First things first, CONGRATS TO RUTH AND DREW on Drew´s promotion!!! SO so exciting! (:
Secondly...sending pictures is apparently blocked or something on the computers we use here for whatever reason. So sorry again, no photos this week! But when we go to the temple on Wednesday in Recife, I think we are gonna try to send some from there.
Oh yeah. I know I said I wouldnt get to email this week, but the other sisters (Martins e Souza) said we are emailing this week no matter what. Lol. So here we are (:
Oiiiiii familia. These past few days have been crazy to say the least. I experienced my first time being sick as a dog in a foreign country, among other things, lol. It was ROUGH. But I will get to that later (:
Okay. The past few days went a bit like this:
Thursday was when I had my first Brazillian lunch with Sister Severina. She is a mega sweet lady from the ward, and her son-in-law I am pretty sure thinks us missionaries never eat ice cream....which is definitely a lie. Lol. Needless to say, I pretty much never want to each ice cream ever again after that lunch at their house because he refilled my bowl 4 times...ohhhhhhhhh my gosh hahahaha. But its rude to refuse when people here offer you seconds and thirds and fourth and etc...so lets just say I learned my lesson and from now on I will take smallest possible portions to start and go from there (: lol
After lunch we went to meet up and have a zone meeting, something we have the 2nd and 5th weeks of each transfer. Our zone is just 2 districts, which is definitely different from how things were in Michigan (where our zones were way larger), but its because we all live crazy far from each other and its expensive to travel to meet up (and too far to walk). But it went mega well and its nice having Sisters Moore and Kohtz (and elder McKinlay) in my zone/district so I can talk to them in English as a little break from the insanity that is attempting to speak Portuguese 24/7, lol. Familiar faces are always appreciated (: I love love love my MTC district!
Also on Thursday I experienced RAIN here in Recife for the first time! It was a BEAUTIFUL sight (: (: (: it kinda reminds me of Ohio where it can just start raining pretty much out of nowhere and then stop just as quickly and have the sun come out and be shining the rest of the day, lol. All I could think about that first time it rained was when Sister Hirz and I were running through the Mariott parking lot back in the MTC after the devotional where it was POURING rain and we kept shouting ´we´re in brazilllllllllll!´ even though obviously we were not hahah but needless to say, rain here is awesome. #sisterhirzgetheresoonerokay? (:
At night on Thursday, we met with two kids, Joselia (15) and Denis (13). OH MY GOSH. Coolest lesson, everrrrrrrrr. Denis brought 2 friends along and Joselia brought 1 friend along and then Denis´ mom and grandma and little sister were also there as we taught about chastity and the word of wisdom. Talk about a full house...aka on the porch right outside of their house. It was AWESOME. The spirit was crazy strong and we committed Joselia and Denis to be baptized on Saturday and they accepted! Love ittttttt. Love the Church. Love it ALL (:
Also...oh my goodness. Denis and Joselia live in Tracunhaém. Which is basically a crazy poor area but undoubtedly the most GORGEOUS area I have ever seen in my life, so so so pretty, seriously. I cant wait til I can finally send photos to all of you because its incredible. The only sad part is that they live literally in a crazy poor area...like, I dont even know how my companion knows how to find their houses because everything looks the same and theres no rhyme or reason to how the little houses are set up. You just walk down into these HUGE ravine like areas and theres just house after house stacked right next to each other, its a crazy humbling sight to see. We actually got lost when we came back on Friday and there was nothing to do but walk ALL the way back to the top of this area and start over trying to find the house. Crazy. I just hope I can stop being so directionally challenged sooner rather than later so I can figure out where I am half the time (:
Friday we spent 4 hours in the morning at the Banco of Brasil...oi. Hahah. Sister Donoso had some kind of money problem with money her family sent her and I felt pretty useless not being able to speak much Portuguese so pretty much I just sat next to her and tried to keep her relaxed because she kept getting mega stressed out, lol. My discovery of the week - its easy to be care free when you never have any idea whats going on (: haha. But I did sit next to this adorable family and talked to them a bit about our church and gave them a pass along card with a photo of Jesus with children on the front (Regras de Fé on the back). Their little girl was adorable and loved the picture. So cute. I just wish I could speak better Portuguese so when I talked to people they didn´t look at me like I was speaking a foreign language, hahaha. I always take Micae´s advice to heart - just gotta get up each morning and pray that I can speak Portuguese just for today. And more than that, I just pray that I can UNDERSTAND Portuguese for one more day. And its definitely been helping. Prayers are answered. I can honestly testify of that!!
I finally bought a backpack on Friday. My shoulders were dying, haha. SISTER HIRZ BUY ONE BEFORE YOU GET HERE. Seriously. Side bags are a huge no-no here when we are literally walking all day, every day. I have never been happier to have a backpack of my own (: count your blessings name them one by one...!
Friday night was awesome because we had a ward activity! Everyone here is mega nice and helpful, even though we can hardly understand each other, haha. All the kids were SO pumped that a new missionary was in the ward and were all excited to meet me, love it. They are so so so adorable! And they think its hilarious when I cant understand what theyre saying. Hahah. I honestly cannot describe how weird it is for me that for the first time in my life, if I speak English, people WONT be able to understand what I am saying. #foreignmissionaryproblems But day by day its getting easier for sure. Just taking it a day at a time (:
Saturday was BOM. aka GOOD but BOM is a cooler word (Portuguese!). Mostly just because...I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISMMMMMM!! Sadly Joselia decided last minute not to get baptized....not really sure what happened there, sadly. But Denis totally did and suffice it to say he is SO adorable and I had to keep reminding him to smile when we took photos because apparently its crazy common here to never smile in pictures...what?? Lol. But I got a few with him smiling and ah, when I can send you photos I promise I will! It was a very happy happy happy day. (:
By the time the baptism was over however...thats when things started getting a little rough. Lol. Viewer discretion advised: if you have a weak stomach...skip this next paragraph. Lol (:
The entire way home from the baptism I just kept saying how I just wanted to throw up...I didn´t know what was in my system but all I knew is that my body was NOT happy at allllll. Long story short...this night was the most difficult of my entire mission. I don´t think I´ve thrown up since I was like 5 years old, and this night I went straight to bed and woke up twice in the middle of the night to throw up seemingly everything in my system. It was bad. Lol. Most of Sunday was spent in bed, and within the following 24 hours Sister Martins was also sick (the other American in our apartment). Que triste.
But thank goodness for the Priesthood - they brought the sacrament to our apartment so we could take it and then they also gave me a blessing. I have no idea what they said besides the word ´faith´ twice...aka I am pretty sure I just need to have faith that I can be healed and I will be. I know this is true. It all comes down to that first principle of the Gospel - faith faith faith!!! If we have faith and we get to work, we can and WILL be healed! I know this is true because literally its like a night and day difference how I feel now compared with 24 hours ago. The Priesthood is real. Faith is real. Prayers are answered. I cannot say this enough. (:
And today...is Monday! Wheeee. Not sure yet what today has in store for us, but I´m sure I´ll have plenty to report on come next week. And hopefully no more sicknesses to report on (: Rest assured that all is well and hopefully this just means I have officially been broken into my mission in Brazil...and my stomach will just get stronger and stronger by the day (;
oh! Really quick. I found out that when letters/packages are sent here, our zone leaders have to pick them up at the office. And they only go to the office once or twice a transfer. And then we only have zone conferences twice a transfer. Aka the following is true:
-Letters take 2-3 weeks to receive
-Packages take at MINIMUM one month to receive. The sisters were telling me you should DEFINITELY send food with each package you send. Some crazy thing about how if you dont put food in each package (aka treats of some sort), the mail system will think you are just sending clothes or something for me to sell down here and it can take a crazy crazy long time to ever get the package. SO ALWAYS SEND FOOD IN PACKAGES. Deal? Lol.
Also...because it takes forever to get packages as it is, they also say don´t send home made stuff. So Anna, definite rain check on all the amazing food you can make as soon as I get back in January 2015, deal? (:
PS Whenever you do send a package, these are things I would absolutely love (if you can!):
Peanut butter, fruit snacks, STICKERS (people looooooooove them here!), saltine crackers (I was missing these hardcore when I was sick yesterday), gatorade packets (aka the type you can dissolve in water...lemon/lime flavor is the best!), handkerchiefs, stick deodorant (they dont have that here...any kind is better than nothing, lol), and hand sanitizer with the little holder you can put on your backpack or on your purse. I think you can get those at walmart and with how much we use hand sanitizer...it would be mega awesome to not have to open my backpack to get some each time I need it. Lol.
Okay. Spiritual time. My favorite scripture of the moment...another shout out here to sister hirz because this is her mission scripture..Ether 12:27
``And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.´´
Its crazy to think I have barely been in the country of Brazil for a week and already so much has happened. Missionary work is exactly that - HARD. WORK. But I know that God will never ever ever give us difficulties or trials or struggles that we cannot over come. I am being humbled mutiple times a day out here, and I am learning now more than ever the need to trust in my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He is the only one who knows how we feel and he is the only one who can help us over come our struggles. He loves us! What a fabulous fact that is. (: I know I am weak. But through my faith - and my EXERCISING that faith, I can be made strong! We all can (: Just like how as I am typing this, there is a spider crawling on my computer screen. And a month ago, that would have freaked me out. But today, it doesn´t even faze me. Hahaha. (: I am changing daily for the better and I love it. I love being a missionary. I love this work. I love all of you and pray for you multiple times a day!
THE CHURCH IS TRUE. We are a part of an incredibly awesome work here on earth today. God lives. Christ lives. Families can be together forever. I am confident in all of that. (:
Until next week, meus amados. Thank you for your prayers and love, and rest assurred that this work is hard, but I am definitely doing well. I am being protected and guided and am safe and in good spirits so there is no need to worry! I LOVE YOU ALL (:
sorry for the crazy long email today...had a lot of thoughts in my brain (: til next week!
Sister Sarah Banara Kron