Dear Family & Friends,
Happy ! 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."
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!
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 at 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.