Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bem-vindo a Brasil (yes, its an s)

Hello hello! Greetings from the promised land! Well, I had an super long overnight flight last Monday night to Brazil but it actually went by fast. 10 hours was the longest flight I've ever been on thus far for sure.
 So a group of us were met by I don't even know who (missionary transporters, I guess) and we all exchanged our money and boarded a van and drove for an hour to the mission home where I met President and Sister Tanner. They are so great. Everyone was speaking in Portuguese and after such a long break from the language I had no idea what was going on but all of the Americans were lost so it was fine.

I got to the mission home for our transfer meeting with Sister Hargrove from my MTC district! It was a glorious reunion after 6 weeks apart. So we then went to a church building to meet our companions and just like I prayed for, I got a Brasileira! She speaks zero English. My companion's name is Sister Cavalcanti, she's 21 and she has been on her mission for 4 months. Wednesday will be my 3 month mark so we're both pretty new. She is great! She has a lot of energy, she loves to clean...more than me which I didn't think was possible, and I'm teaching her English as she teaches me Portuguese. It's a great combo.

We all left the meeting to go to our designated areas, mine is called Utinga. So Sis. Cavalvcanti, me, Sister Hargrove and her trainer Sister Davis (Americana) and 2 Elders rode the metro until we eventually parted ways. It should be illegal for missionaries to ride the metro. Just when you think you can't fit any more people on, you get smashed into someone else to make room. Definitely not comfortable for anyone to be that close let alone as a missionary haha.

So we arrived at our humble abode to drop off minhas malas then went to our church building to meet our ward mission leader, bishop, and stake president, all in the same night. I was so incredibly exhausted after pulling my suitcases up 14 huge ladeiras (hills) but it was fine in the end. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and our WML knows some English which is extremely helpful...especially after a long trip where my brain isn't exactly functioning well.

We got back home and it's really different than my last house. It's all tile floor, the bathroom is different, the windows, light switches even, everything. There is one knob for water, on or off, and luckily our shower water is hot. So now I will talk about all the random things I've noticed thus far:

  • There are fewer things cuter in life than hearing a baby or toddler speak's adorable.
  • There are dogs EVERYWHERE because they're not allowed in the house so they hang out on the sidewalks...I haven't been attacked yet.
  • There are gyms outside in the park which must be why everyone here looks so great. Gyms are free!
  • The rumors are true, we only eat one meal a day but it's so filling you don't even want to eat dinner.  Throughout the day we always have members of our ward offer us food though. I was told I was going to lose weight here in Brazil but I'm starting to think that is not true.
  • I ate the first cheeseburger of my life without ketchup because they didn't have any and then when I did get it, it was no Heinze.
  • The napkins at restaurants here are like wax paper...very interesting.
  • They have these metal baskets for trash outside which I had never seen before.
  • I barely recognize any foods at the mercado and the eggs and milk aren't refrigerated. But they're fine, they just have a lot of preservatives.
 This was just all so new to me which is a problem because EVERYONE thinks I'm Brazilian until they hear me speak haha. It's pretty funny actually. I have the phrase "Eu sou Americana" down pat. I'm sure all of you would laugh at some of these situations if you were a fly on the wall.

So my first day we received 5 referrals which are people that we are asked to visit and try to teach. These are like gold for missionaries because then we can spend more time teaching than finding people to teach: every missionary's dream. And our area is HUGE. We travel only on foot, that Sis. Cal says we need 4 sisters to cover this area but due to the lack of visas coming in some areas of our mission are closed. We just don't have enough missionaries here but we need them. Those darn visas are holding up our work! People here are pretty accepting of messages about Jesus Christ though which is nice.

Wednesday, someone came up to us asking if we could visit her house and teach her. We were so excited. But it turns out she's already a member, she just hasn't been to church in years. We'll work on that though :)

On Thursday President and Sister Tanner and our Zone Leaders visited our house and checked to see if it was clean (we passed with flying colors) and to do interviews. It went really well and President said I'm the only American with a Brazilian companion because he knew I could do it. I had instant tears because clearly the Lord trusts me more than I trust myself to learn this language. He also told Sister Calvalcanti (which I found out later) that I need to learn the area and the language really well this transfer because I will probably be training next transfer. I freaked out. I don't feel ready at all to do that but I'm a firm believer that we are called to where we are able and it's amazing to feel that God trusts me enough to learn that quickly.
I love Brazil, I love our ward, I love the people and I'm so excited t be here. We have a lot of work to do but it's all worth it. Never take anything for granted. Especially the fact that you speak English because people here are dying to learn. I never realized how hard this language is until I tried to teach it. It's so confusing! So many words are alike. But Sis. Cal is a champ and is catching on. I have just gained a new appreciation for knowing English, it's such a blessing. It's hard but fun to be an American here because when people know, they instantly pull out every word they know in English to impress me. It's great!! I am blessed with a great ward here as well. I had to speak at church on Sunday and apparently everyone understood me. Woo hoo! I talked about how every member here can be a missionary, not just the ones with name tags and how we can help others feel God's love for them as we invite them to come unto Christ. It went well. I love and miss you all!!

Com amor,
Sister Cox

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sorry for no blog last week...there wasn't too much to update on. The most exciting part of the week before last was that we got to eat at a Chinese Buffet before district meeting and it was awesome. We were on exchanges that week and all 3 of us are new so it was quite the challenge. Sister Rowbury was with us...she's from Idaho and we volunteered at the 100 year Dam Celebration! It's a big deal here.. This past week has been much better though!

I heard a talk last Sunday about trials and how to overcome them. This woman in our ward was in a tragic accident 7 years ago and she won't ever be able to walk again but I have never seen her without a smile on her face so the message to this story is come what may and love it. The Lord will always provide.

We also, for the very first time, had someone actually let us in her house to teach her! She had never heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon and it was just amazing to be able to share with her the Restoration and the things which we know to be true. We're hoping she comes to church soon! She seems really interested.

While along this journey we came across a man who owned a peacock farm! So this is me in front of that...he owns 32 birds! Not interested in learning about the church but it was fun to meet him and his birds nonetheless.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for...I know that God answers prayers. I GOT MY VISA!!!! I can't believe it! And of course the week that I finally get really excited about the work, great things are happening. Pageant starts tomorrow, we're finding people to teach, and bam! I'm going to Brazil!! Definitely not complaining, I am SO excited but it's just funny how God works. He tests our patience and sees how we endure trials, then we are always blessed in the end and I know that's true. I heard a great quote yesterday in church "Adversity is like manure. It stinks but it will help you grow." Funny but true!

I was also blessed to see 2 wonderful families from home: The Hilton's and the Bartholomews!! Just when I was getting homesick I am blessed with such sweet people. It was so good to see you all!

Another great lesson I learned this week was to be thankful for all the things we are given and to take nothing for granted. We have another woman in our ward who has cancer and is currently going through some chemo treatments which make her weak and therefore unable to attend church. What a wonderful woman, she is so sweet and loving. We were talking about Salt Lake City and the temple there because that's where she was married and she just started crying because she has such a strong desire to go back but with her current condition she can't travel. My heart just broke for her.
I reflected upon how I was just there in April and how it was so normal for me to be there since I feel like I'm always in Utah...but I will never think of it the same way again. Some people would do anything to go back and be in the house of the Lord where we can truly feel His presence and love.

We are so blessed as members of this church and I know that miracles do happen! But it is all based on our faithfulness to keeping the commandments perfectly. Thank you all for your prayers!! I am so humbled to be going to Brazil after spending some time here in Nauvoo. I hope everyone's 4th of July was fun! We had a great day of fireworks at a member's home. We got invited to 3 places and got to go to all of them! The members here are so wonderful to us. Love you all!

Sao Paulo Here I Come!!!