Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Don't Poop Cookies

I am SO over cookies.

Im pretty sure people here think i poop them or something because now they
always expect me to have them. Then i decided i would start making brownies
instead. well then people started thinking i poop brownies and always
wanted them. so im done baking for awhile (did i seriously just say that?).
oh and when i say people... i mean elders.

i got a letter from horse this week and it made my day to have something
familiar... 2nd ward brasil missionaries represent. when will i be too old
to call him horse? at least i have a few friends who arent married yet...
keep holding out Lsha and Lindsey, youre some of the few left!

i also wrote a letter to sis. jones. i hope she got it.

last monday we had such an epic noite familiar. there are 3 sisters here
who are all members but only one is active and they all have a crap load of
there are constantly a bunch of extra kids there too and most arent
members. so it was all centered on kids and it was way cool we read in 3
ne. when christ has all the kids come unto him. it was just epic to be
sitting there with like 15 kids sitting around you reading the scriptures.
after it was raining and i went outside with them to catch toads... so much

Kids, however are definitely the hardest for me to teach. you would think
it would be the easiest because they are the most patient with my portugues
but its just so frustrating because I LOVE teaching kids but because of the
language barrier i feel like they are getting jipped. im not able to make
it as fun and interesting as i would like. i miss my little 2nd graders and
all my swimming lesson kids so much!
and no mom this does not mean im going to be an elementary school teacher.

With that being said... there are still some things i can do, without being
able to speak portugues, for example distracting crazy kids in sacrament
meeting. yesterday the elders had a family come to church with like 6
kids... i have never seen anything like it! The kdis were jumping over the
benches running around, the poor mom was just exhausted and embarrassed.
All the members just sat there judging and the elders were oblivious or
just ignored it.
In that moment i learned one of the reason for sisters. i went over there
and with my big bag of supplies i was able to quiet the kids with games and
activities... i am so your kid mom.

in ny i learned how to play the card game magic and i am learning how
beneficial that knowledge is now. one of our assistants is obsessed but
like no missionaries play so he loves that he can talk about it with me.
because of this i was able to convince him to call me when the visa-waiting
missionaries got here on tuesday because guess who came... ELDER KNOWLES!
remember the little 18 year old in the mtc who didnt know who to mail a
letter and would always talk politics with me and kept me sane? yes he is
here now and it was so great to talk to him and he updated me on what is
going down in the US but thats a whole other email that i probably shouldnt
write haha.
and if any of you are judging and thinking this is sketchy let me just
emphasize the 18 year old part and the fact that he also updates me on his
girlfriend and her mission... #dontjudge

Something i love about the south of brasil is that everything is closed on
sunday... they all observe o dia do senhor... except one little thing, go
to the only true church!

Allysondra, well she didnt come to church so we moved her baptismal date
AGAIN so frustrating. Yesterday we were walking down the street after all
of our investigators said they werent coming and we were so frustrated. we
decided to hurry and go talk to a referral that we have tried to talk to
before like 3 times. when we got there the mom randomly said, my 15 year
old daughter wants to go to church! her cousin and brother did too....

seriously the work is getting so much better. we are working SO MUCH harder
now. God is answering my prayers! I realized how much humor changes things.
now that i am able to speak enough to actually be funny my comp is doing a
lot better and the work is so much better. we had 6 member presents in one
day! i dont know how that is compared to the rest of the mission but i know
compared to what i have seen here and ny its a LOT!

this morning we had such a great comp study. as i was talking about
enduring to the end and grace and what it truly means she just started
crying and told me that i answered a question from her patriarchal
blessing. the spirit is SO powerful! many times this week i would think of
a scripture to share or something that needed to be said but i didnt know
how to say it in portugues. as soon as i would think it my comp would say
EXACTLY what i was thinking... unity is real people.

this week we met a less active who couldnt remember my name so decided to
call me sister grande...
you better believe the diet started right then!
and yesterday one of the young women asked me what was on my face (it was a
zit and NO ONE has zits here).
yeah i thought maybe i should re-think the whole not wearing makeup thing
and then i remembered that i would either sweat it all off or the rain
would wash it all away... the mission life.

dad i most definitely just have to grit my teeth sometimes but life gets
better each and everyday. its just 100% not about me and im realizing that
more and more!

Bry and Brew are so dang cute i cant get over it... what a littly fatty
brew is! and bry... im so glad she talks as much as me, that means she is
awesome! Mom is rolling her eyes right now and saying, well you havent
learned to be humble yet have you? mom its a JOKE!

ays i realized i havent responded to some of your questions you asked in
the letter so here goes. yes i am most definitely ready for the cold, when
it rains it gets pretty cold and its the greatest. the kids are so dang
cute i just adore them. pdays there isnt anything touristy because its a
small town in the middle of nowhere but there is a beach that i will go to
soon. normally you live with other missionaries but we are the only sisters
so we have the house to ourselves thank goodness. its actually really nice
so dont stress.

Sagan... i will read Harry Potter when i am done with school so in like 50
bajillion years.

well thats all folks... keep on keepin on. love ya!

Your fav sistaahhhhh,
Sister Shum

this is what the end of a day looks like here in brasil... not pretty
this little guy has become my buddy... he always gets his head stuck and i
have to help him

Dad I am SO your child! I swear this picture is not staged... somethimes
when your comp says a long prayer and you cant understand it and you are
spent you take a little snooz...

10 commandments in the middle of the city!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Traumatic Experience

So after e-mailing last week we went to a salon. I cant even describe how pumped I was to go to an actual salon.. even though they are everywhere down here. Even though I just wanted to trim my hair i was so excited because its brasil and hair is a big deal. Well im sitting there waiting for the lady to start cutting my hair. I had already explained i just wanted 2 fingers (thats how they measure it) cut off from the bottom, no layers, no nada. Well i look over at my comp and i see the lady take a waching to her hair. seriously, a wacking. as soon as i see this im thinking, no this is so not happening. i realized that the only thing in between this lady who i barely can communicate with and my hair is scissors... seriously not happening! before i could jump out of the chair, i heard, snip. well... there goes my life. i wanted to cry in that moment because i look over and see sis. cidraos hair cut into the worst mullet you ever did see. i cant even begin to describe how bad her hair is now. thank heavens mine wasnt as bad. she cut more off than i wanted, about 3 inches.... well.... in some places, it was SO crooked! I had to go home and even it all out myself and when all was said and done 5 inches of my hair was gone. I wanted to cry. My comp bawled though and i dont blame her, i almost was in tears for her too because she had such long, thick pretty hair before. I fixed it as best as i could but a mullet is still a mullet. 

Something I love about brasil: Paderias... bakerys! seriously the bomb and i look forward to it ever monday. apparently im the only sister who isnt gaining weight down here... im determined to keep it that way. 
we also went shopping for the first time last monday and no my sisters, i didnt buy anything. however i found the CUTEST store here, sagan you would die it is called Hering and is like a mix of jcrew and anthro... i will definitely bring ya back a present :) 

Allysondra: so she has a problem with coffee but when we taught her about the Word of Wisdom she was bound and determined to stop. Yesterday when we asked her how she is doing with it she told us she had only had one cup of coffee that week. Want to know where she had that cup? The members that are fellowshipping her gave it to her in their house! Seriously people... they just dont get it. Her baptismal date got moved to the 29th though because she definitely needs more time. She is amazing but the support from her mom just isnt there yet. 

Something cool is when i got to the area, sisters had only been here for one transfer before so its so similar to Bushwick trying to open up this area. 
Another cool thing is last transfer Sis Faldmo (my best friend from the MTC) was in a trio with sis. cidraos old comp sis marinho and another sister who was really difficult. She told me if it wasnt for sis. marinho she would have died. originally though it was supposed to just be sis. faldmo and sis. difficult but last minute they decided to separate sis. marinho and my comp and put sis marinho with sis. faldmo... why? because i got my visa! 
its been so interesting to see the reasons why i got my visa but even more cool to see why i got my visa WHEN i did. I for sure was meant to go to Bushwick first and then come here when i did. 

So we taught Philipe (the Garrin twin) the Restoration and it was good, he actually talked during the lesson! But after I guess he told Andressa, his so called wife, the 19 year old that takes care of me, that he just doesnt like church :(

This week was interesting in our casa... for some reason we had lots of little friends come visit us. Okay thats a lie, not little friends... BIG friends! Seriously, one morning there were all these little green bugs everywhere! not okay! i really do not like bugs. and i speant the morning standing on a stool. surprisingly though, NY was worse i think. it helps that our casa is above a bunch of businesses so its harder for things to get in. 

the night the sister training leaders came we went home and i see a black furry thing on the ground and assumed it was a dead mouse because it wasnt moving. i went to pick it up and throw it out... nope not a mouse, a bat!  it was still alive but something was wrong with it because it would barely move. i tried to help it but im pretty sure it ended up dying.

Okay something interesting, last week the stake pres. came and talked about facebook, about the many dangers but also the way it can be used for good! It hit me hard because i know what missionaries are doing with facebook, and i knew i needed to do my part here more and i will start having people i meet add missionaries there. Okay probably only one missionary there who semi speaks portugues but you never know right?
well after i vowed to do this better. 
anyway, a lot of people here ask me about music because they love american music. I always tell them about sis. blosil. well yesterday we went to teach a recent convert and they had their laptop out with youtube up when we walked in and guess what they were watching? sister blosil singing! what made it even weirder was that it was a video of her singing in ny as a missionary and there were other missionaries there too that i saw... seriously freaked me out. technology is incredible. 

yesterday i spoke in church and all week i had decided i was going to speak about pride. so i was reading the talk by Ezra Taft Benson, Beware of Pride and at the beginning he says, may i commend you faithful saints who are striving to flood the earth and your lives with the book of mormon. i had never noticed that before. why was i so intrigued by this? because he has another talk called, flooding the earth with the book of mormon. that was the talk that basically inspired the whole BOM movement when i was in Bushwick. president. benson used the same words when talking about pride too. then it hit me. i dont need to talk about pride, i need to talk about the BOM because it is literally the answer to ALL problems!

not much more to report... okay there is just no time... love you all!

pics: making donuts with some recent converts
tending to the sick... the bat!

Cookies, not Cooks

Okay well I am now being forced to write letters because I now only have 45 minutes to email... not cool. Oh wells.

So CONGRATS to Nachy... wow feels like just yesterday we were going to Truck Stop after math class to get recees pieces and chicken strips and then going back to the college to do the homework and hiding our food from people haha good times. Weird, I was in 8th grade... I feel so old!

Im with Cheyna... I think Denalli should shave his head and him and Brew can take a twin pic.

Grams I got your letter! It made my day to hear that the Jazz are doing good... seriously Hayward is a boss... I have been pumped on him since they first got him. I hope your leg is doing better as well!

Also someone tell Gramps good luck with the surgery... im jealous i seriously love surgeries... morphine is the greatest.

An elder here was re-assigned and served with Dayton, I asked him if he actually talk and when he said yes you can imagine my surprise. I think the most I ever heard him talk was when he got mad at me and cortney for putting his pic up in NAPA for employee of the month. I just literally LOLed remembering, I did some funny stuff in high school but that was one of my bests :)

Ays wants to know if I go shopping here... nope I wont until Im closer to going home so I dont have to pack it all around. There is definitely some cute style here though. There is a guy here who makes the CUTEST boots for 100 reals which is like 45 dollars more or less that I will be getting. Seriously, custom made boots with real leather... such a steal. Other than that the clothes are all from the US from like the 90s. People are rockin hollister.

Cookies are still a gold mine here but people refuse to call them cookies, they call them cooks and it drives me nuts... whatever.

Do you all want to hear some good jokes?
Dad: there will be lots of people who speak English... FALSE, I have yet to meet one.
Stetler: Oh people like sisters more than elders... FALSE, they like that elders have the Priesthood and think we are worthless. Some people in the ward wont even feed us, only elders.
Every person who has served in Brasil: You will LOVE Guarana... yeah they failed to mention it tastes like COUGH SYRUP! But they drink it all the time, its so awful.

2 things I dont think I will ever get used to, Guarana and all the hugging and kissing on the cheeks... NOT OKAY, I HATE people touching me, seriously I cringe every time.

Okay funny thing: So last monday we went and taught a less active and where she lives its not well lit and the roads are dirt. Well its raining, so its cold and everything is muddy and the roads are rivers. Well as we were going home we couldnt see a thing and just kept tripping in all the mud... it was fabulous.

The language is still bad but obviously it gets better with time. Constantly when missionaries compare me to other missionaries I say, ITS HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE! (My sisters better be dying of laughter right now). Seriously a Friends quote turns any day right around. No its definitely carma though for all the years I was so impatient with people for not knowing whats going on and not learning things faster and now thats me.

I got a new DL, hes American so now in our branch we have three americans and then my comp the only Brasilian. Hes good, hes like Garrin though and doesnt know how to talk haha.

Oh this week we were also told that we can only listen to hymns or mormon tabernacle choir, (this is directed towards the siblings because i know the parents dont know whats going on with technology) so if any of you have some free time (which i dont really expect because you all are busy with school, moving, kids or jobs) but if you do then if someone wants to make me some CDs with some sweet songs that would be much appreciated. Also, if someone wanted to send me a DVD with the mormon messages in Portugues that would also be more greatly appreciated... people love to talk here and the only way to shut them up is with some type of filme.

Mom, if you could send me a portugues personal progress that would be great, I work a lot with the mocas here. also pics of my baptism would be fabulous. Maybe one with me and Logan in white and one with me and dad since he confirmed me. I dont even know if we have pics like this.. i honestly dont remember much from my baptism except aysia telling me if i sin after i am baptized bad things will happen hahaha.

Okay after that long list of demands here is more of my week... we had the most people at sacrament meeting since ive been here, a whopping 65!

Remember the dad I told you about last week that came to church and I was so excited about? Well he came because he had stopped smoking. I found out this week he started again and he didnt come :( So sad because his fam is the bomb. Honestly, his wife is a saint.

Their daughter Andressa totally takes care of me. She constantly feeds us at her house, goes to lessons and fellowships everyone and has the cutest little boy. Well I found out this week she is only 19... what?! Seriously my mouth dropped to the floor. Well, her husband isnt a bmember and we had a family night with them and he agreed to be taught... im so stoked. They remind me so much of Cheyna and Garrin. She bosses him around and He is just quite and nods and their son is hilarious and 2 years old so they remind me a ton of them.

We are teaching a girl named Allysondra and she is so sweet. She turned 15 this week and we went to her party. She is going to be baptized on the 22nd!! WAHOO! She has read everything we have given her and jsut loves Joseph Smith, its epic.

The work is semi better with my comp. She punched a wall this week ;) one minute she is crying, the next shes yelling and the next she is laughing. Shes bi-polar. Well not really but i think so sometimes. I dont know how to deal with emotions. When she is crying i feel like the most awkward person ever and dont know what to do. I usually just go into the kitchen and make her some cookies and call it good.

Okay so last few things because I have like no time anymore. send mail to my address here, not the mission office. it takes me like a month to get those, i get the letters here normally in 2 and a half weeks. Also, if you send packages write on it, missionary supplies because then i dont have to pay an arm and a leg to pick it up.

Okay the work is real... we had a lesson with Fran about tithing and it was cool to finally be able to speak enough portugues to really share my testimony and tell her how a few weeks ago my parents and i were fasting for something and then find out a few weeks later about the thing we were fasting for (yeah super vague but i have to be ha sorry) we are going to fast with her for her husband to agree to be legally married. the spirit was in that lesson so strong and it was so cool.

seriously, ive never been so grateful for prayer in my life. my comp doesnt talk to me much and is usually mad at me so i spend most of my days praying and i wouldnt survive without it. its real and its powerful and God wants to bless us we just have to ask!

I hope you all have a good week! Amo voces!

PS Sagan... on a daily basis I say, AH stupid metric system... seriously I feel like Rachel and dont know whats going on with it.

PSS the pic of the parade of carnival shows the macumbas... this crazy african religoin that is sketch up the yin!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Be Meek and Lowly of Heart

So the title of my email is what my transfer theme was (I like to have transfer themes now, thanks to Sis. Blosil... it makes things more fun). Lets just say I have learned a LOT about being meek... oh boy have I! Going from one mission to another is rough because things are SO different. Obviously, I loved NY and I loved President Calderwood so adjusting and loving another place and president has taken some work.
Also, I have constantly been told I need to tell more in my emails... well its truth time. I have tried really hard to only be positive and optimistic in my emails. Well the first 5 weeks here... there wasnt a lot of good so I didnt have a whole ton to write about haha. And Ays, the reason I havent sent a lot of pics is because it takes forever and a day to up´load and then I can usually only send 2 with each email. its such a pain!
I spent the majority of the first 5 weeks sitting on my bed. My comp wouldnt do anything. I tried EVERYTHING! seriously, any type of motivation I tried... including guilt and bribery. Nothing worked. I talked to people about it but then when leaders would ask her she would tell them it was me who always wanted to stay inside... yeah thats real fun. Who are they going to believe the girl who just got here who doesnt speak the language or the one who does? Yeah thats been lovely.
Anyway, last week after she refused to get out of bed I finally just said look, I am trying to learn a new language I need blessings, you need blessings with your family, and the ONLY way to get those blessings is to be obedient! What do you need to make this happen? Well for some reason, this time it worked!
Seriously, she apologized and we made a Vision Goals and Plans (a NYS Mission thing) and things got like a million times better... AH YEAH!
So a normal day here... we eat lunch with members EVERYDAY. Always, rice beans, chicken or beef and potatoes convered in mayo.
Seriously, because I have no control of what I eat with members (and they get offended if you dont eat a ton) I have gone into health freak mode times twenty. Sister T. in NY would be so proud of me :)
However, I baked SO much this week! Chocolate chip cookies are a gold mine here. People LOVE them so we are able to get lessons with people because we make cookies together first, or I just bring some. Its pretty epic.
Carnival was this week... well its actually still going on tonight. I HATE CARNIVAL! So we live right in the middle of the city so I have not gotten ANY sleep the past three nights because my apartment is shaking with music. Its ridiculous. At 6:30 when we normally (I say normally because I am already up the past few days) wake up, people are still out partying!
And we ALL know how much I LOVE SLEEP! Its a problem.
Mail: Mom I have gotten everything you have sent. It takes about 2 and a half weeks for mail here. I still dig the postcards. Haha you are the most faithful writer ever, I love it! Ays I got yours too... Brewer is so dang cute I cant wait to meet him! You said youre the worst writer but you have written me the most besides mom. Yeah that tells you how many letters I get. Haha jk I am grateful for the emails.
Also mom, have you saved all the pics I sent home? Most from NY were from my ipad and so I dont have them saved. PS I havent even SEEN an ipad here! #brasil
Mom could you send me small pictures of the porto alegre temple and maybe one or two other brasil temples. And a nice picture of the prophet? It would be really nice to have when teaching... I had it all on my ipad before.
Okay so a little more about the work here now. So the members need some serious strengthening, so I thought okay what strengthens people more than anything else. Reading the BOM! So I decided to do exactly what we were doing in BUSHWICK! Everything is being centered on the BOM now. Its so legit. Obviously not everything is the same. For example, we dont have a facebook page telling people what to read each day. Instead we now have Noite do Livro de Mormon. Basically a seminary for adults one night a week because most people here wont read on their own, or dont know how.
I think its so cool how I am able to take things from NY and impliment them here! We are already seeing progress.
For transfers everyone in my district is staying here except my DL and my new DL is american so we will have 4 americans and 2 brasilians. Elder Soares (the one Elder Brasilian who is staying) is all stressed about being the only brasilian in the casa hahaha. My comp and him are going to learn some english now :)
Normally there are 4 sisters in one pad but our area doesnt have four sisters so i finally dont have to share a bathroom with a million people, I LOVE IT!
I honestly do love my companion so much now. Seriously, night and day difference.
I HAD A BAPTISM! Bianca, shes 14 and they had been teaching her for awhile but she wasnt progressing, I asked my comp well does she even want to be baptized and she said she didnt know. WHAT? they hadnt even talked about baptism with her?! My second week here we taught her and I asked her straight up. I feel like I get to be much more bold now that I have a language barrier because I cant beat around the bush with extra words. She said yes, and after that lesson she progressed like crazy.
She was baptized saturday with a man we found, Arnold and passed on to the elders. On Sunday when she was confirmed they had a lesson in Mocas (young women) about the atonement and Bianca bore her testimony of it and goodness the spirit was SO strong. Ah she is great. Missionaries are shocked here when they find out I have only had 2 baptisms but I dont care. Julia and Bianca have been worth every second of my mission.
The baptism itself was a bit hilarious because Elder Vernon, the american that came with me baptized her and he dunked her and I guess he thought she didnt go all the way under so he kept pushing her down and we were all yelling LEVANTAR! (Raise) because I seriously thought she was going to drown, it was borderline torture. Elder Vernon is so great though dont get me wrong... #18yearolds it was hilarious and i will never forget it.
MIRACLE THIS WEEK: Okay so there is one family that I just adore! Irma Vanulda. She has 5 girls and she is the gospel principle teacher. In the picture i sent home of everyone on the bus she is in the lower left corner. They are so good to the missionaries and she would do anything for anyone. Well her husband... I just adore him too. He reminds me SO much of dad! Like seriously he just sits there quietly, normally asleep. And is so patient and calm (lets be honest though, dad isnt patient when hes in a city... especially in his truck). He doesnt say much but when he does, he is usually making fun of you. Well the main difference between him and dad is he has been COMPLETELY inactive for a LONG time. His wife has gone through the temple but he hasnt and their family isnt sealed... breaks my heart. So the MIRACLE is on Sunday he came to church! When I walked in and saw him sitting in the corner I almost started crying seeing him there. Oh that family needs a priesthood holder so bad and hes so great he just needs to get things in gear. Now i am certain he will though, he felt the spirit there for sure!
Mom send me your pizza dough recipe will ya?
Umm I dont really have much else to tell except maybe this week was super awesome because it rained like CRAZY which cooled things down a ton and I was actually able to feel like a normal person. I did my hair for the first time being here, it felt great!
Also, we are emailing at a new place and I cant send pics... glorious so i will go somewhere else next week or maybe even later today and send  crap load home :)