Monday, March 24, 2014

Hey everyone! (March 24)


So this week was pretty swell again! There's been a drought here in Brazil, but it finally rained this week, which is good for the earth and plants and stuff, but bad for missionaries. We were trying to be diligent and obedient, and we were caught in a straight up tempestade, and the streets started flooding there was so much water and the lightning was going and everything. It was awesome. We decided that it was probably stupid to be walking in the middle of a thunderstorm with a metal umbrella, so we went to the house of a member nearby, and when we got there she took good care of us. She made us tea and gave us towels and everything. It was absurd how wet we were, but it makes for a good story, I guess :) Something funny about people here, people don't let us come in when it's raining, other than members, and they just stand at the door and shout, "don't you know it's raining?!" Like we don't know! Anyways, it's just pretty funny :)

This weekend was awesome! I sent you pictures of Danusia at the temple! It is so amazing to be in an area close to the temple where we can bring our investigators. Danusia just adored it! She loved being there (despite what she looked like in the pictures, she really was happy - she just really hates pictures!) We bought her a triple [combination] in giant print and wrote a little note in the front, and she loved it! She also asked if she could buy 4 copies of the picture of the temple to give to all of her kids. It was really cute! She absolutely loved being there, and she felt the spirit without a doubt! It was awesome!

Later that night, we had an awesome lesson with Alan and Leni! They are so golden! The lesson we taught was at the chapel, and a couple from the ward, Karina and Robson, were there as well. It was the most amazing lesson I've had on my mission so far. It was so awesome! We taught about the plan of salvation, and Alan and Leni just loved it! Alan made a comment that we were teaching the same things that his mother had taught him when he was little, and that he knew it was true. Both Karina and Robson are converts, and they bore their testimony at exactly the right time about their conversion. They talked about how the missionaries found them and everything. After they were done, Leni started talking about how much she loved us and loved our lessons. She said that she and Alan were talking about how honored they felt that we chose their door to knock on and they don't understand why them, but that they were so happy to be introduced to the gospel. They said they felt like they've known us forever, and that we're family. It was awesome, and a definite tender mercy from the Lord. At the end of the lesson, Robson, who recently returned from his mission, invited Alan to offer a kneeling prayer. It was such a sweet, and simple prayer, but it was sincere and powerful. He stopped in the middle to ask his wife if there was anything she'd like to add. They're absolutely golden and I love them so much!

On Sunday, we had 6 investigators at church! That never happens! It was such a miracle! We found this one man, Neto, while we were walking in the street. We invited him to church and said a prayer with him in the middle of the street, and then he actually came to church! It was such a miracle! He's so excited about church, and excited about baptism as well! He's just flippin' adorable! He always says, "opa!" when he's excited. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized, and he said, "Opa! yes!". It was just too cute. Of course Danuisia was there with her friend, as well as three other people. We also had 7 less actives there! The ward was so excited to see everyone, and they were so great about going up to them and introducing themselves. It was so awesome!

This area is going so well, and we had so many tender mercies this week! As we know, the Lord loves to throw us curve balls, so tomorrow, both Sister Howell and I are being transferred and the area is switching to elders. It's going to be so hard to leave, especially since we've been having so much success. But, there are a lot of young returned male missionaries who will be able to work with the elders much easier than they can with us. I think it's actually a very inspired decision. I'm still going to be so sad to leave! I've learned so much from the people in this ward, and from the wonderful people we've had the opportunity to teach. I've also learned so much from my wonderful companion, Sister Howell! I just love that girl! She's amazing and I'm going to miss her so much! We even have a cheese-y companionship handshake! Good thing is, she lives in Gilbert, so we can see each other when I get back home!

                                           Sister Pennington and Sister Howell on the bus
I love being a missionary so much, and I know that this is His work. I'm excited to serve Him wherever he needs me!

Love you all!
Sister Pennington

Hello everyone! (March 17)

Esta semana foi fogo!

This week was awesome!

Let me tell you all of the things that I loved about this week....

- first of all, we found 5 new investigators and three now have baptismal dates! One of them, Lual, is a single dad of 2 kids, and he is so open and so friendly. He is extremely intelligent, he does some sort of accounting or something, and he understood everything so well that we were teaching. He's also really spiritual, and he's really excited to learn more, and he accepted baptism in the first lesson. He's great! Also, his little 1 year old daughter is adorable. The other investigators with a baptismal date, Alan and Leni, are just the cutest couple in the history of the world. They're so cute! We taught them on Saturday, and we brought a member with us, Vera, and she was so great! She bore her testimony about eternal families, and the spirit was so strong. We set their baptismal date as well! They're so wonderful! Also, they made us dinner after our lesson with them, and it was delicious. I'm so excited for them!

- We had a churrasco (BBQ) at the Bishop's house, and it was so great! We helped put the meat on sticks to grill. Here in Brazil, they really like to eat chicken hearts, so that's what we put on the sticks. Don't worry...I'll send pictures!


- We had 4 investigators at church, and all of them are awesome! Danusia came again, and this time she brought a family member, who absolutely loved church as well. It was awesome!

- I'm starting to remember people's names in the ward! It's pretty sweet!

- I was asked to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, and I was really nervous because I don't speak Portuguese, but I didn't fail, so that was awesome!

- We started teaching an awesome investigator named Davison. He's so great! There's a security system here, called Vigzul, and they have young people go door to door and sell it. They all live in the same house together (the "vigi-house"). 80% of these people are members of our ward and they're great. A lot of them are returned missionaries, and they are so eager to do what they can to help missionary work. Anyways, Davison is one of the people who works at Vigzul, and he's not a member. He came to church with the "vigi-boys" last week, and he set up an appointment to meet with us after church this Sunday. He studied "teologia" which essentially means he was a bible studies major. He knows the bible very well, and he had LOTS of questions. He's studied a lot about the church, and he wants to know more. We made sure to establish our purpose very clearly at the beginning of our lesson, explaining that our purpose is to teach people how to learn the truth through the spirit. This whole experience was very humbling for me, because I realized how reliant I am on the spirit. I'm a 19 year old kid who knows relatively little about the scriptures. I had 6 weeks of formal training for my mission. And here I was in a lesson with a guy who had an extensive knowledge of the Bible and I was trying to do so in a language I'd only been using for a month. But, I was, in fact, able to teach Davison and help him feel the spirit. It was ONLY through the spirit that I was able to do this. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us. My mom sent me a letter in my 3rd of 4th month on my mission that said, "The Lord helps when we say 'yes' in faith". I wrote that on a sticky note and put it on my wall. How true that is! When we're willing to do what the Lord needs us to do, he will prepare a way for us to do it. I love being a missionary, and I'm so excited for what the next 10 months have in store!

I love all of you so much! Have a great week, and always take the time to recognize the help we get from our loving Father in Heaven.

Sister Pennington

Another wonderful week in Brazil!! (March 10)

Hello, Family!

This week was really great! We taught a lot of lessons! It was awesome! We found an amazing couple, and they're just the cutest things in the world! We're teaching them again of Saturday. I'm so excited!

We had an amazing miracle happen yesterday! We have an investigator, Denusia, who's been taught for 4 months now, and she hasn't been able to go to church because of work. She had already asked for work off on Sundays, but her boss wouldn't allow it. This Saturday, however,  she told her boss that she wasn't going to go to work the next day, and she came to church and loved it. At the end of sacrament meeting, she leaned over to my companion and said, "this whole time, I was just thinking about how much I want to be baptized"! She's so awesome and has such a desire to follow Christ. She has a bit of a complicated situation that will prevent her from being baptized immediately, but when she finally has the opportunity, it will be like the people at the waters of Mormon in Mosiah 18 that clap their hands with joy. Sister Howell was especially excited because she found her and started teaching her. We almost stopped teaching her a few weeks ago, because she couldn't progress anymore without coming to church, but she finally decided that she's ready to really prepare. She is so happy and so excited to be baptized!

I just love Sister Howell to pieces! We're working so well together, and things here are really starting to get going! It's really exciting!

I know that this is where I need to be, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be a part of this wonderful work!

Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Pennington

Yet another week (March 5)

Hello, family!

So sorry that I couldn't write you on Monday, but everything was closed because of carnival! It's interesting being a missionary during carnival. I don't know what you know about the holiday, but it's the weekend leading up to Ash Wednesday and lent, and it's a time when people just go crazy pants. I heard (and I really hope it's not true), but I heard that in Rio during carnival, they cover the Cristos statue so that he can't see what they're doing...that doesn't make a ton of sense, but anyways, that's carnival. Things here are much more tame...apparently, however, here in Barao Geraldo near the church, there were some 200 police officers trying to stop the craziness- there were people breaking windows and they set a bus on fire...sounds like a good way to prepare for lent to me! (don't worry - we have to be in by 9, so we never saw any of this!)

This week has been great! We've found some new people to teach, and we're trying out a new way of helping the members share the gospel with their friends...hopefully it will work!

                                     Sister Pennington making friends with the local cats ;)

I don't have a lot of time to write, but I'll send some picture that we've taken! I'll write a better e-mail next week!

                                        Sister Pennington and her companion, Sister Howell

Love you all so much and hope that y'all are doing well!

Sister Pennington