Thursday, September 25, 2014

Semana Louuuuuuca!!! [Crazy week]

Sep 24, 2014


WOW!  What a week   haha.  Muito Coisa.   [There was a lot.]

I have very little time to write from now on because we have loooots to do as STLs now .... so crazy stuff has been happening here in Sao Luis so we’re keeping reaaaal busy!

But first of all,  wow!   Elder Leal was amaaaaazing!!!  [Visiting general authority, Elder Leal, visited and taught the part of the Teresina Mission where Lauren is serving.]  I seriously just loooove love looove our leaders.  They are incredibly inspired men and women, completely lead by the Lord.  It was so exciting because it was just our zone of 26 missionaries in this meeting.  Also, in the beginning we had a mini meeting with just the leaders so it was like 10 of us and Elder Leal.  It was soo incredible. 

He talked a lot about balance.  Finding the balance between developing attributes of Christ and techniques of the mission.  He spoke about how we need to work on both but not one more than the other.  He also talked a lot about the Spirit and truly letting the Spirit teach more than us.  This is something I realize now is much easier to forget as we get more experiencd in the mission and feel more comfortable and knowledgable in the lessons.  It was a very good reminder.  I feel like I truly understand why God calls the youth.  It always seems strange that these 18-21 year olds are out here carrying the work of spreading the gospel.  The  salvation of these precious people is in the hands of immature teens and young adults.   How scary!!  But then I realize that this is the pattern of the Lord. Everything--EVERYTHING is the same now as it always has been in the true church of God.   David and Goliath, Samuel, Moses, Mary the mother of Christ,  and Joseph Smith.  All were super young--so unknowledgeable, so new.  And yet they were the ones chosen to hold the highest responsiblilties and callings.  Why? Because they are the malleable ones.  I knew almost nothing going into the mission -- just that the Atonement was real.  Without even a real strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. but just enough of a belief to get me going.  Most of us are like that.  But that’s when we really REALLY learn to do the Lord’s work and not our own, because we know nothing and we learn REAL quick how huge the nothing is that we know.  And that’s when we rely on the Lord.  Because we HAVE to.  If we want to do the Lord’s work, we do it how He wants it done, and how He knows it needs to be done.  That’s the real lesson.  In my life, I dont want to live my life the way I think I should.  I want to live it the way HE knows I should.  I want to do that, because that’s where the real happiness is.  I’m just soooo excited for all the youth in our ward going or already on missions.  It’s the most exciting thing to me!!!

This week, I feel like I’ve begun to relearn this principle of really relying on the Lord.  I had to give a training in District Meeting this week and because of all that is going on here, we had like 1 hour to prepare.   haha.  It was so intense.  I feel like I was literally thrown into this whole training world.  I dislike talking in front of a lot of people. especially in meetings of missionaries.  Seriously, to this day, if they ask me a question or have me comment on something in DM, my heart is beating like there’s no tomorrow. but all of a sudden with barely any warning im giving a training. it was on helping investigators keep their commitments. and when we got up there, man. started out rough, just sis McKinney talking, but when it was my turn,  (I’d already been praying and fasting a ton … haha)  I just went for it.  At first it was a little shaky,  but then really the Spirit took over and I felt real power in what I was saying.   It wasn’t just words and quotes and drawings anymore, but statements of truth , and real testimony.  It was seriously the coolest experience.  The key really is getting them to talk and think for themselves and not holding back.  Being bold when they need it.  Saying what is true and needed, not what’s sweet and gentle.  If we need to change, we need to KNOW that we need to change. 

I still don’t like giving trainings or talking in front of people, but I have to again next week, this time for the entire zone.... at least now I know it’s POSSIBLE without passing out :) 

Thank you soooooo much Travis for your tips and help.  I will deffffffinitely be using all that this coming training. I will let you know how it goes.   haha.

This week we didn’t have a lot of time in this area because we’re always out in the other areas helping the sisters or other meetings.  Tomorrow we’ll be traveling to Teresina for the leader meeting. Even with our busy schedule, we saw miracles in our area.  Finding new people who are truly needed comfort or truth in their lives at this time. we’ll be visiting de novo this week that comes so ill let you know how it goes!!!!

ps. foi  [there were] 2 guys who wanted to learn about the church, because 2 years ago they saw the movie “The Other Side of Heaven” and got super curious !!!  How cool is that!!!!

I love you all sooooo much!!!!!!]
You are always in my prayers and I will try to respond to everyone, but I don’t promise anything :(  sorryyyy!!!!]

ps.  Don’t worry about us here, there’s a lot of stuff going on in Sao Luis, but we are taking precautions in everything and everyone is taking real good care of us. Members, pesq, the office.  It’s just our phone that doesn’t work very well so we get notices late. but we’ll be staying in casa [home] every day after 6 pm from now on until further notice.  We are disappointed, but it is better this than closing the areas down.  It will all pass soon enough.  Don’t worry about us!  All is well.  I promise! ]


Sis Yoshimoto

Monday, September 22, 2014

A New Opportunity to Love as a Sister Training Leader

September 17, 2014

Oi Família e Amigos!!!

This week flew by and I have a feeling that it will be like this until the end of the mission, because as a Sister Training Leader (STL),  agora [now], I have STL responsibilities to do every single day and that makes the days seem even shorter than they are.  There just isn’t enough time for everything....

This week the zone is going crazy preparing for the coming of Elder Leal of the Seventy! 
He will be coming in to do a training for us and just our zone...... weird. but yeah.   Elder Leal will be coming in and visiting houses and checking area books and maps for cleanliness and all that fun stuff.  Everyone is super uptight this week.  hahaha.  Sister Siedshlag (wife of the mission president) is encouraging all the sisters to dress well and fix our hair and paint our nails and everything... I’m thinking “ woah … I never do that) ... I hope he’s not gonna be checking our nails because my feet are naaaaasty from walking around Brasil.  LOL...

But it’ll be really fun!  ... I hope.  I’m super nervous that he’s going to grill us leaders and I still don’t really know completely how this mission works.  This will be real interesting haha!  But I know we’re not doing anything bad and we’ll just be able to really help grow this zone so it’ll all work out.

I’ll let you know how it goes next week haha.

This week we had our first divisions as STL and it was interesting. i went back to my old area with my old companion haha.  It was cool, but wow I seriously have no idea what to do in this calling.  It was so interesting how really it was normal. Then at the end of the day talking with her and reviewing the day, I asked a few questions and then questions popped into my mind and I asked her and discovered that really she’s having a difficult time with the new sister.  And all of a sudden it was like boom. Vent fest.  I kinda freaked out a little but then I just knew what to say and I felt really good like I actually helped her.  It was interesting because I really don’t like giving advice on the mission because its like dang, I got so many problems with myself and I’m so imperfect, who am I to give advice to others, but at the same time, this time I just felt really good.  I literally felt my calling lift me. and while I’m still super incredibly imperfect and I still got my problems, I knew that a lot of what I was saying wasn’t just me talking trying to tell them what to do, but it was literally the Spirit guiding me to say what the Savior would say.  I truly truly know that our Heavenly Father does NOT call the qualified.  If He did, He’d call Sister Merrill or Sister Beus from Tianguá who literally would be perfect STL’s.  But I know that He calls those who need the call. There is so much I need to learn from these sisters and from this responsibility and I know that He truly qualifies those He calls. I never had to have such a testimony of this until now ... but now I just have to apply this when they make me give trainings and speak and stuff..... ;P

This area is a little tougher than the last haha.  We literally have like 2 or 3 pesquisadores [investigators] and really not many are progredindo [progressing], but we have started switching gears here to Menos Ativos [less active]. and a lot of them are the kind who were baptised as kids and don’t remember anything now 20 years later.  So they are basically new investigators. It’s interesting haha.  I feel really really good about menos ativos [less actives]. I seriously looove loooooove working with them. and I felt from the beginning of my coming to Brasil that Las Vegas was my baptizing mission, but Brasil is my reactivating mission /// and it has been the best, seriously. 

I’m here with Sister McKinney who is my companion and is going home at the end of this transfer.  It’s super strange sometimes.  We are both American, both right at the tail end of our missions and the feelings are so mixed.  haha.  It’s tough when she gets on a roll and starts talking about home and what she’ll do when she gets there – she’s not trunky, but its just strange because I feel like I’m slightly in denial that I’m going home.  haha.  I’m still so darn new here.  I’m still one of those greenies!!  But all the better, it’s going to be the best 2 transfers of my mission!!!

Well, that’s all I have time for right now.  I forgot what else I wanted to say, but what else is new.:?

Oh, I remember, it’s funny because this week alone, there have been 3 or 4 people on the street who, when they see us, they whip out their phones and take pics or record us walking down the street......................... It’s like seriously soooooooo uncomfortable. But hilarious at the same time.  Imagine what they’re thinking -- woah. a blond and a Japonaisa!  hahaha

But anyway, I love you all soooo much and you are all in my prayers every single night!!
I hope Emily is loving school -- in Hawaii … so lucky!
I hope Cami is doing better!
… and Grandma!
… and RUSTY, too.

Love you allll!!!!
-Sister Yoshimoto

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Calling and Challenge in Maiobão

September 10, 2014

I forgot my paper with your last letters so I don’t remember what I wanted to say in response :( desculpa [excuse me] ... but I did read them and I know that you all had too much fun at 7 Tea Cups and helping Sister Goo cook in Hawaii!!  haha. 

Wow what a week!  .....  I don’t know where to start.  I will just start with some of the fun little highlights of the week.   hahahha

So, the first morning after Preparation Day last week, I was eating an orange and couldn’t find the knife so I grabbed what I could and found a fork..... and I started making cuts in the casca [peel] of the orange to open it and .... I cut my finger.   hahahahaha.

I seriously felt like that one dude who was drying knives by swinging it around.  hahaaha. Everyone asked about my cut up finger and I didn’t want to say how it happened, but then I remembered that this is like normal in my life.  lol

Also this week, I finally fell.  Apparently,  in this mission it’s like tradition that every American will fall  at least once in the mission here, because "we americans are all rich" and used to the fancy life of sidewalks and roads without holes and rocks sticking out everywhere.   hahaha.   So we’re literally always tripping all day every day and its normal.  But this week I finally became a true Brasilianized American missionary and fell.   hahahah.  We were walking and I tripped -- like normal == but it was night time and I didn’t see the raised part and after I tripped with one foot, the other tripped on the same spot so i had nothing left to save me and I fell.  hahaha.  But lucky for me no one saw but the drunk people so they just thought I was one of them.   hahaha.  But my poor companion was so shocked and worried because she was talking to me and all of a sudden I was gone.   hahaha.   She said it was like “That’s So Raven,” the tv show.   hahaha.  I started laughing at myself after I fell and I think she felt better and laughed too but she was still watching me ... to make sure I wouldn’t cry or fall again cause usually the falls of the americans are way worse and they like break something or get a concussion.  haha. amo Brasil.  [I love Brasil]

But okay, now is the fun part: 
I was transferred...........
Super far.
I’m now in
Maiobão 1. 

Instead of Maiobão 2.  Hahahaha.  I was transferred to the other area in the same ward to be with Sister McKinney. She’s from Washington and is finishing the mission this transfer.  So I know for sure I’ll stay here until the end of my mish.  :)))  How lucky,  I will never truly know the heat of Teresina.  muahaahahahha.  But seriously.  I will have spent my mission in the 2 coolest parts of the entire mission.   hahahahha.  I’m seriously so incredibly  blessed.  lol.   But also, these last 2 transfers of my mission will be suuuuuch a growing period of my mission because I’ve been called to be the Sister Training Leader of this zone.  We have 10 sisters. I am sooo incredibly scared.  This will be THE challenge of my mission I think.  I definitely felt something coming because I was really feeling that plateau-ing feeling, again -- the feeling I got before leaving any area, before receiving my visa, before becoming trainer, before Sao Luis.  I knew something was coming but I didn’t feel like I was leaving the ward.  Also, I was really being prepared for this calling this past week or so because I was reading in the Liahona of General Conference -- which is coming up and I’m soooo stoked!!!! -- but I read the talks from the women’s conference which I usually don’t like reading.  I don’t really know why, but I actually really enjoyed it for the first time and I was thinking, “Wow, this is good stuff!” 

Then, I remembered a part of my patriarchal blessing.  Remember how I got 2 blessings because of the recording machine?  Well, I remembered the one part that changed in the 2nd blessing was about me having  a big part in the Relief Society in the right time of my life.  And before now I never really paid much attention to that or to what that truly means but I just thought “cool.”   But now I am thinking, “woah... thats super intense”.  I don’t even like working with other girls. but all of a sudden I just became so aware of how incapable I am of this future calling I will receive.  I felt so worried and so upset that I prayed and thought, “Really, I’m here on the mission and I need to learn to prepare myself for this future plan that God has for me, whatever it may be.  So literally this will be my last final battle to overcome on the mission.  I was excited and ready to make some plans on how to love sisters more and all that, but I still had no idea really how I can do that.  And then the day of transfers I received a call from the mission office and the AP told me of my new calling. 

I was like seriously thinking “what ... sorry elder, but I think you called the wrong sister.”  Seriously, I have always thought this is one calling I will never receive because I am just not that bubbly screaming jumpy happy sister that the STL's all are.  Not that it’s bad to be that, just that they are all so good at it and it just isn’t me haha.  But now that I’m truly studying and preparing to fulfil this calling I’m really starting to feel the weight of it all.  All of these sisters are sisters, cousins, friends, daughters of people somewhere in the world who are praying for them, who are waiting for them to come home, trusting the Lord to take care of them.  Now, I have that responsibility to not just help them in their work, but to make sure they are good, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I’ve been called to really just love them and to truly sacrifice my comforts and desires and stubborn judgments and truly make important to me what is important to them, to truly care about what they are going through and what they have to deal with and that is the hardest part for me. 

I’ve been studying a lot about sacrifice since the letter from Travis about his mission.  It really changed how I look at the mission and this is the perfect opportunity I have to apply this, to really sacrifice sleep, comfort zones, time in my area, and really my fears for these sisters.  I know I will feel a huge love for them.  I won’t lie.  I’m still a little nervous and unsure if I can truly love them how I should, but I know that this is exactly what I need before I leave the mission.   I’m so sooooo not excited to give trainings to the entire zone every month, but I know I’ll learn patience and confidence in the Lord, big time.

I’m excited to work and to help this new area grow as well!!!
I can’t wait to see how the Lord will shape me these next two transfers. 
I love the mission with all my heart.
I love this evangelho [gospel].  I love my Savior.  I know that My Heavenly Father is sooo incredibly aware of me and of every single one of His children.

I love you all sooooo much and pray for you all always!!!!!

-Sister Yoshimoto

p.s.  I’m so excited for General Conference! 
I LOVE YOU !!!!!!<33333

ps. I forgot to tell everyone, but Francisco e Irismar finally got married and baptized in Tiangua. Oh my gosh!   I am crying,  I’m so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ll send pics when I get them. :*)))))

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Meeting Families!!!

September 3,  2014

This week was pretty darn exciting! hahaha. I will start with bullet points.

-We had divisions with members and a dog bit me twice...... no blood, but big ole ugly bruises haha. It was a darn little poodle....
-The water failed at our house.... in the middle of my shower, so I had conditioner sitting there and had to run out to the back in my robe and use water from the bucket and it was all weird and had little floaties everywhere but I had to use it to rinse. It was quite the Brasilian experience...... haha
-We WENT TO THE BEACCCHHHH!!!!  The Campêlo family here, man, they’ve got like 10 families in the family and are one of the originals in bringing the church to Maiobao. I loooooove them!!  They took us to the beach in Ribamar and we took tons of pics.  We can’t go in the water or walk on the sand,
as soo darn pretty!
I don’t have a lot of time, none really, we arrived late back in Maiobao, but I just wanted to update you all.  We took lots of pics and I’ll send some :)  It was super fun! :D
 It’s been toooo long away from the water :( seriously looked a lot like Hawaii--except really dirty.   haha--but it was for Ruy and Brena -- the super young couple. Wow, they are sooooo awesome really truly working on trying to get married legally so they can start the journey to an eternal marriage! They are really progressing and I’m so excited to help them get there. but really what is the miracle, is that lately, we’ve been finding the families that I’ve been looking for this entire 15 months.
Francisco and Flavia, they have 2 children and one has been going to seminary for a long time now, every day and Francisco has been friends with bishop for a long time!  He asks a lot of questions about us, and it was really cool being able to share my story with them.  I really got to think more about how I got here and how really it is a miracle but how the Lord’s hand truly was and is in every step of my life. Francisco described how he feels a hole in his life.  He is still waiting to find what can fill it and he admitted that it could be this church here, but he’s ready to find out.  They are reading and praying individually and as a family.  I know for a fact that they will receive their answers, they are so open and humble and ready to receive this restored gospel. I’m sooo excited for them! :)
I don’t know what will happen with transfers, but we’ll find out Monday..... I only have 2 more and I feel like I’d be toooo lucky to stay here for both of them :*(    mas vamos ver...   [but we’ll see]
I finished the design of the zone shirts and they will be coming in soon.  I will send a draft of what they will look like.  Look up Guarana Jesus.  It’s suuuuper legal haha.
i will read your email.  I hope all went well with Emily going to school!! I loooove you all and I feel bad I am soooo behind in responding to people.  Tell Emily to send pics or something!  I want to know how school is in Hawaiiiii!!!!
Also........... could you look up when the block classes for winter semester start?  I am ust... curious.... haha. thanks!
Amo vocessss!!!!   [Love you guys]
-Sister Yoshimoto
desculpa [excuse] the short quick blocky email!! :(