Monday, November 11, 2013

12:09 PM

To: Mom
I traveled from Maringá for Londrina today and was interviewed by Presidente Genaro, it was really special. 

As I am the only sister returning home they arranged for a young woman from one of the wards to be my companion.  I encountered Sisters here in Londrina where I will pass the night now and tomorrow we have dinner with Pres.

I don't have much time so just wanted to send a quick message how excited I am to see all of you again. 
I know this gospel is true, That this is the church of God.  I know that He loves us and knows us individually.  The mission has been the best thing that I have done in my life and with my life.  I know that Christ lives and that he is our Savior.  I know that families can be together forever.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that reading it daily brings the spirit into our lives.  I know that through the atonement of Christ we can receive forces to do the will of God.

I love you all and will see you soon!

Monday, November 4, 2013

To: Mom
This week was a great week and flew by.  We went on companion exchanges with the four other Sisters who work in a different part of the city and live in a different apartment.  I went one day with Sister Sedgwick (from Connecticut) and the other day with Sister Rojas (from Chile, the second time I've done splits with her).  They are both amazing Sisters and we had some really neat experiences together.  I feel very blessed to be able to see how special the Sisters are in our mission and to see the hand of the Lord in our work. 

This week in personal study I was reading the talk `The candle of the Lord` by Boyd K. Packer and I love what he said `The Spirit and testimony of Christ will come to you for the most part when, and remain with you only if you share it`.  This is why we need to share our testimony and our faith.   Because without sharing our testimony it can not grow, nor can we keep it.   We can share what we believe and our belief will turn into a powerful testimony as we take care of our testimony. 

We were able to pass by one of our recent converts this week to see how they were doing.  She is really firm and has a strong testimony.  But it's hard to see all of the changes that come.  Because people truly leave a lifestyle behind.  And with this many times friends are lost or don´t stay with you.  Members are essential to make new friendships and to help and encourage new members.  I also got to hear from one of our recent converts, that he is really wanting to serve a mission and is starting to do the process of paperwork.  It was really special to hear about his desire and how much he has progressed.  Missionary work is a chain link of blessings and they never stop.  This work truly blesses generations. 
O., the brother who was baptized last week is travelling to take care of his sister in a different city, who has cancer.  But she called us to pass his address and she thanked us, saying that he has truly moved his life.  There is nothing more precious than to see how someone is an example of the atonement of Christ and how all of us can change. and it all begins with just  a little faith and trust in God. 

We met a family that I had already met about 9 months ago when I first arrived in Maringá.  It never went right and a lot of commitments fell through.  But three of the kids went with us, a teenage girl and her two younger siblings.  Her mom works at night and wasn't able to go.  But it was another experience that testified there is always a right time and that our example makes a huge difference.  We woke up before 6 yesterday to leave early to walk to our area to go to church with our investigators who had marked with us to go to church.  They all fell through, but I feel happy to know that we are doing our part.  And to know that agency is essential in the process of accepting Christ in our lives to follow his example. 

I know this Gospel is true and that our Savior loves each and every one of us.  He died so that through his sacrifice we can become whole.  I know this gospel message is a happy message. 

I'm so grateful for each and everyone of you and hope you are all doing great! 

Happy Halloween (we had a little snack at the end of our day with the treats, etc. that Katrina sent they were well received :)

Happy Anniversary to Kevin and Susanna!! 

Hope Grandma has a good surgery and that she recovers fast. 
I cant believe I'll be seeing you soon!! 
It'll be really special to get a hug from my mommy!  In Relief Society yesterday they talked about the love of a mom... Can you think of who I thought about?! 
I love you mom and am so thankful for everything you have taught me! You are the best!!   (It is wonderful that all children think their parents are the best.) 

I got a call this week from the Elders in the Mission Office.  Next Monday I'll be travelling to Londrina 11 am in the afternoon.  I don't know how everything will go if I'll have time to use internet etc.  I probably will, but if not, you know that I'll soon be seeing you :)
Love you, Your missionary, Sister Laura Bullen
PS-send a great big hug and kiss to Dad and tell him I'm very grateful to him too
And a great big hug for the rest of the family too 
love you all!!
love you! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

To: Mom

It was another great week here.  I think summer is officially starting.  The hot weather stays and the rain has stopped.  This week it stayed about 93 degrees or a little hotter each day. 

We saw some miracles here in our area this week for which I am really grateful to Heavenly Father.  We had the baptism of an amazing man named O.  We met him 2 weeks ago in the street and he was smoking and had a drink in his hand.  But one of the things he said was that he wanted to be saved.  He completely moved his life and was truly prepared by the Lord.  He has the greatest heart and it was really neat to see how much he moved to follow the example of Christ. 

This week in one of our lunches we met the mother of one of the women in our ward.  She told her conversion story and it was really, really amazing.  Its pretty long.   But because of her example and her pioneer story, she raised her kids in the gospel, and now has grandkids who are being raised in the gospel. One person can bless generations.  She bore her testimony of the gospel and missionary work and it was really special.  I know the restoration is real!  That Joseph Smith was called of God and restored the gospel and authority of God on the Earth.  Today we can be baptized and receive all of the blessings of the gospel!
I know that we can have true happiness in this life and in the next only through living the gospel righteously.  I know that obedience to God is to trust in him and that when we are obedient we show our love and gratitude.  I know that faith is the first step.  To trust that God loves us and has a plan for us. 
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!   

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One of Sister Bullen's prior companions put these photos on Facebook.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To: Mom
Opening your package!  I loved it! 

                                                 Birthday package from home.  Happy birthday on 10-17.

The Sisters decorated her bed while she was showering.

Birthday clothes from Mom and Dad.

                                                                               Sisters De Moura and Bullen.

                                                                      Sister Genaro and Sister Bullen.

I loved the fotos sent by Susanna and Paula (wow - I think it's been a while since I've seen Paula - she has bangs & is looking good!!)  Janessa is so pretty!!  Congrats Susanna and Kevin!!!  She looks like an angel and hope everything went really well.  I remembered you all several times this week.  Wondering if she'd already been born yet. 

This week was great and I don't even know where it went. 
I will send photos also, but because I had to upload them, time is short, so here are the highlights...
We had zone conference and it was amazing.  Great trainings from Pres and Sister Genaro and the Assistants to the Pres.  We also had a surprise for beating our record and being the number 3 mission for baptizing - Pres surprised us with the chance to watch 17 Miracles and we had pizza afterwards.  You should have seen the response.  You'd think we´d won the biggest lottery.  But it was amazing and really spiritual. 

Yesterday we had Stake Conference and it was amazing.  The greatest joy really is helping someone come unto Christ and seeing them stay firm and true in the gospel.  I got to see several of my recent converts from Campo Mourão and from here in Maringá. and it was really special. 

I had a great birthday and was really surprised and felt a lot of love.  The Sisters in the morning surprised me with a little cake and a banner, etc on the bed (when I was showering) and we split the cake for breakfast.  It was the night before the conference so we had 4 sisters from Campo Mourao who came to stay the night with us and when I was showering they surprised me with a huge cake and it was a lot of fun.  Silvia and Israel (an amazing family in our ward) also surprised me with a box of chocolates for my birthday.  It was really fun and I am so grateful for the Sisters that I have the chance to know here. 

One of the quotes that I loved from 17 Miracles was from Levi Savage who said `all we can do is carry on`. How great that is.  Sometimes things happen that are hard or sad, that we don't understand, but we need to trust in God and remember that he loves us and that all will work out for our good.   We just need to keep going and look for the blessings. 

I'm so thankful for all of you and love you all!  I know that today we have the same Church of Christ here on the earth.  I know we have a living prophet and 12 apostles.  I know Christ lives.  I know he suffered for my sins and for the pain that I pass through.  I know that God knows and loves us.  Love you all!!!!

Sister Bullen's sister, Susanna, with daughters Sariah, Kayla and new baby Janessa born 2 days ago, October 19, 8 lbs. 1 oz., 21 inches. 

Sister Bullen's sister and 2 of her nieces.  

Sister Bullen's new nephew born 8-23.  So glad to have little Elias, her brother, Brian, and Kaycee's first child.

Sister Bullen's sister, Paula, with the new Janessa Kennedy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mom- in response to a few questions:

When I had my last dr appt before I left he said that I should have an appt when I returned but that I could wait a few weeks if I remember right.  I'm not too worried. 
The dentist will be great, but I don't know if I need much else for appt. 
Does insurance cover back massage??  Wow. that would be great :)))

I trust Pres Duval or Bro Buma to know when i should be released.  I don't think never is an option... :( 
ha and you said you sent the last email to the bishop... don't know if I should go back and read what I sent... 

I said I opened your package in the last email, but I haven´t opened the presents yet, I stood firm against many requests to open.  But we had lunch fall through a few times this week and the cups of gold were a welcomed dessert, thanks mom!!!!  Katrina´s package has been quite popular as well, if I didn't say so.  I have the best support group :D l love you all!!

I'm really excited for this week. We will have a zone conference, interviews with pres, and stake conference. So it will fly by super fast I'm sure. 
highlights from the week...
We had a really great week. We talked a lot about desires and actions this week.  How desires lead to beliefs, which lead to hope which leads to actions. I know that God responds and grants us our righteous desires. 
I loved the scripture we read in 1 Nephi 2:4 which talks about how Lehi left everything to follow the Lord, he demonstrated his desire through his actions. 
haha Sister De Moura and I had a lady ask us this week if we were sisters..  haha we laughed pretty good 
I love that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and he does so through the feelings that come from the Holy Spirit. We can know that the Book of Mormon is true because we will feel peace, joy, and more understanding through our study.  In one of the talks I read in a Liahona he talked about his answer he got that the BOM is true and said that `the voice of a friend is louder than the voice of an adult`or that we trust in our friends more than others.  SO when they share their testimonies we can trust and have a natural curiosity to know too.

I read two talks that I loved this week from one of the past conferences one was from David L Beck (I think in English) the title is something like `Your duty to minister´ it's really beautiful and talks how we can all minister for others and make a lasting difference. 

The class in Relief Society was on missionary work. woohoo!! members make the biggest difference.  This I know.  The desire to share the gospel is a natural fruit when we are converted. 
I love you all!!! hope you have a great week! thanks for the birthday wishes and I loved the photos of Elias he's super cute!  I'll be thinking of my niece who will be making her arrival any day now too! (I don't think Susanna would like to wait 3 more weeks??) haha just kidding. Love you all!

Monday, October 7, 2013

To: Mom
General conference was amazing!!!  It's funny that I'm in the same area that I was for last General Conference..  We had a room in English for all the American missionaries, so it was really nice to watch in English and hear their voices.  With me, there were two other American sisters (who live in a different house) and about 12 Elders.  I loved Conference!  Some highlights from conference:

Elder Bednar called us to repent! whoooo it was so powerful (well really he called those to repent who aren't paying tithing) but it was really powerful. 

E. Edward Dube - it doesn't matter so much where you are or where you´ve been, but WHERE YOU ARE WILLING TO GO. woohhooo I loved his talk. 

They talked a lot about the importance that moms have in the home not only for the family, but for society (and they said if moms and grandmothers don't have a dominant influence, etc we will come to regret it - signs of the times)

I loved that they stressed missionaries can't work alone!! it's so true!  Having passed 9 months in the richest city in our mission, the work can be very hard.  Members have the keys, they have friends,they have testimonies.  Our message is a message of happiness, peace, and love, it's how we can gain salvation.  If we don't give people a change to accept the message, we are taking away their agency to choose. 
Highlights from the week:

S. Santos (former comp of S. Arruda) was transferred, and  now it's me and S. De Moura, & S. Arruda and S. Silva in house.  It's a house of great sisters, and it's a lot of fun (and spirituality too :)  )
rain never hurts anyone :) and its a great way to break in shoes. and even if you put on wet shoes to start a new day, you have the choice to choose to be happy.

Our mission was one of the top 3 baptizing missions in Brasil in September, we broke our record and there were 182 baptisms this past month.  Miracles are real, and baptism is the first covenant to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Even though I wasn't nor S. De Moura, a new transfer is always crazy looking for cars to pick up and leave sisters at the bus station.

Speaking of which, at the bus station I received your package and one from Katrina.  Haha one of the blessings about a new zone leader who was in the mission office means letters and packages woohoo!!

I don't know how many people we invited to go to conference and to hear a living prophet, but it was alot!!  But when they sang We Thank Thee o God for a Prophet, I was really touched by the words `they that reject him will never such happiness know`.  Truly when people reject to hear a prophet, they are rejecting to hear the words of God. We are so blessed to be able to have a prophet and to hear the words of God.

One last note - I loved how Elder Richard G. Scott said that we should give willing service in our church callings - ESPECIALLY home teaching and visiting teaching.  I'm so grateful to my mom and dad and their examples in this.  I remember many times visiting with mom or with dad the families that they visited. This is so important in so many ways. 

Love you all, have a great week!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

To: Mom
So it's one more transfer day here in the mission.  And I´m staying here in Maringá with Sister De Moura. I'm really happy to be staying with Sister De Moura - she´s awesome and we work great together.  We really thought one of us would be transferred.  But there's only one thing I know about transfers - and that's that you never know what will happen.  But it's always the will of God.  Between Sister De Moura and I, we have 8 transfers here.  I was here for 4.  She arrived when I left and she passed two here.  And now we are on the 2nd together.  That's a lot of time for our area.  For example, we have a new investigator we were teaching this past week who remembered me from a time that I already passed in her house when she lived in a different area.  But I know we are here together to work and to help others come unto Christ by being baptized and receiving the blessings of the gospel. 

This was a great week.  We spent it running.  L. called us Tuesday night saying she wanted to talk.  Normally this isn't good.  And as her son had died recently and she was passing through a lot, we arrived Wednesday, with I admit a little dread.  But she shared an amazing story how she had truly received an answer from God that our message and this Church are true.  And now more then ever she wanted to be baptized (and she needed to get married before she could get baptized).  So we went to the city office the next day as early as we could to see what could happen.  Here you have to start a process of paperwork, etc. etc. and wait for 19 days for the authorization to marry, etc.  She was in the middle of this process when her son passed away and the date almost fell through.  But miraculously everything worked out.  I can officially say we helped plan a wedding in 2 days.  She and her husband were married Saturday and were baptized the same night.  Sunday they were confirmed.  They were married in the church and the Bishop performed the service.  We truly were so grateful for the help of the Lord and all of the missionaries and members who helped.  Clothes, money, and everything that worked out.  It was such an amazing experience and I am so excited for this family.  They truly deserve all of the blessings that come from their obedience. 

Yesterday, in Gospel Principles I was elected (of the sisters) to give the class.  Haha and the topic was eternal marriage.  But it was fun and a good class.  I was able to see C. give a talk also.  There´s nothing better then to see those who you have taught and baptized progress in the gospel.  People can change. The gospel - the atonement of Christ enables us to change and to make our lives better.  I am so grateful for this.  I know the only way we can live with God and with our families forever is through being baptized by someone authorized of God and living worthy until the end.

Love you all, have a great week!!


I know you're dying for information, hope I helped kill this hunger a little bit today :)
I'm sending three photos from the wedding/baptism and  a photo of our district.

LOVE YOU Mamãe!!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I finally received letters this week from Sister Laura Bullen!!

August 26th

I don't think I've written for a few weeks now.  Sorry, with transfers and crazy P-days I didn't have much time.

That's crazy how the Elders got their miles cut.  Leaders/secretaries have been looking at the additional money missionaries receive here too.  We've been walking a ton here in Maringa!  Our area is huge, but the bus is expensive.  So sometimes we're walking an hour just to arrive for lunch.  But we don't mind the extra walking.  I hope the Elders have a lot of help from the Brothers.  Relying on the members could be a blessing for the work or really difficult.

That's really neat that Skip and Olga Cook are Temple President and Matron.  Did they sell their home?  That'll be really neat for them.  It'll be nice to see them when we visit the temple.  I'm so grateful for all that you and Dad have done to make the temple part of our lives.  For the sacrifices you've made to go and to always return.  I know that it's the place more Holy and sacred here on the Earth.

Sorry this letter will be short - we're heading out to buy food for lunch.


Sister Bullen

September 9th

Sounds like you had a good birthday.  I certainly remembered you and hope you felt the love that I have for you.

I love getting your letters and emails, thank you!  I (and the Sisters, too) all think it's funny how much you know, because of Facebook.  I didn't even know what Elders (or even a specific date yet for when I will return home.  But several of the Elders you mentioned are Zone Leaders and one is the Assistant to the President.  I know that I will be the only sister leaving on the transfer when I will return home.

That's cool that you might be able to go to the temple and hope you all enjoy it.  It's something that I miss.

This week we were talking with a man at his door when his friend came up and he was/is a member, but less active.  It's been a long time since he was active and I don't think he has much desire to return.  But several times in the street, or knocking on doors, etc. we've encountered less-actives and many times it's surprising how much people can forget about the Gospel and doctrine.

But I truly know it's really hard for less actives to return to Church.  People worry about clothes, about who will sit with, who will talk to them, or maybe what people will think.  But I also know that sometimes this happens with people who are active, too.  Every member needs a friend and a purpose in church.  Satan truly knows how to keep people from returning to church.  If we remember that each of us has a great part to do in the Gospel and to bless the lives of others.  When we met this man in the street he started to express how he doesn't even know if God lives or how much he means to him.  I could bear my testimony for him, that I know each person has a great value in the eyes of God.  We are his children and he loves us.  I know the Gospel is true, that we truly have the Church of Christ here on the earth.  I know that we have a living Prophet.  I know that God gives us the forces we need to do his will.  I am so grateful for the mission and for all that I have learned and will still learn.  I love you all!

Sister Laura Bullen

Monday, September 23, 2013

To: Mom
This was another crazy week for us.  One of our investigators who has been progressing, her son past away.  Her two sons were baptized about a year ago.  And she´s been progressing with her boyfriend so that they could both get married and after, baptized.  But he dissapeared Sunday morning and they found his body Monday afternoon.  So Tuesday sister De Moura and I went to the funeral and we spent Monday night with the family too.  The family received several visits from the ward which was really nice to see the support they received.  It´s been really tough for her, and really sad.  But I´ve really seen how having a testimony of the plan of salvation makes all of the difference.  You can know that while we are separated for a time, they are going to a better place.  And that if we all do our part, live the gospel, then some day our families can be together forever. 
This week we also went to Londrina to do companion exchanges with the 4 sisters in Ibiporâ (my second area).  It was really good to work with them and to help them with some of the difficulties that they have.  I really learn in divisions that it doesn't matter what area, etc. We can be happy, work hard, receive blessings, and do the work of the lord. 
Yesterday, in gospel principles the lesson was about family responsibilities and we talked about examples from our parents, etc.  How blessed I am to have an amazing mom and dad. 
Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Mom, I'm sending photos to make up for last weeks lack of very much email (and because I'm sending photos it took some time away from writing....) 
but there are two photos from our last leadership meeting and one that I thought was funny, when we were using a pay phone. 
love you!!!!!!!!!
PS- a foto is worth a 1000 words :)

Sister Bullen and Sister De Moura.
Add caption

At the last leadership meeting.

Sister Bullen using a payphone