Saturday, December 29, 2012

letter dated 10 December 2012

Mom, Dad & Family,

It's sad to know Don passed away, but I know he lived a good life and blessed many people.  This last week I read a quote that reminded me of him.  I don't remember who said it, but it was in the Liahona, "Someday when we get to the other side of the veil, we want more than for someone just to tell us 'Well you're done.'  Instead we want the Lord to say 'Well done thou good and faithful servant.'"  (Matt. 25:21)  We can live our lives with surety knowing we are doing our part to ensure someday we will return to our Father to hear these words.

I'll have to write and thank Grandma for the check she sent.  I'm so grateful for them and for the family and friends I have supporting me and this work.

I wrote to Susanna and Kevin about a story from our Christmas Conference  She'll have to share with you.  I don't know if you normally share letters or what, but I don't have too much time to write you both everything.  So she'll have to share, it was an amazing Conference.  We had a huge lunch and dessert in the middle of our day and a white elephant gift exchange.  I walked away with a big chocolate bar and sack of hard candy.  I gave away as my present a notebook and candy from the U.S. 

This week I read another confence article, by Elder Lynn G. Robbins, who said "A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101.  If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505.   Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the Premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more God-like yourself.  With which child will your patience, longsuffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed and refined?  Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?"  I really liked this quote.  I am so grateful to you and Dad for everything you've done and taught me.  You're the best and I love you all.

If you haven't already noticed/read, included is a letter from Sister Gomes which she had me translate.

Love you all,

Sister Laura Bullen

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mom,
I know where I get my stress from. Haha I've thought a few times `what if...`and have just pushed it from my mind.  I'm excited to get a chance to talk to you all tomorrow.  Whatever works will work out.
We have a member marked for 4 in the afternoon tomorrow. She has two notebooks/computers for us to use for Skype.  Sister R. and Sister C. will use the phone and Sister B. and I will use Skype. The irmã will leave her cellphone and her home phone is .  (They probably have a country code, which you will have to google, I don´t know what it is 44 is the code for the state of Parana like 907 is for Alaska and 1 is for the US).
We´ll plan on using Skype, if we have a problem I'll just log into my LDS email which is a google email and we can email or figure something out.
We have 40 minutes to talk.
And every year thousands of missionaries do this just like us with no previous knowledge, so I'm sure it will work out fine : )
I'm not sure what the time difference is for us and Alaska.  We plan on calling/skyping about 4 pm. But we have lunch with our investigators and since its Christmas don't stress if we´re a little late.
But if all else fails, like I said I'll log into email and email you or something.
 
You also asked, yes, I can still print emails, so I do that every week.
I am so grateful for all that you do for me.  This email will be short, because I've already used some time.  Maringá is a beautiful city.  Sister R. is from Recife and it has been great working with her. Sister B. and Sister C. are the other sisters in our house and they cover the other part of the city.  Sister B. is from Chicago and she is starting her second transfer. Sister C. arrived in the field with me and is from Fortaleza.
Love you all and will talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Letter - 3 December 2012


Mom, Dad & Family,

I wondered how you'd do with Google Translate, but she was so excited to write you and it sounds like you did pretty good.  We have a Christmas Conference this Friday, where I will get to see Sister Moura and Sister Passos again.  So it will be really great to see them.

It was really touching to read about Don McCumby.  I think I've talked to you before, I've always thought they were such a sweet and special couple.  Please tell them for me how much I admire them.  They live the Gospel.  They are both so kind and always welcoming.  I've always seen them as "the Grandparents of the Ward."  They love everyone and are so full of joy for those living the Gospel with them.

This week, we have been working really hard to find new investigators.  We made 69 contacts.  (
Using our area book we tracked down 69 people.)   There are 5 people who we will visit again this week.  We know there are people out there ready and waiting for the Gospel.  So we want to keep working hard here with our investigators and members less active.

I really liked reading your quotes about Relief Society.  I feel the same way.  We have a family in the Church of people who are watching out and praying for us.

I really love our Branch President and his wife.  They are converts of three years.  They have a desire to help the church grow here and want to do their part.  This branch here definitely has a special place in my heart.  Kent F. Richards (of the Seventy) gave a talk in Conference of May 2011 about the atonement and the healing power of it.  He shared an experience of a girl who at 13 years had a serious surgery......   I love you all and am forever grateful for the prayers and the love.

Love,
Sister Bullen

P.S.  I think we have a member lined up for Skype for Christmas - but will know for sure as it gets closer (and I'll let you know through email).  Love you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two letters received today:


November 26, 2012

Mom, Dad and Family,

Today's email was shorter than normal.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  I know I always say this (or feel that I do) but thank you for your continual love and support.  Sister G. is my 2nd companion to not receive emails from their Mom/family for several weeks.  I'm always grateful to get an email from my Momma!  Probably it shouldn't be as important as it is for us, but it helps us remember our family still loves us.  I've seen how my companions feel.  Technically 3 companions, but Sister M. was only companions with us for 4 weeks.  I'm really grateful for all the support and prayers for us and this work.

I am excited to see what ornaments and gifts you sent.  Mom, I know Sister M. and Sister P. will be ecstatic to see and to know you sent them presents.  Seriously, you have a special place in their hearts.  My heart, too, in case you didn't know.

It was fun to read that Erik says "hi".  Tell him "Oi" and "Ev te Amo" for me.  I hope all goes well with his blazer and court.  (He had a 19 yr. old turn in front of him and both vehicles were totalled, Erik was subpoenaed to court as the other driver was cited for "failure to yield."  When people see the picture Susanna sent of me and him it's always a funny reaction.  People here think I'm tall.  So they just kind of gawk, imagining how tall he is (Erik is 6' 3" and Brian 6' 2 1/2" where Laura is about 5' 5").  But I hope Brian  and Erik are both doing good and know I love my brothers!

It sounds like Thanksgiving was a success and very good for you all.  It was really neat to have a simple version of Thanksgiving here.  We ate our potatoes and gravy and pie about 9:30 pm, after our day/work finished and before bed.  But it was special to celebrate with these sisters here.  Sister G. was bummed because she found out her brother and his girlfriend/fiance will be married this January, before she returns home.  I tried to help her and distract her.  He/they will be married civilly (required by law - LDS marriage in temples isn't accepted legally) and then afterwards, they will be sealed in the temple.  She's pretty sad she won't get to be there, because she knows marriage is a big deal.  But the way I see it, if she wasn't on her mission, she probably couldn't enter the temple to see the marriage anyways and it's a good thing that will happen.

I gave Sister G. a Recommend Holder for her 9 month mark.  She chose the Young Women Theme (the same Sister M. chose).  So that was a popular choice.  But she loved it too.

This week I read a talk by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr. who said, "People do good and important things because they have testimonies.  While this is true, we also gain testimonies because of what we do."  I really liked that, when we choose to do good things to build our faith we can.

Love you all,

Sister Bullen

P.S.   Transfers will happen December 17.  They moved them 1 week earlier because of Christmas.  But most likely I'll be here.


November 19, 2012

Mom, Dad and Family,

It's always great reading your emails/letters.  I'm writing to you from Ibipora - my first P-day here.  We are going to internet in a little while - so trying to think of things that I won't write there.  Our apartment here is nice, only 1 floor, but I think it's actually a little bigger than our last apt.  Sister G. has been great to work with.  She's from the same state in the north as Sister M. - Ceara.  She's beautiful, fun, hardworking and we both want to see this area grow.

We have a branch here for the whole city and close-by area.  So the work hasn't grown much for a while.  It's a beautiful area and the people are great.  I'm really learning how to teach differently.  The people here are nice, but a little bit more "closed."  In Riviera the people were always very welcoming.  But here we teach a lot of our first lessons on the sidewalk in front of their home.

Our Branch President is really nice and I love his wife.  They and the Branch were very welcoming.  We had dinner Sunday night at a family home - they were only baptized a few months ago.  The President and his wife were there too.  He shared a thought that I really liked.  He talked about how all need to think less of how other people see us and more how the Lord sees us.  For example, sometimes I know it's difficult to talk or say certain things because of the language.  But, when you forget about how people may be thinking of you and focus on how the Lord sees you and your efforts you are working for the right reasons.  But for this dinner we also helped make Pastels.  It's fried dough - with hamburger, cheese and seasoning inside - sooo good.  We had several sauces to use on top.  It was a special activity with some really neat members.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Will it be at our home?  Since S. Gee and I are 2 Americans in the house, we're thinking about doing something, but we don't have much time or recipes.  Ha.  So it'll be interesting.  But thank you so much for all that you have done for me and all of the support and love.  I am so happy serving here, during this time, with these people.  I am so greatful for this Gospel.

Love you all,

Sister Laura Bullen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Susanna!! Who celebrated a few days ago, love you!

Mom,

You mentioned a username for Skype, do I need a password, or anything else?

I don´t know the phone number for the house, we will be at, Because I'm BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!

We all thought if anyone would be transferred it would be Sister G., because she´s been here the longest for 4 transfers, and Sister G. and I only have one transfer here. But, I know these transfers and our companionships and areas are inspired and directed by the Lord. I'm being transfered to Maringá to work with Sister R. She was companions with Sister M. for 2 weeks but was the sister transferred in the emergency transfer, when sister Empey returned home. So I know her only a little. It will be exciting to see what I have to learn there and to start a new area again.

This week was really good. We´ve been blessed with some great rain, and it's been cooler, but really humid. We stumbled upon a family this week that the parents are both members less active and they have 2 really young kids. We had a really good visit and they are an amazing family. They want to return to church, because they know they should and it would help their family, but it's hard too, because they (like all less actives I've met) worry about other people and the changes they have to make. I know it's hard for people to return, but I also know it's the best decision we can make, not only for ourselves, but all of those in our circles.

PS:

I was wondering if you could send a Christmas recipe or 2 that are simple. Maybe fudge? We don't have peanut butter or Powdered sugar here in Brasil.

Also, Susanna asked a few weeks ago if I needed anything. I couldn´t think of anything. But the other day I dropped my mouth guard container on the ground, and the binding broke (it had been worn for a little while). No worries, it's bound with packing tape for right now. But the next time a package comes my way, if it's an easy thing to get, maybe a container for my mouth guard. It's not anything I need right away.

Love you all, and hope you all have a great week.



Monday, December 10, 2012





Mom,

I received the package you sent Friday at the end of our Christmas conference.  I opened it there to give Sister M. & Sister P. the ornaments you mentioned. They loved them and were so happy to get them.  They both received your letters and were both so grateful and excited to tell me about them. We were all impressed you included translation :)  Sister Gee also received a package from her Mom, who sent a small Christmas tree and ornaments and presents for her.  So we set up a tree and were able to put the presents you sent under the tree.  We were all so excited and so grateful to receive the presents you sent.  The sisters gave me hugs to pass onto you.  What might seem like a small thing to you was a really sweet thing for us.  Thank you so much for your love and service you are spreading all the way to our side of the world.  You are amazing!  For some this will be the first time having wrapped presents under the tree.  We are all so excited to open presents on Christmas day.  Thank you so much from all of us.

Also, for Christmas day we have a member who has skype, so probably we will be able to use that to talk to you all there.  We don´t know for certain yet, but probably the afternoon Christmas day we will be able to use skype to talk to you all there.  Normally it was Paula, Susanna or you who used skype.  Do you know what I need to ´call´ you? Email address?  And I know you can talk to more then one person on skype, but I don´t know if its still free.  So I don´t know if Dad will be there or if he´ll be at work. I don´t know if he can borrow a laptop or if he can use skype there or not.  But we only have a few more p-days before Christmas to coordinate :)

Another amazing week here.  Don´t have a lot of time left, because I finally bought a Pindrive to put my pictures on.  Friday we had our Christmas Conference which was really nice.  We met in Londrina with one other zone (Tiradentes my first zone) and our zone, zona Londrina.  We were there from 7 am until almost 7 pm or so.  So it was a full day there.  But I´ll have to write about it in my letter, because times is almost up.  But some photos :)

1 - me with a photo of why I think this area is beautiful (walking after lunch with the Branch President and his family Sunday)
2 - Sister G. and I after Conferencia de Natal with our packages
3 - All of us with the Christmas tree !
4 - Sister P. & Sister M. with their ornaments from Mom!
5 - Us after the Christmas Conference

Love you all and have an amazing week!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Mom and family,
Another beautiful week here in Ibiporã. It's starting to be really hot here.  Sister G. started using an umbrella because of the sun.  (We´re not the only ones who do this!)  But when she uses it she wants me to use it too.  And since we walk together I end up using it.  But I'm a good 3-4 inches taller than her.  So normally I'm carrying it or it's rubbing on my head.  So I get a good laugh out of it. Everybody thinks those who live in hot climates are accustomed.  But both Brasilians in our house are having some skin problems because of the heat/sun.  But don´t anybody worry I'm religious with the sunblock :)

I´m really enjoying working with Sister G. She has an amazing Spirit and love for this work.  She hasn´t had the easiest mission, but she has such desires for the work and to help serve the Lord.  This week we worked a lot with the references we had and made a lot of contacts trying to find new people to teach.  We encountered one couple who has a young son and their older son was shot and died when he had 15 years.  It was neat talking to this couple and to see the difference in her eyes. When we shared a small scripture and talked to her about our purpose of life.  Death is sad and hard for those who loose loved ones.  But it's not the end of life.  We have a purpose here on Earth that doesn´t end when we die.  I love talking to people about this message, because we can live with our families forever, if we live worthy and make the right choices here on Earth.

Sunday, Karen was confirmed in church and it was really neat.  Her mom didn´t go to church, but she had her older sister there to support her.  I´m so grateful for our branch President and the love he has for this work.  He welcomed her into the branch and asked the branch to support her.  Not just the Primary, but all of us.  And that´s what I love about this church, we are here to support one another, to build up the kingdom of God.  We encountered a family less active this week.  We decided to knock doors on a house we were passing and it ended up being a woman who was baptized when she was younger, but after several years, she stopped going to church.  She and almost all of her family was baptized together and slowly all stopped going. It was so neat talking to her. And how she wants to start going to church again. It was neat to talk to her and to feel the Spirit that she has.

I read this quote this week in a Liahona - I promise we´re always busy, but the time after planning before we go to bed, sometimes I read the Liahona and don´t write in my journal - but I´ll do better with the journal I promise.  But I read this quote,  `What we insistently desire, overtime, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity`.  I loved this quote.  There are so many people who know they have things to improve or have goals for later in life.  But when we have these desires and want to change, we can start now.  Its not always easy, but with a desire we can become the people we want to be.  Don´t let others hinder your positive change.  We all have the ability to choose and we will live with our desires.  We will grow and develop according to our desires.

Love you all,
Laura
I wasn't going to post this letter from Laura's companion, but decided it shows why Laura enjoys her Mission and the wonderful relationship that exists between missionaries.  The missionaries are blessed so much by the people they serve with and those that they serve, teaching the gospel to.  Wonderful relationships are made that will be remembered all of their lives.  The love of Christ that they share I feel is expressed in this letter by a very loving young woman, and represents all of the sisters Laura has lived with, each are such beautiful missionaries - inside and out with great love for all children of our Heavenly Father.  Laura has stated many times "companionships are inspired." and this letter is a further witness of why they love their companions and feel like they are with family.  It also shows the love this sister has for the gospel of Christ.  It gives me peace in knowing she and her companions serve so well together in spirit and love.  We had trouble reading and using Google Translate and Susanna scanned the letter and sent it to a friend who served her mission in Brazil.  This is the translation we were given.  Such a wonderful young woman she is.  Nothing would be more special than to be able to meet all of these wonderful young women Laura has the opportunity to serve with on her mission. 

"Dear Shauna,

I hope that you can understand everything I write in this letter.  First of all, thank you for your wonderful family that you have.  I have a great love for each one of you, even as much as a pair of Labradors.  (I should explain - evidently Laura has talked about the 2 labs we have.)

I love to do this work, alongside your daughter.  Sister Bullen is a natural expression of love for your neighbor.  Her smile and her mannerisms capture all of the people.  We always joke that she is the sweetest of the threesome.  She has a vision of the plan of salvation and is able to live it because she seeks help daily from the Lord to make her able to do the work.  We are also happy when we know that you are well.  Every Monday we share with each other, news from our families, and we are always glad to hear news from your family.

I am learning English with your daughter and when I am done with the mission I want to come visit Sister Bullen in Alaska and play in the snow.  LOL

This work is marvelous!  I love Jesus Christ!  He lives and guides his church.  He called us to represent him, and with power and authority we see miracles in the lives of the people here.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister M.
Eternally the Lord's Servant"

Monday, November 26, 2012




 
This week was a really great week. We had the baptism of Karen yesterday night. She came prepared for us, but it was a really beautiful baptism. Karen is 8 years old and her mom isn´t a member, but her 2 olders brothers and sister are. She has been going to church with them for years. So really, she was prepared for us, but it has been really neat to help teach her our lessons and to get to know her and her family. This week I read a quote from a talk by Jean A Stevens, she said `Children have believing hearts, faith, are receptive to the feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive.` I really liked this quote, because she talks about Christ-like attributes that children demonstrate naturally. This is why we need to be more child-like and why parents have such a great responsibility.
This week we had a mini Thanksgiving- Sister Gee & I baked an apple pie - but since we didn´t have a pie pan (and im not sure they have them here) we used 1 small pan and a bundt cake pan (learning to be creative). We had apple pie and potatoes and gravy. Was delicious, fast, fun, and really special. Everyone talked about what they are grateful for.
Sister Gomes also celebrated her 9 month mark in the mission. So we had a surprise cake and a few things for her. So it was another good night.
I attached pictures of us eating pie, a cow I encountered on the road, the Baptism of Karen, and a fruit tree called Jabuticaba.
Time is up, sorry this is short- but you got pictures!
Love you all!!!
Sister Bullen

Friday, November 23, 2012

We received a letter from Laura:


Dear Mom and Dad, and family,

"Before I forget (I already forgot to add in the email).  Sister M. was so excited that you said you would send her a letter.  It was really cute.  I think it is hard for her, she doesn't let it distract her, but she doesn't get very much email or anything from her family.  When I got my birthday card from you (which if I haven't said already - I loved it.  Thanks, Mom.  .....  But to say the least, she was touched and is excited."

I let Laura know I am one of the Mom's who follow some of the blogs from Missionaries in her Mission Field.  She has been surprised to learn that there are Facebook Accounts for Mom's of Missionaries in the various Missions in Brazil.  Her response to learning I have been reading several blogs is as follows:

"HA my mouth dropped when I read you were following so many blogs.  That's funny.  E Leete and his companion are our Zone Leaders.  And S. Empey, you know I know.  But the other Elders I don't know, but the Sisters who've been here longer recognize/know the names."

The following are also answers to my questions.

"Bedding I have covered.  I've used my blanket (and we received another when we arrived), several times actually.  I have an umbrella.  My shoes are still good.  But I think I mentioned that sandals might be cool to have."  (Do any of you know where I can order sandals and what brand would have good support - I know Jennifer Empey mentioned some when I visited her, but I don't remember what she suggested.)  "I've used my raincoat a few times but yes, sometimes it's too muggy to really want to wear it."

"I had a great birthday, the Sisters have helped me celebrate it and F. (the last baptism we had) we were teaching him and his Grandma and Aunt (she's 16) who are members.  We left and (his Aunt) D. chased us down the street to give me a stuffed parrot (not too big) for my birthday.  She said he's had a special place in her heart for several years and his name is Bores.  It was very sweet.  I think it's funny you all had dinner together for my birthday.  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  :) "

"That's funny that Hannah likes to turn the computer off.  She is growing so much!"

"My health is good.  I had sometimes where my back hurt a little w/Sister Empey.  But really, I'm having good health and doing good.  I haven't received the package yet, but maybe I will tomorrow because we have interviews with the President in Londrina."

"I really liked the article I'm sending with this letter because of the tips it gives for writing personal histories.  This is what (I think I've mentioned).  I'd love for you and Dad to write some of throughout my mission and to keep at home for me.  Dad can write about racing cars!  Anything, but this is something I will truly treasure."  She gave Floyd and I journals quite a while before she left on her mission and asked us to write about our lives in them.  Obviously she sees a need to remind us of this.

Love,

Laura
During lunch their member gave them some little bottles of shampoo and toothpaste.  A silly/fun moment.





Ready to leave for Mission Tour with Elder Godoy (of the Seventy).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello from Ibiporã!

Happy Belated Birthday to Hannah!! I can´t believe she is 1 year old!!!

This is a beautiful city and its been great so far! We have a branch here in our city.  Sister Gomes and I live with Sister Marques (from Riviera) and Sister Gee (from the CTM).  So it´s been really good to see these sisters again.  Us four cover the whole city and a little outlying area.  So our area is huge and we´ve only seen a little bit of it.  I don´t know exactly what the population is, but it appears bigger by far than Fairbanks.  The work is slower here.  It's been a branch for the last 18 years, so we´re excited to help this area grow.

I didn´t realize I missed seeing `wilderness´so much, but its been great to see forests and hills in the distance.  This area (I'm learning its not just areas, but Brazil in general) has lots of hills.  I heard there´s an area with Elders where the hills are so steep their ties are touching the ground as they walk uphill....

It´s weird seeing Christmas trees and decorations for sale here when its been 99-100 degrees this week.  I´m not quite sure if it will sink in for me.  But we had our first Christmas invitation from a family very special.  We found this family by knocking on doors (actually they were the first ones that invited us in).  They are amazing, they have a son who has a mental disability and three daughters who are triplets.  We discovered the secret in how to tell Evelin, Emily, and Ebony apart - and they´re great.

This week we studied a talk by Neal A. Maxwell about the Atonement that was really good.  The part I liked a lot from his talk, was about how sometimes we react better for the problems in our life that are big, but for the problems that are small and inconsistent we forget to have patience.  He gave examples, of how with a big trial sometimes we remember to try and have patience and learn something, but we can be short tempered with a spouse or family member.  He talked about how we talk about needing all of the saving ordinances of the Gospel, but we forget to develop all of the Christ-like attributes that are essential too.  It was a really good talk.  I love having a talk about the atonement each week to study. It´s such a basic part of our Gospel that we need to study. The fact that our Savior suffered and died for us. Because of this we can become better people and return to live with him someday.

I can´t believe Thanksgiving is this week. Since Sister Gee and I are both here, we might make a little dinner, but I don´t know if we´ll have time to make much...  So we´ll see what happens.
But in the Spirit of Thanksgiving.. I am so thankful for my Family. For the love, support, and prayers that they do for me, my companions, and for this work.  I know that we are inviting people to know the true, restored Gospel of Christ. I love each and everyone of my family.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve here.  I know its a privledge and an opportunity more special then I thought could happen.  I am so grateful for this Gospel and the blessings I have because of it.  My eternal family.  I am grateful for so many parts of the Gospel.  But first, I am grateful to know that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me by name.  And second, I am grateful for Jesus Christ, my Savior, who suffered for me.

I love you all and hope you have a great week and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

This was another amazing week in Riviera. We had stake conference yesterday, for our stake Tiradentes. It was really neat to see our whole stake together and to feel the Spirit of all the members when we gather. For the first little bit a couple returned missionaries and one who is preparing to leave bore their testimonies. It was really neat to hear their testimonies. Here, mission calls go to the Stake President, who passes them on to the awaiting missionaries. The young man, who was waiting for his mission call, had his presented to him after he bore his testimony, it was really neat to see the reaction and the emotion for him. He has been waiting for months (he´s a friend of a family in our ward) so we´ve only talked with him once, but it will be interesting to see where he goes.

This week we had a couple of really special lessons with members. In both situations they were families where not all of them are members and they have different needs. But our members have stronger testimonies and a bigger impact than they think. The Holy Spirit will truly help those who try to share their testimonies for this work. Both members talked about experiences and things that they needed to hear about. They were really good experiences to see how much this work can progress and be blessed when we work with our members.

Today we received our emails for transfers- and I will be transfered Wednesday to Ibiporã to work with Sister Gomes (she lived in our house and was companions with Sister Passos my first transfer). It will be neat to learn how to work in a new area and with a new companion. But it will be strange to leave Riviera. There are so many members and people here that are so special and dear. We have a couple of new and amazing people and families that will be hard to leave. But I have faith and know there are people prepared for us in all of the areas we will serve in.

But love you all and hope you have an amazing week!
Sister Laura Bullen

A note for Paula - we only have a selected list of approved films (I think 6) that we can watch. So unfortunately I dont think I can watch home videos of Hannah. But we will have a very special night when I come home and we can watch them all :)
But I really appreciate the thought

Monday, November 5, 2012


Another amazing week. This week we met a woman and her three children who are amazing. Our first visit was Sunday (yesterday) so we don´t know them very well yet, but they were very enthused and interested. It was a really good lesson we had introducing our message and how this Gospel blesses families. She talked about how she wants to be more patient and have more peace in the home. Its so important to talk to people, to know what their desires are for life and for family. Because the Gospel teaches us how we can develop and improve these things in our life.

This week we also had a family night with a newly baptized member. It was a neat experience and a good demonstration of fhe. We know the family and the home is where we can learn and grow together and have the most happiness. But because of the great blessings we can receive we have a great responsibility in our roles to help and work towards these goals. Francisco, who was baptized a few weeks ago and is 12 shared a scripture about baptism and how it was such a good experience for him. His grandma planned a game/activity afterwards that was simple but fun and uniting. This is the point of family night, it doesn´t have to be big, it rarely is perfect, but it can be so spiritual and an opportunity to strengthen the family.

This week we had a visit with one family that we contacted while looking for a reference we had received. We encountered the family and they invited us in to talk, but they had a tons of family over. But they wanted to hear our message so we invited anyone who wanted to hear, to listen. So we talked with about 12 people about the gospel of Christ and the purpose of the Book of Mormon. They ended up not being interested, but it reemphasized for us the importance of inviting. Sometimes we might hesitate to invite people, especially when there´s lots of people. But we could walk away knowing we had tried, that we had invited and tried to help these people know the importance of our message.

I gave S. Moura and S. Passos each a recommend holder for their birthdays. They loved them! They only have recommend holders here with the picture of São Paulo temple. S. Passos left her´s on her desk all week so she could see the picture. Really, it was great. It was fun and really neat to let them choose and they loved it.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We received letters from Laura today. 


To Paula and Jay she said:  "I'm so proud of Hannah walking.  That's really cool that Jay got to be the person she took her first steps for.  It sounds like she is still an incredibly happy baby and spreading sunshine to those around her.  When Katrina sent her package she included a note about getting to hold Hannah during Relief Scoeity when you were teaching.  Everyone loves this girl!  :)"

"I hope the house hunting is going good.  I'm sure you're staying busy with that & Paula said basketball season started up again - how's that going?  (Both of our son's-in-laws play on the same basketball team)

We're staying busy and working hard with our investigators.  It was 91 degrees the other day and it's only springtime.  But I can tell I'm adapting because before I knew the temp I remember thinking 'it's not too hot today'.  The nice thing is we almost always have a little wind.  But people say there isn't much wind during summer when it's hot.  Haha.  So vamos ver!  We will see!

I read a talk this week on the "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Jeffrey R. Holland.  I read a quote that I love.  He said "Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask why this is so hard?  Why can't our success be more rapid?  Why aren't there more people going to church?  Why isn't the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?  ...I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.  Salvation never was easy...  How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never ever easy for Him?  It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane..."

It's a long quote, but I loved this part.  "We have amazing investigators that we have great visions for, but sometimes they don't progress or show interest like we want for them.  We have to remember that everyone has agency and that change is hard.  But the rewards and blessings that comes through true conversion are so great and full of happiness.  The work is hard, but the fruits of the labor are so special."

P-day is almost spent."

Love you all!!
Laura/Sister Bullen


To Floyd, I and Family she wrote:

"Mom I'm glad you enjoyed Conference and hope the rest of the family enjoyed it too.  I forgot to write about my thoughts of the age change in my email.  It was exciting to hear in Conference that women in the church will be able to serve missions at the age of 19.  It's strange to think that in a few months my companion could be 20 or 19.  I've been the youngest missionary I've known.  Sister Matiaco and Sister Bradley in the CTM were 23 and 24 (or maybe 22 and 23) and the sisters in our house are 23, 24, & 25.  I know in the CTM I started to understand why it could be easier for Sisters to be a few years older than the Elders.  It's going to be interesting to see how the number of missionaries serving will change.

It was fun to read that Mom visited Sister Empey's Mother.  The Sisters here in the house thought that was really cool, too.  It sounds like you had a really good time visiting family in Washington. 

(In response to my enquiries, she wrote.)   If you want to look at sandals that might be something cool.  I had bright green sandals I bought for Thailand that Kaitlyn H. borrowed for a trip to Jerusalem.  I probably don't want the same ones because we're supposed to have more conservative colored shoes.  But if you get the sandals you could see what size they are.  Maybe some black ones would be awesome.  But I don't know if it would be difficult to look for.  But sandals would be great for the heat.  Nothing too fancy, but with arch support.  I'm really glad I bought Dansko shoes.  I think they've made a big difference.  The other Sisters here (1 with the same amount of time as I) have pain in their feet from wearing flats (which is probably what most Sister missionaries in the world probably wear).  But I also do some ab workouts to strengthen my abs, which also strengthens your back.  And I pray for the forces that I need to work hard.  I'm grateful that my back and neck are doing good.  Actually improved since when I was companions with S. Empey.  But I've been blessed and want to do my part to do all I can to have good health, too.

With lots of love,

Laura/Sister Bullen


I also had a very sweet letter from Laura's companion, Sister P.  Laura is teaching the Portuguese Sisters English and her companion wrote in Portuguese and had Laura translate into English. It is so easy to understand why Laura has admired and loved all of her companions both at the CTM and in the mission field. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mom,
I received your package today! I haven´t opened it - because we had to come to Londrina to the mission office to pick it up (so it could have arrived last week) but I will open it when we arrive back in the house! I also got the pictures from Susanna - I love them! The sisters loved looking at them too! And said I have a beautiful family. They loved the pictures of the temple and of the ice sculpture. Thanks Susanna and Mom!

This week was really good. I love working with Sister Passos and Sister Moura. It's difficult working in a trio sometimes, but we have had some really good moments together. We feel we have something to learn together and are enjoying the time while we have it. It's been a challenge planning for our areas and trying to accompany our investigators in two areas.
We had a visit this week that was really neat. One of the women in our ward is a member with her two children who are older but her husband isn´t a member. We had visited them one night and we were talking about faith. He doesn´t believe in Christ or God and has no desire for church. But he goes to the activities when we have them and is a great guy. He´s always entertaining and is happy with life. It was interesting talking with him. He was talking about how he doesn´t believe in Christ because he´s never felt anything and that those who believe in Christ do so because they have felt something. Well he´s right. The purpose of the Spirit is to testify of truth, to testify of Christ. And we can receive a witness of these feelings in our heart through our faith. But you have to have faith, a pure desire to know. It was interesting talking to him and we are always grateful to those who are honest, and he always is.  : )
Each week until December we are receive a talk on the Atonement of Christ to include in our morning study. I have enjoyed reading and studying these talks. The atonement is essential for this Gospel and for our salvation. I know that Christ suffered for each and every one of us. Our pains, our sorrows, our heartaches, our grief and trials. I know he did this because of the love he has for us. Because of the atonement we can repent of our sins and return to live with him someday. But also the atonement is something we can use every day to help us. In the Book of Mormon Nephi was commanded to build a ship. Nephi had never done this before, nor did he know how. We are called and need to do things we don´t know how nor have the ability to always do these things by ourselves. We need Christ in our lives to be better people, he can help us become better.
This week we also met a woman who we are teaching who is so sweet. She´s probably about 65 ish and lives alone. She went to church with us and is hearing the lessons. But visiting and talking with her demonstrated the importance of listening. People need to feel that others care. It was sweet visiting us and talking with her. There are so many people who just need someone to demonstrate that they are thinking of them. To visit, to talk, and to listen. People in our family, our ward, or our friends. We have people who feel forgotten or lonely and want to feel the love of Christ. We can go a little out of our way to help someone.
I learned the word otorrinolaringolgista this week. Have fun trying.   : )
Love you all, have a great week!
Sister Bullen

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I received letters from Laura this weekend (dated September 17, 24 and October 1).  A few excerpts are:


Happy P-day! (For me, at least it's P-day (preparation day, the day they have to do laundry, shop, clean, write home, and in general do their chores/errands).  I laughed when I read that Hannah (our 11 month old granddaughter) turned off the computer on you.  I hope all goes well for Paula and Jay with their bid on the house in North Pole. 

Congrats to Austin on his mission call, that is so cool.  Every mission call is inspired.  People have investigators waiting for them.  I like to think that even the people who don't accept the Gospel message we teach might someday accept it because we tried to help them.  But I've learned that there is divine guidance in where you serve, who you serve with and when. 

It's been fun reading about Hannah and the changes and growth that she is making.  Does she make noise or talk yet?  I never know what ages these developments start at.  Can she eat anything yet or .....? 

One Sister here is the only member in her family and her family doesn't understand or support her serving a mission.  I am so grateful for the love and support that you all provide.  But I have a great admiration for this Sister - she has faith and trust in the Lord that things will work out.  And I know that all missionaries are blessed with protection from the Lord that our families will be watched over.

I only wrote a little in my email about our Conference with Elder Godoy, but it was really good.  It was all in Portuguese .  I feel like I understood most of it.  It started at 9 am (but we had to be there at 8) and it lasted until about 2 pm.  We heard testimonies from all the missionaries who arrived and will be leaving this transfer, President and Sister Tavares and from Sister and Elder Godoy.  Hearing everyone's testimonies was really cool.  Especially seeing the difference between those arriving and those leaving.  There's one Elder leaving whose testimony was really touching.  He was offered a job before his mission where he could make lots of money (I don't know but not an offer that comes often) and he might not get the same offer again, but he bore a touching testimony.  He wouldn't trade the experiences he has had here with anything else.  It was very cool.  He has had a successful mission and is known for good success with baptisms.  But it was really neat feeling the Spirit with so many missionaries and I enjoyed the talks. 

Time is moving fast.  I can't believe it's October now and we're starting a new transfer.  Sister P. and I are happy our companionship/area hasn't changed.  I'm happy and we're open with each other.  I'm learning a lot about patience, agency, and letting things go.  (It's funny how God knows what we need to learn.)   :)   Our purpose is to give people the best knowledge, situations, ect. to make the right choices.  We can't do a single thing for them.  Our Gospel is rooted in the fact that people have agency and can pray to God to know the truth for themselves.  It makes me laugh to think of people thinking of missionaries as "pushy".  We don't see it too much here, but in the U.S. everybody has this image of "the Mormon Missionaries".  And while we may be persistant, we can't force anyone to do anything.  We're truly concerned about the people we teach and have a love for them.  But why are missionaries persistant?  Because the adversary is real, and change is hard.  We want to make sure everyone is given a real chance to accept the Gospel.  To honestly say yes or no.

In my email last week I talked a little about an investigator.  She has a testimony of the Gospel, but doesn't feel ready for baptism.  We had a really good lesson, it was really spiritual and explained our purpose as missionaries.  She is just a great example, that missionaries are guides.  We can only show people the path.  We can try to help them and encourage them, but they have to make the steps.  Haha, but enough of that.  It really is going great and I love this work.

I always love reading your stories about Hannah, Sariah and Kayla  (our 3 granddaughters, Paula and Jay's Hannah is 11 months; and Susanna and Kevin's Sariah and Kayla are 4 and 2 years old - I tend Hannah while Paula works).  It's always cute.

Time is almost gone, but I love you all!!!

Sister Bullen

Monday, October 22, 2012


This week we had an emergency transfer and Sister M´s companion was transferred to a different area.  Sister M. joined Sister P. and I and we are working in a trio with our two areas combined, so we are covering a huge area. We found out a few days later that tranfers happened because Sister Empey will be returning home to care for her back and knees and will probably get to finish her mission in the US. (I saw in your email you knew already). It's sad that she can´t finish her mission, because I know how much she wanted to finish and how little she wants others to worry about her. But I know that she influenced and helped many people here and she will get to do the same in whatever area she can finish her mission. We got opportunites during our phone conference of sisters to say something if we wanted and Sister Empey got to bear her testimony. It was bittersweet. But I'm so grateful for the trainor that she was for me.

This week I woke up for my birthday and all the sisters had surprised me with cake and decorations. It was really sweet and fun. It was a pleasure to celebrate my birthday here with these amazing missionaries and people here serving our Lord. I´m so grateful for the blessings that I have in my life and for this opportunity. I am forever grateful for my family and the support they are to me. (love you all!)

Sunday I gave my first talk in Sacrament Meeting. It was on missionary work. And I was nervous when they first asked me, but then I realized I had talked with, visited, or taught just about every single member in our ward. Haha so everyone already knew the level of my Portuguese. But it was a really cool moment sitting on the stand thinking about our ward. And how truly we think, worry and love all of these families here. We truly pray and love the families and people here and want them to be happy. And of course how much we need our ward and each person to help this work grow. We have the promise of the apostles of our church that this work grows faster and is more successful when members share the gospel with their friends and family and when members and missionaries work together.

One of the cool experiences this week was teaching the Word of Wisdom to a family in our ward. The 11 year old boy is a member and walks to church every week alone. His mom isn´t a member and his dad and twin brother are inactive. But their family is awesome and I know how much this gospel will bless them. But teaching them this commandment it was really cool teaching the mom, because she smokes and drinks coffee and she said she believes it's true and that these things are bad for your body. And while she knows it will be hard she wants to. But it was really cool teaching the lesson, because we talked about how this commandment is also about having good health for your body. And how every person can always improve on how they are living.

But time is almost up..
I attached two photos - 1 of the birthday morning and the other of our district meeting - 3 of us had birthdays right in a row, so we had cake after our meeting (Elder B. and Elder L. were the others with b-days).

But love you all, and hope you have a  great week!
 
Sister Laura Ann Bullen

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mom,
But this week was a great week! We had the baptism of Francisco yesterday. He is 12 and a grandson of a member in the ward. He is an amazing young man and I am so excited for him. He has a sincere desire to follow Christ and it has been really great this last week to teach him and see his testimony grow. The baptismal service was really neat yesterday and the ward really supported him so we´re excited to see him grow in the youth program, etc. (I included a photo of us with Francisco and another of us 4 sisters outside the church)
I also included a photo of us for the anniversary of Sister Passos. She marked 9 months in the mission. So we had a surprise for her for this, this past week. Let me tell you, it is an impressive feat to pull off a surprise with missionaries when you are almost constantly with your companion. It's probably easier for us since our house (is small) but is two stories. So when she´s downstairs or showering, etc. We were planning :)
Another photo was with us with some pets of a family less active in the ward. They have 4 kids, but their 3 year old is always giving us their animals in our laps. So we took a pic.
This week I experienced true Brazil rain. It´s rained a few times pretty good on us. But this time we got caught in the rain between visits and only I had an umbrella. I love my umbrella, because it's light and can fit in my backpack, but this means it can only really help one person. And sister Passos forgot her umbrella in a house earlier that day. But it was really windy so I used my umbrella more for my backpack than for myself. Ha my scriptures, etc were more important : ) but we were a pretty sore sight when we arrived. Especially sister Passos. The family we were teaching has two small kittens and they were licking the water off of her skirt. It was soaked! It was funny and we enjoyed the break from sun.
I´m so grateful for my family and friends and this Gospel in my life! I am always impressed by the members and missionaries I meet that are the pioneers of their family entering this Gospel and following Christ. Sister M. and Sister R. both only have a few members in their extended family. This past weekend was the temple trip for our ward. While I miss going to the temple, I am grateful to have temples in so many places of the world. I can see the difference the blessings of the temple make for these people and am grateful for them.
Love you all!!
Sister Bullen
 
 



 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy General Conference!

Mom, the ever fateful question you had about conference. No,I didn´t understand too much. But I had been ´forewarned´ by others that normally people don´t understand their first conference very much. They had an English room there, but I'm the only American sister, so I watched in Portuguese. It was still really good to watch all of the sessions of conference. We had one of our investigators there which was really neat. I´m so grateful for our prophet and our oportunity for the whole world to hear him. With conference this week I´ve been thinking a lot about our Prophet and the importance of listening to his council and the blessings that come from obedience.

This week seemed to fly by. I attached a photo of our zone meeting we had this week. I love our district and zone meetings, we always leave with a fresh renewal of hope and faith for the week. We´re staying busy with investigators and members here.

One funny story this week. I´ve never been ´really tall´ only average hight. But here I'm normally a good 4 inches or more taller then the women. We were visiting one lady this week who asked me to change her lightbulb for her so it was a funny experience as I changed her lightbulb standing on top of a chair and a blanket to reach the ceiling. But it's always really good when the members or investigators ask us to help with something, even if it's small, because we want to help whenever we can.

We also had a miracle contact this week. We were returning to our house and walked by a man who stopped us and asked if we had something he could read. haha I know! we were like, ha actually yes. But anyways he´s really great. He´s probably about 40ish and has a really sincere desire to change his life around. It was so spiritual and neat meeting with him and his family. We talked on the sidewalk for our visit and most of his family seemed to dissapear. They don´t have too much faith that he can change. But he talked a lot about how he wants to change his life around to be an example for his family.

We also had a really sweet experience with another man on a different street. We stopped to talk to him and ended up listening as this man who is 87 talked about how his wife had passed away the week before and his children want him to move etc, and he was just feeling really sad and lonely. We talked on a bench outside his house. He is óur grandfather of Riviera´ because we felt so much love for this man. It was an expereince that reiterated the importance of listening for us.

A couple of visits this week have really emphasized the importance of love and support in families. And how change is hard, but with faith in Christ and how we can help each other change. But you can´t help anyone if you don´t first demonstrate how you love them.

Have a great week and love you all!


Monday, October 1, 2012

I can´t believe it's October! Tomorrow is the start of a new transfer for us, but I'm staying with Sister Passos in our area. For which I'm really grateful. We have been working really hard with some of the people we have here and I want to continue helping and working with these people here. We have desires for this area to continue growing.

I also can´t believe General Conference is this weekend, crazy! I'm super excited, and while I don´t know how much I'll understand :) Im excited. I know that this is such a great opportunity to hear our prophet and apostles speak and am so excited!

Yesterday was a really great church meeting. The sacrament meeting they had a primary program for the kids where they sang primary songs and had lines to read and say for the program. It was the first one I´ve seen for several years, but it was so great and so spiritual. Children really are so full of faith and love and innocence. This week we also had a couple of fun experiences with kids too. One was an investigator we have and she has a 3 year old son, who is so stinking cute. We hadn´t talked to her in several weeks because she works night shift and is normally sleeping or not at home when we can visit her. But she happened to come by the house of her niece, who is a recent convert we were visiting. Anyways, it was really funny, because the last time we talked, I could barely understand what he was saying. But the other day he was showing me pictures and talking, and we had a conversation. It was silly, but so cute, and fun to see. He also, said the prayer for our opening lesson (his cousin of 12 years and grandma) were talking about who should say it, etc. And he piped in and said he wanted to say it, etc. haha it was cute and led into our lesson of the gospel perfectly to talk about faith.

We also have a boy in our ward who is 12 years old and a recent convert. his mom is a different religion, his dad and his other siblings aren´t active as well. But he walks every sunday by himself to go to church. He has so much faith and his testimony is so strong. It's been really cool to see his example.

We had a really cool experience with service this week too. I've always had a strong testimony of service and love helping these people when we get the chance. I made no-bake cookies (thanks for the recipe mom!) and we went to drop´some off with the bishop and talk with him and his family. But they weren´t there so we left them with the neighbors and left a simple note under the door. But sunday at church him and his wife were both so grateful and talked with us for a little bit etc. But it was just another experience to testify that a little service can go a long way to show someone you are thinking about them and appreciate them.

Ha just a funny experience. So we met a new family this week we are teaching and the grandma absolutely LOVES my accent. haha it's funny, but its also kind of like, um excuse me, im not cute- I'm a missionary and trying to teach you!!! haha but she asked me to say her full name and a couple of words more because she wanted to hear how I say them. It was cute. haha but silly. But Sister Passos thought it was funny :)

Its been a great week and love you all!

Laura

Monday, September 24, 2012

How is everyone doing?

Thanks to Katrina for the package I received this week!! It was great and has been fun.

This was a great week and flew by really fast. We had a conference with Elder Godoy on Thursday that was really good. I attached a photo that was taken of everyone at our conference. There was one other day where missionaries who are working/living farther away met. So we had two conferences for everyone. (I feel like this thought wasn´t very clear)... But the frist day people close to Londrina met the second day was for missionaries in our mission farther away. The second group was smaller then ours but not sure how many missionaries. But it was really neat, I´ll have to write about it more in my letter.

We had a really good district meeting this week too. One part that I remember well is our district leader had the picture of the pioneers burying their loved ones who had passed in the frozen ground. He asked what qualities these pioneers had. We talked about how the qualities they had we want to have in our lives and this work as missionaries. But as members, these are qualities all people can really apply to their lives. Faith, Courage, Sacrifice, love, obedience, service, etc. These pioneers were willing to follow the will of the Lord and sacrificed much persecution and hardships. But they witnessed miracles and the hand of the Lord in their lives. Something that was really neat to talk about.

It seems like this week we had a lot of experiences with agency. We´d been teaching one investigator for quite a while (she´s been an investigator for I think more than a year). But she is so special, and I love her. One day she will be baptized, but probably not while I am here.  She has a testimony of this church but she has a few emotional problems that makes it hard for her to go to church and have confidence in other people. But she believes the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet. She has a desire for baptism but doesn´t want to set a date. Which is hard. Our purpose is to help others become closer to Christ through our Gospel by following Christ and the commandments. One important commandment is baptism. Anyways, it was a really good visit but sad in a way too. We can´t teach everyone and our time is sacred. So it will probably be our last visit for some time. But we could walk away and really know we did everything in our power and capacity to help her know the truth, to help her with her concerns and to invite her to continue to progress.

Out of time some how really fast, but love you all,
Laura
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Excerpts from a couple of Laura's letters.  We do not get letters often as she does not live close to a Post Office and Brazil is a walking mission.

Laura writes:

You are right, we walk every7where.  I guess I never mentioned that.  The entire country of Brazil is walking missions.  I think some areas had bikes, but some cities are so big and dangerous that the whole country is made up of walking missions.

Thanks again for your constant emails.  I love them.  Emailing is a highlight of P-day and your emails/letters mean a lot.  All missionaries talk about how by the end of your mission the only person still writing you is your Mom - but you are an excellent penpal.  (I think Susanna has been quite faithful too, and has received similar message.  I don't know how often others write.)

I enjoyed hearing about your new fridge.  Sounds like Dad and Erik are enjoying the new garden tractor.  Dad (or you) or Erik needs to explain what a lawn sweeper and thatcher are, though.  Haha.

I forgot to write in my email that we had a Ward activity on missionary work that was really good.  It was a scavenger hunt and 3 teams had to follow scripture clues around the chapel.

Maybe you have posted my address, if not, can you post the address for Londrina on the blog.  Every missionary receives mail there (Londrina missionaries) no matter what area of our mission you are in, so it won't change, my whole mission.  But thanks for everything, love you all!  (I posted it on this blog a few weeks ago).


Read a few lines of the email (normally read after I email when I print it) and saw that you mentioned Katrina sent a package. I haven´t received it yet. But it is waiting for me. We get to go to Londrina tomorrow to pick it up from the Post Office. Didn´t know who sent it until saw that line, but was wondering. Am excited to pick it up!

Saw your line about knee high socks. No, what Im talking about are `no show socks´. Made of a nylon material but made for flats or dress shoes so they don't show much. Literally like a sock but the top is really big. In the store they are located right next to the socks and nylons and stuff.


But this week has been really great. Hot upwards of 93 degrees this week, but as people keep saying, only starting to begin summer. Ha I'm excited to see the difference in Spring and Summer. I hear it's more humid during summer, it hasn´t been too humid yet.

One of the really cool things that happened this week was a visit with a member less active in the ward. Her whole family (parents and siblings) are members, but less active. We were going by to visit her sister who has been a bit more receptive to wanting to go to church, but were able to visit the other sister who hasn´t been very interested before. But we had a really good visit that was special. She talked a lot about how she remembers being sealed in the temple with her family when she was 9, and how she still remembers this really well but doesn´t remember other things. How this was special and she knows it was special. We talked about families. And I was talking about how when I was young I remember when my friend was sealed to her parents in the temple I remember knowing how special the expereince was for her. I remember being a little jealous that she got to experience that with her family. Knowing that it would be an experience very special to have with your family. But growing up and today, I am so grateful for my parents and the decision they made from the start to begin an eternal family - to be sealed in the temple. I am so grateful for this gospel and that through this Gospel we can have the opportunity to live with our families forever. I know that families are sacred and a place for us to learn and grow together.
The other thing I really liked that hit me was she said she never forgot the teachings of the church. How she/her family has been inactive for many years, but she has never forgotten. How she wants to go to church but doesn´t feel comfortable there. She talked about how she has lots of friends in the church and knows people don´t talk about her, etc. But how she doesn´t feel good in the heart about things she has done in the past and other things. But it was really a neat visit that I´ve been thinking about.

The phamplet we have of the Restoration we give to people has the picture of Christ holding a lamb. The parable of the 99 sheep and one is lost. And how Christ will leave the 99 to look for the one. That is our purpose to invite all to come unto Christ. We have a loving Heavenly Father who loves ALL of his children. Not just the obedient, not just some and others. But he literally loves and cares for all of his children. The parable of the prodigal son teaches us that. The joy in heaven is greater for the person who has returned from sin then for those who have never lived in sin. This doesn´t mean he loves one more then the other, but I know he has great joy for those who accept the gospel. Who are willing to change their lives to follow Christ, to live this Gospel.  All people deserve an opportunity to make the choice to accept the gospel or not.

This week I also read a talk on Pride that was really good. I think its by Ezra Taft Benson. It's really good. But just want to talk about a little part. Most people think of pride as being arrogant and not caring about others. But there is so much more to pride. Pride is the opposite of humility. You cannot change yourself, who you are, or progress if you have pride. Those who don't forgive or who hold grudges do so with pride. It was said better in the talk, but he said something along the lines of, those who don´t forgive are holding others under their power. Trying to keep these people indebted to them. But anyways its a great talk and have been thinking about it and how it can be connected with so many things.

But its been a great week and love you all!!

Mom,

Also, was wondering if you could send the recipe for Sugar cookies and maybe a recipe for No-Bake (I think there was a really good one in the recipe book from Grandma's ward that is old and we use a lot)??

Thanks & love you!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Greetings!

Susanna, I included you because I'm not sure if Mom is travelling to Washington right now or not so just in case she can't pass this on, thought this would be easier for you all and I started typing Paula´s name but not sure if I have her email.. Hopefully Mom had a good birthday and hopefully Grandma is doing better.

I sent some pictures in a second email last time, but I'm not sure if it went through, got a message it didn´t, so let me know if you didn't get it.

Oh and one other little thing before I forget, maybe you've noticed you're not getting letters as often. We dont have a post office very close, 45 minutes in the area of the other sisters. So unless we eat lunch with members close to the post office or go to Londrina, we don't always get a chance to send letters very often. But I promise I have letters written and waiting to be sent :)


Time seems to be flying by. I officially have 9 weeks in the field, so the same amount that I had in the CTM. But the CTM feels like so long ago. It's weird for me to think that the 2 different times are equal.

I received Mom´s package on Tuesday after our zone meeting. Thanks! It was really fun receiving it and so far the candy has been popular :)

We had a zone meeting this past week that was really good. Our mission scripture Is Alma 26:22 and I love it. We talked a lot about how we can always apply these things, repentance, FE, constant prayer, and good works in our lives. We have 16 missionaries in our zone and 6 in our district. We also talked about how we will have Elder Carlos A Godoy of the Seventy here on September 20 as part of a mission tour. So we will have an opportunity to hear him talk and I'm really excited.

This week we had a ward activity that was a competition between the men and women and who can make the best noodle/pasta dish. It was really fun and we had a lot of the ward and our investigators participate, so it was really good. Being at this activity and a couple of things this week I´ve been thinking a lot about kids and the faith they have and how sometimes its easier for a kid or younger person to accept this gospel. I´m not sure if I remember the whole quote but I think it was Gordon B Hinckely who said every new member needs a friend, a purpose and to learn and receive the Gospel. Sometimes this is easier when kids have a natural tendency to love and to be friends with everyone. They have so much faith and a desire to follow Christ. And how important these children are who are learning the gospel. Our Primary programs have such a great purpose. As do all of our church programs. They help us learn and grow and support one another.

But things are going great here. I can tell I'm really starting to get not just immersed, but accustomed to the language. I was asked to give the testimony in English for our zone meeting and it was a lot harder than it should have been. I tried using Portuguese words a few times on accident, etc. It was weird. I don't always remember my dreams, but I know I've been dreaming in Portuguese for a few weeks. But this week I had one that was really crazy. I remember talking with someone who normally speaks English, and in my dream I also had times where I didn't know a word in Portuguese but I had to keep talking in Portuguese. It was weird, but funny. Even in my dreams my mind is a little confused.

Anyways, out of time, but love you all!

Monday, September 3, 2012




Mom Happy Birthday for this Saturday!!

I attached a couple of photos for you all. The one with the group is the 6 of us that were all living in our house before transfers. There are two of a house across the street from us with a dog. This always cracks me up, and I thought at least Dad would find it amusing. This tiny little dog is always hanging over the ledge watching the street. A good guard dog. The other is of us Sunday picking some berries from a tree, they were kind of like raspberries, very good, and I think they were called amora.

This week was really really good and we met an awesome family that we are teaching. We contacted R. on the street in front of his house and he and his wife M. have four daughters. We had our first visit and talked about the Family Proclamation. It was a really good visit and they went to church with us on Sunday. They have been perceptive so far and I am really excited for them. Families are central to our gospel and our plan here on Earth and it is so special when you get to teach a family that is united like this one. I know this family can be blessed so much by this Gospel and the blessings it brings.

We also had a family night that was really special and fun with a family that is a little less active. They had invited a neighbor and and the boyfriend of her daughter, so we had a good lesson and then a fun game that I thought I would pass on. So you can all use it tonight for fhe :) You need candy that´s individually wrapped and a dice. Going in a circle, the first person to roll a 6 gets to start opening the candy using a fork and knife and (of course!) gets to eat the candy and continue trying to open the candy with the fork and knife until the next person rolls a 6 and they get to take over. So when a person rolls a 6 and starts to try to open the candy people in the circle are still trying to roll a 6. The next person to roll a 6 takes over where the last person left off. We didn´t have anyone too young with us and it was fun as all mostly adults, but I'm sure kids would love this.

I´ve been thinking a lot about faith this week. I was reading in the book Jesus the Christ about Christ teaching about how we need to have the faith of children. How they are accepting and believing. Children are so innocent and can have such beautiful testimonies. You don´t have to have a perfect understanding, you just have to start believing. This faith is developed as you try to live and make commitments to follow Christ. Like all things in life you can´t start understanding a principle until you try it. You can´t cook until after you start trying a few recipes. You don´t start out like a master chef either. Its the same principle with faith. You have to start with a desire to follow Christ and through going to church and doing the things Christ wants us to do we develop and strengthen our testimonies.

It´s been a really good week though. Sister Passos has been really great to work with, and it's challenging at times but its been great. She is patient and full of a desire to serve these people here and to spread this Gospel.

Love you all!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Greetings!

I´m officially the only American within at least a few miles that I know about. My new companion/trainadora is sister P. from São Paulo. We are still in the same area. Sister M. and Sister M. are still here as well. Sister Empey was transferred to Londrina.  But since sister G. and sister Empey were transferred, we only have 4 sisters in our house now. We also had our first district meeting this week (first after transfers) and I’m the only American, so I truly feel really really immersed in Brazil and everything now. My Portuguese is going. I’m learning all the time and it’s been really good. I am trying to have faith and not be afraid and with this faith I can see how I’m growing and learning. I’m getting mistaked more for a Brazilian now. But I think that has less to do with my Portuguese and more to do with Sister Passos. Because with Sister Empey it was normally pretty apparent, that since there were two white sisters, light hair, and light eyes we were American. But now with sister P. People don’t always know right away. Normally when I’m talking it helps people figure out :)

But it’s been really good. Since sister P. is new to the area it’s been challenging starting over. Sister Empey was here for several months and really knew everything. I have 6 weeks here, but because of the language, I’m still trying to remember and everything. But this has pushed me to talk more and be more involved in introduction, etc so it’s been good and fun learning together.

Before I get too far I´ll give mom a few details before I forget. Between letters to friends and family, the mission president, my journal, and everything I forget who I write what and what I’ve said. But sister P. is from São Paulo, she has 3 brothers and 3 sisters all who are older than her. She has 7 months in the mission and I am her first American Companion. It’s fun learning and studying the language everyday. They have a strong desire to learn English and it’s just as much language study for me as it is for them when they are studying English. Because I need to explain and define things in Portuguese. Normally we study with the Book of Mormon. So I explain they will only see ´thus´and other words like this in scriptures but it’s been good.

One of our investigators is really progressing and I pray for her all the time. Literally, missionary both pray and have lots of love for the people they teach. She was there for 45 minutes of sacrament meeting. She would have stayed longer, but she had back pain that was really bad. But teaching her, especially this week has been really good. Especially how we can use Christ as our strength and trust in him. And pray to God for help and when we have this desire and faith we can receive these blessings.

This week I also had my first visit with a woman who attends another church here. Her heart was open in the fact that she talked and visited with us, because she said their pastor says they shouldn´t talk with people of other faiths. It was interesting talking to her but sad. Because when people don´t believe in their church 100% I don´t understand completely. I believe in this gospel with all of my being, that is why I am trying to share this gospel with others. Because I know it is true, that it blesses families, and that it brings the greatest happiness in life.

But it has been a great week, challenging, but really good. love you all!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Laura's mailing address for letters is:

Sister Laura Ann Bullen
Brazil Londrina Mission
Rua Higienopolis, 1100, Sala 61
Centro
86020-911 Londrina - PR
BRAZIL


Her mailing address for packages is:

Sister Laura Ann Bullen
Brazil Londrina Mission]
Av. Higienopolis, 1100, Sala 61
Centro
86001-970 Londrina - PR
BRAZIL

Monday, August 20, 2012

I am experiencing my first transfer! We heard it from a very reliable source that Sister Empey will be transfered and I will stay in our area. So if things go this way, I will most likely be receiving a new companion tomorrow. Sister Empey has been having lots of problems with her back the last few months and this week we have been receiving lots of phone calls from Sister Tavares who helps with all the medical issues. The area that we are in right now has lots of hills, if your moving, normally you're walking either up or down a hill. So its likely she will be transfered to an area a little bit geographically nicer to her body.
This week we spent an interesting day in Londrina. Normally we visit Londrina 2 times a week for physical therapy. One of these days we went in at 8:30 am and were in Londrina with Sister Tavares until 7pm. We went to 2 different doctors and waited in the mission office for a while, had lunch with Pres and Sister Tavares (and their son) and did shopping with Sister Tavares for tennis shoes and some other things for Sister Empey. I told Sister Tavares it was like Christmas. It was really fun to be with her. But I was ready to return and get back to work. Her new doctor recommended acupuncture and it was hilarious, because neither of us really knew what was going on as we were waiting in the doctors office until he started getting the needles or pins ready. This week was definitely a little different than normal. We also had a day we needed to stay inside the house for Sister Empey. So I studied and did some practices, and we were able to go out to teach one of our commitments. But it has been a week of re-emphasising how much I want to work and why we are here. But it has also been a week of learning about faith and dedication. Sister Empey has been such an example of faith and courage for me. She has been having problems and pain with her back for about 3 months now. But she has such a dedication for this work. She knows what her calling is and she wants to fulfill it. She has been an example to me.
This Sunday (every 3rd Sunday) is about missionary work for our ward. One of the really cool things that we did was we sang a hymn (and I can´t remember the name, only the tune, so I'll have to include the title later in my letter) but the four of us missionaries and all the others in our ward who have served a mission sang with us with their plaquetas. It was really cool and such a strong spirit. I know that this work is the work of God and that we have such a strong purpose. Not only missionaries, but everyone.
 
This morning I finished reading ´Our Heritage´ about the brief history of the growth of our church. I have really enjoyed reading it in spare time which this week a little bit has been during our doctor appointments. But I really liked a quote at the end of the book ´Whether we are new members or old, we inherit a legacy of faith and sacrifice from those who have gone before us.´ I really liked this quote, because it is so true. I can think of several people in my life and this history who have sacficed so much for this gospel. We have the restored Gospel and what a blessing it is!
Love you all!
Laura
 
Mom
 
Read part of your email and saw your question about pictures, so thought I'd respond- if people want prints would be cool, but printing from the computer is good too!