Monday, April 21, 2014

Feliz Páscoa!

Hope you all enjoyed church yesterday! I loved Easter here. I didn`t understand too much of the words that were spoken but I felt the love from the people and especially from my Savior. I am grateful for this holiday and time to think about all the blessings that I have in my life because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I hope to be able to help others to come unto Christ and feel the light that the restored gospel brings.

This week we had 2 baptism--Gabi and Gabriel, a brother(12) and a sister(14). They are awesome! There mom is preparing to be baptized and there oldest sister and her husband are already members of the church. We have been teaching them pretty consistently since I got here and they just love the gospel and the church. Last night we talked to them about temples and how they can be sealed together forever. I am grateful to be able to help families to have these eternal blessings. It was really awesome because right after that lesson as we were on our way to another lesson, we contacted some great families. The first couple told us that they really like the church, they knew about the Book of Mormon(rare here), and had some friends that are members. They were really happy and nice, and we will hopefully teach them tonight. Then we were really in a hurry because we were meeting with a member of the Stake Presidency to teach his friend. We were already running behind but we passed a lady who looked really nice and smiled at us. We took like 4 steps before we turned around and invited her and her 8 year old son, James, to church. She said she would come and before we could tell her much more, she said, ``It`s at 9:30, right?`` That took us by surprise! She was way cool too, but she lives out of our area. Anyway, we ended up not even being able to meet with President Carrneiro´s friend last night because he wasn´t home. Heavenly Father knew that and put some super great people in our path instead. I was so happy that we followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost last night. It was a blessing because this week was pretty difficult since our street contacts weren´t too interested and a majority of the people that we tried to visit in their houses weren´t home. However, I know that patience and diligence brings blessings. 

Also this week we got to go to the Sao Paulo Temple. What a blessing! It was so awesome! So familiar even when everything is in another language. I am grateful that I can understand the language of the gospel. After the temple, we had lunch at a churrascaria(a barbaque restaurant like Tucanos), which was super good. 

I also learned a lot from a conversation that I had with Sister Dantas this week about a recent convert in our ward. His name is Renato. They contacted him on the street and he said that he would come to church, read the pamphlet and pray, and then get baptized--they thought he was super elect. Then they tried to visit his house twice but he wasn´t home. They thought he was `mole`(noncommital) until they got a call from him. He asked where the church was and what time the meetings were. He had read the pamphlet and wanted to learn more. Since then, he has faithfully kept every commitment that we have given him. My first lesson with him was a recent-convert lesson where we taught him about missionary work and commited him to invite a friend to hear the lessons. Within that week, we taught two of his friends. Sister Dantas thinks he would be a great ward mission leader because he is so obedient. I think I am beginning to understand this law of heaven. I am grateful for his example and the others examples of great obedience in my life. 

``The world`s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.``--James E. Talmage
``In the sight of the Lord it is not so much what we have done or where we have been but much more where we are willing to go.`` --Elder Edward Dube

Love you! I am very happy and still least I´m trying to be--lots of chocolate yesterday here! :)
Sister Sadie Bledsoe
Me and Sister Ames (my friend from the Provo MTC). she is in my zone right now! fun to see a familiar face...especially an American one!

We love Gabriela and Gabriel!!! So happy for them!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tudo Bem!

Soooo, since I last wrote, I have finished my time at the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo and arrived at my first area. My area is called Jardim(Garden) Campinas--i thought that this was pretty ironic because my whole district in the MTC is going to the Campinas mission-- and it is so different that any place I have ever been. I love it! It is a favela with lots of trees and plants. I will try to send pictures.

My companion is Sister Dantas. She is from Brazilia, Brazil and she has been a member of the Church for like 4 years. She is super bold and loud and loves to talk. We get along really well. We also had another companion, Sister Ovejero for like 2 days until she got transferred to another area. 

Daily life here is really different but good. Lots of walking and many mountains to climb (figuratively and literally). On Saturdays and Sundays its like a huge party in the streets because people don`t have work--the music is so loud its comical! Lots of soccer too...shocker there :) 

Portuguese. What can I say about the language?... I am so grateful for the MTC! I learned so much there and can speak quite decently to teach and talk about certain things. Yesterday at church, we had Fast and Testimony Meeting where members can share their beliefs and feelings. Near the end, Sister Dantas said ``Voce vai prestar seu testemunho.`` At first I thought it was a question like will I. Nope it was a command. So we went up. I shared my testimony of the universality of the gospel and the church--how it is for every person in the world and how great of an opportunity we have to share that with other people. I felt pretty good about my Portuguese at that moment--it was probably the most fluid I have ever spoken. A member of the bishopric told me that it was perfect Portuguese. It was a pretty sweet feeling. I am far from fluent but small victories. Also EVERYONE asks me to say the prayers. Oh also, one time when we left the house, I tried to contact a lady we walked by and the first words that came out of my mouth were English....awkward. I tried to recover but it wasn`t great. 

I stick out sooo much here. I am way taller than like everyone and I am so white. I haven`t seen another person here with naturally blonde hair and fair skin. One of the old ladies in the ward told me that I need to wear a ton of sunscreen because I am so white...thanks :) Also one of the members was driving us to the mission office to drop off Sister Ovejero and I tried to nap on the way--which by the way is impossible because the driving is so crazy here--and he commented: ``They like to sleep alot in the United States.`` I was pretty sure that was a slam... haha ;) Overall the people are really chill here and like to hear me speak. 

I´m sure there are a lot of spiritual experiences we have had but I don´t understand really what is going on so I can`t really tell you what happened. Just know that I am happy and healthy and trying to do the Lord`s work here. I love the gospel. It is the same in every country and in every language. I loved, loved, loved General Conference and it totally answered tons of questions that I had. I am grateful for a living prophet and apostles to give us the words of God for our specific concerns at this time. The Church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We are doing the most important work in the world. 
I love you! 
-Sister Sadie Bledsoe
My district and teachers.
pics from the MTC

Thursday, April 3, 2014

brazil week 1

Oi!!!! Tudo bem?? Eu espero que vocês estão tendo um boa semana!
Today I went to the São Paulo Temple! It was awesome. I have missed going to the temple frequently so it was really awesome. The MTC is great though; very different than the Provo MTC. We got to proselyte for 3 hours in the middle of the city which was so fun!!! People here are really open to at least talking to us, which is a nice change. We had a lesson with someone who yelled for us to come over and talk to him; we gave him a Book of Mormon and said a prayer with him. From what I understood, he wanted to learn more but he gave us a Jehovah´s witness pamphlet as we left so I´m not so sure anymore... We also met 2 men from Porto Alegra, a man and his 18 year old son actually. They loved us and wanted to take a picture with us #findmeonfacebook. It was so funny. They accepted a Book of Mormon and want to have missioanries come over. The son had been to church with his friends before and he also knew some English which was helpful to get their information. Anyway I loved it. People on the bus were cool with talking about Jesus Christ and their beliefs so we had some cool experiences. One guy saw us and asked us for a Book of Mormon. Another lady that we gave a Book of Mormon too started reading the Introduction on the bus and I was able to testify about it even more. It was funny because a couple people asked us if we were selling the Book of Mormon and we got to say no its a present for you--they lit up and were very grateful.
I know that I have so much work to do but I am excited. Last night we had devotional and all the songs we sang had parts in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It was cool because I felt the Spirit so strongly throughout the whole songs but I especially felt the Spirit when everyone(Brazilians, Hispanics, and Americans) all sang in English. It was powerful to me because it was in my native tongue. I realized that I need to learn Portuguese to adequately teach so that others can feel the spirit by listening to truth in their native tongue. It was a great experience for me to kind of be put in the shoes of my future investigators. I can´t explain it very well but I just know that language training is so important because it is a channel for the Spirit.
They call these 12 days in the MTC our graduate school for Portuguese. It is a great refresher. I love it! A couple of Brazilians have complimented me--´`boa sotaque``--which means good accent; I am getting somewhere! I am sooo far from fluent but I can understand way more than I can speak. I can understand the people on the street and at least talk to them about the Book of Mormon or the Church.
The food is really good. Different but good. I love the fruit here! My favorite and the breakfast hot cereal is killer--it is like porridge and tastes like frosted flakes or honeycombs depending on the day. They also eat paninis like every morning for breakfast. It is good though.
We get to play volleyball. Sister Loefke in my district is from Newport Beach and she played for UCSB for a while until they cut the program. We have had some really fun game. I look forward to sports so much at the MTC because we sit for so long. Another reason why I loved the day we went proseltying--we got to walk around and roam the ruas(streets) of Brazil. It is so cool here. We drive around and it looks a lot like San Francisco, so its not too different from home.
What else? Brazilians pronoune my name `Bwedsòwee´`--it is cute. Also here as missionaries we aren´t allowed to talk about football (and politics) because it just gets us into sticky situations.
Quotes from this week:
Elder Widtsoe: “In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a[n] … agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan. … We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but … saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.”
I am not a foreigner (different, strange, etc) because I am part of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19). Present Swenson told a story about James who was an investigator who brought his whole family to church. They didn´t have white shirts to wear and they smoked so they smelt like cigarettes. They came to church on Sunday and were really excited about the church. They sat next to the missionaries but no one else came and talked to them. The people in front of them commented on them not wearing the right clothes and someone else commented that they smelt smoke and they thought that people that smoked shouldn´t come here. James and his family never returned to church. I´ve heard many similar stories. They feel like foreigners. How can we help them to feel like citizens? in the household of God? Love one another. It is as simple as this.
 “Some people on the street will not know a single member of the church. You, individually, will represent the Church, the prophet--Thomas S. Monson, the quorum of the 12 apostles, the 15 million other members of the church, and Jesus Christ himself.”
We need to do quality work. We are finding, teaching, and baptizing quality people.
Ask for very specific blessings in your prayers, like to find someone before dinner. If you ask for specific blessings, the Lord can give you specific blessings.
You can trace everything back to prayer. Homesickness, problems with your companion, etc. If you are struggling, ask yourself how your prayers are going. Everything comes back to prayer.
The knees of your pants(skirts) should wear out before the soles of your shoes.
It doesn´t matter if you are right. If you have contention in your heart, you are wrong.
People will not change unless you love them.
Elder M. Russell Ballard: I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you and your companion will each talk to 10 people everyday about the gospel --independent of tracting and other teaching settings--you will double your baptisms.
I love you!  Te amo!
-Sister Sadie Bledsoe