Tuesday, January 7, 2014

catching up on the last month (December) of Sarah's emails!


December 9, 2013 email
--warning. i wrote so much this week. sorry not sorry (: --

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO my favorite people in the whole wide world!! aka my gorgeous family...ah. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I don´t think you even realize it (: I hope this week has been awesome!!

So story of the subject line: last night we were at a member´s house and he referred to us as the `Sisters Pipoca´. And we were like....okay what?? Hahah. And he´s like....Sister BUTTER + Sister CORN = Sister POPCORN! Aka Pipoca in Portuguese. Hahhahah we just about died. So we are apparently now officially the Americana Pipocas. How´s that for a girl band name? (;

really quickly - we have our mission Christmas conference tomorrow (!!!!!!!) so hopefully i´ll get your package then! THANK YOU again for that!! (: also...if there is any way possible that you guys could go to lds.org and order the conference ensigns for me to get delievered to the mission address here...that´d be beyond awesome. When I was back in Northville, Sister Cutler and I didn´t get to watch all the sessions of conference because we were with an investigator and I am just dying to know what the other talks were that I missed! Just whenever. Sometime before the April conference (; IN ENGLISH. please. (: hahaa.

-also, no worries about sending a backpack! sister souza and i traded  backpacks (photo from last week) and apparently if you use the mission backpack (that i´m using now), that´s acceptable. just that or shoulder bags. so counting my blessings for sure (:

okay few hilarious brazil things first, then the good spiritual stuff (:

-sister butler and i easily walk miles and miles each day. and i´m learning real quick how to j-walk like a champ because cross-walks here are a joke. #NYChereicome (; it´s great. but we talked about how hilarious itd be if we had a pedometer so we could count how much we have been walking....so you can get an idea of how much we are walking. lol. so if anyone could send one, that´d be awesome (: just sometime before the end of the mish. no rush (: it´d just be fun to see haha

-the sun is UP and shining by 5am and it is pitch black by 6pm. i´m finally getting used to that. all the missionary apartments have aluminum foil covering the windows to block out the sun so we don´t get woken up early. lol.

hilarious language barrier moments real quick:

-basically i just am learning to speak based off of things i hear. so my first coupla weeks here i heard´´bem gostoso!´´ a ton when something was really awesome. so one brazillian sister was trying on a new outfit and she was like ´what do you think?´and it was adorable so i just smiled really big and said `BEM GOSTOSO!` really energetically and really excited because i was using a brazillian phrase. ...but then she just stared at my and my other companions started busting up laughing and i quickly learned that bem gostoso basically = REALLY TASTY and you only ever use it to talk about food. and never about anything else. hahahahhaa. i´m just glad i said that one at home and not in a member´s house.

-OH but one thing that happened in a members house during lunch...the irma sitting next to me (member) has really awesome skin. like, she´s beautiful. so we´re all eating and i´m thinking i´ll tell her she has really great skin. sounds really weird typing that out hahaha but it seemed normal enough to me. so i lean over to the brazillian sister missionary next to me and because i didn´t know the word for skin, i pointed to my arm and was like ´whats this?? how do you say this?´and was like rubbing my arm. and she whispers back ´´that´s PELO´´. so i say thanks and turn to the irma next to me and i´m like ´´irma! you have BEAUTIFUL pelo!!`´ as i´m pointing to her arm. so she looks at me really funny and everyone at the table stops talking and so i repeat myself and point to her cheeks, emphasizing that her skin was super clear and say ´´you have BEAUTIFUL PELO!!´´ and she just looks at me like i just said a bad word....so i turn to another brazilian sister who can speak english too and i´m like....i´m trying to say skin! why is this wrong? and she BUSTS UP laughing because apparently PELE is skin...not pelo. so i apparently was just telling this irma that the hair all over her cheeks and face was beautiful. LOL. irma just about died laughing once she understood and was really grateful i wasn´t complimenting her facial hair. #hilarious

oh maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. This week has been the best! Sister Butler and I are tearing it up here in Várzea...it is the best of the best. Every where we go people look at us like we don´t belong....but only about half of them think we are Americans. Hahaha. We have made it a fun way to get to know people to let them guess where we are from. The craziest this week have been Sister Butler being mistaken for being from Germany and me from Argentina. Or Brazil. #yessssssss! So that´s a blast (:

As far as the work goes....it´s going. (: Haha seriously though. The family that we taught last Monday night is incredible. Saundo (father), Kelly (mother), Saundriely (11 yr old daughter), and Karol (10 year old daughter). This family is the best. They are all SUPER united and close which is just the way any family would want to be (: The parents are super wanting to find whatever is truth....which is obviously awesome and we are obviously here to help them and answer whatever questions they have! We taught them twice last week and our second lesson with them (Saturday night) was incredible. They have been struggling with the concept of áuthority´...aka they believe in and have been reading the Book of Mormon and say they know its true, they know Joseph Smith was a prophet...but they don´t know whether or not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is really the Lord´s true church here on earth. So after talking to them and finding out more about what their other questions are...Sister Butler and I have basically been thinking about them all week long and what we can do to help them. Saturday night we go over and teach them with a recently returned missionary from our ward here, Alan. We watched the Restoration video (20 minute one) and just told them to pay attention to how they felt as they watched it, and not worry about anything else. Family....I can´t possibly explain how strong the spirit was as we watched that film. It was incredible. We shared our testimonies after we finished watching it and honestly, I cannot possibly ever deny that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that he was a true prophet, called of God. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated through the power of God and that that is a true book! As soon as you open it up and start reading, you can´t deny that that is true! (: I love it! I am so so grateful every day to have this truth in my life. 

Ah. So this family. We watched the video (just with the parents) and they both said they felt good as they watched it and know Joseph Smith was probably a prophet. But...they still aren´t sure about church. So we talked about church (they had come the week before) and they said they really liked it. Which is a good sign, naturally. (: We just told them that it´s like anything when we are guided by the spirit - we need to press forward with faith in doing good things. And as we do good things we are going to feel good. Then we keep pressing forward, keep exercising our faith, and we continue to feel good....and its just a cycle of goodness and being guided and directed by the spirit and its wonderful. (: All good things come from God - and if you´re doing someting that´s not in accordance with what He wants you to do, He´ll let you know. You´ll feel it. I know that is true! He is watching out for us like any loving Father does (: They want to come to church next Sunday again, since they did enjoy it, and keep learning from us. We have a FHE with them tonight with Bishop and his wife and are going to talk about the Plan of Salvation...which is the best plan ever, in my opinion, at least. (: So we´re mega excited for that!!

The other progressing investigator we have right now is Allison - a 17 year old boy living in the favelas in Várezea. It is literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do having to walk through where these wonderful, incredible people live and just seeing that they literally have...nothing. Their houses are built on the edge of this massive river...made out of whatever they can find. Pieces of broken wood planks and cardboard and whatever else is around. They talk about how in the rainy season when it rains a ton their houses are sometimes totally underwater for up to a week....and they lose everything inside and have to literally start over again from scratch. We have the privilege of teaching some of the Lord´s most humble, wonderful people here. When we are with Allison, we walk up and he immediately runs around and gathers his family up (cousins, siblings, aunts, etc.) in the surrounding houses to hear what we have to tell them. He gets it. When he talks, you can tell he understands how important it is to learn about God and His plan for us...to learn about Jesus Christ and draw nearer unto Him. We gave him a Book of Mormon on Saturday and he was so grateful to receive it and excited to read it. The only thing is...he said he wanted to come to church yesterday and then we stopped by his house to pick him up and he wasn´t home ): so we don´t know what happened. But we are praying for him and hoping to swing by to teach him and his family again tomorrow. 

Ah. Life is crazy here. But so, SO wonderful at the same time (: We are teaching people left and right and although not everyone is willing or wanting to come unto Christ....we are trying to find the people who are wanting and excited to hear about Christ, especially as Christmas is coming up so soon! It definitely doesn´t feel like Christmas season here....as I´m literally sweating non-stop allday/errday down here the nordeste, haha. But we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional this morning for our companionship study in Portuguese....and hearing the hymns of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (and understanding what I could of the talks :) brought the Spirit so so strongly! 

...and that´s why I have a little invite for all of you (: I watched Mundo Feliz (I think `´´Joy to the World´´ in English) last week, it´s a DVD of the church, filled with the story of Christ´s birth and music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and it is just beautiful. We have little cards that we can give to people here as a Christmas gift from us to them, and they work the same way in the US or any other part of the world: whoever wants a dvd, they just have to call the number (to church headquarters) and give them their address, and then the church sends us missionaries out to deliver the dvds, hand-delivered to their home (: it´s that simple! and totally free. so my challenge for all of you: get one or two or 30 of those cards...and pray about a friend or family member to give it to. or better yet, ask the missionaries for one of the dvds so you can give that directly to your friend/family member! it is a beyond fabulous christmas gift that we can give to anyone. and i challenge each of you to give out at least one to someone before christmas. (: deal?! I´ll even do the same (;

Falalalalaaaaaaaaalalalalaaaaaaa. Time´s just about up. And Christmas time is SO SO SOON! Family - I´ve gotta know asap what you´re all thinking your Christmas day plans are. And what the time difference is between here in Várzea (Recife) and there (Ohio)...so we can plan when we can chat for an hour on Christmas! (: I know you prob think its a long ways away still...but when you´ve only got 2 pdays between now and christmas after today (!!!!!!!!!!!), we need to coordinate with 4 missionaries and their families´schedules and also the house of the member we will all be skyping (hopefully!) in. aka hopefullly google+. if i can remember my username/password for google hahaha. (: so lemme know asap what everyones plans are for that day (slash for skyping blake too so i don´t interfere with that!).

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Never forget how much God loves you - I mean seriously, He gave us His only begotten son...Jesus Christ. To pay the immeasurable price for our sins....just so that one day we could hopefully return to live with Him again. What a blessing. Best gift. Ever. (:

Love you foreverrrrrrrrr! xoxoxoxox beijos e abraços! (:

Sister Sarah Banara Carrera Kron
#sisterpipoca (:

December 16, 2013 email
Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo my favorite people ever!!! Remember that one time it´s only like a week til we can SKYPE!? wahooooooooo!! (: (: (:

quick + sad + hilarious story of the week as the subject line of the email - basically I turned into a cyclops because I got something in my eye...? Long story short Tuesday I was feeling fine. Wednesday morning when I washed my face I felt pain in my right eye but didn´t think too much about it. By Wednesday afternoon at lunch with a member (photo with the parrot) my eye was noticibly red and a bit swollen. Fast-forward to the end of Wednesday and by Wednesday night I was walking around trying to preach the gospel with one eye swollen half-shut hahahahahaa. It was crazy. loooooooove these crazy experiences I´m having with my health out here. We went to Hospital Português Friday and were there basically all day just waiting around since my appointment was at 4 but we weren´t seen until 7pm....eesh. Haha. But basically my eye was crazy sensitive to the sun so we couldn´t work during daylight on Friday or Saturday so we decided to compromise and just make an eye patch for me so I could go out into the sun....hilarious. And then Sister Butler told me how I only neeed one eye single to the glory of God anyway....so I could lose my eye and be just fine (; LOVE MY COMPANION hahaha. But seriously, visited the doc real quick, she said it was just something in my eye, totally normal (?!), and I just needed to take these magical eye drops 4x a day for a week. And lo and behold 24 hours after taking the drops...my eye´s totally back to normal. Hahaha. Just adventures left + right out here. (:

But seriously, this week has been awesome! Last Tuesday we had our mission Christmas conference which was awesomeeeeeeee. So much fun and so much spiritual uplifting. Love it. Didn´t get the package yet but I´m hopefully it´ll get here before 2014 (; The rest of the week was wonderful, too! Minus the eye problems, of course. (:

I don´t have a ton of time to email this week and I left my note with what I wanted to write to you this week at the apartment...whoopsie. But lemme share with you the coolest experience I have probably had on my mission thus far. Micae - you are going to love this because it´s all thanks to your idea (:

Basically the coolest miracle I´ve seen was an experience we had last night. We went out to do contacts at like 7pm, determined to get in a lesson with someone. So we said a prayer and then headed out to teach. Before we left our apartment complex I thought about some advice my bff Micaela gave to me as she´s a missionary too- build your investigator and then go out and find them! So that´s what we did. We decided we would talk to a man, with dark hair, wearing jeans, and flip flops, who was outside walking. And then we went out and went looking. (: As we´re walking I get the really distinct impression that we need to find this guy...but he might not be walking. So I take that into consideration and we just keep walking....and walking. No one in jeans and flip flops that we can see. No guys out just walking around that are close to matching this description. So we turn down a street down to this little park. And we see a man sitting down on a man and Sister Butler and I look at each other and we´re like okay....let´s just go talk to him.

So we walk up to and start chatting with him and oh my gracious I can´t even explain in words how strong the spirit was. Rafael, a 17-year-old kid, sitting here telling us that he doesn´t believe in God, doesn´t think He exists...and we just start talking about the very first thing that comes to mind. That we know. We know He exists. We know He loves us. He loves Rafael and it was so so clear that we needed to be there at that moment talking to him. I asked him if he´d ever prayed and he said no....so I shared with him that once upon a time when I was 18 I was going through a mega hard time in my life. I felt crazy alone. And even though I grew up in the Church, at this time in my life I wasn´t totally sure if God existed or if He loved me because I had been feeling so alone. So one night I fell on my knees and just prayed. Just asked God if He was there, if He really did exist. And if He loved me. That´s it. And plain and simple...I could never deny the feeling I felt. How clear and obvious it was that He is real and He loves me (and all of us!) SO so much and He´s always there for us! We looked at Rafael and asked if he would kneel down tonight, just to pray and simply ask God if He´s there. And he smiled and the spirit was so strong and he said he would! We´re meeting with him again tonight and I cannot wait to hear what happened. Because I know prayers are real. I know God is real. He loves us and He wants to help us! We just have to ask...and we´ll receive. I know it. For me, for Rafael, for any of us. Every. Time. (: It´s awesome.

I know God is looking out for all of us. Oh the best part about this....I almost forgot to say. This guy sitting there was wearing shorts. So during the lesson I´m sitting there thinking...we totally were supposed to talk to him. That was so obvious. But he wasn´t wearing jeans which obviously is totally fine, it just woulda been even cooler if he was wearing jeans, too. He had the dark hair. Was a man. Flip flops. And then I looked at the shorts he was wearing....and they were totally JEAN SHORTS. So cool. Miracles are real, people. This is too too cool for words. (:

I love this work and I love all of you! I have to get going but a few Brazillian questions answered real quick before I go:

-Yes, we have to shower 2x a day here. Natives here shower more like 3-4 times (or more) each day. That´s normal. BECAUSE IT IS SO STINKING HOT OUT. hahaha. I have never been anywhere in my life where I just literally have drops of sweat pouring down my face....until I got to Várzea. haha. Its all day, every day. My face, my legs, my neck....its non-stop sweat. The only reason we missionaries ONLY shower 2x a day is because we are only home 2x a day at our apartment - in the morning getting ready and at night going to bed. seriously...trust me. IT IS SO HOT HERE. Lol.

-the humidity is wild. my hair gets way wavier than normal when i wear it down as a result. its pretty. but i would rather be smart and not look as cute than have my long hair down every day and be sweating even more than i am already. lol. so my hairs down when we´re at home (with 3829102 fans blowing at us in the apartment) and up every other time except for a conference here and there. (:

-We eat lunch with members EVERY DAY but pday.  but its not an american meal where you all get one serving and then you occasionally get seconds. but here...if you don´t ´repite´aka REPEAT aka fill up your plate at LEAST one or two more times....you´re being rude and saying you dont like the food. hahaa. So i´ve learned to put just a little bit of food on my plate the first time around so i´m able to eat more than one plateful of food during the meal (:

okay. gotta run for real. keep reading your scriptures and remember that I love you and that I love you a WHOLEEEEEEEEEE ton. And take that love and multiply it by 4890128329082901839201 x infinity x even more than any number amount exists and that is how much GOD loves you! Seriously. It´s true. I´m a missionary....I can´t lie. (:

xoxoxoox! 9 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS! (:

Sister Sarah Kron
#oneeyedmissionary (;

December 23. 2013
HELLOOOOOOOO FAMILYYYYYY remember that one time that i get to talk to you IN JUST TWO DAYS FROM NOW!! like, literally exactly two days from this moment i will be seeing your beautiful faces...EEK! So so so soooooooooooo pumped! (: I have about 45 mins to chat....lame. Lol. but we will enjoy EVERY SINGLE MINUTE TOGETHER. deal? (: eek eek eek!!!

okay real quick to explain the subject line...basically the moment i got here in october it rained a little bit a few times and evvvvvveryone told me all about how it never rains here in november - january...so i better enjoy the rain while it lasts. so...i did. lol. BUT i will have you know....it has been literally raining like CRAZY here this whole week....like i have seen houses literally floating in the river because it got so bad :/ ahh. so so so sad. i feel so helpless so much because i want to help but i can´t like build a house for someone or give them money or anything like that...but I do have the gospel in my life and that´s what I´m here to share, right? So there´s that silver lining in everything (:

okay...and basically the moral of the second half of the subject line is that I thought Micae´s cockroach stories were bad....but then i got to brazil. AND THEY FLY HERE. in the shower. aka mostly in the bathroom. Sister Butler and I have woken up Sister Reichman more times than I´d like to admit for her to kill a cockroach for us so we can go to the bathroom or take a shower...hahahaa. She´s a champ though. We decided we´ll get her a present for every 5 she kills for us. We already owe her 2 just for this week alone...

OKAY! okay okay more important than anything are two things real quick - first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA JOANNE!!! I hope your bday was amAzing and that you loved every moment!!! Another year older, another year happier and more full of life...that´s what I always say (; seriously, though. I´m so glad to have you in my life and I love you so so much!! Hope your day was FABULOUS and you get my birthday card...you know, eventually (:

and secondly....MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!! ahhh so so pumped for Christmas! I can´t believe that its already Christmas time...it´s the hottest Christmas I have ever experienced, that´s for sure. Lol. (: Christmas traditions here...basically the 24th is Christmas. Everyone parties ALL DAY LONG on the 24th, drinking and eating and fireworks and all that jazz. Then they all stay up (partying!) til midnight....when they say FELIZ NATAL and everyone eats a HUGE dinner and they open all their presents. Lol. So we are eating dinner tomorrow (24th!) with Jackie - one of the people in the photos i sent. LOVE HER. She´s a RM and has such a powerhouse spirit and loves the missionaries. (: It´ll be awesome. Basically Christmas will consist of eating lunch and dinner at member´s homes, skyping our familes (!!!!!) and then singing carols to people on the streets in between. We´re excited (:

oooooookay oh and slight side note - i re-read my last week´s email and died laughing at the fact that i said ´there was a man sitting on a man´´....#whoopsie. definitely meant there was a man sitting on a BENCH. just to clarify (:

ooookay okay okay. real quick. thank you SO SO much for the birthday and christmas love!! last week i got all the bday cards people sent me (deb! sis hirz! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME and i died laughing at your photos...you are both too hilarious and adorable for words :) so its about a month delay for me, in case you were wondering (:

REAL QUICK story from this week  because I gottta hop off in a moment...but basically I have such a strong testimony of re-activating work. We found a less-active, Salete. One night when literally ALL of our lessons fell-through...we headed back to our apartment and felt like we should go visit her (she was kind of a back-up plan, but we had never been able to get a hold of her before). We knocked on her door and she let us right in...we started teaching her and the spirit was SO so strong, we sang ``I Know That My Redeemer Lives´´ for her and tears were just pouring down her cheeks as she looked at us and kept saying over and over that she wants to come back to church...that she´s been in the dark and she wants to come back, she wants to be close to Christ again. It was incredible. Family, we HAVE to reach out to the people around us. Finding people and helping them come unto Christ for the first time is wonderful....but it´s just as wonderful and just as important  to find those lost sheep and help bring them back to the fold. Reach out to someone, a friend you know or someone you once knew. Share your testimony and invite them back. God loves them. Christ suffered for them and loves them, too. Helping to bring one of His lost sheep back to His fold is the best gift you can give Christ for Christmas. (:

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Sorry if you won´t get our real Christmas card for awhile because of mail delays...but enjoy the attached Christmas card we made this morning (:

Sorry for the short email - I´ll write more next week. And just mostly I CAN´T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN JUST TWO DAYS!!!! (:

PS Read Luke 2. And sing `Brightly Beams Our Father´s Mercy´´ and think of who you can rescue...who you can save. There´s someone just waiting for you to lend them a hand. Seriously. That´s the best gift we can all give Christ this Christmas! (:

LOVE YOU! e Feliz Natal!!! (:

xox!

Sister Sarah Banara Kron (:
#christmastimeinbrazil!

December 30, 2013
HELLO FAMILYYYYYYYYYYY oh my gracious words cannot describe how it was the best best thing EVER to get to skype you all on Christmas!! oh my gracious. between the tears of joy and sweat pouring down my face while i was in that little bedroom with no fans or air conditioning skyping you....i had to take a shower once i got home. lol. YOU REALLY WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW HOT IT IS DOWN HERE. but thats okay! because really the moral of the story is that i love you all SO STINKING MUCH and it was totally more than worth it to get to talk to you all on Christmas Day!!! (:

this week has been a real hoot for sure. hahah. mostly SO COCKROACH-FILLED I CANNOT EVEN HANDLE IT. I don´t know what happened in the past week  but honestly...I think I maybe saw 2 cockroaches like my whole transfer in carpina. I HAVE EASILY SEEN 20 IN THE PAST WEEK AND A HALF ALONE. but all is well because I think what we did on Christmas night pretty much did the poor little guys in...for good. because we haven´t seen a single once since then. lol. basically long story short...sister melo got tired of all the cockroaches we were seeing every day so she went crazy + sprayed raid all over the counter where our sink is in our bathroom, thinking thats where they were coming from. this was christmas night. no sooner than a few minutes after she started spraying that THE ENTIRE PAST 82910 GENERATIONS OF COCKROACHES LIVING IN OUR BATHROOM CAME OUT TO PLAY. one scurried off into the room we keep all of our suitcases and proceeded to crawl all the way on top of my suitcase and over a dress that was folded on top...and i straight up TURNED INTO A LAMANITE and grabbed the raid from sister melo´s hands and tore into the room, spraying raid all over the place and smacking at the roach with my flip flop until it scurried off into the darkness of sister reichman´s open suitcase...eeeeeeeeeeesh. then another roach comes out of NOWHERE and starts climbing and scuttling (seriously the sound is so gross) up our little accordian-style bathroom door....so i SMACK the door shut and it squishes the little thing and as hes taking his last few breaths of life sister butler yells at me to smack him with the shovel (they dont have dustpans here...just shovels. i promise i wasn´t being brutally violent on purpose. IT WAS ALL WE HAD TO WORK WITH). so i did. and then by this point its past curfew but we are all terrified to go to bed and wake up to a houseful of cockroaches climbing all over us and all over the place...and sister butler still needs to take a shower but it scared out of her mind to go in the bathroom. LOL. so we compromise that i´ll stand guard outside the bathroom while she showers to see if any other roaches come out to play....and no joke no later than 5 minutes after she got in she SCREAMS and says theres a baby one crawling out from under the bathroom counter. moral of the story - im getting better at killing bugs. but i am still WAY too grossed out to dispose of them. so we placed a bunch of tupperware containers (there were 5 by morning) over each individual one in our bathroom after we killed it, so it couldnt resurrect (and mostly so sister reichman could dispose of them for us in the am).

HOWS THAT FOR A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE? hahahahaha. it was a wild night for sure. but honestly though...christmas here (besides the cockroach madness) was AWESOME. we ate SO MUCH amazing food and the members and others treated us all mega well. we walked around all day saying ´feliz natal!´and everyone in the world called it back to us with these huge smiles on their faces. EVERYONE LOVES CHRISTMAS (: and I love Brazil!

I don´t have a ton of time (thanks to the cockroach story...which for some reason i felt compelled to tell alll of you. maybe just to make you count your blessings you aren´t dealing with these kinds of bugs back home LOL :) but highilghts from this week are as follows:

-going into the city (recife) to buy fabric to make skirts with jackie (photos with her at mcd´s in recife)

-CHRISTMAS here...so many presents from so many unexpected people. especially my CHRISTMAS PACKAGE (slash bday package...but i got it christmas eve so basically christmas :) from mama + daddy!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU AGAIN!!! i ate a peanut butter + banana sandwhich the other day and just about died of happiness (:

-cockroaches. but you already know more about that than you´d probably ever wanted to know. lol.

-FABIO. aka a reference we got to talk to about the church and he drew caricatures of sister butler and i. we are going back to visit him this week. love him already!

-ate my first brazillian hot dog from a vendor and didnt even get sick! it was SO GOOD. they put tomatoes and peas and corn all over their hot dogs...AND MASHED POTATOES. it was amazing. highly recommend it.

-went to the hospital AGAIN but this time for sister butler....lol thank goodness not for me. and not for anything serious. but long story short she has justl ike a little spot on her tongue and its been there for like over a month now...but when we talked to sister lanius she told us to go to this hospital to meet with the medic of the mission to talk to him. so we take a bus 1 1/2 hours to get to recife. meet with this guy. and the nurses in the first room we go into tell sister butler shes going to have to get a chest exam before seeing him. LOL WHAT? basically (actually long story short) the medic is a cardiologist and knew nothing about what to do about sister butler´s tongue (go figure hahahaa) and i think it was a misunderstanding on the phone with sister lanius. we´re going back to recife after the new year to meet with a mouth specialist (aka braaaaaaaaaaain specialistttttttttt! daddy and dk you might be the only ones that get thatjoke, hahahha) and figure things out. that was hilarious, though.

-we ate CHINESE FOOD (anna!!!!!!!!!) at the bishops house for lunch two days ago. AND IT WAS AMAZING. man i miss chinese food. and micaela. (: LOVE YOU MICAE YOU CHINA WOMAN YOU!!

-a recent convert (who just turned 85) loooked at me during our lesson and just shouted ´´SHES GOING TO MARRY A BRAZILLIAN. I JUST KNOW IT. I CAN SEE IT.´´ and it was all sister butler and i could do to not bust up laughing in the middle of our lesson. i love ysabel. shes a hoot + a half.

-ULTIMATE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK = CATARINA CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! literally best day of my life!!!! i love when investigators come to church because they can feel the spirit there and learn so so much there more than they can in just a 45 minute lesson with us! and they get to take the sacrament which is obviously the most important part of all (: basically she loved it and even though sister butler and i were playing babysitter most of the three hours (her 2-year-old daughter didnt want anything to do with nursery so we were juggling her the entire block of church lol), catarina LOVED church! i have a testimony of the power of stickers and how well they keep kids entertained. thanks for sending so many mama!!! (:

okay. gotta run. but i love you all and HAPPY NEW YEAR aka FELIZ ANO NOVO!!!! eveyrone we talk to we mention how its no coincidence that during Christmas we focus on Jesus Christ...and how the new year is just a week later and thats when we make new goals fort he new year...aka we should each make goals as to how we can come closer unto Christ! That´s my committment for each of you (: aka convite. aka invite. oh my goodness these two languages are a mixture in my brain right now. haha. But like it says in Ether 12:27 - show God your weaknesses and He will make them strengths (shout out sis hirz!! and daddy for mentioning the scripture to me last week :). Show God what goals you have for the new year to come closer unto Him and He will help you! I know it! My biggest goal for the new year is to be the best, most dedicated missionary I can be. The year 2014 is the only year of my life that will be FULLY dedicated to missionary work, 100% of the time. And that is basically the coolest thing, ever! (: 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Happy new year! Wishing I could be hanging out with DK playing mario kart until the early hours of the AM like last year...but somehow this week i´m sure i´ll party hard for the new year....missionary style (; we have to be in by 6pm so we´re gonna make an american meal FEAST. its gonna be great (:

Oh! And lemme know what your new years goals are - i´ll try harder to think of some more specific ones and share them with you next week (:

XOXOXOXOX. beijos e abraços from good ol´ VÁRZEA, BRAZIL!!!! (:

amor!!!

Sister Sarah Banara Carrera Kron
#queenofthecockroaches

January 6, 2013
HELLOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooOoooOOoOOoooo my adorable and beautiful and wonderful family! (: I love you guys so much....and I talk about you all the time. Rest assurred everyone in Brazil is just waiting for the day you come and visit with me so they can all meet you and see DK dancing gangham style and he´ll be famous in an instant (;

okay first things first....HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!! and more importantly than that -

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MAMA + DADDY!!! Oh my goodness gracious where would i be without being about to tell everyone out here all about your incredible conversion (via missionaries)/mission/love (via your missions) love story?! IT IS LITERALLY THE BEST STORY EVER and I´m so sosoossoo SO grateful each day I have to be a part of that story - you guys are literally theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee BEST parents a girl could ask for. or a boy or whoever! I am the luckiest (: thanks for loving each other and going on missions (for more reasons than one, obviously :) and being the best example of the kinda parent i wanna be someday. you guys are the BEST!!! have an amazing day on the 8th!! (:

okay basically this week was LITERALLY THE CRAZIEST BUT BEST WEEK EVER. basically new years day no one (litearally NO. ONE) was out on the streets....and the day before that was new years eve (where everyone was inside cooking/travelling/too busy to meet with us) and the day before that was pday so missionary work was struggling a bit to say the least the first half of the week..

BUT DON´T WORRY. THIS STORY HAS A REALLY INCREDIBLY HAPPY ENDING. (:

becaussseeeeeeeeee...

WE FOUND AND TAUGHT THE WORLD´S MOST ELITE PEOPLE ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET AT THE END OF THE WEEK (: literally, MIRACLES, people! long story short - we have four people/sets of people we have taught this week that were just straight up incredible. and we (sister butler and i) knew we wouldn´t have sufficient time to write about each, so i´m writing about two and she´s writing about the other two. so here are the quick + AMAZING stories of Itamar and his wife Veronica and son Bentley; the story of Junior (17-year-old genius); and then from Sister Butler´s perspective, the stories of Eduardo (padaria owner); and then Silvio-Jeorge.

first moral of the story here - NONE OF THESE CONTACTS WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE IF SISTER BUTLER AND I WEREN´T BOTH AMERICAN, ENGLISH SPEAKERS, TOGETHER. and you will see why in a moment (:

ITAMAR + VERONICA + BENTLEY. Basically coolest day ever was my birthday back on December 4th because we were hanging out in a padaria (go figure...this happens like almost every day with Sister Butler and I :) haha. and we were trying to figure out what kinds of bread to get and discussing really quick real quiet in english....and I guess Itamar overheard and just said `bye!`` to us as we were walking away from the bread counter. we say `bye!´ back and it takes us a few seconds to realize this brazillian just spoke ENGLISH to us so of course we go up to him and hes just beaming and smiling and tells us his life story. basically he was baptized back in 2000 and within the  past 13 years, he lived in the states for 8 years with his wife Veronica, and that´s where their son, Bentley (3 years old - literally reminds me J UST LIKE DUSTIN. LOVE IT :) was born (in Florida). Itamar is the only one who is a member but he LOVES the missionaries but hasn´t been to church in probably a decade...so we got his info that day and he said he would LOVE for us to come visit and teach him and he said he wants to come back to church!! so fast-forward to a month later and we´ve been teaching him + his wife (who is INCREDIBLE and gorgeous and so so nice) and Bentley is a HOOT and speaks some english, too (: and basically Itamar is so crazy elite because HE calls US to invite us to come over and teach him and his family....#elitestatusforreal and he is just the happiest man ever. LONG STORY SHORT - we taught him + his family about the Book of Mormon this past week on Monday and committed his wife to be baptized when she knows its true and she accepted! They ALL SHOW UP IN THEIR CUTE LITTLE CAR AT CHURCH YESTERDAY ALL ON THEIR OWN (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for Veronica and Bentley´s first times and basically the spirit was crazy strong and Itamar had tears in his eyes the entire time and they LOVED IT and made SO MANY FRIENDS (our ward is AMAZING) and they said they are for sure coming back in the coming Sundays (: (: (: (: SO COOL. I love them so so much and can´t wait to see where this takes their family. OBVIOUSLY ONLY IN AN INCREDIBLE DIRECTION (: (: Even Bentley was folding his arms and saying AMEN after all the prayers that were said...he even walked right into primary and was totally fine leaving his parents to hang out with the kids there! EVEN THE THREE YEAR OLD IS AN ELITE. Love this family!! (:

JUNIOR - Basically just the most incredible 17-year-old i´ve ever met. We contacted him when we contacted Silvio-Jeorge (you can read the story of how that happened in his section below that Sister Butler wrote) because they´re neighbors. We left him with a Book of Mormon and just challenged him to read and pray about it....this was Thursday the 2nd. We go back on Saturday the 4th and he straight up tells us how much he liked the book and how HE READ ALL THE WAY FROM THE INTRO UNTIL THE 20TH CHAPTER OF 1ST NEPHI. #whattheelite!?! He was sitting there, chatting away all about Nephi being the son of Lehi and how they got the plates back from King Laban and how that was so crazy....and on and on and on and Sister Butler and I are just sititing there SHOCKED and smiling and laughing because literally NO ONE reads that much - people complain at times when we leave them with just a page to read. lol. HE IS SO GREAT. He was asking all kinds of awesome questions and just looked right at us and was like - okay. I´m so curious. I´m TOTALLY coming to church on Sunday - is that okay?? OBVIOUSLY THAT´S MORE THAN OKAY, JUNIOR! (: He was going on and on about how he feels great when he reads the BoM and how he usually likes to just sit in his hammock and read books while the TV´s on...but as he started reading the BoM he felt really clearly he needed to shut off the tv. so he did...and he read 20 chapters. hahahaha. oh man i love him! LONG STORY SHORT ON THIS ONE - Junior shows up to church yesterday all dressed up, ALL ON HIS OWN (and he lives a pretty little way far away from the church) and he jumped right into Young Men´s and made SO MANY FRIENDS and the young men all love him and he apparently was just love love LOVING it the entire time. I sat next to him in Sacrament meeting (last hour) and just looked at him before the meeting got started and he´s just sitting there smiling and I´m like....Junior, how are you feeling? And he just looks at me and is like (this was in almost exact english, because have i mentioned he also can speak english crazy well too?) ´´...its kind of...like this feeilng i can´t explain. its weird. and i feel like, lots of good. comfort. its cool.´´ OBVIOUSLY I  COULDN´T HELP FROM SMILING and i´m like junior!! that´s the holy ghost!!! its testifying to you that this is a good thing you´re doing today - being here at church and everything! and he just looks at me and smiles and was like ´´ah...thats what it is.´´ ah. IT WAS JUST THE BEST. i love love being a missionary and basically he is going to a YM activity this week and is SO pumped to hear more about the gospel so we´re teaching him this week and going to help him continue to progress and help him out. HE IS JUST INCREDIBLE. love that kid!!!! (:

(these next few are a bit more calmly written....all by sister butler :) hahaha:

EDUARDO - Starting with Tuesday...Sister Kron have been on this quest to stop and every single padaria (bakary) here in our area.  We are determined to find the very best one.  Well, tuesday night, we go into this bakary that we have never been into before (little side note, we found this delicious bread that is in the shape of turtules).  As we were checking out, we noticed that the guy at the register had a scene of the nativity out so natrally we commented on it.  We introduced ourselves and then for the next two hours had this amazing converstation all about the Restoration of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and the Godhead.  The spirit was so so strong.  It was a super cool experience for me cause just a couple days before I had been praying to be able to feel exactly what our investigators feel as we are teaching them.  I have always kinda struggled with knowing exactly what they are feeling...I feel like our investigators all have this "wah-lah" moment where they suddenly gain a testimony...Ive never had that.  As I have prayed, Ive always gotten the answer that I dont need that, that I have known all along that this is true.  I still wanted to know that what they exactly experience.  They first person that came to my mind as I started thinking about converts was daddy.  Basically, he is the only convert that I know that is super super close to me that knows ecaxtly how my investigators are feeling cause once upon a time, he experienceed the exact same thing.  So then as we were sitting here with Eduardo, I felt as though I was sitting there teaching dady for the first time.  It was such a cool experience for me.  We taught him again on Thrusday, and Friday.  he accepted the baptismal challange, and even kept all of his committments.  we left him with the Enos to read and he told us that that was so short so he went ahead and read all of the testamonies and part of 1 Nephi.  I dont know if you realize what amiracle this is...nobody here keeps their committments and he did!  Daddy, he even asked if he could mark up his Book of Mormon cause that is the way he likes to study...you two are like twins.  Im teaching your long lost Brazilian twin!


SILVIO-JEORGE - We also found this amazing man, Silvio-jeorge.  We absolutly love him. We were in an area looking for new investigators and just werent having luck.  we said a little prayer for inspiration and both felt like we should leave to go back home and work on the area book a bit.  As we were walking home, we see this man in a wheelchair just looking out at all the cars and people pass.  we say our usual, "Boa Tarde" and continue on our way.  We get maybe a half a block down the street then turn to eachother and say, "we gotta go back and talk to him."  He is the sweetest man you will every meet. Hes 58, and is in a wheel chair (he dosnt have any legs due to a bad case of diabetes).  He basically, is just another miragle man like Eduardo. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it.  He said of course he would...then he asked how much it was.  He explained that he didnt have any money right now but would get paid on the 7th so we could come back then and he would buy one.  We obviously told him it was free and he was so so so greatful.  We invited him to church but due to some difficulties with his wheel chair, he wasnt able to make it this Sunday but said that we can count on him being there next Sunday.  When we passed by there yesterday to see how he was doing and drop off a DVD, he said that since he couldnt go to chruch, he spent those three hours reading the Book of Mormon.  He is an amazing person with such a sence of humor.  He told us that God must think that he is really special cause he took his legs, and is trying to take his heart now too...he said his like Jonas and "that big fish", God is just talking everything cause just so special.

SO BASICALLY The Church is true and companionships are inspired (like, SO inspired) and I love Sister Butler and this opportunity we have to serve together, even just for one more week!!! Transfers are next week and who knows what will happen....but chances are I´ll at least stay here and get to keep working with these wonderful people we are teaching (: I LOVE VARZEA SO STINKING MUCH. I love being a missionary. And I say that about 4832910329 times a day. Because its SO TRUE. There is NO where else I´d rather be, NOTHING else I´d rather be doing. Than being down here in super crazy hot + sweaty Várzea, Brazil, walking all day and eating bread at every turn, teaching these incredible, wonderful, inspirational, humble, elite sons and daughters of God. (:

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. Have an incredible week and tell someone you love them today - because everyone needs a little bit of love every once in awhile. (:

XOXOXOXO. Until next week! which is transfers and since sister butler has been here 6 months already...we´ll probably be heading to transfers. so i dunno when i´ll email next Monday but stay tuned.....! (:

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!! amo vocês! make good choices and remember who you are and what you stand for (:

oh and ps if any of you want to see the church i go to here this is the address - this is our church: 849 Avenida Afonso Olindense, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil (:

xox!

Sister Sarah Banara Carrera Kron
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