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