Monday, December 29, 2014

natal branco

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a merry christmas!
This week was really good. Eva was baptized finally! We had done a practice last week in district meeting about her because we have been trying to figure out her difficulty for a long time. She has been to church consecutively for the past 3 weeks and went a lot a few months ago when her 2 boys were baptized. On Tuesday, we had a zone meeting where we decided that we would fast as a zone for the people that are preparing to be baptized this week because it is a holiday week and its easy to loose focus. We decided to fast and immediately we thought of visiting Eva that day. We went to her house and immediately we got talking about her baptism. We asked her what would stop her from getting baptized, and she said, ``I like pants.`` She said she wanted to wear pants to church and if that was a problem after she got baptized. After quickly resolving that doubt, she was super excited for her baptism that Friday night. She is super sweet and it was just really fun seeing her so happy at her baptism and her family all at church this sunday. It was a happy Christmas miracle. 

Also Daniella and Douglas got baptized on Saturday! They are the kids of a recent convert, Luciana, who was baptized at the beginning of the month. At first, Daniella(9) liked coming to church with her mom but it was hard to find her home to teach her. The past week or two we have been able to teach her daily and she was excited to get baptized with her brother Douglas(10). Douglas is really smart and has been reading the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon but at first he didn´t come to church because he had trouble waking up on sunday mornings. They are really good kids and the two bore very sweet testimonies at their baptisms. 

Luciana is still helping us teach her friends, and we are also working on contacting other referrals we have received from members. The work is going well here and we have a lot to do this week to help our investigators with their commitments to read, pray, and come to church. This week we didn´t have any investigators at church though--most of our teaching pool left for the weekend and the rest we weren´t able to get in contact with so we aren´t sure why they didn´t come. This week we will try to integrate them better with the members and have the members pick them up for church. 

Thanks for the emails and cards! Christmas was fun here--we had a fun Christmas eve with some members and then christmas day we spent with another family who let us use their skype to talk to our families which was awesome--love you guys! Also that morning we went had a missionary choir at the huge bus station that is more or less near our area. Some members came and we sang a bunch of songs. It was cool because we got to had out a bunch of the ´He is the Gift´ pass-along cards. 
Hope you all had a great week and have a safe & happy new years!
Love ya, 
Sister Bledsoe 
singing christmas carols at the bus station

Eva´s baptism

baptism of Daniella and Douglas

merry christmas 
the sao paulo interlagos mission

I'm sitting next to President Costa

Monday, December 22, 2014

trabalhando com membros

This week we put one of President Costa´s promise to the test; he promised us that the best missionary work is working with members and he gave us a scenario to put in practice: on friday or saturday go to the house of a member and look for their neighbors--pick a family that you see and then on sunday tell the members that you really feel like these neighbors need to hear the gospel then set up a date to talk to the members more about this. at the members house, plan a FHE with the neighbors, make invitations, and deliver the invitations with the members. Do basically all the work but do it with the members. He said that we as missionaries need to be more proactive and if necessary, do the work for the members/make the invitations/etc. 

So, on Friday, we went to the bishop´s street to see who we could invite to a family home evening in his house. We stood in front of his house and at first we saw no one in the street. Then we saw a car pull in front of a house a little bit down the road; a woman came out of the house to talk to her friend in the car. Sister Angulo then told me, ``I think that is the bishop´s old house.`` We then decided to go talk to them. Turns out the woman who lives in the bishop´s old house is from a part member family. She told us that her mom and sisters are members and she has been to church a couple of times. Sister angulo asked why she was never baptized, and she said she has to change some things first. She promised that she would come to church the next week because she would be traveling this sunday and the week of Christmas. We will set up a family home evening for the week she comes home and even better because our bishop is really excited to help us lately! He talked to us yesterday and told us that he wants us to help him get 200 members coming to church before next July; he told us 3 things that he specifically wants us to do--use our area books because he has seen that many times we loose some of our teaching pool when the missionaries are tranferred, do divisions with members every week, and help the ward rescue less actives. 

Also Luciana´s kids will be baptized this week. Luciana has also been inviting a lot of her friends to church. We were visiting one of her friends on saturday when we met two 19 year old boys who agreed to come to church the next day--and they came! Jadsom and Rafael went to church and then we taught them in the chapel with a member; it was a good lesson and Jadsom really understood everything. We also taught Valter, who is Irmã Raimunda´s neighbor who came to church with her. Valter is in his 20s and came to the Ward´s Christmas dinner and is really interested in the church. 

We are working a ton with the members here and it is going really well. We had another ward integration activity and a ton of members showed up along with a family that we have been teaching--they went to the chapel for the english class at 6:30 and stayed for the activity after and loved it. They just need to get to church on sunday.

We are excited for this week--hopefully we will find people home! 

Love you! Merry Christmas!
Sister Bledsoe

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

mission tour

Wow another crazy week--yesterday we didnt email because we had a christmas program with the mission and it lasted mostly all day. 

This week was another great one for the work here in Aracati, but we also had a great conference with President Claudio M. Costa, the area president of Brazil. 

Here in aracati:
--we started weekly activities here in the ward on wednesday nights to work on integration. President Dalton wants us to have weekly activies, even if they are as simple as Family home evenings, to strengthen the wards and use our chapels better(because everyone always comments that our chapels are always closed). This week we showed the little film He is the Gift and played Indian Chief. The ward loved it! 
--Luciana who was baptized this week is on fire and introduced us to like all of her neighbors. She even brought 7 people to a baptism and the ward christmas party on saturday night. We are teaching her kids and neighbors now. 
--Eva, the mom of 2 boys that are recent converts, came to church on sunday and wants to get baptized. She has tons of desire make this christmas special for her family even though they are going through a lot. 
--I am starting up an english class here on wednesday before our ward activies and on saturday because we want to get more members at the activies(lots want to learn english) and help our investigators, who want to learn english, get into the chapel and feel the spirit there.  

Also this week we had a very special conference with President Costa. He is a spiritual GIANT. He was called to be a general authority the same day as Pres. Uchtdorf. He was in the presidency of the seventy but now he is the area president of Brazil. He has been a general authority for more than 20 years. President Dalton told us that he looked up some numbers to see a better perspective and saw that President Costa, as the area president of Brazil, is in charge of more members of the church than President David O McKay when he was prophet. Brazil is the 3rd largest country in membership (after the US and mexico) and the 2nd largest in number of stakes (after the US). He was also a recent convert at 27,when his whole family was members and one day sister missionaries were in their home teaching about the restoration. that night, he decided to read Joseph smith history and pray after each paragraph. 14 hours later at 6 in the morning, he knew with a perfect knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he asked to be baptized that weekend (incredible witness of how to gain a testimony). Anyway, it was incredible to hear from him. But first to start the meeting, he told us that he wanted to shake all of our hands.He said that for a general authority a handshake is the equivalent of an interview. He would know what he needed to say to our mission after he shook all of our hands. (I didn´t know that before). Then he shared a bunch of counsel--I could write pages of what he said. He counseled us to follow whatever counsel we receive from our mission president. To show us how much he and the other leaders trust these men as mission presidents, he told us that we as member have to have 3 signatures to enter the temple(bishop, stake president and ours), but the mission president gives himself an interview and signs his own recommend. (at that moment, President Dalton was sitting behind him and he said ``I didn´t know that`` it was really funny but a powerful lesson--our mission presidents are the best of the best) Then he told a really cool story that I will sum up because I just loved it. When he was the mission president of Manuas(he opened that mission as the president), 2 elders called him because they wanted him to come to a lesson where their investigators had invited their pastor(7th day adventist). President accepted and felt a prompting to bring a copy of the Bible in english. when they got there that night, there wasn´t only the local pastor but also the area pastor of the area of the amazons, and also the pastor of the whole 7th day adventist church in Brazil. He first had the impression of the scripture that the small and weak will confound the strong and wise. He asked the ministers how much they studied to be pastors (8years, 9 years, etc. the pastor of all of brazil spoke fluent english and knew hebrew and greek). Then the pastors asked how much training they received-19 days for the brazilian elder, 2 months in the mtc for the american elder, and 3days for the president of all of the mission in brazil. Then the pastor asked the big question, ``What day of the week is the sabbath day?`` In the portuguese bible it says in the commandments to keep the day of `sabado` which is a direct translation to saturday. The pastor showed that verse and then President Costa asked if he had read the bible in english, yes. What word does the english bible use? sabbath day. President Costa asked him to find the english word saturday in the bible; doesn´t exist. Then he asked about the hebrew word for sabbath--what it means? the pastor said ``day of rest`. Then president asked everyone in the room: what is your day of rest? they all said sunday. Then he had the prompting ``do what Nephi did to Laban`` and he thought ´´cut off his head???`` yeah spiritually. He then opened the bible to where the jews condemn jesus for doing miracles on the sabbath day and he said ``i always wanted to know what religion these men were and now I know they of your religion.`` Then he said the pastor didn´t say one more word (if you cut off someone´s head they can´t speak anymore).He told us that we have to know the scriptures well, use them well, and follow the spirit with exactness.  

Also yesterday I talked to the elders and sisters serving in some of my old areas and they had some good news. First, in Jardim Campinas, my first area, Jennifer was baptized this weekend! Her mom finally let her get baptized and even went to her baptism with some of her siblings. Second, when I was in Parelheiros, it was like my last week there with Sister Mota and I felt like we needed to visit some of the less-actives in our area. One day we knocked on the door of Talita, a less-active and the only member in the family; she lost all contact with the church and hadn´t been visited in years. Her husband, Washington answered the door and we talked to him and set up a return appointment. Anyway, he ended up going to church that week and wanted to get baptized and now he just recently received the priesthood--that ward really needed more priesthood holders and he is such a cool person. I don´t say that to be a ``G.H.``--which stands for ``gloria dos homens``(glory of men) but I was happy to hear that something I did had later consequences down the road. I like the song more holiness give me and especially the line that I have come to love since the MTC when we sang it in General Conference ``more fit for the kingdom, more used would I be.`` 

Love you!
Sister Bledsoe

Monday, December 8, 2014

mundo feliz, nasceu Jesus

It has been a real blessing to be here in Aracati with Sister Angulo. It´s incredible how well we work together and even better that we are able to see so many miracles together. I feel like when I am working with her we are really in tune with each other and the spirit. This week we were led to many places at exactly the right time. We have been able to get referrals from members(2 of them came to church on sunday), we found Luciana in the street after not being able to find her at home for over a week, we started teaching a new family that has a lot of potential, and it has just been really busy here. We are really trying to work on retaining our converts and teaching their families. We have also been teaching former investigators here and that has been working a ton. For example, Luciana was baptized yesterday--she was an investigator of some sisters awhile back, and finally we were able to find her and help her to get baptized. 

The program `he is the gift´is helping us with finding(referrals from members and contacts) and teaching(committing our investigators to baptism--that their baptism will be the greatest present that they can give to the Savior).

Hope you all have seen that video and are sharing it!
Thanks for the emails and everything! You guys are the best!
Sister Bledsoe

left to right: Elder Oliveira& Elder Lund(zone leaders), Luciana, her daughter Daniella, an investigator of the elders Natalia, Sister angulo, me (in front) Francilton(investigator of the elders), Bruno(recent convert that baptized Francilton), Elder Fuentealba(our district leader whol baptized Luciana)

Monday, December 1, 2014