October 24, 2013

Week 11 (21 October 2013)

Oi familia!  Como voces etao!?
Esta semana foi muito boa, e estou muito animada para meu primero batismo Sabado que vem!

Hey family! How are y'all!?
This week was very good, and I am very excited for my first baptism this Saturday!  Our investigator is wonderful!  After only having a Book of Mormon for nine or so days she has the strongest testimony of its truthfulness!  I am so excited for her!  Sister C~ and I are going to sing an EFY song in Portuguese for her baptism (if we find time to practice) and I am stoked!

It has been a pretty hard week because summer arrived (for a few days).  Right now it is raining cats and dogs, but I am sure the sun will be back in full force in no time.  I already have quite the tan line from my watch and my sandals, it is pretty sweet, my hair is also noticeably lighter which I don't mind.  So other than having a very hot sun shining down on us and huge hills to hike below us, all of our awesome pesquisadores moram muito longe de nossa casa.  (Live very far from our house).  But it is all good.  The harder the work, the more blessings we get, right?

We have a couple who I love dearly that sincerely want to be baptized.  It is not easy to change your entire life for the church, to come unto Christ, but they know that it is worth it!  How cool is that!?

This week we painted a house, it won't let me upload the picture, but I will try and mail it eventually.  It was the house of one of our investigators, T~.  We showed up to teach her a lesson, but she was painting so we borrowed some old t-shirts from her and painted in our skirts.  It was a lot of fun and I have the paint on my skirt to prove it.  Haha.

It was Sister C~'s birthday this week so we went to an all you can eat pizzeria with a recent convert and the other Sisters that we live with.  All I am going to say is that I ate my money's worth.  The pizza here is SO GOOD! I like it more than American pizza. . . (there isn't red sauce, they mix it up more.)

We had our first English class and it was a success.  Three kids from one of the families we teach showed up and were ready to learn.  I am excited to teach this Saturday too!

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Amo voces!
-Sister Phelps

October 14, 2013

Week 10 (14 October 2013)

We have a lot of wonderful investigators who are seeking the truth, and guess what, WE HAVE IT!  The hardest part so far is getting them to church on Sunday.  We have many people wanting to be baptized and learn more about the Gospel, but if they aren't going to church they technically aren't progressing, so that has been a little frustrating, but all in the Lord's timing.

Okay, to answer your questions . . .

-Water bottles: all of the houses have filters, the one in our apartment is one of the best they have around, so the Mission President is looking out for us, don't worry.  I don't drink the water except the water from our apartment in a water bottle that I always have with me.

-Exercise:  My companion and I both want to lose weight, so we do abs, cardio, and strength building exercises every morning and at night if we aren't already dead from scaling the hills of Panambi.

-Scripture Study:  One hour of personal scripture study every morning is not nearly enough... Every day I read my patriarchal blessing, read the Book of Mormon in English for about 20 minutes, read ) Livro de Mormon for 30 minutes, and then study either Pregar Meu Evangelho or General Conference talks.  I am trying to figure-out the best method for learning, but the trick is to be thinking about my investigators the entire time.

-Sundays:  I love Sundays!  We had 24 people in church this week!  Wahoo!  Our goal is to get 50 by December, so we have a lot of work to do, but I am so ready.  We have Sunday School combined first as people trickle in, then we split into classes.  There is a class for new members and investigators, which is usually most of the congregation and then the normal adult Sunday School class.  We don't have many youth or kids, but that should change soon.  Do you remember that story that Thomas S. Monson told about the branch in Canada?  How they had to build it up slowly with great faith in order to get a chapel?  Well, that story is Panambi.  I love it here.  The members and even the less-actives are wonderful!  They have such strong testimonies and sometimes just need that little extra boost to get back on the right track.

-My area:  I am not sure how large our area is, but from our house to one end is 40 minutes walking, and the other is a little more than that, and of course our investigators that are the most ready live as far from us as possible on different sides of the map.  Haha.  I am going to get a lot of sun and exercise in Panambi.

-What do I eat?:  Everything.  In our house I try to only eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.  It is hard but I really want to be as healthy as possible as I do this work for the Lord.  For lunch at member's houses we have rice, black beans, vegetables, and some type of pudding like dessert.  It is all good, so it is easy to overeat, but watching portions and eating slowly is the way to go.

Thank you! I love you so much! You are always in my prayers!
-Sister Phelps

October 9, 2013

Week 9 (7 October 2013)

This weekend was amazing!!  I love General Conference so much and am so motivated to get this missionary work rolling faster and faster, as everyone should be!  One saying that three different speakers in conference used has really helped me in the past few weeks to get through the mission, and as Elder Holland said in his talk last General Conference (April 2013) that this saying helped President Hinckley through his mission as well is "Be not afraid, only believe."  How powerful.  This saying can apply to any aspect of our lives and in each minute of our lives because we all struggle with something.  Everyday my testimony is tried and often doubts form in my mind about aspects of the Gospel, or of my ability to do this divine work that I have been called to do here in Brazil.  Each time I remember these things. . . "Be not afraid, only believe," I have a loving Heavenly Father who is eagerly waiting my return and is watching over me every second of everyday, and I have been given the power to do this work and have been set apart by the power of God on the earth today, the Priesthood. 

Each of us is here on earth for a reason, we have already chosen to follow the plan of salvation and knew, even before we were born, that this life would not be easy.  But in order to become like our loving Father in Heaven it had to be done.  I am so grateful to be a missionary and I believe that the Lord will bless me with the gift of tongues more abundantly if I erase my doubts and only believe. 

One other quote that I love from conference was from President Uchtdorf.  He said, "Please brothers and sisters, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."  I know this church is true.  We have been blessed with a knowledge of the gospel where so many of our brothers and sister have not.  SHARE IT WITH THEM!  You can do it! It is never going to be easy, but will be worth it!

This week was interesting.  Many of our investigators have been struggling to understand the concept of apostasy and the need for a restoration.  Many of our appointments have fallen through, and my companion had the flu on Friday, but all is well.  We were able to come to Cruz Alta (about 45 minutes from Panambi) to watch conference, and luckily they had it in English for the Americans.  Our little branch rented a bus on Sunday and came to join us in Cruz Alta.  Not many were able to come, but those who came were truly strengthened.  That is one thing I took for granted growing up where the church is more prevalent.  We have three young women, zero young men, and two primary children, but the work is moving forward. 

So. . . I thought that being on a mission would help me get better at being on time to things, but as Sister C~ and I sprint to the bus stop (every time) and barely make it I am forced to rethink things.  Haha.  Sister C~ is hilarious and I hope that as I get better at speaking Portuguese that we can become better friends.  It truly is a miracle that I can understand so much Portuguese for the short time I have been out.  And actually today marks 2 months in the mission.  CRAZY huh!?

I am loving it though! 

I love you so much!  Have a great week!

-Sister Phelps