seed grow.  It is so true.  I´ve been studying the enabling power of the atonement, and I really like in John 15 the example of the root and the branches.  God needs us to be His hands, but we can´t do anything without Him who first created us.  

So this was also a really funny week.  I got the most horrible haircut of my life that Sister Sciamm had to fix it.  Literally it was like a child was cutting it, I don´t think she really worked there haha but now it´s not that bad, just really short.  Sister Sciamm really wanted a picture with a donkey and it´s baby, and it totally kicked her... yeah it could´ve been really bad but it was just the funniest thing ever.  We also finally got to ride in a horse cart!  One of the members lives SO far out in the middle of nowhere on this little farm and they gave us a lift.  A really bumpy lift but it was awesome.  We´re princesses.  I´m sorry I never have my camera so I don´t have good pictures, but it´ll just get stolen.  My package hasn´t arrived yet but neither has Sister Sciamm´s Christmas package.. who knows. 

This week we are still trying to baptize Janaina, she was really excited to be baptized but then made some bad choices the night before.  Rhayanne´s older sister Ana Paula came to church and wants to be baptized!  She goes to college so she´s only home Saturday and Sunday, but she totally has a desire.  We knew it would be a lot better if we taught her with Rhayanne, but when we stopped by her house she didn´t want to come with us because she was tired.  But then in the middle of the lesson she just pulls up on a motorcycle out of nowhere and joins the lesson.  She´s always been super quiet and serious but when Ana Paula said she wanted to be baptized Rhayanne just screamed and started just testifying of baptism and the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon.  It was SO COOL.  Rhayanne is the best!!! I just wanted to cry I was so proud of her.  This is how missionary work should be, the people are so converted and happy that they bring everyone with them!  YES!

It sounds like you guys are doing great!  Your mission is going to bless you so much and I can´t believe Eric´s coming home!  I hope you have faith to break down prison walls but I also hope you are never in prison during your mission :) 

The church is true!  Joseph Smith is a prophet of God!  General Conference is coming up again.  I can´t believe how time flies.  I love you all so much!  I love your scripture on your plaque, I actually wrote that in my planner this week and I remembered it was your favorite scripture, mom.  

Com muito amor e carinho,

Sister Moore

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Querida Família,
WOOHOO!!  BOSTON!!  You guys are going to love your mission, and you won´t even believe how fast it goes.  I promise you won´t want to come back if you just give everything to the Lord.  The thing I´ve learned this week is that fear is the opposite of faith.  You will never know what´s going to happen in the future, but you don´t have enough faith in our loving Heavenly Father if you´re afraid of that.  Happiness is guaranteed for the faithful.
The purpose of goals and planning isn´t to decide how and when the Lord will bless you, but how hard you will work and what the Lord knows you can do.  We make our goals thinking of specific families and people, but when those people fall through, which happens A LOT, you have to keep working and having the faith that God has something else in mind.  Still no baptisms this week, but we have two more Sundays and 4 people marked their baptism for this week and it´s going to happen!
Yesterday we saw so many people at church we wanted to see!  Janete finally came and we got to tell Julia her daughter that she was there.  She couldn´t even believe it.  She brought her boyfriend too and we´re going to start teaching them.  It was so awesome that she came, even with her ex-husband there and the whole ward knowing she left. 
We found two people in the area book this week, Allison, 19, and Felipe, 17 (not related) who were both almost baptized and we don´t know why they weren´t.  We were able to contact BOTH and they BOTH still want to get baptized!
Another two investigators were also at church, Janaina and Antonio.  Antonio is an older man and we are helping him quit smoking.  Janaina is about my age and has a daughter and we´re also helping her quit smoking.  Her dad said he would FOR SURE come to church, so sure that he gave us his cell phone and told us to keep it until he came to church.  hahaha... yeah, he didn´t come.  It was hilarious though.
Winter is beginning here, and I´m not sure if the rain is much better than the heat here... we saw two fish in the road.  Physically, sometimes I don´t even think I´ll be able to survive another day on this mission, but if you can get past that it´s just the best thing ever.  At the end of each day I know without a doubt that the Lord was helping me just to be able to walk. 
So we didn´t do much differently, but I´m learning that faith isn´t getting your hopes way up and expecting that God will grant your every whim and make all your investigators be at church and get baptized, but it´s trusting that he will bless you for your work.  It´s just always in His time, and He always has something for us to learn.  Miracles happen every day and if we don´t notice them, why would God send us more?
Carla and Alex love us, they are still reading the scriptures and praying and they are my favorite investigators ever. Carla always cries and she is so sincere with her questions.  They are still trying to get to documents they need to get married,so it´s gonna be a little bit of a wait.  UGH, like a whole month for someone to be baptized?  Is this what it´s like to serve in the united states? ;)
I love you all so much and can´t wait to hear about your own mission adventures.  Boston is going to be so great, even if you don´t get to see monkeys and dinosaurs :) Brasil is the best, the church is true!
Always make sure you´re converted to the Savior and not to anything else!  Feed His sheep!
 Fiquem felizes, Jesus te ama
com amor e carinho,
Sister Moore

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 10, 2014

Querida Famílinha,

Everything works out for good for those who believe in God.  Just have a little more patience with that mission call.  Missions require a LOT of patience.  That´s what I´ve been learning.  Faith is knowing God keeps His promises, so you keep going even when it seems you aren´t seeing the blessings.  I read James 5 where it talks about patience and the footnotes has a small list of examples of when people such as Paul, Alma, Abinadi and Joseph Smith who all had to suffer through great afflictions to bring forth the work of God. I read each one today and also the story of the sons of Mosiah.  The Lord promised them success if they bore their trials with patience.  Just read Alma 26 to how their mission ended!  I want converts like the Anti- Nephi- Lehi´s.  Or the 3000 baptisms of Peter.

But right now it´s not really going like that yet...  Tuesday I went to a leadership meeting with Sister Sciammarella and stayed with the other juniors, where Sister Cameron from my old area told me that not a single one of my converts comes to church.  Even J has stopped coming for a month now.  I wrote her a letter but it really hurt to hear that.  Other than that this week was actually pretty miraculous.  We found such elect people, were going over and beyond the padrões de excelencia, planning every day with the spirit and using our member to help us.  Saturday night 21 people told us they were coming to church, and they all had a way of getting there.  How many people came to church?  Just one, Carla, who has to get married, so we don´t have a baptism for next week again.

So the fruits aren´t quite there yet, but we definitely can´t stop now.  James 5 talks about how the Lord is full of tender mercies, so this week I´m going to start counting them.  Fabio, our investigator who ALMOST made it to sacrament meeting last week wasn´t at home this week each time we went.  He lives way far away and we always talked to his mom but for some reason just assumed she wouldn´t go.  But the third time we saw her, we almost left, but I felt I needed to invite her to be baptized.  She turns out to be really cool and said she had never been baptized by immersion and her son had never been baptized at all and they needed to be!  It was actually really weird, she went into her house and came out again and said God touched her hearts and she was thinking about us and was excited to go to church.  Well, she didn´t go yesterday because Fabio is sick and she wouldn't go on his motorcycle, but we came back and taught her yesterday.  

Then there´s the three miracle menos-ativos of Rua Nossa Senhora do Rosario, a road otherwise known as Salt Lake because everyone there is baptized.  First there´s M, who we´ve been working with for a while now.  She has three kids that will be baptized any day, but with our new rules she needs to go to church with them.  At first we thought there really was no hope, she was just a lazy, noncommittal mom who got baptized at 13 and immediately left.  But it´s really been a little journey.  She gets really happy now when she sees us, wants to go to church even though she hasn´t yet, and even her kids are getting less annoying.  But we´ve taught them to pray and read the scriptures and it´s amazing how just that has transformed their home.  

The second is Janete, who´s ex-husband is in our ward.  We found her on accident looking for another house.  She was very active in the church before, but left when she got divorced and is now living with someone.  She just started crying and we taught her about repentance and forgiveness.  She´s also started praying again, we´ve read the scriptures with her and she wants to come back, but it´s really hard for her. She promised her daughter Julia she would go yesterday and didn´t, which was sad, but she´s coming along and we hope to teach her boyfriend and get them married.  The coolest thing was when she told us that when we found her, she felt as if Christ was knocking on her door and she thought she´d been forgotten.  What a beautiful thing for a missionary to hear!

Carla is not baptized, but her boyfriend Alex is and is VERY inactive.  He smokes, they live together, but she really wants to be baptized.  They say the best prayers, doing exactly what we ask them.  They both prayed to know if the church (they even said the name of the church right) is true and if Joseph Smith (NO ONE gets that name right) was a prophet and they received answers.  Wednesday we´re going to the Cartorio with them to mark a day for their wedding and baptism the same day.  How cool is that??? If we can reactivate Alex and get him to stop smoking, maybe he can baptize her!

So the rest of our investigators I´m just a little annoyed and decepcionada with, but I know our goals are still possible because we´re working with families and rescuing less-actives.  

I love you guys!!  I pray for all of you specifically, to get your call and for Eric to baptize 3 people before he goes home.  Don´t fear, just believe!  The church is so true and God knows us and it is the best joy in life to watch Him mold you into what He knows you can be.  We are so capable of helping others when we carry the light of Christ.  God answers our prayers.  Just remember that Jesus te ama.  

I haven´t gotten my package yet.  Haha maybe tomorrow.  The Brasilian postal service is on strike so that´s probably why.  By next transfer I mean there will be a transfer and before the next will be Mother´s day. Haha sorry if that´s confusing, a transfer is like a measure of time like a month.  Missionary language...

I´m rapidly heading towards the halfway point of the mission, and after that, it´s just over.  You´re always in the middle!  The mission is SO short.  And so full of fun things like screaming donkeys and random people buying you corn on the street.  If you´re a Sister in Brasil you´ve always got at least 3 drunk or very old boyfriends in every area.  The Nordeste is one of a kind.  Always an adventure.  

Um abração,

Sister Moore

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

Querida família,

Wow, I´m getting impatient with your mission call too!  I really do pray for all of you and your specific goals with the mission work, for you guys to find references for the missionaries and for Eric to baptize three people this month.  I will definitely write Sister Brown a letter today, that sounded like a very spiritual experience at Patriarch Brown´s funeral.  I´m sure that musical number touched many hearts.  Right now the frequencia of our ward is very very low, getting worse and people aren´t singing the hymns which is very sad, especially when you can hear the other churches yelling their songs.  They aren´t even true :( Music is so important in the church, it really is the most powerful way to invite the spirit I think.  

I don´t know what´s happened these past couple of weeks, but we really are going through some challenges.  We have had the best investigators I´ve ever had on my mission, people who really went through a little journey with us and we´ve noticed a change in the way they listen to us, in the way they pray and just their countenance.  But something is happening that has never happened to me before in Brasil, people are breaking up with us!! Usually we tell people we can´t pass by anymore until they keep their commitments, but now people are telling us not to come back and they have the exact same line and the same face.  Maria was ready to be baptized and told us she was ready and she knew we weren´t here to lie to her.  The next day she didn´t show up at church and she just told us ´I´m going to go to the closest church to my house, here on the corner.  Every church is true.  I had this revelation and I won´t be going anymore´´.  Diomar did the exact same thing, and Bella, and André.  They say the same thing. The churches in this area preach against us and I just have no idea who is getting to everyone or how... ugh.. the bottom line is that Satan is working very hard.  

It was walking back to church after talking to Maria that I just started to cry when I realized what Christ did for us.  He was the only perfect missionary.  He never did anything wrong.  And the people in their pride still thought they were right and they killed Him and His apostles, distorted the church.  But how did He leave His area?  He suffered for us, left us a path to follow to gain eternal life, and it wasn´t until 1800 years later that the gospel was restored to the earth again never to fall.  He did absolutely  every for us, and even when we mess up He is patient because He knows what it´s like to be us.  I love our Savior, and this week I have felt Him walking side by side with us.  Missions are not easy, and I know my Savior knows that very well and wants to stay at my side. 

Going back to goals, I really believe so strongly in praying for goals specifically.  This month our goal is really high, 8 baptisms with 3 men and 2 families.  This is the first goal we´ve really prayed for and I know God has at least this may elects prepared for us.  We are changing and improving a lot in our work because I and Sister Sciamm both know God is going to help this happen.  So far, we haven´t baptized the first week and we have no one for the second week.  Please pray for us to find these families, and to help our ward.

This wasn´t the happiest letter ever but I really am happy still.  I love my companion and this area really is full of super elect people who are prepared to receive our message.  Valdemir has a car now which is the best news in the world.  He told us it isn´t his car but the Lord´s car and he´s going to use it to bring investigators to church from Colinas.  He really is my favorite member in the world.  Gilvan and Rhayanne are doing awesome and we´re going to start working with more of their family starting with Ana Paula, Gilvan´s other daughter.   Miracles really are going to start happening.  And yeah, I´m still in Brasil and we´re all kind of cry babies about baptisms, but the expectation here simply is to baptize every week.  And that´s exactly what we plan to do.

I love you guys so much.  I love your letters and I always brag about my missionary family :)  Did you know next transfer is Mother´s Day?  I hope your Brasilian dinner is super fun, even though you´re celebrating the devil´s holiday ;) I hate Carnaval.  

The church is true, the atonement is real and Joseph Smith really saw God and Jesus Christ. 

Sister Moore