Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Leading in Tiangua

Date: Jun 25, 2014
Subject: Leading Tianguá 1.....

Phewff!! This week was quite the compacted crazy like of a missionary kind of week!
Que Bençãos!  [What blessings!}
To start off, pretty much every day so far has had some special event or something that takes us away from full studies or full time proselyting--conferencia de zona [zone conference], reuniao de distrito [district meeting], aula de ingles [English class], igreja [church], planejamentos [planning],etc. so I´ve really been feeling the lack of that (full time teaching) ... but really all these meetings and conferencias have been soooo great. Wow!  Presidente Siedshlag is soooo inspired. He’s really such a teddy bear of a presidente haha., but we learn sooo much from him every time.  [Note: missionaries work with companions.  Two or three companionships are grouped into teams called districts.  Several districts are grouped into zones.  There are typically 4 to 8 zones in a mission.]

This conference Presidente Siedschlag was talking a lot about us oldies in the mission. I seriously felt like he was talking just to me.  He was talking about change. about bettering ourselves.  He said if we are waiting for something in the future to be a reason to change, we will wait forever and always be the same.  If we are waiting for when we’re a district leader, or assistente [assistant], or treinadora [trainer], or etc. to change and apply the trainings or become more organized, we’ll never get there. and we will return home the same person as before----this has been one of my biggest fears of the mission--- but what he said really struck home ^:
In my mind, I always thought wow, this mission will change me so much.  I will go home a completely different person in all the best ways!  It will be so great! Painful, but great!  And in some ways this is true, but what president said really made me think ...  It’s really not the mission that changes me. but me who changes me.  It’s the situations that the mission puts me in and the way I use the Atonement to change myself and what I learn from the mission that changes me.   But this doesn’t just happen because I’m on a mission.  The idea that it is so very possivel [possible] to return home unchanged is so scary to me but so real.  After a year I feel that really, it is so easy to get burnt out and just go through the motions - -wait it out until I go home -- but if I truly want to change, truly want to be better, be more Christlike, be a missionary, representant de Christ [representative of Christ], I have to make the change.  I have to put in all my effort and truly change me.  Change my nature. not  just my behavior like they always say.  This -- and this opportunity to train -- is exactly what I need.  I only have mais or menos [more or less] 6 months left to overcome my weaknesses, to become the me I want to be.
But also, this made me think about after the mission... for all of us, not just missionaries of full time service, but now is the time to change.  The talk “Your 4 Minutes,” from the last general conferencia [conference].  Wow.   Sooooo powerful.  Really truly, we have only 4 short minutes of eternity that is this life. What are we doing to make the best of it.  These short 4 minutes we prepared for milenias antes [millennia – thousands of years before] and will reflect on for the rest of eternity.  Will we wait for some future event in this life to come before we decide to change, to better ourselves, to work on overcoming a weakness?  Or will we decide to change now, BEFORE our 4 minutes is up?  It’s a powerful, very direct thought, but it’s the truth and it really put into perspective for me how important this time is for every single one of us.

Another really cool experience really quick. This week I truly grew quite a testimony of the quote "The Lord doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies who He calls."
The moment we started working here in Tiangua with just me and Sister Maeno, we had a lesson with the family of Felipe (recent converso [convert]).  We taught the lesson of the restauration [restoration] and I was so nervous because I still have a hard time with the language and Sister Maeno is new and this is a super important lesson.  I prayed sooo hard and when we arrived, wow.... I still can’t believe it.
The gift of tongues is so real,  but the qualifying of this call is sooooo real and sooo powerful.  I instantly.. like INSTANTLY could understand and speak almost flawlessly.  Obviously not flawlessly, still with my lovely American accent, but it was so perfect.  We taught and the spirit was so strong and I could literally feel the spirit speaking through me.  I feel like I hardly did anything, and I know I didn’t. because wow, I knew my weaknesses and knew I needed Him more than anything at that moment.   He was there. because I was worthy and we were willing and working and man, was it worth it!   The first lesson with her in this area and we set them for baptism and we literally got to see the spirit working with the elite in this area.   It was such an amazing moment.

I know 100000000000% that this work is of God and that I am nothing here without the Spirit.  I know that this gospel is the complete gospel of Christ, that this work is accelerated throughout the entire world and on the other side of the veil as well, that we are the chosen spirits to be living in this time and that we have the huge responsibility to share the good word with others.  I know that our job is really pretty easy, because we have the truth and the Spirit is here, testifying of this truth.  We don’t NEED to convince anyone.
oops!  Time’s up!

Thank you soooo much for all you do, your prayers and support and love.
I’m praying for you and your talk this week, Mom!!  It’ll be suuuuper awesome!  I hope you read the last general conference talks on the priesthood!  They are amaaaazing! haha.  I know that they’ll feel the spirit in your testimony more than anything in the doctrine.  You’re all such amazing missionaries at home!  Such examples to me!  Thank youuuu<3333
p.s.  I can’t believe you’re all going to YW camp already.  Did that just happen??? .;.... last .. year. what. haha. so weird.
Love you all!!! Keep safe!  Brasil is winning the world cup.  Think of me when you watch.   hehe. jk.  Love you!   Byeeee!!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sister Maeno !!!!!!!

June 19, 2014

Oiiiii familia!!!! Esta semana!!!!  Ohhhhhh wow!!!!!!!

Entao [Soooo]. sorry for not emailing but I’m glad you understood that it was transfers haha. but not just transfers, because I’m still in Tiangua. butttttttttt now Sister Pedreira e Sister Beus, the two seniors are gone and sister Merrill and I are here leading the area. but not just that, I’m training now.............. hahaha. sooooo yeah, I was in Teresina since Monday night.   I took the onibus at 1 am and arrived at 6 or so and stayed there for the training and everything until this morning at 4am.   Soooo we’re super tired but we get P-day today sooo yay! 

But the best part is this, Sister Maeno is my new companion.  She was born in Rio, but her parents moved shortly after to Japan.  She’s JAPONESE!!! like LEGIT!.  Sooooo cool, but she studied in Brasil so she speaks fluently Portuguese and Japanese and a lot of English tambem [also].  entao e muiiiiiito legal [Soooo Very Cool]!  I will send a picture next week but she is super awesome and I’m super excited and nervous and humbled and freaked out to be training, but I’m super excited haha.  She will teach me Japonese porque [because] she said that it’s super trippy that I can’t speak, and because I look like one of her friends so when I try to speak but can’t she gets freaked out. hahah.  But Sister Siedshlag is suuuuper happy haha we took a picture with us three and it seriously looks like a family.  So awesome.   [Sister Siedschlag is the wife of the mission president and is ethnic Japanese]

Seriously. wow.  I can’t believe I’m training.  I’m glad that at least ela [she] can understand more than me so she can help me too, haha.  I have many worries and stresses and weaknesses, but I know that this is truly inspired of God because I was seriously stressed out the week before transfers evaluating my mission (because it was my one year mark) and I was thinking about how I really felt like I’d plateaued here in Brasil.  I felt like I wasn’t changing, improving or anything after the first transfer.  But now I know that seriously, President Siedschlag is so inspired and Heavenly Father knows when I need a new challenge.  I wasn’t expecting or wanting this now or ever really … haha.  Training is a huuuuge responsibility, but I know that this is exactly what I need to really be able to rely on the Lord and grow more than ever before.  I love missions.  Seriously it is sooooo incredibly challenging but just because of my past experiences with tough situations na missao [in the mission], I feel very excited for this opportunity to grow.   I love the song “Nearer My God to Thee,” because the line in ingles [English] really hits home.  I feel more than ever now so grateful and excited for these challenges on the mission "even though it be a cross that raiseth me".  

Also, Felipe foi batizado [was baptized] last Saturday!!!!!!! WWOWW, it was seriously sooooooo  powerful!!!!  I have one last super cool experience to share.  The day before the baptism, I was studying about the Holy Ghost, nao sei porque [I don’t know why] but I felt like studying it and I found a part in the book True to the Faith that talked about the tupes [roles] of the Holy Ghost. tipo, the power, the gift, and the Holy Spirit of Promise.  I never knew about the Holy Spirit of Promise before but I was reading about it and it said that it’s the presence of the spirit or the confirmation of the spirit during a saving ordinance that confirms that this was acceptable to God for this life and the in the eternities. entao e [So this is] very important.  I thought “Wow this is soooo interesting.” Super interesting. but then at the baptism, the member baptizing him said the begining of the prayer wrong so they had to redo the prayer and then he messed up the name and so he reprayed. but then he did it right the third time and Felipe was baptized.  I felt the spirit soooo strong.  I KNEW right away that was the Holy Spirit of Promise, that this ordinance that took place, that this saving ordinance was acceptable to God and that Felipe now is a member of the true Church of Jesus Christ and that was such a testimony builder for me. 

Also, his mother and sister attended the baptism and they definitely felt the spirit and came to church the next day and are super interested now.   We will be teaching them tonight and I’m suuuper excited because i have a huge testimony that the elite are connected.  I know that they are so prepared because of Felipe and that this is one step closer to them receiving an eternal family. 

I’m so grateful for this gospel, for this opportunity to be on a mission and to be a missionary, to learn and grow every single day.  I am so excited to be training and to learn so much from my companion and from this experience.  I know that Heavenly Father is so aware of our every need, that He really does understand our potential and what we need to reach it.  I know that this is the His true church here on the Earth. that through this gospel, we can truly have real happiness and our families can be together forever. 

I love you all and am sooo grateful for you all! 
Muuuuuuuch love e muitas oracoes [and many prayers] your way!!!]]

Love, Sister Yoshimoto]

ps. I received the talks and letter from you!! Obrigadaaaaa [thank you]!! Love youuu"!!!]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Travis, Uncle Chucky and Happy Father's Day!

Date: Jun 11, 2014 12:20 PM
Subject: busyyyy week!!!

Wow! this week flewwwww by! I can’t believe another transfer is GONE!  Transfers is again this coming Tuesday, we’ll find out what happens Monday, but I don’t know what to expect!!  ahhhh.  But I’m excited.  I loooooove this area …  seriously!!  the
Sooo this week, wow. we began our English classes and it was very good!!!  It was so much fun!  Seriously, only about 12 or so people were there but it was soooo awesome.  Everyone is soooo cute and excited to learn English and all are shy about it hahaha.  But seriously, I looooove when they see us on the street and shout out “ hello! bye bye! good night!” haha.  It’s the best haha.  Of course for the other Americanas strangers say this because they knowww they’re from US but for me they ask me to speak I count to ten really fast and start naming off brand names.  It usually impresses a lot of people until they hear sushi or Nintendo.  Then they realize my true color....white... haha.  But it’s super fun :)
But really the aula de ingles [English class] is soooo awesome!   We’re teaching them how to pray in English and some primary songs and what not.  I am a Child of God is perfect.  I always took for granted just how powerful that song really is.  I love it.
also this week..........
HAPPPPPPPPY FATHERS DAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!! I wish I could send you all something but I honestly don’t know how it works here haha.  But I have some stuff for you all when I return. haha.  They have some really cool stuff for Father’s day.  Brasil ties and stuff:)
But also this weekkkkk.....
PARABENS PRA VOCE!                            [Happy birthday to you!]
NESTA DATA QUERIDA                           [on this special date]
MUITAS FELICIDADES                             [Best wishes]
MUITOS ANOS DE VIDA!!!!!                    [Many years of life]
pra Travis!!!! BOM ANNIVERARIO!!!!      [For Travis, Happy Birthday!]  [Is this a song???]
depois isso, [After that]  PRA uncle chuckyyyy!!!!  [For Uncle Chucky]  Old men getting older, you two!!!! :D
But seriously happy birthdayyyy!!!!
e tomorrow the COPO DO MUNDO comeca!!!!  [The WORLD CUP begins tomorrow]
whattttttttttttt. I am soo excited!!!  We can watch..... wow.   I’m pretty sure we are one of the only mssions in Brasil … or the world.   hahahahhaha.  I’m like dying...
but other than that.  This week was suuuuuper awesome!!!
Felipe is getting baptized this Saturday and he is soooo ready.  He is all excited and nervous but wow.  His whole family will be there and I knowwww the spirit will be soo strong.  He’s already got such a strong testimony of everything.  Wow. and his girlfriend, if her mother permits, will be baptized BY HIM in 2 weeks.  Wow. I’m seriously sooooo excited for them!  It’s amazing to see the change and the growth in so little time.  When really he was already so prepared and strong, the gospel just helped him grow even more.  The change is so apparent and yet so subtle. I know his family will be touched.  Maybe not now but eventually as they see really how this gospel truly makes him and Thais so completely happy; its undeniable.
We’re working hard with organizing because we have a feeling that Sis Pedreira will leave soon. I want to be ready for the next missionary!  We have sooooo much work here I want to really show Heavenly Father that we’re worthy and ready to take care of his children here,  that we’re prepared for the eleitas [elect].   I’m definitely still learning the area.  It’s tough because nothing has addresses.  Just bairro [neighborhoods] and landmarks sooooooo it’s super exciting trying to find a referral haha.
This keyboard is  psyyyycho.  So I’ll make it short.
But I just want to say one more thing. about the youth.
They are soo incredibly strong here.  I can’t believe it,  really ... can’t believe how much  I learn from them.  They seriously are so strong and firm in the gospel, not just the church … Overcoming so much more than I can imagine.  Yet they truly know that this is more than just any church, but the true church of Christ.  The restored gospel.  They know it, they live it, and they share it. because they understand the importance and the joy and hope and peace it brings. and they truly want it for everyone else they know.
And I’m feeling that from home as well … the huge army we’re sending out from our ward alone!  It’s amazing.  I can’t imagine the good and miracles that OUR HEAVENLY FATHER is able to realize out here because you are all out there.  Being worthy and able and willing to give your all because YOU know and YOU live it.  It’s suuuuch a blessing, such a miracle to be out here  … and so sad to think that tomorrow I have only 6 months left.  It breaks my heart.  It seriously flies by.   But I know I’ll never forget every trial, miracle, blessing, and breakdown I’ve had here, because from these experiences I have seriously become a different person.
But I’m not done changing yet!!!!
I have soooo much more to do!!!
entao vamos la                        [So let it.]  [This must be an idiom for SO LET’s GO … or something]
amo voces<#3333333333                   [Love you guys]
nas minhas oracoes sempres!               [You are always in my prayers]
-Sis Yoshimoto

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Singing in the Park and Ward Talent Show

Date: Jun 4, 2014 7:20 AM

Oi familia!!!

This week was really crazzzy!! I feel like it’s been 3 weeks! haha.  But
it was great!   First of all, the singing in the park was super fun.
haha!  It was interesting because we didn’t realize that morning
there would be a HUGE market thing where everyone would be there.   EVERYone had clothes and things displayed that they were selling. so it was very
different.  We sang but weren’t really well prepared so we didn’t have any
pictures or pamphlets or displays for people to look at so they would
listen for a second and walk away because they didn’t know what to do.
We made looots of contacts and a few good ones too ;>).  We’ll see
the potential there!  It was a fun first trial run.

What was even better was the ward talent show!  I read your letters
and you had a talent show, too, a while back!!  It might have been an old email… like super old, but it sounded super fun!   haha.  We made fliers and were passing
them out and planning and talking it up for a month!!   … and finally,
this last Saturday, WOW what success!!!    ;-D  It was awesome!!  Soo many people participated!  Less actives, members, random friends of members, people who we never see at church, random contacts on the street!  It was sooo
awesome and we got to talk to a lot of them and will be visiting with
them soon!  But the real miracle was Sunday,  the next day.  We had a
record high frequencia at church!   We had about 30 people more than our
highest total before!  It was really amazing!  It’s truly amazing what can
happen when the ward is excited to invite their friends!

This week, another miracle!  Remember Felipe: the boy who works for a
member of the ward.  This member went to the temple and felt an
impression that Felipe would accept the gospel.  Yes, well he came to
church again and said his girlfriend doesn’t want him to go to church,
but he went anyway.  So this week we went to visit her and see what’s
up.  We talked and just got to know her, nothing serious, just to get
to know her more.  She is super cool and really down to earth.  She
went to church when she was like 12 or 13 but now she wants to really
understand the church, not just go because of friends. but what really
scared her away was some member said that she and Felipe would have to
go on missions for 2 years and then get married.  hahaha.   oh man..
Soooo yeah, of course, she got super scared away!  She talked about when
they were apart for a year because of school that it was suuuper hard.
and she didn’t want to go another 2 years.   So we talked about missions.
Completely voluntary.   But what was really cool was when we talked
about the blessings of a mission.   How really we go as children -- girls
and boys -- but we truly return as changed adults.  Seriously, it was super
funny.   She was like smiling and super enthralled by the idea.  I love
missions!   haha.  It’s suuuuper hard work and stretches you in every
possible way, but its seriously the best decision in my life.  It has been the most
rewarding, positive, life changing experience I could have had.

But what is really cool is that midway through the lesson, Felipe showed
up and joined us, but he didn’t know we’d be there, and he was holding a
Liahona of the temples.... WHAT hahahha SO COOL.  I think he was
bringing it to show her.  HE’S SO AWESOME!  hahaha.   But we talked about
it and then left, but he prayed for us and was praying, asking God to
help them feel prepared and ready for when they’re baptised.  WOW.  So
yes, we’re prepping him for the 14th.  I’ve never seen someone sooooo
enthusiastically prepared, so young.   He is 20 years old, but he seriously
SERIOUSLY reminds me of Bryon Graham.  Remember him: from the Singles
ward.  Completely prepared, we did practically nothing. well, we never
really do anything, but teach and testify and invite them to do the
rest -- pray and study, then act. but really, it still amazes me how
little we do as missionaries.  Heavenly Father is so in control.  There
is absolutely noo doubt that this is HIS work, that I am nothing
more than a mouthpiece, an instrument, that’s being refined and
polished -- gaining so much more from this than anyone else I’m talking

This Saturday, we’re starting a class of Ingles.  We’ll be teaching the
very basics through primary songs, and how to pray in English.  I’m
super excited!

OH MAN!  And Patrick!  There’s another boy we’re teaching -- 19 years old.
We were teaching his mom, Ana Claudia, and he walked through the
lesson one day and we talked a little,  but somehow it came up, I think
his mom brought it up.  She said, “I didn’t get to read much, but he reads!”
We were like “What?”   haha.  He borrowed the Book of Mormon from her and
was reading from it.  So we explained a little about it and got to know
him more.  He said he has gone to other churches just to get to know
them better, see what they’re about and we asked if he had every thought
about why there are so many churches that teach different things,
but one God.  I pulled out the restoration pamphlet and he was
looking at it and he said... “the answers in there!”  He was waiting
for me to give it to  him.  haha.  Wow!  He’s just searching and so
excited!  This past week we came back and he was on his way to work, but
we talked a little about the pamphlet, apostasy etc.   He said,
“Ahh, I have to go... but when are you coming back?”
ahh!!  So many super prepared people!  Prepared YOUTH!  It’s just sooo
amazing. but hard because the lifestyle here is so different.  He
works EVERY day from 7pm to 7am.   ahhhh.  Sooo busy, but just so
prepared.  I’m super excited about him AND his mom.  She’s very open and
more excited now because,  he’s excited, too.  I love families :-)

Seriously, I am just so blessed to be here.  Sometimes, I wake up
in the morning -- sometimes at 4 for district meeting ... haha … but I
wake up and am just so overwhelmed with gratitude …  and shock … Really,
sometimes I’ll just sit and think “Wow, I can’t believe I’m really
here!  I’m a missionary.”   I remember looking up to those missionaries at
our house for dinner and thinking how fun and cool!   But now I
understand it truly is soo much more.  I can’t believe I get the
blessing of being able to be one.  How did I deserve this?  I really
didn’t, but I am forever grateful.  Thank you for all of your support
and help in allowing me to be here.  Thank you for raising me with the family
and friends that gave me all the experience that made me who I am
today.  I love this gospel.  I know this is Christ’s true church. and
true Eternal happiness can come from nowhere else  but the restored complete

 com muiiiiiito amor!!!!!!!!
 Au Revoir!

-Sister Yoshimoto

photos from the talent show! :)