Thursday, September 6, 2012

February emails from oldest to newest

Zone conference in Sobral  [sent on 06 Feb 2012]

Dear Family,
This week passed by very rapidly! We had zone conference here in Sobral, with just our zone. It was only 12 missionaries, teeny tiny. I like to learn, President Dias is a very good teacher. He was an institute director in Sao Paulo before he came to Teresina. But, he does like to ask me every five minutes if I am understanding. I always think, well I thought I was! Do I look confused? For some reason, my
Portuguese skills decline rapidly in his presence. I get so nervous.  Whatever. I am actually speaking much better now. I can even talk on the cell phone, that is a big step, especially since it is voluntary. He talked about teaching doctrine before teaching commandments and extending invitations. People need to understand the why first. And
also, I think, it is easier to recognize eternal truth when learning about the doctrines in the scriptures. Telling someone that they can´t smoke is not as effective as telling them that their body is sacred and they need to take care of not smoking. I think so anyways.  This week we didn´t teach as many lessons. Last week when we taught
40, the other sisters taught 44. Our district had a goal of 150,  but the other companionships ( elders... sigh) only had 23 between them. What were they doing?! but this week we only had about 18 lessons so I guess I can be compassionate. This week is all abuzz about transfers. I haven´t had a change of area or companion since I got here in October, so for surzies something will change this next week. I am excited to see what will come about. The only thing I know for sure is that I don´t want responsibility. Nope nope.
Oh this week I met a crazy lady. She asked us if we were Evangelists or selling Avon. Neither. But she sat me down, and told me that God is Two. Two of what I am not sure. And then she told me that Adam and Eve had 15 children, but hid 10 of them, that is why we only know about five of them. Oh and she told me that Catholics ask God for things,
the rest of the world asks the Catholics to ask for them. So much information! I counted this as a lesson for me as the recipient. Sister Borges started talking to her neighbor and left me to talk.. or rather listen to this crazy for another ten minutes. I just told her to pray some more. The young women had new beginnings this week. Oh how I love young
womens! We were able to go because we took two of our investigators, it was awesome. And we all know that this is the best activity of the year for refreshments.
Well I best be going.
I am so glad to be here, and even in the weeks without baptisms or life altering encounters, looking up not sideways will make a difference.
I love you all! and I love this gospel!

Carnival is upon us.  [sent on 13 Feb 2012]

Dear Family,
Transfers are this week. Supposedly today, but we have yet to hear anything. My companion has already been here for four transfers, so I think she is a goner. But this will be my fourth transfer here, so who knows? Really nobody. I am looking forward to change. Nothing spurs the work forward like a fresh face or place.
We have just been sitting here waiting, but we have been working too. This last week we met a young man in a pharmacy who lives in our area. He is cool, but his sister is AWESOME! She is legally married (yay!) and is very excited to recieve our visits. Izamara seems like she is going to accept the gospel, I am really excited to get to know her
We are continuing to work with a family who are want to get baptized. Natalia the mother, has six children, and one grandson. sheesh. Her husband is in prison for abuse. their lives are not easy, but they are changing before our eyes. Talita, the fourteen year old, was having trouble recieving an answer to prayer about Joseph Smith. I asked her how she felt about reading the book of Mormon, and she told me ´I just feel light´ I explained that one witness is a witness to the other, and she was so excited.  Talita has a baptism date on Feb 26th. Sometimes being here is hard, but when I can help someone see the truth, all of the hard stuff seems to melt away. Talita is pretty special.
We met a friend of hers this week to pretty much offered to be baptized, Maria Antonia. We will have to see what happens, but she too seems pretty excited to learn more.
Oh heart break too! Ribamar, our shining star has returned to his old alcoholic ways. That day was worse than a kick in the teeth. But ward members are determined to visit him, and I hope he can turn around. I just know that he is feeling crummy about himself right now, and I hope we can help him see that he still has great worth. We just have mistakes to learn.
This week I read a conference talk by Elder Holland and he talked about the role of the gospel. It is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  The comfortable can always improve and the afflicted can always be healed. I liked this thought a lot. We need affliction for lasting conviction.
I am not sure what will come about with transfers, I am in denial and will not pack until I recieve a phone call.
I am not sure what will happen with Ribamar, but I will not give up on him either.
There is so much unknown, but being a missionary, change and unknown come with the territory.
I hear that there is snow this week! Enjoy the winter, I am still jealous!
I love you all!
Sister Smith

A very quick transfer.  [sent on 20 Feb 2012]

Dear Family,
And so I was transferred after all! To another bedroom in the same house and to another ward in the same stake. I went from Junco to Sobral 1. The area is significantly bigger, because it is the center of the city. Good thing I like to walk now.
My companion is brand new in the mission field. I am still a little surprised that President Dias decided that I was ready to train. But here we go! I was thinking about the hymn ´I´ll go where you want me to go´ and there is the line that says  - So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me-- Well the Lord has put Sister Moda in my ´tender´ care. I hope I can do a good job. The Lord is
counting on me to help her make it through this transition and to help her love her mission. Her family too is expecting her to have a good trainer. Sheesh! I have another person to answer to! Her mom! Oh I better do a good job, it is never a good idea to let down a missionary momma.
So with this added responsibility, I am a little stressed, but I know that I am going to grow a lot through this experience in a new area with a new companion. A sister in the ward yesterday said we walked down her street looking all confused with the map. Yup, that is us! Sister Moda is very patient.
And so, all about her.-- Mariana Moda is from Campinas, close to the temple there, in the state of São Paulo. She is the third of four kids, and the third to serve a mission in Brazil. Awesome! Her younger brother is getting ready to put papers in right now. She graduated from college with a degree in education and she already went to Disneyworld in Florida. Don´t worry I totally have pictures in Disneyland, we share a love of Mickey. I told you she was a good egg. She doesn´t speak any english, but she is excited to start learning!
This is the first time since I have been in Brazil that I am the more chatty one during lessons, I think she is a little nervous. Totally normal at first.
Sister Borges, my trainer, is still in the Junco ward, and she is
training again too! She is training an American. Bless Sister Miller´s heart. She doesn´t speak very much portuguese, but her attitude is incredible. She tries so hard everyday.
I would tell you about our investigators, but we don´t have any. Also an awesome challenge. Yay for new areas! But a great opportunity to teach Sister Moda how to talk to people on the street to find investigators.
I was put here for a reason. And all things happen for a reason. I have great faith in the Lord´s timing. I am so thankful for eternal families. I love my family so much, and it is a priviledge to teach other people about the principle of forever. I am determined to work extra hard, with the provided help of my newest gaurdian angel. Keep your chins up this week. Remember that I am praying for you, and
missionary prayers are extra potent. And hey! There are double missionary blessings right now for our family, so be sure to use them.
I love you!
Sister Taralyn Smith

almost march!  [sent on 27 Feb 2012]

Dear Family,
You all sound like you are doing well. I am so glad to hear it. I am so thankful for the temple and that we are a forever family. I feel very priviledged to be able to tell other people about this peace that we can have through the gospel.
This week has been a busy one. The biggest miracle was that I didn´t look at a map yesterday! Hooray! for being in a new area with a brand new companion, things have been slow to start, but this is normal. I have had a lot of feelings of inadequacy, I don´t know why the Lord thought that it was going to be a good idea for me to be training in a new area. But the Lord calls us to do things that test our limits, so
we can trust in Him. There are many days where I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish, with the limited skills and experience I have. I am so thankful that we believe in a God of miracles. He sure have sent a lot my way. Be rest assured, I am still in His tender care, in the big city of Sobral.
We met a man named Cicero this week, when we were walking down the street. He was sitting alone and we walked passed him, but I felt an impression to go back and talk to him. So we returned, chatted for a bit, and gave him a pamphlet. No big deal. But he told us that he really had been feeling alone and had needed someone to talk to that day. He told me that he felt like he was worth less that the floor we
stood on. I was really glad that I got to tell him how special he was that day. What a seed to plant. I am hopeful he will be receptive to more visits.
We have a baptism this upcoming week! Elisângela is mother of three, two of who are members. She wasn´t married, but then this week she got married hooray! her husband is excommunicated but is interested in coming back as well. After 9 years of missionaries, we arrived to baptize her. Talk about a miracle for sister smith.
I have run out of time, but hang in there!
I love you all very very much.

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