Monday, July 28, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 3

Dear Family & Friends,

Hope everyone had a good week! Just got back from the Rio Acima Posto de
Saúde (public health center) to get my third anti-rabies shot. Yup. Let me

Once upon a time we were leaving the house of a lady we had just met on the
street. Her dog just had puppies and was super sensitive to anyone that
walks near her. The dog was chained to the wall, close to the gate we had
to go through to leave. It tried to attack Sister Lowther first and then
the owner calmed it down, so I felt confident enough to walk past it.
Scariest experience of my life... a raging, barking, crazy, angry mother
dog jumping on you. AHHHHH! It bit me behind my right knee, two teeth marks
and a scratch. Not super deep, but enough to bleed and enough to hurt! I
really don't like dogs. Not one bit.

I tried to play it off like nothing happened but my companion had us call
the zone leaders and we ended up having to go to the nearest hospital for
vaccines. It's a rule to get anti-rabies shots after getting bit by a dog,
just to be safe. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely, postively
HATE shots (yes, I know "hate" is not a nice word, but in this instance it
is necessary). When we got to the hospital and they said I would need a
series of 5 vaccines, I burst into tears. Memories of passing out for my
pre-mission shots filled my mind and I could not bear the thought of having
to get FIVE. Picture this: just got bit by a dog, scared to death, in the
middle of a foreign country, in a hospital where you can't understand
anything people are saying, having to be injected with foreign dead-rabies
fluid... no thank you! It was horrible. Worst experience of my mission thus

I ended up only getting 2 shots that day (one tetnus (sp?) and one
anti-rabies) and I had to go back this morning for another. I have to get
another one this Friday, and the fifth one is only necessary if the dog
dies or runs away or goes crazy. My companion is a sweetheart and holds my
hand each time. But really, I just want my mommy! Yes I know, I am a 19
year old baby, but it's not a comforting feeling to have to get vaccinated
and not understand what's going on, let alone being bit by a dog! Oh and
guess what, the dog's name was Julie (my mom's name), just to make the
story even better.

Anyway, sorry most of this email is about my dog experience. Other than
this terrible day (which was my 10th month mission anniversary too!), the
rest of the week was really good! We hit our goal of street contacting 100
people. Eduardo (the intelligent man from my email last week) came to
church again yesterday. He won't commit to a baptism date but we are
working with him. Tonight the Bishop is coming with us to teach him how we
can use the Book of Mormon to strengthen our faith and personal
relationship with Jesus Christ. We taught a golden investigator named Maria
this week, a lady who asked US if we could share a message with her. No
doubt she is truly prepared! It's so neat to see how the Lord is laboring
with us, preparing the hearts of people here in Rio Acima. It's so neat to
watch someone being touched by the Spirit, who readily accepts the gospel
and will do anything to know if it's true.

I am in Alma in my Portuguese Book of Mormon reading, about the 2,000
stripling warriors of the Army of Helaman, and these verses really hit me
this week:

"They were exceedingly valiant for courage and also for strength and
activity... [missionaries] who were true at all times in whatsoever thing
they were entrusted" (Alma 53:20).

How grateful I am to be the Lord's missionary, bringing the world His
truth. I will continue to serve faithfully and obediently, always
remembering the things my parents taught me (I love Alma 57:21 too). Onward
to valiance! Hey, now I can say I was bitten by a dog on my mission. Does
that make me a little bit more brave?

I love you and miss you all!
Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 2

Dear Family & Friends,

Bom dia! This week was a good one. Our teaching pool is growing and we are
finding more people who are willing and ready to accept the gospel.
Sometimes we have to talk to what seems like a million people before we
find the "one", but the Lord has prepared people for us to meet and I know
they are out there!

Tuesday we had interviews with President Farnes and it was exactly what I
needed to give me that reassurance about my area and how things are going
here. He helped me realize I am doing a lot better than I think I am!
President Farnes talked to me about recognizing God's hand in every hour
and every moment of the mission. The best way I can combat disappointment
and frustration is to count my blessings and continue to look for tender
mercies to "find joy in the journey". I am so grateful for President Farnes
and his family. When I told him how much they remind me of my own, he was
very touched and started to cry. Tender moment! He prayed for me at the end
of our interview, specifically for things I needed, things I didn't even
talk to him about. He is very in tune with the Spirit. I have no doubt that
he was called of God to be our mission president here in São Paulo North!

Thursday we had exchanges with our sister training leaders and I spent the
day in area Votorantim with Sister Vaughn. It was a really good day! Sister
Vaughn is from Pennsylvania and goes home in October. I admire her
Portuguese and I am determined to speak as well as she does. One thing I
learned from her is the importance of teaching PEOPLE, not just lessons. I
feel like I have gotten into a bit of a routine with what I say for each
lesson, mostly because it's Portuguese and I had to memorize phrases to
help me learn. But now that I have more vocabulary, I undertand the
importance of teaching the individual, according to what they specifically
need. Not just teach them how the gospel was restored, but why they
individually need the message of the Restoration and how it applies to
them. Not just to read a scipture about baptism, but a scripture that
applies to their concerns and will help them personally develop stronger
faith to be baptized. Of course, this requires listening to the promptings
of the Spirit, because Heavenly Father knows His children so much better
than we do!

We had an investigator at church yesterday named Eduardo. He is 30 years
old and very intelligent. So intelligent that he thinks too much and can't
accept the fact that God is literally our Father. But somehow, someway, he
felt the desire to "come and see" what church was all about! He
participated in gospel principles and enjoyed Sacrament meeting. We talked
to him after about how he felt and he told us religion is to much of a
culture thing for him, he can't bring himself to accept religion as
something to develop his relationship with God. So we gave him a simple
challenge: to pray and simply ask God, His Father in Heaven, if he was
there, if He truly was listening to Eduardo, if He loved him and cared
about him individually. He reluctantly accepted, knowing it would require a
humble and open heart. We are going back to follow-up tonight. I know that
if Eduardo truly prays with sincere, real intent, the Lord will help him
feel that he truly is a Son of God. What a simple truth I often take for
granted. I am so grateful to know my divine nature, that we truly are
children of God!

Time for a quick funny story: We invited a guy named Fernando to come to
church with us and we planned to stop at house and walk with him there.
Sunday morning we pass by his house and notice a small note, written in
English, on the gate:

"Sister, I not can go in the crush with you. I'm sorry. This is very could."

HAHAHAHA. The best part? He is an English professor.

I am thankful that Heavenly Father gives me opportunities like this to just
take a moment and laugh.

I hope you all have an awesome week, filled with much laughter and joy!
Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of our area! Yes, we had to battle a rainy day this week, but thankfully wasn't too bad. I am surprised it doesn't rain here more than it does... knock on wood... LOVE YOU ALL! Tchau

Monday, July 14, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 1

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good week. The first few days in a new area are always a bit tough, but overall I feel like I am finding my groove and making Rio Acima my new home! A little bit more about where I am... Rio Acima is a suburb of Sorocaba, about an hour and a half outside of the city of São Paulo. It's set on a hill above a town called Votorantim, where we go to email and buy things on Pday. The ward Rio Acima is located in the Barcelona Stake."Rio Acima" means "above the river". It's a cute little town, though coming from a big city, I feel like I am in the middle of nowhere!

Our house isn't quite like the fancy New York penthouse apartment where I lived in Santana, but it's nice and home-y. I like it alot. It has a bedroom, kitchen, and a bathroom- small, but hey, less to clean! We live in a neighborhood so we can actually run outside in the mornings. This has been a huge blessing for me, especially this past week when I needed it! The weather has been cool in the mornings, fairly warm during the day, and chilly at night. I love to see all the kids playing in the street and everyone here loves to fly kites. There are lots of wild dogs that roam the streets and alot more bugs.

Life is alot more calm and slower-paced here than it is in the city. This makes it easier to talk to people on the streets. Sister Lowther is the queen of street contacting! This is her third transfer here in this area. There are two recent-convert couples in the ward who are preparing to go to the temple so that's really neat. We don't have many people to teach right now and the work is slow, but we are doing our best to find new investigators. Our goal is to find more families! We have been teaching well together and I am trying to apply the things I learned in Santana to help this area grow. Oh and another thing, there are Jehovah's Witnesses everywhere! I remember always seeing them in Sacramento but here in Brazil, who knew?!

Here is a poem I found in a box in our house this week:

"Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.

Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you
Grin at it, sweat at it, smile at it too
For out of the grin and sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories after awhile."
-Author Unknown

I really needed this poem this week. Finding it was definitely a tender mercy! It's not easy to go from an area where the work is on fire to an area with almost nothing, but I know Heavenly Father has a plan. He needs me here and I have much to learn in this area. We have work to do! As Sister Lowther and I work together to continue to pray for guidance, show our faith, and do everything we can do, the Lord will make up the difference. He is already opening doors for us and blessing us with people who will listen! We just have to be patient.

I was blessed with the opportunity to share my testimony in church yesterday. I am grateful for this chance I have to serve here in Rio Acima, to learn and grow more as a missionary, to continue to be converted to this gospel. I know my Father in Heaven lives and loves me. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be my Savior, for ME, personally. He is the only person who truly understands. I am so grateful for His Atonement that gives me strength each and every day to "stick to my task". With His help, I will keep smiling, I will keep walking, I will keep talking, I will keep sharing this gospel that has brought me so much peace and joy. I will keep my head up and go forth with faith and find those that are ready to receive the gospel!

Love and miss you all!!!! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!
Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. The first pic was before I left in Santana on my favorite street. Let's just pretend Brazil won the World Cup :) The other pic was Saturdayat the Ward "Festa Julinha" (Little July Party) with my companion Sister Lowther and a less-active named Lusinete. She might as well be a sister missionary! She loves coming to lessons with us.

Monday, July 7, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 9

Dear Family & Friends,

It's transfer week! Just received our calls and tomorrow I am being transfered to the interior of São Paulo! Sister Pinon and Sister Nascimento will be staying here with two other sisters, so our area will split again. I will be serving in Zona Barcelona (hey Dad, I will be in Barcelona- your mission! Not Spain, but at least it has the same name :) ) in area Rio Acima. And guess who my companion is going to be... Sister Lowther! My companion from the Provo MTC!!! I am excited!

This week our new mission president and his family arrived. President Farnes is incredible! Very inspired. The Lord knew we needed him in our mission right now. He is so loving, yet he knows that we have the ability to achieve so much more and he is pushing us! I LOVE his family. They are from Utah and have 5 kids, the oldest is serving in South Africa right now. Three daughters (ages 17, and twins 13) and their youngest son (9) who was adopted came with them. President Farnes served in Porto Alegre, Brazil so he speaks Portuguese. The rest of the family is learning. The Farnes family reminds me so much of my own and I truly believe they are a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to help me feel more "at home" on my mission here in Brazil.

Wesley was baptized on Saturday!!! It could not have been more perfect. He had the happiest grin coming up out of the water, like a little kid on Christmas morning. The Spirit was so strong! And guess what... I played the piano for the baptism service. I have no idea how I got roped into that and I was so nervous and shaky but somehow it all worked out. I also played hymns while Wesley was changing after the baptism and two members of the ward who were there accompanied with violin and flute. It was super cool! Very nerve-wracking experience (especially because I haven't played in 9 months and my hymns are very very limited) but it all turned out great. If I have one regret, it's that I wish I would have learned more hymns and practiced the piano more before my mission. Piano players are desperately needed here.

Ready for another miracle story? We were in Zaki Narchi (the part of our area with lots of lower-income apartment buildings) when one of our appointments fell through so we decided to look for a new investigator. I asked Sister Nascimento which random block we should go to. "Hmm... how about 23?" I asked which apartment. "Hmm I think 12," she decided. Then I asked what the name of the person was going to be, just to make this game even more fun. "Fabio", she said. So we went to find Fabio. We knocked on the door and no answer. Feeling a little bit disappointed in our guessing abilities, we tried other doors above this apartment. As we were leaving the building, Sister Nascimento and Sister Pinon wanted to try knocking on door 12 again. I was doubtful but agreed.
Almost immediately, the door flung open and a man, without a moment of hesitation, told us to enter. We were shocked. His wife was there too. "Oi Irmão, qual é seu nome?" (Hi brother, what is your name? we said)... "Fabio". NO WAY!!!!! My chin dropped to the ground. We taught them the Restoration and added them as new investigators. They accepted the invitation to be baptized.

I have no doubt that Heavenly Father needed us to find them. They were prepared, at that exact moment. I don't know why they didn't open the door the first time, I don't know why they are so special, but Heavenly Father knows. Heavenly Father knows they need the gospel in their lives. And when we have faith and are willing to do the Lord's will, He gives us inspiration and tells us where we need to go. Sister Nascimento's guessing abilities were certainly inspired! It was not a coincidence, that's for sure. I am still in disbelief that his name is Fabio!! Just like the scriptures say, "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you".

I am a little bit bummed I won't get to see what happens with Fabio and his wife but I know Sister Pinon and her new companion will take care of them. This area is on fire and I am going to miss it! Goodbye city. I'm off to the interior! The biggest lesson I learned here is that the impossible IS possible. When I have faith, and I show the Lord I am willing to work, He will provide the way. Not my way, but His way. Every time.

I am excited to serve in Rio Acima! Can't wait to tell you about all the new miracles we will find next week! Love and miss you all!

Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of me with President Farnes and his family- I love them! Other pic is of Wesley's baptism!!
One more thing- I just found out from my old compaion Sister Zenger in Sacramento. Remember the family Craig and Amanda we taught? Amanda was baptized this weekend!!!! WOOOHOOOOO!!!! So happy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

São Paulo- Santana Letter 8

Dear Family & Friends,

Andrea was baptized yesterday!!! WOOHOO! Such a special day! After 9 months of being in the mission field, it was such a neat experience for me to finally see one of our investigators get baptized. Andrea was taught by Sister Pinon and Sister Paredes when we had two sets of sisters here so I didn't work very much with Andrea, but what a blessing to help her prepare for this special day over the past few weeks. Her daughter was supposed to be baptized with her but didn't come to church, so we'll keep working with her to resolve her concerns and strengthen her testimony. There is no greater feeling than to see someone you love as your brother or sister enter into the waters of baptism, to be washed clean and begin a new life as a disciple of Christ!

Ready for a miracle story? Last week a man named Wesley, the son of a less-active member of the ward, came to church for the first time. Sister Garner and I taught him the Restoration about a month and a half ago but a that time, he was not interested. At church, we noticed he was really involved in the lesson in Gospel Principles class and knew a lot about the gospel. This week during our appointment with him, we invited him to be baptized July 5th and he said without a moment of hesitation "Yes! What time??" He has been reading the Book of Mormon, all the pamphlets for the lessons, and the manual for Gospel Principles. He is what we call "firme"- firm and has a super strong testimony. He asked us to announce his baptism at church yesterday. What a miracle!!! Here's a man who wanted nothing to do with the church a month ago, but now, he is ready. I have no idea what changed. All I know is Heavenly Father prepares His children!

I just have to sit in awe for a moment at the Lord's hand in our area and with our many investigators. So many great things are happening and I know we are being blessed for our faith, obedience, and dedication to hastening the work of salvation here in our small vineyard in Santana, São Paulo, Brasil. I love this area, I love my companions (most of the time haha), and even though sometimes I really don't like Portuguese, I love it!! And even though sometimes I want to collapse on the side of the road because I am so tired, I LOVE being a missionary and there is nothing else I would rather be doing in my life right now.

As I look back over the first half of my mission (this is so weird to say), I think about all the incredible experiences I had in the Provo MTC, the Brazil MTC, serving and growing as a missionary in Sacramento, and now here in Brazil. No I didn't have a single baptism until now, but that doesn't mean my first 9 months were a waste. I used to think I was never doing enough, that I was never good enough, that the Lord didn't trust me to have a baptism. How wrong I was!

Everyone reading this letter right now, I want you to know one thing: numbers are not important. It doesn't matter what you scored on the ACT; it doesn't matter what your personal record for the mile was; it doesn't matter how many baptisms you had. What matters most is our dedication- that we try our best and do all we can possibly do. What matters is that because of our hard work, we are changing and becoming someone better by positively impacting the lives of others. As I look back over these 9 months, I don't remember the number of lessons we had in any given week. Rather, I remember the people I had the chance to meet, to teach, and to learn from- my companions, investigators, members, and random people on the street that I know were placed in my path for a reason. 

Yes, there is no greater happiness than to see someone get baptized, to make that special covenant with God. But missionary work is so much more than that! It's about helping EVERYONE come unto Christ and receive the blessings of the Atonement- missionaries, members, investigators alike. It's about lasting conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for my mission experiences thus far that have converted ME to this gospel. Though I still have much to learn and do, I am stronger and more valiant in my testimony of my Savior than ever before. It is He whom I love and represent. 

I'm ready to find out what the next half of my mission has in store! So excited and happy to be serving the Lord! I hope everyone has a great week. Love you all!

Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of noite familiar (family night) from last week's email and Andrea's baptism! Enjoy!