Saturday, June 21, 2014

Copa do Mundo Madness!!!!

It´s actually not tooo crazy here on a daily basis...we can´t leave our house when Brazil plays though. Today isn´t my p-day but I still get to email. Tomorrow when Brazil plays we have to stay inside so we don´t get much of a p-day today. Tudo bem. It has been fun to see how much people care about a sport though. Wow. On Thursday, Sao Paulo hosted the opener. Traffic was crazy that day and the day before. When the game started, we didn´t have to watch the game to know when Brazil made a goal because there were horns and sirens and fireworks everytime. It was insane. So loud! I´ve never heard streets this loud in my life. Our Brazilian companions were super trunkie, and Sister Stephens and I just chilled watching Ephraim´s Rescue. 

Other than that, we are still able to do a little work with at least the investigators that we already have and our recent converts. The 14 year-olds that we are teaching were supposed to get baptized this past Saturday but neither of them have gotten permission from their parents yet. It doesn´t help that they don´t have good relationships with them, which is a bummer.

 However, we helped the other sisters in our ward with their baptism this Saturday. Gleice had a baptism scheduled for like 4 o´clock, and Sister Stephens and I (2 Americans who don´t always completely understand what is going on) were sent to go pick her up and walk with her to the church. Well, that would have been easy, but when we got there we were like ``are you excited for your baptism?`` and she frowned. I was thinking ´oh no. this isn´t even my investigator. I barely know her. Sister Stephens barely speaks Portuguese. I have no idea what to do.` Then she told us that she didn´t feel entirely free because she doesn´t feel completely free of her addictions to cigarettes and alcohol. I didn´t know really anything about this situation, but I knew that she had already been interviewed and found worthy to be baptized, so we tried our best to just cheer her on. We bore our testimonies and that still wasn´t going anywhere. So I´m thinking ´now what do I do. everyone is waiting at the chapel and I need to get her there somehow.` When Gleice went inside her house, Sister Stephens and I said a prayer and then within like a minute, Sister Costa and Salles showed up. I was so relieved. We had a mini-lesson and discussion with Gleice then knelt in prayer on her kitchen floor. There were tears as we assured her of her decision. We encouraged her to forgive herself and promised her that she would have more power to abstain from alcohol and cigarettes after her baptism and be receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. After that Sister Costa and Salles left again to pick up some things from the store, leaving Sister Stephens and I with Gleice again. Gleice continued to doubt being baptized that day. We then tried so hard to cheer her on. Then another tender mercy. Her friend offered to drive us to the church. Yes! Very rare to get rides to places because not many people have cars. When we got to the church, Gleice wanted to talk to bishop first. She did and decided to get baptized. It was a beautiful baptismal service. She was so happy. After that day, she was so much happier than I have ever seen her. There is visible peace and a light that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Baptism for the remission of sins has a power to cleanse and then the gift of the Holy Ghost sanitifies and helps us to make the right choices. Her example was a powerful witness to me of faith and forgiveness. When she finally felt worthy, she changed. 
From this experience with Gleice, I was reminded by a quote by Elder Holland in his recent talk ``The Cost--and Blessings--of Discipleship``: 

 In addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on (that is the pleasant part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon to worry, to warn, and sometimes just to weep (that is the painful part of discipleship).  

Something that changed me this week was receiving an English Ensign/Liahona of General Conference! Whoop! I especially enjoyed this counsel from President Eyring:

 In the evening you will get on your knees and thank God for the blessings of the day. You will thank Him for parents, for teachers, and for great examples to follow. You will describe in your prayers specifically who has blessed your life and how, during that day. That will take more than a few minutes and more than a little thought. It will surprise you and change you.
As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others. As you thank God for His kindness, you will think of others, by name, who need your kindness. Again, that experience will surprise you every day, and over time it will change you.
That changed me and my prayers this week. I believe that everything can be traced back to your prayers. 

Hope everyone has an exciting week. Watch the World Cup for me ;) 
Love you!
--Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Sunday, June 15, 2014

``a verdade é tipo uma faca...`` (June 9, 2014)

What a week. It´s always strange trying to capture a weeks worth of laughs, lessons, and experiences...especially this week. I am still loving my area and my companion. I didn´t get transferred so we are all still here, and there will be lots of good things in the next few weeks. We are teaching some investigators who are really getting prepared to be baptized and our recent converts are continuing to learn and progress towards the temple. 

This week we stopped by Larissa´s house to teach her, and like always there were a ton of people there. We sang a hymn and taught the Restoration to her sister and friend. They were pretty interested, but when we were about to teach about the First Vision, their other friend walks in. He is like 15 years old and super immature and starts like rattling off some Portuguese slang. When we got him to sit down, he was still being immature, but we were able to continue teaching. When I recited the first vision, it was crazy, there was complete silence and everyone was staring at me--like really paying attention. Then the moment I finished he was back to laughing/joking. After the lesson, Sister Salles was like, ``That ALWAYS happens right before you talk about Joseph Smith. Something always happens to distract people or draw away the Spirit,`` then she joked, ``the devil always sends his servants.``  That 15 year old definitely wasn´t a servant of the devil like literally, but it really was no coincidence that he came at that time. It is important for all of us to understand the reality that there will always be an opposition to truth. 

We also went with a recent convert, Sandra, to invite her next door neighbor to visit the Church on Sunday. We knocked on the door together and it was so awkward. She was really unhappy and said she was Catholic and a bunch of other mean things. I was ready to leave, and Sister Salles finished an invitation to church. She was about to shut the door when for some reason I said, ``Do you have kids?`` She stopped and started talking about her kids and grandkids. At that point I knew she was crazy because she did like a 180 and invited us in. She talked and talked and we tried to teach her but it was like impossible so we decided to just leave her with a hymn and a prayer. We sang ``Nearer My God, To Thee`` and the Spirit was just undeniably there. After it was completely silent and the look in her eye, you could just tell that she felt the Spirit...But then she looked at us and said, ``Are you actresses?````of Global?``(some tv network) then she rattled off a whole list of news networks/tv programs that we could possibly be from. She asked us if we were journalist. again, no. We said, ``We are missionaries and representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called by a prophet of God to be here and talk to you about what we know to be true.`` She was unhappy again after that so we just left with a prayer. We went back once more with the member because the member had been friends with her for 20 plus years, but that visit wasn´t any better. However, my testimony was strengthened that 1) the promise in D&C 100:5 is true-- ``you(servants of as missionaries) shall not be confounded before men.`` the Spirit testified to Damiona´s heart and she denied it. 2) in 1 Nephi 16:2 Nephi talks about how Laman and Lemuel reject the truth because they are guilty and it cuts them to the heart. Seriously, truth spoken and driven to a person´s heart by the Spirit is undeniable. 

We also had a going-away conference/training with President Pinho this week. The whole mission was there, which is super rare. We got to watch Ephraim´s Rescue and the departing missionaries bore their testimonies. 3 of our 6 assistants are leaving, so I think we will go back to having only 2 assistants after this transfer. They also talked about the World Cup, and we will continue to do what we always do, missionary work. Each missionary will pray to find, teach, and then have a baptism every week, which really is possible. We also have another training this week on Thursday for just the sisters in the mission. Thursday is also the first day of the world cup, so who knows what will happen. I know that it will be crazy here though, no doubt. The streets are already painted and Brazilian flags are everywhere! I´ve never seen anything like it. I will try to send pictures but know that they don´t do it justice. 

We also had stake conference, which was really good. I want to share some thoughts:
-Our mission never ends. It didn´t end for our Savior after the Atonement, after He was crucified or resurrected. He lives and leads this church. His mission is our mission and He is at our side. 
-To the members who sacrifice a lot to feed the 6-10 missionaries in some of the wards in the stake: the Lord will recompense/repay you for all you give. 
-The stake president had all the missionaries stand. Literally, the missionaries were like 1/3 of the audience and the room was full. There has to be at least 40 missionaries in this stake right now. The stake president said, ``Look for the missionaries in your ward. Do you know their names?...the names of their investigators?``
-Abish was a member missionary. She brought the whole world to the missionary. She had faith (Alma 19 verses 16-17,28-29)

Also some things that President Pinho said:
--Remember the desire of your parents. They want you to return home after your mission. They want you to come home healthy and happy. Imagine the desire of your heavenly parents, who have a love much greater than your earthly parents. Your calling is to help Heavenly Father´s children have the homecoming that you want after your mission. 
--The members in your wards will either be Marys or Marthas. Some will love to feed you. Others will find and teach and baptize and retain with you.
--When you like soccer, you talk about soccer alot. When you like food, you talk about food alot. When you like baptisms alot, you talk about baptisms alot--that is why we talk about baptisms with everyone we can

So much more happened this week, but I don´t have much time. Know that the work is working and I´m so happy to be a part of it. 
Eu amo voces bastante!
-Sister Bledsoe
                    Zona Casa Grande!!!

Sister Phillips! my companion in the Provo MTC

my zone/district in the MTC

these flags are painted on like every street

this little guy isthe mascot. he is everywhere too....and these are just the streets. I will try to get pictures of the flags hanging in the streets. its crazy

Foto da missão 

sisters of the mission

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


So this week was cool. For lunch one day I ate rice and beans with an omelete and french fries on top; totally normal here- sweet. It was good. It´s also quite cold here; its almost winter! 2 winters in a row is strange.

This morning I read the talk ```Safety for the Soul`` by Elder Holland about the Book of Mormon. So epic. One of our investigators, Jennifer is reading the Book of Mormon really fast. She just started and is already like 50 pages in. She underlines really strong words and asks some weird questions, but I think she is really enjoying it. Truly, there is a peace that the Book of Mormon brings that is amazing. It especially helped her this week because on her way to seminary(seminary is at night during the week here) with Larissa, they were ´assaulted.` Basically, two guys tried to rob them but they just had their copies of the Book of Mormon, which apparently these guys didn´t want. Larissa and Jennifer ran to the chapel though and Jennifer was really spooked. We sat outside and talked to her for awhile. She showed us where she was in the Book of Mormon and we sang a hymn. There was a peace that was tangible. I was glad that everyone was safe and that we could feel at peace amongst the craziness of the world. 

This week we have continued to teach many recent converts and they have given us some good references. Gabi, who was baptized one of the first weeks I got here, is trying to help her mom get married and baptized. She bore her testimony yesterday that she has noticed a huge change in their home since they met the missionaries. I know that they can feel a difference because I have seen them actually apply the principles, instead of just learning them. They read the scriptures and kneel as a family in prayer. These simple things really change homes and families. I´ve seen it over and over again. Gabriel, her brother, just got the priesthood. They both go to seminary everyday. They are living the gospel and they love it. I am grateful for their examples and enthusiasm for the gospel. I love being able to see them so happy and grateful to have been baptized and to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The youth that I have met on my mission are so strong and faithful. They are so great. 

This week I have been thinking about the Atonement a lot and Christ´s grace, or the power that allows us to change. I liked this quote by Bruce C. Hafen: ``Some Church members feel weighed down with discouragement about the circumstances of their personal lives, even when they are making sustained and admirable efforts. Frequently, these feelings of self-disappointment come not from wrongdoing, but from stresses and troubles for which we may not be fully to blame. The Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to these experiences because it applies to all of life. The Savior can wipe away all of our tears, after all we can do...The Savior’s atonement is thus portrayed as the healing power not only for sin, but also for carelessness, inadequacy, and all mortal bitterness. The Atonement is not just for sinners.``
This week I hit the ´metade´(or middle) of my mission. crazy! I have noticed how much I have grown and changed in that time, but I also know that I still have many weaknesses. I am grateful that my weaknesses can still become strengths through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I am continually blessed by the sustaining influence of the Holy Ghost, and I know that miracles still happen today, according to our faith. I hope to strengthen my faith everyday and help others too. 

---Sister Bledsoe
(or as my Argentino District Leader says ´´Sister BlessYou´´)