Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Okay, so maybe I was in Brazil the whole time... but now I´m in REAL BRAZIL!!!
I´m in a city called Araras. The name is a certain kind of parrot and it is a fairly big city. And our area is BIG.
We left the CTM yesterday morning, and took a van ride to the mission home in Campinas. There were 10 of us heading to Campinas. Elder Gaines and I were the only ones from our CTM district. It only took us a little over an hour to get there.
Then we had some orientation and interviews, headed over to the mission office for some more orientation, and then finally we got to meet our companions! My companion is Sister Pederson. She is from Pennsylvania and has been out for 7 months. She is SUPER nice, and obviously, speaks english. hahah YAY. We haven´t done much yet because today is P-day.... but last night some awesome members picked us up from the bus station and fed us before taking us to our apartment. I couldn´t understand much of the conversation at their home, but they are SO NICE and I´m practicing a lot! haha. We also did some contacting last night and the people we talked with understood me!!! HAPPY DAY!! It was way fun and I am excited to keep working! I like our area a LOT.
Oh, and our area is pretty far from Campinas as well.... our bus ride is supposed to be about an hour I think... but it took us about 2 because of traffic.... We don´t actually go into Campinas very often though. And Araras is SUPER pretty. Apparently there is a gorgeous lake and we will go by there today. 
(Note from Ashley: Amanda sent a whole bunch of pictures from her time at the MTC. She called it "picture and story time"... enjoy! Oh, and sorry about some of the pictures being sideways...I don't know how to fix it on a mac/I'm too tired)
A glimpse of São Paulo. Everyone has gates with wire at the top, or super scary sharp spikes. One of the walls behind our apartment here in Araras has peices of glass lining the top of the wall. INTENSE.

First week temple trip to the Campinas temple!! It is SO GORGEOUS. These were my "companions" before Sister Sessions or Sister Nelson arrived.... Elder Gaines in the middle and Elder Elliott on the right.

Awesome view of the city of Campinas behind the temple!! They had the prettiest daffodil-like flowers at the temple too. Love it.

The COOLEST graffiti in Casa Verde SP right by the CTM. Amanda Walker--- I thought of you!!!! =]
There is graffiti and cooler, graffiti-ish stuff like this all over the place in São Paulo. I love it!

my district at the São Paulo temple. Elders left to right = Elder Gaines, Elder Pitts, Elder Elliott, Elder Smith, Elder Geigle, Elder Myer, Elder Hamblin, Elder Martin. Then Sister Nelson, Me and Sister Sessions. They are THE BEST! It was super sad saying bye to all of them!!! All the elders besides Elder Gaines went to the São Paulo Interlagos mission... we were all jealous that they will get to see eachother....

The COOLEST little chocolate turtles Irmã Korth brought us for easter!!! So fun. She is the best!

Sister Sessions and my AMAZING roommates from the second week. Sister Almeida (from Portugal) and Sister Teixeira. They are the sweetest sisters I have ever met! We always got so excited when we passed in the halls at the CTM and they would always give us hugs or blow us kisses when we saw eachother throughout the day.

My fantastic workout buddy, Sister Sanchez. She is super cool. She´s serving in Florianopolis now. We´re gonna have some sweet parties at BYU when we all get back home though....

All of us at the awesome churrasco (brazilian barbeque place) that we went to on our last Pday at the CTM. Irmã Korth and Irmão Costa came with us too. It was SO GOOD. we may have stuffed ourselves silly and not eaten anything else for the rest of the day...... hmmm.

Elder Geigle and I with our chicken hearts. They are so small!! I didn´t really like them very much... they are super rubbery. Irmão Costa loves them though... hahah. He ate an entire plate full....

The drugstore where I spent a good half hour trying to explain cough drops in Portuguese... They finally told us that they didn´t have them.... cool.
All the stores are open-fronts like that though!! Crazy. And some of them (like this one) have parking spots INSIDE the store!! You just pull your car right in!! so weird!

Elders Pitts, Smith, Elliott and Gaines at our brownie party. Thanks fam!! They were soooo good!! And don´t worry. there were only six, but it worked out perfectly because we ate them the same day we had barbecue and we were all STUFFED. And so we just shared them between the 11 of us.

Our district with Irmã Korth!! We gained two new elders who had been waiting on their visas in the Provo MTC for our last week in the CTM. So our district was HUGE!! We could barely fit in our classroom!!!! So fun though.
oh and Irmã Korth is basically the best teacher in the world. So don´t even bother trying to compete with her... no one has a chance. She´s from the south, so that is why she doesn´t look brazilian if you were wondering.... haha. They have a lot of people of european descent in the south.

Sister Sessions and I. She is just so great. She serving down in the south in Porto Alegre, but will be going back to BYU after the mission. Yay for BYU reunions!!

Irmão Costa in his classic pose of frustration. Just imagine him saying "Que vergonha" (what a shame) and shaking his head at us. It definitely happened at least 5 times a day. He is the other coolest teacher in the world, so really, just give up on trying to beat them now... You cant get cooler than Irmão Costa.

The other coolest sister in the WORLD. Sister Lysenko!! She can make anybody smile. Or laugh uncontrollably. Either one.

Sister Lucero. THE SWEETEST sister from Argentina. I think she never stops smiling. The CTM just recently started a program for hispanicos to learn portuguese at the CTM. They get to have three weeks in a hispanic district and then they split and each get to work with a Brazilian companion for the remaining three weeks. SUPER COOL. I might be a little jealous....

Me and Sister Dickson!! She is AMAZING. One of the nicest people I´ve ever met. And he is good friends with the Steenblik family!! So let them know we met up and that Sister Dickson is FANTASTIC.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Hi everyone!!

holy mail this week!!! I think some letters got caught up and I got them all at once.... thanks so much!!
Elder Elliott did get your letter!! and he LOVED it!! Thanks. If you want to send one to Elder Gaines... he would love that. He was also one of my "companions" the first week and he's been joking about how he wishes someone would send him a letter.... hahaha

This week has been so good!!! I cant believe that we only have a week left!! LESS THAN A WEEK!!! We leave bright and early tuesday morning!! crazy.
We're trying to work super hard and get the most we can out of our last week here. I'm already sad that we have to leave our amazing teachers!! Irma Korth and Irmao Costa are fantastic!!

So. Funny story of the week..... yesterday morning, sitting at breakfast with our district, Sister Sessions says "oh, Sister Ward, did you know you talk in your sleep??" yes, actually, it has happened before.... But anyways. She hasn't been sleeping well lately and apparently at some time during the night while she was tossing and turning, I said clearly and distinctly "they will come and they will love us." hahahahaha. Oh boy. And I cant remember any dreams or anything that could explain the context for that...... so great. Sister Sessions was pretty freaked out. hahaha.
But proselyting was so good! It was super intimidating, but we were actually able to communicate somewhat with most of the people we talked to!!!! And some of the brazilian ladies we spoke with were sooo sweet!! A cute little old lady was so happy to talk with us and when we gave her a "o livro de mormon" she put it to her heart and told us that we had made her so happy!! =]
That really just made us all super excited to leave. We will learn so much more and so much faster out in the real world. I'm excited for that. Even though it will be super hard.
Today, for our last P-Day, we went to an-all-you-can-eat brazilian barbeque restaurant. IT WAS SO GOOD. Almost our entire district was there as well as Irma Korth and Irmao Costa. It was so fun! And we tried chicken hearts!!! hahaha. I didn't really like them. But they are Irmao Costa's favorite..... he was definitely hoarding the plate.
OH. and Irma Korth came to the temple with us today!! Which was SO GREAT. I love her so much. She knows just exactly what to say to make us think or to help us feel better when we are really struggling with the portuguese. Ah. I will miss her a lot.
Love you all sooooo much!! Thanks for everything!!
Wish me luck heading off to Campinas!!
lots of love,
Sister Ward

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WEEK 4!!!!!! can you believe it??! I cant......

Hey everyone!!
I've been at the CTM for 4 weeks now!! Crazy. We only have two weeks left here..... EVEN CRAZIER.
Thank you all so much for the letters this week!!! I'm trying to write you some responses asap.
Well. This week has been crazy. Our district now has less time left here than what we've already done, so we are on crunch time to learn as much as possible! We have been trying to step up our Portuguese a TON and it is so hard. Portuguese makes my head want to EXPLODE. Yesterday we had our first "english fast" and tried SO HARD to only speak Portuguese all day..... We probably could improve.... hahaha. But we worked so hard.
We had another TRC last week with "real" brazilians. TRC is when you get to teach people that come in and volunteer to be taught. Here it is usually brazilian members from around the area, but sometimes it is some of the teachers here, or even other missionaries if no one shows up. So for us, we go in not actually knowing the people, but we are given an information sheet about the person we will teach, and the volunteers act as if they are this investigator. Anyways. It is way intense! Brazilians talk sooo fast!! But we understood so much more in this TRC than the last one, so that was good. =]
Today we got to go to the temple again for P-Day!!! WOOOO!!! I love it. And we ran into a group of "real" missionaries as we were leaving the temple. We talked to a group of sisters for a while and somehow, we understood some of what they were saying!!!! YAY!!! The one American sister that was there translated for us when we got lost... hehe. And she was amazing at portuguese!! Wow. There is hope for us!!!!!! =]
Also, in southern Brazil, there are a lot of people of european descent. So this sister said that sometimes you can trick people, or they assume, that you are from the south, rather than the states. Apparently my companions can pull off being from the South but i cant..... Dang it. hahaha. They said to try and tell people that I am Italian though.... hahaha.
A week ago, my roommates from my first week here left. And yesterday, Sister Sessions and my roommates from the second week left...... So sad. It stinks having to say goodbye to people!! Especially when they are from Brazil (or portugal...) and I probably wont ever get to see them again!! Next week, I'll try to send some pictures! All of my roommates are so amazing. I miss them already!
Also, If anyone is in the mood to make someone's day, an elder in my district still hasn't received ANY mail..... And everyday he has a super upbeat attitude about it.... "this is my day" "this is gonna be my day".... and sadly, no mail. So if anyone wants to write to an Elder Elliott, it will make his day!
Oh and about mail.... probably starting a week from now, you should send letters to the mission home in Campinas instead of the CTM.
Love and miss you all so much!!!!!!!!
Sister Ward

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 3?? I think....

Hello everyone!!!
So much has happened in the last week!! AHHH.
First off, thanks sooooo much for the letters!!
Well. Last wednesday we got ANOTHER companion.... Sister Nelson. So now we are a trio. Sister Sessions, Sister Nelson and I. I was a little worried about it at first, but it is working out great! We have a lot of fun together.
And yes, I moved bedrooms my first week, and again last week... but this week I am safe!!! NO MORE MOVING ROOMS FOR ME!!!
Last weekend was General Conference and it was SOOOOOO amazing!! It seriously was like Christmas. We got to watch EVERY session. WOOO! and it was LIVE anddddd in ENGLISH!!!! happy happy happpy day!
ALSO. The provo MTC choir almost made me die of happiness! I saw Sister Suzy Lind up on the big screen!!!!!! AHHHHH! It made me soooo happy.
also.... if you didnt notice. Elder David Archuleta was totally in the choir.... yep. He apparently is going on his mission to Argentina I think....
This week has been pretty tough. We are trying to step up our efforts with Portuguese.... and it is HARD. But it is soooo good too though.
We try to speak in Portuguese as much as possible and speak with the Brazilian missionaries here as much as possible. Last night I was talking to my old brazilian roommate and she told me that she was soooo impressed with how well I am doing!! She told me that she was "shock-ed". hahah. so cute. But I was so happy!! =] Ahhh.
Our teachers Irma Korth and Irmao Costa are sooo fantastic. I LOVE THEM. I am so grateful for them everyday. Everyday we have class in 3 hour chunks. One in the afternoon and one in the evening. It is way intense. Our class with Irma Korth on Monday night was soooo intense. It quite literally felt like she was breaking our souls into peices with a hammer and then molding us back into something else afterwards. ahhh. Dont take that the wrong way though. I love her to death!! and it was sooo good!! But it is HARD.
About the temple. We got to go to Campinas the first week, and we have been to the Sao Paulo temple the last two weeks. I love them both!! I love the Campinas temple on the outside so much and also because it is MY TEMPLE... but the Sao Paulo temple is GORGEOUS on the inside. Love it.
Well. I am out of time. Please keep sending me letters!!! Everyday feels like a month here, so it honestly feels like I havent seen you all in a year......
I still LOVE BRAZIL!!!! And I am so happy to be here!!!! =]
Love you all!!!
Sister Ward