Monday, August 26, 2013

This Week Flew Photos

This photo is with my companion on my shoulder- she didnt think i was that
strong. Every once in awhile.... I like to prove, that in fact I AM.
My whole mission with Elder Costa. Enjoy.
I hope you can find me. You can play "Wheres Waldo, if you want, but I am
on the right side with all the sisters.

We had a lot of fun with the moustaches that Stefani
sent us in the package I got Wednesday.

This Week Flew - Thanks Stefani

Wow. This week FLEW. First things first. Mission conference- just what
I needed. It was unbelievable. Elder Costa é o cara!  We learned a lot
and I definitely left feeling a lot more motivated.

After the meeting, I got a huge stack of letters and a package from
Stefani. THANK YOU!!! Pretty sure the Elders hate me now... but thank
you! It totally made my week. I have the greatest family and friends
in the world.

Oooh. Guess what we had for lunch one day this week? Salmon. Not
kidding. Good night, I am spoiled. The only problem was that the
salmon definitely reminded me of Carrabba´s. Which definitely
reminded me of Katie. Bad idea. Sure do miss my best friend!

Yesterday Jaqueline, Beatriz, and Hercollys were confirmed. It was
great! I love that family. Also- Sister Bassi gave a talk in sacrament
meeting... which is super funny because I haven´t had to speak even
once yet. I don't know how I have managed to fly under the radar this
long- but no complaints. *Knock on wood* I guess Bishop wants to keep
the members in the ward- and asking me to speak sure isn't going to
help. Hahaha. Oh well.

Other family- C. and D. So great. We took the bishop to
their house last week because he wanted to meet them both. They both
really like the bishop and C. said, he would definitely go to
church Sunday. Guess what! He actually went! And he LIKED it. No
surprise there, of course, but all the same, WAHOOO! And in Gospel
Principles, he told the class that he has a lot of addictions- but
that since we have started teaching his family- he has been letting
those addictions go. Wow. We haven't even taught the commandments yet!
We haven't even asked him to start making changes, but he, on his own
has already recognized which changes he needs to make. How amazing is

D´s reaction was great too. She told us she has had a lot of
people from a lot of different religions come through her house
telling her which church to join but that she has never felt anything
as strong as she does when we (the missionaries) come. Legal. She
actually knows how to recognize the spirit. Great! We can work with

Anyways, we love this family. They are great. I love watching the
gospel change lives. Thats about it with our investigators right now.
We have a lot- but we can't seem to get them to come to church these
past two weeks- meaning they aren't progressing... yet! We have faith.
It has been good for me though. When things don't work out, it reminds
me to be even more grateful when they do. With all the success we have
been having, I´d been starting to wonder if things just always got
handed to you on a silver platter, here in Brazil. Haha. Missionary
work is still work. Yet, I do recognize just how blessed that work is
here in Joâo Pessoa. We are SO blessed. Lovin´ life. Lovin´ being a

Now of course, with such a great week, its only fair that I share
something inspiring with you. Lógico. So! Elder Holland´s talk, Teach
the Atonement. It is a good one.

``We don't really know very much about the premortal council in heaven.
But one of the things we do know is that the issue was agency and
obedience. We were free to choose. There was a great division over
this matter. 2/3 followed the Father, lining up behind the son in that
obedience, and 1/3 did not. The impediments there were the impediments
you know from scripture, call it what you will-- rebellion, arrogance,
hostility, or evil.

``The battle is still being waged. The arena has changed. What began
in heaven has moved to this earth, but tht fight is still on. It is
the most fundamental issue in our lives. Will we choose, with our
agency, to voluntarily, humbly, obediently, follow God the Eternal
Father and His son, Jesus Christ, or not? That is the issue of all
eternity. It was the issue before we ever came here, and it is the
issue now.

See D&C 130:20-21.
``Before the foundations of this world, laws were decreed in heaven by
which we get any blessing."

``As if we would not understand this, the Lord says, ``all blessing.``
I dont know how you can takl about a blessing that does not fall into
the ``all`` category. So whatever blessing you want in this life, you
will save yourself a lot of grief if you will understand now that the
promise is inte obedience and that the fulfillment is in the law that
was decreed. Do not fight that.``

Pretty interesting right? Elder Holland is ótimo. Really. Anyways,
that's about it... Hope you are all loving school and staying safe. You
are the greatest! Have a great day. I love you all!

Sister Seal

PS. The photos- we had a lot of fun with the moustaches that Stefani
sent us in the package i got Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Photos No More Cold Showers

Baptism Hercollys and Beatriz (and Jaqueline and more members of
their extended family)

Sister Sciammarella and I at the baptism

My Companion and I wearing rain ponchos because it was pouring outside. Trust me - we know we looked ridiculous.

No More Cold Showers!

Good news minute: No more cold showers! Yes, for those of you who had no idea that up until last week, it was all but ice-baths here in
Brazil, be impressed. But no worries, we now have a working water
heater. Yes. It's electric.

Saturday Hercollys and Beatriz (Jaqueline´s kids) were baptized.
WAHOOOO! I love that family so much. *see pics

Speaking of miracle families... last Sunday we were out proselyting
and I saw a man sitting on a motorcycle- almost invisible with all of
the trees. But I told my companion: We are going to contact him. Long
story short, we did and he invited us to come to his house the next
day (Mon.) So we taught their family (wife and 3 girls) and they
invited us to come again- the next day! Wait, what? This process
repeated itself every day last week. You get the point. Crazy.
Teaching the restoration was cool because C. mentioned having gone
to a lot of different churches, all of which never really satisfying
them. Boy have they found what they have been searching for! But even
better was the Plan of Salvation. D. (his wife) said she had
always had these questions (where did we come from, why are we here,
and where are we going) but had never found answers, until that
lesson. Yep. Família eleita. I will keep you updated.

Ok. Questions. The language? It's coming. The accent? No. De jeito
nenhum. At first glance, everyone here thinks I am from the South
(Katie´s mission, holla!)... until I start talking. Then everyone
thinks I´m Italian. And naturally, Spanish. But heres the funny one:
Papa and Grandpa Craig are going to appreciate this! I even from time
to time have people tell me I have a German accent. That one I don't
get, given I don't speak a LICK of German. But it's funny all the same.
As you can see- I've got work to do, eh? But there is progress. And
that's all that matters.

Companheira? I LOVE her. She is the greatest blessing- I couldn't be
luckier. We get along so well and she is an amazing teacher. She
prepared very well for her mission. I am learning a lot from her and
very selfishly hope they never take her away from me. This may or many
not be included in my nightly prayers. I wont say. Ha! No, I´m joking.
Or am I?

We have mission conference Wednesday. A member fromt the Quorum of the 70 is coming. I don't actually know who yet, but we are stoked. Should be great!

Other than that, yep. This is going to be short. It was a good week,
but not a lot of news... We are so blessed here in Prossind. Wonderful
ward, wonderful investigators, wonderful food, wonderful companion. I
just wish this transfer wouldnt end, and unfortunately it is flying.
:/ Oh well. Já era.

I LOVE you guys. Hope you all have a wonderful week at school! Crazy.
I can't believe it... as I'm sure most of you don't want to believe it.
Hahaha live it up- someday you will miss high school. That moment may
come and go VERY quickly- nearly in the same instant, but it will
come. Haha. Tchau.

Sister Seal

Oh P.S. Just because I think you will hear about it eventually, I am
going to tell you. With one condition: No one is allowed to freak out.
Yes, an Elder in my zone was run over by a car last week. I don't know
anything else about his situation. We are praying for him, of course.
And no. This does not mean I am going to be hit too, mom. My companion
is from São Paulo- one of the busiest cities in the world. She is
extremely cautious and is keeping the both of us safe.

Monday, August 12, 2013

More baptisms this week - wonderful!


 Baptism with Jaq and her family

We made cookies ... yummy

We will be Recognized

Happy Birthday Skylar! Love you girl. Make sure Dad takes you to
Orange Leaf. Eat an extra bowl for me will ya? Of course, it's gotta be
peanut butter or birthday cake. ;) But really, I want to see pics and
hear all about your day. Wow! 10 years old! Guess how old that makes
ME feel.... ahhhh. Also, Mom- I really think we need to find a way to
freeze Texas Sheet Cake and ship it here. Or maybe just a recipe, I

Speaking of packages. I got the package you sent Mom, with Peanut
Butter and Honey Nut Cheerios. Unfortunately, I opened the package at
our Zone Meeting and the Elders went CRAZY- it's fine. One bag down, 2
still left in the cupbard. We´re good. Can I just tell you that was
the greatest day of my life? LOVE YOU.

Funny story. We hear all the time, via the MTC, Preach My Gospel, e
tal e tal e tal that people will recognize us before we open our
mouths. It's true. Last week we were walking to the church with our
Bishop and a Postman yelled out the window at us to stop. So he pulls
over and Bishop basically says, ``what's up... how can I help you?``
The postman pulls out a package and says you´re from the Mormon
church, right? I have a package for you. We all nearly died laughing.
It's true- people know who we are. But they also know who YOU are. Even
when you don't think people are watching, they are. It reminds me of a
recitation from freshman year in seminary.

Someone is watching, this is a fact
Someone will copy the way that you act.
So make this your motto and put it to use
Be an example, and not an excuse.

Haha cheesy? Sure. But it's true. More importantly, people who don't
know the gospel yet know that YOU represent it. We are missionaries
through our actions, and only occassionaly with our words. But you are
all already fabulous, so keep it up, eh?

Awesome week here in Brazil. It's starting to get hot. I didn't know
people could actually sweat at 9 o´clock at night. Thank heavens we
have 4 fans in our apartment. It's fine. Is this a new weight loss
program? Hope so.

Anyways, last week I talked about potential baptisms- the 2 kids,
Cleberson and Iris, that I taught with Sister Alves that are now
working with Johnson and Sciam. Yes, they were baptized! It was just a
weekend full of baptisms, we had 4. So Saturday Cleberson was
baptized. It was easily one of my favorite experiences thus far on the
mission. The 4 sisters sang Teach Me to Walk in the Light for the
closing hymn and, naturally I bawled like a baby. I looked at
Cleberson and he started to cry! Ahhhhh so then I cried harder, I
couldn't even sing anymore. Pathetic- ridiculous. And then Bishop
started to cry! Wow it was cool. Anyways I am so proud of him. I am
stunned that his mom finally gave us permission- but I KNOW it was
because of His faith. It was really cute. We were walking down the
street a couple of days before the baptism and Cleberson passes by on
a bus and screams out the window, ``SISTER SEAL!!! VOU ME BATIZAR!!!``
Which means I am going to be baptized! Wow. Love it. Just miracles,
every single day. Other miracle: Jaqueline! I LOVE her. Yep, she went
to church with her kids last Sunday and was baptized yesterday, and
her two sweet kids want to be baptized next Sunday too. So crazy. That
family really was prepared.

Ok. Cool scripture: Luke 6:46, ``And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and
do not the things which I say?`` I like this verse. A lot. Why?
Because it's so true! The idea here is praying with real intent. When
we pray for answers, we need to be already determined to act in
whatever way God wants us to act. When we ask for direction, are we
doing so with a desire to actually follow it? Even better. I really
believe that this played a role in the First Vision. Joseph didn't
merely pray to know which church to join. He prayed with every
intention to then JOIN that church- whichever church the Lord

The church is true. I promise you it is. I don't have any doubts
whatsoever. I testify that Joseph saw the Father and the Son and that he
truly was a prophet of God. I know this for a lot of reasons, but most
of all because I´ve SEEN and continue to see here what this message
can do. I have seen and continue to see the way the message of the
Atonement really heals people and am convinced it is the only thing
that can heal us. Jesus Christ is everything. He really is. I am so
blessed. Really, we all are. I don't know why God keeps blessing us
with all of these miracles- but He does. We see miracles every single
day. The work here is humbling and rewarding, and there is nothing
else I´d rather be doing. I love being a missionary. I love each of
you. Stay strong. Be safe. Have a wonderful week.

Skylar- I love you so much. You will always be my favorite twin. :)
Have a great birthday. I´ll be home around the time of your next
one... and we will definitely go to Trafalga. LOVE YOU.


Sister Seal

Monday, August 5, 2013

Miracles Never cease Photos

Elephant from a Circus by our house

Me and Elder Souza from my Zone - He is super cool.

Cute pictures that my cousins drew for me - hanging on my wall.

Miracles Never Cease

Wow. Training is crazy. I mean, really, that right there is stress enough. But dividing an area and showing everyone around when I know next to.. let's see.. nothing about the country- ha! Now that's a trick. It's fun though- it keeps things interesting. And I LOVE Prossind. I really do. I´ve already decided I´m never going to be transferred. I also love my companion, Sister Bassi. Mom wanted to know which one she is from the photos- she is as pale as I am, about my height, real thin with dark curly hair. Hope that helps. 

Dividing the area meant losing a lot of our investigators. No worries, we found a bunch too! But the kids we were working with that are going to be baptized soon are now working with Sister Johnson and Sciammarella. That was ridiculously hard to let them go- but I know that is what the area needs right now. I´m learning how to compromise- its a new concept for me, but we are working with it. ;)

Eduardo. Remember him. The guy we baptized 2 weeks ago. Great story. We passed by his house Thursday to teach another lesson (because you teach them after their baptism too) and when we showed up, he told us a couple of his friends wanted to sit in on the lesson. Friends meaning a group of people that live on his street. And get this. Principalments: Jaqueline. So! We taught the Restoration. There were a lot of people there, it was really cool. But the best part was what Jaqueline said to us right before we taught the lesson. She said, `` We have all noticed a lot of changes in Eduardo since you guys started teaching him and since he has been going to your church. We want to know why.`` Power of example, gente. But.... as you´d expect (because this is Brazil) it gets better! We picked up Jaqueline as an investigator and taught her Friday and Saturday too. She told us that she, her 2 kids, and her dad wanted to come to church Sunday. Better. They ACTUALLY went. So we taught her last night too and she wants to be baptized next Sunday. We are working through some details/ specifics, and I am not sure it will actually happen Sunday, but it's her desire that is the miracle! 

Another thing she said this week was that a few years ago she received revelation that one day ``Her faith would one day be strengthened by people who came from afar``... Ou seja, she is completely determined that we, the missionaries, are it! Ha COOL. We just love her. She is so amazing! She says that the day she met me she automatically loved me as her daughter, that she felt like I was her child. She is suuuupppper sweet. I can hardly believe all that has happened with her these past 2 weeks.

Other miracle child: Rita. Wahoo! She was confirmed in sacrament meeting yesterday and one of the young women told me that she goes to seminary every day. Not only that, but she told everyone that her life has changed completely, and is continually improving ever since her decision to go to church and be baptized. ´ta vendo... miracles, gente. Just loving every minute of this- we are SO blessed in this area.

Oh. Almost forgot! Other miracle. We were walking down the street a few nights ago and I was trying to teach my companion that we talk to EVERYONE we see. So we passed by a man sitting on the road, smoking. She asked, ``Do we still contact people who are smoking`` um. Yes. Of course. So we introduced ourselves and found out that he actually was only traveling, and doesn't live in our area. But he asked if we could give him a pamphlet or any other material. So I showed him the Restoration pamphlet and taught the lesson there on the spot. He began to cry and said he knew that we were messengers from God, and that he needed someone... something. He said he knew God had sent us to talk with him. Amazing. Really. It's no joke- God really puts people in your path and directs you to them. The craziest part is that we were actually lost, looking for an address when we found him. Sister Almeida said, `` Missionaries are NEVER lost. They just sometimes don't know where they are.`` TRUE. I love that idea. I really believe we didn't waste any time trying to find that house- but that it was that man, specifically that God was leading us to. 

The Gospel really is the greatest blessing. I feel so blessed day after day, honestly every hour, to be here. I love seeing the gospel work in people´s lives to improve every aspect and lift every burden through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is simple. The message is Jesus Christ, our Savior who provides a way to change. If you´re looking for change, look to Him. He changed me. And I am really kind of stubborn. So i KNOW He can change you. You just have to let Him.

I love you guys. Have a great week- thanks for all of the support and letters. Really, it's like Christmas everytime I go to the mission office :) :) Hahaha. No, but really. It's true. 


Sister Seal

P.S. Congratulations, Kate. Temple Wednesday! That is amazing. I am so happy for you. Of course you know how much I want to be there... and as hard as it is right now to not be with MY family, when they go to the temple, I know my job right now is to help people here in Brazil to one day take THEIR families to the temple. But I love you and I am so proud of you, Sis.