Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 22 Sousa, Brazil

Life is good in Sousa

I´m going to keep this email relatively short since my email was so long last week and I need to catch up on emailing people! I also don´t have any pictures this week, sadly. It was a good week, but nothing too out of the ordinary. 

We met some new people that we´ve started teaching. The main ones are Esmeralda, a super nice woman, and Alceno and his family. Alceno sells popsicles and other snacks from his house and when we go visit him, he always gives us tons of free food (potato chips, popsicles, and my new addiction, cocada). He is way too nice. We also visited Núbia, who we had visited the week before, and she said that since we came the first time, God has been opening doors for her and that she´s studying the chapter of the Book of Mormon that we left so that she can answer all of our questions. :) 

There´s a recent convert in our area who owns a bar (yeah, he´s not too active at the moment ;), but he came to church yesterday and is doing really well. The problem is that his house is attached to the bar he owns, so when we visit him, there are always tons of drunk guys interrupting us. It´s both funny and sad at the same time. So yesterday, we read the Book of Mormon with Sérgio and a bunch of bêbados. :)

We also had a FHE night with 2 recent convert couples and Cilene and Daniel, because all of them are preparing to enter the temple. We talked about the temple and showed them pictures of temples all around the world. Other than that, pretty much just a normal week. We randomly got a bunch of free yogurt, since there´s a yogurt factory in our area and one of the workers saw us passing by and offered us a giant sack full of yogurt cups. 

This week, I felt very grateful again for the Book of Mormon. We had left one with a girl named Wygna and when we returned, she told us she didn´t like it. We got to talk with her and bear testimony of the Book of Mormon, and even though she didn´t end up changing her mind, it was still a good experience. We also got to introduce the Book of Mormon to several people this week, which always makes me excited since I love it so much. It is a true book, people. :)

Have a great week!

Sister Amy Weatherford

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 21 Sousa, Brazil

I love Brazil!

Yes, I love this place. It was an awesome week. By far, the highlights were Cilene and Daniel´s wedding and baptism. They got married on Wednesday, along with about 20 other couples (the cartório designates one day per month to perform civil marriages) and they were so darn cute. We helped Cilene do her hair and nails and makeup and she looked beautiful. After the wedding, we all ate a delicious lunch together at their house. Then on Saturday , they got baptized! Lots of members from the ward attended and helped out, giving talks and bringing cakes, and I was really grateful. Fábio (yes, our recent convert!) gave the talk about baptism and he was super nervous and it was adorable. He did an awesome job though and talked about how he´s grateful that we (the missionaries) didn´t give up on him and that he knows that this is the place Heavenly Father wants him to be. Cilene wasn´t too excited about the jumpsuit at first, but it all worked out. :) I think the best part, though, was that they fed us lunch on Sunday. Cilene had signed up on the missionary calendar the week before, so we and the two elders in our branch ate at their house. The lunch was absolutely beautiful and it was obvious that Cilene had done everything possible to make it special. Daniel gave the prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for that special, familiar moment. I remember that way back when we started teaching them, I pictured in my mind Cilene feeding the missionaries one day. I didn´t know that my dream was going to come true so early. I can´t explain how wonderful Cilene and Daniel are and how much I love that family. Once during a lesson with them, I opened my eyes during the closing prayer and the sight of them and their daughter sitting together with eyes closed praying to Heavenly Father made me so happy I wanted to cry. I feel so incredibly blessed to have met them and Fábio. They are truly special people and I feel so lucky to have found them. 

Other than that, the week was normal. I discovered that I really love maracujá ice-cream and brigadeiro-encrusted waffle cones (why don´t those things exist in the US?) and that I really hate Brazilian taxis. They drive like maniacs and it´s enough to make anyone want to vomit. We had interviews with President Soares and he gave me lots of really good advice that I´m excited to put into practice. All in all, everything is great here. I love my companion, I love Brazil, but most of all, I love being a missionary. Missionary life is tiring, but it is the best. Sending my love from Sousa!

Oh, and beware that I´m going to send a bunch of pictures.

The beautiful bride
The wedding kiss
Beautiful family <3
Us with Cilene and Daniel
Me, Cilene, Daniel, and Damiana (Cilene´s sister) 
Cilene and Daniel signing at the cartório
Beautiful couple!! 
Selfie waiting for the wedding to start :)
More baptism and lunch on Sunday :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 20 Sousa, Brazil

Another Week in Sousa

It was a great week, and I had a great 20th birthday! I woke up on Tuesday to mousse de manga, chocolate, and a cute happy birthday sign from my lovely companion, Sister Ochoa. I got to eat cereal and milk (which is more expensive here but I let myself buy it for my birthday because I´ve been missing it) and we bought truffles. What more can you ask for? Then the next day, at our zone meeting, I received packages and letters from family, a birthday gift from Sister Coelho, and a bag of candy from my mission president´s wife. Then that night, our district surprised me with a cake and then we all went out for pizza, including pizza topped with chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and strawberries. I felt very loved and happy on my birthday :)

Other good news is that Fábio received the Priesthood yesterday! He is just as wonderful as ever and I´m so happy for him and the progress he´s making. His determination to do what the Lord asks is a great example to me. We visited a recent convert, Luzia, who is absolutely the most loving person ever. She asked us to teach her how to bear her testimony, because she really wants to next month. She said that she knows Jesus Christ is true, and it was so cute. Another recent convert, Francisco ("Painho"), went with us to a lesson and he wore a white shirt and tie even though he didn´t need to. The recent converts here are the cutest things in the world. 

We asked one of our new investigators, Damião, to say a prayer at the end of a lesson and he his head. When he finished, he said "Pronto" and we just kind of awkwardly left. Next time, we need to clarify that it´s an out-loud prayer. :) We also met some funny young men who were asking us if missionaries can get married and when we said no, said "Que pena," or "What a shame." They´re what we call "scorpions," or guys trying to marry the foreign missionaries. Sister Ochoa said "Today a scorpion, tomorrow an Elder." :) Speaking of Sister Ochoa, she is really funny. She offered to help one lady and when she refused help, Sister Ochoa said "Do you want to take away our blessings? If we help you, we get blessings." She is a great missionary and is such a loving person. I´ve already learned a lot from her example and I´m grateful for her. 

Cilene and Daniel are going to get married this Wednesday and get baptized this Saturday! It´s going to be an exciting week, and I´ll be sure to send pictures next week. Sorry I don´t have any from this week -- I´m being a slacker. But I promise to send extra next week. 

Lots of love,
Sister Amy Weatherford

Week 19 Sousa, Brazil

Transfer Week

It was a good but crazy week, since Sister Coelho got transferred to Natal. So now I am with my second companion, Sister Ochoa! She´s from Argentina and is super sweet. The day before Sister Coelho left, Tuesday, we went to the cartório (I don´t even know that word in English) to register Cilene and Daniel for their wedding on July 15. We also had Maryanna´s (I was spelling her name wrong before) baptism on Tuesday night. All of the youth in the branch were there, and we had cake and played soccer afterwards. It was an exciting last day for Sister Coelho :) I miss her a lot, and I realized that transfers are going to be a hard part of the mission. You grow really close to a person and get used to doing everything together, and then they leave and you have little contact with them and you have to get used to a new companion. The other hard thing is that since Sister Ochoa is new to the area, I basically have to be the senior companion and take charge of who we visit and when. It´s a lot of responsibility for a poor little American whose Portuguese is still rudimentary and whose sense of direction is completely hopeless. ;) It´s good though, and I feel blessed to have Sister Ochoa as a companion because she is awesome. Our district also got another American elder, a Brazilian sister, and a brand-new-out-of-the-MTC elder from Mozambique, who speaks Portuguese but with a super different, strong accent. Sometimes the people here don´t even realize that he´s speaking the same language as them. :)

Cilene and Daniel are super excited and planning everything for their wedding next week. They´ll get baptized within a few days after getting married and they´re really looking forward to it. Maryanna is doing really well also. In Young Women´s on Sunday, she shared her baptism experience and said she felt so much joy afterwards. She is an astounding young woman and I love her to pieces. Fábio is also doing awesome. We showed up at his house one day and he had read 13 chapters of Mosiah in two days! And not only that, but he summarized those 13 chapters perfectly. He loves the Book of Mormon and told us that he´s been understanding the Book of Mormon a lot more easily since his baptism. I´m just so darn proud of him. :) 

We also have a super sweet couple of recent converts in our branch, Francisco and Maria, who basically adopt all of the missionaries who pass through the branch. They are so loving, as are all of the people here. When we visited Cilene and Maryanna one night, they were whispering and acting really suspicious, and then Maryanna showed up with plates full of food for us. And another night, we met a woman named Luzia who sent us home with crackers and cookies. I´m still in awe at how giving these people are and always feel humbled by their examples.

It rained a lot this week, which I very much enjoyed. I not only love rain, it´s a nice break from the incessant heat. Sister Ochoa often gets cold though, which I don´t even know how that´s possible. I spend every second of every day sweating, it seems. :) 

Also, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! Though I am in Brazil right now and love this country, I really am grateful to live in the United States. It´s a wonderful place.

I attached pictures of us at the cartório and of Maryanna´s baptism. And the last picture is of Cilene and Daniel´s 2 year old daughter, Andressa -- how precious is she? And finally, a picture of me with my new companion...and a dinosaur :)

Sister Amy Weatherford