Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sushi de doce, Brasil Style
Chicken foot and a chick.  What's for dinner?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Subject: Semana do milagres--O Senhor nunca nos esquece
[Week of Miracles - The Lord never forgets us]

Oiiiii minha família querida!!!   [Hi my dear family]

I just have so much to say and not enough time or words to say it all! wow! 

This transfer has been one of the toughest for me, I’ve truly been feeling the weight of this area AND the other sisters' area on my shoulders, as well as training and not completely knowing the language or the area or how this country works, haha, but all of this has been truly stressful and a time of muuuuuch self-reflection, evaluation, humility, and growth.  I am sooo grateful, soooooo grateful for my leaders--district and zone and sister trainers, and of course for the Atonement which is truly what will pull me through, like Dad said – it’s not just for my sins and faults, but for my stresses and my fears and my frustrations. 

But this week, wow, it has truly been a miracle, a blessing, a tender mercy.  It’s hard to remember that all of our hard work and obedience and prayers and fasts and tears and sweat and pain in the mission will ultimately pay off, especially when we’re in the middle of the trial but 100%, I can testify that as the mission is getting closer to the end, I feel the pressure of so little time and so much work left to do on myself and in this area.  I can see now that as I’m getting closer to the end, I’m facing bigger, longer trials and truly being tested in my faith, patience and perseverance. 

But it always pays off.  This week, aka 2 days, has already been such a miracle!!!! Yesterday, we found an elite family!!  We were waiting for lunch hour to end and decided to sit in the shade and study a bit (we were in an area a really long way from our house and everyone else was still eating) so we sat and I saw a woman with a baby and we had made a goal to talk to families so we could find more families to teach and so we decided to go sit there instead.  We sat down and before we could say anything, a dog came up and was playing with us.  I asked if the dog was hers and she said “noo, it’s a street dog,” but she started talking about the story of the dog and then we started talking about her and her family and us and our mission and all of a sudden the entire family and some neighbors popped out of nowhere and all were there on the street talking with us and joking and asking questions and it was soooooooo cool!  We talked for a while about churches, missions, why we’re here without pay, etc. and we explained a little about “the Restoration” and eternal families and they all were very attentive and interested and it was amazing.  Wow!  I still can’t believe it.  They had to go to work and what not after but the entire family of 5 people said that we could come back this week to talk more about this restoration and the difference from their church.  Wow!  I just felt how strong they are and how united they are as a family and that this decision will seriously change their lives for the better!  I saw them as seriously badly needed future leaders of the church here. 

Right after this, we went to visit another family but no one was home except the aunt.  We talked with her a bit and she said she has wanted to visit the church because she knows one of our recent converts.  She wants to be baptized but doesn’t know where because she wants the truth and not some church that teaches the same things over and over.  She doesn’t want a church that is inconsistent.  We taught about “the Restoration” and gave her the Book of Mormon which she likes a lot.  We read Alma 7:15 and she was so attentive.  We challenged her to prepare for baptism and she accepted.  She’s coming to church this week with her family and is preparing for baptism on the 2nd of August.  Wow!  It was soooooo amazing to see such an elite daughter of God so prepared and so willing to follow Christ’s example and so receptive to the Spirit. 

But that’s not all!!!! Aline, the sister of Felipe, our recent convert, … Wow!  I can’t even describe how elite she is!  She is probably more prepared than Felipe, which is soo hard to imagine.  haha. But long story short, we prayed about a date by which she’d be prepared to be baptized and when we met with her, we talked about the Book of Mormon and her testimony.  She bore testimony super strong and the spirit was sooooo strong.  We read a scripture about baptism and told her about the date about which we prayed and felt strongly that she could be ready for the 2nd of August, she started crying and said that she had received the same answer----what!!!  She had prayed about the Book of Mormon, felt it was true, and has been coming to church and knows that it’s different.  We never asked her to pray about baptism but she prayed if this was right for her and felt two days ago very strongly that she needed to be baptized on this day.  Wow. I have a strong testimony that this work is SOO not about us.  We missionaries do probably very little in the big scheme.  But literally, our job is just to be worthy and working.  The rest just falls into place because the Spirit is truly the one who teaches and confirms. We did nothing but pray for a date, and relay this answer to her.  She and the Spirit did the rest.  Because she was willing to pray and search for answers and guidance from God, she received this amazing confirmation. and the blessings that will come after are so soooo worth it.  Wow!  I can’t believe it! 

Update on Thais and her parents:  Miracles!  They are opening up more and are more friendly to us, but it will definitely take some time and prayers and work on Thais' part now. She has a testimony but is losing faith and courage to bear her testimony.  We are definitely working with her, as is Felipe and Aline and the members! Miracles will occur! 

I love this work! I know that there is no better feeling than the pure happiness I feel when I know that I’m doing the Lord’s work and seeing the miracles and the amazing changes in the people here whom we have the opportunity to serve.  Man!  A mission is tough.  Realllly tough, but I’ve never been happier in my life and never felt more fulfilled and more sure, more satisfied with where I am, where I’m headed and my purpose.  I know with 100% certainty that this gospel, this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the true church of Jesus Christ. This church is the only church with the power and authority of God to seal our families together forever, and to bring us the absolute peace and true happiness here, now, in this life, and forevermore after this life.  I love the Book of Mormon and the truths I learn from it.  The teachings are for all of us who live in this day and I know that these miracles can happen every day for every single one of us, if we're open and searching. 

Amo voces muiiiiiiiitoooooooo e agradeço cada um de voces por suas orações que realmente estão me carregando todos os dias.  [I love you guys so much and I thank each of you for your prayers that are really carrying me every day].    Voces estão em minhas orações todas as noites, pelo nome!  [You guys are in my prayers every night, by name!Beijos!!!  [Kisses!!!]

-Sister Yoshimoto


I hope camp was fun!!!
love you tons!!! send pics of camp! and your garden! peach season yet:? did you know we don't have peaches in brasil.... what is that about...

pps; This Saturday we’re going to have a wedding!!!!!!! for Daniel and Larissa!  I'm soooo excited!!! ahhh!! and Sister Merrill and I are going to sing for it....uh oh hahah. it'll be interesting.  At least SHE can sing! haha. I'll send pics!!<3

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