Friday, June 20, 2014

June 19, 2014

ahhhhh family!!! There is so much to tell you and I only get 45 minutes of emailing here, so I'll try my best to fit everything in and answer all of your questions!! Brazil is so amazing!!!! I can't even believe I am here! I am loving it sooo much! It was really hard to leave DC but once I saw Sao Paulo and got to meet more Brasillians, i just feel so blessed to be here!! I had amazing experiences before leaving DC and I will forever be grateful for serving there!!! Tuesday was super weird because president Riggs and Sister Riggs came and picked me up and drove me to the airport. We had great talks and then when they tried to check me in at the airport, the people said my flight had been delayed until 2 in the morning and it wasn't even for sure that it would leave at 2, so they said they could rebook me for the next day. I was disappointed at first but then I realized that Heavenly Father needed missionaries in Vienna that night so me and sister Egbert got back together and did work! We saw a few investigators and had a grand ol' time haha. The next morning President picked me up and off we went!! I expected that day to be crazy, but it turned out way crazier than I could have imagined!! I went from DC to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Detroit, and Detroit to Sao Paulo. People kept saying weird things when they looked at my visa, but they all eventually let me through. All was well until I tried to get on my last plane from Detroit to Sao Paulo. There was a paper stapled to my passport that the missionaries in DC said was my Visa. I assumed was my Visa so when the lady in Detroit asked to see my Visa I showed her that. All the employees are looking at it and I am the only one still waiting at the gate. That is when this lady told me I didn't have my visa!!! i didn't know what to do or think or anything! I just started to cry because I was so confused and I thought about the fact that I had no where to go that night and all of this craziness was running through my head. The employees felt really bad and kept telling me to stop crying. Then one of them let me use his phone, so I called the church office and explained the situation and the girl says "Look on all the pages in your passport because they usually don't put it right on the first page" so I looked and there was my Visa!! I ran to the people and got on my flight 10 minutes before we took off....close one right! They ended up upgrading me to first class (i think because they felt so bad for me) and so I had a pretty great flight! My steward guy was actually an Returned Missionary who served in Curitiba! haha! That experience taught me a whole lot about if I really have trust in Heavenly Father or not. I was so upset when I thought I didn't have my visa!! I had so many questions and doubts and so it was a really good learning experience for me and helped me see that I need to learn to really trust in the Lord!! I left Detroit at 8 pm and got to Brazil at 8 am. Brazil really is one big party right now!! The airport was crazy busy with World Cup traffic and there was a Mariachi Band playing and all these Brazilians were singing and passing around 8 AM! I got to the CTM Thursday morning and the guy who drove me there left me standing alone with my bags in the lobby. All of a sudden 5 or 6 Brasilleras (female brazilains) ran up and started hugging me and kissing me and welcoming me to the CTM! The people here are so amazing and charitable and i love them sooo much!! I had a little time to change clothes and then I met up with my district. I'm in a trio w sister Sanchez who is from CA and served in TX for 11 months and also sister Openshaw who is from CA and served in OH for one year! She was companions in Ohio with Sister Allen, my sweet MTC comp!!! Sis Sanchez will go to Londrina, Brazil and Sister Openshaw will serve in Rio. They are great and we really love each other! We have 2 elders who are also in our district. One will go to Fortaleza with me!! That night was the first World Cup game and the city was just crazy! Every few minutes we'd hear horns and cheering and screaming and music! haha its a blast! I have been learning sooo much Portuguese! It's awesome being in our district because we all want to learn really badly and we are strict about only speaking Portuguese. It's helping so much and we also have the opportunity to be around other missionaries who speak the language so it's soo much easier to learn! We live with 3 other Brasilleras and they are the sweetest girls! ahh I love them so much! Its actually a lot of fun being the minority...its a first for me and I really love it! :) something cool about the CTM is that we get to leave a lot. So Saturday we did what we call proselitismo. Its when we go out with one of our instructors and street contact! We went to this street by a huge theater and it was so much fun! we gave out 6 copies of the livro de mormon and only one person said they didn't want to talk with us!! Brasillians are so nice!! it's almost shocking that so many people want to talk with us haha!! Sunday was awesome! We had an interview with one of the members of our Branch Presidency. He is really great and did the whole interview in Portuguese! We are the only Americans in our branch so that's a lot of fun! I actually understood the talks too which made me happy! It was really cool to hear the talks that were given because almost all the speakers were converts. one girl was baptized 2 yrs ago and is now on her mission which is just so amazing to see! These missionaries have some of the strongest testimonies I've ever heard! I love them! After church we had a meeting for the new Americans in the CTM. It basically answered all my questions I've ever had about Brazil!! That night we had an awesome devotional. It was given in the MTC in Provo last week. It was Quinten L. Cook and it was so powerful! I feel like its a huge blessing to be in the CTM again because not only am I learning the language but I really get to refocus on my purpose as a missionary and I just love it! Yesterday we had an awesome devotional from a Stake pPresident here in Brazil and it was just super powerful! I was again reminded of the love my Heavenly Father has for me and how blessed I am to serve two missions!Its the best! Today we got a bunch of new Americans and I know some of them! One was my visiting teacher at BYUI and the other was in the mtc with me in Provo! its great! to sum up my feelings and thoughts this week I decided to create a list of what I like and don't like about Brasil!! Likes: • The people!! we have a lot of Hispanic people here in the CTM too. It's seriously the best! all the sisters are just constantly hugging you and talking to you and smiling at you! I've never felt so loved (besides by you mom!! =) ) • The food!!! seriously AMAZING!!!! • Guarana. enough said. • The weather! Sao Paulo has really beautiful weather! I think Fortaleza will be super super hot but I'll love it :) • The Temple! I got to go to the sao paulo temple this morning! beautiful experience! • The language! • The crazy parties people have! • How happy everyone is Dislikes: • Cockroaches the size of the palm of my hand...... FYI I leave the CTM next week! crazy right?! I love you all so much!! I'm sorry this is so short but I do love you all and hope you are not worried about me or anything! I am loving life and loving Brasil!! Thanks for all you guys do and for all the prayers! LOVE YOU! ate logo! Sister Pehrson

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Família! That's right! I am about to depart the U.S. for the next 7 months! It really isn't sinking in yet to be honest! I'll think about it a little and start freaking out but I've been so busy this week I haven't really thought of it a ton! I feel like I'm in a super weird dream! As soon as the members found out I am leaving they all wanted to feed me a bunch of American food! They are the sweetest! But really, this week has been so amazing! The perfect way to end my time here in VA! Monday was super fun!! We did the usual shopping and cleaning and then went to these beautiful botanical gardens! It was so much fun! Right after that we went to a ward family we have been working with and found out the husband was sick so that's why they didn't go to church Sunday. But they've been reading out of Preach My Gospel like we challenged them to so that was so exciting to hear! After that we went to visit another Ward member. His mom was visiting Texas. It was a ton of fun talking to them all! After that we decided to go check on a referral we got from the ward. It was the coolest family ever! They know tons of Mormons and are so amazing! We had a really awesome visit with them and the dad's heart has been softened a lot this year so I've excited to see what'll happen! Tuesday was wonderful! We had zone and district meetings and then had a lesson with Valerie. I told her I was leaving and she was pretty shocked! She told us she'd wait until Thursday to cry about it...she is so funny. She had a meeting with a publisher that day and is getting a book published. So maybe she really will be on Oprah someday! I hope so! After that we did FB and dinner and then we went to a member lesson but they weren't home. So we were walking around talking to people and met this older guy who was a little bit insane. It was really sad because he is so negative and has such a sad outlook on life. He thinks that everyone is out to get him. Sadly he wasn't very receptive but hopefully we at least made him feel better in some way! After that we went to a lesson with the singles ward sisters who are teaching a Brasillian! Her name is Caroline and she is a hoot! We brought a Returned Missionary who served in Brasil with us. It was so fun to teach her and made me really scared and excited for Brasil at the same time! :) Caroline has a crush on the member we brought and at the end she asked if we wanted food. We were like "oh we better get going" but she was like no you guys need to eat because brasillians will get offended if you don't eat their food. So we expected her to bring chips or something but she brings out a huge platter of sandwiches and cookies and every food imaginable! Then she brings out a cake that she had decorated that said "thanks for coming!" Haha it was the best thing ever! And then at the end she gave us chocolate and gave the member a gift bag with a teddy bear, chocolate, and a card. She is so cute! Wednesday was awesome! In the afternoon we went and picked up my flight itinerary. They also showed me all my paperwork so I now know what a visa actually looks like haha! But I am not allowed to have it all until tomorrow. After getting all that we met up with our sister training leaders and went on exchange. It was a really awesome exchange! I went to the sister training leaders area and sis Egbert stayed in Vienna. We taught lots of interesting people but my favorite person was this lady named Stacey and her son Adam. Stacey has a friend who is a member of the church and she went to church with her on Sunday. She really loved it and signed up to feed the sisters! So we came over and she cooked dinner for us and we had the most amazing spirit filled lesson! It was so great! She grew up not going to church at all. Her step family went to the Catholic Church and she asked her mom if she could go and her mom said no. That sparked a desire in her to attend church. When she went to college she dated a Lutheran and then joined that church but hasn't been back to that or really any other church since then. She has a 10 yr old boy Adam who is the sweetest thing ever! He loves his mom so so much. She is worried that Adam won't like church and their time together is so precious but she wants to get them both involved in church. She has an amazing relationship with God and knows she needs to go to church, she's just scared of committing. We taught her about Joseph Smith and how she was a lot like him because they are both truth seekers. She's really excited to learn more and she is so prepared! She's a very private person and it was amazing to see her just completely open up to us! I love being a missionary!!! Thursday was awesome! We exchanged back and then met up with Valerie. Our visit ended on a good note! She has been one of the most unique people I've taught on my mission...that's for sure! We had dinner with a family in our ward who had the newest members of our ward living with them while they moved in! It was fun to meet them and they will be a very powerful addition to Vienna ward! I'm super excited! After that we went and had a lesson with another family in our ward! We ended the night visiting brother Beck. He hasn't been to church in quite a while. We talked to him about family history since he's an expert and we're trying to get a class set up for that. He has amazing stories and it was very fun to visit with him! Friday was great! We weekly planned and saw our investigator Mazie. We visited her at Chipotle where she works. We walked in and a member from another ward paid for our food! It was so nice! We had a good visit with her. We then did a bunch of service for Jean Pierre and had a great lesson! He showed us even more of the stuff he's invented and worked on. He has made parts for drones and he created one of the first recording device for military planes. The one he created was being tested when the Russians shot down a Korean airline plane. They were denying it all but then the recording device Jean Pierre had invented recorded the Russian people telling one of their pilots to shoot down that plane! How crazy is that!? He kept telling us how "very Impressed" he is with us. :) After seeing him we tried to see Sadia who wasn't home. Saturday was sooo amazing!! We'd been trying to see Ellen all week and sent her a text Friday night just checking on her and telling her we love her. She texted us the next morning and invited us to come over and do service for her. We did and she sat outside and talked to us and we got to teach her a lot! She was so grateful and afterwards texted us telling us she knows god sent us because we've been coming exactly when she needed it! She is being prepared more and more and a lot of the rumors she's heard are being cleared up!! :D It's the best! After that we saw the Clark's. Oh how I will miss them! I truly hope Brasil has some hilarious people because I'll just miss that too much if they don't! This guy rode by on his bike and he was just average size and Travis was like "there goes that crazy giraffe man again! He's so huge! Wouldn't wanna run into him in a dark alley!" Teresa was like "he's not that tall Travis.." They always sit on these plastic chairs on their porch and they now have 2 more chairs set up for me and sister Egbert. I feel like one of the cool kids :) after dinner we went and took cookies to the new family in the ward and then found the house of someone we met at another persons house the other day. They weren't home but it was still so exciting! Sunday was amazing! We had an interesting gospel principles investigator talked about cow poop and evolution the whole was an adventure! After church we had lunch and a lesson with some members and then right after another lunch and another lesson with another ward family! Me and sister Egbert were about to die. It was great though! We then went and said bye to the McLeod's and then saw Ermie and Sheila. We saw some other ward members and then saw Alicia and Ed. It was one of the best most exhausting days of my mission! As far as my flight goes I fly out tomorrow. I will email you once I get there. I'm excited for the new adventure, but sad to say goodbye to Virginia. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was part of God's plan for me. I needed to serve here to learn many lessons. I now need to go to Brasil to learn other lessons and to teach those who need me there. Heavenly Father has blessed me so so much and I am excited to learn Portuguese and learn to exercise my faith in him even more! Love you all tons and will talk to you next week from Brasil! :):):):):) Eu amo vocês muito! Viva Brasil! Tchau! Irmã Pehrson

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

Oi familia!!!! I hope you've all had an amazing week and that you're not too worried about me leaving the country ;) I've obviously had a very exciting week in soo many ways!! So monday after emailing we shopped super fast and then went to the viva Vienna festival. Our investigator Morgan was dancing there and we got to watch her! Her mom Ellen was really shocked and so grateful that we had come! it was a ton of fun. After we watched her we went and ate some deep fried cookie dough because you can't go to something like that and not buy deep fried cookie dough! it was disgusting and delicious all at the same time.. haha. we saw tons of members and investigators there too so it was really fun! after that we went and had dinner with some members and it was about that time that i realized how fried i had gotten so they sent us on our way with a whole bottle of aloe.. haha i guess that was a good lesson to learn right before Brazil! That night we attempted to visit quite a few people with not much luck but we street contacted a lot and met some really awesome people! this one guy was out playing basketball with his son and when we were talking to them the dad explained to the son what we do as missionaries and told us how cool he thought it was. but then he pointed to the beer in his hand and told us he's not quite interested haha. Tuesday was obviously a really crazy day! we went to our district and zone meetings and everything was normal until the end. President walked over to the room we were in with our district and said "I need 2 missionaries." and then he pointed at me and sister Egbert! i had no idea what to think! he took us into the hall and said he'd talk to sister Egbert first. As they were in that room I had a million different things running through my mind! oOe of them was that one of us had gotten our visa but I didn't want to get my hopes up or anything! So then sister Egbert came out of the room and I was trying to read her face to see if I could tell what was going on but I got nothing! So President took me into the room and sat me down and told me he had good news and bad news. The bad news was that sister Egbert hadn't gotten her visa. the good news was that I got mine. I think I had about a million different thoughts running through my mind! Excited, yet sad that Sister Egbert didn't get hers! thrilled for a new adventure, and yet so sad that I have to leave the amazing place I've grown to love so much! Incredibly nervous and apprehensive about speaking a new language, experiencing a new culture, and leaving the country for the first time!! I was all over the place and still am! I asked President how to help sister Egbert and he said to just hold off on telling the ward and suggested some other ideas. He then told me how proud he is of me, which made me feel really great! It was weird walking out of the room because everyone was watching trying to see what was going on. Me and sister Egbert just hugged and cried for awhile. I always thought when I got my visa I'd be doing cartwheels and jumping for joy!! In some ways I am but it's also really hard knowing that i got mine and sweet sister Egbert didn't!! I feel like this next week will teach me a whole lot!! The mood of our day definitely changed after that. We went and did some stuff for sister Egbert's visa and she felt really discouraged. It's hard to cheer someone else up when you have what they want!! But I am really trying!! after lunch we went and saw a ward member. she is such a sweetie! she's the one who bought us the really amazing blender! she needed to borrow it so she could make pesto for the mutual activity that night. we helped her and it was so fun getting to know her! after that we did FB. We then went and ate dinner with the Kofords, the family from Brazil. Being in their home always makes me want to go to brasil so it was extra fun being there tonight and realizing that I'm finally going! After dinner we walked around in a huge rainstorm until it was time to have a lesson with one of our members. they are a really cute younger couple! at the end of the lesson the husband told us how much he loves having us in their home and it was really exciting!! After that we went to try this lady that a member told us about who they had given a book of Mormon to sort of randomly. we knocked and met a cute little Filipino family and they invited us to come back later in the week!! Wednesday was really great! we had our second half of zone conference in the morning which was awesome! it was all about boldly inviting and was an awesome reminder that if i really love the people, i can be as bold as i want! this zone conference made me realize again how much I'm going to miss this mission!! after the conference we went and mailed off stuff for sister Egbert's visa. after that we did FB and then went and saw a family in the ward. we talked to the mom and set up a time to come back and do a member lesson! during dinner I started sorting through my stuff and getting rid of lots of things! It's weird because I want to prepare, but a lot of stuff I still need to use so I can't sort and pack quite yet!! but I'll be sending some stuff home and I've already let sister Egbert sort through some of my clothes and things I don't want and I'll probably take that bag of stuff to district meeting so other sisters can look through it! but after dinner we went and had a member lesson with this family that just moved in. they probably have some of the craziest kids I've met on my mission! it was definitely an adventure to teach them haha. After that we met this amazingly prepared guy named Brandon! He talked to us for an hour just about life and God and it was so amazing!! Thursday was such a blast! we got to do service for our cute friend Louise in the morning. we pulled weeds and trimmed bushes while she told us lots of amazing stories! she then gave us another tour of her house and showed us pictures and then she and her husband ordered pizza for us. it was so sweet! and a really cool miracle happened! before that day, when her husband saw us he would kind of ignore us politely. but that day he completely opened up and pretty much told us his whole life story! it was so awesome and really strengthened my testimony of serving others! after that we rushed home and changed and then saw Valerie. we spent most of our time that day talking about the atonement and what it means for us. it was really amazing! we then did fb and then had dinner with some ward members! they are an awesome family! they were pretty shy at first but by the end they really opened up and gave us a ton of referrals! we went and checked on one right after dinner but they were busy and told us to try another time! we then went and saw Ellen had forgotten about our appointment but we just sat and talked with the girls for awhile. it was really nice! we then had correlation with the elders and our ward mission leader! Friday was great! definitely different than most days I've had on my mission so far! we did weekly planning and then while we were doing FB Jean Pierre called us and asked us to come do some service for him! we went over there at four and did service and when we finished he asked if he could show us some of his inventions! this guy really is a genius. it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen! we then shared with him about the plan of salvation and left him with a pamphlet to read. when we were getting ready to go his cute older Swiss couple showed up to see him! they were the cutest, funniest couple! their names are Otto and Audette. Otto is super sarcastic and audette is as sassy as an old lady can get! (think grandma Jane with a Swiss accent) they told us that all three of them met because they took an English class from Mormon missionaries years and years ago in Switzerland! how cool is that?! Jean Pierre told us he remembers audette teasing the elders a lot. when one of them said he was from Tennessee he asked if any of them knew where that was. Audette told him no, they only studied civilized societies! haha! they were so cute and fun to talk to. and Jean Pierre is opening up to us more and more! we told him i got my visa and he said "I will miss you vewy much when you go to Bwasil". he's the cutest! i love teaching him because even though he's older he still has a really open mind! Saturday was such an adventure! we got invited to Ermie's birthday lunch which was lots of fun! we then did a church tour! despite the many flyers we handed out, no one showed up. but it was cool because we invited a laurel who is graduating and preparing for a mission and so we got to know her really well! after that we went and met our neighbor for dinner! sister Egbert met him way before i got here and just talked to him one day when he was going through a hard time. he was really grateful that she listened to him and we've been good friends ever since. we always see him in the gym in the morning and so the other day he came up to sister Egbert and was like "I'm not going to convert, but I've always wanted to know more about Mormons! tell me more!" so he then invited us to ice cream which ended up being lunch. he took us to a sports bar which was a little awkward and we stuck out like sore thumbs haha but we weren't in the bar area so it was okay i think. so we had about a 2 hour meeting with him! this guy was so prepared. he brought paper and pen for taking notes and was just loaded with questions! It was one of the funnest lessons I've taught on my mission! he said he'd try to stop by our church soon! I'm super excited for what will happen with him! after that we realized that we were almost out of miles and it was the end of the month so we were going to start walking everywhere but then we remembered the elders have bikes and we could borrow those! so we did and it was an adventure!!! lets just say Vienna has seen more of me than it probably wanted to. there is NO modesty on bike! we biked over and had a great chat with Travis. we shared a scripture with him from Mosiah and we got him to pray at the end and it had to be the most amazing prayer I've ever heard on my mission! it was sooo funny and yet awesome! he was like "thank you for that scripture that the sisters shared from....(pause)..." then sister Egbert said "Mosiah" and then Travis was like "yeah i was gonna say like Almiah" haha and then he continued his prayer! he is so great! after that we stopped by 2 members homes and invited them to share their testimonies about missionary experiences they'd had recently! they both were really willing to do it and excited! Sunday i woke up with a very sore backside because those elders do not have comfy bike seats ! but besides that i felt like a million bucks! Church was wonderful! sadly no one we invited came but the meeting was so great! one of the members we invited to bear testimony did and then basically the whole rest of the testimony meeting was about missionary work and it got the ward REALLY excited! it was so cool! after church we studied a bit and then did some tracting! we met some really nice people and then a guy who answered the door in his towel. i still can't comprehend why people do that and then look at us like we're the weird ones! we then ate with a family and it was a ton of fun! the mom texted us before and was like "you need to convince my daughter to go on a mission." so we did our best and hopefully we're going to be taking her out on some splits with us in the near future! after that we took the ward mission leaders wife out with us and neither of the people we wanted to see with her were home. luckily she's an RM so she really understands ! my ward mission leader is soo amazing and his wife is too and its so fun serving in the ward with them! after that we decided to go see Alicia. I felt really impressed to go see her. we went and no one was home except for her step daughter, Mazie. Mazie is 19 and she let us come in and we had the most amazing, spirit filled lesson! She just opened up to us about everything and I think she realized how interested she is in the gospel! her dad is a member and her mom is not so it's hard for her to decide where to go. but we got a return appointment with her and everything so the future is looking really great for her!! I am loving my last days here in VA. I am trying to give it my all and to do all I possibly can here before I go!! some days I thought my visa would never come and I was actually really okay with that. but I am excited that I did get it and for the new adventures ahead of me! I know it won't be easy, but I know that it's all a part of God's great plan! He has so much in store for all of us if we're just willing to accept the things he offers! I love you guys sooooo much! You have helped me through a ton out here and I will be forever grateful for your constantly positive emails and letters and packages! you are the best! love you so much!! love, Sister Pehrson