February 26, 2014

Week 28 (24 February 2014)

Como se diz... everything fell through. haha.  This week was rough, but it's all good.

Segunda- We split Camobi last week with the other dupla in our area which has been a blessing. (Smaller area means less walking).  We ended-up teaching one of our star investigators name J~ and his wife M~.  He is wonderful and is searching for the truth.  He has already read the Book of Mormon and believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but he is waiting for an answer from God.  he usually has dreams when he receives answers so it has been hard to help him realize that the Lord answers our prayers through other ways as well.  He is great and I have high hopes that he will get baptized in March!

Terca- Sister M~ was really sick today.  We ended up walking to the hospital so that she could do some tests.  It's nothing severe, don't worry.  It is such a blessing that our bishop and his wife are doctors.  :)

Quarta- We went to the most dangerous part of Camobi today (well we are there almost everyday) and we had two really important lessons planned.  We had collaborated with an irmao of the church to meet us there, but is was already 20 minutes after the time that we had planned and he wasn't there yet.  We started to get really nervous because everyone here tells us that we should not go to that neighborhood (ghetto) late at night, but it is the only time that our pesquisadores are at home.  As we began to walk to another investigator because we couldn't enter that neighborhoods alone, a member appeared out of nowhere and we were able to teach both of the families and have some great spiritual experiences.

Quinta- We taught R~ today.  She is 19 and super cool.  Her house is really nice and organized.  As we taught her I could feel the spirit so strongly and so could she.  It was awesome!  The spirit is more likely to manifest itself when we are in a calm, quiet, clean, organized environment.

Sexta- One of our investigators (V~), who is an energetic old lady, was almost baptized last year and we found her through the Area Book.  She is very silly, and likes to get off topic during our lessons.  We decided to take control of the lessons and we spoke with more authority and used pictures while we were teaching and the lesson went perfectly and she retained nearly everything that we taught her.  She is also having some health problems so we brought an irmao to her house that night because she wanted a blessing.  It was wonderful to see her feel the spirit and see her faith in the blessing that she received.

Sabado- So, one of the converts of Sister M~ and Sister F~ (I took her place here) had her first talk in sacrament meeting this week and wanted to read us her talk.  It was PERFECT.  It is amazing to see that she is truly converted to the gospel and is trying to understand every aspect of the church.  That is what the mission is all about!

Domingo- The talk was great and so was gospel principles.  Love that class. After church we had been invited for "coffee" at a less-active member's house.  It ended up being her 90 year old mother and aunt there waiting for us with coffee.  Yeah, awkward.  Luckily we got around it and said that we love strawberry tea, so she made us some of that instead.  (only black tea is against the word of wisdom here.)  It was so cute seeing these two 90 year old sisters interact, hehe.  You really don't need TV on the mission.

I love you all and pray for you always.

Amo, amo, amo voces!
-Sister Phelps

Week 27 (17 February 2014)

It was a great week!  Wahoo!  The mission is AMAZING and my companion is the bomb!

Segunda- We got invited to a family home evening with a part-member family, a less-active member, and a recent convert.  First miracle, we didn't have to set-up anything.  This is the perfect example of member missionary work, helping to strengthen the ward and letting the missionaries get involved.  Everyone should do this, plan a FHE and invite friends, less-actives, and (of course) the missionaries.

Terca- The mom (C~) of a recent convert in the ward said that she would be willing to take our lessons.  She is the sweetest lady, but is a little confused about priesthood and the importance of having the actual authority of God in order to baptize, etc.  It was a very frustrating lesson because she said that she knows that the church is true, but then went on to say that she also believes that the Catholic church is true, and so on.  We still love her as if she were family, but it is so sad when someone is this close to the truth, but doesn't understand one IMPORTANT aspect of the restoration.  We will keep working with her and hopefully get somewhere eventually.  :)

Quarta- We ate lunch with a member that I hadn't met before and her cute little girl.  During the entire meal the little girl sang primary songs and told us the story of Branca de Neve (Snow White) at least ten time.  She made our day. Hehe.

Quinta- We had a lesson with a student at the university here in Santa Maria (Camobi).  Her name is Paula and she is very special.  She is very strong in her church, but has curiosity in what others believe.  After we sang a hymn to start out the lesson she asked if she could sing a hymn.  It was super cute that she was so open to share with us her faith.  She also shared a scripture with us.  We are going to teach her again on Wednesday, so we will see what happens.  She is so special though.  :) Love her.

Sexta- DAY OF MIRACLES1  We had 9 obvious miracle happen to us today.  It was great.  The Lord put person after person in our path (sometimes literally) today and I know that a lot of good will come from today.

Sabado- V~ and R~ are perfect.  They have been LEGALLY married for 16 years (which is rare) and have a 15 year old son.  I have never heard an investigator ask so many inspired/perfect questions during a lesson before, such as "how does God chose/call His prophets?"  They are amazing.

Domingo- out of time...

Please keep in your prayers these people that I have the opportunity to teach.  Thanks for all of the support!  Love you all!

Te amo.
-Sister Phelps

I got the package from the ward!  It was AMAZING!  Tell everyone thank you SO MUCH!

[ I asked Sarah the following week what had happened on Domingo of this week and she responded with the following. -Mom Phelps
"Last week we were able to teach a woman named M~.  She has two siblings who were baptized in 2007 and that is how we found her.  She is AMAZING!  She is already a grandma, but goes on runs every morning and has the body of a 30 year old.  She is super duper awesome because she has done all of the reading, praying, and other commitments that we have left with her so far.  She is so humble and was so excited when we taught her "the right way to pray."  Keep her in your prayers we are going to invite her to be baptized this week.  :)" ]

February 11, 2014

Week 26 (10 February 2014)

Segunda- We taught an older gentleman today who is very interesting.  He told us a story about how he saw Jesus and yeah, everything he says is very out-of-the-ordinary.  One thing that he said stuck with me though.  He has been baptized in 6 or 7 different churches and as he was explaining this he said, "I got baptized to enter into the church."  It helped me remember or realize that many people think they know what baptism is for, but they truly don't understand.  We are not baptized to enter into a church, but to enter into the kingdom with a knowledge that we are clean and are worthy to enter into the presence of God.

Terca- We had gotten a reference a couple of weeks ago of a man who is from Chile (because my companion is from Chile and she wanted to meet this family.)  We ended up on their street tonight and clapped our hands after saying a quick prayer that we could have a spiritual experience with them and that they would be home.  To our delight the dad (who is Chileano) opened the door and let us in.  C~ is an awesome guy.  He is one of the smartest people that I have every met, but he does not believe in God.  He is the second atheist that I have met in Brasil and it is so interesting to hear perspective on things.  His wife believes in God and so do his kids, but this should be an interesting adventure teaching an atheist.  I don't even know where to begin. haha.

Quarta- We had rain! In the middle of the day that cooled off the air for a few hours.  It was perfect!

Quinta- We stopped at the house of a less active woman, but she wasn't home so we started talking to her daughter.  The daughter didn't seem very interested in our conversation, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man (about 18) sitting on the porch listening to what we were saying.  Finally, after 5 minutes he got up and slowly started walking towards us (trying to do it sneakily as to not draw attention to himself).  He finally walked up to the front gate where we had been talking and asked us random, but awesome questions about the church.  He seemed really interested so we taught him a quick lesson and marked a return appointment.  Is it sad that when I am teaching youth I can already picture them with a missionary badge. haha.

Sexta- We had a really great Conferencia da Zona today.  One of the themes of the conference was the importance of challenging/inviting our investigators to keep commitments.   If they are not changing something in their lives then they are not being converted.  We could teach them every lesson perfectly, but if they aren't applying them in their lives them the missionaries and the investigators are wasting their time.

Sabado- This one is the BEST story, but I ran out of time so I will share it next week.  Ta bom?

Love you all!  Te amo!
-Sister Phelps

Week 25 (3 February 2014)

So, I LOVE CAMOBI!  Everyone in the mission talks about how perfect this area is because it truly is awesome!  The members are all practically full-time missionaries and I have learned so much from them.

Segunda- Sister G~ and I defrosted the freezer.  It took HOURS and I have some sweet pictures to send y'all.  The mission is really practice for the rest of your life.  Love it.

Terca- Our investigator who was closest to baptism tried to cut us today (not have us visit her anymore).  It was super sad, but in the end she said that we could still go and visit her every once and a while (for us that means that nothing has changed... haha.)  She is an older woman whose husband is very Catholic and she is torn between being baptized and sticking with her husband as a Catholic.  As missionaries our plan is to baptized both of them, but we'll see what happens.  :)

Quarta- We ate lunch with a Sister in the ward who is wonderful.  I want to be her when I grow-up.  She served a mission, got married in the temple, and is about to have their first baby.  She was showing us all of the pictures from her mission and it helped me remember why I am here and how many people are waiting to hear about the Gospel.  She and her husband are both the only members in their families.  Aww, I love them.

Quinta- We spent nearly three hours at the house of a woman who has been inactive for many years because of gossip in the ward.  It is so sad, she said that she knows the church is true and that she is trying to teach her kids about Jesus and the Gospel, but she will not go to church.  It breaks my heart to know that there are probably tons of members who are in her same boat, who love the church, but don't feel comfortable.  We are going to keep working with her, but situations like this are complicated.

Sexta- We were trying to find an old investigator in the Area Book and ended up teaching their neighbor instead.  He is an old man who knows so much about the Bible and had super awesome questions and insights. (Unfortunately I am not a pro, yet, when it comes to the Bible, but I'm working on it.)  At one point I know that I needed to testify and bring the Spirit to our lesson because he kept going off on random tangents.  As clearly and quickly as possible I taught the entire first lesson and have never felt the Spirit so strongly while I was teaching as I did at that moment.  The gift of tongues is real, the Holy Ghost will always help us, and all we have to do is be worthy to receive it and then follow the promptings that he gives.

Sabado- This week I had a really cool experience.  My companion and I had walked 45 minutes to an appointment with some old investigators.  After walking in the hot sun with sunscreen dripping into my eyes and my feet burning up (all this while fasting) they weren't home.  But, as all good missionaries we had back up plans... that all fell through too.  So we sat down on a bench on the side of the road and brainstormed about the rest of our day.  As we sat there I turned around and saw a woman sitting at a bench a few feet away from us.  As we got up to leave I had one of the strongest impressions that I have ever had telling me that we needed to talk to her.  Right as I had that thought Sister M~ said, "Onde nossos eleitos estao?" (which means, where are the elect that we are supposed to baptize?)  I knew in that instant that we were standing a few feet away from one.  I told Sister M~ about how I was feeling and we walked over there.  "Tudo bem," I said and as usual she replied, "tudo bem," but then went on to say, no, everything is not alright, and told us all her problems with family, work, etc.  She then told us that there had been other sisters visiting her at one point and we got her address and invited her to church.  I KNOW that God put A~ in our path and I'm sure that she felt a though her prayers for comfort had been answered.  It was great.  This is what the mission is all about.

Domingo- We didn't have any investigators in sacrament meeting which is always a bummer, but our meeting with the ward mission leader went really well and we planned some awesome activities (we will have a missionary related activity every month).  I love being in a ward. :)

Overall it was a good week.  I am so happy to be out in the field e eu vou fazer 6 meses de missao esta semana! (I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to say that in English)... sorry.

Te amo!
-Sister Phelps
The fridge adventure...

Week 24 (27 January 2014)

I have not learned to love flies or cockroaches, but I have not seen any cockroaches in my new apartment so our relationship is getting better.  Good thing that I am not afraid of critters (as long as they aren't on me) because Brasil is full of them.

Things in Camobi are going great!  I am loving Sister M~!  She is wonderful and we get along great.  It is a different feel that we have in our companionship because we are both learning from each other and it is less like I am the junior and she is the senior.  The ward here is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!  I feel like I am in the states again because we have a beautiful chapel, people have cars to pick up the less-actives and investigators, there is a Bishopric, and families of members who are willing to help us with anything and everything.  We have a few investigators that have great potential to be baptized this transfer and are praying constantly to find a family to baptize.  I know that it's possible and am excited to work here in Camobi!  We have an entire street of people who are inactive and are working with them as though they are investigators because most people who go inactive never were truly converted and need a push to read the Book of Mormon and pray to receive answers.  It is such a good feeling to see people discover the church, to see them receive answers and recognize the influence of the Spirit.

Segunda- It was just a normal p-day and I was able to get all of my bags packed by 11 (yes I had to stay-up past curfew. There was no other way).  It was a miracle that I finished that early and was able to get some good rest.

Terca- Camobi, here I come!  We had a 3 hour bus ride and got here in time for lunch.  Lunch was wonderful and we were able to teach 5 lessons, one was an investigator (D~) who is progressing little by little, but I can already tell that it is going to be a struggle helping her understand the need for a restoration. That is usually the problem though.

Quarta- We are teaching an Aula de Ingles here as well (Sister G~ and I again.)  I just had a deja vu, that was weird.  Anyways, today two of our investigators came (M~ and M~) a mother and daughter.  M~ is 9 and LOVES English.  She is super smart and I am hoping that she will like the story of the restoration.

Quinta- We taught a man this afternoon who had been taught by five or six other pairs of missionaries, he is very old and it is very sad because half of his face doesn't move.  He said that many of his neighbors are scared to talk to him because of the way he looks, but he loves talking to the missionaries because they don't judge him.  He is super sweet and I hope that we can help him and his family join the church. :)

Sexta- So today we visited the mom (M~) who came to Aula de Ingles today.  As we walked in the door we know that we were in trouble because she had three or four books on religion open and marked on the table.  We sat down and before we could get a word out she began reading a part in one of the books about how Mormons can only be white people (and I was sitting next to a Chilean who is not white) and a ton of other misconceptions about the church.  As we explained it to her she began sharing her philosophies about reincarnation and oh man, a whole bunch of stuff.  We explained it as simply and quickly as possible and said a closing prayer.  Ai ai.  She gave us fresh grapes afterwards, but I was still in shock a little bit.  Neither of us remember what we said because we let the Spirit do the talking, but it was a good learning experience.

Sabado- We had ANOTHER Noite da Pizza and it went well.  Looks like I am going to be making pizza through out my entire mission... Good thing I like pizza.  Oh and today I tried making brownies and somehow I put cervada (it is a substitute for coffee that everyone in the church drinks here) in the brownies instead of cocoa powder.  They ended up tasting good, but it was super funny.

Domingo- I LOVE CAMOBI!  The ward is wonderful and i am excited to work here with these members who are so wiling to help!  It is going to be a good transfer!  We ran into a very special family that I will have to tell you about next week.

Amo voces! Ficar firmes!

-Sister Phelps