Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week 35 Santarém Natal, Brazil

I <3 Santarém

This weekend was one of the best on my mission. But I´ll start off with the rest of the week first. Firstly, I made cinnamon rolls for our district meeting that turned out well and even the Brazilians liked them :) A member in our ward, named Júlio, went out with us a couple of days this week to help us teach lessons and do contacts. He served his mission here in 2006 (when it was still part of the João Pessoa mission) and now moved back here and lives here, so he was super helpful and we learned a lot with him. He even fell in love with our investigator Daliane, who is super beautiful. He promised us that if she gets baptized, we can be sure that she´s firm in the church, no matter what area we´re in, because he´s going to take good care of her. ;) We´re hoping that Daliane does progress, but she drinks quite a bit. One night we stopped by her house and her adorable two year old daughter asked us if we wanted to drink cachaça, which is what everyone here drinks. 
This weekend, we visited a man named Júlio (everyone in this email is Júlio haha) that was a referral from a member of the other ward here. He is super "eleito," or in other words, a perfect investigator. He recently separated from his wife and moved here, and he is super awesome. He went to church on Sunday and loved it, and we´re going to keep working with him this week. We picked up all of Lauanda´s (our recent convert friend in the ward) siblings for church. One of her brothers, Pedro, got baptized a couple of months ago but isn´t super active, and the other little siblings haven´t been baptized yet. We took all four of them to church and it was super cute to see all of them walking together to the chapel. They are 14, 11, 9, and 4 years old and I adore all of them. After church, their family made us lunch, even though neither of the parents are members. They are a super sweet family. They also have a tiny little puppy that is the cutest thing ever, but runs around biting everyone´s toes. It doesn´t hurt, but it´s still alarming. Anyway, the short story is that we absolutely love that family. :)

The other miracle that happened on Sunday was that a man we had invited on the street early on in the week (Tuesday or Wednesday) and who said he would go on Sunday (like everyone always says but never does) actually showed up. I almost dropped dead from shock when I saw him there. It was a really cool surprise :) His name is Sidney and he is a member of another church here and made that very clear (he didn´t even want to give us his address to visit him this week), yet he said he´s going to come again next Sunday. We´ll see what happens with him. I also gave a talk on Sunday, which is always scary, but I survived. And on Sunday night, we took Reison, our other recent convert friend, and his friend Charlisson to a devotional that was broadcast from the Brazil MTC, which was awesome. It was a perfect weekend, and I know that God answered my many prayers asking for help here. He sent so many tender mercies that were exactly what I needed. I know that He hears our prayers and knows what we need, and that He blesses us so abundantly. 
Sister Amy Weatherford
Pictures: Me and my cute companion with the delicious dessert we made :) 
Us with Arthur, a member here, and Lauanda´s siblings
Us with Lauanda

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Week 34 Santarém Natal, Brazil

Sister Nunes and I had a cool experience this week. We were walking along when Sister Nunes told me that she felt like we needed to go back and knock (clap our hands, really -- all of the houses here have gates) on one of the houses we had just passed. A 22-year-old woman answered the door and was super receptive. She asked us tons of questions about the church, said she would go with us on Sunday, and invited us to come back another day. Her name is Daliane. Unfortunately, she wasn´t able to go with us on Sunday, but we´re going to keep working with her. 

There´s a 17-year-old young woman in our ward named Lauanda who got baptized about 2 months ago. She is absolutely incredible and is one of our best friends here. She has a super cute little sister who is fascinated by me. She always asks me to speak English for her and calls me Barbie. She even asked me for my autograph :) Kelisson, a young man we´re working with, is progressing really well. He has a friend who´s a member and goes to church with him every week, and we´re hoping that everything works out for him to get baptized this Saturday. We still have to convince his family, who´s not completely sure if he´s ready to get baptized, but he´s excited. One of our biggest problems here is that of family members not wanting people to get baptized. There are several youth here in our area that love the church and want to get baptized, but whose parents don´t approve. 

This week, we invited a man on the street to visit the church, and he said that before he visits our church we have to visit his (he´s Catholic). When we asked him the schedule in his church, he said "I don´t know. I´m not praticante (what is that word in English??)" Pretty ridiculous, huh? We also met another man who told us he doesn´t have time to go to church, which was ridiculous because he was sitting outside of his house doing literally nothing when we invited himHe must think we´re blind or something. :)

It wasn´t an easy week. We´re facing some difficult things here in this area, but we´re learning a lot of patience. President Uchtdorf taught that "Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most." I´m seeing how true that is. If everything here was perfect and all of our investigators progressed perfectly, I´m pretty sure I would not learn anything. So even when it´s hard, I try to remind myself that Heavenly Father is giving me opportunities to grow. 

Sister Amy Weatherford

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Where is Santarém?


Week 33 Santarém Natal, Brazil

Marcílio got baptized!

On Tuesday, we got the news that President wanted us to do a companionship exchange. On Wednesday, my filha went to Potengi (a neighboring area) with Sister Castilho and Sister M. Baker came to my area for the week. Sister Nunes and I were sad to get separated already, but I love Sister M. Baker. I had already spent a week on exchange with her last transfer, so I got excited to be her companion again. Neither of us have had an American companion yet, but we decided that now that we´ve spent so much time on exchanges together, it counts. It´s really fun to have someone to talk about Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, BYU, and other American things with. :) Plus she is amazing and helped out a lot in my area. I was pretty discouraged on Friday since literally all of our plans fell through, but not only did she help me feel better, the Lord also blessed us a lot. After nothing working out all afternoon, we finally found some awesome people to teach and we felt really blessed. The Lord´s tender mercies are amazing. Plus we had some funny experiences and even spent an hour straight quoting Brian Regan and laughing our heads off. :)

On Saturday, Sister Nunes returned, we had a super productive day, and the day ended with Marcílio´s baptism, which was really special. I don´t have the pictures of his baptism with me right now unfortunately, but everything went really well. He was so excited all week for his baptism and is such a good, genuine person. He used to sell drugs and do all kinds of crazy things, but he had left that life behind him a couple of months before we met him and I have no doubt that he was prepared for us by the Lord. He truly wants to live the life God wants for him and to be the best he can. 

That´s about all I can remember from this week, and sorry for not sending any pictures!

Here's a photo from Sister Baker --

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 32 Santarém Natal, Brazil

7 Months

As of yesterday, I have been a missionary for 7 months. This week had some difficult moments, but it was also awesome. We had a mission zone conference with all of the zones in the capital, Natal, which makes up half of the mission, and we received lots of good counsel from President Soares to apply to our missionary work. It was also fun to get to see other missionaries, including two of my past companions (Sister Thomson and Sister Coelho). We met some new people this week, including two recent converts, a young man named Reison and an older man named Neto, both of whom are great. Neto especially, since he bought us pizza and açaí ;) Reison´s grandma, Miriam, is also a recent convert, but she´s almost deaf, so you have to scream in her ear. And to make things worse, the day we visited them there were super loud tractors outside and everyone had to scream at each other. It was stressful in the moment but now it´s funny. Our investigator Marcílio, loved conference yesterday and is super excited for his baptism for this Saturday. And we´re working with lots of other people besides Marcílio too, don´t worry, but I´ll give more updates about them in the future. :)

I also loved General Conference. I got to watch the Saturday sessions in English with some other American missionaries but watched them in Portuguese on Sunday. We were encouraged to center our lives on Jesus Christ, keep the Sabbath day holy, self-examine to see what we can improve, and to trust in the Lord. I felt touched and strengthened by the inspired words of our prophet and apostles and I´m grateful for their guidance. 

I´m going to keep this email short since I´m short on time, but everything is going well here in Santarém. I adore my lovely companion/filha and I love this area. And I love being a missionary :)

Sister Amy Weatherford

I attached pictures of me with Sister Nunes, me and some other sisters including Sister Coelho, me and Sister M. Baker, me and Sister Thomson, the beautiful city of Natal as seen from our bus, and me and Sister Nunes and Vital at General Conference.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week 31 Santarém Natal, Brazil

Transferred to Santarém

On Tuesday, we received the phone call from our zone leaders informing us that I was getting transferred to Santarém, another area of Natal, and that I would be training a new missionary and opening the area. I was so shocked by the phone call and thought it was a joke. I´ve only been on my mission 6 months and my Portuguese is still far from perfect, and I thought President Soares was crazy. But I packed up my bags and on Wednesday morning, I went to the mission office with the other missionaries who got called to train, and I met my "daughter." (Trainers are moms and dads on the mission :). Her name is Sister Nunes, she´s 19 years old, and she is from Rio de Janeiro. We took a taxi to our area, where our district leader showed us around a little bit and we ate almoço with a member. The area had elders before, and we´re the first set of sisters that have been in the area since last year. Opening an area is really difficult, since you don´t know anyone or how to get anywhere, but we have been blessed so abundantly this week. The ward here is absolutely amazing, the members here have all been jumping in and helping us, and our area seems great and we´ve already met some awesome people to start teaching. I´m somehow miraculously managing to navigate around without getting lost, and anyone who knows how hopeless I am with directions knows how much of a miracle that really is. :)  

Plus, the ward here loves having sisters and they´re all super excited that the elders left and sisters are back haha. Everyone here tells me I look like Barbie, literally at least 5 people have separately said that. I´m really learning to rely on the Lord here. Alone, there is no way I can train a new missionary in a new area and fulfill all of my new responsibilities, but I know that God is going to help me. He´s giving me a chance to learn to trust in and depend on Him, and I´m already seeing His hand so clearly. Everything that I´ve experienced so far on my mission has been preparing me for this, which I´m recognizing now. Even though it´s not easy, I feel really lucky to be training such a wonderful sister and to be opening this area here in Santarém. 

I hope everyone is doing well! I also hope everyone has a chance to watch General Conference this weekend! 

Sister Amy Weatherford

Pictures: Me and Sister Nunes, minha filha :)
Our zone
Sister Talentino and Sister Coelho (my trainer and her new "daughter," since she´s also training) and me and Sister Nunes. Sister Coelho is a grandma now! :)