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