Monday, September 23, 2013

Transfer Week...

Oi, Família! 

We find out tonight what my next 6 weeks are going to look like. But I'm honest and truly fine with whatever happens--if I get to stay in Cerquilho, I'll be ridiculously happy. But if the Lord needs someone else here...then I know that'll be what these people need. So--now we wait!

This week was CRAZY. We have so much work to do, it's wonderful. I've decided I'm going to have to write an entire letter about Mara and her family one day (I mentioned finding them last week), because these people are AMAZING! It is a complete miracle that we stumbled upon their family, and even more so that they've all just grasped onto the gospel like this. There's Edson and Mara, and four adopted kids--Gabi, Jean, Ana Beatriz, e Camily. And then there's Tamires, who's their daughter-in-law. We haven't taught her husband yet, but he's supportive of all of this. Every time we visit them, they have a whole list of questions about what they've studied or (for the girls) what kind of things that "mormons" can do, like what to wear, etc. Edson is reading the Book of Mormon and UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING! The other day in a lesson he and a member we brought with us started getting into a pretty deep analysis of the first few chapters in 1 Nephi--comparing Lehi to Noah, and talking about the pattern that God calls prophets in every dispensation. And he's trying to stop drinking coffee, and read 1 Nephi 3:7 and applied it to his own life! He's amazing. Yesterday they all walked to church (except for Mara, because she physically can't...someone picked her up) in the RAIN for 45 minutes, and once they got there they all participated...we don't have a Gospel Principles class, and so they were in Gospel Doctrines studying D&C, and Edson still commented! This family is incredible. :) 

I have absolutely loooooved the last couple of weeks. Sister Dutra and I super different, but we have the same work ethic and desire, so everything works out really well. We don't stop teaching/talking to people/planning for our investigators...almost ever! We study, leave the house on schedule, and don't stop to eat or come back until 9:30 most days. (The latest we can stay out--because we almost always have someone to teach in the last slot!) It's an incredible experience, and more than ever I'm learning what it means to be a part of the Lord's army--here to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. And I know that I have a long way to go, but I know we're on track. And we're being so blessed for it! We keep having people placed in our path that need to hear our message, or are looking for us. In the last two weeks, we've found 5 less active members that didn't have records here in Cerquilho just by talking to people on the street. Oh, one of them--we wanted to visit a less active member, and knew the name of the street but not the number. We were close to the street, so decided to try asking people if they knew where he lived. When we turned the corner, we saw a woman standing in a windowsill on the second story of a house, so went over to talk to her. As we were talking with her, the window from the first story house opened, and a woman stuck her head out. "You're missionaries? Come in, come in!" This was Edna...she moved here from Northern Brazil 5 months ago, and both her and her husband are members! The woman upstairs was her sister, and we started teaching her and her family as well. Oh, haha--and it turned out that we had already talked to her sons one Sunday morning and invited them to church! They had work then...but they're all receptive, so who knows what'll come of this! 

Ok, time's out. I love you all, and it means sooo much to me that you all take the time to write to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Have a great week!

Sister Fuller

Monday, September 16, 2013

And the tan lines begin!!

Yikes Yikes Yikes. No time. 

So, everyone says that summer doesn't start until October. But I'm here to tell's coming. Haha next week I need to send a picture I took of my feet yesterday--hilarious. I have some rocking tan lines :)

My wonderful, wonderful family! You would not believe how much I love this area. Cerquilho is the best area in the mission. If it was up to me, I think I'd stay here for the next year! 

We are seeing MIRACLES here in Cerquilho! We are working so, so hard and we're being immensely blessed for it. We had 16 people we taught this week come to Church! 11 investigators, and 5 less active members. MILAGRES. Before coming to Brazil, I prayed that my companion would be obedient, and confident in what we needed to do. That would be Sister Dutra. :) She is sooo amazing, and I'm learning so much from her. We had Zone Conference this week in Sorocaba, and I basically just heard President say everything that Sister Dutra's been quoting from him the last 4 weeks. So cool! (Side note: Before the second half of the conference, President walked by me and said "Sister Fuller, how about a number?" Which I interpreted as a number that all of us can in choose the hymn. Nope. It meant, "Sister Fuller, you're going to do a solo. Right now. For all of these missionaries, in Portuguese. Yiiiiiikes.   Hopefully no one will remember the next time they see me!)

One of the things that I've seen this week is that if I exercise the faith to talk to people, the Lord will put people in my path that are prepared to accept the gospel. The most notable example of this is the family of Irmã Mara. 

We talked to Thamires on the street, and she said we could visit her another day. When we returned we were warmly welcomed, and out came Mara..."Sisters! So good to see you!"

It turns out Mara (mother in law to Thamires) is a member, and hasn't had any contact with the church in over 30 years. Her records aren't in Cerquilho or anything, but when Thamires told her about talking to us she recognized that we were from the Church and gathered her three little daughters (8, 12, and 15) and they prayed that we would return. There are 9 people living in the house, all living according to the standards necessary to be prepared for baptism. We've been teaching them, and her husband read the Book of Mormon, and she said, "I think this is it. This is the time for my whole family to come back to the church." Her and the girls came to church yesterday and it was soooo wonderful. She needs this, and so does the branch! They're just a special, special family. Camile, who's eight years old, decided that she likes me yesterday. Haha. She was my little shadow, and kept hugging me! It's kind of adorable. And Mara calls us her angels. :)

Well, I'm out of time. I'll write more later...but I love you all! Stay strong!

Sister Fuller

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Scatter Sunshine, all along the way...."

Oi, Família! Todo bem?!

This week was awesome. Most notably, my portuguese is improving!! Haha. There's still a loooong way to go, but I've been able to express myself a lot better this week. Jeissy said, "Wow Sister, you're speaking a lot!" after one of our lessons and it totally made my night---she's one of the people that had a hard time understanding me at the beginning. :) 

Buuuut...honest and truly, this is the work of the Lord. This week was wonderful :) I had my first "Thisbee moment"--my great, great, great, great grandma, right? There's the story when they were traveling to Utah and they were pushing the handcart downhill, and her sister said to their mother, "wouldn't it be wonderful if we could go downhill all the way to Zion and you could ride on the cart like a queen?" (or something like that) And with the wisdom that only mother's have, Elizabeth taught her girls about how the hard times in our life teach us to appreciate the good. Opposition in all things, all that jazz :) Well, Tuesday was our mountain, and Wednesday was the most glorious "ride downhill" ever! 

Wednesday, nearly all of our appointments went as scheduled, and we taught more lessons than we ever have in Cerquilho. What's more, each of these lessons were just charged with the Spirit, and we could see the difference that the gospel was making in the lives of our investigators! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! 

Lucia, who came to church last week, was really worried about how her "husband" (no one's actually married here...yet!) would respond to her interest. And on Wednesday, we were finally able to sit down and talk to him! We taught the whole family the Restoration again, and it was so cool--almost like having a lesson with a member. Lucia and Thassiane were there saying, "Yes, I believe that this the true church of Jesus Christ" and "I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God" and all sorts of wonderful comments. BEAUTIFUL! And José looooved it. He accepted the invitation to be baptized, and Lucia leaned over and playfully shook him saying, "but first we need to get married!" Ahahaha. Looove this family. What's more, for whatever reason he likes my accent! "I like it when she talks. I think it sounds beautiful when she talks." Whaaat? I'll take it :) And every time we visit them (we've been back since) he'll say at least twice that he likes us, and is glad that we're teaching his family. 


So their family is amazing...but they didn't come to church on Sunday. We'll find out why tomorrow, but I'm not too worried. They're doing so great!

Also, Jeissy really progressed this week! We have a baptismal date with her and she's really starting to want it for herself. Her prayers are the sweetest things ever, and she's so sincere in her desire to find the truth. She told us, "I don't know why I feel so much more open with you! I feel like I can tell you Sisters anything, you know? I'm not like this with other people. But you're really helping, so thank you." She is SOOO sweet. Love, love, love her! Also, random tidbit--after our first lesson with her I told Sister Dutra I knew she'd get baptized...because she's my 15 year old girl here in Cerquilho. And apparently, I always have baptisms for 15 year old girls :) Haha

Whew, no time. But I'm doing wonderfully...I love this area, it's beautiful. I realized on Sunday that I know the names of all the members in the branch--perks of having less people! But I really feel like I'm starting to settle into being a real missionary here in Cerquilho, and not just the american/quiet companion. It's really good. I've also just learned a ton this week, and have had really great studies. The scriptures have all the answers that we need--how grateful I am to have the opportunity to learn from them each day!! The Lord has given us everything we need to be successful--I know that He sent us here to this life to succeed, not to fail. He loves us, He has a plan for us.  :) And I love you all!!! 

Até mais!
Sister Fuller

Monday, September 2, 2013

From Brazil

Hi :) 

There's music blasting in the lan house (where we email) and it's ridiculously difficult to concentrate right now. I kind of want to go poke someone in the eye. :) 

Sooo another week here in Cerquilho! I've decided that Cerquilho is probably the prettiest city in the mission. I love all of the flowers here, and being able to just see green hills and trees and such. I'm definitely not in the big city! It's a weird location geographically, because it's kind of in the corner of three different missions. We're in the Campinas temple district, and pretty disconnected from the rest of São Paulo. We keep having problems of finding people to teach that live in other missions, but they don't have missionaries there and it's close to us. Weird problems, right? 

Guess what!!! Lucia came to church!! She's one of the first people we taught here in Cerquilho, and I can't understand a word she says. It's glorious. But from what Sister Dutra's told me, she was going to another church and they gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon (how bizarre is that?!). When we came and started teaching her, she pulled it out to read again and loooved it. But she's had some health problems, so didn't come last week. But she came!! And liked it, and her daughter's going to come next week! Thassiane, I can understand. She's the best. "How did you feel when you prayed?" "Foi maravilhosa!!" But....neither of them are legally married, so they can't get baptized yet. 

Another investigator that we didn't really think had a lot of potential progressed a TON this week! We had tried to stop by without any success, but then one day he called US to set up an appointment! The next day we were following up on what he read, and he had not only read what we had left him, but the first part through the testimony of Joseph Smith. "Wow, Joseph Smith had to wait 4 years to get the plates!" Uhh....yeah, he did! So he's reading and understanding, and feels good about everything. He smokes, but is going to stop so he can get baptized :) We had a wonderful lesson with him, and then he brought out a bunch of food for us. Apparently they do that in Brazil to show that they're grateful...that's what Sister Dutra said, anyway. So sweet! He didn't come to church, but called us to apologize and felt awful--he had to take his grandfather to the hospital in São Paulo, so a good excuse. Yay yay yay for Ricardo!!! 

We've been teaching Ivani since day one here in Cerquilho. She's the wife of the ward mission leader, and has met manymanymany sets of missionaries. She's having a hard time recognizing answers to her prayers, so we've been helping her a lot, and reteaching some basic principles. But she likes us!! It's really kind of a neat situation, because Irmão Celio can give us feedback on what she's thinking. So we know she has a desire to know, and that she really likes us! It was so sweet. The other night we were leaving, and she chased us out the door saying, "Wait! I'm not going to let you walk home, let me give you a ride!" My blisters were pretty bad, so that was nothing short of a miracle. Another cool feedback thing from Irmão Celio is that he can tell us how he feels--it's a pretty unique opportunity. But he always talks about how there's a really strong spirit when we're in their home, and he knows she feels it. That's so sweet, and such a treasure to hear! 

On Saturday that was a lunch for the branch and training on misisonary work! How cool is that, right?! The branch is so good. They all want to help, and I've really been able to feel like I've gotten closer to the ward even in the last couple of days. Testimony meeting was really sweet. Pretty much every person in the branch bore their testimony, which is really special. This branch is really close, and you can tell they love one another. And they were soooo good and welcoming Lucia!!

Well, I'm officially out of time if I'm going to try to send pictures. Love you so much! Thank you for your prayers and your love, and all of your wonderful examples. Ate segunda! 

Sister Fuller