Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 15: Ugh!


I am SO glad to hear the great news over in Washington. It's just what I needed to kick off the new week. Lemme tell you, so Sister Vilhena got her new companion on Friday and she is AMAZING. I'm a little jelly of Sister Vilhena but I'll get to that later. First, lemme tell you about MY week: 

Monday night was the best FHE ever! We went to Arlete (Vilhena’s investigator) to teach a lesson. We taught about Peter and walking on water and how he sunk because his eyes weren’t on Jesus. We had a great time laughing and then we somehow switched to gratitude and the atmosphere was wonderful!  

So Tuesday after a few trials and errors, my companion arrived in one piece. A little shaken, but in one piece. We then went to the grocery store really quick to get her groceries, then retreated to our fortress/kitchenette to study. It was eerily quiet and we heard lots of screaming so we were afraid Brazil lost but we heard that it was a tie. Boo how boring! 

Wednesday was really a hump day. The night before, Elder M. Santos (DL) thought it would be a good idea to call at 10:25pm and see if we could make a cake, and none of us can make a cake. He kept insisting that we needed "faith and works" to make this cake so we just bought a cake at the market near their chapel and we ended up having to switch chapels to make it to the meeting. It was stressful also because our lunch got switched to someone who lives REALLY FAR and I lost my umbrella so I was praying for a miracle and my umbrella was found and we got a ride to lunch. But we had to walk back to our area after that.
I am not amused...
We met a 7th day Adventist along the way who only let us in to bash our beliefs on Sunday being the Sabbath, blah boring stuff, no spirit blah. Then we met a man named Marcio in the plaza downtown. I had an impression that we had to talk to that man specifically so we taught the first lesson BAM! Wonderful! He had lots of questions, all was great till we discovered that he "doesn’t know his address, new in town" and he "got mugged, no cell phone" so we hoped he would show up to Church except he didn't... oh well, a seed planted as they say! I was so happy after the lesson and excited and so was Sister Vilhena, but my new comp was more focused on what we could do better rather than to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord... okay. 

Thursday was another great day! We had a division and I went with Thais while Vilhena stayed with my new comp. Lunch was really good because Priscila and Arlete showed up and everything was great. They bought fruits for dessert so it was perfect for me. We also had an FHE with Gabriel and some other members. He really wants to be baptized but he won’t until he talks to his dad, which his dad refuses to talk to him. We are going to see if we can stop by his dad's house and talk to him... It's all in God's time, I am not worried because Gabriel is very strong and does go to church. I continue to pray for him :) 

Friday was hard. It was Vilhena's last day with me so we made the most of her company before her new comp arrived. We did contacts prior, and some of it went well and some didn't, but we did our best :) Sister Gonçalves came with President and Sister Reber, which was perfect. It turned out that interviews were the next day so it was such a blessing to have President and Sister Reber in town! 

Saturday and Sunday were particularly challenging, but I know this is a new part of my mission life that I need to face. I love my companion, but she is very dry, sarcastic and perhaps rough around the edges. Very quiet if you will. She has been a little rough with me, which gave me some anxiety and left me heart-broken because I don't feel much love from her. But she did tell me that I was an answer to her prayers since she had a VERY rough area. I want to do my best to give her the love she needs (and perhaps lacks) so that we can work together in harmony. She's obedient and willing to work but I don’t know if she has love for the people. If she does, she doesn't show it so I feel it a personal duty to show more love than ever before...

Sorry I got carried away. I am gonna wrap up here. This is not going to be the easiest transfer I know, but President and Sister Reber helped me a LOT with what I need to do this transfer. I am grateful they came here this weekend, I know that the Lord has a plan for everything and that He knew what I needed and how to help me. Sister Reber was so kind and loving. She said I can call her whenever I need to. Also, we went out and bought supplies together (the sisters with Pres. and Sis. Reber) and we fed some monkeys! I will send photos later. But I have all of the resources and love I need to face this new chapter of my mission. I am a little nervous, but I won't let my nervousness get the best of me. I feel a lot better now and I can face this!  

I have to get going but I love you guys very much. I am going to conquer this week! Thanks for everything! I pray for you guys always and I know I need this in my life now, a hard comp, new responsibilities, etc. I need this to grow and I am not looking at this situation in a bad way. Just harder, but it will mold me to become a better person. 
Lots of love to you all!!

-Sister Mariana Espiritu



Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 14: I May Be a Traitor...

... but I hope Mexico wins tomorrow!! I only say that because then we won't be cooped up inside the house. Working during the World Cup isn't the easiest in the world.

But anyways my week was spectacular, very hard working! Monday was somewhat stressful because we got stuck in the Elder's area (NEVER AGAIN WILL I HAVE SUPER PDAY WITH THEM) but it was good. Also, I was saddened that I had to wait ALL WEEK TO TELL YOU THE BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD!

So no longer am I the non-fruit eating Mari. No longer do I have the obstacle of eating fruits and veggies 'cos Monday I conquered BANANAS! For y'all that don't know, I kept it very secret but I've struggled with eating fruits and veggies all my life and this week I had NO problems, In fact, I ate 6+ servings of fruits and veggies per day :) and my health has been doing splendid because of it. I stopped buying crackers and now I carry 2 bananas and 1 other fruit for a snack during the day. It really makes a difference and maybe you're baffled at how I changed. I ate more fruits and veggies this week than I did in my entire life I bet... but I eat oranges, bananas, pears, apples, and passion fruit at night (to sleep better)

so all in all, I stopped worrying for my health because now I can eat healthier, which means no more children’s vitamins (I'll eat them till they run out, they do make breakfast fun) but forget that I bet you are wondering about my week!

So Tuesday was sorta tough because we marked an appointment with Gabriel but he didnt show up so we were trying to find his house and got lost. I was stressed, stomach was aching and my back was starting to hurt, but we didnt give up and when the time was up, we ended up finding his exact location, but it was too late for a visit. Also, we heard that there have been a few assaults in an area nearby, but nothing happened to us.

Irma Isabel
Wednesday was much better. We knocked down MANY lessons and we also got the chance to visit an older lady in my ward. We didnt know who we were knocking at then we saw her and said "OH it's IRMÂ ISABEL" so it was wonderful because she is usually lonely and she loves to have visits so we are going to make sure we see her at least twice a week, to lift her spirits :)

Thursday was interesting. We started work 8:30 am, but boy was it worth it. We got 4 lessons in before lunch and taught 2 more people before retreating. I say retreat because the streets are filled with crazies gathering to every corner bar. It was especially noisy because our neighbors in the kitchenette all gathered outside and put a big TV RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR DOOR! They invited us but we kindly declined and blasted Mo-Tab while trying to study.  We didn't need to watch to know that Brazil won, really. Plus, the members are more than eager to tell us the details and everything.

Friday was great as well. Except we walked a LOT to make it to lunch and it was harder on us to make our appointments. The ZLs were also in our area to set Gabriel up for the baptismal interview. He passed, but he is delaying his baptism because he wants his family issues to be resolved before making this decision. Poor boy, his father doesn’t want to talk to him anymore... but we insisted that he pray but yet he said no. He's pretty strange 'cos most of his answers are "good question" or "i don’t know" which tends to be annoying. We also visited a member who was hospitalized, due to a brain tumor. Also since the hospitals here are much like a humane society, it was hard to have ALL THREE of us visiting. They only allowed 2 at a time per room, which made us sad because we didn't want to break the rules. So we kept insisting, saying we are missionaries and then they accepted, only that we had to wait till visiting hours were over (roughly 15 min wait) then we got special permission. It was heart breaking to see her in bed, helpless, somewhat blind, but we sang a hymn, read Alma 7:11-12 and left her with a prayer. Then her mom told us to leave a message to the person in the same room (two patients to a room, but there’s like 4 beds in there) so we went and the mother of the neighbor (Rosangela?!) said "what scripture is that, I’m not familiar with Alma, but it’s beautiful" so we told them about the Book of Mormon and left a copy with them, then walked home. I love those missionary opportunities. I am glad that Julia's mom told us to leave a message with them too! This work is truly marvelous!

Also Saturday was hard because Sister Pence and I went back to Gabriel and invited him to be baptized, yet he said no again. Our district leader told us to go back on Sunday and try to baptize him that same day. I didn't know if it was a test of faith or a desperate plea to have at least one more baptism but on Sunday, we went back and asked once more. It took all of our courage and time and obedience to invite him once more, yet he said no. I was saddened because he really wasn’t paying attention and he couldn’t feel the spirit we felt. I told him that he can’t feel it 'cos he is multitasking and not listening to the Holy Ghost. Then we left because it was no use. But we left feeling at peace because we obeyed the Lord, obeyed the council of Elder M. Santos and did our best. We are also in the ward choir now! We are singing "lead kindly light" and "i need the every hour" Sadly, the men sound pitiful. Dad, you would cringe to no end.  

And transfers happened and sadly, Sister Pence is leaving :( I knew she would leave, but she was called as an STL! I am happy for her, she really deserves the call, she is a great worker but I will miss her very much. My new comp will arrive tomorrow and I am very nervous. I don’t know what she is like or anything. I only heard from my STL that she is nice and cool but that’s the vaguest description ever. I am not used to this change but I will have to be. That’s part of life and even though I am nervous, I am calm because everything is in the Lord's hands. He won’t give me something I can’t do.

But really, I am SO HAPPY because I see myself changing every day. The biggest change made me happy, how I can eat fruits with little to no difficulties, which means I can be WAY healthy now! I have been tripling my salad intake at lunches and I eat an orange or a clementine for dessert. Or a banana, whichever fruit they offer me, I eat it! I bought so many fruits today and I see the difference in my health already :) I am thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such a marvelous change. Even if it’s small for others, it is very big for me! I am still picky though, I won’t eat anything deep fried or unhealthy now... it’s switching up hahahah!

I love you all SO MUCH!


-Sister Mariana Espiritu...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 13: Campo Grande

June 9, 2014

Oi família, friends, everyone once again,

Unfortunately, I am in a totally different area so I don’t know if I will have time to email everyone, ugh why did I choose to go to "Super P-day?" ha-ha just kidding... it’s just a hot and stuffy LAN house...
My week was spectacular. I learned a LOT in such a little time. We ended up going to Campo Grande on Tuesday. We were supposed to arrive around 5 or 6 PM but our bus arrived late and not only that, it BROKE DOWN on the way there :p It didn't surprise me one bit cos I am in BRAZIL and these things do happen. I wish I could send vids but I took some SUPER hilarious videos of me and Sister Pence in the bus; it’s amazing. So we got there in one piece around 9:30 or 10:00. Even though we did basically nothing that day, we were both exhausted!!

Wednesday was so amazing during divisions. I was comps with Sister Gonçalves; she is actually from Santa Catarina (can’t remember where) and we both have a LOT more in common than I thought. We worked hard together and we saw a lot of miracles unfold. Sadly, we didn't see ANY macaws but the miracles make up for it. The first contact/ lesson was very moving. In the end when she prayed, she started to cry because she was thanking the Lord for sending us her way when she really needed help. It moved me since no one has really said that to me on my mission so far. Then the second person we visited was just as amazing. Her name is Raquel and she has no religion. So we started with the first lesson. When we started with the usual "Heavenly Father loves you" she started to cry. She was crying because she never knew that or felt His love. Her willingness to learn and to be baptized is the reason why I am serving a mission!! Why haven’t I found many people like her on my mission?! Oh wow it was amazing to see her faith. The best part? We were lost after teaching her so when we passed in front of her house an hour after teaching, guess what? She was reading the Book of Mormon!! AAAAHHH I KNOW RIGHT?! Sister Gonçalves and I celebrated by splitting a "bolo de fubá" (which was not the best idea...) but we taught the rest of the day, made contacts and enjoyed everything that was happening!

Thursday was great. I did another division with Thais. We visited Thalia and her family. We taught them on Monday as well. Thalia's fam is super inactive and we are trying to reactivate the fam and baptize her. She's at a point where she is deciding which religion she wants and here we are like "uh US" Sister Pence and Vilhena visited 14 year old Gauges Gabriel and he accepted the baptismal invite for THIS SATURDAY! Let’s hope this one works, one Saturday in the transfer!!!

Friday was weekly planning, and we also knocked down a LOT of lessons that day. We did a lot with a member and we also were very productive. I am at my happiest whenever we do our best being productive.

Saturday on the other hand was hard. Right after lunch, the ZLs wanted to change our cellphone because it was "too old" so it sucked up our afternoon, appointments dropped, we got one lesson in but then I started to feel sick. Not. Good. So we called it quits so I could rest.

Sunday was good to an extent. Church was amazing and even though the lessons were great, the weather was rainy, stormy and the spirit strong. But the Little Espiritu was sick... I bore my testimony and I don’t remember what I said but I was all jumpy, happy, and perky to share my joy with everyone despite my illness. I truly felt like myself for the little moment I was up there. Funny how I don’t recall a word said, but I felt super perky and ... me. Lunch was good, but it left me feeling sick... Galhinada :( also the members who fed us were really rude. The Irmâ was like "Oh these people shouldn’t be baptized if they don’t show up, like Paulo... why did he choose to be baptized" and I was taken aback! Paulo has his struggles (Pence RC) but we can’t judge him... I just said "he has his struggles, he is in a rough spot" and all she said was "well what is it?" and I couldn’t say anything else. Then her husband is like "we need to excommunicate all of the members in our ward who are inactive and making the church look bad" and I was already angry at his wife, so I said "Hey why don’t you go out with us and visit all of these inactive members? They DO need your example" but he just scoffed and kept on ranting about his wacky ideas. Why are the members so rude to inactives? I want to help all of them. Sure some of them don’t really need our help, but members like this couple make me really sad... Please, help all of the inactives you can.

I am grateful for being a missionary here. The work is tough and I have WAY too much room for improvement. I know I am not the best of servants for the Lord, but I wrote down a list of things I can improve on so that I can be a better instrument in the hands of the Lord :) I can’t believe he has so much patience with someone like me, imperfect. But if He is blessing me, then I must be doing something right :) 

I love Nephi's Psalm in 2 Nephi 4. Read it please; I feel like I can relate to him a lot. Have a great week! I love you all SO much!

-Sister Mariana Espiritu

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 12: ChChChanges!

Oi por tudo mundo! Wow I am so happy it's Monday again, eeeee!

Well lemme tell you why I am happy to start a new week... last week was perhaps one of the most stressful so far. We had a LOT of changes. The beginning of my week was rocky.  We taught a lesson to two girls that don’t feel ready to leave the world and to follow Christ... sadly they like their baladas, booze and hookahs. We gave them the warning and they don’t want it so it’s kinda their loss...

Tuesday we were all packed to go to Campo Grande for divisions except it got cancelled due to an emergency transfer... and you know who got transferred to Cuiabá...? NOT ME! ahahahah it was Sister X, the bully sister! She was SO nervous to leave and I couldn’t help but to feel bad for her, really. But her companion Sister Vilhena is with us now and we are working in a trio until June 15, the end of the transfer. :) It's been a pleasure working in three. At first I thought it would be hard, annoying, etc. but I really learned that it is FUN to have a third companion. We work really well in threes and even though some people can't understand Sister Vilhena's accent, she teaches really well. (did I mention she is from PORTUGAL?!) We also taught 15 year old Gabriel that evening and it wasn’t easy. For some reason he refuses to make eye contact with us now and it was hard... but the three of us did our best. When I presented the question to Gabriel "Do you have the desire to follow the savior" he didn’t answer for a while and he was about to cry... then Irmão João Luiz hugged him and we all bore our testimony!

Wednesday we were still gettin' in the groove of things yet we worked as hard as we could and devised many plans for working in a trio now. Our companionship studies just got spicier and even more spiritual! Through trial and error, we learned what we must do to use our time to the fullest.

Thursday was another hard and amazing day of work. It was odd to have a weekly planning session in a trio, but we did super well with making goals and finding ways to uplift one another and helping each other reach our fullest potential! We also knocked down a LOT of lessons, met a few elect people who are anxious to read the Book of Mormon and did a gnarly division with some members. I was with Thais (I LOVE HER she is so amazing!) and we taught Gabriel with the Big Bad ZLs (I say that because they’re both short yet they are intimidating) and we taught Gabriel at his house since he couldn’t come to the church. It may or may not have been one of the most stressful lessons in my life... He refused to make eye contact once more and my awesome lesson that I planned on following Christ's example was crushed when the ZLs took charge and pushed baptism on Gabriel. His heart was really hard and his parents kept walking in the living room, it felt more like they were stalking us missionaries like prey... the atmosphere was strange cos at times I felt the spirit and at other times, it seemed to leave completely. Gabriel is SET on visiting his dad in São Paulo and then making a decision. I only hope he is led to do the right thing. Then Thais and I taught one more person who isn’t really elect but we both had an enjoyable time teaching together! 

Friday was another great day of work! We went out with the YW president to meet some inactive YW who seem to not actually be members or know what the church is... We are gonna teach two of them tonight, they seem to have much potential. :) Also we saw this really cool abandoned hotel, but I only saw it in the car, maybe one day I'll get a picture of it. We also had a lot of our lessons cancelled, which is sad and not cool but we ended up finding a few people to teach.

Saturday was probably one of the best lunches I had so far! We went to Arlete's apartment, which is really chic and she knows how to cook. We actually ate there Tuesday since she was really close to Sister X (the one who left) and yep she's our investigator now. Priscila is her daughter and she’s really cool and sweet, but going through a lot of changes and trials right now. She doesn’t know if she should marry her boyfriend that’s like 25+years older (she is like 31 i think) and is having a rough time. Also we taught their friends living in the same complex, but they were not interested in the gospel at all. I'm sure it would have been more productive to teach the walls but it was good practice for the three of us :P

Sunday was awesome because we had stake conference! WOHOOO! I LOVED LOVED LOVED the talks given :) my favorite was perhaps the one about not putting labels on others. It’s hard cos it’s easy to label people but labels make us more distant from the people around us. Also once we remove labels on people we can see their full potential the way Heavenly Father sees them. So I encourage y'all to remove the labels and see people in a positive way, to their fullest potential!! :)

Aaaaaand that was my week! Also, I am thankful for working in three now. Sister Vilhena told us Friday night that she is really thankful to be working with us because she can teach (her comp talked a LOT and never let her teach or do anything really) and also she feels the spirit with us more than she did her whole mission so far (we were in the CTM together) so it really warmed my heart to hear that from her. Plus she has opened up a LOT more to us! Before we didn’t know her well and I knew there was something wrong. She was much different in the CTM than she was in the field and we are seeing the regular Sister Vilhena at play now! We were in the same district and all and I am glad that she is back to her old self again! We also heard from members that Sister Vilhena’s companion got sent home from her mission. Since she talks a lot (Sister X) she told the members that she got in a physical fight with one of her former companions and both were sent home. It makes me want to be way more obedient. The president has NO room for people who don’t want to obey... 

I see lots of little friends (hummingbirds) everyday :) they make my day much better (even though my days are usually great... God knows how to make me smile) I know I am in the right place, as I always say and I will work hard with my two companions and dominate Dourados! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Love you!!

-Sister Mariana Espiritu