Monday, August 26, 2013

Time is Starting to Fly

Saturday marked 4 months in the mission and it doesn't feel real. Today is crazy busy so this will be a short post.

Not your US McDonalds

Last Pday Sister Cavalcanti and I got permission from President Tanner to meet up with 2 other sisters, Sister Leite and Sister Oliveira, and head to São Paulo to Parque Ibirapuera and it was a perfect day. We first went to McDonald's (so different in Brazil) and then rode bikes and had a little picnic in the park. It was wonderful.

Riding Bikes in Parque Ibirapuera

Sao Paulo
We had our last District Meeting of the transfer on Tuesday.  This is my zone
and today we found out I'm staying here in Ala Utinga (woohoo!!) but Sister Cavalcanti will be leaving me tomorrow for a different area. I'll find out who my next companion is tomorrow as well. I'm excited for a change but will miss S. Cav. This week was amazing.
Sister Cavalcanti's First Reece's ever! She loved it!
We met tons of new people to teach and they are awesome. We're excited to have appointments every day because a day without teaching is no fun. Paulo was confirmed yesterday in church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost! He said he feels different and he likes it. This gospel changes lives!
Today is full of visiting people and packing and cleaning. I'm also trying to grab a hold of every little thing here that SC knows, that I don't. I don't even know how to get to everyone's houses here yet, so this next transfer should be interesting.
It's hot once again...really hot...but I'm sure it'll change soon as it always does. I can't believe my baby brother starts his senior year of high school this week. AHH!! As well as all my friends! Good luck everyone! I love you all! Keep the letters and emails coming, I love it!

Sister Cox  

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Cold has Returned

The Garcias are Always with Me

So this week was cold again and now I'm positive that Brazil is Bi-polar. Certain. Sister Cavalcanti and I left our house one day extremely bundled up, ready for snow, and by the end of the day we were carrying all of our layers. I never know what to wear! But besides the cold we had a good week.
I have to insert a quick story here that happened a few weeks ago so it's completely irrelevant now but I still think it's funny. One day we were walking on the street as always and Sis. Cav had the phone that day so she answered a call and what I understood was that our church building was on fire earlier in the day so all the members were there and we needed to go there now to help clean up and such. Now I'm all worried and we walked to the building and everything seemed to be fine on the outside so I was confused. Then there were a group of people waiting outside for someone who had a key so now I'm thinking "oh, maybe the fire is just in the kitchen or in some room where we can't see from here." Our Ward Mission Leader finally came with a key and everyone walked in like nothing was happening and I was still confused...until I realized...that it was just a regular activity night and the youth were having a BONFIRE that we were invited to after our meeting. That's all!!! I was a tad embarrassed to express my sincere confusion but I did and everyone, I mean everyone, laughed. "Oh my cute American" they all said with a smile. Some people like to bring it up now and was a good time.

Father's Day here was last Sunday so shout out to my main man, Daddy-O. Love you! On this day we had a surprise visit from Sister Cavalcanti's Mom! She just came to church and it was pretty emotional for my comp but afterwards she was fine. It was fun to meet her and then everyone asked when my mom was going to visit too. Good joke! "It's just a little farther away sorry everyone" is all I could say lol. But we were also extremely grateful for this visit because for the first time our cabinet was full of food! Hurray for Moms :)

This past week we had Zone Conference and it was really long but really great. We practiced more teaching skills and how to talk about the gospel more easily with people. Then, my favorite part, they announced birthdays starting with mine and I got a box of cereal! Sister Hargrove got one too! And then when you go up your companion says something about you "My companion is ___" so Sister Cav said "Minha companheira é Brasileira!" because everyone thinks I am and then everyone repeats "Brasileira" It was fun.
My last two random items are 1) We were at lunch with members eating pumpkin doce and I can't really describe it but it looks like this...and I love it. I explained what we, as Americans, do with pumpkins - like carve them or just eat the seeds and they thought it was absolutely nuts and wasteful...haha.  I never really thought of it before but I guess it is kinda weird. They just don't have pumpkin patches here and trying to explain Shady Brook Farms in good old Yardley was interesting. They essentially said like, "wait let me get this there are a million pumpkins and you go as a family to pick these pumpkins and then decorate them for fun? That's crazy. Gotta love America." Random item 2) But what I find strange here is that they eat the cough candy here! Everyone LOVES Halls. I don't get it. I am constantly offered Halls and when I explained we use it more as medicine, I got the same response like with the pumpkins.
The difference in cultures is so funny to me, I love it. I'm sure there are/will be many more. Well, that's about it for this week. Transfers are next week so we'll see what happens. I'm hoping to stay in this area longer. I absolutely love it here. Til next week!!
Sister Cox 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Amazing Happenings!!!

What a wonderful week! I think this may have been the best week of my mission thus far. We had two baptisms this week AND a wedding!

Joyce's Baptism
Joyce's Wedding
It was so fun. It has just been amazing to see these people grow and come closer to God because THEY wanted to and because THEY were ready. All in the Lord's timing! Being an instrument in God's hands to help this work along is amazing. I am so happy to be here and so blessed to have gotten my visa at the right time so I could meet these people!
First was Joyce's baptism Thursday night and then we had Paulo's baptism Sunday after church.
They were both so special. We were so busy this week and the weather was beautiful!
Yesterday at church we had a great lesson on Sacrifice and I loved this quote, "Precisamos estar prontos a sacrificar tudo para nos tornar dignos de viver na presença do Senhor." Google translate that but it was just a great reminder of the fact that Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for each of us so it's the least we can do to be obedient and keep the commandments. 

All the American Sisters in our Mission - Only 5!!
On a completely unrelated note I am in dire need of some Oreos. The first person to send some to me gets a beautifully hand-written letter from yours truly. The "oreos" here just aren't cutting it! Thank you in advance.  

Just Clownin' Around - haha!
More on the food here...I haven't had anything too strange, but I did have fried sardines and pizza with egg and peas on top. It was different but still good!
Until next week...
Love you all!
- Sister Cox  

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Air is Cold but Our Hearts are Warm

3 Month Mark
July 29, 2013  --  Bom dia! Yes I know this title is cheesy but it's the perfect way to describe my last week. So this time last year I was on a cruise headed to the beautiful Cozumel Mexico which was full of white sandy beaches. This past week here in Brazil though was COLD COLD COLD!! And rainy. I felt like I was back in Rexburg. But it has been a good week nonetheless.

So God and I have a funny relationship. He likes to let me figure things out on my own first and then he'll bless me with something great. To explain...I was reading President Eyring's talk "Where is the Pavillion?" from October 2012 General Conference and you can read it here: it's absolutely worth the read. It talks about how sometimes we feel that God isn't near and that he forgot about us but really it's us who needs to step out from under the pavillion we place ourselves under.  The lesson I learned from this talk is that everything will happen in God's own time, not ours.

Eating cake after lunch at a member's home
We had been teaching a bunch of lessons here but hadn't been seeing any progress until the day I read this talk and fully accepted that it will be in God's time that people are ready to hear and accept the gospel in their lives. It was this very same day that we met a man who was ready. We taught him the first lesson: The Restoration and he accepted the invitation to be baptized! It was truly a miracle. Moral of the story: when things aren't going exactly your way, just know that God has a plan for you and you will be blessed in the moment that you accept His will.

In other news--have I told you all how much I love my companion? Well, I really love her. She is hilarious!! And laughter is essential on the mission. She continues to help me learn Portuguese every day as I teach her English and it's just a great time. The older people here can't pronounce my last name. They either say Coke or Coxy...I just accept whatever they choose to call me because they really are trying to say it right! It's funny.
Whenever the younger people here find out I'm "from Philadelphia" they ask me if I know Will Smith or if I've ever seen the Fresh Prince haha. Good times.

Oh the food here. I could go on forever. It is SO good. I have a new love for Cashew Apple juice. Don't knock it til ya try it! And the rice and beans and everything is delicious. Brazilians really love their cachorros quenches (hot dogs) too. We have now had 2 Hot Dog nights in this ward.

I am also the official ward pianist and I love it! We also had noite de julina (look it up) and that was a lot of fun too.

Portuguese is coming along nicely, the sun is out today which is so nice, and I feel welcomed and needed here. The first day I walked around with a dictionary but not now. Sometimes though we'll be talking to people on the street and they seem mad that we're bothering them and then Sister Cavalcanti will walk away smiling saying that they want to know more and we're teaching them the next day! Clearly I still need to learn more Portuguese :) That's about it for this week. Thank you for your emails and love and prayers!

My address is:

Sister Cox
Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission
Rua Dr. Luiz da Rocha Miranda, 159
8 Andar
Parque Jabaquara
04344-010 Sao Paulo-SP