June 2, 2014

Oi Família!

This was a week of much travelling and little work. We worked Tuesday, Wednesday, then took off to Manaus Thursday. Sister Lucero never got to talk to her mom, and it was pretty rough on her, so I called our Sister Training Leaders and asked if there was anyway that we could try calling her mom in Manaus since we had a conference for Friday anyway. Manaus has good internet, Manacapuru, no. They talked to President Klein, and he approved us to go to the area of our STLs Thursday to do an exchange there and for Sister Lucero to talk to her mom. Guess where our STLs are working? In my old area! Well, not really, but in an area that is part of the same city as Nova Canaã. Our boundries are so close that it was basically the same area. So I got to "go home" for a bit Thursday as we waited for the Sisters to show up from another exchange they had been doing the day before. I stopped by Irmã Nira´s and got to talk to her. It was good to see some of the people that I left behind and to see that they are all doing better after everything that happened. I still haven´t explained all of that, but it´s a long story, so I´ll have to tell it after the mission.

I stayed with Sister Crane while we were there, and we didn´t do any work. Not because we were lazy, but we both got sick. I had a sore throat when I woke up Thursday morning, and it hurt hurt hurt! But I didn´t say anything to Sister Lucero, because I wanted her to get to talk to her mom, so I just took ibprofen and didn´t talk until it kicked in. By 5 pm, the drugs had worn off and I was hurting a lot. I couldn´t even swallow! And Sister Crane was experiencing the wonderful world of the runs. We didn´t stay very far away from the bathroom. BUT Sister Lucero got to talk to her mom, so it was worth it :) It was a good day, minus the pain.

We went to the last mission conference with President Klein on Friday. It was really emotional... We´re all going to miss President and Sister Klein a lot. Everyone ended up crying. I had a pretty cool experience in the end with President Klein too. The whole time I´ve been in Brasil, I wasn´t sure how he felt about me. At the end of the conference, he and Sister Klein wanted to shake all of our hands, and they had to do it fast. President Klein was blowing through all the Sisters, shaking hands fast, giving a smile and saying "Te amo!" But when he got to me, his smile exploded and he took my hand and said, "Sister, you are working so well. I am so proud of you. Your work is perfect. I love you." 

I told him something that probably only has significace for a few people. "Presidente, eu curei na missão." He started to cry, and did a weird jerking movement, and I realized he was about to hug me. He froze, pulled back, then said, "Algum dia eu vou te abracar Sister." Someday I´ll hug you Sister.

That was probably the moment that I needed most in my mission. To realize that my Mission President is proud of me and loves me. It was really special to me.

Then I went to the hospital. Again. Sister Klein sent me becaues of my throat. To be honest, it was hurting so bad that I wanted to die. When we got to the hospital, I was admitted really quickly, and it was so nice to talk to a doctor that was from São Paulo. He was a lot more polite and and acutally asked me if I wanted to be shot up with drugs or just recieve a paper that told me to take more ibprofen. I still have bruises from the last week, so I told him I just wanted the paper, and he laughed. I just have a nasty virus is all. yaya for a painless hospital visit!

We had to stay the night in Manau because it was so late, and the real reason why I had to go to the hospital for basically nothing showed up there. One of the Sisters there has a problem in her foot that didn´t show up until the mission, and it´s been really hard for her this transfer, because she can´t walk very well. With all the stuff that happened with my hip, I was able to help her, and I was able to give her a few exercises to do that wouldn´t stress out the muscle but could help with the pain, and I gave her my RockTape since I never use it. She told me that she was close to going home because she was feeling really depressed, but with our help she was feeling like she could keep going on. Sister Lucero and I were able to help her a lot, and it felt good.

I´m still sick, but slowly getting better. The bad part about catching a virus is how tired your body gets. But I´m learning how to have patience. We had 4/8 investigators that showed up to church yesterday because of the help of members! I almost cried. I was feeling terrible because of the lack of work we were able to do, but the Lord really blesses us if we are doing everything that we can. The work that we are doing here is increadible, because the members are so involved. I was able to see that this week, because even though I was sick and we couldn´t do much, the members still passes the houses of our investigators and helped them progress. They almost don´t need missionaries here... President Klein said in the conference that one of the apostles spoke in a training last week, and he said that many members recieve missionaries in their ward, but don´t deserve them. This certianly isn´t the case here. I am so blessed to be in this area! Maybe I´ll get lucky and be able to stay one more transfer since we´re getting a new President and everything... Hm. Bora a ver :)

Love you all! Hope that you´re all doing well still. Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Moyle

May 26, 2014

Oi Família! 

This week was interesting. Lets start with P-day. Everyone loves the new chapel, especially the quadra... Um. It´s like an outdoor gym. Anyway. We decided to invite people to play basketball at 4 pm. I decided to play, since nobody knows how to play basketball in Brasil anyway. That was a mistake. Everyone started to get really competitive, except for us missionaries. I started thinking about leaving the game for safety, but I decided to wait just another 5 minutes. Logo depois, I jumped to intercept the ball, and just as my fingers touched it, I felt a huge body slam into mine, and I went flying. I first fell to the ground, then slid until I hit my right hand on the wall, followed by my head, followed by the rest of my body. I have never hurt so bad in my life. But I got up, acted like it was nothing (because the kids that pushed me felt terrible), played a little bit more, then went inside to asses the damage. My hand was pretty cut up and jammed, and my head had a good sized lump growing on it. So, that was cool. I´ve decided to never play basketball again during the mission. It´s like the kids lose their heads here and just make a beeline for the ball and forget that our bodies can break.

Because of that, I had a pretty good headache going on all week. Tuesday, we traveled to Manaus for a Zone Training, then Wednesday we did a split with our Sister Training Leaders. It was so nice to be able to tackle so much work again. Thursday, we did weekly planning, taught some more people, and I took medicine to get through my headache. Friday was awesome :) We went to the Cartorio again and put together another wedding! Elder Tejerina and I got to be witnesses and sign the legal documents and everything. It was pretty special. Afterwards, Sister Lucero and I did another split with 2 ladies to tackle all the work we had to do. My head was pounding, and I wasn´t feeling well, but since we had so much to do, I didn´t say anything to anyone. I had a headache for the whole week anyway, so this wasn´t any different, right? We went to work, and it was pretty cool to be able to help this young woman prepare for her mission. (She´s waiting for her call to show up) We did a lot of work, and I started to feel worse and worse... Luckily, my companion is also the seminary teacher, so we had to go back to the chapel at 5:30. 

We got there, and I sat down, and that´s when I knew I had something seriously wrong. I was freezing cold, and everone else was sweating and complaning of the heat. I couldn´t sit up straight in the chair, and I was short on air. Finally, I left the room and sat in front of the door and tried to call my companion, who didn´t answer. I started to shiver really badly, and the Elders showed up. The took one look at me, called out the Bishop´s daughter to be my companion, then gave me a blessing. I got worse after the blessing and had to lay down on the ground to not pass out. I had a fever so high that you didn´t even have to touch me to feel the heat. Sister Lucero showed up, and the Elders went running to find a member with a car. Jacy, the Bishop´s daughter, helped me walk to the car. I couldn´t even stand up by myself because I was so close to passing out. We got to the hospital.. Which had AC. Miserable. I was really proud of myself that I now can communicate everything that I need to by myself, so that was a plus. The annoying thing was I had so much pain in my body, and they made me stand at a counter to answer all of their dumb questions. I almost passed out because of the pain, and that´s when they were like,

"Oh yeah, you can sit down in this chair here."

Perfect. Thanks. 

They stuck an IV in my hand, did blood tests in the other arm, and I stayed in the almost-passing-out-stage for about an hour, until the medicine took effect. Afterwards, I still had a fever, but I was well enough to walk on my own and not feel so much pain. 2 hours later, I talked to the doctor, who told me I have an intestinal infection and that I need to only drink mineral water, and to not accept anything else. I spent all of Saturday sleeping with a fever of 102, and I got a little bit desperate. I prayed to be able to go to church, and when I woke up Sunday, I didn´t have a spot of fever. WOOHOO!!! I was able to stay out of the house all of yesterday, we just didn´t do much. Today I´m loads better, but the infection attacked all of my body and I have a sinus infection now... Sigh.

But really, I´m 100% better compared to Friday. Friday was terrible. Today I´m totally fine, just stuffed up.

See why I worry about Mom and Dad coming here???

Anyway. With all the excitement, we still got a lot of work in, thanks to the splits. We contacted a lot of people, and we´re excited about the work. We have 2 weddings coming up, and a lot of work to do with that. We´re pretty excited, and I´m living the dream. Minus the illness haha :p Luckily, I´m in a ward that spoils the missionaries, and we´re recieving a lot of help with the work and with our health. I´m so happy that I´m here, I have nothing to complain about. Just the basketball. That´s all :)

Love you all,
Have a great week!!!

Sister Moyle

May 19, 2014

This week was a little odd. We had so much to do that I actually took a backstep. Everyone does that sometimes... You feel overwhelmed and don´t know where to start, so you walk numbly  for a bit. I unfortunately did that. We have so many people new to contact (+ - 90 references) and so many investigators that it was literally impossible to do it all this week. We tried doing a couple of exchanges with members, but nobody was available last week. We spent a lot of time arranging our weddings. I had moments that I felt super stressed, that I wasn´t managing to do everything, but now, as I´m looking back... It was a much needed week. The overload of work helped us focus on what was important- doing the weddings. We now have 3 weddings that will happen this transfer, and a fourth that will happen the next transfer. And they aren´t just possibilities, they are marked, solid dates with all of the paperwork done and everything. So no, we didn´t waste time. Like I said, you need to find the success in your work if you don´t feel like you did everything.

This week, we are a bit more organized and are setting up some exchanges, which will be perfect.
It was good to see yáll yesterday. It was a little frustrating that I couldn´t manage to talk to yáll very well, or that I couldn´t understand very well. I´m now feeling stupid in 2 languages. I can´t complain though, it´s a good problem. It was good to see that you are all doing so well. But seriously, I´m sorry for being to annoying. Dad, the Elders want to know how many bad words you know in Spanish. I rolled my eyes at them, but said that I´d ask. Good luck.
Oh. Another thing that I want to ask you yesterday. Are yáll finding time to do splits with the missionaries during the weeks(question mark). We always need a spread of people, like couples, teenageers, boys, girls, etc. Our family is the perfect resource. Yáll just need to call the missionaries and telling them when you´re free and set up a time to do visits with them.
It´s so easy for us to have 10-15 investigators in church now. I´m the Gospel Principles teacher, and it´s so satisfiying to see the our new room in the new chapel so full of people that we have to squish all the chairs together. The even better thing is how happy they all are. They get all misty eyed all the time during the lessons, and everyone feels this amazing spirit together. It´s really cool to see so many families there together, with a huge mix of recent converts and I´m-just-waiting-to-get-married-people. I know that these people never will fall away. The great thing about marrying people is that it gives time to teach everything several times over, and they get to gain a strong testimoy before baptism, and they gain an understanding of sacrifice and what it´s like to work so hard for something. It´s frustrating waiting on the marriage process sometimes, but I think it´s a blessing in disguise.

Our energy died during the night, and about midnight. I didn´t sleep at all because it was so hot. I ended up laying down on the floor, where it´s cold. I now have a splitting headache. I miss my chiropractor :p NObody had electricity for 12 hours here in Manacapuru, but it miraculously came back in time to write yáll. Another miracle :)

Love you all!!!  Have a great week, and keep being happy :)
Sister Moyle

May 12, 2014

Oi Família!

So, first things first. I´m sorry about yesterday. That was a really horrible Skype call on my part. The Elders were CRAZY to talk to Dad, so I let them have at it. They had been practicing their Argentine Slang all week. 

Our internet is terrible here. We got pretty excited when we found out the the new chapel would be dedicated in time for mothers day, because it would have internet. Sunday afternoon, my Bishop informed us that he still hadn´t set up the internet for the chapel.

Needless to say, I, Sister Lucero and 4 elders started to call everyone asking who had internet at home, no matter how cruddy it was. Nobody has internet here. So that situation started to get a little stressful. It didn´t help that we all had baptisms to do... So. Yesterday consisted of us trying to figure out how to call home, and preparing for 3 baptisms. 

Did I mention that our new chapel decided to not have water also? Yeah. We ended up doing the baptisms in the old chapel, which has NOTHING there. It was ugly, but at least they got baptized. Well, the Elder´s investigators got baptized. Ours fell through. 

So when I finally found a cell phone with internet and Skype, it was about 8:30 pm, and I was stressed out of my nostrils. English wasn´t working, I had a headache, and was about to cry. Que bom that we found a school to call again next Sunday!

So. Be ready. We get to try again! :D Promise that I won´t be so crazy haha.

This week was full of miracles. Starting Tuesday until Thursday, we had an open house with the Chapel. The members start on the first floor with the visitors, guided them room to room, explaining about all of the orginazations that we have, then they took the visitors upstairs to the cultural hall/sacrament room, and there we taught everyone lessons. Literally everyone that walked into the church was taught by a missionary! Afterwards, we got their addresses and phone numbers too. We have about 300 references to contact now! Yeesh... Tuesday was the first day, and it was amazing. The members started out timidly standing by the front gate, looking at people passing by. Sister Lucero and I found some invites for the Open House, and then we gave them to the members. I told them, "Get creative! Stop people that are passing by, invite them in, stop a Moto Taxi (Taxi on a motorcycle) and stick it in his jacket as an advertisment. Just get people here!" 

The results were increadible. We had so many people coming into the chapel that 6 missionaries were teaching groups of 10 at the same time just to compensate. It was so cool to see the members crossing the street, stopping people, talking for a bit, then turning around with a family and entering the church with them. It was the easiest missionary work that I have ever done.. And the unity with the member and missionaries grew a lot this week. 

Friday, we prepared for Saturday, which was the Cultural Celebration. Saturday morning we did more preperation. At about 4, we ran home to take showers, then ran back to the church to start the prelude music. 

I may or may not have showed up with some make up. I also tried doing something with my hair (aka-blow dryer, not air dry). It was pretty funny... I walked in the front gate with Sister Lucero, and the Elders all turned, opened their mouths and tipped their heads to the side. Finally, Elder Alexis (the shorter white guy that looks American, but really is from Paraguay) said "Sister Moyle?????? Is it you?"

"Yeah," I said, "I know, I finally took a shower, calm down guys." They laughed pretty hard.

Playing and singing went pretty well, actually. I still have a bunch of gunk in my throat, so I got a little nervous, but it went well... I think. I don´t really remember it now. I only sung for 2 of the songs... I was too nervous to sing for the others, so I just played them. Chicken...

SO. It was a crazy week, full of neglecting our areas, BUT now we have so much work to do I don´t know where to start. 

OH!!! Jucineide and Raimundo turned in their wedding papers last Monday with us!!! They get to mark a wedding date in 8 days, and I´ll be here for it :D Pure happiness.... Sigh.

Have a wonderful week!!! I love you all! Hopefully I have my head on straight by tomorrow... Hehe.

Sister Moyle

May 5, 2014

 Oi Família!

We had another baptism this week! Rayane, the older sister of Raylkson and Raynara. Rayana is 18, and has a 9-month-old son. When she was 4 months pregnant, her boyfriend left her for another girl, and she has been struggling with a lot ever since then. Every time that we´ve passed their house, she´s been getting happier and happier, and I keep catching her reading the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet, the Book or Mormon, and other material that we´ve given their family. She didn´t want to get baptized with her siblings because she still had doubts, but when we passed their house on Friday for our weelky lesson, she told us that she was ready! It was such a good baptism. It´s amazing to watch this family progress in the gospel, and to see the happiness that is growing within them. They are a different family now, and it is so amazing to see.
I got a dress this week. Irmã Fátima bought it for me! She was feeling bad that all my clothes are so...old. I only bought one thing to wear since I started the mission, and it was the dress I got in Dom Pedro. When she found out that I´ll be playing the piano and singing for the dedication of the chapel, she went and bought me a dress! It´s really pretty, and it was really sweet of her. I felt so  bad when she showed up at my door with a $60 dress, but when I tried to explain that it wasn´t necessary, she said,
"Sister, I love you. Just take it."
So I did. I will be writing a long letter to her during language study haha.
Everyone is going crazy for the Chapel Dedication. Irmão Clemente is in charge of EVERYTHING, literally. The poor man is going crazy, so we´ve been doing a lot of service lately. Yesterday, we needed to replicate the font of the church to write out the name of the church. Since it´s what I´m studying, I offered to do the lettering. After a while, I decided it was going to take all week. So I got smart.
"Hey, Irmão Clemente. Since we´re not going to be using our makeshift chapel after today, can I take down the letters in the front so I can trace them?"
I was suddenly the smartest person in the room, haha. It was kind of fun, pulling down all the letters. As you can see in the picture, not all of them are there in the first place, so I didn´t feel too guilty.
This week we´ll be doing an Open House tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. THen Saturday is the cultural event, and Sunday is the dedication. This will be a week of service, mostly for Irmão Clemente. Hopefully we´ll have a baptism on Friday for Kennedy, one of ou Peruvian investigators. He´s having a hard time accepting that he needs to give up his parties and weekend drinking, but he´s getting there. :)
Love you all! Talk to yáll in a few!  Sister Moyle

  April 28, 2014

Oi Família!

This week was... My Mission Miracle Week. It was soooooo good! I think I start out every email with that... Ha. It´s better than, "This week was ok", which really means, "This week sucked" :p. Anyway....

We had a wedding!!!!!!!!! Paulo and Nilma have been investigators since November. Teaching them is a little bit difficult, because they have 2 houses. One here, in our area, and one waaaaaay long away from our area in the interior. They spend most of their time there becaue Paulo´s body is a little bit weak, and it´s cooler there and not so humid. He´s also mostly deaf and blind, so we have to do a lot of shouting and repeating during our lessons, which always made it interesting. Sister Summers and Sister Chucos taught them everything before I got here, and we were just waiting for their marriage papers to finally show up. They did... Right at the end of the last transfer. They marked their wedding for the 25 of April. Sister Chucos got a little bummed when she got transferred. I missed her a lot during the wedding too. But, the important thing is that it happened.

So... Everyone know that one tradition where the bride throws the bouquete (spelling), right? I got ready to take picture of the fight, when my district leader started yelling, 

"HEY! The Sisters are single too!! Put them in there!" 

I gave him a really dirty look, he smiled sweetly and said,

"Oh, don´t worry Sister. I´ll take the pictures for you," and with that, he stole my camera and the rest of the ward had shoved me and Sister Lucero in the squabble. 

One... Two... THREE! And poof... I caught the dang flowers.

Come on. Everyone know that I caught the flowers because I´m a foot taller than everyone here. It´s not a sign people. The ward about died of laughing, and so did Nilma, the bride. I about died of embarrassment. But honestly, I didn´t jump or anything. I didn´t even LOOK. I just stuck out my hand, and WHOOMPH. There is was. Even with the little Brasilian women jumping, they can´t outreach my reach. Haha.

I heard one member say, "The Sister caught the flowers, What does it MEAN???" The ward is now speculating whether it means that I will get married the day I walk off the plane, or if it means I met my future husband here.

Judging by the height of everyone here, I´m thinking that the first one is more likely. But some miracle.

After than, we had the baptism. It was... amazing. Nilma decided to get baptized as a bride :) (I had no arguments, since we didn´t have batismal clothes for her... A member kindly decided to wash all the batismal clothes that morning without asking us haha.) They were all so happy. There were so many people there watching the batism too, The spirit was so strong. I just about cried again. This family is pure gold. Thayná and Welyton are 2 of their kids that got baptized too. I got to teach them this last week, and when I invited them to be baptized with their parents, their faces lit up and and they said,

"We´ve been wating for someone to ask us."

Woah. My thought was, "Well, I was just waiting for you to be home haha" :) But the timing for everything was perfect.

We got to do an exchange Wednesday too, which was perfect. I´ve been feeling a little swamped lately. Too many people to teach, and not enough time. It was great to have 4 Sisters here to tackle 1/4 of our investigators in one day. I saw so many miracles that day. I was with Sister Crane, another American with the same time in the mission as me. We had the time to pass the house of an ex-investigator that has been on my mind for a while. Her name is Célia, and her husband was home for the first time that I have seen him there. We started to teach The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the third lesson. Célia cut in and started to tell us about a dream that she had.

She saw a man with scissors, and he was chasing her, trying to cut her hair. She couldn´t outrun him, so the only option she had was to fight him. She felt the presence of 2 women, and she felt that the two woman have her something to fight the man. When she looked into her hands, she saw to iron rods, and with these iron rods she won the fight. As she looked behind her, she saw all of Manacapuru in fire. The fire raced to her, and she fell backwards as she tried to avoid it. As the fire closed in on her, water surrounded her and protected her. She had closed her eyes as the water fell on her, and when she opened them again, everything was blue, and she saw the heavens open and people rising up to heaven. She had the strong desire to do the same thing, and then she woke up.

I got chills as she told us this dream, and it was like God opened up my mind. I understood everything, and to start out the explanation of her dream, I had her open up to 1 Nephi 11:25,27.  

 25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the arod of iron, which my father had seen, was the bword of God, which cled to the fountain of dliving waters, or to the etree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.

 27 And I looked and abeheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the bprophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was cbaptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a ddove.

She burst into tears, and I then explained that the man with the scissors represented her relegion. She´s part of a religion that doesn´t believe in using makeup, having long hair, painting your nails, using good clothes, etc. The peope there are harsh and judging, and she left because of it. I told her that she was trying to run away from it, but she was able to fully leave it because she didn´t have all the tools yet. I explained that the rods of iron that she had were the Bible AND the Book of Mormon, and with the fullness of the doctrine of Christ, she would overcome the other religion. The two women she felt were us, the Sister missionaries. The fire represented sin, which is something that we cannot overcome WITHOUT baptism, and that through baptism she would be protected, and the heavens would open up to her. BUT, God didn´t show her if she would make it to Heaven or not, because that still depends on her, the choices that she´ll make, how she´ll live her life, etc. 

She told us that she had begged God to send someone to her that week to explain the dream, and that He had given her what she wanted. She and her husband then asked when they could get baptized! One more wedding to do... :)

Miracle... No?

Yesterday was stake conference, and we all traveled 2 hours by bus to get there, and yet we STILL had 14 investigators that went! That´s dedication to me :) I´m working in Paradise. I never, ever want to leave Manacapuru. Never. Ever ever ever ever ever ever. I´m sorry Mom and Dad, I´m staying. Transfers are coming up on May 11th... I´m nervous. If I have to go, I think I´ll cry. There are so many people prepared here, and to see all the blessings come  the way I have is so amazing. I´ve worked my whole mission to see blessings like this. Yes, we still have investigators that are frustrating and not progessing. Yes, we have difficulties. But there are so many good things going on that I forget about it all! I´m so stinking happy that it´s kind of ridiculous. I wish you all could feel this.

Sister Moyle

April 21, 2014

Oi Família!!! 

This week was SO GOOD! WE HAD FOUR BATISMS!! FOUR! WHAT?! Two of them were found and taught by the Elders, but they ended up being a part of our ward in the end. The other two were the kids of Jucineide and Raimundo, our miracle family that Sister Chucos and I found. Raynara (the girl, 16 years old) and Raylkson (the boy, 12 years old).

I got to have a special experience. Raynara is mostly deaf. She can hear a little, but not much. She hardly ever speaks. She´s a little shy because of this, but she is a little ray of light. Literally. She walks into the room and everyone just gets happy. She smiles all the time and likes to laugh. I don´t know why, but she really likes me. She always gives me long and really good hugs, holds my hand, sits by me... I try to communicate with her through the little Portuguese sign language that I learned. I think she likes the fact that I´m trying, I´m not sure if she can actually understand me haha. But because of this, when she went to be interviewed, she got a little scared to go into the room with just Elder Tejerina. She gripped my hand tighter, looked at me and shook her head. Elder Tejerina looked at me and said,

"Sister, I have no idea how I´m going to be able to communicate with her."

So I asked, "Elder... Do you think I can go in and translate your questions into sign language?"

He nodded, and I signed for her that I would go with her, and she walked into the room without hesitation. He did the talking, I did the communicating and traslation for him. The spirit was so, so strong. After a bit, the Elder looked at her and told her,

"I know that you are ready. You don´t know everything now because you can´t hear it, but you know what you know because you feel it. You are special, and important to our Heavenly Father. He wants you to get baptized, and you are ready."

As I signed this out in my "stuttery" sign language, her smile got brighter and brighter until she looked like she was trying to beam out the sun. She squeezed my hand, and I knew that she had understood everything.

I don´t know how many Sisters will get to sit in on a batismal interview, but it was really special to me.

The baptism was even better. They both got so happy as they left the water, and their parents too. Their parents wanted to jump in the water with them, but they still need to get married haha. As the baptism was closing, I was looking at this family and suddenly got hit by the feeling that I had found someone that I had promised to find before I came here to this world. I got a little choked up, which is weird for me. Unfortunately, the bishop decided to close his talk and call me up to give the closing talk in that moment. As I went up, Irmão Luis, the one who baptized the kids, told me,

"Sister. The Spirit wants you to speak. You need to say something before you pray."

So I stood there for a bit.. Crying. Everyone got quiet. Brasil isn´t a very reverent country haha. Baptisms aren´t the same reverent, special thing that I grew up with. There is always someone talking, always someone messing with the cell phone, someone eating, and about 3 people actually watching the baptism. But after about 2 minutes of me just crying, everyone was quiet. Which made it harder to stop crying, haha. Finally, I stuttered out a few things about how I love this family, and I was so happy. I said a few other things too, but I can´t remember much, because I was trying to not cry. Good thing I wrote it out in my journal. 

Afterwards, I gave Raynara a hug. I whispered, "Te amo" to her. (I love you). I thought she didn´t even hear me, but then she said it back to me. "Te amo." I think that´s the 2nd time I´ve heard her speak. I think it made the entire baptism. Her parents afterwards told us that they were so grateful that God had sent the missionaries to their door, because they had finally found their home, and they knew that all of this was true.

I´m sure other things happened this week, but I can´t remember. Oh, yesterday, we had FOURTEEN INVESTIGATORS in Sacrament Meeting! 14!!! The most I´ve ever had was 7. We also went from a 77 people in Sacrament Meeting to 94! This week was a miracle week... Literally.

The only other miracle that I need is money. I´m broke haha. :p

Go have an amazing week. Grow in the Gospel. Your happiness depends on it. Wish that you all could feel the happiness I feel today.


Sister Moyle

April 14, 2014

Oi Família!!

Ok. So this week started off good. When I finished writing yáll last week, I asked the lady at the counter AGAIN if she was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that she had NOT found a black camera case and an SD card. She said no, again, and I said a little prayer. I wanted the first 9 months of my mission back! Then the thought came, Look behind the computer you used last week. I had already done that about 3 times, but I decided to do it again. I tapped on the shoulder of the young man that was playing some dumb video game, and asked him to stick his hand behind the computer. He looke at the moniter, which obviously did not have anything behind it, then llooked at me like I was crazy, and I said "Please just do it. I´m desperate to find my memory card." He shrugged, reached behing the moniter, and suddenly looked surprised. He pulled his hand out, and in his hand was my camera case! I almost cried. So, there you have it. Miracles do happen!

We had a baptism this week! 9-year-old Hícaro (pronounced eek.arrow). Sister Chucos and I started to teaching him a while ago, but he wanted to be baptized in the new church, but the dedication isn´t until May 11th. SO. Sister Lucero and I taught him the importance to baptism again, and then I invited him to baptize on Saturday. He accepted! He then made a really sweet promise to a picture of Jesus to never miss a Sunday again. His mom is less-active, and his dad isn´t a member, so he struggles with going to church. His grandpa is active, so he can start going with him. But thanks to his example, his mom wants to start coming back again, and we have a FHE with everyone tomorrow :)

His baptism was so sweet. He was beaming the whole time. I loved it.

We had a conference/traning this week on a new pilot program that our mission is doing. Our mission has a problem: We baptize a lot, but the people don´t stay firm and fall after just a few weeks. So we have a lot of recent converts that are less active, and the cycle just keeps going because we don´t have enough members that are active to support everyone else. We got trained on how to get to know our less actives, use some new things, and how to work with the ward. It gave me the idea to put a picture of every baptism I have in the area on the wall in our apartment, with the name of the baptism, his address and his date of baptism. The most frustrating thing in the world is to not know where the person lives or what he looks like. I have no idea who these names represent that I now have to work with, so I figured that if we have a picture of everyone on the wall, the missionaries in the future will have less problems. That, and we get to leave a legacy.

We had a huge thunder and lightening storm last night. It was right over our heads, and the thunder happened the same time as the lightening flashed. There was one thunder clap that was so strong that I couldn´t breathe very well afterwards. It was kind of cool, kind of annoying. Our district leader told us that he woke up and got a little scared because the lightening lit up his house, and then his companion started singing in his sleep, so it got worse. Made me laugh.

I realized this week that everyone gets so excited about WHERE they serve. Everyone gets so excited to open that white envelope and see where in the world they will go. I´m starting to realize that it should be the starting date that everyone should be excited to serve. It´s not about where you serve, but how you serve. I served in 2 missions, but it´s only 1 mission. Our mission isn´t where we are, but the time we have. So how we use our time is important, no matter where we are, no matter what area, what mission, no matter what... I had this epiphany as I was helping Sister Nay. She served 9 months in the states and then showed up here last transfer, and she´s really struggling. I gave her a couple of phone calls to give her some tough love, and as I was talking to her, I had this little revelation. I gave her a really tough pep talk about not wasting her time wishing to go back to the states, wishing that this mission was different, etc. I told her to take control of the only thing that she can, the way she feels, and get to work, because she can´t waste her TIME.

Same thing for us as members. We´ll live in different areas of the world, do different things. Sometimes we have surprises that change our plans, but that doesn´t matter. It´s all about how we use our TIME. So we can´t waste it. Our time is best spent when we use it in serving our Savior, and finding those that are less-active.

Love you all!
Sister Moyle

April 7, 2014

No letter this week, but a lot of pictures with captions - be sure to check them out!

March 31, 2014

Oi Famìlia,
Highlight of the week: We got to see the baptism of Rymunda!! She was solid all during the week, and we did our part of visiting her too. We also did a fast Wednesday, and the blessing of that fast were evident to us as she went through the week without any problems. Saturday came, and she got baptized. Sunday came, and she got confirmed. It´s hard to explain what it´s like to watch someone make those promises with God. I know that I haven´t taught her for a long time, but to see how happy she was and how much she prepared during 7 years for those 2 experiences. She´s a really special lady. I wanted to send pictures, but I forgot my memory card in the apartment.

It´s the last week of the transfer, and Sister Chucos and I are really praying that we get to stay here together. Transfers can be really tiring sometimes. I was always super excited for a new adventure, a new area, a new companion, just to try new things, you know? But now, I just kind of want to be able to have time more than 6 weeks to develop another friendship. We´re pretty close already, but another 6 weeks would be great. Then again, we´re also praying for the will of the Lord to be done, not ours. If we get seperated next week, the next transfer will be an opportunity for us to grow in ways that we can´t comprehend. So whatever happens, I´m excited.

We have a lot of work to do this week. Lots of marriages to stay on top of! Love you all tons!

Sister Moyle

March 24, 2014

Dear Mom,                                                                                                                                          

The kids are growing up to fast. I don´t like it. Glad to hear that Brooklyn is so funny :) It means that she´s growing into herself haha. I don´t think I was funny until I stopped being immature... But sometimes I´m still immature, so hey... I don´t think that will ever go away.

I don´t like email time. Never have. At the begining of the mission, it left me trunky. In the middle, I had a stage that I didn´t feel like writing. NOW, I just wish that I didn´t have to. Maybe it´s because I´ll see you guys sooner than later, maybe it´s because I´m getting more and more tired.. Dunno. But P-day is a bittersweet for me. I´ve lost count of how many times I´ve seen a picture of the kids and think, "Wow, they aren´t the same anymore" or "Wow, that´s changed" blah blah. It´s all just wierd. Mikenna seems like she´s doing really well. I´m glad. She was made for a mission. I was made to choose to go, and learn to love my choice. 

I´m studying Spanish and Italian along with Portuguese now. We have a lot of people from Peru here, and we´re teaching them. A lot of them only speak Spanish, and I understand EVERYTHING, and I´ve been left with a huge desire to speak with them in their native language. They understand Portuguese just fine,but there´s something different about using their language with them. You know that feeling. Italian is so close to Portuguese that it makes me sick. I´m hoping to be fluent in Portuguese, semi-fluent in Spanish and writtenly fluent in Italian. Wish me luck. I need to study hard. The promise about reading the BOM in any language to become fluent is true. I suddenly know which verse to find to look up different verbs, and so I go there in each of my books and find it, figure out the conjugation, and pronto. I´ve learned 5 new things in 3 languages. It´s making me understand more of Portuguese too. Hard to explain, but I´m excited. 

We have NINE families to marry. NINE. And they all have a goal to enter the temple in a year. It´s my goal and dream to come back in a year and see them all get sealed in the same weekend. This week was so amazing with teaching people. The spirit was so strong, and we taught a lot about eternal families. It was amazing to watch the vision open up in their eyes. It was like they suddenly... got it. Their eyes suddenly come to life and have so much more understanding when it clicks. I love it. I love where I am, and I love what I´m doing.

We´re finding a lot of people that specifically needed US. It´s been a while since that has happened to me. Suddenly, all of our investigators are telling us that missionaries have been passing their houses for years, and they never felt anything until US. That they needed who we are to understand these things. I love Sister Chucos. We have been learning so much together, and we´re really close. She´s my best companion since Sister Reid, and she has been much needed. I hope that I´ll get to stay with her during the the next transfer. I feel like the area still needs her here. I hope that I´m right and that she gets to stay with me. I can´t teach people from Peru alone!!!

 We have a baptism this Saturday... Maybe. She wants to get baptized, but she might have a mandatory conference in Manaus Saturday and Sunday, so might have to reschedule. We´ll know tomorrow if we can or not. Her name is Rymunda, and she has been going to church for 7 years. She started dating a member, they started living together, and last September they finally got married. She knows more than any member I´ve ever met, and she truly values the Gospel in her life. Thanks to the horrible example of others, she was afraid to get baptized, because she saw so many people throwing away the covenants they made with God. She was afraid that she would do the same thing. I´ve only taught her once. We went to her house last week, and we just started talking to her. We got to know her, she got to know me, blah blah. Somehow, we 3 just clicked. She suddenly started to explain why she didn´t want to get baptized. I felt the spirit so strong, and I opened my mouth and just started to talk and testify. She started crying right away. I felt like someone else was there with us. She told us that she had a sister that died, and she was so excited to enter the temple someday and do her baptism for her. I told her that I felt her sister there and that she was begging Rymunda to finally use her faith and realize that the testimony she has, combined with the Gift of the Holy Ghost would be enough to carry her to the end. She cried so hard, and then she set her own date, without us saying anything. It was so amazing. Later, Sister Chucos told me that she has been teaching Rymunda since she got here, just like every missionary that has passed through her for the past 7 years. She said that she had never, ever accepted baptism. She said that our companionship is what Rymunda has been waiting for. 

Blessings have been coming from heaven. Yes, our apartment floods every morning and we have to clean it every day. Yes, we have mosquitos like crazy. Yes, it rains and get super cold and then gets ridiculously hot afterward. But. I can´t explain my happiness. And you know just what I mean. I know that what I´m doing is right. I know I´m where I´m supposed to be. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that I´m a representative of Christ. I know that I´m doing His work, and I know He trusts me and loves me so much. I don´t want this to end. So. I´m going to work like it won´t.

Love you, have a great week.

Sister Moyle 

March 17, 2014

Oi Família,
This week was really good. We didn´t really have P-day, since we went to interviews with President Kein. We kind of were really tired because of this, and I think Sister Chucos was going a little bit crazy because of the "lack of fun". We ran out of money. They don´t give us enough to cover our trips to Manaus. We get to turn in our bus tickets to get a reembursment, but it doesn´t show up in our bank account for WEEKS. After traveling to Manaus every week this transfer, we were downt to nothing. Which meant we kind of were starving... We had lunch every day with a member, but by 5 pm we had burned everything off, and we had no food. Breakfast, we had almost nothing. We checked the bank every day to see if we had money, and nothing... nothing... nothing. I started out super happy and upworried about the situation, but by Thursday... I was hungry! But I told you that not to worry you, but but instead it will tie into the SARDINE part of my week.

On the way to the interviews, we lost our cell phone. Sister Chucos remembers putting it in my bag, but it wasn´t there! So we finally got a new cell phone, which was older and crappier than our other one, AND.... It didn´t work. Either we couldn´t hear the people calling us, or they couldn´t here us. It´s a problem, since we can´t sent text messages. Finally, we ran into the Elders and had them call the mission office, who told us to travel to Manaus AGAIN the next day (Friday) to switch out our phone. WHAT???? You know, they should have tested the phone before the gave it to us, so I think they should travel to us. But ok, we´ll go. Luckily, our money showed up in the bank Friday morning, so we went to Manaus. We showed up at 3:30 pm AND... ALL OF THE ELDERS IN THE MISSION OFFICE HAD LEFT TO TRAVEL TO ANOTHER AREA 4 HOURS AWAY BY BUS AND WEREN´T COMING BACK UNTIL MONDAY. Luckily, some of the Sisters in the area were in the church by the mission office, and we used their cell phone to call the Elders. They said to come back another day. I almost smacked him through the cell phone. But I stayed polite and just said, "Ok Elder, we don´t have the money to do that, but we´ll see. We´ll work something out." 

The other Sisters called some members in the area and got ahold of someone with an old cell phone. He gave them the old cell phone to use with their chip, and we took theirs to our area. We now have another old cell phone, but it works. And they get our new, shiny cell phone that I payed $50 out of my bank account. I love elders. They really work with their heads sometime ;) But it worked out... except for the money part. We´re almost out of money again, and guess what... Tomorrow we have Zone Training in Manus. And there goes the rest of our money... :/ I´m calling the Financial Secretary today. This is ridiculous. 

(Honestly, I´m not mad. It´s just more fun to put emotion in the story.)

Saturday night, as we were leaving the church after a meeting, one of the members asked if we had been recieving dinners during the week. We told him no, we hadn´t. He asked if we would like to eat at a resturante before we went home. I got excited, then looked at the time: 8:30. I told him, thank you, but we need to get home before 9. We got home, and 20 mintues later, the same member called us to tell us he was at our door with food. He had bought us some sweets, top ramen, meat in a can AND... Sardines. I have never tried Sardines before, but mom always talked bad about them, so I never had the desire to try. Sister Chucos LOVES sardines (she ate the rest for breakfast this morning :/) I tried them, and she recorded me. It´s an interesting video, that I unfortunately can´t send. It´s too big. Oh well. After the mission. But our house smells bad now.
Yesterday, we found something nasty under our fridge, oven and cabinets. BICHOS! (Pronounced Bee-shows... careful there, don´t hurt yourself) Bicho= bugs, worms, things like that. To be more specific, they were maggots... And a  lot of them. I know that Sunday is the Sabbath, but we cleaned and cleaned and CLEANED. They don´t DIE! We did everything, including burning them. They just don´t die. So I picked them up and threw them out the window. It took a while. To my horror, we discovered where they were coming from: the ceiling. They are falling from the ceiling. So. We have a problem now. I didn´t sleep all night, because I was scared they were falling on my head and I woke up itching myself every 5 minutes. We woke up with even more on our floor. I´ve given up. We´re trying to talk to our owner of our house but he lives 2 hours away in... you guessed it... MANAUS.

Besides our trials, this week was actually REALLY good. Our family came to church yesterday!!! They loved it! We´re trying to help the parents have a desire to get married, but a piece of paper means nothing to them. We´re trying to help them understand it´s just a means to an end, and that marriage is a commandment of God, so... A paper that says their married actually means a lot. But anyway, they loved church. They have a 16-year-old daughter that I love. I don´t know why, but we really clicked. She doesn´t talk, and she´s a little deaf. But we communicate great. Before Sacrament Meeting, she started to throw up. I got worried, because I really wanted them to stay for the meeting, but it´s not worth her health. But all of the members jumped on the opportunity to serve, bringing her things to get better, and the next thing I know, everyone is in the Sacrament hall for the meeting! It went so great... I´m happy. She was doing a lot better by the end of the metting too, so it was a miracle. The love the ward, and I do too.

We found a new investigator, Célia, Monday night. She´s golden, except for the she-needs-to-get-married part. We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she started reading it the first night and gained a testimony that it´s true even before we visited her again. We we taught her the Restoration, because of her testimony of the Book of Mormon, she already knew it was true. Now we just need to teach everyone else in her family, get her married and baptized them all!

We have a member here that is on fire with reactivating less-active members. He´s doing a lot of visits and setting up Family Home Evenings that we´ve been attending and bringing our investigators. It´s so great to see the work moving along with the members too! We had lunch with him and his family this week. He´s from Fortaleza, and he is BIG... He eats a lot. AFter lunch, he pulled out this buckets of sweets from Fortaleza and began to cut hunks of them and gave them to us to try. After 15 minutes of this, we got pretty sick. But it was a fun experience, and he has a lot of respect for me because I can eat a lot hahaha. I´m so fat.

This was a lot letter. I still haven´t written anyone else, just President Klein. I should probably stop. BUT I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Glad to hear that you are all doing to well. I think that I´m going to finish my mission in this área, and I´m happy if I do. It´s my little peice of heaven in the mission, bichos and all.


Sister Moyle

March 10, 2014

Oi Família! 

This week was sooooo gooooood. We found THREE families that are ready to be baptized!!!! THREE HUGE FAMILIES! The only hold up is... We need to marry all of them. ALL OF THEM. The whole marriage process takes a while here, but luckily the mission office has a pretty good system going haha. 

The first family is the family of Nissa. Nissa´s son, Jordan, got baptized a few weeks ago, so Sister Chucos and I decided to teach his mom. She´s awesome, and has absorbed everthing like a sponge, and then she usually gives us cake afterwards, so it works out great. This last week, we tried going to her house several times, but she never answered, and there was a "Vende-se desta Casa" sign hanging out over her door :( After our 3rd time trying there, her neighbor, who is a Pastor for an Assembly of God church came out to tell us that Nissa had moved in order to run away from her son, who is a drunk and uses drugs, and he´s been getting really violent and has tried to kill her a few times. We got pretty bummed, but started talking to the Pastor about the situation, and after a while I asked her if we could pray with her. She said yes, so we prayed. Do you remember that part of "The Other Side of Heaven" where Elder Groberg teaches the Plan of Salvation through a prayer? I totally did that. And she cried. Afterwards, we taught her more about the Plan of Salvation, and she really liked it. We set up an appointment to teach her more today at 7 pm, so pray for us! She kind of lives like... in the church, so I think we´ll be teaching her there... Interesting, no? We got pretty excited that we taught a Preacher.

As we left her to go to another appointment, we passed a member´s house. The Irmã called us over, and then gave us the new address for Nissa! AND she´s still in our area! Double miracle in one day.

We then went to our next appointment, which was a Family Home Evening with another one of our investigator families and some members. Back up a little bit. Sunday, a 12-year-old boy went to church with his friends, gave us his address and set up an appointment with us. We went to his house, taught him and his mom the first lesson. It was soooo good. She told us about a dream that she had, and in that dream, she saw the Celestial Kingdom. In front of the "city", there was a wall of fire with only a straight and narrow path to enter the city. We got really excited and explained all of the aspects of her dream the next lesson, when we taught the Plan of Salvation. She told us about another dream in which she saw our church, and she got really excited to go there. We set a baptismal date with her, then her husband showed up the next day, and now we´re at the FHE. SO GOOD. The families bonded instantly, we had a really good testimony meeting, and the whole family decided they want to get baptized... All 5 of them that still aren´t baptized :)

Lots more happened, but I´m unfortunately out of time, since this place closes super early and we got here late because of the interviews we had with President Klein. I love you all, have a great week!!! Dumb. I think I´m missing a million things, but I can´t remember.... Oh well. Tchau! 

Sister Moyle

 March 3, 2014

Oi Família!                                                                                                                           

This week was soooo good. It was the best week that I´ve had in a long time. Tuesday we went to the temple, and it was amazing. Getting there was a little interesting. It´s a 2 hour bus ride from Manacapurú to Manaus, and from there we had to catch another bus to the temple. We waited... and waited.. waited.... The Elders were getting a little anxious. I was the only one in our group of 4 that had served in Manaus, everyone else has only served in the jungle, so they don´t trust in the bus system very much. What they didnt´realize is that bus 049 passes every 30 minutes, and we showed up at the bus stop 3 minutes after the hour, so we had to wait 27 minutes before the next one showed up. They were getting more and more anxious. Suddenly, a car on the other side of the road hit the bus in front of it and munched the front of the car a bit. As we all looked to see what happened... WHOOSH goes the bus. Our bus passed right by us! The Elders anxiety exploded, and they chased after the bus. Doidos. My companion followed them, and none of them heard my shout of, "Hey! There´s another bus coming in 2 minutes that goes to the same place!" They just kept going, and going, and going... I finally decided I need to stay with my companion, and I ran after her. We obviously didn´t catch the bus, and I forced the Elders to stop at the next bus stop, and we caught the next bus that showed up in 2 minutes.

They just don´t know how the city works here.

But it´s ok, we made it, and it was funny. We just looked ridiculous. Nobody chases a bus. It just doesn´t work.

Sister Chucos is AMAZING. Teaching with her is like teaching back in California. I can´t explain exactly how it´s different, but it´s definitely more by the spirit. We taught a woman named Maria on Saturday. Her husband drinks, a lot. He walked in the room in the middle of the lesson, and by his stagger and very badly placed handshake that landed in my stomach as a punch, he had been drinking. She talked about some of the dificulties that she has because of this, and then she told us a story about how one of her friends prayed for 10 years before her husband was cured. I asked her if she had enough faith that Christ could cure her husband the next day. She said yes, of course. We then invited her to show her faith and to go to church the next day, and promised that if she went to church, God would heal her husband in the next week. She said, "Ok. I´ll try." She didn´t come. The spirit was so STRONG when we made that promise, I knew it was true, and I was so excited to see it happen. It was a bummer when she didn´t show up, but that doesn´t mean that it´s the end of it for her. Conversion is such a long process, and sometimes to get it started takes a little more for some people than others.

This week is Carnaval. It´s really low-key here in Manacapurú. I was kind of hoping to see people doing the Samba in the streets all day, but it´s too hot, so they only do it at night, and I think it´s more of a party in the city of Manaus than it is here in the "jungle". It´s definitely more of a party in Rio and São Paulo! Everyone has their TVs on in the streets, and everything they are watching is about Carnaval in Rio and São Paulo. I think that the movie Rio downplayed it a bit, honestly.

Sometimes Sister Chucos and I laugh a little too much. We have a lot of fun together, and I have nothing to complain about haha :) We got really close, really fast. We started out the transfer by both of us agreeing that we need to talk about EVERYTHING, that silence isn´t good. It´s been the best first of a transfer that I´ve had since Sister Reid. I´m super excited, and hope I get to stay with her for more than one transfer.

Love you all!!!! Have a great week!

Love,  Sister Moyle

February 24, 2014
Oi Familia!
I don´t have a lot of time, I wrote a long email to President Klein and one to Sister Jones (Mikenna). I got transferred! I´m going to Manacaparu, which is finally NOT in the city! It´s super pretty their, I already did an exchange there. My new companion is Sister Chucos, from Peru. I´ve now had a Brasileira, Americana, Portugesa and now a Hispânica. Good luck for my accent... I´m no longer an STL, but I´ll be the senior for the first time :) Well, 2nd time, but the first time doesn´t count since I was transferred from Cali to Brasil after 2 weeks haha. Sister Gago got transferred to Nova Cidade and we now have Elders in Nova Canaã. I have a whole other story as to what was going on in our area, but I´ll share it AFTER the mission. Ha.
So all in all, I´m really excited for the next transfer. I really like Sister Chucos. I´m going to miss Sister Gago a lot though. Since she speaks and understands English fluently, it was really easy to understand each other on every level... Know what I mean? But this will be a good transfer, I can feel it. I´ll miss NC like CRAZY... We had a lot of people we found this last week.

Fernanda is doing good. I´ll miss her. I saw Sister Paulo this last week, and she had the opportunity to go back to Dom Pedro for Sacrament meeting yesterday, and she said that Josúe is doing great and goes to church every Sunday. I found out that he has cancer a few weeks ago, so I worried about him, but it sounds like he´s still doing good. That made me happy :)
On to the next transfer :) Love you all!

Sister Moyle

February 17, 2014

Oi Família!

So... This week was a little weird, and for reasons that I don´t have time to explain today. Maybe next week. Anyway, because of the odd situation, we didn´t get to work as much as we wanted. BUT, we had a miracle... 


Yep! Her name is Fernanda, and she´s 11-years-old. I love her so much. She´s been going to church for a while now with her 7-year-old sister and a member, Suselane. She literally lights up every time she sees us, and she gives the best hugs. We started teaching her and her mom last week, and she told me she wanted to get baptized. So when we taught her this week, we invited her to be baptized for Saturday. She looked at her mom and said, "Mom, will you let me get baptized... Please??" Her mom looked at her, looked at us, then said, "Of course. I think you really want it." 

Her baptism was perfect. The spirit was so strong. It´s been a while since I´ve felt the spirit that strongly at a baptism. The last time was during Kim´s baptism. It was so amazing, and it was definitely a blessing from the Lord. He saw our efforts this transfer and gave us Fernanda. Everyone is really happy now.

Um. I´m now being described as "forte". That´s about the English equivilent of "hefty". Sister Gago and I are now on the hunt for jump ropes. Obviously our routine of abs and other exercises just isn´t working. It doesn´t help that we taught a million people how to make brownies, and now they´re making them for us to prove that we taught the right. I think we had 3 or 4 people make brownies for us just yesterday... We´re dying. I´m also significantly blonder, and I think I´ve decided I don´t like my hair being so blonde. Got tempted to dye it a little darker, but I got scared that it´ll turn orange, so I´ll just leave it. Don´t worry Mom... I´m not obsessing about it like I normally do. But enough whining about my physical appearance... Haha ;)

I´m getting scared that Sister Gago and I won´t stay together for another transfer, which is a bummer. It´s nice having a friend around!!

It was so nice to hear from you all, and I can´t believe how much Mikenna is growing... She´s so amazing!

I love you all!

Sister Moyle

February 10, 2014

Oi Familia!

It´s really wierd to hear about and see snow in pictures. It´s finally "winter" here, and I get so cold sometimes that I almost use a sweater! But I get that way when it´s raining, and it´s actually warmer without a sweater, because once the sweater gets wet, I get colder. I luckily got my Chaco back, so walking around in wet streets isn´t a pain anymore. The less actives that we were teaching the night my Chaco went mission found it in front of a house on the other side of the street. I´m still not sure how that happened, and neither are they, but hey. I got it back, and it´s a half-way decent story! Conner sent me a picture. He´s all bundles up in a huge coat and scarf, standing in the front of water that´s so frozen that people are walking on it, taking pictures. The difference is just wierd.

A lot happened this week. We found a lot of new investigators with great potential... None of which went to church, even though we passed by their houses and woke all of them up and invited them to walk with us for the 2nd or 3rd time, by the way. BUT. I know that will change in the future. We also found out that someone that has been going to church here for a couple months isn´t a member... But I never knew that because he started going to church the same week that I got here, so I never realized that he wasn´t baptized! We´re now meeting with him this week :) Get this... His girlfriend (who is a member) lives in the apartment right next to us. SUPER convenient. We also got a ton of referalls Saturday of people that want to get baptized. We´re starting to have a problem here: I think that we´ll need to start doing spilts with the members, because we have more work than we can keep up with. It´s really statisfying, yet stressful, to open my planner to make an appointment with someone we contacted, and not have space until 7 days in the future. It´s interesting the difference with last transfer, when we didn´t have enough work to do... And now this transfer we almost have too much to do. Whew. We have our work cut out for us, that is for sure. 

We ALMOST had a baptism this week. It was an interesting situation. So. Irmã Nira, the relief society president, called us in a panic one day saying that Marcos, her son, didn´t have a valid baptism and needed to be baptized again. After she calmed down a bit, she explained to me that nobody could find his records in the church website, and because of that he´s not registered, and therefore not a member, and since  he was baptized over 10 years ago, he just needs to be baptized again. And she said that nobody can remember the baptism. She can´t remember, her son who was baptized can´t remember, his friends that were baptized on the same day can´t remember, his ex-bishop can´t remember... What a mess. I called the Zone Leaders, who called the Office, who called the Assistants, who called me, who called Irmã Nira again, then I talked to the Assistants again, who said he´s called President. In my mind, I was thinking, "Hey. This kid has the priesthood and has blessed the sacrament every week that I´ve been here. There´s no way that his records don´t exist." On and on the process went, frantic mom calling me, excited teenager inviting people to the baptism that I still wasn´t sure we needed to do, APs calling me like crazy... FINALLY, a day or two later, the Bishop (this kid´s uncle) came to me and said that he had found the kid´s records, but he didn´t have who baptized or confirmed him. Many a phone call insued. After much confusion and people unnecissaryily calling me, we figure out that all was vailid, and even though no one can remember the baptism, his records were valid and he didn´t need to be baptized again. Whew.

So, things are going good! Now we just need to baptize, and keep up with all the new people we found this week. I was praying so hard to find new people, because the investigators we have are good, but not progressing. Suddenly, all these new people appeared, and bam... Answer to prayers. Hope you´re all doing well!! Go have a great week! 

Love you all tons,
Sister Moyle


February 3, 2014

Oi Família! 

Being a Sister Training Leader never gets boring. Tuesday we did an exchange in Manaú, which is really close to the Mission Office, but first we did a training for the whole Zone during their Zone Conference. We traveled about an hour by bus with all of our sleeping/other supplies, then walked 15 minutes to the Stake Center and... waited. 8 o´clock rolled around, and finally the Zone Leaders showed up. The meeting was supposed to START at 8, so I was a little confused. But people started to show up and we finally got started. It was really interesting. Sister Gago and I did our training on what Presdent and Sister Klein talked about during the Conselho the other week: How to be a Missionary Complete... A Missionary of your Entire Body. Yeah, I know that all sounds awkward in English. I´ve given up trying to translate things perfectly from Portuguese to English, it´s just not the same.

Anyway. Our plan was to talk about our purpose as missionaries, what we need to do to realize our purpose, then talk about the Complete Missionary that President Klein showed us. Things were going along normally, it was great, I was excited that I was talking so well in front of people, and then... You know when the spirit kind of grabs your voice box, then turns it upside down and shakes out a few things that you weren´t planning on saying? Well, that´s what happened to me. I suddenly started to bear my testimony about the importance of our purpose, and how we wouldn´t EVER reach our potential if we weren´t obedient... Exactly obedient. I wasn´t even THINKING about obedience! But I was pretty bold. I told them that our missions are hard enough, so why should we complicate it more by losing the promised blessings that we will recieve through our obedience? I went off about repentance, and promise all sorts of blessings. How do I know it was the spirit? Because I spoke it all perfectly in the moment, grammer and everything, and if you asked me to repeat what I said now, I couldn´t do it justis. Spelling? 

Things got a little uncomfortable after that. A couple of sisters in the Zone have some serious problems with obedience, especially on P-day. They pass 7ish hours on the internet, for example. They didn´t really talk to me after the training, and I´m really looking forward to our exchanges with them... Haha. But the whole experience was really interesting. I suddenly found that the word were rolling out of my mouth, and I didn´t have to think about them before hand. I´ve never felt that before. I really believe in the gift of tounges, and I feel like this is it. The spirit can literally change the way we think to give us the opportunity to say what is necessary in another language. 

We had a great exchange in Manaú, then came home the next day and worked in our own area and had a great day... Until somebody stole my Chaco. Not both of my Chacos... Just One. Do I get to choose which one? No. (Kyle Reeder, I hope you´re reading this). Anyway... We left the house of some Less-Actives where we had just done a Family Home Evening with, and poof... My sandal disappeared... We all started looking for it, and it was nowhere to be found. 8:30 at night, no sandal... Boo hoo. Honestly, I was actually kind of happy. I was like, "Yeah, this will make for an awesome mission story." I returned home in some really large flip-flops that belong to one of the LA, and that was that. The next day they called and said they found my sandal. Dang it. But I still haven´t had a chance to run over there and get it, so I´ve been using my super old flats that I bought in Cali 9ish months ago. But it´ll all be back to normal soon haha!

We´re still working hard to wiggle in a lesson or two every week with Messias. He usually has a beer or two in him though, and when he does it´s hard to talk about the church because he goes off on a huge rant that I could probably recite word-for-word now. ;) But it´ll happen. Just a lot of patience and prayer and fasting on our part. He made us pizza the other night, so we had a chance to talk to him about the batism that we had just watched.

Which brings me to a story to throw in between this one. Sister Snow and I taught a 26-year-old man who got baptized, but in another ward. We then started to teach his 17-year-old sister, because she´s a little bit scared of men, so she didn´t like the Elders teaching her. She kind of fell off the edge of the planet for a couple weeks, and I didn´t her anything from her. Finally, I asked her brother 2 weeks ago where she was. He gave me her phone number, I called her, invited her to church, and BAM. The next day she was at Church! Yesterday she was baptized :) It was really cool, and now she wants to serve a mission. She´s taken me on as a big sister, and she makes me think of Saryn.

Back to Messias and pizza. He made FOUR large pizzas, full of cheese and meat. He then cut the pizzas into 4ths, and gave us FOUR pieces each, one for each pizza. I almost barfed... It was so much food. But when I tried to stop eating, he thought it was becaues I didn´t like the food, no matter how much I tried to explain to him that I´m not an Elder and can´t eat like them. So I just finished it all. But here´s the problem... Every lunch here is the same thing! So. I´ve been feeling really sick lately from an overload of food. Pray for my poor tummy ;)

Things are going really well here. I´m happy, and it´s raining a lot more, so it´s a lot cooler. I´m a little bit in shock that it´s February already, but by the time I get over that it´ll be March, so... Whatever at this point. My English is suffering, but my Portuguese still has a lot of work to go, but I´m not really worried. Glad to hear everyone is doing so well! I love you all!!!

Sister Moyle

January 27, 2014

Oi Familia!
Not to start out on a negative note, but our baptism fell through on Saturday :( She told the Bishop that she was feeling pushed and wasn´t ready and wanted to wait for another 2 months. She knows that this is true, so in my mind, I´m like, "What are you waiting for?" and the other part of me is like, "But you said you wanted to be baptized this week, nobody forced you" and the other part of me was like "Great. Now I look like a pushy missionary." BUT sometimes the timing of the Lord is different than what we want. I know she´s ready, and I know that she knows she is ready, but she obviously needs something more, and we just haven´t found out what it is yet. She came to church yesterday, which is a really good sign. She knows that this is true, and she wants to be baptized, but not quite just yet. I´ve been doing a lot of praying to know how to help her, and I feel better about the situation. She told me that she´ll set a date soon, and that things will be alright. It´s hard because she works every day of the week until 10 pm, so we can only see her on Sunday, which gives Satan tons of time to do his work. But I know that faith and prayer have more power than him. So she´ll be ok.
The good thing is that our numbers are growing agian. The first week of the transfer, we had really low numbers because we spent a lot of time in the house working in our area book. To me, working in the area book is so necessary. You´re keeping a record of people´s progress in their Salvation so they can progress better. To neglect the area book is a terrible thing to do. We did a lot of organizing and planning, Sister Gago and I. Now it looks like things are coming together a little better.
The other good news is that we got to go to the Temple! I forgot to share this with you the other week, but when it was time for our Zone to go to the Temple last transfer, our ride showed up 15 minutes late, and we were late to enter the Temple by 3 minutes, so we didn´t get to go in. That was really hard, to be there in the front of God´s house and not be able to enter because the person you depended in didn´t do their part. I felt like the whole situation was a huge metaphore for life and enternal marriage, blah blah... Then a member walked up to us and started to laugh and tell the story of the 5 foolish women who didn´t have oil in their lamps. I almost decked him. But then I remembered that SOMEONE had to be like Jesus, and since I have his name written over my heart that it was my job to play the part. So I only stayed quiet, and afterwards I did a lot of repenting to learn how to love him. But this week, we made it! Barely. Our bus showed up super late, and we made it 3 minutes BEFORE the doors closed. I did so much praying. Miracles really happen if you are doing your best in the situation you are in, because the Lord can bless you. The timing to make it to the Temple was perfect. And it was so amazing.
We also had the mission council thing this week. With the fact that we didn´t work for 2 days of the week because of the Council and the Temple, yet our numbers still grew, I´m really happy. Things are looking up here.
 Irmã Nira, the President of the Relief Society, has been working with us a lot, and we are trying to teach her husband now, who is super bitter against the church. It´s Irmão Messias. The man that talked to Dad during Christmas. He isn´t a member. But he has a testimony of the church. But he refused to go to church because he hates Gossip, and he´s convinced that the church is full of it. But Sister Gago and I passed a lot more time than normal in their house this week, because our washing machine and oven aren´t working, and in order to wash our clothes and cook some brownies for the baptism, we went to their house. We also had lunch with them twice this week. Little by little, we´ve been prying into him, breaking down his barriers about the church. Little by little, he´s been opening up, and we can be really blunt with him sometimes, yet he doesn´t get offended. Nira has suffered a lot because of his attitude toward the church members, and she has been praying for years for a miracle for him to change. Me too. It´s my goal to help him have this chagne of heart. He´s like my dad here, and I want him to be happier than he is.
I also asked Irmã Nira if she had any secrets for hair growth, and she gave me a bunch of lemon grass, which I made a tea out of. It´s tasty, when you add a bunch of sugar. But without sugar, I´ve been soaking my hair in it and letting it dry afterwards. Supposedly it makes your hair shoot out of your skull after a while. The tea looks like pee... But it smells good. But I have about a months supply of pee water in our fridge that looks really questionable. Pray for me, I´m super desperate for my hair to grow.
BUT that´s my life. Hopefully this computer will let me send photos. Love you all tons!
Sister Moyle
January 20, 2014
She keeps asking me to correct her spelling before I post her letters. You may have noticed, I don't do that ;) 

Oi Família!                                                                                                             

This week was sooooo good. I worked more than I have in the past 6 weeks. Our numbers are a little low for the week, but we spend a lot of time working in the Area Book. I had just been adding new papers every time we tought someone, and it was a mess. We did a lot of planning, and now we´re ready to take whatever will come. It was tedious, but necissary. So I´m happy. Sister Gago is super motivated, she almost has 5 months in her mission and her birthday is tomorrow! 21, woohoo!! Oh, and she´s super obedient.

Our area has a big problem with gossiping. Our Stake President talked about it yesterday. He wants it to change, because it´s causing a lot of people to fall away. Sometimes I want to sit down in the middle of the floor and throw my hands in the air because I feel like I´m with a bunch of high schoolers. But then I need to remember that lots of things are different here. The people are learning and growing, and I´m just here to help. Paciente is necessary. 

Mom. Help my spelling, please. Don´t post this on the blog until you fix it please haha.

We have a baptism this Saturday! Her name is Celia, and I might have told you about her already... She´s a referral from the bishop. She is really amazing. Last week, she pushed her date for February, because she was afraid. Yesterday, Sister Gago and I went in with a planned lesson, but the Spirit pushed us to instead talk about baptism and confirmation again. The Spirit was so strong. She now has her baptism planned for this Saturday, and I know she´s going to stick to it. Nonetheless, prayers are always helpful :)

We had a change in the Relief Society Presidency Sister Snow´s last Sunday here. It was pure inspiration. Our new President is Irmã Nira. I used her computer to Skype during Christmas. She has an increadible amount of love for others. I have never met anyone so willing to help others. Irmã Nira never speaks badly of others. Only with love, and if others speak bad about people, Irmã Nira will defend them and tell the other Sisters to only show love for them. It´s been teaching me a lot, this situation. I´m learning more about love, and about the importance of supporting those that are called of God. That´s not only a raised hand in Sacrament Meeting, but also with your words. Trust in the Bishop and those that he will call, because he is called of God, and he has the authority to call others. Never speak badly about your leaders, because it breaks up the unity of the ward.  It´s not worth it. 

Gossip in Portuguese is fofoca. It´s a fun word to say, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I never realized how harmful it can be. We are now working with several less active families, and they all left because of gossip. They lost trust in the members, and in their leaders. They felt singled out and alone, not welcome. Sunday we had 2 less actives come to church becaue of our work. I almost cried from happiness. One of them, Fabio, his parents were sealed in the temple this Saturday. Over the last week I´ve seen a huge difference in him. He´s a lot happier now, and he really liked church yesterday. The other is Carlyane. She is 17 and left the church about a year ago, and she started to really miss it lately, but didn´t know how to come back. On a whim, we passed her house and I decided to clap my hands. She let us in, and as we started talking, we figured out that we´re basically the same person. We get along great, and our lesson with her was amazing. I´m so excited for her to start to come back. She had a great time with the youth.

Here´s to a great week, and looking forward to the next one!
Love you all!
Sister Moyle 

January 13, 2014


Got a new companion. Her name is Sister Gago, and she is from Portugual. She´s awesome, although, yes, I do have a bit of fear about my language skills, because she speaks perfect Portuguese. I´ll learn a lot this transfer, I´m excited. I´m ready to work.

Sorry, it´s short. I´m tired and can´t think in English.
Sister Moyle.

January 6, 2014

Oi Família! Tudo Bem?

Sleeping was not possible this week. One reason was because of the fireworks. It sounds like Dad, Mikenna and I all had similar experiences with the holiday season. We always have fireworks here, especially during soccer games. But Christmas and New Years was terrible. Não dar para dormir. I´m not sure how to say that in English anymore. Anyway, I´m tired. 

We did an exchange in Gloria January 1st. It was great! I got to be with Sister Boushley. I already did an exchange with her in Dom Pedro when she was MY STL, so this time the roles were a little changed. This is her last transfer, but she´s working like she still has a year to go. She really inspires me, and I want to be like her when I only have 2 weeks left. Of course she talked about home, but everybody does that. The main topic of our conversations focused on how to help our mission better, how to help our investigators, what we´ve learned in Brasil and what is most important in the mission. She´s great, I learned so much.

When we got back, our apartment didn´t have energy. Which brings me to the second reason that we didn´t sleep. Faltando no energia. Aparently, the energy was flickering on and off all over the Multirão the day we were doing exchanges, and it was just getting worse when we came back. Sleeping here without energy is MISERABLE. It´s soooo hot, and without AC, it´s literally impossible to sleep. Everyone was tired, and sick. That night we didn´t sleep again. The next night was worse... Because... Well. It´s a story.

We got home, and just as we finished nightly planning, the energy died. Again. Without a light, we finished up with a prayer, then Sister Snow decided to walk out on our balcony to look at the stars. Suddenly I heard her yelling, "Sister! Come here! There´s a fire in the road!" Huh? So I ran out to the road, and sure enough, WAAAAY down the road I could make out a light orange flicker. I decided that it was farther than I needed to worry about, it was hot, and the energy had come back, so when Sister Snow called the Elders to excitedly tell them she could see fire, I went to take a shower. Guess what happened in the shower? Boom. Energy fell again. Showering in the dark in Brasil is kind of creepy. Especially when you start to hear peaple screaming, and something that sounds like rythmic gun shots. As these sounds began to bounce around the tile of our bathroom, I turned off the water and somehow found my clothes and got decent again. But when I left our bathroom, and Sister Snow wasn´t in our room, or the Kitchen, or the study room, or the area that we hang out clothes, I panicked a little. 

"Sister! Puxa, aonde você esta?!"

No. Reply. Only screaming. 

I ran out the balcony, and she wasn´t there. The screaming was louder, but I couldn´t see anything, until I turned to my left... And stopped. There was this fire... Right in the middle of the road... and illuminated by the light was Sister Snow, as she leaned over the balcony to take some pictures of it. She hadn´t heard me yelling because of the riot, and had decided to take some pictures of this HUGE bonfire in our road, so she was on our neighbor´s side of the balcony. Phew. 

What was happening? The people were protesting the lack of energy. Not sure how or why building 4 or 5 fires along our long road helped, but hey, it was cool. I also took some pictures... And videos. In the back of my mind was the section in the white handbook that talks about not taking pictures or videos of public things like this... But hey... It was cool. This doesn´t happen in the states. The funny thing was they sent a whole 2 cops to talk to the people, then participate. 

The yelling, screaming and chanting lasted all night. Again. We didn´t sleep. I am so tired. But it was cool, so hey.

I did a lot of thinking on my birthday. Eu fiz 21 anos. I did 21 years... How do you say that right in English? I turned 21... Thanks Sister Snow. Anyway. One and a half years ago, I decided to prepare to serve a mission. When Conner and Garrett left, I felt like I was going crazy. I want to go too! I didn´t understand why I want to go NOW... But after a lot of praying and getting answers through scriptures, I decided to start preparing to serve a mission. I was fully aware that I´d have to wait until I was 21, and the way my life was going, I was also fully aware that by the time I´d turn 21, I wouldn´t WANT to serve a mission. Think about it: I´d be gradutating with my BA in April of this year if I wasn´t on a mission. Naw. 21 just didn´t seem right. But I was feeling the call, so I decided to prepare, not sure how or why or when. I left for college, and the entire semester I felt disatisfied. Nothing seemed right. My bishop told me that I needed to stop looking at the rain and focus on the road, and then I´d start to enjoy the ride. I remember saying,

"Bishop. I don´t have any rain right now. I´m staring at the road, and it´s a good road. I´m close to graduating, I have a lot of cool plans, things to do, but I don´t like my road. There is something missing."

"Well Sydnee, that´s rough... I don´t know what to tell you."

Two weeks later I was the first girl in his office to get a mission interview. When the age change happened, it was an instant answer for all of my questions and doubts. I honestly was a little scared, unprepared... But I knew it was right. Now here I am, age 21, halfway through my mission. No. I´m not graduating in April. Yes. I still have 3 sememsters to do after my mission. No. I didn´t do my internship in Australia, and I probably won´t. No. My life is not what I expected. I´m not sure what my road is anymore, but I like it a lot more. I KNOW I´m where I´m supposed to be. God sure knows what He´s doing. The timing of being here was too perfect to be anything other than planned. I love my mission. I love my Savior. I am so grateful for the preperation I was given to be here. I´m so grateful for the support that I have at home, Cali and here. 

Faith is interesting. It´s not simply getting down on your knees, asking for help then believing that God will give you that help. It´s more than that. When you have faith, you´ll ask for help, then you´ll get off your knees and do what you can, even if you´re not sure how things are going to work out or why you´re doing what you´re doing. Sometimes you work for a goal, and it was only preperation to do something else, and you´ll never reach that goal. Faith is KNOWING that God will do the rest, when you´re not even sure how much you can do and how much He is going to need to do for you. It´s knowing that things will work out alright, even though you´re not sure why, and it´s acting. My faith isn´t perfect, but this past year has given me an opportunity to learn what faith truly is. How grateful I am.


Sister Moyle

December 30, 2013

Oi Família!

It was so good to talk to you all on Christmas! Well, you kids stayed pretty quiet, but maybe that´s because I was so awkward. English is a lot harder than I thought... I really wasn´t prepared for that. Please don´t be expecting me do be speaking English when I get off the plane in 9 months. Thank you.

We did an exchange in another area the next day, the 26th. It went really well, and I got to be with Sister Zuniga, my future roommate. I learned a lot. I really like doing exchanges. It´s rough being away from my own area so much, but it is giving me the opportunity to learn SO much. Being an STL is really an opportunity. Sister Snow and Sister Gomez didn´t do much... Sister Gomez ended up vomiting multiple times after just a few hours, so they stayed in the house haha... Poor her. She didn´t have a very happy face when we got home. Sister Zuniga didn´t either, probably because our companions didn´t call us to let us know. We found out through the Bishop of her ward, who happened to be na capella the same time as us as we were teaching a lesson, and he only knew because Sister Gomez barfed her first episode in the front gutter of his house. Hm. We ran around everywhere trying to find a place that sells Sprite and is open at 9 pm at night, and finally found a little resurante that had it. 

Our bank is out of money. Great. So I am now using my personally money and praying that will get sorted out soon. Stink. I haven´t been able to get money for a month now. I´m really proud of myself for getting by with only 100 reals for a month. THAT`S a miracle.

We were supposed to have a baptism this week. But when we went to her house, she wasn´t there. We waited for a few hours, praying that she´d show up. But suddenly we got a really bad feeling and decided to leave. It was weird. We said a prayer asking for guidance, and I kind of half-heartedly knocked on her door again, almost as if she would answer. But suddenly we heard children laughing, and it sounded like it was coming out of her apartment. She lives in a very small apartment, that only has a kitchen and a bathroom. She sleeps in a hammock, and has basically nothing. So it´s pretty echoy, and since she doesn´t have an AC, the sounds from her apartment leak out of the hole that is supposed to have an AC. Anyway, the laughing sounded like it was coming out of the hole, and it made my hair stand on end. Sister Snow said, "Are you feeling wierd too?" And I said, "Yup. We need to leave now. I think we got our answer." I still don´t know what happened, but I didn´t like it.

We ended up staying in the house yesterday, because I have... Problems. One of our members stopped us when we were walking by, and asked if she could paint her nails. To say know is rude, so we stayed there for a bit and let her pamper us. Her husband made us avacado shakes, with creme de leite and water... Water from his tap. Normally the water here doesn´t get to me, but something wasn´t so great and yeah. I just stayed in the house, close to the bathroom. Not like you wanted to know that.

Happy New Year!! I hope that you all make it a good one, and stay safe. Love you all!!! 

Sister Moyle

December 16, 2013

I´ll get my new nametag tomorrow! Woohoo. I´ll be Sister Jones for 9 months of my mission, and Sister Moyle for the other 9. Cool, huh? And now you can keep me and Kenna straight ;) She sounds like she is doing really good. No, she didn´t write me, so thank you for the forward!

Celice. We haven´t been able to see her since. Her dad is a drunk, and every weekend she has to go help him recover from his week of drinking. Her husband isn´t very receptive, and she lives in a little hut in a community of huts that we have to climb down a mini mountain of grass to get to, so it´s shifty getting to her house, and we won´t go when it´s dark. So we have limited hours to see her, and she hasn´t been home, and she hasn´t been able to go to church. Boo. I´m praying for a miracle. We don´t have anyone progressing right now, but yesterday we found 3 new investigators that are REALLY solid, so that is a miracle to me.

The Elders here had 2 baptisms Saturday night. Sister Snow and I taught one of them their first lesson, so we went to watch them get baptized. It was a really cool experience and was really cool. The guy is obviously a little smitten with Sister Snow, so we were a little worried about his conversion. But after the baptism, he stood up and thanked everyone for their involvement in his conversion, because he had studied 9 religions over the past year to find the truth, and never felt anything until he learned about our messages. He got choked up and everything, so it was really cool.

Divisions are fun :) Traveling to do them, not so fun, or cheap, but it was nice to spend a day with Sister Summers, my comp in the MTC for my extra week I had there. She asked me for a lot of advice, and I was surprised by the answers I gave. Our role as STL´s is to support the Sisters we are assigned to, and to train them. Sister Summers and I have the same time in the field, and she has 2 more transfers in Brasil than me. I was surprised that I had the knowledge and experience to help her. It really goes to show that the Lord prepares us to serve others in our path.

My experience of sleeping in a hammock wasn´t very pleasant, however. The Sisters in Manacaparú don´t have AC. Imagine sleeping in 90% humidity in 90 degrees. It´s miserable. Sister Snow and I both were sick when we woke up. The Sisters there had it a little better, they had fans blowing on them all night and we didn´t, but still, I don´t know how they stand it. Everyone else has AC to use during the night. It´s the only way we can sleep.

Love you all!
Sister Moyle

 December 9, 2013
Oi Família!                                                                                                  
Lets start with my new companion! Her name is Sister Snow, and she is an amazing teacher. She is from Provo, UT and we were in the MTC together, but she was in a different district. She also served in Santa Rosa for a transfer in VacaVille, which is pretty close to Davis. She´s great. We are Sister Training Leaders, which is kind of the same title as Zone Leader, but for Sisters, and instead of being in charge of a zone, we have 5 companionships of Sisters assigned to us that we will do Exchanges with. We are here to train them and serve them, and to BE EXAMPLES for them. It´s pretty cool. We´re also on the Leadership Council of our mission. We had a meeting with the Council this last week, and I learned a lot. It was crazy, to me, to be so involved in actively making decisions for our mission. Our new goal of baptisms for the year 2014 is 12 million (not sure what this number is supposed to be – my guess is thousand, since the Portuguese word for thousand is “mil”) baptisms. Our goal for this year was 6 million (haha, again...), and we´ve already passed it. We had an amazing discussion about how we need to change things in order to reach our goal and to improve. The cool thing for me was that I understood everything, and I was actively involved in the conversation. Woohoo. Sadly, with an American comp, my language progress has slowed down a lot. We never speak English with each other, but it´s not the same. Howell.
We found an amazing woman this week. Her name is Celice. She is so prepared. She prayed at the end of our lesson to know if she should be baptized, and ended up crying for 5 minutes, and she said she knew that it was all true. Her only hold up is that she needs to get married, and her marido of 9 years is addicted to drugs. She loves him, but she doesn´t want that influence permanitely in her home, especially for her 7-yera-old daughter. He also thinks that our church is a cult, so he´s not too apt about helping her make the steps to be baptized. She also didn´t come to church on Sunday, because he was recovering from a hangover. It´s tough, but we´re praying hard. She is amazing, and I will always remember that lesson with her. It was like teaching Jessica again.
So. I´m now fat. We had lunch yesterday after church, and for the message the member wanted to sit in her room with the AC. We went in and sat on her bed, gave the message, and she began to give the closing prayer. During the prayer, I heard a funny creaking noise underneath me. Just as I though, maybe I should stand up, BOOM. Then bed frame broke and Sister Snow and I rolled onto the ground. After much laughing, the member finally closed the prayer, and I blushed my way out of the room. Yeah.
I´m buying a hammock today, because we´re doing Exchanges in Manacapuru, and we need something to sleep on. Every house here has hooks in their walls for hedges, so it´s the way to go. I´m excited. I love hammocks.
I wanted to send more pictures today, but my camera isn´t connecting to the computer. Phooey.
People have a mental block for understanding blonde people here. Sister Snow is brunette. I´m blonde. One member (who is from São Paulo) complimented me on my accent, he said that I´m Brasilian, that I sound like I´m from Rio. He said that he thought I was here longer than Sister Snow (who has 6 months) because I have a better accent than her. YET other people will give me blank stares and say "Descuple, não entendi". Gah.
Oh. Rules for calling on Christmas. We have 40 minutes to talk, and I am allowed ONE Skype call, so I´ll only talk to who is in the house. What hours are best for yáll?
We have a lot to do here, and we´re finding lots of people to teach. Always room for improvement, and I´m ready to take it. Love you all!

Sister Moyle

 December 2, 2013
She didn't have much time to write last week, but she did send some pictures - be sure to check them out!

Oi Familia!

I got transferred. Luckily, all letters have to go to the mission office, so my address hasn´t changed. Not like I´ve gotten any letters... One from Parker, so he gets bonus points. I did get the Christmas package however :) Thanks!! I´m excited. P-day last week was cool. A little stressful though. But we took some cool picutres! 

Sister Paulo was sick this week, so we didn´t work a whole ton, but we still had an awesome baptism on Saturday. Nonata was a miracle. She had gone to church 4 times already, so when she told us she wanted to get baptized, we taught her everything in one day, had her interview the next, and then she was baptized! It was really cool. I did miss the experience of growing with my investigator though.
And my time is up. I´m now in Nova Canaã with Sister Snow, who was in the MTC with me and she served a transfer in Santa Rosa as well, so I already know her a bit. It´s really hot here, worse than Dom Pedro, and from what I hear, there are a lot of hills. Boa sorte. Happy birthday Saryn!! Congratulations Mikenna, you´ll do great. You already got my email i hope :) 
Sister Moyle

November 25, 2013
Oi Familía!                                                                                                    
This week was pretty... Interesting. You know when NOBODY is home? Yep. That would be this week. Something about the end of the year and traveling?? Sigh. Oh well. It rained ALL DAY Tuesday. I have never been so wet before in my life, and I´m a swimmer. My water-proof-up-to-50-meters-watch apparently isn´t so water proof. He died at... Well. I don´t know what time it was, because when he died, he gave off an obnoxious "scream" that lasted for a good 30 seconds that scared me so bad that I couldn´t understand the numbers that faded away. The drunks in the middle of the street got a good laugh out of my reaction. I´m praying that he´ll come back alive so I don´t have to buy another one, but it´s almost been a week, so I´ve given up hope... But my faith is strong.

I´m starting to get ahold of the language enough to understand what the men in the streets are saying to me now. Sometimes I wish I could go back to my innocent world of not understanding. I won´t tell you the bad things, only the funny. One guy yelled at me, 

"If I was ever forced to get married, I´d get married to a Mormon."

Drunks always have friends. Well, at least 'friends' that will add a comment in after their punch line,

"Yeah, really blonde, really preeeeetty."

Sometimes they drop what they are holding and flat out stare. In the middle of the road. With their mouths open. I REALLY don´t know what they are looking at. I have never felt so "ugly" in my life. When you´re in a place that is super hot and muggy, your face is melting off all day, so it is impossible to wear makeup, (so your acne is super noticable) and your hair HAS to be up in a bun, and the food is too good here, so I´m fat now. Oh well. Sister Paulo is getting a good laugh out of it.

Children are really good at pointing and yelling, "Mãe, a blonde!"

Yesterday we found a really great investigator. His name is Adam (not Adão, like the normal Portuguese way, but Adam, yet everyone says Adão anyway. Ha) He took lessons from the Elders last year, and he´s gone to church before. He really liked learning from them, he said. We taught him yesterday, and the spirit was so strong. He had some really good questions, and his intentions are right on the dot. I invited him to be baptized, and he said yes! We don´t have a date yet, but soon. After the lesson, I asked him why the lessons with the Elders stopped. He looked really puzzled, scrunched his eyes and said, "I don´t know. They never told me." o_o  Ok. Well. We found his again, so it´s ok now. But he´s ready!

Transfer call comes this Sunday, so if I don´t email next week, it´s because I got transferred, and for some reason transfers are on P-day. 

Sister Paulo, Sister Decker (from my MTC group!) and her companion Sister Marin are going to the Teatro hoje. SO. Time is short. Sorry I didn´t write more, but I love you all, and hope that I can hear from yáll soon!

Sister Moyle

November 18, 2013
Last week's letter was short. She had spent the whole week sick with a fever of 104. Sounds like she's better now :) Her English seems to be suffering, which is a good sign! 
Oi Familia!

I´m finally not on my death bed! Woohoo! So. I actually worked this week. That was nice. Seriously, being in bed for a week of your mission is terrible. It doesn´t help that a cat with a really strange meow likes to sit outside our window and meow 30 minutes on and off. Bah, humbug.

It was weird to realize that Thanksgiving is coming up. I think in my my sheltered mind I never realized that this isn´t an international holiday. Luckily it doesn´t feel like Thanksgiving... It´s way too hot haha :)

We have this investigator, Jeferson. Things are interesting with him. He is so ready to be baptized, and he wants to be. He is very intelligent, and he really gets things. He has some serious doubts, but he started reading the Book of Mormon, and the change in him is increadible. What I don´t get is that he set his own date to get baptized, was so excited, then never showed up for his lesson at the church with us. For days we called and called, then we finally tried his house number, and he told us that he had lost his phone (which made sense, because of the "This number has been disconnected" message we kept getting) so he didn´t have our number to call us, and he was so desperate to get ahold of us, because he still wanted to get baptized. So we set a new date and appointment to continue our lessons for last Saturday, BUT... he never showed up, and he can´t get ahold of him. He isn´t the normal Brazilian that doesn´t know how to say "no", so we don´t feel that he isn´t trying to put us off... But we don´t know what to do about him. It´s tough, but we´re praying hard!

We had a good week of finding some really good people to teach. Sister Paulo and I can also talk a lot more, thanks to my growth in the language. I now have a goal to return to Rio when she gets married... Don´t know when that will be, but hey :p She needs people to support her in the temple. She is also planning on trying to visit us for a week or so. She really needs to meet Dad. Dad has a way of helping women understand their worth and helping us see what we need to expect in a future husband. She told me that she really wants to meet him just from the way I talk about him. So. We shall see!

We learned a valuable lesson yesterday. Our area had Elders until 3 months ago, so sometimes our members don´t realize that we cannot eat like the Elders eat. They make us A LOT of food, and a lot of it is not healthy. And they repeatedly say "Come Mais!!" If we don´t eat a ridiculous amount, then they think we don´t like their food. WELL. Yesterday was bad. There was a lot of food. And we had to eat a lot. Later, we ran out of water and nobody was home. Luckily, we were close to our apartment, so we stopped by to fill our waterbottles and use the bathroom. We both unded up lying on our tile floor for an hour because the combonation of way too much food, sun and drinking a bunch of water all of a sudden nearly killed us. We were so sick. Sister Paulo kept laughing, which was really bad for me, because I was on the verge of vomiting. It was horrible. Lesson? We will now explain to our members that Sisters don´t eat like Elders. Always. And don´t chug water.

The language is getting better and better. Understanding is still difficult, but I´m getting less shy. I have graduated from talking with the 6-year-olds to 11-year-olds and 19-year-olds. Adults are next, right? Sigh. Don´t worry Mikenna, I´ve only had 2 months here after 6 months of no language training whatsoever. You´ll get the language faster than me.

There is Christmas music playing in the internet cafe right now. This is so out of place for 95 degrees.

I read something interesting today. In 3 Nephi 3:12, Lachoneus was not indimitaded or afraid of the rather threatening letter that he recieved from the robbers. Instead, he encouraged his people to pray to deliverance. I like little verses with patterns that we can follow in our own lives. The pattern that we see here is to trust in the faith that we have, and search for more. When we do this we won´t be afraid, and we´ll find the strength to be ready for the next challenge in our lives.

I´m also allergic to mosquitos. Aparently, you get bitten more when you have an allergy. If I come home covered in purple scars, I´m going to cry. 

Love you all!!!

Sister Moyle

Oh! The Sisters in Nova Esperança had a wedding on Saturday that I forgot to mention. I ended up playing the piano for it. It was the first wedding that I had seen in a church. 

  November 4, 2013
Interesting week for Sister Moyle.  She didn't have much time to write a general email, so wrote short, individual letters to her siblings and parents. I will share a small part of the email she wrote me (mom)  :)

I see miracles every day, I´ve found people and taught people who are now baptized, I feel the spirit so strong, I´ve seen a growth in me that I can´t describe. Every day here is a blessing.

Sister Moyle 

October 28, 2013

Oi Família!

This week was odd. I didn´t work at all Monday and Tuesday. Monday was a normal P-day, we had some people we wanted to visit and teach once we finished dinner, but in the middle of dinner we got a phone call to pick up Sister Boushley at the Mission Office. Her companion was transferred, and she needed someone to stay with until her new companion showed up. This was perfect for us, because Sister Paulo needed someone to stay with her Tuesday while I was having lunch and orientation with all the new missionaries (I missed mine because I missed my flight in São Paulo... I don´t think I ever explained that. Oh well. After the mission). Anyway, we waited 45 minutes for the bus to show up to pick up Sister Boushley, then we got her, waited another 20 minutes to catch another bus, and by that time we had 30 minutes to pick up a mat for her to sleep on at a member´s house, then it was time to go to plan for Tuesday! Then Tuesday happened. I went to the Mission Office in the morning, waited for President Klein, got in his car full of Elders and no Sisters (I felt so wrong), picked up Sister Klein (whew) then went to the airport to pick up all the new babies. Visited the Temple for 2 seconds, went to the Klein´s home for 5 minutes to take a picture, then had lunch. YUMMY! Then an hour of orientation, then back to the Mission Office for more instruction, then wait for a bus, then planning for the next day. It was all a huge blur and no work. :( But good food...

Riding the bus here is crazy. It´s like the real-life version of the night bus on Harry Potter. I enjoy it, I think it´s fun. It´s quite the workout though... And I can never walk straight after riding the bus. It´s nuts.

Josué was baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday. It was such a sweet experience. All week he kept telling us that he knew he needed to be baptized, but he was nervous because he didn´t know everything. But holy cow, that man was prepared. He doesn´t have any problems with the Word of Wisdom, Chastity... Nothing. He´s 71 years old, and lives in Brasil. PREPARED. He baptism was amazing. It was really small, just the Bishop, the First Councilor, a Família de Irmão Paulo, and Carlos Eduardo, the member who helped us teach Josué and who performed the baptism. I was conducting the music (I would have played the piano, but they don´t have one that works at the mo :( ), and so I was able to see the face of Josué during the songs. Music really touches him. During the closing song, Teach Me to Walk in the Light, I caught him crying. He was so happy. He cried after he was Confirmed too. He´s amazing. And the ward is doing such a great job at fellowshipping him! It´s fantastic.

The Stadium for the World Cup is tall enough to be clearly seen from our chapel now. It´s right next to the Mission Office too, so it´s pretty cool. It´s been fun to watch it be built. It´s pretty ugly right now, just the structure work, but someday it will look awesome. I found out that they are only playing 3 games in it, then afterwards Manaus doesn´t have the money for upkeep, so it will most likely never be used again. Fantastic. Suddenly I´m obsesed with soccer. I played it my last P-day in Cali with the Elders, and it was soooo fun. I realized I actually like to play haha. Then I came here, and it´s against the rules to play soccer :( Sigh. Life is tough, eh? :p

We were able to go to the Temple this week too. Man... It is beautiful, and it was amazing. It was nice that I could understand everything, even though it was in Português. :)

This morning I was reading Helaman 6, and it started talking about Kishkumin (how do you spell that in inglês? I´m studying in Português now...) and Gadianton. You know, people like them don´t just wake up one day and say, "Hey, I feel like killing people and making secret combinations." Naw, these people made small decisions every day that slowly led them to the point of choosing the lifestyle that they are in. The same thing goes for the Stripling Warriors. They didn´t just wake up one day and say, "Hey, I think that I´m going to go help my people and fight for their liberty, and I´m going to trust in God for my protection". Naw, they made the choice to listen to their mothers long before, and when the moment came for them to be called upon, they were ready.

So. Who are you? What choices are you making? They may seem small, but remember, a railroad track that is off by an inch can throw a car, that or take it to another destination miles and miles away. You never know what life will throw at you, so be ready to stand tall and be worthy. You can´t just wake up one day and decide that you are ready to run a marathon when you haven´t left your bed and potato chips in a month. This isn´t "How I Met Your Mother" ;) Barney may have run the race, but he couldn´t get off the subway afterwards. If you don´t know what I´m talking about Mom and Dad, it´s a TV show... Sorry haha.

I love you all! Stay strong, beautiful and happy.

Sister Moyle

  October 21, 2013
I just realized that I never got last week's email on here - so it is below this one. I will work on getting the pics from last week over the next few days.

Oi Família!
I need to tell you about the baptism with green water. Did you get my pictures I sent last week? Hm. :( Hope so. Anyway. The church has been having problems with water. It only works off an on, which was comforting the week that we had a baptism. Luckily, when Sister Paulo and I went to fill the font, there was water! But an hour later, when the font was full, we were horrified to see a green, soupy liquid sitting in the font. So, we drained the font and started over, praying that the water would come out clean. No such luck. By this point, we had an appointment, so we decided to leave the water that we had and that we would just have to live with it.
When we showed up for the baptism, the other Sisters in Esperança had started draing the font, and we didn´t have any more water! The font was about 1/4 full. I thought that Sister Paulo was going to explode. Irmão Paulo and I figured out that the spickets under the bathroom sinks worked, so we began to fill buckets with water from the spickets (luckily, it was clean). For about an hour, he and I and another ward member hauled buckets of water to the font. My big arms came in handy. It was a really cool experience to fill the font by hand. I´m not sure how many times in my life I´ll have the opportunity to do that, but it was really special to bring the water to Dayana.
I think I´m starting to adjust to the heat. I don´t feel like I´m drowning anymore at least. I can do this. Whew. ;)
Did I mention we aren´t allowed to drink coke in our mission? Yup. A lot of members here think it´s sin, so we don´t drink it. Luckily they have Baré, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, Baré is only found in Manaus and parts of Peru. It doesn´t hurt people´s feelings when we turn down their Coke as long as we ask for Baré immediately after. I´m still getting used to the Latin way of asking for things. It´s very blunt. To me it seems rude, but it´s normal and expected for them.
Afra was one of our top progression investigators, but she hasn´t come to church for the past 2 weeks, and she´s been sick. When we showed up to teach her the other day, she was really sick, so we ended up teaching her daughter instead, who is a recent convert. It was through her that we found out that the 20-year-old guy we saw hanging around Afra´s house wasn´t her grandson... He´s her boyfriend. Suddenly things have become a lot more confident. Did I mention that Aftra´s daughter is in her 30´s? :/
We have a baptismal date for this Saturday, with a 75-year-old man named Josue. Josue is friends with Joaõ, a now dropped investigator. When we showed up to teach Joaõ the other day, Josue happened to be there, so we taught him too. Our lesson was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have invited Joaõ to be baptized a few times now, and every time he violently says no, but he likes our lessons. But I felt like we needed to invite him again, but as I began to invite him, I felt my brain change a few things just before the words left my mout, and I felt my head turn to look at Josue instead of Joaõ. Instead of saying, "Você vai seguir o exemplo de Jesus Cristo e ser baptizado?", I said, "Vocês vão seguir o exemplo de Jesus Cristo e ser baptizado?" Suddenly I had invited them both to be baptized, and it felt very right. Joaõ began to say his normal argument (which I still can´t understand, because he doesn´t have teeth, which complicated my communication with him), but Josue said, "Yeah, I want to!"
He came to church yesterday, and another meeting afterwards. He loved it. And he´s getting baptized  Saturday. Boom boom. The Brasil, Manaus Mission has a goal to baptize weekly. I still think it´s nuts, but ok!
The language is coming along. Still can´t say what I want to, but my English is getting messed up, so that´s a good sign :p I can definitely feel the Holy Ghost guiding my words during lessons, and I feel that it is a miracle that I can communicate as well as I can after 3 short weeks.
Love you all!
Sister Moyle

October 14, 2013

Oi Família!
This week was rough. Remember how I said I had a head cold? It wasn´t a head cold. I don´t know what it was, but when we were walking to our lunch appointment the next day, I almost passed out. It´s weird to watch the ground jump towards your face, then realize that you are falling. Anyway, I caught myself, got back up without a scratch, then decided that I just needed to eat something and then I´d be fine.
Neither Sister Paulo and I are sure what we ate. The member made us some sort of pasta and meat covered in a red sauce that tasted like Ragu. The meat was kind of like a hot dog, but more briney and kind of... loose? I don´t know how to describe it. It wasn´t a very well-packed hot dog.
Did I mention that she started our conversation by telling us her dogs had died?
So yeah. I ate it. Then realized I still couldn´t keep my balance. I was so wiped just from walking. I literally couldn´t understand what was going on, but I had to rest ever 5 steps. I had no energy, and I couldn´t see. But I didn´t want to go home and rest... Fortunately, Sister Paulo forced me to go home and sleep. Which I did for 2 days.
Not working as a missionary is the WORST. You feel increadibly guilty. And your numbers for the week suck. And the Elders here bug you about it. I hated it.
Anyway. By Wednesday night I couldn´t stand being in bed anymore, so I got up and told Sister Paulo we were going to work, which we did. I probably could have slept for a few more days, but emotionally I felt better once I got up and worked, even though I couldn´t walk very well and was shaky.
The language is coming, slowly but surely. I think that I´m really hard on myself about it, sabe? I have a huge fear of talking to more than one person at a time, but I bore my testimony yesterday, and it went pretty well :) I was pretty frustrated when I invited 2 people to be baptized and they didn´t understand what I said until Sister Paulo repeated word for word what I said, because what I had said was gramitically correct. People here have a mental block against understanding white people.
My new name is Barbie. All the parents want their kids to take pictures with the Barbie after our lessons. Dunno how I feel about that, but I´ve been avoiding the color pink.
Drivers here are crazy. I can´t believe how comfortable I am crossing these streets. I think the spirit has pushed some cars out of my way sometimes as I try to keep up with Sister Paulo.
Oh. I´m buying new clothes today. It is way too hot for the clothes we got me. Getting a mission call for the Amazon in the middle of Winter in Washington isn´t the most brilliant thing I´ve heard of.
Miracle of the week: We had an investigator that didn´t come to church on Sunday, so we decided to visit her last night. Along the way, I all of a sudden heard someone yelling in a thick southern accent,
HEY! Are yáll American?
Yup. A couple from Alabama flagged us down in their car and asked us to come into their home. So we did. They are here doing missionary work for their church, and have been for the past 3 years. They have had 2 children while living here, so their kids are Brasilian. They learned the language by simply living here, and the insteresting thing is that I can speak at the same level as the wife, and she has been here for 3 years, and I´ve been here for 3 weeks. It was a huge confidence booster for me, and Sister Paulo and I taught a powerful lesson to the about the Book of Mormon, and we´re going back this week! The timing of running into them was literally perfect. It was amazing, and strange to teach in English again. It was all in about 95% Portuguese, but sometimes Maggie, the wife, couldn´t understand, so I´d translate things into English.
Mom, I´m excited for you and Dad to pick me up here, but I don´t know what you are going to eat. Everything is rice, beans, fish, fruit and a bunch of sugar. It´s also blazing hot. Dunno what you´re going to do about that, but I´m excited nonetheless. I want yáll to see this place.
I think that my Bishop and his family are in the Mountains to Climb Mormon Message. If someone could take a screen shot of the Brasilian family on there, that would be awesome.
We are learning liberes, Portuguese Sign Language. It´s super helpful for speaking Portuguese, actually. I´m really enjoying it, and I hope that I´ll be able to study it for the rest of my mission.
Anyway, sorry. This email is super scrambled.
Alma 5 is an amazing chapter. I love it. Alma 5:26 really stood out to me today. It is amazing to know that our purpose in this life is simply to be happy, and that God has prepared a plan for us that will GAURENTE happiness, and that plan is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We simply just need to choose to follow it.
Love you all!
Sister Moyle 


October 7, 2013
Her first email from Brazil!! (Moyle is Gregg's mother's maiden name, his middle name, and also Sydnee's middle name.)

Oi Familia! 
This keyboard makes it so hard to type. GRRRR. HO-WELL. Anywho. This is definitely an adventure. I got to see the arena for the World Cup. It´s sweet.
I´m serving in Dom Pedro, and my companion´s name is Sister Paulo. She´s from Rio de Janeiro. Yeah, we can´t communicate very well, but we´re learning. Luckily, we get along great, even with the language barrier. I can communiate well enough to get my ideas across, and she helps me. We laugh a lot... Maybe way too much. She is sooo patient with me, it has been amazing. She was baptized 5ish years ago, and she is the only member in her family. Her family hasn´t written her in 2 months. That makes me so sad... They aren´t supportive of her mission at all. We´ve been out for the same amount of time, so it´s been fun. :)
We have another Sister Jones in the mission, so I now have a new name and will recieve a new nametag. Ready for this????

Sister Moyle.

Yup. I´m excited :) I thought about Sister Palmer, but then I´d be the 3rd Palmer in the mission, and my name would be Sister Spalmer... Sorry Mom :(
The Brasilian toilets are square. I don´t know why, because that shape isn`t meant to hold people. I´ve definitely lost some inches in just the few days I have been here, and I seriously have to do a squat every time I use them, otherwise I fall in... Ahem. Also, you don´t flush toilet paper here, so everything smells like an outhouse. Luckily, the toilets are flushable :p But honestly, that is my only complaint about Manaus. The toilets.
It´s crazy hot here. Imagine the oven room at 140 Degrees (Farenheit, and then fill it with water that you can breathe in. Yup. Bien-vindos a Manaus! Walking around here is kind of like swimming through a hot tub with thin water. It actually doesn´t bother me. It´s kind of fun. I was not enjoying being cold in California. Shivering is not not my favorite, and I tend to do that when it´s 70 degrees. 
My body has been really confused, and even though it adapted to the time change really well, I have a bad sinus infection. Today it is the worst that it has been, but I´m surviving. It´s much easier to get up and work than to take a nap in a hot apartment, so that´s what I´m doing. I dunno, I´ve always done that. Sorry Mom, it´s who I am :p 
Every man here knows the words Beautiful and Pretty girl, marry me! (I can´t find quotation marks on this keyboard) Also everyone´s horns work when a blonde girl is on the street. Just an FYI. And there is no such thing as a shy child here. As soon as they see I am blonde and have blue eyes, they motion for me to bend over, then they grab my face to stare at my eyes, then they give me a huge, slobbery kiss on the cheek. They then insist on showing me everything they own, then they want me to teach them ballet. I always have my hair in a bun, and to them I looke like a ballernia. Dunno why, but it´s flattering, so I go with it. Just as I start to feel like I´m actually pretty, some woman will walk up to me and say, Oh honey, your face could look so much better if you fixed your acne. It just isnt good for your face, it is hiding your beauty. I can´t see you behind the red. Thanks guys. I needed that piece of humble pie. Tchao.
The food here is fantastic. I haven´t had one thing that I don´t like. I need to live here for another year just so I can recreate the food that the members make for us every day. GAH. The other day, I ate like, a whole chicken. Almost literally. It was like half a chicken roasted on a spit. SO good. Anyway, I officially hate American food. 
Brasilian eating habits are really odd. Basically nothing for breakfast, then a good lunch, then no dinner, then cake and cookies and carbs and crap at 8 pm. Erry day. I still haven´t caved and started eating crud, but sometimes our investigators will let us in their house, then instantly run out, then return with pound cake or something along the same lines. The first time it happened, I looked at Sister Paulo... I was so confused. I thought maybe the person had just run out on us... But no. It´s like the thing to do here. Buy the missionaries food at ridiculously late hours of the day. At least late for me. The have Guarna at every meal, which is a soda... SUPER good. The first time I had it, it was slightly frozen, so it was like a slushy... MHM. It´s a good thing that I sweat off everything within an hour, otherwise I´d be gaining weight instead of losing it.
Well, I think that I´ve perminately lost 5 lbs. I can´t really tell because we don´t have a scale, but my clothes are too big. That´s new. I´m feeling tons better about myself.
The rain is cool here. It literally comes in walls, soaks you, then rushes on to the next block with a big boom of thunder.
I really don´t ever know what is going on... Like ever. BUT I´m getting along ok. I can understand best during lessons. The Spirit tells me what to say, and I do. It works out ok, but people can tell I´m from the US just from my looks, so they have a mental block against understanding me. It´s frustrating. I´ll say everything perfectly, grammer and everything, and my accent isn´t half bad, but then they´ll look at Sister Paulo and say: O que ela disse? E Ingles? What did she say? Is it English? 
It´s ok, I´ll tell everyone in my next area I´m from Espana. I speak with a Spanish accent anyway.
The work is very different here. Obedience is different... And I don´t like it. When I can communicate with my companion, that will change. People can also get baptized after their first sacrament meeting, and if they smoke and drink they can still get baptized as long as they PROMISE to stop. I don´t agree with that either, and neither does Sister Paulo. We both feel that nothing in the this Gospel is easy, so why should baptism be? I get that the Holy Ghost can help people overcome their addictions, but think about it. I realized that the church is new in Manaus. Very new. But if we don´t do anything to help our faith grow and to show our desires, we´ll be disappointed when things get hard. We won´t be able to understand why things aren´t as easy as they were in the beginning. Nothing is easy. We´re here to grow, not slide by. If you want easy, you won´t find it in this church. Jessica was going to get baptized the day I left, but she smoked her first cigarette in 2 weeks the day before her baptism. Guess what? She gets to wait and work for another 2 weeks. You know what she said to me? It´s ok, because this has shown me that the Word of Wisdom is a serious commandment, and I need to work for it. It is the only hard thing that I have in this church, so I need to work on it.
Anyway, that was my rant. Sorry.
I´m now completely studying in Portugues. It is difficult, but I am here to recieve revelation for people in their native Language, Portuguese. I´ve been able to find new insights through the Language that I wouldn´t have been able to in in English, so even though it´s hard to study Preach My Gospel and the Scriptures only in Portuguese, I´m seeing miracles.
So yeah. I´m skinnier. Sicker. Confuseder, but I´m absolutely loving it. I cried when I realized I only have a 1 year here. Selfish, I know. But hey. I can´t figure out why I love what I´m doing so much when I can´t understand anything and everything is so different, but I think that is a testiment to me of how true this work is, and how important it is. I´ll get the language someday; I´m doing all I can to learn. It will come, I have faith. But for now, I´m loving the people and the work with all my heart.
Love where you are. Love what you are doing. PS- That is so much easier to do when your life is in line with the Lord.

Eu Amo Voces!!!
Sister Jones/Moyle

Sept 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Oi Familia!
So. Everything is different. I'm now senior companion? There is a question mark there because I still feel like I just started my mission, and I think I'm in denial that I'm 6 months out, not 1 or 2 months out. Sister Finley is my new companion, and she's awesome. She is almost 20, went to BYU-I, and sings amazingly. She has been out for 3 months, and she freaked me out when she told me that someone had told her I'm a "boss missionary" and she is excited to learn from me because I "know so much more" than her. WHAT????? HELLO. I'm still a baby. Sigh. I'm in denial, like I said.
JESSICA IS GETTING BAPTIZED! She got her baptismal interview yesterday, and she will be getting baptized on Sunday. SO happy! She hasn't smoked in a week and a half. Keep praying that she stays strong, because the whole neighbor hood still comes to smoke on her porch for social hour. She also bought me a couple skirts from the thrift store: I wasn't very happy because she is broke, but they are very cute, and it was sweet of her. I just asked her to not buy my anything else haha. She loved your letter mom! Thanks :)
Kim is good. We finally figured out that it is only her mom that is having issues. But her issues are all over the place, and I cannot figure them out. Sister Finley straight up told her that we choose to be offended, and sometimes we need to realize that and move on with life. It went over surprisingly well. We're still welcome back. Maybe she chose to ignore that comment? Ha. Anyway. Kim still wants to come to church, and she always goes to Mutual, so we just need the ward to keep working on her mom. 
The Soto Family is doing great. Well, progressing in the Gospel great. He has been out of work for a month now, and it sounds like SS won't give them their check, so they are really worried about how they will feed and house their 5 kids and how they will continue to have the behavioral therapist come and help with the 2 very severely autistic kids twice a week. Julie (the mom) and her 3 oldest kids want to be baptized, and President said that even Adrean can be baptized, even though he isn't technically accountable for his actions. We're very excited about them, but it has been a while since we have been able to meet with them.
Gosh. I'm always hungry. Moving on.
More and more I have been realizing that we can do anything we want to. I don't mean that we can just do what we want and not suffer the consequences, but I mean we can dream big, and we can achieve those dreams. The gospel truly does give you wings to fly. Once your life is in line with God's commandments, you all of a sudden find this freedom and a strength. Suddenly, all these options start to pop out of the woodwork. If you have a desire to do something, and it is a good thing to do, then you can do it. Even if it is hard. That is why so many people in the church seem so successful. It's because they put God first, then they set good goals, and God helped them achieve them and develop the skills they needed in order to be successful. What I think about, I bring about, with the help of God.
We are looked over and loved! Love you all!
Sister Jones

Sept 16, 2013
Be sure to check out the new pictures! I'm not sure how I did it, but I got them on - with captions!

Oi Familia!                                                                                                                  September 16, 2013
Transfer calls are here! I am staying in Middletown, and Sister Reid is going to Woodland, in my old zone. I. Am. Going. To. Miss. Her. So. Much. I can't believe with how well she has put up with me. She is like my Nati. I can't imagine serving with anyone else! But I'm going to, and I'm going to serve with a lot more people. Tis the life of the mission! On to a new adventure in the same place. My new companion's name is Sister Finley. I looked her up on FB, and she looks like fun :) So we'll see! It'll be weird to be the senior companion, and have a companion that is newer than me, because Sister Reid and I have been out for the same amount of time. I'm also getting certified to drive, because I don't think I can handle the stress of giving Sister Finely directions... And the roads here are nasty, and there are these wicked curves that you can't see coming, so you almost drive off the cliff if you don't know about them. 
The mission figures that it is a good investment for me to drive, since President Alba called Salt Lake and asked about my visa, and they said it probably won't come before Christmas. Now I can start actually going on 24 hour exchanges again with Hermana Chavez. We've only been doing exchanges for studies in the mornings over the last 2 transfers because neither of us are certified to drive in the mission. That'll be fixed soon.
This week was the highest teaching week that Sister Reid and I have ever had together! 23 lessons! It was pretty amazing, especially considering the mess I was in. Somehow my brain and body have forgotten how to handle stress. This last week was so bad that during one personal study (after we got transfer calls) I couldn't focus, so I walked into the bathroom to get my face wet, and next thing I know, I was on the ground crying. It was completely out of my control! So frustrating. I've never had an anxiety attack before, but I think that was pretty close to one. Anyway, I ended up getting a blessing from one of the Elders in my Zone. It was a powerful blessing. Satan knows that missionaries are doing great things, and it scares him. He is attacking us in ways that are so effective that we don't even notice it, and he found my weak spot. The blessing specifically told me I needed to be on a mission, and that Satan knows my potential to change lives, so he wants me to leave, and I must never. Ever. Leave.
The interesting thing about blessings is that we expect it to be an immediate fix. Well, they aren't. But the amazing thing is that even though all the stress still isn't gone, the blessing has reminded me and given me the confidence that I need to deal with things.
Jessica didn't get baptized. She missed her interview and then smoked a little the next day. It sounds like she has been clean since then, but there is something weird that is going on all of a sudden. It has been really hard to get ahold of her. She reset a date for this Saturday, but we don't feel so good about it anymore. We need to see her again.
Kim has me worried. She and her mom haven't come to church in about a month. Kim won't talk to me. Last time we went over to teach her, she wouldn't get out of bed and kept her head under a pillow. Her mom said something like, "Oh come on, we aren't mad at THEM. Just get up and listen to your lesson!" Hmm.
Another recent convert has been MIA for a while too. We've been in contact with him, but there has been something up there too.
We've been really frustrated because we bring these people to the Gospel, but after they are baptized, the ward still thinks that they are too busy, and so there must be someone else to keep fellowshipping these people. It scares me, to be honest. Everyone needs a friend. Especially those that are new. 
We are teaching a new family! Julie and her 3 oldest kids are going to get baptized by the end of the month! :) Her parents are converts, and now she wishes that as a teenager she had followed in their footsteps. She loves what she is learning, and so do her kids. 2 of the are autistic, and one of them is the 12-year-old boy, Aieden, is in love with me. I don't know what I did. He tells everyone I am his girlfriend, and that we are going to date, dance and kiss. He gives me really long, awkward hugs. I'm trying to avoid those. He also insists for a kiss every time I leave, and I don't ever give it to him, so he's usually bummed whenever we leave. Yeah. Their whole family came to church! All 5 kids, Julie AND her husband! They were a member referral :) They really liked it, and the members who referred them were so fired up that they want to come to every lesson, and they set up a system that will allow the investigators to stay in Sacrament meeting, even when the autistic kids act up. Fantastic! I love that! Members are SO important! They stay. Missionaries leave. Remember, every new convert needs a friend. Unfortunately, I can't be that friend that is always there for them. But members in the ward can be.
I Love you all! Stay strong!
Sister Jones


Sept 9, 2013

Oi Familia!
How is it with Lu gone? I was even kind of sad... And I wasn't there to send her off haha :)
This was a good week. Full of learning and growing experiences. I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of time to write today. BUT I wanted to tell you about Jessica. She is getting baptized on Saturday! If she stays off the nicotine. She quit smoking completely last week, and she was slowly weaning herself off of nicotine. We taught her about fasting last week, which was the last lesson that she needed before baptism. She got really excited and said she wanted to fast on Sunday to help her quit, and so we called President Alba to ask if we could fast too (we have to ask for permission to fast for special purposes, because some silly missionaries starved themselves once). He approved it, so that is what we did! The whole zone ended up fasting for Jessica.
Imagine HOW SAD Sister Reid and I were when Jessica didn't show up to church.
So. We went to visit her Sunday evening. After we knocked on her door a few times, Jessica finally opened it up. She looked terrible. She had a cold towel around her neck, her eyes were wide open, and she was shaking. But she was so excited to tell us that she was off the nicotine, and that she had been fasting all day! She was so happy! As miserable as her body was, she was beaming from ear to ear. She said that she wanted to come to church so bad, but she felt so gross that she couldn't get herself to go. It was about 5:30, so we told her that she should probably end her fast and eat something, and she was so cute.
"Oh, can I? Oh, I wasn't sure when I could end, I was going to eat like tomorrow or something! I know it's two meals, but I was just confused. I wanted to make sure!"
Haha. I love her :) She is so amazing!
So. Baptism on Saturday!!!!! With Jessica!! I am so happy that I'm crying a little. We have seen so many miracles with her. I really feel like I was put in California for Jessica. She mentioned how she had changed from not wanting to hear from the missionaries to finally realizing that this is what she has been looking for her entire life. I asked her what changed, and she got a funny look on her face and said:
"I'm not sure. You two didn't say anything different than the other missionaries, but there was just something. I think it is just who you are. I needed you two to teach me, I don't know. I can't explain it, but I think it is just because I needed you two."
Yeah, much crying ensued. From Jessica's end. Not ours haha... Sister Reid and I don't cry. Ahem.
Transfers are this week, and Sister Reid and I are a little stressed. For one thing, we enjoy being each other's companion too much to even want to think about being separated. For another thing, we are really worried about leaving this area. Kim, Lance and Victor, who are all recent converts, are all struggling. Fellowshipping in this ward is a hard thing to have happen sometimes. We feel like if we could just stay here for a bit longer, then maybe we could keep helping the ward take these people under their wing more, instead of them turning to us. All of them trust us, but not so much the ward yet. It'll take some time, but things are different here than in Moses. I truly love this ward, but the thought of leaving these people stresses me a little. Thank goodness for Facebook! :)
I'm excited for this week. The last week of the transfer always holds lots of miracles.
Love you all!
Sister Jones
Sept 2, 2013

Oi Familia! 
Hey! Online Proselyting has been interesting, to say the least. It's a different world on the internet, yet the problem is the same that it is in the world of physical missionary work: Finding people to teach. Know anyone? ;)
Sister Reid and I have been having some good talks about "missionary work". My entire life, I thought that being a missionary was when you spend 2 years or 18 months as a called, set apart missionary send to some other place. Name tag and everything. Mostly this was because the label of "missionary work" has the word "missionary" in it... It kind of made it seem like the spectrum of bringing people to Christ revolved around the missionaries. Lately I've been able to recognize how wrong that is. Being a missionary is such a small speck in this spectrum. Being a missionary isn't any more important than being a member. It has made me want to no longer say "missionary work". Instead, lets call it "The Work of Salvation", shall we? Much better.
The Atonement has been a big topic of study for me lately. You would not believe how many people do not feel qualified for the Grace of our Savior, members included. I don't care who you are, what you have done, or what you think of yourself, God loves you. He sent Christ here for YOU as an individual, not as part of the mass of the human race. Christ knows YOU. He suffered for YOU. He didn't lump all the people that had cancer into one moment of pain, then to those with eating disorders, then to those that got hit by cars... He suffered for each person individually. Why deny yourself of the opportunity of ridding yourself of guilt, pain, heart-brokenness because you, a human being, labeled yourself as unworthy. You don't know you like God knows you. Don't limit Him and His ability to love and forgive you because you don't believe He can. God is all powerful, all-knowing. He can do exactly what He wants, how He wants. The only thing that stops Him from doing so, is us not letting Him help us. God never forces us to do anything. Using Christ's Atonement in our lives is our choice. He is just waiting to help us. Don't deny yourself.
Sorry, I don't have a lot of time for email this week! I love you all lots. Keep your chins up, write me letters!
Sister Jones

August 26, 2013
  Sorry I missed getting last week's email posted! It's right below this one...and this one is soooo EXCITING!  WOW!
Oi Familia!
Are you ready for this? I have the best news EVER.

Do you remember how I was called to Manaus, Brazil? Then do you remember how I was reassigned to the Santa Rosa, CA Mision, English speaking? Remember how sometimes I go on 24-hour splits with the Spanish Hermanas? Remember how I am in the best mission in the world? Remember how I wrote this out on my iPad mini? Remember how my mission boundaries have been dissolved, and I am now authorized to teach the world? I've been called to serve in like, 4 missions at once!

Tat's right. I said it. The Santa Rosa, CA mission is the first mission in the world to no longer have boundaries. Each missionary in my mission has been given an iPad for their entire mission to use for study and teaching. It has been an amazing week, and my entire life has been leading me up to this point.

My entire life, I have been obsessed with social media. Part of it is the "Jones gene": If you ever turn on a movie at one of our family reunions, you will find every single uncle sitting in front of the TB, slack-jawed and laughing their heads off... Along with Grandpa. Most of us cousins outgrew it, but it still gets a hold of us every once and a while. yes, I am a victim of this. Many pictures have been taken of me when I was little with my mouth slightly open, my eyes slued to the TB. As I got older, I became fascinated with the process of making films. I watched the "behind the scenes" DVDs for the Lord of the Rings more than the actual movies. Then the internet came into my life, and mom was constantly telling me to get off. It's fascinating to see how a moving picture with music could create emotions in you, and once I graduate high school, I decided that I wanted to study film because I wanted to make things that could touch the world, that could motivate a good change in people. I wanted to make things like "Butterfly Circus". (Look it up on YouTube)

In college I studied how the social media has become a driving force in people's lives. I saw the good and the bad, not just in studies, but in my life and my friend's lives. I learned how to use it effectively in marketing techniques, social blogging, designing aspects, you name it. Again and again I was impressed by how we could communicate with others so far away with just a simple keystroke.

Lets go back to June 23rd. The Hastening of the Work of Salvation broadcast was shown. Another example of amazing social media usage. I loved the message that was shared about member missionary work, and how us as missionaries and members should work together. But I don't think I caught hold of the vision they were setting for us.

In the press conference following the age change of the missionaries, almost a year ago (yikes!), Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated that the Lord needs more missionaries than ever to hasten His work.

"Behold, I will hasten my work in its time."
(D&C 88:73)

The time is now. We are seeing prophecy being fulfilled. Brother Donaldson, the man who is in charge of all this change, told us that the Twelve and the Prophet have stated that it is no longer "I WILL hasten my work," but instead, "I AM hastening my work".

They told us that they foresee a day that our parents will be the members in our member present lessons over Skype. We will be doing missionary work with our families... As families.
Are you starting to catch the vision yet?

In our zone, each companionship has a goal to teach 18 lessons a week. With this new change of teaching online, teaching 150 lessons a week is now not an unreasonable goal, and that number will grow when we know how to use this tool more effectively. (Sister Reid and I taught a total of 77 lessons last transfer.)

Miracles are happening, and they are starting here. There is no question in my mind as to why I don't have my visa still, or why I didn't receive a reassignment on time and had to stay an extra week in the MTC. I needed to be here, in this mission, and God made it possible. He really went out of His way to put me here.

So, why does the Santa Rosa, CA mission get this privilege first? Why not any other?

It is because we truly are the most obedient mission on the earth. Blessings truly coming from obedience in all things.
Grant, Brooklyn. That means you listen to Mom and Dad :p

In the meeting where our iPads were given to us and we were given some basic training, President Alba called on me to speak to the zones that were present. He told them that I was studying Communications, and he wanted me tot tell them what I thought about the use of social media. I told them how good of a tool it is, but then I told them that I had seen bad come of it, so it is something that we really need to be careful of as missionaries. Alvin, the man who did most of the training, then said that he felt challenged by me, and that he needed to show us how we will use these tools only for good haha. He did a good job :)

I actually got picked on a lot during that meeting. I basically started bawling when they told us we could teach our friends, and Brother Donaldson noticed. So he asked me what I was thinking, gave me the microphone, and I just cried. Ok, I talked too. I was just really overwhelmed  I'm already teaching people in Brazil now :)

After the meeting, Alvin came up to me and asked me which mission in Brazil I was going to. I told him, and he said, "Ok, I want you to help me train missionaries down there. When are you going?" I explained the whole visa situation, and he told me, "Ok. When I go down to Brazil, you're coming with me." Then Brother Donaldson came up to me and thanked me for my input, and he basically told me the same thing Alvin did, that he wanted me to help train people in Brazil in online teaching.


Then I did something crazy.
I asked President Alba if I could stay.
He said if that is what the Lord wants, then I wouldn't get my visa.
Sigh. It was worth a shot! ;)
Either way, I will be going to Brazil someday, but in a way, I'm already there.

If y'all get a message from me on FB or a friend request, I'm not being illegal. I can add anyone now, as long as it is fulfilling my purpose. So no, I'm not adding you to chat or socialize, but to get referrals so I can teach your friends, old investigators from past missions, anyone!

I love you all! It's been an exciting week. Jessica is doing ok, from what I hear. The kids started school and sports, so she's been hard to get a hold of. Plus she has the stomach flu for 5 days, so that didn't help. But sounds like she hasn't had coffee at all, and she's down to just a couple cigarettes every couple of days. We just really need to meet with her again. Kim's been busy with school, so she's been hard to meet with, but we met with her mom this week. They're doing great, but didn't come to church. Hm. We're going to go see them tomorrow and see what's up. Edith is progressing so well! Love her so much. And now her boyfriend, Oscar, is home again, and she is really excited for us to teach him. Things are going well in our area. Ups and downs everywhere, but that is to be expected. The great thing is that Sister Reid and I know we are doing our best, so it will all turn out.

I am very happy here. I miss everyone at home, of course, but I know I am where I am supposed to be. I just barely realized how little time I have to serve. About one year. That isn't enough time. But it's ok! By the time I get home, Kenna will hopefully be in an Internet mission too, and I can be her 3rd companion when she Skypes people ;) I just want to be a missionary forever.

Love you all!
Sister Jones
August 19, 2013
Oi familia! 
I enjoyed the pictures. Sad about not having an email though... I love the picture of Kyle and the bouquet. What a goober. I miss that kid! Kendra is CAUTE! I'm so excited to meet her! Sadie is ADORABLE! I'm so happy for Natalie and Casey for having another girl :D YAY! They make cute babies.
This week was pretty good. We had interviews with President Alba on Friday, and I had an odd experience. He kind of asked me if I wanted to go home and work on my hip. I said "NO WAY! God told me I need to be out here. That was what my email from last P-day was all about. I'm staying." He smiled, nodded, and said, "Ok!" And we moved on from there.
And I'm so glad I did. As a punishment for choosing to do so, he called Sister Reid and I, as well as Hermana Bryant, and asked us to do something for him. Sunday was Stake Conference for us, and President was speaking. He told us that he was going to read the First Vision, and that he had overheard me playing some improve on hymns while he was doing interviews. He then asked me to play my own arrangement of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in the background as he read the First Vision. THEN he asked all three of us to sing the hymn A Capella when he finished reading, starting as a solo with Sister Reid, then me coming in with the alto, and Hermana Bryant with the tenor.
Oh hey... I did it! And it was awesome. It was really rewarding. I actually held my part, didn't mess up, made it through, and only my ENTIRE body shook. Not a dry eye in 3 stake centers across California. I loved it. But please don't ask me to sing when I get home. I'll give a talk instead, deal?
Jessica is almost done taking the lessons! She's stopped drinking coffee entirely, and she's almost done with smoking. She's trying so hard! She had a really bad flu on Saturday though, so we haven't seen her for a while. The real miracle is her husband, George. George was baptized when he was 19, but he's had a rough life. When we first started coming over, he wasn't too keen on it. Now he talks to us all the time, and he keeps telling us that he's "digging it" that his wife is loving the "Mormon Religion" so much. He's seen how it's changed her, and he loves it. He wants his kids to get into it too, and when he found out that church changes from 9 am to 11 am in January, he said he might even start coming back. 
This week really was a good one, I'm so sorry this is such a short email. I'm so glad that I'm here!! I hit my breaking point a couple weeks ago, but I took a couple more steps farther than I thought I could, and I'm seeing the rewards. So many people are ready here in Middletown. That, and my hip hasn't hurt me since Thursday. I actually power walked this morning with no ill consequences  and I actually  just ran down the church hallway, and NO PAIN!! I'm not gonna push it, but I'm starting to feel my physical burden lifted as well.
This Church is true. I love my Savior, and I will forever be grateful for His sacrifice for me, and for each one of you. 
Love you all!!
Sister Jones
August 12, 2013

Hi. This week was... good. A little bit of everything, actually, but overall it was really good. Mostly because I had a "come to Jesus" moment that I probably needed like 5 months ago.
The week started with an odd P-Day full of stressful "goodbye's" and see "you laters" to the Elders going home and the ones being transferred (all of us Sisters are staying! YES.) It was a really rushed day, all work and no play, which was a wee bit sad ;) But not bad. Holy crap, that all rhymed. I'm a poet and I didn't know it.
That night, our investigator, Tori, dropped us. It was preeetty sad since she is so AWESOME, but she's moved to Sacramento on Tuesday, so she kind of dropped our appointment on Monday and happened to not give us her address we kept asking her for. We'll keep calling her.
Tuesday was a really good day, but a huge blur. I feel like the weeks are going by wayyy too fast, I can't keep up.
Wednesday is where things get interesting. I was in SO MUCH PAIN. It hit me that I have been in pain for 12 weeks... And it is getting old. It hurts to walk, and it hurts to sit during lessons. During lunch I laid down on the couch, and after 5 minutes of having my body just throb and throb, I told Sister Reid,
"I just don't want to do this anymore. I love my mission. I love the people. I love being here. But I don't want to do this anymore." And I cried a little. Whine whine whine. I'm not proud. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I hurt! Walking around and trying to teach people with the constant throb is super exhausting, physically and emotionally. And I was being a baby. But of course I got off my butt and went out and worked, and I had an amazing night. I just was really depressed. I wanted to talk to Mom soooo bad.
Sister Reid ended up texting our District Leader, Elder Campbell, and asked him to give me a blessing. He called me Thursday night and asked me what I expected from getting a blessing, and I honestly had no answer. I told him that I have a pride issue and that it was Sister Reid's idea for me to get a blessing (which it was). He then had me look up a few scriptures and talked to me about how blessings are here for everyone, and I shouldn't hold back asking for them. He then asked me to pray that night and the next morning and have a conversation with Heavenly Father about what I needed to hear, that way I could be fully prepared to receive the blessing.
This was a cool idea that had never occurred to me before. Maybe I should put some thought into my blessings before I get them? That would definitely be more meaningful. As I was praying that night, I went over all the options with God. He could miraculously heal me, and the pain would be gone. I have absolutely no doubt that if that was His will then He would do it. Maybe He'd want me to go home and do some intensive chiropractic care and therapy and daily orthotic wear to get it all under control, then come back out. Maybe He didn't want me to go to Brasil, just stay here in California. I kept going over all the options that would either eliminate the pain in my hip or get close to it, then I realized that I couldn’t care less if God took the pain away.
I worked a crazy nut-job before my mission that had me getting home later than 9 pm and at work at around 3 am for most of the summer. I worked every day, regardless of how sick I got. Sometimes I would go and be so sick that I'd use an entire box of tissues in 6 hours and not be able to eat anything. I didn't really miss a lot of days at work, for anything. But hey, I did it. The pain I'm having right now isn't the problem; the problem was that I was really discouraged and I had lost my motivation and fire. My motivation at work would wane until I got my paycheck every 2 weeks, then I'd have the gumption to do it all over again. Here... I just needed something. I didn't know what. I told Him that I'd do whatever He asked me, but to please let me know if I needed to be here. If this is where I need to be, then I don't care if I hurt. I'll do everything in my power to be positive and happy and hardworking, regardless of the pain, because I would KNOW that this is where I am supposed to be.
The blessing that I received the next day was truly amazing. I think we forget how mindful the Lord is of us... Or maybe we view Him as too harsh of a Being. I have been so afraid that the struggle to be happy that I've been having because of the negligence I've had towards my body in the past would have caused God to be disappointed in me. Instead, I got an earful of how proud my Heavenly Father is of me and how proud He is of my efforts. He is pleased with the way I have handled this trial, and He wanted me to know that. He told me that the reason I have this trial is to help me grow and stretch in ways that are necessary in order to help me in my mission in Brasil. He gave me this trial because He knew that out of everyone I could handle it, and I have done it well. He promised me that the struggle would be lessened, and that I would be a successful missionary. 
The pain is still here. Even sitting at the computer is causing my hip to ache. BUT, I have seen my trial be lessened. The pain may not have been taken away, but the knowledge that I am supposed to be here and that I will finish my mission has given me the hope I needed. I have my fire back! I am happy. When I wake up in the morning and it takes a few minutes of easing out and gentle movements to get my stiff hip functioning again, it doesn't make me want to cry or give up anymore, instead it makes me excited to overcome this. I may sound crazy, but I am so proud that my Heavenly Father has trusted me with something so difficult so I can help someone else in the future.
Parker said something in his last letter that I needed to hear. "Nothing easy is worthwhile, and nothing worthwhile is easy." No wonder missions are so hard! No wonder my body is all of a sudden turning South. The end results of this mission are SO WORTH IT, so of course it needs to be harder than it ever has been.
Kim, Jessica, everyone else... They are my eternal friends. They are why I am here, and I need to find so many more. I don't think I could stand it if I threw in the towel now, and in the next life, saw the people I was supposed to find and have them ask me why I turned away. I couldn't stand it if I quit today, got onto FB, added Jessica... What if she asked me why I left? What am I supposed to say? "Uh, my hip hurt too much, and I just don't think you were worth it?" No. Every soul is great in the sight of God, but that doesn't mean that every soul KNOWS that. That is why I'm here. There are so many people that are waiting to know how loved they are, and it would kill me to never find them.
If you want honesty, there you have it. I really debated about sending this email. It's not like I'm afraid of looking weak, weakness is good and normal, I just don't want people to worry or something. But then again... Maybe there is someone that is reading this that is having something going on right now that is making them want to quit their job, school, life... Don't quit. Take a step back and breathe for a bit, then ask God what to do. If you don't believe in God... Maybe you should pray anyway and see how you feel. What do you have to lose? If you do it in a quiet room like you should, then nobody is going to see you and hold it against you, so just try it. I think you'll be amazed by the comfort and peace and direction that you will receive.
Never quit.
I love you all. I pray for you every day!
Love, Sister Jones

August 5, 2013

Sorry about last week – we were on vacation. This week I’m just trying to get caught up from vacation….Anyway, last week’s (July 29) letter is below this one to keep them in chronological order J

August 5, 2013

Oi Familia!
I'M STAYING IN MIDDLETOWN!!! I'm SO HAPPY! I've been praying so hard that if my visa didn't come that I wouldn't be transferred. I have too much to do here to leave. And I get to stay with the best companion ever, so no complaints here! :) Uber happy right now.
Glad to hear that the vacation went so well, except for Brooklyn getting sick. That's the worst... I remember getting sick after the reunion that Mom and Dad were in charge of and barfing the whole way home. I also remember that I was SO bummed to miss the scavanger hunt that Grandma and Grandpa set up... At least I was until everyone came trudging into the cabin holding giant bags of saltwater taffy. Then I didn't feel so bad.
This week was... Amazing. We taught 18 lessons this last week, which is a record for us. All together we taught 77 lessons over the transfer. After my first area, Davis, we had only taught 22 lessons. I don't know why it happened the way it did, but I know that I've truly learned to appreciate how much the Lord helps us through everything. There were so many miracles that happened this last week that I don't know where to begin.
On Monday, Sister Reid and I had a dinner up on Cobb with a less-active, part-member family. It was the end of the month, and even with careful planning and mile budgeting and lots of math, we were short of miles. We had figured out that if we went to dinner, to a few people's homes and then back home we would have just a few spare miles, so we really couldn't do anything except for what we had planned for. Imagine how sad we were to show up at 6 pm for dinner to see a note on the door explaining that they weren't home, but here was $20 to travel another 10 miles to get food. We decided not to eat.
Instead, we went back to the car and prayed for direction. Normally we plan backups for everything, but for some reason we had overlooked planning a backup for dinner. I've never done that before. Anyway, we prayed, then instantly felt like we should get out of the car. So we did... Not really knowing what we were going to do. This little dog immediately started yapping and ran up to us, quickly followed by his owner, who was trying to get him to stop bothering us. Sister Reid and I kinda looked at each other, then instantly walked towards the dog owner. She started talking to us like we were old friends, invited us in, and we had an hour-long lesson with her. Her name is Valerie.. And she is amazing. Her life has been really hard. She came from an abusive home where she was beaten close to death on a regular basis by her drunken mother. She finally ran away when she was 14, and then after that she was on her own. She got into drugs and was homeless, and after a long fight with herself, she finally got clean in 2005 and got her own home. She now spends her life taking care of her sick roommate who has had cancer about 5 times now. She takes in every stray dog she can find and looks for homes for them, and she loves to serve others. She has overcome a lot, and has a true desire to follow Christ. She was really touched by the things we taught her, and she invited us back for last Thursday.
That was such a testimony builder to me. The Lord INSTANTLY answered our simple, but heart-felt prayer in the car to help us know where to go to be the most effective missionaries we could be. We didn't even have to use our miles and get stranded on Cobb Mountain, 30 minutes driving distance from home. He provided, and He provided immediately. Miracles do happen.
We also were finally able to teach a girl named Edith. Sister Reid contacted her boyfriend, Oscar, way back in May, when we first came on the mission. We've stopped by a few times, and she was only home once, and she woudn't schedule and appointment with us. We randomly ran into her on the street in Middletown and found out that she was in a battle with her insurance because her boyfriend had been in an accident in her car, and they wouldn't pay for it, yada yada... She was really stressed. We set up an appiontment with her and guess what... She was home! We taught her an amazing lesson about how the Gospel will help her life and improve every relationship she is in. She's 22, so we get along great, but it was amazing how much she respects us as friends and teachers. She wants to learn more, and she excited.
It's amazing how our Heavenly Father presents us with trials in order to humble us and help us recieve the Restored Gospel, as well as strengthen our testimonies in it. Ether 12:27, 37. Weaknesses and Trials are blessings in disguise. Through them we learn how to rely on our Savior's Atonement, and it is only through the Atonement that we can return to our Heavenly Father's presence. If we didn't have these struggles, then we wouldn't use the Atonement, then we wouldn't get anywhere.
Jessica overslept and didn't come to church, but since it's the begining of the month and we have miles, Sister Reid and I decided it would be worth our time to go visit her on Cobb and check up on her. She has gone from smoking a pack and a half a day to 2 in 24 hours and using a "Mister" the rest of the time. She only drinks a sip of coffee when she gets headaches that are so bad that she can't function. She's doing AWESOME. Anyway, when we showed up to her house she was so happy to see us because she felt SO bad for missing church. We were able to share a lesson with her, and invite her to the baptism that night (Sunday) at 5:30. She came to that baptism!! And she loved it! It was such a cool experience to have her and her daughter there.
Fun story. Last minute I was asked to play the piano for the baptism, as well as a musical number with Sister Reid and Hermana Bryant, AND give the talk on the Holy Ghost. The baptism was for Monce, a 9-year-old girl who the Spanish Hermanas have been teaching. She's such a sweet girl. I was actually really proud of the talk I gave, especially since it was literally on the spot. But that's what you get when you spend all your freetime studying the scriptures and teaching Gospel lessons anyway :)
Overall, it was an amazing week. I wish people would stop asking me about my visa though, and pointing out that I'm almost 5 months into my mission, and that I'll have only around a year in Brasil. So what? It just stresses me out, and I KNOW I'm supposed to be here. I know it. Enough miracles have come about from me just getting my mission call to Manaus, that maybe I'll never get there. Think about it: Mom and Dad were much more willing to let Lu come stay with us because I was going to Brasil. I learned how to cut down on my wardrobe and how to live with wearing several things 2 times a week ;) I had an amazing MTC district and made some friends that I always needed. I spent almost 8 weeks in the MTC gaining the confidence that I needed in order to be the teacher that I am now. I have an hour of language study every day that is teaching me how to be diligent and to have faith, and it's stretching me in ways that I truly need. My family was able to meet the Nardini family. People are more willing to listen to the Gospel because I'm learning Portuguese, or because their daughter has been living with a Mormon family in America. There are more. Maybe my mission in Manaus will never happen, but I have had a mission in Brasil without even being there.
I love my mission. I love what I'm doing. I love everything.
Keep smiling!
Sister Jones

July 29, 2013

Oi Familia!
This week was really good. Jessica came to church yesterday!!! It was the best experience that I've had in my life. She is so sweet, and so amazing. Fred still hasn't come to church. We're doing everything we can for him, but it's really hard to know what else to do for him. He needs to start acting for himself. That's the hard thing about being a missionary; we talk about people having their agency and how much of a gift it is all the time, but never before in my life have I wished that I could temporarily take someone's agency away from them. That might sound terrible... BUT. You really wish that they would choose to get out of bed in the morning and come to church, just to see how amazing it is. Then again, it's up to them. We just love them, pray for the, support them, help them, but then love them enough to step back and let them choose.
Gosh, I wish I had so much more time to email... So much awesomeness going on right now. Ugh. Just got my hand slammed under the desk. Typing hurts now. WHY are there so many missionaries here? SO distracting. Grrr. The nerf war is about to begin, they're being obnoxious. 
Kim's family was having a rodent problem, so we didn't go over this week. But we saw her at church, and she's doing amazing. I love her so much. Mom, Dad... Heads up. I'm coming back to Cali after my mission to visit Kim and Jessica.
Mikenna, I am so happy for you. Those pictures made me cry... Not really. There were too many people here to cry, but they did make me really happy. I'm really proud of you, you'll never know how much I really am proud of you. I'll tell you in like 2 years in person haha. :)
How was the reunion? I loved the pictures of the aunts with their crazy socks. That made me happy :) Who says that life gets boring when you get old, huh? ;)
Sister Summers got her visa and left for Manaus today!! So excited for her :) Visas really do come.
Transfer calls are this Friday. I'm praying super hard that I stay in Middletown with Sister Reid. I love the people, and my new chiropractor :p Sister Reid is amazing. I don't think I want another companion for a while. She is really good at pushing me to be better, and she has  done a good job at being an amazing friend. She has such an amazing desire to love and support the people here. I love her.
I've been studying faith a lot lately. 
What is faith? 
          Alma 31:21
Why is faith so important/What can faith do for us? 
          Moroni 7:33, 37
          Philippians 4:13
          Matthew 21:22
          Moroni 10:3-5
          Hebrews 11 (count how many times it says "faith")
          Ether 12  (count how many times it says "faith")
What inspires us to build our faith, to grow?
         Moroni 7:40-42
         Alma 32:21
Without hope, we cannot have faith. So... How do we gain hope? Hope implies that there is something more to life, something BETTER. How do we gain this hope?
       Moroni 7:43-46
We simply need to LOVE others. If we don't love others, it would be impossible to hope for a better world.
      Ether 12:4
WAIT. Does that scripture say that it is a belief in God that gives you hope for a better world? What happened with Charity being what gives us Hope?
                                 Have you noticed the cycle yet?
When you have Faith, it is because you have Hope, and you have hope because you have Charity.
You have Charity because of a belief in God (Faith), which gives you Hope.
You can only have Faith when you Hope for a better future, which come from Charity.

       Faith--> Hope --> Charity
       Hope--> Charity--> Faith
       Charity--> Faith--> Hope..... and more.

Where is the beginning of the cycle? Faith, Hope, or Charity?
     Alma 32:27-34

                            None of them.
So what is the key? What starts the cycle of growth?
No action, no growth. No action, less confidence. No action, less love. No action, you slide back. 
Remember Jeffrey R. Holland's talk, "Lord, I Believe", from the Sunday Afternoon Session of Conference (April 7, 2013)
Go on, read it. You'll love it.
You are enough.
Start with the faith you have, it will grow.
NOTHING is too hard for our Lord. Ask and ye shall recieve. 
        D&C 4:7
Fear is the opposite of faith: The more afraid you are, the more potential for growth yo have, because you have more to overcome, which = stronger Faith.
      Mark 4:40
Have faith like Nephi!
     1 Nephi 3:7, 17:50
Go to Preach My Gospel, pg. 116, "Faith in Jesus Christ".

And you can study more from there.
I love being a missionary. It's so hard, and it's really painful sometimes to walk around all day, and even more painful to watch people progress and learn only to quit. You love everyone so much. I can't believe how fast it has been going... I'm 1/4 dead according to Hermana Bryant :p This time is slipping away so quickly! I want to do all I can to serve the Lord, and I am so grateful to be a missionary at age 20!
I love you all!
Sister Jones

July 22, 2013

*Have you gotten some bug spray for your feet?? Maybe a little topical antihistamine until they heal?? (NOT diphenhydramine hydrochloride ;)  )  You don't have bedbugs, right?
   I just used windex. No joke. It numbed them. And no, no bedbugs.
Eric Butterfield went to the Philippines speaking Tagalog!!! Look him up on FB and see if he has time to chat, he'd love to. Fun fact.
Oi Familia!
First off.... HOW THE HECK IS MIKENNA GOING TO THE PHILIPPINES?!!! I GUESSED SOUTH CAROLINA!!!! AAAAAAAA!!! I just got the letter like an hour ago. I almost passed out. So excited. So. EXCITED. Mom, Dad... You're never going to be able to talk to Mikenna and I haha... Well, maybe me :p 
Second off. That is NOT my little sister!! Brooklyn, stop growing. NOW. You are going to be taller than me when I get home. Grant, you're ok to get taller, but not Boo. Also, stop being so dang gorgeous. Those pictures don't even look like you, you look like Saryn. Stop getting so old. I am in shock.
I don't know how to handle my life anymore. Gah.
I sounds like a fun week! Mom, I'm so happy that you FINALLY went tubing. Someday you'll have to get on a non-couch tube and do it for real, but I'm proud of you :) PLEASE MOVE TO MOSES NARDINI FAMILY!!!!
I love DJ! I actually went to his baptism. Remember how I left the Jones reunion early last year to come to Conner's farewell? Well, it was DJ's baptism that I got to see that night :) I was running on about 3 hours of sleep, so I don't remember it very well... BUT. DJ is awesome, I'm so glad to hear that he's going on a mission!!! Parker wrote me and told me that a few weeks ago, so I'm so happy that DJ is sticking to it. Good for him. He's going to change the world.
I decided not to be a FB missionary. I'd have to delete my old FB, and that's where you update my blog. AND I'm going to Brazil someday, and I just don't want to have to deal with the extra headache. FB is really stressful, and so I'm just supporting Sister Reid in her FB proselyting. Luckily, that's ok with President Alba. I was excited to use FB, then I realized I really... really... hate FB. Surprise mom.
I live in a duplex with my companion and the Spanish Hermanas that also serve in the Middletown ward. It's tons of fun. We sleep in the living room on bunkbeds so we actually have places to study in the bedrooms. It's a blast! I'll send pictures. We live in the gated community because that's where all the members are, and if the refer us to a place then we can go there, we just can't knock on doors or approach people around the neighborhood. Also... You can't get into the gated community unless you have a barcode on your car, which you can only get if you live there. SO. I think that we were strategically placed there so we could get into the gates without a problem.
Ok. I think I answered all your questions...??
Funny story of the week. Hermana Bryant and Hermana Chavez were teaching a lesson to someone on their porch, and Sister Chavez grabbed the leaf of a marijuana (mom, spell check that for me please :) ) plant and started to smell it, because she thought it smelled like bubble gum. She didn't know what kind of plant it was. When Hermana Bryant told me that, I about died of laughing.
This week was great. And hard. But amazing. I'll get the hard part over with, because it was so small. I completely lost it during one of my language studies this week. I am getting NOWHERE with the language. There is only so much you can do when you never hear it. And it's so frustrating to have that out of my control. I also thought I'd be semi-fluent by the time that Bryce and Parker got into the MTC, and that obviously hasn't happened. It's interesting that when you set a goal for yourself how disappointed you can become in yourself, even if you forget about it. I had completely forgotten about that goal because it became pretty obvious that I wouldn't get my visa for a while. Anyway, I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time until I realized that I wasn't where I thought I could be. I ended up calling the mission President's wife during luch to whine. I didn't whine, I just needed to make sure I wasn't failing. It's hard to learn a language that you aren't progressing in, and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could, and I figured if she was disappointed in me then I would know I could do more. Instead, she gave me the best pep talk I have ever had. I love her so much. She reminded me that I am on the Lord's errand, and that as I pour my heart out into this mission, then I will find that when I get to Brasil that the Lord will make up the rest, and she promised me that I will learn the language.
I left that phone call feeling slightly better, but still a little discouraged. We had a lesson a couple hours later with our investigator Jessica... Who is amazing. I have never met someone so inspiring, or with so much faith. She is a mom of 5 kids, and their home life is a little rough. She loves her husband very much, but he's a rough man. She is doing her best to raise a happy family centered on Christ, so now that she has found the Gospel, she refuses to let go of it. She has had a very hard life, but she has so much faith in her Savior, and is very intune with the spirit. She wants to be baptized, and we taught her the first 3 lessons all last week. She basically inhales everything we teach her and then asks for more... Like Brooklyn when she was a baby and would eat 10 pancakes a day, only a lot more spiritual. Anyway, so we went to teach her a lesson, and she stopped us halfway through, started crying and said:
 "I just have to tell you to this. Thank you so much for choosing to come out on this mission for me. You have taught me so much, and I will forever be grateful to you. Thank you for teaching me and my daughter about this Gospel, it means so much to me and I love you so much."
I was stunned. Remember how I said she is very intune with the spirit? That was exactly what I needed to hear. I don't think it was a coincidence that she chose that moment to say those words. It was a big reminder to me that the Lord watches over His missionaries just as much as He does His wayward children.
Sunday was a little sad for Sister Reid and I. Jessica and her daughter didn't come to church. She was so set on coming, and I have never seen someone so pationate about anything like she was as she talked about setting her alarm and coming, no matter what. It was sad to not see her come.
Fred didn't come either. Fred has been really interesting. He knows he wants to be baptized, but his work schedule and his habit of drinking coffee have made keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and The Word of Wisdom really difficult for him. He has a wonderful knowledge of the Book of Mormon and the importance of every commandment, including the two he struggles with, yet he isn't making the effort to change. We're struggling on trying to find a way to help him. He's recieving a blessing this week to help his desires to change grow, so we're praying that will be the changing factor, but in the meantime we are praying and studying so hard for him in order to recieve revelation in his behalf.
Sometimes your heart hurts for people. It's been such a blessing to feel God's love for people.
Kim is doing great! She just got back from girls camp and I cannot believe how much more confident she is. This cute, shy girl climbed a 10 foot wall, did a trust fall, went on a hike and fell down the mountain then pulled herself back up and kept going, and made a new friend! She is doing so well. Her mom and her gave Sister Reid and I butterfly bookmarks for our scriptures. It feels so good to be somebody's missionary. I love them so much.
We are so blessed to have this Gospel in our lives. It's not easy, and leaving your family for 18 months to 2 years is definitely not easy. But it's worth it to see it bless other people's lives. Thank you Mom and Dad, and all the other Moms and Dads out there, for giving us up for so much time. This short time that we have to serve is the biggest miracle that I have ever had in my life. I have never grown so much in such a short amount of time, and sometimes seeing the changes in Conner and Garrett as they write me is a little frightening. They aren't the same boys that left a year ago! I'm so proud of them and how strong they have become, and it makes me excited to see how far a mission can help you go. I love it out here. I hope that you are all looking for daily miracles.
Love you all so much,  Sister Jones

 July 15, 2013
We have the family of our Brazilian exchange student with us for a couple of weeks. That's "Lu's family". Still trying to get pics posted....

Oi Familia!
I'm so jealous that y'all got to meet Lu's family!! Oh well, someday I will too, but I'll actually be able to talk to them too, so it's ok. ;) It sounds like it was a good week, I'm glad to hear that!
My week was really good too. I had my second baptism! Kim is soooo sweet, I love her to death. She's like a shy version of Brooklyn, so we get along really well. She's like my little sister while I'm out here. Her baptism was really unique. She's so shy that she only invited the Young Women, the Bishop, the Ward Mission Leader, and her family. She had an anxiety attack before the meeting started, so she sat out in the hall for about 30 minutes before she calmed down, and Sister Reid, her mom and Elder Volkson talked to her while the rest of us stayed in the gym, and I just played hymns. She finally calmed down enough to get baptized, as long as we had the doors to the font shut. So Kim, her mom, Elder Volkson (who was baptizing her), his companion Elder Skidmore and the Ward Mission leader went into the font together, and it took Kim almost 3 hours to step into the water and be baptized. She's terrified of putting her head under water. Elder Volkson was so patient and good with her, and was amazing. But she did it! We're all so proud of her, that wasn't an easy thing for her to do. But in the end her faith overcame her fear, and she did what she knew was right. She is amazing. I was a little sad I couldn't see her get baptized, but I could hear it. Good enough for me.
I have bug bites all over my feet. Just my feet, and just me. They itch so bad that sometimes it makes me cry, and my feet are swollen. We'll try to talk to people and I feel like they are just staring at my feet... It's gross. Maybe this is why I'm in California and not the Amazon...
I am now a Facebook missionary. That's a little weird, but I'm excited to be using social media again! The cool thing about preaching the gospel online is that this is what I'm studying in school... How to effectively communicate via the internet. I still need to make my Facebook page, but it'll happen soon enough :p The funny thing is that I haven't missed FB once since I entered the MTC. Surprised mom? It's true though. I also didn't miss my cell phone. Surprise.
The elders found a typewriter in their apartment and gave it to me, so some people will be getting some sweet letters from today.
Elder Leavitt sent me some pictures of himself. I think I'm in shock. He is SO SKINNY. He does NOT look like Conner to me. He also looks like he grew 2 feet. I'm so confused, I can't believe how much he has changed in just under a year. Makes me wonder what I'll look like after several months in the jungle... Ha. For the record, I'm just getting fatter here, so don't expect any pictures any time soon. Just kidding. I'm going to try to send one today.
Did you get any of the pictures I sent last week? I hope so, I sent like 20... All with mailer demons. Dumb.
Ugh... I can't remember this week very well. It kind of flew by, and it was so crazy that I can't even understand my planner anymore. That's a good problem though, it means that we're busy. It doesn't mean that I'm disorganized, but so many things would come up last minute that we would write them in about an hour ahead, so it just messed up how my planner looked, and I can't understand it anymore. Good problems are fantastic though, they make me feel really good. :)
We taught a crazy lady that used to be a part of the nudist colony up here. Have I mentioned that yet? Right by Middletown is Harben Springs... Where naked people live and soak in hot water springs together all day. It's a "New Age" colony... Yummy. We meet lots of fun people here. We aren't teaching her anymore. Nice lady though.
Life is soooo good. I love what I'm doing! Sister Alba, the Mission President's wife, pulled me aside after our amazing Zone Conference on Tuesday to talk to me. She just wanted to know how I was doing since I'm a visa-waiter. I'm not going to lie, I bawled the entire time we were talking. Still not sure why, I'm not sad or anything. I think I'm just conflicted. I really love my Santa Rosa Mission, and I don't want to leave. But I am DYING to get to Manaus. We had a good conversation, found out that I'm normal and doing well, and I've been feeling better ever since. Still conflicted though.
Keep your smiles on. I love you all!
Sister Jones

July 9, 2013
So, after I wrote that, we got 2 emails and some pictures! Here they are in the order they were sent, so the first should be last....

July 1, 2013 (received July 9, 201)
[This is last weeks email. Apparently it didn't send. UGH.]                                     
 Hi mom,
Yes, I remember Aunt Betty. She was the one that looks like Grandma, but would get after us if we spun in circles to watch our dresses fluff out ;) I love her! I hope that she's doing well, I was sad to hear about Uncle Paul, but after teaching the Plan of Salvation so much, my testimony is too huge for me to be too sad... You know?
I got the rock tape and the CD :) Thanks! I can't really figure out how to use the rock tape since the pain is coming from the bones... It's weird. I'll keep playing with it. I can feel everyone's prayers though! I asked a bunch of people to pray for my hip last Monday, and since Tuesday it has been getting better!! That's a first. I'm pretty excited, because now I don't feel like an 80-year-old stuck in an elastic-skin suit. Also, my new area is all hills that are so vertical that it feels like I'm going to rub my nose off if I'm not careful.
Pretty sure I don't have my visa. I don't care anymore. I love this place. Leaving will be hard. So you finding out?  (I asked how we would find out when her visa arrives) No idea. I don't even care about how I'll find out.
I'll call the mission nurse tomorrow and tell her I need to see a chiropractor. I'm not allowed to look for one myself. She told me to update her on what you and Dad said about it. So I will.
I have language study for an hour on every day except Tuesdays and Fridays. My pronunciation is really good, if I do say so myself. I have a grammer book that goes into detail about it, so I've torn it apart. I can read really well now, so I'm kind of excited. Speaking has definitely been degrading, but now I'm living with 2 spanish sisters, so it's great because they'll say something in Spanish then ask how I'd say it in Portuguese. I've also practiced teaching the native Spanish-speaker a few of the lessons in Portuguese. So that's been helpful. I'm sure I'll die once I get to Brasil, but the language will come. I'm fairly confident that now I understand the pronunciations that I will be able to identify words better and begin to pick up the language really quickly. I'm not too concerned; that doesn't mean I'm not studying!
Love ya,

Oi Familia!
Yeeeeah! I got transfered! I absolutely LOVE my new area. Everything is super spread out though. There is Clearlake, where the church is, and it's about 20 minutes from Hidden Valley, the gated community where I live. Past Hidden Valley is Middletown, which is about 15 minutes away from our home, and another 15 minutes past that is Cobb Mountain. We're a little bit everywhere. But I love it. And I'm so grateful for cars! Although we were running low on miles last month, so we walked a bunch, which was interesting since it hasn't been cooler than 105 degrees since I got here. I drink about 12 bottles of water each day before noon, and I think I pee an average of 1.5 times a day. Don't ask me how the .5 is there. Anyway, the moral of the story is that it is HOTTTTTTT. Somehow I've gained 5 pounds with all this too. Phooey. It's ok, someday I'll get to the Amazon and eat a tapeworm.
My new companion's name is Sister Reid.
                                                        I. Love. Her.
Seriously. She is FANTASTIC. We are follow-up training each other, and she seems like she has got this whole missionary thing figured out, which I am so grateful for. We laugh a lot, and we sing all the time. Life is a blast, and we get asked if we're sisters a few times a day. It's been fun.
Something I've had to get here used to is the people. They actually say "Hi" back to you! I was in shock the entire first day I was here, and on the second day I was ridiculously happy and excited to talk to people. Poor Sister Reid seemed a little bit confused that I was so happy that 5 people in a row talked to us. Shows you how socially deprived I was in Davis. We made 7 contacts just by riding the bus from Hidden Valley to Clearlake. SEVEN PEOPLE talked to us before 1:30. That has never happened to me before. Normally it would be quite a feat to get 7 people to talk to us in 3 days in Davis. I have never been so excited about what I'm doing before. Talking about the gospel is SO easy too! I love getting to know people, and then applying the gospel to their lives. They always appreciate it too, even if they aren't interested in learning more. Every person that I have shared the gospel with here has said something along the lines of:
      "You brought the happiness that I needed today. Thank you."
How can you lose with that?! Smiling has been a pretty consistent thing for me now. Not like it wasn't before, I just didn't have sore cheeks all the time. I came up with this quote, and I REALLY hope that someone hasn't said it before, because I thought it was pretty clever:
                   "Smiling is only difficult when you forget about others."
Words to live by. Not like I'm full of myself or anything, it's just a good motto. Just saying.
I've been thinking about Russell a lot lately. I think I'm in shock that he's going on his mission this week. And Mikenna too... I can't believe she's turning in her papers!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!!! Can someone send me Russell's MTC address?? Or at least his email. That would be fantastic. And give him mine too. I'm excited for my little brother to be all growed up! Gosh, can't believe it. Phew. Oh, and Parker and Bryce will be leaving soon! And the Sara Law! GO MOSES LAKE!
People keep forgetting where I'm from. I've been introduced as,
     "This is Sister Jones from Lake Puddle" or "This is Sister Jones and she's from Lake Hole" or "This is Sister Jones, from Water Hole."
I've been getting a kick out of that. I have yet to hear someone call it "Moses Hole" like me, but I'll let you know when that happens.
Sister Reid and I are living with the 2 Spanish sisters that are also in our ward. Hermana Chavez thinks I'm sooooo funny. It's kind of flattering having someone laughing at the things you say on a regualar basis, especially when you don't try. Once, I literally said:
     "Um, since when has the cheese been moldy?"
And she died of laughing, because I guess my inflection is funny.
     Being in Brasil will be so fun. If my English inflection is funny... Yay Portuguese :p
I'm going to have a hard time when my visa comes. I really love my mission here. It really is the best mission in the world. I'm going to take everything I've learned here and use it in Brasil.

                             HI CARLOS HERNANDEZ!!! SHOUT OUT FROM SISTER JONES TO YOU! Feel special :)

A huge part of our area is not tractable because it is a bunch of gated communities, in one of which we live. It's nothing special living in a gated community; you just need a bar code on your car to get past the little gate. There isn't like a special fence surrounding the area or anything. Oh, and you can only paint your houses certain colors, and they can't be the same color as your neighbors. That's about it. Sometimes your bar code doesn't work, and that's always embarrassing because you back a bunch of people up. But that's about it.
                    Back to the part about these areas not being tractable.
It's a little frustrating, because there are so many families here. We really have to work through the members to get referrals so we can visit people. We just need the members to get on board. Our ward mission leader came out with an aweosme ward mission plan, called "Feed my Sheep". There are 4 parts: Friending, Finding, Feeding and Fellowshipping.
Friending: Make a new friend each month. Meet your neighbors, talk to people you work with. Establish connections and communicate with them often. Learn to enjoy each other's company. Be a friend!
Finding: Prepare one of your friends to introduce them to the missionaries. Talk to them about the gospel, do service, whatever. Enrich their lives by being an example and talking to them about Christ.
Feeding: Introduce them to the missionaries! After all, the members are the finders, and the missionaries are the teachers. It's what they are set apart to do.
Fellowshipping: Do your home/visiting teaching. Talk to ward members outside of church. Get to know your ward more than just superficially. Have people over for dinner or games nights. Whatever. This one is really open for interpritation, but it is so important.

Anyway. It think everyone should use this. It's golden. Members are frienders and finders, missionaries are teachers. More words of wisdom to live by, and ones that I can't take credit for.

I love my mission. So much. I really can't imagine what else I'd be doing with my life right now that would be worth-while. I have grown so much, and I have a lot more growing that will happen in the next few short months. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard: It is absoluetely the hardest thing I have ever done. I've left everything familiar behind. I've given up doing the simple things that used to make my day better when it was a bad one, like listen to music, call a friend, talk to my family, go to a movie or for a walk... Instead, I fill my time with teaching people and studying the scriptures. When I'm having a bad day, I hit my knees and pour my heart out to my Father in Heaven. He isn't physically here with me, yet I find the comfort and strength that I need every time, just as if I had called Kyndra up on the phone or gotten a hug from Mom. I have never had to rely on the Lord so much before in my life, which is a shame, because He is always there. That doesn't mean that letters don't make my day, or that they don't say things that I need on the day that I get them... So keep them coming!! ;) I love you all. I hope that everything is going well. The elders want the computer... Shigh. Sharing is a bummer. ;)
I love y'all!!
Sister Jones

July 9, 2013
So. It's a little upsetting that you didn't get my email last week. I put a lot of time into that.
Oh well. I didn't get any mail this week.
Actually, that was a lie. I got a letter from Allison! That was nice :)
I got smart and looked at how many contacts I have. I am about 3 short for each eye if I'm to make it to the end of my mission. I'm sorry: I should have done that before I left.... Can I have one more box for each eye? Thanks...

Oi Familia!
Y'all have a lot of catching up to do, since my last email didn't send. Grrrr. Oh well. There is a lot of exciting news going on here!
First off, we have a baptism on Saturday. It's for a super sweet 13-year-old girl. She reminds me of Brooklyn a lot. Speaking of which, Boo should write her a letter. I'll get the address next week. Anyway, it's been a little frustrating. She has such a strong testimony, and she wants to be baptized soooo bad. Her mom, however, is really... fluctuant? Is that a word? She really wants her daughter to be baptized, but she's SUPER sensitive. We taught about keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and she was pretty ticked that we talked about not shopping on Sunday. She wasn't so hot on tithing either. Because of that it has been very confusing for her daughter. How can I know that something is so right, but the one person I've looked up to my entire life is telling me something different? Anyway, this girl could use a lot of prayers. It's baptism week, so Satan is working in overtime to discourage her. She literally is a modern-day Nephi. Her older sisters got baptized and fell away almost immediately, and her mom has struggled with activity. She know that the church is true, and through her example her mom has been coming back to church, and she realized the responsibility that she has in order to  set an example for the rest of her family. She has been such an example to me.
We have 3 other baptismal dates too! This last week has been pretty amazing. We stop everyone and their dog on the street and talk to them about the gospel, and we don't let them go until we have asked and inspired question and born our testimonies. Sometimes the people get irritated at first, but by the end we are always shaking hands and parting as friends, even if they aren't interested. It feels good to go home at night and not feel guilty about passing someone on the streets. I keep finding scriptures that remind me that I will be held accountable for those that I had the opportunity to talk to, yet didn't. It's hard for me to picture them being upset with me in the next life, and them asking me why I didn't tell them about this sooner when I had the chance. It breaks my heart. That motivates me to talk to everyone.
The elders are shooting nerf guns at each other in the hallway next to us. I think I might die of laughing. Best P-day ever. I wish my hip would heal so I could do this stuff too. Running is physically impossible for me. Sigh. Everything happens for a reason though!!
Sister Reid is FANTASTIC. We sing at almost every lesson, and people love it. There is something about music that brings the spirit. We have been given some unexpected opportunities to visit people that were not in our plans, but they asked us to come into their homes and pray with them. There is something satisfying about walking into a home, and feeling contention, stress and a complete lack of the spirit, and leaving 45 minutes later with the home filled with peace, comfort and a the spirit pushing out at every wall. This is what the gospel is about: Bringing together families through Christ. It works.
I think if my friends could see me contacting people that they wouldn't know who I am anymore. I am the most onery, stubborn and bold person ever, thanks to Sister Reid. For example: The elders referred us to this man. We'll call him... Mike. Mike was really polite, but not interested. When we offered to give him a blessing, he said he was blessed already and began to tell us about a car accident he had been in 10 years previously that caused his brain to swell, and he almost died. Through many miracles though, he was able to live and function normally after about a year. He then started to shut the door, and I said,
"Well, did you ever think that God preserved your life 10 years ago for exactly this moment where two servants of the Lord on your doorstep would offer you the opportunity to learn more about Christ and your purpose in life?"
Mike just stared at me, then said,
"You know, you'd be good in sales."
I stared back.
He finally said that he didn't want to learn more, so we bore our testimonies. Each time he went to shut the door we testified of how this gospel could and would bless his life. He never got angry, instead he would looked interested, then he'd shake his head and start to shut the door and say something like,
"You two are good, keep it up. Have a nice day."
And you know what? It felt soooo good. How nuts is that?!
Awkward story of the day: Sister Reid and I were just in WalMart, and this man walked up right behind me, got really close, sniffed my hair, and with his nose still in my pony-tail, he said outloud,
"Smell nice, look nice, dressed nice... Sure aint from Lake County, that's for dang sure."
Then he walked off. It was a little weird. And I want to go wash my pony-tail.
There is so much more for me to say... I'm sure of it. Oh, I haven't slept in 4 days. The insomnia is back. Yippe. Therefore, my brain is fried. And this email is a little bit of everywhere, and I'm not sure where it's going, or what happened in the last week.
One more thing before I babble about nothing again. Something that we've been told almost every day is that the people that we've talking to normally wouldn't listen to us, but something about us connects with them, and they want to learn more. That has been a pretty cool miracle that we've been able to see.
Well. I hope all is going well, I love you all. I'll try writing letters today, but that'll be rough. I travel for 20 minutes to emial, so writing a lot of people is pretty hard. I only sent out one letter last week... Cough. But I still love you all!
Sister Jones

Ps- Miracles happen. Pray for them with faith, and you will see miracles happen.

July 9, 2013
For those of you waiting to read the next email, welcome to the party! No email last week, no email this week, and no letters in the mail. It's good to know she's in good hands!  :)

Email June 24, 2013  

Oi Familia!
Transfers are this week! I'm going to Middletown, CA on Wednesday, the only place that snows in our mission... You know, the whole .5 inches they get every 2 years :p I'm pretty bummed... They are shutting down our area because of lack of progress. The YSA sisters that are my roommates will now be over the YSA ward and my ward. It's no fault on our part, it's just because of the really strict demographic of only being able to teach young couples with kids under the age of 8 and because school is over so everyone is leaving town for the summer. Still, it's hard to leave! I really grew to love Davis. Everything about it is wonderful. But I'm SO excited to go on a new adventure! I heard rumors that I might be able to see the Redwoods while I'm up in Middletown. That'll be cool. I'm also going to the Meth Capitol of the world. That will also be fun :)
We had about 8 lessons set up for this past week, and for Davis that is a LOT. So we were pretty excited. :) Unfortunately, every single one of the appointments fell through about an hour before they were supposed to happen. That was a little depressing, but it gave us lots of finding time! Nobody was interested and we had a few really awkward experiences, but I loved it none-the-less. The great thing about missionary work is this: You can be a successful missionary even if those around you are not ready to accept the gospel. Wanna know how? It's simple. Go to Preach My Gospel for more details, but it comes down to being completely obedient and always filling your planner with meaningful activities and doing them. When you feel negative, switch your mindset and begin to think of your blessings. See miracles in everything, because they are there. Make study meaningful, and love others. In fact, in order to be a successful person it's good to do all these things.  Gosh... It just makes you so much more happy!!! Can I just tell you that I'm really happy that I came out here?!
Did everyone else love the Broadcast as much as I did? That was... AMAZING. I loved how they explained that missionaries are simply an asset to your ward. Members are the ones doing the finding. You are all SO lucky to talk to people every day. I am so socially deprived. Nobody wants to talk to a complete stranger that is telling them about God and happiness, at least in America. You, on the other hand, have the fantastic opportunity of working and associating with people every moment of the day. You can make friends in every environment, because that is socially acceptable when you don't have a badge on. People want to be your friend because you are relatable. Making friends and then inviting them to hear about the gospel is so much more successful than me knocking on doors. When someone you deeply care about hears and invitation to hear more about Christ and a plan of happiness from you, they are so much more willing to hear it. They see your concern and know your motives, and if you've done things right, they trust your opinion because you have never given them reason to not do so. So here is my challenge to you. Go be a missionary. No excuses that you don't have a badge or something, and don't tell the missionaries that "It's your job." (I've gotten that one before). It's ALL of our jobs. I'm convinced that us missionaries come out here to learn how to become better member missionaries for the rest of our lives. Take time in your day to pay attention to those around you. Show them that you care, help them with what you can, be their friend. Us missionaries depend on you so much.
I'm out of time. I love you all so much! You are in my prayers. Chin up, smile always.
Sister Jones

Email June 17, 2013
  Our Brazilian exchange student just told me about protest that are happening all over Brazil. Maybe visas have been delayed in order for our missionaries to be safe? We're praying for the ones already down there!
Oh, and I figured out how to add pictures!! She sent a new one today, so be sure to check for it :) 
And her current mailing address is on the home page of this blog.

Oi Familia!
This week has been looking up :) First off, nobody dropped us! Granted, there was nobody to drop us, but that was seriously awesome. First week this transfer that hasn't happened, so that gives you a boost no matter how you look at it. 
We found TWO new solid investigators!!! We've already handed them off to the first ward missionaries since they are under their ward, but that was pretty awesome. We also found a new investigator for ourselves! Her name is Fethia. If I've mentioned Sethia before, it's her, we just misheard her name through her French accent for a couple of days haha :) She's also from Algeria, not Nigeria. She is so amazing. I love her so much. She is returning to her country on the 26th, so it's our job to teach her as much as possible. We taught her Lesson #1 last week, and went really well. She really understands the importance of the Book of Mormon, and that if she gains a testimony for herself that it is true, then this church is true. She gets it, and for some reason that is rare. She has a great desire to read the Book of Mormon and to pray for herself. We're praying really hard for her! She won't be able to be baptized in Algeria, but we're praying for that area to open someday soon as well. Seeds are being planted everywhere. Who knows? Maybe she'll be able to help prepare her country for their first little branch! I'm pretty excited, because she wants to stay in contact with me so we're swapping emails so she can continue to send me pictures of her baby as he grows, and maybe we'll see each other again someday.
It's kind of turned into a game to talk to people. It's been really hard to find people on the street since school is over and most people are moving, so when we see someone they are usually inconveniently placed... If you know what I mean. We literally cross the street and walk right up to people as they are trying to avoid us haha. It's been lots of fun getting to know people. They are always surprised to not hate us as much as they thought they would. We have also met a lot of crazies this way too. BUT we are literally talking to everyone we see, so that has been making my days a lot better. 
There is a man that I might have mentioned before that lives in our complex. His name is Americo, and he is from Peru. His English is ok, but he doesn't understand everything. He is married to and American, and she speaks fluent Spanish, so it works out well for them. They have an adorable, crazy 2-year-old that gives me besos all the time. Anyway, we've talked to Americo a lot, and I speak in Portuguese and he speaks in Spanish because it works better than English-English/Spanish-English. We ran into them the other night as we were walking into our apartment, and we were able to finally meet his wife. We had a good chat, and towards the end of it, we had a little baby religious discussion, and then we had to go. Americo put both his hands on my shoulders to give me a good 'ole Latin hug that I miss so much, and I suspect a couple of cheek besos. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all and told him that we're not allowed to hug men, and he didn't understand me, so he just stood there looking super confused with his hands on both of my shoulders, not moving. I still didn't feel weird or anything, but I could tell that Sister Johnson was not comfortable at all, but luckily his wife told him in Spanish, and he quickly threw his hands in the air with a pretty hysterical  scream. We had a good laugh, he and I, then shook hands and said goodnight. I don't think Sister Johnson appreciated my apparent comfort in the situation. I guess growing up in the Spanish Branch has ruined me a little. I expect those sort of things, so I don't panic when it happens and have no problem smoothly saying no and explaining why before the hug even happens, but I think she's worried that I'm not a little more worried about the situation and not worried about needing to be more cautious in the future. I can't seem to explain this cultural difference to her. Sigh. I think I was meant to be in Brasil. ;) But I sure love it here in Cali. I think I might cry when I have to leave.
Something that I've noticed lately is that a lot of times, I don't have an answer to someone's question right away, but I always find one a day or two later. It's obviously too late to tell them the answer, but I write it down for my own future use so next time I meet someone with the same question, I have an answer and a reference. It hit me today that I ALWAYS find answers to my questions through this Gospel, especially in the Bible and Book of Mormon. Always. Yet these people that I talk to that are well versed in the Bible or Catholicism or whatever, they can never find these answers. Since the questions stump them, they ask them to me thinking that they will stump me and question my own faith. Instead they are strengthening it. They think that since I don't have an answer right away that I obviously don't know that this church is true, and I'm living a lie. How wrong they are. God's plan for us is progression, always progression. If we knew all the answers at once, then faith wouldn't be necessary, and we wouldn't rely on God, we wouldn't seek things out for ourselves, and essentially we just simply would not grow and nothing would be worth it. The Gospel of Christ is simple, it really is. Sometimes there are big questions and little questions that we don't have answers to, but it's ok, because we can find them. That's the test in this life; Will we really search these things out for ourselves?
The answers are here. Just start looking. 
I'm out of time. I love you all, and I hope that you have a great week.
Sister Jones

Ps- 3 People from my MTC District got their visas and are on their way to Brasil!!! Things are moving along!!!

Email June 10, 2013
 Oi Familia!
Como vao?
This week was interesting. Every single person we have been teaching dropped us. I think the grand total of droppings has been 12 for the entire transfer. It's been really crazy. We are now at square one, and we're finding finding finding! Talking to everyone we meet, and walking around in 110 degree weather to do so. We've met some people that are interested, but not enough to agree to meet with us, no matter how much we push them. Yes, we are being pushy. Not rudely, but pushy in the way that means, "We are here to teach and to serve, we want to teach you about God's plan for you and how it can help you, will you allow us to teach you about this plan of happiness, why not... Ok, have a nice day, God loves you, here's our number and our church address, we hope to see you again, we encourage you to continue to strengthen your faith in Christ, whom do you know that would be interested in our message"... yada yada.
The most eventful thing that happened this week invloved Sister Johnson and I switching cars with the Elders and running with our roommates (the YSA sisters) every morning instead of just in companionships. We were followed/stalked/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. It was actually pretty creepy, and now whenever I see an old lady in a silver car I get all panicky... Kind of like Emily West and bikes. I know, it's irrational, but let me explain. Sister Johnson and I had an hour left to work after dinner before studies, and we were so excited to contact a referral, and we felt so good about it, and we were so ready to find someone to teach. Halfway there, this car that was parked on the side of the road slowly pulled in front of us and started driving about 5 miles under the speed limit. We slowed down and just kept talking, not thinking much of it. It was a one-lane road, so we couldn't pass anyway, so we just enjoyed the pace and kept talking. The car pulled into a left turn lane, so we passed it, but instead of turning, this lady zipped right behind us, literally kissing our bumper. We thought that was wierd, especially since she cut off a car to get behind us, but we thought maybe she was a bad driver.
We got to the complex, parked, said a quick prayer that we'd find this referral home, ended the prayer, looked to our left and... It was like a horror movie. That lady was parked right next to us, and she was taking pictures of US. Not the car, but us. She started calling someone, and she was staring at us, and we were staring back. I decided we should leave. I got out of the car to signal Sister Johnson to back up (you have to do that as missionaries) and the lady followed my every move, talking super fast on her phone. We pulled out onto the road, and she was right behind us. Every lane-change, every stop-light, she was right behind us, so close that I couldn't get her license plate number. We were creeped out, so we called to ward mission leader who told us to meet him and his wife at a park that they were at, which was close by where we were. The lady followed us until the very last turn we took into the park, and then she went another way. It was the weirdest thing I have ever experienced.
We talked to the ward mission leader, got back in the car, and took off again. We called the District Leaders, who told us to call President Alba (mission Pres.), who told us we need to switch cars with some Elders and call 9-1-1 next time that happens.
Yeah. We're cool enough to get stalked.
Anyway, that completely wasted our hour. We've decided that we REALLY need to contact this referral, he must be special or something. It was a little frustrating, and like I said, I get nervous when little old ladies drive too close to me. Phew.
We're excited to have this opportunity to keep talking to people and to find people to teach! There's nothing better than knowing that things can't get worse and can only get better. There's really something motivating and exhilarating about it. I hope that all is going well (it sounds like it is!), and that everyone is happy. I love you all, thank you for your support. Keep a smile on your face, always!
Sister Jones

Email June 3, 2013
I finally got her current mailing address posted on the home page of this blog - yay!... now if I could only remember how I did it.....

Oi Familia!
HI RIANNE! Happy Birthday!!! I'm writing you a letter, just so you know. Write me back this time, I miss you. ;) LOVE YOU!
The weeks are just zipping by... It's nuts. Russell, Parker and Bryce will be on their missions in NO TIME. It's crazy! I hope you're all planning on going to the broadcasted Mission President training session on the 23rd. It's open to all members, and something exciting is supposed to happen, so I really encourage all the future missionaries to go.
I got a bunch of letters on Tuesday... I feel like the mail system here is kind of messed up. I don't know if everyone wrote letters on different days but sent them on the same day or what, but I got a bunch of letters from the family dated several days apart each, but they all showed up on Tuesday. Maybe it was the holiday weekend? But I don't think so. Anyway. I finally got mail, and I was so happy!!! The silly stories are true: Missionaries live for mail. I've gotten used to not having any though, so it's ok.
This guy is on the computer next to me and is watching some TV show super loud... Lots of breaking glass and shooting. It sounds ridiculous just hearing the sound effects haha. I feel like life is like that a lot though; we add a lot of extra things to make it seems more real or fun or whatever, but when we take time to look at those things, they really don't add anything but a bunch of noise.
This week was interesting. I went on exchanges to Dixon this last Tuesday, and they do something pretty cool that I think our youth should do once a month or something. Every Tuesday night, the youth go on splits with the missionaries! It is so sick. I loved it, absolutely loved it. It allows the missionaries to teach twice the lessons in one night, and it gets these kids super excited to become missionaries. There is also something about having a member at a lesson with you. The investigators feel like they can relate to them more, because the are "real people", and the youth were so great at fellowshipping some of their peers in ways that I couldn't do, because apparently 20 is really old to a 16-year-old. I feel like age is just a number at this point, but I guess I can be really indimidating just because of my age haha. At least that's what one of them told me. She said that I'm not scary, I just look older, so she thought we wouldn't have anything to talk about so she was automatically shy around me. Little did she know we'd end up being friends!
There were two people have been in contact with the missionaries before. Their names are Martha and Ralph. They're dating, and they are VERY devote Catholics. Ralph is ridiculously smart. Too smart. He feels that he has to prove everything logically, and he can do that with the Catholic church... apparently. Anyway, every time we've tried to teach them, it's turned into a huge question/answer session that is impossible to get our feet into the door to actually teach. He goes on and on about huge doctrine things, like who God is/how He came to be vs. He has always "Been"... Line of authority, explain why the great Apostasy happened, explain this, explain that, you can't just choose to believe in something because of feelings you get after you pray, faith has to be proven with logic, yada yada...
Anyway, you hopefully get the idea. All we can do is testify, so that's what we do. They came to church though, and some really smart members helped us out and Sister Johnson and I were finally able to get our point across. We are not here to "convince people" (he said he only would believe if we could convince him), but we are here to be guides, to bring people closer unto Christ. We give people the tools to do so, like the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and prayer, but it is up to them to seek these things out for themselves. They were not satisfied with that answer. They wanted logical proof on paper for why we believe what we believe. They left on good terms, but it was so sad. They were so frustrated that we could just believe something without the proof that they had for their church.
Lets side-step for a moment, shall we? Everyone pull out your scriptures. Read Matthew 21:21-22, Mark 11:22, and1 Nephi 17:50. Go on, do it. I promise I won't quiz you on it later, but it will benefit you. That and I don't have time to type them out.
What I'm getting at is that faith is not just a blind belief, but a POWER. I know that I have a long way to go before I have faith strong enough to move a mountain, but I have faith that it is possible throught the power of God, and that someday, if I work hard enough, maybe I'll get there. Have faith like Nephi! Faith gives you power to move, power to do, power to progress. Faith increases as you act on the faith that you already have, so use it. Don't fence sit. Go to Mark 4:40. Fear is the opposite of faith. When you find a moment that you are afraid, realize that is a key indicator of something great that can come of you. Push past that fear, and rely on faith to get you through it, and you WILL see miracles. No matter how big or small, they will come. I can promise you that. To the world, that isn't logical. Relying on something, an inside force almost, that you cannot see and having great outcomes seems ridiculous. Relying on a being you cannot see, touch or physically feel is logically unsound. So what? Try it. What do you have to lose? The better question is, do you see what you have to gain?
                    Try it.
Back to my week. Ha.
During on of our question/answer sessions with Ralph and Martha, a passerby overheard our conversation and stopped to talk to us. Things got really wierd, really fast. This man went off on how he had been baptized 4 years ago, and he wanted to "get dunked again". Dunked again. What? I have never heard of baptism referred to in such a way. We told him you can only get baptized once, and now he needs to rely on the repentance process, and he immediately snapped back, "That isn't true." Oh? Then he went off on how he's a pot smoker, and drinker, and a fornicator, and that isn't going to change, but he wants to get dunked again because he wants to feel good. He would NOT get it! Or go away. He finally left... It was the oddest thing of life. Luckily, Ralph and Martha thought he was nuts too, and they said they didn't agree that he really understood our religion... So that was nice. Ha.
Sister Johnson and I have been really trying to get the members excited about missionary work, so we have been meeting with them outside of meals to give them short messages and weekly challenges. It's been really fun, and really helpful! It's been kind of exciting to see the ward starting to actively participate in finding people to teach. They have literally started buzzing the past couple of weeks. It's been fun, and really rewarding. Anyway, we got a meal out of it, and it was fantastic. We texted Sister Marissa Pinnegar and asked if we could visit her one night, and she agreed and asked if we had anyone feeding us, then invited us to dinner. Her cousin Christina (who is also in our ward) was over that night. It was a BLAST! They are 3 months apart, and they got married within 1 month of each other, so they're really close. They work for the same real estate company, and their husbands work the same shift at another job, so they spend a lot of time together. Anway, it was just us girls eating "chunky monkey pancakes" (banana/chocolate chip) and peanut butter maples syrup (yes, I've gained 5 pounds... but I lost it too!). It was a  lot of fun, I haven't laughed so hard in a while. They both remind me of Kyndra, so it felt like I was at home. It wasn't all fun, of course, we delivered a good message and gave them Book of Mormons to give away. It was kind of fun to watch them get to nervous about handing out one Book of Mormon... I hand out like 10 a week haha. It was a great re-boost to a frustrating day. The Lord really knows how to send us people to make our days brighter.
I think I've covered all the highlights from this week... We're still teaching Gabriella, but not much has changed. Oh! I met a girl named Saren! She's my favorite. She and her husband served in Argentina (no, they didn't meet), so she's went to teach Gabriella with us on Thursday, and that went really well. She's fantastic.
Ok. I love you all so much!!! Keep praying for my visa... I don't wanna be whiny, but I would love to get to Brasil soon... Especially since in 2 months I'll have been out for 6 months, and I want to spend over a year in Brasil! Then again... I'll be sad to leave Cali. One of the Elders from my MTC district that actually got to Brasil has had like 5 baptisms already, and he met an elder last week who's had over 500 baptisms during his mission, and 100 of them were during one of the 6 week transfers!! WHAT?! Manaus is BOOMING. I'm so excited to get there. California is definitely teaching me how to love people though... I'm kind of attatched. Watch out Mom and Dad, I might end up moving here.... In the future. Mhm.
Just name the kittens Freckles and Mole.
Sister Jones

Email May 27, 2013
Just a little plug for snail mail: 

"I haven't gotten a letter in 3 weeks. I'm really hating this email thing. I only have a limited amount of time to read and write emails, so when I get on here and see 20 email it makes me sad because I can't ever get to all of them."

 So instead of sending an email, hit "print" and grab a stamp :) To make it easier, dearelder.com will supply the paper, envelope, and ink and mail it for you! Go to the website and read the directions: https://www.dearelder.com/index/
 Ok. Here's the email :)

Oi Familia!

Important things first. I know you've probably named the kittens already, but I REALLY want you to named the one with the two spots Freckles, and the black one Mole. Just saying. At least name the spotted one Freckles. PLEASE. Ok. Moving on.

This week has been interesting, to say the least. Peter and Wei, our only investigators, dropped us Monday night. It's always frustrating when that happens because we had a really powerful lesson with them the week before, and they said they wanted to get baptized. The only thing that could have happened is they found something anti and didn't ask us about it to sort it out. It was a sad night, and we miss them because they were some pretty good friends, but what happens happens. We can only pray now, since they won't talk to us.

We picked up two new investigators on Wednesday! It was amazing. We taught the Plan of Salvation to a lady named Jordan, and she loved it. She asked us a lot of questions, and she kept saying "It just rings true, it feels so right, there's no way you can deny this, it just makes sense..." She was golden, it was so amazing. She then introduced us to her friend, Cindy. Same experience with her. They both took Books of Mormon, Plan of Salvation Pamphlets, agreed to come on a church tour Saturday, then they agreed to come to church on Sunday, THEN they agreed to be baptized on June 8th. Phew. It was so incredible, and they are two exceptional ladies. 

Then Thursday came around.... They called us a few times to figure out where the church was, and we chatted for a bit and they seemed as excited as ever to continue learning and to go on the tour. Cindy even told us she had a few people in mind for us to teach. Not even 30 minutes later, however, we got a phone call from them, and they were asking really aggressive questions about the church, and they did not seem happy. We talked to the calmly and answered their questions, trying to keep the spirit with us. They asked us a very pointed question, I answered it truthfully, then they said they would not like to see us again and hung up. It was so sad. The crazy thing was that we had already answered all of those questions the night before, and we literally just repeated what we said the first time, and we can't explain it, but something changed. 

It's hard when people start that journey to come closer to Christ, feel the truthfulness of it, then they deny it. It's not hard because it leaves us with no one to teach, it's hard to see them let go of something so wonderful. I don't think I've ever felt so sad in my life. I hate giving up on people, but sometimes there is literally nothing you can do because they don't even what to see you. All you can do is pray. We bought lighthouses from the dollar store and wrote them a note telling them how much we appreciate them and they wouldn't open the door for us, so we left them on their doorstep. Hopefully they took them.

Ok, on to better and happier things! Here's the secret to missions: Life sucks sometimes, but there are always small miracles that happen throughout the day that ALWAYS overshadow the sad things, no matter how small the good thing was and no matter how big the bad thing was. It always happens.

We're teaching a Brazilian lady, Gabriella! She's so awesome. She's actually from a Dutch family, so she doesn't look like a Brazilian, and her husband is Japanese, but also from Brasil, so it's kind of fun haha. Anyway, we taught her twice last week, and she's really good at keeping commitments. She actually read through the pamphlets and asked us questions when we came back the second time. That was cool, because nobody really likes to do that. The only problem with her is she understands what we're teaching her, but she doesn't feel it. She likes to research religion, so this is just an interesting learning experience for her. She's fascinated by it all, but she doesn't question it enough, if that makes sense. We gave her a Book of Mormon on Thursday, and she got really excited that we gave her one and she said she will read it. We're meeting with her again on Thursday, and we're praying that she will also take our challenge to pray about it. The Book of Mormon is key to the conversion process; if the Book isn't true, none of it is true. Therefore, if she starts to feel a testimony of the Book, she'll start "feeling". We can testify all we want, but to a certain extent that only does so much. We're praying hard! Gabriella is so awesome though!!! She loves answering my questions about Brasil, and she helps me with my grammar a lot, which sometimes means she interrupts my testimony, but it luckily doesn't chase the spirit away haha. She's super sweet, and I love her to pieces. It makes me ache all over to go to Brasil!!! But not until I help her out first.

Ok world, be proud of me. I sang a solo. In front of a lot of people. At the baptism we had on Saturday. Only messed up once, because I almost cried and choked, so that was embarrassing, but seriously, that is leaps and bounds for me. The baptism was for a lady named Adrienne. Adrienne's husband, Jason, was reactivated about a year ago, and it sounds like Adrienne's been investigating the church ever since. It was a long process getting her baptized because she wanted to do a lot of it on her own, but man... Her baptism was amazing. Jason was able to baptize her, and it was so cool to see their two kids watch them on the other side of the glass. I've been able to get to know Adrienne over the past week, and she is so great. I thought she was a member already, her testimony is so strong. It was such a great experience to be a part of her baptism.

I think I was meant to go to Manaus. It has been around 80-85 degrees all week, and I'm so cold that I've worn a cardigan every day. I have no tan to prove that we tract for hours on end, because I wear long sleeves all the time. I'm freezing. How did I live in Rexburg again??

Being a sister missionary is fun, for lots of reasons. One is you get cat called at least every-other-day, and that's in America, so they're making fun of you. I met some sisters in the MTC that said when they were in Brasil, some they got proposed to about 3-4 times on their missions, and that's not because they were making fun of them. Sister Johnson and I got hit on by Bob Marley too this last week. That was pretty funny for me, and terrifying for Sister Johnson. Sister Johnson is from a small town in Utah, where everyone is pretty much Mormon or close to it. So when Marley's doppelganger jumped out of a car that reeked of pot with a couple of his friends, and stopped and stared with a glazed look, so was totally oblivious as to what was about to happen. I tried turning while we were still a good distance away from him, but she kept walking forward to the door we were trying to knock on, which was unfortunately in the same direction that I could tell this guy was going to go. SO.... I was forced to follow and try to communicate to her that maybe we should go another way. That didn't work, because he started yelling at us, so Sister Johnson started talking back before I could do anything. He asked what we were doing, and she said we're missionaries. 
Do you come around here often?
Yeah! (I almost started laughing. She was kind of excited to talk to him.)
Do you got a number?
She pauses, and looks confused. Nobody is this willing to talk to us, so I think she started to catch on at this point.
Yeah, we've got a number for the church. Want it? (Me trying to blow him off)
Uh... You gonna be here for a minute?
Sister Johnson has ceased to talk. She's still confused as to why he's so friendly. I'm trying to talk us out of this, since he's within normal talking distance now, which is under 5 feet, so I wanted to get around him... And I was really trying not to laugh.
Probably not, we have an appointment. So what, I lied. I feel like it was justified. 
Well, I got to run up to my apartment, so if you're still here that's cool, if not that's fine, but I promise I'll be fast.

He runs up the stairs with his friend, and they start laughing and saying some pretty... nasty things. I think this was the point at which Sister Johnson caught on, because something clicked on her face, and she sped walked right past the door we were trying to get to and started to almost run down the hall. I may or may not have started to laugh at this point. Luckily, we ran (literally) into some elders in our zone who were leaving an appointment in the same complex, so they walked us to the car. Sister Johnson was pretty shook up, and I was in a great mood. It was SO funny. To me at least, because I could tell he was high and definitely drunk, and his balance was pretty off, so even if he were to try to chase us, he would have fallen over. The fact that he could barely go up the stairs proved that. Sister Johnson told me that had never happened before, and she had no idea what was going on until he started to go up the stairs. I don't think I've laughed so hard since the MTC. 

I absolutely love my companion. We're really different, but get along great. And experiences like the one above are my favorite, because with her they are hilarious. We bonded a lot more over the past week, so it's been great. The week goes by so much faster and better when there is unity in your companionship, just throwing that out there.

Back to spiritual mode. Can I just say I love my job? It's harder than working at the lab, definitely harder, but so much more rewarding. Talking to people is great, even when they don't want to meet with us. It's given me a better perspective on how to help others, and I love meeting people and saying something that makes their day. A lot of doors have been slammed on my face already, but I love it. Don't ask me why, because I hate it as well, but the fact that I got the door open was a great accomplishment. There are a million peep holes here, and you can tell when somebody walks up to the door, looks through the peep hole and freezes, because floors creak people. I can imagine so many people throwing their back to the door and thinking, "Maybe if I don't move they'll think I'm not home". I get a good smile every once and a while out of that.

I've been writing a lot of my thoughts down about what I've been studying lately, more so than I normally do, so it's been a lot. I'm glad that I do, because it makes me think more about what I study throughout the day. Today I was reading about Abinidi and King Noah, and while the Priests are questioning Abinidi, he tells them: 
"Ye have no applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise..."
I then read President Monson's talk from last General Conference entitled "Obedience Brings Blessings". You know, the one where he tells the story about setting the field on fire? I will never get over how cute he is when he tells stories. Anyway. At the end of his talk, he says:
"The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and challenging world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord's commandments... 'He that keepeth [God's] commandments recieveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.'"
These two things got me thinking. When we keep the commandments, we are able to receive personal revelation. When we apply the things that we learn through prayer and study, we are engraving them on our hearts. It motivates us to keep the commandments, and then we are able to get more answers to act upon.... It's a cycle. It made me ask some questions.
What have I learned lately that I have not applied to myself?
What commandments do I struggle with? What mission rules do I gripe about?
Am I "magnifying my calling"?
Am I doing all I can?
Am I blocking the Lord from answering my questions because I am not being obedient?
I think that we can all apply this to ourselves. Not like I'm trying to call anybody out, but I think this because we are not perfect. I love this gospel so much. There is no end to learning, no end to improvement, no end to happiness, no end to families, no end to anything. There is infinite hope. That's why I have a hard time with people saying no. I want this for them. So much. I am so grateful for everything that I have been given through this gospel. I hope that you are all doing well, I love you all so much.

Sister Jones

       (I"ll have to ask her what this was supposed to be -haha)

Email May 20, 2013
Here's Sister Jones' first email out of the MTC! Her complete mailing address was texted to me last night by the sister who fed them dinner yesterday:
Sister Sydnee Jones
4735 Cowell Blvd. #10
Davis, CA 95618

I have been WAITING for P-Day to tell you what my address is. I have been dying with no mail.
4735 Cowell
Davis, California
    and google the zip code, my comp doesn't remember and I don't have time. Sorry.
HOLY CRUD WHAT A WEEK! I'm SO tired! But not as tired as the MTC, because I'm moving all the time, thank goodness. It's blazing hot today. Killer. But I'm loving it, it's a good warm-up for the Amazon. Ha. That's punny. Gosh I'm so awkward.
I got off the plane and everyone waiting for us was speaking spanish. I freaked out a little. Yes, half of our mission is Spanish speaking. Yes. I was almost placed with a Spanish sister. I almost was teaching lesssons in Spanish. BUT. I'm English. Lucky me.
I'm in the Davis area, and it's beautiful here. I am seriously considering moving here someday.
So. Missions are hard. Especially when you're a missionary over a college family ward, because you can only teach young couples with children under 8. So we find a lot of people, and then we give them away to other missionaries to teach. That's a little rough, BUT it's been really coole to meet people.
Something interesting about being a missionary; you NEVER do anything without it feeling like it was inspired. Does that make sense? I am constantly feeling like the spirit is pulling me in different directions, telling me what to say, what to hand the person, which door to knock on... It goes on and on. And I love it. It gives me confidences, because I've discovered I HATE talking to people. Absolutely hate it. I am so uncomfortable with it. My MTC district thought I was crazy shy, because I guess I didn't talk for 2 days when we first got to the MTC. None of them have memories of me talking. I never realized this before, but I really like to take time to observe and understand who a person is, so when I talk to them I can tell them exactly what they need to hear, and I'm not scrambling for words.
Well guess what? When you're talking to people on the street or knocking on their doors, you don't have time for that. Deal with it. It's a good thing that the spirit knows these people already, because there would be no way that I would ever be able to communicate with anyone, and there would be no way that I would ever get through any doors. Ever. If there are any of you that think that you are alone and that nobody knows you are there, I can tell you that you are wrong. SO wrong. If I can meet someone and know exactly what to say to lift their spirits in 10 seconds, there has to be a loving Heavenly Father who is mindful of your every need. Remember that.
Sister Johnson is my trainer, and she is awesome. This is a really hard area, and she's been here for 3 transfers, and she is so positive. I love it. Right now we only have 2 progressing investigators, Peter and Wei. They are a couple from China, and their English isn't very good, but we had an amazing lesson on Tuesday. We planned a lesson on Prophets and Prayer, but Peter asked us where we go after we die. So, we did a last minute lesson switch and taught the Plan of Salvation. They loved it. Wei told us that she felt so good every times she walked into our church, and she wanted that feeling every day, and she said it wasn't fair that they didn't have the Book of Mormon in China. I invited them to baptism, and they said yes! We're still trying to get a date out of them, but Wei really doesn't want us to push her. She has no religious background (grew up in China), and Peter has a basic Christian background. Anyway, they are amazing, and we're trying to meet with them tomorrow. They are seriously a miracle, I needed them to boost my spirits, and they are such an inspiration to me, I love them so much.
The water heater broke on Wednesday, so that was fun. But I started using my Portuguese every day since Wednesday! I've spoken to several people who speak Spanish and try to get away from us by using that as an excuse, but they get really excited when I start speaking Portuguese, so it's been really cool. I met a family from Rio on Saturday! They said I can come back to pratice my Portuguese sometime this week, and the mom gave us her cell number. Little do they know that I can only bear my testimony and speak about the gospel, so they're getting a lesson too. Whoops.
Here are two more miracles, then I need to go. Saturday was rough. We met a lot of unhappy people that were really... Mean. To say the least. I was feeling pretty discouraged. Not going to lie, everything was making me cry. When someone told us that they didn't want to talk to us, that God hates the world, blah blah, cry cry. Then every time we prayed to bring the spirit back, the spirit would touch me and I'd feel loved and I'd cry again and it was just a big mess haha. We had 2 appointments fall through and had a fake address, so it was fun. After we were walking back to the car from a failed appointment, we ran into a lady that had talked to the missionaries before. Her name is Peggy, and she is amazing. We started talking a bit, then Sister Johnson remembered that her mom has dimensia, and asked her how her mom was doing. That really touched her that Sister Johnson remembered that, so she really opened up to us. We were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation and how someday we will all be restored to perfect health, and all that was unfair will be made fair again. She said that we made her day, and she asked if we would pray with her. We prayed for her, and for her health, and she asked us to teach her this coming Saturday. I gave her a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation and bore testimony of God's love for her and... Yeah. We both started crying. It was pretty cool. She's one special lady.
The other miracle was I met a girl from Sao Paulo yesterday! Sister Johnson has tried knocking on her door several times, and she's never home, but she opened the door yesterday. When she was about to shut the door on us, I felt like I should ask her where she was from, and she said Brasil. So I flipped out and said, "Qual parte?!!!"
We took off talking in Portuguese, and she was really excited that I spoke so well for only studing for 7 weeks, and she asked me if I would like to come back and practice with her on Tuesday. Um, yes??!!! SO. I am so stoked. Things happen for a reason people.
There's so much more to tell, but no time.
I love you all so much. Thank you for everything. Allison, I got your package. Thank you so much! I haven't had time to write. I also have a million emails, so if I don't get to someone personally, I'm sorry, I'll try again next week.
I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I love you all so much, thank you for all of your examples!
Sister Jones

Email May 7, 2013

Oi Familia!!
Here I am... In the MTC! 7 weeks baby. You have no idea how many people have apologized to me for the fact that I still have to be here for another week. I think that is silly... I am NOT complaining about another week of Portuguese study! I definitely need it. The crazy thing is since we went over all the grammer lessons already, we're just doing a review of a different grammer concept each class session, and even though I've only had two classes, I can already see the difference in my Portuguese. Things are starting to click.
My district left at 3 AM (I am running on like, no sleep) yesterday morning, and my new companions were sweet enough to escort me to their drop-off so I could say goodbye. That was really hard. I love them all so much! Like I've said before, when you cram a bunch of people into a small room for 6 weeks, you either get really close or hate each other, and we were blessed to have the first of those options. I'm so excited for them to be serving in the Spokane Mission!! Luckies. If any of you see Elder Sturgell, Elder Robinson, Elder Palmer, Sister Prater, Sister Guyer, Sister Decker or Sister Jensen, say hi and something encouraging to them, I'm sure they need it. They're going to do great things.
I think that I have set a new record. I have had FOUR companions in the MTC alone.... I am in another trio! Sister Sumption and Sister Marin. Sister Marin is a Columbia native, and she speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish, so she has a strong disliking for Portuguese, but thanks to her fluency in Spanish, she's pretty fluent in Portuguese, so I've been able to learn a lot that way too. My confidence has been boosted like no other because I speak really well in my new district. They have had 8-9 teachers filtered through during their time here at the MTC, and I can see how the inconsistant teaching has affected them. I thought us having 3-4 teachers switched up on us was bad. I'm really starting to appreciate my language skills as they are.
I should get my reassignment on Thursday, probably call around the same time Friday, but possibly Thursday night. I would have called Thursday last week, but we had "In-Field Orientation", and that messed it up a bit ;) I'll try to send a quick email to tell you when.
This weeks absolutely FLEW by. It makes me wonder how this one will go since my whole world was turned upside-down and shifted up a floor in a bubble... If that makes sense. Basically everything is different, but it's all in the same place that I've been for 6 weeks. Kind of like a bad dream, where you go to your dance recital that you've been practicing for, and you can still do the dance, but your team members are all different. This isn't making sense. I was just trying to relate it to a dream I've had before, that's all.
Anyway, I don't have a lot of time today, I'm sorry. Just know that I'm doing well, and I'm so glad I'm here for another week. I miss my district, but I'm progressing a lot with these reviews, and I'm super excited about it. I love what I'm doing, and I'm excited to start putting it into use! I love this Gospel, and I love my Savior. Remember how precious you all are, and that I love you!
Sister Jones

Email April 30, 2013
This email came Tuesday this week - apparently her p-day has been switched from Friday to Tues. It's hard to believe, but she will be done with her MTC time next week! She got to call us for about 5 minutes tonight to tell us where she is being reassigned while she waits for her visa - her entire district has been reassigned to the Spokane, WA mission - ummm...we live in that mission! Well, her entire district, minus her. There are so many reassigned missionaries right now that some of them are being kept in the MTC for another week or two, and Sydnee is one that's being kept in Provo.  The good news is that she will get to make another short call when she finds out where she's going. The not-so-good news is that she won't be calling for a nice Mother's Day visit because the MTC has too many missionaries for them to all call home. She sounded great on the phone!
(oh ya, she asked me to correct her spelling - learning another language has her kind of mixed up - haha. I didn't bother to fix anything - it already took me 3 days to post it as is!)
Oi Familia!
This week went by really fast... Maybe because P-day was on Friday, and schedules were switched to accomidate (holy crud, how to you spell that?) all the new missionaries, so now my new P-day is on Tuesdays. We are now also required to wake up at 6, have breakfast at 6:30, lunch at 11, and dinner at 4. I am hungry All. The. Time. It's brutal.
So not much more has happened since last week, we're just all getting really anxious to find out where we're going. We'll find out Thursday morning where we are going, but I probably won't be able to call until Friday because we have In-field training all day Thursday. Hopefully I'll be able to email home and give a better time frame... Sorry haha.
Sunday I did a musical number with Sister Decker and Sister Jensen. They both have AMAZING voices, and they asked me to play "Nearer My God to Thee" while they sang in Portuguese.... But they asked me to  make my own arrangement. So I did. Be proud of me. I didn't write it down, but I could play it again if I kept practicing it. Anyway, Brother Jackson (from the stake presidency) and his wife were speaking afterwards, and Sister Jackson asked me over the pulpit where I got the arrangement from, and I didn't know what to say, so Sister Jensen said, "She made it up." I felt so, increadibly, awkward. I was hoping to avoid that, especially in an over-the-pulpit-sort-of-way. I think I blushed for the rest of sacrament meeting.
Elder Robinson and I auditioned for a musical number our second week here. He picked it while I wasn't there, and it just happened to be the one that I took out of my "I Love to Play these Songs" binder while I was at home because I was so sick of playing it. Come Thou Fount! But it's been a while, so I've been able to enjoy the beauty of this arrangement again. Anyway, we tried out and got an immediate "Yes", which is actually pretty hard to do I guess. When we went to go ask a question a couple weeks ago, we saw that there are 2 stacks of audition sheets, the "Yes" stack, which was pretty small and we are a part of, and the "Come Back Later" stack, that was HUGE. Score. So that was cool, but we've been waiting, and waiting and WAITING to find out when we'd actually do it. We finally got a letter on Friday saying that we'll play tomorrow (Wednesday) for the new incoming missionaries. We're pretty stoked to say the least. We've been practicing it several times a week, and we were afraid that we'd leave and never actually perform, so it's nice to know that all that practice didn't go to waste. :) Our district is also hosting the new missionaries tomorrow, so tomorrow will be tons of fun, I'm just a little worried about missing most of one of the class times.
I finished the Book of Mormon last Friday in the temple, and that was a really awesome experience. I of course started over, and I have been reading about Lehi's dream. I've been spending some time thinking and writing about this vision, and the difference between Wandering, Clinging, and Continually Holding.
                                               1 Nephi 8:31-33 describes the journey of the Wanderers (too many er's there?). He (Lehi) saw "...other multitudes FEELING their way towards that great and spacious building." Many were lost from his view, others drowned in the "fountain". Finally,
                                               a great multitude entered the building and took turns mocking those at the Tree of Life.
                                               Those that CLUNG to the Rod of Iron (8:24-25) made it to the Tree of Life, but after they partook of the fruit, "...they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed."
                                               Those that "...came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron... did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree" (8:30).
The "Clingers" make me think of those that do not build their testimonies. They try to slide by with little effort, relying on the testimonies of others. They have a small desire to build upon what they know, but they never act on it, probably out of fear. When it come to stand for what they say they believe in, their foundation is so unsure that they can't, and they are ashamed. They are ashamed because they knew they could have done better, and they are ashamed because others mock them for it.
The Wanderers make me think of those that took a wrong turn in their life, and maybe that gradual turned transformed into a steep slide that shot them out into the wilderness. Bruised, battered and alone, they see a steep climb to the top behind them, and a foggy way ahead of them. Feeling lost, they remember that great building and think that maybe it's easier to just push forward until they get there, not realizing that if they tried to climb that slide their efforts would be rewarded with a hidden ladder, or the atonement, that will help them climb and heal. Some don't make it to that building, and those that do have very little to hold to besides their pride.
Those that Continually Held to the rod remind me of all those that I look up to in my life. Maybe they once Clung, maybe they once Wandered or Climbed, or maybe they never struggled with any of those. Whateverway, they have built their testimonies and use their trials as growing experiences and never let go of their faith. Their past defines them, yet it does not hinder them because they use the Atonement of Christ in their lives daily. They see the options in this world and choose happiness, and when times get tough they lift others and encourage them on their way. Sometimes they struggle and their grasp falters, but every fiber of their beings urges them to never fully let go, because they know that this path gives them peace, hope and understanding, and they grab hold again.
I think it's good to assess ourselves daily to see where we are. It's easy to have a day where we're strong, but then again it's easy to falter and even wander. I don't know about you, but I the odds of wandering don't look so hopeful to me.
I promise that we can do all things through our Savior. I know that His Atonement is so real, and it works. I've realized that my life has been an example of this as I have had struggles with health, self worth, understanding, and other things. I cannot deny it, nor will I ever. I know how the Atonement can heal us as we search it out. Depending on where we are, whether we are Wandering, Clinging or Holding, the Atonement is that much more in reach. Those that wander have to fight a little more, and that's ok. It helps you grow, it helps you appreciate that changes that are being made in your life. When we are close to the Savior, the Atonement is so close to our grasp that we are literally using it every moment of every day. I pray that each of you realize this wonderful gift that is available to all is in your life, and I pray that you use it.
I love my Savior. I love this gospel. I love those that have been examples to me in my life, which is everyone that I have come in contact with in my life. I can promise you that life will always be harder than we want it to be, but we have the ability to be happy and have the strength that we need as we rely on the Savior. Please remember this, and remember God's love for you. If that's too hard, then remember that I love you, and then remember that I know the Savior loves you too, and maybe that'll help.
Smile often!
Sister Jones

Email April 26, 2013
Late again - I'm going with better late than never! I'll let you know where she's headed when we find out later this week.

Ok, first off, I REALLY hope that Bart gets those pictures soon.
My last week is next week Mom.

We're getting reassignments BY next Thursday.

I could be flying out the following Saturday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Biting my nails a little bit for those pictures haha.

Oi Familia!

Just a couple more weeks, and maybe I'll have my visa, and then maybe the computer I'll be on to send home my weekly email will automatically be set up in Portuguese, so MABYE I'll have the accents in there. Maybe. That all depends on whether or not I can navigate a computer all in Portuguese. ;) Just kidding, that shouldn't be hard. If it is, well... We'll deal with that when I get there.

        Maybe I won't get up at the crack of stupid then. I'm getting old. My body doesn't like this 3 am thing. Is it worth it to get easy access to a washer/dryer and the computer? EEEEEEHHHHH....

                                                                                                            We'll say yes.

This week has been super good. So good. Do you realize that today is my "one-month" mark?? Not like I'm counting or keeping track, I'm really not. I just looked down and my watch to check the date for today and saw that it's the 26th, and I thought, hey, a month ago I Kelsey picked me up from the airport and dropped me off here! WHAT. I have so lost track of time. I'm kind of in shock. Things are going by so fast. It's strange to think that next week is my final week here. I'm getting my reassignment either Wednesday or Thursday, and we're supposed to be able to call home, so everyone be home on those nights. I know y'all have mutual, but... Duke it out with Mom and Dad. Ha.

I do not feel ready to leave, as in I feel so unprepared, especially to teach in English. It's probably a good thing that we got a random English teacher, because it has taught me a lot. Teaching in Portuguese is simple for me. I can form basic sentences about the gospel and simply teach almost everything I want. (Real-life talk is a different story. I might starve for the first in month in Manaus because I still don't know how to order food sort of thing.) So teaching in Portuguese is something that I actually enjoy, it takes all the complexity out and I can explain a concept simply enough for a child to understand, which is what a progressing investigator needs. English, however, as we know, comes much too easy to me sometimes and I talk way too much. I have had to learn how to teach all over again, but in English. I'm not going to lie, I truly enjoy teaching in Portuguese much more than I do English. Bearing my testimony in Portuguese is so precious, I absolutely love it. I have learned so much from the language.

I also do not want to leave my district. It's a good thing that we're all going to the same place. I love them so much. When you shove 8 people in a 5x5 room (ok, it's probably bigger. ;) ) in a compact spiritual setting, you either hate them or become so close to them that you wonder why it took you so long to find them. We got lucky and had the later. Elder Robinson and I actually figured out that we've met before at BYU-I. All my Willows ladies, do you remember the 3 random guys in climbing gear that climbed our housing complex? Yeah. He was one of them. We also remember having an awkward staring contest as I was dragging my laundry between buildings, wearing sweats, sandals, a baggy shirt, and had my hair in a nasty bun. It's a small world, and luckily first impressions are not everything.

      That means I'm not a grody, consistently unshowered being, and he's not a nut who thinks he's Spiderman. He actually thinks he's Robin, so.... Not even a real superhero.

On the other hand, GET ME OUT OF HERE. We're all going stir-crazy. The playing field is finally open, and you should hear how pathetic we sound as we walk over there. It's like we're almost tasting freedom. Being outside is heaven, We study as much as possible outside, since it's finally warm. Can I just say that it's really sad that it took me moving to the MTC to get my tan on? I have gotten so much darker. I think that the sun is like medication to me. I swear that being stuck inside (no Dad, we do not have scheduled walk times) depressed me to no end. Being able to sit outside has been amazing. Sister Prater and I have beens so happy that sometimes people think we're on drugs. We blame it on the sun.

    Good think I'm going somewhere warm. Watch, my reassignment will be Alaska or something. Still praying for Cali or Hawaii. Just saying.

Besides the fact that we're almost done and then sun has been out, there have been a lot of others things that have made this week so good. Sister Prater, Sister Guyer and I have grown closer as a companionship, and teaching has been going really well. We've learned how to teach together, and we've been more of ourselves. It's been a lot of fun, and I'm starting to enjoy being in a trio. It'll be weird to go back to a two-person companionship. It all started when Sister Prater got sick. She slept-walked and talked on Friday night, and it was sooooooooooo hilarious. She got up about midnight and started digging through her drawers, mumbling about how cold it was (I thought the room was blazing hot). We realized that she was sleep walking because when Sister Guyer asked if we could help her with anything, and she said:

      "No, the socks will be fine, where are the socks? I need the socks. THE SOCKS."

We almost died of laughing. She laid down and would randomly start talking, and here are the highlights:
   "Atreves de.... Cold."           Translation: Through.... Cold.

   "A-aaaa-aaaa-acha, acha, achagara, achagaram-se a Cristo..."    

Rough Translation: Come unto Christ.

   "Obrigada, Obrigada, Obrigada..."      Translation: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...

      -Sis G : "Como via Sis Prater?"                    Translation: How are you,  Sis P?

   -Sis P : "Muito muito muitomuito cold cold cold cold coldy cold cold."   

Translation: Very very veryvery cold cold cold coldy cold cold...

   -Sis G : "Eu buscando para um Blanket para voce."  

 Translation: I am looking for a blanket for you.

   -Sis P : "Nono, I'm sorry, I don't speak Portuguese."         Translation: HA.
Sister Guyer went and found her a blanket while I rubbed her back and listened to her continue on in a strange, Portu-Inglesh mix of words. It was nice to physically take care of someone, I've missed doing that. In a way that brought us together, but we came together by talking and getting to know each other and putting effort into having unity. It's been great. We laugh a lot, which is something that I highly recommend to every future missionary. Laugh all the time. Start now. Even if it's a desperate laugh. Just start practicing.

I got to see Elder Da Ponte the day after he got here! It was pretty cool how it happened. I guess he ran into Elder Robinson in the cafeteria, and they started talking, and somehow Michael mentioned he's from Moses Lake. When I sat down to eat, Elder Robinson mentioned:

  "Oh hey, there's this Elder from Moses. He sat somewhere... Over there. I think."

Even with those vague directions I got up and found him. I guess that isn't hard. Elder Da Ponte is a stud. It's been fun to see him.

     Did I mention I saw him already in last week's email? Oh well. Going crazy.

Anyway, I also saw Elder Law right as he got dropped off! Elder Da Ponte was walking past me outside, so we stopped to talk, we turned around and there is Elder Cameron Law! That was pretty cool. It's so exciting to see all these awesome Elders that are coming on their missions so early. I'm so stinking proud of them. Oh, I saw Elder Austin Mounts too! For some reason that threw me for a loop and I got super confused/excited to see him. I think it's because he turned in his papers the same day as Parker and Bryce, and it was just weird that he's here already and they still have what, 3 months? For some reason I wasn't expecting to see him here because I was associating his report date with theirs. Nevertheless, it was awesome to see him.

I love what I'm doing. I know that I'm not even in the field yet, but I love being a missionary. I love learning. I love teaching. I love Portuguese. I love learning about Brazil. I love feeling love for other constantly. I think that I really didn't get it when my friends said that when they became missionaries that their capacity to loves automatically grows when they are doing the right thing. It's so true.

       No regrets.

I am almost done with the Book of Mormon, and I'm going to finish it today when I go to the temple. I'm super excited for that. Going to the temple is so amazing! Take advantage of it, all of you that are worthy. And like I've said before, if you're not worthy, get worthy. That is possible, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to put a cap on God and His power, and I'm afraid that things just don't work like that. You all have a loving Savior who suffered for all of your sins, pains and troubles that you experience in this life. His Atonement was infinite, and it was intimate. He felt everything for each individual person individually. He knows you. If you pray to Him, He can ease your pains and give you hope through the Holy Ghost. Do NOT tell Him what He can do. Do not tell Him that you cannot be healed because you're not enough, or because nobody can understand. Stop it. Realize that you need to truly have faith in Christ, and to do so you need to rely on Him and allow yourself to use His Atonement. Realize that you are enough. Realize that you are a child of God, and that He love you so much that He will do anything to better your life, and the first step to that is to simply ask Him for help. Let go of these silly ideas that you aren't worth the trouble, or that nobody cares. I care, and if I can care, then imagine how much a God, in fact our Heavenly Father, cares. You are loved, and you are enough.

I love you all! Until next week!


Sister Jones
  Email April 19, 2013
Sorry I haven't gotten this up sooner. I still haven't had time to post the pictures she sent almost 2 weeks ago, but I will get them up....sometime before she comes home ;)

Oi Familia!
Still no accents. Sorry.
Yes, I got the socks, thank you!
Nobody here believes that I once had crazy red hair, or bangs. Can you print up my profile picture where my hair was flaming red? Other than that, just pictures with friends and extended family. I keep talking about people, and nobody has any faces. They were all smart and printed up a bunch of pics before they came.
Ok. I think that's all the business stuff...
This week was AMAZING. Richard G. Scott came for Tuesday night devotional, and he gave an amazing talk on prayer. It is so important to pray to our Heavenly Father, he's there for us and loves us so much. We're never alone, and He never gives us more than we can handle, but that doesn't mean that we can't hit our knees everyonce and a while to tell Him how hard it is. I also know that we are never alone. It may feel like it, but through prayer we always have someone to talk to and someone to recieve answers from. Something SUPER important that Elder Scott said was this: He gave us an apostolic blessing that we will master any language that we learn on our missions. We can do this, and we will feel peace each and every day as we pray to our Father in Heaven. He also got up right before the closing prayer for a second time, and he said that he felt prompted to tell us that we were called to go exactly where we need to be, and that the challenges of our lives will be fit to us. When an apostle speaks, you listen. When there's an apostle in the room, it feels crowded, and not because there are 3,000 missionaries in the MTC trying to get into the gym, but because the spirit it pushing out on every corner, like it's trying to shove the walls outwards.
Sister Riding and Elder Willard are now in Brasil! Lucky ducks. Sister Guyer and I are now in a trio with Sister Riding's comp, Sister Prater. If you think that having to work out your schedual with one other person is hard, try doing it with two. Teaching with two is also interesting. You have to be really careful to make sure you're talking just enough, because if you try to dominate or receed, the spirit is totally lost, and the lesson is pointless. It's definitely been a good learning experience, but I don't ever wish a trio on anybody. :) Not like it's been bad, it's just much easier to teach with two. Now that I've said that, I'm sure that I will be in a trio for the rest of my mission.
Oh, Grant, Saryn and Luiza! I'm so sorry I didn't get a chance to write you last week. I already wrote you letters, so you're getting some this week! Yay!
Sorry, tangent.
Um, we didn't get up at the crack of stupid to do landry today. So this email is obviously later. And I've decided that getting up at 3 or 4 to do laundry is so worth it. Fighting for computers and washers blows. But I'll live.
I can't believe that I'm over half-way through with the MTC! So insane! I'm expecting to get a reassignment, so everyone start guessing where I'm going in the US until I get my visa! It'll be like when I got my original mission call. So fun, right? I'll get in in 2 weeks, right before I leave. The really crazy thing is that after next Monday my district will be the oldest district in my zone. AND our new zone leaders are so little. Seriously. They are 18 going on 12, but they're really stepping up to their calling and doing their best, so it's been great. Just a little more noisy ;) I still love my district. I'm so glad we're all going to Manaus!! ... Even if it's a few months from now.
We went to the temple as a district today, and it was great. It's so interesting; being in a spiritual compound with no media or worldly distractions, I've found that each time I've gone to the temple it's been less of a cleansing experience, and more of a spiritual overflow in my heart. Sometimes I feel like I have so much of the spirit filling my heart that it's spilling out of my eyes, almost literally. I cry a lot more now, and it's purely because I'm too happy to hold it in. Now I know how Kyndra feels. ;) The temple is such an amazing place, and if you are worthy to go, go. Every week if you can. I wish that our temple had a system where the youth could go whenever they wanted to do baptisms instead of having to wait for a scheduled mutual activity. I loved beind able to go whenever I wanted while I was in Rexburg. Going once a week here is awesome. If you aren't worthy to go, and you have a desire to go, get worthy. You won't regret it.
Random story. My companions and I were taking a nap (you can do that on p-day, and you're so tired that you WANT to), and there was a knock on our door. We all kind of woke up, and one of us said, "Come in". It's a girls living complex, so telling people to come in while you're in bed is usually not a big deal, because we're all girls. But low and behold, the door opens, I look up, and I am staring at a guy. I literally almost threw my alarm clock at his face. As it turns out, we got a fridge in our room. Don't ask me why, because we didn't ask for it, and there isn't room for it, and it's loud. Not happy about that. Anyway, it was slightly awkward, and this guy almost got karate chopped in the face. The end.
I love life. It's definitely not easy, and being cooped up in the MTC can really drive you crazy, but Dad wrote me an aweome letter that I read to my district, and we've been taking his advice. We skip in the hallways, spoon each other, and Elder Robinson and I are masters at making faces. Oh, the elders steal plastic spoons from the cafetieria and we stick them in other people's pockets, bags, belt loops, etc. We're not... you know. Spooning spooning. For a while the Elders weren't allowed to spoon the Sisters, but we initiated our own secret attacks on the Elders, so they've started to reltaliate. Nobody's safe. The Elders have the advantage; They can stick the spoons in our hair and we can't feel it. But yeah, we're at war. The districts that left last week were in on it too, so we've tried passing it on the the newer districts... It's not catching on so well. Their loss.
Sister McKayla Earl and I have class across the hall from each other, so I get to see her almost every day :) I love it! Unfortunately, our schedules are staggered just right so we can't actually talk, but lots of smiles are shared. I also see Elder Michael Da Ponte EVERYWHERE. (De Ponte?? Whoops.) It's been fun seeing them.
Anyway, I am now rambling. I miss you all, but not enough to come home. Sorry. I know this church is true, and I love everything about it. Thank you for all of your support, keep writing. I love hearing about your lives!
Smile everyday :)
Sister Jones

First Letter, sent snail mail, written March 31, 2013
I finally have the first letter typed so I can post it. She wrote this on Easter Sunday, 4 days after she officially checked in at the MTC, 5 days after she arrived at the MTC. She flew down the day before she had to check in, which is why she talks about the sister she stayed with while she was "companion-less". I will move this to its chronological place later - just thought more of you would see it if I put it here for now :)


Oí Família!

                Eu estou bem! I am so good.  Sorry that it has taken me so long, but P-day isn’t until FRIDAY. It’s been brutal, but they told us to write our families before then. So here I am! Me and the other sisters (the other sisters & I….whatever) are waiting in line to get into the special Easter Sunday meeting. A general authority is coming to talk to us, we don’t know who.  Anyway, the meeting doesn’t start until 10, but it’s only 7:45….yeah. We walked past the building that the meeting will be in and saw a good-sized line, so we decided to join in. People are crazy here. But I love it. :)

                My companion is Sister Guyer.  She is so great. We’re about the same level in our Portuguese, so we are really pushing each other. We have taught 2 lessons in Portuguese so far, which is pretty amazing. The 1st lesson was more like scripted-and-we-butchered-the-pronunciation-as-we-read, but the 2nd lesson (yesterday) we didn’t write out anything and just spoke in broken Portuguese. It’s so amazing! I”ve almost got pronunciation down, so I can almost read, and speaking is getting a lot easier, and Sister Guyer & I have understood everything that everyone has said, so it’s been very encouraging. AND it’s Sunday. Crazy, right? I am so grateful for the Spirit and that we are able to learn by it, otherwise I would be so discouraged right now. The progress is AMAZING.

                I saw Elder Ritchie! He is doing great! He got his visa & is leaving for São Paulo on Tuesday (lucky buggar). I’m really proud of him, he has grown up so much. (Elder Ritchie is her cousin who will serve in the Brazil, Belem mission, the other half of the Amazon)

                I also saw sister Emily Roth the 1st night I got here. She was in singles ward with me for a while, and I love her so much. She’s going to St. George, Utah on Wednesday. She’s a convert, and we had a couple of classes together in HS & BBCC, so I’ve actually known her for a while. She took me under her wing Tuesday night while I was companion-less, and I am so grateful.

                                There are a lot of new things in my district. There are 6 sisters and 4 Elders. All the Elders are either 18 or barely 19. All the sisters are 19, except for me and Sister Decker, who is 21. So I am the 2nd oldest in my district, at age 20. One of my zone leaders turned 19 last week, but I thought he was at least 20.   742 missionaries entered the MTC Wednesday, verses 400, and 370 were sisters. The # of sisters and elders expected to enter the MTC  each week will be about even, unless the # of sisters passes up the # of elders, which is expected to happen. It’s an amazing time to be a missionary.

                Everything has been good, except the food.  There is a lot of good food, and plenty of it….If you like greasy/fat stuff.  Some examples are chicken-fried-steak, hamburgers & hot dogs, fries, pudding, cream cheese cake, sausage-pancake (looks like a corndog)…I’ve been eating a lot of chicken salad with vinegar. Everything makes me queasy, and yesterday I literally could not eat. I had about 4 bites of granola & almond milk for breakfast, and I felt like I was going to die. The Elders in my district were able to give me a blessing, and it has been better since then.  I am so grateful for the priesthood and for how it has blessed me in my life. It was a very sweet experience.

                Our DL is Elder Robinson, and he is so amazing!  He’s a great leader, and is very in tune. For additional study time last night, he conducted a testimony meeting with our district, and it was something we all needed without us knowing it. Being able to share our testimonies for a few minutes reminded us why we’re really here, and it felt so good.

                I’ve already written  more than I probably should have, so I need to stop.

                Eu se que a igreja es verdaje. O Pai Celestial nos ama, e Jesus Cristo é nosso amoroso Salvador. Nos somos filhos de Deus, e Ele preparou um plano para nos ajudar a voltar à sua presença. (escuse my spelling. Still learning Portuguese & English)

I love you!

Sister  Jones

p.s. Mom, if you could possibly type this up and & post it on the blog, that would be great :)

p.p.s. Boo! I got your letter! Thank you so much! I’ll write you back on P-day, ok?

p.p.p.s. Mom, if you could also tell people that I can’t write until Friday, that would also be great. Thanks!

p.p.p.p.s. I forgot my black pen, sorry. (she wrote this in light blue ink)

p.p.p.p.p.s.Thanks  for the TP, Dad. I’ve always wanted some ;)  (we had to send her a couple of things. Dad included a ziplock baggie with some toilet paper in case she needs it on her trip to Brazil - haha. He served in Argentina....)

p.p.p.p.p.p.s. Tell people to send me pictures please! Everyone & anyone.

p.p.p.p.p.p.p.s. We made history today by “serving” the sacrament to over 3000 missionaries at the Easter Devotional meeting  Pretty cool, não?

 Second email, April 12, 2013
 Email #2! She sent 14 other emails today (I'm not exaggerating, either!) Looks like a bunch of photos -yay! No time right now, but I should have them posted before the weekend is over.
Sent: Fri, Apr 12, 2013 03:18 AM
 Hi Mom. It's like... stupid early. 3:16 AM. Yes, my companion and I are crazy. Anyway, this is just a fair warning that this letter MIGHT be a little odd.
1) Yes, I got the package with my license.
2) Yes, I got the socks.
3) Please send like 4 pairs more....
4) I could use some pictures. Printed pictures. To hold. If they're emailed to me, I can only see them once a week, if I have time. Basically any pictures, pictures of friends, pictures with me and my friends, family... Ya know what I mean, Vern? ;)  (anyone is welcome to send pics! see her physical mailing address on the Home page of this blog)

Ok. Real Letter.

Oi Familia!
I loved getting all of your "Dear Elders"! It sounds like you all had a great spring break. I'm glad. Brooklyn, you're awesome! I've gotten a letter from you almost every day! I love it. Thanks for writing me Grant. I'll get back to you today! And Luiza... I actually understood your letter, but maybe I'll be able to REALLY understand it in like, 4 weeks ;) Keep them coming, I love it! Mikenna and Saryn, what was your favorite part of Disneyland? I kind of chuckled when Mikenna wrote me and said that you both burned... We'll see what it's like when I get to Manaus... If I get to Manaus. Visas are kind of at a huge halt right now. Two people in my district got their visas!!! Elder Willard and Sister Riding. We are going to miss them SO much. It's crazy how attached we are to each other already. It was like the world had ended when they got called to the travel office. We all just kind of sat there, stunned, basically crying. So nuts. They both went through the San Fransisco consulate too (Washington goes through that consulate), and that's basically the only consulate that is sending visas. Brasil has called and asked us to stop sending visa applications through Los Angeles, San Fransisco is out of the important passport stickers, and everywhere else... Nothing is happening. So. The rest of us are counting on reassignments. Personally, I'm down with Hawaii ;) But I'll probably get sent to Washington or Alaska. Yep.
I loved General Conference! I completely spaced bringing my study journal since it's like... way too early right now. I obviously loved Jeffery R. Holland's talk, but my favorite was given by... Gosh. This is embarrassing. I've beens saying his name all week. Anyway, it was surprisingly the one about marriage (Blanci! Shake everyone's hand!). It was so applicable to my mission and helped me set a goal of now only helping families come together, but function to the best of their ability. Obviously I'm not going on my mission to be a marriage counselor, but it reminded me of how happy families can be and what living the gospel standards can do for them, so it helped me set a goal to see families become happier than they are through the gospel. Make sense?
This past week has been nuts. General Conference over the weekend, doctor appointments on Monday (I left the MTC and felt totally weird), and then visa arrivals. Instead of having 2 Portuguese teachers like normal, they just switched out one of them with an English-speaking teacher because the MTC doesn't want to hire too many Portuguese teachers so that when the influx of missionaries die down and visas start going through that a bunch of people won't have to be fired. Since there are the random teachers that only have missionaries every few months (Hungarian, Creole...) they are being stuck with Portuguese classes while they wait. Does that make sense? Anyway, it's been kind of a frustrating experience. I don't know how to spell this, but our new teacher makes me think of the description "lack-a-daisy". He's on his phone every once and a while, doesn't speak very loud, and never seems happy or excited to be teaching us. He also said on Wednesday that he didn't know if he'd be here Friday, because his girlfriend get mad when he works on weekends. He re-taught the lesson that our Portuguese teacher taught us, even though he got an email the day before from Irmao
(Portuguese for "brother")  Read that the lesson was covered and he needed to plan something else. It's been super awkward. One of the first things he said to us was, "So, how does this work? I mean, how an I supposed to teach you?" Uh.... Yeah. It's been... Interesting. But it's teaching me patience and how to love.
I'm embarrassed  to say that I sent Dad a pretty discouraged letter this last weekend. It stemmed from the lump I've been keeping an eye on for 5 months, and how it almost tripled in size from last month to this month as of Friday. I didn't get it. I didn't really know what to do. I figured I should probably get it checked out, but I didn't want to. I was afraid that I'd be sent home from my mission after only being in the MTC for 2.5 weeks. I didn't tell anybody what was going on, which was mistake #1. When you do that, it boils inside of you until you do something drastic, like send your Dad a whiny "woe is me" letter. I finally decided on Sunday to go get it checked out, so Monday my comp and I made an appointment. I went to, half expecting the doctor to not even find a lump, so when she said that I definitely needed an ultra sound because she was concerned, I started to feel a little... down. I made another appointment for later that day, got an ultrasound and there was nothing crazy standing out to me as I looked at the pictures. The lump just looked like super fiberous (spelling?) tissue, which is odd, but definitely NOT cancer.
As I walked back into the waiting room after the ultrasound, I couldn't help but give my companion the biggest grin of life and do a little happy dance. Then this thought, which I can tell you was not my own, hit me. It was so strong that I actually froze for a second to hear the whole thing through.
   "You signed up to serve a mission. You didn't sign up to serve in Manaus, I just chose to send you there. Don't ever doubt my decision, but if things change, remember that you signed up for a mission, and you WILL serve me, no matter where it is."
I learned a lesson on Monday. I was so wrapped up in the fact that I was afraid of being sent home, that I forgot to have faith in the Lord, and I forgot to remember that I can turn to Him in all of my trials. I also realized I was thinking so selfishly; What if I go home and then I'm able to go back on a mission, but they don't sent me to Manaus? I want to go to Manaus. I don't understand, blah blah blah.... It was so whiny. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't act my part very well. That impression that came to me in the doctor's office truly humbled me. I went from worrying about me, to only worrying about "Am I doing what and acting how the Lord want me to act as His servant?" You know something crazy? Even though the language is really hard and frustrating, and even though the visas aren't going through, we have a new teacher, and I don't know what's going to happen, I am completely at peace. It's a bummer that it took me so long, but I am so grateful for my Savior and that He knows me and He knows how to speak to me. I am so grateful for the Lord's timing, and putting my trust in Him has taken such a burden off my shoulders. So. No worries here, no complaints. I am grateful to be where I am, and I'm grateful that I was taught this lesson.
So when I say this last week was nuts, I meant it

Ha. Almost my entire district just showed up to the laundry room. (4:15 am) We're crazy.
I am so, so grateful to be in the Provo MTC. I am so grateful for my awesome district, and I'm going to miss the 2 that are leaving. I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, and life is good. I love what I'm doing. I have a testimony of my Savior and of His love for us. I know that He can send us comfort in times of need. I know that our trials don't just go away, and I know that they aren't meant to, but as we pray to our Heavenly Father He can bless us with the comfort and peace that we so stand in need of. The Atonement wasn't just for our sins, but also for our pains and struggles. I love Him and all He does for me.
I love you all!
Sister Jones

First email, first P-day after10 days in the MTC, April 5, 2013
We got our first letter in the mail yesterday...well, last night, so I haven't got it ready to post yet.  Today is her first preparation day, so we got our first email this morning!  Thanks to everyone who has been writing!

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 5:12 AM

Oi Familia!
I can't change the language on this computer, so forgive me if accents or whatevers are missing from my Portuguese. It's 4:30 am... My comp and I decided to get up early to do laundry and have all the email time we want. I'm definitely not regretting it, only because I can take a nap today! It's finally P-day! I've absolutely loved the MTC, it's is such an amazing experience! I hope that you got my letter I sent on Monday, because that was all I was allowed to send until today... AND I don't really feel like repeating a lot of things, so I'm going to be lazy and assume that Mom or someone typed it into the blog (which I'm not so certain on since it is Spring Break and you guys are all galumping around Washington ;) ).
First off, I am SO grateful for all the mail I received. Yesterday was the first day that I didn't get mail, which was a bummer, but since I got mail every day and a couple people in my District STILL haven't received mail, I really can't complain. ;) It is so nice to read about your lives, I seriously cannot get enough of it. The little notes of encouragement are great too. Thank you everyone, especially Brooklyn, who wrote me twice. She's got a TWO-up on you, the other 3 sibs. Get a move on. ;)
The MTC, like I said, has been an amazing experience, but I am so glad it's P-day. Going about 10 days without rest gets really tiring, but let me tell you, working at the lab has made the missionary schedule a vacation. I always joked that it would, but seriously. Sister Guyer, my comp, and my other 2 roommates have such a hard time with the sleep schedule. Ok, Sister Guyer is really good about it, but I'm still the first one up. My district is made up of 6 sisters and 4 elders, and we're all going to Manaus, which has been a lot of fun. We've all gotten really close, which made Monday super dramatic.
Are you ready to hear the best story of your lives?
Monday we're sitting in the classroom doing personal study, and Elder Cook (our Zone leader) came into the classroom and called 3 of the 4 Elders into the travel office. If you are a Brazilian missionary in the Provo MTC , then getting called to the travel office could be your biggest dream or your biggest nightmare, because you either FINALLY got your visa, or you just have to fill out more paperwork that the Brazilian consulate decided you need, and you basically start the visa process over again. So all of us Sisters were trying to not hype up the Elders, saying, "Meh, it's probably paperwork, no biggy, it's ok, don't stress, just go,, etc..." So they leave, and all of us Sisters basically threw our notebooks at the door and started talking about how they probably got their visas, they will probably be leaving tomorrow, and how jealous we are, and then Elder Cook pops in. He started to talk us up, saying things like: "There's no way that they aren't getting their visas, I mean, they filled out the police paperwork last week, right? Yeesh, there is no other reason why they'd get called up there, it's not fair, I've been here for like 4 weeks, this is getting insane, yada yada..." Then the Elders get back, all grins, holding some papers, and Elder Robinson (our DL) excitedly says, "We got our visas!"
I almost bawled. They all kinda turned into my little brothers within a week, and they were leaving me. How depressing. The other Sisters started yelling at them things like, "Congratulations, You're kidding, Really?, This is insane!" Elder Cook is like, punching the wall. Elder Willard, the only one without a visa, packs his bag and starts walking out of the room with his head down, and he looks like he's crying. After about 5 minutes of this emotional roller coaster, Elder Richardson and Elder Sturgell say, "Hey Sisters... It's April Fools! Haha!"
Needless to say, Sister Guyer socked Elder Richardson in the arm... Pretty hard.
Actually, that might have been when they came in with their "visas"... So.
I promise that we don't just goof around.
So we're all still waiting on our visas, but at least we are here together and learning lots! Our Portuguese has progressed so much! We gave our 4th lesson to Aquilino on Wednesday, and we did it without notes. I can speak Portuguese! It's severely broken, and I'm really bad at conjugating on the spot because it takes me so long to remember the words in the first place, but I can get my ideas across, which is really encouraging. Wednesday was my hard day. I got the the MTC last Tuesday, and I was so ready and excited that I didn't get emotional at all, and I don't really cry anyway, so I can honestly say that I made it through a week in the MTC without crying. I think that might be a record. BUT, I did lose it Wednesday. Sister Guyer and I were preparing our lesson for Aquilino (boy I hope I'm spelling that right), and it hit me how frustrated I was with myself with the language. I can understand everything, but speaking is so difficult for me. Sister Guyer said another prayer for us, and I just hit behind my hands. Elder Robinson and Elder Sturgell were really good about it though... They gave me a red smiley face sticker to put on the back of my name tag. It seriously made my day, as silly as that is.
Anyway, so I cried a little, sniffed a little more, then laughed it off and pressed forward and taught a lesson 20 minutes later. Can I just take a moment and tell you how grateful I am for the Spirit of the Lord, and how he speaks to us? He knows Portuguese and English, and I know that as Sister Guyer and I listened to the Spirit as we taught that we were blessed and able to speak words, phrases and more that we could not before. There is real and true power in relying on the Spirit. By the end of the lesson we had committed Aquilino to baptism! It was truly amazing.
Mom, I actually saw Brandon twice, and I even caught him in the cafeteria on Tuesday right before he left for pictures :) I also saw Sister Rachel Benson, AND Sister Kendra Moberg! It was pretty awesome, and sweet Sister Moberg even cried when she saw me. Ok... Maybe it was her first day and she was really emotional in the first place, but it made me feel good.
I've been on for too long already. The MTC is amazing, and I am so excited for everyone that is coming so soon. Following the rules obediently brings blessings, and obeying with exact obedience brings miracles, so the experience is up to you. Thank you for all your support and love, I appreciate it so much. I love you all. I know that I am in the right place doing exactly what the Lord want me to do, and He sent me here to learn how to teach His children, so there is no way that He will let me fail. I know that He loves each one of us.
Love you all!
Sister Jones
PS- Everyone use Dear Elder. It's seriously the best. Do it. Now.
PPS- Mom.. could you possibly send me more "sunday socks"?? That would be so awesome... Ha.

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