Monday, December 30, 2013

Feliz Ano Novo!

Dear Family, 

It was sooo good to talk to you on Wednesday! We had a great Christmas, very non traditional. Lots of talking to people, and sharing the story of Christ's birth as told in the Book of Mormon. Oh, haha--we did end up singing on the bus. Sister Pereira kind of wanted to die, but it was just too perfect! The didn't have the radio on, everyone was just sitting there looking, and I just wanted to sing. So we asked the bus driver for permission, stood at the front, and I just anounced who we are, etc and a little bit about the doctrine of Christ. And we told them we were going to sing. So we "went caroling" (as close as I'm going to get to it in Brazil) and sang hymns, and then invited them all to learn more and gave them passalong cards with the address to the church on them. Some people were legitimately interested! Others just thought we were nuts. But it was fun :) 

This week was Thiago's baptism! I can't send photos today because of the computers we're using, but I'll try next week. Stinkin´obnoxious, all the places are closed because of New Year´s. 

Thiago is INCREDIBLE. His girlfriend is a member in a nearby ward, and had told him a little about the church. She gave him a Book of Mormon (in English, cause it was all she had) and he started reading, and asking questions. One day, he just showed up at Church here in Salto, all by himself! He had thought he knew where it was, and the day before had driven by to check. Without saying anything to Leide, he just went to church. The Sisters talked to him, and they taught him about the Restoration that Tuesday. The next day, I arrived and we started teaching him! He didn't have one single problem, and his testimony is incredible. Incredible, I've never seen anything like it. He believes in the restored gospel, and will defend it to everyone! His baptism was really, really special, especially because it was so special to him. What's more, Thiago and Leide are just so happy that now they're going to prepare to get married in the temple! 

Another investigator that I've quickly fallen in love with is Sonia. She's the wife of a man who's coming back to church. We started teaching her my first full day here, and she told us that in the last couple weeks, she started reading the Book of Mormon on her own! She has a testimony of it, which is sooo important. Her situation is a little difficult because she takes care of her 88+ year old dad, and can't leave him alone to go to church...and it's been ridiculously difficult to find permanent solutions. But she wants to get baptized, and she wants to see her whole family together at Church--and together for all eternity. :) 

I loooove you all!! So much!! Have a great couple of days--and a happy new year!

Sister Fuller

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Natal!


It's Christmas week!! How are you all doing? How's the SNOW? The sun's just lovely, thanks. :) I showed a picture to my companion from last December, and she freaked out about how much darker my hair was before. hahaha. Much has changed :) 

So this week was transfer week....and I left Cerquilho. :( I had the most wonderful time serving there, and I learned so much! But Sister Garner and I were both pretty sure I'd leave, so I didn't cry or anything. Ok, lies. I cried saying goodbye to people. I think change will always be that way...but my point is, it's a healthy change. So Sister Garner is now training a Brazilian Sister lá em Cerquiho, and I'm serving in the Mont Serrat area! (Pronounced Mon-chee Say-ha) My new companion is Sister Pereira from the Matto Grosso do sul. She just finished training, so I'll be senior companion again. And unfortunately, she doesn't really know our area yet. Or fortunately, because asking for directions is the easiest way for me to do contacts! But she's really super cute and excited to work! It'll be a good transfer. 

The ward is INCREDIBLE here!! The difference is incredible. I went from a branch above a pharmacy with 20 people every week to a huge, beautiful chapel with "only 100 or so, because almost everyone has callings in the Stake and never are here". There's an Elder from the 70 that lives in our ward--we're going to eat lunch with them tomorow. Really, the ward is just the same as the ward I grew up in. We had the Christmas activityFriday night, and they went all out--it was really fun. The Bishop is so good, and our ward mission leader is a rockstar! Last night, I asked him to come with us to visit someone, and he ended up staying with us almost 2 hours visiting people and doing contacts. Really, he  was doing contacts too! So cool. He got back from his mission a little over 3 years ago, and is super excited right now. 

We have one superstar investigator--his girlfriend is a member, and he just showed up at church last week. The Sisters taught him one time before I got here, and he accepted a baptism date for the 28th! He thought it was early, but then a member bore his testimony and Thiago (the investigator) decided that the best way to start the new year would be to make this sacred covenant now. So we're teaching him, and he's so incredible! He participates in Gospel Principles (cause we have a gospel principles class now. Fancy!) and wants to pay tithing already, and invited his whole family to come to the lessons with us. I'm so excited for him to receive all the blessings of the gospel. :) 

And of course, this week is Christmas....já??? It's easy to forget. I don't know how many times I tried to mark visits with people on "wednesday" and they just looked at me like I was crazy. "Oh right, Christmas is on Wednesday! Sorry! How about Thursday?" But I know it's the Christmas season, so no worries! President Martins gave us a special lesson to share with people about the birth/coming/purpose of Christ using the Book of Mormon, and I'm really excited to start using it more this week. I love Christmas :) 

Well, that's all I've got time for right now--until next Monday! (And family, I'm super excited to talk to you on Wednesday!) Love you all!

Sister Fuller

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

After the "trial of your faith"

Dear family, 

As I write this, Taylor Swift's "We are Never Getting Back Together" isblaring in the background. Sister Garner and I just about died laughing! What is this....

Anyway, we have had such a great week in Cerquilho! It feels like it's been a month with all that's happened...but tudo bem. Mission time is a strange thing! 

This week, both Angelica and Fabio got baptized! I know I haven't said anything about Fabio--sorry about that. There's just never enough time to write about everything I want to! But Fabio is a rockstar. He's so cool. You know those stories that you read about in the Ensign and think, "wow, do these things really happen?" Yes. They do! They happen to Fabio! 

There's a 17 year old young woman in our branch named Tamires. She's super sweet, and I love her to death! She's just really pretty inside and out, and such a good example to me of being pure and always worthy to have the Spirit. Tamires and Fabio study in the same class. They were friendly, but never really close. One day, Fabio came up to Tamires and started talking to her. He asked her what it was that made her different than everyone else! She explained that it was because she had the gospel in her life, and it helped her to be strong. She quickly told him that if he wanted to learn more, she could give him a Book of Mormon and explained just a little bit about what it was. Fabio later told us that he really had been looking for something more, and that her offering the Book of Mormon was an answer to prayers. He accepted, and later that week she gave a copy to him with the last two paragraphs in the Introduction marked, inviting "all men everywhere" to read the Book of Mormon, ponder the message that it contains, and then ask God if it is true. He read a part, and in his words "I just thought it was a little strange". Haha. But he prayed about it (he hasso much faith) and decided he should read it more carefully. So he did, and then asked God if it really was true. He felt the Spirit testifying that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and his testimony of that just keeps growing! He went to church the next Sunday, where we met him and set up a time to teach him. Then we just started helping him to learn everything he needed to be prepared to get baptized. He is so full of faith, and despite receiving a ton of opposition from his family and friends, he told us that he knows it's true, and he needs to obey. Modern day Nephi. :)

I'm out of time, and I've already written a ton about Anglica...but she'sincredible and her baptism was such a special experience! She was so happy, and she's going to be such a strength to the branch! She is such an incredible example of how the Lord is in the details of our lives. 

I love you all!

Sister Fuller

Monday, December 9, 2013

I'll be where you want me to be :)

Dear Family, friends, da da da...

I hope you're all doing great! Wow, it's kind of crazy to see Karalee's pictures of snow. We're living in very different parts of the world right now. But....they're getting ready for Christmas here, too! It's so cute. Sister Garner and I were noticing that everyone has Santa Clause climbing up ladders as decorations, or on a hang glider, or a parachute. What's up with that, we thought! Then we got it--no one has chimneys in Brazil! But everyone has walls surrounding their house, so he has to get over their walls! Aha!!! Hahaha so dang cute. Another fun tidbit--the words to the song that's the same tune as jingle bells is all about Jesus Christ. Super cute!

We had an incredible week! We had exchanges this week with our Sister training leader. The closest one is 2 hours away by bus, so her and her companion just came her and we split up in Cerquilho. In a crazy turn of events, they happened to be the other American companionship. So 4 americans in the same city! It was fun, and I learned a TON from Sister Butterfield. She's going home next week, so she had a lot of wisdom to pass on! 

Remember Angelica, who I mentioned I think a couple of times already? She's doing soooo great. This week she accepted a baptism date! She was showing us what she had read in the Book of Mormon and read outloud 4 verses that had stuck out to her--Moroni 10:4, 5, 27, and 31. Then she just stopped and looked up at us, and we said, "I think you already have your answer." And she said, "Yeah, I do!" She came to church and loved it (it was the primary program--soooo good!) and is really so amazing. She had been worried that it would be hard to change her lifestyle, but told us yesterday that Saturday night, she had gone out with some friends. They all bought drinks, she bought water. They all danced, and she stood there. "I just didn't want to anymore. I didn't feel good there. But I felt good at church, and I feel good with you." We read Mosiah 5:2--about the mighty change of heart that the Spirit brought to there, so that they had no more dispoistion to do evil, but to do good. It was a really special moment! 

Another miracle this week was Isaías. Remember the slightly creepy way that we started teaching him? He's not creepy. He's just really, really spiritually hungry. Oh my goodness, we had such a good lesson with him! Ah! I love all of our investigators! Isaías is studying the Book of Mormon. He's using the scripture guide, footnotes, the pamphlet we gave him...and he's understanding so much. "What I'm starting to understand is that God wants us to be happy. He wants us to be happy now, and to have joy in the life to come. And for me to have that joy, I need to repent and do as it says here (pointing to a verse in 2 Nephi 31)--enter in through the gate of baptism" It was so incredible! He's had a lot of challenges in his life, and they had caused him to lose faith in God for a while. But he knows that was wrong now, and he's learning where to turn. And he loves it! The best part was when we invited him to say the closing prayer. He didn't want to, and when I asked what was stopping him, he asked, "Will my prayer count if I don't yet have much faith? Will it be registered in the heavens?" I basically quoted Elder Holland's talk "Lord, I Believe" and told him that it's not the size of our faith that matters, but the integrity we give to it. We had an amazing teaching moment, and he said that he would pray. And then came the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard! It rates up there with the father of King Lamoni's prayer, with just real, honest intent and so much faith. "O God--I want to believe. And so I will trust in you, and I will believe that I can be saved. I will follow what it is you want me to do, and I will change..." ...and so it continued. It was INCREDIBLE, and it made all three of us cry! He told us he hasn't cried in years, but has already cried twice since he's started studying the gospel. He said he used to get home and just want to watch TV--he doesn't like to read--but now when he gets the chance, he just picks up the Book of Mormon to study. He's seeing the change in himself, and he likes it. He liked church but thought there was "too much time in between the classes". (AKA he doesn't want to socialize--just study!) He's so great!

Well, I'm out of time. I love you SOOOO much! 

Sister Fuller

Photo--Sister Garner, me, Sister White, and Sister Butterfield

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy December!!

It's not December. There's no way. But I'll play along for now....

Dear Family, friends, etc--

How's it going? Cerquilho's still doing great. Sister Garner is the world's greatest blessing, and I'm so happy to be serving here with her. This week we had zone conference in Sorocaba, which was awesome! President and Sister Martins truly are inspired. For the Blairs--I met Sister Ward!! We took a picture that I'll try to's not showing up on the computer right now. But as always, I love to learn what it is that President wants us to do! I know he really is recieving revelation for us, and when we apply what he teaches us we always will see results. So that was good. :) 

Follow up--Izilda is still awesome! She's pretty confused about things right now, which is sad to see, but she really wants to know the truth. Last week I commented to her that Irmã Lourdes (member) lives on the next street over, and one day she went searching for her to have someone to talk to and to ask her to read the Book of Mormon for her. (Remember, she had eye surgery recently). She even found another Lourdes first, but "she wasn't mormon" so Izilda kept looking! 

We're teaching a woman named Silvia who is the happiest person I've ever met in my life! Before she said the closing prayer she asked, "But are you going to sing another hymn first?" (normally we don't) and Sister Garner said, "Do you want us to?" to which she perked up and responded, "Yes, please!" Haha. She's the greatest! She wants to get baptized, but needs to get married first--which is the problem. They were married in a church, but not legally, and now her "husband" doesn't want to. But we have faith that as we keep praying and she keeps reading the Book of Mormon and showing that she wants it, Heavenly Father will touch his heart. Same as what happened with Linda and Al, in Ava! Without a doubt the Lord will provide a way for us to obey His commandments :) (Awkward moment when I can't remember the words to the scripture in English! 1 Nephi 3:7. Whaaaat is happening!) 

One of our greatest sources of joy right now is Angelica. She's INCREDIBLE! I think I mentioned that I have an irrational fear of stopping men on the streets to talk to them...and also old people. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I'm trying to get over it. Haha so one day, a couple weeks ago, we talked to Reginaldo, who's both a man and the slightest bit old! (ok, so only mid 50s. But whatever) He immediately confirmed my fear: "Hello, girls! You're very pretty!" Ok...let's talk about the gospel now. Hahaha. Anyway, it turned into the longest contact ever (15 minutes?) where he told us that his family really did need the gospel, and that he and his wife were separating, and going through a bunch of other really hard things. We talked about how the gospel helps us, read from the Book of Mormon, and actually ended up giving him one there on the street. But he really wanted us to visit his wife--who is Angelica. She's really the sweetest person I've ever met, and going through a really hard time right now. She just glitters, and is so full of love. Everytime we see her on the street she sticks her whole torso outside the car and arms waving calls, "Sisters!! Oi, Sisters!!!" It's so dang cute! Haha. But she really, really understands what we teach her. She believes in it, too! She's reading everything we mark for her in the Book of Mormon, and she's having her own spiritual experiences. We had marked Alma 7 for her to read, and she told us that when she read verse 15, she just started crying. She has a hard time distinguishing when she's feeling the Spirit and when it's "just her", so we read Moroni 10:6-8, and talked about how we all feel it's influence differently. I love her....

Funny/interesting story--the other day we realized we were being followed by a man in a truck. Naturally, we were a little freaked out...finally, he pulled up next to us and told us that he had been following us even longer than we knew!! Uh....what?? Hahaha but it turned out to be a crazy "coincidence"--he saw us, wanted to talk to us, but didn't. Then he was in his car and saw us again--and decided that he'd try to talk to us this time! We marked down his address and said we'd stop by the next day. So with a lot of prayer that he wouldn't be creepy, we went...and he actually really, really wants to learn about the gospel!!! His name is Isaías, and he's SUPER receptive. And he really belives in what we told him. So that's kind of cool! 

Well, I'm out of time. But I love you all, and hope you're all doing great! Have an awesome week!

Sister Fuller

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...Christmas??

Ummm...don't hate me. 8 minutes to write. I had a lot to say to Presidente, and it has to be in Portuguese, so I can't just copy and paste, sorry!!!

Dear Family, 

Happy week of Thanksgiving!! I LOVE serving with Sister Garner because the holidays can mean something here. Still not a lot, but we can talk about it...and dream about what we'd eat if we were at home. Haha we're pretty sad. But it's fun. Sister Garner really is the best! She's always positive and optimistic, and it's SUCH a blessing to me! I'm learning a ton from her. 

This week we had another miracle with Izilda! Remember her? She was a referral from a different referral that we recieved from a contact on the street. She had eye surgery recently and was a little depressed one day, and prayed asking for God to send her an angel. And in the miraculous string of events that lead to her, we showed up at her door that same day. She has family that's living in the US right now that are all members of the church, and she has a super old edition of the Book of Mormon that her mom had given to her before she had passed away.

This week, we stopped by and her ENTIRE FAMILY that are members of the church were visiting from the US--just that day, and only for a couple of hours. But we had decided to stop by (nothing irregular in our thoughts--just planning. Which shows you that the Spirit really does work through simple things, and rewards us for our diligence!) 

Anyway, we taught her and her husband with the whole family there, and it was wonderful. We sang "I am a Child of God" and she started crying...the Spirit was so strong. And everyone bore their testimonies to her, and it was just a really special moment!

And then, since they were visitng from the US....THEY GAVE SISTER GARNER AND I REESES PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!! I was so ridiculously happy. Seriously. 

But I love you all!!! Thinking of you always!!

Sister Fuller

First christmas lights of the year (I'm a dork)

Christmas lights on a palm tree!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Big, big hugs across the world!

Dear Family (and whoever else reads these), 

I am SO SORRY for not talking about ANYTHING last week! I felt awful, but the hour ran out and I got logged off. Oops. :( But I wrote a super long handwritten mail that will be in the mail tomorrow. Promise :)

This week was great, we're just keep on doing what we know how to do....and knowing the Lord will bless our efforts. It's incredible, and a littlefreaky to think about how much responsibility I have right now. More or less, Sister Garner and I are responsible for inviting the whole of Cerquilho to come unto Christ, and for helping the to receive the restored Gospel. (AKA, their salvation...) It scares me a lot when I think about how weak I am alone. But I know that we're never, not ever alone when we're enlisted in the service of the Lord. He'll bless His children here in Cerquilho, because He loves them. He wants them to receive the sacred ordinances that'll help them to return to His presence. 

Quick something from yesterday, and then I wanted to better answer the questions you sent me!

Yesterday, we finally  had a lesson with Edina, an investigator who's been ridiculously hard to find the past month. (I really have been in Cerquilho a while, huh? New experience for me on the mission.) She's incredible. We followed up on how she was doing reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us, "I know you said to read every day, but I haven't read yet today, and I didn't yesterday either." Without talking to her for a month, she's been readingevery day!!!!!! Uhhh...MIRACLE. She's in the book of Alma, over 250 pages into the Book of Mormon. She says she doesn't understand everything she reads, but that she feels a lot of peace. What's more, she told us there's been a change in her life since we started talking to her. Her relationship with her "husband" (she needs to get married) has improved, her son who had health problems before has been sooo much better, and she's been able to sleep better at night. She says she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. She's kind of the sweetest person ever, and I love her to death!

Ok, I'm ready now :)

My favorite thing about being on  a mission:
It's a little selfish, but I love the clarity in which I'm understanding the Gospel now, as well as my purpose as a missionary! I see the basic principles of the Gospel in a way I never have before, and I'm learning a new depth to them. I LOVE IT. Of course, I love the obvious--seeing a similar clarity come into the eyes of others, and witnessing the power of the gospel in changing their lives. 

The part that's the most difficult:
This may be just a personal thing--but we do have a lot of responsibility as missionaries, and we have to be 100% filled with faith. I have to learn how to handle stress that's a whole lot bigger than anything I've ever felt before, and always work my hardest. For me, the hardest part might be my own expectations. I never want to let anyone down, and I want to be the best I can. But if my expectations aren't realistic, or I lack in faith, I'll feel overwhelmed or under qualified. Advice--don't do that. :) Trust in the Lord, and be strong!

I'm grateful that I prepared by...
-Being familiar with and having a love for the Book of Mormon
-Learning how to talk to strangers. Get rid of the "don't talk to strangers" mentality that you're taught all your life...
-Experiences I had that taught me the power of personal prayer. Living faithfully
-Making my decision to serve a prayerful process, conversing with the Lord. Knowing that He wants me to be here, and called me to this place specifically, is PRICELESS. It helps every single day
-Doing my visiting teaching and going out with the Sisters from the Frontenac ward. 
-Leadership opportunities to teach me how to handle responsibility...also something I wish I did more of

-If you're going to Brazil, bring what food or seasoning you're going to miss. Goodness gracious, every said it and I didn't listen! 
-Be a missionary NOW! Learn to talk to everyone
-Internalize "Your purpose" that's in PMG. Use it to answer questions (why you're going on a mission, what you do on a mission, etc)
-Don't forget to do the things that will strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and your Savior right now. Learn how to really, really converse with your Father in Heaven, and rely on Him. You're going to rely on that power every day!
-Actively pray for the gift of charity
-When you struggle to get along with a companion, focus on the work! Work, work, work...the perfect common ground :) 
-Freely compliment when it comes to your mind, and always encourage one another (again, companion advice). It really builds a healthy relationship, where you'll be able to grow together.
-Always remember that your desire determines your success. Decide to serve the Lord, focus on that, and you won't have problems with your companion or homesickness or anything else. 

Love you all sooooo much! Have a great week!

Sister Fuller

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fun in the Sun

Dear everyone, 

I hope you've had a great week! This week was transfer week here in Brazil...which means last district meeting with our awesome zone. Sad. But Sister Garner and I are staying in Cerquilho another 6 weeks! 

The most notable thing that's happened is that this week, we've been without water in our house. There was a little confusion because our area switched from being in the São Paulo Interlogos mission to the São Paulo North mission, and they forgot to pay our water it was cut. No water=no shower, toilet, sink, nada. No washing dishes, no doing laundry, brushing your really can't do much!  We have to go somewhere else to do it all. The first day, we rolled out of bed, threw on our skirts, and hiked the 30 minutes up to our Branch President's house to take a shower. (It's the only house we're allowed to go to...our branch is pretty tiny, and they're the only ones that met all the requirements). And it felt soo good to be clean again! Then it was up to Sister Fuller to talk to the water company and rectify the situation. Yeah, me. Whaaaat. So I basically just did a basic street contact--who we are, who sent us, why we're here--to explain why we had this problem, and then he felt bad for me and tried to help. (I really only speak Portuguese when it's about the gospel). Sister Garner and I payed for the last 3 months that hadn't been paid, and they promised to reconnect our water that day. They didn't. 

This continued the whole week, and now I'm buddies with Roberto, the water guy. Except he's not a very good friend, because we still don't have water! Just kidding, it's not his fault. I found out today that they reconnected it, and then broke our pipe on accident. So now we have water...but can't use it. Baaaaah. We've been going to the church now, and filling up buckets of water, and using that to take showers. The picture is from the first day at home, and all the water we had left...I had sweat a lot that day and REALLY wanted to wash my hair, so I did. Sister Garner thought it was funny and took a picture! 

Other exciting news is that I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese for the first time! 

Hold on, I only have 10 minutes to answer the questions you sent me. If I have more time I'll write more...if not, sorry I only talked about water. Haha. 

Love you!!

Sister Fuller

Monday, November 4, 2013

Verão chegou!!!!

Oi, família!!! 

Karalee said it snowed there. How lovely...haha. This week was calooooor. Muito muito quente. I'm turning brown like Karalee in the summer time. 

We had a great week in Cerquilho! Unfortunately, Junior was not baptized...he had work. Bummer. But he really, really wants to get baptized. We just have to either baptize him in the middle of the night, or...pray more. So we're praying for a miracle! 

We had a lot of work this week. We had the goal of finding 20 new investigators (we really needed to build our teaching pool!) and we DID IT!!! So this coming week, we're going to work a lot with the new people we're teaching to help them to come to church, and mark dates for baptism. It was neat seeing the different ways we found each person--contacts on the street, referrals from contacts on the street, names in the Area Book, referrals from members, referrals from people we visited, (we ask for a lot of referrals. All you really need is a name and an excuse, and people are a lot more willing to talk to you!) talking to families outside their houses, and my favorite--basic contact and the asking to come in and sing a hymn for them. Everyone likes to hear hymns! I like to sing hymns! So it works really well, and invites the Spirit, and then we can start teaching. 

I know that there's a pretty good chance that the people don't really understand what we're saying in our horrific american accents. But that's the beauty of the Gospel--every person that has the desire has the opportunity to know for themselves. Each of us are entitled to our own spiritual experience. If these people believe even that God could have called a prophet in this modern age, that the Book of Mormoncould be true, then that's the start--they just have to pray, believing God will answer their prayers, and they'll know. I just have to teach by the Spirit, and the Spirit will carry our message into their hearts. 

So this week I'm finishing 12 week training--again. And I still feel like I have a million things I need to learn! But I know the Lord is with me, I know this is His work. And I love you all!!!  

Until next week :) 

Sister Fuller

random owl that's always outside the chapel in Tatuí

us with Juliana...awkward selfie :)

Happy Halloween! (When you have two americans serving together....why not?)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Real Life?

Oiiiii :) 

Então. First--Junior almost got baptized yesterday. Want to know why not? Go ahead, guess. 


Nope! Haha OUR BAPTISMAL FONT BROKE. I swear, I have the most random things happen in my life. 

Normally, our baptismal font takes 2 hours to fill up, and has to be done exactly before or the water leaks out. The baptism was scheduled for Sunday morning at 7:30, because it was the only time that both Junior and Edson didn't have work and we wanted Edson to have the opportunity to baptize his son. So we woke up early, started filling the font, and left. We came back 1 hour and 15 minutes later--and one of the sides of the font had snapped and given way, flooding the entire sacrement meeting room with 4 inches of water!!! So we frantically called Irmão Celio, and started trying to get all the water out....I have no idea if these things happen in real life, or just to me. Please, for your entertainment, picture this for a second--Sister Garner and I barefoot in the chapel, hiking up our skirts and trying to scoop up buckets of water...and getting soaked in the meantime! The picture is from when they were emptying the rest of the water from the font--S. Garner, Junior, and Edson. Nossa. 

No worries, the baptism is rescheduled for next week in Tatuí. Junior was a little disappointed since it was pretty much a miracle to have work off, but he's still super animated and ready to go! 

This week we had a special meeting in Sorocaba. The Church Missionary Department is implementing this new program for stress management, and the meeting was to introduce it. It was really good! First, before I forget, I remembered how to get from the...bus stop? (I don't know what it's called in English) to the chapel all by myself!!! It's a walk of 45 minutes, and I'd only been there twice before, so I was pretty proud of myself. Haha. Another thing that I'm proud of myself for is that I'm talking on the phone every day now, like a pro! Woohoo!! Someone had to do it, and so I learned how. And I'm really, really proud of myself because it's a lot harder to understand people than when we're speaking in person! 

Anyway, the meeting was great. It was only a week after the emergency transfers, and everyone wasshocked to see S. Garner and I together. ("It's reallly just the two of you? Wait, are you sure you're not a trio?" Yup, I'm sure!!) Don't get me wrong, S. Garner and I think it's hilarious too, but we're not worried. We know the work is divine, and that the Lord makes up the difference. We just need to be worthy of the incredible power and authority we have because of our calling, and the Lord will consecrate our humble efforts. It's like life in general--it's always going to be hard, but I'll only feel stressed when my demands are greater than my resources. Well I know what resources I have---the entire array of the blessings of the restored gospel in my life! My Savior, the covenants that I've made that qualify me for His divine assistance, personal prayer. The scriptures, the sacrament, the joy of service, my leaders, the guidance of a living prophet! "Fear not, I am with thee; oh be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand; upheld by thy righteous, omnipotent hand." How can I doubt when I know the Lord is with me? I know my trials are only "a small moment" and that I'll come out stronger, so I'll face them with a smile. Like President Monson said in General Conference--we become stronger when we face our challenges and trials with faith and joy. We will overcome them, and we will become spiritually refined. I'll become the person the Lord needs me to be because of the way I'll react to the experiences I'm having now! 

My first day with S. Garner in Cerquilho, I read Helaman 3:35 in my personal study. I felt the Spirit testify to me that this was it--not withstanding the challenges that face me, if I react with "much fasting and prayer" I'll grow stronger every day in my faith and my humility,and my heart will be sanctified and pure. (awkward moment when I only have the scripture memorized in portuguese!)

So we're just trying to trust in the Lord, and show that we have faith by doing all that's in our power! Like I said, it's kind of funny sometimes. I think it's awesome that one day I'll be able to say  "when was a missionary, it was just two americans, barely knowing anything about the language!" (feel free to read that in your best old lady voice). We have our extremely giggly moments, and we think we're kind of hilarious, but it is so much fun. I just feel like we have a really healthy relationship, and that we're growing a lot together. And after the third time serving together, we're pretty certain we're going to be friends for life! 

President Martins said something interesting the other day. He said that the greatest joys of your mission, you'll experience after  your mission. I wonder what that'll be? When I think of how much I've learned the past 6+ months, and the experiences I've had, and think forward to the future--what people I'll meet in the next year, what other conversions I'll get to witness--it makes the time seem so much shorter! And it's exciting, knowing that these people and experiences are "waiting" for me. If I do all I can to gurantee I'm a part of it. Like someone said in the MTC, if I wasn't a part of it, the work of the Lord would still go on. But what would become of me? 

Thanks for all of your love. I think of my family often, and am gaining a greater appreciation for the blessings we share every day! Please always do everthing you can to be strong in the gospel, to share it with others. 

As normal, I'm out of time. But I love you!!! Until next week, 

Sister Fuller

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Dearest family and friends, 

Another week in Cerquilho. Not much changed...just kidding! 

Wednesday morning, President Martins called and talked to Sister Dutra for a while, and then she passed the phone to me. 

"Sister Fuller. How are you feeling as a full time missionary? Are you ready for 'prime time'?"

There was an emergency transfer and Sister Dutra needed to go take the place of another Sister in Jangira. And all he told me was that he would come later today with my new companion--who is also American--and that I would be Senior. Gulp!
Aaaaand then my companion arrived, and she's super awesome. She's from Mesa Arizona, she comes from a big family--oh yeah, it's Sister Garner! Woohoo!!!! (we're going to be together forever) We are having SO MUCH FUN! I love being a missionary. I also love Sister Garner. And Cerquilho, and Brazil, and pretty much just everything about my life right now! 

What's really neat about this is that President Martins didn't know (or remember) that we had already been companions (twice). Only Heavenly Father, and com certeza, He knows what He's doing! 

Another amazing, wonderful thing that happened this week....IVANI WAS BAPTIZED!! In case you don't remember, Ivani is the wife of our ward mission leader. We've been teaching her since our first day her in Cerquilho, and she's been investigating the church for years. But we really love her, and the time was right...and she finally accepted to get baptized! And it was so beautiful. She made me give the talk at the baptism, but it was so worth the nerves. As I was talking, she just started crying, tears pouring down her face. Oh, Ivani!! Irmão Celio's already talking about preparing for the temple now. Families can  be together forever--through Heavenly Father's plan. I know that this is true, and I love being a missionary. I love helping families to become more whole, more united. I love seeing the change the gospel brings to the lives of these people! 

Juliana's doing WONDERFUL. She asked if she can come out with us to visit other people one day every week, and is sharing the gospel with all of her friends. She has a "Gospel Principles" book and was studying baptism and the gift of the holy ghost, and had questions about what she read--deep, soul searching questions. She's changed. I love her... :) She also already paid tithing--something that was hard for her to accept before her baptism. 

Got to go...Love you all so much!! 

Sister Fuller

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Minha querida família, 

Bummer. I have a million things to say, and barely 15 minutes to write it all! 

Thank you for all of your emails, it's so good to hear how you're all doing. I love you so much, and am grateful for your examples to me! 

Something I forgot to mention last week is that we gained a recent convert! Haha no, we didn't have a baptism...yet here's Vera. Only miracles here in Cerquilho. :) Vera is a woman who was on vacation visiting her daughter in Southern Brazil. Her daughter is a member of the church, baptized just 5 months ago herself. While Vera was visiting, the Elders there taught her, she went to Churh and loved it, and was baptized. And now she's back in Cerquilho, excited and ready to help! It's such a blessing, she's going to help this branch so much. 

Juliana was baptized this week! Jul is 100% amazing. I just love her. She's 17 years old, and is the perfect example of a "desert rose"--someone pure and spiritual and strong that comes from a home full of all the horrible things the world has to offer. It breaks my heart to leave her when we finish teaching her...I just want to snatch her up and carry her far away. She's already talking about serving a mission when she turns 19, and has gone on visits with us! She's sincere about changing her life to accept the gospel standards, asks deep and meaningful questions, and keeps all of her commitments. 

The day of the interview, we couldn't find the Elders and were out of credit on our phone, so we couldn't call them. We were about to head off in one direction when I stopped and said, "let's say a prayer first!" Afterwards, I had the thought to go to a different area first. There, we found the Elders, sitting on a bench. It was a small, simple thing, but it was an answer to prayers and Juliana was able to experience it with us. She thought it was so neat, and it made me so happy to see her learning that Heavenly Father will always be there for her!

At her baptism, she asked if we could sing "A Child's Prayer"--her favorite song we've taught her. It was really special, because I got to sing the second part and look her straight in the eyes and bear my testimony through song--
"Pray, He is there. Speak, He is listening! You are His child, His love now surrounds you." 

She started crying from the time we sang the first hymn all the way through the rest of the baptismal service. It was really sweet! 

Other thing, Edson and Gean recieved the Priesthood yesterday and I was just filled with the same immense joy...beautiful, beautiful thing. 

Bah, and I have no time to share the rest of the stories. Next week, maybe! 

Love you all!

Sister Fuller

Happy October!

Querida família e amigos....tudo bem?!

Happy October! The most beautiful month in the year where the leaves change colors, and the air is cooler, and the sun shines bright all around. Aaaaand we get to watch General Conference! :) 

I'm missing my leaves a little, but we've had some pretty gorgeous weather this week in Cerquilho too! (When it's not raining). Cerquilho is linda, linda, linda. I'm in love with this little city. Sister Dutra is a Sister Training Leader, so on Wednesday we were in Sorocaba all day for leadership counsel. Returning felt so good! Both of us got off the bus and just smiled at each other. We're hooome! 

We had a great week, as always. We're teaching Junior, the son of Mara and Edson! He needs to stop smoking, and then he's going to get baptized. It is so incredibly...just wonderful to teach this family. Each and every one of them is so receptive. (Update: Edson's at 2 Nephi 20!) Junior works until 10 p.m., which is why we haven't taught him much yet. Just on Sundays! But he's wonderful. They're all wonderful. 

Edina Cleide and André Luis, the less active couple that just moved here, are doing great. We're helping them get all of the papers together right now so that they can get married, and in the meantime we're re-teaching them some gospel principles and helping them be strong in the gospel! Repentance is a beautiful thing :) Concentrar a vida. And in the process, we've started teaching her family! Her sister's name is Edina (which allows for no end of confusion) and she is sooo great. Her little baby was sick this past week, and she told us about how one night she went in the other room and just cried. Her husband followed her out, and they prayed together and started reading the Book of Mormon! She says she doesn't understand much, but they're almost to 2 Nephi. 

How great was General Conference? I just about cried listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So beautiful...I miss music. And English. Haha :) Saturday the internet wasn't working in the chapel, so Sister Dutra and I and a family from the branch all ran over to the nearest member's house and crashed their conference-watching-party. It was great. :) One of the members there with us was a recent convert (of 11 months) who's really been struggling. Elder Bednar spoke about tithing, and he started talking to Irmão Celio about all of his doubts. And then Elder Uchtdorf spoke, and he felt like it was just for him! "Nossa, how on earth? That's exactly what Irmão Celio just said!" It was really great, and he was super attentive the rest of the session! 

Sunday everything worked out for us to watch it in the chapel, and it was woooonderful. Haha especially Elder Oak's talk for João and Cris (they need to get married)--he just kept talking, and they looked at eachother, and then at us....yes. Go get! I loved what was said. The commandments are an essential part of the Plan of Salvation, and to be lawfully married is important, regardless of what the world might say. The world changes, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Like my brilliant brother said in his talk last week, "Commandments are not restrictions -- they are blessings that help us achieve our eternal potential." 

Other things I loved from Conference...
- Be clean! The Lord needs people that are different from the world. 
- The Power of Prayer in missionary work
         *Pray to find opportunities to share the gospel throughout the day
         *Pray for people specifically by name
         *To show our faith in our prayer, go out and ACT! Invite others to  learn more. If someone says they're 100% not interested, we still 
           give them directions and leave them with the invitation to come to 
           Church someday if they change their mind.
- If we want to have more experiences in sharing the gospel, we need to speak with more people about it! It's the same principle of "casting your net". Not everyone that you'll talk to will be interested, but some of them will. And the more people you talk to, the higher this number of people that will accept the gospel will be
- Repentance is not a punishment--it is a pathway full of hope (this reminded me of Elder Cristopherson's talk in April 2012--"Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces whenever we speak of it")
- The gift of the holy ghost is essential to our spiritual survival in this dark world! This is why people need the gospel, and why we should always strive to have the companionship of the Spirit with us
- Have I served with all my strength? Not until I've asked for His help--the help each of us is entitled to. He is our Savior, and He's here to help us now. The most important thing we can do in our lives right now (especially for the youth) is to learn how to apply the Atonement in our lives

Well, I love you all! Thank you for the wonderful examples you are to me! 

Sister Fuller
The only copy I have of our zone...and the elders were running. Oh well

A catholic church and part of a park. Pretty!

A random dog that followed me home for 10 minutes. I named him garrafa (which means bottle...I only like it because it's fun to say in a "MUFASA!!" voice!) which is pronounced like gahafa, btw. haha I keep seeing him around the city!

My feet from a couple of weeks ago. It's stronger now!

Not a very good picture, but us with Irmão Celio, Ivani, e Daví and Aldeni and Antonio (members) at the branch activity

Our baptismal font

linda cerquilho...

the park where we had a branch activity

In Tatuí, where we have district meeting



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Families Can Be Together Forever"

Dear Family, 

Guess what! I'm staying in Cerquilho! WOOHOO! 

This week, Mara and Edson's family got baptized! Ok, so I've told you a little about their summary, this was a miracle. We had met a woman on the street that seemed really interested, and so we had set up a time to visit her later that week. We were running a little late, so we gave a quick "Oi, todo bem?" to two women talking to eachother on the sidewalk but didn't stop to say more. When we got to the house of the original contact, no one was there. Sister Dutra and I both felt impressed to go back down the street in the direction we had come from, and talk to those two women. So we did, and did a basic street contact. These women were Tamires and Amanda, friends who lived next door to each other. We wrote down their adresses, and went off to our next appointment. 

Tamires went inside that day, and told her mother-in-law, Mara, that she had spoken with us. Mara recognized that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the same church that she had joined almost 40 years ago. She had fallen away from the church because she moved to a city that hadn't had the church, and because her husband at the time wasn't supportive of her. As a result, she hadn't spoken to anyone from the church in 30 years. She hadn't even known the church was here in Cerquilho! But recognizing the opportunity that God was giving her, she gathered her little daughters and prayed that Sister Dutra and I would return.

The family is Mara and Edson, who have a son that's 20 years old (Junior, Tamires's husband), and four adopted children; Gabriela, Gean, Ana Beatryz, and Kamilly. (sorry I spell the names different every time...but this time it's correct!) Tamires and Junior have a little 3 month old baby, Anzel. 

We returned, and like I already told you, were graciously welcomed. We started immediately to teach them, and they just soaked it all in! In some families, the kids will be playing the whole time, or making a bunch of noise. Here, when we teach every eye is on us. Everyone is partipating, and every one learns...including Sister Dutra and I. I LOVE teaching this family! They love the hymns. After their first Sunday at Church I started teaching the girls primary songs, and they think it's the most wonderful thing in the world! Literally, I brought my song book with me to the next leson, and when I pulled it out of my bag the joy in their eyes was like I had just given them the world's best Christmas present. (Tidbit--their absolute favorite song to sing is "Follow the Prophet") 

One of the greatest sources of joy in all of this is Edson. He was part of a church prior to this that is very, very strong here in Brazil, and very unaccepting of other religions. Usually, these people won't even talk to us. But Edson listened. He studied. He asks questions, he prays. He has unbelievable faith--enough to stop smoking and drinking coffee in these short 2 weeks, and to carry his family through this time that's difficult financially. If they don't find enough money, they'll lose their house. And one night he told us, "I know I'm doing all I can--and on the 27th, I'll be making a covenant with God. He will bless us. Everything will work out." His faith astounds me. And he has gained a love for the Book of Mormon, and for this gospel! My nerdy side comes out when I talk to Edson, and somehow, despite the fact that my language is weak, we have the best theological discussions. He wants to know everything, and he's just more and more filled with light every time we meet with them. He's going to love General Conference this weekend! 

The baptism was beautiful. Perfect! The kids sang, "I like to look for Rainbows" and it was sooo sweet. The spirit was just so strong the whole evening. And the closing song was "Families can be together Forever"....and their was not a dry eye to be seen. 

I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the light we can recieve through the restored gospel is the only way to have "peace in this life, and eternal life in the world to come". I love being a missionary, and sharing this with others!

I love you all! 

Sister Fuller