Monday, January 27, 2014

I just love my life a little too much, I think.

Oiiiii (:

Well, another fabulous week. Of course! I am sorry my emails are always the exact same at the beginning, but I just love my life here, WAY too much. I had this big talk with Sister A. Silva this week about how much I love my mission and how beyond grateful I am to be here right now. It made me even more grateful to be here. There is nothing in the world better than missionary work. There really isn't.

Anyway, what a great week. Want to hear something fabulous? I think I finally figured out how to be a good missionary this week. Things just seemed to click. And it was all due to the Spirit. The Spirit completely led us this week and helped so many of our investigators and less-active members. I think, FINALLY, after nearly ten months in the mission field, I am starting to figure out how the Spirit works in our lessons. I am relying whole-heartedly on my Heavenly Father and we are seeing miracle after miracle.

Our lessons this week were all super powerful. I don't feel like we were able to teach too much, but the lessons we had were all incredible. I think I cried in almost every single lesson. For real. We saw so much growth in the people we are teaching - realizing the importance of the Word of Wisdom, reading the Book of Mormon every single day, bearing testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel, inviting friends to listen to us and working a little harder every day to be a little better. I have never felt so much joy than I did this week. I love being a part of this work and having this opportunity to help others feel this same joy that I have.

I want you all to know how much I truly love this gospel. Even though it has only really been a part of my life for the past three years, there is nothing in the world that brings me more joy. I worked extremely hard to get to where I am today, and I am still working every day to become better. I owe everything that I am today to my Father in Heaven. Without Him, I would be completely lost. I am eternally grateful for this change that has taken place in my life; for the person I am becoming. There is still so much I need to do and that I need to learn, but I know that with His help, I can do all things. I can become who He needs me to be. I love this church more than I can ever explain. I know, without a doubt, that these things are true. My life has been changed because of the Book of Mormon, because of the love I have felt from my Savior. I can't imagine a better way to spend a year and a half than to share this knowledge with these people here. 

I am so grateful for my mission; for the change I am making in my life, as well as the changes it is making in the lives of my family and friends. There is truly nothing greater than this work.

I love you all so much. I am continually praying for all of you. Fiquem fortes (: O Senhor tem um plano pra vocês. Eu sei que Ele tem uma grande presença em nossas vidas. Ele ama vocês mais que vocês possam compreender.  

This church is true.

Sister Card

Monday, January 20, 2014

Never Coming Home - Already Decided.

Hey everyone!

How are things going? I had another fabulous week, of course! I feel so beyond grateful that I am here. I had such a great week, and then I got here to email, reading about everything that is going on at home (marriages and that's about it!) and I decided that I never want to come home. Mission life is far too good to me, and real life just seems so boring, so I decided that I'll just stay here in Brazil forever. It will be wonderful. 

So first of all, let me just talk about how dang cute our baptism was this week. Juraci. She is 83 years old and has wanted to be baptized for almost a year now, but never had the chance. We worked a lot with the Branch President so that she could get baptized, and it finally happened this weekend. Talk about the cutest thing ever. Her son-in-law, Manuel, who has been a member for almost a year, was able to baptize her (which is HUGE for him and for us as missionaries), with the help of Presidente Felipe (the Branch President). My favorite thing that ever happened was when Juraci got out of the font and said, with a huge smile on her face, "FINALLY, I am baptized in God's name!" Ahhhh. Cutest thing ever. We were dying. I love her so much.

But then, get this, later that night, she fell and broke 2 ribs. Can you believe it? So we didn't end up confirming her a member of the church yet, but we will the next Sunday! We visited her yesterday, and she was already out of the hospital, laughing and talking and everything. What a champ that woman is. I honestly love her so much, you guys.

Things are going so well here. We have a few new people that we are teaching that are ELECT. We have a lot of plans for more baptisms this coming month. The work is really starting to get going here. We are being led 100% by the Spirit, and we are seeing miracle after miracle. I am so excited that I get to stay here in São Gabriel for another transfer to finish training my cute companion Sister A. Silva. She is honestly so great, and I know that she will be a leader in the mission. She is fabulous.

I am learning so much every single day. However, what I have been focusing on this past week is relying 100% on the Spirit. I don't know what these people need. I don't know how I can help them. But the Lord knows them. He knows exactly what they need, and exactly how we can help them get there. The more I am realizing my own capacities and relying on His strength, the stronger I am feeling. I know that with His help, I will be able to do all things. Things are going so well here. As long as I continue following the Spirit and letting Him lead us each day, we will have success. There is no doubt in my mind about it.

I love you all. I love this work. I am so grateful to be a missionary, to have this immense joy in my life. I hope you have a fabulous week. This church is true. There is no doubt in my mind about it. I have never been so sure about something in my life. I love you all so much.

Sister Card

PS - Pictures... Can't send them AGAIN this week. I am sorry! I have a ton of them, so you will be getting like a billion one of these weeks. I will do my best! Gotta love the limited technology here in Brazil (; 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Running out of ideas for email subjects...

Hey everyone!

So I'm just going to skip my normal introductions with emails today, talking about how much I love my mission and how fabulous everything is here. Haha but honestly, I feel like I start every email the same way. Sorry for the consistent repetition, but life is like that on the mission haha.

However, we had another fabulous week, of course! Guess what? We have ANOTHER baptism this weekend. Yay! Her name is Juraci and she is the cutest old lady in the world! She is the mom of a recent convert, and she has such a huge desire to be baptized.  I don't think I have ever cried so much as I did in our lessons with her this week. She just wants to do her best to follow the Lord and what He has commanded us. She is literally the most darling thing in the world and we are SO excited for her baptism this weekend. Be excited for  pictures next week (:

So I've been doing an insane amount of studying this past week. Insane. I find myself using every spare minute of my day looking up scriptures, reading Preach My Gospel, or reading Conference talks. Why? Because I feel like there is so much more I need to be learning. Knowledge is such an important thing to gain, and I am doing my best to learn all that I can haha. My 3 hours of study in the morning just doesn't seem to cut it haha.

Anyways, I really started focusing in on the power of God, and how we all have the ability to use that power as long as we use our faith. One scripture that I absolutely loved, that I now have hanging on my desk is 1 Nephi 17:50-51 :

50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
 51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?

You can all put your own challenge in at the end of this scripture. Sometimes you are given challenges, like building a ship. It seems like it is impossible, like everyone in the world doesn't believe in you, like it would be so much easier just to give up or go home. Maybe it would be. However, you were given this challenge for a reason. He KNEW you were strong enough to do it.  And He has all the power in the world. So maybe, yeah, it is something hard.  Maybe you can't do it by yourself. But, He is able to do it for you.

In the scheme of things, our problems sometimes seem simple. I tend to ask myself, "Why am I struggling so much with this little problem I am having, when it seems like other people have such harder things to deal with?" But still, I am struggling. Still, I need the help of the Lord. So why wouldn't I use His help? How is it that He cannot instruct me, that I should be a great missionary? That I should help this less-active family? That I should get over any homesickness? That I should help my trainee be the very best missionary in the field? Maybe it is something simple, but it is something I need help with. We have to turn to Him. We have to use His love that He gives us so willingly. When we are using our faith to show that we really are relying on Him, that we trust in Him, He will make miracles happen in our lives as well.

It has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. As someone who has always been very independent, it has been difficult to learn humility, to learn that I truly cannot do this on my own. But as I have started to  give up my stubborn ways, I am seeing that I am becoming who the Lord needs me to be. Things are becoming easier. 

I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father so much. My relationship with Him has grown so much over the past nine months and I will never be able to express my gratitude for that. This is HIS WORK. This is HIS CHURCH. I love you all so much. Have a great week (:

Sister Card

PS - I had a dream they made a Book of Mormon movie last night and I was BEYOND pumped. I am such a missionary...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Yearrr (:

Hey everyone!

I have no idea where the weeks are going! I swear that every day is going by faster and faster! Time is flying! This week was my 9 month mark. Yeah, halfway. It happened. Talk about the saddest day of my entire mission. I think I cried in every lesson we had that day and cried myself to sleep that night. Hahaha. Such a baby, but I honestly love my mission so much, and it breaks my heart to think that this is already halfway over. It's given me even more motivation to work hard and do everything I can while I am here. The other Sisters that we live with threw me a "baby shower" that day, where we sat up all night (until 10:30 hahaha) and ate chocolate, drank Tereré (the greatest thing in the entire world!), talked about my greatest moments on the mission, and cried all together. It was one of the best nights I have ever had on my mission. How lucky am I to be here, with such amazing Sisters and such amazing people? I am getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. I truly love what I am doing more than I could ever explain.

What a great week we had this week! There are so many good things that are happening in this area. It has taken us a really long time to get things going here, but I feel like things are finally starting to happen. The members are getting more and more excited about the world, and we are finding more and more people to teach. Even though things have been slow in the past, we haven't lost any faith. We are working harder and smarter every day. I'm figuring out how to work effectively here; to not just teach and baptize, but to teach, baptize and RETAIN. I don't think I have ever studied or prayed or fasted so much in my entire life. I find myself waking up earlier, just to study more to figure out how to better help these people. There aren't enough hours in the day! But we are seeing miracles and I owe it all to the Lord. He is helping us SO much.

A few highlights of my week that you will enjoy:
1. We are working with Lucileny and her family. Her mom, Eva, is a less-active member and is absolutely the cutest thing ever. This week, we had THE most amazing FHE with them about the Restoration. The Spirit was SO strong there. We finished the night with games and a pancake party. They made us Pancakes Salgadas (with meat and salsa) and I made Pancakes Doces (normal American pancakes). They thought it was the weirdest thing in the world that we eat sweet pancakes haha. But they loved it anyways.

2. I realized that I truly am my mother's daughter. I was told by some of my leaders this week to just "wait and let them figure it out" when we encountered a problem. Haha. I was EXACTLY Diane Card right there. I got super upset and frustrated and thought, "HA! I'll show them." So naturally, I got a plan ready, studied like crazy, and presented some things that needed to change here. And guess what? It is working! We have some amazing things that are going to be changing here to have more unity in the branch and retain our converts. I just thought it was super funny that I was exactly like my mother in that moment. Thanks momma! Your influence is reaching all the way here to Brazil (;

3. I fed a lamb this week. SOLID. Why do I love my mission so much?

4. I started a diet for the first time in my entire life. Not really a diet hahaha. I still eat a lot. I don't know how to diet. But I am skinny again, so that's solid (: Whatever I am doing is working, right?

5. My cute companion Kaylee Jensen got her Visa and is coming to Brazil this month! BEST NEWS EVER.

6. We had triple the number of member present lessons than other lessons taught this week. For all you RMs,  you know that's like the greatest thing in the entire world. SUCH a blessing.

7. I realized that I am doing EXACTLY what I need to do here. I am working harder and better than I ever have before in my life. There are so many things that I need to improve, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am doing exactly what I need to do to help this area.

What an incredible week. I have learned so many things and I am beyond grateful for all of it. It blows my mind that I only have a little less than nine months to keep doing this. Keep praying for me. Keep praying for this area. It sure needs it. But I love all that is happening here. I am grateful for my companion, for my investigators, for the members, for the gospel, for my Savior and for my Heavenly Father. I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life and I owe it 100% to this church and my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

I love you all so much. I hope you have a fabulous week this week. Do beautiful things for me (: And please, everyone, STOP GETTING ENGAGED. I find out about new engagements every single week. Not kidding. It's insane. Slow it down a little, people. For real. Ha.


Sister Card

AH. It happened. 9 months!

Companheira (:

Cutest baby ever! And yay, finally skinny again (:

Cuties (:

Feeding a lamb. I LOVE my mission.

Hahahaha this picture for Ashley Bryant. But imagine Dr. Pepper. 
It WILL happen like this when I am pregnant for real. BE READY ASH.

The nine month tradition (: hahaha.

Sisters threw me a baby shower. CUTEST EVER.

Pancake party (: 

Pancakes Doces (normal American pancakes) andSalgadas (Brazilian pancakes with meat and salsa) 

Uh ohhh.