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