Monday, May 30, 2016

Count My Many Blessings

Where there's rain, there's thunder. 

Not literal thunder this week, but seriously some incredible blessings. 

So, I will preface this very short letter (because I have have very little time. Oops!) with how grateful I am for this work and for the blessings I receive every day. 

I've been thinking a lot about blessing these past couple days because to be honest, this week was very difficult. When it started that is. My accent in Portugues is a pretty big barrier sometimes, this week however was the first time I realized how much. Try as I might, I speak like an American. We jokingly decided I should start claiming to be German and try speaking more like the german population of Brasil:) 

Each time something would happened, I recognized more how powerful the adversary is. The adversary knows exactly what to use and he tried really hard this week to affect me. 

So, I started to do the one thing I could think of and of course this was thing is something my momma taught me: Count my many blessings. 

Every day I added up my blessings. Not just one time at the end of the day, but throughout the whole day I consciously looked for the things in my life that were postive and tender mercies. 

One incredible unique experience occured Sunday. While we were walking to an investigators house to walk them to church we called Irma Dina to ask her if one of our recent converts, Gigi (9), had gone to church with her. Unforntunately, no, but she told us that one of our pesquisadores was in there. Now, we thought it was Eleneía, but when we arrived it was a person we hadnt seen since my first week, someone we had invited to church in passing and someone who I had prayed indirectly for the night before. I had asked in my prayer that people would feel the spirit and be directed to visit the igeja. Well, that happened! Today we will be teaching Alexandre and his family. Truly the spirit is so strong here and there is a great work happening in the hearts of the people here. 

Other blessings
1.Irma Andrea made us lasagna and this banana dessert that was too die for delicious!
2. I made it thorough my first division with Sister Treinadores! 
3. Graças a Ele video! I cried. 
4. I made it through my first transfer and I get to stay in Arroio Grande for six more weeks with Sister Knuth! Thank goodness because we have a lot of work to do here! So excited for the next few weeks!

That's all for now! I love you! 
Sister Hemmert

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Truly Sacred Authority of God

This week has been very long, but in the best way because we needed every minute of it! We had to visit so many people! 

We have so much support in our ward! I truly love the members here! We have one family of recent converts and they are amazing. Skarlet and Nixon and their baby Arthur. We are teaching Skarlet's mom right now, Janette, and have a date for baptism set on 4/6. Skarlet is 19 and Nixon is 21, so it's really fun getting to know them, people my own age, through missionary work and being able to answer their questions. And they have such incredible questions too! And once we answer them, it is as though they have known it all along in their hearts and immediately feel it is true. We talked yesterday about our Heavenly Parents and our divine purpose, and somewhat about the Priesthood.

The Priesthood has been on my mind a lot recently actually. Saturday morning after reading Our Search For Happiness, during companionship study we shed a few tears discussing our investigators and our families. 

We have this one investigator who is so bright and special. Her name is Bruna and because she is 16 she needs to get permission to be baptized from her mom. She was going to be baptized Saturday but unforntuately, we think her mom convinced her she wasnt ready. It was really difficult because just that morning we had been thinking so much about the power of the priesthood and I wanted more than anything for Bruna to have these ordenances in her life and to someday be sealed in the temple. There is still hope, but we got a message from her and are worried she will tell us she doesnt want to continue. 

But before I tell you about the more joyful part of this week I need to thank you, Dad,for always being worthy of the priesthood, for every blessing I have ever recieved and for all the guidance you give me as my father here on Earth. I'm truly grateful for that and I didnt thank you enough for the blessing you gave me before I left. This power is truly sacred authority of God and I'm so blessed to have such an incredible example of diligence in the service of the Lord. Thank you, Dad.

Anyways, Cleonice has slightly disappeared, but we are trying to catch her when she is at home. We hold out hope!

Eleneía visited church yesterday! Yay! Yesterday morning we stopped by her house before church to remind her, but no one answered. It was then that we realized their garage was open and we thought, "oh no! She's probably already there all alone!" She is super timid and nervous about other people, but she showed up at the church all on her own and was sitting outside the church thinking about leaving when the Presidente's wife, Irma Patricia found her and directed her inside! I really hope she had a good experience! She has such a hard life and just lost her grandma three days ago and her mother two years ago. I really hope she felt peace there, but we didnt get a chance to talk after because she had to race home to take care of Bryon. I'll let you know how she's doing next week!

Funny story. We were in the house of Irma Dina when a friend of her son Tcharles stopped by, Naiter. Probably around 23 and he always participates in Family home evening there. Something happended and Sister Knuth jokingly went to invite him to be baptized, but then she just kept going and actually committed him to be baptized the last Saturday of June! I was like: Ok, this is happening! Ha! We will be teaching him all the lessons in the next couple weeks. Praying he'll be just as receptive as he was when we sneak attack invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized! 

I'm so grateful for everyday here and for my opportunidade to learn so much every day. Every day we are blessed in amazing ways. 

All my love, Sister Hemmert!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Always Sunny in Arroio Grande

This week we went to a conference in Pelotas again! And this time our President was there. I learned so much about how to find people and how to teach. We ended up having to stay in Pelotas all day though because the only bus was at 8:30pm! But I got to try Sweets of Pelotas (they are famous for their sweets). They make this strawberry dipped in chocolate and brigadeiro. I don't know what to call it in english but it is sooo good! We went home after and Sister Knuth taught me how to make it!

Anyways, this week was both difficult and amazing. Because we had many training sessions and our conference we had to change our schedule many times this week. It was hard not to be able to accomplish all of our goals but yesterday we worked really hard to make it up and we ended up talking with 80 people and inviting them to go church! Diligence is my theme of the week! haha

Also, multiple times in the past couple weeks we have met people who are truly golden. For example, we had an investigator who had a pass-all-card and actually called to recieve a Book of Mormon! Because our schedule got messed up we had to push back her second appointment. By the time we went to meet with her, her family was preparing to leave for Jaguarão. But when we asked her how reading o Livro de Mormón was going she immediately said, "I got my answer. I know it's true." Milagres. Her name is Cleonice and she has two little boys. 

Another amazing and inspiring woman is Eleneía. We met her my second week here. We were headed for another appointment when we passed this huge blue house with a garden. Sister Knuth said that she had always wanted to knock here. It was then that I noticed that the door was ajar... and our next appointment fell threw just down the street. So as we passed back by and decided we needed to knock. A young girl ended up coming out and talking with us. We do this thing where we offer prayers (and end up teaching lessons ;) ) for families. The girl was very happy for this because the little boy, Bryon, she babysits here has a problem with his throat. He was born without his lungs and throat connected and so now he has a tube that allows him to breath. He is two and has had dozens of surgeries. Come to find out it is literally a miracle he is off machines. It was literally because of the faith of his mother, Eleneia that he is off the machines. None of the doctors, not a single person believed he would live without them, but she helped him, slowly come off the machines, teaching him to breath on his own. 

Eleneia is amazing. And she truly has so much faith. Everyone told her she need to baptize Bryon because everyone thought he was going to die. But she never felt right about it. She couldn't look at her perfect little boy and see why he, in his innocence, needed remission of sins. We shared with her Morôni 8. And the relief and the joy she had was so evident. Children are alive in Christ. How grand and wonderful. How grateful I am to share this message with this mother. 

She will be baptized in two weeks! These two women are amazing. We just really need them to visit the Church. This will seal their testimonies and make it possible from them to be baptized because we have a rule that invesigators have to go to the church at least 3 times before their baptism. 

Anyways, when it rains it pours here. And by that I mean there are literally blessings pouring out of Heaven for us missionaries here. So grateful for all the love and support. I love you all so much! 

With all my love,  Sister Hemmert

Monday, May 9, 2016

We Don't Just Change Our Habits Or Actions, But Our Entire Being Changes

So I learned this joke in Portugues. One of the Irmãos na Igreja was joking around with us after talking with our families and sister knuth proceeded to tell a joke, 

"There once was this Elder who got three wishes. First he really wanted new clothes and Poof! New Clothes. Second he was really hungry and Poof! He had tons of food. Finally he thought, I really want to baptize a lot of people, and Poof! He turned into a Sister." (The joke was longer in Portugues ha!) 

This week has been incredible. One reason is because today is officially month 2! Can you believe it!? Where does the time go! 

Second, I went to Pelotas this week for a zone conference and we get to go again this week! Yay! I love to travel! It's such a different city from Arroio Grande. Here you can stop people in the street and start a conversation about the church and they'll thank you for inviting them! In Pelotas I have no idea where you would even begin! Maybe I'll find out if I ever get transfered there! 

It was so wonderful to be with other missionaries! It's just Sister K and I here. So when we met the other Sisters it was so awesome! On Sister is from Blackfoot! Sister Marlow! She served in Arroio Grande for 5 months before I got here. Everyone loves her and now I know why! She is hilarious! We all spent the even catching up and laughing about mission experiences so far!

Additionally, I got to talk to my family. I'm truly grateful we were able to get to talk. I was so nervous it wouldn't connect! But it worked and I got to see you for a little bit. The best was that Ashley was on the other end too! The delay when talking to her was hilarious! 

I was thinking a lot about families this past week and I think it led me to both miss my family and many things from back home but also to be so grateful for knowledge of this gospel. I truly believe families can be together forever. This is our purpose in fact. Live in a way that we can return to the presence of our God and be able to stand at judgement day with our good works and our faith and be able to recieve eternal life with our families. 

This work is not easy. It's not that every day is hard either, but being separated from my family makes me appreciate them more. But I have this incredible chance to share my faith, to share what I know in my bones is true so that other people can have a opportunity to live with their families forever also. In comparison to eternity, 18 months is a blink of the eye. Então, I need to do this work with my whole heart, because it is so short. I have only 16 months to invite people to come unto Christ. I have only 16 months to share my knowledge of eternity. What is 16 months after all? 

Another thing I have been concentrating on a lot is the gift of tongues. It's such a strange thing really. I've heard of situations where people have been able to completely communicate their thoughts and feelings in an another language and think, "Wow. That is so cool! How rare and wonderful!" 
And then I am reminded every day when I teach lessons of the gospel that I can do this. That I HAVE recieved this extraordinary gift. In 2 months I have not become fluent, but I can communicate what is most important to these people and that is my testimony of Jesus Christ. My testimony of His gospel, His church. Every day as I study my ability to communicate grows. What is even more incredible is that I understand people more. This is where the difficulty lies. 

Understanding. I recently starting Our Search For Happiness and it discussing this topic of understanding and misunderstanding. I read a part today about Christ and how when we focus more on Him and His atonement we don't just change our habits or actions, but our entire being changes. We respond differently. 

As I struggle and strive to understand these people I find that, though they are not talking slower :), I can understand them more and descern their needs. Truly, it is a gift.

All my love! Sister Hemmert

Monday, May 2, 2016

There Are No Coincidences!

We have a stalker. His name is Jacobe and he is the most annoying dog on the planet. As we speak he is curled up by my computer inside the computer place. He followed us from our house and if he finds us during the day he never leaves us alone! We walk streets out of our way to avoid him!

Sister Knuth hates him. But for some reason, I'm growing a soft spot for him! Grr. Even though he is a terribly annoying golden retriever in desperate need of a bath. 
Anyways, I have 14 minutes to update you on my week! The internet was terrible today! But this week has been incredible. Truly I have loved every minute of it.

One super amazing experience involving prayer. We were teaching this family, Gilson and Cristina, who have these dogs. Sharpees? Or something. Sister Knuth is super scared of dogs because she was bitten by one ON HER MISSION! Anyways, these are pretty fierce looking dogs and one of them goes balistic whenever we come over. Now this couple is amazing and they have this big, beautiful house, but these dogs are terrible! And it takes forever to calm them down so that we can teach. So when we entered their house and sat down the dogs were barking and snarling and I said a quick prayer that they would calm. As soon as I ended my prayer, the dog just stopped. And he just stood there frozen. Gilson had to lift him into the dog bed and still the dog just sat there frozen! Ha! It was so hilarious for me, who could associate this sudden silence with a tender mercy! 

Another thing, I invited a family na Rua the other day to go to church. It was just a simple invitation that we extend to everyone throughout the day. But later that week we were walking home after some appointments and there was this little house that had all the windows and doors open and music was playing. I could see a little kid and a mom dancing in the kitchen area and decided, "we need to talk to them." "I think that's a bar," Said Sister Knuth. "There's a kid in there!" "Okkk..."

Low and behold! It was the same family we had met in the street! There are no coincidences. We found them again for a reason. We'll be teaching them this week. Love you all!
Sister Hemmert and Sister Knuth's apartment