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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!


Sorry that last week didnt really have a long email. It was a pretty crazy week it being Christmas and everything. Thank you for the Christmas and New Years wishes. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas were the most simple and beautiful days of my life. I made pasta for all of my companions here and we sat around our tiny little wire Christmas tree on the floor on Christmas Eve and just enjoyed the simplicity of it all. I mentioned that this Christmas was the closest that I have ever felt to Christ and we all cried and smiled together over the reality of that statement. It was the most simple and most humble Christmas in my whole life. No amazing food (actually the food was really gross....hahaha), no presents except for the litttle things we gave each other (one sister wrapped one of her skirts that I said I thought was beautiful a few weeks ago and just gave it to me....) and a big basket of food that we got from a family in the ward (Which was such a miracle that we really did cry for a while haha), no movies or Christmas lights or parades or Santa. Just a few street fireworks that we watched out the window and a warm feeling of peace and happiness that we could be here serving the Lord and experience a little of what Christ went through here on the Earth. It was a Christmas that I will never forget and will forever cherish. 

Christmas day was still simple....we worked. And talked to our families. Cried a lot....but out of happiness. :) It was interesting because we all commented that talking to our families didnt make us as anxious to go home as we thought....it just emphasized the feeling that it is not time to go home yet because we have more work to do. But that when we do it will be a beautiful reunion. :) We went to a members home for dinner and got to participate in their White Elephant gift exchange. It was hilarious and so much fun. At the end all of the silly little useful gifts they got....they gave to us. Even some of the kids parted with their little trinkets saying things like...."the sisters deserve more presents. The sisters could use this more than me." It was so humbling and so beautiful. We were so grateful. I may come home with a suitcase full of little things I dont need.....but I could never throw away something that was given with so much love and generosity. 

This week is transfers. We wont know till tomorrow night though because transfers were moved to Thursday so we wouldnt be traveling on New Years Eve. I dont know what will happen....but I wont be surprised if I am transfered. I am ready for change. But if I stay I will be happy too. :) I will let you all know next Monday where I am! Its a surprise for both of us. I found out as well that one more person from my district in the MTC got their visa and is coming! Sister Webster! I am so excited to see her! :) 

Well Happy New Year to you all! Thank you for everything that you do for me and my family. <3 Love you all!

Sister Heyer

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weird but Neat


This week was...interesting. Sister M and I had an experience this week that may be one of the weirdest but neatest I will experience on my mission.

We were begining our long trek back to our area after lunch and we passed a younger man in the road painting the sidewalk edges white. He stopped us and asked us if we were from the church. We said yes and asked him if he had ever heard about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He said no but he asked for a pamphlet. So we gave him one and invited him to church that Sunday. He then informed us that he can't because he in prison. He was in prison for a while and because of good behavior he is now living in a semi-open "detentional center" where they can do community service all day and sleep there at night and it has a library and they can play soccer and stuff. We didn't really know what else to say after that....I mean....he can't go to church, and we definately can't visit him. So we just invited him to read the pamphlet and call with questions if he....had access to a phone. hahaha. We then left.
About halfway down the huge hill we both slowed to a stop and had the same impression "go back". We literally stood in the middle of the sidewalk for a good 5-10 minutes debating if we should go back and if we go back what more to say! It was quite the struggle. Finally we both just deep sighed and started walking back up the hill to talk to the inmate. When we got there there were two other men who had joined him in the work....big strong scary looking men (one who seriously looked like the Rock...) but we just looked at each other and knew we had to keep going as crazy as it would be.
So we introduced ourselves and frankly said we felt we should come back and talk to them. In our shock one of the inmates saw the Book of Mormon in Sister M's hand and said, "I've been reading that book!" He proceeded to tell us about how he found one in the prison library and started reading it. He said he has been really curious to know more about where it came from. We started to do a brief intro of the book and he actually interrupted us and told us the whole story of Lehi and Nephi and what happened with their whole family. He even went on about how it's not to replace the bible but to compliment the bible and they have the same teachings. The other two were listening with interest as well and we gave copies of the Book of Mormon to all of them. They gave us their real addresses for when they are released (don't worry mom they live in another mission so it won't be US visiting them again) and the address of their prison (which is also in the other mission and I doubt missionaries can go there). At the end of the conversation Sister M commented that it's a shame that we can't visit with them more and may never see them again. And the one who has already been reading The Book of Mormon said "Don't worry. Right now its a little complicated. But you guys are planting seeds."
The one reading the Book of Mormon will be released in January. The one who asked for a pamphlet will be released in February. And the last man not until 2015 (afterwards Sister M and I laughed because she as well won't be "released" until 2015 hahaha). Who knows what will happen. But we know we did our part. It was an amazing experience. It really taught me about how....everyone are children of God and it isn't our place to decide who is worthy of the message and who is not. We are called to teach everyone.
The rest of the week was full of hot sun and little miracles. A ride home after a lunch. Another Panatoni. A trunk full of groceries. A lot of references. And the christmas program is tomorrow! And tonight we are going caroling. :)

Hope this week is a good one for all of you. <3 Next week is Christmas! :D I cant believe it. haha. I love you all!

Sister Heyer
[Note from mom:  I have not once worried about Emily.  Knowing she is doing the Lord's work takes away any/all worry.]
Me and my comp at the ward christmas dinner....
in brazil they put raisins in the rice for Christmas to make it fancy.
Not a new favorite.
The last English class before Christmas!
I sang Away in a Manger for them. :)
And we gave them all free Joy to the World Christmas videos. :)

Ward Christmas activity. The kids put on the Nativity.
It was adorable. In the middle of the program
one of the little boys took off his donkey head,
smacked the kid next to him on the head with it,
and then put in back on and kept singing like nothing happened.

Cantata de Natal

Oi familia e amigos!

This week was another blur. I think that EVERY week is a blur so I will stop starting my letters like that. Sorry!

Helping at Cantata de Natal
This week was the Cantata de Natal....which was a big multistake choir in front of the Campinas temple. Our zone was chosen to do reception for all of the visitors. It was amazing! There were so many people. Many of them came because they posted a big invite to the event in the newspaper! It was beautiful and exhausting. We stayed standing at tables full of church materials for 4 hours. I was pretty sure that only by some miracle could I walk again after that night. But it was worth it. We talked to so many people and so many people wanted to know more. The spirit of Christmas was in the air....even in the 98 degree weather. It was really neat and I was really glad that we got to be part of the experience.

Also this week our investigator D really made lots of progress. We had a beautiful lesson with her. We talked about repentance and about the love of our Heavenly Father. Sister M and I made a very detailed plan before we went to visit her....and we only used it as a backdrop. We were so guided in everything to say and ending up talking about many things unplanned but that she really needed. I think it was the first time I left a lesson feeling like I truly taught with the spirit 100% and not my background knowledge. She may not have accepted to be baptized and she may be moving slower than we want....but it's not about us. It's about her. And I will wait my whole mission or longer to see her be baptized because I know how much it will help her life. I will never give up on her. I just hope I am not transfered.....

In front of the Campinas Temple
F, our investigator who read the BOM two times already....went to the temple and loved it! And she came to a ward activity. She had such a great time and I think she is really starting to feel a part of the ward family. It was actually really funny because Sister M and I were so busy at the temple that we didn't have time to even say hi to her when she got there. We called her after to apologize and see how she liked it and she goes "Oh! I didn't even look for you guys! I was with G and I was totally absorbed in the program! I forgot to even look for you guys!" We felt so...unneeded. hahhaa. It was THE BEST FEELING! Which sounds crazy but it really made us super happy that she is so independent in making friends and being part of the church. Anyways....We will try to visit her today. She is praying to know if the BOM is true. 

The district
Also this week the President of the Young Men and his wife bought us a TON of groceries. It was such a miracle. We were really needing it. haha. They are such an amazing couple. We were so grateful. Then the next day one of the counselors in the bishopric bought us all huge Brazilian hot dogs (which....are actually way better than American hot dogs....) and soda. It was amazing. The members are becoming more and more helpful. We are super grateful. It is an answered prayer.

I finally got the Christmas program in order! Just in time for next week. It will be really simple and really beautiful. I am excited. I hope the other missionaries are too. ;P

Everyday I am more and more grateful to be here and to be with Sister M. We are learning so much together. She is hilarious and wonderful. The day she is transfered (or I am) will be a really hard day for both of us.

Anyways I love you all and I hope you are well. I am so grateful for your supportive emails! Have an amazing week! <3

Sister Heyer

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Because We Work...


This week flew by. I feel like I say that a lot. But its true. I cant believe it is already DECEMBER. I officially am 1/3 done with my mission. Also can'
t believe that. Time is flying. 

This week....lets see. Sister M and I had a neat experience. We went to go visit a man who hasn't been coming to church because the girl he was dating in our ward decided that he wasn't for her and now is married to someone else. So anyways that was apparently a good enough reason for a return missionary with a firm testimony to stop coming to church. So we visited in the hopes that we could somehow convince him to come back to church. He was super nice and we helped him see that going to church is more important then some girl and that if he wants to meet someone new and get married he is not going to find her moping on the couch. It was a little tough love. But.....HE CAME TO CHURCH SUNDAY. So it obviously worked. And....we decided that we would really love for him to be the new Gospel principles teacher. hahaha. We talked to the bishop. We will see how that goes. Only the missionaries would ask the bishop if an inactive member could have the third most critical calling in the ward that is pretty much what determines if someone will continue investigating the church. I think our bishop thinks we are nuts. But he likes us because we work. 

Our ward has been a little difficult to work with. Mostly cause they don't do anything to help us with the work. They don't really want to leave their own bubble to get to know new people or visit strangers. Which is understandable but hard. We had an Irmá agree to go on a division with us on Tuesday night to visit a beautiful new family and it was AMAZING. They are like best friends now and the family is so excited about church. It is so amazing the difference bringing a member to lessons can make. Look for the missionaries in your ward and arrange to go on Divisions. And also give them food because the first thing I learned here is that they really are needing it. ;) hahaha. Also they may be looking for a place to talk on skype with their families Christmas.....like I am....and I think they might die with happiness if someone actually offers so they don't have to awkwardly ask to use their electronic devices on Christmas day. ;) 

Sister Perrotti (the Mission President´s wife put me in charge on the whole musical program for Christmas. And also told me she wants me to sing BOTH of the solos in the program. Wonderful. I am dying on nervousness. The two songs are Away in a Manger from the hymn book and Nearer my God to thee. There are speaking parts that I have to assign to different missionaries and various other songs that people sing together. I don't really know how to do it because it has the audience sing just the first two verses....then someone talks....and then they sing the third verse. How am I supposed to signal to the audience that is what is going to happen? Anyways its just the little things. I can understand why she put me in charge....cause she prob doesn't wanna do it. ;) hahaha. I love Sister Perrotti. I am excited. I just really don't wanna ruin 175 missionaries Christmas. :P

I completely overhauled our ancient and horribly organized Area Book. It is now beautiful and full of information that is actually useful. I have a big testimony of the Area Book. As it says in the District....those who don't use the Area Book don't understand their purpose as a missionary. That's how important it is. So anyways my companion and I heard that and felt guilty and cleaned ours out. hahaha. 

We decorated our house a bit for Christmas! Its gorgeous. Well...as pretty as it can get with Christmas tree napkins that we got for free and green bubble plastic bows. ;P

Anyways I am struggling to think of more exciting things to say. So that must mean I have finished summarizing my week. I love you all. Have a great week! 

Sister Heyer

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Good In Every Situation

This week was another GREAT week! I wouldnt say that we taught the most lessons or that it didn't pour all week or that I didn't get incredibly sunburnt or that our numbers were amazing or that we didn't walk for eternities....because that would be a lie.....but I will say that amongst all the not so great moments were some of the greatest and happiest moments of my mission so far. The pictures I'll send will support this statement. For example.....Sister M and I spent an hour and a half sitting in the middle of the sidewalk at the bustop waiting for the bus to come to go the the church activity, our legs burning, our skirts filthy, exhausted....but we took some of the best pictures ever and enjoyed popsicles and cups of water and lots and lots of laughs. So as you can see I am really starting to learn the value of happy moments and how to find the good in every situation. 

This week we also were able to actually find and teach a beautiful family! They are so amazing. They have a daughter who is almost 10 and she is blonde with greenish brown eyes, freckles, and glasses....yep I was super homesick for sweet Dorey the whole lesson. She reminds me a lot of her. I am so excited that we found a good family that is so prepared and wonderful. 

I also had a really neat experience when I was teaching the weekly English class on Tuesday. Before we got to the church to teach I had a feeling that we should talk to a woman that always comes and sits quietly on the side of the room. I mentioned to Sister M to help me remember to talk to her and ask if we can visit her. When we got there before the lesson even started she came up to me shyly and said (in broken english) "Sister Heyer...today I am sad." I asked her why of course and she said..."my mom is dead". I immediately gave her a huge hug and asked if we could talk after the lesson. After the lesson I got her address and talked to her a bit. We visited her this week....and the lesson was beautiful. We explained where her mom was in this moment and what she was doing. We explained how she could see her again. Then we asked her to pray and she was super hesitant. She explained that she hasn't been praying because she is angry with God. She said she asked Him before her mother died what she could do to be better for her mom....and before she got an answer her mother died. She said He isn't listening. I felt stronger than ever in that moment that we were her answer and that what she can do to help her mother now....is be baptized and then help do the work for her mother to be baptized too. It was overwelming. But the time was not then to explain. The time then was to help her regain her faith. She finally agreed to pray. She started to pray....and then started to sob. The spirit was overwhelming. Her prayer was so beautiful. It was a tender moment. Pray for D. <3

Also this week we had a really neat meeting with Sister and President Perroti....just the sisters. It was a beautiful meeting about self worth and true beauty. I thought I would share a couple of neat thoughts from the meeting and some links to some amazing videos...one about our true identity and one that shows into the life of Emma Smith (Wife of Prophet Joseph Smith who endured many many trials and hard ships because of the persecution of her husband and the church in the early days of the formation of the church). 

-We spend a lot of time worrying about how much we love other people and how much other much other people love you....but how many times do you ask yourself if you love yourself? 
-Don't look for your defects...look for your abilities and potential.

-When you talk bad about yourself....you are critizing Gods work. He made you. You are His masterpiece. To Him...you are perfect. 

-He has enough power that He couldve sent a rock to do His work here on the Earth....but He is loving and confident enough in our abilities to send us. 

-We are children of a loving Heavenly Father. We are of divine worth. 

Before I forget....HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Because it is not celebrated here...I really had no clue all week if it was last thursday or this week. So I decided that I will just let it go by either way without thinking too much about it so I can avoid becoming horribly homesick. (too late.... ;) hahaha) But I do wish to thank you all for your love and support. Each one of you have helped me through some rough times when you didn't even know it. Your words of encouragement and happiness came at the perfect time for me. I know that your emails are truly inspired to be exactly what I need in the moment. I am so blessed with family and friends who love and care about me like you all do and I am learning here how much that truly means to me and how truly rare and special this is. I am surrounded by many missionaries who don't have this support at home....and I see first hand how difficult it is and how much harder this journey would be for me if it weren't for you all. I love you and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. <3 God bless you and the rest of your friends and family. Até proxima semana! 

Sister Heyer <3