Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SP Barcelona Rio Acima- Letter 7

Dear Family & Friends,

Guess what... I'm training!!! We received our transfer calls last Monday night and I was told that I would be training a brand new missionary here in Rio Acima. And I'm sure you all know my first thoughts... What?! Why?! How?! Stressful! Feeling super inadequate, I prayed and told Heavenly Father that if He wanted me to train, she needed to be Brazilian (according to His will of course) because I need to improve my Portuguese and people here need someone who natively speaks their language. This area has not had a Brazilian missionary for almost a year. Tuesday we traveled to São Paulo and I met my new companion, straight from the MTC: Sister R. Santos, BRAZILIAN!!!!!

Sister R. Santos is incredible! She is from a city near Recife, Brazil and she is 21 years old. She was baptized just 2 years ago and is the only member of her family. She found the church through a friend (see why it's so important to share the gospel with our friends??!). More than anything, she hopes that serving this mission will touch her mom's heart to accept the gospel. Her testimony is inspiring and after a week, she already looks like she has a year of experience in the mission field. I am amazed. Truly, she is training ME. I am so blessed to have her!

I think I have spoken more Portuguese this week than I have in my entire life. And because I am forced to lead and forced to speak more, I am learning more. Sister R. Santos doesn't speak any English, aside from "hi" and "bye" and a few colors. I didn't realize how much I relied on my American companions when I could quickly and easily explain something in English when they couldn't understand me. Now I can't do that! Holy cow, it's tough. This is very good for me. Heavenly Father knew what I needed! I am also teaching Sister R. Santos English. She can already pray! And sing "Happy Birthday"- just preparing her for the upcoming week :)

This week we found an awesome family to teach and they already prayed and feel like this is what God wants for them. Maria, Adilson, and their 17 year old son Gabriel. I am so excited!!! We are still teaching Helena and she will most likely be baptized in September! And Eduardo recieved the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! (Priesthood is authority from God to act in His name. Worthy men in the church can recieve the Priesthood to bless and pass the Sacrament, baptize, give blessings and perform other ordinances).

Why must we do things that are hard and take us out of our comfort zone? "That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty and the things which I require at their hands" -Doctrine and Covenants 105:10

As I look at Sister R. Santos, my missionary "daughter", I try to picture myself 11 months ago. I know for a certainty I did not have nearly as much confidence! I am so excited to see where she goes and who she becomes throughout the next few months with her. I know I am having this chance to train so I can be trained. As I am focusing on her and doing all that I can to help her, I am being edified. I am becoming a better missionary. It's not easy and there are many moments where I think to myself "I have no idea what I'm doing". But it's okay, because the Lord knows. Thankfully this is His work and not mine.

Love you all!
Sempre Sorria (Always Smile),
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of my new sweet little companion!

Monday, August 18, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 6

Dear Family & Friends,

First of all, thank you for praying for Eduardo this past week! He was baptized on Saturday! WOOHOO! It could not have gone more perfectly!!!! He told us how he was expecting the day before his baptism to be hard for him, but his desire to be baptized only grew stronger. His fear and nervousness completely disappeared and he was so excited! THIS is a direct blessing from all of your prayers! He bore his testimony at his baptism about how he never imagined this was possible for him, how now he knows that God is always on the other side of the door just waiting for us to open it. The Spirit was so strong at his baptism and several people were there to support him. Certainly a day he will never forget! He was confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost at church yesterday. I will never forget the smile on his face after the blessing. Moments like this- this is what missionary work is all about :) 

Read Alma 32:27. This has Eduardo's name written all over it!

Other highlights from the week:
Thursday we did a service project with a few of the young women in the ward and taught them how to make American desserts to sell to earn money for a camp like EFY they will be going to. And guess what Sister Lowther found recipes for.... cookies and brownies!!!! Yipee!! The girls loved it! I loved it. They were taking pictures and posting them on Facebook like it was the coolest thing in the world. It was a lot of fun! And super yummy!

Friday we had noite familiar (Family night) with a family in the ward and they invited their neighbors and less-active family members. We prepared a really fun activity using Matthew 7:20 ("by their fruits ye shall know them") and used scriptures to learn about how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church Christ established when He was here. We had all the kids pick a "fruit" that said things like "apostles and prophets" or "baptism by immersion" and read verses from the Bible and Book of Mormon about each point. It was a fun activity and they really enjoyed it! Sister Lowther and I love to be creative with our Family night lessons. 

We were blessed to find lots of new investigators this past week! Lots of little miracles. We found a lady named Helena who has always wanted to come to church but never had the opportunity. She struggles with smoking and has gone through a lot of hardships in her life, but we are determined to help her! We found a family who, in the exact moment they were grieving about the loss of a loved one, heard our knock (actually we clap at the gates) and invited us in. Silmara, the aunt, looked at us and asked "who sent you? I know God sent you here". We were able to sing a hymn and comfort them with a scripture about how the Lord gives us the strength to carry our burdens (Mosiah 24:13-16).

I want you all to know that I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this church is true with all of my heart. As I have had the opporunity to visibly see it change lives, I cannot deny it! Each time we teach someone about the gospel, I feel the Spirit testify to me that it is true. We are so blessed to have this church on the Earth today, the same church Jesus Christ set up when He was here. With the death of Christ and His apostles, this church, with God's authority, was lost. But because our Heavenly Father loves us, He prepared a way for His children to have the fullness of the gospel again.

I am here serving a mission because I know this church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is evidence of this and I know it is true. I have prayed about it and through the Spirit, this truth has been confirmed to me again and again.The heavens are open! God speaks to us today! Today, we have His authority on the Earth again, essencial for salvation to baptize and seal families for eternity. I know Jesus Christ lives! He is my Savior and Redeemer. Through following His example, we can and will find true happiness and joy in this life and the life to come.

So thankful to be a missionary today and everyday! I love you all! Have a great week!!!

Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of the missionaries in my zone and Eduardo's baptism. Brazilians don't like to smile, but I promise you, Eduardo was jumping for joy! Joaquim, our ward mission leader, baptized him.

Sometime today we are supposed to recieve our transfer calls. I was hoping it would be before we left to email so I could tell you all what will happen, but nope! So maybe I'll stay here for another 6 weeks or maybe I'll be off to another area. Maybe i'll have a different companion. We'll see! Gotta love the waiting game.

Monday, August 11, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 5

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy Monday! We had our first ever zone activity this morning with all the missionaries in Barcelona (President Farnes allows one zone activity per transfer) and it was really fun! We had "churrasco" (Brazilian BBQ) and played some games. It was good to relax a little bit and get to know the other missionaries better! I love to hear all about how these missionaries sacrificed so much to be here. We really are so blessed to be a part of this great and marvelous work. Anyway, I am super short on time so I have to be brief. But you know me, I have to be detailed so we'll see how this goes.

Exciting news of the week.... EDUARDO WILL BE BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!! We had a powerful lesson with him early this week and committed him to read the chapter of Enos in the Book of Mormon and pray with real intent, specifically about baptism on August 16. We prayed and prayed all day for him to recognize his answer, trusting that the Lord would in fact answer his prayer. When we returned the next day, he was grinning from ear to ear and practically glowing! He told us how he had prayed like Enos, with all energy of his soul, but still felt really nervous and anxious. Then, when he went to work that night, he had a quiet moment thinking to himself and the thought crossed his mind, "I could actually do this. This could be me. I can do this. I can be baptized!" As he thought about the promised blessings, all his fear was replaced with peace of mind. This was his confirmation from the Lord that he, Eduardo, a man who just a few weeks ago doubted that God even existed, could have this change of heart, and accept the invitation from our Savior Jesus Christ to follow Him and be baptized. The more Eduardo thought about it, the stronger his desire became. 

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if we pray with sincerity, the Lord will answer us. For me, it's never a huge, overwhelming, loud confirmation. I feel the Spirit as a calm, quiet, soft feeling that brings peace in my heart and clarity of mind. When Eduardo prayed about baptism, he didn't have a vision or hear a loud, trembling voice. Rather, the Spirit testified to him in a way that Eduardo personally could recognize, when his mind was open and receptive. Now Eduardo is acting on his answer, showing that he has real intent. During this lesson with Eduardo when he told us about his decision, I was SO happy!!! I still am! I wanted to do 50 million cartwheels, but too bad I can't even do one. AHHH WOOOOHOOOO YIPPEEEEE!! Eduardo is going to be baptized!!! He is so firm. He is so ready. He is so excited. I can't wait!

3 Nephi 6:14 When the church be broken up because of pride, there "were among a few of the [people of Rio Acima] who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm and steadfast and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord". THIS IS EDUARDO! This, my dear family and friends, is true conversion. To change your thoughts, desires, and actions, and accept and actively follow the will of God in your life. This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do and will do. Eduardo's heart has changed. He visibly has changed. But even with this transformation, his conversion is not over. Baptism is just the beginning! From here on out, I pray that Eduardo will continue to be firm and immovable. I know that Eduardo will be an incredible member of this church. He is not one to just "get his toe wet". He is diving right on in! 

Please pray for Eduardo this week! The adversary will be working hard on him. Satan knows what Eduardo is about to do and he will try everything to keep Eduardo from being baptized. Prayers of faith are powerful! I have seen it again and again! Thanks for your love and support.

I love you all! I hope you all have the best week ever!
Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SP Barcelona - Rio Acima Letter 4

Dear Family & Friends,

Overall this week was great! There were a few tough days were it felt like
all our investigators dropped us, but now I am realizing WHY it's so
important to talk to everyone and keep adding new investigators. It takes
hundreds to find the golden one! And thankfully no more dog bites and the
shots are over. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Yesterday we fasted for Eduardo and for our goal of 3 baptisms this month.
I have no doubt that prayer and fasting go hand in hand to bring about
miracles! Last night we were looking for a less-active member and we ended
up finding a family that Sister Lowther had met several months ago on the
street. We taught them the Restoration and the mom, Elizete, accepted the
invitation to be baptized before I even finished the question!! She is so
excited for us to come back this week and teach her family more. She has
three sons and her mom lives with her too. It turns out that her husband
was baptized several years ago but we don't have his records in our ward.
It wasn't a coincidence that we found this family last night. Direct
blessing from our prayers and fasting!!!

Eduardo is still progressing! Here is another cool miracle. We showed up at
his house to teach him the Word of Wisdom and we noticed he had a black
eye. He told us about a bar fight the night before and then said, before we
even mentioned anything about our lesson, "Eu não vou beber mais" (I will
never drink again)! No it's not a miracle that he got in a fight, but it's
a miracle that he was already prepared to accept living the Word of Wisdom
(The Lord's Law of Health that teachs us to abstain from alcohol, drugs,
coffee, tea, smoking). The Lord works in mysterious ways! This is what
Eduardo needed to wake him up a little bit.

Eduardo is practically a member of the ward. He got up and sang with the
Elders Quorum at church yesterday during sacrament meeting. I was so proud
of him! Little Eduardo is changing right before our very eyes. He still
won't commit to a baptism date but we challenged him to pray about it and
we will help him understand more this week. He's nervous about all the
changes and thinks it's too soon. But really, he needs the Gift of the Holy
Ghost now more than ever. Baptism is how we show the Lord we are ready and
willing to obey Him, and in return, He blesses us with the constant
companion of the Holy Ghost to purify us and give us the direction and
guidance we so desperately need in our every day lives. He has been reading
the Book of Mormon and feeling "assusto" (more or less a feeling of fear
and guilt) that is causing him to have the desire to change and repent.
Truly, the word of God has a "more powerful affect upon the mind... than
anything else" (Alma 31:5, see also Hebrews 4:12). We are helping him
realize what these feelings are. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of
God as it testifies of our Savior Jesus Christ and shows us how to follow
Him and draw closer to our Father in Heaven!

My favorite moment of the week was the baptism of Gabriel, an 8 year old
boy we have been teaching, whose parents are less-actives. His uncle
baptized him and the whole family was there to support him. So special! He
has a strong testimony and is an incredible example to his family.

I tried two interesting Brazilian desserts this week: "coral de milho"
(blended cream corn with milk served like a pudding) and "arroz doce" (cold
creamed rice with a carmel type sauce). Can't say I overly enjoyed either
one, but both were very interesting. It's fun to try new things. I am
loving this opportunity to serve in a foreign country and I would not trade
this experience for anything! Not even cookies and brownies which I am
missing dearly :)

Here is a really neat quote I heard this week: "I bless every Elder and
Sister in this country. I bless that they will be rewarded for their faith.
The growth in Brazil will continue to accelerate. Brazil is a great model
for the whole church. In no other place is the church growing so fast. For
some reason, God loves this country. I bless you all to be His instruments
so that this can be a Latter-day Saint nation." (Elder Jeffery R. Holland)

So blessed to be a missionary here at this time in my life! Brazil is a
special place. Loving each and every minute, whether they be moments with
dog bites and strange desserts, or the pure joy of seeing someone accept
the invitation to be baptized. So happy to be a servant of the Lord!

Thanks for all the love and encouragement! I love and miss you all!!

Sempre Sorria,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. I got my birthday package from my family this week!!! Better a few
weeks early than 3 months late. I was so excited I opened it on the bus
ride home from district meeting. What a blessing!!! Granola bars, trail
mix, PEANUT BUTTER! And the other pic is Gabriel's baptism. His uncle
Junior baptized him. His aunt Bruna is in the picture too. Such a fun day!