July 14, 2014

Week 48 (14 July 2014)

Well, I accidentally left my lifeline (my planner) at home, so I am a little lost. (That little book is my brain on the mission.) I don´t remember everything that happened this week, but I do have a story to tell.
Sometimes on the mission you meet GOLDEN INVESTIGATORS. In Portuguese we say that they are "eleitos" or the elect of God. But anyway, it is every missionaries goal, dream, objective to find these people who the Lord has been preparing to find the truth and you get to be a part of their journey to find the truth. So, how do you know when you have found a golden investigator? What are some of the signs? I´ll share a few.

- It is usually a miracle that they are home when you knock on their door because you have already gone to their house many times to teach them and no one was home. (You have to be persistent in these circumstances).

-There is usually bad weather outside, a crazy dog that wants to eat you in the front of their house, or you can´t find the address.

-When you finally get in the lesson there are at least three major distractions that could be one of the following... dogs, cats, birds, crying babies, screaming toddlers, loud neighbors, food, television, an 80 year old person that says things randomly that have nothing to do with the lesson... etc.

-You say the opening prayer and then a scripture comes to your mind that you haven´t thought about in a while and you feel like you should share it.

-They pay attention to every word that you say and seem very interested.

-You see their eyes light up when they hear things that they didn't know before (that we have a prophet today, that there is another book of scripture other than the Bible, that families can be together forever, that we lived with God before our life on earth began... etc.)

-They have the perfect answer to every question that you ask or at least try to answer. They also ask questions when they aren't understanding something or if they are just curious to know more.
-They say the closing prayer and thank God for sending the missionaries to them. (Doesn't always happen, but is even more of a sign that they are ready.)

-When you mark a day to come back they look excited to learn more and are excited to read what you left with them. (their homework)

-When you go back they did their homework and sometimes a little extra. They have questions and want to go to church.

THIS ladies and gentlemen is a golden investigator. C~ is one of them. She is 13 and is perfect. In May Sister L~ and I were teaching an older couple and M~ (C~'s grandma) stopped by to talk to them. We got her address and planned to go visit her that week. We went by her house a few times and NO ONE was home. We ended-up forgetting about her until last week. We were trying to find new investigators and I found her name in my old planner. We went to her house and she said she didn't have time so we planned to go back the next day. We went back and she wasn't home so we talked to her daughter and marked to go back the next day. Well, the next day it was raining cats and dogs. Seriously, talk about rain. Three sisters, one small umbrella, one broken umbrella, a super muddy road and a mission to complete.
We arrived at their house SOAKING wet. C~ was there with her grandma (M~). We said the opening prayer over the noise of her loud little brother and the dogs barking outside. When we finished the prayer I opened straight to 2 Nephi 32:9 about prayer. We talked to her about the importance of prayer and how it can help us. She shared an experience that she had had and then began asking about when we had church meetings. I then did something I don't usually do and explained to her about the Book of Mormon. When I did that something about her eyes changed, there was a spark. She wanted to read that book. I didn't even have to ask. She said the closing prayer and thanked God for sending us. It was great. She said that she wanted to go to church and was super excited when I gave her a Book of Mormon.
So... After you find these people and know who they are Satan does too and he does everything he can to stop them from finding the truth. We stopped by her house to see why she didn't go to church and she told us the that her mom said she cannot switch religions, she cannot talk to us anymore, and she cannot even visit the church. When C~ told us this I almost cried. She said that her mom doesn't understand her. C~ is so open to learn more, try new things, and her mom is [not]. Hopefully a miracle will happen and something will change her mind.
These people are out there. There are people READY to be baptized, READY to accept the gospel, and it is our job to find them at any cost. That is what being a missionary (and a member) of the Church of Jesus Christ is all about. I know this church is true and that it has the power to change lives. Let's share it with others.

Com amor,
Sister Phelps

July 8, 2014

Week 46 (30 June 2014)

I´m still enjoying being a kid... haha.

Well, this week was pretty slow. Not sure what it was, maybe the cold weather, constant rain, or the World Cup, but it was really hard for us to find people to teach. We made progress with [a sister we are teaching]. She was also a lot more open with us. Let us know how she´s feeling about all this and told us some spiritual experiences that she has had. It was a wonderful lesson. We found-out about transfers on Saturday and changes have been made. The two sisters who Sister L~ and I were living with are on their way home and finished their missions. It was sad to see them go this morning. So what happens now? I will stay in Itachere and Sister L~ will work in the Ramo Centro and take-over for the other sisters. We will both TRAIN! Yes folks, I will get to train a new little missionary and am super excited. We get to go to Santa Maria for training tomorrow and pick-up our companions Wednesday. I am super excited! (and a little scared..) but I know that the Lord will bless and help me to be a good trainer. :)  This will be a fun week! Sorry I didn't write more. I love you all and am grateful for the love an support! Oh, and have a great 4th of July!!
Com amor,
Sister Phelps

July 7, 2014

Week 45 (23 June 2014)

Segunda- There is deaf woman in our ward named E~. She invited us over to her house to get to know her better and help her dad, who is  a member. We went over there and were able to learn libras (Portuguese sign language) pretty well. It is super funny because her dad is practically deaf too, but has never learned libras so we have to yell to talk to him. It was interesting when we left a thought with them.

Terca- There was another Brasil game today so we went to the chapel and watched "Mountains of the Lord." It is a really good film about the building of the Salt Lake temple. If you haven´t watched it yet, I would recommend it.

Quarta- Our lunch fell through today, but the Elders' investigators offered to make us lunch. We helped too, but it was so wonderful that they are so willing to help us last minute.

Quinta- There was a huge activity in the chapel today for our branch and almost everyone was there. It was a huge success and we were able to feel the unity of the branch growing as the members interacted together.

Sexta- We met an "elect" today. He is wonderful and was so ready for the gospel. We went to teach our investigator C~ and M~, his friend, was there. We began teaching about the plan of salvation and M~ had so many doubts and questions that we were able to answer that he got super excited to learn more. All of his family is super strong in another church so we won´t be able to teach him at his house, but we will continue to teach him at Charles' house.

Sabado- We left a message with a family in the ward who has been struggling and I was able to use example and quotes from [General] Conference that I had been studying to help them. It was wonderful to see how the spirit can bring things to our remembrance.

Domingo- F~ went to church today and was able to get a blessing to help. It was great to see her put her faith in action. 

Well I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Te amo,
Sister Phelps

Week 44 (16 June 2014)

Segunda- Normal p-day.

Terca- We are working with an investigator that we have been teaching since I got here. The only problem is that she feels as though she hasn´t received a clear answer that the Book of Mormon is true. We made tons of progress today because she realized that there are things she is still doing that maybe aren´t allowing her to feel an answer. We are praying a lot for her and know that she will receive an answer soon enough.

Quarta- We are helping our recent converts start family history and as we were talking to them, their mom began telling stories that they had never heard before about when they were little and when she was younger. It was cool to see how excited they got to hear about the past.

Quinta- THE WORLD CUP started today and it was Elder C~´s (21st) birthday and the equivelant to Valentine´s Day here. It was a busy day...

Sexta- There is a little boy named A~ whose dad we are [working with] and his mom isn´t baptized yet. We went to visit them and I tried to say goodbye and shake his hand and he refused to. He didn´t want us to leave and started crying. It was super cute. Aww.

Sabado- We are helping a family of less-active members. The boy in the family is active, but the mom and two sisters aren´t. The youngest sister just turned 12 and [is nervous] to go to Young Womens. It is a little weird, but she is shy and doesn´t want change. The young women´s group here is so wonderful that she will fall in love with all the girls when she starts going.

Domingo- SO, remember the boy who cried when we left, his dad has been inactive for a long time. He surprised us and came to church! It was a wonderful surprise and one that we weren´t expecting. We are going to start working more with him and his family.

Week 42 (2 June 2014)

Well, this week was a little slow, but in the end we had GREAT, FANTASTIC, SPECTACULAR results. :)

Segunda- We went to contact the friend of a member today. Well, she isn´t really the member´s friend, but a classmate that she has talked to a few times. We did an activity with A~ (the member) where she said a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to bring to her mind people who she knows who could hear the gospel. She put down Y~´s name. (the contact). We talked to Y~ and her mom (S~) and it was a great lesson. They were really sweet and offered to let us return the next day. 

Terca- The Lord truly knows each one of us. We found C~´s name in our Area Book the first week that we got to São Borja and have knocked on her door I don´t know how many times, but she was never home. Today we had other plans, but Sister L~ and I felt that we needed to go to her house. We knocked three times and finally someone opened the door. It was C~ and she was in desperate need of peace. Her daughter had gone to the hospital two hours earlier and was having serious problems. We taught about faith and repentance and the atonement. It was a great lesson and everyone was feeling the Spirit. Unfortunately she works a lot so it may be hard to teach her, but we are going to try. 

Quarta- I wasn´t feeling too well today so we didn´t get much done unfortunately, but it´s all good.

Quinta- Sister S~ (our Sister training leader) came and visited today. We taught one of our investigators who wants to be baptized but has some [concerns] and she wants to know that The Book of Mormon is true! It was a great lesson.

Sexta- SO this entire week we have been going to the V~ family´s house to teach R~, J~, and J~ (and A~ who is actually the Elder´s investigator). [They] were interviewed for their baptisms today and passed!! Wahoo!

Sabado!!- BAPTISMS! It was such a great day!! R~, J~, AND A~ were BAPTIZED!! It was so special because almost all of their family members are coming back to the church for a long time. Their grandma, who was the first member of their family to join the church passed away a while back and you could feel that she was there watching the baptism. Because of her all of the family now have their eyes focused on the temple and the youth want to serve missions. WAHOO!!! (Oh and there were 41 people at the baptismal service!)

Domingo- We missed the bus, had to call a taxi, she charged us way more than normal, but it was all good because we got to the chapel in time for the confirmations and the sacrament. After church we had a great big lunch (because that´s the big meal in Brazil instead of dinner) at the V~´s house. It was wonderful. There were tons of people there and we got to help cook a little. Man, I love that family. :)

Well, I love you. Thanks for everything fam!

Com muito amor,
Sister Phelps

Week 41 (26 May 2014)

Segunda´- all of my photos since the CTM were deleted because of a virus the got into my SD card... I took it to get fixed and they ran ever test that they could and revived NOTHING... I have learned my lesson. 

Terca- We were teaching our youth who are going to be baptized on the 31st of May (oh and A~ too, but she is the Elder´s investigator). As we were ending the lesson A~´s mom asked if we wanted to watch a video of when A~ was a baby. So we went into their house and SURPRISE! They had planned an early surprise party for me. They made me give a speech and I cried... They had balloons and a cake with 21 on the top. It was wonderful. :)

Quarta- All of our plans fell through, but we taught the youth again and they are progressing. They really want to learn more and are trying to help their family members come back to the church. (I have more in the letter that I sent you about last week. Sorry it will take a while to get there.)

Quinta- I AM 21! I can´t believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!! We had two parties. One at Sister S~'s house (Pres of the Relief Society). She made a chocolate cake that was out of this world and the best tea that I have ever tasted. (apple with cinnamon and cloves.) After that we had a family night with a less-active member and she made us dinner (which I ate even though I was already full, and CAKE again.) It was a great day, but it is the first birthday that I wasn´t looking forward too. Growing-up stinks sometimes. Now I understand the thoughts behind Peter Pan.

Sexta- Everything fell through, but we are getting lots of member referrals and will start working with them ASAP.

Sabado- It is freeeeeeezing cold outside. Seriously. Being in the street all-day is not fun in the cold. haha. But the blessings will come. (Cold in May is super hard to get used to.)

Domingo- Well, all of our little kiddos that will get baptized on Saturday were at church and one even brought her boyfriend. It was a great day and we had a Family Home Evening with 30 people!
I love you all! Thanks for all of the support that yáll send my way. Amo voces bastante e vou continuar fazendo meu melhor no trabalho do Senhor.

Com amor,
Sister Phelps