Missionary blog of Sister Emily Heyer, Brazil Campinas Mission, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pictures from Emily's city, Valinhos

If There is Work to be Done...

[Note: to honor the privacy of those Emily is teaching and working with, we refer to them by their initials.  Sorry if this gets confusing.]

Hello! Hope all is well with everybody up North! ;)

This week has been a little rough at parts but also incredibly rewarding! I was hoping to feel better but unfortunately I have felt worse. :P I have a head cold and a nasty cough that makes me pretty worn out but if there is work to be done then I have work to do. So I am pushing on. Sister P (the mission President's wife) is over worried about me though. She called yesterday and said if I am not better in three days then I need to go to the hospital.....so naturally I am feeling better already because there is NO way I am going to the hospital for a cold. Absolutely no way. Yesterday I took some cough medicine (Vicks) but didn't read the ingredients....and payed for it by throwing up everything I had eaten this entire week....it had 10% alcohol. Never again. I don't want any more meds! Especially from Brazil. hahaha. I am actually fine though. Tired and annoyed and a little gross but I don't feel horrible or like I'm on my death bed. 

Yesterday was crazy though. Sister B and Sister A went on a split and Sister G stayed home with me so I could sleep....but I can't breath so I can't sleep either. So I took the bad cough medicine and was sitting on the couch when suddenly Sister G got a call from the Mission secretary saying that he, his comp, and the mission president would be at our house in 10 min but didn't say why. Holy cow....Sister G freaked out and we frantically started cleaning (├Čt wasn't even that messy) and she started ripping all the photos off the walls and told me to take mine down too because she wasn't sure it was allowed. I was pretty sure that it was okay but I couldn't really understand her so I just obeyed and started running around cleaning and ripping pics off the wall....then I ran into the bathroom and threw up everything....while sister G yelled DO YOU NEED WATER over and over while running around cleaning....then I finished barfing...ran back out and kept cleaning. Then finally I collapsed on the couch....and they came. They brought us a new, nice automatic stove. And then the mission president gave me a blessing at Sister B's insistence even though I didn't really feel that was necessary. -_- But it was nice none the less. They are amazing people the P's (Mission President and wife). I love them. Anyways turns out pics are fine. -_- hahahaha. 

ITS FREEZING HERE. I am kicking myself for not believing the Brazilians. I had to buy a long skirt and tights.  It's in the low 40s here this past week. And in a skirt walking around with cold rain and wind....yah its pretty freezing. And at night its in the low 30s. Really cold. But I am grateful because the first days it was super hot and it's not fun....so I am enjoying it while I can. 

We have had 2 cockroaches (Barata) I will send you a funny pic of my companions reaction to this. She is deathly afraid. hahaha. 

We almost got attacked by a dog. It was a stray and was really angry we were walking past it. But we were with Elder P and Elder D for the Baptism interviews...and Elder P kicked the dog and it ran away. I felt kind of bad. But it was pretty scary.....angry dogs are pretty scary. 

Crazy story. For literally no reason....we had 3 members of the other sisters ward buy us food. We didn't tell anyone we had been hungry or anything....they just showed up with bags and bags of food. We have sooo much food we don't even know what to do with all of it. We have 4 huge cases of milk. Its crazy. What a blessing. We were so grateful. And then to top it off 2 other members made us dinner and brought us dinner. It was amazing. So you don't need to worry about us. We are well fed and well cared for here. 

I ate a chicken heart. It wasn't horrible. But I couldn't get past the chicken heart part of eating it. :P hahaha. But I did it anyway. They were all super proud of me. lol.

So the big news of this week is yesterday Sister B and I had THREE baptisms!!!! :D C...the son of a member. And our investigator R´s two kids B (12) and M (8). Sooo some background. 

We taught C for the first time on Thursday. It was crazy. I have never seen someone more desirous of baptism. He let us in...we got about 4 sentences into the first lesson and he promptly pretty much recited the first vision and the rest of the lesson to US. He told us that he wants to be happy like his mom and that he is ready to start over. He has a baby out of wedlock, he did drugs, he drank.....but he gave up all of it (including moving out of his and his girlfriend's apt and living with his parents with his baby) for the past few months and started looking for religion. We called Elder P (District Leader) in the room about an interview. Elder P talked with him and we arranged the baptism interview for the next day. The next day in the interview he passed with flying colors. And he just kept asking....even though I will be baptized I want to learn more and more....you will still teach me right? Someone will still come and teach me more right?? He read half of the gospel principles book for sunday school already and most of the book of mormon and even the bible and every pamphlet. He is trying desperately to get his girlfriend to take the lessons so their whole family can be sealed. Its amazing. I hope to see all of them go through the temple. I expect he will be able to get the priesthood very soon. After his baptism C told me he feels like a new man and that he has a new head now. His mom came and thanked us and was just in tears. I have never seen someone look so grateful. It was a beautiful moment for their family.

B and M are the kids of our investigator R. R has 6 kids but one is in jail for drugs, one is married, and one is a teen who doesn't really want to listen. She was all ready for baptism and then she told us she actually isn't married. She really wants to baptized though. But first she has to talk to her....husband/boyfriend about getting married. He doesn't even know that they were baptized or that we have been visiting cause he works all the time. I think she is really nervous to talk to him. But she has the desire. We taught B for the first time on Thursday and he had his interview Friday. He was a little more hesitant about all of it and I was really worried we were rushing him. I talked with Elder P and he said that he thought all would be well and that it's okay. He was right. B went to a youth activity Saturday and LOVED it and then went to church for the first time Sunday....and was baptized right after church. He was so happy. It was perfect. M has been going to church with R for a few weeks now and she was totally ready. We hope that after seeing her kids be baptized R will have the courage to talk to her husband and will do what she needs to do to be baptized this Sunday. :) 

We expect to have 5 baptisms this weekend if all goes well. R, L, L, J, and J. Hopefully all will go well to make this possible. We have to get M to let J and J be baptized first....that's the hard part. She doesn't believe they are worthy for baptism and she wont let us teach her about how its okay we aren't clean when we are baptized. She totally doesn't understand the point of baptism. Its really frustrating. But I have faith she will let us teach her this week. Fingers crossed.....lots of prayers. We shall see.

This week Sister B and I have to go visit other sisters in a different city and do splits with them because Sister B is the sister training leader and President P said he wanted me to go with her and learn how to do it.....which makes me suspect I will be taking her job eventually. Which I'm flattered and excited but also really overwhelmed because I still don't feel I speak or understand super well.....so its really scary. Elder P told me I need to get ready because President P will prob want me to be a senior comp and a trainer in the next 6 weeks or so. Which is literally right when I end training. Training is 12 weeks....3 transfers. Its crazy how fast I will be a leader here. I am so nervous and soooo not ready language wise. Nossa. Oh well....I will study and do my best and pray harder. haha. 

Anyways that's about it here I think. <3 I love you all so much. Cant wait to get pics of the house and the fam! :) And letters! It takes a long time here. Hopefully when I see Elder P he will give me letters today. But if not I have something more to look forward to next week. :) <3 I love you and miss  you loads! Have fun week! <3 Thank you for the emails! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

An American in Brazil

[Emily arrived in Brazil last Tuesday.  Monday's are her p-day so this is the first we have heard from her since arriving in Brazil.]

While waiting for the flight [to Brazil] we [Emily traveled with another Sister who was serving in Provo, UT waiting for her visa] met a Mormon Brazilian couple who said that they were going to help us through the airport when we landed and make sure we get our connections. So that was a relief. When I got on the plane to Brazil I couldn't help but cry a little as it took off. Goodbye America! Everyone on the plane was Brazilian except the missionaries. It was strange and I realized really fast that I don't really understand anything at all. I felt a lot like the best two years character....that's not what they taught me in the MTC! hahaha. It was pretty tough but I was really excited. The flight was SO LONG. I remember falling asleep and waking up about 15 times. It was pretty boring. The plane was huge though. The biggest plane I have ever been on for sure. When we landed the member couple helped us get through customs (which was not even hard at all...it was fast too) and then we waited for our bags. It took forever for my bags to come and I thought they were lost. I just prayed and prayed and prayed until about 15  minutes later they finally popped out. We then found our driver and he drove us to the Mission President's house. We met all the other missionaries from the CTM (MTC in San Paulo) and the President and Sister P. I love them. I couldn't understand anything they said at all but I love them. We ate our first meal (rice and beans and what they call stroganoff but is pretty different from our version of stroganoff) and drank guanana and had bolo (cake) and sorvette (ice cream). It was all....SO GOOD. I love the food. Still do. Not sick of it yet. ;) One of the AP's is American so he helped us out a lot. His name is Elder B. He is super awesome! He has 6 weeks left.

We then went to the mission office where we had a really long meeting about the money and rules and stuff...all in Portuguese though so I guess that means its not my fault if I break the rules right? ;) Just kidding. One of the secretaries was American and he explained the REALLY important parts. Then all of our possible trainers (companions) came in singing and clapping and yelling and it was insane. They were singing a hymn in Portuguese but they changed all the words to be about BAPTISMO! They all just kept shouting BAPTISMO. And doing the brazil snap. Which I tried to learn in the MTC and I literally cannot. As they said...I have American fingers. lol. It was madness. The people here are all really loud and warm and awesome. But for my first day I almost cried because it was so overwhelming and I couldn't understand anything! 

Then President P. announced who would be with who. My companion is Sister B. She only has 6 weeks left as well. She is about 5 ft and is really sweet and works hard. I really like her a lot. She doesn't speak any English. When President P. announced it she seemed really nervous and overwhelmed. All the other trainers kept pulling her aside to comfort her and make sure she was okay. It was really hard for me because I could tell that she wasn't super stoked because of the language issues and I felt like a huge burden. Still kind of do. I held it together though. I've only cried twice since I've been here. It's just hard sometimes being the only one learning the language they are teaching.  Its tough sometimes. But I am learning faster because of it. And I am teaching her English as well. She really wants to learn English. We live with two other Sisters...one is from Argentina and has 3 months left and the other is new like me....but from Curitiba Brazil...so if you do the math that is 3 Portuguese speakers...and one English speaker. Which equals....no one understands English and therefore me. It has been pretty hard. But it's okay. I am learning. They are very patient with me and are all really sweet. I feel like a puppy a lot and they definitely over compensate on the instruction as if I cant cook or use the bathroom or shower or that I didn't learn anything in the MTC about the gospel -_-. That part is really annoying because I know what is going on and I have read PMG...its the language I don't know not basic living. But its okay. I am learning patience and humility and Portuguese. 

The food is amazing. I haven't had any problems with the food. The only problem I have with  the food is we don't eat enough. Compared to the MTC we actually hardly eat. Breakfast we eat crackers and chocolate milk. Lunch is pretty big but its not filling for me. And dinner we have basically raman. So I'm kinda hungry a lot cause I'm used to eating a ton. But its okay. I don't feel sick or weak because of it. And at least I know I am eating healthy! haha. The thing I miss the most though is cereal. They don't really have it here. -_- I also miss fruit. They have fruit but we don't buy it. Next week I think I will buy some and insist on getting a little more food. ;) haha

 All of my problems come from the Mosquitos and blisters. We are in Bela Vista and the whole area is hills. Cobblestone hills. HUGE hills. Comparable to San Francisco. Maybe worse. Its crazy. But its okay. I have about 20 mosquito bites and I am allergic to them so they are huge and purple. I will send pics. About 5 ward members gave me different cremes to try and they keep trying to make me take pills but I don't know what they are so I don't take them. -_- I have a cough and am pretty congested too (but don't worry I'm okay...its just annoying) and so the sisters keep making me take medicine that I don't know! Every 8 hours. Sister B even woke me up at 2 am last night to make me take it again. So finally I looked at the package and they have been making me take amoxacillin. As in when I have strep or ear infections. Which....I don't have a sore throat. And my ears weren't hurting but now they are a little....so I am worried that the medicine is making it worse? I don't know. Nossa. They are so sweet. I just don't know enough vocab to tell them what is wrong or what is NOT wrong. lol.  I also got a little sunburned and we passed by an investigators house and she rushed me inside and doused me with sunscreen talking about how I'm pale and white and American and I need to use sunscreen. It wasn't even a bad sunburn! -_- hahaha. But its okay. It's really sweet how kind the people are here. When they see us they give us water and snacks even if they aren't members. 

The area is very welcoming. And they are all fascinated with Americans....me. They all stare at me and the kids play with my hair. We get a lot of contacts....especially young men because they are fascinated with the American girl. -_- It is a little awkward sometimes because seriously....everyone stares at me. Its okay though. At least people are more likely to stop and listen to us. It was so funny though...the first night I took a shower and then I put my hair up in my typical messy bun and all the sisters FREAKED OUT. They had never seen it like that before and they all wanted to learn. So I taught them all how to do my messy and less messy buns. They all took pics and said that their hair was wedding hair. It was so funny. Especially because for Americans its the lazy hair do. ;) haha. They also were really fascinated by my stretchy head bands that go all the way around my head. They don't have them here. Mom.....they asked if you would by some and send them to me. hahaha. They are serious though. I will include it in my next package list when you feel like sending me something. hahaha. 

Our District leader is American so Sister B wanted me to play a joke on him when he called one night. She wanted me to talk to him in english and trick him that all is NOT well here. I pretended to be super upset and told him I wanted to go home and no one understands me and I am super sad and hate it here. He launched into all this advice and stories from when he got here and was SUPER nice and I felt soooo bad. hahaha. I interupted him and was like "Elder Elder Im so sorry Im kidding! We are kidding! Im so sorry! All is well!" He told me that I need to get 3 baptisms by Sunday to make up for it. hahaha. Oops. Poor guy. 

We are teaching about 20 people right now. 8 are ready for baptism and want to be baptized. So that will hopefully happen next Sunday. They are all amazingggg people. I love them. They are hard to understand sometimes but they are all very patient with me. They are very sweet and generous too. We teach a couple named L and V. They are amazing. I actually got to say the first vision in the first lesson and bare my testimony. They asked me if I would pray too because they like hearing my accent. -_- hahaha;. But hey its fine. We taught them again (third lesson) and I taught faith. I also shared multiple scriptures and bore my testimony. They said they are impressed that I speak so well for 4 days in Brazil. I think they are just being nice but its okay. L lovessss music so they asked me sing a hymn in English for them. So I did. He also agreed to say the prayer if I would pray in English first. He likes to listen to English because he understands a lot. It was a good deal for me. It was weird praying in English though. I am forgetting English. At the church they had a phoseball...fuseball....eh whatever...they had one of those tables and it took me about 15 minutes to remember what it was called. -_- I am worried when I get home I wont be able to speak English anymore! ;) Also I am worried I will kiss everyones cheeks because everyone does that here. Even people we dont know. Girls only though. But still....no wonder I have a cold. Its very friendly though. :) 

We taught an old man on the street who was sitting on his porch and he didn't really want to listen to the message but he took a pamphlet anyways and let us talk to him. He also noticed me admiring his flowers and he told me to take one. :) So I picked one of his flowers and told him I thought his house was very pretty and he seemed really happy. They love Americans here. They go way out of their way to impress me. I feel kind of bad. 

We are teaching a 13 year old (who looks 20) and a 9 year old J and J. They want to be baptized but their Grandma won't let them. Their mom is a drug addict and recently their grandma tried to put her in rehab but she ran away. They don't know where she is. The grandma is named M. She was telling us that her daughter is gone and was just crying and crying. She needs the gospel so badly but she won't listen to the message. She lets us pray for her and drink water and visit but she wont let them get baptized or listen. Pray for her. I feel very strongly I need to help her somehow but I don't know how because I cant really speak well or understand. I'm working on it. But I need all the prayers I can get. 

Okay wild animal news....one cockroach in the house and lots of mosquitoes. No huge spiders yet. BUT....we were clapping outside an investigators house (in Brazil all the houses have gates and huge front porches and stuff so you call their name through the gate or clap outside their house instead of knocking). and suddenly I looked across the street into a little field by a river and there was a GIANT HAMSTER. It was huge!!!! It was bigger than a dog. Almost the size of a cow. Seriously. It was a capybara! (Don't know if I spelled that right). I wish I had had my camera. It was just eating the grass. It was huge and weird and awesome. The only other animal news is that there are TONS of homeless dogs here. Everywhere. They are all really nice though. No dog issues yet. And we went to one members home and they had a brand new puppy! :D Like Obamas dog. cutest thing ever. It kept running into the house and hiding in my skirts and jumping all over me. It was about the size of a rabbit. It was so cute. Its name is Michael Jackson. hahahaha. I couldn't understand the family but I can bond with the puppies and if they have little kids. The kids don't need to talk to me. They play with my hair and I tickle them and pull funny faces and they love me. The youth are all really sweet too. They try to teach me Portuguese and I teach them English. Sister B said that the bishop will prob ask me to teach English lessons in the church soon. I am really excited! So many people here realllyyyy want to know English and I'm glad I can be somewhat useful. 

In Sacrament meeting the bishop made me get up and bare my testimony and introduce myself. Half the ward came to talk to me and tell me I speak really well. I smiled and nodded through most of it because I can't really understand. -_- hahahaha. But I could tell they were happy so that's good. ;) Also pretty much no one here can say my name. They call me Sister Americana usually because they forget how to say Heyer. It's totally okay though because I cant say ANY of their names either. Everyone goes by first names here and its really hard. Most are typical names pronounced super weird. haha. Some are just weird. Its hard for me. But they are all really beautiful names! 

I'm sorry that I am rambling. SO MUCH happened this week. Longest week of my life. I desperately want to understand the people and I desperately want to be able to speak. The zone leader talked to me on the phone yesterday though and said that I am speaking super well. Hopefully they aren't just being nice. :p haha. I'm doing really well though. Not dying. Not even super sore. And I can usually understand everything Sister B says which is truly a miracle cause not only does she speak only Portuguese but she also has a Portuguese accent even for BRAZILIANS! She is "kareok" or something like that. That's what they call people from Rio de Deniero. They basically have a lisp. Every "s" becomes a "sh"....."sishter Heyer". Lots of people in my ward are Karoke. Lots of spit. No no just kidding. It's different but I am glad I am learning to understand the accent so that when I meet people from there I can understand. :) 

Anyways I'm sure there is more but I cant really remember. -_- I am sleeping well. I am eating well. Every day gets better. I am happy. I am relatively healthy...nothing I can't handle! I am over medicated and over "creamed" for sure but oh well. Everyone is incredibly patient and sweet. :) Pday is Monday. Mailing takes forever. Everything is really cheap here. Their dollar is 2.22 where ours is 1 so basically everything is half off for me! haha. Its pretty awesome. I love this city. Today we are going to play frisbee with Elder B and the zone leaders and anyone else who takes the bus to the park. :) We are also teaching L and L again and hopefully setting a date!!! :D 

I love you all and miss you loads and loads! Hope all is well. Sorry if stuff is wrong....this keyboard is Brazilian and doesn't have some keys....and many keys are in the wrong spot. And also I can't speak English anymore. ;) 

Sending muito amor from Brazil! <3 Bom Dia!!!! 

Sister Heyer

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Miracle of the Suitcases

[Written by Emily]
Once upon a time there was a sister missionary who was prone to over-packing. She was very nervous because when she flew to the MTC her two suitcases weighed 49 lbs and 47 lbs. The day before she had tossed everything she had in the  MTC into her suitcases to test the weight. They weighed 47.5 and 48 lbs. As she added books and notebooks and all kinds of random things acquired in the MTC she shuddered in fear because she weighed her bag of new things and it was 13 whole pounds! Way too much for a flight too Brazil. But she loaded with faith and prayed hard. When she finished she rolled her suitcases down the hall and hung them on the scale. She could not believe her eyes! One suitcase was 44.5 lbs. The other was 47. "HOW COULD THIS BE?" She thought to herself. She had not rid herself of anything that she brought. In fact....she had added many heavy books including the Biblia Sagrada! :O It was simply impossible. There was no way that without taking anything out from the first flight and adding a whole bunch more....her suitcases could weigh many pounds less. She weighed them twice. Then found a different scale and weighed them again. Same results. Impossible. She fell to her knees and thanked the Lord for this answered prayer. The laws of physics were defied and the suitcases were well under the 50 lbs weight limit. Miracles happen. Of this she is sure.
And so....she is packed. She will be on her way to Brazil in less than 24 hours.
Love you all. :)
Sister Heyer

Last Pictures from the MTC


Well....Elder M and I accidentally matched the other day so we had to get a picture. The other Elders felt left out so....they photobomed the first few. Hence my face. Tou Bom

The Queso Incident

Elder MK (from a different district who didnt get his reassignment last week so him and three others have been coming to our district for the extra week they are here)....dropped an entire jar of queso. Me being the mom cleaned it alllll up. It was quite the experience.

The Visa has Arrived!

I have so much to write today. I will do my best to include it all but not write a novel.
Alright so first....in case you havent recieved any of my other 100 emails....yesterday my District leader gave me the surprise of my life....MY FLIGHT ITINERARY TO BRAZIL. I GOT MY VISA! :D I am the only one....I fly all by myself on Monday. I am terrified. But oddly calm. I wasnt expecting it. I didnt even pray for it. I was actually excited to serve two missions. But when I found out I felt oddly peaceful and content. It feels right. I know that I am going now because I need to go now. There must be a reason. I am excited. Definately in shock. But very excited. :)
Alright now that I got the HUGE news out of the way....this week was actually very eventful. On Tuesday they closed the Provo temple for reconstruction of the bathrooms and cleaning. Our district was assigned to clean the inside of the temple at 12:45 pm. We were kinda excited but I mean...its cleaning so we werent totally pumped. But when we got there we got to change into all white scrubs and the sisters that clean the temple and actually work there took the four sisters up to one of the sealing rooms. They then taught us how to take apart every crystal on the sconces in the room and clean them with vinegar and then re-attatch every crystal. It was AMAZING. We had no idea that they clean so detailed that they polish every crystal bead on the chandeliers. It was stunning and it was so fun to carefully hold all the real crystals and pass them to be cleaned and then put it all back together. It was kind of scary because they are so fragile but it was still amazing. It took us three hours to clean 4 sconces totally. The lady that worked with us told us to clean the Celestial room chandelier they lower it and take apart the whole thing row by row and clean each piece. She said with 10 people working on it it takes 3 full days. Its crazy! Nothing but the best for the house of the Lord. 

So Thursday was the 4th of July of course and while everyone else partied and BBQd all day I learned past tense subjunctive and taught two lessons. But it was okay because that night we actually all got to leave class early and they held a huge patriotic devotional for the missionaries. We heard some amazing speakers and then there was a really neat musical number that was actually up beat and fun! She played yankee doodle and stuff on the flute and an Elder played the piano and we actually were allowed to clap afterwards! :O It was awesome! :D haha. Then we watched the movie "17 Miracles" about the Willie hand cart company. It was really good! Cried pretty much the whole movie. It was very touching. Then it got over at 10:00 (WHOA 30 MIN PAST RESIDENCE TIME!) and they told us that we could all file out of the auditorium and there would be Magnum ice cream bars for everyone and we could all go sit on the lawns and watch the Stadium of Fire Fireworks! We could see them perfectly and it was awesome. About 5000 missionaries were all packed in ooing and awing. And then when the finale went off we all sang the Star Spangled Banner. We returned to our residence at 11:30....and still had to get up at 6:00. It was rough. But worth it. :) Maybe not as exciting as your guy's 4th but it was a good missionary experience to enjoy the spirit of the holiday one last time before Brazil. Next year there will be no 4th for me. <3 

It CRAZY rained. Biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen. Lasted all night. The sisters and some of the Elders decided to play in the rain and get soaked. I chose to take the pictures. I was not about to go run out into open air to get electrocuted. I know missionaries are safe but not if they do stupid things and I wasnt going to take any chances. haha. It was pretty exciting to watch though. 

The past few days have just been perfect. I have felt energized and at peace. The language is still hard but I feel much better about it and I am working harder. I am ready to go to Brazil. I am scared. But I am ready. I have had some very personal spiritual experiences this Sunday that really prepared me for the news I recieved yesterday. The talks were exactly what I needed to hear. All the scriptures inspired me the way I needed. And for the first time I feel truly converted. The MTC has done it's job. I am ready to move on and do the work the Lord needs me to do. <3 

Hope all is well from the home front. I Love you all. I hope you know that I am praying for all of you and I know the Lord is watching over all I love and care about. <3 The church is true!