Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 43

March 27, 2017
 Our ward is experienceing an amazing amount of missionaries serving right now.  One of our special friends just returned home.  Wow, I can only imagine her homecoming!  Almost every transfer I get a glimpse of the missionaries who are going home.  It looks like such a crazy experience.  I´m not sure which is bigger, leaving or coming home?  
For the first time I tried Indian food & thought Makayla would get a kick out of it...
That Indian food looks sooo good.  Something that I miss is a variety of foods.  When people ask what we eat in the States, I tell them that we eat a little bit of everything (they all think that we just eat hamburgers and stuff).   
An unofficial update upon a recent incident in Manaus
No, everything is great here, no need to worry.  It is more of a laughing matter.  
The work and a beautiful perspective on attending church.

This week was great, and really tiring!  I think I might have had a bug or something and we have been doing a ton of walking, so I was pretty beat.  But ... gosh we have so many great investigators, good members, and a very large area!  Something that I love about my companion is that she is really well focused.  She has been on the mission for 14 months, but doesn´t want to talk about going home.   We had a baptism of a little 9 yr old girl this weekend and next weekend we are planning the baptism of her cousin, who is 20.  We also have so many other possibilities!!!  After a tiring week, Sunday morning at church, following with a baptism was just what I needed :)  Many times we think that going to church is only one more thing to do at the end of the week, but really it is our reward.  
I love you all!  
Remember that there are angels about us :) 

A story of what began with a missionary & a prayer to find an investigator.  Read how it began in week 42!
Hopefully more to come...!

​You all thought that Texas Road House did a good job ... 
(We were doing a split with my previous companion on her birthday).
Happy Birthday Sister Bianelle! 

Wow, are those the materials the missionaries pass out?!

Cute pancakes!  Congratulations Sister Long with 10 months of service and Sister Rivera with 14 months!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 42

March 20, 2017
Makayla's first reporting from her newest area as a Sister Training Leader...
Sooo.... HELLO!  
There is so much to tell!  I really love the new area and my new Hispanic companion.  There are a lot of wonderful investigators here, and good members to work with.  Here are some experiences from the week:
On Thursday we had a counsel (I think it would be called in English) with all of the district and zone leaders and sister training leaders.  So did you hear about the Elder who beat up some assaulters?  To be short, all of the missionaries in that area are going "under cover".  They will be wearing normal clothes and not using nametags.  Yet, not to worry!!! They are all safe and protected.  In the counsel, I learned a lot of great things.  Here are two:  
  • "A good leader walks in front, not pushes from behind."  
  • "Of all the things that we are making and doing here, how many are eternal".

We were looking for a new investigator, knocking (or clapping) a few doors (or gates), when a guy came out to talk to us.  We asked if he knew the girl, who he didn´t, and introduced ourselves.  He let us come in, and we shared the beginning of the Restoration with him.  He is super cool; super educated, and was super receptive.  We marked a return date, and he will be going to church with us the next Sunday.  When we were leaving he said, "I just wanted to let you know, that I had been praying this week that God would show me other religious cultures, or another way of worship."  Yes!!! 

We had interviews with President Castro this week, and they were running late.  We had marked an FHE with a part member family, yet we still had to take the long and complicated bus route.  So, he took us!  It was the most entertaining thing, he is seriously hilarious.  I thought to myself, "If our very own mission president is taking us to our FHE, then it is going to go really well, without a doubt!  And it did :)  One of the sons has a girlfriend who is pregnant, and we wanted to introduce her to the church and invite them to get married.  It was a really sweet experience, and she cried, telling us that her heart was open and that this time; she is ready to come closer to God.  They are excited and came to the ward activity on Saturday.  Even the parents, who are members of the church, talked about their goal to be sealed in the temple!
One other thing that I wanted to share happened when we were out in the street.  We had been walking and walking and walking, and were pretty late to our appointment.  We hadn't made any new contacts that day, and I knew that time was wasting.  So, I said a little prayer, asking Heavenly Father to show us someone who we could really teach, and who would be a progressing investigator.  Well a few moments later I heard some say "Sister...".  I stopped and looked back to see a man looking at us from a doorway.  I got my companion´s attention and we went back.  It turned out to be a less active family with a 9 yr. old girl whom they want to baptize and a 20 yr. old cousin who just came to Manaus to study.  She has never visited the church before, but came this Sunday and is a wonderful investigator!  

There are so many other little things that I could share, but I just want to say that I love the reality that Jesus is our Salvador, that we are filhos de Deus, e que nós estamos aqui para edificar um ao outro!  We are here to edify one another.  I am touched and edified by so many people here, and each of these special little experiences.  LOVE YOU ALL!!! 

Sister Rivera, Makayla's new companion.
Study Area

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 41

March 13, 2017

Yay!  Makayla got her package!!!
It is so weird to hear about the seasons changing.  Time is sure passing isn´t it?  Your package arrived, I just have yet to open it!!! 

A new responsibility, "Sister Training Leader"...If you're like me and not sure what that means check this link out: Sister Training Leaders
Sounds like an amazing opportunity to serve and learn!  Oh, how I wish I could be there!!
I got transferred out of Itacoatiara!  I wasn´t expecting it at all because my companion already had 6 months in the area.  Well, we were both transferred!  The area didn´t exactly close because two new sisters will be filling in our places.  I am back in Manaus as a Sister Training Leader :O.  So I definitely don´t feel ready, BUT ... I have learned well on the mission that feeling 100% capable doesn´t exist, haha.  What does exist is the power of faith unto receiving Heavenly help and growth.  I have actually already spent a day in the area doing a split with the Sister who is now my companion, Sister Rivera from Ecuador! I do like the new adjustment, and feel excited to see how I will grow.  
Growing Opportunities...
*The best way to have FUN on the mission is to allow Heavenly Father to push you, and see the results when you turn around*.  It really is the coolest process.  I can honestly say that I have a new perspective of myself because of my experiences here on the mission.  A new perspective of my potential of a daughter of God, in His very hands.  This goes for each one of us!!! I can´t explain how grateful I am for these experiences that I am having.  I love to remember that a "perfect" life doesn´t exist in mortality.  Yet our very difficulties, trials, and imperfections make part of a perfect heavenly plan.  
Sorry for the short email,  I just got back into Manaus and haven´t unpacked yet. 

Tchau! (Bye!)
Have a wonderful week! 

Love you tons!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week 40

March 6, 2017

This week we finally had some more teaching opportunities.  We had some special street contacts with two different women.  The first was a girl (18 yrs old) who just had a really great and sincere response to us.  We asked her if she was accustomed to pray, and then if she would be baptized if she received an answer from Heavenly Father.  She didn´t pause very long to think, but gave a thoughtful answer of, "Yes I would".  We have been back once to invite her to church, yet on Sunday a family member told us that she wasn´t feeling well (with a stomach bug or something).  I think she was telling the truth, because she seems to truly like us.  I sure hope that we can keep good contact with her this week, and have some good teaching moments.  
The other contact was with another woman (maybe 40 yrs. old).  She was sitting on a motorcycle on the side of the street, when the thought came to me, "she would probably make a good contact".  After a few minutes, she opened up to us about some difficulties that she was having at home, and even began to cry.  Sister Valadares had the great idea to sing her a hymn.  We sang "Where Can I Turn For Peace".  Afterward she said, "Isn´t God loving, how He sent you to me?"  She thanked us for the pick-me-up, and we left.  Later in the week we went looking for her house, but had some difficulty in finding it (because often times the addresses here just don´t make sense). We´ll keep looking! 

Beauties of Brazil!...
Another day this week, we were out working, and stopped at a member´s house to ask for water (a member of the other branch that I had never met before).  My companion said, "Hey he has a Toucan," and asked him if he could bring it out.  He did, and even let me hold it on my arm.  I was literally taken aback at how beautiful it was.  

Members & Missionaries coming together...
On Saturday we had a BBQ, and a lot of the members (families of leaders) fasted with us for missionary work.  I was so touched at how sweet it was, and turned out so well.  

We have an investigator who is coming to church every week (one of the biggest struggles here is to get people up in the morning for church).  Her husband is actually a member who served a mission.  Although, he doesn´t come to church much because he travels for work.  She even told us how she is more concerned about their family being together than the financial situation.  In the past, she has only come once in a while, and not because she really wanted to.  Yet some things have changed, and she is coming all by herself!  We got news this week that some things went wrong with their paperwork, and they are not actually lawfully married.  So we´ll work with them to sort this out, and get her husband back in the loop!  
We actually have transfers the next week, and we are sad that our trio is splitting up.  I should be staying.

Love you all, and miss you!  Abraços e Beijos!!! 
                                              (Hugs & Kisses)
Até a próxima semana, se cuidam.

(Until next week take care of themselves/yourselves)