Monday, July 30, 2012

Laura front left with Mission President Tavares and wife in the front center with other Sister Missionaries in the Londrina Brazil Mission.  Her companion Sister Empey is behind Laura.

Photos when Laura entered her mission field.

 The top photo is of Laura and her two companions at the CTM in Sao Paulo with Bro. & Sis. Degn, their Branch President and wife.
Above is Laura at the Mission Home with her companion Sister Empey on her left and another Sister at the fr left.

Above is Laura on the right with new companion Sis. Empey from Mesa, Washington on her left, another Sister at the far left.

Above is all the Sisters in the Londrina Brazil Mission at a Training Mtg.
Greetings all,

Its been another beautiful and hard week here. I loved seeing the pictures of Hannah with Dad on the tractor- so cute! I also noticed the freshly mowed grass in the background! Happy Birthday to Erik, who celebrates his Birthday on the 1st!

Yesterday the other 2 sisters in our ward had 3 baptisms - 2 boys 10 and 11 and a 9 year old girl. It was really neat and Special. But sacrament meeting was something else. Two of the moms were there, but somehow I found myself and my companion sitting with 4 of the boys and the other sisters sitting with kids as well. Anyways the bishop laughed after the meeting, but they were getting up and running to the bathroom and talking, etc.(Luckily we were sitting in the back). Our ward has normally about 100 people each Sunday and the people are great.

I have found myself talking more during lessons and lunches. Lunches are probably the hardest time, because the topics are normally varied and people often talking at the same time, which is normal, but hard to follow. But Im starting to understand more of this, and when i dont understand im starting to at least distinguish and identify this word. Learning with the Brazilian sisters is fun. This week I learned the Brasilian word for eyebrow which I can say, but I don´t remember how to write it. So if you´re really interessted you can google it. One highlight was teaching them the word muscle. The more I learn of Portuguese the more I think some English words sound really strange. I used to think it was so weird when return missionaries would come home and have a hard time readjusting to everything in English, etc. I´m starting to get an itty bitty understanding of that. Every now and then Sister Empey will forget how to say something, etc and we find it rather amusing.

This week we went into Londrina a couple of different times for medical reasons. They got the flu vaccine in, so Sister Tavares had all the new missionaries go in to get the flu shot. In the CTM I found out there had been an outbreak of flu in the area, but I have yet to see signs.

This week has been emotionally challenging as we teach and work with our investigatores. It is hard to see someone accept and acknowledge blessings from the Gospel, but not be willing to live the Gospel. We pray for them and love them and think about them always. So it is tough when you get to the point where you can´t do much more for them. People have to want to live the Gospel and find answers for themselves. My companion said this is one reason sisters serve 18 months, instead of 2 years. Our hearts can´t take more then 18 months. Which Im sure isn´t always true,

Sister Empey received Pop Rocks in her package from her mom to share with the kiddies. It has been so funny to share these with the kids here. Its like watching someone see magic for the first time. Even the sisters in our house, it has been hilarious to watch. And in turn they enjoy watching me experience new things as well. One members house we ate some reallly fun fruit with our lunch. I have no idea what the name is, but it was different, but very good.

One of the most amazing parts this week was a contact we made on the street. We were talking to an older lady and she invited us in to talk more. So we taught her the first lesson on the Restoration. It was so spiritual and I felt so much love and hope for this lady. She´s not in our area, so the other sisters will be teaching her. But it was a very neat experience. She talked about how she could feel and know we were sincere and different and feel the Spirit, etc.

Love you all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

First thing First, I have been wanting to wish Jay a belated birthday for weeks! literally, in the CTM i remember thinking, i need to remember to wish jay a happy birthday. So, Jay Im horribly sorry this is so late, but I hope you had a great birthday!

Now for the rest of the birthdays in July. Happy Birthday Sariah! Happy Birthday Kayla! Happy Birthday Paula!!
Are you all having lots of Birthday parties?

We have our P-days Monday and have an hour to use the internet, but this includes emailing our Mission President and entering numbers, so normally i end up with half an hour anyways. But, we get to print out emails, so feel free to type as you wish! I love hearing the news and seeing the pictures. Thank you Paula and Susanna for the beautiful pictures this week. I cant believe how much Kayla and Hannah especially have grown. Mom, through your letters last week about dads job position changing, was rather funny. The one I happened to read first was how ´`Dad turned in his 2 weeks notice today`` . My jaw almost hit the floor, it was funny. But then I read farther to get the story.

After reading your emails I realized I hadn´t written anything about getting here, which is what all of your questions were about. I had to catch my shuttle with my group at 4:30 am to get to the airport. It was a 1 hour flight to Londrina and then a short ride to the Mission President´s home. From there it was about a 40 minute bus ride to our area.

This week has been really good. We had an all Sisters Training early this week with President and Sister Tavares that was really neat and special. Apparently it was the first time they have had all the sisters for a training together. I´m learning that you don´t have to understand everything to get inspiration and learn from the Spirit.

Im starting to be able to remember names and faces together for most of all our investigators. Im learning to be specific as we pray for each and every one of them and for their needs and challenges. Im starting to really understand things as we teach and talk to people. Im definitely still lost at times and totally miss things, but im learning, and i love this language. I love practicing with our Brazilian sisters in the house. They want to learn English-most Brazilian missionaries do, because it will benefit them after the missions. So its fun learning together. This week, my companion, S Empey celebrated her 9 month mark for her mission. So it was fun celebrating that with her and the other sisters. Which by the way S Empey and her family live in the Pasco North Stake. Not sure if thats the same or different ward as Grandma and Grandpa.

Love you all and hope you´re doing well!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Greetings from Londrina!!
My first area is a zone called Riviera. It is located right outside of Londrina. Driving into Londrina on the bus I can~t tell the difference of when Cambe ends and Londrina starts. My companion is Sister Empey from Washington. With us we also have Sister Neves who is from São Paulo. She leaves tomorrow though. So then it will just be Sister Empey and myself (It was nice being in a trio for the first week, especialy since that is what i had in the ctm). We live in a house with two other Sisters (S Moura and S Marques). Having an American as a companion is nice, but it reality we hardly ever speak English. We always talk in Portuguese. If I don~t understand, which happens often. Someone will repeat in Portuguese. Sometimes I get it after a time or two. Or sometimes she says she´ll explain later, but we both forget later. So, if something is REALLY important she~ll explain in English or a word here or there if she can´t explain. But my companions and house mates are amazing. They are all so pacient with me and Im learning lots. There are times, lots of times where I have no idea whats going on. The times when I understand the most, are about the Gospel. Which makes sense, because thats basically what we learned in the CTM the last 9 weeks. Sometimes its really funny when I dont understand and other times its confusing anfd hard.
For Example... On my second day here we had a BAPTISM!! and we were looking for scissors in two different cabinets for at least 5 minutes before we communicated in Portuguese that that is what we were looking for. Which I had a pair of scissors in my backpack the whole time. So the Baptism, was amazing. Kelvin, is 10 years old and he got baptized a few days ago. His mom is a member, but doesn´t attend church. So I was able to help teach parts of a few lessons before his baptism. Normally when we are teaching I can understand and follow just about everything we are teaching. Its harder to talk, because im trying to conjugate and use different tenses. But its coming.

On Sunday I attended my first all Portuguese church (The ctm it was English). I loved being in a family ward for the first time in ages. I had gone to sacrament meeting with 3rd ward a few times, but I really felt immersed in the family ward. I loved seeing and remembering how the Gospel blesses all people. i was able to meet a lot of members and they are all so nice. The people here in Cambe, are so patient and friendly. They all try to help me understand and help me learn. Which actually nomrally makes it harder because there are 4 or 5 people speaking in Portuguese to me. So its rather amussing and I find it rather entertaining.
I don´t have much time left, but I love you all and am loving it here. It is an amazing experience to watch people grow and learn in the Gospel. This is truly Gods work. I pray for our investigators, I feel their sorrow and joy. I can feel a little of the love God has for these people, and all people. I know how much this Gospel can bless the lives of these people, and it drives me to learn Portuguese.
Oh yeah- PS - there~s something really funny about my last name here that I haven´t quite figured out yet. Something about how its reallly close to their word bully or something.
Love you all!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!! This definitely wasn't a holiday I expected to see much of down here, but it has been such a blast so far. In the CTM, for every country that missionaries represent they will do something for and sing the National Anthem. So last night we sang the Star Spangled Banner as postlude for devotional. It was a really neat experience. Today for lunch after getting back from the Temple was soo much fun. They decorated the entire cafeteria with balloon boquets, streamers, the workers were wearing big glasses and hats, and we had so much fun. They had made cheeseburgers, french fries, potatoes, and Ice Cream. We decided it was the best ice cream we have ever had, but its been 9 weeks since any of us have had any, so who knows. But it was soo much fun! Everyone has color coordinated with their companions for red, white, and blue. Tonight there is a soccer game between a team from Argentina and the Sao Paulo team, which is apparently a HUGE deal. People have already been setting off fireworks and selling flags for the teams and its only 1:20. No matter which way the game goes people will be crazy tonight. We're apparently not too far from the stadium, and on multiple occasions we have woken up to yelling and fireworks and what sounds like gun shots. Are first time waking up it was rather errie. Our teachers say there are normally riots and stuff after, so we'll see if we sleep tonight. It's not like its happening too close to the CTM (don't worry Mom) but its close enough that we hear a lot of the noise.
This week we went Proselyting!!!! It was soo amazing, I loved it. It was rather overwhelming language wise. I normally understood what we were talking about, but not the specifics all the time. But I was able to bear my testimony and it was so amazing just talking to people! Our companionship placed 7 Books of Mormon and our District 31 books. It is so amazing to walk down a street and know that the Gospel could change and bless everyone's life. The people are so amazing and so loving here. Even if people aren't interested or busy they still normally took the time to shake our hands. When I talk to people about the Gospel, I can feel the love that God has for them. I know this Gospel is true, and I can't wait to share it with them! There was one lady we talked to for a while who was at a park with her two young children. She said God is important to her, but its hard to make it with her young children. It was such a neat experience to talk to her. I was able to talk to her about my 3 year old niece Sariah, and how she is learning about the Gospel. She knows that she has a Heavenly Father who loves her! She prays to her Heavenly Father and she is learning how to make good choices. (My two other beautiful nieces are\will be learning the same things). What an amazing Gospel this is, that can bless everyone's life!
One more story about Sariah. We were having fun eating dinner with some Brazilian sisters. I was able to tell them I felt like my 3 year old niece when I talk in Portuguese. Which they found rather amusing. I try to just jump in, and I have seen God's hand in helping me speak Portuguese. We are learning learning and learning Portuguese. I love the language, and hope that I will still love the language as we jump in this week! We leave for the field Tuesday Morning, i have no idea what time, but there are lots of Missionaries who leave the CTM before 5 am. I do know I will be travelling with one American Elder, the rest will be Brazilians. Who I love, but the language barrier is still rather apparent, particularly on conversational vocab. But I am excited and eager for the field. I know that I will be guided and watched over by my Heavenly Father. I don't know a lot about Londrina, but I have found out that my Mission President does not speak English. My teacher has been talking a lot about the big spiders in Londrina... So I'll give an update on that later.
President and Sister Call leave tomorrow for home, in Pleasant Grove Utah. President Call was our branch President here at the CTM. He and his wife have been serving a medical mission here in Brazil. I don't remember what kind of doctor he was, but I know it was something to do with Arthritis and stuff. Anyways they have been such a sweet couple and have loved having them here at the CTM. She (as well as all the other Sister Leaders) always make sure to give us sisters hugs on Sundays. Sunday after church, she had made our district, and others Im sure, brownies. She told us lots of stories about the missions in Brazil and they even sang us a Brazilian lullaby.
On Sunday, as Fast Sunday, we had mission conference which was really good. I loved a quote from one of the speakers, "Excellence is not a feat, but a habbit." That is something that I am trying to learn, is practice, practice, practice and lots of studying on top of that.
I'm not sure if we get to email home before we leave for the field. We leave on Tuesday and our P-day is Wednesday, so not sure if you'll hear from me or not.
Love you all!!!