Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Delightful Christmas and Sister Leader assignment


I wrote a nice long letter BUT the computer crashed and I have no more time :(

This was the happiest Christmas I have ever had!

I LOVED doing Seja a Luz do Mundo! I am so excited for this next transfer!

Sister Ludlam

A little later...

I am sweating. I am SUPER excited for 2017! AHHHHHH!! I love the new year so much!

My Christmas was SO DELIGHTFUL!!! We got to stay with the family of Irma Gilmara until midnight. She is such a dove. She is going through chemo and had a million people to take care of during the party but was always going out of her way to check up on us. She bought us fancy fans that I will 100% carry with me and use every day. I am not kidding.

Then we had an especially spiritual sacrament meeting and went to lunch. Super yummy, lots of non members and less actives. It did not feel like Christmas. Then we talked to you guys and it was super lovely. REALLY short, but it was just nice to hear your voices. <3

I will stay with Sister de Jesus and will be
Sister Leader. With more time I feel better and better about it. Many fears, but it means there will be lots of growth! WOOHOO!!! 

I love you guys an awful lot.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Heavenly Father Loves Us So Much

Sister Doyle and Ava

Christmas Conference! (on the right) Sister Doyle goes home in a week :( My eyes are red because President sang "I Wonder When He Comes Again," and I wept like a baby. 

I am a little sad because we have been working with a lot of people that KNOW the church is true but don't want commitment and don't want to progress. Really, really sad because we had to drop ... everyone. We now have no investigators at all, but THAT'S OKAY because now all of our time will be dedicated to finding people who are searching for the truth AND willing to it. :)

I saw many little miracles this week, but I will just share a few.

1. Ruth (Potter) has been going through a lot of trials recently. We haven't seen her in weeks nor been able to communicate with her because she has been living in the house of another aunt, but left her cellphone here in this area. We tried many things to get in contact with her, and nothing worked...I started getting scared I would never see her again. Then, Saturday night, Sister and I said a prayer that we could find a way to get in contact with her quickly because she needed to go to church the next day to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The two past weeks had been conferences at the Stake building.

After contacting everyone that could possibly help, we decided maybe it's not meant to happen this week. BUT THEN we showed up to church Sunday morning and RUTH WAS THERE! She woke up early and walked all the way from her other aunt's house to go to church! She said "I just couldn't miss another Sunday." I almost cried with joy when I saw her, I had missed her so much. Then she spent the rest of the day with the Young Women at a special lunch and Young Women in Excellence.  Oh, by the way, in Portuguese Ruth is pronounced Hoo-chee. Super cute.
Vitoria and Irma Maria Jose <3

2. While we were filling up the font for Ruth's baptism, Vitoria, a 10 year old from the primary, came in and asked who was going to be baptized. Elder Marquina said "You are. Didn't you know?" She got a little quiet and said, "I actually haven't been baptized yet..." Whoops. So we passed later that week to talk with her adopted parents. Before we even brought the subject up, Irma Maria Jose said, "After Ruth's baptism, Vitoria would not stop talking about how much she wanted to be baptized! So we went to the Capitol today and did her paperwork so now she can legally be baptized." WOAH! Since she has more than 8 years, she technically is a convert and needed to be taught all the lessons and be interviewed by Elder Vargas. After a glorious 2 weeks of teaching her, she was baptized this Saturday and received the gift of the Holy Ghost right before Ruth did this Sunday. What a miracle! And it is all thanks to Elder Marquina, hahaha!

3. It was really hot yesterday, so Sister de Jesus asked for a cloud to cover the sun. It did. Then she asked for rain. And boy, did it rain!!! Heavenly Father loves us so much <3

We had a Christmas conference it was so much fun. Honestly, this Christmas has been the best Christmas I have ever had because my life.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Learning Lessons on Love

Trip to the São Paulo Aquarium
This week I learned about love.

We went to the Area of Brasil Conference with President Holland (just a broadcast - haha) and I had this question in my heart of how to help our companionship. The answer is LOVE. 

All of the misunderstandings and accidents and little tiny things can be swept away in a wave of LOVE. Have you ever noticed that when you are offended or feeling insecure or over-analyzing or irritated, when someone puts their arm around you or gives you a sincere compliment, those feelings just evaporate?

So I put it to the test, and things have been better. Things are not perfect yet because this is honestly new territory for me-- to have my first instinct be reach out in love.

So yes, this week was tough but I AM SO GRATEFUL for these priceless lessons!! I'm sorry I don't have "mission stories," but we are giving our all! Walking in the streets all day long and meeting tons of people, doing our part :) Lots and lots of contacts :D

  I told President this transfer has been hard for me because when I was in Jardim Satelite, I always felt very confident and comfortable, thinking I had finally got the hang of the mission. But being in a new area with a new companion has made me extremely aware of my weaknesses. It's good for me! ;)


Sister Ludlam

Monday, December 5, 2016

Like the Moon, we do not Shine without the Sun/Son.

My lovely companion, Hermana de Jesus

I can't explain how much I love my companion. She is literally the Bahian missionary version of Allison Garner. How cool is it that I walk about teaching the restored gospel with my best friend?

Thanksgiving without the family was just fine, I was so busy that I didnt even realize what day it was until Sister pointed out I was fasting on Thanksgiving. Hahaha!

An irma invited us over to meet some "friends" and we figured out they were 7 young men studying to be PADRES (Priests) in the Catholic church...and they were SO MUCH FUN!! Teaching them the Restoration was something I'll never forget, that's for sure! They said they admired our courage, hahaha!! They are bright lovely people, and they accepted our invite to read the Book of Mormon (Irma just happened to have 7 hardback Book of Mormons in her cupboard ;)

This week I learned SO MUCH and I still don't know what I should share because time is limited! I learned about pride, faith, light, and the word of wisdom.:)
Teaching Seven Catholic Priests

I think I will talk about light. :) Light has always fascinated me and has an extremely special meaning to me. I believe it has everything to do with who God is, progression, and who I want to be! This transfer I put a picture of "The Light Bearer" (a picture mum sent to Ava a few weeks ago, see below) on my planner as a reminder that my goal is shine so that others will be drawn to Christ! I also learned after chosing my personal theme the the church's  Christmas theme for the year is also Seja a Luz do Mundo (#LighttheWorld)! We hand out cute little cards to everyone we meet and invite them to shine, too. Also, my companion is one of the most light-filled people I have met!

SO! The plan was to show up in Vila Virginia and just SHINE...but it didn't really work out that way. I was absolutely EXHAUSTED for the first 2 weeks, and found it almost impossible to summon the energy to shine all day. One day this week, I was thinking "Heavenly Father set all this up for me to truly learn how to be a light, so why am I failing?" I then began to study my favorite scriptures about light and my patriarchal blessing and realized I was going about it all wrong!

Ruth's Baptism
I, Ava Ludlam, nao tenho minha propria luz! (I do not have my own light) But I can shine when I look towards the source of true light: Christ. Like the moon, we do not shine without the sun/Son. It is not MY LIGHT that I need to be shining, it is the light of Christ! This week has been incredible because I began to find strength beyond my own and shine HIS light into the lives of others.

Also, if you haven't checked out the Light of the World site on, come and see! It will make this Christmas the happiest one yet because it will be centered on Christ and shining light into the lives of Gods children.


Monday, November 28, 2016

RUTH POTTER: the girl who received an answer

Hello World!

Well, I have about 500 things I want to tell you about because with Sister de Jesus, a ton of crazy things happen every day, but Ruth's story takes priority.

RUTH POTTER: the girl who received an answer

Ruth never really had a place in the world until she found the church. No one that really cared for her or loved her, yet she was just something so different and special

My first night here in Vila Virginia, I met Ruth (14 yrs) and her cousin Gabriel (11 yrs). Gabriel already received many of the lessons, but that night was the first time for Ruth even though she had been reading the Book of Mormon for quite some time and already went to church. We taught her the Restoration, and I was just in shock how perfectly she understood everything and had such good questions. 

As she started going to church every week, the ward just enveloped her with love and adopted her as their own, a whole new strange world filled with incredible people who saw her for who she was, a precious daughter of God with a divine destiny! With time, she and Gabriel decided that he wanted to be baptized, but there was one problem. She lives with her aunt, Jackie, who isn't too fond of the church. We waited for Jackie to get home to ask her for permission, and I haven't been scared for a long time, but WOW my heart was beating so fast!!! 

Ruth's Baptism
She allowed Ruth to be baptized, even though she strongly discouraged it, but told Gabriel he couldn't because he is too young to know what he wants. Gabriel cried which broke my heart in half, and it shook Ruth up pretty badly. She began to doubt and said she wanted to wait to be baptized with Gabriel. But after a week filled with fasting, prayers and miracles, Ruth commented, "Before I was asking myself why should I be baptized NOW, but now the question is why SHOULDN'T I be baptized now?" We weren't planning this at all, but somehow she ended up getting interviewed that night before the Young Women activity.  She was baptized after....such a crazy day and I still can't believe it all happened! I know the Lord is taking very, very good care of his precious daughter, Ruth.

Fruits of Brasil


This fruit is called Jaca and all Americans hate it.  It is SUPER UGLY, but Sister de Jesus made me try it was really good. Don't judge a jaca by its spikes!

Language: instead of saying "we" (nos in Portuguese), they say "the people" (a gente) so it's not "we are going to call you tomorrow", it's "the people are going to call." A gente vai ligar! I think its hilarious. 

Love,  Sister Ava

Monday, November 21, 2016

Best Week Ever!!

Goodbye, Sister Souza!

My heart is just over-flowing with gratitude.

Jaggi Gratitude List:
1.  I learned that President was actually planning to keep me in Satelite another transfer with Sister Souza, but early Sunday morning, he received revelation to move me to this area. Heavenly Father is SO aware of each of us and our needs!! This last week has been one of the happiest weeks of my life, and I am so so grateful that President was sensitive enough to the Spirit to send me here. 
Sister de Jesus, me, Nayara (member)
2. How do I even describe Sister de Jesus (picture on right(!?! She is on the dove level of Sophie Wilson or Emily Burnett. I have just been basking in her glow all week. It is extremely rare that we find people so filled with light, so humble, so pure, and so Christ-like. I wish I could describe how much she has already impacted me, how grateful I am for her <3 
3. I heard a lot of negative things about this area before arriving, but when I arrived and began to walk through the streets, I immediately fell in love. I feel like I am at home. It has a very Bronx-y feel, but the houses are all vibrant crazy colors and there is TONS of art-work type graffiti--this place has so much personality!  Not a white wall in this entire city. I'll try to take a picture this week that captures its splendor. GAHHHH! I LOVE IT HERE.
4. I don't think this has ever happened in my life before, but I have had no negative emotions this week...I didn't think it was possible, but it is. Sure, lots of negative things happened, but Sister de Jesus has such a positive bright outlook on life that its started rubbing off on me. I have been EXHAUSTED this week, but I fall asleep every night happy and excited. <3
5. I got to meet Ruth this week!!! She is 14, and is marked for baptism this week if she can continue to not drink coffee. She reminds me a lot of Harry Potter. Grew up in a world where no one realizes she is there or loves her that much, but once missionaries showed up on her doorstep and her life was never the same. The members have adopted her and given so much love. She is the sweetest most intelligent and precious girl. She understands the Book of Mormon SO well, better than any adult investigator I have had. I love her so so much.
My food that actually turned out really good :D
 6. I was COOKING this week (that's right Mom) but I cut my finger open nice and deep. Miraculously is healed super fast and hasn't been giving me much grief. Little things like that make me really grateful.
7. I found a CD in our house with Frank Sinatra singing Christmas music and Phil Collins singing Brother Bear it makes me SO HAPPY. I've never been more pumped about Christmas in my life!! 1 month until I get to talk to my fambly!! ♥
8. Nobody forces you to eat here so I have been feeling very light and healthy and refreshed :)

Every day is filled with many tender mercies, but these are just a few. I have been just filled with love for my Savior this week. I just read Luci's email and realized this week is Thanksgiving. A gratitude list is rather appropriate, isn't it! :)   LOVE TO ALL~

Pidge Pot Pie

Monday, November 14, 2016

Off to Vila Virginia!

Sister Souza made this for me!
I will be leaving Satelite after almost half a year to Vila Virginia, Itaquaquecituba, with Sister Jesus! WOOHOO!! I feel like my time here has a happily ever after ending because Ana Maria is engaged and she is being freed from a life of 47 years filled with struggling. She said the closing prayer after a visit yesterday, and sincerely thanked Heavenly Father for us and our patience and that we never abandoned or gave up on her. It was a very sweet moment for me.

I shared Isaiah 40 with Frank, the menos ativo, because hes lacking vigor to keep enduring to the end. I told him I have been leaning on the Lord because I feel so emotionally tired and discouraged because it seems like my work hasn't amounted to much these past 6 months, and that I know the Lord will give him strength and
Feeding the rabid dogs of Sao Paolo
motivation if he asks for it. Instead of him being comforted, he comforted ME, telling me this area is one of the oldest and most difficult areas in this mission, and that "Heavenly Father sends his most beloved spirits here" because it is so hard to keep going. That gave me so much comfort, and I once again received a confirmation that I have done what the Lord wanted done and He is pleased. Many seeds planted :)

Britto Art
A little nervous for what is to come, but I know it's exactly where the Lord wants me. All things work together for the good of those who love God :) I LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Ludlam

CULTURE: Britto is an extremely famous Brasilian artist, who I have fallen in love with. At first I thought his work was tacky, and then it grew on me, and then I became obsessed. This was my planner from last transfer- hahaha

Monday, November 7, 2016

Spunk Down

Hi Family!

This week was exhausting. Both Sister Souza and I were rather discouraged because we have been doing contacts all transfer and it just gets really old after a while. Rejection starts to wear your spunk down, you know?
BUT we are doing our part and are trying to always follow the Spirit so we can do what Heavenly Father wants done. It is still really hard to leave lunch everyday with the next 7 hours of just knocking doors.
BUT I am happy because I was afraid I would leave Sister Souza and her new comp here in Satelite with no teaching pool and that our efforts would amount to nothing, but we have a teaching pool! A tiny one, but it exists! We found Julia, Ricardo, and Maria Aparecida Saturday night and they are the most elate people I have ever met. So normal and intelligent and delightful. Julia is actually looking for a church right now and the more she hears the more excited she gets. She said as we left our first lesson “people clap outside our door all day and I usually never even open the door, and I said to my husband “looks like some missionaries are here” and I was busy and so was he but something said NO open the door.” I told her it was the Holy Ghost and she said “Yes! The Holy Ghost, that's exactly it!” They didn't go to church, which broke my heart in half,
BUT there's next week of course :)

We are teaching Jhonas, a very open and delightful man. He doesn't have much desire to follow commitments though. We are working on that. He doesn't understand yet what the restored gospel means in his life, how it changes and means EVERYTHING. We are teaching Pedro who is currently on vacation in Salt Lake, accepted a baptismal date. Doesn't like to read, we are working on that. :)

There is Felipe, of course. A few days ago he said to us, “Okay then, convince me and I will join your church.” Ohh, Felipe. A very complicated intelligent young man. Lots of potential. So I feel good because the Sisters will have some people with promise to teach.

This is my last week in Satélite and we are going to work harder than ever! I'm sorry that I won't be able to respond to any of your letters or write a week. This iPad has crashed so many times and it will crash the moment I ex out of this window.

Last week in Satelite.  I'm going to miss my home here,  but I'm ready to spread my wings.
sistee ludlam

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunshine in My Soul!

Sis. Souza, Ana Maria (found her spot this week:), and Ava at São Paulo Temple

We have a teaching pool! A few weeks ago someone named Filipe called us and said, "So..we met in front of Espirito Santo (that massive catholic church that everyone frequents in our area) and I wanted to know why you guys never passed by?" I could not for the life of me remember who Filipe was, but that sure didn't stop us from marking a lesson!

I couldn't believe it! A few days later we showed up to his house with Irmao Emerson and when he saw us with our name tags, he froze..."You're not Luana..," he said. We still have no idea how he got our number, but apparently he was trying to bring back a menos activo from his youth group at the Espirito Santo and somehow ended up calling the missionaries...whoops! But he still let us and try to teach him a lesson. Didn't go too well. He was super uncomfortable the whole time. BUT Irmao Emerson, the young men president, invited him to play fútbol Thursday night and we left.

Thursday night we are teaching Bel and Filipe calls! He says, "I'm here at your church, but there is no one here.." WHAT IN THE WORLD? HE ACTUALLY SHOWED UP?  We left Bel and ran to the chapel, only to find him in the church talking about doctrine with Bispo and 3 other irmaos. He was FILLED with questions and said he would come to church on Sunday! And he came!

Only problem is he looked up every single anti Mormon site on the internet and confronted us with a TON of questions. We marked a lesson with him at the home of Irmao Miranda, the member who gave Ana Maria as a reference. Irmao Miranda knows everything about the Bible, church history, the organizational functions of the church, and was PERFECT to resolve Filipe's doubts and concerns.

We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and he is becoming more and more interested in the church everytime we talk to him. I can't believe the same Filipe we taught that first night is actually seriously investigating the church. Oh, how mysterious are the ways of God!

We also brought Ana Maria to the temple! Satan tried really hard to make it fall through, but we overcame every obstacle and she had a lovely experience. I also happened to be on the same street at the same time the one day Elder Christensen was in my mission boundaries. Is was so good to see a familiar face!

WOOOOOHOOO!! There is sunshine in my soul today!

I love my Savior Jesus Christ!!
Sister LudlaM

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Temple Blessings

 (Ava sent a private note this week, but nothing for the blog but some pictures!  At least she was happy about the package☺  And you can photoshop yourself into her temple shot with Sister Souza!)

We had a much-needed trip to the temple this week. I just sat on the coach and stared at the chandelier for half an hour. Finally, the missionaries from my group started to leave and for some reason I felt this pressure I didn't know was there... be released and was able to just talk to Heavenly Father in peace.

THANK YOU SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE! The conga bars were not even stale-- it was a miracle! I shared them with some missionaries as we traveled to the temple and they loved them. One American elder asked what your names were so I explained the whole Buck and Zanne thing. He then pulled an Uncle Dave gravely, red neck voice and said really low, "BUCK N ZANNE," and it made me so happy I almost fell over. Thank you for the love and letters! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, packages make me so so so happy <3

We took this picture to print out and paste a picture of Ana Maria to inspire her to keep preparing to go to the temple so she can go with us!!!  Missionary projects!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Ava Sings "My Heavenly Father Loves Me"

This week was just wonderful. I am thoroughly EXHAUSTED, but it is so worth it because we saw many little miracles this week! People are just falling into our laps. :)


1. We are teaching Bel and her family and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They didn't come to church though, so we asked, "Why didn't you come?" She responded "I went to bed at 6 am." "Why?" "Someone crashed a car into the store next door in the middle of the night and robbed it." "Oh...that's a pretty good excuse actually."

A few seconds later the news comes on and, lo and behold, we see footage of the car smashing into the store. She then goes on to say "So I was reading the Book of Mormon, and I heard these strange, loud noises and thought about the Vision that boy had, and thought, 'COULD IT BE? AN ANSWER?' And then I realized the store next door was being robbed and put the book down." Sister Souza and I laughed and LAUGHED! Only in Sao Paulo!

2. We were teaching Bel again and a few of her friends were participating, too. She told them, "These girls are really special. Every time they've wanted to leave a message, the TV magically looses signal and the kids are quiet and pay attention. We always feel happier when they are here, there's just something different about them. Even my husband listened one time and READ A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE! Not even his cousin can get him to do that!" I just about melted when she said that! They really are changing and it makes me so happy :)

3. I'm pretty sure a tsunami hit Sao Jose this week because the streets turned into rivers. Another potential investigator says she's going to buy a raft because she still needs to go to work, haha! The only issue is that when buses pass us as we walk, we get hit by a massive wave. One time we got cornered as 5 buses passed us in a row and we futilely attempted to shield ourselves with an umbrella, but didn't work too well. :)

4. I had a nightmare and started talking in my sleep. It scared poor Sister Souza to death! I was super angry about something and kept saying "coisa fea, coisa fea!" I got out of bed and tried to open the window. It scared Sister so much that she yelled, "SISTER WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" to wake me up, and she couldn't fall asleep for the rest of the night. I felt so bad-- but its still pretty funny.

I am so happy and can't wait for another week of hard work and joy! I'm going to take a nap first though... ;)

Sister Ludlam

Monday, October 10, 2016

Welcome, Sister Souza!

Sister Souza arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and she has been my angel and the angel for Jardim Satelite.

We have no teaching pool, so we just did contacts all day!!! This week was the happiest of my mission, without doubt. I feel like I'm radiating! I don't have more time, but hopefully the pictures will make up for it. :)  Love to all ~  Sister A. Ludlam
My little friend hung out with me for a few days--Before
My little friend--After
Brand new crocs!  Didn't know I could wear them out!

Oh, Brasilia!  ♥

FAXINHA (I believe this means cleaning ladies☺)

Beautiful Sister Souza

With Ana Maria after Conference

Our food is part American, part Brazilian....Yeah! Companion Unity!
My Beautiful Area -- Jardim Satelite
Castle on a Hill

The End ... of a green smoothie

Monday, October 3, 2016

Love is ALWAYS the Answer

Hello World!

The Lord did the same thing this week, where I taught a gospel principle and was tested on whether I lived it or not!       So Cool!
General Conference Sunday Afternoon Session with my Sisters
    We were eating lunch with my beloved Irma Lina, who is struggling to love the people in her nursing home. I shared a message from Moroni 8:45-48 about Charity, (pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ) and explained to her that our minds are like a stage. Either "charity" is on stage or "judging" is, and its impossible to have both at the same time. So we invited her to pay special attention to who she was letting on the stage, and to serve the people she is struggling to love.

   THEN 3 hours later, two sisters from another area, Sister Lima and Sister Tordecilla, took me under their wing while Sister C. Silva was at the temple. We entered the house of a member who is less active and began to share a message of enduring trials with long suffering. My mouth almost dropped to the floor as the sister began to say the most awful things. She was justifying beating her daughter, and I almost opened my mouth to tell her what I was thinking! Thank goodness Sister Tordecilla was listening to the Spirit, because instead of telling her that she cannot rationalize physically hurting people just because she is going through a difficult trial, Sister T. asked an inspired question. She said, “Have you asked the Lord what it is He wants you to learn from this trial?” In that moment I remembered the message I gave to Irma Lina, and realized that I had kicked love off the stage
   I learned a very valuable lesson that day from my lovely Sister. I am not sure if anyone actually said this in General Conference (you can watch here) because I couldn't understand everything.  But I think someone said, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."  It does NOT MATTER how people are choosing to use their agency, love is ALWAYS the answer!

   I got to spend 3 days in Area Parque Industrial with the Sister Lima and Sister Tordecilla, and I was in HEAVEN. I have never been more tired and more satisfied on my mission! These two Sisters poured love out to me and we laughed and learned so much together. What a glorious week <3
   As I said, I didn't understand everything said in General Conference, but I did get a few nuggets of wisdom and I felt the Spirit very powerfully. It was so cool to see Will Romberger and Sarah Hirachi in the MTC choir!!! Elder Christofferson actually gave his talk in Portuguese which was really cool, too.
Sister Lima and Sister Tordecilla Ice Cream Break

  SO! Today is my last day with Sister C. Silva, but I will STAY in Jardim Satelite and my companion will be Sister Souza (Brasileira), who just finished her first 3 months training! I am a little nervous to be senior companion because I have less than 4 months here myself, but we will figure things out and grow together! :) CAN'T WAIT TO MEET HER! I am so grateful for one more transfer here in my beloved Jardim Satelite. I feel like the Lord is giving me a do-over here, and I am so grateful for that! TIME TO GET TO WORK!! WOOOOOHOOO!!
Love, Irma Ava ♥

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Lord works in mysterious ways

Hello Friends and Family! 

Funny: We moved apartments this week! 15 stripling Irmaos (I believe this is "brothers") showed up outside our apartment at  9 am Saturday morning to help us, but the portaria man said "NOPE, Saturday moves are not permitted!" I began to fret, but one of my favorite Irmaos took the situation into his own hands, took the man aside for 3 minutes, worked his magic, and somehow the the man went into his little hut and let us do the move. HAHAHA, Oh how I love the members here! We serve all day every day, but it was so cool to be on the receiving end and watch them cheerfully assembly line our little possessions to the other apartment. :)

Learning Experience: At church I shared a little testimony about how the Lord will not tell us everything we want to know for our own growth. I used to think, "How cool is it that we have the Spirit? All I have to do is ask what I should do for every decision and my life will be perfect because I will ALWAYS choose the right!" But sometimes He remains silent so that we have to make choices...and sometimes we are going to choose the wrong one, even though we are trying to do the right thing. We have our agency to choose.  That is why we have the Atonement, that is why we are here on earth. :) We are here preparing to be perfect and to be gods, and someday WE will be the ones needing to give the answers to others!

Then...that night my understanding was put to the test. We were in a house of a less active member, and I was trying to determine which message I should share. I felt like I should share a really strong scripture. I thought, "Really, Pai? Is this what He is needing? Won't it offend him?" But I went with it....and it was a disaster. I felt awful, and later that night I was racking my brain, trying to realize what I did wrong. As the dust settled, I could clearly see when the Spirit had been with me and when I was acting on my own prideful intuitions.

The memory of what I had shared in church that very morning (exercising our agency) came to mind and I realized, "WELL, OF COURSE! I was left to make my own choices, and I chose wrong! But...I learned PRICELESS lessons that I would have never learned had the Spirit been whispering in my ear about everything I should do." Yes, I still hurt as I reflect on the memory, but I am a better missionary today. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and oh, how grateful I am that I am here to make mistakes and get messy, and become clean again through the Atonement. What a beautiful process :)

LOVE YOU ALL!  Sister Ava Ludlam
Ava on another mission with Luci

Monday, September 19, 2016

Miracles Within Me

Nilsa and Edson, always a Party!
I have been sitting here praying about what I should write this week to spiritually lift those who will read this. I want to be able to say we saw so many miracles this week, but I was really discouraged as I realized nothing noteworthy happened. Thousands of steps taken, hundreds of doors knocked (or clapped), but nothing to show for it. But then I thought "but this week was amazing, how do I explain that?"

This week I have learned more about how to be like Christ than any other week on my mission, and that is reason enough to rejoice! That is a MIRACLE! I believe that one of the primary reasons the Lord wanted me to serve a mission was to see the gospel of Jesus Christ work miracles within ME. This week I was faced with hundreds of little decisions each day, where I chose to follow Christ. He is patient, He is meek, He is humble, He is long-suffering. He smiles and He LOVES unconditionally.

I did not have the strength to do these things on my own, but I leaned on Him. I joyfully partook of the sacrament this week, and I have never felt so clean and happy. So yes, no one accepted us this week, but as we took those thousands of steps, I felt like He was right there with us, cheering us on.

Last week a BYU friend sent me an email with 14 fotos and a nice long letter about Stover Hall and late nights and parties, and I thought I would be hurting afterwards. On the contrary! I realized I am HAPPIER here, and that I don't want that right now. FINALLY! I choose Brasil, and I chose to serve. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

President and I were talking a few months ago about how hard it is for me to not miss BYU, and he promised me if I keep doing what I am doing, one morning I will wake up and think EU AMO BRASIL... and the longing for Provo will be gone. I feel like that morning will be very, very soon. Sometimes when I am walking in the streets, I am FILLED with pure joy! The song from Prince of Egypt comes to my mind, "THIS IS MY HOME!!" My Portuguese is improving and I am actually using past, present, and future subjunctive!! THANK YOU SISTER C. SILVA!
I love her. I really do.


Monday, September 12, 2016

I am just the servant

Appears to be Manny from Ice Age ?
Funny: (foto) Sister S letting out her inner woolly mammoth!

The Work: Unfortunately, I have no inspirational stories to share this week. We worked so hard, but everyone we were teaching dropped themselves. : (   At first I was really discouraged and was lost as to what to do next. (Ava confided that this has been her most difficult week yet, but she is doing fine now.)

Spiritual Thought: ...But then I remembered this is not my work, its the Lord, and He already knows exactly what He wants to happen this area. :) What peace that brings me!  I am just the servant, so I just need to ask Him what His will is. :) He will make a lot more out of Jardim Satelite than we can alone, and He can make a lot more of each one of us if we give our wills to Him. :)  My ward is supporting me so much and I feel their love.  There are angels around me.
Tapioca Tortilla

Culture: TAPIOCA!!! It is completely different than tapioca in the States, and I am OBSESSED. It is made from mandioka (kind of like potato, but looks like a tree trunk) or cassava. It is cheap and delicious. It has no taste, so you can put it with chocolate or ham and cheese or whatever you want. Basically a super chewy tortilla and super yummy! Haven't eaten bread in over a month. Unfortunately, the United States doesn't have it, so I am going to eat as much as I can while I am here. :)



Ava drew this masterpiece of our house during language study this week.  Pretty good!