Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Little Different Here;) .... I Love This So Much!

Oi pessoas queridas que eu amo :)
This week was good... definitely different since it was my first week in a new area, but I have already learned a whole lot.

Cristalina, Goiás!! A cute, cozy town. Everybody here has some connection to a farm... either they're farmers themselves or they come from a farming family. (Yes, here is the middle of nowhere;) I have definitely had to adjust because here with a population of 55,000, it's super different than Brasília... I'm still not used to walking down the street and everybody knows everybody!! It's that small.
Embarrassing-in-the-moment-but-now-I'm-fine-so-I-can-laugh-about-it experiences this week have consisted of me and Sister Costancio walking along the road and I start talking with someone, invite them to church, and I feel all good and happy, and then when we walk away from the person Sister Costancio decides to tell me "We've already contacted this person..." Sigh. :) Cristalina is that small!

And yes it's full of crystals :) Where normally you find little pebbles on the ground in the sidewalk cracks here it's crystals <3 they're like glass but not as clear. I love 'em.

So here in Cristalina it's not a ward... and it's not even a branch... it's a GROUP. There have only been missionaries here for the past 7 months. Right now in our group it's 4 sisters and 2 elders. Our church meetings are in a little white beat-up house, the Elders live in one end of the house and in the other end there's a pulpit, a chalkboard, and church benches & wooden chairs. Yesterday was my first sacrament meeting in the mission field that wasn't held in an actual chapel. The Spirit was super strong. <3
There were 34 people in sacrament meeting yesterday, and 6 Irmãs in Relief Society. #superhumbling

On Saturday Sister and I were walking up the road (loooooots of hills here, i'm gonna die o.O ;) and she, out of the blue, said "let's go to this house" so we went and they were super welcoming (the beauty of Goiás, Brasília people are nothing like this) and were happy to hear our message. 2 sisters whose mom had died about a month ago... and we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and invited them to church. They said they would go.
And they were there!! Yesterday was morning was suuuuper bitter cold, and Sister Costancio said that the past weeks when it's been cold, the investigators haven't been coming to church... but they came!! I was so so so so happy to see them there, it was truly a testimony-builder to me of the faith that they have in the Lord and in the Spirit that they felt. I'm excited to go back there tomorrow <3

Still adjusting to the cold... everybody here is like "but you're from the U.S., how are you not used to the cold?" Ummmm I started in PALMAS, TOCANTINS where it's a bajillion degrees Fahrenheit and 1000%  humidity, that's why. You kind of get un-used to it. ;) I never imagined I would want gloves in the mission. #startedinthehottestareainthemission #andnowiminthecoldest i love missions!!! :D

And we had a family night last night in the house of Nivaldo, a recent convert... it was so great! We taught about putting on our spiritual armor, and had Diego (a little boy) put a pot on his head, hold a pan in his hand for a shield and a spatula for a sword... the spirit was super strong as we testified that we have to strengthen our testimonies within our own homes.

I've been reading the conference talks lately, and I'm not surprised at all at how much the apostles talked about the FAMILY. Heard about the new law that gay marriage is now legal in the U.S.... the Lord already saw this coming. I know that the apostles and prophet will be testifying more and more of the family as the Second Coming draws nearer. #PresidentPackerstalkwasincredible
May we all raise our voices for the cause of family. May we remember whose side we are on. May we remember that God will always be the winning side... we just have to choose to be on His side. And we will win.

I'm grateful every day for the things I am learning here. It's funny, sometimes I say to myself and to the Lord, "Seriously... I had to come all the way to Brazil to learn this??!" Everything happens for a reason. ;)

Amo todos vocês, espero que todos tenham uma boa semana!! Nunca esqueçam fazer as coisas pequenas... elas não fazem uma diferença, elas fazem A diferença.

Muito amor!!
Sister Hill

p.s.  I forgot a cool detail...
we teach Seminary here!! and i get to teach an English class once a week :D i love this so much... <3

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Surprise transfer... Tchão Núcleo Bandeirante, Oi Cristalina

So yesterday was a little hard... I was 99.99% certain I would be staying in Bandeirante with Sister Fidelis one more transfer. The call definitely surprised me. Packing everything in a few hours is sort of a shock...

Sister Heck slept at our house with a couple other sisters, it was super great to see her again and be able to talk to her about all the crazy things we have been experiencing the past nine months :) (shes my MTC comp)

And im here in Cristalina (normally I would put anexclamation point here to let you all know that I really am excited, but this keyboard doesnt have one) Im here, yay:D And my new companion is Sister Costancio, which is SUPER special for me because we were best friends in Palmas, she helped me a lot with my first area and adjusting to the mission... and were companions, Im super super grateful.

Cristalina is in Goiás, its completely different from my other 2 areas. First off its FREEZING COLD, this week im going to buy gloves and a scarf and some sweaters o.O and its a group here, the area was just started about 10 months ago so its pretty much brand new. Not a ton of members, and well be teaching the classes in the church meetings... including Seminary and an English class :D im super excited.

I know that the Lord has a plan in everything. I cried a lot to be leaving Bandeirante, I didnt feel like I was ready to leave... I hadnt said bye to anybody, I wasnt emotionally prepared at all. But I know that the Lord knows what I need, and He knows what the people here need. Because He is our Father, and He knows us so well.

1 Nephi 21:15-16 explain it well:
 15 For can woman forget her sucking child, that sheshould not have compassion on the soof her womb? Yea, they may forgetyet will not forget thee, house oIsrael.
 16 Behold, have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
He will never leave us, even when it feels like were in the midst of a changing world and everything is crashing down around us. He is there. He is aware. And He will always be there to lift us up.

I dont know whats in store for me in this area, but sometimes faith is just trusting in the Lord enough to keep on walking.

I love you all, Ill send pictures next week <3

Muito amor,
Sis. Hill

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Promptings and Testimony Builders

This week we worked super hard, and I saw a miracle <3

On Wednesday, we were coming back from the house of an Irmã and we passed some guys who were working in the street. We said hi to them and kept on walking. As we got about halfway down the street, I felt that we needed to talk to them.
So I told Sister, ''Sister, I need to talk to them...'' but she advised me not to, since these worker men have a reputation of being 'scorpion' and that they dont want anything to do with the church.
But I told her I really felt it, so she told me to go ahead. We turned around and we starting talking to these guys, gave them pass-along cards and told them where the church was... 2 guys said they would come to church on Sunday.

A few minutes later after we had left there, somebody called us; it was one of the worker dudes. He asked what time the meeting was, Sister told him and that was it. About an hour after, the same guy called to our number and started asking if we had boyfriends...
My companion completely chewed this guy out over the phone, telling him that were not here to date but we're here to bring others to Christ, that if he wants to strengthen his faith we can help him, and all that jazz. After that phone call, I felt super bad and started to question why I had had that impression if it had just turned sour like this.

Sunday in Church Sister Fidelis gave a talk, so I was sitting in the congregation with Rosi and her boys. Irmã Celina came in a little late which is normal, I noticed she had a young man with her and I assumed it was her nephew or something. She came over to me and whispered 'Is this the young man you invited?' I just said ''Yeah'' without really knowing what was going on...

After some thinking, and surely with some help from the Spirit... I realized that this young man was one of the workers from days ago.
His name is Geison, we hadn't talked with him that day and it wasn't him who called us. He had heard us talking with the other worker guys about the Church, and he came to talk to us out of curiosity but we had already left.
But he asked the other workers what time the meeting was and where, and without an exact address or a pass-along card with the written phone number or anything like that, he came searching the chapel on his motorcycle Sunday morning. And found it. And stayed the entire three hours. <3

He said that he was really impressed with the meetings and really liked it, that he's not a person to get impressed really easily...
It was truly a miracle and a testimony-builder to me that every prompting we receive from the Spirit is important.
And it has strengthened my testimony of how precious EVERY soul is in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Every single soul. We are His children, and He loves us and wants to take care of us. And He sends us, as His servants, to help His other children. <3 I am so grateful for the whisperings of the Spirit that never come like lightning. They come in feelings and in thoughts.

We also had miracle people come to Church on Sunday... Ruth, Leonardo and Jeferson's friend, came to Church <3 Leonardo is so funny, we went to teach him on Wednesday and when he got there he was all "Oh good youre here, my friend Ruth is coming over and go right ahead, you can convert her, she's totally the Mormon type!!" Bahahahahaha #conversionatitsfinest
And she came to Church! She's awesome <3 Geralda's husband also came to church, he is the sweetest cutest old man and we are so excited to teach him too.
The Lord blessed us with lots of new people to teach this week, I feel super grateful.

Attached are photos of some cool train tracks we found after lunch, our awesome zone activity today that was at a condominium club (brazilian barbecue is the best thing #churrasco #salgado #mmm) and a beautiful sunset that the picture doesn't do justice :)

and this is where our zone activity was today... only about 45 minutes away from our area. same Brasília. huge differences. same Brazil. :) crazy to me.

and these skyscrapers (the area is called Águas Claras, which translates to clear waters) are HUUUUUGEEEEE. hugest skyscrapers ive seen in my life. o.O

Love you All!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Lord's Work:) Fresh Coconuts & Chicken Feet :)

This week was a little on the rougher side, our investigators aren't progressing and we have almost nobody to teach... but the Spirit helped us yesterday as we had a meeting with our Bishop and Ward Mission Leader to make some plans, we're feeling good now about the weeks that are coming up.

Sister Fidelis and I are thinking that we're going to stay together one more transfer, I'm really hoping that we will :) Love her so much!!

Super weird that this week marks 9 months of my mission... HALFWAY MARK, crazy how fast time passes.

Yesterday we took my guitar to Valda's and Claudio's, we played and sang songs and hymns and they just loved it. Another witness to me of God magnifying our gifts <3

Sister Fidelis and I bought matching anchor necklaces from a hippie in the street (I love hippies in the street, they sell the coolest stuff<3), we chose anchors to represent Ether 12:4 that's Sister Fidelis's favorite scripture :) Jesus Christ is our anchor!! Even when we drop our anchor, the ship will move just a little bit. We will still go through trials, even when we are doing everything right. But we will never be lead astray when we stay close to our Savior. <3

 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh offaith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

I tried my first official fresh coconut:

First you drink the coconut water out of the straw... (which is super super delicious). Then when you finish, the guy cuts it into three pieces and you can eat the coconut meat on the inside with a spoon :) i have never felt so cool drinking out of a coconut.

Fun story: ate cow tongue this week!
went like this:

Me(thinking): "hmm, what is this strange meat... i feel like maybe i shouldn't take it, but why wouldn't i take it? im just gonna take it." *puts on plate*
Irmã Valdaci: "Sister, do you know--never mind, i'll tell you after."
Me: "...Irmã, what is this?"
Irmã: "......"
Me: "Irmã......."
Irmã Cristina: *points to tongue*
Me: O.o

But i ate it! It tastes like chicken, if i hadn't known what it was I would never know. But I don't think I would ever repeat... #crossingoffbucketlist

Have a great week.  Love you:)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Deus cumpri promessas (God Keeps Promises)

This week was good, we've been really focusing on finding new investigators.
I want you to think back to The Best Two Years, the missionary film that takes place in Europe... remember Elder Calhoun? the chess-playing geek with the glasses from Oklahoma? I want you to remember a scene of him chasing after people on bicycles to try and find people to teach. Where he would have done anything to get an appointment with somebody.

We felt like that this week. Several times this week I thought to myself "This place is Babylon...". The people don't want anything to do with 'a restored gospel'. They 'already have a Bible'. Saturday night we had almost no new investigators, almost no people to teach. Our LZ called to tell us good job for our work, and we mentioned that nobody wants to listen to us. He promised us that we would have 1 new investigator by the end of the day.

After this we went to Valda & Claudio's, we had a great little mini message/dinner with them and it was wonderful. I had completely forgotten about this promise from our LZ. As we were leaving the apartment building, the lights in the hallways had gone out so there was a family on the ground floor by the door. We walked out with Valda and we stopped to talk to this family. Turns out they had been visited by other sisters some months ago, we dont know what happened or why they stopped... but while I was talking with the husband, Sis. Fidelis marked for us to go there on Friday.
Their 3-year-old daughter didnt like us at all...she had a blue Frozen dress on and was singing about how shes Elsa. but who knows why she chose to detest us. When we went to leave, she had this huge frown on her face. Her dad then said to her "Filha, she lives where Frozen is! she lives where Anna and Elsa live!' pointing to me. Her eyes got huge and she was absolutely shocked that I could be from the land of Frozen. She had to be my friend now. We made a pact that I would take her to the land of Frozen, and Sister Fidelis would take her to the land of chocolate (Rio Grande do Sul). She was so ecstatic, gave us fantastic kisses on the cheek and she smiled and laughed and sang about how she was going to play in the snow and build a snowman with me.

It was only afterwards that I realized that when I thought we could never have found a new investigator that night after getting out so late with Valda & Claudio, we found 2.
God puts people in our paths for a reason. And I re-learn every day that He really does keep His promises.
When we have faith.

Genival is really doing great with the ward, we had a fantastic FHE there last night and he invited 3 famiiles, it was an absolute party and they were just glowing <3 they are feeling super loved and embraced, made us super happy to see the ward loving them and making them feel super welcome :)

Everything is great here, i love farofa... and rice and beans. and chicken! and meat. and açai, and pão de queijo. oh and pamonha <3 <3 <3
have a fantastic week!
Sister Hill