29 April 2014

Thank Heaven We're Not All Crazy On the Same Day

Big Miracles, Little Miracles, Miracles of all shapes and sizes.

So many awesome things happened this week!

Before we taught about the Word of Wisdom, one of the people we are teaching told us he is quitting smoking! He said "do you want to know the proof that your being here has helped me in this?" He asked his daughter in the time that we were there how much he would have smoked. She said "at least a pack." He´s made such great progress and is down to just 3 or 4 a day.
My English class...Only two weeks left. We're
very excited for it to be over, even though we've
grown to love our students.

Another miracle is that my companion and I weren´t sick at the same time! I think I got sick from bad water or something and she gets migranes that make her delirious sometimes. So one day I was half dead and just trying to stay awake in the lessons, teaching very little. The next day as I got better, she started to get a migrane. We prayed for her all the way home that it wouldn´t get as bad as they sometimes do, and by the time we got there she was headache free, just in time for me to start feeling sick again! Haha. So maybe this doesn´t seem like a miracle, but it really was, because we have so many people to teach and no time to stop. It reminds me of this song my mom likes that says "Thank heaven were´re not all crazy on the same day." Here it´s more like in the same hour, but it´s all good.

Hulk is a puppy of one of the members here.
He is so cute. I want to keep him.
Another miracle? A woman came up to us and asked "what do I do to be a part of your religion?" She had looked in many other churches and gotten fed up with looking. She was trying to do a good thing but not finding the right thing. She told God she had done her part and would wait for Him to tell her which church was right. When she saw us teaching our friend from Nigeria, she was always curious and then determined that she would talk to us. She did. She is so great.

I hope everyone is well. Be strong, because there´s always a way!

Sister Arthur

In Brazil Easter Eggs are HUGE and made of Chocolate
...and filled with more chocolate!

21 April 2014

Path leading from the Convent
Burning Desire                      April 21, 2014

Dear Loved Ones,
     The LANhouse man is a miracle worker and managed to save all my pictures and allow me to send pictures again! At least as long as I´m in this area, I can send pictures! Oh yeah! The transfer! I am still in ItanhaĆ©m with Sister Farias! I love her, sincerely now. We know we are going to be seperated in the next transfer, because we really like each other now and are excited to work together.
Lysandra's Baptism
     It´s amazing to see people´s curiosity about the church turn into a burning desire to know the truth. We started teaching Leonor last week and she reminded us several times that she already has a church, but she couldn´t help but ask her questions. She wants to know God so well that she will have a burning desire to share what she knows. We told her we can help with that. The first time we talked we talked about the power of prayer, that we can actually talk with our Heavenly Father. The next day we taught her about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she is so excited to know for herself if it is true.
Benedita's Baptism
      I LOVE YOU!!! Keep smiling and you will notice more each day how much you are blessed.
Love, Sister Arthur
Finally ate a chicken foot!
 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.
Making fun of the winter clothes we were told to bring...
winter jacket is not the same thing in Brazil as it is in Massachusetts.

14 April 2014

It felt like Praying to be spared when  Hurricane is Raging all around you.

Dear Loved Ones,
     This week has been so crazy! Wahaha! Actually every week is so crazy, so that doesn´t mean much. A lot of days this week we didn´t have too many people to teach. All of our appointments fell through and we spent a lot of time walking long distances, but some great miracles happened. 
     We met Siovana (sounds like Silvana when you say in Brazilian)! She is a very cool Christian lady who we met when we were lost. Sister Farias always says "a missionary is never lost." This is entirely true. We always meet someone when we are having a difficult time finding another person. My companion asked her what she expected from missionaries and she started crying. She said she expected that we would share a good word and that we would comfort her, because she has been feeling so alone. She works from home and is in the part of life where her children are growing up and spend most of their time away from home. She has a strong belief in God and has been praying a lot and reading the Bible looking for comfort and peace. She knows God answers prayers and that´s when we arrived! Our first lesson with her was good, but it was so hard. Everything went wrong, like the adversary knew that if she felt the spirit, he would be losing the battle. I had the hardest time speaking Portuguese during the lesson and when it came to the account of Joseph Smith´s frist vision, we were interrupted so much. I started five times and finally my companion told me to keep going even if someone was yelling or knocking on the door or whatever else they could do. I finished and she really liked it and wants to pray to find out if it is true. She is willing to change if she knows from God that it is the right thing to do. At the end of the lesson, we asked her to pray and we got down on our knees. She shut the front door so that no one would interrupt us. Her 6 year old son was outside and gets mad if she shuts the door. She didn´t even lock it, but he started crying and screaming and banging on the door and holding down the buzzer, but she just kept praying. I don´t know what she said. I couldn´t understand it through all the noise, but my companion said it was powerful. It felt like praying to be spared when a hurricane is raging all around you. She rearranged her plans for Sunday so she could come to church, and she really liked it. At the end of all the meetings, we took a big group picture with everyone that was walking out. It was so fun! 
     We also had a sad experience this week. We´ve been teaching a married couple (the man who used to bring our water and his wife), but we had to let them go, because they liked our visits, but didn´t want to change. This is a sad part of missionary work. You get to really love people, but we are here to help people come unto Christ, and if they don´t want to, we have to move on. Of course, they can always find us in the church. In our last visit, we explained this to the wife. The husband at this point I think was avoiding us. The wife is such a sweet woman with a lot of character. She suffered a stroke four years ago. She can´t use her right hand or foot and has difficulty speaking. Our communication is interesting. It involves a lot of charades and tracing words on the couch, but we understand each other pretty well.
     After we told her we wouldn´t be returning to visit all the time, I felt I should ask her if she remembered the day she prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. She had told us that she cried and cried and didn´t  know why. She said she cried, because while she was reading she felt her two sons (who have passed on) kiss her on her cheeks. We asked her if she thought this could have been her answer. She said yes and that she knows the church is true and the Book of Mormon is true, but she doesn´t know if she wants to change. I know that the gospel would have so much power in her life to help her feel comfort and be healed . It´s so sad to see someone reject this when they know it too.
     Overall, it was a good week. I don´t have much time left, so I have to go! I love you!!!
Have a great week!

Sister Arthur

08 April 2014

Baptized by the Stake President

Dear People of the Outside World,
     I´m trying to be creative with your title, but today this was all I could come up with. Sorry. But conference! WOW! That pretty much sums it up! Haha, okay a little more would be good, right?
     I really liked the talk that told us to let our faith show. We have something very special, our faith in Christ. This faith is very powerful and we need to stand strong as representatives of Him who is our Redeemer, even in the face of adversity.
     There was a talk on communication. No, I didn´t plan this in accordance with my last message. This was completely out of my hands. It talked about how we should first think of others and ask how they are doing before we blow up in their faces. We don´t know what their thinking was in doing or saying something and we should respond with love. We know very well the language of hate, anger, and jealousy, but let´s try to learn better how to communicate with compassion. There would be more marriages saved, more friendships preserved, and less feelings hurt if we would just think of others first. Have a little humility.
     Sorry I don´t have the exact information to tell you who said these amazing things (forgot my study journal in the apartment), but you can find it all on soon!

     Lysandra got baptized! And the stake president came to baptize her, because she was so touched by the talk he gave in ward conference!
The Boss Man sent me a list of questions about the missionary work here, which I thought some other people might be interested to hear about too:

Have either of your feet bothered you?
Nope! They´re blessed for their service. Pretty much that´s the only explanation.

How is English class?
Getting better every time. We were blessed with a Chilean (Sister Vergara) who speaks english and knows how to teach it! Also, I am getting better at recognizing grammatical patterns in my own language and teaching the nit picky things that I notice people are saying wrong.

There are lots of pictures of large groups of sisters. Do you still only work in groups of two?
Absolutely. There are two companionships (of two) serving in my area. My companion (still Sister Farias) and I are sharing an apartment with Sister Gonzaga and Sister Vergara. This is all likely to change in the transfer, which will happen next week, so I´ll let you know how it works out.

Do you do much door tracting (knocking on doors)?
YES! Too much in our opinion, but we´re always looking for new ways to meet people. The funny thing here is that everyone has a giant wall in front of their house, so knocking on the door does absolutely nothing. We clap really loud. If we know their name, we also yell their name.

Do you do any displays in the park?
We drew the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk  in chalk and taught people who were walking by, but we have to do it again, because we chose a horrible to a stinky black river. Noone wanted to stop there to talk to us. We didn´t even want to stop there. Haha. We are working on it!

I WISH I COULD SHOW YOU PICTURES! I´m sure it would make your reading experience more enjoyable, but the computers here are completely untrustworthy.

I hope everyone is well and smiling! Don´t worry be happy! You are loved more than you could ever imagine.

Sister Arthur