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Monday, April 28, 2014

Gordo the dog


Oh my gosh did we have the best week! I love being a missionary!!!
Last P-day we had a zone activity in another city. We had to take the bus to get there, but it was worth it because we had amazing meat for food. I was in heaven. Overall, ait was a great activity, eating and talking. Yep, pretty much it.
Anyway, after the activity and emailing our families, all the missionaries from Poços had to catch the abus back to our areas. Well, the bus was super slow and we didn´t end up catching it until 7:30pm. So, we were riding the bus back home and I received a phone call. It was our sister trainer leaders and they were waiting for us at our house in Poços de Caldas. Let´s hear it for not calling ahead of time to make plans. Yay! Ok, enough sarcasm. 
Luckily one of the Sisters, Sister Lopéz, knows a member here and they just chatted with her at her house until we arrived an hour later. Oh yeah, the Other sister trainer leader is my old companion, Sister N.Lopes! I was so happy to see her again! The only ship I need is a friendship!
Anyways, they stayed two days with us to help us out and see what kind of missionaries we are. It was a really fun split. I was with Sister Lopéz and Sister Oliveira was with sister N.Lopes. We got a ton of work done and I learned some new techniques from the Sisters. It was a party also with Sister N.Lopes. Man do I love her. Yeah, so that was pretty great.
Also this week we found out about transfers. And....I am staying in Poços!!!! Yay!! But I will be training a new missionary and another companionship is moving in with us. And the other companionship includes Sister Sargent!! MY Bff from the MTC!!! I am so happy I can´t even stand it!!! She will be training a new missionary too. So, it´s going to be amazing here in Poços de Caldas 2 with four sisters. YAYAYAYAY!!!
The only sad thing is that Sister Oliveira was transferred:( I am going to miss her so much. She is seriously and awesome missionary.
So, later today, we´re going to catch a bus to São João (the city were we had our zone activity) and spend the night with the sisters that work there. Then, in the morning, we´ll head to Piracicaba to exchange companions and pick up the new sisters. I am so excited for this next transfer! I love Poços!!!!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! I love you all so much. Have a fantastic week!
Love, Sister Whitney

p.s. It´s finally cold here in Poços. It´s probably like in the 60s. It´s heaven:)
p.p.s. If there are random a´s in my letter it´s because of the stupid keyboard.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

So this week was another to remember. First off, about 6 weeks ago we stopped to talk with a guy in the street. We ended up inviting him to church and after that I didn´t think about the matter anymore (we talk to a ton of people in the street). Anyway, during conference, he showed up at church and stayed for the first session. I was like "Wow, he actually came to church. Neat. Let´s try to teach him." So I grabbed his address and planned to visit him the following week. I don´t know what happened, but we were super busy that week and didn´t see him. But that didn´t matter because he came to church again the following week. I explained more about the church for him and about the restauração. It went pretty well and he was very open about learning more.
Well, this past week I was determined to visit him, so we looked for his house right after church. And....he lives literally 5 houses into the Elder´s area. That means that he isn´t in our ward´s boundaries. I was a little bummed about that, but the rules of the mission are really important to me, so we passed Welington (the name of the guy) to the Elders. And...This saturday he was baptized!!!! Yay!!! 
Even though it wasn´t technically our baptism, I felt like it was because we found Welington and taught him a little bit. IT was really awesome seeing someone we stopped in the street make it all the way to baptism. Wow, so neat I can´t even describe it:)
Easter was also great. We recieved a ton of chocolate from the members because they love us and I got to talk with Viviane (our recent convert) a ton. She is so great and I love talking with her. The only sad thing is that she´s moving soon. It´s still in the boundaries of our mission, so maybe I´ll see her again. I hope so:) But until then, I try to talk with her as much as I can.
Well, my family, I love you all so much. I want you all to know that I Know that our Savior lives. I know that he is the only person to know exactly how I feel and what I need to grow and become more like Him. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and for His love for me. Eu amo meu Salvador! Sei que Ele vive e me ama! Esta Igreja é a Igreja dele e é verdadeira! 
Tem uma boa semana família!
Com Amor,
Sister Whitney
Our district at Welingto´s baptism

They don´t do Easter baskets here in Brasil. They do huge chocolate eggs of goodness. It was a very "hoppy" day. (Yes my puns are weak. that´s what happens when you learn another language)

We had a zone activity today and it was back in the state of São Paulo.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Total eclipse of the heart

April 14, 2014

I feel like I grew up a little bit this week. I don´t know why, but it´s kind of a weird feeling. I think I´m getting better at this missionary thing, haha.
Anyway, we had a zone conference on Tuesday and it was really great. The only downside was that Sister Oliveira and I had to get up at 4 am to catch our bus to another city. That´s the only problem with Poços. It´s the VERY last city in our mission. Other than that, it´s paradise and I love serving here. 
The focus of the conference was becoming a better teacher. We practiced a ton by listening, asking questions, and applying scriptures. I really enjoyed it and I saw first hand with our lessons that it helps. Our teaching is becoming pretty fancy:) Also, I got to see Sister N.Lopes (my old comp)! I was so happy to see her and laugh with her again. She just got put in as our new sister trainer leader and I´m super excited about this because sometime in the future we´ll have a split with her:) Yay for friendship! 
Another great part of the day was the ride back to poços. Our zone was all together and we were just talking about the fun things of the mission. I don´t know why, but it was kind of a special moment for me, hearing all the stories of the other missionaries. Also, the driver was playing "total eclipse of the heart". That was probably what made it so special, haha.
The rest of the week was normal, but we really focused on teaching better. We´ve been teaching this elderly couple for a long time now and they still haven´t come to church. Our last lesson with them, we really focused on their needs and how going to church would help them out. I also was kind of rough with them saying that they always promise to come to church, but never do. I left their house thinking that Sunday wasn´t going to happen for them. But surprise surprise, THEY CAME TO CHURCH!!! I was so happy! And they really enjoyed it. So, we´ll see what happens with them. Kept Janete and José in your prayers:)
So that´s about all that´s new with my life. Find, teach, baptize, and somewhere in between, study, eat, and sleep. The life of a missionary is a beautiful, simple thing:)
I love you all and I am so happy that you are all doing well. Have a fantastic week and remember that our Savior LIVES and the He loves us! Think about what you can do to repay him this month. Better yet, think of someone that doesn´t know this wonderful, happy truth and invite them to have a chat with you and the missionaries:) The gospel is true and Jesus loves YOU!!!!
Sister Whitney

                                                             Sister Padilla from the MTC!

Sister Lopes and Sister Whitney at a zone conference.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

General Conference week in Brazil!

April 7, 2014 from Lauren

This week was soooo busy! I love it when we have a ton of stuff to do. I feel like I´m being a very effective missionary and I love that feeling. 
Anyway, our district was struggling to find people to teach. So, we decided that everyone would work in one area each day for three days. The first area and day was in our area and the Elders helped us out a ton. All together, we found 21 people to teach. Yay! I am so excited to get to work! For the rest of the three days we worked in the Elders’ areas, knocking doors and talking to people in the street. We found a ton of people and I loved the practice of making so many contacts. It´s super challenging to try and condense the message of the Restauração or the Plano de Salvação into 2-3 minute lessons. It was a lot of fun, even if the contact didn´t work out. 
Also, this week was great because I finally ate Feijoada. Uncle Andy, your feijoada is pretty good, but holy cow is it amazing in Brasil! Also, I didn´t see any meat with hair still on it, so that was pretty great. 
The best part of the week was conference. Wow. I have never loved conference as much as I loved this past session. We really do have a living Prophet of God and 12 apostles. What a blessing! 
My favorite talk was Elder Bednar´s. Probably because I´ve learned a lot about "loads" in the mission. It´s so true that that difficulty or trial can help us get "unstuck" so we can return to our family. I also loved his testimony of the Savior and His atonement. I have gained such a great appreciation and love for my Savior and what He did for me. How wonderful it is that we have someone that loves us that much. Wow. 
I want to share my testimony that I know that this is the Savior´s church. That He lives and that He loves us. We DO have a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and he holds the sacred keys of the priesthood. I know that this church is true and I know that because of my Savior´s love for me, I can return and live with Him and my Heavenly Father. I love you all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thank you so much! I love you so much.
 I thought about you guys a ton during conference. I don´t get homesick anymore. It´s kind of weird to describe.  I’ve been away for so long that everything has probably changed. I don´t know why, but this thought actually helps me to focus more on my mission. I still get excited when another month passes, but I´m starting to get sad that I only have 11 months left. 
Also, I am so happy that things are going well at home. I can´t tell what a powerful force this is for me in my mission. Thank you so much :)

                                      We made tapioca. It´s actually more like a crep more than a pudding. It was so good.

We climbed the Christos again. It was good, again.