Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Book of Mormon Changes Lives


I still can´t believe that I made it here last week because my flight had so many different delays; due to the weather and three different planes having technical issues so we had to switch planes multiple times. We were stuck in the Atlanta airport for 20 hours! It was an adventure for sure, but it was so funny, and we made it a good time. I was able to call my family and talk to them, and it was good to hear their voices. On our flight from Utah to Atlanta I sat next to two members of our church, which was a lame missionary opportunity, I know. But don’t worry, I still chatted with them about my mission and fun stuff. But on the way to Sao Paulo I sat next to a Brazilian man named Wilson and was able to talk with him, bear my testimony and give him a Book of Mormon! I was able to get his contact information as well. He was the sweetest man ever, and helped me with my bags in Sao Paulo and was so happy. All the Brazilians I have met so far are like that as well. Wilson and I got through a lot of conversations despite my weak Portuguese, with the help of Webster’s Dictionary … it came in handy for sure!

Congratulations to my friend Katie for her engagement! So excited for you, and I feel so blessed to have so many friends that have emailed me. I am sorry; I have no time and was only given a half hour this week, so I will try to respond within the next couple weeks … love you all! When we arrived in Sao Paulo in the middle of the night, I was definitely aware of the humidity. But my skin feels amazing; so much better than winter! The MTC here is great, but different, and exactly what I needed. The MTC is in the middle of a sketchy part of town and we have armed guards around the whole place. On preparation day we are able to walk around outside and go to the shops and stuff (Mom I am safe don’t worry!). It is a blessing that I am able to finish here; my Portuguese has already improved dramatically. The Brazilians here are my favorite and are just so classic. In my room, I have my awesome American companion who will be serving in Manaus, the actual Amazonian mission, which is just a mission away from mine. I also have four other Brazilian roommates who are so funny and the best! We are all loud and rambunctious and always laughing! They yell at me whenever I speak any English, and correct my Portuguese, even in the middle of my prayers, hahaha, which is so helpful!

When I arrived I was happy to find out that I was being reunited with my some of the elders from my old district in Provo, which is great. Whenever I tell Brazilians that I am going to Teresina (a.k.a. the hottest place in Brazil), they just say "oh no, my sister, I am so sorry for you", hahaha. But they follow it up by telling me that I have the nicest and most friendly people in my mission. I am ready to meet them and love them already.

Last Saturday we went proselyting in the city; it was so cool to have that opportunity! We were given six Books of Mormon per companionship. At first, we were a little discouraged and then we started talking to people and our Portuguese was better than we thought. When we were walking past people I just wanted to stop everyone in the street and share the knowledge that I had! My companion and I saw this younger man sitting and smoking a cigarette and we decided to go talk to him. As we walked up and my companion started to talk, he just said no thank you, but he was super nice about it. So she started talking to the man next to him and I just told myself, “nope, this man isn’t getting off the hook this easy”. Yes, I am stubborn. So I asked him his name and he said it was Diego was and told me where he was from, and we talked about that for a minute or two. Then I said "Diego", and it was so funny because I totally said it in “yeah, you’re my friend” kind of way, and I just bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and of The Book of Mormon and he was totally taken back. I could tell he was really touched, and he took The Book of Mormon and we had him read from it! It was such a cool experience. My companion said, "I think one of the reasons that Heavenly Father put us together, was for you to teach me to be bold and persistent”. This same situation happened with another woman named May. She didn’t want the book because her husband was a preacher, but I made sure that the book I was holding ended up in her hands. It was perfect. I watched as people read from their scriptures … their countenance changed. It was beautiful.

I was able to attend the Sao Paulo Temple and do a session, for the first and last time. It was so beautiful, and an hour away with traffic, so we were able to see a lot of the city. It is the last time in a temple for me for the next year and a half.

I am grateful for my Savior, and I want to work so hard to bring others to the knowledge of the gospel. It truly can change lives! I will just be working hard at soaking up all the Portuguese I can until I leave this Tuesday. I can’t wait to get out there and get to work! You are all in my prayers … love you!

Sister Vance

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