Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 - Blazin and Praisin

                                                      Courtney's House In Itabainana

                                            Courtney, Sister Barbosa, Reis, and Santos

                                                      The Street Where Courtney Lives

please disregard my drug reference as the title of this email if it offends you...
Hey people!
2 whole weeks in Itabainana holy cow! It feels like ive been here my whole life... This week was kinda long. I didn´t know how tiring it is being a missionary... But we had the son of the couple who was baptized last week get baptized on sunday so that was cool. and we have a guy whos been investigating for two years getting baptized on saturday! my companion said im good luck and i cannot disagree. speaking of my companion, shes so great. she can be really sarcastic and keep a straight face like me so we get along great. and im just now starting to be able to understand jokes and sarcasm in portuguese, most of the time that just goes straight over my head because im so focused on finding out what theyre saying. ive been doing this annoying thing where if im really tired, ill be saying a sentence and then an english word will slip in and everyone will look at me funny. yeah portugeuse is still hard, but i was able to understand a little bit more of what the investigators were saying this week so hurrah for israel!! but i still havent even met all of our investigators we have so many. its like the gentlemen jugglers trying to keep all of them and the recent converts and the less actives straight. but i love love them all! its funny little tender mercies you get as a missionary like you're  running after a lesson to catch the bus and it comes right as you get to the road, or instead of seeing the drunk guy on the street youre trying to teach about the plan of salvation whos laughing/crying through the whole thing as strange, you see him as a son of god who needs love and a purpose in life. 
one of the families im closest to here is irma jucealma and irmao adaymeir who are recent converts with a whole mess of kids. 6 to be exact, all under 13 i think. those kids are my favorite even though theyre pretty dirty most of the time. they run to you in the streets and kiss your hand and pick you flowers, theyre so loving. this week we got to help them build a bathroom out back of their house. they were so so so excited because they were gonna have a real bathroom, can you imagine? and that night they wanted to give us dinner but we said no they didnt need to but they kept insisting and insisting so we said ok. the mom brought some rolls, a little tub of butter, a little block of cheese and a bottle of guarana. i knew that this was all the family had to eat that day. the kids kept walking in and out looking longingly at the table , but they kept asking if we wanted more and more to eat. they are so giving I couldnt believe it. even the little 2 year old adriann said´´you want more sister?´´ i am so blessed to get to meet the people here.

 one time we were contating on the streets and stopped a dad and his son and asked if we could teach them. he said yeah and gave us his name and we started talking about the church. then he said ´´im sorry, i lied and gave you a fake name because i didnt know you. but heres my real name and address´´ haha crazy right? theres a line in PMG that says that people will recognize the missionaries as servants of god. i think thats what happened there.

i´m learning how to do things the brazilian way like mop the floor wih a big squeegie and wash my clothes in a bucket. whats also cool is that its pretty much like a utopian society in my house. brazilians are very community mindful, so if you make something to eat you make enough to share, if you buy food everyone can use it to make stuff, i kinda like it. but i cant help but think still about being on time everyday and that things could be done a little bit more efficiently. but i guess we´ll see with that one.
okay random #justbrazilianthings. we were teaching a lesson with a 13 year old girl and her mom was there with 2 other little kids, and we´re talking and all of sudden the mom just starts breast feeding right there and i baby barfed in my mouth oh it was horrific. also i was asked two different times in the same day during lessons to pray for the people in english. i was all for it but my comp said it was a no go :/ people ask me how to say stuff in english all the time and im happy to cuhs maybe then they wont think im a complete dink who doesnt know how to say anything! they always ask my companion if i speak port, right in front of me.  im like hello i am here too thank you. but i do need to speak up more. also funny is that no one can say my name ever, im lucky if i get sister and something that sounds like it starts with a w. 
we also had a district meeting in lagarta which is about an hour away. theres 4 sisters and 4 elders in my district and they seem pretty cool. two of the elders are americans which is pretty weird. one i know from the mtc too so thats nice. i had my first interview with prez gomes and hes a chill guy, very in tune with the spirit and wants to know about my health cuhs lots of missionaries have problems with their feet or ankles or legs. but my shoes are sooo much better equipped than the girls here so im set.
missionary work is tough, alot of the time id rather just sit at home and take a nap, but then i meet someone on the street who has been wondering about their purpose in life or how their family can be together forever and then i remember why im here. but i miss you guys! everyone here is amazed that all my family is active members. you guys really are the best. stay strong and keep doin the little things to solidify your testimonies! thats really what its all about. i love this gospel, i love my savior and i love you!
até segunda-feira,

sister walker

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015: "Big World Out There - Lotta Smells"

In case you missed the incredibly clever and applicable title of my email, let me restate it here:  ´´Big world out there. Lotta smells.´´ -Michael Scott


Okay listen. I have never more in my life identified with a movie character more than Elder Calhoun from The Best 2 Years when I say; ´´Oh I´m in trouble. Cuhs that aint the language they taught me in the MTC.´´ That pretty much sums up my first week here haha. People warned me in the CTM that people in Maceio speak weird and differently but i figured id be okay. boy was i wrong! people here speak this strange slurred together and slang portugeuse that is definately not what the people in sao paulo speak. but im learning! my mission covers two states, Alagoas e Sergipe and im in sergipe. my area is Itabaiana (eee-tahh-bye-yawn-uhh. youre welcome) and its the furthest out from maceio so i hear. Ahhh so much to tell, but to start off Brazil is so great!! My companion is Sister Barbosa, a cute doll like brazilian from sao paulo (so i can usually understand her thank goodness) who is very on the ball and almost mom-like in how helpful she is. Shes been out 6 months. We live with 2 other brazilian sisters, sis reis and sis santos who’ve been out 7 months and 1 year. theyre really nice with my portugeuse and ask me to translate the english songs they listen to into portuguese. (i may or may not make up song lyrics quite frequently...) i mostly follow her around like a puppy and bear my testimony when she nods at me and just try not to get run over by cars in the street. haha. jk mom dont freak out <3

Okay so I got to our house on thurs night because we had training in maceio on Thursday. I got my little area and thought ´´wow, this is brazil.´´ And then I went out proselytizing in other parts of our area the next few days and thought ´´WOW. THIS is brazil.´´ the people here are very humble and wonderful. most live in cement houses on long bumpy dirt/cobblestone roads. about half of the people we teach cant read at alll or dont know how to very well so thats an obstacle teaching about the book of mormon. Im not allowed to drink the tap water so we have a jug of water we buy and use, but i still use the tap to brush my teeth cuhs #yolo i mean #yolf. Also they werent joking when they said they dont have running hot water, cuhs lemme tell you those showers in the morning are #frigid. The food here is so far so good, but we do have kuz-kuz out the wazoo. mostly beans and rice and a questionable meat i try to avoid. we have coke or real fruit juice smoothie stuff with every meal.

 We have one branch here and the members are so so so so amazing you have no idea. the people here love love love the sisters and do anything and everything to help them  its so great because i just walk into a strangers house and they might be a member or might not and they just say hi and give me a hug and welcome me and hand me a plate of food. the other sisters had a couples wedding and baptism the first 2 days i was here so we prepped a lot for that by making food at a members house and we decorated the little room where we have sacrament. our chapel isnt a chapel, its like a little area on a strip mall sort of thing, with a few classrooms and a bathroom and a cement font out back. but as soon as all the members came for the peoples wedding the second day i was there, every single one of them came up and welcomed me and the women allll give you a hug and all the kids are so excited to hug you and meet you and find out that you speak english. the people here are SO GREAT i cant even explain it. i think the members love the missionaries so much because most of them were baptized by their own missionaries, or their parents were. one time i was in a group of teenage girls talking with an investigator about how she should come to church and one of the girls just grabs my ponytail and runs her fingers through it lol. or they play with my hair during church which is da best.

 everyone here is a little bit chillax and as my good friend jack black says, ´´loosey goosey´´. if a kid licks his fingers off while making food and keeps making it, no prob. if a guy wants to ride a dirt bike down the road without shoes on, go for it. if someone wants to sell meat out of their garage, hey sir you go right ahead and do so. people here are just different you just gotta learn to let them be! what i also am learning is that brazilians are always LATE. we´re at least half an hour or an hour late to everything. its just normal for them. right now its ok cuhs im learning how to do stuff but it still gives me anxiety a little. but its like an unspoken rule that everyone abides by so guess ill have to get used to it. 
my companion gave me the best compliment ever yesterday, she said that she was impressed by my first week and how well i could speak and how well im adapting to the culture. she said she sees most new americans be very reserved and scared but that i just jumped right in and started loving the people. it was so nice because since i cant communicate with the people right now, all i want to do is love them. and i do so HECK YEA. portuguese is hard but it’ll get there. it is hard when you are literally the only one who doesnt know whats going on. my favorite thing is when people talk to me like im literally in diapers (watch it with the jokes-youre better than that). but its okay. how kind the people are makes up for it. the little kids here treat us like royalty honestly. if i wasnt affectionate before my mission, i defs will be when i get back. i love love getting to teach people and meet them and find out about their lives. i am so happy i get to do this for the next 16 months!!
i love you guys a lot. do you know that? i miss you a lot too but i just gotta get lost in the work for right now because i know the lord needs me here.

also im trying to send pics but its not exactly working. to be continued. also i get 1 1/2 hours on the computer now so hopefully i can respond better to your guys emails!
talk to you next pday!
love sister walker

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 18, 2015: First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

*hairspray soundtrack* GOOD MORNING MACEIO!!!

I am here everybody!! I am finally in the place that the prophet of the lord called me to serve in. I got up at 6 and left the ctm at 7 (better than the other girls in my district that left at 4) and got here at 1ish. Its wicked humid. Its probs 75 or 80 and its winter. All the elders tell me im gonna be black when i go home and ask me if i brought a lot of sun screen. Heck yes i did. I was the only sister with 10 brazilian elders, well and the one american from my district. Theyre really nice with me and joke with me and tease me and try and speak english with me. Everyone makes fun of my 3 big suitcases. Then we met one sister who had been in provo her whole six weeks and just flew here yesterday. Her portuguese is a little lacking. 

We have been told that all of maceio is very very poor. I will learn a lot from these people I’m hoping.  Also, there are only 4 american sisters here, well me and the other sister today made 4. Out of 35ish. This’ll be legit!! Theres a few more elders that are american but not many. We're at the mish home now which is like a short castle and then we're gonna go to the capela nearby to meet our companions. 

My mish prez seems nice, i cant understand him that well but his wife i can. They already gave me some weird drink and pills to help keep the parasites out of me. #monstersinsideme...?

OH and the coolest thing in the world happened, i started talking with the couple next to me on the plane and they were catholic and i talked to them about the church and gave them a book of mormon and told them it was true and would bring their family closer together because it had with mine and they were so interested and started reading it all on the plane. It was so great. 

I fasted this week and have been praying alot i wouldnt be so scared to come here and i wouldnt throw up on anything and the lord really answers our prayers. He knows us individually and is aware of our needs. I am so excited to be here and speak and learn and teach and love the people here!! Thank you for your prayers and your letter today (mummer). I love you guys!!

Ps whoever sent me something at cheneys i didnt have another pday so i gave it to irma correa to eat- sorry! *julias sideways alternate thumbs up and down face* talk to you guys soon

Sister walker

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14, 2015: Hey Now, Hey Now...

                                                                           Last P-Day At The CTM In Sao Paulo

needless to say if you didnt sing ´´this is what dreams are made of´´, you are either dad or you are not in the walker family.

minha querido familia como voces estão?!
my last ever pday that i´ll be writing from the CTM how crazy is that!!! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone here. for one thing i just finally felt like i was figuring things out around here and now i have to leave... but i hear thats the way it is with missions all the time. this week was a lot of classes and trying to endure to the end with our lessons and learning lame past subjunctive and future subjunctive grammar (which dont even exist in english so theyre extra fun to learn how to use). But for funsies all the Brazilians that are going to our missions came last week! There are a tonnnn of brazilian elders going to maceio with me. But no sisters :( apparently they were looking for the girl they heard was going to maceio because a bunch of em came up to me and said ´´you´re the one going to maceio?! ive never heard of an american sister going to maceio!´´ but i think they meant like none other going the same day with us. idk. my portuguese não é muito bom. but mostly this week has been trying to enjoy every second with our district that we can because we´re all pretty torn up about having to leave each other. we´ve been inseperable for 6 weeks and the great part is that these are actually kids i know i would be friends with outside the mish. it was a blessing to get a mini family while im so far away. we had a little compliment circle one night during district meeting and the compliment i got from all the elders was ´´thank you sister walker for taking the most (pardon my french) crap out of anyone´´. not sure how to take that one but it definitely feels like home lemme tell you. #middlechildprobs

i´m also learning Brazilians are very blunt which is awesome but scary. a sister in my district is very very tiny, and TWO different adult women, (one in the temple), told her she looked like she was in primary..... hahahah i should not be laughing but cmon thats pretty good stuff.

In other news, we listened to a devotional that Pres. Nelson gave in Provo a week or so ago and he taught us that each of us in our own way is like the stripling warriors, because every single one of us will return home from battle with some sort of wound or scar. but as long as we have the lord on our side, we will be able to return home which is the real objective. he also talked about how the real evidence of the success on your mish wont be able to be seen in the next 18 months or 2 years which i thought was interesting. because 18 months seems like an eternity right now so its weird to think that my efforts will be effecting people for generations to come. but hey thats just the power of the gospel!

oh and also this week i may or may not have cut off all of my hair. well not all of it, im not rockin the miley cyrus or anything but its short again. yes mom you were right i shoulda done it before i left but it just wasnt workin with the humidity and all that. ill send pics when i get into the field and am not imprisoned by the CTM rules. sydney would bust a gut, cuhs i just had the sketchy ctm barber guy cut it haha he literally cut it straight across and in a flat 3 minutes. but i had a girl fix it here so it looks fine. its just hair!

also an elder in my district said randomly one day ´´guys, have you seen girls with glasses?´´ and i was like uhm get with the times, of course i know them. im somewhat distantly related to summer bellessa. and that amped up my street cred x100 so thanks to them for bringing some sort of talent to the walker name.

i had my first (of many) portuguese fo-pah this week in a lesson with a member. he asked me to say the closing prayer so i was praying and then, well wait. so in portuguese theres 2 words, saude means health and saudade means longing or home sickness. so i was attempting to pray for our families and wanted to asked them to be blessed with health, but instead i asked for them to be blessed with home sickness... needless to say the prayer was soon ended after that because i pulled a dad and couldnt finish the prayer without laughing and my companion (like mom) telling me to put a sock in it.

my time in the mtc has taught me so much but i defs dont feel ready to be a real missionary. but i think thats the great part about being a missionary is that i dont need to know how to say everything or do everything, because i know the lord will provide a way for me to do the things i need to as long as im putting in my effort. as sad as it is to leave my teachers and friends here, this is what ive been called to do. and because i know my purpose now, i will do whatever is needed of me here.

i love you guys so much, i´ll talk to you in maceio!!!

sister walker

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7, 2015: Sacrada Vaca

Hello from your fav Sis Missionary,

my time here is almost done can you believe it?! I only have one more full week here and on august 18th i fly out to maceio way early in the morning! I can´t believe they think we´re ready to go out into the real mission field hahahah. surprise! this week zipped on by with our hugely busy schedule. we had a mission conference on sunday for fast sunday, and we were told that in the field we should be only teaching 15-20 minute lessons, and that we should only be teaching people that are ready for baptism, because there are just so so many people wanting to hear our message and not enough missionaries. they said brasil has the highest baptismal rate in the world (no pressure). I cant believe the amazing faith all the members have here, especially the missionaries. ive met kids from argentina, peru, bolivia, chile, ecuador, nicaragua, and brasil that are the first members in their family and they decided to serve a mission. some kids were disowned from their families when they joined the church, and some dont even have a house to go back to anymore when they go home, but they know that the lord needs them to serve a mission so theyre here. i am already realizing how easy we have it in the states and how spoiled we are sometimes, and im sure itll only get worse from here. a woman that spoke also talked about being patient with gods timing of things, she said ´´we cant expect to all get married as soon as we´d like´´, and i was thinking ´´as long as im married before i hit 49 i´ll be doin good´´. guess im unique in more ways than one over here.

Also its weird here cuhs we´re starting to get lots of american missionaries, so we´re almost half and half natives and from the states which apparently has never happened here before. and its funny because theres a huuuge difference with the kids that come from the provo mtc to here than the ones that have just been here the whole time. their language skills are seriously lacking. not even just that, but i think we have a huge added bonus of just having the experience of speaking with natives and the confidence to say something to them and then get corrected and try and again, that the provo kids just dont have. AND also, me and sis kinn were talking with some brasilian sisters here and then she told me that we were nicer and a lot more open than most of the other americans here #SCORE that is probably the nicest compliment you could ever give me. makin a better rep for murica one person at a time.

but really i´ve just been learning this week how its the fundamentals of the gospel that will help people grow their testimony and know that these things  are true. they need to feel the spirit, study the book of mormon dilligently, and pray with real intent to know for themselves, and thats pretty much a done deal. (speaking from 5 weeks of fake investigator experience). and i realized that i hadnt really learned the amazing power of the book of mormon until probably two years ago. so much knowledge and power and insight into gods plan for you and gods love for you is just waiting in that book if you pray and ask for the direction to find it.

at a devo this week we talked about pioneers, and how we can look to them as an example not because they were so much better than us, but because they were ordinary people who did extraordinary things because they had the lord on their side, and i really liked that. it can relate to all of us no matter what our situation. also what was cool too, was that the song ´´all is well´´ was sung on the trek, when all was definitely not well. but they looked outside of their circumstances to the eternal benefits of their sacrifices, which is what i have to do right now. but the Lord is helping me so much dont worry!

oh and one of my fake investigators is getting baptized tomorrow yay! weird to think  im so happy when shes literally already my teacher here at the ctm but still. i seriously cannot wait to have real people to teach and meet and learn from!

last thing, my brazilian roommates told me that one night i was sleep talking in portuguese. so you tell me how the language is comin along.

i love you guys so so much, thanks for all your nice notes even if im bad at responding to them. stay classy,

sis walker