Hi everyone! Hope this week was great. We had a wonderful week with lots of progress. It was also one of the hottest weeks of my life. It reached more than 40 degrees Celsius here, which is about 104 degrees Fahrenheit!! People are super nice though and always willing to offer us water and to come in and sit for a little while. It is providing a lot of great opportunities to meet new people. This week we had some pretty great experiences with a few investigators. One is the friend of some less-active members in the ward. She is reading the Book of Mormon and learning a lot! It is such a miracle for her too because in school she always had a super hard time learning and understanding things. But she reads the Book of Mormon and seriously understands really well! She cried yesterday with joy because the Lord is really working in her life and she is doing things she never thought she could. We also met with another woman and started teaching her daughters and granddaughter too! She told us how she has been really feeling the desire to come to church since she has started learning (which is a miracle because the first time we met with her she told us flat out that she would never want to come to church and be baptized!). It is so wonderful to see the Spirit working on people´s hearts. Also, another family we are teaching is doing super well. The mom has a lot of reservations about getting baptized, not because she doesn´t want to, but because she wants to be active in the church afterwards and is afraid of falling away. But she is basically talking like she is already a member and she recognizes that too. We are helping her to overcome her insecurities and trust in the Lord. He really is the one that knows best for us and when we let Him work in our lives and trust in His will, miracles happen!
This week I really realized how much the gospel is such a blessing to families and how much it changes lives. We are teaching a woman with 6 children and it is absolutely wonderful to see the light in her children´s eyes as they learn more about the gospel. She and a few of her kids came to church yesterday, and it was great! We taught her yesterday about how our families can truly be united for eternity, and she was super excited. I know that the gospel is the most important thing that we can have in our lives. The teachings of Jesus Christ will solve any problem that we may have and we can confront any challenge with faith because of Him. It is so important for families to pray, read the scriptures, go to church, and talk about their faith together. It unifies us and helps us to love each other better. I am so grateful for my family and I know that the Lord loves everyone. He wants us all to enjoy the peace, joy, and hope that the gospel brings. Life is really hard sometimes, and no one wants to face it alone. Heavenly Father has given us the gift of family and friends to help us make it through. :)
This week has been full of some crazy thunderstorms and heat! We had a zone conference in Porto Alegre this week and got caught in a downpour on the way back from lunch! But it was a great conference and we learned a lot about the importance of optimism and being happy despite opposition. The Lord has a time and a plan for everything, and we don´t need to worry. Tudo vai dar certo has become my new motto...everything will be alright. I am learning more and more how little of the ´´big picture´´ I can see and how important it is to just trust in God and know that He knows everything and will take care of us. I read a great talk this week by President Monson called ´´Finding Joy in the Journey´´ (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/finding-joy-in-the-journey?lang=eng). I loved how he talked about focusing on the abundance that we have in our lives and not what we still feel that we lack. Having a spirit of gratitude always makes life happier! Something I learned even more this week is the importance of expressing love for those around you. People always say that it´s important to show your love because you never know when the last time you´ll see someone is. This is true, but even more you should always express your love and appreciation because you never know when that person may be absolutely needing to hear it! Most often, we feel the love of God through the words and actions of those around us. He uses others to help us and we can be used by Him too! President Monson spoke in his talk about how you will never regret an expression of love and gratitude. He gave a great quote too that says, ´´They do not love that do not show their love.´´
This week we started teaching two great people. They both have amazing questions about their purpose in life and how to change and become better for their families. I love being able to feel the Spirit and really feel like I am helping someone improve their life. It is such a blessing to be a missionary and it is definitely worth all the challenges and hard times. I love the gospel and I love my Savior. He knows me so well and helps me every day.
Oi tudo mundo! Overall it was a great week. We had some interesting experiences...including getting stuck in the rain without umbrellas or anything! The weather lately has been crazy -- rain, sun, wind, heat, cold, all in one day!! We had a great conference with our zone and another one. Both zones make up a stake (a region made up of different congregations of the church) and we are working to divide it into 2 stakes! I feel so privileged to be here at this time to help the church grow in this area and to bring families to the knowledge of the gospel! It´s slow going, but the Lord gathered His sheep one by one so I know it will all work out with time.
We finally got in contact with Cíntia again!! She was really sick and Satan was working hard on her to stop learning about the gospel, but she persevered! We taught her about the Word of Wisdom this week and she is working to quit smoking! She has already gone from 10+ cigarrettes in one day to just 1-2, all in the span of this week!! Que maravilhoso! She is very excited and her boys have decided that they want to learn more too. I love working with families and helping them to come closer to God and each other through the gospel.
We also had a really interesting experience yesterday. We went to teach a couple who are very active in their church. So active in fact that he is a preacher. But we just testified to them of what we know and invited them to learn more. They aren´t interested right now, but they remarked at how impressed they were by meeting with us and how they appreciated our love and respect for them. I really appreciated the respect they showed towards us as well and that we were able to leave in disagreement, but still with love, respect, and friendship (and cake that she made for us!). If only every disagreement in the world could end that way! :) Things aren´t easy, but I know that every effort to serve the Lord is worth it.
This week I learned a lot about the importance of just doing your best and letting the Lord work out the details. We had a lot of things not work out how we would have liked this week, including one investigator who was super excited to get baptized and is now avoiding us! But, I know from experiences past that these things happen and we just need to be patient. The Lord is in control and things always will work out how He needs them to be. Often times in our lives we think that we have the perfect plan for how things need to be. We have goals and dreams that are righteous and good, but sometimes they don´t happen as planned, or at all. We may begin to wonder why we must experience such difficulty and strife. I know that I have often thought before, ´´I´m doing what I´m supposed to be doing and making good choices, why can´t what I want to happen just work out how I want it to??`` But luckily, the Lord knows more than we do and He always provides a way for His will to be done. Our ´´best case scenario´´ usually pales in comparison to what He has planned for us. It definitely is a huge test of faith to keep trusting in His will when it seems like we are just being denied from what we want. But I know that it will always work out for the best. The Lord loves us perfectly and He knows how much we can handle. He knows our challenges and the experiences that we need to have to reach our full potential. Though we may feel like we can´t do it, He knows that we can. His timing is perfect and if we are willing to listen, He will always lead us in the right direction. I know that the Lord knows all of us personally and He loves us perfectly. I don´t quite understand how He could possibly be so patient and forgiving when His children repeatedly make wrong choices. But He is. Even when we feel like we don´t deserve His blessings or love, He is always there to give it. All we have to do is allow Him to help us by striving to follow His plan. He has given us the gospel of Jesus Christ to help us navigate this life of challenges and confusion. Those who are faithful will find immense happiness and joy, even in the midst of trial and challenges. I was so grateful to be reminded of this repeatedly this past weekend during General Conference. It was great to hear the messages of our prophet and other church leaders. I know that they are inspired of God and that the messages they shared are specific to our day. I know that the church of Jesus Christ truly was restored to the Earth and that God still speaks with us today. He hasn´t abandoned us and never will! :)
This has been a great week! On Tuesday I went to Porto Alegre to meet my new companion, Sister Olarte! She is new to the mission, fresh out of the MTC in São Paulo! She is 21 years old and is from Lima, Peru. She is the only member of the church in her family and only joined the church about 2 years ago. She has a lot of faith and I am learning a lot from her humble example. As you can probably imagine, it´s pretty funny sometimes for an American who speaks English and a Peruvian who speaks Spanish to be living together speaking Portuguese. But the Lord performs miracles every day and I can really feel Him helping us out in our work! We saw a lot of progress this week here!
Biggest miracle of the week: Cíntia!!
We´ve been visiting Cíntia for over a month now and she´s always been interested in learning more and participating in the church, but she didn´t feel like she was ready to be baptized yet. This week we had a great lesson with her and she told us how she´s been thinking and thinking and she has decided that she really does want to get baptized! I can´t wait for November 8th! :)
Something that I learned this week even more is the importance of having the Holy Spirit with you. Everything in the gospel is centered around Jesus Christ and being able to have the Spirit in your life. Every commandment is meant to just help us invite the Spirit and be worthy to receive the guidance of the Lord. The Spirit helps us to feel peace, happiness, joy, love, patience, inspiration, everything good in the world, really. These feelings help us to recognize what is right and make good decisions that will bring more happiness and joy. I know that as we do the little things --- pray daily, read the scriptures, go to church, keep the commandments --- we are inviting the Spirit of God to dwell with us. We are inviting Him to be our constant companion in our daily life. With the presence of the Spirit, we can do whatever the Lord has asked of us.
This week I have learned a lot about the importance of just doing your part and letting the Lord make up the rest. As we are happy, positive, and diligent, He can perform miracles in our lives and the lives of others!! We had a great experience this week with 2 of our investigators. They both have been learning for over a month now, but have never been able to come to church or an activity. But this week, they both came to a baptism!! Cíntia is a mother of 3 who is recently getting herself out of a life of drugs and taking responsibility for her life. She is so humble and ready to change. She felt at peace at the baptism and recognized the Spirit there. Now, she really wants to make it to church. It is amazing to see the power of the Spirit touching a person´s heart. The other investigator, Letícia, is a 17 year old girl who is ´´married´´ to a 30-something year old druggie and she has a baby with him. Her life is pretty crazy right now and she is trying to figure out what she wants to do. After the baptism, she was so excited and asked us, ´´What do I need to do to get baptized??`` I know that as we have faith, do our part, and think positive, the Lord performs miracles. We are all children of God and His purpose for us here is to help us find eternal happiness and joy.
Also, news of the week: My companion is getting transferred and I will be staying here. I will be training a new sister here in the mission field! I am constantly amazed by how much the Lord stretches me in this work, but I know from experience that as we trust in Him and do His will, all will work out just fine! I am grateful to be serving the Lord at this time and to be a witness of His power and love. How have you felt the Lord´s love for you this week? How will you help someone else feel it? :)
This week was another challenging one, but I learned a lot. It rained a lot and our investigators decided to not be at home whenever we passed by...but we are working a lot more with the members here and have plans to find other people to teach! I was grateful for the opportunity to go to the temple as well. We had our first English class this week and it went very well! I love being able to help people learn and share what I know with them. It was also great to see a less-active man and his step-daughter who we´ve been visiting there at the class!
A major tender mercy of the week was our visit with Irmã Delma and Irmão Antonio! They are an elderly couple who haven´t been to church in a few years because she is basically homebound and he needs to stay there to take care of her. But, they are so sweet and such an example to me. Though they can´t make it to church, every Sunday they have their own little meeting and pray, sing hymns together, and read and discuss the scriptures. It´s sweet to see the true companionship they have and the immense faith and patience they have with the will of the Lord. She is literally constantly in pain, but is also constantly smiling and talking about how good God is and how grateful she is for her blessings. It makes me realize how minor my concerns are and how important it is to just be positive and happy. Life is hard, but we have hope in Christ. Every challenge has purpose and it is through these challenges that we grow and change. It´s not ever comfortable to experience change, but I know that the Lord is with us in every trial and that He understands our pain. He felt everything that we feel and He knows how to help us if we will let Him. I love this scripture in 1 Peter 2:19-21 about being a disciple of Christ.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
This week was super rainy and no one really wanted to stop to talk to us or answer the door. But, despite the rain, it was a great week!! Sister Barros and I had a lot of fun together and had some great visits with members and investigators. Yesterday was my ´´mission birthday´´ (aka, the day of the month that I started my mission) and also the birthday of a wonderful sister in the ward. We have been working a lot especially with a couple that joined the church decades ago and hadn´t been to church for probably more than 10 years. They raised their kids in the church to a point, but none of them really know much about it. We have been visiting them for a while and they have some really deep questions and concerns. Although they have a lot of doubts, they love our visits and we have become almost like granddaughters to them. Gradually, they have been feeling the Spirit more and making changes in their lives. They decided a few weeks ago that they wanted to keep the Sabbath day holy and wouldn´t open their market on Sundays. They took a hit financially as a result, but are firm in their decision and even chose to pay tithing too. Yesterday, they came to church!! We also have been visiting their son who is ´´not interested at all´´ in coming back to church, but wants to offer guitar lessons at the church and loves having us visit with him and his family. We had a meeting this week to plan the lessons, and he stayed for our ´´family night´´ at the church too. It was great to see him enjoying being among church members again and developing friendships. I know that he is feeling the Spirit, even if he doesn´t recognize it or want to admit it. This week also starts our English classes at the church (yep, one of the elders and I are going to teach English lessons) and he is going to come with his family. I know that God performs miracles, but often the process is a lot more gradual than we expect. It is so important to be patient with His timing and understand that everything really will work out in the end. :)
This week was great, we had a really fun service project and the baptism of Carla! We helped out at a member´s house doing a ´´faxina,´´ which really is just a big spring cleaning basically. Afterwards they thanked us by having a churrasco! It was a lot of fun and it was great to be able to help them and learn more about their culture too.
The lovely Carla also got baptized this week. She originally was going to get baptized about a month ago, but she had a lot of doubts and concerns and asked to push it back. It was great to see her happy and excited to be baptized this weekend and to see that the Lord really has a time and a season for everything. It was the right time and the right circumstances for her personally and she had a great experience. It is so important to be patient with the Lord´s will and timing because it is always better than anything that we want. He knows what is best and we can trust with confidence that everything will work out. This doesn´t mean that we don´t need to work hard, but truly when we do our part, the Lord will make up the rest. Faith isn´t about acting blindly, but trusting that as you act on the Lord´s will, He will bless you. We don´t have the full picture, but He does! Why shouldn´t we trust Him? :) This week we also have been teaching Laureci more and helping her understand the importance of baptism in the Lord´s church. We also met a woman named Eugenia who has had a lot of struggles. Her husband is handicapped and she has to spend all day every day tending to his needs. Even more, he doesn´t treat her well or really want to be with her, but has to because of his physical needs. She is such an example to me of patience and integrity. She told us how hard it is, but she stays with him because she knows that she made a promise when they got married and she is loyal to that covenant. She is considering baptism and understands how serious of a commitment it is. I am grateful to be here in Viamão and for all the miracles that occur here daily.
It´s been a good, and very hot, week here in Viamão! I got a nice sneak peek of what summer will be like here. This Sunday, I gave my first talk in church here in Brazil! It went well and afterwards members told me that they were actually able to understand me, which is great! I am trying to get rid of my American accent :) It is amazing to me the things that the Lord is helping me to do. Sometimes I forget how miraculous it is that I am communicating daily with people in another language because it is just something I expect to happen. But seriously, the Lord is amazing and I am so grateful for the miracles He performs every day in my life and the lives of others.
I learned a lot this week about the importance of charity and sacrifice. We had a member of the church go out with us to help teach for the whole day this week! I am so amazed by the willingness that people have here to help others and to serve without thought of themselves. It was her only day off from work and she could have been at home relaxing with her husband. But, she wanted to come out with us and visit people who are in need of help. I also was reminded this week of something that I learned in the past but have kind of forgetten. I realized again that it is so important to love those around you, even if they don´t love you or show you kindness. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and even though some people are harder to get along with than others, we are still commanded to love and serve them. Christ loves everyone and He didn´t discriminate who He helped while He was here on Earth. Even though it is super hard sometimes, we need to do our best to be kind to others and understand their point of view. It makes everyone´s life easier and happier. Life is good! The gospel of Christ is one of happiness, joy, and love. We don´t need to worry, everything will work out in the end for the best. I am so grateful for the direction of the Lord in my life and I know that He is literally directing my life and the lives of others. As we trust in Him and His will, we will find that everything works out how it needs to be.
Oi tudo mundo! This week has been full of changes! I arrived in my new area, Viamão, on Tuesday this week. My companion, Sister Barros, is great! She is Brazilian and is 27 years old. She is very patient and we are working well together! We are both new to the area, so this week has been a lot of adapting and learning! The map has become our best friend :) But the ward here is great. This week, an older sister in the ward passed away. The bishop decided to leave time during church for people to express their feelings about her, since a lot of people weren´t able to go to her funeral. I was very impressed by the stories that people told about her and the immense influence she had in the lives of so many people. She had 12 children and over 80 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a majority of the members in the church here are related to her in one way or another. Because of her righteous life and her humble desire to nurture and care for everyone she met, over 100 people have learned about the gospel and are firmly planted in their faith in Christ. Our lives really are so much more significant than we can even imagine! We truly never know how much we are affecting those around us through our decisions and example. It is so important to make the most of our lives because of this. The time that we have here on Earth is really quite short and every day matters. That is something that I am working to apply, especially here on my mission. The past is there to learn from, but we can´t dwell on it. The future is full of possibilities and opportunities. But, what matters most is what we are doing with the time we have right now. If we make the most of the present, we will be able to look back on the past with satisfaction and have confidence in a good future. The Lord has a time and a place for everything and as we trust in that plan, we will find that His plans are always better than anything we could dream of ourselves. :)
This has been a good week! Thursday was my one year mark on the mission! We had the opportunity to go to the temple as a zone on Wednesday, which was so great. I love the peace and Spirit there. We had a great stake conference yesterday as well! 4 of our investigators came! We have been teaching the husband of a recent convert recently, and it has been kind of hard for her because although he is reading the Book of Mormon faithfully and believes everything, he doesn´t understand the need to get baptized. She came to conference by herself. But, just before the conference started, we saw her husband Carlos walk in! He had driven the 45 minute drive to Porto Alegre by his own free will to be there! It was great! We also started teaching the friend of a young woman in the ward this week, named Ketllhen. She´s been coming to church, mutual, and seminary for like a year now and for some reason the missionaries just never knew that she wasn´t a member before. But she wants to get baptized and is ready to learn! We also had a wonderful lesson with Fernanda this week, and she finally said the closing prayer. It was beautiful and the Spirit was very strong. She started crying in the middle of it and I could tell that she was beginning to recognize the influence of the Lord in her life. It´s those kind of moments that remind me why I am here and why this work is so important. :)
So today I found out that I am getting transferred! I came into the mission here halfway through a transfer cycle, so I have only been here in Guaíba for 3 weeks. It is weird to be getting transferred right as I am starting to get to know the people, area, and my companions. But it must be for a reason! It just goes to show that you really have to be ready for anything at all times and that the Lord is the one in control, not us. I am learning to expect the unexpected, and to apply the counsel ´´Come what may, and love it.´´ :)
This week was great. We found 15 new investigators...which absolutely blows my mind compared to when I was in North Carolina. I am adjusting more to the culture and the language and learning a lot about humility and patience!! The members here are so great and kind and willing to serve. Food highlight of the week: churrasco! It is kind of like barbecue but way better!
So August 7 marks one year since I have been on the mission!! I can hardly believe it, and looking back to one year ago I am amazed to see how much my life has changed. I feel so much closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and my testimony of the gospel has really solidified. I have learned so much about trusting in the Lord and allowing Him to mold me into who He needs me to be. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have been able to meet so far and the experiences I have had. I am glad I still have 6 months left to serve!
This past Saturday was the baptism of Kauã. He is the son of a less-active sister in the ward and is absolutely brilliant. He has the strongest testimony and is an amazing example to me, the ward, and his family. I know that he will be able to be an amazing missionary one day and that through his testimony many lives will be changed.
I am so grateful for the gospel and all the blessings that it brings to my life each day. Love you all!
Oi tudo mundo! Estou aquí em minha primeira área do Brasil. I had an amazing experience in the CTM in São Paulo and am learning a lot here. The first day in the mission was zone conference, so I went straight to that and then stayed with some sisters in the city. The next day was the zone conference for the sisters who are my companions now, so I went to zone conference again and met my companions there. But, I couldn´t get a ride with all of my suitcases to my first area until the next day, so I stayed with a different set of sisters and worked in their area with them. Finally, I got here in Guaíba on Friday! It was a bit crazy but I am grateful to be here in my area with Sister Luana and Sister Nadal finally. They are great! Sister Luana is a Brazilian from Salvador and she will be finishing up her mission in September. Sister Nadal is from Pennsylvania and has been out for about 6 months. They both have been very patient and kind as I learn and adjust to everything! So my first area is called Guaíba and it is about an hour away from Porto Alegre. It´s the smallest area in the mission geographically and covers about 3 barros, which are like neighborhoods. We walk everywhere and get to meet a lot of nice people on the streets. We have a lot of investigators that we are working with and the ward is very helpful too. I am learning a lot about the culture and the people here. It´s very friendly and open and people are so loving. It´s hard not being able to understand a lot yet, but I am slowly but surely figuring things out. I know that as I do my best and trust in the Lord, He will help me to be able to do whatever is required of me. I was so grateful to be able to go to the temple last week in São Paulo. It gave me a lot of peace and an opportunity to remember that the Lord has a plan and we are never alone. I am grateful to be here in Brazil and for the opportunity I have to serve the people here. :)
PS: With the accent here, I am now Sister ``gee-eh-ter´´ haha :)
So I have like 5 minutes to write this email...but I am here in Brazil and I am doing well! I leave for Porto Alegre on Tuesday, and I am so excited! It has been wonderful to be here at the CTM in Sao Paulo and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here! All of my instructors are brasileiros and most of the other missioanaries are Brazilian or Hispanic. I love it! The culture is so open and loving and I am loving Portuguese more and more! My district is all former visa waiters and we've all served for quite a bit of time so we are just trying to translate everything we know how to do into Portuguese. :) But it is amazing and I am so grateful to be a missionary!! I love the gospel and getting to learn about it and teach it to others in Portuguese just brings an even stronger Spirit. I was grateful to be able to go to the Sao Paulo temple this morning and get a wonderful reminder of how important this life really is. We all have a purpose and God has a plan for everyone. I know that everything works out as we strive to follow God's will. Love you all!! I'll send pictures next week when I have more time!! :)
Oi, minha familia e amigos! :) Here I am on the 11 month mark of my mission and it is my last day here in North Carolina. I can't even begin to explain the mixed feelings going on in my mind and heart right now! I am so grateful for all that I have been able to learn and experience here and the wonderful people I have been able to serve among. I love the South and will forever love the people of NC. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me in Brazil and the work that He has for me to do there.
This week we had an amazing miracle! About 2 months ago, we got a referral from mormon.org from this woman who requested to have missionaries come and teach her. We were very excited! We met her once and she was so ready to learn. But, after that initial visit we lost contact and were unable to see her again. The other day, we had a feeling that we needed to stop by and see her again. She wasn't home, so we left a note. Well, she called us back and was very excited to meet! We taught her 3 times last week and she is excited to get baptized in August!! She also came to church and loved it. She told us that she would be there every week from now on. She had a lot of great questions and comments at church and everyone there seemed to love her. She even requested a blessing to help her quit smoking. She is amazing. It makes me wonder what would have happened if we didn't listen to that feeling that we had to stop by and see her. It was just a subtle feeling, but so much came of it by listening. It makes me want to listen more to the feelings and promptings of the Spirit because we never know what miracles can come from seemingly trivial ideas. Even if we personally don't understand why we need to do it, or even if it seems so crazy and random, if the Lord wants us to do it we need to get it done! Luckily, He knows that we aren't perfect at that and He makes a way for us to learn and do better. But I am so grateful for the guidance of the Spirit. It will lead us in all things as we rely on the Lord to direct our paths. I also just want to testify that I know that God loves all of us individually and He knows us personally. He forgives us and wants to help us overcome our weaknesses step by step. I know that He not only wants us to love others, but to love ourselves too. Someone said something at church that hit me: "God loves us no matter how much we feel like we don't deserve it." You are always loved and are never alone!! :)
Happy almost 4th of July! I hope everyone has a great week, wherever you are! This past week has been so good. Funny moment of the week: At the end of a lesson we asked our 66 year old investigator what we could pray for for her. She promptly responded, "Pray that I will find me Mr. Righteous." We almost died of laughter, but we complied and prayed for it. I hope she gets what she's looking for :)
Anyways, we also had two amazing experiences that show to me the power of love and how it can soften even the hardest hearts. We started meeting with a different one of our neighbors and she has a ton of questions! It was neat to see her view of the church change and her growing testimony. She tells us repeatedly that she's not interested in joining the church (or any church, for that matter), but each time we meet she has found something new that she loves about the gospel! She's so sweet and I am glad to know her and see her relationship with Heavenly Father growing stronger.
Secondly, we had a very interesting experience when we stopped by to visit one of our investigators, Britney. She was outside when we got there at her apartment complex, so we just went up and talked with her for a bit. There was another woman there standing by just kind of listening. She eventually asked us "Who are y'all?? The Mormons???" When we replied, "Yes" she immediately responded "Oh, I can't talk to y'all. I can't talk to y'all." She yelled and yelled at us about how we "don't believe in Jesus" and that she can't talk to us because we're Mormon. Britney defended us and told her "They believe in Jesus Christ!!" This angry woman continued to yell, scream, and cuss at us for a few minutes, and we just stood there and listened. Eventually, her yelling at us turned into her yelling about her life and about her daughter's problems and how upset, scared, and frustrated they were making her. She started to break down and told us there was nothing we could tell her that would help. We just told her that we were sorry for her and that everything would be ok. We then gave her a hug and she told us we needed to come back and talk to her the next day. Wow!! It was just so amazing to see a situation go from anger and hatred to love and support that quickly. It made me realize that people are going through things that we have no idea about and it isn't our place to judge or get defensive, because you never really know what the true cause of their emotions is. I am glad we were able to end that situation in a spirit of love and I know it is because the Spirit was with us. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows us and is infinitely patient!
This has been a really great week. Transfers happened and now I am in a trio with two fantastic sisters. Sister Crane and I are co-training and it is so much fun! We have already been seeing miracles together and I am grateful for their desire to serve God. This week, we met with one of our investigators, Sonja, who is preparing for baptism a few times. She has basically learned everything that she needs to and is just working on quitting smoking! She has already cut down from smoking a pack and a half a day to just 8 cigarettes a day, so that is major improvement! It is amazing to see how the gospel is changing her life for the better.
We also had a really fun day of thunderstorms and down pouring rain, but that didn't stop us! We were out talking to some people during a dry spell, and it was so great --- every time that Sister Crane mentioned anything about Jesus Christ, SUPER loud thunder and lightning went off nearby. I think the people we were talking to were a little freaked out, but it was fun. :) I am so grateful to know that God is with us in this work and that He will help us to overcome any challenges that we may face. I love it here and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve.
Hey everyone! So MAJOR news of the week...I found out that my visa finally came through!!!!!!!! I will be leaving on July 8th It doesn't feel real. I still don't know if I believe it yet :) I am so excited, but also very mixed feelings! I have loved it here in North Carolina and have met so many amazing people here. I know that God needed me here for all this time and I am so grateful that He made it possible. I really am going to miss everyone here so much. It seems like once you finally accept God's will completely and start to really be happy with it, He changes things up on you again so that you can rely on Him more! It is going to be like leaving home again, but I am excited to see what God has in store for me in Brazil!! I know that He has a plan and that everything will work out how it needs to be.
So since I am still here for the next 3 weeks, I will still be training a new sister! But, another sister missionary who has been out for a little while will also be helping me train her, so that she can finish the training when I leave. So we will be in a trio for a couple of weeks! Then I think I will be going to the Brazil MTC for a week or so before I go to Porto Alegre. Wow. Life is so crazy, but also so so great. We are seeing so many miracles here with the people we are teaching and I know that the gospel is changing their lives. I love all of you and am so grateful for your love and support!
This week has been full of surprises and crazy experiences!! I'm happy to say I've finished reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese :) I know that that book is true, even in another language! It is so powerful and such a great witness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This week I also got a blessing and had a very personal and powerful experience. I can't even fully explain it, but I can say for certain that I know that God is real and that my Savior knows who I am and what I am going through. I don't just believe it anymore, I know it. I know that He has a plan for each and every one of us and that as we follow His will, He will lead us to what we need. He knows our potential and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands. We found out transfer news this week too! My companion is getting transferred to her second area and I will be staying here in Raleigh. My new companion will be a new missionary coming into the mission this transfer. So in other words, I will be training! I am humbled to know that the Lord trusts me enough to do that, and I am grateful for all the preparation He has given me and the help He will continue to give me.
We had an amazing Sunday at church! Someone we have been teaching for over a month now was finally able to recover from surgery enough to come to church! She loved it and had a really powerful experience. A different sister who got baptized last year and quickly fell away came to church too and bore her testimony of how the gospel has changed her life. Our investigator identified so well with her and they both were able to celebrate together how God has been working in their lives to bring them to the fullness of His truth. I am so grateful to be a witness to these changes in their lives. The gospel is true and it changes people. Change is possible because of Jesus Christ. He enables us to overcome our weaknesses and fulfill our potential. He believes in us. Something I learned this week: We need to not only believe in Christ, but believe Christ. He will help us as we trust in Him.
Oi, tudo mundo! This week was fun! Had a great Memorial Day at the Science Museum of Raleigh. I love the city! Also, a couple of really great miracles happened this week. We were able to get in contact with a woman we had met about a month ago to share more with her! We realized that she's not actually in the area that we cover, but she is still wanting to learn about the gospel so that's great! We were also able to get in contact with one of the less-active members who we haven't seen in a long time and get to know her better! And, the husband of someone we are teaching decided that he wants to learn more too! And they have a friend who wants to come to the next lesson!! :) Also, I realized that my 10 month mark is already coming...this Saturday! Time flies so fast, but it's great to look back on all the things you've been able to experience and all the miracles that have happened. This week I just wanted to share something that we talked about in church yesterday. We watched 3 videos called "Patterns of Light" ( ). They talk about the influence of the Spirit of God and how to discern that guidance. Watch them, love them! :) It really helped me to realize how God often very subtly guides us and though we may feel like we are alone, He always is leading us. Even if it's only one step at a time. As we trust in His will and takes those steps forward in faith, we will be able to see how much He really is in the details of our lives. Love you all! Sister Dieter
Hi everyone! Happy Memorial Day! Neat moment of the week: We knocked on someone's door and it turned out that he only spoke Spanish. We could have easily just said sorry and kept going, but for some reason I felt prompted to attempt to speak to him in Spanish. Though it was really jumbled and probably mixed with lots of Portuguese, we were able to communicate and he accepted to have Spanish-speaking missionaries come by! I know that the Lord blessed me because after the fact I realized that I completely understood what he was saying...wow!
This week, we have seen some pretty miraculous things happen! Things that prove to me that the Lord will guide our path as long as we are willing to take a few steps into the dark. On Tuesday, we noticed a name and address in Sister Slade's planner who we had no idea who she was or how it got there. We decided that we needed to stop by and see if we could get to know her. We went to the address only to find that no one was home. We decided to knock on one of the neighbor's doors before we left. To our surprise, a kind old woman opened up to us, said hello and let us right in. We had no idea who she was, but she seemed to know us. Come to find out, she was actually the woman who we were looking for! She had just moved to the apartment next door. We had a good talk and found out that she had looked into the church previously and even came to church a few times. Though she wasn't interested right then, I know that God wanted us to see her yesterday and He made it possible for us to find her. After that, we headed off to our next appointment. She wasn't home, so we decided to go knock on the neighbor's doors in the apartments upstairs. The very first door we knocked on ended up being someone we had met before! We had talked with her at a bus stop almost 2 months ago but weren't able to meet with her because she was in between housing at that point in time. Apparently, she had just moved into that apartment, which we had absolutely no clue about! It was amazing to see that. I just had this overwhelming feeling that God loves her so much that He was willing to give her multiple opportunities to learn more about His gospel.
Also, for the past 2 months we have been trying and trying to get to know one of our neighbors. We would see her in passing often, but never had the chance to get to know her. For some reason, we really felt like we needed to reach out to her and bring her some cookies. We went over several times, never getting an answer at the door. Finally, one day we saw her sitting in her car when we came home from getting some groceries. Although it felt a bit awkward, we decided to go back outside and talk to her. We told her how we felt like we needed to get to know her better and asked if we could come by in a few days and bring her some cookies. She said, "Of course!" and we set up a time to come over. We weren't sure what she thought of it, but were excited to get to know her. We went over...and she didn't answer the door. A little disheartened, we decided to just leave a note. As we were writing, she drove right up and was so apologetic! Apparently she had been looking forward to it all day, but was running late from work. She welcomed us in and we just sat and got to know one another. I was surprised at how quickly the conversation turned to topics of faith, prayer, and struggles she is having with her faith. We were able to share with her our beliefs and testimonies of God's love and how He is willing and ready to hear and answer our prayers. She told us how it was weird that she felt so comfortable with us and sharing personal experiences, but that she was so grateful we came over to talk with her. I just had this great feeling of love and concern for someone who I had barely known 10 minutes before. This experience showed me how important it is to reach out to those around us and love our neighbors as God does, even if it is out of the way and a bit uncomfortable at first. You never know when someone is in need spiritually or otherwise and how much a little bit of love and concern can really make someone's day better. :)
I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve. Though I don't always understand the Lord's will, I know that if I trust in it, He will provide a way. It is so important to just have faith and believe that everything that happens in your life is for your good in the end. Wonderful quote I heard this week: "You haven't failed until you quit trying." - Gordon B. Hinckley. All that God expects of us is that we keep moving forward and keep trying to be a little better each day. I've been thinking about that a lot lately and I'm curious to hear anyone else's experiences with following God's will even when it was challenging! Send me some stories, I'd love to hear!
So many joyful events this week! We had a great family night at a member's home with a family that we are teaching. It was so fun to see them interact and support one another in trying to live the gospel. We also had a great Relief Society activity. We watched a talk from General Conference about sisterhood (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/sisterhood-oh-how-we-need-each-other?lang=eng) and discussed how important it is that we all love and support one another. Everyone goes through different struggles and challenges in life, and we need the love, understanding, and help of those around us to get us through. God often works through the people around us to bless our lives. A great example of this happened this week. We took a sister who started coming back to church about 4 months ago with us to visit a different sister who is just starting to come back. Neither has really felt like they have friends in the ward to connect with. It was amazing to see how these two women so immediately became friends. They were so excited to have found someone to connect with and it was amazing to see the joy on their faces at church the next day as they spent it together with a new-found sister. I know how powerful the love of a good friend is and how important it is to try and show that kind of love and concern for everyone around us. We can serve others in ways that we might not even recognize just by being kind and sincerely caring about how they are doing.
I also had a few fun experiences this week with Portuguese, which were both such great blessings! We exchanged for a day with the sister leaders, and I was able to go with another sister to teach someone who is originally from Brazil! It was so fun to talk with her and to teach her more about the gospel. The love that I already have for the Brazilian culture and people was just brought out as I was able to pray for her in Portuguese as well. It was amazing! Also, I found out that one of the members in the ward that we had dinner with knows Portuguese, so I was able to talk with him for a bit. I'm so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord and the little ways that He blesses me each and every day. I know that He loves me and has a plan for my life. This knowledge is strengthened every day as I study the words of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I know that whatever the Lord wants for us is ultimately what is best, even if we have to go through some hard times to get there.
I learned a lot this week about the importance of having an eternal perspective and trusting in the Lord. We had so many experiences this week of plans falling through and changing that show to me that our lives are truly directed by God. One amazing experience we had was when we visited one of our investigators who just had a tough hip surgery. We brought by some cookies and shared a quick message about Christ's sacrifice and Atonement for us. We talked about how because of Him, we are not only saved from the effects of sin, but we can find comfort, consolation, and strength. We explained how the Atonement has both a redeeming power, in that it washes away our guilt and sin as we repent and change, and also an enabling power to help us do things we never thought that we could do. We also explained how Christ suffered all of our pains, sorrows, worries, stresses, weaknesses, EVERYTHING when He suffered, died and was resurrected for us. She and her husband were dumbfounded. They never had heard that before and were so grateful to know that. It made me realize how grateful I am to have that knowledge as well. Christ knows exactly how we feel and because He has felt our suffering, He can sympathize with us and help us to overcome it. It makes that relationship so much more meaningful and personal to me. I love Him and am so thankful to know that no matter how many times I may falter and mess up, He is always there to catch me, brush me off, and help me get better.
So on to a topic y'all may be wondering about...this week I also had some issues arise with my fingerprints for my visa (yes, again). At first, I wanted to just be so upset. My thoughts were something along the lines of "Why me? I haven't done anything wrong, I'm trying my best, why can't I just have this?" etc. I quickly realized that that was not right though, and through the help of a blessing I was reminded of the importance of having an eternal perspective. Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us that is way better than our own. As we do our best to let go of those things in life that we have no power over, we will be able to find so much more happiness. I know that everything happens for a reason, and that God is shaping me to become a better person and to be able to help others more through this experience. I won't lie and say that I have been super excited to be waiting on a visa for the past 9 months. But I will testify for sure that there is a purpose behind everything that God allows to happen in our lives. Heavenly Father knows what I will face in my future and He loves me enough to provide a way to prepare me for it. Of course I still want to go to Brazil and serve the people there. Of course I still get frustrated when visa issues happen. But deep down, I trust that it will all work out for the best. This quote gives me a lot of peace, and I know that it is true: "As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better." I know that as we truly let go and allow God to do His work, we will become the kind of people He needs us to be. Love you all!
Hi everyone! This has been such a crazy week. We had some fun walking around historic Raleigh last preparation day, it is so beautiful here. We also had an amazing meeting with Neil L. Andersen this weekend! He came here to do a special stake conference in Raleigh and he also wanted to meet specifically will the missionaries here! He was so happy and inspiring and his message was all about how Christ is the center of everything that we do. It was so great to see some of my old companions and friends at the conference as well! I am so grateful to have such amazing people to serve alongside and for the hard work and dedication that they have to helping others and serving God. I love seeing them and the joy that the gospel brings to our lives.
Just a random FYI for anyone at home, I have started a different blog that I directly will be working on while I am here. It is gloryinplainness.blogspot.comand is basically just a bunch of real stories of people that I meet on my mission and how they are teaching me principles of the gospel. Check it out! :)
Anyways, we had some really great miracles with finding new investigators this week! We found 5 of them, which is absolutely AMAZING! We got requests from the Gladys Knight fireside from people who went and were interested in learning more about the church. It was so amazing to meet these people and share with them how the gospel can change their lives. I know that although it doesn't make life easy, the gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to enjoy life and to have a fulfilling life because we are doing what God would have us do. He has given us commandments to follow that will help us become better people. I know that obedience to these commandments is not restrictive, but instead allows us to be more free and self-reliant. I love the gospel and am grateful for it in my life.
Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Easter weekend and were able to ponder over the Resurrection of our Savior and what that means for you. If you haven't seen it yet, watch this video!! http://easter.mormon.org/ No seriously, watch it right now, don't finish reading this e-mail until you do! :) It is the most powerful video about Jesus Christ that I have ever seen and it gives me so much hope. I love the concept that because of Him, we can always have a clean slate, a new beginning, a fresh start. Through Him, everything that is wrong or unfair about life can be made right again. We can change and start over. Even when it seems like all is lost, Jesus Christ is still there beside us to help us get back up again. I am so grateful for that knowledge. Though we had a few random things happen this week (such as one of our exchanges getting TWO flat tires on our way home from an appointment...), it was a good week! We met a new investigator who is so sweet and is really trying to find direction in her life. She is going through a divorce and trying to find her way back to God. I am so grateful for her desires to follow Him and that we can be part of helping her to do that! We also had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Principles Sunday School class at church yesterday, and it was so fun! We had a great discussion about why the world needed to have a Savior and how through Jesus Christ, we can be saved and purified. This upcoming weekend, we have a great event. Gladys Knight is coming to the Raleigh area with her Grammy-award winning gospel choir for a fireside weekend. She will be directing and singing with the choir, as well as sharing her testimony of the Book of Mormon and how she came to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will be so great! I hope everyone has a great week! :) Love, Sister Dieter
Oi, tudo mundo? Como vai? :) Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I am so excited to be 20! :) This has been a good week full of some pretty amazing experiences!! Funny moment of the week: last Monday at Walmart, a random Subway worker called out to us and said he had something for us. It was a Qur'an and he wanted us to have it. We in turn gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and it was really neat to be able to share our faith with him. Super random, but interesting! We also had an "activity zone conference" this week with other missionaries in the area. We had meetings and presentations, and then we had a few hours of fun and games. It was a beautiful spring day and made me really appreciate the wonderful people I get to serve among here in NC. We had a few amazing lessons this week too! One in particular was such a miracle! We were talking with some people who told us to go see their friend that was mourning the loss of a child. At first when she answered the door, it was pretty awkward and she was very confused as to why we were there. Slowly, she warmed up a bit to us and let us come in. We told her how much God loves her and shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon about how faith in Jesus Christ enables us to overcome all things. We asked if we could pray for her, and though she doesn't usually let people do that, she did! At the end of the prayer, she was crying, hugged us, and told us she loved us! It was miraculous to see someone go from skeptical and kind of rude, to feeling loved and open to receive help within 5 minutes! I know that it is because she felt the Spirit touch her heart and she was able to feel God's love for her. This Sunday was also amazing because we had an investigator come to church and love it! Also, a few less-active sisters came to church who haven't been for a while! And, a sister that hasn't been to church since the 1980s came with her husband and they loved it!!! I know that God truly works miracles if we will just have faith and do His will. Our efforts to love and support people are never in vain, even if they do not accept, appreciate, or act on them right away. :) Love you all! Sister Dieter
his has been and will be a pretty fantastic week! It was my companion's birthday last week, my 20th birthday is tomorrow, we went to the temple on Friday, and it was General Conference weekend!! So many blessings. Also, as of today I have officially been on my mission for 8 months. Where does the time go?? Time really does fly when you are having fun and serving God. We met a new investigator this week who is great! She has had a lot of relationship and health problems throughout her life and is looking for peace and consistency. I know that she will be able to find that as she continues to learn about Jesus Christ and the sacrifices He has made for her.
This weekend especially, I have learned so much about love and it's power. Everything that Heavenly Father and Christ do for us is powered by their infinite and perfect love for each one of us. All they want is for us to be able to return to their presence, and they have provided us with the tools to do so! In the Bible, Christ teaches us about how we must love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves. I think at different points in our lives, we are all guilty of not showing enough love to someone, whether it be a friend, family member, stranger, or even ourselves. This world is full of hatred, negativity, and deceit. But, as President Thomas S. Monson spoke about in General Conference this weekend, an increased measure of love can change the world, change our lives, and change the very nature of who we are as individuals. Sometimes it is really hard to love people, especially when they don't live up to your expectations. We all falter and make mistakes, but we can forgive and move forward. Heavenly Father knows our potential and the kind of people that we can become, and is perfectly patient with us as we strive to grow and change. I am trying to develop that kind of charity for all people. Something I have been learning about lately is the importance of showing other people love, even if they don't reciprocate or are even mean in response. You are never ever in the wrong if what you do and say to someone is truly motivated by love, concern, and a desire to help them. Even if they don't recognize it in the moment, they will be affected by your decision to show them that you care. You never know how much an act of love can really mean to someone. Don't procrastinate those acts of love and kindness either, because you never know when it might be too late! We are all brothers and sisters striving to make it through this crazy thing called life, and as we work together and cheer each other on, we will be able to see miracles! Love you all!
Well, here I am in my second area of North Carolina! I just got transferred to Raleigh, so I went from country/military base to the city! I love it!! My new companion is Sister Slade and she has been out for about 3 months now. The members here are so great and are very focused on sharing their testimonies with others. They love to serve and truly are a strong ward family. We meet in the stake center, with 3 other wards (congregations) using the same building. Because of that, our meetings actually go in backwards order to accommodate everyone in the building! So that was interesting!! We also have a very exciting event coming up in this area...Gladys Knight and her Saints Unified Voices choir will be coming to Chapel Hill next month and doing a fireside tour. The members are doing a great job of getting friends to come so that we can all share together in worship and in testimony of Jesus Christ. I am very excited for it! We had some crazy miracles this week! Someone that the sisters had talked to about 2 weeks ago randomly on the street named Donna called us this week asking if we could help her with some service! She just fell and broke, well most of her body. She really needed her dog washed and it's hair cut...so guess what we did?? It was wet, messy, and very interesting. Even better though, is that she was able to feel our love for her and she really opened up to learn more about what we have to share. She actually was an Apachi priestess in her youth, and we were able to share with her about Jesus Christ and how He can help her! Ahh it made her so happy and she is so excited to read the Book of Mormon too! We also met a woman named Britney who is going through some really hard times. She is a single mom of three and is questioning whether God even exists. It breaks my heart to see someone so lost and confused, but I know that if she will open her heart up and strive to develop that relationship with God, her life will be so much better! I know that we all have a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of our needs and blesses us daily! I experienced that just today...something that I have been really praying and worrying about was very specifically answered this morning, and I just felt this overwhelming feeling that God knows me and that He is taking care of me. I love Him and know that He loves me too. The gospel of Jesus Christ truly does change lives, and I am so grateful to see that happening not only in my life, but in those around me. Love, Sister Dieter