Monday, July 28, 2014

The Return of the...Wonderful People that I Love!

Dear Family,

Who remembers Cristian and Tatiane? Anyone? They were that couple we found my first days in Ouro Fino that went to the baptism with us, accepted a baptism date, and were super excited...and then randomly and suddenly moved to Paraná. Well--guess what! They're back! And Heavenly Father lead me to them! President Farnes had us all read the story of Alma going back to Amonihah (is that what it is in english? No judging, I don't read the scriptures in english anymore) and then pray to know who the Lord would have us return to. Well, we did that. And I thought of Cristian and Tatiane, but I knew (or thought I knew) that they moved. So I told Sister Ward, "Look, I'm only thinking of this one family, but they don't live here anymore. But maybe there's a new family living there, and we should visit them." Soooo....we went. And they MOVED BACK! And Heavenly Father knew it, so he took us there!!! 

See, this is what's cool about being a missionary. It's not our work. It's His.

Well, we haven't actually been able to teach them yet, which is a bummer. But I know Heavenly Father has something special planned for them! 

I told you a little about Sergio and Serginho (haha, Bob and Bobbi. I like it). Mom, in Portuguese if you add -inho or -inha to the end of any word, it makes it smaller. So it's Sergio and his son, Sergio. Little Sergio. Serginho. :) 

Good news! Sergio was baptized! Serginho's not ready yet, but he's getting there! He had a little relaspe and started smoking again....but he's going to stop now. As a matter of fact, we made a deal. I can't eat chocolate this week, and he can't smoke. I think I'll keep going with it until his body's not addicted to it anymore--that's just two weeks, right? Let's face it, not eating chocolate is probably a good decision for me anyway. 

Sergio's baptism was perfect! He was so excited, so happy. I have some photos I can send you! Woohoo, photos! I'll send it in a separate email--I had to ask for the owner of the computer place to send it to me first. Last night we talked to him more about the temple, and he's really excited. His first wife (and Serginho's mom) died of breast cancer when Serginho was little. He married again, but now they're divorced. When we taught him about the Plan of Salvation, he learned that he really can live with her again...and now we know that they will. Really, really special! 

Well, I am OUT OF TIME. Gotta go, but I love you all! Hope you have a great week! 

Sister Fuller

Monday, July 21, 2014

Remember the turtle?

Dear Family,

How are you all this week? I sure do love you guys! 

Quickly, before I forget--do you remember when I was in Coffeyville, and I saw that turtle brutally killed in front of me? Well, this week the same thing happened...but with a dog. Ok, not the same thing. I didn't think the dog needed saving. But anyway, I saw a dog get ran over by a car this week, right in my front. Eck. Sister Ward just about died, too.

Family, you all are such great examples for me! I love reading Devin's emails (thanks for forwarding them, Mom!) and hearing about all he's learning. I'm so grateful for that Mom and Dad always share what you're learning, or something you're thinking about. My family is pretty awesome. :) I am SO excited that Dad and Sterling are doing family history and FINDING PEOPLE!!! That's my dream!! You guys have to teach me when I get home! That's so neat that you all went to Nauvoo this week. I looooove Nauvoo. It makes me sad to think that probably, I won't be able to participate in the pageant again until I have my own family, but I'll always treasure that summer we went together! Dad, you commented about how it was 4 years ago, and I...don't know. Realized how quickly time passes? Do you know, I arrived on the mission with 19 years. Now I'm 21. It's like an Elder's mission! Haha. Anyway. Let's talk about the gospel. :) 

This week was mildly crazy, but actually, that's kind of normal. Sister Christoffersen always said (probably says, she's still alive) that as true messengers of Christ we don't just believe in miracles--we depend on them. So as miracle believing missionaries, we work really, really hard to see these miracles. Which leads to craziness, so there you go! 

This week, we were working for a miracle baptism. Well, it didn't happen yet, but it will this next Saturday! Sergio and Serginho (remember them?) are really progressing these days! Sergio stopped drinking 100% 2 weeks ago, and accepted a baptism date for the 19th. But then he had to travel for work, so it wasn't going to work out. But he courageously spoke to his boss and told him that he had a "compromisso com Deus" (Sister Ward and I just tried to translate it, and it didn't work out. But you get the gist, right?) and asked if someone else could go that weekend. The boss said, "Cool! Tem que colocar Deus no priemeiro lugar! (Put God first)" but said it was too late. (Awww.) BUT! He could come home the middle of the night on Saturday! Just didn't work out. He got home Sunday at 5:00 p.m., so no baptism yet. But get this! He was reading the Book of Mormon on the bus the entire time! Woohoo! 

During this entire week of craziness with Sergio, we never managed to pass by when Serginho was there too. As a result, we didn't really know how he was doing. We got to church on Sunday, and Serginho was there. He told me that in this last week that he hadn't smoked at all!!!! Not once! Family! God really, really loves his children and answers prayers! This is a MIRACLE!!! He's a little more reluctant about getting baptized, but we taught them both last night about the Plan of Salvation and talked about the role of Christ--that it's not up to them to be perfect, and that we're truly only doing our best when we accept the help of the Savior. I remember a conference talk from last October, I think, that talked about that. It was really good. :) The spirit was really strong in the lesson, and he said he's going to try. He's been taught everything now, and now that they're both overcome their addictions, there's really nothing stopping them! Prayers welcomed! 

I wanted to share a quote I love with you all. I'm not sure who said it, but it goes like this....

"To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in your character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the Plan of Salvation. You are not cast in stone. You not only can change, but you do change, all the time. You are a dynamic, changing, evolving being. You are always changing. You never stay the same. You cannot stand still. You are responsible to who you are and you are responsible for who you will become." 

That's a truth I love as a missionary. I am who I want to be! If I want to be a strong, powerful, missionary that trusts in the Lord, than I am. If I want to be the kind of missionary that talks to everyone she sees and takes advantage of every teaching situation, then I will be! To quote Elder Scott, "We become who we want to be by consistently being who we want to become, every day." 

Testifico. :) 

We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited, and only can be inhibited by our own expectations and limitations. So that's something I've learned. :) 

I love you all so much! Have a great week! 

Sister Fuller

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm Proud to be an American!

Dear loved ones, 

How has your week been? I hope you're doing great! 

Sorry about last week. There's been a lot going on in these last few weeks, and there wasn't enough time to write to both you guys and to President...he wanted to have all the major changes start at the same time, so he asked us to email him our ideas. These last few weeks have broken the norm of missionary life! We said goodbye to President and Sister Martins, and we really will miss them. And then the Farnes family arrived, and there were all sorts of events with that! I did actually write you a letter, so I won't say everything I already wrote...but I feel so blessed that they've really just hit the ground running. My greatest regret (not really the word I want) is that I just won't be able to stay with them for 18 more months. They've done a great job at helping all of us to feel like we're getting to know them already, and are so inspiring. I'm so excited to learn from them! Mom asked me to tell you more about them...the story of their lives, I think Google could do better than me. I've just been so impressed with how their family puts the Lord first in all of their decisions, and are so united. I love them! 

The skimpy email last week really wasn't a lack of things to say, just a lack of time. Sorrysorrysorry. Vania's baptism was perfect--one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission! She was so prepared to take this step. Her father and ex-husband, and his father were there to support Vania and the girls, and we definitely felt the presence of angels there to support her. Actually, her blessing when she was confirmed talked about the people on the other side of the veil that were preparing for and waiting for this moment, so that she could help them to progress towards slavation. It was a blessing very, very special! She was promised that she'd be a great instrument in the hands of the Lord and a great help in bringing the gospel for all those in her family. It was so special...she's doing great. She's taking the girls to Primary activities that Sister Vaughn and I didn't know existed to work on the "Faith in God", and she told us that the girls always are messing with the Church site and watching the videos. Cute :) 

Mom also asked about Sister Training Leader updates...well, things should be changing again this week, but these last few weeks we've been over 10 companionships. Which is a lots of exchanges! But it's been really great. Last week, in between exchanges and conferences and who knows what was happening, Sister Vaughn and I were together for the first time on Thursday. Craziness! Oh, World Cup. That's the other complicating factor. But we play tomorrow, and I think then on Sunday....and then it's over! I'll be honest, I've really like extra study time. Haha. 

Well, here's the biggest news: President Farnes feels like it's good to know about transfers before Preparation day is over so we can, you know, prepare for it. Woohoo! So they called this morning. And actually, the assistants called just now as well to change it. Pois é... (it didn't affect me, just Sister Vaughn)

I'm staying! And my new companion will be Sister Ward. (Someone tell Aunt Krista!) If you remember, she's from New Canan, and is in the same group as Sister Christoffersen and Sister Mills and half the other Sisters in our mission. (It's a really big group!) I'm so excited!!!!! Also, we're going to divide our area, so two new Sisters are coming in.(More interestingly, we'll be dividing our house...woot woot! Experiences!) They're both currently companions, and they'll come here to open Pq. Ouro Fino 2...and they're both currently in Mont Serrat. It's a small world after all...oh, also Sister Ward is coming from Cerquilho!!! Hahahahaha. That's actually pretty funny. We're just missing someone from Santana then! 

Well family, that's about it. Hang in there until next week...we'll have a couple new stories for you. Preview: We started teaching Eliana and Antonio! Eliana was less active for many years, and just started coming back. Antonio's not a member, but for the first time since she's been baptized, he's coming with her to church! Woohoo!!! Prayers welcomed!!! 


Sister Fuller :)

P.S. I never tied in the Subject line. Oops. :) Sister Ward is an American, clearly. This 7th american companion out of 9 total! Gente, this isn't normal in Brazil! But yes, it's official. I'm proud to be an American! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Mission President!

June 30, 2014

Sorry I didn't have any time to write today! I had a long email I had to write to President. HOLY COW I LOVE HIM. We had an emergency last minute leadership council on Saturday (his p-day) to talk to him and he's INCREDIBLE. Him and Sister Farnes!!! I LOVE THEM! 

Vania was baptized this week!!!!!!!!!!! And her daughters!!!!!!!!! Such happiness!!!!!!!

Well, I'm sorry...but I'll write you a letter today and send it. Hope you're doing great. 

BYE :)

Goodbye to President Martins!

June 23, 2014

Hey everyone! 

This week was GREAT! I can't believe Devin and Dalton are both in the MTC now. So exciting! When does Karin leave? Devin's been in pretty much all of my personal prayers this week, as well as all of you at home. I hope you're doing well! 

I decided to do something a little differently for my email this week. Who's ready for a play by play? (As time allows. We've got 10 minute!) 

Monday: Preparation day, but with four lessons and four new investigators! Woohoo! All of our plans had fallen through, and we decided to visit a contact from the other day, who passed a referral of their neighbor, who gave a referral of their neighbor...and so it went. It was wonderful.

Tuesday:We had until 3:00 to work because of the World Cup. So we went out running!! We had a lesson with Vânia first thing, which was perfect. We marked a new baptism date with her, and she's feeling really good about it! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and her daughters were asking us questions about things the kids at school were saying. "Is it true that after we die, we can be born again as a man?" We talked to them about our divine natures as daughters of God. It was soooo special--we told them that Heavenly Father was our Heavenly King (nothing's translating right today, sorry.) and told them that they were his daughters. We asked them, "Do you know what daughters of Kings are called?" and they looked up at us with excitement in their eyes. "Princesses?" 

AWWWWWWW. Hahaha it was very cute, really. 

But Vânia is set on her course, is living the word of wisdom, and is excited. WOOHOO!!! Please feel free to continue praying for her :) I felt the difference this week! 

Wednesday: We got up early to go to Multi-Zone Conference...and President and Sister Martin's "Goodbye". (There's a really good word for that in Portuguese. I don't think we have that in English) Sister Vaughn and I were responsible to give the training for all of the Sisters, and HOLY COW are there a ton of them! I've never seen this many Sisters in my life! (Except in the MTC, clearly. Sidenote: We redivided what areas we're over--we adopted 3 more areas and lost Cerquilho). We spent the part of Tuesday that we were stuck at home praying and planning for what we'd share, and we were really blessed to feel the Spirit guiding us. It was more or less based on that one quote by Elder Holland that......ok. You can find it in PMG chapter 1, under the subtitle of following up or something along those lines. Read it. Love it. Then go apply it. :) We talked about how to teach with power and testimony, and then how to use that same power to effectively follow up. Obviously, the spirit doesn't inspire me in English anymore. Sorry. But it really was good!

We said goodbye to President and Sister Martins, which still feels surreal. I sure do love them. 

Thursday: We worked hard, visited Vânia, had a couple of good lessons with some other people...and that's all we have time to say

Friday:Another good day! LAILA'S LIVING THE WORD OF WISDOM!!! She's doing so great! It's incredible to see her faith growing like this!

Saturday: Y'all ready for this? We taught 16 lessons, and found 14 new investigators. Whaaaaat. That would be my new record! (Not that it's about numbers, but it's fun to be able to see the fruits of our labors!) 

Sunday: We visited a less active woman we had discovered on Saturday with some women from the ward (she hasn't had contact with the church for 40 years). She fell away because she started smoking...but 5 days before we found her, she decided to stop! And did it! WOW. Her 10 and 11 year old granddaughters live with her, and one of the women who visited them with us took them to a church activity! The girls loved it, and are saying they want to be baptized. We'll see where this goes!!! 

Well...I am out of time. This week looks like it'll be full of miracles, and we're so excited!!!! I love you all! 

Sister Fuller

Sure love President and Sister Martins!

"I have a dream!"

June 16, 2014

Dear family, 

I think last week was the first time in a while that I didn't finish all that I wanted to say! Some of the stories already ended though...but there's one that's continuing on beautifully! 
This is a story about Laila. :) Laila is a coworker of Jhessyca. Jhessyca's awesome! She came home from her mission about 6 months ago, and...words can't describe her. But she's great. So she chatted up Laila all about the gospel (Laila's a good 15+ years older than her) and hauled her to church. That's where we came in! 
Laila and her husband, Manuel, are from Minas Gerais. They have a five year old daughter named Ketlin. Laila had a difficult now, as a result, has a hard time opening up to people. She also has a hard time understanding things, but at the same time is very profound. I can't really explain Laila, but she's really special. In this time that we've gotten to know her, we've discovered that she's never really learned anything about God. King Lamoni lesson, super simple. ("Do you believe in the Great Spirit? That is God.") When we started teaching her she said she believed He had to exist, or how would everything be here. But she didn't feel any attachment, didn't believe He loved her, and didn't trust in Him. But how can you trust in someone you don't know? To trust in the Lord we really do have to do our part to get to know him. So we started there. We talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that to help us return to live with Him, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Well, she had at least the foundation for God the Father, but when we started with our Savior, we had to clear the ground, pour the foundation, and then start building. I've never had an experience quite like this. But we taught her about our Savior. We taught her why we need a Savior, how we can know for a surety of His love and power, and the blessings of following Him. Laila started reading the Book of Mormon every day, and something incredible happened. She started believing!
These are baby steps that we're taking with Laila, but each and every one is miraculous. It's a really humbling experience. 
This week she had a dream. I don't know what it is with Brazilians and dreams, but it seems to be a theme recently! In the dream, her family was being chased and attacked. When it looked like hope was lost, she said the earth started to shake and she saw a man come down from the sky. 
"And you know that video we watched on Sunday? Remember the man in the last picture? It was him!" (We had watched a slideshow put to music of the photos from Reflections of Christ)
This man spoke to her, and told her she needed to follow Him. He told her that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was His church, and the Book of Mormon was true. In the dream she cried out, "I know it is! I know it!"....and then she woke up. 

INCREDIBLE, but she got a little stuck on the first part that really was a nightmare. "If this was my answer, why did it have that part in it?" Honestly, I believe it could have been an answer. But I also believe that the Spirit brings peace, and the God loves her. She'll get another answer if she needs it! 

Vania...I hope you're all praying for her! Her baptismal date was postponed a bit, but she came to church and still loves it. In sacrament meeting, she got really emotional, and when I talked to her afterwards, she told me that she really felt that Heavenly Father was showing her that this was the place He wanted her to be. But she's so full of doubts and worries! We want her to make the decision to be baptized being fully determined to serve Him until the end. She's heading along in that direction, but still indecisive. She has a hard time understanding why this has to be the only true Church. But she's incredible, and we love her! 

I have to go now. But I love you all, so so much. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you! 

Sister Fuller