Monday, September 30, 2013

...And the Rain Continues

Hello Beloved Family! :) 

It sounds like you all had a fun week! And a very wet one too! :) :)

As for thinking in my new language, I'm not quite sure what it happening. lol. I still think a lot in english, but yesterday at our lunch appointment when I was talking with some kids they asked me to speak in english and the first things that came out of my mouth were oi!.... I had to stop and laugh at myself for speaking in portugu√™s. :D It is getting easier to understand people. I noticed this as we were watching the Womens conference on saturday. I understood the entire opening prayer and most of the first two talks. Its difficult when people talk about things I dont understand, but I am learning more and more everyday!

I am super dooper excited for General Conferance this week!! :) :) :) I hope you all are as excited as I am! I was reading this morning in the November 2012 Liahona. I read the talk by M. Russell Ballard, Be Anxiously Engaged. There were three passages that I really liked. I took some Liahonas from the mission office and have been studying in them. I love how much they talk about missionary work. Anyways, these are the paragraphs that I liked; "Remember, honey contains all of the substances necessary to sustain mortal life. And the doctrine and gospel of Christ is the only way to obtain eternal life. Only when our testimony transcends what is in our mind and burrows deep into our heart will our motivation to love and to serve become like unto the Saviour's. It is then, and only then, that we become deeply converted disciples of Christ empowered by the Spirit to redeem the hearts of our fellowmen... How do we make this change? How do we ingrain this love of Christ into our hearts? There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference for every member of the church, including you boys and girls, you young men and you young women , you single adults, and you fathers and mothers. That simple practice is: in your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible." 

I myself and going to start doing this, I invite you to do the same! 

:) Quick sidenote, its raining here right now and the power just went out. It make me think of how much I love the rainstorms here. The thunder is earthshaking and the lighting is so bright and it looks so close in the sky. The thunder is also super loud here too!

I also wanted the boys to look up an article in the April 2013 Liahona Titled: How to serve in priesthood callings, by President Thomas S. Monson. I enjoyed his simple words and the power they hold. 

I love that the Gardener's little boy said monkeys and bananas! This week we were having lunch at Irma Tereza's place. She had the tiniest bananas I have ever seen! I thought they were the coolest! Later that night when we were walking by, her daughter Veronica who is going to be serving in the Sao Paulo Sul Mission, stopped us and was telling me how she found out that I adored bananas today. (she was not at lunch with us) She asked if I wanted one, of course I said yes and we both laughed. I love  bananas so much here because it is the only fruit that we usually get. Everything is pretty expensive here in Flores. 

Our companion Sister Pereira left for another area this week, while we have two other sisters with us for a few days before they left for their new area too.  It has been busy at our place, but lots of fun getting to know new people and getting to hear how different other areas are! 

As for yesterday, that was an eventful Sunday. We were going to our classes as usual, but Sister Freitas was super hungry so during the beginning of Relief Society we stepped into the hall so she could eat her snack. Afterwords she wanted to stop by the bathroom real quick. We noticed a foul smell when we first stepped in and then our eyes beheld an awful mess. Someone had puked all over the bathroom floor and it covered three of the five stalls in the bathroom. I told Sister Freitas that we should clean it... so we did. That was our service for the day!! Although they have a very different way of cleaning here in Brasil. Instead of using a mop we used brooms, and the we used a squeegy thing to drag all the water into the drains. Then Sister Freitas' idea of cleaning the toilets was to pour a bucket of soapy water on them. To say the least I had a very very confused look on my face. Nevertheless, we triumphed over the smell and were grateful for the opportunity to serve! :) 

I love you all soo so much!! I really do! I wrote Ryan a quick letter this week and sent it in hopes that he will get it before he leaves for his mission. I am so super excited for him and I can't wait to see where he will serve the Lord!

Remmington, I''m not in an area where there are piranhas, but if I ever get assigned to a jungle area I will be sure to let you know!

Sterling, keep up the good work with you band music. You are a very talented player. 

Ahh, you guys should read the definition of Faith in the Bible Dictionary. :) Its superb! I definitely learned a lot. 

Whoever wrote mosiah 4 on my sheets was a lifesaver this week! Thank you! I learned so much from this chapter. It definitely increased my desire to serve more!

Cupoaco (the c has a little mark under it) I LOVE THIS STUFF. SO YUMMY!!

Last sunday, our sunday school teacher sang Together Forever to us in Portugu√™s. I about died of joy that they had Michael Mclean here in Brazil.   

Read your scriptures, go to the Temple, invite others to come unto Christ. :) Live the Gospel. 

I tried sending pictures this week, but I am at an old computer and it doesnt have a slot for sd cards. I tried plugging it in by the usb cable, but that didnt work either. bummer. Some day I will get to send them to you!  I also tried using the wi-fi setting on the camera to send them to email, but all the wi-fi connections here have passwords.

That's all I have to say for now, but I'll stay on for a little bit and if I think of anything else I will tell you!  You all should study the April 2013 Liahona together, its really good and I learned a lot of new things. You could do it for family night tonight. Speaking of Family night I really wanted a family to ask us to come to one of their family nights this week. It was one of my silent desires of my heart. We have thought that if we get to know the ward better, that we will begin to see more success in our area, because most of our area is full of less actives. Anyways, yesterday when we were filling our water bottles in the church a family in our ward invited us to come to their family night. They Lord is very kind and He answers all of my prayers all the time. We are beginning to have more chances to meet and talk with the different familys in the ward and I know that this will help us in doing the work of the Lord. Members are crucial for this work. :) 

Last night we were handing out invitations to General Conference to some of our investigators. One of them had a sister that needed a priesthood blessing. I have never seen these people at church, but it is amazing to see the peace and joy that these blessings bring in their lives. 

Also, we have been teaching Israel. He is getting baptized next week I think... :) It is beautiful to see the changes people make when they accept and live the Gospel. :) :)  It reminded me of a quote in Preach My Gospel in the first chapter by Hyrum Smith. In portugues it is on pg 6, so in english it is probably on pg 3..

I love you all so so so much!

Sister Chatwin

All the Brasileiros associate my name with Chata.. I think its funny because sometime I hear Chata and look around. Chata means annoying, and I have no idea if I even spelled the word right. Anyways the members always laugh when I tell them this. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Adventure Continues...

Taylor will make a great missionary! I am glad that he is serving!! Which MTC is he going too again(insert question mark). 

I am so glad that Ryan is serving a mission. I am on pins and needles waiting to find out where he will serve! I am so glad that he is preparing. Sharing this gospel changes people, and the most important person is yourself. When you come to understand the importance of the first principles and ordaninces of the gospel, you realize more about the sanctity of your calling and your role as a representative of your Saviour Jesus Christ every day. 

I wrote you guys a letter this week! I will send it today!!! I am super excited for you all to get it! It was late one night and I was thinking about the chapters again in Matthew where the Saviour is crucified. His example is the best. I love to observe the way he acts and speaks in these chapters. It gives me a good example of how I can be a better example in my life.  Anyways somewhere in Matthew it refers to the story of Jonah. I made a cute little drawing for you guys to illustrate what I learned from the story of Jonah and the Atonement.

I hope you didnt have the urge to pee on any of the fire hydrants. I love our ward and how well they support the community. They are deffinitely good representatives! 

We have a little air conditioner that we turn on when we sleep. Its really not too bad, and even when it doesnt work I can still sleep because I am so exhausted. This week there was a companionship that was having some problems, so for now I am in a trio for the rest of this transfer. Sister Freitas and I get along very well with Sister Pereira. They are both brasileiras, so I learn a lot from them. We can get a lot accomplished when we put our minds to it. It can be difficult sometimes though because they like to talk and I dont, but I dont mind! Its only hard because we have really long lunch appointments and we dont always have time for language study every day. I think I will wake up a little earlier to do a little studying of my own so I can keep progressing. 

Speaking of lunch appointments. Our lunch appointment we had on Sunday fed us an incredible amount of food. When you thought you were done they pulled out more food and served you in huge amounts. Ive never ate so much in my life before. Seriously, I ate so much I had to go relieve myself in the bathroom because I felt sick from eating. 

I miss the rain, it hasnt rained a lot here. Sister Freitas said I would never need my rain jacket in this area. She has been right so far.  I do use my umbrella for the sun, and every one tells me I need to wear more sunscreen. I do use it, just not often enough.

I really hope that you guys get to come here to pick me up! I would love to show you all around and it would be so special to have you guys in the temple with me!! I know that it would be super special for dad to be in Brasil again! I would love to hear him tell me all about some of the different places. It would be so much fun!

Flores is hot hot hot. The members are super friendly and always feed us. We almost always have lunch appointments, but breakfast and dinner are on our own. My companions dont cook, so we usually have bread and butter for these two meals. Which is fine, but I am getting tired of bread. They eat very simply here. Usually we have cereal or something else for breakfast, but we had zone conference last weekend and all the sisters that stayed in our house ate all of our food. So now we are skimming by until we get more money. 

there is more soap in the box I left. It says where it was from on the package, I dont remember the name of the website. Also, that other towel would be nice. One of the mission rules here is to change your sheets and towel every week. Its not a big problem because I hand wash it and it dries quickly, but it would just be something nice. I would also like some Reeses Pieces, but dont feel like you have to put them in. I dont want this package to be super expensive for you guys!

This week Sister Freitas collapsed on our way to an appointment. Talk about extremely terryfing. I dont even know portugues that well. I was extremely greatful for our third companion. We went to the hospital after the elders came and gave her a blessing at the house some stangers let us into. She has a problem with her heart and she needs medicine. We had an appointment set for 8 this morning, but she is extremely stubborn and wouldnt get out of bed and keeps saying that she doesnt need it. ugh. She says she will set up another appointment and I will make sure of that. She told us it was the second time she had collapsed while on her mission. When she wouldnt get up this morning, I made sure to be just at little noisy while getting ready. I know she has her agency, but I really wanted her to get up and go to that appointment. It also made me think of the gospel and the ordinances that pertain to our salvation. We know of them and many of us have been taught them for a good part of our lives, but do we really keep them and treat them with the proper respect they deserve(question mark). Just as our hearts are necessary for our bodies to work, so are the ordinances we follow for our eternal salvation. If you look up ordinances in the topical guide it lists them. I really like the bible dictionary definition of Repentance. The gosel is vital for our salvation. We were celestial beings before this life, and it is vital that we give our spirits the proper nutrition they need. That is to understand and know the truths of the gospel. The scriptures are a great place to learn more about these truths.

We were speaking with a lady in a drug store this week. She was asking about our name tags and so on. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and a phamplet about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She said that it was what she has been looking for and that she liked that she could use this book to guide her life by living correct principles. It was neat to see how the Lord has prepared people and when we do our part he blesses us, by helping us do his work. That is important to learn, this is his work, not ours. Everything we have been blessed with is because of our Father in Heaven. 

I really do love being here. It may be frustrating sometimes not knowing everthing about the language, and not always having people to teach. But I make sure and always write letters during the week to uplift and strengthen my friends who are serving missions as well.


Sister Chatwin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Let the Adventure Begin!

Quick note to Shannon:

My companion asked me our first night why I could understand everything she said and all the other americans she has met cant when they first leave the ctm. It really is a miracle and the Lord is helping me a lot. I understand a lot and trying to learn new words every day so that I can speak and understand the language better. My first area is Flores and we are right by the stadium they are building to the 2014 world cup. :) Our house is a 5 minute walk from the Church. I love it here and the members are super nice!
Regular email to family:

I love President Kline. He is very blunt and honest and very direct with his words. As well Sister Kline is so sweet. When we first arrived, we did not have enough seats in the van, so I waited with her and another sister at the airport to wait for the other group that was arriving that day. It was fun to talk with them, they also love the picture I gave them of me with their daughter in Temple Square. :)

First off, Thanks for writing on my sheets mom! I love finding all the scriptures on them and it was a sweet surprise to wake up to because I didnt see them when I went to sleep. Also, I was super excited to see that Sarah wrote on them! Definitly made my day :) I dont want to wash them because I know with time the sharpie will wear off. :(  And the bug net mom hid in my bag. lol, I actually used it already. 
The other day we had a small gecko on the wall of our room. My companion Sister Freitas was trying to squish it and stab it with her scissors. I used the net to catch it and let it go out side. Sis. Freitas thought it was funny and had to take a picture with me holding the cage. :) Thank you too all the people who have sent me letters and wished me a happy birthday! I loved getting them when I arrived here! :) My first area is Flores. It is right by the stadium they are building for the 2014 world cup.  

Our house is a five minute walk from the Chapel. You cross the street, take the first right, turn right, turn left, turn right and there is our house. We are on the second level and you can see the stadium from our only window. The living is very basic here, but I dont mind at all. I love it here, I love the people, I love the culture, I love the way the houses look.

When you have a transfer in the area of Manaus you always get to go to the temple the day after transfers. The Manaus Temple is beautiful. Absolutely stunning. I wish I had more time to look around. The paintings are beautiful, and instead of the trees we have in America, the paintings are of Amazonian Rain forest trees. Absolutely beautiful. 

For the sake of Remmington and Remmington only, I saw a dead person. They were having a funeral in the Church my second or third day here. They fill the coffins with beautiful flowers. In my notes I have written down to show you guys Alma 17:5 and the footnote that leads to Alma 8:10. I dont remember what they are about, but I remember I like them!

I SAW WILD PARROTS. I heard them while I was getting ready one morning and I thought to my self. Hmm either someones parrots got loose or those are actual parrots. I looked out the window and in the distance I saw two beautiful red birds flying. I WAS SO EXCITED. :)

So Laurel might live with you? And I am not there. Bummer. If she does, make sure she emails me every week! :) The scripture dad wrote on my sheets was Mosiah 5:13 it made me think of Matthew 24: 44-51 and the law of consecration. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 Matt 21:12, 13... Our bodies are temples. 1 Peter 2:9, 20, 15-20 I love the last part of verse 20, because in the following verses we see that Christ is the perfect example of this. :)
My interesting story for the week. Carlos

Sister Freitas and I were walking one night to try and find the house of Sydney, but he want home. (Thats another thing we struggle with. Its hard to meet people at their houses when they are home. Here we clap our hands instead of knocking on doors, because most people dont have doors.)

Anyways we kept walking and passed this group of older men. One of them said Oi Sisters. We kept walking and he asked us to stop. He turned out to be a less active member.

Sister Frietas says that he was drunk, but I dont know. Anywayswas telling us about his problems and  how God was blessing him in his life... anyways at one point in this he look at me and said that I looked like Mary Magdalen.

He asked me to take my glasses off. I did. He looked me staight in the eye and again said I looked like Mary.  I honestly didnt know what to do. I didnt understand a lot of what he was saying either. I put my glasses back on and he continues to talk. I nod my head in agreement to what he says and the next thing you know he is on the ground and kisses my feet and my companions feet.

I really didnt understand what was going on then! Sister Freitas freaked out and asked him to stop. She told him that we were representaives of Christ and that he should worship and thank God. Which he did. 
Oh and I forgot this, but the first think he did, was take us away from the other men and asked if he could say a prayer. We obliged and he took our hands and began to pray. At the end of the prayer he joined mine and sister Freitas hands and kissed them.

He then started to walk away and I started to tell him that I knew God was loving and would help him. He then asked me to speak in English, which I did, but I was very confused. I told him we were representatives of Christ and that if he went back to church I knew that he would find the answers he needed in his life.

I told him that we were here to help him solve his problems. I gave him a pamphlet about the restoration I had in my hands. We then said goodbye as he walked away. My companion and I felt the spirit very strongly during this, and when I began to tell her what I had said in english she told me that she had understood every word I had said. She is trying to learn english, but doesn’t know that much. Anyways, that was my first experience with talking with someone. It definitely was a different experience too. 

Anyways, know that I love each and everyone of you. I think of you every day! :) I love talking to you and reading your emails! I love being here in Brazil, and the culture and the lack of some necessities does not bother me at all. I have my happy face on all the time and don’t let the adversary get me down! :)

We work hard, and I am always sore from walking everywhere, and sweaty every day, but I sleep well at night and enjoy my days. They go quickly and every day gets betters as I learn more. I love being a missionary and I always love thinking that I get to bring that special feeling into other peoples house. That special feeling you get when the missionaries come over. :)

I love you all to the moon and back!
-Sister Chatwin

Regarding the picture:

This Irma was always super fun and would always come into our class to visit us and talk with us.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One More Week - Updates from Sister Chatwin 9/4/13

This week was amazing. I have learned so much while being here. I will pray for Elder Ogden. I can imagine that he is having a difficult time. I got to read in my scriptures a lot this week so | have a big list for you! :) Luke 18:19 MaTT 6:9-13 Matt 13:44-46 Matt 6:22 Matt 4:4 Matt9:10 Matt 10:16, 20 Matt 12: 10-14 Matt 14:22-33 

As you can see I read a lot in Matthew. It has really been manifested to me this last week how much the Spirit blesses us to learn and to grow. Twice this last week were had such a strong spirit present after our devotionals. I have grown to love being a missionary and the blessings that come with it. I am so close with the people in my district, and I would wish that every one of my friends could understand the love and knowledge that come while we are doing the service of God as missionarys. 

I wish you all could be here with me and that I could tell you every day what I learn. The mission has become my pearl of great price and I truly would give everything I own for this experience. I have grown so much and learned so much and it has only  been one week. I am excited for Manaus next week, I am excited to be teaching people and not my teachers. :) 

I don't know if I told you this, but my first week here we were being interviewed by our branch president and he asked me why I was serving a mission. I gave him my truthful answer of how I have always wanted to serve. He looked at me and asked if it talked about my mission in my patriarchal blessing. I said yes and then he told me that when I look into the eyes of people, when I hug people, and when I shake their hands to pay speacial attention to the Spirit and what I will tell me. He told me that I would be blessed to reacognize and recieve a witness that certain people were friends that I had promised I would come preach the Gospel too. 

I am excited and humbled to be serving the Lord. I cannot think of any greater blessing than giving my life to His service. I;m going to go now. I love each one of you so so so so much! If I have time I will email mom how my birthday was! If I don't I'll write it down and send it in a letter. Just know that it was the best birthday I could have here in Brazil. I totally forgot I was 21 until I opened this email.
Keep up the hard work and love the Lord and His work.
God bless you all :) :)
-Sister Chatwin

Note: Sister Chatwin departs for Manaus next Tuesday, September 10, 2013!