Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Transfers...Nothing Happened

Today is transfers. Nothing happened, but we are looking forward to another great transfer here in Guarabira. 
Sunday was a miracle, we brought 6 people to church- hats been our struggle this last transfer, so we were thrilled. And...we are helping 2 of them prepare to be baptized soon. One of them, Adailton even convinced his mom to come to church and now we are teaching their whole family. Yesterday we taught the word of wisdom and they all agreed to live it! Miracle, because even the ones who haven’t been to church are willing to accept the revelation to the prophet, heed the word of God and reap the blessings! Whoot!
Wednesday we had a sisters meeting. Fun to see all ``my girls`` again. My old companions seem to be doing well and it was nice to get to the city of JP again. 
Friday was a surprise. Katie’s mission president called mine, thinking it would be nice if Katie and I could talk for a few minutes. It was great! I was so impressed with how kind her President is. It was wonderful to talk to my best friend and even better to know, as I want each of you to know, that Katie is in very good hands. He told me that they love Katie and are taking good care of her. That she is a ``very sweet, sweet girl``. Anyways, he is a good guy, and I am quite sure he is one of the 3 Nephites.
I watched to Emma Smith movie this week. One quote really stuck out to me. She said something very profound- something I wanted to share with those who maybe think they aren’t strong enough these days to carry to load they have been called to bear. She said, “Strength isn’t something you have... it’s something God helps you find.”
I promise you that you are stronger than you think. And if you don’t feel strong yet, keep trying. Keep praying. Don’t give up and God will show you the strength that has been there all along.

Let us be faithful as the servants in the scriptures. The story of 3 in the book of Daniel is one we can all learn from. I read a quote, ``The faithful will not be totally immune to the events on this planet. Thus, the courageous attitudes of the imperiled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego are worthy of emulation. They knew God would rescue them. ‘But if not,’ they vowed, they would still serve god anyway.``
It is in serving God that we will understand better His love for us, and in that love find strength. His love is infinite. ``He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we are lost and without compass, God loves encompasses us completely...He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken... regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. Now matter our distress, now matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near unto Him so He can draw near unto us.`` -Uchtdorf.
I also read a really wonderful talk called ``Preserving the Heart´s Mighty Change``- conference October 2009. It has nothing to do with the quotes or ideas above, but, Read it! It’s really great.
Thank you for the emails, letters and support. I got a lot of it this week. Know that all is well here- I am happy as ever to be doing God’s work. Just take care of one another there, ok?
Have a wonderful week and be safe. Help each other. Please, just help each other. We all need it. 
Sister Seal

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17

Bom Dia.
This week was.... well... it flew. I was sick all week. No need for anyone to worry, I think I am doing a lot better now. But.... I really didn’t work at all this week. 
Friday was our Mission Tour- President Fernandes (former Joao Pessoa Mission President) came and spoke to us- he hit on a lot of things and it really helped us all I believe. Good conference. Really great to see all my buddies. Miss them a lot and they seem to all be doing well. 
My first day of work this week was Saturday, and we saw so many miracles... We left the apartment at 8 to visit Mauricio -Paulo, a recent convert´s son. Walking there, we here someone call out to us- there in a cell phone shop across the main road are Paulo and Mauricio. This was Miracle #1- if they hadn’t called out to us, we wouldn’t have noticed them, and wouldn’t have found them home, and none of the other miracles would have happened that day. Miracle #2- we taught the restoration on the busy street and SOMEHOW, Mauricio felt the spirit and FINALLY after 5 weeks of working with him, he accepted baptism. He wanted to be baptized next Sunday... but then miracle #3 happened, we got him to be baptized THAT DAY (Meaning, the 15th- last Sunday). It was STELLAR! It felt good to be back working- especially to have a baptism, a MIRACLE from Heavenly Father to end a difficult week. Really, really cool. My companion and I just looked at each other, awestruck, asking, ``why....why is it that we are so blessed here? We don’t deserve this...`` And that my friends is the mercy and grace of our Lord.
No real other news. Well, of course there is the big news of transfers next Wednesday, again. Didn’t they JUST happen? Obviously, given my track record, (7 months in my first area) I don’t think I will be going anywhere- I’d almost bet my life on it. But.... the change I think will happen is with our zone leaders who have been here for 6 months- together. So, that will be different... to get new ZLs. We LOVE our zone leaders now though, so if that doesn’t change- no one is going to get offended about it. Yeah, don’t expect any big news- its more just to say another 6 weeks has come and gone. 
Ok.  Now a message from the prophet:
``I pause when I think of the words of Pres. John Taylor: ``If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those you might have saved had you done your duty.´´ Pause here please and reread. That is a VERY powerful statement. 

Ok. Then Monson continued: ``Like a glowing searchlight of goodness is the life of Jesus as He ministered among men. `I am among you as he that serveth,` Jesus declared as He brought strength to the limbs of the cripple, sight to the eyes of the blind, hearing to the ears of the deaf, and life to the body of the dead.

``With the parable of the Good Samaritan, the master taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. With His answer to the rich young ruler, He taught us to shed our selfishness, with the feeding of the 5000 he taught us to see the needs of others. And with the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us to seek first the kingdom of God. 
``In the new world, the resurrected Lord declared, ``Ye know the things what ye must do in my church for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do for that which ye have seen me do even that shall you do`` (3 Nephi 27:21).”
I really liked this idea- Jesus is always the example of things we do in the church, in our families, and in life. But the big idea here is in the beginning. I don’t want blood on my hands because I failed to bring the message to someone here... Let’s fulfill our calling-as members of the church, not in our organizations alone, but in our duty to bring the gospel to all the world. 
Love you all. Congrats to the Reynolds family- wishing Preston and His wife all the best! Have a great week. 
Sister Seal
Photos: this morning I made a banana bread for the sisters I live with. It was really good. You should all be proud. I did it with a microwave and without a recipe!!! Whoot! Yes, for 2 seconds I thought I was pretty cool :)

This morning we also went hiking- there are a lot of mountains/hills in Guarabira- it’s beautiful.  Sorry, I didn’t get a good enough pic.


me and my good friend elder Georgianna

 my mtc district and a few zone members.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rainy Season?

Good morning, everyone! Or afternoon or evening or whatever.
This week was rather eventful and rainy. I can’t believe we are already getting back to the rainy season? Quite frankly, I’m not sure it ever ended. This is good news and bad news. We love the rain here and welcome it any day. But... you need to see the hills here- they are steep and who knew- Chacos aren’t my best friend after all. It’s really scary walking down hills when their dry... and when they are wet... Já era! I am going to fall. Soon. Maybe even today. Heck, I’m jinxing it. Pois é. Katie says she falls a lot- so maybe it’s only fair I start learning what it feels like too, right?
Last week on Sunday we did a street contact- a boy completely drunk- out of his senses that was telling us how much he loved our voices. It was hilarious. So, we invited him to church and to be baptized. He accepted both, but we didn’t think much of it... Guess what. He actually came Sunday and loved it! Haha and he said that since that last Sunday, he hasn’t smoked or gone out drinking. Miracle. 
This week was interviews with President. Usually interviews are.....uneventful actually. This was my favorite mission interview so far. He gave me the coolest advice regarding my family that I will be passing on to mom soon. And! Another thing. To begin, you must know that I have been wanting for the longest time to know that my Mission President trusts me/ thinks I am a good missionary. I don’t why it was bothering me so much...but it was. So, at the end of my interview, I asked him what I could do to improve. He said, “The two secrets to missionary work are work and obedience.” (In my opinion, add faith and these are the 3 secrets to life, too) He talked about receiving inspiration through prayer and faith. And then, he said something that brought tears to my eyes. He began to thank me for the work I have done here, saying I have done a lot to help.  He laughed and said, ``Bom, você não é uma missionária que da muito trabalho para mim`` which means, you are not a difficult missionary or you aren’t a missionary that gives me a hard time. Hahaha. But the part that touched me most was when he then added that he knows without a doubt that Heavenly Father is pleased with what I have done- that I am a powerful example for the whole mission. Obviously, this is a Portuguese to English translation so I am losing some of the idea here... but that was an inspired interview. I am really grateful that President said what he did, because it was a long time coming answer to prayer. That was definitely the highlight of my week. 
Ok. Gotta wrap this up. So- two wonderful quotes I read earlier:
Thomas S. Monson said, ``The battle for self-discipline may leave you a bit bruised and battered but always a better person. Self discipline is a rigorous process at best too many of us want it to be effortless and painless. Should temporary setbacks afflict us, a very significant part of our struggle for self discipline is the determination to try again. ``
And another by Neal A. Maxwell, ``One’s life... cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free... Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, `Lord give me the experience but not the grief, not sorrow, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share thy joy.`` Real Faith... is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process.`` 
Very true. I am grateful to be learning this idea. 

Love you guys so so so much- sorry this is short- always running out of time.

Sister M. Seal