Monday, April 30, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 30/4/12

Hola mi familia!  :)

Cambios are a week from tomorrow!  We found out last night that the president is closing our area and the next cambio there will be a trio here in Calvario.  And so, the APs gave us permission to move in with the other companionship this week so we're moving apartments today...  A timely practice for me to learn if I can fit all my stuff in my two suitcases and backpack...  ;)  We're nearly certain that Hermana A and I are leaving because we both have 6 months here.  And there are hermanas in rural areas, but from what I've heard all the hermanas have good houses or apartments.  The rainy season surprised a lot of people with days with rain in the afternoon several times this month, but in May the rains are supposed to start every day without fail.  And I’ve heard that it does get a bit colder, but how cold depends on the area.  There are actually areas that can frost, but none get snow.

The hardest part is there are about five people I’ve met, most in my first weeks here, that I still feel like I haven't done everything I could for them.  

Yesterday we were very late to arrive to church because we were waiting for an investigator (and she did come), and we missed the sacrament.  That was hard because it was the third week in a ROW.  But after the meeting an RM full of fire, Maco, told us they could bless the sacrament for us.  I found a member who had bread, and as we stood in the church kitchen listening to the young men bless the bread and water, I felt so much gratitude.  I testify that participation of the sacrament is how we renew our covenant of baptism.  It is how we are cleansed once again from all our sins.  It is a physical ordinance that allows us to receive the cleansing power of the Atonement.  It is necessary for personal salvation and exaltation, and I am grateful for the personal examples of friends and family who recognize that power and necessity, and repent so that they are worthy to partake of it.  You are heros for me!

The internet cafe is playing "Little Wonders' right now from Meet the Robinsons.  that's another tender mercy.

And randomly, some members suggested I buy a natural medicine called "rabano yodado" to clear up my skin.  and I did.  and it comes in what looks like a plastic whiskey bottle.  I'll let you look up what it is.  :)  So now I’m taking that and the antibiotic, and won't know which one actually works...  I’ll say it's the natural method. ;)  

Yesterday we had a first lesson with a senora named Cristina.  She can't read or write.  or hear very well.  but during the lesson she felt the Spirit testify strongly, and she told us she will think about our invitation for baptism, and let us know Thursday.  She is also going to talk with her family, and in her prayer she said she wants them to feel what she felt.  I was so grateful for her and her example.  

Yesterday I felt the Spirit often and strongly, especially when we were in the primary with the children.  I don't know why I felt the Spirit like I did, but I am very grateful.  I am also very grateful for your prayers, and for your love.  It means the world to me.  You mean the world to me.  

I love you!  I testify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ LIVES! He came to earth to save us from a fallen world and death.  And He finished His mission perfectly, and now it is up to you and me to apply His atonement in our lives through making and keeping sacred covenants through His authority in His church and kingdom on the earth.  Our work is of upmost importance, and we are fighting a war to save the children of men. I know you can be saving angels for those around you.  


--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 23/4/12

(weekly letter sent to President Bautista)
Hola Presidente Bautista!  

Thank you so much for your email!  I have been feeling so much better.  It's amazing to me how much I've just been learning how to work to understand and accept and love people for who they are.  I modified the advice Pres. Hinckley received.  "Forget yourself.  Remember others.  Get to work."

Sandra's husband didn't want to receive us during the week, but when we stopped by yesterday our 30 min lesson on the restauracion turned into nearly two hours with him telling us practically his life story about distancing himself from churches.  We gave him the Joseph Smith Story to read.  We're going to stop by Wed morning to pick up the triple I left with him, and we're also going to fast with the member we're working with for them.  I'm so grateful.  We're not going to have any more long lessons, and I was grateful Hma Morgan was able to turn the conversation back to the Restauration at least twice during the lesson.  

We received 7 references and contacted five, had 10 lessons with MAs, and contacted 26 people in the street.

THANK YOU for your love, service, and support.  I am so grateful for you and Hermana Bautista.  

I love you!

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 16/4/12

Hola familia!

I'm out of time to write a big letter today!  Gah!  But we had the baptism of Angel, a 10 year old who's parents are not active in the church.  The Relief Society president Maciel is reacitiving their family.  I know you all can be saving angels for the people around you too!

We found a family to work with, another reference from Maciel.  I'm so excited and would appreciate your prayers as we work with them.  

Yesterday we visited an old investigator and his 24 yr old son Sergio was drunk and wanted us to pray for him.  So funny: he had gone into his house and knelt to pray but we were still outside.  Sergio was on a one knee "proposal" pose and stretched out his arms "longingly", pleading "Please come in and pray".  It was SO FUNNY I actually burst out laughing.  

Isabell, a member we're working with, made "rellenitos", which are a piece of food from heaven: rounds of mushed platanos and purreed black beans fried in batter.  7th Heaven.  

I LOVE YOU TONS!  We're working and finding people to teach, and I'm so grateful for your prayers.  I testify Jesus Christ lives and loves you, and you can also be Saviors on Mount Zion for the people around you! 

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 9/4/12

Hola mi familia!

Today our zone went to a nearby park, se llama "Baul", which is why I''m online later.  It was so much fun!  We slid down giant concrete slides using cardboard to not rip our clothes, and I think I went down about six times.  It was a blast, and I enjoyed letting out yells on the way down.  :)  Yelling (like on rollercoasters) isn't something we get to do very much as missionaries.  ;)  Hermana S also insisted on giving me and her "hija" ("daughter", the missionary she's training), a piggyback ride at the same time, and I was letting out my typical yells even more than on the slides.  It was very fun.  :)

We found out that if our zone baptizes 30 people this month, we can go to the temple! It's TWICE the number we got last month, but we had a zone fast and we're working to find families, potential priesthood holders, and people who are ready for us.  Please pray that we can find families who are ready to teach.  And that Tito and Victoria, a young couple we're working with but aren't progressing, will understand the lessons and will hearken to the Spirit testify that they need to be baptized.  

Random thought: I'm going to be here when the Mayan calender ends in December, the ""end of the world"".  This week I wondered if the Mayan government didn't just have budget cuts and that's why they stopped counting the calender...  :)  

Lui blessed the sacrament for the first time on Sunday.  I wasn't expecting that, and it was after a rather difficult morning of not being able to bring investigators to church.  It was a sweet moment to watch him bless it with so much heart.  

 This week was a learning experience.  There were a lot of Catholic processions in the streets when people would carry replicas of the Savior with brass bands playing somewhat mournful music, and with incense burning...  I bet you could look up fotos on the internet.  (There's a rule we're not supposed to look like tourists, and I never took any pictures).  But I liked the symbolism, how their processions change with what occured during the same week of the Savior's life.  Like on Saturday, because He was in the tomb, people wore black and paraded with a replica of his body in the tomb. 

 On Sunday afternoon the big Catholic church had a big musical gathering to celebrate the Resurrection, and when we walked by a TON of people turned their heads and stared at us.  I did feel embarrased, and for the appointment we had later we took the long way around.  I can certainly imagine how weird it would be to be leaving or arriving at temple square and seeing other preachers nearby.... 

I love you TONS!  I testify our "Lord and Savior LIVES!  He suffered and paid for our sins so that we don't have to.  And all He asks is that we love Him and keep His commandments.  He has given us a prophet on the earth today to lead and guide us, and his name is Thomas S. Monson.  The Book of Mormon is the evidence this is true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 2/4/12

Hola familia!!!  

I love you so much!  I'm so grateful that we were able to watch all the sessions in a chapel in English.  Prayers were answered unexpectedly, and I felt like God was reminding me through the hymns that we are still fighting a war to reclaim the souls of men, and that I need to wake up and work harder, and remember that My Savior Lives.  It was odd to see Utah broadcast in all her spring glory, with BLOSSOMS on the trees!  While I guessed wrong that you would be pruning trees, I'm so grateful you were able to spend time together at the ranch.  I loved your photos of you all, and also emphasized with Elder Brewer (I'm also itching to find greenery, there isn't much because so much is cemented or rocked over).

I'm so grateful for Hermana A, the equivalent of zone leader for sister missionaries.  Ever since the MTC my teachers told me to teach with preguntas, and I'd struggled tons with how to ask questions that would help the investigators teach themselves.  But Hermana A showed me  that good questions are simple, and that when we ask the questions we can provide them with the answer so that they stay on topic and focused on what we're teaching.  Such as, "Do you believe God gives us profets because he loves us, or no?""  The answer is easy, and then they connect God's love with living profets.  I felt like so many burdens were lifted off.  I don't have to learn how to ask big questions, but simple ones, and to do it with the correct intonation so that the investigator understands it's a question (which is really a persistent problem).  :)  I felt so grateful to know I don't have to teach ""book club" discussions, but that I can teach powerfully using questions to engage them.  What a relief!

So grateful for the members here.  These people give so much in time and sacrifice so much in faith and love.  I'm grateful they're helping us to find people who want to listen to the Gospel.

I've heard there's a youtube video of a skit Hermana M’s zone performed in our Christmas conference I think you would love.  She said to look it up under "Navidad Zona Brasilia".  It captures life on buses here remarkably well.  :)  

I am so grateful this is the week before Easter.  I love that the Catholic church celebrates the entire week (we get spring break in the states for farm work, but here they get Easter week off for God...  most still have vacations like people in the states).  Yesterday was palm sunday, and tons of people bought a palm & flower bouquet. It is beautiful to celebrate the Triumphal Entry of our Savior.  And we are preparing for His glorious return!!!   I am going to do more to celebrate this week and hold it sacred when I return home.  

I love you all so much!  I testify Jesus Christ lives!  He came to earth and lived like man, and suffered and died for our sins.  He died and was resurrected the third day, overcoming physical  death for ALL.  And through repentance and His Atonement, we can be cleansed from our sins and overcome spiritual death through His grace and mercy to LIVE LIKE HIM and WITH HIM FOREVER.  In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, Amen.


--Hermana Ivy [-]