Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 26 Gramoré Natal, Brazil

So I usually make a list of the things I want to talk about in my weekly update....but I totally forgot this week. Therefore, it´s going to be a more general summary. It was a good week, and we found some new people to teach. It´s harder to find people in their houses here than it was in Sousa, so we had a couple of days when our plans did not work out and it was a little discouraging. But we started teaching a 22-year-old young man named Pedro about the Book of Mormon and he was super receptive. We returned a couple of days later and explained the book in more detail and read the introduction with him. His sister was there, but she didn´t seem to be paying much attention. But then at the end, she said "Do you have one of those books for me?" which is pretty much the best question for a missionary, and we got super excited and left a book with her too. :) 

Vital also helped us several times this week. He´s really funny, so it´s nice to have him with us on the discouraging days to make us feel better. :) 

One thing I forgot to mention last week is that I have the really cool opportunity here to teach an English class! It´s a little intimidating, since being fluent in a language does not guarantee that you know how to teach it, but I´m loving it so far. Usually there are just a few youth who attend, so it´s fun. It´s a good opportunity to find people to teach too.

I also really like the ward here, especially the ward mission leader. He is really dedicated to helping the ward get more involved in helping us with missionary work. And the members here are all really great and really willing to help. 

Other than that, I can´t remember anything too specific. I´m attaching pictures of me with Sister Nóbrega, and us with Vital at the ward lunch :)

Sister Amy Weatherford

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Where is Gramoré?

A little north of Natal . . .

Gramoré is a ward in the Natal Brazil Pajuçara Stake and this ward shares a meetinghouse with two other wards. Ala Gramoré (the name of the ward in Portuguese) meets at 9:00 AM.

Week 25 Gramoré Natal, Brazil


Well, I got transferred out of Sousa, Paraíba to....NATAL! I´m in a part of the city called Gramoré. I found out on Tuesday afternoon that I would be leaving, so Sister Ochoa and I went around and I said goodbye to our investigators and recent converts. Cosmo and Margarida gave me some really pretty sandals as a parting gift. It was hard to say goodbye to the people that I grew to love so much, and it was a little hard to leave Sousa. It´s a crazy place, but I love it and I always will. :)

The bus left Sousa Wednesday afternoon at 1 and arrived in Natal at 8:30 (I was traveling with a few other missionaries who got transferred to the capital). From there, President Soares gave me and my new companion, Sister Nóbrega from São Paulo (who was waiting for me at the mission office in Natal), a ride to our area, about 30 minutes away from the mission office. It´s just the two of us who live in our little apartment, which is slightly more sketchy than the apartment in Sousa. It´s also way more humid here and one of our rooms smells like a dead hamster because of the moss. It´s also a lot prettier here: it has more trees and the streets are more organized and are super cute because they have cobblestone and a bunch of brightly colored houses. We always have lunch with the members, like we did in Sousa, but lunch here is even more delicious and has more variety. In Sousa, lunch every day was pasta, rice, beans, and chicken, with very few exceptions. :) It´s also a little bit less hot here, which is nice, but also means that the cold shower is less welcome. All in all, I´m liking it here so far. The ward is more organized and the members seem great. People here are also a little bit less receptive than in Sousa, but still receptive. I´m excited for this transfer! Oh, and my companion is great and super sweet. :)

I got here to find out that Sister Nóbrega and her previous companion had been sick so many times during the previous transfer that their teaching group was extremely small when I got here. One person, to be exact. But that one person is a marvelous woman named Reneide, who is impossible not to adore. She is the cutest thing and is absolutely in love with the Church. She´s already been in the church for a year but hasn´t been baptized yet, because she lives with a man who needs to finalize his divorce before they can get married and she can get baptized. Getting baptized is her dream, and she is so excited. But the work here is a little difficult right now since we´re starting over with our teaching group and trying to find a bunch of new investigators. This week is going to be awesome, though, and I know things are going to start picking up fast. 

There´s also a 16-year-old young man here, Vital, who has been a member for 5 years. He LOVES helping the missionaries. He went out teaching with us almost every day since I got here, and he already knows how to do everything and teach all the lessons, so he´s unbelievably helpful. I´ll send pictures of him and Reneide (and my companion!) next week, since I haven´t taken any yet. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Sending my love from Gramoré,
Sister Amy Weatherford

The pictures are: me and Sister Ochoa and Fábio
Me, Cilene, her parents, her sister and her daughter, and Andrêssa 
Me and Cosmo and Margarida
Me and Francisco and Maria (recent converts) and their son, Francinaldo
Me and Daniel, our less active (who is becoming more active :) friend

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week 24 Sousa, Brazil

Transfers are this Wednesday, and I´m excited to find out if I´m going to stay in Sousa or if I´m going to a new area. In some ways, I´m ready to leave Sousa, but at the same time, there are so many people I love here. So I guess I´ll be happy either way :) 

This week, we had Alceno´s baptism! He made astounding progress this week with giving up coffee and smoking, and he was so excited all week for his baptism. The baptism was on Sunday after church and it was wonderful. When we visited him after church and asked him how he was feeling he said "I´m a new person." He was so happy and thanked us over and over for helping him, and even started crying. 

We also got a bunch of free food this week. People here are very giving and very rarely take "no" for an answer, so we ended up with cake, ice cream, potato chips, soda and all kinds of other junk food. Our investigators Sorato and Ceiça also took us out to a pizzeria and to eat ice cream. And on top of that, Cilene´s daughter Andrêssa turned 3 and we ate chocolate cake with them to celebrate. Brazilians love their sweets -- God definitely sent me to the right place ;) A bunch of little kids were following us around one night and hugging me spontaneously and it was really adorable. 

Fábio continues to get more and more awesome. He listens to hymns every night before he goes to sleep and said he almost has some memorized. He continues to study the scriptures and general conference talks every day. Cilene and Daniel are also doing really well. Sunday was awesome because we got to go and visit lots of my favorite people here and I just felt so grateful for the amazing people I´ve already met. When we were talking with Alceno after his baptism about how happy he is and how grateful he is for the changes he´s making in his life because of the gospel, I felt once again that it´s those moments that make any hardship of mission life worth it. I love being here and feel so lucky. :)

Pictures: me and Sister Ochoa, us with Cilene and Daniel, our zone picture, me with my favorite young woman here in Sousa, Edna, and me and Sister Ochoa with the cake we made for the baptism :) Pictures of the baptism to follow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week 23 Sousa, Brazil

This week, I will have been a missionary for 5 months. I can´t believe how quickly the time is passing. We worked with a lot of less-actives and recent-converts this week. We´re teaching Paulo, the brother of a really funny less-active, Chicão, who has the voice of a radio announcer. He loves the church and always talks about how true it is, so we´re not really sure why he doesn´t go. He´s really dramatic and finds our accents hilarious. It´s really fun to teach him and Paulo. 

We´re also teaching Alceno and his daughter Gabriela, who are getting ready to get baptized in a couple of weeks. Alceno is the cousin of another recent convert in our area, Cosmo, and he saw how much the gospel helped Cosmo change for the better and he wants to change too. Alceno and Gabriela always force potato chips and cocada (a dessert made with milk, sugar, and coconut cooked together that form a bar) whether we want it or not. We met a 15-year-old young man, Daniel, who got baptized a couple of years ago but hasn´t gone to church in a while. He´s great (even though he really makes me miss Josh) and he even pleasantly surprised us by showing up for church on Sunday in a white shirt and tie. :)

The best part of the week by far was Sunday. Francisco and Maria, recent converts in our area, have a son named Francinaldo who joined the church with them but has fallen back into drinking a lot of alcohol called cachaça. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to get ready and go wake him up for church. We waited for him to shower and then we went to pick up Isaquiel, another recent convert who has problems with drinking. They were both still a little drunk from the day before and we didn´t trust them to walk alone to church, so we took them with us to pick up everyone else for church. We made them walk a decent amount and they were both complaining, which was hilarious to me since they´re 30-year-old men that could have gone home whenever they wanted but instead let themselves get dragged all around Sousa by a couple of 20-year-old sister missionaries. :) They were joking around with each other and being really funny. Isaquiel has a hilarious laugh, and because they were slightly drunk, it felt like we were babysitting a couple of children. The whole thing was ridiculous and entertaining. 

Then we got to church and it just got better. Cilene, my recent convert, bore the most beautiful testimony about how she knows the church and the Book of Mormon are true and how she´s grateful to God for sending us to help her find the church. She also received a calling to serve as 1st counselor in the YW program. And then Fábio, my other recent convert, gave the most perfect closing prayer in sacrament meeting! I thought my heart was going to burst with so much happiness. Missionary life is not easy, but it´s the moments like those that make it more than worth it. :)

All my love,
Sister Amy Weatherford

Pictures: me, and me and Sister Ochoa and the beautiful lunch we made together last P-day :)