Monday, January 26, 2015

Baptisms and Glasses

Olá família e amigos,

This week was good! Lots of wonderful things happened this week. We set some awesome goals in zone conference, every companionship is working towards 3 baptisms this transfer! It is going to be amazing. We're all really hoping to see some amazing things this transfer.

Andreia is awesome. Sister Miranda and I really want to help her not feel pressured into baptism... we prayed hard and came to a conclusion that February 22nd is going to be her new baptism date. It will give her enough time to feel prepared, and we're going to teach her all of the lessons again.
She came to church yesterday, and I was sitting with her and Rodrygo in sacrament meeting, Sister Miranda was sitting with other people... she saw the ring on my finger and asked what it was. It was the coolest thing telling her that it's the tree of life, and she already knew the story because she devours the Book of Mormon. She loves it so much. She already knew it all.
And then asking her about the date, if she prayed about it too... she felt that the 22nd was the right date as well.
And... Rodrygo and her are now planning a temple date to be sealed. #perfectcouple
Exciting things are happening for them :)

We have another investigator, Marcia! We had our first lesson with a member with her and Irmã Giann! Went great. She finally FINALLY came to church!! She agreed to come for the last 2 aulas, and I think she really liked them. We still need to talk to her about how she felt about everything. She's awesome too, we're hoping we can see her baptized this transfer along with Andreia.

All is well here in Tocantins... this week poured rain... poooured. That was definitely exciting. And just when you think "Oh hey, it just finished flooding for a couple hours, so that means the heat is going to go down..." Think again. It gets even hotter afterwards. :) #PalmasTOlife #missionaryprobs

I love Jacob 3:1, that says:
"But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction."

Sometimes it feels like the entire world is against us, like nobody is ever for us... but the Lord knows! He will plead our cause.
He literally pleads our cause. He's our Advocate. He is the One who pleads to the Father for mercy in our cause... even with all of the things we have done wrong.

I've been thinking about the sacrament a lot lately. The sacrament is literally renewing our baptismal covenant! How wonderful is that! That we can "repent as we go along". That we can re-promise to our Heavenly Father, every week, that we're sorry, that we'll try harder tomorrow. I'm grateful for the sacrament.

Wore my glasses some time this week. :)

Muito amor,
Sister Hill

Monday, January 19, 2015

Move * Not Move * Move * Not Move

Family and friends,

Boa tarde! Hope everybody had a good week. Our week was a liiiiittle hectic... okay, a LOT hectic. I thought the power outage was interesting... heh.

My new companion arrived! Sister Miranda, from the state of Espírito Santo, city of Vitoria. She's hilarious, I love her already. We walked a ton this week, and spent the majority of the time singing Backstreet Boys. She's the first brasilian I've heard that really, really speaks english well. Maybe because I'm the THIRD American companion she's had haha. We laugh about that.
She has 6 months in the mission, and she came from Brasília to Tocantins to be my comp. She was really nervous to serve here because it's HOT.

Just to give you an idea of what the temperature's like these days, I had a boy in the ward help me with the conversion the other day while he had a laptop...
last night it was a nice, cool 75 degrees. (this is at 10pm.)
these days, (and mind you, this time of the year is COOLER than normal for Palmas) it's about 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yep. There's that.

So she was afraid to come here. Because yes, it's hot. Sometimes I wonder why I ever take a shower because it's going to be for nothing in about 10 minutes after I take a shower. But yeah. She's here! And I love and adore her. I love all of the hilarious phrases and words she knows in English, she has me laughing all the time.

But this past weekend was a little crazy.
So! That house we've been waiting to move into since I arrived in the mission! We got the call that it was ready to go. SoFriday night we packed up all of our stuff to move out on Saturday morning. The houses in Brasil are a little different than the US when moving/selling... you take everything. EVERYTHING. The fridge, washing machine, cupboards, oven... everything. So 4 irmãos from the ward came Saturday morning to help us, one with a small trailer on the back of his car. The new house is not close to our old house... so we started moving everything there, 2 Sisters at the new house moving things in, getting things started, and the other 2 Sisters at the old house helping load things onto the trailer and getting things out.

After Irmão Tião (in the car with the trailer) finished loading on the THIRD TRIP (we have a lot of stuff!), we get a call from Sister Craig (she's Sister Soares's new comp, from Colorado:) with some news. They arrived at the house, andeverything was dirty. So we couldn't move things in until we cleaned, no big deal. They used water and started cleaning the floor. But after some time, the water "acabou". Ended. It was gone. For some reason the government shut off the water in our house... who knows why. So we get this lovely call from Sister Craig, after we had finished loading EVERYTHING up and sending it over there... that we wouldn't be sleeping there tonight. That it looked like we would be sleeping in the old house, with some cushions on the ground.

Long story short... 30 minutes later after that, we were in our old house, with nothing in it, eating our Almoço on the ground because an irmã brought it to us as we couldn't leave because of the move.

Long, LONG story short... we had 2 houses, and we couldn't sleep in either one of them. Lovely, right?
But then, Irmã Giann came to the rescue... we ended up sleeping at her house Saturday and Sunday. She is the wife of a non-member, she has 2 boys who are active with her. She is fearless. Goes to church every week, served a mission in Recife... she's one of my heroes, as she goes to church every week without her husband. She's incredible to me. And yeah, she saved us. We got permission from Pres. Lundgren to sleep there for a couple days until we can get this resolved... and know that president never lets anybody sleep outside of the missionary's apt. So this was honestly a miracle.

We did a Noite Familiar (fhe) with them last night about the story of Noah. We had everybody write down with about 30-45 seconds, all of the people that they know. Then they circled who they had in common... the family members, of course. Taught a little message about the importance of families. That exaltation is in FAMILIES, despite the fact that salvation is individual.
I know the Lord has a plan for everything--who knows, maybe all of that had to happen for us to share that message in the house of Juka (her hubbie).

And we're here, P-day. Juka helped us a lot this morning, drove us back to the old house to get the cushions, dropped them off at the old house... We'll be sleeping at the old house until all of this is resolved. Because the new house doesn't have air conditioning, isn't clean, and doesn't have water. And has problems with the gates... it'll be an ongoing project.

So that was our little trial this weekend! It was interesting how the 2 new Sisters arrived, and we all had to learn a lot of patience this weekend with the move-not-move. But now we've all found our peace, accepting the will of the Lord for now as us 4 are sleeping on 3 cushions on the tile floor in our empty apartment.

Besides that... everything is good. Love my companion, I'm definitely learning to rely on the Lord here. I know He has a plan for everything! I know that He loves us individually. I used to think it was a blanket love... that He loves us, and it just happens to touch each one of us. It's not like that at all! He loves us as individuals. He has an individual love for every one of us.
And this love is the Atonement.

I'm grateful for this opportunity I have to be on the mission. It is so hard--but hard things make us so much stronger. I know that the things I'm learning now are changing my life for the better.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I'm grateful for every one of you. You're inspirations to me. <3

Muito amor,
Sister Hill

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What is Humility?

Family and Friends,

Olá! Hope everybody had a good week.

This week was full of lots of good things... EVERYBODY goes out of town for Christmas and the New Year. Some people go out of town and never even come back... interesting how that works, especially for trying to teach and mark baptismal dates. So. Now everybody is returning from viagem, and we can continue the work.

Yesterday in sacrament meeting was amazing. We got to hear the testimonies of the members who went to the temple... I cried through the entire thing. The Spirit was so pure. 3 families were sealed for time and all eternity in the Campinas Temple this past week, it was such a special thing to hear their testimonies of the Plan of Salvation. Chorei chorei chorei. I have such a testimony of the Plan of Salvation.
Rodrygo and Andreia finally returned from their travels, they came to sacrament meeting yesterday. They're still reading the Book of Mormon together every day. We want to invite Andreia to baptism later tonight. She reads the scriptures more than Rodrygo, and he's baptized! He received his white shirt/tie yesterday... the smile on his face was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. He had been asking for church clothes since his baptism, one month now. <3

Transfer was yesterday... and Sister Alves left for Brasília. This week I cried a lot, let's just say that. I'm going to miss her so much. She's my mom in the mission, taught me português, taught me everything... I'll miss her so much. And honestly, I don't feel the tiniest bit ready to show a new missionary from Brasília about this area. I feel like I know absolutely nothing about Palmas still... but if the Lord thinks I can do it, I can! Just need to have faith.
I've been thinking a lot about humility this week. Humility is a confidence in the Lord that the plan He has for you is what's best for you! To be humble is to trust in Him completely, trusting that He will lead you in the right way if you just let go. I love that.
I know I probably forgot a bajillion things that I wanted to say... but it's all good. Haven't moved houses yet, we're still 4 sisters in a tiny apartment.
All good here, pray for me this next week that I can know where I'm going <3
Sister Hill

Monday, January 5, 2015

4 baptismal dates!!

Feliz ano novo!!
Hope everybody had a great new year, hope it was happy for everybody:) We went to bed at 10:30, woohooo!!!! I set an alarm on the cell phone to wake up at midnight, and of course I refused to get up... but it woke everybody else up. I woke up to Sister Soares jumping on my bed "feliz ano novo, feliz ano novo, feliz ano novoooo" but I refused to move. They're still laughing about that. :)

We marked 4 baptismal dates this week, that was awesome. We found 2 elects, they're amazing. Didn't make it to church because of the rain... (dumb rain)... but we're still teaching them:)

Attached a picture... (I know it's blurry, ughhh I know.) this is the family of Sandreane. She's inactive, she was baptized years and years ago, I think she was 18 years old when she baptized. A while ago. These are her 3 kids: Junior, Guilherme and Jemila. They're three pretty amazing kids. Junior is reading the Book of Mormon by himself, he reads it to his grandma. We want to start re-teaching the lessons to her, and teach them to her kids, because they're such an amazing family with an amazing potential. And I love these kids to death, Junior reminds me so much of Jackson. <3

This week was good, we almost moved houses on Friday. We're just waiting for the landlord to meet up and give us the key... yes, that is literally the only thing we're waiting on to move. But all in the Lord's timing!!
I've decided that in the mission field there are absolutely NO coincidences. None. Nenhum. :)

Sacrament meeting/Testimony meeting was a little smaller than usual this week... the ward left for the caravan to the temple! Campinas Temple, close to São Paulo. This temple trip is a week-long adventure... and "a caravana" leaves 2 times a year, once in January and once in July. The members save and save, work and work to make this trip once a year.
They leave early Sunday morning (the stake), and they have sacrament meeting on the bus. (And oh yeah, this is one of those super comfortable buses with food service... no, this is the same bus that you have no leg room and you want to get off) Sacrament Meeting. Literally. They bless and partake of the sacrament on the bus, and have testimony meeting. Then the bus rides all through Sunday, through Sunday night, and gets there Monday evening. Everybody gets off and has Family Night Monday evening.
TuesdayThursday and Friday are spent in the temple!! A very special family in the ward, Freddy and Jackie, are getting sealed with their two little boys this time! I'm so excited to see a picture of them when they get back. They've been married for 5 years and are so, so excited and spiritually mature. I'm so excited for them.
Then they get back on the bus Friday evening to arrive in time for 9am church Sunday morning.
The members here are so inspirational to me! I want to be like them. :)

OH and I almost forgot... yesterday I got to hold a baby monkey. This monkey isn't even one month old!!!! We ate at the house of a member's family, and her family has monkeys. in the trees. And these two little baby monkeys, smaller than your hand... ughhh it was the most adorable moment of my life. #forgotmycamera #onlyhappenstome #cutestlittleadorablethingthathaseverhappenedtome

Até mais,
Sister (Braz)Hill