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?)