Monday, April 28, 2014

Changes, more growing, and the gift of tongues

Apr 28, 2014 10:39 AM

Querida Familia!!! 

I am trying out this alpha smart thing today for the first time because I know I'll have NO time to email all that I want to.  I feel like I'm constantly rushing and never have enough time for anything!! :(  But I guess that's missionary life for yah, huh?  haha.  But I swear its 10x as bad here because we walk everywhere and it's so much less efficient!   But it is safer.. if you saw the cars and motors here..... we would definitely die if we were biking or driving haha.   But anyway.... BIG NEWS!  Very strange news... we got a call last night that from now on after today, our P-days will be on Wednesdays..... no idea why, but I've been learning very quickly just how new this mission is.  I’m still trying to get the organization down.  It's tough because it’s different and I came from probably the most organized, amazingly efficient missions in the world to a brand new baby mission.  So the patience I (supposedly) gained from my past experiences on the mission are definitely coming in handy here.   haha.  It's good.  I'm definitely seeing just how much the Nevada Las Vegas Mission has prepared me for this mission. What a blessing it was to be able to serve there!!!

From now on, I'll be emailing on Wednesdays!  It's interesting.  Every Tuesday, we have district meeting or zone training in Sobral, another city that is 2 hours or so away. so we wake up at 5 or earlier to take the onibus there and then we don't get back until around 3 or so... soooo yeah, basically every Tuesday is a partial day. :(  So it'll be like Tues, Wed, is our weekend haha.  It'll be different.  I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but whatever.  We're all learning together how to support and obey our leaders even when we don't understand. 

Quite the adventure it is here.  I love it!!!  I’m sad because I can't read and respond to alot of your emails :( but I'm skimming them and WOOHOO CONGRATS EMILYYYYY!!!!  But I still don't approve.... haha.  Go to UTAH!!!! :(((( but if you can't, I guesssssssssss I can transfer to Hawaii :DDDD  hehe. 

I'm SUUUUUUUUUUPERRR excited for Kevin!!!!! ahhh!! I’m seriously sooo stoked for him!  This will be THE best choice ever.   And Emily.  I can’t wait for her to get called to Brazil, as well :)))))) 

Honestly, I don't remember a lot that happened this week.... haha, but we had miracles and lots of work, which was great!  We have been finding some amazing people!  Sometimes, it's really tough because I feel like we're not taking advantage of how prepared these people are, but I can't really communicate it to my companion (mostly because she is very used to doing it this way) sooo that's kinda frustrating.  But it's okay.  I am working on patience and praying constantly for the gift of tongues. 

Speaking of which, a very, verrrrry amazing miracle this week …  It's been real tough trying teach with a native -- trying to keep up and know what to say -- but one day, literally, all of a sudden one day, I think it was Wednesday evening, I was concentrating real hard and praying to understand, and like magic -- like I snapped my fingers -- and I could understand!   It was sooooooo strange!!  It wasn't like those stories of "it sounded like English" but I knew almost exactly what they were saying. I understood virtually everything.  More than just the gist of what the conversation was about, but I understood what was being said and everything!  It was amaaazing!  But soo strange because it was soooo sudden!  I thought maybe it was a fluke and she just talked reallll clearly. but the next house, I understood everything again. and the next!! It was amazing !!!!!! 

I've learned pretty much like a super power hahah.  The gift of tongues is soooooo real!!!! When I'm concentrating and focused and keeping my thoughts and actions worthy of the Spirit, I can understand and communicate soooo much more smoothly!!  Of course my accent is still very gringa.  I can communicate and they understand and the spirit is there.  It's amazing!! However, the challenge is still very large haha.  It is especially challenging when my companion won't let me speak very much, but I understand.  This is her area "baby" and she knows she might leave soon .... which I'm freaking out about.  It's already week 5 of the transfer.  We started 2 weeks late.. and if she leaves this transfer I'm pretty much doomed.  I know nothing. haha.  But we'll see.  Much prayer.  Muuuuch prayer and relying on the Lord.  If I learned anything from NLVM, it's how to truly trust the Lord and know that He’s in control and it'll all work out if I do my part.  Which is really tough sometimes. I love missions. I love the challenges <3 haha.

One of our investigators, an older woman, wow!  Miracles! We were looking for a referral and stopped by this group of women to ask where this man lived and when none of them knew, we tried to talk to them about the church but they were not very interested.  But one lady stood up and said when you’re done here, come talk to me over there.  And so after we went and met her by the other house, she told us about a dream she had last year. She said she saw a young man in a forest far away from here.  She knew it wasn't in Brazil but in another land far away, not sure where, but this young man was praying and then a huge light descended slowly around the man -- a light so bright that she couldn't look but that filled her with such joy!!  Basically, she told us the entire first vision in detail right there.  Then after she asked the man who he was and he said his name was Joseph Smith.  Then she woke up and never forgot what she saw.  She said I don't know who he is but I KNOW he is a great GREAT prophet of God.  Not just a man, but a great prophet.  Wow..... We were so shocked.  So we showed her the picture of the first vision from the restoration pamphlet and she was like yes..... this is it!  I was standing here and he was there and adadadad...  Wow. it was amazing!!  She’d never heard of him before, but she was so excited because she said, “I don’t know why but I felt I needed to tell you two the story when you came up to talk to us.”

We're meeting with her tonight and literally set her for baptism in 2.5 weeks on the street right there. AMAZING!  I can't believe the miracles out here.... These wonderful people are soooo incredibly prepared.  I want to talk to everyone!!!  It was just such a testimony builder that there are amazing things happening that we can't even keep up!  I don't know why she was blessed with such an amazing experience, but I know that we needed to be there at that time, working in that area to find her.  I'm super excited for this! :)  So many miracles, not enough time to write them all down. but I know that this church is true!!  It is reaffirmed to me every second of every day and I am just soooo fired up to teach everyone so that they can realize what a gift this is!! 

I love you all sooooo much and wish I had more time!! :( but here are some pictures and I'll try to use the alpha more this week!  Thanks dad!  It works like a DREAM!!! 

much MUUUUCH Love<333333
-Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm the first Japanese missionary in Teresina ... under President Siedschlag

21 April 2014
Oi  Familia!!!!!
e louco!!! [It’s crazy]  I only have less than 30 minutes to write.  I feel bad because I have soooooooo much to say but no time!!  This will be very small part of my week and a half.
Wow. I can’t believe I’m in Brasil.  {This keyboard is very different and foreign so I will have lots of mistakes. sorry. haha.}   Bem, [Well]  first of all, wow. I LOVEEEEE Brasil.  President and Sister Siedschlag are amaaaazing!!!  Sister  Siedschlag  reminds me of some relative of ours. Hahahaha.  I can’t remember who but wow I love her!!!  She taught me Japanese and calls me her filha!  [daughter]  hahaha.   Porque [because] I am the first missionary of Japanese ancestry in the mission since she’s been here.   hahaha.  This mission is suuuuper new.  They [Pres and Sis Siedschlag] are the 2nd President [and wife] of the mission and it is veryyyyy different!!!  They said that when they first created this mission the other missions didn’t want to send their  good missionaries so they sent the trouble makers.   hahaha.   Nao sei [I don’t know] how true it is but they say they have a lot of trouble with obedience.  It is better now, but still pretty tough.   I love it here.
Sooooo I’m not even in Piaui or Maranhao hahaha.  I’m in Ceara! I didn’t even know this was in the mission, but I’m in a city called Tiangua!  It’s muuuuch coooler and seriously perfect!!  I loooove it here!   I’m super bummed I’m not serving in Elder Conceicao’s ward but I am praying I will be able to soon!!

Just a few things I will write to give you an idea of what this area is like:
·         First day, it started raining, didn’t stop.  We walk everywhere so in a matter of less than 10 minutes we were completely soakcd through and there was literally a river in the road. The road was a river.  Literally!   haha.  Best night ever.
·         They have Dora the Explorer aqui  [here] but she’s teaching English and speaking Portuguese!  hahahhahaha
·         It rains pretty much every day … rains really hard.  It’s amazing.   Soooo green!
·         Flies are everywhere aqui [here].  nao e innormal [and not unique????]  It’s part of the culture.  haha.
·         We walk everywhere and I’m pretty sure I can’t feel my legs or feet, except I can, because my shin splints have shin splints.
·         The fruit is amazing. and suuuuper cheap.  The food is amazing and every single house gives us cake. Hahahahaha.  I’m afraid I won’t lose weight here.... sigh.
·         The people..... amazing.   So many elite people.   So many prepared.  Everyone is so open and willing to talk and learn and welcome us in.
I don’t have time but I want to say I loooove this area.
It is uncomfortable and different and hot and gross, but completely worth it.  I don’t think I’d have it any other way.  I know more than anything that this is what I need.  I am growing so much and learning so much to rely on the Lord and I looooove everything about this mission.  I know there is so much I can learn from here and so much I can give.  I am so excited for this new adventure.  Sorry for this lame undetailed letter but I literally have no tim e.  haha.  I love you allllll.  You’re all in my prayers.  I  hope to read and respond to letters sooon but no promises :(
I have a native companion.  Irma [Sister] Pedreira and live with 2 other sisters both Americanas. Super fun!   haha.  The language is coming along... just wish I could understand these people.  Hahaha.   Nah, j/k   It’s coming quickly.  Much work to do!  I love you !!!!!  I will send pics next week!!!!!
Irma Yoshimoto

Alvacir L. and Aurea Siedschlag
Mission President and wife.  Alvacir Luiz Siedschlag, 59, and Aurea Fumie Satto Siedschlag, three children, Brazil Teresina Mission; Guaratuba Ward, Joinville Brazil Stake. 
Brother Siedschlag served as a bishop and is a former stake president, bishop and missionary in the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission. Self-employed businessman. Born in Araquari, Brazil, to Oscar Luiz and Elvira Pereira Siedschlag.
Sister Siedschlag served as a counselor in a Relief Society presidency and is a former counselor in a Young Women presidency. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Xiguero and Tocimi Satto.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Toilets Flush Straight Down!

April 11, 2014

Oi Familia!!!!

First of all, just to answer your questions before you ask, I have NO idea if the toilets flush the other way or not... the toilets here flush straight down......... como se diz, sorely disappointed.... haha jk but …

Wow!!  I have so much to say and sooo little time!  Remember how it was in the Provo MTC, no time to write?  sim, mesmo aqui. mas   Today, we went to the temple!!!!  We left at 6:30 and didn’t get back until about 4!!   So we have literally no time to do anything haha!  But it's okay.   It was sooo worth it.  We got to do the session with headphones ... very difficult to do things with headphones. haha.  But it was soooo great.  It was showing in Spanish because most of the people there were from Latin America and I didn’t know it was Spanish.   I thought it was Portuguese so every once in a while I'd take off the headphones to practice hahahahahah but yeah I could actually understand it!  que legal!!!  But yeah. obviously not enough to realize it's not Portuguese.... hahahah.  Oh well.

This week I got to talk to lots of natives and I can truly see the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues working in my life!  What a blessing!   At times it's reallyyyy difficult and discouraging when I can't say what I want to,  but it is a work in progress.  This complete immersion is such a blessing.  They took a video of us teaching and sent it to Salt Lake because we are the little test run.  They said that Salt Lake kept asking questions about what we were doing different because we were soooo good at the language after 2 days!!!  que legal!  But honestly I think it's just seriously the gift of tongues and speaking our language as much as possible!  I can tell that it helps because I am sooooo much better at just normal conversation and stuff than in lessons because we practice normal conversation 24/7, but lessons and church talk only 3 or 4 times a day when we do role plays with the teachers.   But it will come in time in the field.

I wasn’t able to read all your emails because I have nooo time but I did get the card the first day here -- I felt so popular hehe --  but I have no idea when it got here..

Also,  omg.  I LOVE BRASIL!!!  I can't get over it.  I just keep thinking wait… am I seriously in Brasil.  Woah!  I'm in Brasil!!!  IT’S GORGEOUS!!  Everything here is gorgeous!  It's insane!! Even the graffiti and the trash is gorgeous!!  achh.  And I will never be able to eat when I go home.   The food in America is just not the same.  Their junk apples here are the best things I've ever tasted.  Brasil will ruin fruit for me forever haha.  I have pictures but I forgot them.  I will send next week when I have more, too. :)

But honestly omg.  I love the people here soooooo much!!!!!  os brasileiros e latinos  are Just SOOOO amazing.   They’re the nicest, happiest, most open, loving people ever.  I love them.  I can't wait to go to Teresina.  Every single person we talk to here that finds out we're going to Teresina says -- first thing – oooooh, muito quente. -- very hot.  Hahahhahah  :(   I will die, but it's okay, because I will die on my mission. and I will be happy.  j/k   But seriously, it's going to take some serious acclimating.  haha.  Trusting in the Lord!  haha

Also, one more thing.  The driving here... is insane.  Every time we take the bus or van to go somewhere, I am scared FOR MY LIFE!!!!  They are insane!!!!  We literally were zooming inches by people as we look and if we stuck our tongues out, we could taste the car next to us. OMG.  Not exaggerating.  It's like a rollercoaster without the security of knowing it's approved for the public.  hahahah.  It's great. Also, it's hilarious because a lot of the people here think I'm Latina.  They think I'm from Chile or Peru.  And they give me the translator headset and tell me what channel to put it on and it's always Spanish  hahahha.   I’m like  oi! eu sou dos Estados Unidos!  :)  hahah.  They reply what?  You’re Japanese?  Either that or they'll see my name first and be like ohhhh!!  Japonais!!  Speak japanese!  Are you from Japan!?  haha.  It’s really funny. They say, “What?  California?  What do you mean you’re from California?”  hahah.  All the time I hear YOSHIMOTOOOO!!!!!  and I look and see missionaries doing the Japanese bow hahahhahahahah  I love it here.

Man, it was interesting, I was reflecting the other day... hahah so cheesy, but it happens often on a mission, and I remembered how sad I was about leaving Vegas.  I was trying so hard not to cry when I was going to the airport, but now that I'm here in the CTM [missionary training center in Portuguese], I seriously just feel this confirmation.  Just a comforting, "this is where you're supposed to be" feeling.  and I am SO fired up again to go out into the  “campo” and serve the people in Teresina!  I feel such a love for them and I just want to goooo!!!!!  Rain and humidity and heat!!  Bring it on!!!!  I really needed this CTM experience, too.  I guess I didn't even realize how burnt out I was at the end of my Vegas mission.  It was a amazing!!!  But now that I’m here I realize that I was seriously BURNT OUT and I really REALLY actually needed this re-firing up!  I feel so ready and excited and am just SO depressed that my mission has only 8 months left,....... but I seriously am going to make these last 8 months the best in my entire mission!!!!! “Muito” people say (jokingly, but it's probably for real) that in Teresina you'll baptize 100 people and 15 will stay active, in the “sul,” you'll baptize 10 and 8 will stay active.  It was funny because we’re bashing missions, but I seriously am super nervous about it.  Sooooo yes, I hope to be able to bring many people to Christ through baptism by the proper authority, but I don't want to baptize inactives.  I've experienced what it's like to share the journey of amaaaazing prepared, life-long converts, and I NEVER want to give that up.  So I'm seriously making it my goal to do EVERYTHING I can to help them stay active in the church!

BTW, I have many reasons to return to Brasil... .we can't take pics of the temple, we can't bring food with us, I have mannyyyy friends in Sao Paolo now.  The beaches are off limits for me as a missionary, sooooooo I think that's enough reason for me to return after the mission sim?  hehe. I LOVE it here.  I never want to leave....... :)

General Conference was AMAZING!  We got to watch it in English so we could actually learn something heheheh  j/k.  But yeah it was great. Wow.  I SERIOUSLY need this Ensign edition!!!  I don't know how to send letters.... or anything from here... but I have some stuff from the temple distribution store for you all!  In Portuguese! :)
 [The Ensign is a monthly church magazine.  The edition in the month following each General Conference has all the talks from 5 sessions of conference.  These are great editions to read.]

AHHH I gotta go!!!!  byeeee!!!!
I forgot to watch my time. I love you all!!!
I will send more pics and everything next time!  <3  YOU!
Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, April 7, 2014

Deseret News Article with Pictures of Sister Lauren Yoshimoto

Article with pictures of Sister Yoshimoto in action.

Same article web version.  If you click on the "View 25 photos" link you can see more pictures of Sister Lauren Yoshimoto.