Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015 - Feliz Ano Novo!!

                                      Sister Helm and Courtney skyping on Christmas day

Hey people!!

Can we just talk about how great it was to see you guys?!? Seriously best Christmas present I could get. besides the melty reisans and new skirts (thanks mummer!). Too bad the aftermath was a little bit hard but we´re back in business as of now. It was great to see your real life faces and it was cool because I felt like I really was back at home with you guys. Now just 6 more months til mothers day!

But what can I say since I just talked to you guys, haha, uhhm. Christmas eve was really good, when we all got back to our apartment we gave out the little secret sisters gifts we´d bought and even made hot chocolate and sat in front of the fan drinking it and pretty much sweating into our cups but #worthit. 

And as far as our area, we´re having a little bit more success here now. We´re finally meeting people who will let us come in to their houses and teach them. This of course was after several days of meeting only people who said no, that they’re ´´super catholic´´ whatever that means..., grown men who send their moms out to tell us they dont want to go to church, etc. it was almost comical all the excuses we heard haha but hey you gotta do the work to find the diamonds in the rough! (cue scary aladdin man voice)

We are teaching one family way over in Cidade Nova that is really great. We first met the youngest son Felipe playing soccer and he is a scrawny little kid who looks 8 but is 12. Then he has 3 siblings and parents who are really interested in our lessons. We sit in this tiny tiny living room with a chair and a couch and all the kids sit on the floor just listening in awe to us talk haha. Felipe really wanted to answer all our questions so whenever we asked one he would just yell out ´´jesus cristo!!´´ and hey half the time he was right! We´re trying to set a baptism date for all them but the dad works every Sunday selling stuff in the feira so we´re working on it. But the funny part was at the end of one lesson they somehow found out I can wiggle my ears and raise my eyebrows and yep you guessed it, it turned into freak Courtney and her strange tricks. They were fascinated that I can wiggle my ears and I felt like a circus monkey with them telling me to do it over and over. This is what I will put on my resume folks.

But other than that, things are going good here! We´re trying hard to get people to church which is the hardest trial as of now, because sometimes people here need a little kick in the hiney to understand you need to sacrifice for the things that are important like going to church! But I’m good at that ;)

Love you guys so much! Thanks for making my Brazilian Christmas so great!! 

Sister Walker

Public service announcement: I will never ever get used to the fact that the women here breastfeed in public. Come on, during relief society? Really??

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015 - Can I Be The Donkey? No, Bretts Always The Donkey...

first things first please tell me the sisters in our ward and every ward in the stake have some place to go for christmas eve AND christmas day!!! that is your job plz my loving family!! it is sad to wait for someone to invite you to their house... lol we´re still waiting on christmas eve but hopefully something will pull through. its hard when 3 of us are new in this area so we dont know any of the members or anything. It’d be different if i was back in itabaiana with families i love, but here its just Christmas with a bunch of strangers... but it’ll be good! its good to serve others when you’re feeling down!

what a week people lemme tell you. opening an area sure is tough work. we pretty much walked the entire city all day long every day and my shoes have the smell to prove it. too far...? but estancia is pretty cute, its basically the same as itabaiana with the colorful houses all crammed together and the cobblestone streets. but here there are so many people with cars they all must be rich... its just funny to follow addresses here because alot of places don’t really have street signs, so the directions in the area book will be ´´go down the street of the crazy man, take a left at the pink house with an orange door, and around to the big pile of bricks in the road. if you’ve hit the man with the pink shirt selling chickens you’ve gone too far´´ but we make it work. 

but i live here with sister ruiz from dallas and sister oliveira from manaus. sooo hilarious having 3 Americans together, because it has pretty much never happened in the history of the world here. sometimes we sing christmas carols to each other late at night to make it feel more like christmas. they include i saw mommy kissing santa claus, rudolph and the classic 12 days of christmas. 
its the greatest thing working with sister helm, the only annoying thing is that we stand out SO MUCH together, two white girls in long skirts walking down the street. i have never felt so out of place in my life holy cow. people stare at us evvverywhere we go, they all think we´re sisters, and that we´re from germany. i kinda wanna flick em all in the head sometimes but i hold it together. but the funny part is we barely have to do contacting because other people will stop us on the street to ask us where we´re from and what we´re doing here and we just say ´well let me tell you a little something about the church of jesus christ...´´ boom. 
okay and skype this week im thinking its gonna be about 4pm here or 3pm which makes that exactly im not sure what time back home but im sure you guys can figure it out. ahhh im so excited to see you guys!!! plz get the scary doll ready. 
since its christmas i just wanna leave you guys with a little quick testimony of this special time! i am so happy to get to spend Christmas in brasil, even if its sweaty and hot and they don’t have real milk to make hot chocolate and only have palm trees not pine trees. because all that really matters is that i get to remember that my savior was born many years ago and because he was born he gave us the greatest gift of all, the opportunity to live with him again! i am grateful that with his plan i hope we can all remember what gift we´re gonna give to the savior this year, what we´re gonna change and do better to show more gratitude for all he has done for us. after all, it is his birthday! i know my savior lives, i know this church is true and i am so grateful to be here sharing this gift of lasting happiness with the people here! 
love you guys & see you soon!!

sister walker

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015 - Christmas Is Here!!!

                                               Sister Davis, Courtney and Sister Marques
                                                Christmas Mission Conference in Maceio

What a WEEK where can i even begin that will make sense.

Okay so first of all, i got a call during a lesson on Wednesday night that was the assistants telling me that i needed to be in Maceio (a 5 hour bus ride to a different state) the next day at noon because i was called to be a new sister training leader. obviously i thought it was some sort of sick joke because how on earth can that be possible?? but yeah apparently it is. so tomorrow will be my first real transfer, im getting transfered to Istancia which is basically neighbors with Itabainana, is only about an hour away and is in the same zone... I’m never gonna escape zona lagarto haha.

Sister Davis and Marques will continue here in itabaiana and I’m gonna be companions with sister helm who is the golden missionary American from a little town close to boise Idaho. She has about 1 year and 2 months on the mish and is basically my idol in all things forever because she is so good at Portuguese and such a good missionary and funny and crazy and I’m suuper stoked to get to work with her. Everyone here in the mission calls me the mini Sister Helm too because of our personalities and our sass and even our voices, which i don’t think is entirely true but they say it anyways. I’m really really humbled to be able to serve the other sisters, and I’m already kinda freaked out but now I am feeling more confident after a lot of prayer. I’m just going to trust in the lord, because like it says in 1 Nephi 17:50-52, if God can do great miracles, why can’t he make me a sister training leader with only 5 months on the mish and a very basic Portuguese vocab? We will find out how it goes this week!

This week too was Christmas conference in Maceio!! It was sooo cool and amazing and wonderful. we had a  talent show where we did a trio of You’ll be in My Heart in English and Portuguese and i even sang parts as a SOLO, the mission is changing me i tell you. But it was so amazing to get to be with all the missionaries in such a feeling of unity and love and hope and renewed motivation to work and help the people in our areas. it was the first time i really felt fulfilled and excited for Christmas other than reasons like moms jams cookies and new PJs and not having to brush your teeth all day (maybe that’s just me and Spencer...). But i just felt this really big gratitude for my savior. He really is the lord of lords, king of kings, the prince of peace, who was born into the most humble of circumstances to be our savior. I’m learning, especially here in Itabaiana, that some of the best people are born into the humblest of circumstances. 

it’s funny the difference that a little bit of money or social status make for the people here. the few families that have a car or doors instead of curtains in every room, sometimes treat the sisters interchangeable, which is understandable, but so exact opposite how the other people in the branch treat us. For lunches, I would much rather go to the house of someone who maybe has less food or the meat is questionable or there’s flies swarming you when you eat, rather than the people who have fancy glasses, because the generosity and love and genuine affection the people show for you is just amazing. I would rather spend my time with them any day over the rich people here.

But also i got your guys package!! ahhhh it was so great to get the letters and pictures of you guys! It was really like Christmas i opened my gifts and read the notes over and over. it was funny because i really felt like dad because i felt like after the letters and pictures and notes from ward members that i was so happy and content and didn’t even need to open any of the presents. Who knew sometimes dad is right about a thing or two? Shreked. 

it’s also really nice to get to appreciate the little miracles as a missionary in a branch. it’s funny because it doesn’t impress me anymore when a brother in the ward gets up and gives a 20 minute talk on the atonement and uses 4 scriptures memorized and 5 quotes from Joseph Fielding Smith. But what impresses me is when a teenage girl who was baptized 5 months ago gets up and gives a short testimony how she knows the atonement is real, that god forgives our sins, that Christ loves us, and the church is true because she saw how it changed the life of her family. Being learned, or having lots of knowledge, isn’t what god looks at. he looks at the desires of our hearts and i am lucky to be able to do the same here.

Sister Marques and Sister Davis are a little sad that I’ll be leaving Itabainana,  (more happy that they’ll have more fridge space i think, personally but still) but they’ll continue to be great missionaries and take care of the branch here. Today we celebrated by buying yakisoba for lunch which is the most cultured place around here that just opened up. i also have yet to pack up my stuff so that’ll be sups fun... it’ll be sad to leave the place where i feel like i grew up. This is the place i arrived and didn’t understand a single word the people were saying, but still they hugged me and accepted me and taught me how to have faith in the lord. and now i have to leave em! But i know there’s other people waiting for me too. 

i think i wrote about my entire life in this email holy cow ill save some stuff for our Christmas call wahhoooo!! but i love you guys so much! thanks for thinking of me and praying for me and being a  great family i get to have forrevvverr-forevvverr-forevverr.

Sister Walker

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015 - Good Times In The Neighborhood!

                                                                 Daniel's Baptism!!!

                                                 Sister Davis, Courtney & Sister Marques
                                          Sitting By Their Fireplace In 100 Degree Weather

hey everybody!

this week was long, long. we are in the part of the cycle of missionary work where all our investigators are falling through so we have to find all new ones. but we fasted and are starting to see good results. we are starting to teach more in unison and less of me doing everything so its getting better. i was studying in alma 8:14-15 when alma is feeling weighed down with his mission and not having success, and an angel comes to comfort him and reminds him that he is doing the will of the Lord so he has plenty to be happy about! i thought that related well with me this week.

but on the plus side we had daniels baptism! it was really perfect, and he was so so happy afterwards. it was the cutest thing! also our district got together to make a little video for the christmas conference thats this week and surprise surprise, the elders planned literally nothing. so we got there and i directed the show! we did a naughty and nice list but it was progressing and non progressing. our santa had a toilet paper beard because it was pretty low budget.. no kerry bellessa style but we did do all our own stunts. 

the funny thing about our trio is that we get to see first hand the bluntness of brazilians. they still ask why i speak better than sister davis if we have the same time here.  and im like uhhh that is rather rude but alright haha. and i was thinking about how hard it must be for sister marques, because it would be like me serving in america and getting to my first area and living with 2 people from japan. I’d be like uhm wait what is going on here. but she doesn’t seem to mind.  She’s pretty easy going. 

also for christmas this week we made this sweet fireplace out of paper and cellophane that im sending a pic of too. im so excited for Christmas.  holy COW!!  okay that’s all I’ve got, talk to you next week! i love you guys!!

sister walker