Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016 - Feliz Páscoa!

Hey guys hope you had a great Easter Sunday! I even cracked open my little stash of peanut butter because it was a special occasion.

I’ve been studying like crazy the conference talks from the last conference, prepping for this upcoming one. But the hard thing is I only have them in English, the Ensign that mom sent me, and so it really messes my brain up when I study them in English in personal study and then try to explain them in Portuguese and use them throughout the day... haha English is getting hard. We´re in for a treat at mother’s day...

But this week we worked a lot with our investigator named Wendel. He’s a 17 yr old boy who has been going to church for a month now but hasn’t been baptized because his mom didn’t want him to. She heard from her neighbors that Mormon was a cult and scary, and if you got baptized and then wanted to leave afterwards they’d kill you. We went there to talk with her and told her we are not that organized and are not an Italian mob. Then she said he could be baptized! We had a great lesson with him about some of the commandments, like law of chastity and word of wisdom. And it was a tender moment when I saw how he changed when he discovered that things he had been doing in the past were wrong, and had brought sadness to heavenly father. I could explain to him how we can be completely clean of our sins through the atonement, how it cures us and what was cured stays cured. 

I was thinking about all the people out there that don’t know that god has commandments to keep us safe, all the people out there that if they knew that god has a true church on the earth, if they knew he has protections for them, we would have so many people feel that true repentance and sadness that sin brings, and would want to change. But they just don’t know it yet! That’s why we can’t choose who we share the gospel with, Christ didn’t just suffer for the members of the church, but every single person we see on the street! They too deserve the gospel. But unfortunately for Wendel there were some other complications we found out about so he´ll have to wait a little bit to be baptized but it’ll happen!

This coming week we´re hoping to move houses too, our house right now is..... quaint.... to sum it up haha. But hopefully we´ll get the elders to help us out and we´ll get our nice new apartment all in order!

I hope you all have a great conference weekend- just think of how great it is to know we have a living prophet today on the earth! Something that so many churches are lacking, someone who gives us modern and real revelation. All the things that those people will say, will be like if god himself was talking to us and guiding us. How grateful I am for the words of the prophet! I love you guys and have a great week!

Sister Walker

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016 - Ahhr-uhh-peer-ahh-ca

                                                                 "I Love This Book!!"

First week in the new area down and I am loving it!! Arapiraca is great. We have a HUGE area, super big with lots of neighborhoods to remember. The ward is pretty small for a ward, Itabaina and Estancia had more people in sacrament than here and they’re branches! But the members are great here. The one problem is that most of the members live super far away, super super far. So most of our references are there, but Presidente doesn’t like us  working so far away from the chapel because its hard for the people to get to church, unless they have a car. Arapiraac is a real city with a real downtown and everything!! It’s so different from the interior cities I was in. But the funny part is that the houses here don’t have a real number system. Like you can be looking for a house #500 and the numbers are going up from 400 and then randomly it’ll switch to 700 and then go back down later if you’re lucky. Its quite the adventure. One day we were all making fun of each other and they said ´´I don’t  know how you ended up being born in the United States because you are Brasilian!!´´ hhaha. I get the fun job of changing every Brasilian’s view of what merica really is. *Jared voice* Challenge accepted.

Sister Mira is my companion as well as Sister Estella now! We got a surprise trio this week and now we´re 3 STLs together. Sister Mira is crazy and from Mina Gerais but I like her and Sister Estella has 1 year on the mission and is from Sao Paulo and is so sassy and a similar version of Sister Barbosa so I’m happy. I’m learning quite a few things on how to be sassy in Portuguese now... We have a lot of fun together. Also our new district and zone is super great, I love the sisters and elders so far. Another funny thing, we live next door to our DLs! haha. So if we run out of soap or water or food we just go borrow it from them. One night they even shared the pizza they had ordered with us!! I am living in heaven.

Also in this ward its fun because they have an English class here for the members, because there always seems to be one American missionary here at a time. So this week I got to teach! 

Also I found out that this week is gonna be EASTER. Wow how am I so disconnected from the world? And I was thinking about the sacrifice of the savior, and not just what it means, but the question that lots of our investigators have, which is ´´now that we know this, what now?´´. I was thinking and I felt like I should share with you my feelings about it. So I want you to know that He is the reason that I came here on my mission. It wasn’t because of my goodly parents or siblings or friends, but I came here because I love my savior, and I know personally of the peace and transformation that can happen in our lives because of Him. I’m here because other people need to be able to receive those things for themselves so they can have the chance to choose or not if they’re willing to follow our savior! His sacrifice was not for the elect or the chosen, but for all. So ALL of us here deserve a chance to hear it, we all deserve the blessings of the gospel. I know our savior lives. He gave his life up on the cross but didn’t stay there- He lives! And because he lives we have the chance to be perfected, to be clean and be renewed every single day. I love this gospel and I love being a missionary! Don’t let this week go by without letting someone know how much Christ loves them as well! I love you guys so much feliz páscoa!!

Sister Walker  

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016 - Peace Out Cub Scout!

                                  "Come Unto Me And I Shall Make You Fishers Before Men"

                                                                 So Long Estancia!!!

Transfers have occurred people. Wake up and smell the roses!!

I am being transferred to Arapiraca, 2nd ward. I’m going to serve in a ward people!! It’s in Alagoas so I’ll get to cross the border to the other state and even be close to Maceio! All I know about my area is that most everyone loves it that goes there, but the water system is really bad so you can be without water in your house for a week at a time, every other week... haha. Adventure is out there!! I’ll be companions with a Sister Mira, who is from Sao Paulo and I already like the few times I’ve talked to her. This will be her last transfer before she goes home! Sister Barbosa is going to the same city as me, but a different area. We´ll still get to be in the same zone woohooo!! I think this change will be really good for the both of us. A little fresh air and a new perspective and new people. 

Here it is just heating up more and more. It’s funny to me when the people who actually live here their whole lives complain about how hot it is here... I’m like wait didn’t you choose to live here? But they’re all saying that this summer is the hottest one they’ve had. I have great luck. This week here in Brasil they celebrated ´´womens day´´ which was like the greatest thing ever if you ask me, a whole day just to celebrate being a girl. We got to talk all day long about the value of being a woman in the eyes of god and how much he trusts and confides in us to fulfill his work here on earth. #girlpower

Also this week we had a really cool experience with one of our less actives we´ve been working with named Patricia. She’s a 26 yr old woman with a 2 yr old son, who is separating from her husband currently. We went there just to invite her to church but she invited us in and after a few questions her whole life story came crumbling out. She told us of all her trials and the horrible things that are going on in her marriage that she’s trying to get away from. Luckily we had planned to talk about the atonement with her - isn’t it great how god helps you plan those things out? And we got to testify to her that the gospel of Christ is second chances, it is totally and completely for her in this moment. It’s to make the bad people good and the good people better. That Christ doesn’t see her as damaged goods but as she searches for him  and puts him first in her life, he will do the same for her. Its so amazing to see how one little visit, one message about the love of the savior can just change someone’s perspective on everything. she even came to church on Sunday!

I’ve also been thinking a lot about why I was called to serve in Brasil, when I felt it was hard to establish myself, to get the language down and feel like I was useful in missionary work. But I realized after thinking a lot that I’m in Brasil to learn how to be humble, to learn how to truly value the gospel and not let it become something mundane and common. Because I was forced to relearn a lot of things, and in doing that I’ve found a new love for the basics of the gospel, for faith and repentance and how those things really change our lives. I am very grateful I get to be here and meet these people that are often times serving me much more than I’m serving them. 

I’ll talk to you guys with new news from Arapiraca next week! Love you so much! Help the sisters out this week!

Sister Walker

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016 - Walkin On Sunshine...

                                           Courtney with Irma Karine (27 Year Old RS Pres)
                                                                    And Sister Barbosa

Hey you guys!

Sadly I have no super exciting news to display this week. We had kinda  a weird week with meetings with other leaders in the mission and Presidente Gomes. Also we had a sick day because Sister Barbosa got super sick so I got to have the (hopefully) once in a lifetime experience in a South American hospital. *cringes* But seriously we spent about 6 hours in the hospital just to get these weird pains in her back and chest checked out and they immediately hooked her all up to bags of liquid and needles and all sorts of stuff I detest. Note to self,-never ever get sick in Brasil and give in to going to the hospital. Ever! I felt like dad the whole time when mom was in labor just eating a Snickers in the corner because I wanted to help but was seriously so grossed out the entire time. 

So this week was sad because Eliziane decided she doesn’t want to be baptized right now. She told us (on the day we took the elders to do her interview) she didn’t feel prepared, but also she didn’t have a desire to be baptized. That she knows everything about the church is true and there doesn’t exist another true church of Christ, but doesn’t feel like she has a desire to be baptized yet.... what the heck. I was very confused. Luckily Sister Barbosa is mature and calm and tried to reason with her and could do it without raising her voice or crying which I could not. But I will learn one day. For now she wants to continue going to church and ´´preparing herself´´... yeah keep on preparing for when Christ comes back and condemns everybody.. Ok that is what I said only in my head not to her. But we will work with other people now. Sad to watch people negate their spiritual witnesses but it’s all part of their choices! 

But oh one fun news is I got my Valentine ’s Day package yaaaay!! Sadly most of the goodies are eaten by now or have been taken to ´´borrow´´ by Brasilians... but I loved everything. Especially the beef jerky heck yeah! There was a man in the branch that had been asking me for some so finally I could help a brotha out! It’s funny I was remembering how when you’re little, you chuck the card in a present and go straight for the present, but now here I look at the presents really quick and look for the cards from you guys haha. 

So we found out this week that Irma Maria is still legally married to a man in another state from 20 yrs ago even though she lives with another man now... sad to say that is not uncommon haha. Just means that now baptism will have to be put on hold and do a huge legal process before we can have that happen. Yay for legal marriage people!

That’s about all I’ve  got from here in Estancia, transfers are next week, the 15th, so we´ll see if I stay or get to go to a big city or even a ward!! But all in the Lord’s plan :) Have a great week you guys. I love you lots!

Sister Walker

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 29, 2016 - Happy Leap Day!

                                                      Sister Barbosa and Courtney with
                                                      Young Women from their Branch

What a week! I feel like I was just writing to you guys... weird.

This week was super busy with meeting new people. We met a lot by trying to find inactives, turns out they all moved and the branch has all the wrong addresses, so we just taught the new people living in their houses! Worked out great! We´re teaching Maria and her 2 daughters, Isabelle and Iris who are 17 and 11. Maria is a woman with a lifetime movie past with every obstacle you could think of, but so spiritual. Funny story, we went to teach her and she tried to drop us! We got nervous and asked why and she told us she had read the book of mormon and prayed about it, and when she was reading she had started  crying and felt so warm and full inside and didn’t know why and got scared! haha. We told her that’s an answer to her prayers from God! She said õh... that makes so much more sense...´´. 

Also great news, Eliziane is going to be baptized this Saturday!! Finallyyyy holy cow! She was putting it off and putting it off and finally Irma Helena (her mom) said ´´idk what you’re waiting for, you already know its all true!!´´. She is great. We had 8 investigators in church this week which was a *mario voice* NEWW RECORDDD. So amazing to see people really demonstrating their faith to go to a new place and discover for themselves if god has something to tell them there. 

Sister Barbosa and I are great, she is so hilarious we just could talk for hours and hours about everything. One morning I got ready early and went to read something but ended up falling asleep(classic) and then she woke me up with a bull horn and filmed it... I will get her back one day. 

We also got to help with the young womens in excellence this week which was jumbled and disorganized but at least had cake at the end. We sang a song from the young womens CD which is apparently a thing here. They loved it. 

ALSO homework for all my loved ones is to read the talk ´´Follow Up´´ by Elder Ballard. I’m pretty sure its called follow up, its whatever the word ´´accompanhamento´´ is in English, I can’t remember. It’s such an amazing talk and helps us remember our roles as messengers of the lord!! Wow I sound like Sydney sounded on her mission every letter home haha. Okay well that’s it for this week, I love you guys so much!! Go and do!

Sister Walker