Monday, December 29, 2014

Itapetininga Letter 2 (Christmas and New Years)

Dear Family & Friends,

Feliz Natal e Feliz Ano Novo!!! (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)

This week was a week of miracles! I thought it would be difficult to do missionary work because of the holiday but this just made it even better! People were very receptive to us and we ended up finding 8 new investigators just on Christmas day. I loved the opportunity we had to work on Christmas. Made it the best Christmas ever and one that I certainly will never forget.

We had our mission Christmas Conference on Tuesday and it turned out really well! The morning part we had training from President Farnes and after lunch we had a zone talent show. I taught the sisters in my zone how to sing "Away in a Manger" in English- everyone loved it! We also did a huge gift exchange. It was a super fun activity and it was great to see my old companions, especially Sister R. Santos. I was able to get my update on Rio Acima and everything there is going great!

Yesterday our awesome investigator Bruno came to church! He was one that stopped us on the street last week when he was drunk and told us he was ready to change his life. We told him we had everything he needed if he was really willing to listen and change, and he accepted a date for baptism in that instant. He hasn't been drinking for the past few days and he LOVED church! He will be baptized on January 10th. Pray for him to stay strong!!!

Other highlights of church yesterday. I had to give a talk on missionary work so I put a little spin on it and talked about the Savior's invite to be the "salt of the earth" and "savor of men" (see 3 Nephi 12:13, D&C 101:39-40, D&C 103:9-10). I enjoyed preparing for it and I think everyone was able to understand me! We had to teach Gospel Principles class last minute because the teacher didn't come. It turned out really well! We taught about agency- perfect for Bruno and the less-actives that came. I really love my companion. I really love teaching with her! It's so neat to be able to work with another sister that has alot of experience because we can do things like this on the fly with no worries!

So updates on where we live. The good news is our front door locks now! Our kitchen sink will be fixed this week and our new washing machine has been ordered. Things are improving! I have to say that the smell in our laundry room reminds me of girls camp and my cross-country bag... but don't worry, we have been washing our clothes by hand so this should improve. 

I can't believe 2014 is almost over. I remember a year ago looking at the 2014 calendar my mom sent me and thinking to myself, "Every single day this year I will be on my mission. Every minute, every hour. How am I going to do this? An entire YEAR??" It was that day during my studies, that I made this year of 2014 my search for VALIANCE. And a year of valiance it has been! This year has changed my life.

I am so grateful for the decision I made to serve a mission. I wouldn't trade this for anything. I have grown closer to my Father in Heaven and learned more about the Atonement and sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ. I have learned how to follow His will and show others how to follow Him too. As I have strived to help others build their lives, through all the hardships, sweat, tears, and of course the moments of pure JOY, this mission has built me!

Time to welcome in 2015 and see what the Lord has in store this year! What will be my theme for 2015? Stay tuned! Feliz Ano Novo everyone! Love you all!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pic with President Farnes and his sweet family at the Christmas Conference and the family we ate lunch with on Christmas Day

These 2 pics are ones she sent me - our Christmas box arrived a couple days before Christmas and the church building they meet in.  She says it's beautiful!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Itapetininga Letter 1

Dear Family & Friends,

Hello from Itapetininga!!! It's a city about four hours away from the mission office in São Paulo and it's the area everyone calls "no fim do mundo" (at the end of the world) haha I love it! This city is very clean and there are very few hills, thank goodness. There are two branches here so there are two companionships of sisters and we live together: Sister Kürtem, Sister Silva, and Sister Vogel (my companion). I am the only American in our house (they are all Brazilian) and I am the only American in our zone too! So it's been pretty fun.

Sister Vogel (from Rondonia, Brazil) and I are both new to the area so this week has been quite adventurous. Lots of walking of course! Let's just say I am very grateful for our map! We have been trying to follow the notes the other sisters who served here before left us, getting to know all the recent-converts, less-actives, members, investigators, and of course, finding miracles of our own! It's been a bit stressful but I know it will just take time. The chapel was built in October and it is the most beautiful church building I have ever seen. This area is really growing and there is lots of work to do! Sister Vogel goes home the transfer after me so we think this will be the last area for both of us. You know what that means? Time to give it all we got!!!

Among the adventures of the week... 

The day after we arrived there was a water leak in our house so we didn't have water or electricity for 2 days. Good thing Sister Vogel is super awesome and figured out how to fix it. This house is not the prettiest house I have lived in on my mission, nor in the best conditions... but hey, it could always be worse. 

We accomplished the impossible and helped two very very timid girls, Amanda (15 years old) and Isabella (12), go to church on Sunday so they could be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost. The previous sisters had their baptism the night before they left. When we met the girls for the first time, they didn't say a word to us and were so sad because the other sisters left. They refused to go to church. We visited them every day this week and little by little they are opening up to us. Sunday morning we spent almost an hour there trying to convince them to come with us to church. Lots of patience and love. Heavenly Father is a God of miracles, and finally, they accepted. It all turned out perfectly and the confirmation went great. Now the goal is to help them stay ative!

I am now an english teacher! The previous sisters started an english class (free, open to anyone) before they left and now it's my job to keep it up. We have it at the church building Wednesday night and Saturday morning. I was kind of thrown in there the first day in the area and had no idea where to even begin, but it all worked out. I taught them how to say things about Christmas and we sang Christmas songs in English. It was fun! There are a few investigators and recent converts that have been attending and we will work on recruiting more. This is good practice for me to remember my english!

I am SO excited to be serving here in Itapetininga! This area is awesome. I love my companion (I really do!) and I love being a sister training leader. Sister Vogel and I are one of the five companionships of siser training leaders in the mission. We are part of the mission leadership counsel and have meetings with President Farnes. Our job is to help the other sisters (we are in charge of 2 other companionships in our zone). We do training and 2-day exchanges with them every transfer. We follow-up and offer cousel and guidance. Our job is to uplift and encourage! So grateful for this chance to serve more. Sister Vogel has been a sister training leader for the past 4 months so now she is training me about what we do.

I can't believe Christmas is already here! I feel like my life is flashing before my eyes. When people ask me how long I have been on my mission, I almost cringe when I say "15 months". How is this possible??!!! AHH! What is happening?! I'm excited to talk with my family on Thursday :)

I read "The Living Christ" this morning during personal study and I have to admit, this was the first time I ever read it. We have it in our home and I've skimmed it a few times, but today, I read it and let the powerful words truly sink in. It's the testimony of the prophet and apostles of our Savior Jesus Christ, His life, His ministry, and His Atonement. It really touched my heart today and helped me appreciate this Christmas season. I challenge you all to read it this week and reflect on our Savior and Redeemer, and what He has done for us. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He lives. He loves us. What glad tidings of great JOY!

Merry Christmas everyone! I want you each to know how much I love and miss you. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your thoughts, and your love during this holiday season!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of my district from the Provo, MTC almost 15 months after we first met each other. So neat to see how everyone has grown! And the other is my new companion Sister Vogel and I. She laughed and laughed about this. Don't worry, we weren't really "lost"!

Monday, December 15, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 23

Dear Family & Friends,

Well, this is my last Rio Acima letter. Tomorrow I will be transfered to Itapitanenga! I think that's how you spell it. I have no idea what it's like or where it is or if it's a branch or a ward or how many missionaries are serving there. And I can't remember my companion's name. But there is one thing I found out, and I was very shocked to hear... 

I am going to be a Sister Training Leader. Remember how I kind of sort of stress out about things? You can only imagine. Feeling super inadequate and very nervous, but excited!!!

"God does not begin by asking us about our ability but only about our availability and if we then prove our dependability He will increase our capability." (Neal A. Maxwell) Thanks for this quote a few weeks ago, Mom. You must be a fortune teller!

I am so grateful for the past 6 months I have had to serve here in Rio Acima. "And we have suffered all manner of afflictions that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our JOY would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some. Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors, and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are MANY" (Alma 26:30-31)

The fruits of our labors are many!!! Heavenly Father has poured out His Spirit upon this area and I know Rio Acima will continue to thrive. I have learned so much from my experiences here. Aside from learning that you can never get to close to a dog, I have realized what it takes to help someone through the true process of conversion. I have learned that faith and exact obedience brings miracles. I have seen the power of prayer in action. I will never forget the Sunday we had 16 people in our gospel principles class, or seeing Eduardo come to church in a white shirt and tie for the first time, the miracle of finding Luiz Carlos, or the night Murilo told us he was going to be baptized. THIS IS JOY! We have had so much success with the "He is the Gift" video on during these past few weeks. Lives are being touched, and generations are being impacted.

This week was actually an extremely difficult week. There were a few moments of tears and there was a point when I thought we had lost one of the families we were teaching. We tried everything, and I mean everything, to have a baptismon Saturday and it all fell through. I began to question what I was doing as a missionary and felt like I had no experience and didn't know anything. This is why I was completely shocked yesterday when I got the call to be a sister training leader. It was a confirmation to me that Heavenly Father trusts me and that He is in control. He knows what I need to grow. He knows what I need to continue on my journey to VALIANCE!

I know this week will be crazy but I am so excited to help the other sisters, to go on exchanges, and to help in training! It won't be easy, and I know I will have moments when I feel like I am not adequate enough, but I just need to trust Heavenly Father. I am His servant. I am an instrument in His hands. Everything that has happened on my mission until now, the missionary I am today, everything, is because of Him and the strength my Savior has given me. 

I love and miss you all! Thank you for the many thoughts and prayers.

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. I made my sweet companion french toast today, thanks to the syrup my mom sent a few weeks ago. I will really miss Sister R. Santos. She has grown SO MUCH since the beginning. What a priviledge it was to train her. In reality, she trained me. The other pic is of Helio, Aides, Neto, Athaide, and Taina- a incredible family that is going to be baptized one day really, really soon. The parents need to get married and we are still working on getting Aides's permission to baptize the kids. I know Sister R. Santos and her new companion will take care of them! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 22

Dear Family & Friends

RIGHT NOW go to this website and watch this video!!! Then share it with everyone. He is the

You can't keep reading until you watch it. Nope, I won't let you.

So this video is amazing and it's being shared all over the world. In Portuguese, this video and message is "Ele é o Presente", which means, "He is the present". It's perfect because it's a double play on the word "present". Our Savior Jesus Christ was the first present of Christmas. He is the best present our Father in Heaven gave to us. And more than this, He is the past, the present, and the future, and He always will be. He is the light and life of the world. He is the beginning and the end. He is our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend in this present moment and forever.

I am so grateful for the gift of the Atonement, the sacrifice of my Savior specifically for me, in my life. As I reflect on Him and the mission He lived here on earth, I find strength to accomplish my mission and live every day to the fullest. I know Christ lives and this is the gift we need to share with the world! What a special opportunity I have to be a representative of Him here in Rio Acima.

This week was incredible! We had 2-day exchanges and Sister R. Santos lead our area while I went to Votorantim. She did awesome! So proud of her and the incredible work she and Sister Pinon accomplished here (yes, my old companion Sister Pinon is a sister training leader now!). We have lots of invesigators on date for baptism December 20th and we are praying for a miracle for this weekend. Last week of the transfer! WOOHOOO!!

I love and miss you all!
Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of our zone activity today. Sister Pinon and I! Playing soccer with all these Brazilian missionaries, ohhh yeah! It was alot of fun. And this is why this email is short. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

SP Barcelona- Rio Acima Letter 21

Dear Family & Friends,

I can't believe it's December! Not much of a winter wonderland and it feels like Christmas in July but hey, I am excited! Best season of the year.

On Friday President Farnes felt inspired to have us visit all the former investigators that have been to church before and put them on date for baptism Sunday November 30 (yes, 2 days later). Crazy?! Ohh yes! Friday and Saturday were the craziest days of my life. So let me just tell you how this all went down....

We knock on a door. "Hi are you (name of person we are looking for)?" We ask them a few questions, get to know them a little bit. "We are messengers of God, representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. God sent us here today because he has a very special invite for you. On Sunday we will be holding a baptismal service. Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized this Sunday by someone holding authority from God?" Yup! Ladies and gentlemen, this is faith at its fullest. It was great!

Responses were many. "I liked your church, but I am already baptized. I don't want to change". Others laughed. Others flat out told us no. But we did have success! We ended up adding lots of new investigators where these former investigators had moved. Others we are teaching need to give up smoking and get married, and they can be baptized.

One lady, Arace, was touched by our door approach and let us in. She prayed with us right then and there to ask God if this baptism was what she needed to do in her life. We helped her recognize her feelings and she told us she wanted to think and pray more. Unfortunately she wasn't ready for Sunday but we are going to keep teaching her!

Another success story. We found a 21 year old guy on the street named Renan who already went to church 3 times. His mom is a member and lives in São Paulo and his dad is a less-active in our ward. He instantly accepted baptism for Sunday. We went straight to his house and taught him everything he needed to know for the baptismal interview. He was on fire! Super pumped about the Book of Mormon and accepted to live all of the commandments. MIRACLE! But here is the sad part... he had to work on Sunday. But don't worry, we'll keep teaching him! Heavenly Father will provide the way.

Camila also had to work yesterday (miracle from last week). We were a little bit frustrated. We tried everything to help her be baptized on Sunday. But I know the Lord will do His work in this situation too! Everything will work out in His timing, He has a plan.

So all in all, we did not have a baptism yesterday. But we sure tried! And Heavenly Father blessed us for our faith and diligence in other ways. We found a family with 3 kids old enough to be baptized and they all came to church yesterday!! Hélio (dad) found us on the street and thought we were Jehovah´s Witnesses and asked us to visit him and his family. He was sure in for a suprise when we showed up at his door with a Book of Mormon! But it was so perfect. They all accepted baptism. Hélio and his wife just need to get married. Oh how I would love to just marry everyone today so missionary work could be so much easier.

We also had several less actives at church for the primary program yesterday (when all the kids ages 4-11 give little talks and sing about what they learned during the year). So cute! I want to learn all the primary songs in Portuguese now!! And Murilo recieved the priesthood yesterday! Our recent converts are firm!!!

"Say not ye, There are yet four months and then cometh the harvest? Behold I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35) It's not tomorrow, it's not next week, it's NOW!!!

This verse really hit me this week. I have less than four months on my mission. I can't give up now. There are people who need to gospel NOW! People ready to be baptized NOW! I learned so much about faith this week. I am so grateful for the many blessings and miracles the Lord is giving us in our area.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I didn't realize that no one celebrated here... no one knew what it was. So I took every opportunity to explain to people about this day of thanks to recognize all of our blessings the Lord has given us! My heart is full of gratitude today. Thank you for your support! Love and miss you all!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Our Christmas pic! Yes... I am VERY excited for Christmas :)