Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 72: I like to put MINE on my HIPS!

So every morning Sister Bronovski and I do an exercise video called X-factor or something, and it's pretty tough, but I can tell I'm getting stronger! Anyways, the guy who leads all of the exercises is this really ripped black man. Before every workout, there is the warmup (which is CRUCIAL by the way), and we do just normal not too hard stuff to get warmed up. My favorite part is when we do the criss-cross, where we jump and cross our legs, then jump and uncross them. Our instructor says we can put our hands/arms anywhere we want, but he says "I like to put MINE on my HIPS!" I think it's hilarious and I give it a chuckle every time. Just thought I would share that bright moment in the darkness of exercising hahaha.

Well my friends, Brockton is the same as it has always been. Church is crazy, the work is crazy, the elders are crazy, we're all crazy here. But I love it all the same! I was talking to Sister B last night (we talk a LOT hahahaha) about how blessed I am to be back here in Brockton for my last transfer. I've really been able to see the changes in myself because of that! It's good to see those and to see my improvement, you know?

For example, I was playing piano for our choir practice (I know, I was surprised the Cape Verdeans had organized a choir too, but it's not half bad!), and Solange, the director, was talking to me about what she wanted done. Then she started to explain it to the choir, but I explained it again before I started playing: "Gossim ami sta toca keli parte de mudjer, e despos ami sta toca keli parte de homem, ok?" (hahaha don't google translate that, I tried it and it is so wrong hahahaha it's because Cape Verdean kriolo isn't an official language). Then as I start playing, I hear EVERYONE start whispering (not quietly) to each other (in kriolo mostly) "She speaks kriolo really good now! Wow!"

I just pat myself on the back for that one. :) A lot can change in one year, that's for sure! And you can learn a language, as long as you have God's help.

Let's just do another bullet point list for the week, I feel like that works better:
-3 new investigators: Karine, who has come to church for weeks already because she's friends with a recent convert (!!), Monalisa, the 8-yo daughter of our investigator Monica, and Maya, the mother of another investigator, Jane. MIRACLES!

-free dinner with my favorite jolly Cape Verdean couple on Monday night

-Monica ASKED for a baptismal date on Tuesday! What? We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ, moved it towards committing to baptism, and we almost just said "pray about a date", but Monica asked "Can't you just give me a date?" So we were like "uh sure i guess" haha and she is planning to be baptized on January 2!

-Maria Montrond gave us dinner on Tuesday. Oh, that woman is hilarious. And so kind! She was explaining to a girl she takes care of that we (the sisters) are extra pretty because we are doing the Lord's work. Also, we are like a light in her life (she even turned off and on the lights to make a point). I love her! :)

-Man, we cleaned our car this week. Let me tell you, that was a victory. Jared, whenever you have a car on your mission, KEEP IT CLEAN. It's worth it, I promise. 

-We had a BOMB lesson with Tilan on Wednesday. She's the lady who grew up Jehovah's Witness but is engaged to a member and goes to our church every week. She has a lot of doctrinal questions, usually to do with our doctrine that seems to contradict the Bible, but she's so great! Teaching her is helping me learn a lot. Also, we talked about baptism with her too! When I mentioned setting a date as a goal, she looked shocked, but then the more she thought about it, the more she liked the idea. We even showed her the baptismal font because we were already at the church. So this week she has been praying and should be letting us know what she thinks about setting a date. PRAY FOR HER! She's so great.

-We taught Vania, Carla, and Nely a lot this week! Which is good because Vania just got baptized (and was confirmed yesterday), and Carla and Nely are planned for this Saturday!! I love those girls a lot. 

-Keven, a guy the elders have been teaching, was baptized and confirmed this weekend.

-We made a new Brockton Vision! That's good, because we have been working on having more Zion with the elders. Patience is the key.

-HEY GUYS I finished the Silent Night music! I'm so happy. And really proud of myself. I listened to the mp3 I was sent and wrote the music from there. Whew! Glad that's done. I have a bunch of other things to do. Elder Raymond named it "Sister Knutti's Trunky List", which is accurate.

-Crazy church. But hey, what else is new?

I love Brockton. I don't know if my emails explain any of this, but there are so many miracles happening here now. the Lord is hastening His work, and I am beyond blessed to be here at this time. We are trying hard to help the ward work together better, so we are starting to train all of our auxiliary leaders. Honestly, if the leaders worked together well, this ward would split into 2 wards in a matter of months. Pray for a stronger Brockton Ward! 

Being a missionary is the best. 

I love you all! Have a happy Thanksgiving, eat a lot of rolls with cranberry sauce for me (Cape Verdeans just don't do rolls and cranberry sauce. It sounds like our dinner this year will be more American, but with rice. And possibly katchupa.) please! Also pumpkin rolls. Those would be nice too. 

And let Christmas season *officially* begin!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 71: #illbehomeforchristm

I'll start by saying that I LOVE BROCKTON. It is still SO GOOD to be back here. A lot of people actually remember me haha. That surprised me, considering the very small amount of Portuguese/Kriolo I spoke or understood a year ago. But now I can really talk to everyone and it has been so good to see everyone again. I'm even remembering the streets and random houses that we tracted or taught someone in. Good stuff! If you want to know what the ultimate missionary dream is, it would be dying in your baby area. And for some reason, I have the amazing blessing to do that! I think I'll say that every week, but it's true, so it's fine.

We'll do bullets to make me go faster:
-I started using my last missionary planner.

-We still do service at the Catholic Charities food pantry, and even those people remembered me! I like those people, they are so great :)

-Tuesday was hard. Hahaha we walked ALL DAY in the rain, but we survived and learned more about each others' past lives. Zion. Bonding. Good things.

-We have 2 investigators who are having some seriously deep questions, Patricia and Tilan. Patricia is a hardcore Baptist engaged to a kind of active member, and Tilan is a former Jehovah's Witness also engaged to a member. We've been learning a LOT about the Millennium, the Apostasy, the 3 kingdoms, baptism for the dead, and eternal marriage. Also we had a cool revelation about why the Garden of Eden was necessary:
--basically God never goes away from us, right? So even in Adam and Eve's situation, I think THEY needed to make the choice to leave God's presence. Hence the fruit and everything. Just a thought that we had the other day studying about the Plan of Salvation

-New investigators!! Monica, Nela, Tilan!

-We taught that jolly Cape Verdean couple again and the Spirit was really strong :)

-Zone meeting! #hinghamagain

-we made some serious GOALS this week! I'll send a picture of our board next week. I love making goals now, because I know that when we make them according to the Lord's will, we will ALWAYS be able to accomplish them with His help!

-I have been transcribing a piece of music this week. Basically I am going to help with a piece in the Christmas Fireside we are going to do in a few weeks, and I was given an mp3 to listen to and learn the music that way. There is no sheet music. SO I have been listening to it a lot and writing down the music. It is hard, but it's been a fun challenge! Who knew that 2 measures of music could be so difficult to write down? Now I do. But I'm actually pretty close to done because there are a lot of motifs. LOVE IT. 

-We are so involved in the relationship drama here in Brockton. We know everything and it is so hilarious. It's like we're in a YSA ward or something.

-We went to a Cape Verdean baby shower. Think a wedding, that scale, but it's just for a lady having a baby. Cape Verdeans are so weird.

-Claudia and Nunu (investigators) came to church for the first time and LOVED IT. Baptism? Oh yes.

-We had a baptism this week!!!! Vania was baptized. I think not a single one of our pictures was completely good. Vania is so great, and I had the pleasure to help finish teaching her the lessons! Her sisters, Carla and Nela, will be baptized in 2 weeks!! Woohoo! 

--This was easily the most DISORGANIZED BAPTISM I HAVE EVER BEEN A PART OF. But you know what? Vania didn't know that and she still felt great and loved it. That's what matters. 


We'll do better.

Guys, the work here is so good!! We are shooting to have a baptism a week, and I really think that we are going to accomplish that! We are also going to have at least 20 lessons a week. It's a bit of a stretch, but totally possible here. There are so many people to visit and so much work to do!

Sometimes lately I have been feeling really weird about going home... I both am excited to go home and really terrified because I know it will be hard. So I've been trying to work through that a little bit and just do my best to do missionary work. One month left? Hey, that's 30 more days to give my all to this work!!

Christmas is coming. We made a Christmas CD today and now that is all we will listen to. Christmas decorations are going up. It IS the most wonderful time of the year. Brockton + Christmas + baptisms + Sister Bronovski = the best transfer ever.

Sister B is the best, btw. She is such a good example to me! She shows me that if we want to progress and be better, we can and should be active about doing it. I love her so much!

I hope you all have a fantastic week. Remember, there's only one week until Thanksgiving! And that means it's almost Christmas season anyways, Mom.

I love you all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Week 70: Back in the City of Champions

I just have to say, as frustrated as I was about having to pack again, it is a DREAM COME TRUE to be back in Brockton for my last transfer!! It is SO COOL to be back here again, and we've only been working here for a few days. Lots of people still remember me, which is good to know hahaha. I was pretty sure few people would know who I am because a year ago I spoke very little Portuguese or Kriolo, soooo I didn't talk to people here much. 

But Brockton is the BEST! Wow. It is a HUGE blessing to serve in my first area one more time, and to have it be my last area too! I love it so much.

Because I was leaving Boston, and Elder Garrido was leaving too after being there for 5 transfers, we decided to pretty much go to the same appointments as the elders. Why not only make them cook once? Because the Cape Verdeans ALWAYS give you food when they know it is the last day you will see them. They all love Elder Garrido and kind of love me (it must be my boneca face), there was a lot of food to partake. 

Monday though, we went to the Prudential for lunch! It was so fun. I love the Top of the Hub, it makes me feel fancy and rich. We also walked around and I got ahead on buying some Christmas presents... :)  It was a pretty solid last pday. That night started the appointments of seeing people to say goodbye. I have a bunch of pictures on dropbox!

Tuesday was full of that. We also ate a delicious lunch and a delicious dinner while watching the Joseph Smith movie. Love it. I love the people in Boston too! They are so kind. :)

Wednesday we did actually have a lesson! With Ana, our investigator who went to Panama for a while. It was an awesome lesson and we helped answer some of her questions. I love that we can always ask questions. Heavenly Father doesn't want us to be confused, and that is why He will answer us when we ask Him those questions we have. :)

For the rest of the day, we had a most lovely last lunch with the elders at "Mac" (McDonalds, but how they call it in Brazil. Special request of Elder Garrido.) and packed and cleaned. So exciting. Transfer meeting was good! I knew, oh, all of the missionaries going home. The strangest thing about the whole meeting was that I knew that the next time I go to transfer meeting, I will be bearing MY final testimony. How crazy is that?? Ugh. But it was really good, I got to talk to some missionary friends I haven't seen for a while. And Elder Araujo told me that they had 59 people in church last Sunday in Central Falls! What! He showed me a picture, and so many people I love so much were there. Love it love it love it. 

And then I had the pleasure of driving back to Brockton with the tiwi box. I don't know if I've told you about those, but pretty much all it does is say "check your speed" when you go above the speed limit. It does other things than that, but I'm not an aggressive driver, so it doesn't yell at me for that :) 

But boy oh boy, it is good to be back in Brockton! And I LOVE Sister Bronovski, my (last) companion. She is the greatest! We speak SO MUCH Portuguese and we get along so well. I love her so much. 

Also, on Wednesday I actually woke up with a sore throat... that was WAY WORSE on Thursday. Did I mention that I've been sick for a month? Well, now you know. I had a nasty cough that turned into a sinus thing, but I got some antibiotics for that. I started having a kind of congested nose, but not too bad. But the morning of transfer meeting, I woke up feeling a little rough. The first night sleeping in Brockton was bad. I don't wake up almost ever when I sleep, but I woke up probably 3 times and said a prayer at probably 3am just asking to be able to sleep. I think my nose was so congested and my sinuses were dying that it made it so hard to sleep. Haha Sister Bronovski saw me pray that early, but this time it was a very conscious prayer (sometimes I do that in my sleep....). 

So Thursday I was pretty rough. Good thing we had weekly planning, so we did that with the elders, and then I just stayed home after we tried going to the doctor (didn't work). That morning we did buy some Dayquil and Nyquil because it was just so bad. I slept much better with the medicine!

Friday morning we were able to go to the doctor at an urgent care place! It took FOREVER. But they even did x-rays to see if it was pneumonia (since I've had it so long and it's so deep in my chest), but they said that I don't have it, woohoo! Just some nasty sinus thing. Ok. So they prescribed me a pill to take (a different one this time) and a nasal spray. We had to wait a little while to get the medicine, so we distracted ourselves with district lunch at my fav, Little Sami's, and then we got my medicine and went home. 

We just stayed at home all day, drinking (herbal) tea, reading talks, and bonding by talking about everything. Good Zion building, getting sick. I don't think I would recommend it though. 

Also I lost my voice on Friday. It was super funny.  By the end of the day I got better (we really did talk a lot), but mostly all I could do is whisper. The doctor told me to not talk much this weekend, but I was like "uhhhhh, I'm a missionary, talking to people is what we do." Welp, sorry Charlie. (Her name was actually Marie.)

So a good start to my last transfer, eh? Haha it actually was sad, but now I'm glad. Sister Bronovski and I are already pretty good friends because of it I think, so all's well!

I'm still a little sick, but DEFINITELY better than a few days ago. The medicine is helping, plus we tried some witch/homemade remedy of honey, onions, and oranges. It tastes NASTY. I don't know if it works yet, but most of it is still sitting in our fridge at home so I can always try it again haha. 

On Saturday we went to work!! We saw Patricia (investigator), Vania (investigator w/date), Ducha (recent convert), and Sandra (investigator). I love that Brockton always has so many people to work with! The investigators now are completely different and the missionaries now don't know most of the people I worked with a year ago, but that just makes it more exciting!

Sunday was fun too, because we had, you guessed it, STAKE CONFERENCE! My 6th. Sheesh. But it was fun because the Brockton Ward had a choir put together that I played for. The members who sang in the choir wore these... interesting robes. Think graduation with royal blue robes that have a yellow bow right in front. Yes. That is what the women wore, and the men all wore matching blue and yellow bowties. So funny. We looked a little bit like a Baptist gospel choir, but what are you going to do. 

Guess what though? Remember Laura Pinto? She is a lady I taught for about 3 months a year ago before she got baptized in December of last year. SHE MADE THOSE ROBES. WHICH MEANS (haha among other things) SHE IS ACTIVEEEEEEEEEEE!!! She is so great! She is really active, and even gave a referral for one of her friends a few months ago, and that is the recent convert Ducha we visited on Saturday! What! I love that lady. She saw me for the first time on Saturday before stake conference started, and said "what! Are you here now?" and I said "ohhhhh yeahhhhhhhh". Haha no I didn't say that, but I hugged her and said I'll be here for 6 weeks.

I love when we can see people that are truly converted to the gospel and they stay strong and help others! And I love that I am a part of that process of bringing people to Christ. It is so amazing. 

Also on Sunday, we had some amazing miracles. I've already written a lot and taken far too much time today, but I'll say this quickly. We have a goal in the mission to get 3 new investigators each week. Yesterday we were praying all day as we went to visit people that we would be able to accomplish this goal. And we did! 3 new investigators, all in one day. We went to knock on a potential's door, knocked on the wrong one (the houses here are very confusing when you have 139 Whatever Rd. and 139A Whatever Rd.), but we were let in by a very jolly Cape Verdean couple. The man, Antonio, had a pretty great bogode (boh-go-gee, it means mustache). I was admiring it the whole lesson. And they were so happy! So we taught them and set a return appointment. Then we saw another potential, who is AWESOME, and she's a new investigator. 

I love missionary work.

Basically this week was full of up and downs, but it was so great! I am so excited to be here in Brockton again. It's pretty strange, but a lot of people remember me and each day I'm remembering more and more. We're going to do WORK here! Sister Bronovski is the greatest and we are going to have so much fun.

Well, I'm all set to have a fantastic week in the City of Champions. I hope you all have a great week and remember to ponderize and study your scriptures!

Until next week! Pray that I can feel better and Sister Bronovski won't get my disease...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Week 69: Replay!

Well my friends, I joked about this for a long time, but the day has actually finally come. We got t-texts on Friday, and much to my (and your, I'm sure) surprise, I am going.....

Sorry for the awkward selfie in the Apple Store. It's just easier this way. Also, shoutout to the Spanish CTR ring I got on Friday! Woohoo!

But it's true. I am being transferred back to Brockton!! It's so weird and I was at first really upset that I had to pack and move and do all of this again after only one transfer in Boston, but now I have really felt that the Lord had a purpose for me to be here in Boston, and I must have done it. He also has a purpose for me to be in Brockton for my last 6 weeks. 

Let's think about this too for a second--I am getting transferred BACK TO MY FIRST AREA! I WILL DIE THERE! How crazy is that?? I have the amazing and coveted opportunity to end my mission in the same place that I started. I left Brockton 11 months ago, and I will have another month and a half. It's so cool because I kind of already know most of the people there, and I'll be able to work with my recent converts, Fabiana and Laura again! But it will be so different too. When I was there a year ago, we had the Millers (a senior couple), Brockton was a branch, and there were 8 Portuguese missionaries there. Now there is no senior couple, it is the Brockton WARD, and there are just 4 missionaries--us sisters and one set of elders. My new companion will be Sister Bronovski, which works perfectly because we have this plan to all go to BYU and she was the last one I wasn't companions with in that future room. Haha the Lord has a sense of humor too, that's for sure!

Anyways, after we got that news, we were really surprised, but I started packing and I'm pretty close to done. I also want all of you to know that I weighed my biggest suitcase that has most of my clothes and shoes in it, and it weighs 47 pounds. I will survive the airplane!! 

Ah. So that was the biggest news from the week. I'll try to make the rest of the email slightly more exciting haha.

Monday we carved pumpkins with the zone and later went up to Harvard to show Sister Marques' sister around a bit, then we had a dinner up there. To end the night, we went to Mike's Pastry with the members Liana Marques is staying with. Gotta love those cannolis! Hey, and I know a secret about the restaurant--go to the one in Harvard Square, not the one in North End. It's not crowded at all! Now you know. When we all come back to visit Boston I'll show you around.

Haha anyways, Tuesday was good. WE did some missionary work. We sang "the Wise Man and the Foolish Man". We ate food at the Walshes house. A pretty average day.

Wednesday was so sad. Hahaha it rained ALL DAY LONG. I want you all to pray extra hard for the missionaries in walking areas when it rains, because let me tell you, it's pretty miserable. A raincoat only covers you so much. I was wearing my glasses that day too, and I couldn't see... to top it off, we literally tried to see 6 or 7 people, and NO ONE answered the door. Haha we had 5 lessons planned for the day but we only ended up with 2 and some wet clothes. It's okay though, it makes for good memories! Oh, we also took pictures that day from the Cape Verdean Center where we do service. We all thought Sister Marques was leaving, so that's why she's in the pictures. But actually I'm getting transferred, and so is Elder Garrido, but we knew that already. 

Wednesday was a low. But it was still pretty funny. 

Thursday was EXCITING. Guys, it was really so exciting. Sister Marques had an appointment in Marlborough (remember that place???) for her back, so we borrowed the Cambridge Elders' car and drove out there! I LOVE THAT PLACE SO MUCH. It is gorgeous in the fall, by the way. We also took a pit stop there to buy a LOT of Brazilian food for us and our elders. We are officially the best sisters ever. That's just what happens when you bring Brazilians good food--they will love you forever. Then we planned haha.

Friday we got the t-texts after a good district meeting and an awesome lunch provided by the senior missionaries here! We have some good pictures from that too. That night was the Halloween party for the ward, and our group just kind of joined in. It was pretty cool, but it was kind of weird because I don't know hardly anyone in the English ward, so I knew maybe 10 people total there. But there was delicious chili and cookies, so you survive. :)

Saturday was a little sad too hahaha. We were on buses for literally 3 hours to try to finally get home after trying to visit people with this sweet old member, Nanda. We didn't see anyone, but we did do a lot of waiting. But it's okay, because I know that you need to pay attention to which way the bus goes before you get on it! That night they wanted us home by 6 (Halloween really does get CRAZY here. I was getting a little nervous when we were walking home at6:20...), so we took the time that night to pack and make some Maple Bacon cookies. Delicious.

And church on Sunday! It was pretty good and pretty dramatic. Welcome to Cape Verdeans. I love this little group though. It was so sad to tell everyone that it was already my last Sunday there. After church (and now through Wednesday afternoon) we started visiting people--and all of them are feeding us now. It's not a pretty experience when you have to eat the same food for your second Cape Verdean dinner. Haha but these people are so kind and generous, they just want us to know that they love us, and that's why they give us so much food. We don't serve in the Haitian program though, so we're still pretty safe.

And we have arrived at my last pday in Boston. We will go to the Prudential (the tall tower with a restaurant on top) with our zone! It's going to be a good day. :)

It has been one interesting week here in Boston, Mass, but I love it anyways. I am reminded daily now how much I love being a missionary and how much I have changed since being here. I think when I come home I will be so different. But as I go into my last 6 weeks, I am really trying to make it the best transfer ever! I am now really excited to be going back to Brockton and to work with Sister Bronovski. I kind of know her, but I think we are going to have a lot of fun together :) 

Here's a spiritual thought for the week:

Hellman 6:37 says "And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites." I cross-referenced that scripture to Alma 31:5 (go look that one up!). Basically, the word of God is so powerful that it was used to destroy the Gadianton Robbers--because when people become truly converted to the gospel, they change, and wickedness is rooted out of them!

The gospel truly changes us and brings us so much closer to God and Jesus Christ, and it brings us so much happiness that perhaps we would not otherwise receive. I love being able to apply the gospel to my life every day, and I am so grateful for how I have changed because of it! I hope to continue to change to be better every day :)

I love you all! Wish me luck in my last transfer. Have a great week, enjoy this time before Thanksgiving. Sorry Mom, we've already been listening to Christmas music all through October, and I'm not about to stop now. ;)