Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Faz sua parte

Hello World!

So this week was a little difficult, but I learned a lot. It rained a lot this week; not the greatest when literallly all we do is contact people on the street. We did find some new investigators though, and a few of our investigators are really progressing. YAYA

I mentioned two of our investigators, Larissa and Jennifer, before. They are so cute. They love rock(pronounced ``hockey`` here) and always have like AC/DC or some other American rock band playing on their phones. I would define their style as like punk because they wear skinny jeans, band t-shirts, bright red lipstick and both of them dyed most of their hair bright red. I just love them because they are just so young and confident. I think they are really learning things though. They went to seminary everyday this week without us picking them up or reminding them! They are pretty much socially converted to the church but we still need to have more lessons with them and talk to their parents more before they can get baptized. We did have a lesson with Jennifer´s sister who is 16 and her boyfriend who is 19(Carol and Gustavo). They seemed interested, but my favorite part was when we were teaching about the Book of Mormon. We were sitting at the kitchen table and Larissa was at the sink washing dishes. Gustavo asked a question like ìs the Book of Mormon like the Bible?`` and Larissa turned around and said that they complete each other. Me and Sister Salles looked at each other and were like YES. Our little investigators continue to surprise us with their intelligence because we have only had like one lesson with them and they always just seem to get off topic and ask strange questions. They are part of the youth choir for stake or ward conference(I don´t remember which), and they are memorizing scriptures with the seminary class. I´m really happy for them. The decisions that they are making now will totally change their futures if they continue to learn and live the gospel. 

Ah what else. So Wednesday we were supposed to have a conference in Sao Paulo in a chapel by the temple with Elder Anderson and possibly Elder Nelson, but as luck would have it, there was a huge protest that day. All the buses were shut down/unsafe so we had, so we had to be on lockdown. Couldn´t leave the house all day. We studied and then slept like all day and then ordered pizza, which was so wierd. Imagine a pizza with a chocolate-filled crust and a cream-cheese like substance and corn as toppings. Yumm.....

We had a FHE with a member family, a recent convert and our stake president on Friday night. We watched the Restoration movie and our stake president slept through like the whole thing....haha. He´s really awesome though. We had like a mini testimony meeting after though and it was powerful. We read D&C 135: Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more,save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

Last night we went to the stake center for a fireside. After we were really hungry so some elders gave us some bread that a member gave them earlier that day. It was like partially soggy because of the rain but we ate it anyway. Sister Costa said, ``This is so sad. 6 poor missionaries eating soggy bread.`` haha missionary life

Also Sister Salles calls me `Barbie California´ and Sister Stephens ´Barbie Oklahoma.´ haha. 

``Never give up on any investigator you´ve ever taught; keep praying for them.``--The District 2
``We don´t just teach lessons to teach lessons; we teach lessons to build faith.``--Sister Voyles

We also had a lesson with a recent convert about missionary work, and he expressed that he has already tried to share the gospel with all of his friends and family but they aren´t interested. I think a lot of members feel that way. We talked about Mosiah praying for Alma (Mosiah 27), and how an angel comes to Alma because of the prayers and faith of his father. Truly miracles happen through our faith and prayers. Also we talked about giving our friends opportunities to feel the spirit(bearing testimony, inviting them to activities, etc) because it often takes time for people to recognize the spirit and a desire to learn more about the church. A lot of converts that I've met on my mission have joined the church because they had good experiences with church films, English classes, etc. I know that when we do our part, ultimately though we are the ones that become converted. When we invite and talk about the church, we are becoming more converted. Other people have their agency to either accept or reject, but the important thing is that we try and learn to show our love to God and become more like Him. I know that the reason that we are here on earth is to learn how to become like our Heavenly Father. We become like Him through faith and obedience. 

Love you all! 
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vai Brasil!

Hello everybody! Hope you all had a killer week. Shoutout to Nathan for turning 18th this week--you´re the best brother i´ve ever had ;) 

So this week was crazy, in a really good way. On Tuesday (when we usually have district meeting) we walked to the stake center, which is pretty far, only to find no one there. Our phone is broken so we couldn´t call anyone; we then assumed that there were emergency transfers today(the only reason we dont have district meetings on Tuesday). Then we realized that more Americans probably just arrived in the mission. Later we went to lunch and the elders in our ward said that they overheard that we would possibly be getting more sisters living in our apartment. We were excited about that, and then at like 6pm we got a call from the secretary who needed us to pick up some sisters from the mission office who would be living with us. Now we have 6 missionaries in my ward! We have another Brazilian sister from Fortaleza, Sister Costa, and another American from Oklahoma, Sister Stephens. Sister Stephens served for a year in the US. 

The work really is hastening. Elder Walhstrom(an American from Utah) gave a talk on Sunday about missionary work, and he said that when he arrived in the mission, it was rare to find a ward with more than one set of missionaries. Now it is rare to find only one set of missionaries in a ward. He talked about how great of an opportunity we have to triple the size of the ward. He then talked about how lots of members have fears to talk about the gospel/church with their friends. He then shared an experience from before his mission. He said that he was super shy when we was growing up and always said no when the bishopric asked him to speak in sacrament meeting. So when it was time for him to give his farewell talk right before his mission, he was mortified. He said that he didnt eat for three days before his talk before he was just that scared. He is from the Ogden, Utah area where there are a ton of Mormons, and the day he gave his farewell talk there were also lke 3 other missionaries giving farewell talks. He said that there were over 800 people in that sacrament meeting. He said then when he got into the field, he was so scared to talk to people. But after lots of prayer and trust in the Lord, he now loves talking to people and it is easy for him. 

Like Elder Walhstrom, I know that we can replace fear with faith and pray to the Lord to help us in His work. I know that ``whom(which is all of members of the church after we stepped out the baptismal font) the Lord calls, He qualifies.`` However, I know that missionaries are the only people in the world who hold the keys to help people get baptized. They have that authority. Thus members and missionaries need to learn how to work together. I have learned so much in the past couple of months about our roles as members and missionaries. We have been training the members here, doing role-plays, having firesides, etc to help the members get excited about this work. We have also been using the ``My Family`` booklet with people and helping them learn more about their families and how their families can be sealed in the temple. 

We are also working with two teengaers who are 14, Larissa and Jennifer. They are crazy. They are very social, which is why we got to teach them at first. They come to seminary and church when we pick them up. However they are very fickle and dont take things really seriously most of the time. They love American music and words so they constantly ask me about that stuff. We have to refocus them often ; its like herding cats. But its worth it because when we actually have real lessons with them, they have really insightful comments and questions. They are super intelligent, but they are also 14 so we need to work with them and their families alot before they get baptized. 

We also taught a former investigator who was dropped before because he didn´t want to get baptized. We visited him because he came to church that week and seemed interested again. When we came by, we asked him some questions and he told us that he had never prayed about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. That surprised us because his teaching record said that he had been taught all of the lessons. We committed him to read and pray and came back later in the week. We wanted to review the Restoration with him and as we began we realized that he really knew nothing about it. He ´s 21 and really smart so I was really surprised. We retaught him and really focused on the doctrine of prophets, authority/priesthood, apostacy, how Jesus Christ established his church, the great apostacy, and the Restoration. At the end, we felt like he really understood how our church is different from all the other churches because he couldn´t tell us before one thing that was different. Everyone needs to understand the doctrine of the Restoration before they get baptized. They won´t have a desire to read the Book of Mormon or pray if we don´t teach them, so they can understand, that this is the church of Jesus Christ. That lesson taught me that we need to teach quality lessons to people, especially the Restoration. 

Also this week on Wednesday, I had to go to the Federal Police building in Sao Paulo to do visa paperwork. It was a really long day of standing in lines that were worse than the DMV. However, I got to be with the Americans that arrived with me. One of the elders decided that we are like the Breakfast Club. We had a really awesome discussion on the way home because we were stuck in traffic. We were talking about cool things we´ve learned/heard on our missions, and one of the elders said that he heard that once missionaries were talking to President Hinckley about how they shoud be able to have beards because Jesus had one. President Hinckley responded, ``He didn´t the last time I saw Him.`` I dont know how accurate that story is, but it made me think about whether or not I would recognize the Savior when I see Him. 

Also for lunch here its normal to eat rice and beans and pasta and mashed potatoes all on the same plate. Interesting but delicious! 

``You can´t do everything for everyone everywhere., but you can do something for someone somewhere.`` 

Love ya! Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, May 12, 2014

bom de mais

Happy Mothers Day! Yesterday was awesome being able to see my family (minus Elissa). I am so grateful for my mom! I love you! 

This week was pretty interesting. I got to skype my family. I took my first trip to a Brazilian hospital--I might have had/still have parasite(s). I had a whole day of training in Santo Amaro with our 6 assistants(crazy that we have 6. I think its because we are getting a new mission president soon) and President Pinho. I found a bank and a post office so I sent some letters today! We had a pizza party with our BFF Bea, who is our 5 year old neighbor, and her brand new puppy Vivi. I ate chocolate pizza :) Other than that we are still looking for more houses and trying to find more investigators but we do have some investigators and new members that we are working with and they are progressing... kindof. We are trying to find more families to teach because lots of individuals want to ``hear the word`` but not many families yet. We also had a really cool ward activity on Saturday night where we played some games and we (the missionaries) were in charge of the spiritual thought. Elder Capunay (from Peru) had some cool object lessons about chocolate. First, he opened this huge chocolate bar and asked everyone how much they liked it(its a really delicious brand). They all wanted some. He ate a piece and then gave some to the other missionaries because it was easy because he knows us and knows that we like chocolate so no threat in sharing it. He didn´t know how to share the rest of the chocolate with the group/if he should so he decided just to keep it for himself. The second object lesson was like a scavenger hunt because we had previously hid chocolates all around the room. He made it clear that we are all on the same team and before they start they should think about the BEST way to find the chocolates. He let them search and some were successful, but a majority weren't found because they were in really hard places. In the end, he said that it would have been easier and faster if they had just asked us where the chocolates were because we are on the same team and we need to work together. It was cool and everyone ended up with chocolate! The chocolate here is like really good. 

some random thoughts;
-70% of the people that come to church will get baptized
-Faith is a principle of action. We have faith that medicine will help us get better when we are sick. However, if we dont use the medicine, then nothing happens.
-In 2013, the US had the most baptisms. Before it was always Mexico or Brazil. 
-simple steps to train members how to share the gospel: first, help them have the courage to open their mouth. second, they can 1. identify the dificulty that the person has 2. bear their testimony 3. invite them to church;
make plans to go with them to ask their friends to learn more about the church

te amo! --Sister Sadie Bledsoe

​Bea and Vivi


Monday, May 5, 2014

Preach My Gospel

Oi! Tudo Bem!
So I am still here in Jardim Campinas. My new companion is Sister Salles; she is from Curitiba, Brazil. I have been in this area for like a month but we are still trying to figure out our area because it is HUGE. We are also starting this new program to focus on retention. The first presidency and the area presidency chose my mission to pilot this program, so we are testing it out. Basically we spend 50% of our proselyting time working with new members. There are lots and lots and lots of members to find and re-teach. Thus, we have been trying to find houses so we can do this program. Its been a lot of walking, but its been good. 

On Tuesday, I got to meet my mission president, President Pinho. He will only be my mission president for like 2-3 months since he just got called to be a seventy. So when I arrived in this mission, he was in Salt Lake City for General Conference and other meetings. Since me and the other Americans who arrived with me didn´t get to meet him, we got to have lunch with him and Sister Pinho. It was cool to be with the Americans that I arrived with because we got to exchange stories about our areas. Its funny because we are all experiencing the same sort of things being in a new country. 
Anyway, when President Pinho welcomed us into the mission he said some things that were way cool. First, he welcomed the Americans (we were in a meeting with the Americans who had served in the states for some time and the new Brasilian/Hispanic missionaries). He said,`` the Lord is the Master of the Embassies; He controls the visas. The US has more baptisms than Brazil. The missionaries in the United States know how to work with the members. You were there to learn how to work with members. You are here now to teach us.`` That was a new perspective on the past 6 months of my mission.
Then he talked about his and Sister Pinho´s purpose. He said that his purpose is not to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith, repentance, baptism...(though he loves that too). He said that their purpose here is to save missionaries. 
He then talked about the order of leadership in the mission. He has it set-up so we talk to our district leader, then zone leader, then assistants when we have any kind of problem. He said that it is easy for us to just call him with a problem and it is easy for him to resolve it with us, but that destroys the opportunity to create more leaders. 

Also, this week I was studying the first three lessons in Preach My Gospel (The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ). I remembered something that an elder told me at the Brasil MTC. He said that the first lesson is all about faith. The second lesson is all about hope. The third lesson is all about charity. That is so true. As I´ve read and studied and pondered the doctrines in these lessons, I am beginning to appreciate the simplicity of the truths that I have grown-up learning and teaching. 

I hope to respond to more emails today! Love you all! 
-Sister Sadie Bledsoe