Monday, April 30, 2012

Week Thirty!

Hello there everyone,

So this week was pretty normal, but at the same time it was a bit interesting. The week started out a bit hard, but by Wednesday, the middle of the week, things turned around! So it was good to see. But from my experience these last couple of weeks this always happens. The week will seem to be hard and then it will turn around and be amazing. I know the Lord puts these challenges in front of us for a reason, sometimes I don't know why, ha-ha, but I do know they are to always help us become a better person. I know that one of the things that I really have been working on this week is trusting in the Lord´s timing. But I think that will be something that I will also work on my whole life, and with patience.

But we started teaching some good people this week. One of them is a girl, 15 years old, who takes care of the bishops children, they told us that we should start teaching her, we have only taught her once, but she was very interested. And it was very good. She promised to go to church. Another one is the father of my first baptism, we started giving him the lessons this week, and he was super interested as well. He said he knows that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. One day when we went to visit him and he told us; do you guys know, that God sent you here today to help me. We came right in a time of need for him. It was amazing. We were also able to set a baptismal date this past week for Isllam, the young man we have been teaching, actually we have only taught about 2 times, but he goes to church and even seminary! However we will wait until about May 21st, because he wants to be baptized on his birthday, which I think is pretty neat, but I don't know if I'll be here, or not. This week I also ran into George, my second baptism, who was our miracle. He has been gone these last couple of months at a military school in another city, and very rarely comes home, and when he does its for less than a day and never on a Sunday. But he came to church and I was able to talk to him, he is still very firm in his testimony and is super excited about everything with the gospel and missionary work. It was so good to see him again and see the fruit of my labors, and how the gospel has blessed his life.

We had lunch at Brother Lemos´ this week. It was I think one of the best lunches that I had with him. We four sisters went there together again. We always love lunch there and enjoy the conversation, and we always learn a ton when we're there too (he is the one who translated the scriptures and has worked with General Authorities for the past 30 years). But this week he taught us about the worth of women, and showed us all these scriptures, and things that we should look for in a husband. We just learned so much! (I think that is when my week changed, was after lunch with him and his wife that day). But he and his wife, Gé said that we are like family to them, their daughters ( I think by this point everyone at the table was crying) and that they prayer for us every day. It was a special experience. I really do love this mission and everything that I learn from it, and the relationships that I build with everyone here. Especially I am thankful for my companion. I am so grateful to have her. We are also very similar, which is good, but sometimes a bad thing when neither of us like making decisions on things that don't matter (like where should we eat), or talking on the phone, ha-ha. But I am grateful that I have had the chance to train her. We have some of the best experiences together. And I have learned so much from her, and her testimony as a recent convert is very strong, and she is able to touch people with this testimony that others can't. I love life. I love the mission. And I love every single experience that I have here.

Hope all is well with everyone. Until next week.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week Twenty Nine.

Hello there again everybody,

Again another week has passed by so fast. I keep forgetting that we are in the month of April and here we are at the end of the month already. I can't believe it! But this week was another good week. And at the end of the week we were able to see the fruits of our labors. Each week at the end of the week we tally up our numbers for the week as in the number of lessons taught and contacts made among other things. This week our numbers weren't that great, but we knew that! We had an amazing week anyway! Like I have said, these weeks we have been working more with less active members. Some of them are very good. We started visiting more this week. One of them, a young man, never knew any sister missionaries (sisters have been in the area for about a year and a half), so he hadn't been to church in all that time (he only said a few months). But he has been very grateful to see us and accept our visits and he came back to church this Sunday :) and will start seminary, and he wants to start preparations for a mission! It is great.
We have also been visiting another family, which consists of a mother and two boys. The mom wants us to prep her youngest boy for baptism, and they started coming back to church again too.
Another member we will really have to work with to come back to church, has strong testimony of the gospel, but something happened at to her church with some members, so she doesn't want to came back to the ward. But She has the strongest testimony ever! We visited her at home for the first time this week and she has pictures of the temple and the family proclimation, and all the church books and DVDs on a book shelf, and her daughter knows all the articles of faith. This family is sooooo amazing. We know that one day we will be able to change this family. It may take time, but we know they will be blessed.
This week we started teaching a young man who is a friend of a member. He was very resistant to receiving missionaries for a very long time. But we finally were able to teach him! And during the lesson he started asking a bunch of questions! And Sister Corrêa then got really excited because finally she knew all the answers to the questions. I think she has finally learned how to truly listen and respond with the spirit.
Then there is this family that we have been seeing for awhile I think I talk about them every week. The husband suffered an accident and can't walk very well. Well the wife this week went out and bought a shirt to wear to church and got the phone number for a taxi service and everything, then his brother moved his plans and wanted to visit Sunday, so they weren't able to came to church again! But it was funny because when we were talking about clothes, we asked Carlos, the husband what he would wear to church, and he said his normal clothes and that he wasn't going to dress as a Mormon. Then we asked him, and when you´re Mormon... he then responded with a smile on his face, then of course I will dress as a Mormon. This family really is amazing, and treat us almost as family. We always try to find ways to help them. We can see that we will have baptisms in the near future with some of these people.

On another note: Other things that we did this week. We had a zone meeting in another city which has a super huge flea market. Mainly it is just clothes. But everything is super cheap. So we decided that we would go early before our meeting, about 5 am and go to the flea market. Wow it was something different. A small city of booth! It was huge!!!! I spent about $60. And that went a long, long way. I bought a skirt, 6 dresses, and 2 soccer jerseys, and 2 shirts. A little money there went a long ways. Some of the things in the flea market aren't of the greatest quality, but if you are persistent you can find good quality items. I bought things there, because now I look more like a local and people will not think I always have money. I wore a dress yesterday to church and one of the sisters said wow you look so much happier and not so serious. I didn't know clothes made such an impression here. We also went to a lunch with the other sisters this week and got to see the other side of the city. Which it totally hills!!! It was way at the top of one of the hills. Next to the Christ statue, so we visited it again. One of the problems we have in this small little town is we almost never leave and there is nothing to do on p-day. So we always create our own things to do. This morning when we were cleaning we created a slip in slide... in the house. Every p-day morning we clean the house. One of the sisters started throwing a little water at another sister. (All the floors here are made of tile so we clean them by throwing soapy water on the ground). But then we realized we didn't have a squidgy or mop. So one of the sisters was trying to use her body and then realized we can slide around. We have a big tiled hallway, threw down water and soap/shampoo(because its more slippery) and had a slip-in-slip in our house. It was a lot of fun and after that everything was all clean!
But I do enjoy my mission here. I love everything about it, the good and the bad. This really is the Lords work. I hope everyone has a good week.
Sister Nelson

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week Twenty Eight.

Hello there everyone!

This week was a great week for the missionaries in Gravatá. We started off the week a bit bummed because last week was hard, but it quickly turned around. And we had an amazing week. And we were able to see some miracles happen. We started counting some of our miracles, and were going to try and get 17, like in 17 miracles, but yes, we fell just a bit short. Ha-ha. But yesterday we were able have our last baptism finally confirmed a member of the church, after a month! We have been working with him a lot this week encouraging him that he needs to complete his baptism with receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The problem was he goes to his grandma’s house every weekend. We were able to get someone to bring him to church, and he was finally confirmed a member of the church. We were both so happy.

We started teaching a boy who is a friend of a member. We taught him Saturday for the first time, and he already wants to be baptized. He has been going to church and has even been attending seminary (here, seminary is at night), but he is already more active than some of the members in the ward. He will be great. He asks good questions and wants to learn more about the gospel. He was another miracle that we had this week. We will mark a date for his baptism this week, we hope.

We were able to visit a couple this week who expressed to us their desire to be baptized too. But the problem is that they are not married, no one here is legally married. So we will be able to work out this problem in these next few weeks, and they too will be able to be baptized.

Our mission has started a new project here, about a month ago, where we work a lot more with the less active members here. This week it worked out great. A member went with us yesterday and was able to show us the houses of were these people live and make visits with us. We were able to visit a lot of new people. Some of these people are really good and I know that they can return back to the church and become firm in the gospel again.

This week I started giving English classes in the chapel. I never know what to teach, but I think it worked out good. The last thing I taught them was parts of the body and then I had them all do head, shoulders, knees, and toes. We started off slow and then got faster it was very funny and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

So this was my week, nothing too exciting, but we were finally able to see people’s hearts change. I hope everyone has a great week.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week Twenty Seven.

 So this week was Easter, or yesterday was Easter. Here in Brazil it is really big, because it’s very Catholic here. So people start celebrating Easter a couple of days before. Some start drinking a couple of days before. This little city of Gravatá had a ton of people! Everyone came here for the holidays. A lot of people in Recife have a house here, so they come here during the holidays, so the streets were crawling with people and cars. There were more people here then there were during Carnival, which is weird. So again we had to return earlier to our house. Here in Brazil they don’t do Easter baskets but they do have chocolate eggs. Everyone buys these huge chocolate eggs, or an egg with chocolates inside. They are pretty expensive. All day yesterday people asked us if we had been eating a lot of chocolate, but no one had given us any. Finally during lunch we were given a bit of chocolate. One of the girls in the family felt bad that we hadn’t been given any chocolate, so she gave us the last of her half eaten chocolate bar, she had already eaten a couple. So we were grateful for that. haha. Both of the wards here had a fireside together or a devotional for Easter. They had speakers, and we as a choir sang, it was about 2 hours long, but it was good. This Easter we just focused on the purpose of the holiday.

This week on Friday, the start of the holidays here, one of Sister Kikuchi´s baptisms came and visited from Recife, they too have a house here in Gravatá. They invited all of us for lunch. We had Brazilian barbeque! It was pretty good. Our lunch was a bunch of different meat that was cooked over the fire. It was super good, but weird because I haven’t eaten that much meat in a very long time. Their house was huge too. They had a covering in the back of their house where we ate with a built in BBQ, ping pong, pool table, and fosse ball, so we had fun. After we ate, we then had a water balloon fight! In the hot weather it was very nice, and with these sisters they are all really cool and easy going so we had a fun time, but were then super tired after it was all over.

This week was also a bit hard because Sister Corrêa was a bit sick, fever, headache, eyes pounding. Our president’s wife said it sounded like something, but then we found out that a lot of missionaries were getting this same thing, a lot. So she wasn’t alone, I think it’s a bug that’s going around here. I continue taking my vitamins.

Things here this week were a bit difficult with teaching, but we were able to have fun. Sister Corrêa and I worked a lot this week and were not able to see any progress. We know that if we do not see the fruit of labors now, that we are planting a lot of seeds for future missionaries, but we know that this is the work of the Lord and that we sometimes have to trust in his timing! I do love the work here and the people. Right now I couldn’t have asked for better people to share this experience with then these sisters here and my Companion.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week Twenty Six.

Hello there everyone,

Well not much happened this week. We have found out that your body is programmed to work for 6 week intervals. (6 weeks is one transfer here in the mission field). At the end of the six weeks your body is wiped out and it’s hard to keep going. But even when you stay in the same area and you start a new transfer your body is recuperated and you are ready to start a new journey. We started a new transfer here this week, but nothing moved. I am still in training with Sister Corrêa, so we knew that nothing was going to happen, the sisters that we live with too. So we will continue on with our adventures.

One of the adventures that we had this week was a Family Home evening with us four at the end of the day, one of the days in the week. Sister Kikushi shared a spiritual message, on how we can become better missionaries. We sang hymns, and then played some games. One of them was putting your face in a plate full of flour trying to find a ring, but there was candy in there too, so you didn’t know what you were getting most of the time. The other game was us trying to guess what our companion was acting out, if we got it wrong we both got a pie in the face, which was silly foam spray. But if you got it right you got chocolate, very extreme opposites. So our games were pretty messy, it then lead to us, I’ll just say, getting messier and then staying up and cleaning up our whole house, but we needed a relief break.

Another break that we had this week, a spiritual and uplifting break was General Conference. Here the sessions were at 1pm and 5 pm, because they were broadcast live. That also meant that the priesthood session was at 9pm. Pretty different then at home. But always the first session of the say was right after lunch and we had to get investigators, so we ended up being late to the two first sessions. The very first session, the video feed wasn’t working, and it didn’t start until about 40 mins after conference started, so we will have to read them later.  It was my first conference in Brazil. It was interesting because I could usually always hear the talk in English at first and then they would start speaking Portuguese, because it was a live translation, so I got confused a bit on what language to listen too, haha. But it was good, and I learned a lot.

Something funny that happened this week is people here sometimes insist on feeding us. So this week one day every house that we went to fed us food! We even had two dinners, we were so stuffed. And the problem is my companion, Sister Corrêa doesn’t eat a ton, she is super skinny, so if she couldn’t finish it she always discreetly gave it to me. Also one of the culture things here, in the part of Brazil, none of us are used to. Is that if you don’t take seconds they think you don’t like the food. And always if you finish before them they keep dishing you up food, so for me, who I always eat fast, it is sometimes a problem. Lunch here is big, let’s just say that. A few times this week the sun was suuuupppper hot. Just walking to and from lunch we both returned with a big line on our arms and chest from the sun. The sun here sometimes is not super hot, but it is very strong because we are so close to the equator.

But these are more our less my adventures for this week. This week is Easter, and it is hard to imagine but this little town I am in, Gravatá, is a tourist town. So there will be a ton of people. But I hope everyone has a good week, and a good Easter.

Sister Rebecca Nelson