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Monday, July 28, 2014

oops. I forgot a pic!

I forgot a picture!

My new roommates. Sister Ferraz, Sister A. Mores, Sister Cirino and me:) Our house is so great and the shower is amazing. I almost died of happiness.

11 months Anniversary!

It sounds like you guys had an awesome week. I am so sad that I wasn´t there for Bridger´s preisthood ordanation, but I am so proud of him. Now our house has two preisthood holders!!! Yay!!!
Toby looks amazing! I got so anxious to squeeze my pupper as I was looking at the pictures. ANXIOUS!!!! I am so jealous that the girls are out in my spot in SD, but what are you going to do. Also, isn´t it crazy that they ran in to Elder West?!? What a small world! I almost didn´t believe it. Wow.
Ok so this was a week full of changes.
First off, leaving Poços was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. It is not a good idea to keep missionaries that long in an area because they become so attached with all the members, investigators, and other missionaries. The hardest part was leaving Rose and Bruno. Sister Sargent and I went over to their house right before I had to leave to say goodbye. I knew it was going to be a struggle because I startede to cry right when I entered the house. Rose thanked me for all the stuff we taught her and said that it was going to be hard to get used to another missioanry. I told her that I was going to miss them like crazy and that they need to stay firm in the church and all that stuff. Seriously my heart was breaking. I love these people so much and I probably will never see them again. It was really hard and I am so happy Sister Sargent was there to give me a hug and help me through it all. But, I regret nothing. These last couple of months in Poços are the best of my live and I wouldn´t trade them for the world. Especially the last 6 with Sister Sargent. I have never been so happy in my entire life.
We got to Piracicaba on Tuesday and switched companions. Sister Sargent and I both cried like a bunch of boobs. Oh my gosh it was so embarassing with everyone looking, but I didn´t care. She is my best friend soulmate. 
The first couple of days in Rio Claro were a little hard. Just the ajustment to a new companion, a new area, and new people is a little hard. But, I can honestly say that I love it here. Rio Claro is SO flat. There are literally no hills here. And all I can think is that I am going to get so fat without my daily hike in church clothes. Haha, i sure hope not.
I love Sister Cirino. She has about 2 more months in the mission than I do, so I am learning a ton from her. She is from the south from a city called Curitiba and has a family just like mine. 3 girls and a boy. She is the oldest of her siblings and was also studying chemistry before she left on her mission. We actually have a ton in common and it´s been really easy getting to know her. I am so grateful for that:) 
The ward here is great. The members are very open and friendly and they want to help us out with the work. I love making friends with the ward members. Some of them have amazing life/conversion stories.
So far, I am loving this new area. It was hard to change, but I want you all to know that I am happy and really enjoying my time as a missionary. Today I made 11 months in the mission and I seriously cannot believe where the time is going. IT´S CRAZY!!!
LOve you all,
Sister Whitney
This is Max from Poços. I have been teaching this kid since the 7 of feburary and he still isn´t baptized. He will be one day though. He really wants to find the truth. It´s just taking forever and now some other missionary will enjoy it. Still, I learned a ton teaching him and he really is my friend.

Sister Sargent was mad at me for something. I felt free to capture the moment:) I miss her so much.

This is Julia. She a young woman from the Ward in Poços. She loved to go out and visit people with us and I am going to miss her like crazy.

A bunch of  people that I am also going to miss. The ward in Poços is like my second family.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pioneer Day Week-lots of pics!

So this week has its ups and downs, but I still loved it:) Since we got the whole week to work in our area (we finished visiting all the sisters we need to), we were able to get a ton done. We found some new people and got to have some good lessons with old investigators. I loved it. I would have to say my favorite lesson was with and old lady and her daughter. We went to their house on satuday after lunch and after saying a prayer to start a fast. Anyways, we got there and we started to teach the Restauração. It was going pretty well and I actually think that Abigail, the old woman´s daughter has some potential. Also, this old woman, Benidita, loves us to death. She gets so happy every time she see us and always wants us to stay and eat food with her. Usually we can get out of it but this last time she thought with would be a good idea to make us a cake, on a saturday, when we were fasting. We tried to make up an excuse, but Abigail turned to us and said, "you´re not going to eat the cake my mom made especially for you?!?". Sister Sargent and I just kind of looked at each other for a minute and then gave in. I though Benidita was going to die from happiness. So, we broke our fast and ate the cake. Thankfully it was really good cake and we ended up saying another fast prayer after the lesson. I love serving a mission:)
Also this week, we found out about transfers. I have been transfered to Rio Claro! My new companion´s name is Sister Crino and I am VERY excited for this next 6 weeks. Sister Crino is already my friend and I am so happy I get the chance to be her companion. 
But on the other hand, I am so sad to leave Poços and Sister Sargent. These last 5 months have been the best of my mission. I feel like I really became a missionary here and that I was able to help some people out. I love this ward so much and it broke my heart a little bit to say goodbye to everyone yesterday at church. Also, Sister Sargent is my best friend in the whole world and it´s going to be hard without her. She is so kind, funny, smart, and genuine and it was the happiest 6 weeks of my life serving with her.
But, the Lord knows what I need for this next part of my mission and I am SOOSOOO excited to jump into it!! Woot!!
I love you all so much and I am happy that you guys are having such a fantastic summer. You can totally share stories, I don´t get sad at all to hear them. I just get a little jealous:) But feel free to tell me the deets:)
Love Sister Whitney

(This is Lauren's companion's letter and my last week of double letters dangit!)
Hey there everyone!

Okay so I just have to start out by telling you all that I have never cried so much or been so devastated in my whole mission as I have been the last few days. This transfer has been the best of my entire mission, and tomorrow I have to say good-bye to my best friend, Sister Whitney. We have both been crying a lot and I just have the saddest feeling inside. It is really hard! Everyone told me there would be hard things in the mission, but there is just no way to really understand until you are here! I feel like the rest of my mission will be a let-down because I have already had my perfect transfer. I don't really remember how to be a missionary without Sister Whitney. It just works with her, and it has been so dang easy.

From the beginning, Sister Whitney and I knew it would be our only transfer together. She is now headed to Rio Claro (my old zone! yeah!) to be with Sister Cirino. As for me, I will stay here in Poços this next transfer and my new companion will be Sister Bispo! Let me tell you what I know about her: of all the sister training leaders in the mission, she has been one for the longest. She is a Brazilian from Curitiba, so she will be my first comp from the south! YES! Finally, I can try to pick up the most beautiful Brazilian accent (no offense to Sister Pontes or Sister Menezes but their accents were wretched and I did everything possible to not catch them). She is in her last transfer, so I will kill her! Whoo! Never killed a missionary before. She speaks decent English, she is BEAUTIFUL and looks like a model. She baptizes a lot. Everyone says she is really blunt, so that will be fun for me...since everyone who knows me knows how well I deal with bluntness :) fun fun. But I do know that she will have a LOT to teach me. She is a fantastic missionary, maybe the best this mission has. And I plan to learn every single thing I can with her, and make her last transfer her absolute best! I think it will be okay, gente. I am scared, now that I am a STL, she is going to expect that I know what I am doing, get here, and realize that even with 11 months in the mission, I still have no clue. Haha. Pois é. But this will be my very first companion here in Brazil that has more experience and time in the mission than me, I am excited for that.

We did a lot of finding this week, and we definitely have a few investigators with potential, though none that are progressing at the moment. That is kind of tough, we are struggling with that part. We had some funny things happen this week and if I had more time I would tell about them. But suffice it to say, every day is a good day with Sister Whitney. It was a great week, it was nice to spend the whole thing in our area...for a change. 

I love you all! The church is true. I love what I am doing, and I love being a missionary!

Sister Sargent

Monday, July 14, 2014

Multizona Conference!

Ok, so this week was crazy!! On Tuesday we had a multizona (zone conference with 2 other zones) and it was so much fun. We had to get up at 4 am to catch the van that would take us to our destination. I didn´t love that, but what are you going to do? Anyways, I so so so happy because I got to see Sister Oliveira there!! I love her so much and it was so fun to catch up and pull out our old inside jokes. It was actually really cool because I had four of my eight past companheiras there. Sister Sargent, Sister Gomes, Sister Oliveira, and Sister Padilla. Neat huh? 
Also, I really liked what we learned at this conference. President explained how important it is that we have our own testimony. In order to do missionary work, we need to be converted personally first. I remember joking around with Tyler, Robyn, Angie, and the rest of the gang last year when we went zip-lining. We were all wearing harnesses for the zip line and I felt free to share my thoughts on them. Harnesses are like testimonies. It´s great when your friend has one, but it is essential for you to have one too. Otherwise, you die. I still hold true to this thought:)
Also, Presidente made a new rule that we have to go through the Book of Mormon and mark scriptures that are tied in with the 5 lessons in Preach my Gospel. I have really enjoyed marking up a new BOM and learning more about the Restaurção, Plano de Salvação, O evangelho, os mandamentos, e leis e ordananças. Actually, I´ve learned that almost all the scriptures have something to do with the Plano de Salvação. It´s pretty neat.  I just it´s kind of important:)
The next couple of days were not my favorite. PResident ask Sister Sargent and I to do a 3 day split with some sisters in our zone. They weren´t very obedient and we kind of had to get on their cases. It makes me super sad when I find out missionaries aren´t doing their job. This is the Lord´s time and if you are going to waste it, just go home. Uggh! Also, we had to knock a ton of doors. I love talking to people, but three days of door knocking is not my favorite. I was so happy to come home to Poços on Friday night. 
The rest of the week was ok. It was kind of hard working with the last of the World Cup going on. We watched the game on Saturday and cried a little bit. Come on Brasil! And then on Sunday we stayed at home during the game and studied/ took a nap:) Now that the Cup is over, I am excited to get back to work for reals. Woot!! 
I love you all so much and I am so happy that you had a great time together:) Have a great week!
Sister Whitney

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4th of July 2014

It sounds like everyone had a great time up in Montana. I really missed you guys on the 4th and 5th. Happy birthday B-boy. I cannot believe that you are 12 years old!! Hugs and kisses for everyone.
OUr week was pretty dang crazy. Last P-day we started the long, horrible trip to Piracicaba. I got a little car sick on one of the 6 busses we  took, so that wasn´t my favorite. But i didn´t mind it too much because it´s always fun to travel with Sister Sargent. I will for real cry when one of us gets transfered. 
Our meeting went well. I had to give a talk/training on Elder Bednar´s last conference talk. I was just a lot a bit scared to talk for 10 minutes, in front of President and everyone, and in Portugues. I am pretty fluent now, but when I have to talk in front of a big group it gets a little hard. Luckily it went well and it seemed like everyone understood. The actual meeting was great. We have a new rule now that we have to walk with a Book of Mormon in our hands at all times. I love this rule. It has made me realize how much I love the Book of Mormon and how special it is to me. How cool is it that we have actual proof that the Church of Jesus Cristo was restored? I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share this knowledge with everyone. Yay!!!
We got home from Piracicaba on wednesday and because of the World Cup we had like 3 and a half days to work in our area. I didn´t mind that too much because we had a great lesson with Vanessa. She told us that the Chruch of Jesus Cristo is different from all the other churches she has visited and she believes that everything we teach is true. We invited her to baptism, but she said that she needs to study and prepare more. But I am very hopeful that she will be baptized soon. It is so awesome teaching people prepared by the Lord.
Sunday was my next favorite day. It was fast and testimony meeting and our ward gives the best testimonies. Also, I made 5 months serving in Poços de Caldas. That was pretty cool. Anyways, since I first got here in Poços, I have been teaching a recent convert named Rose. She and her two sons were baptized in January and then her nephew, Bruno, was baptized last month. She is so amazing and seriously the reason all missionaries love their missions so much. Well, she and Bruno were able to go to the Temple for the first time on Saturday and do baptisms for the dead. Then on Sunday they shared their testimonies in Sacrament meeting. 
Rose talked about how she knows the church is true and that she wished she could have been baptized way sooner because the gospel has done so much good in her life. Bruno said that he wants his whole family to learn about the chruch because this is the happiest he has ever been in his life. Sister Sargent and I were in the back row, sobbing, because we were so happy. In the month that Bruno has been baptized, he has received the Priesthood, gone to the temple, and shared his testimony at church. I am SO grateful that I was able to be a part of his journey with the gospel. IF nothing else happy happens in my entire life, I will still have so much happiness in my heart because of this. 
I know that this Church is true. I am an imperfect teacher, I don´t speak portugues perfectly, and still people listen to what we have to say and decide to come unto Cristo. I know that our Savior lives that that He loves us. This IS His gospel and the Book of Mormon IS proof of that. I am so grateful, everyday, for this gospel. THE CHURCH IS TRUE. IF you don´t know this for yourself, read the Book of Mormon, specifically Moroni 10 and then pray about it. I promise you that you will recieve and answer and then you will know too:)
I love you all and i am so grateful for your examples in my life. Have a wonderful week!!!!!
Sister Whitney
After our meeting in Piracicaba. The elder is our old district leader

We saw Sister Padilla on our way back to Poços. We are holding up a rubber lobster that mom sent me in the MTC. We named him Jantar. That means dinner in Portuguese.

(I am going to include Lauren's companion's letter here as well. Her name is Sister Sergent and her Mother and I had lunch together a couple of weeks ago and exchanged e-mail addresses so we can get as much info from our daughters as possible.)

Bom Dia!!!
Todo mundo está bem?? Espero que TODOS vocês estejam super bem! So our week was a little weird, to be honest. We lose SO MUCH TIME in our area as leaders. We went to Piracicaba Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is such an affair to get there and is DEFINITELY my least favorite! But we had a great Leadership Meeting there with President. I spoke French with him...what the heck?! Who knew President spoke French! That was cool. He is so awesome, and so is Sister Canuto. I really love them both so much. I also really love the meetings because I get to see a lot of my friends. Sister Davis, another sister from my MTC district, arrived to Piracicaba on Monday from the states! YEAH, 10 months in the mission and just now arriving to Brazil. Man, we all felt so bad for her. But it was really fun to see her, she seemed to be understanding everything just fine. 
The rest of the week was pretty normal, nothing special to report. We tried to mark a baptism with Vanessa, but she doesn't feel ready yet. Also, FINALLY were able to meet with Fábio again, he is still awesome, yay for that! And he is doing better on the Word of Wisdom. I haven't lost all hope yet. None of our other investigators have anything special to report at the moment.
My boys made it to the semi-finals on Friday, WHOO!! Oh yeah, Happy 4th of July on Friday, everyone. But I was feeling pretty patriotic for Brazil that day. The ref was TERRIBLE and Colombia plays dirty, did anyone watch that?? Neymar got taken out by a guy so bad that it broke his vertebrae. He can't even participate in the rest of the cup, he got injured so badly (which hurts, he is Brazil's best player probably). And the judge didn't even throw a card! Nothing! Que RAIVA! I think we will have a struggle against Alemanha tomorrow, but I think Brazil can do it. Man, I love this country. Have I mentioned that? 

The absolute best part of my week, though, was church meeting on Sunday. It was fast and testimony meeting and Bruno, our recent convert, went up to the front. Sister Whitney and I about fell over dead we were so surprised, he is EXTREMELY shy. But oh my gosh, he is so cute...he went up there and for the first time, I heard him talk about how he knows this church is true. How he was completely lost before finding the church, but how it has completely changed his life and he is grateful for all the changes God is making for him. That he wants to bring all of his family to the church because he knows it is true and he knows the happiness the gospel brings. Sister Whitney and I were on the very back row and it is a good thing, because we started bawling like babies. After the meeting we went up to him to tell him how well he did and he just thanked us profusely for being a part of his finding the church. Gente, missionary work is the BEST! There are no words to express the joy you feel when you have been an instrument in God's hands to help bring people unto Christ. Seriously, no words. Bruno is such an elect. He really turned his life completely around. Stopped drinking and smoking, dropped his friends who were bad, etc. Went to the temple for the first time on Saturday!!!! Also got the Priesthood last week! His aunt says he takes a Book of Mormon with him to work every day to study :) Melted my little heart. He is so pure and good, I am so grateful to have been a part of his story. 
This week will be another weird one. We have a Multizona tomorrow in Pirassununga (where I will see Sister Padilla and Elder Nixon!!! Yayyyyy!) and after that we head to São João to do a THREE DAY DIVISION. Ugh! President specifically called us to ask if we could do a 3 day division with these Sisters. Hmm...something must not be right here, guess we will find out, huh? So basically this means NO TIME in our area again this coming week. Great. Pois é!
I love all of you SO MUCH! I hope you know that. Thank you for your examples. I love the gospel so much. I LOVE IT! It is the thing that means the most to me in this life and it is the thing that brings me the most happiness. And there is definitely nothing greater than bringing it into the life of someone who really needs it and appreciates how valuable and wonderful it is.
Much love,
Sister Sargent