Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This Week I Became a Brasilera

Best companion ever.  I asked her to carry me and she said, "Hop on!"
I am officially a Brasiliera!! Partially because I went to a big scary building called Policia Federal and got my documentation saying I can legally be here, and secondly, I have stopped speaking English completely. I have been trying to cut it out ever since March, but something clicked Tuesday and I haven't looked back! Something else changed ever since Tuesday as well, which is harder to explain.

The Brazilian Meal, only $5 ☺
I have been loving Sao Paulo, but I have been so stressed every single day, and I think too often "just get through today." But once I decided to only speak the language, I showed Heavenly Father I am willing to give my whole heart, might, mind and strength to this work and something miraculously changed. An inner peace and energy has permeated my life, and I have never felt so fulfilled and joyful. Even though we are lucky to teach a lesson a day, and I feel like I "didn't accomplish anything" for the past week, I am so happy! I wake up excited, and I go to sleep saying "I gave my all." The purpose of this life is to align our will with God's, and when we put ourselves on the altar we will feel an inner peace and joy that we cannot receive in any other way. Life is suddenly simple and filled with light.

Woke up to this!
Brazil Highlights
1. No one can pronounce my last name, so I will be Sister Loogeelahng for the next 14 months :)

2. Jenna: everyone here wears socks and flip flops, your fashion statement has gone international!

3. I was with my absolute favorite person in the world, Irma Patricia, who is kind of like the Brazilian Ms. Frizzle. All of the clothing here has English written on it, so my dear sweet Irma was wearing a black hoodie stating "Hustle or Starve"-raining cash and sports cars. She didn't get why I was laughing so hard.

4. Heavenly Father always knows how to cheer me up. Whenever things are starting to get really hard, someone starts playing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and I can't help but laugh and realize that I need to relax and enjoy this incredible experience I am having.

5. I GOT YOUR PACKAGE IN 10 DAYS!!! I wasn't expecting a package until Christmas! There was so much love in that package, it made me so happy, thank you- thank you- thank you!

I love you all, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. Have a great week!

Sister Loodgee

Monday, June 20, 2016

Line upon line

Line upon line is the way God always has and always will teach His children.
Jardim Satelite District

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my council, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say we have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have;" --2 Nephi 28:30

One day in 7th grade, I decided I wanted to know for myself whether God was real and whether this was truly Jesus Christ's church. It is incredible to look back on the last 7 years and see how the constant effort I put forward has resulted in knowledge. That seed of faith that I planted has grown into a magnificent tree.

I keep reminding myself of this truth as I teach people the gospel, because they will learn the same way I did. Even if I explain everything in a way that seems clear to me, they will not be able to understand everything immediately. However, if they are diligent, line upon line their faith will grow, their lives with change, and they will gain this same knowledge that brings me so much joy. In the life to come, we will not suddenly understand everything, we will continue to learn in this manner until our knowledge is perfect like our Father's. Isn't the gospel beautiful?
São Jose

This week we received revelation line upon line to help this area. After 3 weeks of handing out cards in the streets and clapping outside of houses of former investigators, we realized the Lord had something else in store for this area. First, we realized the answer lies in the members. Then, a memory from years ago came to me of missionaries making Family Mission Plans, and I began to work with this idea with Sister G. Then, as we were explaining our ideas to our Ward Mission Leader and asking him for help, another memory came to my mind from Bellevue 6th ward--a youth activity.

"No stove, no water, but I'm happy with my panini maker!"
With these simple little ideas, we have created a plan to help the members be INVOLVED in this work, so that they will share the gospel with those who are ready! It starts out with a ward activity called Called to Serve. We will give a mission call to each member, telling them to report to the "MTC." There, we will give them name tags and the will board a plane, starting their journey to becoming missionaries. Then they will enter the MTC, and we will help them practice being a missionary so they will know what to say when they open their mouths and not have fear as they share the gospel in their their every day lives. The purpose of this activity is to get them EXCITED and realize that every member of Jesus Christs church has the privilege and obligation to share the gospel. At the end, we will invite them to write a list of people who don't have the gospel in their lives yet, and to later pray to know which ones the Lord has prepared already to receive it.

Part two of our plan is to go to their homes and help them make Family Mission Plans. On a more personal level we can specifically help them prepare to share with their friends. We will address their worries and practice doing it. This plan was given to us to specifically help those in our little ward, and I would have never thought this would be the answer, but its already taking off! And we  received this guidance line upon line because we were diligent in seeking His guidance. I AM SO EXCITED. I will keep you updated!

Sister Ludlam

Monday, June 13, 2016

Let me tell you about Jardim Satelite

 FAMILIA QUERIDA! <3 This is going to be a little long, sorry! Let me tell you about Brazil.

I thought São Paulo would be miles and miles of orange, brown, and white one-story boxes with some old churches, but it is nothing like what I expected. It is so exotically beautiful!! Sao Paulo is more of a Disneyland Jungle New York, with vibrant colors and everyone passing on the street actually says, "Tudo bem? Tudo bem!" like they're old friends! In the median of the road, there are massive trees that canopy over people biking with their friends on the handle bars. I feel like I've gone back in time because everything from the sinks to the food labels has an 80s feel to it. But of course everyone has iPhone 6s and the stores play Rihanna and John Mayor. It's winter right now, which I thought meant 60 degrees opposed to the 90 in summer, but it is abnormally FREEZING. Someone told me that last week that São Paulo was colder than Alaska. I was freezing to death until a member gave me a big warm sweater (which I am currently wearing). The trucks that play music here don't sell ice cream, only propane. Water is bike delivered.
JARDIM SATELITE (shjar-shjing satEleech)
This has been the transfer of prayers answered, like I said last week. Our area was closed for half a year. Bispo had been asking for months for missionaries, and President received an answer that it was time. I feel absolutely inadequate to be the missionary sent to these people. From the night we arrived, they have showered us with love and kindness. They pull warm clothes and blankets from their closets, kitchen supplies from their cupboards, and are constantly dropping off groceries and treats. They fixed our shower, fridge, microwave, and give us rides. They welcome us into their homes, and drop what they're doing to visit investigators and don't just give us directions to places, they walk us there. It has touched my heart so deeply to see how willing they are to give what little they have and their excitement to help us bring back last sheep and find people who still haven't heard the glorious message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn't think wards like Jardim Satelite actually existed, but how privileged I am to be here if only a short while. We have already seen miracles together! I know the friendships that I've made here have an eternal foundation.

Wake up at 6:30, exercise and get ready for the day. 8:00-12:00, personal, companionship, and lang studies, and newbie training. THEN..we have our one meal of the day--Almoco-- at a members house. <3 It typically consists of rice, beans, some kind of meat, salad, highly concentrated juice, and desert that contains sweetened condensed milk in some form or another. No one actually forces you to eat here, but maybe I just haven't experienced that because I already eat so much ;) I don't know how I lived 19 years of life without eating rice and beans every day. On days without a member meal, I never feel satisfied with my normal food in the house. Almoco is a life changing experience every day. Then from 2-9 pm we get down to business. The schedule is kind of brutal, but I like it and I am getting used to it. I like not having dinner because then we can truly spend time with the members and love them and not rush the Brazilian time table. When we got to the area, there was nothing to work with except for 2+ year old records from the area book of former investigators. Our work consists of contacting in the street and trying to find these people, and knocking around their houses. Sister missionaries will be provided dress pants which are mandatory to wear from January to May. Hooray for dress pants...but we can wear backpacks. Hallelujah!

Our teaching pool is small, but golden. I want to tell you about "Goldie." It was my 5th day in Brazil, and it was ROUGH. Rain had been pouring all day, very gloomy, and we were sharing an umbrella as we tried to navigate the streets and find these former investigators without getting our map book and records wet. It got old after 3 hours, and we both wanted to go home and hibernate until the sun came back and we weren't fasting anymore. But of course we kept working, and at 7:30, we called the name "LUISAAA" outside a former investigators gate. Goldie lived in the house behind Luisa, but she thought she heard her name and came to us (rather suspicious, I know.) She is just the most glowing and full of light individual, and she had her husband and child are incredibly humble. We sat down in their tiny home and were guided to teach a very unique lesson, and it touched her heart. After we finished, she walked us to the street, hugged us, and began to cry. We asked "Are you happy?" She nodded. "Was this an answer to prayer?" She nodded. We hugged her again and of course I began to cry, and I'll never forget looking back at her waving and crying. That image will forever be a gift. <3 And she ACTUALLY CAME TO CHURCH, first time for that to happen on my mission! I'll keep you updated. :)

What a healthy companionship. We are actually getting close to that envisionment of fun adventure, "skipping down the sidewalk singing from the rooftop" missionaries. I have never laughed so much in my life; that's all we do all day long. She makes me feel like warm homemade bread and Oregon. There is literally nothing about her that bothers me, which is kind of awkward for companionship inventory. I say it is healthy because laughing has been so good for my soul, and there's something about her that actually helps me tell her when I am struggling. One night I was struggling, but I went against what the normal Sister Ludlam would do and told her. I said, "You know that stress scale that goes from green to red in the manual? I think I am in the orange." She told me I was not allowed to keep going until I cried. I did, we talked, I felt better, and we got back to work. She is also an incredible powerful teacher. Just like Jesus Christ, she teaches in a loving, bold way, uses scriptures and common objects to teach principles, and tells stories. I honestly am lost as to why I got Sister Gines AND this area. I'm so spoiled.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ in its fullness is on the earth today. I know that living the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring more joy than we could ever imagine. Heavenly Father loves us, we are His children, and we have the divine potential to become just like Him if we live the gospel. We are here to change and become more like him, and to help others do it as well. What a beautiful beautiful thing. I love you all-- have a great week!!

Sister Ludlam

Monday, June 6, 2016

Brazil. Wow. Where do I start?

Sister Gines, Ava and Sister Rebecca
I am so sorry you didn't hear from me for 2 weeks. I thought they would let me call you after arriving or at least shoot an email, but oh well! I made it!!

After the craziest and most wonderful 2 weeks of my life, I don't really know where to start. Saying goodbye to Sister DeMaio was so hard, I haven't been able to stop thinking about her because she is just. so. special. We had such a deep bond that it kind of felt like I was saying goodbye to Lia again.

I spent the night at the mission home, and it was one of those unforgettable "my life is about to change forever" nights. We all bore testimonies the basement turned into a piece of Heaven. Sister Jaggi and I wept together over how special Hermana DeMaio is.

The last thing we did in the USA!
The next morning I began a 29-hour traveling "adventure" with Elder Rassmussen. I am so glad he was with me-- it would have been a nightmare if I didn't have a friend. On the flight between LA and NYC, I was surrounded by this precious young family. The father showed so much love to his children, I wanted them to know they can be together forever. I gave them a Book of Mormon with a testimony of eternal families on the inside.


Waiting to get in their new apartment
So many prayers have been answered. First, mine were answered for getting  Sister Jines as my companion. She is from Vegas, and these two transfers with me will be her last. She is one of the most pure, without guile, and regal people I have ever met. This area is heaven. This ward has been praying for missionaries for a long time, and so many miracles have already happened. I can't believe Heavenly Father trusted ME enough to send me into this area (we are opening it) and the Bishop and ward members have put so much faith in us and give us more support than I could've dreamed of.  They all pray for us daily and it just makes me realize I represent Jesus Christ to them and to the lost sheep in this area-- which has made me change a LOT of things about my missionary self.

Irmao Gabriel brought us Subway! :-)

I have no more time, and I am sorry this letter is all over the place, but I will explain more of what is going on here later. I am blissfully happy, and like Ammon, I wish I could be a missionary here for the rest of my life (Alma 17:23). I was supposed to come to São Paulo Brazil to this area with this companion at this time. I am just in awe.

I love my Savior so much for this privilege to be here.

Love,  Sister Ludlam

"My hair loves Brasil!"

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ava is in Brazil!!

Hello Friends,

Ava had to travel on her Preparation Day, so we did not receive a letter from her, but...her new Mission President wrote to let us know that she arrived safely... and kindly sent us two pictures.

Also, Ava's new mailing address is in the left sidebar of this blog. ☺

Sister Ludlam's arrival with Sister and President Silcox

Ava's first companion-- her name will be forthcoming!