Monday, July 28, 2014

sketchy Brazilian electrical work ... (July 21)

Hello, everyone!

So Brazilian electrical work is just straight up sketchy...let me explain why.

They don't have water heaters, and so they heat up the water in the shower head with wires from the wall. Sketchy right? I always thought it was kind of weird that they had showers like that, but it didn't ever cause any problem, so I just kind of went with it. What happened? Last Monday night when I was taking a shower, the wires started sparking and everything caught on fire. So we were left without a shower for 4 days. How did we take showers, you might ask? Sister Pennington woke up at 5 to heat up 3 pots of water to put in a bucket and take showers old school. Yep. It happened :) Luckily, we got one of the young men from the ward to fix the shower for us, so hopefully we won't die in the near future...

Anyways, it was a super busy week! We taught A LOT of lessons this week, but we're having trouble finding people who are truly interested in progressing in the gospel. But we'll find them, for sure :)

We have a less active member who had surgery this week to remove some gall stones, so we went to the hospital almost every day this week. Visiting hours are only at 2, but because we're "clergy" we got to go whenever we wanted. We were VIPs, so that was pretty cool :)

Sorry this e-mail is so scattered, but my brain is not really working super great right now. I'm getting transferred on Tuesday, and it's kind of crazy pants! Sister Acevedo is getting transferred as well. I've been here for such a long time, and I've gotten to know the members pretty well and the area pretty well too, and now I'm going to leave! It's going to be a good adventure where I'll go, for sure, but it's always a little bit nerve-raking literally not knowing were I'm going to be tomorrow. Also, I have no idea how I'm going to fit all of my things in 3 suitcases...

But, if I've learned anything in my mission, it's that the Lord ALWAYS knows best, and that we're sent to each area with each companion for a specific reason. We always have something to learn, something to improve and something to give. I left my heart and soul here in Itatiba. I did everything I know how to help this area, and especially the ward leadership. I hope that I made a difference here, because this ward has certainly made a difference in me. I'm excited to go where the Lord sends me tomorrow. It'll be an adventure!

Lots of love,
Sister Pennington

hello! (July 14)

Hello, everyone!

Hope y'all had a good week! My week was pretty great! The world cup is finally over!!!!! Wahooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Argentina didn't win so all of Brazil is calm! We can go back to normal missionary life now!

Vera was confirmed yesterday, so that was great :) We've been following up with her, and teaching the lessons after baptism, and she has so much faith it's just incredible. She has a lot of questions, and loves to study the gospel. She's a super star!

We found 2 really cool families this week! The first family, is Adriana and Francisco, who are just stinkin' adorable! Adriana is 4 months pregnant and just the cutest thing in the whole world. We started teaching her Thrusday, and invited her to a baby shower that a member was having at the church Saturday, and she came. She talked with everyone! She's super sweet and outgoing. Everyone thought she as a member already! Adriana is really excited to learn more and get to know the church.

The other family is super awesome, Jair, Lidiane and their 4 kids. We met Lidianie in front of her house because we were lost (again) and asked for directions, and then asked if we could share a message with her, and she said yes. She went to a protestant church in the past, but stopped because of some things that were going on in the church that she didn't like. She said that she made a deal with God that she would go to the church of the next person that invited her. This was over a year ago, and we were the first to invite her to church. She said that she was already feeling good about our message, and she's going to bring her whole family to church.

Life is good. Livin' the dream :)

Have a great week! Love ya!
Sister Pennington

milagre da semana (July 7)

Hello, everyone!

So this week was full of crazy things. First of all, Brazil played Colombia in the world cup on the 4th of July and won, so for the next 2 hours, there were horns, fireworks and things of that nature. So it was pretty much the same thing as the 4th of July in the states :)

We promised an investigator last week that if she went to church with us, we would go to church with her, and she went. So we visited the 7th day Adventist church (on Saturday morning, naturally) and it was interesting. She took us back to her house and made us lunch, so it was pretty cool. She works in a bakery, and she had cake to give us, so that was pretty cool too :)

But the biggest most exciting MILAGRE of the week....

We've been teaching Senhora Vera for sooooo long! I found her with sister Gonzalez in April, taught her with Sister A. Silva and am still teaching her with sister Vega. She's had several baptismal dates that didn't work out because her daughter got a perforation in her intestine and then a ruptured cyst, and had to have a serious surgery, and she was in the ICU for a week, but finally got out and went home. This was about a month ago. And since then, Vera's been looking after her daughter, helping her because her daughter really can't do anything on her own right now. So we've been at kind of a stand still with her. We already taught her everything, and she already had a testimony and a desire to be baptized, but wasn't able. We had no idea what to do, and in a last effort attempt to help her, we arranged to visit her with the bishop. We agonized for a week over what to teach her with the bishop (who hadn't ever gone out teaching with us before, but agreed to go for the first time) and for the very first time on my mission I had absolutely no idea what to teach. Wednesday arrived, (the day of our appointment) and we still had no idea what to do. We met up with the bishop right before the meeting, and explained the situation to him. And he said, "well, we'll just go in and talk to her, and let the spirit do the rest". It was one of the best lessons I've been a part of on my mission. Sister Vega and I hardly said anything, and Bishop pretty much taught the first 3 lessons in under and hour, invited Vera to be baptized, and then gave a priesthood blessing to Vera's daughter. And then Bishop baptized Vera on Saturday. It was so cool to see the Bishop's excitement for missionary work, and for Vera! The baptism was so special, so sweet. Vera was crying the whole time because she was so elated. After the baptism, she grabbed my hand crying, and stopped just long enough to tell me, "Thank you, Sister, for talking to me that day when I was going to re-pot my plant. Thank you for giving me this opportunity". I've learned so much from Irma Vera and teaching her, I can't even begin to list all of the lessons I've learned from her. But, I think the most important lessons I've learned are 1. talk to everyone and 2. patience and faith. I met Vera at the end of April one morning when she was walking in the street carrying a pot of flowers. We stopped to talk to her, got her address, and started teaching her. And then after 3 months of praying, thinking working, and doing everything we could she was finally baptized. She is such a special woman, and is going to be a faithful and dedicated member of the church. It's been such a blessing working with her.

Sister Vega, Bishop, Irma Vera, Sister Pennington
Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting, Bishop bore his testimony about the experience he had helping us help Vera, and he bore his testimony about the importance of missionary work, and invited the members to help. We've been working for the past 3 transfers to gain the confidence of the Bishop, and with a lot of hard work and the help of the spirit, I think we're finally getting there.

I know that God lives, and that He really is a God of miracles. He is aware of each one of us, and He is anxiously engaged in our lives, and works along side of us to build His kingdom here on the earth. I love this gospel, and am so blessed to be a part of it!

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

always, always an adventure (June 30)


This week was a little bit crazy! We had 2 Brazil games this week, and an exchange, so the week was really different than usual.

So I got a call on Monday that all of the trainers and their trainees would be having a meeting on Thursday at 10 in Campinas. There's a bus from Itatiba to Campinas at 8:30. Beleza, no problem. Then the Sister Training leader called me because she needed to do an exchange with sister Acevedo. She decided that it would work best if we switched at the meeting on Thursday in Campinas, and I went to Braganca with her companion, and she come back to Itatiba with my companion, and then meet up with sister Acevedo and her companion and do an exchange. A little bit more complicated, but again, no problem. It's the end of the month, so we're really poor, but we had just enough to pay for all of the buses. So, Thursday morning, we go to the bus station to find out that the bus schedule changed and they no longer have a bus at 8:30, but at 9 and it goes through another city, so it takes a lot longer. We didn't get to Campinas until 10:30, and by that time, I was already distraught because we were so late, and then we got on the bus, but missed the bus stop, and I recognized that I was in Barao Geraldo, my first area! So we got off the bus and I called the assistant to the president, and was crazy pants stressed because we had no money and were late and I had no idea where we were...but the assistant is a good human who easily recognized that I was pretty close to tears, so he paid for a taxi to come and pick us up. We got the to meeting just as President Perroti was driving away #mostembarrasingmomentofmylife. But, in the end it kind of worked out...I went to Braganca with Sister Mitillo, and Sister Matos went to Itatiba with Sister was kind of crazy pants, but it worked...
Sister Pennington with Sister Vega and two members of the local ward.
Saturday was the first game of the finals for Brazil, and they went into overtime...We were waiting for the game to finish to go back to work, but at 3 when the game should have ended, nobody was in the streets. Literally not one person was in the street. We waited a bit more, and an hour later people start screaming, yelling, honking horns in the streets, setting off fireworks and a bunch of other craziness. Haha it was a good time :)

Things are crazy here, but we've had some really good things as well. Ariani was a referral from a member who went to church a few weeks ago, and we were able to teach her this week, and she is so prepared! She's searching for the truth, and she is loving the things we're teaching. She understands really well what we teach, and has so much real intent. The problem, is that her husband is very firm in his beliefs, and she is worried about what will happen with her relationship when she's baptized. But, she's great!

Sister Pennington with Ira Bia and her family
We had a cool experience of being in the right place at the right time. We were walking in front of the church going to a teaching appointment, and a woman parked in front of the church and asked if it was open. We talked to her a little bit, and found out that she's doing family history work, and she heard that the church has a lot of resources to help her with family history, so she just showed up at the church. We set up another appointment with her at the church and the member in charge of family history, and we were able help her and her family with the genealogy they wanted to do, and we were also able to teach the first lesson. They're pretty great!

This week, like every week, was crazy and full of unexpected adventures. I just love being a missionary!

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