Tuesday, June 24, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 7

Dear Family & Friends,
This powerful trio here in Santana has been extremely blessed. Sister Pinon, Sister Nascimento, and I are working "até o pó" (until the dust) day in and day out and WOW, this area just might burn to the ground because we are on fire!!! I'm learning to let the Lord guide the way and seeing the positive effects of working WITH the members of our ward- this is the secret.
My favorite moment from the week was last night during our "noite familiar" (family night) with a few investigators and families from the ward. Larissa, a 19 year old girl we are teaching with a baptism date for July 5th, was there with her brother, along with another investigator Jacilene and her son. The Bishop, his wife, and two other couples from the ward came too and it was awesome! We had a lesson on the Gift of the Holy Ghost, played games, and ate popcorn. I just had to embrace the moment and look around the room at everyone laughing and smiling together. This is truly what the work of salvation is all about: friendship, love, and happiness, together with the gospel of Jesus Christ. AH loved it!!
We had members come out with us for several of our lessons this week and it was great! So much more special when a member invites the investigator to church and shares his or her testimony. If you have the chance to go to a lesson with the missionaries or offer to have a family home evening in your home, it makes the world of difference to the investigators to have a friend and you will see the blessings of the gospel in action! We have Andrea and Geovanna, a mom and daughter, all set for baptism this Saturday! So excited!!
Tuesday was another Brazil World Cup game so we were inside most of the day. It wasn't quite as crazy as the first game but still very exciting! There is another game tonight too so we have an all-day Pday today (normally we have to proselyte after 6pm). We were talking to people we met on the street the other day and they were asking Sister Pinon and I if we were visiting for the World Cup because we are Americans. I guess there are lots of tourists here but I haven't seen any because we aren't super close to the stadium. Nope, we are here in Brazil for something so much more important than soccer... your eternal happiness and salvation!
This Wednesday is the half-way mark of my mission! 9 months!!! Wow I can't believe it. In some ways, I feel like I just arrived in the mission field and I still have no idea what I'm doing. In other ways, I feel like my whole life has been spent as a missionary and everything else was a dream. It's weird! A mission isn't always sunshine and roses, and I am being pushed and stretched in ways I never imagined, but it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. So blessed to be here!
This morning I was reading in Mosiah 18:8-10 about our baptismal covenants. When I was baptized, I made a promise to my Heavenly Father that I would bear one another's burdens, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that need comfort, and stand as a witness of Him at all times, in all things, and in all places. More than this, I promised to do these things WILLINGLY. Am I truly living up to my covenants? How many times do I focus on me, how I'm feeling, wallowing in self-pity, when there are people right beside me that need my help? I need to be a better listener, more observant of others. Yes, being a missionary has it's challenges, but when I turn outward and offer a helping hand and loving heart, my own problems melt away. This is what I promised when I was baptized and took upon myself the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve Him until the end. And now, I have the honor and priviledge to be set apart as a representative of Him with power and authority to act in His name, to help others make this sacred covenant with God. How great is my calling!
I love you and miss you all! Have a great week!

Sempre Sorria (Always Smile),
Sister Jorgensen

Monday, June 16, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 6

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was another crazy one! Super busy, but it's a great feeling to lose yourself in this labor of love and work of the Lord, and focus all your energy on others!

Tuesday we had an awesome Zone Training and exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. Sister Rodrigues came to our area for the day and we had tons of powerful lessons with our investigators in Zaki Narchi. Sister Rodrigues is from the interior of São Paulo and is 33 years old, but you would never know it! She is so excited and energetic about everything. I learned many new teaching techniques from her. She LOVES Subway so we ate there for lunch. Did you know they have Subway here in Brazil? I was happy!!!

Thursday was the first Brazil World Cup game and wow, it was INSANE! Alabama football on steroids. Not even kidding. We worked for a few hours before the game and we talked with people as they were getting ready. Everyone, I mean everyone, was wearing yellow and green. Brazil flags and banners everywhere. The roads and sidewalks were spray painted. All the stores closed. It's like the world stopped. How cool is it to be in São Paulo during the World Cup?? We had to be inside before the game started to avoid all the partying. But we didn't have to watch the game to know what was going on. Being in the middle of the city was like being in the middle of the stadium! Every goal brought fireworks, noisemakers, and cheering. It was fun to listen from the window! We had our own little missionary world cup party with popcorn and had lots of time to study and catch up on our area book.

Friday we woke up at 5am to go to the federal police station for my visa paperwork. I'm an official Brazilian now! While we were waiting in line, the phone rang and it was President Martins. Sister Paredes was being transfered that day. What?? Another transfer?! I guess President Martins is trying to finalize everything before the new mission president arrives this month.

Sister Pinon and I are now in a trio with Sister Nascimento, and let me tell you, she is an answer to prayer! I have been praying for an experienced Brazilian companion. She is a former Sister Training Leader and has been out for almost 14 months. She is from Curitiba, Brazil and was baptized a year before she left on her mission, the only member in her family. Sister Nascimento is an INCREDIBLE missionary with an inspiring testimony. She is truly a blessing! She is the only reason I am not exploding with all the craziness of our two areas. Heavenly Father knew I needed her!

This week was full of miracles. We had 8 investigators at church again yesterday! I don't know how we have so many awesome people to teach, I don't even know where they are all coming from. This is true joy! I am still in awe. We are being blessed so much. Santana is on fire and we are going to have baptisms!!!

I am tired but I am SO happy!! We have been working so hard! What a week. I am so grateful for this opportunity to dedicate 18 months of my life to serve my Heavenly Father and be a representative of Jesus Christ. It's so rewarding to serve with all my heart and strength. I know this gospel changes lives and blesses families. I know this church is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth.

Pray for missionary opportunities, live your testimony, and let others see and feel of your light. And remember, anything is possible with faith! I love you all!

Com Amor,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of our trio with Sister Nascimento and the other on the day of the world cup game before Sister Paredes was transferred

Monday, June 9, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 5

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy Monday everyone! This week seemed like an entire month, so many things happened. I'm relieved it's finally Pday. 

The beginning of the week was really good. I was feeling confident about our lessons, we were having success with our investigators, things were starting to feel a bit more normal. Then... SUPRISE! Sister Garner gets emergency transferred and the other Santana sisters (Sister Paredes and Sister Pinon) and I become a trio. Which means I have to carry on our area. Which means we have to balance all the work from 2 areas. Let's just say this week was very hectic and at times, we were literally running from appointment to appointment. Missionaries should be used to unexpected events like this right? I am thankful for the chance to finally breathe today.

The day Sister Garner was transferred, I had to ride in the car with her, and President and Sister Martins, to Soracaba, to be the "companion" while they transferred other sisters around. We went to the "interior" part of São Paulo, an hour outside of the city where most of the sisters serve (there are few sisters that serve here in the "capital" where I am serving). So I spent pretty much the whole day in the car with my mission president, which turned out to be a HUGE blessing. Of course I was stressed about Sister Garner leaving and President Martins told me something I desperately needed to hear: "Sister Jorgensen, this is not your problem. It's the Lord's. This is not your work. It's the Lord's. Leave the worrying to Him".

I can testify to you, because of all the crazy things that happened this week, that this is in fact the work of the Lord. He qualifies whom He calls. When we submit to His will and do all we can do, He makes up the difference. He labors WITH us! I could not have made it through this week without His help and His tender mercies. Let me give you an example.

Yesterday we had Stake Conference (a semi-annual church meeting with all the congregations in the area). Sunday mornings for missionaries are always stressful trying to make sure all the investigators (people we are teaching) make it to church and are taken care of. We were already late because we were walking with a mom and daughter from the other sisters' area (here in Brazil we walk our investigators to church) and I was really, really stressed about my investigators, Amanda and Damiana, who would be coming for the first time. I wanted to meet them at the front so they wouldn't get lost or overwhelmed with all the people. I was fuming inside, looking at my watch, as we climbed the last hill to the church building, when a car drove by "Oi Sisteres!", which the Bishop, his family, and my two investigators in the back, Amanda and Damiana. 

My heart melted with joy and gratitude. I was SO happy, what a relief!!! Without being asked, the Bishop picked up Amanda and Damiana as they were walking from the bus stop. This small act of service was a huge deal to me and to them. We ended up having 8 investigators at church yesterday- miracle! And Amanda (12 year old daughter of Damiana) is excited to be baptized June 28th!!! Now we just have to get Damiana on board...

I have no doubt that the Lord's hand is guiding this work of salvation. I am so grateful for this week, though probably the most stressful and crazy of my entire mission, it has been a growing week and I have learned ALOT. I CAN lead my area. I CAN speak Portuguese. I CAN work in a trio. I can't do it alone, but I can do it with the Lord. Anything is possible with prayers of faith. I am so grateful for the ward I am serving in. They are the real missionaries; we are just here to help.

Heavenly Father often sends us experiences that take us out of our comfort zone, that seem overwhelmingly impossible. But He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we can handle. And He is right there, every step of the way, to take our worries, to take our stress, to take our fear, and to replace it with faith and strength.

I love and miss you all!
Com Amor,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Guess what... I was talking in my sleep in Portuguese this week. My companions laugh and laugh about this. And this annoying computer still won't load pics... hopefully next week!

Monday, June 2, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 4

Dear Family & Friends,
This week we had transfers but because I arrived mid-transfer, nothing changed. Sister Garner and I are continuing our adventures in Santana along with the other sisters that live with us! This transfer we have Copa Do Mundo (world cup) coming up but it won't affect us as much as I thought. There are four days (June 12, 17, 23, 28) with games that we have to stay in our apartment after 4pm, but other than that, missionary work will carry on as normal!
We had some really good lessons with our investigators this week. The most spiritual lessons we have are when we read the Book of Mormon together, especially verses about following the Savior's example with baptism. We're teaching an awesome lady named Angelica who has a son living in Florida, who was recently baptized with his family. She visits them frequently and attends church when she is there (in English so she doesn't understand much). She was very firm about not joining the church but in the past month her heart has softened and she has been coming to church on her own here in Santana. During our lesson, her son actually called on the phone to talk to us! He said Angelica is a "tough one" but if she decided to be baptized, he would fly to Brazil to surprise her and baptize her. She is tough to convince, but we aren't here to convince her- we're here to open the door for the Spirit to convert. We are determined to make it happen! We fasted for her yesterday. She is such a sweet lady. Future Relief Society President for sure.
I learned something cool this week. "CTR" (choose the right) is the same in Portuguese but "conserva tua rota" (conserve your route). I thought that was pretty neat! When we are choosing the right, we are in fact striving to stay on the correct path and "conserve", or remain steadfast and firm as an example of Christ. I just really love Portuguese. So much insight.
Overall this week was a good one! A few rough days but I am getting more accustomed to the routine and all the walking. No more band-aids but I have some rock solid caluses (sp?) on the bottom of my toes. Very attractive, but no one sees my feet. Day by day I am understanding and speaking more and more. It's still hard- I still come home at the end of every day completely wiped out, brain explosion and all. But I know Heavenly Father is blessing me and He won't give me anything I can't handle. Thank you for your prayers!
2 Nephi 16:8- "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here I am, send me".
I like to imagine living with Heavenly Father before coming to Earth and Him reading a mission call, "Who can I send to serve my children in Sacramento and São Paulo? Who is willing to represent my Beloved Son and teach the gospel here? Who will be my valiant servant?" And I said, "Send me! I will do it Father!" Just like Christ answered the call to be our Savior and fulfill His life mission. He is my Example. I am here to help people "understand with their heart and be converted and be healed" (verse 10).
Similar to a 18-month or 2 year mission call, we each have a life mission call. We're each here on a mission here on Earth to remain faithful and return to our Heavenly Home, helping our brothers and sisters along the way. Perhaps before He sent us to Earth, Heavenly Father assigned us our life missions, with our own personalized challenges, difficulties, and experiences to mold and purify us into the sons and daughters of God we truly are. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission as part of my life mission, to help me gain a greater eternal perspective. I know I have a purpose here in São Paulo because I told Heavenly Father I was willing to do this. This is what our missions in life are all about: striving to find our purpose and magifying it.
I hope you each have a wonderful and blessed week! Love and miss you all!!!!
Com Amor,
Sister Jorgensen
P.S. I had some fun pics to send but the computer is not loading them and I am trying not to be frustrated... next week!