Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 34

 January 23, 2017

Makayla hits her 8 month of service this week!  I wanted to know her thoughts on a "mission"?  As a parent I said it is one of the proudest moments of parenthood, just to sit back and watch their testimony, courage, and service.
A mission is ... the time to put into habit the quality of the pattern of life that you want to live for the rest of your life. (Awe, your answer was so sweet, thanks :).

When Makayla was in Manaus she was able to attend the temple once every 6 weeks. Now in this new area she dosen't get the oppportunity. 
Definitely make time for the temple, I sure wish I could go every week.  I know that a lot of missionaries don´t get the chance to go.  I also don´t get to go anymore because I am serving outside of Manaus.  

The Work!
One thing that we have a really hard time with is bringing investigators to church on Sunday (and there are many less actives also).  This week we actually almost had a baptism, but it fell through.  We (us and our zone leaders) had spent Saturday night doing their baptismal interviews and teaching them.  We had also fasted for them earlier in the week.  Yet, when Sunday morning came, only the wife and one of their kids came with us to church.  This was super dissapointing because they would have been baptized as a FAMILY.  However, we were blessed with 8 investigators in sacrament meeting and a handful of less actives that we have been working with.  This happened when we had only gone looking for one.  My companion and I both cried a little!  

I love that on the mission, I find myself much more concerned with others than before.  Never have I felt such joy because others are coming to church and receiving the glorious blessings that await them there.  

Happy week :)
Love Makayla 
Is that Sister Long Standing on the banks of the Amazon!?
Beautiful Elders and Sisters

A baptism for Junior...mentioned in Week 32

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 33

January 16, 2017
Mission President...President Castro. This dear president is from Brazil and I assume only speaks Portugueese.  In the beginning I believe Makayla had a very difficult time communicating but now can have a much richer visit!
Hello, it is the start of another week!
This week we had interviews and a conference with President Castro!  I am able to learn more from him every time.  He really lifted my spirits in the interview, and made my purpose so clear!  He is also a pretty funny guy, haha. 

New Apartment? Curious, I would think 4 sister missionaries would be peacefull, respectful, and the perfect model of renters you could hope for. Oh, well.  There must be a greater purpose!
Afterward, we moved!!! The owner of the apartment we were living in was complaining about us (we can´t figure out why, haha), and just being difficult.  We had also been out of water in the bathroom for a few days (showering with buckets, which actually is not all that anoying.  It is all part of the adventure).  It took us a few days to move, and was a lot of work!  All of the cabinets and dressers are made of heavy wood.  Yet, we had the help of 6 elders.  Overall, I like this new house a lot better.  

I found a super good talk about The Consecrated Missionary.  I wanted to share a really good quote that was cited from Lectures on Faith: 

"For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also ... requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that when these sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God."  

...I was thinking a lot about good, better, and best.  I know that great joy, rest, reward, and developement come from great sacrifice.  Yet, in God´s plan, he is merciful enough to give us more in return than what we give to him :)  

So I had a whole bunch of great pictures to send ... yet I am having a little trouble with my card.  I am going to have a member look at it today.  Pray that all goes well!  I am also sending a few letters your way :) Hooray!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Lots of love, 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Week 32

January 9, 2017

So this weekend we had a baptism!  We (mostly my companion) took it upon ourselves to make one of the cakes.  Well, it totally burnt, so that was the end of that adventure.  We also went to the church building early to clean out the font.  Overall, everything went just right!  Junior (21 years old, and is actually from Rio) is one of the most firm investigators that I have worked with, so it was a great experience!  He is dating a girl who comes from a great family in the Branch.  Her dad, Irmão Miguel did the baptizing.   

January begins the rainy season.  Makayla mentioned you can see the rain coming like a wall and you could almost out run it! 
On Sunday, we woke up to a pretty heavy rain.  My companion threw out her broken umbrella, so we had to share mine, and tie trash bags around our bags, haha.  We arrived soaking wet, but hey, that is just a part of the adventure here.  

My companion and I gave talks in Sacrament meeting, and ended up teaching Principles of the Gospel at the last minute.  It was actually pretty fun throwing together a lesson as we went, ha-ha.  Yet, it was about the nature of God, so it was nothing too hard :)
More information:
The Nature of God

Ward Mission Leader:  A local church member who knows the area and can assist the missionaries in finding people who may be interested in learning from them. 
We also got a new ward mission leader!  He actually returned home from his mission this year.  Oh, and this Sunday was the first time that I attended all 3 hours/classes of church!  This was because the two branches here have been combined for only Sacrament meeting for the last 3 weeks, and I never had the chance in my last area.  

This year as a whole church we will all be re-studying teaching from a wonderful prophet...Pres. Gordan B. Hinkley.  
I learned in Relief Society: Pres. Hinckley says that...

 "It is time to be strong, to progress without hesitation, and to know well the meaning of our mission."

I love his admonition to get moving!  Whoever we are and wherever we are, we need to make the most of our time here on earth.  We need to improve our talents and our character to bless those around us, and to qualify ourselves for eternal life!  Thankfully, we can lean on the Savior as we exercise our efforts.

As I look up these fruits to learn more about them I am awed by their nutritional and protective benefits!  Before Makayla left I was concerned for her physical health.  It is neat to see how she is being blessed in food alone.
Some other happenings of the week:
I learned that I have been eating PASSION FRUIT, PAPAYA, AND GUAVA every week!  I just never knew the names of these three fruits in English, and I had never actually seen them back home, ha-ha.  

We had the best p-day today!!!  We had both breakfast and lunch with the same family again.  It was um ASOMBRO!  There also happened to be some 80´s music playing in the background ... 

Hooray!  Makayla finally got her Christmas package!!
I also got THE PACKAGE!!! It was so incredibly wonderful!  Like I said before, YOU SURE KNOW HOW TO SEND A PACKAGE!  I took my own sweet time opening and arranging everything.  Thank you, thank you!  Where did you get the idea to put together the tree?  Thank everyone for their notes!  I am loving everything.  

Love you, have a wonderful week! 

Week 31

January 2, 2017
Refecting on the past year...2016.  Was an amazing year.  We were blessed with wonderful blessing of health, family, new friendships, and opportunities!  I know that if we will place the Lord first in our lives our blessings and expeinces will be far more than we could ever accomplish on our own. 
It was a great year wasn´t it.  I was thinking about the same things.  
We had a good week this week.  We have a BAPTISM planned for the coming Saturday!  We asked him (Junior), "What would be stopping you from being baptized," and he said, "Nada"!  So I am really looking forward to that.  
On New Years we had some good food!  
On New Years day we woke up to a rat in our house (not a mouse but a rat), ha ha.  We couldn´t think of how to remove it, so we called a member.  It only took him like 2 minutes to catch it (thank goodness).  
I am loving missionary work a little more each day.  I love telling everyone that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, and how we can return to his presence.  

Have a wonderful week! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 30

Merry Christmas!
Manaus Mission Christmas Conference 2016

December 26, 2016
Talking to Makayla on the phone was the absolute best!  Everything went well and we were able to chat for just over an hour.  She and her companion were able to go to another church members home and use their computer to Skype.  She was sweating and swating at a few flies.  She has developed a bit of an accent!  Her companion is adorble and the family generous. Yet, above all she was so happy and confident!  It made our hearts so glad to see our girl doing so well :)

Oh my goodness it was so wonderful to talk to you guys!!! I was a little nervous that the call would drop a lot, because we are in a really small area.  My companion says that you are also beautiful, she thinks that you are very sweet, and wants to also cook you some Brazilian food.  
Wow, it looks like you had a lovely Christmas!  I am so glad to see that you still held out all of our traditions.  I can say that, "I´ll be home for Christmas". 
Makayla mentioned that she already has her return date!...November 14 & 15
Here is a picture of our Christmas in Manaus!  I am standing next to Sister Bianelle and Sister Justino.  4th row from the bottom and 4th from the left. Her new companion is Sister Bianelle who is on the same row, 1st on the left.  I also ran into our old ward mission leader.  Goodness, I sure miss the members of my old area!!! At the conference we sang a bunch of Christmas songs as part of a program.  Anyone could attend.  I think only like 10 people showed up, but it was still really great.  I sure love the Christmas spirit!  I love reflecting on the atonement of Christ, and the grace that he extends to us all the day long.  The Christmas season is a time of joy, because this is the most joyful news that we have.  He lives!  Don´t let his sacrifice go to waste, but come to know Him and the power that he has to touch your life.  

Love you all!