okay so to answer some of your questions.
Sister Lima is from Osasco (part of Sao Paulo) and sister Massagardi is from
Its SUPER HOT here. I have never sweat so much in my life haha. Summer doesn’t start until like november december so I have a lot to look forward to haha. I hope I survive. The worst part is the humidity-it feels like you’re swimming in an invisible fog of sticky ick……yaaa that is how I’d best describe it haha.
Our area is called Boa Viagem its RIGHT on the beach and thats the name of our ward as well. Our stake is also Boa Viagem. Our ward is pretty small from what I saw yesterday-nice members though very friendly but maybe thats because I am new.
Yes the mosquitos are killer and although I use bug spray I brought it doesnt seem to help-like these guys are immune to it. My legs are covered in bug bites. They’re sneaky little devils. As far as I know I haven’t really heard about any natural remedies the people have here…I shall investigate more thoroughly. A lot of the food we eat has rice and beans, some sort of meat and either Guyarana-kind of like sangria or Coke (no I don’t like coke-I never have). Yes the food is delcious and I HAVE NOT GOTTEN SICK YET! HUrray 🙂 Just tired….really tired. It’s super difficult after almoco because you get so tired after eating and staying awake is the last thing your body wants to do. Discipline-self mastery I guess and praying to stay awake. The cakes and pastries here aren’t that great. The meat and fruit are awesome-my opinion.
My mission president is from Sao Paulo and yes I have spoken english with him and its pretty good but he isn’t completely fluent pretty close though. Very military like and serious but loving. Really laid back at the same time-I think one thing I’ve really noticed that’s different about me compared to everyone else here is my sense of urgency. Everyone (including missionaries here) are very laid back. Focused sure but relaxed too.
So I have learned a lot this week that the Lord put me here to EMBRACE and change. I cannot change these people, my companion, the smells in favelas etc. I have to change and adapt and continue to move forward. I have never been so exhausted in my life. I can’t even tell you how depleted of energy I feel at the end of each day. It’s insane. I seriously could not keep serving a mission (including the physical spectrum) without the help of The Lord. This is His work. And He certainly helps us. There are so many differences here with the culture that I learn about and experience. It’s definitely different when you actually live somewhere rather than simply visiting for a vacation you really see, hear and experience so much more. Some moments it’s so difficult and frustrating (like why a baptism starts 1 1/2 hrs late and no one blinks an eye) !???? But I know I need to learn to love. LOVE LOVE LOVE. So I hope I can strengthen the love that I thought I had (I’m going to say it seems pretty miniscule right now) into so much more these next 11 months. Only Heavenly Father and continuing to serve will help me do this.
I do want to talk about Manuel to finish. Manuel is a recent convert of 3 months now. He is single, in his late 60’s, lives alone in a favela and doesn’t know how to read. However Sister Massagardi and I went to visit him (it was my first time meeting him) so he could pay his tithing. He doesn’t know how to read the papers but Sister Massagardi helps him by filling it out because he knows its a commandment of the Lord. WHAT FAITH! My heart was so touched by his humble example of one who truly wants to follow Jesus Christ. Manuel is someone who has so little to give and yet he obeys because he knows its what the Lord has asked. Incredible. SO humbling to be there at his home and hear his testimony. And although I could barely understand the words I could feel his sincerety and love for The Lord. Amazing.
I continue to learn more each day with the culture and the language. I can understand people a little better when they speak slowly but still my head hurts a lot and I continue to sleep like a baby because of the mental and physical strain I go through day after day. Its been a wild ride. And like I said before I am just trying to embrace it all. I have felt your prayers and thoughts as I’ve been here. MUITO OBRIGADA! Seriously, I love getting emails from you all I feel so loved and supported and it makes a huge difference. I know the missionaries that are serving in your wards need to feel loved as well. They may look happy on the outiside but remember how difficult missions are and be sure to smile and get to know them better. It helps us out a lot.
Yes it happened I am finally here and dont have NEARLY as much time as I would like to write you but I will try to be quick and detailed.
1st of all-my head hurts each day but I sleep like a baby because of alllll the portuguese that I try to understand and speak haha wlike 10x more then the MTC so geoffrey and preston look out haha you’ve got another thing comin 🙂 its awesome though. People are patient with me and members especially will slow down because they really want me to learn. It’s quite cute actually. I love the people here. Just wish I could understand them-super frustrating oh my goodness. Hasn’t even been a full week yet so I need to (calmo) as my companion wqould say.
speaking of which..
2- I AM NOT TRAINING! haha its weird. But I’m still working hard and trying to pitch in what I can. My trainer is Sister Massagardi from Sao Paulo she’s 38 years old. She is awesome and sooo patient with me hahaha I feel so bad constantly asking her que significa? como se diz!? over and over again. She is a great missionary from what I’ve seen. We are in a tough area. Boa Viagem in Recife. We live with another companionship Sister Maxwell from Michigan (samestake of my last area bloomfield) but she goes home in dec. so her portugues is way good.She helps me a lot around the house haha. Her companion is a native as well Sister lima from Sao paulo also. Sister MAssargardi has been out 8 months so far. She is supposed to do the 12 week program with me so we’ll have at least 2 transfers together here in boa viagem-sweet. Hopefully by the time she leaves (i’ll probably stay) I can SPEAK FLUENTLY if not perfectly haha
3 I am in the city! And there is a lot of poverty and also rich people here. We live across the street from the praia (beach) soooooo beautiful its insane, we can’t swim of course but there are sharks anyways so nobody really does haha. The food is amazing of course. I still dont like the coke here (everyone claims coca cola here is better than the states but I still think its gross. ) Havent gotten sick yet, just a lot of mosquito bites (you never even see them-so annoying) that you wake up with randomly. The members here feed us almoco (lunch) pretty much every day. Lunch is the big meal here not breakfast or dinner.
4 We have A LOT of investigators but none are really progressing-brazilados (brazillians) are NOT commitment keepers or at least they’re not used to it anyways haha so its difficult. The ward is small, and we need to strengthen the trust with the members because of course there were some bad missionaries here-slackers. The members are not supportive at all of missionary work besides feeding us sooooo….going to work on that.
The hardest part so far is not knowing the languagew because I want to be able to see where theswe people are at ask them questions and understand them. But I can’t really yet. Each day I learn more but i have a long way to go. SO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray for me to learn portuguese so I can help these people both; membros, menos ativos e pesquisadores tambem. I know I can do so much but I feel like I am limited because o the language- it is SO frustrating. I have come a lot closer to the Lord because of it though. I hope my enthusiasm that I have always had will spark something in the members of the ward and with our investigators. I kinda feel like the area is dead….1st impression though.
I am so grateful to be here though really I cant believe I am finally here. I know I have so much to do-president made that clear but I am for once needing to step back and learn and watch my trainer (it’s been a while since I have been in such a position as you can imagine).
I love you all so much and I love the gospel. I got to watch conference in english on the 1st floor of the stake center with some other americanos (some elders and sister orr!) LOVED conference. i loved pres eyrings quote-there is joy guaranteed for the faithful. utchdorf-Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. Elder Holland- hope is never lost. fix what you can if those are only small victories and be gateful for tem and be patient.
I have to go so sorry-this keyboard is really cruddy. Ill send pics when I can!
know that I am happy and challenged (dad I know you appreciate that) haha I continue to think that someday my mission will get easy HAHA nope. Never but that’s the best part is that with the Lord we can continue on. FOrward, pressing forward!
Hey familia! Ah I’m here and alive just getting a quick chance to email. It’s beautiful here! Don’t know where I am going yet 9area wise) but I am so so so excited. I guess you will all have to wait till next pday to hear from me. sorry 😦 also, we only get 45 minutes to email here each week because we have internet cafes mostly and time is limited so I’m not going to be able to write you individually as often. I am sooo sorry. But rules are rules and I am going to be obedient 🙂 I love you all and am SO EXCITED TO BE HERE! Missing michigan-weird adjusting but it feels so good and right to be here. The Lord has prepped me for this. Another challenge-language but the work ethic is there to push me along. Love you all so much. It would help if when you write to simply update me on whats going on. That way I can read and TRY to respond but if not I at least know how you”re all doing. I love speaking my broken portuguese so far haha I can’t wait for this language learning grind-my brain is exploding from talking and hearing portuguese after the famine haha I am soooooo loving it though. I am so happy. ah. AND EXCITED! did I mention that already? the mission seems a lot more rule-oriented compared to my last mission. But nothing too extremeplus-it’s up to president so I just obey what he wants. I will tell you all about my experience here next week!
xoxo por Minha compainheiras- continuar trabalhar ardualmente! eu te amo!
Here are a couple highlights from this week.We tracted into a new investigator this week. We were going to stop by a less active who wasn’t home so we decided to just keep tracting in her apartment complex. We then knocked on John’s door. We told him we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sharing a message about Jesus Christ and how He can bless us. He then responded by saying; “Well how does this work? do I call you or do you give me some material?”. We responded by telling him we’d love to share it with him right then so he invited us in and we taught him the restoration lesson. He was very receptive and quite curious. He reads the bible each day (about a chapter) and he grew up catholic but hasn’t been super into church lately. He had a good friend that was LDS who he really respected and so he had a bit of background on the church. He was firing off questions to us that we answered-not contentious at all and it lead us right into teaching him the restoration. It was awesome. The spirit was there and I knew he felt it. He invited us back to teach him more which we did and we’re going back on friday. He has a daughter that walked in when we met the 2nd time and she didn’t seem very happy about us meeting with him. She’s not religious but “spiritual” she told us and ONLY reads the bible and that titles don’t matter (I’m seeing a pattern of Michiganders with this mentality). She asked what was different about our church and I told her that we have a prophet on the earth today who has the priesthood authority of God. She then argued that she had pastors that she listened to and I asked her where their authority came from. She paused for a moment, averted her eyes and hastily said “Well I just read the bible anyways and focus on having a relationship with Jesus Christ”. I responded agreeing that having a relationship with Christ is so important also stating that the Book of Mormon was another testament of Jesus Christ and that our church is centered on Jesus Christ and His teachings. It was actually kind of funny, she seemed surprised, but still displeased. But anyways we’re praying that John will still want to meet friday and that his daughter won’t feed him some anti stuff by then or something like that. He is very receptive and prepared really searching for truth. We find new investigators-have an awesome lesson and then they drop off the face of the earth so we’re really hoping that we can actually keep meeting with John. Hopefully!
We met with Tenisha again this week-I love that lady so much. We watch the restoration movie with her and read out of the Book of Mormon. It breaks my heart that she too believes that we’re all the same and that titles don’t matter/there isn’t one true church. It’s been SO difficult with her- up and down. She is so receptive and yet won’t let go of this mentality of everyone being the same. I think it’s just going to take time with her. The more she learns about the church-general conference, family history, relief society, YM/YW programs etc. She absolutely loves it. She’s going to come to the I’m A Mormon fireside on thursday, the RS broadcast, a RS activity and then wants to watch general conference too. The priesthood seems to be her struggle-again going back to how she believes we’re all the same. But we pray for her and we’re going to keep meeting with her. I know she’s going to realize that there is one true church on the church-with it’s FULNESS. She’s so funny because she already believes in Joseph Smith and the BOM because of the spirit she feels from us sisters. But I know once she actually READS it and prays about it that’ll help her to see that this church is different. Not because of all the programs and organization but that it’s Christ’s very same church in these latter days. It always goes back to reading and praying about the Book Of Mormon-it is the keystone of our religion.If people (Tenisha included) would just read that book-not skim but actually read it and pray to know if it’s true then they WILL receive an answer. It’s so simple! Anyways I need to get a picture with Tenisha to show you. I wish you all could meet her. I know that part of me coming to Michigan was to meet and start teaching her. I know that in the Lord’s way and time she’ll come to know that it’s all true. I have so much love for her and so badly desire for her to partake of the light and joy that comes from living the gospel. She gets up everyday at like 4:3/5:00 in the morning to listen to different gospel stations and watches different pastors to “feed her spirit”. And on sundays she goes to about 3-4 different churches depending on how tired she is ha ha she’s dedicated. She calls us her little angels, that or “Hey it’s my sistahs!”. You are going to meet her someday, she said that we’re her friends for life and that includes our families so don’t be surprised if she comes to stay at our house someday haha 🙂
I’ve been learning a lot about the atonement this week…life lessons…hardships…tests. I think I’m in a slump in my mission I’ve been out 6 months now and it can be difficult when you work your tail off and you feel like you’re not having any success. However, if the Lord wanted everyone that we talked to to get baptized, He’d make it happen. But our Heavenly Father has so much love for us that we get to choose what road we’ll take. And that includes those that we come in contact with. I feel like he’s just grinning at me saying “Yes kenz, this is hard but I know you can do it. And I trust you to do it. So keep going and do it.” I am His servant and even though right now you could say I’m at a low internally on the missionary front, I’ve just got to put my shoulder to the wheel and push along. Visa or no visa, rejections or rejections, baptisms or no baptisms this sister is going to push not by myself but with the Lord beside me because He’s there. In this month’s ensign Brother Brad Wilcox has a talk “His Grace is Sufficient” and he emphasizes that the Lord is pulling with us. We don’t do all we can and THEN He comes to make up the difference, no-He makes all the difference and is always with us if we choose to invite Him.
So that is my letter/spiritual thought for you all. Push as the Lord pulls with you.
Welllll this week has been rather slow. Quite a bit of tracting-not so much going on there. But we had some cool experiences.
On Wednesday we needed to get onto some computers to look up a talk for an investigator, the library computers were all taken. So we decided to use the family history center as a back up (luckily they let us) since normally you’re not allowed to use the computers besides doing genealogy. As we were in there the family history worker got a phone call that was for us sister missionaries. We were really confused since normally we just get calls on our cell phone and we’re never at the family history center. It was a less active woman in the ward who needed a ride to the hospital the following day and was hoping we could help her. We were able to then make some calls and get her a ride. Now…this doesn’t seem like a big deal but taking a step back,I could see that all of the pieces fell into place that we were where the Lord needed us to be at the right time. This woman didn’t have the missionaries number and I’m not sure if the family history worker would’ve even known what to do…I don’t know. But anyways-it’s cool how the Lord works.
Okay other story, on saturday we we’re going to stop by some former investigators in Pontiac. Which, by the way Pontiac is the sketchy/ghetto sliver of our area that we have and we don’t stay there past 6 pm because well,it’s dangerous. You can google pontiac michigan and see what you find. Anyways so there we are parked and are trying to GPS (yes,consider that a verb) the address of one of these former investigators. We just pulled over to do that when we heard someone talking to us from outside. Standing on the lawn was a guy in a t-shirt and ragged jeans. He looked a little rough around the edges. He began talking to us so we rolled down our windows and started chatting with him. We didn’t want to get out of the car quite yet, because you’ve got be careful-plus we didn’t expect the conversation to really go anywhere. As the conversation continued I felt like it was safe to go out and introduce ourselves. Which we did, we ended up having a wonderful discussion and taught him the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He (Nathan) had all kinds of questions about the gift of discernment, and the people of the ancient America’s and where is the full truth of God today. SO COOL! Unfortunately he’s leaving for Tennessee in a week or so and is just house sitting for a friend. He asked if there was a mormon church he could go to when he got there! Awesome. He doesn’t have a phone but hopefully he’ll get internet access once he’s moved into his house there to go onto Mormon.org and find a local chapel/phone number. To me it was a miracle because Nathan had said the only reason why he came out of the house to talk to us is because our car looked like his friend’s car who was supposed to stop by that day. Otherwise he wouldn’t have come out. And we would’ve never talked to him if he hadn’t come out because we were only temporarily parked there! I was so grateful that we stopped and that we did get out and talk to him-as the spirit prompted. Even after that we didn’t really have anything come out of remaining in Pontiac that day, so I know that that’s why we needed to be there. To meet and teach Nathan and bring him light that he’s looking for in his life. The light of the gospel. He told us how much better he felt as we prayed with him and said our goodbye’s. I know the spirit guides us and that we can find when we teach and TEACH WHEN WE FIND! This is the Lord’s work 🙂
Tomorrow we have zone conference and our companionship is singing Joseph Smith’s First prayer to the tune of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing-stoked!
love you all and have a fabulous week!