Monday, June 23, 2014

Uma semana de milagres (June 23)

Hola, familia!

This week really was a week of miracles!

Sister Vega and I were able to teach so many people, find new investigators and help the ones we have. It was awesome...

3 experiences that were particularly miraculous...

1. We had an awesome activity at the church! The ward here has been struggling to feel excited about missionary work, but last week we visited a family in the ward to ask them what they thought the ward needed to feel more excited, and they suggested an activity. So we planned and executed an awesome activity and TONS of people showed up. It was a contest of desserts, but it was the men that made the dessert and the women who judged. It was great!

2. Vera has been in her daughter's house all week, so we haven't been able to see her this whole week. We were really worried about her, because we hadn't seen her, and we'd already re-marked her baptism so many times, we were just really worried. So we called her to get the address of her daughter's house. I understood the neighborhood, and house number and it was near a futebol field, but didn't understand the name of the road and just as I was about to ask her again, the phone cut out. And we're poor missionaries without credit, so we we out of luck. So Sister Vega and I decided that we would just go on faith. Vera's daughter lives in the area of the other sisters, so I'd never been to this place before in my life. And it was 7 at night on friday. But, we felt very strongly that we needed to visit her. So, we took the bus with the name of the neighborhood and just went. We got off the bus and asked everyone we could find where the futebol field was, and we eventually found the field. With a host of 10 or so streets to choose from, we really were led by the hand of God to the right house. The very first door we tried was the right house. Vera came out and was so excited to see us, and we went inside and talked with Vera and her daughter and it was awesome. Vera is still firm in every way possible. She's awesome and going to be baptized so soon!

3. The other sisters have been teaching an older lady, Jú, for months now. She was taught everything and had already developed a testimony of the gospel, but people kept telling her that she wasn't ready. The sisters had an intense lesson with her on Saturday afternoon, and Jú decided to be baptized on Saturday at 7. So the sisters called us frantically at 4 to say that they needed our help getting everything ready for the baptism. So we knocked the doors of every member that lived in our area to invite them to the baptism, went to the chapel to help fill up the baptismal font and put together a quick musical number to play during the service. It really turned out well, and there were so many people who came that we had to hold the service in the sacrament meeting room. Members even made food to eat after the service! And guess who randomly showed up...A GENERAL AUTHORITY! A member of the area presidency of Brazil came to Jú's baptism! It was awesome, and she felt so special and felt so good. It was a great baptism, and the ward got even more excited about missionary work!

It was a great week, and we were blessed to have so many experiences to see the Lord's hand in this work. I absolutely love the privilege I have of being a part of this great mission!

Love you all!
Sister Pennington

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Oi, tudo bem? (June 16)

Hello, everyone!

First world cup game with Brazil ... It was crazy pants in the street for the whole night after the game! And Brazil plays again tomorrow ... wahoo! time to read the Book of Mormon!

So this week was pretty good! Sister Silva was transferred to Campinas, so I dropped her off at the Rodoviaria in Campinas before I went to the mission office. And guess who was in the Rodoviaria going to the United States ... Sister Howell! I got to see her one last time before she went home! She's a normal human now!

But, anyways ... I went to the mission office, and all of the trainers had a lunch and a training from the assistant. I got really nervous before getting my new companion ... I was so nervous, in fact, I didn't even eat dessert because I wasn't hungry ... that's how nervous I was!

But life's good because I got the best companion ever! Sister Vega! She's from Peru, and she's so awesome! She's so sweet, so humble, so willing to learn and I'm pretty sure she came pre-trained! She's awesome!
Sister Pennington and her new companion Sister Vega
Her very first day here, we had our study in the morning like usual, and an extra hour of training, and we practiced how to invite an investigator to be baptized. Later that day, we had a lesson with one of our investigators, and Sister Vega had no fear and incited our investigator to be baptized exactly how we practiced and she accepted! It was so awesome! Sister Vega's the bomb!

Vera wasn't baptized this week, which is sad, but it's because her daughter had a very serious surgery and got out of the hospital this week, so Vera wasn't at home, and we couldn't finish teaching her the lessons. But, she was at her daughter's house Saturday night, and she told her daughter she had to go home to sleep to get ready for church, and she came on Sunday, and absolutely loved it! She feels so comfortable there, and she absolutely loves the gospel! She's so great! (although she did cry when I told her that Sister Silva left! I almost cried wen I saw her crying! But she's going to love sister Vega!)

I love all of you at home so much! I hope that y'all are doing well! I love the gospel and I love being a missionary!

Até mais!
Sister Pennington

Monday, June 9, 2014

crazy pants!! (June 9)

Hello, everyone!

This week has been a little bit crazy pants! It feels like the end of the transfer is always a little bit crazy pants!

4 crazy pants things...
1. The world cup starts this week, so it's about to get straight up crazy pants here! Brazilians love fútebol more than anything in the world. We received direction from our mission president that on the days when Brazil is playing, we're not to leave our house ... I think I'll have enough time to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover at least twice ... I'll let you know how that goes :)

2. On Friday, we left the house of an investigator and started walking, and Sister A. Silva had a crippling pain in her leg, and it wouldn't go away, and she couldn't walk, so we went to the hospital. We're both sheltered 20 year olds, and had never been to the hospital alone, so we didn't know exactly what to do. But, Heavenly Father loves Sister A. Silva a lot, and as I was struggling to push the wheel-chair bound A. Silva out of the elevator, a couple from the ward, Zeca and Camilla, came to the rescue. The Lord put them in our path at just the right moment! Sister A. Silva and I waited and then went to talk with the doctor and she was the worst! She didn't want to do anything, and when we protested a bit, she got impatient and just ordered a bunch of unnecessary tests just to make us stop talking. So we were on our way to get x-ray (which obviously wouldn't help anything, because the pain wasn't in her bones) and we explained the situation to Zeca and Camilla who were waiting for us. Zeca reminds me a LOT of Geza Lengyel - so needless to say he was outraged at the uselessness of this doctor and he demanded that we see someone else. He went in to talk with another doctor with us, and he said he was A. Silva's father and he demanded something to be done for her. It was pretty awesome. The doctor ended up giving an IV with some pretty heavy medicine to A. Silva, and so she felt a lot better. Zeca stayed with us while A. Silva was getting the IV, and there's only supposed to be one family member per patient and 3 or 4 different nurses came up to Zeca and said that he had to leave, and he only said, "ok" and didn't move. It was fantastic. He and his wife stayed with us for 3 hours in the hospital and then drove us home. They're absolutely awesome! Sister A. Silva's doing better, but she's going to have to see a specialist, because the doctor thought that it could be something nerve related...

3. VERA'S GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!! WAHOOOOO!!!!!!! She's the absolute best! She reads the Book of Mormon every day, and even more, she reflects on what she reads, understands it, and applies it. She understands and believes that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and wants to choose the right. She is so excited to be baptized. Up until this week she said that she wanted to be baptized, but that she wasn't ready yet. But this week she decided that she was ready and that she was going to prepare to be baptized! The baptism will be Sunday afternoon...keep her in your prayers :)

4. The assistant called me on Friday morning to let me know that I'm going to be training a new missionary this next transfer! I'm panicing just a little bit! I'm staying here in Itatiba, and Sister A. Silva is leaving. I'm going to be very sad to see her go! She's great! I pick up my "daughter" from the mission office tomorrow afternoon...keep her in your prayers too! Poor thing has no idea what she's getting into with Pennington as her trainer!

Love you all so much, and hope you have a great week!
Sister Pennington

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It gets cold in Brazil?! (June 2)

Hello, familia!

I don't know if I've become a wuss since coming to Brazil, but holy cow it's flippin' cold here! I'm literally going to have to go buy a winter jacket! Who knew!

Cake Sister Pennington made for Sister A. Silva
Anyways, highlights of the week....

- Vera - I wrote about her last week that she came to church and LOVED it! She's just eating up the gospel - reading the Book of Mormon, the Gospel Principles book she got in church, the pamphlets we left for here, and even more than that, she's talking about what she's learning with her family! She's so excited about learning more about the gospel! And, we brought the president of the relief society with us, and she is awesome! Just to explain a little bit about how awesome the president of the relief society is, she served a mission and she "only" had 2 baptisms. But guess what? One of the people she baptized is now the area president of Brazil, Elder Costa. She and her husband served as mission president. She gets missionary work. She's awesome. Anyways, Vera obviously just loved her to pieces, and they talk a lot during the week. It's awesome.

Sister Pennington and her companion Sister A. Silva
 - Carlos - We found Carlos last week knocking doors. We went back this week, and he is so prepared! We were teaching the restoration of the gospel to him, and we were teaching about prophets, and he stopped it and asked us, "If God always called prophets, then why don't we have prophets today? That doesn't make sense." We then had the privilege of telling him that we do have a prophet today who received revelation directly from God to lead this church. When we got done teaching him, he was very excited to read the Book of Mormon, and come to church. He's awesome!

- João Batista - HE FINALLY CAME TO CHURCH! We've been doing everything we can to help him quit smoking, and make changes in his life, but he wasn't progressing - so we explained very clearly to him, that if he doesn't decide to start making changes in his life and acting, there's nothing more we can do to help him. He came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it! It was great!
Can you guess which side is Sister Pennington's ;)
 - Cremilda and Luis Claudio - I wrote about this family a few weeks ago - that they were an inactive couple with 3 boys who aren't members that we miraculously found at the bus stop. We were about to give up on them, because we've been trying to meet with them, and it seemed like they were avoiding us, and not really wanting to come back to church. BUT, we decided to try them one last time, and we found just the mom, Cremilda, at home, and she said the she wanted to come back to church, and that she would be at church. They'd promised this before, so our faith in them was unfortunately a little weak. But guess, what?! THEY CAME TO CHURCH! After being inactive for over 10 years, they finally came back, and they loved it! The ward got so excited! Everyone was so welcoming to them, and they absolutely loved it!

It was fast and testimony meeting yesterday, and a young woman, Fiorella, who's only 14 years old bore one of the most powerful testimonies I've ever heard. She talked about how she had a friend who recently lost her father, and how she was sharing the gospel with this friend. Fiorella talked with her friend about the eternal nature of families and that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be sealed to our families forever. Fiorella bore testimony about missionary work, and how good she felt when she shared the gospel.

In a simple testimony, Fiorella really summed up the purpose of missionary work, and the blessings associated with it. We're here to help families be together forever. There's a definition of "missionary" that you've probably already heard; "someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with theirs for eternity".

This is why I'm here, and hope that I can be of service to the people I teach.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Pennington