Tuesday, October 29, 2013

La Cucaracha... (and last week's blog too-Bolo de Mais!)

10/28/13 - La Cucaracha

So even though the title is in Spanish (not Portuguese), I figured it was fitting for this week. We had...and are having...some crazy cockroach problems! It's not really a problem. It's normal apparently. It's just we live under another house and right next to a sewer drain thing...they come out of there to play when it's hot...which is now. And it's awful!! It doesn't help that my companion has a crazy fear of these things so she screams every time we find one in our house and I have to get it out. We have woken up to one in our house every day this week. We even barricade the door, I have no idea how they get in!It's a nightmare.!!  Ugh. It's the worst.

Anyway, aside from that, this week was great and flew by! We were so busy prepping for the baptism and running around to all our other appointments and meetings that pday came quickly. Thursday was my 6 month mark and it didn't feel real. We had interviews with President on Friday and when he asked me how much time I had on the mission and I responded with "6 months yesterday" I almost cried! It's a happy thing though. Happy and sad because I love being a missionary and I can't explain how great it is unless you've been on a mission and experienced it yourself. It's amazing. One of the best parts about being a missionary is getting to be a tool in the Lord's hands and I know I've said this before but it's true.

Antônio's baptism was Saturday and it was great! We had a problem with filling the font because it was supposed to start at 7 and when we got there it had about 4 inches of water in it! So it got delayed a bit but all went well :)

Cake Surprise!

Yesterday (Sunday) our Ward Mission leader and his family decided to surprise us with a Halloween cake at their house BUT as usual I ruined the surprise by getting there early when it wasn't done yet. Oops. - typical me. But it worked out well in the end because we got to help make little figures for it which was a ton of fun...it's the little things as my momma says.
   I had to...we had black and orange! Still have Falcon pride :)

We are so blessed in this area. We have lots of love and support from the members and time is starting to really pick up now. I don't know how I feel about it.
We also had a family night with some members last night where we taught and discussed the Atonement and how we can use Jesus Christ's sacrifice in our lives every day. It was compared to a bar of soap and how soap cleans us physically but His sacrifice cleans us spiritually. I am so grateful for my Savior. He is the Savior of the world if we will just reach out to him. I love this work here in Brazil and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's about all for this week! Love you all! 


Cake we helped finish

10/21/13 - Bolo de Mais!

So this week was a week of bolo. Bolo is cake in Portuguese and I sound really fat starting out like this but I really love cake. And I swear every house we walked into this week had cake to offer us. I'm not complaining. Sorry Mom and Dad you'll have to roll me off the plane in a year.
Speaking of a year...Thursday this week will mark 6 months in the mission! How is that possible?! Nuts. So I'll give you all a little run down of my week. Tuesday I got my first pedicure on the mission...from an investigator of course and it was for a good reason too. I had been having some serious pain in my toes due to ingrown toenail stuff going on. Gross huh? It hurt like never before but now I'm pain-free and happy. :)
On Wednesday we had our normal District meeting but in a different place and we didn't get lost so I mastered the bus system here. Finally. #soproud. That was my accomplishment for the day. Thursday I ate the most cake of my life (you just can't say no). And the Elders were joking and jealous that we are always welcomed into homes. It's just because we're Sisters. The rumor about that is true. But also because we're sisters the members are helping us out with the missionary work more.
Because of them we are now teaching 3 new couples! Perfect families ready to accept the truth and find Christ. It's been great. As for Antônio, he's getting baptized on Saturday YAY! He's so great. Friday was a monsoon all. day. long. Sister Loisotto and I left our house for lunch and I have never seen anything quite like it. The streets were just flooded...so naturally we walked right through it. We had umbrellas (thanks Dad) but nothing could prevent our feet, shoes, and bottom halves from being soaked. So we showed up to lunch pretty wet. My shoes felt like those ugly water shoes I wore as a kid at Sesame Place. It was awful. But we just sloshed around in them all day still happy and doing the Lord's work. It made for a good story. Our skirts dried throughout the day.
Saturday I went to my first funeral on the mission. It was the mother of one of the women in our ward here in Utinga. It was sad because I had met Maria just this past Sunday and then she passed away Friday night. She had been suffering and unable to walk for these past 2 months so the family in general had been suffering, but she was so sweet. It was so sad to see the family hurting so much but we visited Alice (woman in our ward) last night to give her some comfort. We read a scripture with her about how Jesus Christ knows what she's going through and to hold firm to her faith in Him and that everything will be okay if she does that. Yesterday on Sunday I was so exhausted! I have a really hard time with daylight savings time. Summer is coming! But we lost an hour of sleep here so I'm am super sleepy. But this will be a great week! I love you all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amazing Week...have I said that already?

This week was amazing! My new companion is Sister Loisotto from Argentina. She's 19 and awesome. She makes training easy because she is so humble and ready to learn and WORK. She's great. She speaks Portunhol which makes things a little complicated...I'm hating myself for not being fluent in Spanish already haha!!  But that's ok because she needs to learn Portuguese anyway.

This week we had some great lessons and Antônio is preparing to get baptized! He thanked us so much this week for giving him a second chance for a new life and I almost cried. He is great. He has some difficulty walking and talking because of AVC...Accidente Vascular Cerebre but he is  such a sweet elderly man.

On a sad note, Sister Meireles called me on Friday to tell me she was going home. I was so sad. And obviously she was sad too. President thought it would be better for her to go home to figure out what is going on with her, so she left on Saturday :( I miss her already so please continue praying for her to adjust back to "normal life" again and to figure out what's going on with her health.

Que mais? Oh! October 15th is a special day in my family. Happy 2nd Anniversary to the coolest couple at home, my brother and sister-in-law, Frank and Jenelle, and Happy 25th Birthday to Nina! I love you guys, have a great one!

Not much more to update - we have LOTS of work to do this transfer and lots of people to visit. This weekend was Stake Conference and what was the theme? Missionary work!! - Share the gospel with everyone you know. You never know who is ready to hear and accept it!
 The stouts were our senior couple in the mission and we had to say bye to them this past week at transfer meeting it was so sad! Even though we're all smiles here

It was a great weekend and then we had lunch with the Bishop on Sunday. Arroz, feijão, salad and beteraba! I love beets now. Never thought I'd say that. I love you all!

Ednei, Irmã Cida and me in between sessions of General Conference last Sunday

Monday, October 7, 2013

Transfer Week...

Bom dia todo mundo! This week has been nuts! Seems like I say this every week but this is on my top 5. So Sister Meireles wasn't doing well at all this week. We couldn't work too much and even had a visit from President. We had a long night in the hospital Tuesday night and didn't leave until 1am...my poor companion. She is so weak and dizzy. Please continue to pray for her.
We don't know what is going to happen with her except that transfer calls came this morning and we found out that she is leaving me.  I get to stay another transfer in Utinga ward (so excited) AND I'm going to be training! I can't believe it. We have 12 sisters arriving and I'm nervous but excited to meet my new companion! I'm surprised at how much the Lord really must trust me to be the example for this new sister in the field. Kinda scary but amazing as well.
I cannot even begin to talk about General Conference!  I hope most of you had a chance to watch.  I had so many things come to mind through all the speakers. There were tears of complete joy this weekend hearing the words of our beloved prophet and apostles...there is nothing better. And it was really different listening as a missionary. I don't know why but everything was just magnified and I was clinging to every word. It was like every talk was meant for me to hear. Needless to say I took tons of notes and am so grateful for everything I learned. Maybe conference was different because in every prayer when they mentioned the missionaries I thought "hey, that's me!" and got chills. I thought also, "that was a prayer that millions of people all around the world said Amen to and it was really cool."
One of the things I love the most is the knowledge that my Heavenly Father knows and loves me. I know this without a doubt and am so unbelievably grateful for the gospel in my life. Every challenge in my mission is for my own growth and is necessary. I know the Lord is always by my side and His goal is to bless. For this reason I know that this next transfer will be great!!!
The Lord will help us through anything if we will come to Him with a humble heart, willing to submit our will to His and just do what He wants us to do. That is one great thing I have learned on my mission so far. I love my mission so much. I love the people here. I love being a missionary and being able to invite others to come unto Christ every single day. Pray for us to have a great week and pray for Sister Meireles' health! I have really come to love her and say that we are great friends and just want what's best for her. Thank you for all the love and support from home! Til next week :)

Sister Cox

If you missed conference, you still can watch.  Here's the link again.  Thinking especially of YOU!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Post from 9/24 & Today - A Week of Adventures

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Me and Sister Hargrove.
Happy 5 months on the mission!
Hello all! What a wonderful week it has been. To start off, today is my 5 month anniversary woo! It's weird how time is going by now. I am loving my mission and know that this was a part of my life's plan. I am so glad that I got my packages last week because the day afterwards, the postal system went on strike! But all is well now. In the same week we had a water outage for 2 days because of all the construction in the area. What a week! It also rained every single day this past week except for Saturday which was perfect because we finally had Keise's baptism! She had gotten sick last week which is why she didn't show but all is well and it was a beautiful baptism and a beautiful day. 
Keise's Baptism and neighbors that helped
make it happen -
Debora, Robson, and baby Yasmin
She is so strong in the gospel already and an example to me. She has been taught for a year now and finally decided to make covenants and take the first steps to returning back to our Heavenly Father, through baptism! It was great. Also, this past Tuesday started the 100 day count down to Christmas! That means I get to Skype my family soon! We thought it would be fun to count down to that. And then today, the greatest thing of all, Sister Meireles and I went to the São Paulo Temple with our zone and a few other zones. In total there were about 50 missionaries there and it was amazing. It has been so long I was craving a day at the temple and it finally came. It was perfect. It rained today too but we were all so happy to just be in the Lord's house it didn't matter what the weather was like. I was full of peace and joy and love sitting there looking around and feeling the power in the room full of missionaries. We met a returned sister missionary at the temple who just got home yesterday. She was so sad and missed her mission like crazy she couldn't stop crying as she was talking to all of us. She told us to not waste a minute of our missions because it goes by fast and to just enjoy it and work hard.

Sister Hargrove, Sister Marino,
Sister Meireles and me
She was glowing though, through the tears, and I could see that her mission really changed her. It changed her outlook on life, how she treats people, and most importantly her relationship with God. I was thinking about my own relationship with my Father in Heaven today and throughout this whole week and it's interesting to think about. It is so important to submit to his will. He knows all things and I am grateful for the trials I've had in my life because I've learned and grown from them. It's not easy, but I was thinking about how we need to accept any trials that come our way because He knows that we can handle it and challenge is a test of our own Faith. Also, it is importante to change and grow always. I heard a quote from a friend before my mission and it has become so true during my time here. "There is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growing zone." I love it and it's true for all of us! I love you all and love this gospel. I know that this church is true and am so grateful that I get to continue to be part of this work.

Sister Cox

Monday, September 30, 2013
Family Home Evening with the Dantas Family
Another cold rainy week here in Utinga! This will be a short one because a picture (or pictures) is worth a thousand words. Before my mission, I was always told that sometimes at the spiritual peak of a lesson, something will happen, you'll lose the person's attention, the spirit of the lesson will be gone, something...and this week I learned all about that. In one lesson we were teaching, I suddenly felt something really wet on the couch. I didn't know what it was and didn't want to lose focus so I kinda just sat there until the end. When I got up, I noticed that a juice box was open and that's what spilled. There was a huge wet spot on my light pink skirt. How embarrassing! We left as quickly as possible. I was just glad it was nighttime haha.

Second incident, we were teaching another lesson about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and The Book of Mormon. It was a couple with a young daughter...who was potty training...Everyone was engaged, they were asking questions, it was great and bam!! The toddler wets her pants and a nice puddle forms under her haha I tried so hard not to laugh. It was hard for everyone to regain focus again because 2 seconds later she got a drink of water in a glass cup and dropped it. It shattered everywhere. And so we closed quickly after that. Just some funny examples of normal things that happen on the mission.
On a different note, this week has been really hard for Sister Meireles. This whole transfer she has been feeling weak and dizzy but she said it was normal for her so we kept working. Well this week it got really bad and she couldn't work very much so we were told to go to the hospital to get it checked out. She has a history of diabetes in her family and so we went first on Wednesday and then again on Thursday to get blood work done, again on Friday and then we spent all morning today (Monday) there to do more blood tests. Poor girl. I wouldn't be able to do all that without my mom but she was a champ. No results yet, but I'm playing nurse to make sure she doesn't pass out. Stay tuned and keep her in your prayers that she will get an answer of what is wrong.

6 of us missionaries and 5 of our students (the fluent ones)
This week, when we could work, we have been telling everyone the great news of General Conference coming! Woo hoo! I am so excited for another chance to hear from our prophet Thomas S. Monson. We are trying to tell everyone to come and bring friends because it will be so good. We're encouraging everyone to spiritually prepare and come with questions because I know they will be answered. I watched the General Relief Society Conference last night but had to watch it in Portuguese because they forgot about the one American Sister and the other Sister from New Zealand, Sister Robinson. But that's okay, I understood more than I thought I would. This weekend they will have all of the sessions for the American missionaries in English. What a blessing!
Last funny thing of the week. We were eating lunch at a member's home as usual and there was a pot full of what I thought was chicken. So I went to get a piece and instead got a nice chicken foot. I almost screamed because it just surprised me and then everyone had a good laugh about it. I don't like chicken feet and no I did not eat one. Transfer calls are on Sunday! I'm excited and hopeful for a change. I'll update you all next week. Love you all and enjoy General Conference! For all of my friends and family who don't know about conference, you can watch it live Saturday and Sunday at http://www.lds.org/?lang=eng and find out! :)
Sister Cox
"so much for the short blog. Oh well. enjoy!"

There were horses just hangin' out in the park Saturday night...random