Thursday, August 28, 2014

Growing with the People of Maranhao

August 27, 2014

Oiiiiiii tudo bem?    [Hi!  How are you?]

Meus queridos! [My dear ones]  It seriously looks like Hawaii here.  I will take pictures one day. but it’s really difficult because it’s so sketchy and poor here and there’s like assaults and muggings every day so I have to be sneaky with photos. -------------but don’t worry, Mom, it’s super safe, we’re like invisible here. ------

I’m sooooo incredibly excited for Kevin Lu!!! and Matthew Larson!  Wow! I seriously was soooooooo happy reading Kevin’s letter!  I want to write a letter to him, but I’d have to send it like now because he leaves the MTC in October right?  Okay, I’ll see if I can send it ASAP! or I’ll email it to you and you can send it to him for me?  Yay!  Technology!

So I read this week about your hike!  How exciting!  Sounds suuuuuper intense but super pretty and fun.  We’ll have to go again when I get back! :) okay?  Perfect!  In the ice water during winter haha.

Also, tenho perguntas!  [I have questions]  How is Cami doing???   Is Emily liking school? And also, are Uncle Chucky and Aunty Megumi still meeting with the missionaries?  How’s that going? :)

This week I have been unofficially put in charge of our zone t-shirt!  So it’s been a little stressful and busy, but it’s been super awesome because I felt more at ease with this kind of stress and responsibility … Finally, I am able to release some creative energy … haha.  I’ll send a pic when it’s done.  It should be done this week. :)  I’m excited!  It’s modeled after the soda of Maranhao -- Guarana Jesus.  It’s like only here in Maranhao.  It’s really weird like tutti fruitti flavor but it grows on you and agora [now] I like it aloooot. haha. 

But also, best of all, this area is finally looking up!  This ward is one of the most struggling wards in this mission.  I see why even the active members are very fluctuante—translation ... [back and forth] ----  They are still learning and growing, but some really struggle.   Really it’s just the returned missionaries and their families. The rest come sometimes, and sometimes not.  It’s really tough.  I was talking with the other sisters about it and really what it comes down to is that Heavenly Father won’t trust this ward with more baptisms and more of his children who are truly looking, if this ward won’t take care of them.  I know I said this before, but it’s really starting to show.  This ward has trouble taking care of its own.   We’re plannning like crazy for activities and ideas to reach out to the menos ativos.  [less actives]  I’m super excited!  I love this ward, but it is sooo tough when many are so worried about the wrong things. 

We had an investigator named José. He suffers from real bad depression, and I know it’s like clinical because it seriously comes in waves and he’s been battling this for 3 years.  It has gotten so bad that he’s turned into this dark, pessimistic, kind of person who gets drunk every single day.  He is more like an adolescent with a dark look at everything.  It is sooooo incredibly sad because we try to talk and testify and teach but I’ve just never seen someone so incredibly in disbelief.  I read in the Book of Mormon sobre [about] the people in disbelief and I never truly understood some parts until now.  For exemplo, [example] the last time we talked with him. I almost cried.... I testified and promised that if he just went to church one time, he would feel better.  Not completely everything would change, but if he went just once, I promised that he would FEEL something and find hope again. He said no, it won’t work, there’s no hope for me, there’s no way.  I said you don’t know that!  It is worth at least a try!  And he said no, it won’t work.  In my mind the story of Moises [Moses] and the golden serpent came to mind and I asked him about it.  I compared it to him and he thought a minute and said no, it’s different with me.  It wont work.  I tried again to compare but he cut me off and said, “It’s different for me.  It won’t. work.”   And he walked away with such a cloud of despair and hopelessness.  I just stood there looking at him trudge off and I felt the most overwhelming sadness.  I knew for even just a second how our Heavenly Father feels with each child He loses to our own agency... 

I just thought there for a minute how heartbreaking it must have been for Moises [Moses] to see his people, his family, and friends, dying there on the ground with not even enough faith to look up at the serpent.  In pain they’re there as Moises [Moses] was just begging them to look up and they would be cured and saved!  But how many of them were dying there thinking, “Its different for me.  It won’t work for me.”  This is the definition of disbelief.  Sometimes, I doubt my faith or have some reservations, but then I think if I can just muster enough faith to just act and to just TRY Him, just TEST this promise in the scriptures, I can see the miracles and grow my faith .. but this disbelief that kills miracles, is simply the lack of even trying.  Faith truly is dead without works.  How incredibly heartbreaking it is to see some without even that amount of faith and they are dying spiritually. 

On the other hand, we have an amazing family -- Ruy and Brena.  They are soooo super young but they are truly progressing!  They aren’t married yet legally but we set a date and this Friday we are re-uniting at the cartorio [notary or justice of the peace] ---place to marry-- and vamos [we will] set the marriage and baptism for this day!  At first they were very nonchalant with it all,  It was kind of like “Sure, whatever works, we’ll go with it.  Maybe we’ll marry maybe not for another 10 years or so.”   But now the real miracle is that they’re super excited because they never thought about an Eternal family before.  With this new vision, they truly are ready to do anything to attain their potential como [as] spouses, and future parents.  It is amazing how the truth and the spirit really opens and changes people for the better.  I’m super excited for them!!!!!  Also, we’ve been finding more and more families and individuals with real potential. They are really looking for the truth and for something more.  I’m so excited!!!  I know that with our work with the ward, the elects will be coming out ready to accept the complete evangelho [gospel] and truth restored. 

I looooove this work.  There is an incredible joy that comes from serving the lord and constantly being immersed in His spirit and learning and growing through challenges and trials.  This is my mission and MY conversion story and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.   Talvez [perhaps] it’s just another mission in Brasil, same stories and same experiences, but to me it is unico [unique]. I love my mission!  Wow.   I am so grateful for everything I learn every single day. 

Amo voces demaisssss!!  [I love you, too]
Have a great week!   I love you allllllllll!
-Sister Yoshimoto

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rapido Rapidoooo

August 20, 2014
Subject: rapido rapidooooo   [rapid rapid]
Oiiii!!!  [Hi!]
I read rapidinho [quickly] what Emily wrote and that’s super funny haha.  Pat doesn’t have to ask permission hahahah.  Tell him hiiiiiiiiii for me!!!! :)))

This week flew by!!! and already half the transfers gone!!!  It’s seriously soooo scary how fast it goes!!  I only have 2 more after this one! ))):

But anyway, I received an email that last week.   Aline, the sister of Felipe in Tiangua was baptised!! I don’t know how it happened, like her mom finally let her be baptized!!!!!!! And also one other man we were teaching who couldn’t be baptized because of his past, apparently, it got cleared finally and he was baptized!!!! Ahhhh!!!  I am so happy!!!

And Irismar and Francisco will be married and baptized the 5th and 6th of September!!!  I’m sooooooo excited for them!!! :DDDD
Dying of happiness hahah.  I love the mission!!! I’m super bummed I couldn’t be there in person, but just knowing that they’ve finally been able to make this huge step toward our Heavenly Father makes me sooo incredibly satisfied.  I feel like it would have been a mess if I was there, anyway.  Crying and all that nonsense... haha

This week started out really sad haha. We received training about discerning between friends and elites.  People who just like our company or those who truly are looking for the truth and real happiness through the evangelho (i dont remember the word for this.....)  [gospel]
so we cut a lot of people and started completely over.  It was a reaaaalll step of faith because we really don’t have a lot of investigators, tons of menos ativos [less actives], but it was tough to put the number 0 down so many times. haha.  But then the miracles started to happen.  We finally got to talk to this one contact on the street, Jo, and she’s seriously wanting to serve a mission, but wants the testimony first, that’s good … haha.  So she is truly progressing and truly looking for that spiritual growth.  Also, a couple we are teaching, Ruy e Brena, they had been meeting with the sisters for like a year.  All of a sudden they moved and lost contact.  We met them again and did a mini interview com eles [with them] and they want to be married and baptized!!!  It was a miracle, seriously.  They’re suuuper young, but we talked about what they want and a family eterna [eternal family] and they truly want this, but just don’t know how to get it.  It’s amazing, the hidden potential people truly have.  We just have to trust that the Lord knows and can show us who has it. 

Also, we were looking for a menos ativo [less active member] and she moved but someone else was living there and so we talked with him and he and his wife are looking for a church--why? Because since they were married (legally--miracle!!!) 5 years ago, they haven’t been truly happy. They want to be happy, but now they are looking for true happiness.  This is exactly what I was praying for -- those of God’s children who are truly looking for the complete happiness that Deus [God] has for them here, that can only truly be achieved through the Complete Evangelho de Crist. [complete gospel of Jesus Christ]

Every day I see that more and more our challenges are very specific to us, but also that we  have alllll the tools we need to enfrentar [face] these challenges.  Sometimes it’s the scriptures, prayer, and fasting, but sometimes it’s through other people--our lideres [leaders].  We have them for a reason and I know that I really needed to learn humility on the mission, to let others help me. They’re there for a reason and I know that I can ask for a blessing.  The mission isn’t just about teaching these principles, the power of God that we have in our church--the priesthood-- but to truly live these principles as well.  I am sooo incredibly grateful for this opportunity to be on a mission to be a missionary. This mission has seriously saved my life in so many ways.  I know that every second is precious and every person I meet has taught me a lesson crucial for my future.  I loooooeveee the mission!!!  I know this church is the only true church with all the keys and power and authority that Christ had when He was here on the Earth. I know there are so many out there who neeeeed this truth and we’re here to help find them!

Love you all soooo much!!!!!! 
You are all in my orações [prayers] daily !!!

Com muiiiiito amor!!!  [with much love]
Sister Yoshimoto

Monday, August 18, 2014

DIA DOS PAIS [Father’s Day]

Aug 13, 2014 11:46 AM
This week Sunday was Dia Dos Pais [Father’s Day]!  hahaha, e differente [it is different] here (the day), but anyway, Happy Dia Dos Pais! 

Andddddddd this Friday, Happppy Birthday Camiiiiiiii!!!! you old tomato, youuuuuu!!! :)
Sometimes   I feel really old when I tell people I’m 21, but then I remember your birthday and that you’re super old too, hehehehhe, and I feel better hahahahahahah jkkkkkkkkkkk.  Happy birthday hope you eat lots of cake and ice cream and talvez eu vou [maybe I’ll] send tanajura [giant ants]  hehehe . Gross.

As always, no time but I have some questions and highlights !  It will be real short and sweet this week and this computer nao send pic...... sorry :(    [won’t send pictures]

How is Grama doing? 
When does Emily start school/go to Hawaii?
Do you know a david kilgirl , I dont know the spelling. who served  in Londrina mission? or a Elder Beck who lives in SJ now but served in Brasil?
I met a member here who served with people from SJ!  His name is Tiago Enrique and would have been Elder Sousa. de maranhao. [from Maranhao]

This week we met a member -- lots of members -- who have turtles . hahaha.  And it reminded me of the time Emily and I found a turtle in the back yard and played with him and named him but at the end of the day we knew that we had to set him free but we wanted him to remember us and  to recognize him some day in the future when we met again so we took a Sharpie and drew a giant Y on his shell and set him free hahahahha.  Ask Emily if she reembers that.  lol

It’s really expensive here!  Everything.   But   we don’t eat too much anyway because its soo hot. but the members are all sooooo giving.  Wow!  It’s humbling to see just how willing they  are to give everything when they have so little.  Food is expensive yet they always give to the missionaries. What a blessing they are and I truly pray and trust the Lord will bless them for their sacrifices on our behalf . 

Japanese are rare here.  It’s really funny because I’ll be walking with my comp and just like those movie scenes were everyone stops mid-sentence and just stares as we walk by ---like " look.... what is it??  I heard about them on TV but never knew they were real."  Sometimes I feel like either a movie star or ET.  Not sure yet which, but it’s always funny when we see themd o this and say bom dia!  [Good day!]  And they all snap out of it and don’t know whether to respond and act like nothing happened so muitos vezes [many times] they just grunt or say bom [good]   hahah.   We always get a good laugh out of it.....

The work is going well here!  We have soooo much work with the menos ativos [less active] but it’s going soooo well.  We have so many who really just need a little support and unconditional love … someone to listen to their doubts and help them understand how to find the answers to their questions.  Little by little they are getting excited and I know they will "catch the wave" once they see how gratifying it is to help bring someone back to the gospel.  I love menos ativos.[less actives].  Seriously, I just want them to know how much Heavenly Father still loves them.  Sometimes that’s all they need to know.  We have a recent convert, l--Wervesson. his wife is a member firme [firm] but he was struggling a little.  We just befriended him and have been doing FHE and what not and all of a sudden he’s excited to go to church.  I can tell he’ll be a great leader in the church one day.  He’s already trying to help befriend the non-member visitors at church.  It’s super cute hahaha;   

How was the canyoneering trip??? survived;?? hahaha. I don’t remember what else I wanted to ask, but I’m out of time :(   One day I’ll write all I want to write and respond to everyone.......or maybe not haha.  P-days are stressful hahaha.

Love you allll and love hearing from you!!!  Thank you for the updates.  Hope everything is well.  I will print and read everything today.
You are all in my prayers every night!!!!
-Sister Yoshimoto

 -ps, sorry Laura, vou escever para voce LOOOGOOO. desculpa, mas por favor, me envia seu endereço e vou te enviar uma carta por correio tá? :) <3

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Excited to Get to Work in HOT, HOT, HOT Sao Luiz Maranhao

6 August 2014

Bom dia família e amigos queridos!     [Good morning family and dear friends!]

I won’t be writing too much today.  I’m a little sick-- just a cold or something.  Mom, no worries :) I’m drinking a LOT and I’ll be better real soon.  But for now my voice is very manly and I think I’ll sleep this Pday :)

But quick updates:  Wow, Update on Maranhão! It is suuuuure hot! haha. but I’m sooo grateful for the wind, because if I was in Teresina, I could die for sure.  It’s hotter than here, but without wind.  It’s the only thing saving me somedays haha.  Or every day. but yeah, it’s interesting. I think I’ve acclimated to it a little, but not really. basically, perspiring constantly is just normal here.  Don’t even worry about it.  The showers are cold. Always. But as soon as you step out, you’re sweating again. haha.  Lovely, isnt it? :)   But at least we have a fan.  It’s on 24/7 in our room throughout the entire night so that’s nice. 

My companion is Sister Marques!  Sorry for last week, the computers were suuuuper incredibly slow, but hopefully this week I can send a mountain of pics.  Sister Marques is very similar to Sister Pedreira,  hahahhaa.  Appearance-wise and she’s also from Sao Paulo.  They call Utah the factory of the US and Sao Paulo the factory of Brasil -- factory of missionaries, haha.  It is true, but funny.  Anyway, she’s veryryyyryryyryryyy bubbbly and excited and she hates silence so she’s always talking or asking questions, which is good for me because I like silence too much and end up thinking too much to myself which causes my companions to think I’m upset with something.  So it’s really good she keeps me talking :)  Also, she’s scared of the dark so we sleep with the lights on....all..night... hahaha.  It’s very interesting. but it all works out because I use that eye mask thing from the airplane ride here.  What a blessing that I kept that haha :)

I miss Tianguá soooo much!  It’s sooo different here.  We have work to do to help the ward become united in faith.  Right now, it is a little difficult to bring new people in and keep the recent converts active as the ward struggles with unity.  Because of this we’ve decided to really focus on helping to excite and unify the core of the ward before trying to bring in mountains of other people.  I've seen soooo much in my mission that I know this is truly how it works.  Calico Ridge is my living testimony -- when the ward is ready and working, the Lord will allow us to find the truly elite. This ward is very much like Calico Ridge was when I arrived there.  That zone was really struggling. but when everyone got together and was truly working hard and being as obedient as possible, everything fell into place and the Lord blessed us all. This São Luis zone is the lowest zone right now, so I’m super excited to work with Sister Marques to really help this area bloom and flourish!!  We’ll be prepping the fields for the rain and I can’t wait to put my all into another area. 

I received the birthday stuff this week! and some things from June! :(Sorry everyone! but mail is realllyyyyy slow here.  Please give my love and hugs and kisses to the ward and everyone who is truly helping me here every day. I am sending letters so it’ll probably arrive in a month and a half  … haha.  But let them know its coming!!  Especially the Bertagnolli’s.  Wow, I received a package fuuuull of "packing" haha. AMERICAN SNACKS!!  Wow. and peanut butter... what a beautiful sight haha. 

Thank you soooo much for the cards and letters and pics!!!  I had an amazing birthday and I feel really bad now because I forgot to email last week HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! :))) 

But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about your birthday!  We went and had Guarana de Amazonia for your birthday!  I’ll send a pic.  It’s guarana em po [guarana powder], a bunch of nuts, and ice.  Just that.  And it’s suuuuuuper good and it’s like a giant milk shake but it’s not so it’s healthy and superererr gooood.   But we forgot that it was the first Saturday so we would be fasting for Sunday...... but we forgot so we ate anyway and fasted the next day. haha. Oops.  Happy Birthday!!!!
I hope it was a greaaaat birthday!!

I also received letters from the Jackson family in Calico Ridge. Wow, I was sooooo happy to receive them! I will be writing back ASAP!  But please let them know that I really love them a ton and will be coming back to visit them and the Allen’s and the Stafford’s and everyone!!! 

I’ll send pics now, but I am soooo excited for this transfer!  I am keeping you all in my prayers every night by name!!  The time is moving toooo fast and it’s super sad, but it’s not done yet! Now is the time to work even harder!  … And I can’t wait!!! :)

Com muiiiiiiiito amor!!!!         [with LOVE]
e de todo de meu coração!      [and with all of my heart]
<3333Sister Yoshimoto

AMO VOCE!<3                     [LOVE YOU!]