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

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