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 abra├žo,

Sister Gold <3