Sunday, August 31, 2014

O Livro de Mórmon

Thanks for your email!!! Hope you are all doing well. 

This week´s update: 

First, we were in front of the bus terminal with only a few more minutes until 9pm when we stopped a young man named Moises(Moses). He wasn´t super committed to coming to church, but I felt like we needed to talk to him more. We started to talk about the Restoration, and he shared some thoughts about churches that he has been to and quoted many scriptures from the Bible. I had been walking around with a Book of Mormon in my hand all night and felt impressed to talk to him about the Book of Mormon. I tried to explain why the Book of Mormon was important to me and how I have learned more about Jesus Christ because of it. He accepted the Book of Mormon and said he would read it. We also had given him a Restoration pamphlet with the address and time of the church, but he didn´t give us his phone number or address so I figured the chances of seeing him again were slim. When he was about to leave he said he might visit sometime, and we left it at that. Fast forward to Sunday and guess who we see walking out of priests´quorum with the elders--Moises! I don´t think I´ve ever had a street contact(well that I can remember) that has just showed up at church. For most people, we have to teach them a lot to get them there. He said he was there because he said he would visit. He stayed until the end and had some questions about the Book of Mormon, which he is actually reading. He still didn´t give us his address or phone number--not really sure why. He said he would try to visit again. I don´t know exactly what will happen with him, but I think we have planted a really good seed. 

We also visited an investigator who we thought had a lot of potential, Sonia. We get there with a member and start to teach the Restoration. We are about to get to apostacy and then Joseph Smith and the Restoration when guess who walks in... a pastor of another church (coincidence, I think not). I was like `NO. not her, Sonia seems so elect.`` The pastor sat quietly until we finished then just started questioning us about things in Revelations and 6-6-6 and I was really confused. We left and Sonia said she is happy and strong in her church right now. We were sad that she had seemed so interested then had like no interest,but it was almost comical the timing of her other visitor. like seriously. 

I also had some man try to convince me this week that Americans worship the sun. He said, ``What does ´domingo´ mean in english?`` I said, ´`Sunday`` but was about to explain that that really isn´t a definition but just a title of a day. He started to say that we worship the sun if we think that ``sunday is the sabbath day.`` That doesn´t even make sense. We tried to walk away but he kept yelled at us ``the truth hurts.`` I couldn´t help but laugh. 

Also we had a great experience with Silvana, the mom of a recent convert who is 15. Silvana has been going to another church for a long time but has been displeased with her pastor. She has been more receptive to the missionaries lately and we have been teaching her on and off for the past month. Last week, we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she agreed to read it. She said 3 Nephi 11(which we left with her) and a bit more after. She liked how Jesus gave the same sermon from Sermon on the Mount, and she then testified that she felt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. She said, ``It´s easier to understand than the Bible. It has more things that the Bible doesn´t.`` She religiously studies the Bible so she knows a lot and is really absorbing the new light and knowledge we are presenting for her. As we were about to leave she said, ``I had a dream the other day. I was at church with my ex-husband and daughter. I was sitting there and I could tell it was your church because there were men up front in suits. My husband was sitting up there(as if he was bishop--right now he is not a member). I didn´t know why I had that dream, until I talked to my friend. She said, ``have you asked God for anything lately?`` Silvana replied, ``Just to know what church is your sincere church.``` When Silvana told us that, our jaws dropped. The elders have been working with this family for a very long time. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I am grateful to hear how he answered hers. 

We are also passing by to get ice cream every once and awhile (not just because I love ice cream) because like 2 weeks ago, the ice cream stand worker asked us if he could have a pamphlet. We gave him one, and he asked, ``Do you have more?`` I´ve never been asked that, so we gave him all the ones we had on us. Since we had run out of the Restoration, we went back a few days later and to give him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet. He said he had read all the pamphlets and was confused; he said, ``Some scriptures are from ``Alma`` and ``Mosias`` but I don´t have those books. Those were the only confusing parts.`` I was shocked that he picked up on that. We left him with a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. He also said he was trying to ask his boss for a day off so he could visit our church. He works every single day until from 9am to 9pm, so right now it´s nearly impossible to teach him or for him to come to church. We´ll follow up more, but he is really smart so I think he will get a lot out of the Book of Mormon. Right now he reads it during work when things are slow. 

We are also trying to teach people more with the Book of Mormon. We had a meeting this week with all the sisters in the mission and at one part we talked about how the spirit and the book of mormon are our two most powerful resources for conversion. Alma 37:9 says `` Yea, say unto you, were it not for these things that these records(the Book of Mormon) do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren (or Sister Bledsoe and Sister Soares da Silva)  could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites (Brazilians) of the incorrect tradition of their fathers (their own churches); yea, these records (the Book of Mormon) and their words brought them unto repentance; that is,they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.``

Love you all! Have an awesome week!
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sair do barco

This week was great! I feel like I say that every week, but really this work is just teaching me so much. I hope my letters aren´t super boring. I try to include some cool things, but I forget most of the time what you guys probably would want to hear. Anyway, we have been really trying to find people who are really interested in our message, and we have been trying to ``leave the ship`` and have seen some miracles.  (Leaving the ship is what President Dalton calls it when we act on our faith. Peter left the boat and was able to walk on water--something that only Jesus had done before. Lots of people look at that story as an example of a lack of faith, but how many others left the boat to try. We need to leave the boat(our comfort zones) to see miracles. Then as we exercise our faith, it grows.) 

First off, we were teaching the uncle of a recent convert in our ward. Samila was baptized at like 9 years old and is the only member in her family, so we stop by frequently and started to teach her uncle, Rubins. We taught him a few lessons and he came to church and wants to get baptized next Saturday, but we felt like he was also a little bit more interested in the missionaries than the lessons if you know what I mean. The elders are teaching him now and I think that´s really best because he is a single man, so I think the elders can really help him out. 

We also had some really spiritual street contacts this week. I had a number of really spiritual street contacts during my exchange with Sister Thornhill--we taught one lesson on the street that really stuck out to me. We met Renata, who was actually on her way to a church in Santo Amaro. She stopped and listened to our message about the Restoration, and we felt impressed to tell the First Vision. As I told her, I began to cry a little bit because we could all feel the Spirit so strongly. We all seemed to forget that we were on the side of the road and that she was in a hurry. When I finished bearing my testimony, she said, ``Now I´m really interested.I am going to visit your church.`` We testified of the Book of Mormon and gave her one. From that experience, I really learned that contacts are really the time to help them to feel the Spirit and recognize it. I like a quote from Preach My Gospel from chapter 10 at the end of the section on How to Begin Teaching that says: As you share spiritual experiences together in the first meeting, they will recognize you as servants of the Lord.  How true! I feel like that is really our responsibility as missionaries. 

The next day with Sister Soares da Silva and a member, Mayara , we met Sonia in the street. She was really interested in the church and wants her whole family to hear our message and she even accepted a baptismal date! I really believe that she accepted a baptismal date because we testified of the Restoration and that God answers prayers. I could feel the Spirit as Mayara testified. Yeah the contact was a big longer but that´s okay. We, as the missionaries, can´t rush contacts. People often will because they don´t recognize us as servants of the Lord, but at least we know that. From now on, I really want to try to really testify and share personal experiences during contacts. It has really helped me to feel the Spirit more throughout the day.

 I know that our efforts can really make a difference. One person really can change things for a family, their community, their ward, etc. Most of the time we don´t see the fruits right away, but I think that is part of walkig by faith and ot by sight. 
Know that I am happy! The members are feeding us well. One of my favorite this is the juice here--fresh pineapple juice is heavenly; one of my favorite things here! We also had a churrasco (BBQ) lunch yesterday :) 

Thanks for your love and enthusiasm.Your emails and cards really inspire me every week!

Sister Sadie Bledsoe

p.s. yesterday my district leader told me to read Zechariah 2:6 because he said it is about Santa Claus... the things we find on our missions and think are funny...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Another week of good work has taught me a lot. We have been hitting the pavement looking for new investigators, visiting members, looking for opportunities to serve, and trying to help grow the Parelheiros ward.
We had lunch at our Bishop´s house this week, and we asked him what we could do to help him. He just asked us to bring the members to church ;he added ``investigators too.`` But we are really trying to help the ward because attendance is really low. We are trying to help people get to the temple and do temple ordinances for their Family.
We are also trying to find more families to teach, and in our planning one night we wrote down the names of a few members to visit. We wrote down the name of the old Relief Society President in the ward, Luciana. The next day as we were walking, we saw her and her mom with a TON of groceries trying to hike up a really big hill to get home. We hurried to help them, and they were very grateful. We got to their house, and asked to share a message with everyone that was home. We quickly found out that she was the only member in her Family, but her whole Family(mom, sisters, neices/nephews--the whole crew) agreed to listen. We felt prompted to teach the Plan of Salvation. When I got there, I greeted everyone and asked what their names were. I asked Luciana´s sister who is special and she said, ``Ana Paula`` really softly. The whole Family like freaked out because apparently she like never talks, not even to the Family. I said it was probably because I talk funny, but who knows it was a cool experience. I felt the Spirit really strongly as we taught. We testified of the resurrection, and how everyone will receive perfect bodies. Luciana was really touched and thanked us. I could feel the Spirit so strongly as we responded to their questions about what will happen after this life. Sometimes as a missionary when you teach and feel that the Spirit is presente, but the people you are teaching feel nothing/seem to feel nothing. It kind of felt like that. President Dalton once said that that happens because they aren´t prepared to receive the Spirit. They have the choice to receive it, but often times they won´t because they don´t want to. As missionaries we can be the same way, the Spirit can be trying to tell us something, but we aren´t hearing it because we aren´t prepared to receive it. That night I was glad I was prepared to act upon the promptings I received. I felt very strongly that we had done what Heavenly Father wanted us to do, despite the result. I don´t know if her Family will come to church, but I know that I did my part. I am learning that not every time we follow a prompting, the result will be successful. For example, sometimes I really feel like I need to talk to somebody. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes they reject us immediately. I don´t know the reason why I was supposed to talk to them at that time. Maybe if they rejected us, they will feel bad later and commit to listen to us the next time. You never know what they are really thinking, so you just continue following your positive thoughts that lead you to act. I like the scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7, ``for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.`` We can´t judge who would seem like a likely candidate to accept the restored gospel. We just share it with everyone.
I´ve also been thinking about the forgiveness, especially forgiving ourselves and not regretting things in the past. I read this really good talk called ``Becoming Perfect in Christ.`` Elder Gong said:
Understanding the Savior’s freely given atoning love can free us from self-imposed, incorrect, and unrealistic expectations of what perfection is. Such understanding allows us to let go of fears that we are imperfect—fears that we make mistakes, fears that we are not good enough, fears that we are a failure compared to others, fears that we are not doing enough to merit His love.
The word perfection, however, is sometimes misunderstood to mean never making a mistake. Perhaps you or someone you know is trying hard to be perfect in this way. Because such perfection always seems out of reach, even our best efforts can leave us anxious, discouraged, or exhausted. We unsuccessfully try to control our circumstances and the people around us. We fret over weaknesses and mistakes. In fact, the harder we try, the further we may feel from the perfection we seek.
Fully accepting our Savior’s Atonement can increase our faith and give us courage to let go of constraining expectations that we are somehow required to be or to make things perfect. Black-and-white thinking says everything is either absolutely perfect or hopelessly flawed. But we can gratefully accept, as God’s sons and daughters, that we are His greatest handiwork (see Psalm 8:3–6Hebrews 2:7), even though we are still a work in progress.
A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism—an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now. Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.
Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression. These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have.
Missionaries who want to be perfect now may become anxious or discouraged if learning their mission language, seeing people baptized, or receiving mission leadership assignments do not happen fast enough. For capable young people accustomed to accomplishment, a mission may be life’s first great challenge. But missionaries can be exactly obedient without being perfect. They can measure their success primarily by their commitment to help individuals and families “become faithful members of the Church who enjoy
As we act and are not acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14), we can navigate between complementary virtues and achieve much of life’s growth. These can appear in “an opposition,” being “a compound in one” (2 Nephi 2:11).
For example, we can cease to be idle (see D&C 88:124) without running faster than we have strength (see Mosiah 4:27).
We can be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27) while also periodically pausing to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10; see also D&C 101:16).
We can find our lives by losing our lives for the Savior’s sake (see Matthew 10:3916:25).
We can be “not weary in well-doing” (D&C 64:33; see also Galatians 6:9) while taking appropriate time to refresh spiritually and physically.
We can be lighthearted without being light-minded.
We can laugh heartily with but not haughtily at.
Our Savior and His Atonement invite us to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” As we do so, He promises that His grace is “sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32).the presence of the Holy Ghost.”3
I really like what he said. I often try to have perfect mission experiences, but obviously they are unrealistic because I am bound to make mistakes. I am grateful for the atonement and the enabling power to change. I am grateful that God is patient and works with me even though I am weak and simple.
Also a funny thing that President Dalton said this week in a special meeting. He was worried about us because we aren´t having the amount of success we used to have as a mission. He talked about certain types of missionaries: Elder Doença(Sick), Elder Desanimo(Sad) and Elder Moleza(non-commital), Sister Benção(Blessing), Elder Sóbatize(just baptize) and Elder Berçario(Nursery). A few of these need explanation because these are problems that might be specific to just my mission, but I think they might be pretty general. Sick is pretty self-explanatory but lots of missionaries are having problems because of the cold and walking the streets(mountains) of São Paulo. Sad and Noncommital are self-explanatory too--usually happens when you aren´t getting along with your companion. Sister Blessing is pretty funny; at first all the elders thought that presidente was idolizing the sisters, but he said, ``Sister Blessing thinks, I don´t have a priesthood responsibility to serve a mission so every contact that I do do is just a blessing.`` Then he talked about Elder Just Baptize(will baptize anyone without having all the lessons; basically just convincing them to get baptized even when we know they won´t come back to church after--this was a problem because lots of missionaries just wanted lots of numbers) and Elder Nursery (only contacts youth because---at least here---they will easily get baptized, but this really isn´t helping to build the church most of the time when they have no support and become inactive quickly). President Dalton is a really funny guy, but really wants to help us.
I know it can be easy to be these types of missionaries, but I am grateful for great leaders and companions and the Lord that help me to serve better and become better everyday.
I hope everyone has a great week!
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, August 4, 2014

eu amo o templo!

Hello! Hope everyone is enjoying sunny weather in the US! Today is a abnormal winter day here because it´s super hot-- I love it!!

This week I got to go to the temple! Journeying through Sao Paulo is always interesting to get there (Sister Kaegi got her wallet stolen on the way home), but the temple was soooo peaceful. I was grateful to be able to be there for awhile, and enjoy being away from the world for the morning. I am so grateful to have a temple so close to my area (it´s like 2 hours by bus). It has been a blessing to be able to go a few times since I´ve been here. President Dalton is really focusing the mission on helping everybody get to the temple.

On Friday, I got to hear him give training because I went to the new missionaries meeting with Sister Kaegi because her companion had to stay home (she had dental surgery the day before). President Dalton wants us to make sure that every recent convert has a picture of the temple with a date(their goal for when they want to get sealed as a family), and that they go to the temple to do baptisms for one of the ancestors 1-2 weeks after their baptism. This will be a challenge for us because we have to work a lot with the members to help them find the information necessary to do baptisms for the dead and then bring them to the temple. Only problem is that the temple is closed until september so hopefully until then they can at least walk around the garden of the temple and buy some things at the distribution center because all our recent converts always want scriptures, magazines, etc. 

The day we went to the temple, Sister Soares da Silva and I taught a recent-convert named Vanya, who was baptized about a month ago. We talked about temples and eternal marriage with her. She was really interested because she has a strong testimony of the church, but one of her sons and her husband aren´t baptized yet. She had lots of questions, and it was cool to see someone excited about something that we are so excited about too. She bore her testimony on Sunday at church about how her life has changed beause of the gospel. The testimony of a recent convert is always so powerful. I´m always so proud of them for bearing their testimonies; it really edifies and strengthens the ward. 

This week we tried really hard to find new investigators. We were constantly talking to people, and as a result, we found some really cool people. One is Claudia. We stopped her on the street a little bit before 9 as she was coming home from work. We stopped by her house yesterday and she talked and talked and talked. 
Sometimes it frustrates me when people don´t let us teach them and they like teach us, but she said some really cool things about her beliefs. She commented on a lot of churches that she had been to before and said she doesn´t like to go to church and not be taught anything. We explained the 3 hours of church and their purposes. She also commented on why we have so much religious confusion and she concluded, ``somethings just don´t have answers.`` I was like ``but they do!`` We testified that she will find answers to these questions that she has. I remember thinking the same thing growing up. I remember reading Joseph Smith´s story about all the religious confusion that he saw. I always had and still do have many questions. Sometimes they are shallow, sometimes deep, but I have always found answers. My primary source of answers has been the Book of Mormon. I wish I could motivate everyone in the world to read that book, Granted, some people only read it to prove it wrong, but really reading it with a open heart and honestly searching for answers will change their lives. I like what Thomas Jefferson said about religion; he counseled his nephew Peter Carr to question with boldness/ask honest questions. 
Working with people is funny, especially when it comes to religion. We get fake names and addresses at times, like Monday for example: We were out working with two members, Mayara(almost 18) and Luciana(25), and we were looking for a house of someone that we had contacted on the street. Something to note about Sao Paulo is that a majority of the churches here are in literal garages. Some are large, others smaller but they are usually part of a house--like in front of a house or something. Anyway, we were searching for the address and we heard singing so we figured that a church was nearby. When we got there, we discovered that our ``potential investigator`` gave us the address of a Pentacostal church.  We were like ``that doesn´t happen usually`` to these members. But Mayara is really bold so she doesn´t mind. She helps us street contact alot. She really makes it clear our purpose especially when people give us like half answers. For example, one thing that a lot of people say when we invite them to church is ``Se Deus toca meu coração...`` which literally translates to ``If God touches my heart...`` That has become the most mole(non-commital) response that I´ve heard, but it helps us figure out who is really interested and who isn´t. 

I love you all! Hope you all can have missionary experiences this week. Just do it and you will be so glad you did! 
Te amo! 
Sister Sadie Bledsoe