Òla família e amigos! Let me just tell you all how great you are! It is so fun getting mail from you all! I feel so loved! Hopefully you will be able to see me tomorrow if you watch the General Relief Society Broadcast- i'll be wearing blue like bright blue :) This week we have spent a lot of time practicing, so I hope it will be good. It is amazing singing these hymns as a missionary though. The songs have new meaning as I sing them now. I still cannot believe that I am a sister missionary and get to have these experiences! My lessons this week have been very successful. Sister Phillips and I are able to better understand what our investigators say to us, but the Spirit helps so much. Even if I don't understand every word that they say, somehow I am able to know what to say to them. It's so amazing. I have been learning so much about teaching through asking questions and letting the investigators bear testimony as they answer. One cool experience this week was in TRC, which is a program through the MTC where BYU students and other volunteers who know Portuguese come and let us teach them as members. We get the opportunity to get to know them and then share our testimonies with them. This week we met with a returned missionary who served in Portugal. She was way cool, but Portugal Portuguese is VERY different than Brazil Portuguese especially to two sisters that know very little Brazil Portuguese to begin with. Anyways, we picked up on only a few nouns and adjectives that she used, but somehow we were able to speak with her for 20 minutes. The gift of tongues is real! I know it. Also, we were able to understand her testimony and love for her mission, especially when she told us not go home. After the lesson, Sister Phillips and I talked about how much we needed that encouragement right at that moment because that lesson was WAY hard for us. It was definitely a tender mercy. Also, I feel like I write a lot about the songs we sing in choir but hymns play a huge role in feeling the Spirit so I love them. This week we sang "Nearer, My God, To Thee." I didn't know this before but this song was written for the story about Jacob in the Old Testament. The story is in Genesis 28 (verse 10-22 I think). It is about Jacob (son of Isaac and Rebekah and brother or Esau) who has to leave home because his brother Esau wants to kill him even though he(Jacob) was the good kid who did everything right. He ends up leaving home and going to the wilderness where he sleeps with a rock as his pillow ("my rest a stone"). In the midst of this trial, he has a dream about a ladder ("steps unto heaven"), which Bruce R McConkie says is Jacob's temple endowment. Then when he woke up he made an alter there because it was such holy ground. He named the altar "Beth-el" which means "house of God" like the temples because "beth" means "house of" and "el" is short for "Eloheim." I just loved the power of the message in this song. It says, "Out of my stony griefs Beth-el I'll raise," which I believe means that God will take our challenges (stony griefs) and use them to make us into Beth-el, or a house of God. God refines us like a refiner of silver- he cleanses us, molds us, and makes us unbreakable through fire(our challenges). Oh and on Saturday night we had a devotional given by Merrill J Bateman! He used to be a President of BYU and in the quorum of the 70. Now he is emeritus status, but he once gave a talk called "A Patter for All" where he said: For many years I thought of the Savior’s experience in the garden and on the cross as places where a large mass of sin was heaped upon Him. Through the words of Alma, Abinadi, Isaiah, and other prophets, however, my view has changed. Instead of an impersonal mass of sin, there was a long line of people, as Jesus felt “our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15), “[bore] our griefs, … carried our sorrows … [and] was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:4–5).The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us. Anyways, he has awesome insights and he talked about the power and authority or a missionary call. He pointed out how the title Elder is only used for the quorum of the 12 and the 70 and for missionaries. He said that missionaries work along side them to help them to work for the salvation of souls. It was way cool to think about missionaries like that. Overall all is well here. I love the work! It is challenging but I feel God's love SO much as I try to be an obedient and diligent missionary. I know that He loves us all so much. We are His CHILDREN. It is so beautiful and special to know that. I hope that everyone around the world will be able to feel that as we sing tomorrow in Conference. That is our testimony as missionaries for Jesus Christ. I love you all! You are huge examples to me! Your love and support means so much. Lots of love! Tchau, Sister Bledsoe
Sunday, September 22, 2013
GUESS WHAT???!!!!!!!!! I'm singing in the General Relief Society Broadcast!!!!
Sister Hansen, Jones, Phillips, and I were chosen to be in the choir of sister missionaries that is going to sing at the conference center next Saturday so try to find us on TV! It's just so exciting. This morning was our first rehearsal. The entire general relief society board (including Sister Burton) was there! It was awesome!!! This is the coolest once in a lifetime experience. Plus we get to go on a field-trip to Salt Lake!!! ahhh i'm so excited.
This morning, we also woke up at 5:15 to do laundry and eat breakfast because our choir practice started at 7:30 so I'm just a little sleepy today.
Other than that, all is well here. I love, love, love my district. They are my best friends. We are already planning reunions (like Sister Phillip's wedding). All of the elders are just so funny, and the sisters get along so well too.
We also love our STLs (Sister Training Leaders)! They are awesome! I will get pictures with them soon!
Daily life at the MTC is always fun. This week has flown by. We still play district sand volleyball which is a highlight of the day. We laugh probably more than we actually play because we have so much fun.
Our Portuguese is slowly improving every day. Sister Phillips and I no longer use ANY notes in our lessons. We do a lot of memorization and practice beforehand, but more than anything we have to rely on faith that the Holy Ghost will help us to teach the investigators.
It's amazing to think about how much I have learned in only 3 weeks. It's so humbling because I know that I could have never learned Portuguese this fast without God's help. I love the Lord so much! I am constantly relying on the Atonement to try to become a better missionary every day. The work is awesome. We feel so much love and joy in the work--it's hard to describe.
What else... this week I sang in the Tuesday night devotional choir again. Our choir director is hilarious and somehow he makes us sound SO good. He said that in the past 11 years that he has worked here, we are the best at following him so we sound really good together. The branch presidency and their wives always tell us that we are the best part of the devotional. Anyways, my testimony of music has definitely been strengthened through the spirit and power of missionary work here :)
We sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," and it was so powerful especially because I was memorizing the first vision in Portuguese this week. When we were practicing, an elder who is going to Finland said the first vision in Finnish to all of us and it was WAY powerful. Even though I didn't understand a word that he said, I knew that it was true because I felt the Spirit so strongly.
Lots of people in my zone/branch are getting their re-assignments. My district will most likely get reassignments in 2 weeks (so around the time of General Conference) if we don't get our visa, which is pretty unlikely at this point. But we are all super excited to get 2 mission calls!
Well, I love you all!
Oh, some funny things about Brazil. Apparently, it is super "chique" (classy) to dress up in pretty nice clothes and go out to eat with your family... but at the food court at the mall or McDonalds. ;)
on our way home from the temple, we were blessed with a torrential down-pour! it was soooo fun but we were SOAKED.
look who I found! Elder Swisher! good luck in Montana!
Jensen, Junge, Bledsoe, Phillips, Foell, and Derby
HAPPY DAY!!!! we got our letters that we got into the choir!!
our classroom! we spend like 10 or so hours in here every day!
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Oi Família e Amigos!!!
This week at the MTC has been another great one! Tons of laughs and tears!
Our district is seriously BEST friends. We laugh together so much! We have had a mini testimony meeting that really opened everyone up to each other, some show-and-tell with family pictures, lots of intense district sand volleyball matches, and amazing temple walks and trips together. WE talk about everything and learn lots of Portuguese!
I did get a little sick this week because Sis Phillips had a cold, so I was bound to catch it. Sis Hansen also caught it so we were a sickly bunch for a few days. Now, we are all fine though!
I did have an awesome tender mercy though. I was in the choir again this week for the Tuesday devotional. We sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" It was beautiful. Our choir director gave us an awesome insight to the song. He said that it could be the conversation between an investigator and a missionary. How true, right?!" Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace? When other sources cease to make me whole..."
Anyway, my tender mercy happened while we were singing. I was pretty sick at the time (so probably shouldn't have been in the choir) and I had a sore throat. Basically, I knew that I was about to start coughing in the middle of the song. And if you know me, when I cough when I'm sick, it sounds like I am choking and dying. I knew that if I started coughing that I wouldn't be able to stop because I had no water with me or cough drops (poor planning I know now). Anyways, I was about to be so embarrassed because it was such a serious moment in the song, so I prayed so hard that I would not have to cough and would be able to sit through the whole meeting. It was a miracle to me because my coughing never stops and lets up, but this time it went away. I still had to gasp for air but I was able to sit through the meeting even though I struggled through most of it. Tender mercies are real and I love them!!!
Also, our investigators right now are Ricardo and Frederico. They accepted the invitation to be baptized, but they needed a lot of faith because their families were not supportive of them joining the church. However, we shared with them Ether 12-6 that talks about not receiving a witness until the trial of your faith. That really hit them. I love that scripture. So true.
Also, if you can find a video of Elder Bednar's devotional to the MTC called "Characters of Christ," I highly recommend watching it. It is one of the most inspiring talks I have ever heard.
We also watched the Joseph Smith movie, and it is so powerful. I cried through the whole thing mostly. Sunday nights we get to watch church movies or talks so it is awesome! I love the MTC!
This past Saturday (when BYU played Texas i think- we could hear the announcer), we had a bad storm hit Provo. It was crazy! Sister Phillips LOVES storms though! She wants to be a storm chaser or a meteorologist-- basically, she's crazy :P but I love her!
I have also seen Hannah Ruiz & McKenna Smith from PV and Bradley Swisher from home! Elder Swisher found me at the devotional somehow I don't know because there are soooo many people there. It is so fun to see missionaries that I know here!
My spiritual thought for the week is two scriptures that Elder Foell (we joke that he looks like Blake Griffin from the Clippers) showed us. D&C 1:23-24 "That the afulness of my bgospel might be cproclaimed by thedweak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before ekingsand frulers.
I love you all so much! Keep writing! I love hearing little updates about your lives!
Funny things about this week:
-The elders in my district told me about "bronies" aka "bros/brothers" who watch "my Little Pony" hahah
-words like novamente or obivmente(obviously-OB-VEE-MEN-CHE) are pronounced with a "che" sound at the end instead of "te" so that is fun to say!
-Elder Carmon has the best Shmeagl voice EVER. Elder Ditlevsen is on a diet at the MTC- living on cottage cheese, rice, and pineapple. Elder Foell used to have an afro so he looked like Elf/Napoleon Dynamite. Elder Fernadnez LOVES cats (he is also fluent in Spanish so he has a serious advantage at Portuguese). Elder Kraudy is AMAZING at the piano- his version of "If you Could Hie to Kolob" could make anyone cry.
Friday, September 6, 2013
The MTC is definitely Spiritual Disneyland! A few scary rides, but definitely the happiest place on earth!
It has been 10 days since I have been here! It only feels like a few though. They say that the days go slow and the weeks fly by and that is sooo true. We really needed this P-day (preparation day). We all ran out of clothes, especially gym/workout clothes so we all were really stinky for a few game of volleyball.
WE play district sand vollyeball most days. It is fun because we get to go outside the MTC gates-FREEDOM! ;) and hangout with each other. Also, me and one of the other sisters in my district, Sister Hansen, go to workout classes in the morning. We have to wake up at 6 AM but its totally worth it. They have Yoga, Cardio, Kickboxing, etc. for the sisters only! Our teacher is like 5 or 6 months pregnant though so its pretty funny.
My companion is Sister Phillips. She is from a small town in Tennessee so she's a southern belle with a cute little accent. She is soft spoken so the Elders make her yell, but I love her! She is so fun! She is also way dedicated to the gospel and loves the Lord. She left her boyfriend behind to serve; they are basically engaged already so I was WAY impressed that she's here. We also teach really well together. I bear testimony and cry a lot, and she has Portuguese down pretty well-- so it's a good combo. It is her birthday today so we have had fun with that too!!
My teacher Brother Beck is so funny. He teaches us Portuguese slang and funny things about Brazil. So far my favorite words in Portuguese are "Nossa" which means "dannnngggg" and "que chique" (KEE SHE-KE) which means "that's classy." Portuguese is so fun to learn. It is hard to pronounce because it sounds like French and Spanish combined.
Honestly, the first couple of days at the MTC was a struggle. You are constantly working hard and trying to feel the Spirit. After my first lesson, I was so humbled! Learning Portuguese has stretched me more than anything else in my life because it requires so much faith in to give lessons and talk to investigators in Portuguese. I have only been here 10 days and I have already given 4 lessons totally in Portuguese (they are each like 15-30 minutes of Portuguese)! Also, I cry in basically all of my lesson...not because I am sad but I AM JUST SO HAPPY!!! I feel the Holy Ghost so strongly especially in the lessons! I need to have so much faith in God that he will bless me to be able to use Portuguese to be able to help João (John).
One of the most important lessons I have learned so far is that: Portuguese is just a tool; the Spirit and the Book of Mormon are how people are converted to the gospel.
Also, I love this quote from Elder Holland:
"If you only have one convert on your mission (yourself), your mission was a success."
On Tuesday night, we had the coolest devotional ever! Elder David Evans of the 70 came to the Marriott Center. He is the executive secretary of the missionary department, so he basically knows everything. He said that there are over 76,000 missionaries in the field as of last week and they will have 85,000 in the field by fall.
He also gave us really cool insight into Jacob 5 (especially verse 27, 50, 61-62, 71-72). He said that the servants are prophets, and that the servants all ask for more time and the last servant calls more servants. He said that verse 72 is a prophecy about our generation. So cool that the Lord is hastening His work in the latter-days!!!! I love it!!!
Also I was in the choir at the devotional and they told the sisters that we should definitely be at choir for the next two weeks because we will be a part of something "that we will remember for the rest of our lives" but that is all they could tell us. We think that that means that we will maybe sing in a big meeting coming up soon (wink, wink).
So, I met Elder Kraudy! He is Jessie's friend from Nebraska! He just got his VISA though so he will leave for the Brazil CTM on Tuesday. I have also seen Tanner Lennon, Rachel Taylor, Logan Johnson, Sean Goar, Jake Fairbairn, Joshwa Motley and Britain Ross who are all people I knew in my freshman year at BYU. It's sooo nice to see familiar faces!!! Oh and Elders Fairbairn and Motely are in my branch/zone!!!!
I love you all so much!!! Keep writing! I love to hear from you all even if I don't have time to reply (we only have an hour to respond to emails).
Sister Bledsoe! (that's so weird but awesome!!!!!)
Sister Bledsoe! (that's so weird but awesome!!!!!)
You know you're a missionary when...
-You're favorite holiday is P-eve (the day before p-day) #joytotheworld
-You wake up at 6 AM to go to a workout class just so you can hear some music
-Your district finds out your first name and you feel exposed