Saturday, March 30, 2013

Just received two letters from our Sister Bullen in Maringa.  The post following this one is four photos from Sister Bullen's Zone Conference, held this week.

March 4,

Querida Familia,

Last P-day we spent a little more time outside the apartment and then we watched "The Lamb of God" inside the apartment.  So I didn't get much writing done, but it was a nice P-day.  I just got finished with my house cleaning which was the kitchen (we swap every P-day) and we haven't left the house yet.  Sister Ra... and I are thinking of getting approval from President Tavares to go "shopping" to maybe buy a new skirt or something.  Haha, I don't know how Elders do it...  There are some mornings I stand in front of my closet and think hmm... I've already worn this and this, etc, etc.  Haha, it's not that bad, but we joke about it sometimes.

I'm super excited to get my package, it probably arrived a week(s) ago, but because we're farther from the Mission Office, I haven't had an opportunity to get it.  Our leaders have meetings in Londrina once a month, I think and normally grab stuff for us.  We heard yesterday from our District Leader we'll have a Zone Meeting in Londrina this week.  So that will be exciting.  Don't know more yet.

I'm not really sure how it feels to be half way done.  Really, I'm almost to 10 months.  It's crazy to think how fast time has flown.  Sometimes I feel like I've only been here a few months and other times like it's hard to remember life before the Mission.  I've talked with a few companions at different times talking about how Elders serve two years and sisters only 1 1/2 years.  I don't know why, but I know it's inspired.  Sometimes it's obvious and you think really you can't serve more than 18 months.  It's like Sister Ra... said the other day, your body is tired at the end of the mission, and your heart and mind too.  I had one companion who said sisters worry and stress over investigators in 18 months in what Elders do in 2 years - your heart and soul get tired out.  It's an interesting theory..  Sometimes I feel like I've changed a lot and other times it's just obvious how much more I need to change.  I heard it said once that people always think about the hard things missionaries go through as the weather, the walking, etc.  But what's truly hard is how you see how much you have to change.  Trying to become more Christ-like, being more obedient, and living the Gospel more fully.  You have to adapt and change to teach with someone the Gospel of Christ.  You have to be willing to change to grow.

I've thought several times of why I'm serving foreign.  I never thought I was too prideful, but I feel like I've learned to be more humble.  I certainly want to be.  You really can't learn a language without being humble.  You have to learn to accept criticism and to look and to ask for help (things that were hard for me).  You have to learn to do basic things all over again.  It's definitely an interesting process.  I've seen how God helps us, but how he also expects us to do our part

But serving a mission has been both the best decision for me and for my life.  This morning in Personal Study I read the scripture Alma 27:18, which I love.  Our President Tavares talked about this in his last letter.  How Alma and Ammon had a lot of trials as missionaries, but they also had exceeding joy and happiness.  You find true joy by looking for it in good thing, by being humble and living life righteously. Ii've had so many experiences sweet and felt so much love and appreciation for members, for companions, for investigators, and for family.  I remember thinking before my mission how I always hear about people who talk about how much their testimony grew on their mission and how I thought, well I already have a strong testimony, I'm not serving a mission to get a testimony.  But I've realized how crazy this idea was.  My love for the Gospel has grown.  My understanding has grown.  My desire to help and to invite others has grown.  I know now how much more I have to learn.  But I am so grateful for our time here on the Earth.  How we have a Perfect Plan, a Plan of happiness, a Plan of Redemption.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to have joy.  We can talk to him and receive answers through Prayer.  I've learned more about the importance of Families and the examples.  How our choices will affect generations.  How practicing faith is showing our love and trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ.  How Faith truly is the first step, we have to believe and have hope in our life; hope and faith that our Heavenly Father loves us and knows what is best for us.

I have good health, I'm doing great and I'm loving the mission.  I love you all and am so grateful for you all.


Sister Laura Bullen

18 February


Hope you are enjoying the cold weather - I'm melting here.  Well not this moment, but the last few days have been really hot.  But sunblock is a blessed thing. :)  So all is well.  And it's a lot easier to talk to people and have success in the heat than it is in the rain or cold.  One day we (4 sisters) arrived in the chapel for our meeting with our Ward Mission Leader and we were all soaking wet from an unpredicted downpour.  He talked about how there's no better day to do missionary work, because where he served in the North of Brazil, everyone let you in to dry off.  But here it's a little different sometimes.  We definitely have tons of people who are really receptive, but we've all had a fair share of days in the rain when people aren't too interested.  But we truly have a blessed mission.  Sometimes I'd rather be drenched than lug around a raincoat and never use it.  But we try to plan and we don't have too many times like this.  But I'm so grateful to serve here.  In the rain or sun, I'd rather serve than in the snow.  So I'm grateful for the missionaries who serve Northern; to me, that's harder.

But this week we found some great families and couples.  We're excited to work with them and see how it goes.  One couple was really receptive and we only had one visit and invited them to church and they went!  Every Sunday I see the sacrifice of people required to go to church and I see the blessings .  I feel a little bit of the sorrows and joy that I think our Heavenly Father feels when we go or don't go to church.

One thing that I've learned as a missionary is we every week/constantly are looking for the elect of God's children.  One of the commitments that demonstrates our faith and commitment is the level of how we prepare to go to church and our commitment in going.  No one (at least no one I know) goes to church because they have nothing else to do.  But ti's a commandment and it's where we go to learn, to be renewed and to demonstrate our faith and love for our Heavenly Father.  I feel so happy when our investigators go, because I know they are making a choice that will bless their week and their life.

Love you all!

Sister Laura Bullen

Don't forget next post is photos!!

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