30 June 2014

Preserve the's just laying there in the forest...
like litter...I don´t think it was helping anyone preserve

Dear People Whom I LOVE!     June 23, 2014 
     This week I got a piece of a pink envelope with two Harry Potter stamps and one of a wax seal from someone back home.... It was in an envelope from the US postal service that says "We know your mail is important to you, so we apologize for destroying your letter..." I´ve never gotten one of these before, but I wanted whoever sent it to know that I´m not being rude by not writing you back, but the message 
didn´t actually get to me. I´m so sorry. Whoever it was, write me an email and tell me what it said! Please. I am dying to know!
Missionaries of Parque das Bandeiras
in the backwoods of Brazil
     This week we aren´t doing anything cool with our P-day, (preparation day) but we´re going to celestialize our apartment! That means make it more clean and organized than humanly possible! It´s gonna be buckets of fun! Then we have to stay in all night, because it is a Brazil game for the World Cup, so we get to study. I really kind of hated studying most things before the mission (The Scriptures and German excluded), but I really really really really like when we have extra time to study in our day. Who would have thought one hour of personal study, one hour of companionship study, an hour of training and then language study (if we´re lucky) wouldn´t be enough. It´s crazy!
     This week we invited a family to come to church. THey live in the bairro furthest from the chapel and the dad has one of those metal cages on his leg with rods going into his leg, because he had a motorcycle accident where he almost lost his leg. We offered to have someone pick them up (one of the five or so members with a car) and they said they would take the bus if we couldn´t find anyone. We asked the bishop, because he has a hippie bus and there would be plenty of room. Well, on Sunday the bishop went to find him and returned with some other members, but not this family. We asked what happened and he said he couldn´t find them. Then the dad of the family called and asked if someone was coming. We told him he´d already been and didn´t find him. He asked "Is there any way he could return to get us?" We were like. We´ll figure something out and we eneded up sending the bishop during the first hour. He brought them and their whole family loved it!
"It's Pretty, Let's eat it!" ~Elder Woodbury
It's literally this color and it's a root! Sick!
  They have a three year old, Eric and he is hysterical. You wouldn´t believe the things that come out of his mouth. We were at their apartment and Sister Medrano was closing the door of the bathroom and he was just standing in front staring at her, so she asked if everything was okay.
 He said "What are you going to do in there?"
"What are you going to do in the bathroom?"
She was a little confused, because it´s kind of obvious what you do in the bathroom, so she asked if he wanted to use the bathroom first.
"Yes, I want to pee."
She recounted the experience for the Dad, Edgarde and he said "Oh man, I´ve been trying to break this habit of his for so long! He always has to use the bathroom, literally every single time someone else wants to use it. I don´t know what to do."
Bishop's Combi
It´s pretty funny and this kid just talks and talks and talks and every time it´s funny and it´s kind of strange that he uses a pacifier with a full set of teeth and talks like he´s already and adult.
     This email time always goes by so fast! Sorry. I will try to organize my thoughts more next time!

Sister Arthur

17 June 2014

On our hike today
The thing that gave me confidence

Dear Loved Ones,     June 16,2014
     This week has been very cool. We´ve been teaching people who are memebers of the church, but haven´t been in a long time. Yesterday six of them went to church! They are wonderful women and it´s so great to see their testemonies growing, watching them take a chance and make changes in their lives. When we teach them about the gospel, it´s like they´re hearing their favorite song that they haven´t heard in a while, the one that´s not the most popular. They don´t hear it on the radio every day, but its lyrics are so powerful. The gospel has the power to change lives for the better. I see it every day.
     Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I remembered on Friday night and I was like "Oh no, I always prepare all week and stay up late and get up early Sunday morning to finish and I´M SO DOOMED!" Then I prayed for help and wrote it during my personal study. The thing that gave me confidence when I was speaking in front of 120 people in Portugues (I had help...some people in the congregation told me the words I was looking for when I got stuck.) was that when I was preparing it, the ideas weren´t coming from my own mind. I don´t know what those 120 people need to hear. I know only a handful of them, but Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us personally and gives inspiration to our leaders and those designated to teach us. If it were up to me, I wouldn´t have been able to do it so calmly and the Spirit wouldn´t have touched the hearts of those listening. 
     When I was givingmy talk, the bishop passed me a not that said "Your time is up." That has never happened in my entire life. I always finish and leave the last speaker shaking in their boots for the time they have to fill. 
Hiking with the Bishop
     The bishop and his family took us on a trail earlier today! It was so beautiful! It was really hard not to be a crunchy girl and take off my shoes and climb on absolutely everything, but it was so nice to be out in nature. It is so close to our apartment, but we didn´t know where the trails were and the elders went without us the last time. Sometimes I just don´t believe them. Just kidding. They are so great and they help us with everything. We had a great time and got to see a lot of cool things. There was a waterfall, bamboo, banana trees, sugar cane, orange lemons....yes. They have greeen lemons, orange lemosn...yellow I have yet to see. 
     I have to go, but I love you! Have a great week and be amazing! 
Sister Arthur

15 June 2014

The Hearts That Were Touched   6-9-2014

In response to being asked by her Mom:
"Here's a question for you... (Physical pain, heartache, struggle with language, teaching or things not working out how you hoped.) Am I to believe that you are as "all set" as you portray yourself to be? You probably are, but sometimes I wonder if you only share the positive things so that I won't worry about you."

For you my Dearest Mother,
     Well, if you really want to know, obviously life is hard. We weren´t put here to do easy things. OH MY GOSH! There is an amazing video\part of a talk by Jeffry R. Holland about how if it wasn´t easy for Christ to atone for our sins, we shouldn´t expect that it will be easy for us to follow Him. It´s so good! I will try to find it for you. But it´s so good. Anyways, at the end of the week, in the summary, it´s not the hard things we did to do our work that stick in our minds, but the results. The hearts that were touched, the light that was brought into the lives of these people, the questions that were answered, the Spirit that was felt is what sticks in our mind. It´s so hard to watch how many people feel the Spirit and say they felt nothing. It´s so hard to watch people who say they have a testimony chase after the things of the world and neglect to do the things that their family so desperately needs, so they can be stronger, so they can be sealed as a family, but I don´t like to write about those things, because maybe one day they will just realize what they neeed to do. Maybe one day our prayers will be answered and they will have the courage to change their lives.
     To be completely honest, I don´t have much trouble with Portuguese (except that still no one knows when I´m asking a question)
     Physically I am fine. We run every day (I love Sister Medrano) and I think because we are very obedient we have strength we need to run and not faint. Sometimes I am extra thankful that we run every day, because when it is 9:25 and we have to run all the way home to get there on time, we make it just fine.
     I don´t have anything to complain about.
     I am learning so much and I have a lot to change when I get home! Like my scripture study and I probably should work less and serve more.

I bought more shoes. I thought the other shoes had a defect. Turns  out the shoes weren´t actually different. It was my feet. Crazy feet.

Your Little Missionary
Bishop's Combi
our crazy elders, Woodbury (from Idaho)
 and Macedo (Belem, Brazil).
Guess who´s who!

10 June 2014

Obviously Brasil is painted ALL OVER THE PLACE! LIke literally every post, sidewalk and wall is painted the colors of Brazil. It´s like the 4th of July...Brazilian style. This isn´t the best example, but it´s the one I got a picture of while we were running to the LANhouse.
Dear People,                  June 9.2014                             
    This week the missionaries of Parque das Bandeiras were trying to figure out what exactly is the message that these people need to hear. Why do so many say that they know and yet they do not do? We came to the conclusion that so many people are so focused on the things of this world that although they say they love God more than anything, they don´t do what He asks. I´m sharing this, because it is something I think we could all use.
     Elder Richard G. Scott (via satelite) SPEAKS PORTUGUESE! It´s so cute to hear him talk. He has an english-spanish-old man accent and it´s adorable! But he´s so dedicated! He spoke about prayer, and I loved what he had to say. I may have stolen these notes from Sister Cabral...
-        Recognize answers to your prayers:
1.       Peace, comfort, safety—we know that the choice we made was right.
2.       Discomfort—we know that the choice is wrong.
3.       Nothing—to grow and exercise faith in Him. We exercise faith by being obedient to His commandments. When the Lord doesn’t give us an answer, we must ACT. We must also thank Him for trusting in us. IF we are (1) living worthy and (2) asking with confidence, God won’t let us go far without helping us. He wants us to act so that we can have necessary experiences.
-        If it is right, the confirmation will come in small inspirations. The feeling of peace is the most common testimony.
-        Sometimes the Lord makes us act so that we can exercise our faith before we receive an answer. That way, our character will strengthen and our faith will grow.
-        Rarely will the answer come while we are praying. Instead, it will inspire us when the Spirit can touch our mind and our heart effectively in quiet moments.
-        When we err and think that we aren’t worthy to pray, we must pray to ask forgiveness so that we can be cleaned and become worthy to pray. Subtle whispers will show us the steps that we must follow to become clean through the Atonement.
-        The most important principle in prayer is GRATITUDE. The sincere recognition fills our heart until it overflows with gratitude. Shouldn’t we thank Heavenly Father for the gift of prayer?
-        “Everything that you ask the Father will be given if it is for your good.”
-        Your life will be easier if you accept that everything that God does is for your well-being—whether you be rich or poor, free or enslaved.
-        He will always answer with what is best for your.
 Elder M. Russel Ballard also spoke via satelite.
_        Use technology wisely.
-        Have calm time to meditate, to have a personal interview with yourself, to hear the whispers of the Holy Ghost, to find peace.
-        During the sacrament, concentrate on the Spirit of the Lord. For this brief moment, be with Him.
-        The temple is a wonderful place to hear answers to prayers. (Your house has to be a temple.)
-        Battle against pornography – it is physically, mentally and spiritually destructive. It leads to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It is fatal – it destroys individuals and families. Like venom, it kills the body and mind. If you are involved, seek help with your priesthood leader and
They paint the streets for the COPA (world cup)
along with everything else. We found Argentina!

-        Who will separate us from the love of God? Tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? As it is written: 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 36-39)

I want to send so many pictures, but it takes forever to load them! 
Chicken foot is much better baked than cooked in a compression pot. 
It´s rather revolting actually (in the compression pot). 
It´s very strange to spit out bones when they´re spongey. 
It´s like they´re diseased. Gross, but baked chicken foot is tolerable. 
Just keep that in mind. I thought my poor little companion 
was going to cry after we pressured her into eating it. 
Nobody had a big lunch that day...

02 June 2014

Our potential is much greater than any of us could understand.          June 2, 2014

This week, I got a lot of emails from people saying "I hope you´re happy and having a good time." I am for sure! This week was pretty cool! Last Monday I tried straight up passionfruit (maracuj√°) for the first time. They don´t eat it straight up here, but I don´t know why. It´s pretty good. It´s definitely strange too.
straight up passion-fruit
     Funny sidenote: I went to open the folder where the guy from the internet house put the pictures from my card and the folder is named "meninas lindas" or in english, "pretty girls." Yup, pretty much everyone hits on the missionaries here. Kinda weird, just sayin.
      Also, my family consists of the coolest, funniest people on our little planet. I really like it when people tell me jokes in English, because I understand them! Before my mission, for pretty much my whole life, I have heard things wrong, but it was never a problem in Portuguese. I had a funny experience at lunch yesterday. Someone was talking about the flour there in the north and said it´s more granular or has bigger pieces (grosso),but I understood that it´s made from bone (osso). I thought, well Elder Macedo (from the North) does seem like the kind of person that would eat flour made from bone. Well, everyone got a kick out of that. Now that I have a bigger vocabulary in Portuguese, there´s much more opportunity to confuse the words. YAY!
us with  Sister Cabral (Mission President's wife)
     We had a great experience this week! Well, more than one, but this one´s our favorite. We were looking for a house that doesn´t exist. We later found out we were looking in the wrong neighborhood. Haha. So, we ask this guy if he knows where the house is, and he doesn´t. Then we asked if we could come back and teach him and his family and he said of course! So, we went back the next day and taught him and some of his family and everyone had the most amazing feeling! It was like the room was just filled with peace and nothing bad could get to us. They are excited to learn more and come to church. It was a nice change after meeting many others who felt the same way, but didn´t want to act on what they had felt. 
      Some people think that a life with Jesus Christ is an easy life and get discouraged when they continue to have difficulties in their life even after they´ve accepted Christ and are following Him. It´s not easy. I always joke with the other missionaries and say in an annoying voice "Life is so hard." It is a joke, but it is also true. Life is hard for everyone and having Jesus Christ in your life doesn´t mean that you won´t have trials. It means that you know the one person who has experienced all of these things, the one person who knows you better than anyone. It means that when it seems like everything here is falling through or there´s nowhere to turn, you know that our potential is much greater than any of us could understand. Ends in this world are not eternal ends. Life goes on.
      I hope everyone is having a great week! HAPPY MONDAY!

Sister Arthur