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Monday, March 31, 2014

Viviane's Baptism!

Can I just say that I love my mission. It is seriously the best thing I have ever done. This week was really hard, but at the same time, extremely rewarding. For the past two weeks, we´ve been struggling to find new people to teach. We knock doors, talk to strangers at the bus stop, and ask the members for referrals. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be working. I was a bit upset with this. We´ve been working really hard and are exactly obedient, but nothing is turning up.
On Friday, I had a little chat with Heavenly Father. Mom, what you said about prayer is so true. Heavenly Father will ALWAYS help us if we ask. I basically told Him that I was ready to become the missionary He wants me to be. I told Him I would knock doors for the rest of my mission for just a little bit of help in that moment. (This was during my language study, so Sister Oliveira was in the other room reading.) Anyway, I had a strong prompting to read a little in the Liahona. I came across a talk from Elder Holland. I just scanned the talk a little bit, but what I did read was exactly what I need to hear. Elder Holland said something like this, "There is always hope. Always. But sometimes that bitter cup doesn´t pass from us and we need to drink it and carry on." Wow, these words totally gave me that little help and the will to work harder and trust in the Lord. So, we went to work. And you know what? The Lord DID bless us with a miracle.
VIVIANE WAS BAPTIZED ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After a full day of knocking doors that same Friday, Viviane called us up and said that she wanted to be baptized in our ward this past Sunday. Words cannot describe how happy I was and still am. Talk about an answer to a prayer. Holy cow Heavenly Father is the best.
The Baptism was really amazing too. It was directly after church, so the whole ward was there to support Viviane. Our Bispo baptized her and she was confirmed directly after because next week is conference. Oh my gosh was it the best. 
I love Viviane so much. She is studying to be an elementary school teacher and works full time. She only has Sundays free, so that´s when we taught her. It´s only been like three weeks, but she prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer. So, she decided to be baptized. The church is true my friends. And God hears and answers prayers. 
Missions are the BEST! And I am so grateful for mine. I love learning to trust in the Lord and more about the gospel. When you really think about it, it just makes sense. The gospel is so simple and so clear that it´s difficult to doubt it. I know that we have the same gospel that Jesus Christ taught. I know that it is true that that the Book of Mormon is true too. I love this church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Also, read Matt 10:31 if you´re feeling down.:) I promise you will feel better:)
Love, Sister Whitney
Tell grandma pat that I got her package and that is was so great. I sent her a letter today. We made cookies from the ingredients that she sent! They were amazing. We brought them to the baptism too and everyone loved them. Thanks Grandma Pat!!!

Us at the baptism. My face looks a little sad and I don´t know why. I was seriously soooooo happy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The churches here are so beautiful. (Sorry I forgot this one!)


SO, this week has been pretty great! I found out that this transfer, Sister Oliveira and I are staying together in Poços! Yayaya! I am so happy about this. This transfer is going to be the greatest! I love sister Oliveira so much and I am so happy we get to be companions for another transfer! Woot!
Anyway, I need to tell an epic tale. Yesterday, we were coming home from lunch to study. Our house has this door/gate thingy and then a hallway like thing that leads to our front door. It´s pretty narrow in the hallway thingy, but this has never been a problem before. That is, until yesterday.
Sister Oliveira opened the gate and I walked in without another thought. I was almost to the end of the hallway, when something caught my eye and stopped me dead in my tracks. Seriously the BIGGEST, HAIREST, BLACKEST, SPIDER was crawling down the wall in front of me, probably like 3 feet away. I screamed like a little girl and ran for the gate. By this time, Sister Oliveira noticed the enemy and ran screaming for the other side of the road. We stood there screaming for only a couple of minutes.
 Anyway, I knew I had to kill the beast, so I grabbed a couple of rocks and headed for the battlefield. Sister oliveira stayed screaming on the side of the road- it was her only defense. With a quick prayer, I headed down the hallway to face my fear. I flung the first rock and knocked the monster off the wall. But it wasn´t enough to kill the brute. With a little more courage, I headed down closer to our front door. Almost mockingly, the spider headed for our door, as if to show that it wasn´t afraid of me. Well, I was having none of this, so I hurled another rock at its hariy face. AND....It was a successful hit! With one mightly blow, the great black beast was defeated. We reclaimed our home and safety.
This really has no spiritual ties, but I though it was an experience worth sharing.
The spiritual aspects of our week were great. We have one GOLDEN investigator that wants to be Baptised! Her name is Viviane and I love her so much. The only problem is that she wants to be baptised in her boyfriend´s ward. I´m really not too upset about this because she knows the church is true. That is pretty much my whole job, to help people recognize the truth and then come unto God. So, if she gets baptized here or there, I am happy:)
Thank you so much for your prayers and kind thoughts:) I love you all so much and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Love, Sister Whitney

I found this. Giddy up for the Gospel. 

Happy Birthday to me. 

Yes, this is the enemy of which I spoke. I had no clue that brasil has monsters like this. Yay for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sister Whitney is 20!!!

Everybody listen up. I´m 20 now so I have more wisdom. NOT. Haha. A birthday in Brasil is seriously a strange thing, wonderful, but strange. I actually forgot it was my birthday until my comp said something. Then I was like, "Oh yeah, I've been alive for 20 years today." That was weird. We had a good time. For our last lesson of the day, Sister Oliveira (Sister C. Silva changed her name to Oliveira) wanted to go see a recent convert. I was all for it, so we hurried there. When we arrived all the lights were off in the house, but Sister Oliveira just let herself right in. I was like, "This is weird, but whatever." Come to find out, they had planned a little surprise party for me with cake and everything. I was so surprised and so happy that I almost cried:) It was an excellent birthday.
This week had it's ups and it's downs. We lost a lot of investigators, either they didn't want to learn more or they weren't progressing, so that´s always hard. I was kind of having a hard time with this. We have been working so hard for so long and haven´t seen much success. I honestly didn't know what I was doing wrong. I study hard to become a better missionary, we talk to everyone- and i mean everyone-, we work all day, and still we´re struggling. I was really frustrated with this so I decided to take a minute and cool down. I read a couple talks in the ensign from conference a few years back and came across a talk from Elder Nelson. It was entitled, "The trial of our Faith". I know that this talk was an answer for my desperate prayers. In this talk, Elder Nelson cites Either 12:27, with basically states that the Lord will give us weaknesses so we can become stronger. It´s only after we have exercised our faith though out our trial will we see the growth and the strength we have received. This scripture and talk gave me so much peace. I know that I am doing all that I possible can to be a good missionary. I know that because of this the Lord WILL bless us. Maybe not with 20 new investigators, maybe not with 5 baptisms, but I know that because of the trial of my faith I WILL be a better missionary. I know that I am becoming the instrument that the Lord wants me to be. 
Before my mission, everyone talked about how hard missions are. I was always like, "I can do hard things, a mission can´t be that hard". Well, I can still do hard things, but my mission is seriously the hardest thing I´ve ever done. But it´s also the most rewarding, most cherished part of my life. I feel like a new and better person. The parts that I like about my old self are still there, but I have noticed that I have new and better qualities. Like I´m not afraid to talk to strangers anymore. Look out McDonald's, I´ll be asking for a boatload of ketchup now:) The mission breaks you down so the Lord can build you back up, but better. I love it.
Also, we were rewarded this week for our work and faith. A girlfriend of a member wants to learn more about the church and came to sacrament by herself this week. We had someone in church! (Thanks mom for the prayers!). Her name is Viviane and she´s very open to learning more about the gospel. I am sooo excited to teach her!
I love you all. Thank you so much for the Birthday wishes too! It was seriously an unforgettable birthday:)
Have a fantastic week!
Love, Sister Whitney 

March 10, 2014 Pictures

Lauren's birthday wish to Elena!

Churrasco. This is real life:)

Our Zone!
This happened this morning. The spout broke and I had to jam a plastic bag and plastic tubey thingy into the hole to stop the water. I was so soaked. IT was hilarious.(not)

Sister C. Silva and I with some Elders in our district.

View from the top of our apartment!

March 10, 2014


This week was pretty good.
So it was carnaval here in brasil. Seriously it was just like any other week here. It´s not very huge here in Poços. The only difference is that everyone was away visiting other places, so it was a little hard to teach people this week. 
The highlight of my week was Wednesday. We had a zone meeting and then after we had pday (we switched the days so it could work out). The meeting was a little boring, but pday with the Zone was fantastic. We had Brasilian barbeque! I was in heaven. It was really fun too. We just hung out at the church, eating churrasco and playing games. Our zone is pretty dang fantastic too. We have some great missionaries here.
On a spiritual note, this week was pretty great too. I decided that I wanted to learn more about Christ and how he taught. Luckily, preach my gospel has a chapter on Christ like attributes, so I totally dug into that. Oh my heavens have I learned so much! Jesus Christ really was the Master Teacher and it was because he had(has) so many wonderful attributes. My favorite was learning about Patience. Patience is the ability to get through trials, problems, and difficulties without becoming discouraged or angry. It´s the ability to put our trust in the Lord and know that in the end it will all work out. 
I totally needed to study this this week because I got a little upset with some of our investigators. Every week we do all that we can to get them to church, and they still don´t come. But after studying Patience, i feel a lot better. I know that I am doing my part and all that I can to be a good missionary. I just need to be patient and trust that the Lord will help us. It´s been a good learning/growing experience:)
Thank you all for the Birthday wishes! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Have a fantastic week!
Sister Whitney

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3 2014

From Lauren March 3, 2014


Ok, so I´m sorry to do this again, but our baptism fell through. But, this time it was actually a good thing and I will tell you why. So this week we tried to see Marcos every single day. It´s really important that we see investigators preparing for baptism a ton the week before thier baptism because they might get blown away be the winds of Satan if we don´t.
Anyway, every day we set an appointment to see Marcos and he agreed. But when we called right before the lesson, he would cancel and say he had work or something like that. This went on the entire week. I really didn´t understand it because every time we talked to him he expressed how happy he was to be getting baptized.
I was really struggling with knowing what to do. Here was this guy with the desire to be baptized, but he didn´t want to gain the necessary knowledge to be baptized. And the crappy thing is that I´m senior comp and have the make the decision. Well, I prayed really hard to know what to do and then I read D&C 20:37 which talks about the qualifications for baptism. After I read that scripture, I knew Marcos wasn´t ready. And as soon as I came to that decision, another scripture popped into my head (Jacob 1:19) which talks about the responsibility of teaching the gospel and if we don´t teach it as best as we can, essentially that person becomes our responsibility.
So, I called Marcos up and told him that we needed to move his baptism date. He got really angry with me, but after awhile, he agreed to have a lesson with us . We set up the lesson during the exact same time as his baptism was going to be. Well, time for the lesson came and went and we didn´t see Marcos. Then, yesterday, he didn´t show up for church. So, obviously, I think there is something going on with him that isn´t 100% honest. I really hope we get the opportunity to finish teaching him and that he can be baptized, but only when he is ready.
Overall, this week I´ve really come to realize that this is the Lord´s work, not ours. I was really hoping to have another baptism to help out our mission, but the fact of the matter is that it will only happen when the Lord wants it to happen. I actually think this is more of a comfort than anything else. I know that the Lord will place those ready for this gospel in our path. I sincerely and 100% believe this. As long as I’m doing my part and working as hard as I can, the Lord will lead us to His elect. How great is that? Pretty dang great if you ask me :)

Other than the drama with Marcos, our week was pretty normal. We knocked doors a ton, but I actually really like it. It´s fun and we get to talk to a ton of people about the gospel. Plus working with Sister C. Silva is the best. She is so dang hilarious and sometimes we have to take breaks in between knocking doors because we get the giggles. I love her so much :)

Well, I hope that you all have a great week that is full of magic and joy :)

Com amor, Sister Lauren Whitney