Wednesday, October 23, 2013

No Transfer - Again!

Hello beautiful people. Without delay.... Did transfers even happen? I don't even know, because as far as I know, nothing changed.

That's RIGHT! I am still in Prossind, with Sister Moore. That's a good thing, too, because now we can finish her training. I was worried for a bit because Presidente said he was going to need me to train again. False alarm. But... perhaps the upcoming transfer, then?

So... Prossind. What a blessing. This place just has so much work to be done. I´ll be honest, I have mixed feelings. I am not too excited about another 6 weeks on the same roads with the same people that I´ve lost track of the number of times I have already talked to. Ha faz parte, hein? But... we have some pretty awesome families that we have found recently, so I think it will be great. Obviously, there is a reason Heavenly Father still wants us here.

Oh! Get this. We had 8 investigators in church on Sunday. Record! But of course, it is just going to be better next Sunday. Lógico! That was a huge blessing. The new way we are doing street contacts is really working out for us, and we have got some pretty prime pesquisadores. But, at the same time.... I have never had a teaching group with more problems- for one reason or another, everyone we are teaching is not getting baptized. Its been a struggle this month. Everyone is traveling too. It's been difficult, but we can definitely still see the Lord´s hand in the work.

Last night was a miracle lesson. We showed up at Eliane´s house. She wants to get baptized, but she has to stop smoking, and she is really struggling with will-power. We have prayed. And fasted. And prayed again. So we stopped passing by, but last night we showed up again to talk to her daughter, Andrea. Andrea wasn't home, so we asked Eliane how she was doing and she immediately informs us that she promised herself and Heavenly Father that she is finally going to stop smoking. I don't think it was a coincidence that we passed by last night- NOTHING in God´s work is a coincidence. We may think we have good luck from time to time, but in all reality- its always just part of His plan unfolding. Anyway, she said she had been reading the Book of Mormon and a part really caught her attention. She gets her book and opens up to 2 Nephi 31. Yes! Yes! Yes! The doctrine of Christ. Loooovvvvveeeee it. She said the part that hit her was the verse that talks about the commandments. That we really can't show our love for God or follow Him if we aren't willing to keep His commandments. It was a really sweet lesson to watch her read the chapter to us and learn all of this for herself. It taught me a lot about the way Heavenly Father works. I swear, I have already read that chapter to her, I had already promised her all of those things, but last night was when she finally got it- because she learned it for herself. She did her part. And in that moment, I couldn't be frustrated that she didn't listen to me earlier, or that it really wasn't anything new. In that moment, I was amazed, humbled, and grateful to have witnessed a miracle. And a miracle it was, because, yes, she took her sweet time to learn it, but what matters is that she DID. I think God sees us the same way. I don't think He cares how long it takes us to get there. I am sure it saddens Him when we waste time and deny blessings, but I really believe He just wants us to make it, and He will be there every step of the way until we do.

This idea made me think of parents in general.I am not a parent, but I know a few good ones- my parents topping that list. And I can only imagine how many tears they have cried and how many moments of frustration and despair they have passed through because of me. But I am grateful for their patience, and that even if I wouldn't ``take their word for it`` and apply everything they tried to teach me growing up, I am grateful that I did learn a thing or two eventually. And yes, it was always things they had tried to teach me earlier. I am definitely aware of the fact that it would have saved me a lot of heartache had I only listened. This is true for all of us, I'm sure. And so to those of you who are tired, who feel like you are failing because in a back- breaking way you are doing every possible thing imaginable to help someone you love come back, or stick through it, or get some sense through their heads, my plea to you is be patient and don't you ever give up. I am not going to promise you that the tears will dry. I am not going to give you the cliché phrase: ``Don't worry, it will all be okay. Because I know that soft words do little for hard circumstances. And though it means next to nothing, I can promise you that I know a little bit about what that feels like... But more importantly, I  can even more readily attest to the certainty I have that Heavenly Father knows exactly what that feels like because He has felt it for each one of us.

But that isn't to say there is not solution. It just may not always be the one we expect. I really don't believe that when we pray, our situations are instantaneously corrected or resolved. But I PROMISE you that if you have faith, you can pray for peace and it will hit you like a brick-wall until that day when He comes, and wipes away all our tears, eases our burdens, and our sorrows fade once and for all. Peace is real, and I believe it to be one of the most powerful gifts we have in this life. Pray for it, and it will come. That is my promise to you. Better yet, that is God´s promise to you.

It breaks my heart to hear of your struggles, but I am proud of each of you and the strength I see. You are doing great. Don't you dare give up. Stay strong. Press forward. This gospel is true. I have not a doubt in my mind. I remember being growing up with doubts and fears. But I URGE you to follow President Uchtdorf´s counsel and ``First, doubt your doubts BEFORE you doubt your faith.`` I promise you that if you seek to live the gospel, you will develop that unshakable testimony that it is true. That is how we have faith: Because we first acted on promised blessings. You have to act.

I love you all and am so grateful for your support. Have a wonderful week. Be safe. Take care. Help someone you know, because you don't know how bad they need it.

Until Monday.

Love, Sister M Seal

Katie- good luck with your last week, I need your mission address. Tchau.

PS Made that Texas Sheet cake. Safe to say my roommates love me :) THANKS A MILLION.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Changing Perspectives

Hmmmm.... I am getting lazy with these emails, arent I? Pois é. This one isnt going to be much better- so não fiquem chateados, ta cert?
I hope you guys are learning Portuguese, because I am definitely forgetting English. Skyping on Christmas will definitely be interesting.... Ha!
So can anyone even believe this? Transfers AGAIN. I swear I just barely wrote home about them. Yep! The 23rd. Questions of the week: Am I staying in Prossind? (Or am I going to Campina Grande- the coldest place on the mission... muahaha) Question numero dois: Is my companion going to train, or stay with me? Who knows? Presidente Nogueira.... Good thing I am learning to be a patient person... right?
Katie- Parabéns! I read your farewell talk, and I know you did a fabulous job! Way to go, girl! How nice is that to have it over with! Dont worry.... the next talk you give with be in Portuguese. Hahaha
And, Conner, congrats, you are killing debate! What a rockstar.
This was a good week. My perspective is really changing out here. My bishop gave me a list of inactives last week. I am shocked and saddened that 80 of the those baptized in this area are inactive, but at the same time, my companion and I are thrilled with a new way to work in this area.  We have a lot of new ideas and are determined to bring these people back. That is the call, isn't it? Rescuing those who are lost, the words of the prophet himself in the Liahona. There is so much work to be done here. Anywhere, really. Even in Utah.
We had a baptism marked for yesterday, but it fell through because her son got really sick- Dengue, if you know what that is. Nasty business. But, she is going to be baptized this week, which is awesome! Her name is Dagna, its the woman that came to church on her own, simply because she saw it through her apartment window. She is SO cool! When we invited her to be baptized this week, she just looked at me and said, ``Do you think I really even deserve it?`` Ahhhh, of course she does! It makes me SO happy to hear how excited she always is to go to church. She is already inviting all her friends and family. She LOVED conference- how simple all the doctrines are. Justamente! The gospel really is and should be simple.
Other news/ details  I may have missed:
People are actually telling me I speak well!!! wahooo!!!! And, the juice here just keeps getting better and better. Also, the weather? Everyone told me I would be dying by September, but it's already the middle of October, and I don't think the weather has really changed at all. It just rains a little bit less. But quite honestly, it still rains more than it does in Utah. In fact, as I type this email, it's raining! I LOVE LOVE LOVE rain. Which reminds me, how are you all liking the snow??? Is it even snowing yet?  Haha don't send pictures- I will get really, really jealous :) But, do be careful driving, folks.
Still loving the work here. This week is going to be GREAT! The last week of the transfer always is. And we are doing divisions! YES! All in all, I am excited to see all the changes. Cool news about transfers: Last transfer more sisters arrived than elders. This transfer, more sisters are arriving than elders too! Can you believe that? And with last transfer, and this next transfer, we will double the number of sisters in the mission. Where are all the missionaries going to go? President doesn't really know what to do either because it means we have to open a lot of areas, and I think they may send another companionship to my area. Cool, right? Ha just loving this work.
Thanks for everything. Gotta go- I am going to go make that texas sheet cake, finally! whoot! I LOVE you guys so much and wish you all success, happiness, health, and safety.
Tchau! Até mais (depois das transferencias! Wish me luck??)
Sister Seal
PS. Katie: SO SO SO proud of you.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference? Loved It!

WHOOT! CONFERENCE! LOVED IT! (Here is my request- note to Mom (will you send me Uchtdorf´s  and Holland´s talks? I want to print them off here. Thanks in advance).
Thanks for the birthday package. I am so excited about the Texas Sheet cake Dry Mix. I almost died. Yaáll should have seen my face. And the boys´cards had me laughing for a lot longer than I´d care to admit. Michael, watch your ego. But it's true. I HAVE THE GREATEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD..... amen!
So this week was good and hard at the same time. I found out that one of my recent converts is really sick and doesn't have much time left to live. That was a blow. That came out of nowhere. And despite all the tears and shock and grief, I felt so much peace and gratitude because she found it. She found the gospel. She found the very blessing we have in this life that thereby we understand that death is not permanent. Sorrow is temporary. Christ did everything. God knows everything. Hope is real. Peace is one of the most powerful gifts in life and we can have it, through the knowledge and understanding we have of the life our our Savior, and the teachings he left behind.
Yep, hard week- but it was also a week of perspective, and I am learning to be grateful for every tear- both of joy and heartache, because in both instances we can be grateful, and in either case, there is always something to learn.
I hope you all loved conference as much as I did, because I admit it- my companion and I were quite devastated when the final prayer was offered to close the meeting for another six months. Can we even wait that long??? Nooooooo......
But here are some ideas I had/ quotes I LOVED/ themes or ideas mentioned:

Dedication. Perseverance. Self-disciple. Meekness. Gratitude, grace, dignity. 
``Shall I falter or shall i finish?``

Abandon the script and the lesson becomes Christ´s
Decisions define Destiny. Amen!

Where are you willing to go? Faith points to the future...
``Fatigue is the common enemy to us all.``

``Don't assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are small victories, be grateful for them.``

``You must become the rock the river cannot wash away``

``Always doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.`` (Tell me how many times this was made a status on facebook. That was the coolest talk ever!)

And my personal favorite quote of the meeting: ``If the bitter cup doesn´t pass, drink it. And watch for the better days ahead.`` I think this says a lot...but I am not going to try to tell you what this idea means to me... because I will ruin it. But think about it- because it is more important what this means to YOU.
Overall, pretty much christmas. Loved Conference. We are so blessed to have a prophet who receives revelation from our loving Father in Heaven. I know that each of the messages can be directed and implemented in our lives. We just have to pray to know how.

Out of time. Love you guys. Tchau!