31 March 2014

Cookies and apologies

Dear Loved Ones,
     First of all, I LOVE YOU ALL! 
     Second of all, ARE YOU AS PUMPED FOR CONFERENCE AS I AM?!?!?! I have to admit, I wasn´t always this excited for conference. I saw it as a bit of an inconvenience. I am trying to make up for that now, because it is a powerful means of knowing God´s will for our lives. It´s good stuff! The best stuff! I know that when we go to conference, having beforehand prayed about the questions we have (about life in general), we will receive answers. I remember my first experience with this. It was amazing! I remember thinking "Oh my goodness, they prepared their talks just for me. How did they know?" It is because they are inspired men of God.

If you want to watch conference, but don´t know how, go to or or go to an LDS chapel at 12:00 this Saturday or Sunday or ask my mom (978-761-5132) or any other mormon you know. 
     This week we had a bit of an interesting experience. There is a woman in our ward who always helps us by giving people rides to church. She is a little rough around the edges, but she is always there to help. The roughness is hard for people who don´t know her, and there were a few people with hurt feelings. One of our recent converts expressed to us through tears how she didn´t understand the way this woman had talked to her. We explained that she has a way about her, but she doesn´t mean to hurt anyone. An experience of my own came to mind.
     Don´t judge. Everyone has to go through a learning process. There was someone I knew who always got on my nerves and it got to the point where I wasn´t ever in a good mood around them. The hardest part was that I had to see them every day...several times a day. Thinking about how mad this person made me distracted me from learning in my early morning seminary class and this made me more agitated. I started thinking of ways to make them as mad as they made me. I was surprised by the rude comments I could make. One day a friend of mine realized how much this bothered me and told me "bake him cookies." I thought it would never work, but I started to realize how much this was affecting me and keeping me from being the kind of person I wanted to be, so I finally resolved to bake him cookies. 
     You won´t believe how hard it was to make these cookies. I can make a dough in 7 minutes and start baking right away, but this time it took much longer. Now that I was determined to make things right, everything was going wrong. I couldn´t get the cookie sheet out from the storage drawer under the oven. I literally had to wrestle with it. I realized that all the thougths of giving up and the struggles I experienced in making these cookies were the attempts of the adversary to get me to give up. He knew that talking things out, settling our differences, would help us both to be better people.
      Finally I finished and brought the cookies over to him. Of course, the whole family and all their closest friends were present, but they welcomed me in. I was embarassed to be bringing him cookies, but he was like "Oh my gosh! You´re so sweet." I didn´t want to tell him in front of eveyone why I was there, so I waited...and waited and waited until no one was paying attention to the two of us. Then I turned to him and told him how sorry I was for treating him badly and not being the friend I should have been. He smiled and laughed a little and told me he thougth it was all a joke. Then we talked a little and it was all cool. Afterwards, we felt more comfortable around each other and even confided in each other when facing similar hardships. I´m not saying we were best friends, but we communicated and learned how to respect one another better. 
     Now, I am just telling this story, because it´s something I wanted this woman to realize, that communication is key. Often times we take offense to something and the person who said it intended it to have a completely different meaning or we were just having a bad day. Satan would love for us to hold on to all of these things, but we can´t. If we can´t get over it on our own, we have to talk to the other person. We need to seek forgiveness on our part so we can feel at peace knowing we are doing our best, even when we think we have every reason to keep on being mad.
     Okay, that´s done. One last disclaimer: I love to make cookies, so if I´ve made you cookies, please don´t think we have unresolved problems. It´s just because I love you.
     Exciting news! Lisandra is getting baptised on Saturday after conference! She is so excited! We are so excited for her! It´s going to be great!

I hope everyone is doing well and being awesome! I LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Arthur

24 March 2014

Looking for the Good in Each other   

GUESS WHAT?!?!? GENERAL CONFERENCE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!!! What does that mean? It means we get to hear the words of the living prophets and apostles!!! I am so excited if you couldn´t tell, but I am more excited for the people we´ve met here who will get to hear the prophet for the first time! I am seriously so psyched for them! Oh my gosh! I always love conference!

Also, I have learned a bit about living with someone this week: Every week we have companionship inventory. That means just you and your companion sit down and work things out. If you have things that are bothering you, this is the time to get them out in the open. Until last week, we both seemed to be listing a whole lot of negative things and trying our best to think of the good things that the other is doing. I was getting a little frustrated, because she always said the same good thing every week. It felt like it was the only thing she liked about me and I wracked my brain every week to think of at least one new thing I liked about her. Well, this week was different. I said a couple of good things after a long list of bad things and then it was her turn. She told me about a couple of things that were bothering her and then she went on to list way more things she liked about me. I was shocked when she kept on going. In this atmosphere it was a lot easier to talk about the things that we needed to improve. I want her to know that I really admire her, but not just by saying I think she is a great missionary. I want her to see it in the things that I notice about her. This week, I am writing down all of the things I like about her so that she will not have any doubt that I admire and respect her even with the few flaws I see in her. We were having a hard time being more than just two young ladies who work together. WE wanted to be friends, but somehow it just wasn´t happening. Well, it´s a whole lot easier now that we are constantly looking for the good in each other. My companion is very funny, but knows how to be serious and show others that she has a testimony of sacred things. When she has a question, she doesn´t stop looking for an answer until she´s found it, and she´s always excited to learn. She knows the value of personal space, but is always willing to listen and tries to be interested in what I have to say. She is interesting and has great stories to tell. She works hard for the things that matter most and knows how to make anyone feel like a million bucks.

Try to think of the good things about those who are closest to you. If you have to correct them, always do it with love. Never forget that we all struggle and we all need to know that we are loved.

That was incredibly sappy, I know, but it had to be said. Appreciate those around you. There is always something you can learn from them. There are no coincidences.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

I love you!

Sister Arthur

22 March 2014

So, you will all read this a week late, because my family is lounging on a beach in some tropical location at the moment, but it´s all good. I´m sure you have survived the week well.
     I have good news and sad news. Sad news first: No more pictures. My first camera chip got a virus from using it in the sketchy LANHAUS, and I´m not going to risk losing any more of my mission pictures. I didn´t know that an SD card could get a virus. SURPRISE! It can. Anyways, that´s all the sad news I have. If you are incredibly heart broken, I will show you all of the pictures when I get home. 
     Now the good news: I don´t think I will be able to write it all before time is up. There´s just that much. 
     Firstly: Our dear friend Benedita got baptised last week! She is one of the neighbors of the member with whom we have been working, the one who conincidently had to take out the trash last week. It is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ is transforming this neighborhood! All these people who lived close to each other hardly knew each other until Lindaura (the member) started inviting people to meet the missionaries. Now they are sharing precious moments and uplifting each other and encouraging each other to be strong! Last night we went to Benedita´s apartment to teach her and congradulate her again on her baptism and just when we were going to start reading a story from the Book of Mormon, the power went out, because (once again) someone drove into a telephone pole (the telephone poles are concrete and pretty weak) and left lots of people in the dark. So, we looked at the pictures from her baptism and helped her eat the ice cream in the freezer. You can´t have the ice cream just melting away. We took some silly pictures of eating ice cream in the dark and talked about how we get by without electricity. The apartment was quickly becoming an oven without the fan on. Afterwards, we left and all the neighbors sat outside talking to eachother until the power came back at 1 AM.
     I ate a chicken foot for the first time yesterday. It was interesting, lots of bone and tendon, lots of flavor, but no meat. Well, what do you expect from a foot. It was overall a good experience. You can see the pictures in 2015.
     Our friend from Nigeria is a sincere seeker of truth, and he was always a bit pessemistic about the people around him. He told us when we started talking to him that he has many acquaintances but no friends in Brazil. He doesn´t want to get caught up in the trouble he sees everywhere he goes. The other day the bishop stoped by the neighborhood to pick up some people for an activity and ran into the nigerian. They started talking about the church and baptism and who was going to the activity. He told us later that he knows the gospel can transform the neighborhood where he lives. He can see the change already in the friendships that are forming between these people who would not have known that there were other people with the same questions and beliefs living right down the street. I think he is going to find that he has a lot of friends in Brazil.
     The other sisters serving in our ward (now Sister Gonzaga and Sister Vargara- new missionary from Chili) helped one of the people they are teaching propose to his "wife." There are a lot of people in Brazil that live together, but never get married, because they don´t know if they want to stick with it, but we know that if both people want it and ask for the Lord´s help, marriage can last forever. So, they helped him propose to his soon to be wife and yesterday the couple surprised the sisters with a big cake with their names on it! It is so great walking into this neighborhood. Almost everyone knows who we are and what we do. They ask us about the work and sometimes invite us in. The transformation taking place in these people is amazing!
     Our friend Lizandra finally came to church and now she is coming to everything and getting baptised on Sunday. Her mom is coming too! It is amazing the difference the testimony of a friend can make. That is how it all started. 
     Another miracle: Today is our preparation day and the time is not flying by. I just asked how much time we have left on the computer and my companion said we´ve only been here a half an hour. When you really give all your time to the Lord, somehow it all works out.
     This week we are going to have a MEGA TALENT SHOW! Everyone is invited to enjoy talents, see our chapel, and learn a little about what we´re all about. There are a lot of bizarre lies about the church here in Brazil, and we want people to know that they are welcome and that we don´t do those crazy things. We´re just going to show them that we are normal, fun-loving people too.
     Well this is getting to be incredibly long, and I don´t know about you, but I don´t have all day to read emails and blogs, so I´ll let you go. Sorry for the lack of pictures! I hope everyone is well!

Sister Arthur

P.S. If you haven´t smiled yet today, smile at the next person you see.

10 March 2014

Dearly Beloved,
     Sometimes I like to pretend I am fancy and start my letters off with things like "dearly beloved." I am not fancy. I am still me, but I like to be silly...and serious and just plain old different.
     This week has been interesting, but full of miracles! One that I just think is the coolest ever is this: The sister from our ward who helps us out so much is inviting all her neighbors to hear the gospel! She lives near the door of the gate surrounding her apartment building (pretty much every house and building has a wall or fence that is 8 feet tall in front of it). She knows pretty much everyone and whenever we are there and her friends pass by, she invites them in and introduces them to us. Then we explain what we do and it usually leads to a discussion, which leads to a friendship and more discussions about the gospel. It´s so cool!
      So here´s what happened: We were having a lesson with this woman and her neighbor when another neighbor walked by. She invited her in and we continued with the lesson. The first neighbor had to go, so we ended with a prayer and he left. We had been discussing the Book of Mormon with him, so we explained it to the other neighbor. She was very interested and asked a lot of questions. We had to catch the bus before answering all of them, so we set up another time to meet. We met and invited her to be baptised and come to church and read the Book of Mormon. This woman is amazing! She never went to school, so reading is very hard for her, and she doesn´t write at all. She learned how to read on her own, because when she was a bit younger, she really wanted to read the Bible. She told us that she had just been thinking she wanted to find a religion. Then one night she randomly felt the urge to take out the trash and ran into us!
      The first neighbor I talked about has decided to live the word of wisdom and gave us his carton of cigarettes after he comitted to live it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is really helping these people to make changes in their lives, and I am so glad to be a part of this great work. 
      I hope everyone is well back home! I love you and you are amazing!

Sister Arthur

P.S. I will try to have some pictures for next time.

05 March 2014

The Lord knows exactly what we need when we need it.

Transfers came in this week. I am staying in Itanhaem. I am really excited, but the exclamation point isn´t working on this keyboard. I am excited to stay, but Sister Chadwick is leaving. We don´t yet know who is coming, but I am going to miss our little talks in english. Sometimes it is just refreshing to be able to talk in your own language. It´s nice to have someone who knows when you´re being funny and just gets what you´re saying. Not to minimize this small pleasure, but what I´m really going to miss is not teaching english class alone. Sister Chadwick always came to my rescue when I didn´t know what to do or how to explain something. I really don´t know what I´m going to do now. I suggested to the mission president that maybe with the commandment to teach english he should include some training on how to teach english. I hope he takes my suggestion seriously. 

Aside from that, this week has been awesome. We met a girl who is so excited to learn and be baptised. She told us "It is amazing how the Lord knows exactly what we need when we need it. He knew that I really needed this guidance in my life, and He sent you two." It is amazing to see the faith of those who are new to the gospel. When they know it´s true, they are excited to make the changes that will bring them closer to God. There has been a lot of amazingness ...including almost daily rain, which dampens the heat a little... but I don´t have time to write too much of it today. 

I want to include this quote that I´m so glad to finally have. My mom is the most amazing woman in the world. Not sure if you knew that. Now you do. It´s about the revolutionary war, but it´s the same concept as our fight to do what´s right. I LOVE IT exclamation point. It´s by Thomas Paine to the American troops when they were at their lowest point, ready to give up. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
 THomas Paine


Sister Arthur

01 March 2014

Teach more than English
Our zone went bowling for P Day last week
(the kind with a big ball and curvy pins)
and it was the first time my companion had ever been!
Probably because it´s really expensive. We had fun though
I tried churros. It had guava paste in the middle,
chocolate on top and was covered in peanuts.
  It was pretty good. Guava and passionfruit are
really big here. Sister Chadwick and I are
trying to figure out why in the world they
don´t eat passionfruit plain. They just use the flavor
to make juice, pudding and lots of other things
that I don´t really know how to describe. But
passionfruit alone is good. I don´t know what´s up
with that. Also, guava is mad good. It took a
little getting used to, but it´s good for sure.
I need to tell you about our English class! Did I already tell you I am an English teacher? You probably know that that´s the last thing I ever wanted to do with my life. Well, it´s what I do two nights a week. It´s rediculously hard, but thankfully I have Sister Chadwick´s help. We have people of all different age levels in our class and with all different levels of knowledge of english. It´s crazy. How do you teach all of them and have everyone learn something? Sister Chadwick is brilliant and figured it out. They can all learn the same thing as long as they practice at their own level. Anyways, on Saturday I started to stop dreading English class. We had a crazy day and arrived late to find our students sitting outside of a locked chapel, but they were still eager to learn, so we went and found a quiet place to have our class. We ended up all sitting on logs that someone had cut up from a fallen tree, and it was the best english class we´ve had yet! There was a new couple there. They´d seen the sign for free english classes and looked up the number for the church online. At the end of class, Sister Chadwick gave a thought about families and how we need to strengthen our families against the trials we all face in the world today. The family is seriously undervalued by society. The husband of this couple started to tear up and asked if he and his family would be welcome in church on Sunday. We told him of course. So, everyone learns a bit more than English and that makes it so worth it!

Remember our African friend? He is so excited to be involved in the church and he says he wants to go to Salt Lake City to watch General Conference live. General Conference is when the prophet, apostles, and other church leaders speak to the church as a whole (and everyone around the world can watch it on the internet,) and it´s absolutely amazing!
I already need new shoes... Wahaha! (Karynne hates shopping.) Lots of walking and sometimes running to make it home by curfew...So much work, glorious, marvelous, celestial work!
There is one member who grows guava, passionfruit, 
sugar cane, pineapple, and a bunch of other stuff that 
I don´t know the name of. There are so many fruits here 
that I´ve never seen or heard of....nor do I know the 
names of...but I eat them anyways!
Mother´s Day is coming up...sort of.... and I get to talk to my family (combined) for an hour! I won 20 minutes of family time by arriving in Brazil! How neat! Oh my goodness. I have already learned so much, and I wish I could tell you all of it and how excited I am about it, but I can´t! There´s just too much, but this week I learned a lot about family and the importance of having an eternal family. It´s really important. There´s a lot of stuff I still don´t get about it, but we´re here to learn, right? If we knew everything it would be too easy! WE AREN´T HERE TO DO THINGS EASY! WE`RE HERE TO DO THINGS RIGHT!

Life is hard, but it´s more worth it if you make the choices that bring lasting, not momentary happiness.

Okay, I hope everyone is well! I love you! BE AMAZING!

Sister Arthur