Sunday, December 19, 2010


Wow! What a week! A member of the branch presidency went to visit the home of Maria, Paula, Edna and Marianna with the 4 Jau missionaries. We explained about the Holy Ghost and how the Holy Ghost will help Edna (she´s the one with the evil voices in her head). President Robson asked if we could dedicate the house...well, we´ve tried everything else. Pres.Robson offered the prayer. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my mission. With the power and authority of our Savior Jesus Christ, Pres. ordered that any unclean thing in the house should leave and never come back. All four of us felt in that moment something leave. Elder Adam then bore a poderoso testimony, one that left no doubt in my mind that this is the Lord´s work, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We left and all of them felt something, but when we returned the next day...let´s just say that Satan has great power and we cannot force people to choose happiness and joy. They don´t want the gospel in their lives. One of the husbands yelled at us and told us never to come back and all of the women said the same thing. We´ve done our part, we have done absolutely everything we can for them but they don´t want the gifts of God in their lives, they are not ready to sacrifice the things of the world for the things of God, and so we are here to find people who want the gifts of God.

District Meeting

Christmas Time is here, complete with lights and presents. Yesterday in District meeting, we had a cake for my birthday (YEAH SISTER POAST) and everyone sang 'happy birthday'. And last week we had CHINESE FOOD, seriously 9 months without Chinese is not the greatest thing in the world. Afterward, we went to the ice cream shop and had a bowl of 12 different flavors of ice cream, with toppings galore and we ate and ate and ate and had an ice cream fight...yeah, we cleaned up afterwards it was fun.

The birthday missionaries

But don´t despair, we worked and worked and worked some more. We´ve met a ton of people and are teaching. Not sure if we´ll have a baptism this week, but seriously, after 6 weeks of my previous comp, this 6 weeks were perfect! Right now we are in a city that is close to a lake and a river and we´re going to have barbecued fish! YEAH!!!!!!!!!

One thing that's great but is kind of sad too, is that we´re working so hard that I don´t have time to think about you guys. You are amazing and you are all in my prayers, but I am so happy here and I am so thrilled to be serving my Lord. Granted there are moments, for example when we´re singing 'Away in a Manger' (I always think of you dad) but life is good, life is great. This is the work of God, this is our chance to do something worthwhile. I´m not allowing myself to be homesick. Seriously, that is the thing. Work hard everyday and the Lord will bless us. This is the work of God, I have no doubt about this. Truly what a wonderful opportunity to learn and live. Serve with all of our heart, mind, might and strength. Do the work and receive the blessings. And learn of Faith and Patience, to know the Lord´s time.

Hey Guys, I love ya! I´ll be talking to you when I´m 22.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Okay, so wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!

So, the three people that we had marked for baptism are in a family that is very very very poor. I don´t think I have ever seen a place so humble, and they have 23 people who live in a shack. Not kidding. We´ve been teaching them for three weeks. The mom, Maria, has six daughters- all of whom live with their husbands/boyfriends and children in this shack. Maria and two of her daughters, Paula and Marianna, none of whom can read, all wanted to be baptized. As well, we´ve been teaching one of the other daughters, Edna. Edna hears voices in her head, so we brought Elder Adam and another returned missionary to give her a blessing. The voices stop whenever one of us visits....but she can´t be baptised because she´s not married and she is the most firm of these people. So it was a week of rollercoasters for them.

So, they were supposed to be baptised Sunday and due to some other reasons, I with one of our young women got the assignment to walk with them to church. They decided they didn´t want to come to church and didn´t want to be baptised. The pastor of the God Is Love Church (don´t really like him) came and told them a ton of lies about the church and how they need to return to the God is Love Church. So, remember it´s just me and this young woman...and so I prayed and taught them about the atonement, about the authority of God and how this is the only true church. They were all hesitant but somehow (not really sure how) got them to church...where Elder Adam talked to them about baptism, but right now probably isn´t the time for them.

During this time, we were all fasting, and so I said to God, (I was a little ticked off), "God I´ve done my part and so sorry but I need a baptism." And at this moment Gabbs ran up to me and said, "Sister, Sister, my mom said that I can get baptised today!" Gabbi is a friend of a family in the church and we´ve been teaching her. She knew the church was true, but her mom is part of the God is Love Church (this church is giving me a headache) and said that if she joins this church she is joining the church of the Devil...yep, so we´ve been praying for her and on Sunday, God answered our prayers.

I almost cried and so I gave her a huge hug and then we got the baptism font ready and we were able to baptise Gabbs. Elder Adam and Elder Lucianno were able to baptise someone as well. Then the four of us went back to work. The baptism was so special. She has such a strong support system (she´s 14) and it felt so great to know that God had accepted our crazy week of work. Seriously, this week we worked so hard, and it all payed off.

The thing that is so monumental with us, be us missionaries or members, is that we have a knowledge. We know for certain that the church is true. And because we know that it´s true we do crazy, wacky unheard of things (be it walking three hours without shoes or setting up an amazing nativity exhibit) to help them understand that this is the gospel of Christ, that this is the only path they can take that will lead to eternal life and salvation. It´s how we can´t have fear when we are teaching the gospel of Christ, we have to be BOLD, like Pres.Castro Deus taught. I know without a doubt that this is the Gospel of Christ, that it is only through this path that we can have happiness with our families forever. This is the place where families can have peace, where the complex doctrines are made simple, where we learn about the love of God, about how God will never leave us by the wayside but that He will jump in the hole with us.

It is not enough to serve a mission. We must serve Christ every day, every day we have to strive to be more like our older Brother. Yes, we are all imperfect, we all have weakness but through the atonement of our Lord and Savior we truly can become clean again, like it reads in Issiah 1:18. All of us have felt at some time the pain of sin, the weight of guilt and the burden of sadness but I testify for you that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, because he bled for us in the Garden, we can become clean again. We can wash all the dirty things away. We can fly for lack of a better word. I´m not perfect, no I have a ton of weaknesses, but I trust in the words of Ether 12:27, that if we turn to the Lord our weaknesses will be made into strengths.

We choose to love, we choose to be happy. It is my Christmas Wish that everyone can choose happiness. Look to the good things in the world, of our God, our Families, all things that Jesus Christ created for us, flowers, rivers, everything. Know that I love you guys, and that I am so happy to be serving here.

Take care of yourselves, you guys are great...oh and happy birthday Meg! I´m in denial. I still remember when you were born, and now you´re driving and in a year dating. I might send you a soccer jersey!



So we´re teaching, teaching and teaching! It is wonderful...the kids of the branch call the sisters Tia (Aunt) and so I am now Tia Taply...yep lots of laughs but I love the kids here! I love everyone here, it´s great.

So, Sister Carvalho and I. and Elder Adam and comp are working really hard in Jau...for Conference we worked together and our two branches had the best numbers of the week...yeah it rocks when our district is in unison. Elder Adam told me that I´m gonna be senior next transfer (trying to talk him out of it but he said it´s written in stone) and so I´m being thrown on divisions and having to do all the stuff seniors do, eyeroll. But, if it is what God wants, here I go.

We have three baptisms schedualed for this Sunday. And on Monday, we and the Elders had lunch in the chapel with a member of the district presidentcy. He taught us a ton...I think we talked for three hours about the importance of using the spirit in a lesson and how one of the most important things we can do is teach about prayer and feeling the spirit...if our investigators feel something they will be baptised. It was a really great moment for all of us.

Sunday night was great. We didn´t have all of our lessons because we didn´t work in our area Saturday (Elder Lucianno is sick) and so Sunday we worked with Kate (a returned missionary) and Elder Adam came along with Servio (the returned mish who served in Manaus and knows Eric) and taught some of our investigators and gave blessings...lots of laughs and really great.

Hope you´re all doing well...remember that God loves you and that the Lord is blessing me here. Seriously Dad, I am so happy here...the work is hard but I would not be anywhere else, seriously! Love you guys, Shan