Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 38: Short

Sorry this is so late in the day. We were playing soccer and stuff with the elders. I apologize.

Although my official halfway day is April 9th, I'm right around the real halfway point. I have no idea what day specifically it is, but it is close. So what I'm starting to discover is that my mission is very very SHORT. My mom (Sister Melo) is going home this transfer and I know that I'm getting to the point where I know no one else in the mission hahaha. After the transfer at the end of June, that's it. I won't know anyone. Oh well! 

This last transfer has been super SHORT too! Yikes! We get t-texts this Friday. WHAT?? I think I'll stay one more transfer in Marlborough, but I'm not completely sure. But wherever the Lord wants me to go, I will go. I will do and be and say what He wants me to. We'll find out His will soon!

This past week has been SHORT! Man! Haha but all of our appointments this week have been loooong. We did finally teach Gilmar and Carmen the first part of the Restoration, so they are officially investigators! Woohoo! They both came to church too, which was awesome, but left early because it was all about family history and Carmen was not really having it. But they want to come back next week! (which is General Conference, but still) We also visited with Ariel Holmes, who is just the most positive person I've ever met in my life. She's wonderful. And we had dinner with her and her non member husband afterwards :)
We have another new investigator too! Beth. Her mom is this really old cute woman who is a member of... I don't know how long, but she is the only member in her family. And Beth, who is in her 50s or 60s (I don't know for sure, okay!) has some really good questions about whether or not there is a God and why is there suffering, so we'll try to help her find some answers to those questions this week. :)

We finally saw Raquel again! She'll take much longer than I thought to get close to baptism... but Sister Cruz thinks her husband is a good potential! We had lunch with Gelma Kostetsky, who said that her daughter Alexa (who is definitely 9!!) wants to be baptized, so we suggested we could come teach her the lessons and help her make this decision for herself, so we'll do that this week too! The Lord is blessing us with a lot of really wonderful things to do in this area, and it's so cool to see! 

We also visited some members, helped out at a library book sale, and went to a Japanese Steakhouse with the Merediths. I forgot how fun those are! Hahaha the best part is when the cook shot a pea into Celeste's mouth, much to her surprise. That was awesome. Also, fire. 

Women's Conference was AMAZING as always--so much talk about families! I feel like this General Conference this weekend will have a theme along those lines too... I honestly don't know what's really happening out in the world, but I can tell that it gets worse and worse. Thank goodness we have the gospel--that is our rock, our iron rod. When the tempests and whirlwinds of this world start to get into our life to the point where we can't find stability anywhere, the gospel will always provide the rock and foundation for everything we do. Isn't is wonderful?? I am so excited for General Conference!! I'll come back to that in a minute.

Sunday was CRAZY because we had our Easter program during sacrament meeting, then we had a "family history blitz" where basically the last 2 hours of church were spend having everyone do family history work. Then! We had a linger longer--basically food after church. Then! We went to dinner with the Crums, who are my favorite (and they're the couple in the pictures on dropbox). But we forgot to buy gas on Saturday, so we just went straight home... we kind of freaked out about running out of gas but we didn't :)

And today was a chill pday! We want to go back to Boston next pday, so I may not email at the normal time.... sorry. 

Back to GC. This week, with Spring Break and all too, is the perfect time to share the gospel, specifically helives.mormon.org ! Oh, that video is so good. Take this week to share the gospel and your testimony of Christ and His Resurrection. You can do it! C'mon, if I can do it every day, you can do it for at least one day. 

Also, I would suggest you think of a question you need/want answered during General Conference this weekend. Write it down and try to find your answer as you listen. Pray about it too :) I have a firm testimony that we can and will receive answers if we truly want them and will act on them--here I am! Remember, I received my answer about a mission during the October 2013 conference, and here I am, and year and a half later. Crazy. 

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives! He loves us! He loves me. He loves you. And as we turn to Him, all else in our lives will be alright. Remember Him always, but especially this week leading up to easter!

I love you all so much. :)



Because I'm near halfway, I cut my hair. A lot.  Better than burning clothing, I'm told.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Week 37: ETs are interesting things

Guess where I am right now?


Can you believe I got emergency transferred here just this past week? I mean, it's crazy. And the only Portuguese area they have here is inhabited by elders.....

So you shouldn't believe that I got ET'ed because I didn't hahahaha that was just the first thing I thought to tell you to try to make you jump this week. But I am in Cambridge! We came here for pday today, where we went to the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market, rode the T all over, and saw Hahvahd (again). It was really fun! That's why we're emailing so much later. Also why this email will be very short. I took a good amount of pictures, so enjoy those. It's funny because we pass by places that I totally know we went to 2 years ago for Spring Break. We did not go to Mike's Pastries again, unfortunately, because we forgot. Whoops. But it was a good day :)

This week was good too!
We saw a lot of members for dinner and things, and we had stake conference this weekend! I really enjoyed it. Basically we all got reprimanded for not always paying fast offerings. But in a good way, where I want to change! President and Sister Packard talked too. Ah, good stuff.

Also, we have some AWESOME potentials, Gilmar and Carmen. He speaks Portuguese, she speaks english and spanish. But it works. They're so cool! Gilmar even came to stake conference! That never happens! We haven't actually taught them a real lesson yet, but we will this week. It's going to be great. Ohhhh they're going to get wet soon, I feel it.

Well. My time is super duper short because we were in Boston all day, but I love you all so much and am so glad to hear that you had a great week! I hope this week is awesome. Alsoooo


Wow, I think they're the only three that I've ever given nicknames. Sorry Ben and Spencer.

I hope your birthdays this weekend are awesome! I did manage to get you all a little something today in Boston, so look for a package soon.. probably next week. 

I love you all so much! This gospel is amazing. Being a missionary is the greatest thing ever, and I'm really excited for Jared to be getting ready to serve his. That will be amazing.

I love you, I love the Lord, I love the gospel. I love Boston too :)

Have a splendid week!

RS Activity on Tuesday night was an International dinner! So here we are with all of the Brazilians plus Sister Meredith and Ariel Holmes who's Dominican.

I tried to walk over some snow the other day and totally tripped (I was not balanced...) and cut up my knee and hand. Whoops.

Ha the one of me and S. Cruz holding the plastic bag is from a "date" we almost had... we had dinner from a member, a scenic place to park.. but no silverware. Nartz.

Elder Cooper's birthday was on Saturday, so we decorated their car! Aww, they'll have confetti there for WEEKS! We also went to PF Changs before Stake conference that night, so that was a good time.

And the aquarium! the ride to Cambridge was interesting haha. We also stopped in Quincy Market. That's a cool place!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 36: Are you sure you're American?

Last night one of our Brazilian members asked me if I was American, just to make sure. He said that my Portuguese is a lot better than a lot of the American missionaries' that serve in Brazil. I assured him that I am 100% American. But wow, that was a nice compliment :) I never thought anyone would think I am Brazilian! So that was neato.

SISTER CRUZ CAME BACK!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've missed her! She's doing well, she's really happy. Her mom had surgery on Wednesday and everything is going well. She needs to relearn how to walk, but that's it, which is actually amazing, considering the type of stroke she had. So Sister Cruz came back Sunday morning and we picked her up at the airport and just ran all day long through church and 3 appointments afterwards. She's a trooper. We're ready to get back to work and do the Lord's will!

I'm glad you got everything Mom, and I'm glad to hear you had a great birthday :) Of course, who wouldn't choose laser tag, mani/pedis, Sweetwater and Chickfila? I mean really. 

This week we just saw a LOT of members. It was really good though! I love the members here, and it's exciting to get to work with them. On Saturday, we were supposed to pick Sister Cruz up but she had been stuck in 4 hours of traffic, so she had missed her flight. So Sister Heileson and I went to the chapel in Boston on the other side of the stake (her chapel, actually) so she could still have an appointment she had made. It was fun though because I got to help Sister Lowenthal and the other Portuguese missionaries there set up for a Cape Verdean party! Boy I love Sister Lowenthal. That was pretty fun. 

Well there really isn't much to my week than that. OH. BUT. We officially broke the record last night--2015 was the official snowiest winter in Boston EVER!! Woohoo! It snowed the last 2 inches or so yesterday (after it had been a beautiful 60 degrees on Wednesday!), so I'm done with winter, we're good, let's get some spring now please. I've decided I will now wear tights this winter any more. I just won't.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week! Enjoy this almost-spring weather everyone seems to be having! We're looking forward to a really good, really productive week full of new investigators :)

Go read Omni 1:26 (I think). Talk about consecration! What more can you do this week?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 35: The Strangest Week of My Life

Have you ever had to watch your mission companion walk into the airport while you stayed behind? I can attest that it is one of the strangest feelings ever.

Why can I say that? Good question. Let's begin with Monday of last week....

We went to Chuck E Cheese, and you KNOW it was a good time. I won enough tickets to get a balloon dagger, so that's pretty sweet. Our dinner had fallen through so we stayed at Natick Mall and ate sushi and it was lovely. Later we went and talked to some potentials for a while.

Also a weird thing that happened--while we were changing back into our proselyting clothes in the mall, the fire alarm went off. Mind you, that is a HUGE mall. HUGE. So I have no idea if there was a fire or not because when we left the bathroom, everyone was walking around like there was nothing wrong. Soooo that was strange.

At 6:45am we got a call from President Packard asking us to come to the mission office because he had to tell Sister Cruz something in person. So we got ready and went. He and Sister Packard told Sister Cruz alone first, then with me what happened. Her mom had a stroke on Monday. Things were looking pretty good--when she woke up she asked for her children by name--but she was going to have brain surgery on Saturday to take the bad stuff out. She called and talked to her family for a little while about it and President told her to pack and get ready to go home for a visit, just in case she had permission. So that was pretty much our day. That night we found out the brethren had given her permission to go without being released, and that she would leave Wednesday afternoon.
Oh yeah and we also went to Chick-fil-A for lunch because that's just what you do when your world is falling all around you.

We finished getting her ready to go and long story short dropped Sister Cruz off at the airport (a senior couple took us). And that's how I know what that feels like. I stayed at the Mission Leadership Council meeting so that Hermana Heileson, who was in a trio in Boston, could stay there and then come back to Marlborough with me. And that's what happened.

Well, everything we had planned for the day happened! We taught Sharon and we weekly planned and we taught Jose the first part of the Gospel of Christ and we had dinner with the Silvas, and it was awesome. 

We had a zone conference! It was a really good one, focused on how we can improve our teaching skills. I learned a lot in that conference, and I really feel like there are so many things that I need to improve on... but that's what the Atonement is for! Here are some good quotes from the day:

"Don't underestimate the POWER of the Book of Mormon"
"We cannot lift someone unless we are on higher ground"
"Get off your knees and pray with your feet"
"If we magnify our callings, the Lord will magnify us"
"When you are release, call yourself on a mission!"
"Want real change? Feed your faith!"
"Once we ask the right question, we will receive the right answer"
"Repentance is a process of becoming"
"The Celestial Kingdom is about who you are and who you're with"

It was a good day.

We also got to play in the lunchtime game "Who Wants to be a Mile-ionaire" in which Sister Heileson and I won 250 extra miles for the month!!!! That means when Sister Cruz comes back, we'll be able to drive to the Boston Aquarium just like she wanted without any issues with our miles :)

Correlation meeting, English class (where our really solid potential Gilmar bought us a WHOLE BUNCH of Brazilian food... I put the picture of all of it on dropbox. That cheese is not cheap, my friends. Even I can appreciate that.), a lunch appointment.... we did some good stuff like updating records and studying and things. We had an appointment over the phone with Sean who's back in town!! Woohoo! He's awesome. He said he's been struggling a little bit, and we gave him the link to speeches.byu.edu which has, as you know, some pretty amazing talks on it. You should go look at them too.

Oh I love this ward. Ward council and church were wonderful as always!! I translated for Portuguese during sacrament meeting and it was only half a train wreck, so hey, improvement! The Brazilians kept complimenting me, but boy they were totally just being nice about it. One thing that has helped me over the last couple of days is that I have really been able to see how much my Portuguese has actually improved--basically, although Hermana Heileson is AWESOME at Spanish and is learning Portuguese, it's still up to me for the bulk of the Portuguese lessons. And I've kind of discovered that I can actually speak to people almost without problems! Which I did kind of know before, but it has been a good reminder for me this week. Sunday night we had an amazing dinner with the Ramseys, an awesome family in our ward, and the Buffs, and part-member family. It went really well! I just love those people and I'm looking forward to working more with all of them. Also, their kids are really cute. Their little boy was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had a cousin who was also named Garrett who is serving his mission in Brazil right now. Hahaha that was funny. And Vivian was singing about a party in her tummy, so that brought me back.

And today here we are!

AND TODAY IS MY MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!! I have a video just for you on Dropbox. I apologize that it's probably actually the most awkward video that you've ever seen, but there you go. I'm your daughter. And that's what you get. Hahaha I also sent you something in the mail :)

And happy 8 months to meee! But let's be real, my mom is more important. After all, she is now officially the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Feliz anniversario, mamae :)

I love you all, I hope that everything is going well. We are experiencing some BEAUTIFUL weather--it's 45 degrees today! Hallelujah, spring is on its way! I love being a missionary, I love my companion(s), I love the Lord. Keep doing what's right and reading the Book of Mormon and everything will turn out just fine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 34: Boston's Snowiest Winter

I'm not 100% sure that that's right, but I know we're at least in second place. We had another 6 inches of snow last night, but that didn't stop us at all today! Thank goodness.

This past week was really good! It definitely has been interesting staying in the area but with a new companion, but I love Sister Cruz. So far we've gotten along really well! It's pretty great.

I'm glad all of you enjoyed that package. Just think, when I get home I could have or make so much more of all of that! I hope you like the Pao de Queijo. That's the best.

Time is short, so let's see.....

Monday night we had dinner with the Benjaminsen family. Here are the highlights:
-(as the 7yo was guessing my name) oh it's..... SISTER CANOODLE! That means you like noodles, right? 

Exactly. Just keep thinking that.

-(the 7yo liked American girl dolls, so we bonded, then her 10yo brother said) well, in Sister Knutti's time....

Now I feel older than I should.

Haha just some highlights. Sister Canoodle. Man.

Tuesday Sister Lima packed for a while, but that night we taught Dylan! He's awesome. We finished the Plan of Salvation, and he remembered just about everything! Later we finally taught Jose, Maria's brother, again about the Restoration, and we extended a baptismal date AND HE SAID YES! So Jose will be baptized April 11th. I'm so excited. He's really funny and a great investigator.

Wednesday: TRANSFERS. We got to go to lunch with Sister Meredith at a Mexican place, which was really fun. We loooooove Sister Meredith. That night was transfer meeting, and I knew A LOT of missionaries who went home. Sister Belchior, Elder Rivera were the ones I knew best. I knew probably 5 others. That was weird. And now Sister Cruz is my companion!! I love her. She's really awesome. :) I do miss Sister Lima, but I know I'm supposed to be with Sister Cruz now.

Thursday we spent forever planning. Actually, that morning we had a lesson with Sharon. Ah, Sharon. She's really a sweet lady. So the English Elders have been teaching her, but she prefers women, so long story short we're going to teach her from now on. She really studied Messianic Judaism for a long time, so she knows the Bible way better than I ever will. But she just doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon, because then she'll have to do something about it if it's true. 

Isn't that the key though? If you found the truth in the world, you have to do something to accept it, to acknowledge that it is the truth and that you are willing to follow it. So we're working to try to get her to read the Book of Mormon. But she's really nice--she made us a very delicious apple crisp! Love that.

But after that lesson, we planned forever and had dinner with the Bezzants. Did I tell you that she served in Temple Square the same time my aunt Sarah did? She couldn't remember a Sister Knutti off the top of her head, but maybe Sarah would? I don't know her maiden name, but she has really pretty very blonde hair. Ring any bells?

Friday we had district meeting! Our district is awesome. The Spanish elders now are shotgunning the area, but they're really good elders and they're doing great. You know that they're fun when we all decide to go to the best pizza place in the world..... Chuck E Cheese of course! (hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ok so we're not actually going to go there for the pizza, but for the games. Of course. But we probably will eat some pizza, whoops.) But the Elders here are really pretty cool. 

That afternoon we stopped by people, then say the Kostetskys. Oh I love that family so much. The coolest thing happened too--Matthew, one of the autistic boys, gave us all kisses on our cheeks! That was the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time. That made my heart happy. Sister Cruz has some really good ideas of how to help them and our other investigators, so this is going to be great. 

Saturday we taught English class to a man who is a solid potential (he even came to church yesterday!!), so we're going to work on that this week. We taught Joame with Sister MacLean, the Bishop's wife, and it went really well. Gabbi's kind of mad at us that Sister Lima left though...

And Saturday night was so fun. Dylan got baptized!!! Sister Lima wasn't allowed to come though :( But I was glad I could be there. He really is an amazing little kid. After the baptism and dinner, we had an adult game night for the adults in the ward. We played minute to Win it games, and it was SO FUN. The bishop and other men in the ward having to shake ping pong balls out of the box strapped to their waists was the best thing I've seen in a long time. Sister Steadman got a couple of videos of Sister Cruz and I that she shared on dropbox... I think I shared those with you. Anyways, it was so fun. And someone's nonmember husband came! Ah, that was exciting. We're working to get him as an investigator too.

And Sunday. I love Sundays. We had ward council and Church and dinner and a fireside with President Packard. Could you have a better Sunday? Probably not. At church, I taught Gospel Principles, and Sister Cruz was going to teach Portuguese RS, but then she didn't have to. Lucky. But it was kind of fun to teach gospel principles! (that was because our ward mission leader is in Disney World right now. He's the lucky one.) And the whole time at church I was thinking about how much I love the people here SO MUCH. This ward I'm serving in is absolutely wonderful. Before my mission I didn't realize how much I could love a whole lot of people so much, but it's real. Charity is just about the coolest thing ever.

For dinner, Sister Cruz had her very first PB&J sandwich. And she loved it.

The fireside that night was awesome--"What the World Knows Because of Joseph Smith". Same one as from September when I was in Brockton. But it was so cool! And here's just one thing that President Packard said:

We are the offspring of deity. We have the seeds of deity inside of us! God is literally our father, and He truly loves us. Every single thing He does is to help us to learn and grow and become more like Him. He'll never stop us because we're becoming "too good" or "too righteous". He just loves us. And that is the most comforting thing about the gospel I think.

I got to see Sister Asay too! Oh, we'll see each other a lot now. That's super fun. It's fun to tell people here that we went to preschool together too, haha. I might even see her today! Our plans for today are getting a little crazy, so we'll see. But soon.

Well, family, I love you. I love my mission. I love Sister Cruz. I love this area. I love the people here. I love this gospel, and I love my Heavenly Father. I know that He loves you. Everything He ever does is only to help you--it's always in your favor. I don't know why bad or hard things have to happen sometimes, but I know it's because we need to learn something from them. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and knowing that we can truly start again and again, as long as we change. CHANGE. That's the key. We are saved by grace and by works, because we need to CHANGE. 

Go read the Book of Mormon. Live FOR this gospel.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!