Thursday, August 28, 2014

We are Sowing, Daily Sowing...8/25/2014

Querida Família,

This has definitely been one of the hardest weeks of my mission, especially yesterday.  But looking back on really all that happened it could also be the best.  Family, the church is true.  Maybe people just simply disappear and leave you waiting for three hours at their baptism and they never come.  Maybe some people who were super sure about baptism break a commandment and aren´t ready that week.  Maybe some people tell you right after all that, that they won´t continue to investigate the church because of YOU and only you and invite YOU to pray and rethink if what you´re doing here is right.  And maybe you strike out again while the time you have left gets smaller and smaller.  Maybe you go to sleep crying and wake up still crying.  

But man do I have a testimony of this church, of what a 14-year-old boy saw in the sacred grove, and of my being called to preach repentance by a prophet of God.  

A miracle happened this week that was unlike anything on my mission.  We went to talk to a girl who had been to church a few times and set an appointment with us even though her interest was so-so and her family is very against the church.  We ended up talking to M, her sister who is also a mom to her own two kids, all her 7 sisters who live there and to her own mom with serious mental problems.  She began by telling us all of the things she didn´t agree with about our church and said all of the usual things that usually just make me want to leave the situation.  We calmly explained the things she had doubts about and bore testimony of the restoration.  Then we just listened.  After telling us about how the Elders had turned her off with their straightforwardness, she told us something that made our jaws drop.  She had thought about what the Elders had said and wanted another chance to hear our message.  She had prayed that very day for us to come, and we came and answered her questions.  We asked her to pray and she said she already knew it was true.  Unfortunately we haven´t been able to find her at home since then and she also needs to get married.  But wow.  

These seeds really matter.  We can only know if the Lord is accepting our work if we ask him.  And he will let us know.  This life is a test.  A test to see if we´ll obey no matter what, love no matter what, be grateful no matter what.  This week I fasted personally for miracles and I came to understand a little more the mind of God, which we will never understand completely.  My mission in this life has nothing to do with numbers, but with sanctifying myself.  I know now that Christ is the only friend we can always count on.  If I had never had to beg the Lord for comfort until it came, I would never feel true peace in my heart.  If I didn´t have to cry, I would never understand his love for me completely.  

It´s a new week and I hope you take advantage of every minute of life the Lord gives you.  Be a little kinder, hope a little bigger.  V, C and L have a few difficulties but we are still working with them.  Yesterday P was almost baptized and today we´ll found out why she never came.  She is the mom of a less-active member who is really wonderful and has a lot of desire to be baptized.  She has no problems with the commandments, just with remembering when she has to be at certain important events... like her baptism.  

I´m so glad you are experiencing the miracles and frustrations of being a missionary.  Write 3 miracles in your  journal every day.  The church is true.  I love you all so much!  

Com muito amor,

Sister Moore

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Querida Família,
It sounds like you guys are doing great work and living the dream on your mission!  I love your pictures. Sorry I don´t take that many pictures, I don´t walk around with my camera and I also don´t look that cute when I´m working haha... just sweaty
So we´re still going through a little bit of a trial of patience and faith... but the miracles are going to happen.  Arriving in the area was a whole lot of excitement, and the pool of ´´eternigators´´ in the ward made it look like we had a lot more progressing investigators than we really did, just because everything´s new to us.  But that doesn´t mean the miracles aren´t going to happen.
I gave a training on setting goals on Tuesday for the Sisters in our zone.  It was really fun to do and preparing helped me think a lot about faith and our expectations.  I asked them why we lower our expectations and goals on the mission.  In PMG in the part in Chapter 1 ´´A successful missionary´´ it says that when we lower our expectations, our faith will weaken and our effectiveness will diminish.

The reasons we lower our expectation usually come from dissapointment, pessimism, discouragement.  I know I´ve done this before: you don´t succeed in your goals for the month and so you just lower the goal for the next month so that maybe you´ll reach it.  But is that the kind of missionary and person we want to be?  Change the plan, pray for direction, try again and be patient, but keep hoping for the best results.
I was feeling pretty cool with our 3 baptisms that were super solid this week and our other possible baptisms.  But, what I gave my training on was unfortunately tested.  V is progressing really well, reads everything, is super excited about the baptism, but suddenly her family had to travel on Sunday.  L´s grandma yelled at us and told her her grandson didn´t know anything and wasn´t going to get baptized when we went to take him to the interview.  When he didn´t go, we thought C was going to give up too, but he told us he´d go on his bike and meet us at the chapel.
Sitting in front of the chapel, we were sure he wasn´t coming.  But we just decided to read Hebrews 11 while we waiting, you know, to keep our faith strong.  The second we finished, he arrived on his bike like he said and passed the interview.  That was a miracle.  Sunday, he arrived at church with a towel in hand and everything ready to be baptized, but then told us he was hungry and left to buy food.  Never came back.  Someone assaulted him and took his bike, and he ran home scared.  So.. not exactly a cool ending, and who knows if he was just running from the baptism.  But we marked his baptism for next week and we´ll have more time to see if he´s really ready.
People like this are stressful to work with but I also love it.  He is like a little kid, life has never really given him the chance to succeed, but he is so humble and even though he can´t read, he´s learned how to pray.  In his own way, he understands the things we teach him.  The coolest thing is how L was helping him.  These guys are over 20 years old, but people have only told them their whole lives that they can´t do anything.  We´re going to keep working with them and let them show that they can make a promise with God, but we´ll see if they can endure to the end of this week.
Sunday night we went to a farewell party of a missionary leaving from the ward and a bunch of returned missionaries bore their testimonies and shared experiences.  I felt a little bit lacking in experiences of finding and baptizing families like they had, and I left a little sad.  But this morning I was reflecting on my mission and I wouldn´t regret it if I had to leave today.  But like Alma said to Amuleque, they can´t kill us because we still have work to do.  I need to build my faith and trust a lot still, but I know my mission has been so far exactly what I need it to be.
I´ve found that you can´t decide how people will use their free will, but God put them in your path for a reason.  We also have the agency the choose if our missions and our lives will be successful.  If we´ll work hard or be lazy, if we´ll be happy or discouraged, if we´ll be agents to act or objects to be acted upon.  Don´t ever give up!
I always pray for all of you and for your missions.  Enjoy every second.  I love you all so much! 
Santa Rita is still the best area.  The church is still true.  The Book of Mormon will help you draw close and stay close to Christ more than any other book.  Have an awesome week!
Com muito amor,
Sister Moore

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 11, 2014

Querida Família,

This is the best area in the world.  Other than the house, which we call Castelo de Greyskull, the Elders did some great work here.  On Saturday Sister Alves and Sister Sales baptized 4 people, a family and another mission-age man.  We brought ten people to church yesterday, 6 investigators and 4 less-actives, and we have about eight people who potentially can be baptized this week.  I don´t even know where to start..

The first day here, a 14-year-old boy, Jefferson, who was baptized just a few weeks ago was waiting on our street because he wanted to meet us and show us around.  That day we ended up just following him and then meeting another member and they just led us to all these people and we never even had to look at our plans or think about the time.  There are a lot of Young Women in this ward who I already love so much who are preparing to serve missions and are helping us so much.  

Mili, one of the Young Women, has a mom, Cristina who has already been to church many times but just won´t commit to be baptized and live the word of wisdom.  When we met her she liked us right away and I just told her straight up that we were going to baptize her and she just laughed and said she´s a sinner but set an appointment.  We taught her and Mili and it was very led by the Spirit. Mili doesn´t want to get her hopes up again but she bore her testimony and expressed how her mom´s baptism is the thing she wants to see more than anything.  Cristina accepted baptism for the 17th, but didn´t go to church yesterday because she was sleeping. We are just praying for a miracle that the spirit can really touch her heart and convert her.  Sometimes you just need Sisters ;)

We met Vanessa, a 16-year-old, while contacting her less-active friend.  She is just super elect, read the pamphlet we gave her, went to church, loved it and wants to be baptized.  We even saw her later on Sunday during a contact and she told the guy we were contacting to go to church because it´s awesome. (We marked that guy´s baptism and he´s bringing his nephew to church too next Sunday :)

Carlos, same thing.  Super prepared and willing to keep the commandments, but doesn´t read and understands a little more slowly.  He was very happy at church and went with Luiz, a less active recent convert.  We might have to baptize Luiz again because the Elders didn´t leave records.  Think the Other Side of Heaven when they tell him none of his work counts. 

Other than that we have two other teenagers who have been going to church, Joyce and Joelington, whose parents won´t sign their papers.  But we already talked with Joelington´s mom who is hard hearted but became much more open after we talked to her, and especially after her son said the last prayer.  
A lot of other miracles happened, but those were just a few highlights.  I have so much faith that this is going to be a transfer of reaping what other missionaries have planted instead of just planting planting planting.  The ward is really good, the bishop has really good goals for the ward´s growth and wants us to baptize every day.  I am loving it so much here.  It´s the hilliest area I´ve ever had, but it´s very beautiful here.  There are a lot of 300+ year-old restored buildings and we have views of just GREEN.  Santa Rita is just a little more inland than João Pessoa.  We walk everywhere and take the bus to meetings and things outside the area.  

Sister Cavalcanti is an amazing companion.  She´s from São Paulo Capital.  She was baptized at 15 and was raised just with her grandma, who is over 80 years old and writes her letters, not emails.  She was the only member in her family until right before her mission when her grandma, who at first didn´t even want to let her get baptized, was baptized.  It was really hard for her to leave her grandma alone, and sometimes she doesn´t receive any emails.  Her email address is if you want to write her.  I think it´d be cool.  She is such an example to me and is an amazing missionary.  I lived with her in Prossind when she was new and now she´s super confident and the Sister Training Leader of our zone.  I love her!

It´s so great to hear such great things from you guys! I love the ´´Jesus, Others, Yourself´´.   Being a missionary is the best isn´t it? Heavenly Father loves us so much and He hears our prayers and always answers.  If you want answers to your prayers, read Alma 34.  We have to do EVERYTHING we can after praying, because God won´t do things for us that we can do for ourselves.  

I love you all so much!

Sister Moore

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 6, 2014

Lindíssima família!

I love your pictures.  Haha it really looks like kind of a vacation, but obviously not because you´re already doing amazing things!  One Sister here who waited for her visa thinks that the church in the US will start to grow faster than Brasil because the members are getting involved.  Who can say if that´s true, but it´s so great to here about so many miracles!  It inspires me a lot.

ANYWAY... the reason I´m writing so late is that I got TRANSFERRED.  Already!  It was kind of sad because I felt like I was just getting to really know and love the members there.  But now I´m here in Santa Rita with Sister Cavalcanti and two other Brasilians.  One is like a foot shorter than me and it´s awesome.  I don´t know anything about this area because we´re opening it and it´s the first time they´ve ever had sisters.  Yes, that means we were left with an elder´s house.  Oh my gosh.  It´s horrible.  I feel like a homeless person invading an abandoned factory.  But that´s okay, opening areas that have never had sisters is the best.  We´ve spent the day walking around looking for a place to email.

It was a good, way to short, transfer in Ipes, and as always, we had a lot of good things happen right before I left.  We were going to mark the date of a wedding and baptism of a super elect couple, baptize A who´s been investigating the church forever and now doesn´t have to work on Sundays, and I was just getting to know the members.  It was a really cool week but it´s all left me now and I can´t think of anything but this new area.  

I´m in the same zone as Sister Sciammarella. All of my companions are dying. It´s her, Sister Seal and Sister Johnson´s last transfer.  I´ll get to see Sister Sciamm every week and that´s just a blessing for me.  Time is flying but now I feel like my mission´s just started again.

The biggest miracle for me this week was a personal experience with prayer.  I feel like the whole transfer I was just carrying this stress that I didn´t know the source of or how to get rid of it.  I just never felt like I was at peace with myself or my work, always doubting if I was doing things right.  I had already prayed about it, but I really just came to the point I had to know if I was trying enough or too hard.  I prayed with that kind of sincerity that you always tell your investigators to do.  The words of scriptures I knew just came to my head and I asked if I was just trying to comfort myself or if it was the comforter.  It was obvious in my head the answer, but a feeling of true peace just overcame me.  Like I never wanted to move from that spot.  Then I just told Heavenly Father everything I was worried about, the way I would to my own parents.  My answer was just to trust in the Lord and not in myself, and He will bring out my true best self.  And also that the things I want to change in myself won´t just change immediately.  

The next day was Sunday, when everyone loses their mind.  No one came to church.  A was sick and didn´t come to his baptism.  But I just kept thinking about that answer I received and nothing seemed to bother me.  I did all I could and people made their choices.  I just enjoyed taking the sacrament, listening to the testimonies of the members.  Our district sang at the Elder´s baptism and it was beautiful.  Afterward I also got to comfort two different less actives going through horrible things, people with no peace in their lives.  We sang hymns and listened to them.  It seems like it had been a long time since I´d just enjoyed the spirit like that, without thinking about what me or my companion is doing wrong, without thinking about our numbers, or when we have to leave for our next appointment.  

Never lose sight of the ´´why´´ of the Gospel, and your testimony will be that much more powerful, your work will be that much more efficient.  I know my Savior lives and loves me.  He died for me.  I don´t have any doubts.  If you feel like you´ve wasted time, or like your best efforts aren´t enough, or you´ve messed up, or you´ll try when a change happens, just STOP.  Right where you are is the perfect place to begin being the person the Lord wants you to be.  

I love you all so much!  I hope you have tons of success and miracles big and small!  Make it an awesome week!

Um abraço,

Sister Moore

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July 28, 2014, One Year!

Querida Família,

As I complete a year on the mission, I´ve thought a lot about my mission as a whole.  I can´t say I never did things wrong or that I was exceptional.  But what really matters in the end is who I´ll be when my mission´s over, because it does end like anything else.  I´ve spent a lot of my life comparing myself to others and my mission as well, but as I´ve really looked at everything, God has given me so much.  These are just a few things I´ve learned and am still learning:

1. God knows where he wants us, more importantly, who he wants us with
2.  How to work and stop making excuses
3.  You need to have faith in the right things
4.  People you think are perfect are not
5.  Everyone has potential to be perfect, look for the good in everyone
6.  It´s not such a sin to be raised in Utah (my awesome companions :)
7.  I do in fact want to get married after the mission
8.  It´s better to pray for strength than for change
9.  I have an amazing family
10.  I still think too much about what others think
11.  Laziness in the end will probably be the worst sin
12.  You have to love yourself to love others
13.  If you don´t love someone perfectly, you just don´t know them perfectly
14.  The gospel IS in fact the solution to everything
15.  How to study the scriptures
16.  How to listen
17.  Always think about how you say things
18.  Laugh at yourself 

These are a lot of things that came directly from the mouths of my companions or other missionaries, but things I´ll always keep with me.  I realized this week what my life was before the mission.  A LOT of hours of doing absolutely nothing.  I´ve never even done anything in my life for a year and a half without a break or without giving up.  The difference a mission will make for the rest of my life is immeasurable.  Not all of it is fun, but it´s important.  I know that the Lord is aware of me when no one else is.  He has provided all I need to become like Him.  

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week.  It sounds like you are doing great things.  Be as kind to yourself as you would be with others.  I expect the next 6 months to be the most life changing!  

Com muito amor, 

Sister Moore