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