Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello hello hello (:

Hey everyone! (:

The months have felt like weeks and now the weeks are feeling like days. So in that case, I'll be seeing you all in about four days... 

This week was fabulous. Of course. Every week is fabulous. It wasn't a very productive week, since we spent most of our time downtown with President Parella. We had interviews, stake conference and Zone Conference, which took up three days of work. I almost cried when I found out, seeing as three days of work are really precious to me right about now! But no, it worked out just fine (:

Zone Conference was great. I got to see 5 of my past companions again, so there were a lot of tears and a lot of hugging (: Heavenly Father put such special girls into my life and I am so grateful that I got to see them all again (: It was so special to be with them all again and for them to hear my departing testimony. Those girls have been with me through so many things, and they have truly helped me to become this person that I am now. I have taken a little piece of each one of them with me in my heart. They are incredible girls.

So yeah, it was my last Zone Conference. And that means that all the departing missionaries have the privilige of bearing their testimony one more time. I think that was the day that I was dreading the most (mostly because I was worried about just bawling my eyes out and not being able to speak like a human... haha.) But really, I was not looking forward to it. However, as we sat together during that conference, the sweetest feelings came into my heart, like I truly did and truly became the missionary that the Lord needed me to be.

As I bore my testimony one last time, I couldn't help but think of the Savior. It was because of Him that I was able to do this. A mission has never been easy for me. However, with the help of my Savior Jesus Christ, it was worth every minute. He helped me get through it all. I know that because of Him, I was able to see miracles. There's much that I could say on this subject, but the biggest miracle that I have seen on my mission is the miracle that I have seen in myself. I know my Savior and I love Him.

I love you all so much. I miss you continually, but I can't wait to see you all again. Things are going fabulously here. We have three baptisms on Saturday (: I'm not giving up, that's for sure. Race to the finish (: Oh, how I love this work! I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Card


Monday, August 18, 2014

I LOVE Parque Pinheiro

Hey everyone (:

What a week. It was perfect. 100%. I don't think I will be able to begin to describe how incredible things are here. They are going so so so so so well. I can honestly say that this transfer has started out being the easiest transfer of my entire mission.

So "minha filha" is such a doll. Her name is Sister Tenorio and she is from Houston, Texas. Americans NEVER train Americans. I've only heard of it happening once here in Santa Maria! But things are going so well with her. I truly love her a lot already and I am so grateful to be serving with her. She already speaks Portuguese so well and understands everything! So the language barrier is out of the way for her. Now it's just getting the "missionary" part down. She's getting it (: I tried my very best not to let her know that this was my last transfer, but thanks to the Elders serving here with us, it didn't last too long. But we don't dwell on that fact. We just work and work and work and focus on what's going on here (:

The area is incredible. We have so much support from the members and we are seeing so many miracles. We have three baptisms set up already (which I can't believe, since we opened the area on TUESDAY) and we are meeting the Lord's elect. I feel so grateful for the miracles that are taking place. I am able to see a little more how much the Lord loves His children and how He is truly preparing people to hear the gospel. I've decided that here in Parque Pinheiro, we are just harvesting all those seeds that were planted in the past. It's amazing. For real. We are just collecting it all (: So things are perfect. I couldn't ask for anything more.

I spent my week in tears, again. I'm so grateful. I just can't tell you all how grateful I am that I am serving as a missionary. I am finally feeling as if I am the missionary that the Lord wanted to me to be. I just understand. I want you all to know how beyond grateful I am for the decision that I made to serve a mission. It hasn't been easy. Despite the fact that I always wrote about how happy I am serving a mision, doesn't mean that it was a walk in the park. It's been difficult, but it has been worth every step. 

Please pray for my family, especially for my grandfather who had some medical complications this week. I love you so much Grandpa, and I hope you know how incredible of an example you are to me. That man has truly taught me the meaning of diligence and dedication. Pray for my cute Elder Card, who is my hero right now. I am grateful for you Jackson and for the lives that you are changing. You are doing exactly as the Lord would have you do.

I hope that you all have such a fabulous week. I pray for you always and I think of you often. I am excited to see you all again soon (in like six more months, right? (: ). Stay strong. This church is true. I've never been more sure of anything in my life.

Sister Card

Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Week in Uruguaiana...

Hey everyone!
So, the dreaded last transfer has started. Hmmm. I think I could describe this week perfectly in one word: Tears. There were a lot of them shed. After serving in Uruguaiana for the past six months, I received my last transfer instructions. I will be released as a Sister Training Leader and I will head to Santa Maria, ala Parque Pinheiro, where I will be training again! To be honest, I was praying that I would finish up my mission training, and my prayers were definitely answered! It is going to be so great, despite the fact that my heart is broken as I leave this place.
I don't have much time to write, since my bus leaves in just a few hours, but I wanted to share something that touched my heart this week as I was saying goodbye to those that I love so dearly. You may recall the family of Viviane and Jorge that was baptized a few months ago. I have never loved anyone on my mission like I have loved that family. Because of them, I know the meaning of true love. I had the privilege of meeting them, teaching them, baptizing them, and making sure that they stayed strong in the church. It has been the most incredible journey to watch that family grow.

We had a Noite Familiar this week with them and many other members and investigators and asked them to think of one place that they wanted to go before they died. They could only choose one place in the world. It was all part of a lesson of how we can show our love more. Many people said places like the US, Hawaii, Bahia, France, really cool places. When Jorge was asked where he would go before he died, do you know what he said? "I thought about all the great places in the world that I could go to and where I would want to take my family. But when I thought about the only place that I wanted to go with them, I thought about the one place that will help us be an eternal family. I needed to go with them to the temple. So that was what I chose. I would go to the temple in Porto Alegre." The entire room was in tears. How often do we forget what truly matters? The lesson wasn't even about the temple or anything like that. Yet, that was his focus. Jorge was thinking about the temple and where he wanted to go.

As I said goodbye to that family yesterday, there were so many tears shed. I cried and cried and cried with that entire family. As both Viviane and Jorge said to me, "You changed our lives. We now have the gospel in our lives. We now have purpose and direction in our lives. You have worked so hard with us and we now have this same happiness that you have. We will never forget you. We love you more than you know. We will stay strong and we will be at the temple this time next year."
There is nothing that can express the joy that I feel to have seen families brought into the gospel. This gospel isn't just about individuals. It's about families. It's about bringing them together. It's about taking something broken and making it perfect again. I have seen this happen in these six months that I have spent here in Uruguaiana. It hasn't been any easy road, but I can say with all of my heart that Uruguaiana has become my home. I love it here. I love the people. I love this city. I know that Heavenly Father sent me here for many reasons. These families that I have helped have become my family. I love them more than I could ever express.
I can't wait to get to work in Santa Maria. Uma terra santa (; It is going to be such an incredible experience. I will work my hardest to ensure that "minha filha" will be the greatest missionary this mission has ever known. I still have a very long time to do the work of the Lord. I won't quit. I won't rest. I will work and work and work until my very last minute as a missionary. You can be sure of that. I will do exactly as the Lord would have me do. I still wear His name next to mine and I will make sure that He will be proud of that.

I love you all so much. Thank you for everything. Have an incredible week.

Sister Card