Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oi Familia!
I am here! I am here! This is the happiest place on earth. Disney World doesn´t have a chance. Things are going great and I am learning a ton.
I found out that I had received my visa on Sunday morning and then I left early Monday morning. I traveled from California to NY to Sao Paulo to Ribeirao Preto. It was a long journey and I am just barely overcoming the lack of sleep, but all is well. The journey went wonderfully and I didn´t have any problems at all. It was quite a blessing. I flew alone until I got to Sao Paulo where I met up with about 10 other missionaries going to Ribeirao Preto as well. Elder Oxendine and Elder Wooley from my MTC district were there. It was good to see some familiar faces after two days of being so alone! As a missionary that is something that I never experience.
When we arrived in Ribeirao Preto the mission president and his wife met us at the airport and then we went to the mission home for dinner. It was a very delicious Brazilian spread with rice and beans and this chicken stroganoff stuff and maracuja moose for sobremesa. Every meal here is pretty much the same with rice and beans and lots of greasy meat. The meal we had with the Bradfords really is quite correct. We are fed for lunch every single day and if the members that signed up don´t want to make food they straight up give us money. We also usually eat with a set of Elders that are also serving in our ward (Campos Elisies, Brazil). They are both American so they can always help if I don´t understand something. Don´t worry Mom, we are very much taken care of, I just might come back looking a little wider because we never eat anything healthy! I mentioned to Sister Jales that I liked fruit and broccoli and now with everyone we eat with she says, "Ela é saudável!"
Speaking of which, we new companion is Sister Jales. She is a Brazilian from Fortaleza, Brazil. She speaks no English, but not for long. She has been out for three months just like me and is so cute and happy all of them. Some of things I do she thinks are really funny and some of the things they do I would never think of doing (like eating cough drops like candy...) so we always have a lot to laugh at each other about. Although it is sometimes difficult to communicate, I know having a Brazilian companion is a huge blessing. I can pretty much understand everything she is saying now. Not any of the other Brazilians that we talk to, but her I can. She is a hard worker and strives to reach our goals. We will do great work together!
This week I invited two people to be baptized and yesterday did a contact completely by myself! I am learning quickly with Sister Jales´s patient help. This is the best place in the world. Sorry, I really wish I could write more, but we always run out of time at emails! You have to pay by the minute here too and I don´t think I can print out my emails anymore so if you want to send letters instead I could peer over them longer. They say it only takes 1 to 2 weeks to receive letters from the U.S. Talk to you soon! I love you all!

Sister Marchant

Oi Presidente Brum!
It has been a great week. I love the people and culture here already! The people are so happy here, especially Sister Jales. She is a wonderful trainer and is always smiling. Nothing will bring her down, which makes me happy all the time too! She is very patient with my Portuguese and helping me adjust to this new missionary life. I am very blessed to have her as a trainer. I love working with her.

We had a lesson with Sebastiao, Sandoval and Claudia, and Paula and Anderson.
Sabastiao´s lesson was right before stake conference on Saturday. He had a bunch of questions about 2 Nephi 2 so we reread that chapter with him and we, or rather Sister Jales answered all of his questions and covered all of his doubts. She is an excellent, bold teacher and is confident in what she says. I understood almost all of that lesson actually, but said very little. I did invite him to be baptized though and he said probably for the 9th of November. We called him yesterday though and he was saying that might be a little too soon so we will have to talk with him more about it. He went to the Priesthood Session of Stake Conference though and stayed for the night session afterwards. That is a lot of church in one day! I have faith he can reach the waters of baptism if he keeps praying and reading. His big concern is that he wants to finish reading the Book of Mormon before he prays about it. We are trying to help him see that God answers prayers at all times in our lives and at all steps of our conversion.

We taught Sandoval and Claudia a little bit about baptism and invited them to Stake Conference. Unfortunately, they were surprising out of town this weekend, and Claudia works every Sunday in the mornings when we usually have Church. They do not fully grasp the importance of attending Church, but if we can overcome that hurdle, and don´t think that there would be anything else holding them back from baptism. They know the Book of Mormon is true, but are not yet willing to sacrafice for it.

Our lesson with Paula and Anderson was about Os Tres Maneiras para Tornarse a Familia Mais Feliz. They accepted our lesson well and had lots of comments. We are helping them overcome some family arguments right now and are planning to set them with a baptismal date at our next lesson. They are very kind and want to become better together.

As far as I know these lessons went really well! I can´t understand much of what the Brazilians we teach are saying, but I can now understand most of what Sister Jales says. I am learning a ton everyday and Sister Jales is very helpful. She is learning some English too! I love sharing this work with her.

We also reached our goal of 140 contatos por semana! Even though we were not able to make any contatos the first few days of the week since I arrived later, we were still able to reach our goal. Yesterday after Stake Conference we still needed over 20 contacts. Then the thunderstorm started up and I honestly didn´t think we would be able to do it. Sister Jales and I said a prayer to ask for the help of the Lord to find people in the ruas to talk to. We started walking farther and were able to get all of the contatos we needed in only half an hour! We offered another prayer of thanks to God. Right when we finished the rain stopped. We were then able to achieve 9 over our goal. It was a miracle to me and strengthened my testimony in the power of prayer. Prayer is such a huge blessing. The first few days were a little difficult for me to adjust with jetlag from the plane, but I know that through prayer God helped me through it. I know that God answers every single prayer I offer. He is so good to me.

Things are going well and I am learning a lot! I love being a missionary! Brazil and Sister Jales make me so happy. I want to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength to bring these people unto Christ and to bring honor to my God. "In the strength of the Lord I can do all things."

Thank you Presidente,
Sister Marchant

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