Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 73 Alecrim Natal, Brazil

Forgive me any typo in this email, because I´m literally using the worst keyboard in the world. 

So, this week, we started teaching Ivan, the 23-year-old son of a formerly less-active member who is getting active again and took Ivan to church on Sunday. He is super eleito. He told us that he´s played soccer in the church for years and that his member friends always invited him to churh, but he never felt like going. Until now! He was a member of the Assemby of God, but left it a few months ago. And we had the privilege to teach him and get him ready for his baptism on Sunday

Miracles in Alecrem

Ivan also has a friend, named Rick, who was at Ivan´s house one day when we went to teach him. Rick was also a member of the Assembly of God but left it a few months ago. When we explained about the Restoration, he said that he had been praying and asking God which was the true church, and that God sent us to answer that prayer. He agreed to pray about what we taught. We saw him the next day, and he told us that he had a dream in which he saw us and the church. He said he felt that what we taght was true, but he still wated to ask God specifically about baptism. The next day, he told us without our even asking "I´ve made a decision. I`m going to stay in this church." He is unbelievably eleito. He´s 16, almost 17 years old (almost exactly Josh´s age). It´s amazing to see how God prepares people to receive the gospel. I´m excited to see Rick´s progress in the church, and I hope he goes on a full-time mission one day :)

This week we also did a family home evening with Paulo, Rosilene, and their kids, all of whom were baptized several years ago but went inactive because they got offended by a member. We´re trying to help them get active again. They´re a very special family. 

Our ward also had a "festa junina," which is a typical cultural thing from Northeast Brazil. They have a dance called quadrilha, and I filmed it, so I`ll show you guys the videos when I get home :) They also eat a lot of food made out of corn, and cocada, which is made out of coconut and sugar and is delicious! 

Valtemir is doing well. He had a relapse this week, but he´s putting in a lot of effort. He got confirmed, got interviewed by Bishop, and even got a white shirt ad tie that he´s going to start using :) 

I´m not gong to write anymore because this keyboard is stressing me out, but I love you all!

Sister Weatherford

Me and Sister Gallo
Us with Ivan and his dad, Ivánio, at the ward party
Baptisms (we baptized Ivan and Rick, and the elders baptized a 12-year-old young man, and the other people in white are the people who performed the ordinances)
In front of the church after the baptisms

Our lunch on Sunday

My birthday

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 72 Alecrim Natal, Brazil


This week was seriously one of the craziest on my mission. It started off with the news that Sister V. Lopes was getting transferred to the north zone of Natal. My new companion here in Alecrim is Sister Gallo, who is from Argentina, 23 years old, and has 11 months on the mission. I´m super excited to work with her! Plus, Sister Stadler got transferred from Mossoró to Cidade Verde, which is in my zone, so I get to be her Sister Training Leader! I love that girl <3 On Tuesday night, the 5 new sisters who got here last week spent the night (3 of them came straight from the Provo MTC, so I got to be translator to help them out), and on Wednesday and  Thursday night, the sisters who were going home spent the night. And the 4 sisters from the Pirangi ward had to stay at our house all week because their house got robbed and they need a place to stay until they find a new house to live. So our house was crowded all week and there are suitcases all over the floor, which is a little stressful for a neat freak :)

On Thursday, I turned 21! It was one of the best birthdays ever. I got phone calls from Sister Stadler, Sister Nunes, and a few other sisters, and Elder Petter and Elder C. Silva, along with the Pirangi sisters, organized a surprise for me that night. Elder Petter made up some lie about having to renew our passports to get us to go to the mission office, where they had everything set up and were hiding. When we went in, they all came out and sang to me. They bought a 5 liter box of açaí and hung up balloons all over. It was so sweet and I felt special :)

We had a small conference (with our zone and the Parnamirim zone) with President and Sister Colleoni and their 12-year-old son Geovanny, who is surprisingly mature for his age. It was fun to get to know them and they seem great. 

And the best news of the week is that Valtemir got baptized on Sunday! After the baptism, he literally seemed like a different person. He was radiating happiness, and I know he felt the relief of being cleansed from his sins. I could see how happy he was to have a chance to start his life over. 

Sister Weatherford

And last night, Rebecca and Roosvel, the couple from our ward who lives in our apartment building, invited us over to eat dinner with them. Here´s our selfie :)

All of the sisters from the two zones

Valtemir´s baptism!

Sister Teixeira, Sister Stadler, Sister Miller (who are in a trio in Cidade Verde) and me

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 71 Alecrim Natal, Brazil

Goodbye President Soares

We had a pretty interesting week. To start off, President and Sister
Soares were released, and President and Sister Colleoni (from São
Paulo) arrived! It´s both sad and exciting, since the new President
and Sister seem wonderful.

Valtemir made great progress this week; he didn´t drink or smoke from
Sunday until Friday, when he had a relapse. We took Valtemir to the
house of a recent convert named Joacy, who also drank a lot before his
baptism. Joacy bore testimony to Valtemir, gave him advice and
encouraged him, telling him about how happy he is to have left his old
self behind and started this new life as a follower of Jesus Christ.
We´re going to keep working with him until he can get baptized.
Patience is a virtue. :)

Thursday night, we had an activity that we missionaries organized
with our bishop´s help. We did the Iron Rod activity where everyone
got blindfolded and had to follow the "iron rod" (a string) through
the chapel to arrive at the tree of life, which was a plastic tree
with chocolates taped onto its branches. It was a success, and we took
several investigators.

Friday, one of the companionships we take care of had a conflict,
so we had to take a bus to their area and sit down and talk to them to
help them out.

It was a pretty crazy week, but I was blessed with many tender
mercies. One is that a less-active member named Dantas sent us home
with lots of delicious birthday cake on the day we went to visit him.
As I always mention, I´m always amazed by how giving these people are.
We got to eat a delicious lunch on Sunday, a dish called
"escondidinho," which is made with macaxeira (also called
mandioca....I don´t know the word in English) and chicken and is
absolutely heavenly. A man named Eduardo showed up at church on Sunday
with a member from another ward here in Natal, so we´re going to start
teaching him. He seems really great and receptive. And the best tender
mercy of all was a phone call from Sister Stadler. She called me on
Friday, which was a pretty discouraging day, and she told me she felt
like she needed to call me but she didn´t know why. She is so sweet!
And on Sunday, she called me and handed the phone to Aparecida, a
woman we had started teaching the week before I was transferred. She
called to let me know that she had been baptized that day and was
extremely happy :) I love being a missionary, because the work we do
keeps going forward even after we leave.

This week is transfers, so I´ll let you all know what happens!

Sister Weatherford

Pictures: Us with Sister Talentino and Sister Mulberry, who came from
Sousa to renew their visas

Us with the delicious pizza we ordered (yes, that´s chocolate pizza)

This is Aparecida, the woman from Mossoró who called me! Love her! <3 

Us in our area

Us eating açaí :)

Us picking up investigators on Sunday morning