Nicole's Blog

Nicole's Blog

Monday, April 28, 2014

Great Letter from 4/28/14!

Hey everyone! 

This week has been pretty alright! The beginning of the week was really hard because all of the Sisters in the district got sick...we all had SOMETHING awful, and no one knows what it was...but it´s all good now and we´re back to work! We´ve got lots of new investigators, but baptisms are coming super slowly because NO ONE here is´s so weird. But that´s definitely our biggest problem. People here are together 20 years and just never got the piece of paper. So strange. But at least they know the Gospel is true! :D

To answer mom´s question about houses, yes, houses here are extremely humble. A lot just have cement, wood, or dirt floors, and there are definitely bugs everywhere. And when we take the boat to Belém, there are houses hidden in the forest that are just little shacks. It´s way different. 

Hah, and the members here like to show us how fancy they are by feeding us charque. Pronounced like shark. But it´s horse meat. And goooodness gracious I don´t like it at all. But I eat it almost every day :P At least it´s food though. We walk and sweat so much that seriously, any food is good. I´ve lost a little bit of weight, but nothing to worry about just a few pounds. HAH. And I made the grave mistake of pretending to like a certain dessert the Sisters in the ward gave us...and now they make it all the time. Let this be a lesson to you all that lying is bad. badbadbad. But it´s all good...I now have a goal to enjoy charque and cupuaçu (the dessert).

Something hilarious that I love about here is that everyone recognizes me as an American. So when they see me walking down the street, people scramble for the one word or phrase they know in English, and they yell it as we´re walking. Haha it cracks me up. I get a lot of ´how are yoooouu?!?´and ´yeessss!!´ haha I love it. And when I respond in English they just go crazy and ask me to talk more...and then get upset that they can´t understand. It cracks me up.

We´re finally moving houses this more giant ants and spiders and slugs in MY BED. Woo!!

Something we do here every day before we leave the house is bear our testimonies. So I´ve been doing that a lot in Portuguese. One of the sisters in our district is from Argentina, and she literally has forgotten spanish...and with mother´s day coming up, she´s trying to practice spanish so she can talk with her family. So she bore her testimony in Spanish. And because of this, the sisters let me bear mine in English. To them it was all the same...but to me it was so weird! None of the words flowed right and I kept questioning if I was really saying the right thing or if I should have used a different word instead. So...that was reaaaallly weird. It´s just getting way easier to say Gospel related stuff in Portuguese. Christmas I think I´ll have a hard time talking to you guys. :D

One last thing! Sundays are the hardest days! The days we need to get investigators to church. This sunday was awful. We have one investigator, Glory, who really wanted to come with us, but she didn´t know how to get there, and she doesn´t have a car or bike or anything. So we got to the church to look for someone with a car, and the only person with a car there randomly had a flat tire. Then church started, but NO ONE was there on time who could help us. Then an hour later, someone finally we went with him, and he ran out of gas. Literally right out of the parking lot. And of course it was pouring rain. And of course Glory lives reallly far from the church. So...we walked. And eventually everything worked out and we made it just in time for sacrament (they have sacrament last here) And Glory absolutely adored it, and she wants to get baptized asap. So...I guess I learned to not give up...and that SOMEONE doesn´t want our investigators at church. Endure to the end people! Love you all, talk to you next week!

Sister Neal

Monday, April 21, 2014

She's Working Hard and Loves it All!

Hey everyone!

Everything´s been going great, Brazil is definitely still WAY different than the states, and I don´t think I´ll ever get used to it. The work here is going really fast, we have such a huge teaching pool right now that we literally can´t get more people to teach because we can´t keep up ourselves. It´s pretty cool. I´ve been learning that miracles WILL happen...we just have to present a solution to the Lord and He´ll help us make it happen. It´s fantastic. 

I had a pretty interesting experience this week, I decided that I was doing pretty good at Portuguese. My companion said I was doing well, and the members said I was doing well. Then we went to an investigator´s house...and she said she couldn´t understand me at all. So I was reallllly sad. And I didn´t want to talk anymore. Then we went to another investigator´s house and something different happened. I decided that I stunk at Portuguese, and then I talked. And he understood everything. So basically, my mindset now is that Im just terrible at Portuguese, but I can speak when the Lord wants me to. Yay for pessimism and the Lord manifesting to us our weaknesses so he can make them strengths. :P 

I´ve been having cool experiences too with teaching by the spirit. Sometimes I´ll feel prompted to say stuff that I really don´t want to say...but when I end up saying them, the spirit is so strong and the people end up going the direction we want to go. I definitely have a testimony of the gift of tongues, and I know that we´re the hands of the Lord. We´re here to say words, and the spirit testifies of the truthfulness of them. 

One of our investigators, Glory, has been progessing pretty slowly. But last night we went over to teach her, and she said she´d had an awful trial and decided to turn to the Book of Mormon. The part she read was Christ speaking, and he said ´follow me´ And then we taught her the plan of salvation, and she has no doubt now. She said she´d never felt more complete or happy, and she´s getting baptized on Saturday. WOO. :D 

Also, I bought the UGLIEST sandals in the world the other day, and I have never been happier. Most of the sisters here have them, and they´re just heaven. Wooo.

One of the most irritating things about this mission is washing our clothes by hand, hanging them out to dry, leaving the house, and then...RAIN. Haha, it´s the worst. But...if that´s the worst thing, then I guess things are going pretty well. I love this work, and I love these people. All of them have such strong testimonies even before we teach them. We ask them who God is to them, and they say without hesitation that He is their Father. And when we ask them to pray, they usually do. And every single time, you can just feel that they´re having a real conversation with their Father. I love it, they´re teaching me a lot. This is the best decision I´ve ever made. I´m growing so much, and I can´t wait to grow more!

Sister Neo

Monday, April 14, 2014

2nd Week in Bacarena

Everything has been going well here! We had our baptism on Saturday, and it was gorgeous. Lots´s of inactive people came, and we had a blast. I´m so impressed with the desire people have here to follow their Savior. 

We have a lot of goals here, and one of them was to find some families. We were having difficulties with that for some reason...but then we decided to pray. Once we prayed, we basically walked right into two HUGE families with lots of kids able to be baptized. These two families live in a duplex, and we taught them together. They went loved the story of the restauration (HOLY MOLY I SPELLED THAT HALF WAY IN PORTUGUESE I´M GONNA LEAVE IT, COOL.) And the dad was the most interested, along with the 12 year old boy. It was only at the end that we found out that they are all very active in a church in town that forbids them from letting people of other religions in their home. WHOA. We were so blessed, and they have baptism dates. We just need to get the parents married. That´s one of the biggest problems here. NO ONE is married! Haha these people have been together for almost 20 years and never tied the knot! Usually it´s because they don´t have any money...but seriously. Oh well. The kids can be baptized, and with time so will the parents. So we´re hoping. 

Our zone conference this week was about só mais um (just one more) and that was super inspiring. We´ve been keeping that in our minds. só mias um contato. Só mais um licão. Só mias um batismo. And it´s been amazing!! It´s definitely a lot of work, but the results have been unreal. I love it. 

The people here are so generous, and the members and I are actually becoming really close. Now that I can actually converse with them, we all have a great time. The only thing is, now that they know I can actually speak, the LOVE picking me to give the message after I always have to be prepared. :P But everything has been going great with the language! I learn more every day! I can speak quickly, and people understand me, and I´m even learning the slang and stuff so it´s super fun! It´s been incredible. My testimony grows more every single day. I´m always learning. I am so blessed to be serving here with these amazing people. 

Até mais!!

Love, Sister Neal

The girl who was baptized is 14 and her name is Geovana. We love her!

Got a bad allergy to some nasty bug bites. :( They dont look that bad....but they hurt like CRAZY.

I couldn´t feel my feet and I couldn´t breathe...but It´s all good! I got some shots and now I´m fine :D

Monday, April 7, 2014

First Post from Belem with pictures!

Alright, I am officially in the Brasil, Belém mission!! WOO! And I love it. My area is Bacarena. Like Macarena. And it is SWEET. We had to take a boat to get here, so honestly, I have no idea where I, if you could look it up and tell me, that would be fantastic. haha. But dang is it hot. So humid, I feel like I´m swimming all the time. Haha. And because it´s so hot, it´s a rule to shower twice a day. So we always smell nice, and I´m getting a pretty sweet tan! I love my companion. Her name is Sister Domingues, and she speaks NO English. Yaaay for charades. Haha, it´s been pretty great. She´s so patient with me, and I´m super grateful for that. So, our apartment. Yeah, it sucks. It´s disgusting. The humidity is so bad that there´s just mold everywhere, and there are bugs...looots of bugs. The ants aren´t cute little baby ants either, they´re huge and GROSS AND THEY BITE. You should see my legs, haha. But it´s not like we´re in the house THAT much. Anyway, President came and saw our house and basically commanded us to move into a different one, so we´re doing that this week. WOO! I´m getting over my fear of germs reaaalllly fast, hahaa. I kinda have to. The food here is fantastic, and I haven´t gotten sick at all yet! I´m feeling a little bit too blessed...nothing bad has happened to me except getting bit by stupid little bugs that think my bed is theirs. So I´m bracing myself for something ridiculous. Haha. 

People here are so receptive! Contacting is so easy. We say we´re missionaries and ask if we can share a message, and they say yes! Haha, even the Catholics. We´ve already taught tons of lessons and have tons of baptism dates. We really just need to work really hard on getting them to come to church regularly. 

I have already learned so much about my Savior and this work! It´s really incredible. I´ve had the gift of tongues a lot, I was able to understand everything the prophets said at conference. And the Spirit prompts me during lessons to say certain things, and the results are awesome. I just need to stay humble and open and ask for these blessings. I´m super excited to be here, I love it.

OH. Haha, can´t believe I forgot. My bags got lost on the way to Belém. They decided to go to Florianopolis, the opposite end of the country. So that was fun! But I got them back late the next day. And i was the only American to leave the that was great. And it was April Fool´s day. I don´t know, it was just funny. I´m gonna try to send pictures! Tchau!


Sister Neal

P.S. - Also, my companion sleeps in a hammock. Haha, I might upgrade to a hammock, that´s so much sweeter and more exotic than a dumb bed with bugs in it!

 My 1st companion, Sister Morse

 My District in the Provo MTC

 Sister Taylor, my 2nd companion but first one in Brasil

Sister Pikula, my 3rd companion. She's an Aussie