Friday, November 9, 2012

Tomato Lanterns and BAPTISMO!!!!!! (Nov. 5)

FERNANDO GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =]
But anyways, let me start at the beginning..........
It´s been a good week...... Once again, the week FLEW by, but I guess that is a good thing...... Did I mention that it is NOVEMBER??!?!?!?
After meeting with Fernando last sunday (as I told you all last week..) we marked to meet with him everynight this week. And as we met with him everyday, we found out just how truly prepared he is!!! We were able to teach him in the chapel, with members present at every lesson, which was SO helpful!!! Man. As we taught the lessons, he was full of questions for the members about their experiences and about everything.... He wants to understand EVERYTHING!!! It is soo cool!! Really, we didnt teach him much, he basically taught US..... hahah. He is super intelligent, and learned a lot from his reading in the book of mormon, from what he had learned at church the few times he went, and from what we explained.... After we taught a new concept, he got it completely. AH. SUCH a relief to teach some one who gets it!!! hahaha. As of thursday night, we invited him to be baptized on Sunday, but he said that he would prefer to wait and keep coming to church for a while longer..... But we explained a lot about the importance of baptism and how he would have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and he agreed to pray about it and meet with the elders for his baptism interview. Friday, after the interview, I asked him how he was feeling about baptism and he was just like "I´m getting baptized on Sunday" WOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Saturday night, the elders that work in the other ward that meets in our building had a baptism and we invited Fernando to go and see it. It was probably the BEST thing for him in that moment.... He was started to get a little nervous and worried about a lot of stuff.... worried about being baptized and staying strong for a while, but then falling away.... So we were able to talk to  him about his doubts and worries for a while, and then able to all stay and watch the baptism. He was able to feel the spirit there so strong and see how everything would happen... He left that night reassured and SO READY for sunday. =]
Sunday, we had Sacrament meeting first and Fernando showed up all decked out in nice dress slacks and a dress shirt! haha. AWESOME. And he was so excited for the baptism. In sacrament, the bishop announced that we would have the baptism after the meeting, and all the members surprised us a bit by being awesome and congratulating Fernando and talking with him. SCORE. Then after all the meetings, we had the baptism and everything went great. Our ward mission leader who helped out in one of the lessons this week performed the baptism, and several other members that participated in the lessons this week, and have been adopting Fernando into the ward were there for the baptism as well. It was really cool.
Finding and having the opportunity to teach Fernando was such a miracle. REALLY. I am sooooo grateful for it!! We got here knowing nothing and with nothing to go off of, but have just been working hard and trying anyways, and then Fernando just falls out of nowhere, totally prepared and ready. AH. So great and such a wonderful answer to our prayers.
On to some of the other less exciting happenings of the week..... =]
Monday, we made tacos with the elders for pday..... hahah. Not quite true tacos, but they were pretty good. An elder from Chile knew how to make the dough and the tortillas, and it turned out pretty delicious. Sister Feistner and I tried to make some at home the next day, and it was a disaster.... hah. Apparently neither of us are very good cooks.... Our tortillas ended up dense and flavorless.... oh boy.
Tuesday, we had a couple funny experiences....
We were walking up a street to an inactive members house when we stopped to talk with a man standing in his garage. We started talking to him, and invited him to church and started talking about our message a little bit, when he interrupted us and went on a rant.... He started talking about his church, "Deus É Amor" (god is love) and then said how he could tell when people had the holy ghost with them, that he could see it in their eyes and faces. So we were just like "oh really" and then there was an awkward silence....Sister Feistner kind of laughed and was just like "well..... do we look like we have the holy ghost with us?" Then the guy was just like "something is missing". OH SNAP. Then he pointed his finger right in my face and was like "THIS.... is not of God" (meanwhile, I´m thinking "what, the sweat dripping down my face right now cause it´s so ridiculously hot outside???") then he continued and pointed at both of us and was like "this makeup is of the devil..... " Then he continued to tell us how we DID NOT have the holy ghost with us because we use makeup and earrings..... hmmm. Interesting. At one point, we were getting a little bugged and Sister Feistner was like "are you telling me that as a representative of Jesus Christ that I dont have the Holy Ghost with me???" He got super nice after that... allthough he didnt change his opinon. haha. Sister F. just ended up bearing testimony about the church to him (pretty confidently... =]) and he wished us luck and promised to come visit our church sometime............. yeah right.
After that, we went to visit a little old lady, Nilsa, that is inactive who we found knocking doors our first week. She works as a hairdresser and manicurist in her house, and she had a client in there when we went by. But she invited us in anyways to get out of the sun for a minute and drink some water. As we were sitting there, another friend of hers came by. Nilsa turned to Sister Feistner and was like "my friend just got back from the viewing of a 5 year old girl..." expecting Sister F. to be like, "ohhhhhh that´s so sad." or something of the sort. IN REALITY, Sister Feistner hadnt ever heard the word "velório" (viewing) before, and therefore had NO idea what she had just said. So she paused for a second and then answered with a huge smile "HOW COOL!!!!"................. woops. hahah. Everyone was silent (I went to two viewings when I was in Araras, so I already knew this word and I was busy trying to hold in my laughter in this awkward moment.... ). Then Nilsa was like "do you know what that word means??" ... Sister Feistner´s smile fell off her face and she was just like "apparently not..." hahahahahah. It was so great..... Not sure if I loved it more because of the funny situation itself, or because it was finally NOT ME that made the awkward mistake.... hahah.
WEDNESDAY WAS HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! woooo!
Didnt feel exactly like halloween since it was BAKING outside, but we tried to celebrate anyways. It was SO HOT the first part of the week!! Wednesday, I heard that it was about 37 celsius.... not sure what that is in farenheit, but it was HOT. The sad thing is... it is gonna get way hotter still!! AGGGHHHHH
As we were walking that day, I kept trying to IMAGINE that we were walking in Utah, with the leaves falling and only needing a jacket to feel just perfect outside.... thought maybe I could overcome the heat in my head. Yep. Didnt work. It was still hot.
That day we taught about the commandments to Rodolfo during the day, and then again with Fernando that night..... we almost started laughing when poor Rodolfo was in shock after several of the commandments... "IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE???" ahhhh. poor guy. A different day this week he started talking about how people sometimes go on 40 day fasts and asked us if that was how it worked with the commandments like the word of wisdom and law of chastity..... Nope. Not quite how it works buddy. hahah. But dont worry, he is working really hard and progressing a lot.
That night, after we got home, Sister F. was DYING to carve pumpkins. BUT, we hadnt been able to find any anywhere..... So, being creative, she looked in our fridge and we still had two tomatoes left from our taco making adventure on monday, and decided it´d be better carving tomatoes than carving nothing... haha. What you all should realize in this is that Sister Feistner HATES tomatoes. Like big time. She wont eat them. EVER. If we go to lunch and there are tomatoes, she avoids them. IF they come mixed in the food, she puts them on my plate.... If they are cut up in tiny little peices, she STILL doesnt eat them, and picks them out and leaves them on her plate. She hates tomatoes SO much that even watching people eat tomatoes bothers her, and the smell is even worse. SO, when she got this tomato out and started to carve it, she would pause every few seconds, start to feel sick because of the smell, then steel up her determination and continue on.... hahah. It was funny.
But yep. We carved tomatoes!! Then we found some handy little bday cake candles that I had laying around and put candles in them and everything. Not the prettiest jack-o-latern I´ve ever made, but for a tomato-o-latern, it was pretty good.
We also got to eat some of the butterfingers and peanut m&ms you all sent, so it was LEGIT. =]
THANKFULLY,  it rained thursday night and cooled off a TON. Thursday-Sunday was actually pleasant! YAY!
Thursday, we got to work with a girl in the ward that has volunteered herself to leave with us every week. Her name is Leila, she is 19 and one of the bishops kids. She is SUPER cool, hilarious, and way fun to work with. She gave us a whole ton of 7 belos (raspberry flavored candy like now and laters...) and so we decided to share the love and give her a butterfinger to try. You should have seen her face. hahah. When she bit in, it kind of fell all over her and she was just like "what the heck??" hahah. andddddd she didnt appreciate it very much. Now she keeps going on about how american chocolate is crappy and so sweet that it will give you seizures..... oh brother.
She loves to help us with our portuguese (make fun of our accents and teach us hard-to-say words????), and so I always try to ask her words I dont know and write them down in my planner.... I´ve got a whole two-page spread in the back full of words I´ve been learning in the last month.... I asked her what they call billboards here.... and she was like "its an english word! you should know!" BUT, weirdly enough, it is NOT billboard.... they call it "outdoor".... WHY???? So we explained to her how we use that in english and for the rest of the afternoon, she kept using it as much as possible, mixed in with her portuguese. haha. it was cute. I like her a lot.
OH, and while we were out with her, we knocked at a house close to the chapel. The lady leaned out her window to ask what we wanted, we told her we were missionaries and she was like "oh, thats funny. We have missionaries here right now!!" Turns out they are catholic, and they had two catholic missionaries (preists?? I dont know) from the roman catholic church in São Paulo in their house doing a prayer service for them and their neighbors. These two catholic missionaries werent too impressed that we were there though.... they were just leaving when we arrived, so they walked out in all their attire (they honestly looked like knights.... just missing the shiny armor...) and when Sister F. was all like "oh heyyyyy. What church are you from?'" they were just like "roman catholic. Tchau." Alright. byee. Needless to say, the lady who lived there didnt want us to say a prayer with her....
Friday, was a holiday. I swear Brazil has a holiday every other week.......... its ridiculous! Somehow, holidays are always practically impossible to work at all......... NOBODY is home. Or if they are, they are having a party and drinking. Really effective.
But, our ward had an activity (one in a million..... they arent much for activities in our ward....) and we got to go and eat lunch with them. It was a potluck and all the men cooked..... haha. Well, TECHNICALLY, all the men were supposed to cook, but I think a few of them gave up in despair and their wives finished the dishes for them... hahah. But there was actually a good turnout and everyone enjoyed themselves. ANDDDD they had icecream! WOO! from this AWESOME little icecream place close to our house that is soooooooo good!!! mmmm. Did I mention that I love icecream??? yep. ahhh.
We´ve been meeting with Rodolfo just about everyday this week and he is progressing A LOT. He is reading almost everyday, and saying prayers!!! YEAH! and when we taught about the commandments, he agreed to everything and has been going without coffee ever since. (granted, its only been a few days, but i´m so proud of him!!) ANDDDD to top it all off, friday when we went by, HE PRAYED AT THE END OF OUR LESSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOO!!! We have been pushing for him to do that for SO LONG!!! ahhhhh. And he did, and it was sooo good, and I was sooooo happy! He really has come soooo far. Saturday night, he also came to the baptism service to watch and really liked it. (that was also a miracle in itself because he has some weird, unconquerable fear of leaving his house and coming to the church...) ALSO, saturday, I invited him to mark a date for baptism, and marked the 11th as his tentative day...... ONLY BUMMER---- he STILL didnt get up and come to church with us sunday morning.... so now his date will have to be pushed back again.... Hopefully, everything works out in the end though. Not sure what happened sunday... We came by again in the afternoon, and he had apparently locked himself in his room ALL day long, and his mom was pretty worked up about it (please remember that this guy is 29 before you all get too stressed as well....). Hopefully he was just sitting in there reading his book of mormon and praying or something wonderful like that!! hahah.
Oh, funny thing he said saturday.......... we were reviewing over the plan of salvation with him, and looking in the back of the pamphlet were they have a layout of everything that happens in the plan.... He was reading through and thinking through out loud what everything meant.... When he got to the fall, he was like "the fall..... the fall..... what is that? Is that when we came out of our mother????" ahahahaha. Sister F. and I had to try REALLY hard not to laugh at him too much over that one.....
Rodolfo is super funny and way nice. I´m really loving teaching him! He is always laughing at himself and it makes teaching super entertaining.... Like after he understood what the fall really was, he was laughing with us about it.
Saturday, had another cool experience.... After lunch, we had planned to go by a family that lives close to our lunch appointment that day. One of the grown up daughters is a member, and her brother was recently baptized, but decided after the baptism that he didnt really believe it, and never came back to be confirmed. Their other sister, passed away a few months ago, and the whole family is struggling a lot. Their mom is REALLY having a hard time, as well as their nephew (son of the sister that passed away) who now lives with them. When we were planning at the beginning of the week, I didnt know when we should go by their house, but I just decided to write down to go by there after our lunch cause we would be close by.... It ended up being perfect timing. The brother- still doesnt really want to talk to us.... but the sister who is a member--- Inyra, was having a WAY hard time and was super depressed, so our timing couldnt have been better. She was upset about a lot of crap going on in our ward right now, as well as everything else in their life and stuff. Our ward is frustrating though, because the ward is VERY un-united.... they arent good about home teaching or visiting teaching, sundays there are always LOTs of people sitting alone, and every family just sits by themselves..... everyone is super- un-animated about everything, and most everyone is going through some kind of difficulty or challenge. But instead of uniting and helping each other out, everyone is just goint through their own problems ALONE!! AGH. It is so frustrating!! But when we talked to Inyra, she just ranted to us and talked with us for about 2 hours...... But as we were talking with her, her mood completely changed. She went from being angry/upset/depressed and ranting to us, to us all turning to the scriptures and bringing the spirit back. I hope we left her in a better state of mind.
a few more funnies.....
Sunday afternoon, we were walking back from our lunch and passed by the little park by the bus terminal and decided to go try to do some contacts and find some people to teach. Apparently that was a BAD idea....... There was practically no one out there. We did find two or three cool people that we will be going back to, but it also was a little sketchy..... After we invitied someone to come to church, this guy in his 20s came up to us. He had a big backpack like he was traveling around and he started talking to us in english, all excited to talk to americans. Turns out he lived in London for a while, and worked as a missionary for his church. He was going to catch the bus, and had to leave super fast, but was interested in hearing more about the book of mormon, and we were able to explain a little and give him one as he was running away.... MEANWHILE, a drunk homeless guy had come up to us as we were talking to him and was trying to talk to Sister Feistner. She ignored him like a BOSS, and just talked to the kid we were teaching in english, so that the guy couldnt interrupt as easily.... But I dont know how she could think straight enough to teach cause this drunk guy was getting up in her face and muttering in portuguese and jumping on every word he recognized and yelling it at us... "ENGLISH!!"" "ENLGISH"" yikes.... I think he even touched her hair at one point.... When the kid left to catch his bus he was like "BE CAREFUL" and we just turned and walked away as well, and then the hobo guy went on his way.... calling after us "I want to get to know you!! I will get to know you!!" Yep.... Cool.
After that, we were leaving to head back down to the chapel when we had to walk by a group of bums sitting on the sidewalk drinking.... As we came up to them sister F. just said to me jokingly "dont even THINK about talking to them..." haha. But they saved us the trouble by talking to US. One guy that was standing there drinking said hi to us and told us he had come to the church before. We were just trying to invite him to come back, when all his drunk friends decided that it would be cool to talk to us as well. Then Sister Feistner almost got into an argument with a drag queen when she/he told us that she "was saved" because god payed for carnal sins, and that god gave her this talent and gift of being a prostitute and she needed to use it................................. YEP. Needless to say we walked away from that one a little bummed. Okay, more than a little.
Gotta love Brazil.
Dont worry mom..... we are being careful. =]
ANDDdddd to end things on a happier note........... here is a little saying that one of the members who helped out with Fernando this week shared in one of our lessons, and then quoted again in testimony meeting yesterday. (sorry if I translate this poorly)
"It doesnt matter the speed, but the direction"
I think a lot of times we get caught up in how much we want to progress, or where we THINK we should be with the things we are working on......... When we mess up, we get frustrated because we expect a lot more of ourselves. BUT, the important thing to remember is the big picture of the direction we are going. If we are going in the right direction, then it doesnt matter where we are at right now, we are MOVING towards our goals. We just need to have patience and trust that we will get there someday, in the lord´s time. 
PS---- Did I tell you all that I hate cockroaches????????? Yep. They are so gross. Sister Feistner makes fun of me for freaking out..... butttttttttt, they really gross me out. And they are everywhere here. ewwwwww.
Love you all soooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have the best week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks so much for all the emails, I really really really appreciate it.
Sister Ward

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life in Jundiai

Hey everybody!!!!!
Well. First off, I cant believe it is pday again!!!! Seems like the weeks are flying by now...... Did I mention that I´ve been on my mission for 7 months now????? yep. Time is flying.
So..... about the week..........
Last monday, we had an activity with the elders-------- churrasco (brazilian bbq), and some futbol. Yep. And Sister Feistner and I both came to the realization that we do not know how to play soccer.............. yikes. hahaha. I need a LOT more practice apparently...... How are these brazilians so talented with their feet?? holy cow.
Tuesday, we had our zone meeting in the morning and then it POURED almost all day..... Makes it great fun to work in the rain...... No people on the street to talk to, no one wants to open their doors, no one wants to  let dripping missionaries into their house..... hahaha. ALSO, we have a little "quintal" in front of our house (just a little cement area where we have our washing machine and clothes lines... We found out that when it rains a lot, that little area becomes a LAKE. hahahaha. It´s a really good thing that our house is just a little step up from the level of the quintal because if not, our house would have been a lake as well...... hahaha.
About Rodolfo---
He is really working hard and progressing!!! He has a lot of desire to do whats right and to learn and wants to understand EVERYTHING completely..... We are having to really work hard to help him understand, and trying to break up our lessons more and focus on smaller topics. Things like prayer are just completely foreign to him and really hard for him to do..... He also starts to get way overwhelmed when we are introducing new topics and he doesnt get it yet..... He is making a lot of progress, and reading a LOT in the book of mormon, but it is going to take him a while to learn everything.
This week, he didnt come to church again!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO. He lives about 5 blocks from the chapel, so it was really frustrating that he stood us up again... We got to his house to pick him up and he had just left us a note on the gate that said he "sister ward and feistner. I´m not coming to church today" AGHHHHHHH. Turns out, he just stayed home and did nothing all day!!! Last night we were bummed that he had just stood us up for no reason, and didnt know what to even teach him or say to him..... He also hadnt read the chapters we marked for him the night before. So, we ended up just turning to one of the chapters that we had marked--- Alma 42 and read it with him. As we were reading about adam and eve, the fall, our purpose in our lives and the atonement, we would stop and talk through what was going on every couple verses. At one point, Rodolfo stopped us and was just like "wow.... wow. I think that if I had read this yesterday  like I was supposed to, I would have gone to church today....."  It was awesome, because as we were reading with him, the chapter was answering a lot of his questions..... he kept having little moments of revalation while we were all sitting there reading around his kitchen table. Towards the end of the chapter, he started to get stressed and overwhelmed with all the things he DOESNT know or understand yet..... Sister Feistner was just like, its okay, lets just keep going.... AND, what do you know, the next verse was alma telling his son to not worry. To not worry about the things that he doesnt understand, but to just trust in the lord and leave his sins behind and repent. Afterwards, Rodolfo was a little taken aback and  just started laughing..... It is amazing how the scriptures can answer our questions!!
Thursday this week, we were able to have a lesson with the lady  that I talked to at the little restaurant last week--Edilma......... She is way cool. We taught about the restoration, and it all went really well, until we got to Joseph Smith and the book of mormon...... That really freaked her out for some reason. You should have seen her face..... Sister Feistner was tempted to stop the lesson just to take a picture.... (dont worry, we didnt of course. ). It was frustrating that it stressed her out so much, because she is really an AWESOME investigator. She wants to find a church to be baptized in, but has never found a church that she completely agrees with. She studies the bible and has a lot of faith in God..... But the book of mormon especially weirded her out.... She was like "why werent the book of mormon and the bible just written together??"  ahhhh. But, she was very nice and said that she would read it and pray about it. So hopefully she does.
That was also a frustrating lesson for me, because some how in there, I got way nervous and uncomfortable and just lost it.... couldnt teach for almost the entire lesson. Then when I tried to talk about the book of mormon and bear my testimony, it was like I couldnt speak portuguese at all and had just arrived in the mission field all over again. AGH. Those moments are the worst!!!! Hopefully it goes better when we meet with Edilma this week....
So last week, I was all excited because Fernando just appeared out of nowhere and came to church. We marked to meet with him this past week in the chapel, but he ended up never showing up.... Later, he called us and apologized and explained how he got a job and was working every day.... Sundays as well. NOOOOOOOOO!!! And he didnt really have any time to meet with us... even though he had read the chapter in the book of mormon that  I marked for him!! ..... It is the worst when AWESOME, prepared investigators drop you!!!
BUT, thankfully, the story doesnt end there....... Sunday, we went into the chapel for sacrament meeting, and Fernando was standing there!! I was like "you´re here!!" Turns out, he worked all this past week, and just didnt feel good about it and decided to quit and look for something else. He said  it didnt really make sense, cause it was a good job, but he felt like he should quit..... WHAT??!!! We of course, jumped on that one to explain how important it is to come to church on sunday, and maybe God was leading him  to something better that would make him able to come to church each week.... We marked to meet with him at the chapel after church in the evening. And he really is as prepared and awesome as it seemed!!! Wow. We started talking to him about everything.... He walks past the church fairly often, and saw the sign saying "visitors welcome" and just decided to come check it out one sunday. When the sisters before us where still here, he came a few times, and came to watch general conference, but they were never able to teach him because he had a different job and was too busy.... He started telling us how much he likes church and how he always HAS to come back because of how he feels at church. He told us that the feeling doesnt  last throughout the entire week, and by the time the  next weekend rolls around, he  is just dying to feel it again. AH! We explained how he was feeling the spirit and talked about baptism and the gift of the holy ghost and how when he is baptized and receives the gift of the holy ghost, he will be able to feel that feeling ALWAYS, as long as he lives worthily. Then we were like "is that something you want to have?". YES. AHHHH!!!!
We ended up just talking with him and answering his questions for a good 45 minutes..... He understands SO MUCH!! It was amazing! He would bring up a topic, and then basically answer his own questions before we could explain it!! He also BROUGHT UP the topic of tithing (a sometimes iffy subject) and was like "so, can I start paying my tithing right now? or do I have to wait till I´m baptized??" WHAT??!! This guy is amazing!! So we explained all about tithing as well....
Then we taught him about the restoration. As we taught, he was just hanging on every word.... SOAKING it up.
We invited him to be baptized, and he said that he wants to!! He just wants  to prepare and think about it a little more first.... But we marked to meet with him and help him prepare every night this week. WOOO!! and he was excited about it!!! hahah. MAN. I am SO excited!!!! It is so AWESOME to have people to teach!!!! YAY!!
OH. And this week, we were able to find people to leave and work with us!!! MIRACLES!!!! Seriously though, it was so great. We were even able to do a division  for an hour because we had TWO people that we got to leave with us. !!!! Yep. Slowly winning over the ward here. No big deal. =]
But we had about 4 people tell us to make sure and mark with them to leave with us again this week..... Wooo!! Its gonna be a blast.
Funny story:
At church on sunday, one of the speakers started quoting that song "walk tall you´re a daughter" in her talk.... In portuguese, the chorus goes something like this: "levanta cabeça, és filha de deus..." When I heard that, I didnt quite hear it right  and thought she said "esfiha" instead of "és filha"..... "esfiha" is the name for these little mini-pizza things that they make here, so I couldnt help laughing..... right in the middle of sacrament meeting. Woops. "lift up your head, mini-pizza of god...." yep. You all would have laughed as well. Just admit it. I then decided to share the joy and wrote it down on my planner for Sister Feistner to understand as well.......... So we had two immature, disruptive sister missionaries in our sacrament meeting this week.... Oh well.
So, this week we got a phone call from our old district leader in Araras. He was calling us on his way back to their area after doing the baptismal interview of one of the investigators that we taught- Larissa. She was planning to be baptized this past sunday!!! WOOOOOOOOO! So hopefully, all went well and she was baptized. She is Guilherme´s(who got baptized there in july...) little sister and we taught her for the entire time Sister Feistner and I were in Araras. She wanted to get baptized while we were there, but her mom wouldnt let her. This last week, the elders went out there and talked with her and took a member from the ward with them. Turns out they  were like long-lost cousins or something, and now her mom wants to come check out the church, and decided to let Larissa be baptized! AH!!! WE GOT SO EXCITED!!! =]
Have the best week!!! Love you all so  much!!
Sister Ward

Working Hard Brings Blessings... Or Maybe Just Broken Showers... (Oct. 22)

Week two in Jundiaí has been successfully completed!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Firstly, THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE LETTERS, EMAILS AND PACKAGESSSSS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh my gosh. you all are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!! =]
It might take me a while to write back to everyone, but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Alright. so about my week.
We worked our butts off this week. Really.
Last tuesday we did our planning session and everything. Which, btw, doing a weekly planning session following "preach my gospel" is WAY intense and can take HOURS...... And does take hours.......... Its pretty painful. But, being dilligent little missionaries, we did it anyways. Complete with our "companionship inventory" -- talking about what we need to do to improve, making goals, and helping eachother know what to work on and stuff.... Yep. It was intense.
BUTTTTT, point being, we planned out our week and made a bunch of goals and Sister Feistner helped me set some good goals for myself to be more talkative and outgoing and do my part in our companionship and as a missionary. ANDDDD, it was awesome!!! Some goals like contributing more to our lessons, not falling asleep while teaching or in people´s houses(yep..... I´m ALWAYS tired.... so this has happened.... woops.)and talking to everyone. Like, for example, we have some weekly goals for numbers every week throughout the mission.... Our mission president set standards for how many contacts, lessons, visitors at church, baptisms marked, lessons with members and that kind of stuff... and they are just a goal that we try to reach each week. For contacts, (telling someone quickly about how we are missionaries and inviting them to church.... ) we have a mission goal of 140 contacts each week per companionship. So in our weekly planning, Sister Feistner was just joking about how I need to talk to EVERYONE and was like "okay, I´m only gonna do ten contacts this week.... and you can do the rest"..... This was a BIG DEAL, cause she likes to talk A LOT, and usually cant keep her mouth shut... and since I dont, I just let her do most of the contacts..... I usually dont even do half of the  contacts every week.......... SO, I decided to take her up on it, and made it one of my goals for the week---with the purpose of getting over being scared to talk to people, and becoming more talkative. WELL. It helped a TON. This week was AWESOME because of that!!!!
Funny thing, we had a multi-zone conference the next day, and all morning, they were talking about the importance of contacts..... and how in Preach my Gospel, it says to talk with EVERYONE.... They talked about how Elder Ballard spoke in Brazil, in our mission??? I´m not sure... but he spoke about the importance of talking to everyone and said that if every missionary would faithfully make at least 10 contacts every day, the number of baptisms in the area would double. Well, I had already decided to improve my contacts the day before, but this was just another reason to boost our efforts!! Take him up on the promise of more baptisms here!
SO.... we realized this week, that our area may not be awesome for knocking doors... but we have a ROCKING area for contacts. There are so many people in the streets in center during the day all week long!!!! IT is crazy!!! This week, I worked way hard to meet all my goals everyday..... and with contacts, I made 144 this week-- me alone!!! WOOO. We also had an activity with the ward passing out pass-along cards.... so our contacts for this week were INSANE.... 514 contacts for this week!! We talked to a TON of people who didnt want to hear anything about the church, but we also found a few people that we were able to teach, and a few that we will be following up with over the next week. WOOO!! And can I just say real quick that IT WAS SO FUN TO TALK TO SO MANY PEOPLE THIS WEEK!!!!! yep. that´s all. It was just way fun and I liked it a lot.
moving on to more important things.............
Last monday... we spent almost our ENTIRE pday walking...... Walking, walking, walking. We went to a lan house with the elders wayyyy far away, then we got lost on the way back, and ended up walking through almost our ENTIRE area..... hmmm. then by the time it was like 4oclock, we were starving for lunch, so we decided it would be a clever idea to try to find a subway.... yep. So we walked some more.... Ended up finding one.... and then getting home by the time pday was almost over. So not worth it. hahah.
Tuesday, after I had made my resolve to talk to EVERYONE and just talk and teach more, we had an awesome day. The ward always makes a list of lunches for us, and if they cant actually have us over for lunch, they give  us money.... so we went to a little restaurant for lunch and as we were leaving, I started talking to the waitress/cashier about the church and stuff. She started talking about prayer and how important it is to her and started CRYING right then and there.... It was a cool experience and we got her number to be able to meet up with her hopefully sometime this week!!
That night, we went to go teach Rodolfo (the ELEITO that sister F. found last week...BTW, in brazil, you pronounce R´s at the beginning of words like H´s... so its like "hodolfo"). His mom and brother were there as well and they were all super nice and invited us in and gave us some food and everything. Then we got to teach them the first lesson. Since I had made my resolve to talk more, I DID, and the lesson went really well!! There really is something important about having a companionship of two missionaries and testifying of eachother and the principles that we are teaching.... it went really well. And we were able to switch off really comfortably (which can be hard for us sometime). MAN. It was so cool!!! Towards the end of the lesson, they werent really understanding the importance of authority and how preisthood authority was RESTORED through the restoration and Joseph Smith.... I started trying to explain it better, and it was really just like the promise that says if you open your mouth, it will be filled through the spirit. Wow. It was crazy. As I was talking, I just remembered an example that a brazilian sister used in a lesson that we taught together back in my second transfer.... I hardly spoke portuguese at the time, and I had NEVER tried to explain this example in portuguese before, but somehow, it worked perfectly! There was a cup sitting on there table and I just grabbed it and explained how the apostasy was as if the cup had fallen and shattered and many churches were started each with a little peice of the cup, but we needed to have a restoration to restore the cup entirely, unbroken.......... It was just a simple thing, but somehow, it CLICKED with Rodolfo, and he got it after that..... Then it made sense to him WHY we were inviting him to be baptized again (since he had been baptized as a baby in the catholic church) and why the message was important. It was way cool.
This week, we taught Rodolfo every day.... we also marked baptism with him for the 28th. And he is awesome!! He read everything we marked for him in the book of mormon.... a chapter everday!! AND, he kept asking for us to mark MORE chapters at a time!! And he was trying really hard to pray as well........ that is giving him a harder time..... ahhh. BUT, this weekend, I´m not sure what happened, but seems like something came up..... he hadnt read OR prayed when we passed Saturday.... and Sunday when we came to pick him up in the morning for church, he just never got up and came to the door..... and when we came by again in the evening, he never answered the door..... ahhh. It is the WORST when investigators bail on us for church!!! But, hopefully we can get back in touch with him this week and keep working with him...
Wow. a lot of cool stuff happened this week (in the midst of all the rude people/tons of walking up and down hills/appointments falling through/members never wanting to help us/and all the usual...) but I dont have time for all the stories............. so just a couple more.
Talking to EVERYONE really does bring some blessings......... we found a cool couple that we taught this week..... the wife is baptist and very firm in her church, but the husband is very lost and looking for something in his life. We´re hoping we can help him out with that!! He talked to us for a longgg time about his life, and a lot of hard stuff that has happened..... and he really just seems like he is lost, looking for something (he doesnt know what...) and just has a broken heart. PERFECT. So, we werent able to teach much, but we left him with a book of mormon and hopefully this is HIS time to find the truth...........
In the experience of trying to talk to EVERYONE this week, I realized that in the hundreds of people we talk to each week that dont even take the time to listen to us.... in the midst of all that, there are a few people that we will be able to teach and help. And hopefully, a few people that are really prepared and will accept the gospel...... We´ll see how it goes.
OH yeah. and we had the pass-along card activity with the ward this week........... It was cool... but also a little dissappointing... our ward is pretty big here, but only 6 people showed up for the activity.......... it was pretty sad. But, we were able to all go out and pass-out about 250 cards in about an hour. It was way good for the people that were there, everyone enjoyed it and they were all excited about missionary work........ but we could have had a TON more people there and done a lot more...... This ward is gonna be hard. Everyone is very nice to us and soooooo good about making sure we have food and everything....... but no one is helping the missionary work here... If any of you out there having any genius ideas on how we can get our ward more excited, they would be appreciated.
OH. And sunday....... we have been working with a man who was baptized the week before we got here, but after his baptism, he kind of fell away and when he came to church the next week, he ran away before sacrament meeting started so that he wouldnt recieve the holy ghost and be confirmed...... So, we´ve been trying to help him and get him back to church for sunday so he could receive the holy ghost (which will help him soooo much with the stuff he is going through). Well. That day we were fasting for him to come to church and to know how to help him better..... Sadly, he still didnt go to church..... And none of our investigators came. Which is always frustrating. So sitting in sacrament meeting, I was kind of frustrated and upset..... What more can we do here???! But, I guess Heavenly Father had some other blessings in mind.... After the meeting, the members introduced us to another investigator. He had come to church a few times when the other sisters were here, but they had never been able to teach him because he lives in a type of boarding house with only guys... AND his name wasnt in the area book.... BUT, he seems WAY cool and is very interested about learning all about the gospel.... We were able to give him a book of mormon while at church and mark to meet with him this week!! As I was marking a chapter in the book of mormon for him, Sister Feistner was talking to him about baptism and everything..... He didnt accept to be baptized yet, but I feel like he will. He just started coming to church out of his own desire because he feels like it will bless his life!!! Anyways.... I´m hoping for big things for him.... His name is Fernando.
oh yeah. And another thing............... We seem to have great luck with our showers here.......... our little shower head/water heater in araras broke TWICE while we were there......... this week, our shower heater here broke as well. SWEET. I LOVE COLD SHOWERS. not. hahhaha. We´ll see if we can actually find someone in the ward to come fix it.......... the family we had lunch with saturday offered to, but then they marked twice to come by, and then never did....... hmmmmmmmmmmm. I guess we are just going to be little ice-cubes this week.
OHHHHHHHHHHH and pigeons!!! Remember how much I hate them???????? oh yeah, well it gets better!! I forgot to tell youall last week........ but when we were sitting in Araras with all our luggage at the Rodaviária waiting for our bus to leave, a pigeon wayyyyy up in the rafters about 40, 50 feet above us decided to poop and it landed RIGHT on my foot. Right on the part of my foot NOT inside my shoe..............ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. so gross!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, this week, we have been walking up and down the main street where the chapel is a TON doing contacts and talking with people on the road and at the bus stop. Above the sidewalk going down that entire block, there is a stretch of telephone wires where about a hundred pigeons love to sit ALL day long........ Yep. you called it. I have BARELY escaped having pigeon poop on my HEAD about 5 times already, and got some on my foot again........... ugh. I just wish we had a machine gun so we could shoot the whole line of them down really quick! hahahah. Or pull back the wires really far and shoot them all off. hahaha. Like that little pixar short film with alll the birds sitting on the telephone wires..... (if you dont know what I´m talking about, go find it..... sooo funny.) I think of that little short film every day. hahahahaha. 
Love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope you have the best week!!!!!!
thanks so much again for all the emails, letters, love, prayers and support!!! you all are the best!!!!!!!
Sister Ward

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week One in JUNDIAI (Oct. 15)

Hey family!!!!!!!!!!
How is everyone!????!?! It feels like its been a year since I talked to you all last week, so much has happened!!!!
First off...... as of a week ago, Sister Feistner and I had already heard the transfer news and we were both going to stay in Araras. Sadly, things dont always work out how you want them too..........
Due to some crazy stuff that happened, President decided to transfer us BOTH and send us both TOGETHER to Jundiaí.
Specifically, our 40 yr old-ish, married with three teenage daughters, neighbor  somehow decided that he was in love with Sister Feistner and left her a note telling all about it and how he would leave his family to follow her ANYWHERE if she happened to feel anything special for him too..... YIKES. We were completely caught off gaurd cause our neighbors are WAY cool, we were good friends with them, they helped us out a lot when I was sick, they always invited us over to eat and stuff, and we were starting to teach their family the gospel.... Apparently HE at least was interested for a different reason.... sister F.´s "intoxicating hair" and "teeth that shine like the moon" maybe.... hahah. OHHHHH GOSH.
Point being, we got transferred and President Perrotti put elders in Araras. We called president and everything got figured out right after I emailed you all last monday and we packed up and left that night..... CRAZY. We didnt really have time to say goodbye to anyone (which I was pretty bummed and sad about...) and Izabel drove us to the Rodaviária (bus station).Then she bought us Mcdonalds so we wouldnt have to starve on the bus ride.... and we all cried our eyes out saying goodbye.  ahhhhh. I miss her so much!!! and everyone in Araras!!!!!!!!! ahggg. I LOVE all those people there!!!
Anyways. Moving on.
I am feeling fine now.... not sick anymore... but unfortunately Sister Feistner got pretty sick when we were enroute to Jundiaí..... we spent the night with some sisters in Campinas monday night, and she got way sick in the middle of the night. So we ended up staying there all that day and half the next day. Mostly just sitting inside. But I did get to leave and work a little bit with one of the other sisters.... A brazilian sister!!! hahah. It is WAY strange that I have been out here so long and only had american companions.... I dont know why it has happened this way.... but I have always heard that typically you have a brazilian and an american together.... NOT SO FOR ME!!!! It might be our new mission president too.... Sister Pedersen also has an american companion right now... and there are several other brazilian sisters serving together.... Weird. I dont know why.
Wednesday night, we finally got to our new area.... Jundiaí Centro.
Jundiaí is pronounced JOON-G-EYE-EE (well, something like that.... hahahah)
It is a BIG city, and it is right in between Campinas and São Paulo.... about an hour from either city. Araras was about an hour northwest of Campinas, and now we are about an hour southeast of Campinas.... And it is a totally different WORLD here! We are kind of in the mountains (well, as mountain-ish as it gets here) and it is way cooler here and kind of windy. The city is also FULL of hills. It is all hills actually. And we´re not talking just little bitty hills..... these hills are MONSTERS. We just walked to the Lan House to use the computers and we spent about 40 minutes walking up and down hills to get here.... my calves are burning. hahah.
Jundiaí is also a BIG city..... I think it has about half a million people.... but it seems WAY big.... It is also pretty wealthy. It is the third richest city in the state of São Paulo (after São Paulo and Campinas). Our area is smaller than Araras (cause there we were working the ENTIRE city...) and we are smack in the center. Downtown Jundiaí. SWEET. Everyone here seems to be in a hurry.. to get to work, school, whatever. Apparently a lot of people live here but work in either Campinas or São Paulo.... and there are a TON of big apartment buildings here..... (not so helpful for knocking doors since they have door gaurds and gates and everything.....). Since Sister Feistner and I are both new here, we know NOTHING and are lost all the time. hahah. Usually they try to keep one missionary that knows the area and transfer in one newbie at a time, but since we got put here last minute, we are "opening" the area and get to have oh so much fun trying to figure out EVERYTHING.
The sisters who were here before us didnt leave us much to go off of as far as investigators and everything.... we´ve been trying to find a few of the addresses that they wrote down for us.... but some of them dont even exist. woops. hahah. We arrived to find no progressing investigators and no marked baptisms...... We´ve definitely got some work to do.
So we have been knocking doors a lot. Pretty much ALL day, every day. And the people here are WAY less receptive than in Araras...... We have been working a lot in the area close to our house and south of our house in center, and the people are just NOT interested and sometimes even super rude. Everyone on the street is in a hurry to get somewhere and wont talk to us. Knocking doors, everyone is busy, evangelical or catholic..... and NOT interested. haha. We also found my first atheist while knocking doors..... (well, I guess we taught João Paulo in Araras and he didnt really believe in God.... so that is probably my first atheist technically.... ) but really, I havent found many atheists in Brazil. usually everyone believes in God, possibly doesnt go to a church, and probably grew up catholic. Sister Feistner served in an area that was practically all atheists though, so it does happen. I was pretty surprised though.
Besides our area being all hills..... it also went into a cold rainy spell when we arrived..... It is fairly windy here normally, and cooler than araras, which will be WAY nice as we go into summer time...... but this week has been very cold and very rainy. Knocking doors in the rain is AWESOME. hahaha. Not so much.
We also dont know our area very well at all. The first day we accidently went outside the line of our area and started knocking doors one road into the elders area..... sweet. When we got home and looked at our map we were so bummed!!! haha. THEN, turns out the line on our map is WRONG and we knocked doors for an entire DAY on another road that is just outside our area as well. hahaha. OH YEAH.
But, we have been informed that there are some areas more on the north side of our area where the people are a little more welcoming and more humble and so we are planning to try knocking doors more up there this week....... and maybe we will have some more success!!!
ALSO, knocking doors at night is the WORST!!! We were knocking doors friday night on what looked to be an okay street, when a member couple drove up and told us we should avoid that neighborhood...... GREAT, well what would you recommend we do until we can go home at 9 oclock then??? ahah.We went to another road where almost EVERY person refused to even let us say a prayer for them, and we had one lady that yelled at us and told us off for knocking doors at that time of night!! (it was 7:30 at the time....) Needless to say, it was frustrating and we are trying to find people to plan lessons or family nights with for the nighttimes this coming week.
Saturday, we finally were able to find one correct address of a less active family that the sisters left for us. WOOO!!! Turns out they are a way cool family, and invited us back to have a family night there tonight. MAN. That was so refreshing after our frustrating week. hahah.
Also, yesterday we had church. WAY weird to not know who ANYONE is...... not know who is visiting (nobody was.... ahha), who is recently baptized.... nothing. This is gonna be interesting.....
That afternoon, we were in the chapel for a meeting with the ward mission leader..... He told us how our ward is not doing so well right now.... super un-excited, and a lot of people going in-active. Everyone seems to be way busy with work and school, OR there are also a TON of old people.... Hmmm. So we are taking on the task of trying to visit the members and get to know them better and get them excited again.... which is a little tricky since we dont know where anyone lives yet. hahah.
After our meeting, we ran into the elders that take care of the other ward that meets in our building (our building is a HUGE stake center!!!! so crazy after the tiny little building in Araras!! and our ward is super old and has already been split several times... crazy). Our district leader was asking if we would close our numbers for the week, and we just laughed and were like "elder, we only got ONE lesson with a member this week...... we dont know anyone who wants to leave with us!!!" There just so happened to be some young women in the building waiting for their parents to get out of meetings, so we were able to get some girls to go knock doors with us to close our numbers for the week. hahah. But really, it was such a blessing!!!
The girls are part of the other ward that meets in our building but they were way cool!! 16 and 17 year olds, and it was their first time leaving with missionaries. We found a street to knock with them, and just worked making contacts and saying prayers with everyone for an hour. Turns out, one of the girls plays violin!!!! YEAH!!! and she is gonna let me play/borrow her violin sometime!!! YES!!! ALSO, she must be pretty ridiculously good..... classical of course... But she has a STRADIVARIUS (dont remember how to spell that) violin!!!!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?! Apparently, it was delivered to her anonymously in the mail with just a note saying this person had watched her all year and knew she would take good care of it, and pass the charity along to others. WHAT THE CRAZY??!?!?!? Now she is teaching a little boy with dyslexia violin, earned money to buy him a violin by making and selling cookies.... wow. Super cool. ANYWAYS. I am way excited to get to play this stradivarius sometime here in the future!!! hahah.

ALSO, while working that street, Sister Feistner and one of the girls were working one side of the street while me and the two others were working the other side(and talking about violins while waiting for sister F...... haha). Apparently, Sister Feistner and Vitoria found an ELECT!!! They taught him the whole first lesson about the restoration and left him with a book of mormon! He was apparently WAY interested, and when Sister Feistner told him about Joseph Smith and how God and Christ appeared and told him that none of the churches were true, he was like "well, what do we do then??!" =] Then she continued to tell him all about the restoration, and gave him a book of mormon. He said he will read it, and that it will only be the third book he has read in his LIFE.!!! yikes. hahah. BUT SO GREAT!!! I am way excited for us to go back and see how the reading went, and continue teaching him!! His name is Rodolfo. Hopefully you all will be hearing some more about him over the next few weeks. =]

Another little blessing...... last night we were doing our weekly planning... I called the bishop´s wife to ask her a question about a reference she is planning to take us to visit. Afterwards, she called us back real fast and was like "sisters, I just made a chocolate cake, do you want some??" OF COURSE WE DO!!! So then, she was so sweet and packed up a little package with cake, crackers and eggs and bishop drove it over to us. It was just a little thing, but so sweet of them!!! And it was so nice to feel like people actually care about us after our hard week.... And, since we have been missing our little bakery in Araras and the free food every day, it was nice to get some yummies as well. hahaha.

ALSO--- the lady who schedules our lunches here is WAY awesome, and way on top of things..... so I think we will never be lacking in the lunch department.... The ward seems way good about that. And everyone is constantly asking us if we need anything in our house and if we are doing okay. So I think things will just continue to get better as we get to know the area and all the people here. WOOO!!! I´m excited. =]

Well. I was all excited to send home some pictures....... but this lan house doesnt do pictures apparently. GAH. So it will have to wait till next week, and we´ll try to find a different lan house....But I have lots of pictures to show you all!!!

I hope you all have an amazing week!!!!!
Love you all SO MUCH!!!!!!!!
I miss you all everyday.
thanks so much for all the emails this week.... wish i could respond individually to all of you, but I dont really have time. But I love reading them soooo much.
Until next week
Sister Ward

Staying Home is the Worst!!!! (Oct. 8th)

Hey everyone!!!
How are you all doing??????!!!!!!!
Hope you all enjoyed general conference!!!! I didnt quite get as much out of it as I would have liked (since it was in portuguese....) but it was still amazing! AND 19 YEAR OLD SISTER MISSIONARIES!!!!!???????? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Lets fill the mission field!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week was a tough one............
So, like I said before, the weather has been up to tricks here in Brasil......... a few weeks ago, it was baking hot. Then we had a week of freezing cold, then this past week was baking again.......... And that lovely weather has been wreaking havoc amongst us missionaries and Sister Feistner and I have each been battling colds on and off......
This week, apparently it was my turn again and I got a cold from you know where......... Tuesday night I started to feel sick and couldnt sleep very well. When I got up Wednesday morning, I felt terrible and had the WORST pain behind my eyes and in my head.... Turns out I had a fever. I gave up on studying and just retired to the couch for the morning. That afternoon, we called Sister Perrotti (the mission president´s wife) and she told us to head over to the hospital and have them check me out just in case. So we went out to the hospital, and the doctor just listened to my breathing, checked out my throat and was like "congratulations, you have a cold".... almost with a look of "check out these dumb americans coming into the hospital because of a cold....." hahaha.
The doctor just told me to go home and take tylenol and decongestant. So we went home and I took medicine and slept the rest of the afternoon.....
Then that night, I couldnt hardly sleep.... ended up waking up at about 12 and not being able to go back to sleep again till 4ish.... sweet.
Thursday, my fever was worse and I was still feeling terrible so we stayed home again. And I still couldnt sleep.
Friday, woke up with a bad fever AGAIN, and had diarrea..... So we called Sister Perrotti and she told us to go back to the hospital. So, Izabel (the bakery lady who loves to take care of us) took us out to the hospital again. I was like "sweet, we get to go BACK to the hospital so the doctor can laugh at us stupid Americans AGAIN. Yay." hahah. We waited at the hospital for a while, and then went in to see a different doctor. He prescribed a bunch of medicine and then had me go in to get a shot in the butt and be put on an IV for an hour..... I thought they just gave shots in the butt to five year olds!!! hahah. But no, apparently they do that a lot here in Brasil. They also put people on an IV a lot.....
Afterwards, Sister Feistner and I were waiting for Izabel to come pick us up out in the waiting room when I started to feel really, REALLY awful. Then I started to feel like I was gonna pass out..... I was like "Sister Feistner..... I dont feel so good..... I cant see..... I cant hear......." At this point, Sister Feistner got up to go tell one of the receptionists that I was either having an allergic reaction to the medication, or I was gonna pass out..... While she was telling them this, she looked back at me just as I slumped back in the chair and passed out. So she just was like "just kidding, she passed out!"
Apparently, my blood pressure just dropped because of all the medication and because I hadnt eaten much of anything... I was only out for about 6 seconds.... long enough for Sister Feistner to come back over to me, grab my face and be like "sister ward!! sister ward!!! can you hear me??!"
As I was coming back to life, I couldnt really hear cause of the buzzing in my ears.... so when she was like "can you hear me??" I was like "No. I cant hear you." hahaha. And she was just like "yeah you can you idiot, you´re talking to me!!" hahah.
Then they brought over a wheelchair and wheeled me back into the room with all the IVs and the little beds and had me lay down for a bit.... Sister Feistner was just laughing. Apparently it was pretty hilarious when all of a sudden I just slumped back and let my head hang back over the chair when I passed out.........
So they just had me lay down for a bit, then brought me some juice and crackers and had me sit and eat until my blood pressure came back up..... And while I was sitting there eating, all the nurses and the doctor all came and sat down and watched me.... As I´m struggling to open the stupid little cracker wrappers... And they talked about me like I couldnt understand a word they said (just cause I was a little too worn out to answer them... hahah.). They were like "poor girl. she´s so far from home and cant understand anything..... the other one has been here longer but this ones only been here six months..... " hahaha. That type of thing.
Eventually, we got to go back home. Then I slept the rest of the afternoon, and then we went out and bought the list of medicine the doctor prescribed.... SWEET.
Saturday, it was all I could do to get down to the chapel to watch General Conference...... We started walking there, and we had to stop every couple blocks so I could rest. hahaha. Then it was baking in the chapel which made me feel even worse.... so we had to go sit in the Bishop´s office with the AC for bit.
We only left the house for General Conference Saturday and Sunday and then stayed home the rest of the day.... I think Sister Feistner is gonna go crazy here pretty soon if we have to stay home anymore......... So I better be all better tomorrow!!! hahah.
Saturday night, after conference, we asked some members to give me blessing. Afterwards, I didnt magically feel better or anything like that.... but I was actually able to sleep well that night... All the other nights, I hadnt been able to sleep well at all. The night before I was soooo tired, but I couldnt relax enough to sleep. At one point I was crying in the middle of the night so frustrated that I couldnt sleep. So me sleeping through the night and actually getting some good rest was a miracle. I really hope that after another night of rest tonight, I will be able to work normally again tomorrow!
Staying home this week, we had a lot of time on our hands to read/study/watch the district movies/stare at a blank wall for hours..... and so in this time, I read some cool talks and one in particular that I really liked........ It´s titled "all things will work together for good" by Elder James B. Martino in the April 2010 conference.
He talks a lot about trials and difficulties and how our Heavenly Father PERMITS us to have these challenges because He knows that these things are what we need to learn and grow and become more Christ-like. He gives an example of immunizations and asks "would you do something to your child that causes them pain even though they didnt do anything wrong?? Of course you would!!" This is what we do when we get shots... we know that "a small amount of pain now will protect them from possible pain and suffering in the future".
I think that sometimes we have challenges and experiences in our lives to prepare us for the hard things to come....... We can learn now on a small scale, or when the real heart-ache comes..... But if we can learn to accept these things and learn them in the moment, we will be prepared in the future.
As for conference...... I´m still waiting for the print version to understand it a little better........ but I noticed a lot about being really converted and having a change of heart....... I know that through prayers, the Lord can help us to "change our hearts". So that we have more desire to serve and do what is right. And we need to strengthen our own testimony every day, through prayer, going to church and studying the scriptures. I know these are things we always say, but they need to be things we always do as well. If we want to actually serve and help others, we have to be strong ourselves.... and this comes through these simple seminary answers. It really does make a difference!!
Love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for your support, emails/letters and prayers!
hope you all have a great week!!!!
Sister Ward
When Sister Feistner and I got splashed with lovely gutter water.............

after sister F. got stitches in her chin.............

Crazy motorcycle here in Araras.......... We´ve seen this guy a couple times and we are always trying to get a picture of it!! Finally we found it parked outside a little restaurant and Sister F. had her camera with her!! SCORE. Izabel filled us in on the history of this...... Apparently the guy who owns the motorcycle always rode with his two little girls in the side cars.... then the girls grew up and got married, so he got those giant dolls to keep him from being lonely. hahah. They move and everything while he is driving!!!

Neaopolitan oreos from Sister F.´s mom!!!! Woooooo! (the week that it was SOOO COLD, as you can see from the sweaters we are wearing.........)

Luciana and her two youngest kids the day of her baptism!!!! She didnt smile for the picture, but when we go visit her, she is always smiling!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy OCTOBER!!!!

Can you believe it is october??!!!!
Sister F. and I are getting pretty excited to try to bring a little halloween excitement here to Brazil..... unless I get transferred next week, and then all our plans to carve pumpkins together will have been in vain. Shoot. haha.

Thanks for all the lovely emails this week!!! It was really SOOOOOOOOOOO great to hear from all of you! =]
Well--- this week was a good one!!!
firstly.... It cooled down a TON this past week..... in fact, a couple days it was WAYYYYYY cold. Cold and windy. We were FREEZING to death!!! haha. The weather is being so crazy lately... a couple of weeks ago we were dying because of the heat, and this last week we were freezing to death..... We´ll see what happens next.

Last monday, we spent our pday in Limeira and had a churrasco with the elders in our district. Wooooo! CHURRASCOOOOOO!
Hopefully some pics to come in the future..... heheh. Still havent resolved my camera predicament....

Best thing about this week was working with Luciana every day to help her be ready for BATISMO!!!!! WOOOOO!
She is really AMAZING. I love talking with her.... she has had a lot of tough experiences, but she has such faith and hope for the future! She also has some amazing thoughts and insights..... One thing she said this week was "I dont regret the things I do, but the things that I dont do" (well..... more or less.... doesnt quite have the same meaning in english... hah)
In her baptismal interview with our district leader she said to him that she is ready to endure to the end and she will never give up or leave the church! That she is really committing her life to follow Christ. Her testimony and faith is really AMAZING.
SATURDAY, we had her baptism!!! The night before, we went by to confirm all the last details and Luciana had a COLD!!! noooo!! And she was like "could we do the baptism sunday night? or next week???" So we had to explain how she can only be confirmed and recieve the holy ghost in sacrament meeting... so if she waited, she would have to wait until the sunday AFTER general conference to receive the holy ghost.... Once we said that, she was like "well, I know this is all just Satan trying to keep me from doing what´s right! So, tomorrow, cold or no cold, I´m gonna get baptized!!  =]
It was SOOO great. Her friends that took her in when she lived in Rio Claro came and the husband performed the baptism. The elders that taught her in Rio Claro also were able to come which was super cool. I´m super grateful that we had the opportunity to work with and get to know Luciana because she really is an amazing person.
I also got to play violin at the baptism..... We had somehow forgotten about me playing the violin, and hadnt planned on it at all, but at the last minute, Sister F. said something and we remembered that the violin was sitting in the Bishop´s office. So while Luciana was changing after the baptism, we ran and grabbed the violin so I could play when they came back in..... I think Heavenly Father blessed my fingers to do what they are supposed to, because my skills have SERIOUSLY been deteriorating lately..... I hardly play and am forgetting all the fiddle music I used to know by heart.... yikes. But in the last second, we got the violin tuned up and I went up to the pulpit and played "i´m trying to be like jesus" as they were coming back in. ALSO, I hadnt even been thinking about playing that song! Some one had requested "count your blessings" and I was thinking of playing "lead kindly light" because I am comfortable playing that one.... But, for some reason, "I´m trying to be like jesus" seemed the most appropriate right as I was putting the violin up to play, so that is what came out! Thank goodness I grew up playing BY EAR, cause I had no idea where I should start that and just went for it!! haha.
That children´s hymn turned out to be the perfect thing.... and Luciana loved it. =] I couldnt look at her face for too long cause she was smiling so much... and I didnt want to you know, get distracted and start CRYING or something.... like some of my relatives are so prone to do...
But, all in all, the baptismal service was great. Sunday she was confirmed in Sacrament meeting and sunday night we were able to go by to see her again. I am soooo excited for her and her family and I hope that they will stay strong. Her sons are having a hard time right now.... didnt even come to her baptism or to church sunday.... so we´re hoping to help them turn around. They are training with the soccer club, and we´re figuring just peer pressure from the other boys is making them not want to come to church anymore... Hopefully, we can find a way to get them excited again so they can stay strong and go serve missions here in a few years!

Other stuff from this week:
We got to work with members TWO DAYS this week.... hahaha. It was GREAT. It really makes such a difference and helps us out a lot. Just to stay upbeat and excited.... besides how much it helps our investigators.

CRAZY story...
So. Sonia-- the lady we taught and baptized in June, who also got run over by a moped about a month ago.... We went by to visit her this week and she was kind of in a bad mood when we got there. So we were visiting and talking to her, and Sister F. was like "what´s the matter?" and she says "I´m mad cause Saul(her husband) doesnt want to marry me!!"
My stomach DROPS and Sister F. and I look at eachother and are like "WHAT THE HECK???!"
Turns out, all along while we were teaching her, she and Saul said that they were married..... They have a 27 year old son and a 15 year old daughter and have been together for 30ish years, so it all made sense..... And whenever it comes up, Saul is like "we´re married". BUT, in reality, they are not legally married and are just living together!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHH.
Oh gosh. Being "legally married" is one of the requirements to be baptized, so we were both sitting there in shock..... There is also a question in the baptismal interview that specifically says "legally married".... But somehow, she must have not said anything/half lied in the interview.... or I dont know what.
Point being---They arent married. And she is upset because she wants to be legally married on paper, but Saul doesnt want to do it.... We ended up spending about 3 hours at her house talking with her, then Saul got home and we were talking to him as well.... Then Sonia started going CRAZY and yelling and arguing with him, so we decided we better just call it a day and head out..... OH GOSH.
That wasnt the best day of my mission. We started walking to our next appointment and stopped and sat for a while by the lake near her house and I tried to figure out what had happened that Sonia had been taught and baptized and everything while lacking this important part...... I dont know how it happened!!! And I dont know who´s at fault in this... if it was me and Sister Pedersen for not being more direct in asking "are you LEGALLY married???" or if it was the elder that interviewed her, or if it was just Sonia saying that she was legally married when she wasnt....
But, in the end, I still feel like crap for not asking more questions so that it would have come up in normal conversation... asking about when/where they got married for example..... We messed up BIG TIME, and now I feel terrible.
It ended up being a learning experience for me in the end.... While we were sitting by the lake and I was wallowing in despair.... Sister Feistner started explaining to me about Christ´s atonement and about justice and mercy.... Things that I grew up learning about, but didnt make as much sense until that moment. Christ suffered so that we dont have to! WE are not perfect, and are not going to be perfect, but because of the atonement, all these things we do wrong, we forget to do, can be wiped away. In this example, I was so worried about WHO would be judged for this, but because of the atonement, if we choose to REPENT, Christ will wash all of it away..... So none of us---Me, sister P. Sonia, or our district leader that interviewed her, will have to be punished for it. Christ already took on that punishment.
It takes a lot of faith, and repentance is still a process--of confessing, correcting, and trying to change.... but in the end, we will feel the joy of having all of that washed completely away. I like how alma describes it when he was suffering so terribly because of his sins.... he describes the joy of repentance as being "joy as excruciating as was his pain" or something like that. I cant understand exactly how the atonement works and how these things can just be erased completely, but I know that it is true.
We also got to go to Campinas friday night and during the day saturday! One of Sister Feistner´s past investigators that was baptized got married saturday and we were able to get permission to go the marriage service. It was so great, because this lady is part of the ward Sister Pedersen is serving in. So we got to go sleep over at their house and spend the day with them at the wedding!! Yeah! SO FUN. And probably more exciting because it´s been about a month and a half since we´ve seen them.... We dont have many opportunities to see anyone besides the elders in our district and the members and investigators here in Araras. ( who are AWESOME, so it makes it okay. =])
We got to teach Debora and family again..... She had a really hard week and I hope that we were able to help her a little teaching her..... As she was sharing all the stuff she is going through, I just kept thinking about the atonement. (thinking about it a lot this week!) and kept trying to share with her the scripture in Alma 7:11-13, but somehow the conversation kept getting turned just as I was gonna cut in..... Eventually Sister F, was talking and went to share that exact scripture! Seconds before, I we hadnt been on the same page at all, but then she started bringing it back to the atonement and asked me to flip open to that scripture... little did she know that I already had it open!! haha. So I was able to share that scripture with her and explain how Christ suffered absolutely EVERYTHING that we will feel in this life and understands perfectly how we are feeling in every moment. And He suffered these things in order to help us now. It was cool to see how the spirit was telling us both what to share with her and what she needed to hear.  

Well. I think I´ve written a book already................

hope you all have the best week!!

thanks again for all the emails and love and support!!!

Sister Ward

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mcdonalds + Coca-cola + Sister Feistner + Skateboard = ????

It has been a crazzzyyyy week!!
So, about my week I guess....
picking up from last pday....... After I wrote to you all last monday, Sister Feistner and I and the elders in our district, Elder Oliveira Souza and Elder Raleigh, all went to the chapel to have our district activity.... So we got Big macs from Mcdonalds and brought some goodies from the bakery and we all had lunch in the chapel. That was my FIRST McDonalds in Brasil!!! woooo!! ha. BUT really, McD´s is WAY expensive here....... people spend 16-18 reais on a meal! INSANE! One of the members was joking that if you are dating in Brasil and you like the girl, you take her to Mcdonalds, where as in the states, you take her to McDonalds if you want to break up. hahah. But that big mac was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!!! mmmmmmmm. Still really miss IN-N-OUT though.... haha. Just a year left, just a year!
The plan for our activity was to play futbol (soccer!) on the nice little soccer feild that they have at the chapel... It has GRASS and everything!!!! But sadly, the elders didnt bring a ball...... So, after we had lunch, we started searching the chapel to see if there was a ball there...... We had brought a 2L bottle of coca-cola and we all drank coke out of our water bottles at lunch....  Only problem ---- Sister Feistner is HYPER sensitive to the caffeine in coca-cola and goes CRAZY after about two glasses...... Yep. If she drinks two cups of coke at a members house at dinner time, she wont sleep at night.... So after an entire water bottle of coke, she was WIRED.  She was doing cartwheels up and down the halls in the chapel as we were searching for a soccer ball.... We probably spent a good 40 minutes just looking through all of the cabinets and rooms in the chapel to try to find a ball, but... no such luck.  We were at the chapel to play soccer and we had NO BALL. Sweet.
I wasnt too worried about it.... We had the violin and Elder Oliveira brought a guitar, so we were just kind of jamming and chilling in the Relief Society room. BUT, as I said before, Sister F. was wired, and still pacing up and down... Elder Raleigh (we arrived from the CTM together and have been in the same district ever since...) is a pretty legit skateboarder and brought his skateboard to our activity. SO, Sister F. decided the best use of her time would be to learn how to skateboard.... She asked our district leader, Elder Oliveira if it was okay if she skated, and we were all like "do what you want" and kept playing violin and guitar.... There were also two sisters passing through our area on monday (one of the sisters is going home next transfer and so she asked to come back to Araras for the pday and say goodbye to members and her converts here) and they came to the chapel for a little bit before they left..... when Sister Feistner went to start skateboarding one of the sisters was like "You arent really gonna do that are you??? You´re gonna hurt yourself!".... The elders were just like "nooooo, dont worry about it! she knows what she´s doing!!" hahah. Just makes it so much BETTER what happened next.....
AND, so sister F. takes the skateboard and starts trying to figure out how to stand on it.... and then starts skating around a little bit there in the R.S. room (dont worry, its got tiled floors). About a MINUTE later, she pushed herself off of the wall, lost her balance and fell on her face. We all start to freak out, but she just gets back up and is like "I´m good, I´m good, dont worry!!" and goes to gab the board again.... Then, she realizes that her chin is bleeding and puts her hand up to cover it and yells for me to come with her to the bathroom...... We didnt even realize she was hurt until I was following her out to the bathroom.
We get to the bathroom and she stands over the sink and starts washing her chin off.... it is bleeding A LOT..... And because she was washing it, the blood and water made it look even worse. OHHHHHH gosh... So I started to get a little sick and had to sit on the floor in the bathroom as she washed it off. hahahahahah. AWESOME companion, right???
Finally, she washes it out and the bleeding slows down and we can see what happened. She had a giant HOLE in her chin!!! haha. Okay, maybe not giant, but definitely a hole. At this point, I am still feeling a little queesy, so I had to go sit on the floor in the hallway and play the violin to ignore it..... hahah. But the elders started looking at it, and figured that she probably needed to go get stitches...... So, we called up Irmã Fatima, and she and Natalia came to take us to the hospital, we broke up the party, and Sis. F and I went to go get stitches in her face.... hahah.
AND, I had to be with her for the whole thing.... EVEN though I was already a little queesy and dont, dont, DONT like needles...  So, I found the best solution for the situation and waited outside the open door. =] hahaha. Once again, best companion EVER award!! hahah.
She ended up justing getting two little stitches on her chin, and through the whole thing, she was more concerned about the giant bruise on her leg from where she fell on the cell phone that was in her pocket than the hole in her face!! hahah.
Anyways.... made for an interesting pday..... and the entire week afterwards as everyone we talked to would suddenly get distracted by the stitches in Sis. F´s chin... hahah.
It was also PERFECT timing, because the NEXT DAY, we had a multi-zone conference with President and Sister Perrotti as well as Elder Mezzagardi (an area seventy) and his wife..... hahah. And Sister Feistner had stitches in her face. Sweet. =]
Tuesday, we had the Multi-Zone with Elder Mezzagardi. That was INTENSE...... It started off fairly normal... you know, song,( and I had to lead the music!!!) prayer, announcements, Pres. and Sister Perrotti spoke real quick and then Sister Mezzagardi spoke.... but then Elder Mezzagardi spoke for the rest of the day. We got there at about 7 in the morning... the meeting started at 9/9:30?? and went until we had a break for lunch, then again until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. And he was INTENSE. Man. He burned us real good!!! hahah. oh gosh. But he is a really good speaker......he could just keep going, all day!! and everytime he thought we were all getting too sleepy, he would make us all standup and stretch. just to make sure he really had our attention. =] haha.
This week, we started teaching a woman named Luciana who moved here about a month ago from Rio Claro (a city close by...). The Elders in Rio Claro taught her and her family, and her three oldest sons were baptized several months ago.... She wanted to get baptized as well, but didnt end up getting baptized before she moved here. We werent able to get in touch with her until week before last.... But that sunday she and her sons all came to church and she told us that she is preparing to get baptized. The elders had taught her all the lessons and been working with her super hard to get baptized, but it never worked out... They had a lot of problems with her ex-husband who is a drug dealer and addict, and she had to move here out of emergency so that he wouldnt be able to find her or her five kids...  But she really wants to be baptized, and since she moved here, she stopped smoking all on her own with the intent of getting baptized by the end of the year! Wooohooo!! 
She is the sweetest lady and has had such a hard life..... Now, they are living in this little room in the back of a soccer training house where about 35 boys live and train to play soccer.... She is the cooking and cleaning person for this training house and works all day with her little 3 year old boy and her little 8 month?? old girl. They have absolutely NOTHING because her ex-husband took and sold everything that they had to buy drugs.....  Her kids have about one pair of clothes each, they dont have a stove to cook, and they didnt even have a fan in the one hot room where they all live together until some members got them one.  
We are working with her this week and planning to have her baptism this saturday!!!! It was so great talking with her and hearing her testimony and experiences with learning from the elders, the book of mormon and how the gospel has blessed her family already. Her oldest son is 16 and he is already excited about going on a mission in a couple years!! =]
I´m excited to help their family and excited to see the efforts of the ward to help them have the things they need and make them feel welcome here...
ANDDDDD most exciting news!!! IT RAINED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!
It has been ISANELY hot and dry here lately.... it hasnt rained for more than five minutes in the past two and a half months!! But thursday this week it started to cool off and got pretty windy, and that night the rain finally came! Friday it poured ALL day!! So great!!! Not so much for working in the rain.... but it all worked outfor the best....
I also got sick this week. yay. hahaha. Started feeling a little iffy on thursday.... we went to Izabel´s house that night to have a lesson... Turned out to be her BIRTHDAY, and so she started making up some food for us to eat... As we were sitting there eating salgados (little fried appetizer things?) I started to get super hot, and my face got all red. So then Sister F. and Izabel got all worried about me, although I was fine.... and it ruined the party and we had to go home early. Shoot. hahah.
But the next day, I felt worse, got up to study and ended up just sleeping on the couch.... Our neighbors knocked to say hi, and got all worried that I was sick (just with a super sore throat and I dont even know what else)... So when we went to leave for lunch, they offered to drive us since it was pouring rain and we would have had to walk about 40 minutes in the rain.... ahhhh. Such niceys. AND, they kept checking on me that day, and the next to make sure we were all okay... and went and got me halls and offered us food and everything.... Our neighbors are the best.
lunch didnt really help me to feel any better.... kind of the opposite.... So we ended up trying to teach a little, and then just walking back home, and I slept the rest of the afternoon/evening. hahah. Ohhhhhh gosh. Staying at home days are the worst!!
Saturday night we had a missionary activity with the ward..... Sadly, none of the people we invited came..... but it was still good! We gave a little lesson (super scary speaking in portuguese to a room full of people!), and we had hot dogs..... But the brazilian view of "hot dogs" is wayyyy different.... The ones we had were basically chunky tomato soup/not spicy chili, with peices of hot dogs in it, slapped inside a roll. Yep. hahaha. Costco hot dogs are SOOOOOO much better!!!
Last miracle of the week....
We have been fairly discouraged lately because we have been working hard without many results.... and looking back to a lot of the miracles we were having my first couple transfers, it was a bit depressing..... BUT sunday, we went out to teach a reference from the Temple.... We had tried to pass this family before, but the lady-- Debora, works a TON and was never home and they told us that the only day we would be able to find them was sundays...
Just before we went to their house, Sis. F and I went and said a prayer on the street behind a big truck... And in the prayer, I asked that we could have the spirit with us as we taught her, that we could find people prepared to hear our message and that we could have miracles in our work here..... Well. They were a MIRACLE family!!
It was just Debora there when we got there but she was SOOO excited to see us!! She had been straightening her hair before we got there, so Sister F. offered to do it for her... it was the perfect thing because she just got talking without it being weird at all.... She started telling us her whole life story.... she has had a pretty hard life... and about her uncontrolable desire to serve the Lord and find out about our church! She drove by the temple in Campinas and just wanted to go in SO BADLY. So she went and talked to the people at the little visitors center there, and they gave us her information.... Because of how she felt the spirit there, she told us that she wants to join our church and find out everything she needs to in order to be baptized!! She also wants her eleven year old daughter Gabrielle and her husband João Carlos to join her in finding out about the church and getting baptized. HOLY COW!!! She is sooooo prepared!!! We didnt even really teach a "lesson", because she was just asking so many questions.... we talked about temples, the book of mormon, missions, baptism and how she would like to serve a mission someday..... Wow.
As we started explaining about the book of mormon, she was sooo interested and would ask questions before Sister Feistner could even explain! haha. Then she was like "well, read me part of it!" So we read a little section of 2 Nephi 31 with her and her family, and then prayed with them. They felt the spirit and showed such real interest! ahhh. I´m so excited for them!!
Sadly, we can only teach them on sundays because of her super busy schedule...someone in the family smokes a lot..... and I´ll probably be transferred before they are able to be baptized.... ahhhhg.
But, in conclusion... it was such a strong answer to our prayers teaching their family..... As she started talking when  Sis. F was straightening her hair, we were just in shock. Amazing.
I´m out of time!!
love you all and hope you have the best week!!
hopefully some pictures to come next week!!!
Sister Ward

SIX MONTHS IN!!!! (Sept. 17)

That´s right folks!!! Last friday I hit the SIX MONTH MARK on the mission!!!!!!!!!!
some little miracles from the week:
Wednesday, we decided to go back past some people we had found almost two weeks previously... There was one lady--Rosangela, in particular that we had left a book of mormon with and was having some really hard troubles in her family.... When we got there this week, Rosangela was SO excited that we came by!!! She invited us in and they were in the midst of packing up everything to move to another bairro(neighborhood) that evening! She was like "I was just thinking about you two yesterday!!! And worried that you would pass by again and we would have already left!!!" CRAZY. So, we passed by at the ONLY time we could have actually caught her before they left!! MIRACLES.
AND, she had read the chapter we marked and was very interested for us to come by her new house and teach her more.... we havent had a chance to actually explain about the restoration or the book of mormon yet, so I really hope that we can actually find her new house and do that!!
We were able to have another lesson with Izabel (the one who owns the bakery and is getting married to an LDS american...) this past week!! I LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is AMAZING. She is planning to get baptized in the states when she goes to visit for thanksgiving.... I have to admit, I´m fairly bummed that she wont be getting baptized here, but I cant WAIT to see the pictures!!! =]
I have been worried the few times we´ve been able to teach her that her interest in the gospel was more for her future family and culture´s sake and not so much a testimony.... But this week, she blew those ideas out of the water! As we were teaching her, she kept bearing her testimony and sharing insights that literally astounded me and sis. Feistner.... At the end she was like "WAIT! I want to read some of my favorite chapters in the book of mormon with you!!" and she whips out her livro de mormon and starts reading some of the scriptures she had liked and highlighted in Alma 32... She is already reading in Alma 40 something and has been highlighting and ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDING so much the whole way!!! AMAZING. Then she turned to mosiah 4:9-10 and read it to us... it is where it says (and I´m paraphrasing and translating back into english here.... ) "believe in god, believe that he is and that he created all things....." As she was reading that, it just hit me sooooo strong. It was like an answer for all the prayers I´ve said asking for a more faith and a stronger testimony.... Go read it now! I also like the part at the end of verse ten.... "if you believe these things, try to do them". We need to actually follow through on what we believe everyday! and it isnt always easy.... It is way easier to forget and forget the moments like this when we realize so profoundly what we believe.... but we have to remember and apply these things in our lives to carry us through all the other hard times...
With Izabel, I also realized how much I LOVE and am going to miss the people here when I get tranferred!!! AHHHHHHH nOOOOO!! I had a NIGHTMARE about getting transferred last week!!! hahah. It was terrible!! But, on a happier note, Izabel´s future husband has some property out in CDA where he wants to build a house..... SO, I´m hoping that someday soon they will live in CDA and Sister F. and I can BOTH go visit her!!!!! YEAH!!! =]
I had another experience that was a little answer to my prayers this week.... We were teaching the first lesson about the restoration to an investigator named Nadia.... It was only the second time we had talked with her, and we hardly knew her.... USUALLY, I get SUPER NERVOUS teaching the first lesson.... Especially because Sister Feistner has a way of always switching it over to me right in time for the part about joseph smith.... which includes reciting the first vision and potentially inviting the investigator to be baptized. haha. And I get WAY nervous. But, I have been trying so hard, and praying so hard to just be braver and better about talking to EVERYONE and being confident... When I started the first vision with Nadia, it was like a switch got flipped in my head... All of a sudden I WASNT nervous!! I was just like "what are you freaking out about??!" and I just said it and invited her to be baptized!! And she said she would!! haha. IT WAS AWESOME. It is WAY more enjoyable to NOT be stressed and nervous when I´m teaching!!! haha. What do you know?!
ALSO--- Friday, we got to leave and work with Mariana--- one of my favorite people to work with! She used to leave with us a LOT when Sis. Pedersen was here... but afterwards she was out of town for a month and then super busy.... This week, she was finally able to leave with us again! and it was sooo fun! It is so much more enjoyable to walk and to knock doors when we have someone else with us!! and she has been studying english for the past 6 years, but has always been too embarrassed/shy to speak english with us in the past. This time, Sis. Feistner convinced her to practice and speak english with us and it was so fun! She speaks like a boss!! REALLY. I´m super jealous of how well she speaks english..... She was also telling us about how she is thinking about going on a mission... And I think she really will go! She is just deciding whether to leave school and go at the end of this year, or wait till she graduates in 2014.... Listening to her made me think of all my decision process a year ago.... hahaha. And how RIDICULOUSLY stressed out I was... hahah. Oh gosh.... glad I dont have to go through that again.
about brazilians speaking english again..... We also worked a little with a twelve year old that LOVES to leave with us from our ward.... Lorena. She usually asks us questions for her english homework when we work with her... but this time we all started speaking just in english... and she can speak and understand SO WELL!!! I dont know how these people do it!!! GOSH! I´m so jealous!! hahah. Portuguese is still SO HARD!!! I can never conjugate verbs right!!! ahhhhh! It doesnt help that there are about 9 different verb tenses..... ahhhhg. And then the 6 conjugations in every tense..... Probably gonna shoot myself here pretty soon.... hah.
 Well. thats about all that is at all interesting from my week.....
Did I mention that I am DYING because it is SO HOT!!!??? Yep. We are roasting. Its like a sauna. Everyday. Our water completely stopped working for a little while last night, and I got pretty stressed there for a second... cause there is NO WAY we could survive without our twice a day showers... haha
Apparently there are a lot of missionaries getting sick/fainting and even having to go to the hospital because of how hot it is.... And probably cause they arent eating well or drinking enough water....ha. But dont worry, I drink my water like a good little missionary.
Me and Sister Feistner on the bus, hot and sweaty and stinky...... Wooooo. hahaha. no wonder people dont want to talk to us! haha
oh, random thought... An investigator this week started telling us that the angel moroni and jesus are ALIENS..... yep. hahah. We got a little surprised over that one... but his argument was that if angels dont live on the earth, that means they are aliens.... hmmm. Dont know how I feel about that logic. haha
we are heading off to have an activity with the elders..... gonna play some futbol! hahah(soccer). and probably DIE while doing it cause it is so hot!
love you ALL!!! Have the BEST WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Ward
So here´s some pictures for you all............
you better appreciate them, cause my camera is on the last days of its life.... hahah.
parade for 7 de setembro! (brazilian independence day....) We had heard they would have a parade in the morning, but we stayed home to study like good little missionaries... But they parade came to us!! hahah. Right past our windows! It wasnt as exciting as I was expecting..... just the exercito with some drums, one trumpet and one tuba.... hahaha. But I was excited anyways.... =]

We´ve been having some problems with our bathroom the past two transfers.... Our house is very old, and the plumbing isnt so grand apparently.... Our shower hot water burned out twice (dont worry, people in the ward came and fixed it both times!) and a couple weeks ago, the water tube beneath our sink started leaking.... Then it started pouring and spewing water. It was about 10 at night, so we called the bishop and he said he would send some one over the next day. When we got up in the morning, our bathroom was basically a swimming pool!!!!!!!!! hahaha. Seriously. I pulled all the water over to the shower drain, but within  the next hour, it was a swimming pool in there again... hahah. Then, that morning Irmão Luis and his wife came over to fix it.... This picture shows all the crap that came out of the pipes when he cleaned it out to fix it. SICK. Apparently are pipes are all made of iron and there is just a lot of crap in them.... cool. Brush my teeth with that water...

Bruna´s family at the baptism!!!! WOOOOOOOO!
From left to right, her twin brothers Harrison and Harold, Bruna, her grandma, her mom Maria, and her dad Rogerio
They all came for the baptism, and then all came for her confirmation in sacrament the next day!!! YEAH! (sorry the quality is soo bad.... like i said, my camera is dying. ha)
AND, this past sunday, Bruna, her cousin, her mom and her older twin brothers all came to church again!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!! I´m so excited for them!! I hope they keep this up!!!

One of Sister Feistner´s happy drawings for me.... hahaha. We were talking about wondering what the heck is going on in the lives of all our friends back home, and this was her response..... hahah

ANDDDD my planner on my six month mark!! haha. Sister F. stole my planner while I wasnt looking and drew a ninja in it.... hahaha. It was a GREAT day.