Saturday, March 21, 2015

18 months to serve and an eternity to remember

I'M HOME! It still doesn't feel like real life. Do you know how weird it is to wake up in my own house? My family. English. America. Cold weather. Peanut Butter. Technology. Music. TV. Internet. Jeans. The real world is crazy!

Being released as a full-time missionary and having to take off my name tag was a lot more difficult than I ever thought it would be. That`s my identity! I don`t know how to be anyone else but a missionary.

Good thing I still can be. And will forever be.

I've always heard returned missionaries say that their mission changed their life. Now I have seen it for myself. I am not the same person I was when I left. Well, I'm still Sydney of course (do you know how weird it is to hear my first name??) but my heart has changed. I feel different, I am different! And this change doesn't stop here. I'm on the journey to become the person I once was. The person Heavenly Father knows I can be.

What an honor and privilege it has been to represent my Lord and Savior every day and every minute for the past 18 months. It is He who has lifted and carried me, who has been by my side every moment, moments of happiness and moments of trial. I can`t even express the joy I felt as I walked down the escalator stairs at the airport and saw my family for the first time. Knowing that I returned with honor. Knowing that I made them proud. Knowing that I was able to find lost sheep for the Lord and bring them back into His fold. Just imagine how Heavenly Father will feel when we will return to Him. What joy!

The day before we left Brazil, all the missionaries in my group that were going home had the chance to eat a special lunch with our mission president, President Farnes. His last counsel for us was this phrase: "No Empty Chairs". Now that we have completed our mission, we are on to the next- to keep our spot that is saved for us in the celestial kingdom.

My chair is there waiting for me. Yours is too. What can we do TODAY that will assure that our chair will be filled?

And I will give him grace and assurance wherewith he may stand; and if he continue to be a faithful witness and a light unto the church I have prepared a crown for him in the mansions of my Father (D&C 106:8)

I know God lives, He is our Father, He loves us, and He has prepared our place in His kingdom. More than anything, He wants us to return to Him, and this is why He sent us His Son Jesus Christ. Only through Him, His Atonement and His gospel, can we return with honor. No empty chairs!

Let us all strive to LiVE Valiantly!


Monday, March 9, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 12 (Happily Ever After)

Dear Family & Friends,

"Then spake the Lord to [Sister Jorgensen]... Be not afraid, but speak, for I am with thee...and I have much people in this city. And [she] continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 18:9-11)

Well, today begins the last week of my mission. I'm laughing to myself as I write this because it doesn't seem real!!! Sunday March 15th after church I'll travel back to São Paulo. That Monday we will have a special training, Tuesday will be transfer meeting, Wednesday our last lunch with President Farnes, and that night I'll board the the United States... home.... March 19th.... AHHHHAHHHHAHHHHAAA! Ok that's it.

Not sure when I will get to email next week or how much time I will have so this just might be my last email home!

Just have to share something that happened this week. On Thursday we were traveling home on the bus from Mission Leadership Council. My companion was asleep beside me and I was just sitting there blinking back tears, deep in my thoughts about how the week had been going. I have to admit I was a little bit depressed because the people we were teaching were not progressing like we wanted them to. I was silenting praying and asking Heavenly Father to help me know if we were doing anything wrong, desperate for a spiritual confirmation of peace and calmness. A few minutes later I heard a voice from behind, "Sister, why do you have a mad look on your face?" I turned around and saw a man I didn't recognize, but turned out to be Alessandro, the brother of our less-active friend in the branch. He is 25 years old, inactive too.

So we start talking and I explain why it probably appears like I am mad but I am really just trying to do everything I can to help these people accept the true gospel. He asked me how my mission was going and he talked a little bit about his life story and how he fell away from the church. Then he says a few words that went a little something like this: "The work that you missionaries do is incredible. I know that you are helping so many people and your converts and their families will remember you forever. Missionaries always worry about their baptisms but what you need to see are people you are helping. And the change that you've seen in them." Heavenly Father put those words in his mouth. I cried. 

How did he know what I need to hear? How did he know that I needed someone to talk to in that very instant? Here is a guy, super tired after work, thinking about his wife and family, how easy it would have been to sit back in his seat. But he noticed that the missionaries were on the bus with him. And he noticed that I wasn't doing very good. And something touched him to find out why. This was a tender mercy to me. An answer to my prayer. A little miracle from my Heavenly Father to let me know that He loves me and He hears me. 

I gave Alessandro my copy of the Liahona (church magazine) that I had recieved that day and I shared my testimony about the importance of family and why he needed to return to church. Guess what... Sister Vogel and I were able to visit his nonmember wife yesterday and she is super excited about coming to church with him this Sunday!

What is one thing I have learned these past 18 months? This experience is exactly it. Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us. He listens to the pleas of our heart and He wants us to be happy. He works through others to answer our prayers. We need to act on the promptings we recieve because we never know the impact it can make. Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. 

Just a glance of my mission that began September 25, 2013...
-6 weeks in the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center
-6 months waiting for my visa in Sacramento, California (Northridge)
-2 weeks in the Brazil Missionary Training Center
-10 months in São Paulo, Brazil (Santana, Rio Acima, Itapetininga)

My companions...
Sister Lowther (SC), Sister Zenger (UT), Sister Clevery (CO), Sister Pinon (VA), Sister Garner (AZ). Sister Paredes (Peru), Sister Nascimento (Brazil- Curitiba), Sister R. Santos (Brazil- Recife), and Sister Vogel (Brazil- Porto Velho)

Two missions. Three mission presidents. And lots and lots of memories!!!!

My mission has built, shaped, and molded me into the person that Heavenly Father knew I could me, a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Serving a mission has been the best decision I ever made. I have been my greatest convert.

I know that our Savior lives. I know this is His true church and this is the only way we can return to our Father in Heaven. He wants ALL of His children to return Home. I've seen this gospel touch hearts and change lives. Faith brings miracles. Read the Book of Mormon and pray about its message. And you will see how the gospel will change your life. More peace, more love, more joy, more purpose!

Thank you so much for the countless emails, letters, packages, and most importantly, your prayers. I have the best family and friends in the whole wide world!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! See you soon :)

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Just a flash back from the MTC almost 18 months ago and now (we took this pic at leadership council this week). The four of us are in the same mission, the other two are serving in Goiana, Brazil. I love these sisters!!!! We will be sisters forever :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 11

Dear Family & Friends,

It's March. I can't believe it! Yesterday was my last fast & testimony meeting at church. It seems like from here on out there are going to be lots of "lasts". I can't even express how I am feeling... so for now, I won't. Let's just put on a smile and keep going!!!

This week was a full one! We did an exchange with the sisters in Cerquilho and Sister Santos came to my area to work with me. She goes home the same day I do so it was neat to work with her and hear about her mission and all that she has learned. We both agree that it has gone by SO FAST and we are going to miss it. She taught me 3 valuable things she has learned throughout all her experiences: pacience, time, and control. Many times, things happen and we don´t have control, so we just have to accept the Lord's timing and patiently wait for the blessings to come.

I think Heavenly Father really wants me to learn this lesson because unfortunately Giovana and Felipe weren't baptized this week and don't want to meet with us anymore. And they were so firm. More shed tears.

These past few weeks I have been learning alot about agency. Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave us all the ability to make decisions for ourselves, so we could learn, grow, and experience the difference between joy and sadness. As much as I want all the people we teach to accept this gospel, people still have the choice to accept it or not. And sometimes, even after they feel and know that it's true, they turn all these blesssings down. Why??! How? It's hard for me to understand. But all I know is, I have gotten very close to my Savior this week.

Imagine how Christ feels, after all He did for us, and we turn Him down. I have so much more appreciation for the Atonement now.

On a lighter note, two incredible youth were baptized in the other sister's branch (Itapetininga 2) last night and now they are inviting all their friends to learn more about the gospel! There are two girls who live in our area, have already been to church, and want to be baptized!!! So I know that this week is going to be a week of pure miracles. Get ready!!! This baptism was SO special. All the youth from the two branches were there to support and it was incredible to see. Reminds me of the powerful Hoover/Inverness youth! They all sang the EFY song "Embark" and now it's my favorite song ever. IT IS SO GOOD. Look it up! It's cooler in Portuguese :)

"Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall LîVE, for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life" (3 Nephi 15:9)

Have an awesome week everyone! I love and miss you all! It's March. Now I can officially say "I will see you soon"!!!!!!!!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. I forgot my camera today (my mind is kind of going crazy) so no pics. Sorry! Next week.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 10

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was great! The best part of the week was Wednesday when all the missionaries in the interior got to go to the Campinas Temple. I LOVE THE TEMPLE! The temple is truly the house of the Lord, a sacred place of worship where we go to make special promises with God and recieve spiritual strength. I have no doubt that the Lord visits His temples. What a privilege and blessing it was to go this week. It was awesome! I have never felt the Spirit so strong as I did that day. So much peace and comfort. Just the spiritual reboost I needed. I will really miss the temples here in Brazil.

The low point of the week... our incredible family from english class (Isabel, Eugenio, and Aracele) don't want to meet with us anymore. This one really broke my heart. Isabel read some very anti-Mormon stuff on the internet and researched a lot of deep doctrine. It's tough because they were worried about knowing all the facts and they weren't able to understand the simplicity of reading and praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true. I'm still praying for them because I know this family will be baptized one day. Aracele will be a future sister missionary and Isabel will be the best Relief Society President ever. Heavenly Father will take care of them.

Giovana came to church yesterday and her mom did too!!! She still has doubts if this is where God wants her to be, but she has had so many spiritual experiences and she knows it's true. She will have a baptismal interview this week and her baptism will be Saturday!

"I delight to do thy will...yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalms 40:8)

These precious days I have left on my mission are not mine, but the Lord's. Every minute and every hour belongs to HIm. I will keep praying fervently to recognize the Lord's will and be the instrument He wants me to be. My prayer is that the Lord uses me in the way He needs me so that I can help His children on the journey to return back to Him. How great is my calling!

I love and miss you all! Thank you for your countless prayers, your many thoughts, and your never ending support and love.

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Ran into Sister R. Santos at the temple. Makes me so proud to see how much she has grown! She is serving in a new area as a senior companion and doing many incredible things. The other pic is of our zone!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 9

Dear Family & Friends,

Once upon a time there lived two little toads. One day, these little toads fell into a milk bottle. The first toad, seeing that it would be impossible to escape and not wanting to keep swimming, said good bye to his friend and drowned. The second toad, the optimistic one of the two, decided to keep swimming and trust that everything would work out. So he kept swimming. And kept swimming. Soon, the milk got thicker and turned into cream. It was harder for this little toad to keep going and he was getting tired, but he kept swimming. And kept swimming. And kept swimming. Soon, the cream got thicker and turned into butter. And with that, the toad was able to jump out of the milk bottle.

When life has got you stuck in a milk bottle, which toad are you?

Just a little story I read this morning that someone gave me. I have it in Portuguese so I had to translate it and I am not sure who wrote it. Someone who has lots of knowledge and a good life perspective of course! Probably an apostle. I read this and thought about my mom who always encourages me to "keep swimming"!!!

We did an exchange this week and I went to Sister Kurtem's area on the other side of the city. She has been a little bit down lately so the goal was more faith and excitement for the work. And let me tell you, those two days were days of PURE MIRACLES!!! I am in shock at how Heavenly Father inspired us to find these people. We found an amazing family of 6 who all accepted baptism on February 28th. They had been searching for something to bring more peace and harmony to their family that has been having a lot of difficulties. What an icredible lesson! One of the daughters went to our english class that night. We also found a man named Arnoldo who has despression and had been praying for help and immediately recognized that we were his answer. He found lots of comfort in Mosiah 7:33 and accepted baptism too! The secret: look for green houses with an open door or window. Haha- this was the pattern for the day! In total, 10 new investigators and every single one of them with a date for baptism. THIS is the power of Spirit that comes with our desire, obedience, and hard work!!!

What makes me happy: seeing the other sisters SO excited, happy, and enjoying their missions!!

Other things from the week: Isabel, Eugenio, and Araceli came to the baptism of one of the 8 year olds in our branch and they loved it! Now they have lots of doubts about the bible and eternal marriage but slowly and surely, we are working through their concerns. We were able to get a less-active named Adilson to give them a ride to church yesterday and now this less-active is coming back!! Ian had his baptismal interview on Friday and it was awesome! But when we returned the next day, he told us he didn't want it anymore. WHAT??!! Felipe and Giovanna didn't make it to church so we need to do some more following-up with them. Keep praying for them please!! I know your prayers are helping!

This weekend has been the famous "Carnaval" holiday here in Brazil. It's 4 days of straight party. Everyone has been off of work. Kind of like Mardis Gras from the look of things. It's not super huge here in the interior, but in the city, I can only imagine the craziness!

And the rains keep comin'!
I am going to be the optimistic toad and I know that everything is going to work out! Thanks again for your prayers. I love you all! LîVE!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Fun pic from my companion's camera- looks like hail, but don't worry it's just rain!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 8

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was very... WET. Welcome to the rainy season! But guess what. Rainy season is miracle season so it's all good. And Brazilians are just naturally so sweet and (almost) always let you in.

Truthfully, this week was tough. Mentally, physically, emotionally. But we will not give up!!!

This week President Farnes sent us a letter from a missionary from another mission who baptized every single week for one year. Can you believe it?! 52 baptisms in a row??? Wow. In this letter, this missionary described what they did and how the Lord magnified their efforts. Now we are applying these principles in our areas, things like: focusing on a part of a neighborhood or just a few streets, working smart and efficient more than physically, talking about baptism ALL THE TIME and how to help each person reach this goal, praying together as a zone for the people we are all teaching, and not being scared to invite everyone and anyone to be baptized. Honestly and truly, there is no big secret. It comes down to desire, mental power, and focus. The secret is trust in the Lord: "You were not called to serve with your own strength. You were called to serve with the power of God".

This letter really pumped me up!!! We worked so hard this week, lots of prayers and fasting, doing everything possible to help our investigators. But.... I have to admit I am a little bit frustrated because I feel like nothing is happening. Only one of our investigators came to church yesterday and not a single one came to the big activity we planned. Broke my heart! Satan is working hard and using the smallest of things to stop these people from going to church and being baptized. But we are stronger. And we are smarter. And we will WIN!!!!

"We do not desire to murmur.... we trust God will deliver us, notwithstanding the weakness of our armies, yea, and deliver us [and our investigators] out of the hands of our enemies" (Alma 58:35,37)

Just like Helaman kept the faith when his armies, including the 2,000 stripling warriors, didn't have any more resources and were struggling to keep fighting, I will keep the faith too!!! I will keep praying for the Lord's help so we can do His will for His children.

So these are the main people we are teaching. Every single one of them have been to church at least once, all of them are reading the Book of Mormon and praying. And every single one of them can be baptized this weekend (Saturdayor Sunday) if they accept it. So in your prayers this week, please pray that we can discover their concerns and that the Spirit can touch their hearts.

Giovana- 18 years old, her less-active mom goes to the catholic church now and she doesn't know where she feels more "at home"

Ian- 22 years old, accepted baptism with a date on the first contact, GOLDEN, couldn't go to church yesterday because he was sick

Felipe- 19 years old, he will be the best future missionary ever, dating a Mormon girl, he doesn't want to disappoint his parents and leave their other church

Isabel, Eugenio, Araceli- mom, dad, and 17 year old daughter, our miracle family from english class, they still have lots of doubts and don't want to be baptized until they know everything

Every single one of these people will accept the gospel and be baptized. I can feel it!!! They are all just so good!! And I love them all so much. They just need a little push. And your prayers will do the trick! THANK YOU!

I love you all! Happy early Valentine's Day! Too bad Valentine's day in Brazil is in July. I'll celebrate it anyway.

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

Monday, February 2, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 7

Dear Family & Friends,

Welcome to the last transfer of my mission! 6 weeks to apply everything I have learned and give it every ounce of energy I've got. Sister Vogel and I will both be staying in our area and so will all the sisters we are working with. I'm so excited!!!

This week we had Zone Conference and it was awesome!! In spirit of the Super Bowl (which unfortunately the Brazilians don't really understand but they liked it anyway), President Farnes related football to teaching the gospel more efficiently. Everyday I must choose what "team" I want to play on. Our goal is to rely on our "quarterback" and be the best "wide reciever" we can be and "recieve" the Holy Ghost to help our investigators. It was a very cool training and we watched lots of video clips. I learned that my timing has to be exact, I have to be exactly obedient, and I have to do what the Spirit prompts me to do in that very moment. We often ask people "WHEN you know these things are true, will you be baptized?" but in reality, they already know. The Spirit is there and they are feeling it- we just need to help them recognize that. It's this moment when we should invite them.

So our mission, Brazil São Paulo North, is one of the top 5 missions in Brazil right now, and as a reward, the church sent President Farnes a special treat. After Zone Conference, we all got to watch "Meet the Mormons", the film the church recently released in the movie theatres in  the United States. It hasn't been released in Brazil yet, but President Farnes got it in Portuguese for all the missionaries to watch. IT WAS SO GOOD! First time I have watched a real movie in well over a year so that was fun. And it made me so proud to be a member of the church and see how the gospel plays such a valuable role in the lives of so many. If you haven't watched it yet, watch it! And Mom, I totally cried too watching the missionary story at the end. Wow this movie really touched me!

This week was an emotional roller coaster for me. Nelma (our miracle referral) and her family don't want us to stop by anymore. I can't even tell you how much love I developed for this family so this one broke my heart. We had several other people drop us as well. Just not sure what happens with these people but I have to respect their agency...

Thank goodness Heavenly Father is helping us because church was incredible! Isabel, Eugenio, and their daughter Araceli, who have been coming to our english class, came to church yesterday!!!! They loved it. We spent some time at their house yesterday answering questions about everything from the details of church organization to Adam being Michael.... it was crazy. They are very smart people and analyze everything. So teaching this family has been quite the adventure. Yesterday was Eugenio's birthday and on Friday his mom passed away, and they STILL came to church. All I know is, even though they haven't quite accepted it yet, they WILL be baptized!!!

"And now [Sister Jorgensen] this was the ministry unto which ye were called, to declare these glad tidings unto this people, to prepare their minds, or rather that salvation might come unto them, that they might prepare the minds of their children to hear the word at the time of his coming" (Alma 39:16)

What a great and marvelous work we are a part of. Preparing people for that day when we will all see our Savior again. There is no greater labor of love, no greater joy in the world! I will make the most of every minute of it.

Have a great week everyone and remember to LîVE!!!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics of the sisters in our zone that we take care of (Sister Silva, Sister Kurtem, me, Sister Vogel, Sister Santos, Sister B. Verçoza- all brazilian) and our awesome family- Araceli, Isabel, and Eugenio on his birthday yesterday.
One more thing... After 7 weeks, we FINALLY have a washing machine!!!!! WOOHOOO!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 6

Dear Family & Friends,

"It is impossible to fail when you do your best when you are on the Lord's errand." (Elder M. Russell Ballard) So let's THINK and let's WORK like it's impossible to fail. Because it truly is.

Just my little thought to start us off today!

This week was really good. Really exhausting, but really good! We did a 3 day exchange with the sisters who live with us. On Tuesday Sister Silva and I worked in our area and Wednesday and Thursday we spent in her area. She was a little discouraged about finding investigators and didn't know what to do to be more excited. She wanted to improve with street contacting. So, we street contacted EVERYONE! We made street contacting more fun by getting to know the people and what interests them. We found lots of new investigators. We found a miracle lady in the rain when we had 3 minutes left to go home and she accepted baptism with a date in that moment! Oh, the blessings that come from obedience and sacrifices!

One thing that I loved from this exchange were the studies we did to help her with the things she had questions about. With lots of prayer and inspiration from the Lord, I was able to talk with Sister Silva and help her improve her relationship with her companion. We studied about "Zion" and "Unity" (in Portuguese it's "Sião" and "União"- it's cooler because it rhymes). Zion, a place of peace and those pure in heart, can be anywhere we make it, from our homes, to the lives of our investigators, to our companionships (see 1 Nephi 13:37, 2 Nephi 1:21, Psalms 133:1, Acts 4:32, Philippians 2:1-4, Moses 7:18, D&C 6:6, D&C 109:39).

Sister Vogel and I went teaching with the ward missionaries this week and it was great! They gave us referrals for less-actives who hadn't been visited in awhile and investigators who had already been to church. WOOHOO! Miracles are going to happen this week. Yes, miracles are going to happen.

I woke up a little bit sad this morning because I can't even express in words how much I want to have a baptism here in Itapetininga. We are working SO HARD and doing everything in our power. I don't know what else to do. We are praying with all our hearts for the Lord to help us. We have so many people that can be baptized TODAY if they just open their hearts to accept it. I just want to help one of Heavenly Father's precious children return to Him. This is a work of salvation!!! We are here to SAVE our brothers and sisters! How great will be the day when we can return back to Heaven with the people we helped here in this life. Can you imagine the incredible joy??!! AH!

So, we are going to THINK and WORK like it's impossible to fail. Because we can't fail. We are the Lord's missionaries.

Have a great week everyone! Love and miss you all!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. Pics from a family home evening we did and Sister Vogel and I when we hit our 15 and 16 month marks! 16 months in the mission. Wow I am old.

So I just want to say thanks for everyone who sent an email today. I bawled and bawled reading these e-mails. Just want you all to know the Lord knows exactly what we need and He answers our prayers!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 5

Dear Family & Friends,

I know Heavenly Father prepares people and puts them in our path. We met a lot of neat people this week and I am so excited to share them with you!

We were walking home the other night and had about 15 minutes before we could go in, so we decided to go to a park nearby to find people to talk to. My companion noticed an older lady struggling to carry her groceries so we went to help her. We walked with her to her house and surprisingly she let us in to share a message! She told us she's never let missionaries in her house because she is super catholic but God touched her heart and she had a good feeling about us. I know that simple act of service opened her heart and we were able to give a Book of Mormon to her and her 5 grandchildren. Excited to teach them more!

We received a referral to visit a lady named Nelma who lives in a neighborhood very far away called Taboazinho (about an hour walking) and yesterday after church we finally made the journey out to meet her. It turns out her brother is an active member in another city and sent us Nelma's address. We were able to get to know her and teach her the Restoration. She is strong in another church but wants a church that will unite her family, and she sees how her brother's family is united and happy. The lesson with her was incredible! We testified of the unity and love that comes from the true gospel of Jesus Christ and forever families. She accepted to be baptized on January 31st!!!

Sunday morning was stressful because we tried everything possible to get the people we were teaching to church but everyone fell through. A little bit frustrated, we arrive at the church and notice a lady waiting in the front. Her name was Nadir and a member had invited her! I wanted to jump up and down and run around the parking lot in happiness. She told us she had always wanted to visit our church and always saw us talking to people at the park. She really enjoyed church and we are going to visit her tonight!!

Funny moment. Jamili (7 year old daughter of a less-active) calls me "Sister Bieber" because my name is too hard. And of course everyone that lives in the United States is best friends with Justin Bieber, or so she thinks! Haha I like it.

Time for a little spiritual rejuvenation for you all. So I read a talk this morning about the physical suffering of Christ on the cross and it was very profound. This lead me to study more about His sacrifice. After all the pain in the Garden of Gethsemani, taking upon Him the sins of the world, bleeding from every pore, being beaten and whipped, having a crown a thorns pressed on His head, carrying His cross to the hill where he was nailed and raised up, after hanging and struggling to even breathe, He mustered the strength to speak a few significant and lasting phrases. In these references in the New Testament about the crucifixion, I found 7 phrases that Christ spoke whilte He was on the cross: Matt. 27:35-50, Luke 23:33-46, and John 19:18-30.

Our Savior, our perfect example, showed such humility, love, and obedience in these last precious moments of His earthly ministry. From the powerfully deep words that He said, I learned the importance of forgiveness, mercy, family, and submitting to the Father's will. He is the only one who completely understands everything we go through because He literally went through it all.

I invite you all to find the last things he said while He hung on the cross and reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ and the suffering that He went through. Remember, He did it all for YOU.

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. This photo is too cool for words!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 4

Dear Family & Friends,

This week has been extremely hot! So hot. I don't think I have stopped sweating. I wake up sweating, go to bed sweating. A cold shower doesn't really do much. So hot that my necklaces are burning to my skin and I even have tan lines from my pearl earrings. I'm sending some of this heat for all of you who just think you might be a little cold. And I might just come home black. Look out! 

The week was super busy and crazy but this is normal. We did an exchange with the sisters in Cerquilho and it was awesome! Tuesday andWednesday I worked with Sister B. Verçoza here in our area. She has been in the mission field for 5 months but you would never know! She teaches with such confidence and truly understands her purpose. She has a sincere love for the people, even those who aren't her investigators. This exchange was definitely unforgetable for several reasons. Let me tell you just one:

Tuesday night we went to the church for Bruno's baptismal interview. The sisters who live with us were there at the church too. They thought it would be fun to take the elevator to get some things from the second floor (yes, this church building is so fancy is has an elevator). Just a few seconds later, they call us on the phone to tell us they had gotten stuck in the elevator. What??! How?! After calling several members, one of the members of the district presidency, and the zone leaders and assistants, we were finally able to get a hold of the elevator worker who had the special key to open the elevator doors. 2 HOURS LATER they were let free. Yup, this really happened.

Bruno passed his baptismal interview but... unfortunately he was not baptized on Saturday. He is having trouble with his addictions and this last weekend it all took a turn for the worse. We are doing everything in our power to help him, but it seems like he's lacking his own desire to stop. We aren't sure what to do but we will not give up!!! Please keep praying for him. And if you could include Demi in your prayers too, that would be great! She didn't make it to church yesterday either. 

English class was a huge hit this week! We had 4 new people come. We learned the verb "to be" to express characteristics and age. One of the ladies that came told me that she was very impressed and that she had never seen things explained so simply. This made me feel good because I have no idea what I am doing, haha! And they gave us their addresses to pass by and start teaching them. Woohooo! I LOVE english class. It's so fun! I am discovering my passion to teach. My lifelong dream. 

President Farnes set a goal for the mission to put 1,000 people on date for baptism last week. With 100 companionships in the mission, that's 10 per companionship. After we found our 10 Sister Vogel and I decided to help the sisters that live with us. Yesterday we split up and I worked with Sister Kurtem and we went to a new neighborhood in their area they had never tried before. Sister Kurtem was very nervous about inviting people to be baptized, and putting them on date nonetheless, so I made it my goal to help her lose her fear. In just a few hours we were able to find 4 new investigators and every single one of them accepted to be baptized with a date! It was incredible to see how the Lord prepared those in our path. We just need to have faith and invite! Sister Kurtem told me she feels so much more confident about the baptismal invite now. I'm excited to see how these people progress and the miracles that will come from this exchange!

I look back to the first few months of my mission and the fear I had. Fear to talk to people, fear to talk about baptism, fear of everything. I am naturally reserved person, I like more to listen than to talk. But now I have gained a testimony of the importance of inviting people to change. People won't change if we don't invite them. People won't change if they don't have a motive. Our brothers and sisters are on the street searching for the door that will open the path to lead them to true happiness and peace in this life, and the life to come. They are lost. Many of them don't even realize they are lacking this eternal joy. But we have it. And we as missionaries have the key that opens this door. This key is baptism. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ and help them open the door and keep strong on the path to return to their heavenly home. I will only be a missionary with this power and authority for a few more months. And I will take advantage of every opportunity to invite people to change for the better and help them see the blessings of the restored gospel. I will LîVE!

I love you all!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen

P.S. The first pic is in a member's home where we ate lunch this past week. They had all their Christmas decorations up still. This is one of the nicest homes I have seen on my mission. Sister Silva, me, Sister Kurtem, and Sister B. Verçoza (during our exchange). The other pic Sister Vogel (my companion) and I with Carmelina and Virgilio, recent converts that are preparing to go to the temple. They are so sweet! We are going to do a service project to help them clean their home.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Itapetininga Letter 3

Dear Family & Friends,

This week flew by SO fast! New Years Eve and New Years Day were normal for us and we were able to teach a lot of people because no one was working. We used Alma 13:21-22 that talks about how now is the moment and we were able to invite lots to be baptized! People are really receptive to changing their lives during this season of the new year. Still can't believe it's 2015!

On Friday we had our mission leadership counsel meeting with President and Sister Farnes. All the zone leaders, district leaders, and sister training leaders were there. We had a special training on obedience and attitude, and we discussed ways we can be examples and help the other missionaries in their work. We talked about the story of Peter walking on the water and how Christ helped him when he fell, how we are here to rescue our investigators, members, and perhaps most importantly, our companions and other missionaries around us. President Farnes has a vision to "resgatar", which means ransom or redeem, more or less to rescue. And this is what we are going to do!!!

This week we did a special exchange with Sister Kurtem and Sister Silva after Sister Kurtem sprained her ankle and had to stay in for the day. My companion Sister Vogel stayed with her and I was able to work with Sister Silva in her area. It was an afternoon of miracles! We found a less-active we didn't know existed and we were able to put 2 people on date for baptism. I really enjoyed teaching with Sister Silva and working with her. I think this is what I am going to like most about this calling: getting to know the other sisters and learning from them!
Bruno came to church again yesterday and he brought his mom Patricia, his sister Gabriela, and his 6 year old daughter Stefani! It was so sweet to see them at church together! Bruno told us he is changing his life for his daughter because he doesn't want her to be scared of him anymore. His baptism will be Saturday!!!!

We had another investigator at church yesterday named Demi. When we found her last week she told us she was done with religion and didn't want to hear about church because all they want is money. For some reason (inspiration of God of course) she let us in her house and we were able to share a short Christmas message. When we returned this week, we taught her the Restoration and she accepted a baptism date for January 17th! She told us she was ready to find the true church. It was truly a miracle. People change when their hearts are touched.

When President Farnes arrived this past year, he established a theme for our mission. The theme is LîVE. Little Victories Everday and forget about "i" (that's why it has a little carrot).

2015 is my year to LîVE. I am going to LIVE every moment of these last 2 transfers. I am going to LIVE my calling as a sister training leader and do all I can to be an example and help the other sisters. I am going to LIVE as a representative of Jesus Christ and invite everyone in my path to follow Him and LIVE. And when I return home, I am going to LIVE and apply my mission every day.

John 17:3 This is life eternal. This is what is truly means to LIVE.
Let's make 2015 our year to LîVE! Love and miss you all!

Seja Valente e Fiel,
Sister Jorgensen 

P.S. Pic is with the daughters of a less-active we found. Unfortunately they didn't make it to church yesterday, but don't worry, next week we'll throw water on them or something. The other pic of all the sister training leaders at the leadership conference.