Thursday, June 28, 2012

And begins the most stressful 30 minutes each week... Greetings!
It has been another fabulous week here at the CTM! I can't believe we leave the CTM in 13 days!! THIRTEEN! AND this Monday, we go proselyting. In the real world! They take us out on a bus and let us make contacts twice before we leave the CTM. It should be really awesome, and completely overwhelming im sure. Today while we were waiting for our Elders outside the CTM we talked to a man on the sidewalk for a few minutes. He was really nice and fun to talk to, but we only caught about a third of what he was saying. But the people are always so nice and understanding. I love Brazilians!
So last week the missionaries that will leave with me to go to Londrina arrived. I've meet all four of the Elders and 2 Sisters, that are all Brazilians, they only stay in the CTM for 3 weeks. When we leave, I think there is one American Elder for Londrina. They are all so nice, and so much fun to talk to. They seem to find our Portuguese highly amusing half the time and its really good to practice with them over our meals, etc. For example they helped us learn the difference between avó and avô which are grandpa and grandma, but we~re not actually sure which is which, just how to say the difference.
So one of the highlights from this week was our fireside last night. S. Bradley, S. Matiaco, & our room mate, S. Gee & I all sang `Every Breath´ by Jenny Phillips. It is a beautiful song and if you can, you should look up the lyrics. It was beautiful, and half the fun was practicing it, which was really nice to do. We sang it in English, because they only had it in English and it is soo beautiul. There is one line that I absolutely love that says `He knows your heart and he knows your name.´ It is so beautiful to me, because I know it´s true. Our Heavenly Father, knows who we are individually and he knows us by name. I feel a part of that love that He has for us when I teach people the gospel. The song also says ´´There´s No where you can go that he hasn´t been below´ which I find so comforting and I know to be true. As part of the atonement, our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered for us in the garden of gethsemane. He has felt the pains, the heart aches, and he knows the trials we have been through. The greatest comfort I have received is through the Gospel and knowing that I have a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for me.
Another fun fact - We learned the alphabet yesterday. We have been learning Portuguese like crazy, but somehow never really learned the alphabet. Except for reviewing it with a Hispanic substitute, which was really just kind of confusing. But anyways, it was lots of fun learning it. So I can relate to my 3 year old niece, Sariah now, because Im learning my A, B, Cs too! Or maybe she knows them all by now?
This week I also said my first big group prayer in Portuguese! They always ask someone to give the opening and closing prayers for firesides. So I said the closing prayer for our Sunday night devotional. Which I was more nervous- they give you a day or two notice- before hand, considering that half the audience is Brazilian and you don´t want to slaughter the language. But it went well, and it was a good experience. Learning a language really helps us to relate to investigators when we teach them how to pray. Because we´ve had to learn how to pray all over again, and saying it infront of native speakers is intimidating. But you realize that everyone is here for the same reason, and the CTM has such an amazing atmosphere.
Love you all!
Sister Bullen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greetings from Brazil!
We just got back from lunch in the outside world. Our whole district and our two teachers plus our old teacher (who left because he got a different job offer) went out with us to a Brazilian Resteraunt. It was so good and so much fun. It was like a buffett where you get the main food that you want and then waiters come to your table with tons of different types of meat and if you want some they cut some off for you and move on. So throughout the meal, all of these waiters come by asking if you want more. I definitely ate chicken hearts for the first time today! And tons of others stuff, it was so fun. The chicken heart was a little chewy, but not bad. It was really fun to try! We also came back to find suitcases in our room. And we just found out we got a room mate finally!!!!! Sis. Bradley had a friend who got a mission call to Brazil who she knew was coming soon, but she couldn't remember where she was going or how soon she would be coming. But she walked into our room today AND she's going to Londrina!!!!!!! woo!! We are so excited!!! Tomorrow, the Brazilians should be coming in who are going to our mission fields with us. Americans are in the CTM for 9 weeks, Hispanics are here for 6 weeks, and Brazilians for 3 weeks. So all the Brazilians going to our missions will come in tomorrow for their 3 weeks and then leave the same day we leave.
We feel like we've had a ton of different devotionals this week. Early this week, we had a surprise devotional during the middle of the day. We got to hear from President Costa, who is in the 70 and the Area President over Brazil. It was an amazing talk and he had some really fun missionary stories that he shared with us. He made sure he was able to shake everyone's hand to as we left it was really fun. In the beginning of his talk he was talking about how the Lord will bless you in all aspects of your life as a missionary, even with the weather. He talked about how he has had missionaries come in from Alaska going to Manaus and to Northern Brazil. It would be 8 degrees in Celsius and then up to 40 or something in celsius (he said 120 F) and the missionaries would be able to bear the temperatures just fine. He then asked if there was anyone from Alaska - and I got to be one of 5 missionaries to raise our hands. We also had a devotional where we got to hear from President and Sister Tanner. Does Sister Tanner sound familiar? She was the previous Young Women General President, the YW President when I was in YWs. So it was really cool to meet her. She talked a lot about how you can become what the Lord Calls you to be. She talked about how we can become missionaries like Nephi became a ship builder. Last night we also had a devotional where we heard from President & Sister Leal (Spelling could be wrong) he was the previous Mission President of Londrina until 2010. They were the clearest Portuguese speakers we~ve had yet. Normally I catch phrases and pieces some more then others. But we always have a translator for the speakers, so it all works out. But last night, I caught a lot, our whole district really understood what they were saying. So granted they spoke veryy slowly and clearly it was really nice to understand a talk. Sine he had previously been the Mission President over Londrina he asked who was serving there- and I got to be 1 of 3 to raise my hands for that. But, soon there will be more of us heading to Londrina.
This week has been full of little events that have been amazing. In Irmã Korth´s class we had a testimony meeting on the Savior and how we have learned more of him or drawn closer to him as we have been here. It was an amazing experience to hear each of the 10 missionaries in our district bear testimony of our Savior. I haven´t even made it to the field yet, but I know that companionships are inspired. That our district is inspired. I can´t imagine only being with one of the sisters that I have. Our trio works great together, and we learn so much from each other. Our whole district feels like a family. I have never felt so comfortable with a group of people- outside of my family ever. We all have something to bring to the group and all of us are here to be representatives of Christ. For TRC this week we were investigators for the first time ever which was really fun, but they split all the comapanionships up. I was with two of the other Elders and I commented how it felt soo weird being away from my companions, even for the 30 minutes that it lasts. And one of the Elders said something along the lines of we´ll protect you sister and I totally believe him. We have such a feeling of unity and strength in out district. When you are united in your purpose, you are united in body.
I want you to Youtube the Brazilian National Anthem. It is amazing! We sing it every Sunday for Devotional and it is soo fun!
I know Father´s Day was this week and I hope Dad has gotten my Father´s Day Letter. I´d also like to wish Jay and Kevin a Happy Father´s Day. They are two of the best out there! They are amazing Dad´s and I am so proud of them! A big Happy First Father´s day to Jay! And I hope my Dad knows how much he has blessed my life and he has been an amazing example to me. I know I also have a Heavenly Father who knows me by name and knows my hopes and desires, my trials and my faults. I know he lives, and I am so grateful for that knowledge!
I´m once again out of time, so love you all!!
Sister Bullen

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CTM Missionaries in Sao Paulo

Greetings all!
Mom- you should have just received a FW with 5 photos of the whole CTM. Hope you appreciate them, it took like 25 minutes for the CTM to coordinate the group shot. That was taken after the Manaus Temple Celebration which we were able to attend and will talk about.
Just a little housekeeping: I hope my emails make sense, if they don't I apologize. We have 30 minutes to use computers. So if you email me, I take a picture of the email and will write you a letter later. And I LOVE getting the pictures of my nieces that I've received. But if you get a chance you might try to resize them, cause they're gigantic when I receive them and I get a really close up shot. Bot complaining, because I love them, but I can't resize them. And I just hope my emails make sense, I can feel my English slip away as we pound more and more Portuguese into our Brains.
This was another amazing week here in the Brazil CTM. Saturday and Sunday we were able to participate in the Temple Dedication of the Manaus Temple. Which as I hear, is located in the middle of the Amazon. It is the 138th Temple in the World. And the 6th in Brazil. Fortaleza, when it is completed will be the 7th. We were able to watch the Temple Celebration via Broadcast Saturday evening and were able to watch the Temple Dedication via Broadcast Sunday evening. It was a very Spiritual and exciting event. President Dieter F. Uchdorf and Elder Quentin L Cook were both in Manuas for the dedication and gave talks (Not in Portuguese in case you were wondering). One of my favorite things that I heard from the Dedication was how the Manaus area has grown.

In 1979 people from Manaus wrote to the Mission President in Rio asking if missionaries could be sent to the area. The mission President asked the Area President. However, they considered Manaus too remote, too isolated, and too hard to get to. So they did not send missionaries. However the people of Manaus tried again. Finally, they agreed on sending Missionaries from Rio to Manaus on 3 conditions. 1 That the People of Manaus have people ready to hear the gospel. 2 that air fare would be covered, it was very expensive to travel into the Amazon. and 3 the missionaries could only stay there for 4 months. Well the members of Manaus paid for missionaries to fly up there and they had people ready and waiting to hear about the gospel. The church grew and the missionaries never left. We were told people spent weeks trying to get to the Sao Paulo Temple. It normally was over a 3 week trip just to get here from the Temple. It was at least 3 days by boat and then another 4 days or more by road one-way from Manaus. There are people who live even farther then that who will now have the opportunity to receive blessings from the Temple. It was very neat to be a part of the Celebration for the Temple. I'll have to write more about it in my letter, cause Im running out of time.
A couple of highlights from this week:
*We celebrated our 1 month calendar anniversary on the 9th of June
*We had noodles/pasta for the second time this week
*We had corn for the first time last night for dinner
*We had rain for a solid 5 days. And I mean rain. It was normally downpooring when it was raining at all. And we had lightning and thunder like I've never seen before. Elders said it was so loud it was shaking the building one night. But suprise suprise I slept right through it. But, we did see lightning literally outside our classroom window one day with Thunder a split second later. It sounded like a big truck ran into our building.
*This has also resulted in the first feeling of "winter" for most people. There are no heaters inside any buildings here, so while Im sure I will get cold eventually, it hasn't happened yet.
*One of my companions, S Matiaco was called as the Coordinating Sister. Which means several things, but most importantly she really helps in building unity amongst the Sisters. We had a sisters meeting one night, and fit all 34 sisters into our room along with Sister Degn. It was fun to hear all the new sisters introduce themselves and the sisters who were departying say goodbye. It was an amazing feeling to sing "As sisters in Zion" and "God be with you till we meet again" together. We had sisters cramped onto every bed and all the floor space.

Anyways, i've got to go, but love you all!
Sister Bullen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Greetings all,
We've been getting rain for the first time now. So I'll get to break in my Missionary Raincoat! We've had lightning and thunders storms a couple times this week. The first time it knocked out power all over the city. We must have a generator cause power kicked back on, but all the apartment complexes within eyesight were pitch black. You'll have to google it, but I think São Paulo is the 3rd largest city- I've heard there are 17 million people here. There's an apartment complex close by, that they told us it alone, has 8,000 people living right there.
Anyways, This has been an amazingly Spiritual week. I've been thinking a lot about my Testimony lately and the people who have helped it grow and who have helped me to get where I am today. I've been wanting to share it a lot lately. One of our class assignments this week was to imagine the last night we had home, and if we knew we were headed to Brazil, never to come back, what would we write in a note (in 5 lines or less) and I'd like to expound upon that a little bit.
I am in Brazil right now, because I know that this is the gospel of Christ. I left behind my school, work, family, and friends, and all other matters, because I know this Gospel is true. I know it is true because of the witness I have received after praying to know of its truth. I have seen the blessings in my life and the people around me from living this gospel righteously. I know that everyone on earth is a child of God and that He knows us individually. My Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. That it was translated by Joseph Smith, who restored the Gospel to the Earth. I know that today, we are still led by a living Prophet, Thomas S Monson. I know that families can be together forever. I love my family and I am so grateful for all that they mean and have done for me. My parents made the choice to be married in the temple and because of that I know we can be together forever. My Mom, as most people know, is an amazing woman. Who as a young adult, already had a testimony in Temples and the blessings she would receive from a Temple Marriage. She didn't have the opportuninty to have her parents there, but she still chose the right. The love that both of my parents have for the Temple, has always been a large influence in my life. I am so grateful to them for their support and love. I love all four of my siblings and my two brothers in law. My three beautiful nieces who are growing into such beautiful people. I would not pass up the opportunity to watch them grow, to play with them, and to see them. Unless I knew without a doubt that I am where I am supposed to be. I am a representative of Christ. My purpose for the next 17 months is to invitite others unto the restored Gospel of Christ.
We have just had an amazing week. Last night, we watched a broadcast from Jeffrey R Holland about being a missionary and what that entails. If I were to have a favorite apostol, he would be one of them. One of my favorite parts was where he said something along the lines of: Be the missionary that Primary Children Expect you to be. That your nieces and nephews believe you to be. All they know is that you are off serving the Lord and that they Pray for you every night as a family.

It was something like that. It was so powerful and motivating. I am trying to be the missionary that my nieces believe I am.
I love my Companions, we grow closer all the time. Irma Kortch, one of our teachers, drew us a picture the other day. Describing us as the "Power Puff Sisters" S. Matiaco is "Docinho" which means something like Sweet. She bites first and then you get the sweetness. S. Bradley got "Florzinha" which is a flower, means kind of delicate, beautiful. I got "Lindinha" which she told me means beautiful" kind of "ahhh" or something. That we are becoming one in unity. We balance each other out really well. This week we also had our first "street contact." Which was just in the class room and all of the companionships had to try and talk to our teacher who was walking to work on his cell phone. It was really intimidating to try and catch his attention and try and stop him. Most of us, just almost ran into him instead. It was really funny, but also a very good lesson. Irmo Teixeira had to leave us this week, because he got a job offer in his profession. Working here is normally only a two year job. So, our new teacher is Irmo Israel, (but the R is pronounced kind of with an H). He is really nice, and we are already learning a lot from him. He is what our class needs right now.
One last thing I also love about our trio. We have a pretty predictable response from most people. S. Bradley has a little American Indian in her, but most people just think she's Brazilian. So people always walk up to her speaking rapid Portuguese. When people here I am from Alaska I either get "ohhh moito frio" or "wow." its pretty funny.
Anyways, Love you all,
Sister Bullen

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hello All,
The days are flying by and we had another great week at the CTM. There were a couple of really neat experiences this week at the CTM.
On Sundays they show a church movie which people can go to if they want to. We went for the first time this Sunday and they were showing "17 Miracles" which was REALLY good. Lots of sniffing in the crowd, but it was really spiritual AND it was in English with Portuguese subtitles. We had a really good, bad visit with one of our "investigators" this week. This investigator (who is really one of our teachers) has a father who is a Catholic Priest and has been interested in the gospel when we come to talk with him. We were planning on teaching him the restoration lesson, but after our small talk and a prayer he told us his dad doesn't want him to listen to the Mormon discussions anymore. I don't remember a lot of what was said, I just remember a lot of what we were feeling. Both of my companions were at a loss of words as to respond. But I just remember feeling such a wave of saddness come over me. it must have shown because he told me not to be sad. I bore testimony (in Portuguese!) that I knew the gospel could bless his life and I was sad because he would be missing out on all of those blessings. We talked for a few minutes but we were all at a loss as to how to express our feelings and answer his questions. He thanked us and got up and left. So essentially, it wasn't very productive, but we really felt the Spirit and I really felt like I connected with him and what he needs, we just lacked connecting all of the dots. We talked for our teacher for a while after, about how we just felt at a loss of what to do. He helped us out a little and gave us some pointers. When one of my companions asked if the point of the CTM was to make us feel like we didn't know anything he answered well yes. And it totally makes sense. Missionaries can't convince people the Gospel is true, that is what the Holy Spirit is supposed to do, bear truth. He said a lot of Americans leave for foreign missions thinking the only thing they need to learn in the Language. But really, we all need to learn how to teach with the Spirit and how to connect with people and find out what their needs are. Anyways, seems like we've been learning that a lot this week.
We also had two really good devotionals this week. One was from Elder & Sister Dille who were a senior missionary companion serving as the medical doctor and assistant for the CTM (For those of you who don't know, "senior" means just that, they are retired parents and grandparents who have been serving the Lord for the past 22 months). Sister Dille talked about leaving her 7 kids and 19 grandkids behind. She has missed four births of grandchildren while they have been gone, but feel truly blessed from everything they have experienced while working here.
This week has been good in a lot of different ways. We also had fun seeing missionaries off this week. There were 3 elders who left for Londrina this week and the only ones I've meet so far going to Londrina. We also said goodbye to some amazing sisters heading to Rio & Fortaleza. We can't believe we've already been here 3 weeks- 16 of the way through!!
Today we went to the temple, and I did my first Portuguese session. I love the temple and the special Spirit that is there. Just like all our P-days we get to go outside and see some of the surrounding streets and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. You could probably google the temperature and know better then me, but we think its in the low 80's with humidity.
I have 25 more seconds on computer time,
Love you all!!
Sister Bullen