Monday, September 29, 2014

Fè é um verbo!

Hey! Congrats to Elissa for serving a faithful full-time mission! So proud of you and grateful for the best siblings in the world! 

This week was awesome! We had a great training/Multizone Conference--we talked about goals (basically SMART goals) and President Dalton talked a lot about faith. He says that if he could write a book it would be titled `Faith is a verb`--he is really pushing us to do things we never ever imagined/thought of doing. We have to follow the Spirit-- he said ``a positive thought to act is inspiration from God until it is proven on the contrary.`` (that´s a translation so it´s a bit awkward but you get the idea)

Sister Mota, Bledsoe, A. Souza, and Salles (my comp and our roommates)
**welcome to the closet of Sister Salles--we are all wearing her clothes ;)**

 The work is going well here- we are working with the bishop´s family to fellowship Aiton/Claudineia because they live on the same street--we will possibly have an FHE this week, and we hope that we can get them to the broadcast of General Conference. Aiton really has a ton of potential and Claudineia too. 

Then we have Silvana--she is the wife of the family with José who had questions about the Plan of Salvation. José is hard to find at home, but we have taught Silvana a couple times and she is really solid. She didn´t go to church last week because her daughter is special and had to go to the hospital that morning and yesterday she was out of town for family reasons. She is really solid though--we watched the Restoration film with them and she loved it. She also asked about coffee--we taught the word of wisdom and committed her to live it. She drinks 2-3 garrafas(like the coffee makers--those containers-- 2-3 of those) of coffee everyday, but she said, ``yeah, I´ll stop`` with no excuses or problems so far. She still has to get married so that is our goal with her this week. 

We had a cool experience on Saturday--this story starts at the Multizona when I was talking to Sister Thornhill; she mentioned that she ran into a former contact of hers that lives in our area, Helen. She told me to visit her this week. On Saturday, I remembered Helen and we tried her house. She wasn´t home, but we decided to contact her neighbors. One of them was washing dishes but Sister Mota invited her to church through the window. Turns out, Norma had been going to our church when it was a branch in Parelheiros and people were baptized in a swimming pool. She said she really liked it, but she moved and then moved back and in the mix of things, she lost contact with the church. She was really inviting and we ended up teaching her the Restoration that very visit. She is looking for a church--she never felt like she identified with any and she has read a ton of religious books. She want to be baptized, so we committed her and she said yes! Then we talked about the word of wisdom because she brought up coffee. She then confessed that she smokes and has been trying to quit. Her husband quit like a year ago, so she wants to quit too. Before we left, she told us that we must have been sent from God because she has been praying for help to help her quit smoking. I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers--often times in ways we wouldn´t have imagined. I doubt she was expecting the Mormon missionaries that day, but I´m glad it all worked out the way it did. 

I´m super excited for General Conference--we will invite everyone and really do our part to prepare the way for them to get there! BTW this is my 1st conference in Portuguese--wish me luck ;)

Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, September 22, 2014

grande potencial

BOM DIA! Espero que vocês tiveram uma semana incrível! 
Thanks for all the updates--always love hearing from you all!

This week, we had some really powerful lessons with some less-active members(one who came to church Sunday!) and some referrals. One referral was a family that lives next-door to Mayara, a member who works with us consistently. This family hasn´t been keeping commitments, especially coming to church; however, they stopped going to their old church(assemblia de Deus) and are looking for a new congregation. Mayara has been passing by and following up with them and they just didn´t seem to be having much of a desire. We went into the lesson with the intention of doing a how to begin teaching and possibly drop them if they really weren´t interested. Turns out, Aiton(the dad) has been reading the Book of Mormon, but still has doubts because one of their daughters is super anti-Mormon and that has influenced their interest in really investigating. Anyway, Aiton started asking us a bunch of questions, and we felt impressed to really expound on the things that he was asking. He asked us if we believed that only our church would be saved. I´ve read of responses to this question in books like Our Search for Happiness, and we tried to answer his question to the best of our ability--we taught the Restoration and a large part of the Plan of Salvation because he had many questions about our beliefs about salvation. It was really powerful when we taught about and testified of these truths. Even more so because Aiton is super smart and has many beliefs that have prepared him to receive our message. At one point, his wife cried and said we bring a different spirit into their home and that we make her feel better than any other religious group/denomination. She said that she likes to keep quiet during the lessons, but she has felt something good and we have answered many questions she had and questions that she didn´t even know she had. I was grateful for the power of the Spirit that really touched their hearts. Aiton asked about our families and how we were raised with these beliefs--he said he admires the family unity that we teach in our church, but he commented that it´s pretty much impossible in the busy world nowadays. I felt impressed to bear my testimony that that is far from the truth; it really is possible to have that unity within families nowadays--it is possible and even more than that, God expects that of us. I talked about my family--things my parents did and sacrificed for our family to get where we are now.  We talked about church attendance and how we decided once that we would go to church every Sunday--how that is easier than making the choice every week; he said, ``I wish I had that kind of determination.`` We testified of the Savior and the power to keep the commandments. I believe that if they have desire and if we help integrate them with other ward members, they can really become converted. Aiton has HUGE potential if he lets the desire work within him and goes to church on Sunday; I think he could be a stake president one day.
Things are going well in general. Lots of work to be done! 
Hope you all have a great week!
--Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, September 15, 2014

livre arbìtrio

Another really good week has come and gone! I am trying to make the most of this transfer and we have seen some great things happen! We have been able to teach a lot of lessons in many houses--less actives, recent-converts, investigators, members, which has been an answer to my prayers--we are finding people when they are home! For a long time, that hasn´t happened, so I was really happy.

One cool lesson I learned this week was in district meeting. Our district leader is Elder Cranor, and during his training, we had some extra time, so he suggested we implement the training right then. We had been learning about setting goals--setting realistic goals that really push us. He told us that we had 10 minutes to go out and contact. He asked what our goals of contacts and lessons would be--we said 7 contacts and 2 lessons. We left and began talking to people. I felt like our goals were realistic and helped us keep going. The third or fourth person we talked to was Patricia. She showed interest, and we talked about marriage. She has been wanting to get married, but they are waiting a year to save up money because she said it would cost like $300 reiais ($150). We offered to help, and Sister Mota said, ``What if we told you we could help you get married for free?`` (which we can do here because of our plaques since we are `ministers´or something).Her jaw dropped in shock. She was SUPER happy and we got her address to pass on to the elders that work in Cipó. I was really glad that we had that goal to talk to that number of people because we pretty much met our goals, didn´t feel rushed, and met a really awesome person who had interest in our message. I want to try to make more realistic goals to really push me and keep me going.

We also had a cool lesson this week with Silvana. She has been struggling with having a desire to gain an answer. She had that dream where she was at church, but she is struggling with the desire to follow it because she is deeply involved in her church. We told her very clearly that asking permission for her pastor will not help her(this is what she keeps telling us is keeping her from coming to church--she needs his permission), and that he will never give his blessing because she is paying a lot of tithing to his church. We have been talking a lot about free agency this week with her. She had a question about the Plan of Salvation that brought up a good discussion; she asked, ``Why does God let all that suffering happen in places like Africa where there are kids starving?`` We felt impressed to read some of Alma 14 with her where Amulek sees the suffering of a group of righteous people who are being persecuted(women and children)/being burned to death because of their beliefs. Amulek knows he has the priesthood, so he asks Alma,``How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.``
`` But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.``(alma 14: 10-11). We taught about free agency--how our choices are a huge part of God´s plan. He will not force us to do anything nor will he impede the free agency of others to answer all of our prayers in the way we want. Sister Mota remembered a quote by President Kimball:
``Could the Lord have prevented these tragedies? The answer is, Yes. The Lord is omnipotent, with all power to control our lives, save us pain, prevent all accidents, drive all planes and cars, feed us, protect us, save us from labor, effort, sickness, even from death, if he will. But he will not. We should be able to understand this, because we can realize how unwise it would be for us to shield our children from all effort, from disappointments, temptations, sorrows, and suffering. The basic gospel law is free agency and eternal development. To force us to be careful or righteous would be to nullify that fundamental law and make growth impossible. If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls. Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.``

She summerized what he said, and we testified of the Plan of Salvation. We made it very clear, and as we left, I felt a peace that we had done our part. Silvana knows what she needs to do. We have encouraged her very consistantly, and I felt like we had given her knowledge and our testimonies, but she has her free agency to accept it and follow her answer. Like in the pamphlets, at the end of every one it says something like ``you will have to choose to live in harmony with the knowledge that you receive.``I hope to continue teaching clearly and motivating these people to come unto Christ. I hope that Silvana, and the others we are teaching, can really progress as we continue to teach and follow-up.

Also Moisés came to church for the 3rd time! We asked the elders to ask for his information, since he didn´t want to give it to us. He agreed to a visit from the elders, which is best because he just lives with his aunt who is never home.
This week I also broke my bed, so I slept on the floor a few times... I was hungry one morning and the elders wanted us to walk to their house to pick up money. They live far away and I wasn´t too happy, so I jumped on my bed only to hear a huge snap. One of the side bars of my bed broke in half. We(the 3 sisters I live with and I) just about died of laughter. The maintenance guy told me my situation reminded him of a movie--I think it translates to ``Blind Love,`` where a guy is in love with a girl who is really fat but when he looks at her he sees a really skinny girl. He told me that how I broke the bed is a mystery because it looks like someone with 300 pounds jumped on my bed. The connection was a bit of a stretch but we laughed so hard. It might be all the churrasco(brazilian BBQ) I´ve been eating here in Parelheiros!

thanks for everything! have an awesome week! love you ;)
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

Monday, September 8, 2014

transfers--new comp!

Another good week to start off a transfer!! My new companion is Sister Mota from Fortaleza; she has a fiancé who she met right before her mission-- he was an RM at the time and he is waiting for her. It amazes me how some of my companions decided to serve mission. Always cool to hear the stories of other sister missionaries! Sister Mota is awesome; love her already.

First, the family--early this week we contacted a man with his 15 year old son. It was partially raining so we knew he was elect when he started talking to us. He accepted a visit and said he would go to church the next Sunday because he works one Sunday on and one Sunday off. We left the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with him. We had an appointment with him on Saturday, and when we get there, we are a bit late and he said he was sorry that he started drinking. My first thought--oh no. Then we look behind him and there are a ton of little kids and his ``wife``(they aren´t married...yet!); they invited us in and the two little girls hugged us right away. Everyone was happy to see us and immediately brought us chairs, turned off the TV, sat down, and asked us a bunch of questions. We were able to teach an entire family--the first time that has ever happened on the first visit on my mission. Everyone was attentive--very suprising because it was a mom, dad, 15year old, 13 year old, 9 year old, 6 year old, 5 year old, and a 4 year old. The 6 and 4 year old were neighbors that the mom takes care of. We taught the Restoration and we had a tons of participation--only a few tears when we asked Carol(9) to help us with a demonstration to explain prophets and her brother made fun of her. We recovered after a few tears and Carol was happy to be included. They all were really listening, and another shock--pizza came in the middle of the lesson. They had ordered pizza and just the dad went to get it, and it was a miracle--no one got up. They all waited and listened until the end of our lesson, which was like 10-15 more minutes. I was shocked; these kids are really something. The mom, Silvana, told us about a dream she had where 2 angels dressed in white came to her and told her that she wasn´t prepared yet. I didn´t really understand all the details, but I know this family had been prepared. At the end, José asked two questions that were in his mind after reading about the Plan of Salvation. He said, ``I´m pretty sure I know the answers to these questions, but I just want to make sure. Is there life after death?`` We responded in the affirmative. ``Will we all be resurrected?`` Yes. He sighed with relief and told us he was good. José and Silvana want to get married, and they along with their 3 oldest kids accepted baptismal dates. I was so happy!
After the lesson, on our way home, we ran into a bunch of mean, angry dogs...satan. As we were cornered, Sister Mota whispered, ``If we run, we get bitten. If we stay, we get eaten.`` I replied, ``I´d rather go to the hospital than the cemetary.`` We ended up not having to do either because we said a prayer and they walked away. Tender mercy.

We also visited a less-active recent convert family (only the kids were baptized). We had a heart-to-heart with Geovana(14), who told us that she didn´t want to get baptized but felt influenced by her siblings at the time. Sister Mota asked some very inspired questions to get her to open up. We discovered that she had no desire to pray, read scriptures, go to church, etc. because she had doubts that God exists. We had a super spiritual lesson about faith, change, and temples. It was super spiritual because we didn´t once try to `burn her` or make her feel bad, but asked some really good questions and taught with the spirit. It was a testimony builder for me because I knew that that is how we are really supposed to teach every lesson--we could say bold things because we spoke with love and really tried to help her feel the Spirit. In the end, she agreed to visit the temple with us and her sister Amanda (and hopefully the rest of their family).
Love you all! Be patient and believe in miracles--they happen, according to our faith.
Love, Sister Sadie Bledsoe

barbie ca and barbie curitiba

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

passa rápido

Transfer news: my companion Sister Soares da Silva is getting transfered :( I will get a new companion on Tuesday. I´m excited for at least 6 more weeks here in Parelheiros! It´s super pretty, the ward is growing, and we are teaching some amazing people. This past 6 weeks just flew by. I hope I can make the most of this time I have here!

Right now we are teaching some referrals from members--two in particular will be a challenge to teach because one is blind and the other is deaf/mute. 

Also this week I went on exchanges and got to go back to Jd. Campinas for the day! We even had a pizza party that night with Sister Stephens and Sister Costa, who are still there. 

Sorry I won´t write a lot today because I want to respond to other emails, but know that I´m doing good here. Lovin´ learning more from other missionaries, members, my investigators, the Spirit, etc. 

Love you!
-Sister Sadie Bledsoe