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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 8 (November 18, 2013)

Oi guys!

I have a couple cool/funny mission experiences to share with you!

So Tuesday we ate lunch with some (almost) members, Daniel and Sandra. They always make us really good food, so we like going there. But Tuesday we sat down to eat and there was a pot of rice stuff with chicken and Sister Saito asked what it was that we would be eating, and Daniel just looked at us for a second and said "Uhh, we'll tell you after you start eating." So we looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and started to eat. It was super good though! So I stopped being worried. Then after everyone had eaten a good amount, and as I had a forkful of chicken/rice deliciousness halfway between my plate and my mouth, Daniel mentioned offhandedly that what we were eating was "frango de cerveja" (frango = chicken, cerveja = beer). Yep...

Hahaha, it's okay though. They used beer without alcohol (apparently they have that here). It was still delicious though, I'm not taking that back.

Basically all of Tuesday was awesome. After lunch we taught a 15 year old investigator, Thalia, who wants to be baptized. We love teaching her. We just get to relax and be her friend and talk about the gospel. It's pretty awesome. Then we taught another golden investigator, Janice, who is SUPER prepared to accept the gospel. She says she's been looking for a church with the true prophet for years now, so on Tuesday we showed her President Monson's talk from General Conference in October, and she said she knows he's the true prophet. In her words (translated into English): "You can see the truth in his eyes. It's the same thing I see in your eyes." SO COOL. We love her. :) We found another elect that night, who was a referral from the non-member wife of a less-active. We're teaching her again tonight, and we're excited!

Well, that's all folks! Out of time. Love you all, keep the people of Panambi in your prayers, they need it! Até mais!

Sister Gold

Monday, November 11, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 7 (November 11, 2013)

This is going to be really quick, but this week was stake conference, and it was awesome!

The four sisters here fasted together last week that we would be able to fill up the bus with people to go to stake conference, and we've been praying every day, and yesterday we had 44 people from Panambi present!! The most people we've ever had at church at one time since we got here is 29, so it was a miracle!! We had a family of investigators there, and a less active who hasn't been to church in years who we've been working with since the first week we got here. It was seriously amazing. I was all smiles! :) It's amazing to see the Lord bless us and answer our prayers, and to see the members here get excited about the missionary work that's going on in their city. Big big things are about to happen in Panambi!

Sister Gold

Monday, November 4, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 6 (November 4, 2013)

Oi todo mundo! Tudo bem?

Tudo ótimo aqui in Panambi! Algo bem legal aconteceu aqui esta semana! Wait... I don't have to write in Portuguese. Sorry, I was just writing to my mission President, so my brain is not in english mode right now. Switching to english! ....

Everything is great here in Panambi! Something way cool happened this week! Elder Orr, from my district in Provo, finally got his visa and arrived here this transfer!! Wohooo, and even cooler, he's in my DISTRICT so we get to hang out every week at district meetings! Yeah, reunited once more!! Pretty awesome.

So not too many crazy things happened this week, except for I tried chimarrão for the first time. It's this drink that all the gauchos (Brazilian cowboys, or in other words, everyone that lives in my mission) drink, daily. No, hourly. But anyway, it was disgusting. It was like, dried grass with a hint of bitter, and lots of hot water, all mixed together. Awful. Anyway, I'm out of time, but I'll share spiritual experiences next week, I promise.

Love you all!

Sister Gold

Monday, October 28, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 5 (October 28, 2013)

I don't have much time to write, once again (sorry, sorry!) so I'll include two awesome things: Bianca's baptism, and another funny story.

Okay, so Bianca's baptism. Well... She got baptized! And it was awesome! I wanted to cry tears of happiness when she came out of the water. And afterwards she was nothing but smiles, and she had the most beautiful light in her eyes. She has been so ready to start a new life and be free of her past, and finally she got what she's been waiting for! She deserves it. She's awesome. She doesn't look very happy in the pictures, but she was, I promise! She's just squinting because of the sun.

Alright, now for the funny story. So every Sunday night we meet with the branch president to discuss our goals/ideas/upcoming activities/etc. and we had another completely-inappropriate-fit-of-laughter experience (this was in the same house as the first one was, by the way). So, background: It's five minutes 'till 9, and all of us want to go home so we can plan, take a shower, and go to bed. We were finishing up talking about all the things we had planned to discuss. All four of us sisters were sitting in a row on the couch, when the president gets up out of his chair and goes over to the shelf and picks out a church DVD. He asks us "Do you have time to watch a 15-minute video?" We all look at each other hesitantly, and then two or three of us start saying "I don't think so, President. We need to be home in a few minutes..." when he says "Alright then" and then turns the TV on and puts the DVD in. We all exchange confused looks, and then start trying to contain laughter. We really tried... This time it was Sister Phelps who laughed first. And then there was just no stopping it. We're awful, we know.

Anyway, things here are wonderful, I love you all, and I'll write again next week! Tchau!

Sister Gold

Monday, October 21, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 4 (October 21, 2013)

Oi todo mundo, tudo bem??

I have half an hour to write today, so you're going to get a real email this week!! Everything is ROCKING here in Panambi! We have an investigator who is PRONTA para BATISMO this weekend, and we are so excited for her! Her name is Bianca and she is the mother of a part-member family. Her two kids are members, and she lives with her mother-in-law who is an active member with 9 kids who are all grown up and have families, many of which live here in Panambi. She came to General Conference with her daughter and mother-in-law and brother-in-law and she liked it, so we went over to teach her family about the restoration and Joseph Smith and by the end of the lesson she wanted to be baptized!! She has quit smoking and yesterday we taught her the last lesson she needs before baptism, so she is READY. We already went over the baptismal interview questions and we're expecting everything to go well. It's a miracle though that we're going to get a baptism this transfer though because we have been really focusing on some other investigators like our (used-to-be) neighbor Rodrigo and his wife Graciela because they seemed to be progressing the fastest but they're not quite ready for baptism yet because they need to go to church but Bianca is ready and she wants this so bad! It's amazing to see her progress. She has such a strong desire to start a new life and be better. She keeps all her commitments too! She reads from the Book of Mormon and prays about the things we ask her to to receive answers from God, and she GOES TO CHURCH which is incredible because that's like the hardest thing to get people to do around here. Anyway she's so perfect and we're so happy we have a MIRACLE BAPTISM on the second-to-last day of the transfer (also my four-month mission anniversary)!

Another thing that's been going on here is we're doing piano and English classes for free at the church! It's a lot of fun. There are a few young women in the branch who want to learn to play hymns on the piano, so Sister Saito and I are teaching them to read music and play, and it's awesome seeing them progress, they've got some real talent! And we started an English class last Saturday, which was pretty fun. It was weird to teach my own language, not gonna lie. But it was great, there were 10 people there and 5 of them were nonmembers! And we're expecting it to grow. :)

Since I have a little more time let me tell you about Panambi. It's a decent-sized city for the countryside of Brasil (or interior as it's known here), but still the tallest buildings in the city are usually the churches. There are like a thousand churches by the way. EVERYONE has a religion here. Either Catholic or some kind of Evangelical. But serioiusly. Churches on every street. It's crazy. Speaking of crazy, there are a ton of dogs here, and they're all really loud. It's really annoying. My companion basically summed up my feelings about them when she said "I used to like dogs before I came here..." Also Panambi has TONS of hills! And we walk between 5 and 10 miles a day, usually closer to 10. But the members feed us so much I think I'm still going to get fat on my mission... Oh well. I can't get the computer I'm using to send pictures (bad luck... again) but I'll try again next week and you can expect pictures of Bianca's baptism!

Love you all! Tchau! Beijo

Sister Gold

Monday, October 14, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 3 (October 14, 2013)

Oi tudo bem??!

I have practically no time to write this week but I LOVE IT HERE in Brasil and being out in the mission field doing real missionary work is AMAZING!! My trainer's name is Sister Saito, she's Brasilian, amazing, and I love her. We have had so many great experiences together. We're in an area called Panambi, and we are reopening it. Our branch here is pretty small... Last week at church there were only 17 people, including the four sister missionaries and our investigator (YAY!!!!). But it's all good, because we're going to see a LOT of progress here. Our investigator that came to church is named Rodrigo, and he's awesome! We have only taught him one lesson so far, but he wanted to come to church. He lives across the street from us, and on Sunday morning we left the house early to go see if we could get some investigators to come to church, and Rodrigo was already sitting outside on his porch waiting for us!!! It was seriously a miracle! Sister Saito says things like that never happen. But we are in a blessed area with wonderful people. :)

Our living situation is pretty funny because we are in an apartment meant for 2 people, but there are 4 of us. So Sister Saito and I sleep on mattresses on the floor by the front door! Haha but it's all good, we make it work. I don't have any more time to write today, but next week I will share some awesome experiences that I'm sure I will have throughout the week. Tchau!!

Um abraço,

Sister Gold <3

Monday, September 30, 2013

Panambi, Brazil - Week 1 (September 30, 2013)

Oi tudo bem??!

I have practically no time to write this week but I LOVE IT HERE in Brasil and being out in the mission field doing real missionary work is AMAZING!! My trainer's name is Sister Saito, she's Brasilian, amazing, and I love her. We have had so many great experiences together. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 11 (Brasil CTM Week 1) September 6, 2013

Oi família e amigos!!

Tudo bem? Tudo está bem aqui no CTM! I finally made it to Brasil!!! The trip was long, but it made me all the more excited to finally be here! Tuesday I left the MTC at 4:30 AM, left the Salt Lake Airport at 11, arrived in Georgia at 5, left for São Paulo at 9, and arrived in Brasil at 8:00 Wednesday morning. We finally made it to the CTM around 10:30, bringing my total travel time to over 26 hours! Not as bad as it could be, but definitely not my favorite way to spend a day.

So yeah, the Brasil MTC is great in many ways, and different in many others. For starters, it's tiny. I guess not tiny, because there are way smaller MTCs out there, but there are like less than 200 people here, so coming from Provo with over 4,000... Yeah. Pretty small. The food though! Ah... Muito bem! Delicioso! I eat rice and beans and meat for two meals a day, and I totally love it. :) Another different thing is that we're not allowed to take pictures here, except on P-day, and we can't send any pictures. That's a bit of a bummer. But an awesome difference between here and Provo is that we're allowed to wander the streets around the CTM on P-day and go to stores and buy stuff and talk to people! It's awesome! We just got back from doing that, and I bought a churro from a street vendor that was to die for. Made my day. I wasn't supposed to have my P-day until next Thursday, because that's when my district has their one and only P-day, but they gave me today off so that I could go to the São Paulo temple (beautiful!) and email and wander the streets of Brasil since I'm American and I'm only here for 12 days and I came from the Provo MTC so it's been a little longer for me since I've had a P-day. Also I think they took mercy on me because it was apparent that I was super exhausted yesterday during my second orientation.

The reason for the exhaustion and for the two orientations is that the CTM President wasn't aware that I had come from the Provo MTC with 10 weeks of training already. Because of that, I was supposed to stay in a district with the Americans I arrived with, so the first day we all did orientation together. Then that night, they decided to switch me to a new district that would arrive the next day and leave for the mission field the same day as me, because they're ALL BRASILIAN AND NO ONE SPEAKS ENGLISH!! So yep, my companion is Brasilian, she speaks no english. The people in my district are Brasilian, they don't speak english. My teachers are Brasilian and if they did speak english, they probably wouldn't tell me. It's a pretty intense situation. So yeah, yesterday I did orientation all over again, only this time it was all in Portuguese, so by the end of the day I was waaaay exhausted!

My companion is so nice though! Her name is Sister Tomaz da Silva, she's from Recife, and she's the nicest little Brasilian companion I could have asked for! She is so patient with me and so helpful! It took us a little while the first day of our companionship, but she has figured out how to talk to me using vocabulary that I know so I understand. She even helps me understand what other people are saying! If someone asks me a question and I'm totally lost, I look at her with a "I'm totally lost!" look on my face, and she rephrases it in a way I can comprehend. It's wonderful. :) As for my district... I'm just hoping they'll get the hang of it soon, or that I will! Sister Tomaz da Silva and I have a lot of fun though. We can communcate enough that we can joke a little bit with each other, and tell funny stories. We had a lot of fun yesterday morning while we were waiting for our district to get here. I wanted to label things in my room using sticky notes, so I would point to things in the room and say "Como se chama isto?" and she would tell me, then I'd ask "Como se escreve?" and she would spell it for me. Generally I got it right, because I learned how to say the names of letters in Spanish, and it's pretty much the same in Portugês. Although there was one time where I was trying to write makeup (maquiagem) and it turned out looking something like MAKUGM. When my companion saw it, she laughed pretty hard, which made me laugh pretty hard. I then said "Como se chama ISTO?" as I held up the trash can with my failure inside.

Pretty much, life right now is really hard, but really awesome! I can see myself growing already! It's starting to become easier to understand my companion when she speaks quickly, and today I had a 40 minute conversation with an elder from Argentina who has been learning Porgugês for four weeks on the way to the temple, and then again on the way back! It felt awesome to be able to communicate what I wanted to say (most of the time).

I love you all muito!!! Talk to you next Thursday!

Sister Gold

Monday, September 2, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 10 (September 2, 2013)

Since receiving the news that I was cleared to leave a little more than a week ago, I've encountered very upsetting and very uplifting news! The bad news was that I would have to wait three more weeks for the next transfer before my mission president wanted me in the field. The good news though is that they're sending me to the Sao Paulo MTC for my last two weeks, so I'm still leaving for Brazil!! Yaaaayyy! I'm leaving!! For Brazil! I'm flying to Atlanta tomorrow morning and leaving for Sao Paulo tomorrow night and getting there Wednesday morning! I'm seriously too excited. I can't process it.
So yes, about the rest of my week. Neil L. Andersen came to our last Tuesday night devotional and spoke, so that was really cool! He talked about the relationship between sacrifice and love; how we sacrifice for the things that we love, and also how our love grows for the things we sacrifice for. He talked about how the Atonement was the greatest act of both love and sacrifice by both the Father and the Son, and how we can show our love for them by the sacrifices we make to obey them. The only thing we have that is totally ours to give them in return for the Atonement that is not already loaned from God is our agency (time, money, talents, etc. are all things he can give and take, but he will never take our agency). It was an excellent talk, and the more I think about this concept and how it relates to agency and obedience and the nature of God, the more insights I get!
My district got reassignments on Thursday as well! One of my companions, Sister Jackson, is going to CINCINNATI OHIO!! I told her it's the best mission in the world, behind Santa Maria. ;) So keep your eye out for her! She's a ton of fun, and a great missionary! My other companion Sister Russell left for Macon, Georgia this morning! It's so exciting watching everyone go out, especially knowing that my time is fast approaching!
The other most exciting thing that happened to me this week is that an elder in my district, Elder Cobb, wrote me a poem about cats!!! I personally think it's a masterpiece, so I attached a picture of it. :)
I love you all! I'll email you next week from Brazil!! :D Ate mais! Tchau!

Sister GoldInline image 2
District 70E and Branch Presidency and wives (Sister Jackson is sitting next to me, Sister Russell next to her)

Inline image 1

Literary genius. About cats.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 9, almost (August 24, 2013)

I'M GOING TO BRAZIL!!!! The doc cleared me to leave yesterday, completely out of nowhere! It's UM GRANDE milagre!! So I've been preparing to leave all day today and talking to the district president yesterday about setting things up for me to go. I still don't know when I'm going... We're waiting to hear back from my mission president in Santa Maria, I think. But it's soon, and I'm SO EXCITED! I could leave as soon as Monday, probably not much later than that because I'm sure they're anxious to have me there and not make me stay at the MTC any longer. I cannot express my joy in words. I'm so grateful to be on my way finally!!! After saying goodbye to two amazing districts, I wasn't looking forward to doing it a third time, but at last the time has come that everyone else has to say goodbye to me! Ha!

Thank you everyone SO MUCH for your prayers, they have brought about a huge miracle!! I can't wait to get to Santa Maria and meet all the people and eat their food and speak Portuguese and work hard and share the gospel!!! TUDO BEM!

Muito muito muitomuitomuito amor,

Sister Gold

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 8 (August 20, 2013)

Ola amigos!!!

Looks like I've finished up another week here at the MTC already! The last two weeks seem to have flown by when I look back at them... I had to say goodbye to almost all of District H -- my second family here at the MTC -- early Monday and Tuesday morning. It's been hard, because we got so close in these last two weeks. It's a blessing though to be able to grow to love so many amazing people! I keep joking that I'm going to have a LOT of friends once I finally get back to BYU because of all the extra time I've spent here. Today is my last day with the only remaining member of my district, Sister Matheson, before she leaves tomorrow morning for LA and I switch to another district. I'm grateful for the time I get to spend with her. She's great!

So I'll give you a quick run-down of my week. Lots of awesome things happened since I last wrote! Last Tuesday night, Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (!!!!!!! SO EXCITING!!!) spoke to us at devotional, and his talk was FANTASTIC!! It was an amazing experience. I felt the Spirit so strongly when he entered the room. I have such a testimony that there is a living prophet and apostles on the earth today, and that they are witnesses of Jesus Christ.
On Wednesday we got to host new missionaries, and that was lots of fun!! We basically met them at the curb where they get dropped off, helped them take their luggage to their room and get all their books and things, and then took them to their classrooms. It was really neat though. I kind of got to relive my first day, which helped jog my memory about a lot of things that I was too tired and overwhelmed to remember in the moment. Lots of fun. :)
On Thursday I went to in-field orientation for the second time. It was basically about 8 straight hours of classes and lectures about how to be good missionaries in the field. So fun. I'm looking forward to round three next week!
Also on Thursday my district got their reassignments! That was so exciting! Four of our elders are now in Gilbert, Arizona. One is in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the other is in Houston, Texas. One sister is in Cleveland, Ohio (YEAH OHIO!!!), one is going to Los Angeles tomorrow, and my companions Sister Colvin and Tingey are now in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Tacoma, Washington.
Friday was rough because I received some not so happy news about my foot... I'll be here for another two weeks at least. It's hard getting left behind when I want to be in Brazil so badly, but I know there's a reason for it, and I'm just praying for patience and opportunities to serve here. My whole district was so supportive and helped me feel so much better though. I miss them a lot, they're all such great people!!
On Saturday the district had its last gym time together, and afterwards we all stayed outside to talk and spend time together before going back to our rooms to pack. As we were standing around outside, it started POURING. So naturally we all took the opportunity to dance and splash in puddles like little kids. It was the closest thing to swimming any of us are going to do for the next 18-24 months... It was definitely the highlight of my week though.
Sunday was a fun day too! I was randomly called up to give a talk during sacrament meeting. Every week they call on two random missionaries, almost always from one of the departing districts, to give a 3-minute talk in Portuguese. The first week we got here, they gave us a schedule of the topics and told us that every week we should prepare a talk about the topic for that Sunday, in case we were called on to speak. Well guess who didn't prepare a talk for the first time since she got here. Yep, me. It went fine though, and a lot of people told me it was really good (probably because they were impressed that I didn't take any notes up with me... but that was only because I didn't have ANYTHING prepared). It was a fun experience though. :) Also on Sunday my district went to the departure devotional (second time for me) and my amazingly talented companion Sister Colvin and her brother, who is also going to Brazil and arrived at the MTC the same time as his sister, performed a piano duet as the special musical number! It was super great.

Anyway, that's most of the exciting stuff that happened to me this week! I go back to the doctor on Friday to hopefully get a little clearer of an idea of how long I'll be here. Hopefully all goes well!

Tchau tchau!!
Sister Gold

Me, Sister Colvin, and Sister Tingey after getting drenched by rainInline image 1Inline image 2
Awesome picture of the sisters in District H taken on Sister Matheson's FREAKING SWEET polaroid camera! This picture doesn't do the real picture justice though.
From left to right: Sister Matheson, Colvin, Warden, Tingey, and Gold

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 7 (August 13, 2013)

Oi, tudo bem??

Well, I've been at the MTC seven weeks now! One week longer than I was supposed to be here. I had to switch districts, and that was pretty hard because I was so close with my old district, but my new one is awesome. And I love my new tripanionship! Sister Tingey and Sister Colvin are awesome (see attached pictures), and they're great missionaries. I've learned a lot during this last week here, so I'm grateful for all the skills I've been able to develop that I'll get to use in my work in Brazil!! I'm so excited to get there!!!!

Please keep me in your prayers these next few days as I go to the doctor on Friday to see if I'm all set to leave the country! I am so ready to get to Brazil and teach people there! I want to be there so badly right now! The MTC is great, but I'm not sure how many more times I'd be able to handle switching districts and repeating the same lessons I had my last two weeks...

So some exciting news: I got to go to the temple today!! The Provo temple has been closed for construction since a few days before I got here, and it finally opened last Monday, so my district got to go today! It was awesome. I love the temple so much. It's definitely the greatest place on earth.
Tchau tchau!

Tudo meu amor,
Sister GoldInline image 2Inline image 1

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 6 (August 6, 2013)

Oi tudo mundo!!
This week had been fantastic, as always!! It was a very exciting and eventful week! On Friday my district received their reassignments, because no one except me has gotten their visas yet. Sister Tillman was the first to leave early Saturday morning for Scottsdale, Arizona! On Monday evening Elders Bigler and 'Iongi left for Milwaukee, Wisconson. After them, Elders Smith and Richardson left for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the same time that Elder Null left for Redlands, California at 2:30 this morning. At 3:30, Elder Orr left for Philadelphia as well (we're not sure why he wasn't on the same flight as the other elders), and at 4:30 Elders Mackay and Gengler left for Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Fort Worth, Texas. We all got up ten minutes before each group left to say goodbye and walk them over to the bus stop. It was a pretty tear-jerking experience. It's so sad to say goodbye to my district! Today Elder Seaman will be leaving for Provo, Utah (his trip won't be very long) at 4:30, and Sisters Tayor and Christensen will leave for San Jose, California at 2:30 tomorrow morning. And then it'll just be me. I'll be joining a new district tonight, so that'll be good. I already miss my district so much though! We got incredibly close over these last six weeks! Goodbyes have got to be one of the most difficult parts of being a missionary, I'm starting to realize...

Anyway though, I don't want to make this whole letter sad, because I really had an awesome week! On Sunday night we had a really special devotional by Jenny Oaks Baker, a well-known violinist, who played several songs for us with brief spiritual thoughts between them. She talked about seeking after spiritual gifts, and how they have to be used to serve the Lord. I loved it. My favorite part was when her four kids came up and played I Am a Child of God, with her 12-year-old daughter on violin, her 10-year-old daugher on piano, her 8-year-old daughter on the cello, and her 6-year-old son playing the classical guitar. It was SO precious! And they were very talented.
Another fun thing that happened this week was Twin Tursday! Sister Taylor, being the best and most hilarious companion ever, decided to wear my extra boot and use my other crutch and be twins with me for a day! It was pretty comical. And then the next day we celebrated Free Bin Friday, where all the sisters wore one article of clothing we found in the free bin in our hall (which is basically just a bucket where sisters can put things like clothes or shampoo or food that they don't want or they can't fit in their suitcases). It was awesome. Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, and our district got to perform a special musical number because we're leaving this week (most of us, anyway), and that was so awesome! We sang Careco de Jesus (I Need Thee Every Hour), and it was otimo!! Then testimony meeting was great too. I love how strong I feel the Spirit here. It's amazing.

So in conclusion, this week has been really hard in some ways, really hilarious in others, and as always, really rewarding. That's missionary life for you!
Eu amo voces muito muito muito! Obrigada por tudo! Tchao!

Sister Gold

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 5 (July 30, 2013)

Hey everyone!

Big news! I GOT MY VISA!!! Just a few hours ago!! I'm supposed to leave Monday morning at 7:30 AM, leave Salt Lake at 11:10, arrive in Detroit at 4:38 PM, leave for Sau Paulo at 7:45, arrive at 7:20 AM the next day, leave at 2:35 PM and arrive in Porto Alegre at 4:20 PM. Then probably take a bus to Santa Maria from there. Looooong trip, but I'm SO EXCITED!!! I have two doctor's appointments this Thursday and Friday so by Friday I will know if I can leave for Brazil this week or not. Hopefully all is well and I'll be able to go, but there's a chance I'll have to reschedule my flight and stay here at the MTC an extra week or two to heal. Keep me in your prayers! I know they've helped me a lot!
This week has been pretty fantastic! Every day I keep thinking "There's no way tomorrow can be better than today," and then it IS better! Last Friday we got to Skype with a Brazilian named Paulo, and that was really cool. It was hard to understand him because of the connection, but I was relieved that when I could hear him well enough, I could understand the words he was saying. It's unbelievable how much I've learned since I got here! Just awesome. So on Saturday night my teacher Irma Petitta got engaged!! We were so excited for her! She told us all about it on Monday, and we told her we had been praying for her that weekend, since we all kind of suspected it would happen. She laughed when we told her that. Sunday was interesting. There have been some protesters outside the temple every Sunday for the past few weeks when we've gone on our temple walk, but last Sunday, one of them tried to heal me. It was a bit uncomfortable, but an interesting experience for sure. I felt awkward because this random man came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and then started praying while staring directly into my eyes. I wasn't sure how to respond, so after about 15 seconds I just apologized and started walking away. Yikes... Monday was awesome because it was MIDDLE PART MONDAY!!! We all parted our hair in the middle, and we even got our teachers to do it with us! The elders looked so hilarious. It brought joy to my heart just to look around the room during class. So awesome. And then today I got my visa!! CRAZY WEEK! I love it!!! Being a missionary is the best, most fun experience of my life!!
I'll let you know what's going on with my foot after I see the doctor this week. Thanks for all your prayers and support! I love you all so much! A igreja e verdadeiro!! :D
Com moito amor,
Sister Gold

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 4 (July 23, 2013)

Ola tudo mundo!

This week has been eventful! We got to go to the TRC for the second time on Friday, and that was a lot of fun. Then after that I went to the health center for the third time to see a doctor about my foot, which has been irritating me since the day I got to the MTC. They decided to send me to a pediatrist, so Sister Taylor and I got to take a field trip to the real world! It was really cool. While we were waiting at the doctor, we started talking to this woman named Marilyn who is a member but isn't quite sure how she feels about the Book of Mormon and what happens after this life at this point, so we got to do some REAL MISSIONARY WORK! It was awesome!!! Plus being able to talk about the gospel with someone in English was fantastic as well. So shortly after that fun experience I found out my toe is broken! I now have a fun boot that I get to wear at all times, and a smaller one to wear to bed for the next six to ten weeks until my foot heals. I'm not sure what impact this is going to have on my mission, but I'm going to continue seeing doctors about it until I know exactly what's going on, so I'll keep you guys updated! I'm super excited for this Friday because we get to Skype with REAL BRAZILIANS!! Woohoo! It'll be so fun! Wish me luck!

I love you guys! Ate mais!
Sister Gold

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 3 (July 16, 2013)

Oi amigos!

This week has been super packed and at the same time feels like it's flown by! On Wednesday, our district had our first "Solmente em Portuges Dia" (Only in Portuguese Day) where we tried to speak Portuguese for the whole day. It went better than expected for the first six or so hours! It was kind of difficult, but really fun! Cracking jokes is always ten times funnier when you can figure out how to do it in a foreign language! ;) On Friday we got to go to the TRC for the first time! That's the place where they have random volunteers come in and sit in a room with us so we can get to know them and teach them a 20-ish minute lesson. We were pretty nervous going into it, but I'm pretty sure everyone in my district had a great experience! Sister Taylor and I love it! We are so proud of how far we've come with our Portuguese!! We definitely know God's been helping us out along the way. There's no way any normal person could learn this much in three weeks... Things are going great with our other investigators too. Our two teachers, Irma Petita and Irmao Messias have been playing the part of different investigators for each companionship in our district for a little over a week now and the two characters Sister Taylor and I are working with, Geraldo and Edineia, are awesome! I love practicing teaching. It's my favorite way to learn. Preparing a lesson based on my investigators needs helps me get so much more out of everything I study because I get to apply everything!

Anyway, I can't believe I'm half way done with my time here! Time has really started to fly by! I'm already almost a month into my mission!! Oh yeah, and some pretty exciting news! A few more people around here have been getting their visas! At least one or two of them went through the DC consulate like me! Two of them were in their last week at the MTC, so they just stayed until the end of their six weeks and then went to Brazil. A couple more were in their first or second week and are already gone! Crazy! I can't wait to get down there and get to work!! :)

Tchao tchao for now!
Sister Gold

P.S. The first picture is of me on Solmente em Portuguese Dia wearing the colors of Brasil! The elder who took the picture told me it looked like I only had half an arm when I stood like that...

The second picture is of me "snailing" in the hallway outside our room during personal physical exercise. It's pretty fun. Everyone should try it. In Portuguese, we call it "modo de caracol" or "snail mode." ;)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 2 (July 9, 2013)

Oi amigos!!!

It has been a fine week here at the MTC! The fourth of July was awesome! We had a special devotional where we got to watch the movie 17 Miracles (great movie by the way!). It's all about a handcart company of early Saints who traveled west to Zion, and all their stories are true! Watch it if you haven't seen it yet! Then after that we all went outside and got ice cream bars and got to watch the nearby fireworks show!! So fun! We also got some new investigators this week that we're going to start teaching tomorrow and Thursday. Should be exciting! The teachers here are so good at role-playing the part of investigators, because they use real stories of people they taught while on their missions. It makes it feel so real! I love it. :) I can't wait to get out there and start teaching! I feel much more confident in my ability to teach in Portuguese! I love getting to practice teaching investigators or other missionaries and stretch myself to be able to ask the questions and give the responses I want to say in the moment. It's a lot more fun than it should be!

So a few of us in our district last week adopted a pretty fun way to stay entertained with all the stress and studying that we've got going on here at the MTC. It's called Spooning. What we do is sneak a few spoons out of the cafeteria during meal time, and throughout the rest of the day try to slip them into random people's pockets without them noticing. It sounds dumb, because it is pretty dumb, but we do whatever we can to stay entertained. :) So that went on for a few days, but we decided collectively that it was becoming a bit too much of a distraction, and was a rather irreverent activity for missionaries to be doing. ;) Anyway, thought you'd all get a kick out of that!

I hope everyone's doing well! I miss everyone a lot! Tchao until next week!!

Love, Sister Gold

P.S. I love letters!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MTC (Missionary Training Center) Week 1 (July 2, 2013)

Ola everyone! Como vais?! Tudo bem?

It's the end of week 1 here at the Provo MTC and I have to say... It rocks!!! Things here are so crazy but so spiritual and awesome! It's like all the best parts of EFY x 1000, and I get to be here for SIX WEEKS! It's going to be awesome. Just awesome.

My first day was totally overwhelming because they basically just took me to my room so I could put my stuff down and then took me to a classroom where my teacher spoke only Portuguese to us for about 3 hours. I'll be honest... I started wondering what I had gotten myself into. HOWEVER, Portuguese is coming so quickly! I've never learned so much so fast, and I just keep learning more every day! We practiced teaching our first lesson to an investigator named Joao (Portuguese for John) on Friday, and that really got us motivated to start teaching ourselves the language!! It's pretty frustrating when you really want to say something that you think could really help someone but you have NO IDEA HOW! Haha, but oh well. Tudo bem!

A couple of things I love here at the MTC: The BYU chocolate milk. So delicious. Mmmm.... Also, my district. They are the best! Everyone is so funny and lively and unique and awesome! It feels like we're a family! I can't imagine our district without any of them! There are 13 of us. Elders Smith (district leader whose companion never showed up... Yikes), Mackey, Richardsen, 'Iongi (he's Tongan, but from Portland, Oregon. People always ask him that...), Bigler, Null, Orr (who is going to my mission, Santa Maria! Once we get our visas...), Gangler, and Seaman. Then there are Sisters Tillman, Christensen, and Taylor (my awesome companion from Texas who I love a ton!!!). All three of them live in my room with me, and they're the best! And then there's me! Another thing I love: choir! It is so awesome here! So powerful... We get to perform a song for the devotional tonight! I'm so excited! I also love the teachers and devotionals and workshops and speakers. They're just way awesome and I'm learning so much! My zone is amazing. There are a couple of people I know from BYU in it! Fun stuff.
Anyway, it's about time for me to go! Take care! Talk to you soon!

Tchao tchao!

<3 Sister Gold

Monday, June 24, 2013

And We're Off!

Hi everyone!

My journey begins in two days! On Wednesday, June 26 at 8:45 A.M. I will be on my way to the Provo Missionary Training Center to start training for my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED! This is an incredible time in my life, and one that I hope to be able to share with as many people as possible. My wonderful mother has agreed to update this blog for me with my weekly emails and pictures to share my adventures with all of you!

I'll be in the Missionary Training Center in Provo for six weeks learning Portuguese (assuming my visa doesn't come in that time, in which case I'll be sent immediately to Brazil!) and I will update my contact information for those of you who would like to write me letters or send packages while I'm in the MTC as soon as possible! While I'm there, you can use this nifty website to send me free letters delivered the same day: (put Provo MTC as the mission and August 6 as the estimated departure date).

Here is my contact information once I get to Brazil (I will be transferred and moved around a bit during my time there and since letters take six or seven weeks to arrive it's better to send them to the mission home and let them forward it to me):

Sister Natalie Gold
Brazil Santa Maria Mission
Rua Alberto Pascualine, 121 Sala 403
97015-970 Santa Maria - RS

Also anyone is welcome to email me! I will have the opportunity to email once a week and would love to hear from anyone and everyone. You can reach me at

Wish me luck!!!