Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 44 Cidade Verde Natal, Brazil

Merry Christmas!

This week was great! Early in the week, we ate lunch with a woman named Vanúzia, who has the craziest story I´ve ever heard. She told us that she has two daughters that were born on the same day, one at 1 am and one at 1:15 am, but they´re not twins. Apparently, the people in the hospital messed up and sent her home with another person´s child, and the other woman home with her child. She only found out 8 years later! How crazy is that?! For those who have heard of the show Switched at Birth, it´s almost identical to her story.

We also got to eat at McDonald´s this week, which was the first time I´ve ate there in almost 10 months. McDonald´s here in Brazil is super expensive and therefore a lot more classy than it is in the US. I´ve never felt so fancy eating McDonald´s. :)

On Christmas Eve, we decided to go around visiting recent-converts and part-member families singing Christmas hymns, and it was way fun. We got invited to a fancy Christmas Eve dinner at President Soares´ counselor´s (who´s in our ward) home. 

Then, on Christmas, the best thing ever: I got to Skype my beautiful family! It was so wonderful to see their faces and hear their voices and laugh together. I´m so grateful for my family :)

I´m also very grateful for my Savior and for the Christmas season in which we celebrate His birth. I know He lives and loves us, and that through Him, we can find peace and joy even in hard times. 

The first picture is of me and my beautiful companion, then me with a super cute couple that Sister Nunes baptized with her first companion (Márcio and Michelle), then me and Sister Nunes with Sandra and her daughter-in-law Ítala, who we´re teaching. 

Week 43 Cidade Verde Natal, Brazil


So, I got transferred this week. To Cidade Verde, which is in the south zone of Natal. Or in other words, the rich zone. Seriously, it´s another world here. A large part of our area is condominiums and apartment buildings that are really hard to get into, and in which we can´t even proselyte. So we have to rely a little bit more on references and help from members, but luckily, the ward here seems awesome. The ward attendance is about 200 people, which more than doubles any of the other wards I´ve already passed in, and the members are super great. We´ve already gotten a couple of Christmas presents. :) Plus, a lot of people here speak English, which means that my name isn´t so hard for them.

My companion is Sister Nunes. The other Sister Nunes (my filha is actually Sister G. Nunes, to distinguish the two of them). Sister Nunes is from São Paulo, she´s 19 years old, has 4 months on the mission, and her last companion was Sister Ochoa, who was also my companion. Cidade Verde is her first area, and this is her 4th transfer here, but luckily she loves it here so she´s not tired of the area yet. The only problem is that her only two companions until now were in their last or second to last transfers on the mission and weren´t exactly the most diligent, so it´s going to be a little bit different. But I hope that we have an awesome transfer. 

Us with Isaque

Pictures (I´m going to send more later when I switch to a computer that I can connect my camera to): the Brazil Natal mission. Good luck finding me (it´s like Where´s Waldo? with Sister Weatherford :)

 Our last district meeting

 Us with Lauane (I´m super nasty and sweaty in these pictures, sorry)

 The view of the chapel from my new home here in Cidade Verde

My new zone

Me and Sister Coelho on her last day

 Me and my companion and the elders in our ward with Santa Claus at the ward Christmas party
 Me, Carina, and Sister G. Nunes

 Us with Neto

Us on the way to the rodoviário (totally don´t even know that word in English)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 42 Santarém Natal, Brazil

This week was a week of miracles. And also probably the best week of my entire mission. It started off on Tuesday with our absolutely wonderful mission Christmas conference, which brought all of the 160 missionaries together. Not only was it super spiritual and uplifting, each zone of missionaries also performed a skit, all of which made jokes about the things all of us see so frequently here in the Brazil Natal mission. They were hilarious, and it was fun to laugh about the weird things here in the Northeast of Brazil :) I also got to see all of my old companions and friends that I´ve met here on the mission, and it was so great to be reunited with everybody. Three of my companions are going home this week (Sister Coelho, Sister Ochoa, and Sister Nóbrega). The mission conference was the best, and I felt so much love for my mission. Really, it was the best choice I´ve ever made in my life.

A small tender mercy that happened this week was when we were doing street contacts. We decided to talk with a young woman who walked past us, who told us that she had already been baptized but went inactive. We talked to her for a while and bore testimony about Jesus Christ, and she thanked us afterwards. She said it´s amazing how even in just a few short minutes, the Spirit can have such a strong influence, and told us that we were two angels that God put in her path. It was a really powerful experience and I´m grateful that we happened to pass by her on the street.

One of the other miracles from this week is that Jessica decided to get baptized. She had been living with her boyfriend, but out of nowhere, he got offered a job and had to move out, which meant she could get baptized as long as she promised to live the law of chastity, which she was willing to do. We scheduled her baptism for Saturday at 5 pm. On Saturday at 4:30, we found out that the baptismal font was dirty and empty. Crap. After a little bit of conflict with our ward mission leader, who wanted to cancel the baptism, we decided to take her to a chapel close by to do the baptism. Two members of the bishopric helped us with everything, and so did the missionaries in our district. One made a cake, one brought soda, and Neto gave us a ride there. I gained a testimony of service, because I was so grateful for everyone´s help. And the baptism was beautiful! Jessica thanked us for such a special day, and it really was. She is incredible, and we feel so lucky to have taught her and to have been able to see her baptism, which we didn´t think was going to be able to happen for a while.
Another miracle is that on Sunday, a sister in our ward brought her nonmember boyfriend, who she asked us to start teaching him, and a brother brought his nonmember girlfriend, who wants to get baptized on Christmas. We´re excited for all of the work that is going to get done here in this area, even if one of us gets transferred this week.
After church, we visited Carina to say goodbye to her (since we´re pretty sure at least one of us will get transferred). We had one of the most spiritual lessons I´ve ever had on my mission, then we took pictures and said our official goodbyes, just in case. She thanked us for everything we´ve done to help her and told us that we were really important in her life. She even cried and it was super sweet. (I´m going to send the pictures next week since I´m waiting for someone to email them to me). I love her and I can´t wait to get the news in the future that she got baptized and that got sealed in the temple to Edivaldo!
This week was truly miraculous. I don´t know if I´ll get transferred this week or not, but no matter what, I know that I will always love Santarém. It was my hardest area, but also by far the most rewarding. And I know that miraces are going to continue to happen here. I´m so grateful for everything the Lord has taught me through my experiences here, and for the abundant blessings He has given us here. Truly, being a missionary is the best. <3
Sister Amy Weatherford
Me, Sister Coelho (my "mom") and all of the people that she either started or finished the training of and the people that her "daughters" trained. In other words, our little mission family :)
Me and Sister Nóbrega

Me and Sister Thomson

Me and Sister Nunes
Me and Sister Ochoa
Me and Sister Nunes on the bus


Jessica's baptism

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 41 Santarém Natal, Brazil

Dear family and friends,
This week, I celebrated my 9-month mission anniversary! I can´t believe I´m already halfway done! The time is seriously going by so fast, it almost scares me. I´m more grateful than I can express that I´m serving a mission, that I´m having this incredible experience. Through all of the hardships as well as the blessings and miracles, I have learned and grown a lot and strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior, which has been and will continue to be an amazing blessing in my life. <3 Missão Brasil Natal! <3

This week was good, but unfortunately my time is short today so I´m going to keep this email brief. We had stake conference on Sunday and our investigator, Jéssica, came and brought her boyfriend and nephew. She´s already a missionary and hasn´t even got baptized yet. :) And tomorrow is our mission´s Christmas conference, where all of the missionaries are going to meet together. It´s going to be awesome and I´m super stoked.
Also, the picture I´m attaching comes from a mission tradition of sisters taking fake "pregnancy pictures" when they complete 9 months on the mission. So here´s a picture of me, pregnant, and Sister Nunes :)

All of my love,
Sister Weatherford