Monday, December 29, 2014

december 29, 2014 "boas festas gente‏"

zone conferences are my favs
this is like an "i spy" picture... can you spy me?
sister tenorio and i... she was such a great companion in rosario!
let me introduce you to my new companion.... this is sister alvarado.  she's from peru and she is the cutest!   
no pday last week.. sorry people. 
11 hours of traveling to get here to são borja
so were opening an area… but not like hard core. this just means that we are all new. only one elder from our branch stayed to work in são borja, the others all got transferred, so basically we are figuring out everything alone because our poor elders are awkward and can’t even help us figure out where our lunch appointments are. but it’s pretty fun. elder dias & i couldn't resist when we had a stopover in santiago while going to zone conference, got one more pic in santiago:)
i bore my last testimony at zone conference (at zone conference all the missionaries who are going home after that transfer bear their testimonies... my time has arrivedL
so basically, all of the american candy and what not that my family sent for christmas—none of my people here in brazil liked, i had one to share with… so, i guess more for me :) 
so our first day here in são borja was hilarious. we live far away from our teaching area so we have to take the bus. we took a bus that seemed like it would get us close to where our lunch appt was but our helpful elders didn’t really explain well where lunch was... so long story short is that we had the whole bus looking at our map trying to help us and explain which stop we had to get off. hahaha. 
our zone planned a talent for the annual zone christmas conference talent show using the cups song from the movie “pitch perfect”… we slaved over making the music and practicing.  We were so excited… and then another district used the same idea but went before us so we chickened out and didn’t do our talent.
this is sister alves my homegirl -- one month left for us.. then it's on to planning her wedding :) 
when mom tries to say são borja on christmas day skype and the brazilian family is laughing so hard hearing her. 
i'll just hug this girl all day at christmas zone conference... together again, sister rodrigues & i
when i had a little “layover” in santiago i got to see my fav sister rodrigues (who got transferred to santiago) 
and the famous renata aquino who was waiting for me to pass through santiago with a sign for me. i miss my santiago family!!  

so i had the sweetest experience last week. sweet as in tender, not cool brah. so… christmas eve our district met up to take a picture so we could have a gift to give to the member who fed us all (10 of us!!) for christmas. after we were walking back to city center with the elders who work in center and they asked if we had visited an older lady who lives in a nursing home that is a member.. we didn’t know anything about her so they asked if they could show us where she lived. Here is an embarrassing confession…  i honestly hesitated. even on a mission this christmas became so commercial because we did secret santas and thank yous and what not and it was so hard to see that all the “gifts” were ready because where we work doesn’t have stores we can pass by quick and by the time we get home everything is closed. so we were headed back to center to run some quick last minute errands and then were planning to work right up until the christmas eve dinner we had with a family. i was stressed out with everything we had to do and didn’t know if we had time. but then i stopped thinking about all the stupid stressful things i though I HAD to do but i really didn’t need to do. i remembered what i had been praying for-- a true christmas experience. i felt the spirit whisper to me that i needed to do stop everything and visit this woman if i wanted to feel the christmas spirit... so we accepted the elders invitation to visit juliete. she was the cutest little lady.. she has more than 50 years as a member of the church, if i remember right, and remembers when president parrela (our mission president) served here in são borja. 
meet julibete... the woman who made my christmas this year
we just chatted with her for a little while, then we sang a christmas hymn, and after we said a prayer with her. i felt the spirit so strongly. i had tears in my eyes but was embarrassed to cry over something that may have seemed so simple.  as elder dias was praying i saw he was touched too, he felt the spirit and got teary and after that i was not embarrassed to let my tears fall. it was such a small act and didn’t take much time, but it was the best thing that happened to me christmas week. as we were walking down the streets of são borja we were all quiet. i started thinking about my christmases at home, and how mom always makes us go with a group of neighbor friends to make christmas cards, decorate sugar cookies, and visit nursing homes and sing in their halls and give cookies to the soup kitchen. i admit that when i was growing up, i usually dreaded it because i was the oldest of all the kids and actually babysat most of them and what not. but after we went, i always felt terrible that i had gone with a bad attitude because the people always got so happy with our visits. it seems to take me a while, but i’m learning. i’m learning while i’m learning more clearly how to act as the Savior would. 

i’m grateful for the real christmas with the real spirit and real happiness. but, oh how i will miss mission christmases…

one last thing-- a new year’s challenge for you all. 
i was reading a book that our mission president asked all the missionaries who are going home to read during their last transfer. it’s about keeping the spirit with you at all times. the part i read today talks about reading the book of mormon with more purpose. i can’t explain it all, but it talks about reading the book of mormon with faith and works, which leads me to my challenge for you all. 
make a purpose when you read the book of mormon and your scriptures, think of something you want to learn or a blessing you need. pray to God to receive it with faith. your works will come when you promise Him you will read for 30 minutes for 30 days. then, i promise you, if it is His will, in His time you will receive the answers you are looking for. just an idea that i’m excited to put to the test. 

anywayssss. so out of time. happy new year. love you all. hope natal was fabulous. if you love me… mom you’ll keep our christmas decorations up until i get home. All our neighbors too :) ahahahha

k byeee! xooxoxox 

sister faldmo
the  whole são borja district on christmas eve
my buddy elder miller
sister alvarado and i at our branch christmas party in são borja

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