Monday, May 30, 2016

Wk 6 in Pina!

Oi oi oi! 

I hope everyone´s had a good week! I have definitely been very very blessed this week. Sister Lopez is an absolutely wonderful companion and I love her a ton. She´s super obedient and has a very strong testimony. I was really upset at first to have a new companion, but I´ve really learned this week that God knows what I need, and what we all need. I have grown a ton this week in every aspect-- my abilities to teach, my portuguese, my testimony-- Sister Juarez was a wonderful first companion, but I think she babied me a little haha. But now with Sister Lopez, I´ve been teaching her the area, making the decisions of what to do throughout the day, and definitely talking a lot more in the lessons. This change in companions is something that I really needed in order to grow and become more of the missionary that I need to be. It´s been hard, but it is only through the hard things that we can grow. I´ve also learned a lot more of how to rely on God and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It´s really amazing. We´ll be walking and I´ll not really know where to go but then I´ll have a thought to go down a certain street and it always ends up being exactly where we need to be with the people we need to find. I know that the direction we receive from the Holy Ghost is very real. 

This week we were able to find a lot of new people who are ready to hear the message of the Gospel! My favorites were probably the family of Arnesto and Milena. They have 3 children and are SUPER interested in the church. They were a reference from one of the members-- it´s truly amazing how much better our lessons are with references than with people we contact on the street. But they´ve been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and praying to know if it´s true and the other day Milena had a dream where she saw one of our chapels and felt that it was an answer that the church is true. And the cool thing is, is that she´s never visited church before! But this Sunday she attended church with us and she said it was what she saw in her dream! A little different, but I know that God´s answers prayers and that every answer is unique!  

Another cool thing that happened this week that I really enjoyed was one day, we were headed to a lesson and I felt prompted to walk down a street that we didn´t have to walk down, and we ended up bumping into a member who took us to an english class that another member in our ward teaches! And so we taught a little english for them, talked about the restoration of the Gospel, and then wrote down the address of everyone in the class to visit them and teach them more about the church! I love how God puts into our paths awesome opportunities for teaching the Gospel! 

I´m doing great, and I am loving my mission! Another old man kissed my forhead again. And this time he was toothless. So right now, I think that´s my only problem hahaha. But besides that, all is well! I know that this is the work of the Lord and that the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ have been restored to the Earth!

Com muito amor,
Sister Anderson 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 5 in Recife!

Boa tarde, todo mundo! 

I´ve officially completed my first transfer in the mission! Crazy that I´ve been in the field for 5 weeks now! I´m still serving in the Pina area, but my trainer, Sister Juarez got transferred! It´s crazy, because usually new missionaries have their trainers, for the full 12 week of training! But I´m going to have two different trainers! I was honestly very sad when I found out that Sister Juarez would be leaving me, because she´s honestly been like my mom haha. But it´s all good, because she was transferred to Boa Viagem and so she´s still living in the same house as me haha. And then my new trainer is awesome! Her name is Sister Lopez and she´s from Tennessee but grew up most of her life in Utah! It´s super different being around an American, but also really nice haha. It´s nice to have someone who has some similarities to me. She´s super cute and I´m very excited to work with her and learn from her. I´ll try to send a picture of me and her next week :) 

Things have been a little slower lately, but are still really good. Fernando and Camilla´s family are doing great and we´re getting closer and closer to their wedding and baptism everyday! Eriko told us on Tuesday that he doesn´t want to get baptized anymore. That was very hard for me. I´ve never experienced a break-up before, but I think that is what it feels like haha. We put so much love and effort into our investigators and so it´s hard to see them not do something that you know will bless their lives so much. But we saw him the other day and he asked when we´re going to visit him again and so I think he´s really missing the gospel and feeling the Spirit in his life. And so I have hopes that he will return. 

On Friday we had one of the more glorious lunches I´ve had on my mission haha. We had super yummy chicken, beans and rice, french fries, guacamole, potato salad, sprite, and then brownies and ice cream haha. It was super american and it made me very happy. 

I´ve been really stressed and worried about having a new companion, because I have to teach her an area that I don´t really know myself and make all of the decisions of who to teach, and try to remember all of the people we have in our teaching pool. And so it´s been a little hard. But the other day I read a talk by Elder Holland from this last General Conference, "Tomorrow the Lord Will do Wonders among You", and it helped me so much. And I want to share a part of it with everyone:
"If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow-- and every other day-- is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don´t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth 'that all things work together for good to them that love God.' So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." 
I want to testify that Heavenly Father really is here right next to us, cheering us on, and just waiting to bless us.

I love you all! 
I going to try and send some more photos-- my mom said that those with ubtanet emails can´t open them, so I´ll try to send them in a different format. Sorry if it doesn´t work!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! 

Sister Juarez and I drinking agua de coco!

Some of the awesome members of the Pina Ward!!

Some of the awesome members of the Pina Ward!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 4 in Recife!

Bom dia everyone!

One more week down in the books! It´s amazing how fast the weeks go by. Time really flies when you´re doing the work of the Lord! 

This week was a little slower, but still good. So my companion, Sister Juarez, is the Sister Training Leader for our zone. It´s really awesome, but also really sad because she has to go on splits with other companionships 1 or 2 times everyweek. The other sister in our apartment, Sister Rondon, is the other Sister Training Leader. So they´ll leave for the day and I and Sister Parraga will stay together and either work in my area, Pina, or her area, Boa Viagem. Sister Parraga is wonderful, but it´s hard not having Sister Juarez haha. But anyways this last monday, we had splits and had to work in the Pina area. And I was SUPER stressed and worried about it because Sister Parraga doesn´t know the area or our investigators and so I become the senior companion in a way. And I honestly don´t know the area very well. And anyone that knows me, knows that I´m horrible with directions haha. But it was amazing how much help we received the entire day. We honestly would always just end up at the houses we needed to go to. I know that we were led by the Spirit, because I know it definitely wasn´t me finding the houses haha. And then every person we planned on teaching was there, which was also a huge blessing because generally during the day we can´t find people we planned to teach and have to make a new plan. But I don´t think I could have handled that haha. So Tuesday was a huge tender mercy for me. 

Still no baptisms this week :( We weren´t able to find Eriko all week until yesterday and he´s struggling a little bit with finding the courage to leave the Baptist Church. But we´re going to work a lot with him this week and hopefully get him back on track. 

Yesterday was really good. I always love Sundays. There´s an older man in our ward that gives Sister Juarez and I chocolate every Sunday haha. Yesterday we got Snickers haha. So after church when we were waiting at the bus stop and a super drunk guy came up to the bus stop and I saw him staring at our nametags and I started to get super nervous. And then he came over to us and started yelling at us saying "Anderson! Juarez! What?! Why do you have mens´ names! Are you a boy??" hahaha. Because I guess here in Brazil Anderson and Juarez are boy names. So he just kept going on and on about it and everyone was staring at us and it was pretty crazy haha. But, it actually ended up being a good missionary opportunity! Because after he left we were able to explain to everybody else at the bus stop who we are and then give them pass along cards haha. 

Something that I studied this week that really touched me was in 1 Nephi 17 in the Book of Mormon. It´s the story about Nephi and when the Lord commands him to build a ship. I love when Nephi asks where he should go to find materials to make tools to make the ship. He doesn´t expect God to build the ship for him or even to give him the tools to make the ship. Nephi truly understood the effort that we need to put forward in this life. God most definitely could have just given Nephi a ship-- but there were things for Nephi to learn in this experience. And Nephi understood that. It reminded me of a talk from this last General Conference that everyone should read if they have time. It´s by Dale G. Renlund and talks about this example of Nephi. He never expects God just to do things for him. He knows that he has to put forth the effort- to study, to ask- and then God is going to help him and lead him. Nephi doesn´t always think that his life is unfair, but understands that the Savior had the most unfair life of all and because he understands this, he wants to do all he can to serve the Lord. I hope all that makes sense haha. Study 1 Nephi 17 and the talk by Elder Renlund and then maybe what I´m saying will make more sense! haha.

I hope everyone has a good week! Tchau!

Sister Anderson 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 3 in Recife!

Oi everyone! 
I hope all is well back in the States! It was an adventure getting to the lan house we email from today. It´s been POURING rain all morning and so we had to wade through ankle-high water, and dodge the waves that the buses make as they pass by haha. I am really grateful for my rubber crocs right now. 
This week was a little more of a struggle, but still really good. Monday, we were going to have a lesson with a man that the Patriarch of our ward gave to us as a reference. So we went to the home with the Patriarch but when we got there, the reference, Domingos, had to leave, but said we could teach his parents instead. His parents are super old and his dad pretty much just talked the whole lesson and kept trying to speak to me in English, so it was a little bit of a struggle haha. And then as we were leaving he went up to Sister Juarez and said "a hug for the Mexican" and then proceeded to grab her and kiss her forehead hahaha. And then afterwards he came for me and I tried to resist by sticking my arms out, but I eventually just had to give in and let him kiss my forehead haha. It was pretty funny. 
So this Wednesday me and all the other new missionaries got to have training with President Bigelow and it was super great! We went into more of the center of Recife to a church building that is 4 stories high! Super crazy! But oh my goodness, Recife is gorgeous! There´s a bunch of super cool, old, Colonial style buildings and everything is very colorful. So that was great. And then the actual training was fantastic. I love President and Sister Bigelow. One of the things we learned about is how our investigators have to truly humble themselves and be converted before they are baptized. Because baptism is such an important covenant and they need to understand the significance of what they are doing. And I really saw the importance of that this week-- We were supposed to baptize Eriko, but ended up not because he hasn't really had the opportunity to keep the Sabbath day holy. I was worried that he´d be upset and not understand, but yesterday when we were teaching him, he said that he wants more time to truly keep this commandment and be prepared for baptism. And I was just so touched by this because he truly understands the significance of baptism and desires to follow the example of the Savior. 
Yesterday was great, because I got to talk to my family!! It was very nice to see them and talk to them for a little bit. The rest of the day was a little crazy though because there was a soccer game going on haha. All of Pina goes CRAZY during soccer games. There was a lot of partying and the streets were a pretty sketchy. But it´s all good. I love Brazil and the people of Brazil. 
One of my favorite things so far on my mission has probably been being able to constantly feel the love of the Savior. Doing His work, I´ve been able to feel closer to Him than I´ve ever felt before. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves each one of us perfectly! 

Love you all!

Sister Anderson 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 2 in Recife!

Bom dia everyone!!
This week has been great! I absolutely love my area. The members in our ward-- Pina Ward-- are so wonderful! I´ve really learned this week the importance of member missionary work. The lessons we have with people who are referrals of members, always go SO much better than lessons with people we meet on the street. This week we had a referral for a woman named Jane (here it sounds more like Johnny haha). The member that gave us this referral was definitely inspired because Jane is definitely one of God´s elect. She has such an open heart and was very sensitive to feeling the Spirit. We talked to her about prophets, how we have a living prophet today, and how God is aware of her and wants her to hear this message, and during the lesson she was so touched by the Spirit that she started crying. It was so wonderful.
We had another referral this week for a family of 5! It´s always fantastic when we can find families to teach haha. But they were also very receptive and I have high hopes that they´ll progress. Another member, Irmã Edla had a family home evening and invited Sister Juarez and I, and a bunch of non-member friends. It was actually more of a birthday party for her son who is on a mission. She went all out with food and balloons and sparklers haha. It was a little interesting haha. But for the lesson, Sister Juarez and I taught the Restoration-- a little terrifying for me because I don´t really speak Portuguese, but God always helps me so much. And the Holy Ghost is the real teacher. I just need to say the words I have and then the Holy Ghost will carry the message into the hearts of the people. 
But anyways, the members are wonderful and so helpful. Because yesterday was fast and testimony meeting in church, we asked the members who had missionary experiences this week to share their testimonies about it. One Sister, Irmã Nelma was super nervous though and so she made Sister Juarez and I bare our testimonies with her haha. I´m pretty sure I spoke Portingles (portuguese and english), but all the members reassured me that they could understand what I said haha. Everyday, we have lunch at one of the members homes-- I´ll send a picture from our lunch yesterday. We had feijoada and it was suuuuper delicious.  
Camila and Fernando marked a date to be married!! June 4th. And so they´ll be married and then baptized on the same day haha. Fernando was without work before, but on the same day they marked a date for baptism, he found a job! God is definitely blessing this family. 
Things are wonderful with Eriko! He´s going to be baptized this Saturday and he is SO excited. This is definitely an answer to many, many prayers for him because he wasn´t really progressing last week. Yesterday, Sister Parraga and Sister Rondon had a baptism after church, and so Eriko went to it with us! I think it helped a lot to get him excited to be baptized. His testimony of the church is really growing. The baptism was super spiritual, but also super funny haha. The man who was being baptized-- Eva-- was really struggling and his leg kept popping out of the water before he was fully immersed. And so on the fourth try, another man, fully clothed in church attire got into the water to hold down his legs. And so as he was holding down Eva´s legs, he slipped and was also completely submerged in the water hahaha. 
I hope everyone had a great week!! Happy Mothers´ Day to all the moms this Sunday-- especially to the moms with missionaries! I´m way excited to skype my family!

Boa Semana!
Sister Anderson