Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 38

February 20, 2017

It is now the "rainy" season in Makayla's mission.  I asked her how much rain she is receiving?....And by the way she is coming into her 9th month this week!
So yes, it is "winter" here.  It rains off and on, but not that much really.  I think it will be interesting to get another president, because they are all so good.  Yes I know, 9 months!!! Thanks for the decorative letter:),  Is time going fast for you?  It is going fast for me.  I only hope that I can always be a better me/missionary with each passing day.    

Cute visitors, Pre-mission interviews...
So this week we had two girls from another city come and stay with us.  They were just so cute!  I loved hearing their stories, and getting to spend a little time with them.  On Wednesday we had interviews with President Castro, and a conference on Thursday. I loved it, of course. 

A practice lesson to the Mission Presidents wife... 
We had a great little teaching experience (Sister Valadares, Bianelle, and I).  As you probably know, missionaries have to do a lot of teaching practices.  It is one of those things that I don´t get very excited about, but I always walk away thankful for the experience.  So, we were to teach Sister Castro (President´s wife) repentance.  Needless to say, the situation made me a little nervous.  She was "Catholic", and only wanted to talk about Mary, but the lesson went really well.  We hadn´t had time to prepare anything, but it was one of those lessons truly guided by the spirit.  Because the spirit is perfect, she "accepted" baptism.  It was neat to see that we each had an important and inspired part in the lesson (that came naturally without a plan), and how we could work together.  
We all bought the same shirt to wear to the conference.  Afterward, Sister Castro had us take her to the store so that she could buy it too, haha.  
Too Cute!

Wise thoughts on the commandments...
Flavio Oliveira, a brother from my first area, made a surprise visit to Itacoatiara.  He had somehow gotten our number and took us to lunch.  He is one of the most inspired and devoted people that I have ever met.  He said something that I wanted to share with you:
           "I stay away from sin, not because I am strong,
                            but because I am weak." 
I love it!  We know our faults and our weaknesses, so we cleave unto God.  We have to remember that in order to stay safe and sound, and to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father, we have to keep the commandments.  We have to learn to love them for what they are: 
our protection
our guide,
 and our happiness.  

This next week we are going to Manaus again to do splits with the sisters.  I hope that we can slip in a temple visit?!!!

Good luck this week, I hope you have a wonderful one!  

With lots of love, 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Week 37

February 13, 2017

I have always respected missionaries but wasn't sure what to say or how to approach them.  Now having one myself and so many dear friends in our ward serving I feel I understand them better and apprieciate their service so much more.  I also find myself eager to say hello and ask how they are doing.  
I totally know what you mean about being afraid of the missionaries.  But like you said, now I have a whole new perspective.  Members are everything!  It means the world to know them personally, to know that they like/love you (ha-ha), to know that they have got your back, and to visit and be with them.  

We have another good friend who is preparing to leave on a mission soon.  We have discussed what are the best type of shoes?  Makayla had some thoughts...
Does she get a bike or a car, or will she be walking the whole time?  Remind me where she is going exactly.  For me, my Chacos have saved my life!  Honestly, you can buy other shoes,once on your mission but it might be a bit of a pain.  If she spends a good amount of money or not, either way she will be fine :)  Honestly, a mission is difficult to prepare for because they are all unique, but you just adapt with what you have.  So tell her not to worry very much.  

Happy Valentines Day!
You sent me a valentine!  Oh that makes me so happy and excited!!! Happy Valentines Day to you too.  Once again, this holiday and its traditions do not exist here.  Yet, I want to say that I love you so very much!!!  It means the world to me to know that you have got my back, and are happy with my efforts in all that I do.  Your testimony and faithful efforts in living the gospel, and acquiring spiritual knowledge continually give me a lot of strength too.  Thank you for being a great example: of the kind of mom and friend that I want to be one day.  I love you mom with all my heart, and thank Heavenly Father for you everyday!  

An opportunity came along through a friend of a friend who was returning home to Manaus!  She was willing to deliver a package to the mission home!  I wasn't sure Makayla would need anything, she always says she is fine and can get everything there.  Guess she found some things :)
Hmmm ... what do I need? Kraft Mac and Cheese, pancake mix, and brownie mix.  Echinacea.  Peanut Butter (if there is room)!  Mascara and eyeliner (because it is expensive here).  Pepto tablets.  Bug spray (“Off” please).  And anything else that you are inspired to send me.  Oh, tell Leslie and Dave that I am still awaiting their one letter (they can stick it in the package), ha-ha.  I want them to tell me how they are doing and what´s new.  Tell them that I miss them, and thank you, thank you, thank you, to their friends.  

Having trouble downloading pictures at the public facilities...taking a very long time.  
Pictures ... We´ve been so busy that we haven´t had the time to go to Irmão Miguel´s house on P-day to send them from his computer.  Hopefully next week! 

A surprise trip...Makayla is currently 4 1/2 hours away from Manaus.  To travel back and forth requires a bus ride on some bumpy roads.  I am impressed with her growing ability. 
This week was a little crazy!  We got put into a trio (did I already tell you that?)  So now we have to be a little more particular and creative with our time, caring for two areas and all.  I was working with Sister Valadares Tuesday, when we got a call from one of the elders in the mission office.  He asked if I was far away from home (and we were), because I needed to pack some things and go to Manaus right away (the bus was leaving at 4:00) to get my "CPF" (which is like identification).  So we ran all the way home, I threw some things together, and went all the way to Manaus alone.  Yes, alone.  It is a little intimidating arriving somewhere without a cell phone, and only hoping that someone will come for you.  I remembered “The Other Side of Heaven”, ha-ha. A true story/movie about a missionary sent to Tonga in the 1950's, one of our favorites! Yet, all went really well.  I stayed with some other sisters, and they were so sweet and welcoming.  Overall it was a fast and smooth trip.  
I wasn´t actually able to work in our area this week, but it looks like our investigators are doing fine.  Hopefully we can have some really good visits this week.  

One other thing is that we have interviews with President Castro this week and two girls from another small city (they will come by boat) will be staying with us.  We think they have pre-mission interviews with President Castro (because they don´t have a stake president).  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Remember how wonderful you are, beloved children of God!  There is nothing you can´t do with Him at your side.  

Love, Makayla.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Week 36

February 6, 2017

Talking with Makayla about some events that will need to be prepared for her return and recieved this funny response...   
It will be a shock for sure ... everyone so white and speaking in English, haha.  It is kind of funny because we (the other missionaries and I here) talk about, "when I go home ..." a fair amount.  I´m going to make you tapioca for breakfast with fried banana! 

Letters from home...
So I did get your letter about the lesson that you had with President Wilden.  I loved it!  I think your discoveries are perfect.  I also got a card from Gramy and Cindy Yates.  Can you tell her thank you for me?  That it was so thoughtful of her!  I loved to hear "Merry Christmas" from the ward members and especially their testimonies.  It is wonderful to be thought of all the way down here, and to share their light with the people all the way down here :)  

Our 6 year old niece recently asked Makayla some questions...
Yes, I have seen some VERY BIG butterflies here.  I will try to take a picture the next time I see one.  My favorite lunch is: rice, fish, salad, farinha, and .... coke, haha (shhh, don´t tell Aunt Jen).  "Farinha", means flour.  They must mix it up some how?

The Work... 
This week was only a little different with the changes.  One thing big that happened this week was that we got put into a trio.  You know how we live with one other companionship?  Well, Sister Oliveira has been having trouble with her shoulder, so she has gone to Manaus for possibly 3 weeks.  In the meantime, the three of us are covering two areas.  It´s a little crazy but also fun.  Sister Valadares is... a diva, haha.  
So we also worked with our new family a fair amount this past week.  Tomorrow we will most definitely invite them to be baptized!  We taught them the Word of Wisdom this past week, and they gave us their coffee tranquilly.  There is something here called cevada, that is super similar to coffee, but not against the Word of Wisdom.  After the lesson we left them with some cevada, and they made some to share with us.  This family is really promising, and they are integrating really well!!! 
I just want to give my humble testimony that Christ loves us deeply for the sincere efforts that we make to overcome our imperfections and to endure our trials.  He is cheering us on, and he sees perfectly the prize that is awaiting our efforts in the kingdom of our Father!  So trust Him :) Try to become like Him.  

Have a wonderful week! Love you!!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 35

January 30, 2017

Time in Manaus...
This week went well :)  We were actually in Manaus until Thursday night.  We did a division with our Sister Training Leaders, watched the broadcast, and took Sister Bianelle to the hospital.  She has had stomach problems for the past transfer, so she wanted to get looked at.  All is well, but she has to watch what she eats.  

World Wide Missionary Conference...
The broadcast was sure interesting.  If you didn´t hear, they made some changes to the schedule and the weekly numbers that we report on.  It was nothing too huge, but now we have (in my opinion) a schedule a little more relaxed :)  

New Investigators!
We went to the baptism of an 8 yr old boy in the branch, and there picked up 3 more investigators!  2 are the cousins of the boy´s mom (who is also the Relief Society president).  They came to church on Sunday, and we will be teaching them tomorrow.  I am super excited!  It is a single mom and her adult son. 
Oh!  We had transfers, but there are no changes here, haha!!! 

This week I have been exlporing D&C a little bit more.  I just have to say how grateful I am for modern revelation!  How blessed we are as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to have the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the words of modern prophets and more!!! That is a whole lot of wonderful information that the world doesn´t have.

"D&C" or Doctorine & Covenants are scripture or revelations received through Joseph Smith from God, check it out~ Doctorine & Covenants

Have a wonderful week, love you all!