Monday, February 10, 2014

Camobi, Brazil - Week 20 (February 10, 2014)

Hey guys!!

Sorry I haven't written for so long! I'm here in Camobi though! I've been here three weeks and I love it! It's like paradise, only it's hot as inferno here... It's been around 40 degrees recently, which I'm told is about 102 or 103 degrees for us Americans. And with the humidity, and the size of this ginormous area and amount of walking we do... It's difficult. It starts getting hot at about 6:30 when we wake up, and starts to cool down at about 6 o'clock the next morning. Hahaha. Good thing we've got air conditioning in the apartment! And by air conditioning, I mean 2 fans. Haha seriously, I don't know how the people here live like this. I take a shower when we get home and as soon as I turn off the water I start sweating again. So basically my skin is never dry. It's horrible.

But the members are cool here! They're super nice and many of them are really useful and involved in the missionary work, and the lunches are supreme. Most of the time we get dessert too, so that rocks. :) We are working with a few good people, but are having a lot of difficulty in finding people who will progress, or even let us in to teach them. It's a little discouraging, but we're hanging in there! I'm learning a lot... And my portuguese is getting a lot better because my companion doesn't speak any english! Actually, she speaks a little. I taught her how to say "You're driving me crazy!" and "Shut up!" because I always say that when we pass by a house with really annoying dogs that bark really loud. ;)

I don't have any more time to write today, but I love you all! Have a lovely week!

Sister Gold

Monday, January 20, 2014

Panambi, Brazil - Week 17 (January 20, 2014)

Hellooooo my beloved friends/family/acquaintances/strangers!

This week has been a lovely end to my stay here in Panambi. That's right, I am being transferred, finally. The past four months have been quite a ride! I've been through basically everything here. As much as I've suffered physically and emotionally in my beloved city of Panambi, I have also learned and grown so much here. And more than anything, grown to love the people here. It really is very hard to say goodbye. This will be my first transfer as well, so I'm excited/nervous for what's to come. I'll be going to Camobi, an area in Santa Maria that is known as the college town. From what I heard from the Sisters here, it is a very "chique" area. Or in other words, fancy. The ward, apparently, is perfect, and the members have pretty houses and they always have dessert at every lunch appointment. So I'm pretty pumped for that! It's quite the opposite of Panambi, so it will be a weird adjustment. Camobi is also a huge area, but it's totally flat, so that's going to be different. Tchau tchau, montanhas de Panambi! I'll be teaching a lot of young people, so I'm excited for that too (also the opposite of Panambi, aka City of the Elderly). FINALLY I'll have investigators who have INTERNET!!! Yes...

This week has been great, though the last few days have been rather sad, having to say goodbye to everyone. Robson and Cristina, two of our best investigators, are pretty heartbroken that we're both leaving (oh yeah, Sister Saito's being transferred too because she's going to be the new SISTER TRAINING LEADER in Uruguayana, woohoo!) but Robson said he will try to come visit me in Santa Maria. They are planning to get married soon so they can get baptized, and I love them both to death. :) Our perfect investigator, Janice, and her son Gabriel and husband Fabio are really sad that we're leaving too, and Sister Saito and I are pretty heartbroken to be leaving them the week before Janice and Gabriel are planning to get baptized... Boo... But Fabio said that they will try to come down to Santa Maria one Sunday and go to church in my new ward so they can see me again. :) Awwww I LOVE THEM! Then saying goodbye to all the members in the branch was super hard yesterday... You know you're loved though when people cry when you leave. ;)

In conclusion, I am very sad to leave Panambi because of the people, but everything else... I'm not so sad to say goodbye to. Tchau tchau, Panambi! Óla, Camobi!

Sister Gold

Monday, January 13, 2014

Panambi, Brazil - Week 16 (January 13, 2014)

Oi friends!!

Sorry it's been so long since I've written anything! It was crazy over the holidays, and so much stuff has been happening recently that I haven't found time to give any updates until today.

So quick summary of the last few weeks! Christmas was awesome, talking to the fam on Skype was the highlight. <3 I cut my hair! It's short now. My birthday was fantastic, best birthday ever. Every house we went to when my companion mentioned that it was my birthday everyone freaked out and gave me hugs and kisses and their best wishes for this year, and then gave me some food. Haha, it rocked pretty much. Pity I won't get to spend my next birthday here. :/ At the end of the day we went to Geovani's house (our unofficial ward mission leader) and ate birthday cake with a couple other members and the other Sisters! And they all sang Parabéns (Happy Birthday) to me and Geovani recorded it but he didn't know how to work my camera at the end so instead of stopping the recording he just turned off the camera and the video didn't save... Haha so I only have it recorded in my head. But it was awesome, trust me!

Recently, some awesome things that have happened: we found a couple of amazing families that have come to church or are planning to come next week! They have the most hilarious kids too. One family that has already come to church has four kids, the oldest being 8 years old. They are crazy and super funny. And they love the missionaries. :) The other family couldn't come to church this week but they're coming next week and they have two daughters who are 11 and 8 who are super cute and hilarious. The last time we went to teach their family, they asked if they could paint our nails at the end of the lesson... And we said they could... If one of them said the closing prayer. They both volunteered. ;) Haha only we had to catch a bus in 10 minutes, so they frantically painted our nails in three. It was adorable, and hilarious.

We also had an awesome activity last Saturday: PIZZA NIGHT! Sister Phelps has this delicious recipe for pizza dough that is seriously the best thing I've ever tasted. So we made 11 pizzas and fed roughly 40 people and had an awesome night!

I'm excited for today because we're going to Janice's house (I don't know if I've already written anything about her but she is an elect among elects, and I love her to death! She's like our mom out here in the mission field) to watch Charly with her and Gabriel, her teenage son who we've been teaching recently. Janice really wants to be baptized, but she wants the support and company of her family at church too, so we've been teaching her son and working on becoming friends with her husband Fabio, and yesterday all three of them committed to go to church together as a family next Sunday, and afterwards we're going to go to their house and make lunch for them! Wooohoooo!!!! :D

Anyway, the mission field rocks. It's the best experience ever. I looooove it! Tchau tchau for now, amados! Until next week!

Sister Gold

Monday, December 16, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 12 (December 16, 2013)

Hey guys!!

So, summer's almost here in the south of Brazil, and you know what that means... Bichos!! Or in english, bugs. Big ones. Everywhere. I've gotten way too good at killing giant baratas (cockroaches) in the last few weeks...

Anyway though, on to the important stuff! I LOVE IT HERE! Ana, the investigator we started teaching last week, is going to get baptized this Saturday, along with Neiane, the little 8-year-old daughter of a recently reactivated member. :D I'm excited!!! Janice, our PERFECT investigator, neighbor of our unofficial ward mission leader Geovani, is ready for baptism, only she works in the hospital so it's hard for her to be able to go to church because of her schedule. She has only been to church once, and we were hoping she would be able to get baptized on Saturday too, but since she couldn't come to church yesterday we'll have to wait a while, since the investigators need to go to church at least twice before they get baptized. But don't worry, she's still perfect. :) Just her job is the problem...

So Cristina and Robson, the couple that came to church last week, couldn't come as well this week :( BUT we visited them last night and ended up talking with Robson for like two hours about marriage (he's going to look into getting the process to get legally married started this week, which is a real pain here and takes up to 30 days), vices (he and Cristina are working on quitting smoking and he has already gone down from two packs a day to less than one, plus he agreed to replace the beer that he drinks on Sundays with reading the Book of Mormon this week, just to see how it goes), baptism (he wants to get baptized, obviously), the Spirit (he says he feels this indescriptable feeling sometimes when he prays and he asked what it was), and forgiveness. He has had a really rough life, but he had changed everything around and now he's looking to feel forgiven of everything he's done. It was a really powerful lesson. Seriously, I felt the spirit so strong when we were teaching. It was amazing. :)

Unfortunately that's all I have time to write this week. Conferência de Natal (Christmas Conference) in Santa Maria tomorrow, woohoo! And family, I'll see you on Skype in 9 days!!!! Love you!


Sister Gold

Monday, December 9, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 11 (December 9, 2013)

The new transfer has begun andddd..... I'm staying in Panambi!! As is Sister Saito! Which is awesome, because we didn't have a baptism last transfer :( BUT we have SO MANY people who are so close and we are suuuper pumped to stay here and keep working with them and get the BAPTIZED!! :)

We have one sister leaving from the other companionship in the apartment, so a new sister will be arriving to take her place tomorrow. We're all excited to make this a great transfer though, and that we will be in Panambi for Christmas!! All we have to do now is find a member who will let us hang out at their house all day, and a place that has internet so we can skype...

But anyway, this week has been great! Yesterday at church was amazing. We had four investigators there!! The first two were a couple, Cristina and Robson, who we met a couple weeks ago. They wanted to come to church last week, but Robson had to work unexpectedly. But they came to church yesterday and loved it! Robson said they will come back every week from now on! They're awesome. Batismo, right there. Another investigator, Thalia (15) was there too! We have been teaching her for over two months now, and she is amazing, but she hadn't come to church yet... Until yesterday! Woohoo! We're teaching her sister Vanusa as well, so we hope they'll be able to get baptized this transfer too. Lastly there was Ana, the branch president's wife's aunt, who we taught for the first time after church, and she accepted our help to prepare for baptism on the 21st!!!!! Yesterday = perfect.

Anyway, I love it here, despite the crazy heat and the blinding sun. The people make it worth the sacrifice. Hope you're all enjoying the snow (those of you in the good 'ole USA)! Until next week!

Sister Gold

Monday, December 2, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 10 (December 2, 2013)

Oi, this week was GREAT! But I only have time to talk about a little part of it, so I'm going to talk about Saturday and Sunday!

So SATURDAY was our BRANCH ACTIVITY WOOHOO!!! It was a Churrasco (Brazilian barbecue... these Brazilian cowboys LOVE their barbecue) and futebol no parque (soccer in the park) and it was awesome!! We spent practically all week giving out invitations that we made on Tuesday and amping it up, getting people excited and asking the members which of their friends and neighbors we could invite. Then Saturday came (we were praying it wouldn't rain!) and it was a BEAUTIFUL day, perfect for chorrasco e futebol and by lunchtime there were 61 people there!!! Our goal was to have 55, so we were ecstatic! All four of us Sisters left a message about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and how he asked his apostles to stay awake and wait with him. We asked them all what they could do to be by Christ's side and thank him for suffering for us, and then invited them all to go to church with us.

Then after the activity ended we (the sisters) were walking out of the park, and we walked past a little skate area where there were some skater kids doin their skate stuff and such... And then my companion had the lovely idea of going and asking them if we could borrow their skateboards for a minute to take a picture! Haha. Good stuff. Enjoy. :)

After that we went and got ice cream! Woohoo! In the picture with us is the little neighbor boy who came with us to the activity because his mom was working and he didn't have anything to do.

Okay, so then on Sunday we had 33 people at church, including 3 investigators!! Yay! Church was awesome, I loved every part. I'm understanding SO MUCH MORE PORTUGUESE now so that helps. :) I don't have to focus on understanding anymore, so I'm able to feel the Spirit a lot easier. And I don't get exhausted so quickly. So that's good too!

Alright, I'm going to try to attach the pictures now, so tchau!! Love you all! Boa semana para vocês!! Oh PS on Friday Sister Phelps and I went on a split, so it was just us two Americans, loose in Brazil! Crazy. But really fun. And we had a member with us for two of the lessons too, so it wasn't so scary. Also, I'm including pictures of our Real Fake Thanksgiving feast!

Até next week!
Sister Gold

Monday, November 25, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 9 (November 25, 2013)

Oi todo mundo!

Happy Thanksgiving! Since today is p-day, it's our Real Fake Thanksgiving celebration day!! We couldn't celebrate on Real Thanksgiving, so we're having Real Fake Thanksgiving. I'll be sure to include pictures of the food next week. :)

Man, it's HOT here! It was 92 degrees in our apartment yesterday. Don't ask me why they don't have air conditioning here, because it doesn't make any sense to me either. But last week was good! Sister Saito got sick on Thursday so we stayed home until Saturday afternoon so she could get better. That wasn't really the good part of the week, that was just part of it. One of the good parts was on Saturday, Sister Phelps and I went on a mini-split to go fill up the baptismal font at the church for their baptism that afternoon because Sister Phelps' companion wasn't feeling good either. So while we were leaving, we found a wallet on the street, looked inside and found a water bill with an address on it, and went on a little adventure to go see if we could return this person's wallet. We walked like half an hour to find this guy's house, and when we knocked on the door, a woman opened the window, looked at us skeptically, and asked what we wanted. We asked if [name of the guy whose wallet we found] lived there. She continued looking at us skeptically and asked if someone sent us to her house. We said no, we found something of his on the street. So finally she came out and we found out that this guy was her ex-son-in-law. We gave her the wallet though because she said she would be able to return it to him (she looked pretty trustworthy). Then before we left, Sister Phelps tried asking if she would like to receive a visit from the missionaries, but the woman promptly and firmly responded that she was a Jehovah's Witness, so we left it at that. Haha. Makes sense why she looked so skeptical when she opened her window and saw two Mormon's standind in front of her house. ;)

On Sunday we had 35 people at church! It was awesome! And someone from the stake presidency and the stake patriarch came to visit too! It was great. 35 people for us is a lot... We also visited a part-member family that came to stake conference and church that day, and when we knocked on the door, they looked so happy to see us!! :D It felt really good. They are making a lot of progress in getting reactivated (the husband) and preparing to get baptized (the wife).

Anyway, that's all I've got time for this week. Love you people!!! Until next week!

Sister Gold