Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bom Dia!

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

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