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

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.

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!


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.


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


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,
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"