Monday, July 25, 2016

The Golden Ticket

Can you believe that I've been serving for nearly five months? Because I can hardly believe it! Sometimes I can hardly believe I'm speaking Português. Sometimes I wake up and expect to hear inglês but then I hear the neighbors calling for their dogs or Sister Pereira and I start chatting and I realize, "Hey. Wait. What language is this?" :) 

We were eating at Irma Roli's when she said something along the lines of, "She knows to cover the food when she's done?" And I said, "Oh I will Irma. No worries!" She started laughing and for the rest of the lunch, whenever someone would enter she would tell them, "Be careful! The Americana can understand everything we say so don't try anything funny because she'll know!" 

After lunch I started to wash the dishes for her, but like always and like every family here, she didn't want me to. They don't like a little bit a service ;) She said, "It's fine, Sister! I can do them later!" I responded, "Oh Sorry, Irma, I don't understand Português!" and proceeded to finish cleaning the dishes. She got a kick out of that!  

Did I tell you that we started teaching English to the Youth here? Or in other words, I started teaching English because Sister Pereira doesn't speak more than a few words! It's really interesting having a companion who doesn't know english. Of course she is only my third companheira and I'll have more who don't understand ingles at all, but it is really cool to see that I can understand and communicate with people here without the safety net I had with Sister Knuth. I   am teaching and learning and growing in so many different ways! 

And let me tell you! English is wierd now! I think that I still think in english (ha!) but talking is nearly impossible! My brain is on a completely different wave length! Totalmente Português!

So we had an interview with the Presidente da Estaca here and it was really cool! I want to say that there are no coincidences. These past couple weeks we were really struggling with a decision about how we can strengthen our Branch here, our membros, and our Pesquisadores when the members want us to visit them everyday but we have numbers we need to meet everyday and week, and Presidente Cruz told us that we need to stop visiting members! Ai. 

It's as confusing as it sounds and there are million puzzle pieces. This week was a balancing act of rules and goals, members and investigators. 

But let me tell. I can truly bear my testimony of the blessing of working with members. This work does not function without members. We need them as much as they need us. 

One example is Cassyel. We were headed for a visita when I got a call from Patrícia. 
"Oi! Sister, do you want to hear some good news?"
"Sempre Irma!"
"You're going to have a baptism!" 
"What? When? HOW?? No, wait, WHO??" 

She proceeded to explain how Cassyel has been spending almost everyday at her house and they all started talking about the church and priesthood and to shorten a very long story: Cassyel decided he wanted to be baptized! And right after another investigator, Camilly, decided the same thing! 

I can honestly say that this is only because of two things, Members and the Holy Spirit!:) 

Back to our intervista with the Presidente of the Stake, he started by talking to us about the talk by Elder Uchtdorf, Forget Me Not. In this talk Uchtdorf refers to the story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Presidente had us read what was written on the Golden Ticket 

“Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket … ! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you! … Mystic and marvelous surprises … will … delight, … astonish, and perplex you.”

And proceeded to explain how our mission call is our Golden Ticket to many wonder surprises. He told us how during this time will we experience things that we will never experience anywhere else. As missionarias we will be the Presidente of the Young Womens, or Young Mens, we will teaching the Principles of the Gospel class or be the president of the Relief Society or in some momentos the Priesthood. And sometimes we will even be the President of the Branch. This isn't to say we are more important or the members here are less, but this is to say we will work along side them and all these experiences will delight and astonish and perplex us, but be for our benefit.

He told us, There is a fine line between a good missionary and a fubeca. We were worried this week we were walking that line. Because a good missionary doesn't "waste time" with members. But a fubeca always has more baptisms. Why?

It's all about who trusts you. 

"Teach them, and if necessary, use words." Be the example. Show them, members and não members alike, you care. And as we work we will gain the confidence of not only the members here but the Lord. 

And now, we can all work together. 

How sweet is the work. How marvelous are the surprises that await us. 

All my love, Sister Hemmert

BTW. I will be killing a duck on the 9th day of August :0  #fivemonthsamissionary

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Ice Cube Serving in Rio Grande do Sul

Wow. This semana literally flew by! And I mean that very literally because we had tons of wind this week! We were walking downhill the other day and felt like we were climbing Everest in skirts and rainboots;) 

So I'll start by saying Sister Pereira is awesome. We spent the week meeting members and pesquisadores and sharing alegria with everyone we met! 2 Néfi 2:25 

It is really cool to see how different people teach and interact and this week really tested me while also demonstrating how much I have grown. 

As I kind of explained, our missão, POA, has a great need for leaders right now. Before Presidente Cruz there was a lot of "fubecagem." Ou seja, a lot of bad missionarios. 

So one thing really apparent in our mission is the equality and responsibility. Everyone has a responsibility. Everyone has a purpose. 

One thing very interesting Sister Pereira and I were discussing this week was the fact that we almost have the same amount of time na missão and how this tempo we have is very small in comparasion to other missionarios. We have a huge area with, honestly, many problems, but we have an opportunity to help this area because it has potential. We were discussing Alma 56:46+ We might be 'young' in mission tempo, and we might be the only companionship in our area, but we do not fear the path we have choosen. We have a responsibilty and we are not alone. 

With my treinadora, Sister Knuth gone :(  for Rio Grande, I realized how much I learned in the last 12 weeks. The training is over. My companion doesn't speak ingles, but something really awesome happened: I speak Português. So who needs ingles anyways? :) 

Yesterday night we had Family Home evening at Irma Dina's with her Daughter-in-law / Recent Convert Michele, and their friends, Fabricio and Jessica, who we have been teaching. It was so much fun to visit with them and Michele made a cake for my 4 month mark! (Did I tell you that the reason we are praying for their family is because Irmão Cleomar cut his big toe almost totally off while cutting wood?? With a chainsaw! YIKES! But he is doing better now!  When they were in the ambulance heading for Porto Alegre the Police ended up stopping them and confiscating the ambulance for two bank robbers that had been shot. Irma Dina and Cleomar had to leave the ambulance and wait of the side of the road in a police car until another ambulance came! Yes. This seriously happened.

Anyways. I ran out of time but I love you all! Please pray for the members here in Arroio Grande and for the Missionarios of Porto Alegre Sul! 

All my Love. XOXO
Sister Hemmert, 
The ice cube Serving in Rio Grande do Sul. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

We are in need of Prayers

The more I'm out in the field the more I treasure our home and family. I'm so grateful I have this time to serve and adventure and be an example for Britton and Colby. It's seriously such a unique experience. Everyday I encounter new people with new problems, but the root of their problems always can be traced back to one thing: a lack of the gospel. 

I notice how everyone is trying to make their way and figure out their lives and sometimes I meet people who are just simply trying to survive day to day. This world is unpredictable. Yesterday we had sunshine and today we have rain. But there is always one constant. One thing that doesn't change and doesn't need to adapt like we do one day to the next. And that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This constant was set long before we were all born, but everyday I see how the same message, the same lesson, helps so many different people.

This week our Presidente challenged us to test the force of kneeling in humble pray. And goodness, this week our Pai Celeste made miracles. I remember the Fellowship of the Unshamed when it says, "I'm done with smooth knees." 

Saturday Sister Knuth got a call that she was going to be transfered! We'd been waiting to hear this news and knew it was coming because I finished my training! I'm still a little caterpilar but soon i'll be a butterfly! After hours of packing, our conversas na rua (invites in the street kinda) were really low. We needed to talk to at least 34 people and we had less than 30 minutes until Irmão Flavio would arrive to take us to the Rodoviária (Bus Station). Yikes! 

So, we knelt in prayer. 

I'm not kidding, the entire city was in the street! We invited more than 55 pessoas in 15 minutes! It was insane. The Lord truly opened the windows of Heaven and poured out His blessings upon us! 

Last night we stayed in Pelotas with Sister Marlow and Sousa. And today I recieved my new companheira!! Sister Perreira! And so far I love her! She has 6 months na Missão. I will be showing her the area for the next 6 weeks and afterwards I'll probably be transfered to another area. The problem is I love this area! Sister Knuth joking said she would superglue herself to a light post and refuse to leave, but I just might actually do this! haha! 

This area has so much potential. So much work and growth can happen here and so many fubecas passed through our missão in all. We are in desperate need of leaders. Our Presidente truly turned our missão around, but this transferencia 20 missionaries finished their missions (Yay!) but only 6 missionaries arrived! So, for anyone who reads this. We are in need of some prayers. Please send missionaries to Porto Alegre Sul! The force of kneeling.

Also, please add to your Prayers the Presidente Vagner and Family (do Ramo) here in Arroio. And Irmãos Cleomar and Diná. These families are truly amazing and are passing through some difficulties at this moment. Our area in general needs some prayers. 

Finalmente, Josiemara. She is very close to being baptized, but her whole family really needs support. 

Oh and Lucia! Our recent convert! 

Ok. Dont have much time! 
Love you all! 
Sister Hemmert   

Monday, July 4, 2016

E Um caiu na agua!

So this week was absolutely crazy! In the best sort of way.

So let me break it down. 

We have a Recent Convert Juliana(11) and we've been teaching her mom, Lucia, since I arrived. She was kinda an eternal pesquisadora. Her family is all in the church and now her daughter. She reads the Book of Mormon everyday with Juliana and loves to go to church. Three weeks ago we marked this past Saturday for her batismo. She was super excited! 

Sunday, we had annonced that her baptism would be Saturday. Well, afterwards, turns out she didn't want to be baptized afterall.
Well. We knew one thing for sure. We would have a baptism this weekend no matter what. Come Thursday we still had no idea! So we did the only thing we could think of. Prayer and fasting. 

I testify now of the power of the fast. Truly fasting is one thing incredible. We can truly feel close to our Lord and Savior when fasting. And honestly, miracles happen when we dedicate ourselves to the task. We set out with a list of names Thursday morning of people who could be baptized Saturday or Sunday and with a plea for our Father in Heaven that we would not enter any house that didn't truly have the desire yet. 

House after house, no one was home. Until Lucia.
We rounded the corner to her house and there she was, gettting ready to leave. She invited us in and it seemed to be an impossible task. Everything was against our visit with her. Her son kept entering, slamming cupboards, neighbor kids kept knocking, and a friend of her's came in and started interrupting and asking insane questions when all at once a calm came over us. Truly, Sister Knuth and I started working in union reading powerful scriptures about the Atonement and Repentance. Honestly, I wish I could remember everything that was said. I wish I could relive that moment. All I know is that we had asked for a dom do linguas, and not only for the ability to talk in Portugues but for the ability to speak Lucia's language. The Language of her Heart. The words she needed. 

My Portugues wasn't perfect. And I dont expect it to be yet, but some miracle truly happened. Midsentence Lucia said,"Eu dicidi. Eu vou me batizar." I've decided. I will be baptized." 

And truly she was a changed Sunday morning when we visited with her after church. She had a light that was there before. A joy within her.

I'm so truly grateful for the opportunity I have to share this gospel with people. Before my mission I definitely did not understand the power of Repentance. But truly there is nothing more powerful and not more 'doce.' Sweet. We can truly be changed through the atonement of Christ. We have an opportunity to have a new life. Not only through the baptism, but every Sunday through the Sacrament. We take His name upon ourselves and only by His name are we saved.

"E Um caiu na agua!" 

All my love. To the Moon and More,
Sister Hemmert