Monday, July 24, 2017

Quite Superb in Cachoeira and Cruzeiro!

Sister Malan and Ava
This week was CRAZY, really long, and really quite superb.

So basically, Cachoeira Paulista has about 20 actives members, half of which are children. There is no young men or young women organizations. The branch literally consists of 1 massive family, all cousins and brothers and mother in laws. We also discovered that we are responsible for the area next door, Cruzeiro, which is the farthest area in our entire mission. They have never had sisters, where as Cachoeira hasn't had them for what seems like 3 years. The areas are GORGEOUS!! President said there are mountains because he knows how much I love mountains, but a few elders told me, "Nahhh! They are just really big hills." HOWEVER! When we got here it was cloudy for about 2 days, but one morning we woke up and the sun was shining and.. BAM! There were these massive, beautiful mountains next to us that were finally uncovered, it took my breathe away!! Also, the stars are simply incredible. There are lots of horses and grass and I love it.

Monday: I got into the capital and got to spend the day with Sister de Jesus. Oh, how I love that girl! We had a wonderful dinner and testimony meeting. I was the only one not going home that week, and I just happened to be the last to speak. I talked about the miracle of sacrifice, and how it is ESSENTIAL for happiness.

Tuesday: We went to the São Paulo Temple and it was my first time actually going inside. It was a very sacred experience I will always treasure. We went to a Churrasqueria buffet afterwards, and the meat was SUPER SALTY to make you buy more drinks. I held strong. Then we got back to the escritorio and it was time to make the long voyage to Guaratinguetá. Thankfully, the only 2 other sisters in our zone (Sister Lima and Sister Mendes) happened to be there so I didn't have to go alone. There was a big mix up and, unfortunately, Sister Malan was unable to get a bus, so I stayed the night with Sisters Lima and Mendes. It was lovely.

Wednesday: In the rain we lugged my two little but heavy suitcases to their chapel for a district meeting. We then went to pick up Sister Malan at the Rodoviaria. We went to eat lunch in Lorena with the sisters, and then payed their LMA to take us to our area because he was the only one who
Our house has black lights.
knew where we lived. We FINALLY arrived in our area at about 3:30. We discovered that our area had had elders the last transfer, and the house was in much need of a clean up (hahaha). We unpacked our stuff and bought food. We tried to mark a visit with the Branch President, but he marked an FHE with us and his whole family the next night. When we were leaving the super market, someone said, "Hello, Sisters!" and it was him! He took us to his house to meet his whole family really quick.

Thursday: When you "open an area," you have to start from ground zero because we didn't have information of who was being taught the last transfer, who is less active or a recent convert, so we organized our Area Book (with forms of all previous investigators) into the different neighborhoods and got to work! We spent all day just knocking doors and seeing if the people would let us teach them. I am very grateful I genuinely like knocking doors and walking in the street all day because that is really all you have to do when you open an area. That night we had an FHE with the President's family. They talked about Nephi building a ship and how we need to go to the mountain and inquire of the Lord. I felt like it was meant for us. ♥

Friday: More Area Book files, all day. HOWEVER, we live next to a member named Mariana and she gave us a reference of a less active, Vilma. When we got there with Mariana, we also met Josiane, who lives with Vilma for right now. We taught them and marked Josiane for baptism! WOOHOO!

Saturday: More knocking. We also visited with Josiane again, she read the Book of Mormon and prayed and said she felt really good. We talked about the Sabbath Day and everyone agreed to go to church the next day. At night we had a Noite de Caldo (Soup Night) with some investigators who don't want commitmen,t but they love missionaries, so we went and met a ton of new people who gave us their addresses and numbers! Yay!

Sunday: At 8:30 we knock (clap) at Vilma's door, no one answers. After about 5 minutes of making a lot of noise, a man comes over and says they left early to visit a neighboring town. I was really sad.
Our Chapel Warehouse
We got to the church, and it was SO DIFFERENT! It is basically a warehouse with plastic wall dividers. The baptismal font is a tarp draped over metal poles and a hose. There were 17 people there, at the end of the meeting 2 more families showed up (coming to a total of 25), but then they left again. After church, the President of the neighboring town, Cruzeiro, called us and said they have 3 references for us! They came and picked us up and the rest of the day they just chauffeured us around and we taught many many people. After the whole week, we had 4 new investigators in Cachoeira, but just on Sunday we also got 4 new investigators in Cruzeiro. They are trying to show President they need missionaries again, so they are working really hard with us!

So, all in all, this week was exhausting. I forgot how much energy it takes to open an area. You have to get so many "no's" before something goes right. When we finally marked Josiane, we felt like the
Lord is seeing our effort and it is paying off. There is certainly a reason Sister Malan and I are here, it just is going to take a lot of patience and diligence to figure it out. We are doing our best to stay pumped up and not get overwhelmed or discouraged. I LOVE Sister Malan. She teaches so simply and purely, is very level headed, and is just so enjoyable to be around. She has a LOT of faith. We decided when we got here to fast every week of the transfer.

This week we fasted to see miracles and help Cachoeira grow, but we realized we need to be more specific. This week we were planning on fasting to find a family because that is exactly what this branch needs, so I told that to the sister leader of the mission. She said you need to be even more specific than that, ask for a family with a mom, a dad, 2 teenage boys, and a young woman, or something like that. We now pray to know what kind of family would be best to help the branch, what kind of family the Lord already has prepared for us.

Well, I have a feeling this week is going to be even more exhausting, but I am ready for it! With the Lord and sister Malan at my side, I know we are going to discover very shortly why the Lord has sent us here.

Sister Ludlam

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