Monday, September 28, 2015

Finding New Investigators

This week was looooong but it was a good week!! We had interviews with President Lundgren on Thursday, we took a bus to Novo Gama and had the interviews in the chapel there. Im so grateful for President Lundgren and the revelation he receives for our mission. I always receive exactly what I need to hear in that moment. He is so good. 

This week we were knocking doors with Caio in a neighborhood where weve never worked before, and we told Caio to pick the next door...he picked a house on the corner that had a light on (it was already starting to get dark).
He let us in, we started to talk with him and get a better feel for who he is and if hes already heard of church, how long he has lived in Cristalina...and when he asked where were from and I told him Im from the US, he asked:
-Do you know Elder Derek and Elder Barker?-
I was thinking it was a different E. Barker from our mission so I said yeah, and he responds with a huge smile:
-Ah, they were the Elders who baptized me.-

Ummmmm seriously??? I was in so much shock I imagine that the look on my face was kind of ridiculous :) Donezett is his name. He explained how he was baptized in Minas Gerais 14 years ago by these 2 american elders. He even went to the US with them to visit their homes (new jersey he said) and he was super super strong...but fell away. After he moved to Cristalina a bunch of years later, he started going to church again in Luziânia. And 3 months ago, he had to sell his car so he hasnt gone to church since.
He didnt even know that the church is here in Cristalina.
We all got super happy that the church is here and its close enough for him to go on foot on Sundays :)
We met his wife, Iva... shes not a member (yet;) but shes super sweet and open, we are going to go there this week to see them again.
It was super good to see Donezett in church this Sunday <3 im sure he missed it so much. It was funny because nobody knew he was a member of the church, and theres never time to explain to everybody during the there were lots of explanations after church ha.

I gave the lesson in Relief Society this Sunday from the Liahona, a talk by Elder L. Whitney Clayton titled Choose to Believe...such an amazing talk, I love love love this talk. I love that everything we do, we are obedient because wechoose to be and keeping the commandments never just ´happens´. Its a choice! A daily choice. Our choices really do affect our future. 🌠

We found lots of new people to teach this past week, including a mom and a daughter, Fracisca and Graziele. The first night we found them, Francisca said that she has already been to church 2 times in Brasília...we taught them about the Restoration and left a Book of Mormon and marked the Introduction for them to read...when we went back a few days later, they had read everything. And prayed to know if its true <3
It touched me so much that Grazi (9 years old) read and answered some of the questions in the back of the pamphlet. And she even read the parts we marked. Such an amazing girl...and everytime we are there I miss Gracie so much because Grazi reminds me so much Gracie ahhh :)))) The purest soul 💟

Heavenly Father always blesses me with experiences that show me how His hand is truly leading this work. It is His. These are His children. This is His doctrine and His gospel. What a privilege we have to be a part of it!!

I hope we can all prepare our hearts for this weekends General Conference. I know that if we are all prepared with questions in our hearts, we will receive answers as we show the Lord we are willing to follow the answers He gives us. 💜

I love you all. Pictures will come next week, we hiked to Chapéu do Sol this morning and it was cool.

Muito amor,
Sister (Braz)Hill 🌎

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sharing Our Gifts

Olá, pessoal :) Esta semana foi difícil mas foi boa!! Sister Amaral is awesome and I love her, we're drinking (drinking? would that be the right word to use?...weird... #tomando) lots of chimarrão these days, today I bought my own cuia :D Excited to use it <3

This week we've been looking for lots of new people to teach. And also preparing the future leaders of the branch here :) We're excited because the sister of some converts recently moved here, the converts are going to move to our apartment building this week so we're planning on baptizing their sister ;) they're super excited haha 😉

This Sunday was a super spiritual day for me. I conducted the hymns (the usual;) and the night before Elder told me that they wanted me to sing a special musical number to bring more spirit to the meeting...and as we are just in a little white house with no piano, and you can't play the guitar in sacrament meeting...I took a hymnbook to the pulpit and sang Creio em Cristo (I Believe in Christ) with no accompaniment. A super spiritual experience for me to be able to stand at the front of the sacrament room and see all of the people I love so much sitting together...with our investigators who came to church too <3 That they were a miracle! ❤

We found Alex and Hilda and their family this week. Their story is incredible to me. When we entered into their home and sat down with them, Alex said "These Mormons found me again???" that just made us laugh :) Alex has already met the missionaries in São Paulo, Piauí (other state), Brasília and now Cristalina. The Elders have already visited them some times, but they never went to church so the elders stopped visiting them. But this day we talked with them and he truly seemed interested, said he would come to church on Sunday. We read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with them and they promsied to bring their whole family to Church on Sunday. We said we would go pick them up before church.

Sunday morning we had 3 different houses to pick people up, making our routes to take everyone to the chapel... and it didn't work out to pick up Alex and his family because they live far away from the others. So we called them on the payphone (out of credits;) to see if they would come to church. He said they were already on their way. Sooo yeah we didn't believe they were actually going to come, right?

But they came in during the sacrament and sat down...and every time this happens I just look to the small painting of the Savior that hangs on the front wall and it just makes me cry to see how good God is that He really does touch His children. <3 I know that this work is truly His! 😊

We visited Cleia, it's been almost 2 weeks since we've been able to teach her since she went to Brasília to be with her brother who was going to do a surgery. We went to see her on Wednesday, and it was definitely one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had. As we clapped outside her gate, she popped out of the house in the front and invited us to come inside, that they were was a prayer group of the Catholic church. So we stood quietly watching them praying, holding their crosses and saying their prayers. I think we must have waited about 7 minutes before they stopped praying enough for us to have time to go and compliment everybody and sit on the couch. We introduced ourselves as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained a little about the work that we do...and they started right into the scriptures #apostasia again, something in Luke. We commented when she opened it up to comments. But to make the story about 30 minutes, we talked for about 3 minutes total. At the end of the 'prayer group' I asked if I could offer a prayer. I asked everybody to kneel with me, and I gave a heartfelt prayer hoping that somebody in that room felt something. Especially Cleia, since she was progressing so much before she went to Brasília.

We visited her on Saturday, and in these past 2 weeks she's really felt a part of the Catholic church again. I know that the enemy works on people. Because when we met her, she told us that she had been born in the Catholic church but that she didn't go to church and didn't participate or anything like that...but the enemy really has been working on her lately. Because now she tells us about the 'responsabilites' she has again in the church, that she just went to church with us that time because she felt like she owed us for the visit...but I know that she felt the Spirit and that she was really starting to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
But we taught her a super powerful lesson of the Plan of Salvation, she had lots of questions and was super curious, she said that she believes in everything because we're able to show her everything in the Bible. And that she feels the Spirit when we're there. She said that she would go to church on Sunday but had some niece's birthday party...anyway. We're going to go there later today to see how she's doing and if we're going to keep visiting her.

It was hard for us to find our investigator drunk last night, that he had promised us that he would go to church and we even went to his house to pick him up (and yes, of course on foot;) and he told us he wouldn't be able to go. He was in pretty bad shape. But we told him that if he wants to change he can through Jesus Christ... the life of a missionary is sooooo crazy to me I love it :) ⌚

And after church on Sunday we had a meeting with members of the High Council, we met our new Bishop Rodrigo (the Jardim Ingá Ward) he is a super good man, super humble. I love his wife, she's one of the greatest ladies I've ever met :) Sister Amaral is going to be an assistant to Aline with the young women, and I'm going to help Paula in the Relief Society <3 Paula with about 3 weeks of being baptized has already received a calling in the RS, I'm so excited for her. I know that it's going to be a stretch, but she is SO capable and is going to bless so many lives!!!!
I've also been 'called' ;) to be in charge of the music on Sunday, I'll get to choose all of the hymns :D so excited. And now we have permission to use the CD player in sacrament meeting so we'll have accompaniment now during the music, such an exciting change for our little group! 🎼

I love talking with people about their spiritual lives. I love helping people. I love this work. I know that I have been called of God to invite them to know their Savior. I know that I was set apart by someone who holds authority. I know that everything that I am learning here is preparing me for something else. <3

Thank you for your prayers and your support. I truly feel of every single prayer that is said in my behalf, I am so so grateful 💜

Muitos amor (e beijos!)
Sister (Braz)Hill 🌎

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Elder Costa, Transfers and Moving Out of the Chapel

The conference with Elder Costa was super fantastic!! His words were super inspiring to everybody. He asked us to read two talks before he came, both of them from a conference to the mission presidents from 2014. One of them by Elder Nelson is super great and I loved it a lot, talks a lot about how our focus as missionaries is helping people get to the TEMPLE. I loved it a lot. Elder Costa's words were super great, he has a powerful testimony! He truly is a servant of the Lord. Talked a lot about working with the members, bringing their neighbors and friends and family into the church...because it truly is the most effective way to help strengthen the Church of Jesus Christ!!

This week was a little crazy-hectic because we moved OUT of the chapel!!!! #finally We moved all of our stuff into a new apartment, super close to the church so that's a blessing. It'll be great to have our own apartment now and not have to share everything with the chapel.

Cinefamília worked out, it has been raining cats and dogs these days... so I was praying suuuuuper hard that it wouldn't rain... and it didn't rain on us! I was looking in the sky as we were inviting every person we found in the street...and I saw this HUGE rain cloud leaving the site of the movie. Such a miracle. The Lord is truly in charge of His work here! And He truly hears the prayers of His servants. I have a testimony of that.

Transfers today!! Sister Costancio left for another area to finish her last 2 transfers before she goes home in December, and Sister Amaral is my new companion! A super sweet gaúcha (from Rio Grande do Sul) with 4 months in the mission, I know that we're going to have an awesome transfer. 

All is well here in Zion! I know that this is the Lord's work. I am so grateful for how the Lord is changing me here every single day of my mission. Every day, every minute...I become stronger. Only through His perfect Atonement. I know that His sacrifice is real. I know that He lives! I know that as we partake of the sacrament every Sunday...we are taking upon ourselves His name. It is such a sacred thing to me to see the priests breaking the bread...because He was broken for us. He was broken for me. I know that as we partake of the bread and water every week, we are taking upon ourselves the sacrifice that He made for us individually.
I know that He knows my burdens. I know that He knows every sacrifice we make to strengthen His kingdom here on the Earth. And only through Him can we be strengthened enough to bear our burdens. I know that we can never do this alone. Only through Him are we able to be the best that we can be and return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Thank you for the support and prayers. <3 Amo todos vocês!
Sister (Braz)Hill

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Do You Want To Marry Me"? and It's Raining Cockroaches!!!

Yesterday we couldn't find a single lan house (internet cafe)  open because yesterday was Brazil's Independence Day (September 7th!) so we had to wait until today when everything finally opened.
In Brazil, alllll of the students in all of the schools practice for the parade on Sept. 7th. We went and watched the beginning. Afterwards we went to Mariano's for an afternoon barbecue after the soccer players played soccer. :)

This week we've been a little worried about Cleia because it's been a week and a half now that she went to Brasília to be with her brother in the hospital who has been really sick...we've been praying that her brother can get better so she can come back and get back to Church. Yesterday we visited Rayanne (her daughter) and read 3 Nephi 11 with her, she liked it a ton and even said the closing prayer. I really feel that the gospel has helped her gain a greater self-confidence, it's awesome. I love how the gospel changes people!!

Paula was confirmed yesterday, great experience as she was blessed with some really cool blessings that I know are only from the Lord as they are perfect for her. <3 A great fast and testimony meeting. Paula bore her testimony, so eloquent!! She is truly a leader and will help so many people. Denis bore his testimony too. He's also helping lots of people. He is truly a rock!!

We visited Susiclei and Maxwell this week (she was a street contact and came to church 2 Sundays ago), Susi really wants to get married as we had already talked with her about everything... and when we told Max he was all for it too. I think the cutest moment ever was sitting in their living room and Max turned to Susi and said "Quer casar comigo?" (Do you want to marry me?) and she waited a little and then said "Ah, quero" (I want to.. but it was in an air of 'ah yeah, why not of course' and super hilarious) and all we could do was smile. :) We're getting their wedding papers in, they'll be married next month.

CINEFAMÍLIA is this Saturday night!!!!! We've been planning this activity for a couple of weeks now, inviting the whole city to come... we're going to show Meet the Mormons in the center of town here in Cristalina, it's going to be super special we're excited and praying that everything works out. Please pray that it works out!! It started the HEAVY rain yesterday so we're praaaaying that it will be awesome.

Story of the week:
We were sitting with Denis reading the Book of Mormon together in 1 Nephi 7, and Sister Costancio was in the middle of reading the first verse when this huge brown leaf fell from the roof onto my hand. It surprised me and I gasped a little bit and in a millisecond threw my hand to the side so it fell on the ground.
And as I looked to the grown to see what kind of leaf this was (it was the weirdest thing) I quickly recognized it as a huge ugly cockroach. And in the middle of Sister Costancio reading I could barely get out "Ummm so a cockroach just fell from the sky onto me and now it's on the ground" Denis squished it with his sandal, grabbed it by the antennae and threw it outside.
And then I was a little speechless and could just look at Sister Costancio as she said "Umm..... well now the Spirit is completely gone" and all I could do was laugh.
These are the experiences that take my breath away. Literally. I'm not able to breathe through these things. o.O #prayforme ;) #ilovethemission #cockroachesfallingfromthesky

Tonight we're headed to Brasília to hear Elder Cláudio Costa of the First Quorum of the Seventy tomorrow, should be good. First general authority that i've seen in the mission. :) I'm excited. And we're going to sleep in Bandeirante tomorrow and I get to see Sister Fidelis, so exciteddddd!!!!

Thank you for your prayers and support. Love you all!! Amo todos vocês muito <3
All is well in Zion. 💜

Sister (Braz)Hill

Coming in from a huge rainstorm
Statue in the middle of town

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Want My Life To Be As Clean As Earth Right After Rain

Yesterday was Paula's baptism. Such an amazing day <3

She has really been fighting these last few weeks to be good. She's literally a different person. It is the most amazing thing to me!!

It was such a beautiful baptismal service. Alexandre had the idea of us singing a song for Paula before the baptism... so for the meeting before the baptisms I (on guitar & singing), Alexandre & Elder Nordfelt sang 'How Great Thou Art' in English because Paula loves it so much ❤ She cried and when I saw her crying I almost started crying too<3

And she was baptized by her younger brother and it was the most beautiful moment in the world.
And after he pulled her out of the water she totally dunked Alexandre into the pool and it was fantastic haha.

She'll be confirmed next Sunday!!
Paula is truly a miracle in my life. She has taught me so much. She has taught me a lot about courage. It was awesome that her friends (who are Jehovah's Witnesses) came to her baptism...they missed the service but they were there for the closing words, etc. And they came and felt the Spirit and said that they will come to church next week. Paula is such an example to me!!

It is truly incredible how we sometimes learn more from others when we're the ones teaching. She is truly a woman of the Lord and inspires me every day to be better.

Mariana came to church yesterday too, and came to Paula's baptism!! She felt the Spirit super strongly and it was such a great thing for her to be there. She's excited/anxious for her baptism coming up on September 12th. I'm super happy for her!!
I feel a lot of potencial in her family, too...they're Catholic (like everybody else in Cristalina;) and actually go to church everysunday, but we're going to work with them and we feel that Mariana will help them a lot.

All is well in Zion. 💜
Sister (Braz)Hill