Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Contatos de Ouro (or Lessons in Physics)

I hope the title translates to Contacts of Gold. It makes more sense in português. Anyway. 

I had a lot planned to write and I forgot it all so I'll write really fast about the power of FASTING and PRAYER. First of all, we dropped a lot of pesquisadores this week because none of them were progressing. So frustrating, but it happens. Like, I know you have free-agency and the ability to NOT CHOOSE BLESSINGS, but WHY. It's so simple! All you have to do is read a particle of the Book of Mormon, think about it, and then ask God. He knows which church is true, and He loves you and is super ready to give you an answer. The only thing you have to do is ask. And have a desire to know. For real. And so I get kinda sad because these people are lacking the joy that comes from the gospel but they don't want to ACT on their FAITH and FIND it. But this is the work. Planting seeds, ya know? 

Anyway. Jejum. This week, we were fasting to have lots of our investigators at church because no one is going. We went to pick up some of them, none of them were awake or coming to the door, or whatever people do to avoid the missionaries. Anyway. But we showed up to Sacrament meeting and there was a STREET CONTACT there, like we literally talked to him on Saturday, we only know his NAME, and as he was riding his bike away, we shouted COME TO CHURCH TOMORROW!! And he said "If I wake up, I will!" Usually that's a "never in a million years", but I guess he woke up on time because he was there. Also, we had Fernando, and this is his second time so he can be baptized as soon as he's converted, and Vanessa and Carlos, who we kind of dropped because they never pray about the BoM and thus are never really progressing. But I guess they're progressing now so that is SUPER AWESOME because I really love their family. Anyway, *milagres são reais. *Miracles are real
Other *coisa. This week I had lots of difficulties with **idk, being angry and sad that no one is choosing blessings? But I learned a lot. Sister Grubbs shared an analogy that is super great (and I will butcher it because I am not super eloquent like her, seriously, ask to hear her poems. They're bomb). It's about physics. Imagine a particle. It is always moving because there are always forces acting upon the particle. The particle is us. We get to choose which forces will act upon us- the forces of God or the forces of the world, but we are ALWAYS moving. If the forces of God are not acting upon us, the forces of the world are. And so we have to choose which forces will act upon us. And by which forces come feelings of despair, sadness, and incapability? The world. The devil. And so I decided, on Thursday, which was particularly distressing for me, to open the scriptures with a prayer in my heart and immediately found and answer. It was Alma 32:13, but verses 1-16 is the whole story. Anyway. Moral of the story: let the forces of God act upon you. Moroni 10:6 (I think??) says that everything good comes of God. If you want the blessings, put in a tiny bit of effort!
*things  **short for "I don't know".

Last thing: milestone in portuguese. We are going to have an awesome ward activity and I came up with the name. Feveresta. (*Festa de Fevereiro). I though it was kinda lame but everyone liked it so that's cool. Woo! I made a new word in portuguese! **FLUENTE. DOM DE LINGUAS!!!!! * Feast of February   **Fluent. Gift of Tongues!

I'm loving this work. I love this people.

Anyway, this was a bomb week in general. The church is true, God is good.

xoxoxox, hope y'all have a bomb week!

-Sister Hartman

Answers to questions:

-Do you have tablets or phones? It seems like missionaries here do. 
Yes we have a phone: the Nokia. We cannot text but every once in awhile receive one from Pres Cruz. We have unlimited minutes with other missionaries/people of the mission but only 100 minutes for other people. No tablets. If I serve in a city like Pelotas or Porto Alegre, the question isn't "will I get mugged?" it's "how many times will I get mugged?" Every missionary has a mugging story here.

-How do you get around?
We mostly walk. It would be nice to have a bike- our area is huge; 3  neighborhoods and the city of Cassino- but like tablets, bikes would be a little hard to keep here. We take the bus to Cassino and Bolaxa and to zone/district mtgs. Basically, we take the bus if we leave our neighborhood. 

-What's the most beautiful thing you've seen lately?
Muita Coisas! (Many things!) First, the sky. Every day it's different and breathtaking- it's the kind of beauty that cat be captured via machine, so no pictures. Sorry. Other things: When we walk into sacrament mtg and everyone is hugging and chatting with our investigators (Simone finally went to church after 8 weeks of us begging hands and knees...AND brought her whole fam. WHAT?! MILAGRE!!) Man. Best Sunday Ever!

-How's the culture there different?
It's way different. Lots of hugs. No one keeps their promises. : ) Everyone believes in every religion. We have many baptisms, but few converts. The culture is so laid back. Like, "Oh, yeah. Church IS important! I'll for sure go!" This means: "Maybe in my lifetime. " But people are super generous. Sometimes random people from when knocking doors feed us. We don't carry water bottles because we literally can ask for water from anyone. Life is a lot simpler here. Kids actually play with toys, children are REALLY well behaved (unless they're rich), people sit in front of their houses with family/friends/neighbors and drink *chimarrao, there's always kids playing soccer, and here in Rio Grande, there's usually someone riding a horse down the middle of the street. Kids of 7 to adults of 80 ride horses. Alone. It's something else. Houses are small, but everyone has tv. Which is on. Probably like literally 24 hours a day. People seem very educated- feels like everyone has a "Congrats on your graduation" banner in front of their house. I think it's difficult to get a job tho. Pretty much everyone lives humbly. *Mate also known as yerba mate, chimarrão or cimarrón is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink
A Missionary tan

Guess who won??


Friday, January 13, 2017

A road trip, a new Companion, and some Miracles

Me and Sis Grubs, my new comp!

Well last night I found out that I would be spending the next two days in Porto Alegre. So I'm in Porto Alegre today. And tomorrow. Woo! 5 hour road trip, nbd! (Visa stuff)

So we had a few miracles this week. First, fasting and prayer WORKS. Vanessa and Carlos have a son, Lorenzo, who is very cute and VERY ACTIVE. It's really important to feel the spirit in lessons and it's hard to when your attention is completely fixed on your child. This week, we asked that he would not be there so they could focus on the lesson. The first time we visited, he was on a walk with Carlos. The second time, he was sleeping. (*I swear that kid has never slept a wink in his life.) **MILAGRE. *Hehe, I'll bet the parents feel that way too! **MIRACLE

Yesterday was super hard for me. We were sitting in church, none of our *pesquisadores had shown up, and our teacher was talking at us in portuguese. She called on me and I had no idea what she said. After class, I was asked to give a talk. And then I was asked to play the piano in Sacrament (last hour). I kind of had a sad moment during second hour. I was feeling really overwhelmed about the language. Happens. So anyway. My talk was not the best. My piano playing was not awesome. But after sacrament meeting, one of the members came up to me and told me how cool it was that I speak so fluently and that I am an example of the gift of tongues to him. Maybe he was super alarmed when I started crying after he said that. Anyway, the Lord is looking out for me so that was super cool. * Investigators

We were going to cut Flavia because it has been six weeks since we started teaching her so we decided to give her one last lesson (SG says you have to pour your soul into a lesson before you cut a pesquisador so this was that lesson). Wow. We discovered that she didn't understand the restoration, which is ESSENTIAL for every other thing we have to say, so we were able to explain and fix that problem. After that, SG told me to say something but I didn't understand her because it was super quiet so I decided to bear my testimony and promise blessings that come from reading the book of mormon. I have never shared such a strong testimony, nor felt the Spirit so strongly. For the first time EVER (because usually she says she will not promise anything) she said"Ok! I know I need to read! I promise I will!"    ....... WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!?! SO AWESOME?!??!!? After she left the room to get her book of mormon so we could mark a section of the Book of Mormon for her to read, SG said "Um... this is super cool." And I asked her what she had said and she had told me to tell Flavia to read the book of Mormon. So basically, read the Book of Mormon. Act on your faith: ask, and ye shall find. It's a promise and God never goes back on His promises. 

Another milagre: we were walking the street and we saw Carlos, a person that we invited to baptism in the first lesson (who had accepted the invite before we finished the invite. Like, wow.). Anyway, we saw him in the street and he was headed to the gym and we had another compromisso so we had a short acompanhamento with him. 
"Ok, have fun at the gym. But, really fast, did you have a chance to read?"
"Oh, cool. Did you pray about it?"
"Ok cool. Did you get an answer?"
"UHHHHHHH ok, how was it?!?!"
"It was just like you said - a good feeling"
"Ok, well, we'll visit you on Tuesday to talk more about this then. Have fun at the gym!"
And so that was pretty cool.

There are more, but those were the most notable for me. My companion is Sister Meagan Grubbs from Illinois and she's the best human ever. Yep, I'm finishing my training with an americana. My companion is awesome. I've learned a lot already from her. I wish I could finish my mission here with her. She has An Elder. But we won't talk about that. Basically, I won't be asking for an extra transfer just so I can go to their *wedding
(*She only has a few months left, then the plan is marriage to her Elder.)

It's super hot, super humid, I have lots of stains on my clothes. The members are bomb and I'm so blessed and so happy. This church is so true and I miss you guys so much and I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, tchau for now. Until next week! Also, HAPPY 2017!!!!!!!!!!

-Sister Hartman

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Christmas and 20 Minutes of English!!

Fun together before transfers!

Morgan's picture of our skype call (ours was an epic fail.)
                                                   It was great to talk to you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

It was an exciting week. On Christmas eve, Sisters Lilya and Andrade slept over (every dupla has to spend christmas with someone and they didn't have anyone in their ward so they got permission to spend it with us!) and we had quite the game of Chubby Bunny. I gave up at 3. Lol. The members in our ward are super great so we had a TON of food. So many coxinhas... I am in heaven. We spent Christmas with Bispo and his family and it was so great. Nothing beats Christmas. Super sad I missed out on all our traditions. Dad, you requested in your letter that I continue the tradition of reading the Three Trees... they don't have it here. Guess I'll have to read it two times when I get home. Haha. In 16 months. Miss y'all like crazy!

We had a baptism: Tomas! We started teaching him on Monday so it was a pretty crazy week. 

Transfers are today. Sister de Souza is now a SLT so she's in São Jose do Norte, where I had splits. I'll still see her every week at District Meeting! (She's in a different district though.) My new companion is probably coming from Porto Alegre or an area close by so she won't arrive until later tonight. I'm spending the day with Sisters Andrea Arce and Mia Lilya. Love them! They're so great!

This week, we had a little bit of a problem with english. Brasileiros really don't like when americanos speak english because they think we do that because we think we're superior. Sis Lilya and I explained that honestly it's just because we speak english and understand it. I have 20 minutes a week to understand everything perfectly. That's it. But they still don't understand so it's a little frustrating. Ah well. I'll get this darn language sooner or later. Honestly, I was praying really hard that if my companion was transferred that at least Sis Lilya wouldn't be. She wasn't. Woo! 6 more weeks of 20 mins of english per week!

Merry Christmas!!!
This week was super great. I'm really excited for a few of our pesquisadores. Carlos and Vanessa need to get married to be baptized. But they need to feel the spirit in order to be baptized and they have Lorenzo, who is 14 months old. He's the cutest thing ever but he's very very active. Ahh. We had a lot of answers to prayer and a lot of really spiritual moments. This gospel is so true! If we seek the Spirit, with real intent, we will find him! God wants to talk to us, we just have to let him. I have a very firm testimony of this, especially this week. Prayers are so special and are answered. Christmas is awesome, not only because I get to video chat with y'all, but because I get to celebrate the birth of my Savior, and I owe everything to Him. Even though Christmas is over, we still get to be the light of the world! #sejaaluzdomundo

Love you guys and I can't wait to see what will happen this week in Jardim do Sol! Muitos beijos. Boa Semana. Até mais! xoxoxox

Emails of Sister Lilya:
-Sister Hartman

Christmas Eve 

Christmas Day