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.


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!