Sunday, August 2, 2009

July 28, 2009

Dear Family:

I got transferred.

Weird, huh? Sister de Souza, who was my companion in Guarujá, whose sister died, went home on Thursday last week. And, because I was in trio, President transferred me to Santo André-Ala 3, on the other side of the city. I'm now with Sister Miner. She's awesome! She's from Salt Lake and has about a year in the mission and has a brother in Mission-Hong Kong. My new ward seems really cool, and we've got a baptism coming up on Sunday, Elizângela. Elizângela is 26 and lives with her friend Bianca (who was baptised a few weeks ago) and Bianca's mom.

I'm glad April's getting better and I'm getting so excited to help with Dad's new calling and meet Manuel!! You guys are being such good missionaries! Did the Scott's already get their Book of Mormon?

So, I've been thinking about our trip. President Richardson, when he gave me a ride to my new area, asked me if I knew that I would still be a missionary on the vacation, and explained to me that that meant I have to keep the missionary schedule as much as absolutely possible and that you guys should be prepared to keep the schedule with me and stuff. Are you guys prepared for that? Are we going to wake up at 6:30 and study together and go to bed at 10:30 and everything? President Richardson said that they all used missionary dress during the activities that permitted it... are you guys going to do that?

I think that's it... Good luck with all the preparations.

See you soon!
Love y'all,
Sister Todd

July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

Congratulations, Daddy! The new LMA!! I'm gonna help you so good next month. You better have all your weekly meetings with the missionaries and go on splits and plan activities and get everybody to help the missionaries and always have food at the meetings.

Mom, I'm so happy that you're loving work.

EMILY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY A LONG TIME AGO!! I`m not sure if i remembered to say that when it was actually your birthday. But I remembered when it was actually your birthday. When everybody was getting ready for the day, I all of the sudden cried out `PARABENS!!` And stated singing the birthday song. Sister Swollon thought that i was singing for myself, cuz it was the same day that i completed 17 months on the mission, but I was singing for you. The end.

This past week we had our last zone conference. And it was awesome. President Richardson taught us why the Book of Mormon is called the Book of Mormon. Anyone know? I know you think you do, but you don`t actually know. At least not the secret reason. The secret reason is found in Mosiah 18:30. The Waters of Mormon was where the people came to know their Redeemer. And the Book of Mormon is where we come to know our Redeemer. How beautiful is it to the eyes of them that there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer! Is it beautiful to you? We learned all about the Book of Mormon and using the Book of Mormon... and did I tell y`all that we`re reading the book of mormon as a mission in 60 days?... so we had a chance to bear our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It was wonderful, and I cried to think that I will never have another Zone Conference... ever.

As for your question, Dad, OF COURSE we`re going to have time to prepare people for baptism! I`m just not sure who or when. We`re teaching a LOT of people and quite a few already went to church. Our most firm investigators are: Sonia and Natale (mother and daughter), Jenifer (daughter of less-active family that is reactivating), Lu (girlfriend of son of less-active family that is reactivating), Henrique (13 years old, is participating with the young men), Leandro (who has drug problems), and Paulo (who is still having the same problems--but goes every week to church). All wonderful people.

Remind me to tell you about Viela 14 next week.

Love you all,

Sister Todd

June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009


We had transfers today and I'm in trio again in my same area! Me and Sister Swollon went and picked up Sister Romani. We are all going home next transfer. All three of us.

I loved you letter, Dad; and your talk, Ethan. You guys are so smart and brave and spiritually in tune. I'm so proud of everybody. Everybody went and growed up. I'm still waiting to get some recent pictures of April, by the way.

I'd like to ask for your prayers on behalf of Paulo. Paulo is a great young man... who has now read the entire Book of Mormon... and says that he knows that it could not have been written by a man... but is having a painfully hard time making a decision to be baptised. He is all caught up it deep theoretical stuff (wants to know who created God, etc). We're preparing a lesson for him on Saturday that I'm praying will make the difference.

We had another great week. We had record numbers of new investigators because we went to the soccer games that they're having in the church parking lot Tuesday and Wednesdays and got everybody's addresses. There are a lot of great young men with families, and we taught a lot of them.

And p-day's over.

Sister Todd

June 23, 2009


What a crazy week! Funny that it came in the same week as my crazy week. We taught a ton of really hard lessons this week. Everybody had tricky questions or hard life situations or thought we were satan worshipers or started arguing in front of us or any number of other strange things. but it was great, because me and my companion were able to deal with all of the situations. And in each lesson, either she or I knew what to do. When I told president about it in our interviews, he said it was a fulfillment of D&C 100:5-8. It was a great testimony building week... but exhausting at the same time. And to top it off well, we went to the temple today!!! It was my first and last temple trip with the mission. At the beginning of my mission, everyone in São Paulo or abc went every month... and then it switch to every quarter... and during all this time I was in the Baixada--so i only went to see Kevin. so i went one time, and Sister Swollon went seven times. in the same amount of mission. It was wonderful. We went to a session and did some initiatories. It felt like it had been ages and ages since i last went. But it was also exhausting cuz we woke up at 4:30 to take a bus, the train, and another bus... and then to come back. So I'm going to wrap it up and take a quick nap before starting to work at 6... wish me luck! Love you mom! (and everybody!) Never give up! never surrender!

Sister Todd

June 16, 2009


How I love this work! I have learned even more clearly on my mission that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he prepare a way for them to accomplish them. Christ commanded us to be perfect. And this life is the way that he gave us to accomplish this commandment. I am learning so much on my mission. Looking back on all the opportunities and experiences that I have had on my mission, I can see so clearly the Lord's hand guiding my progress as a missionary and as his child. I know that every companion and every area and every investigator and every ward and EVERYTHING was exactly what I needed to learn and grow. I am so greatful to have had these wonderful experiences.

I discovered a scripture last week that has now become one of my favorites: 2 Nephi 11:4-5. It is such a simple declaration of everything that matters--a short summary of the gospel and God's plan for us. My soul, too, rejoices in my Savior, and delights in the covenants that can bind us to him and guide us to salvation and exaltation. I am loving this great opportunity to help people see these things and help them to enter into the way that can take them safely through this life. The gospel is so simple and beautiful! I just pray that we all can live it better every day-and take advantage of every moment.

Love and pray for you all,

Sister Todd

June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009

I love you guys! Thank you so much for all the details, Dad. It sounds like everybody's doing great. The Manaus trip would be great. I'm up for anything that you guys decide on. I'd also love to sleep in a hammock in the jungle... I think it would complete my Brazil experience. But if mom just wants to hang out on the beach, I'm down with whatever.

Our week was great. Our three baptisms were all successes, except for the water heater that didn't heat. The poor things almost froze. But their families all went and we are hoping to reactivate everybody! We had Ward Conference and Zone Conference, and a special musical fireside put on by the ward youth (I played the piano), and we taught a lot and Arlete and Rocha are still progressing and we're working on a lot of divorces and marriages to get a lot of old investigators baptised... and having a great time!

We are working super hard and having lots of wonderful experiences. If I had more time, I'd tell you all about it, but in just a couple more months we'll have some more time to talk about it all. So get excited, cuz there are some great stories. :)

I love the Lord and the mission,

Sister Todd

Swollon & Todd - Faithful and Powerful!

A Young Man Prepared....

More who love The Lord!

Entering the Waters of Baptism

May 26, 2009

Dear Family:

Sister Swollon invited our family. :) She's done some great propaganda, if anyone's interested. There are lots of historic places, tons of beautiful beaches, museums, lots of Carnaval sites, and, of course, free guided tours.

We've had a fabulous week. We worked so hard, and received so many blessings. Sister Swollon is a very cheerful, excited, energetic person. Everyone in the ward is already loving her. We're going to have a great time and do a lot of great things here--we didn't even get lost very much this week.

Matheus, Yeska, and Murillo are all going to be baptised this week. They are all children of members, but they didn't get baptised when they were eight, so we get to teach them and prepare the baptisms. Matheus is 10, Yeska is 9, and Murillo is 14. They are great kids who really want to be baptised and are all going to church regularly, even though their families are not entirely active. Matheus goes with his grandma to church, Yeska goes with her dad (her mom works), and Murillo goes by himself. They all are excited to learn and really excited about their baptisms.

Eder was also confirmed and interviewed to get the priesthood next week.

Love you all!
Sister Todd

May 19, 2009

Dear Family,

Dad, thank you so much for your wonderful letter. :) You and mom were both inspired these last couple weeks. I'm so glad you're learning great things and that everybody's doing well.

Transfers were today! I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Swollon--another Pernambucana, from Recife, just like Sister M. Silva. She has the same time in the mission as I do. We're both finishing up in August, so y'all probably meet her personally in the temple. I also saw Sister Tittelfitz at transfers and her mom is coming to pick her up, if you want to recontact her parents--see if we can go out to dinner or something.

But on to more important things...


It was so great! He finally made up his mind. His mom and sister and neighbor all went to the baptism and we're teaching them now, too. We always mention the mission about 8 times per visit to get him excited. But he has to wait a year to be able to go... so he won't be joining Kevin... but could be going the same time as Ethan. He is such a great example. He is from a relatively poor family and dropped out of high school with a year and a half to go. He even has a lot of friends that are selling drugs and stuff. But he is completely different. He has always lived the commandments, without even knowing they were commandments. He wants to be good, choose the right. He went to institute last week and loved it. He loves to learn and is really smart. He said some things last week that were just incredible. During a lesson he said that he was excited to get baptised so that he could pay tithing! I've never heard anyone say anything like that before. But he understood the purpose of tithing and he wanted to contribute to the Lord's work. He's said other similar things about other commandments, like the Law of Chastity--before he didn't know about this commandment, but now he's made a vow to keep it. It's incredible. The elect exist!

And Arlete and Rocha. When I was on splits with an irmã in our ward, she saw Arlete with her family, said "I love families!" And went to talk to her. She accepted our visits. After our first visit, while reading the Book of Mormon and praying, she had a wonderful experience in which she remembered her baptism, 20 years ago, in the Church, and she knew, at that moment the Book of Mormon was true. We scheduled to pick her up for church last Sunday and her husband, Rocha, who is not usually interested in religion, came with her. They both had wonderful experiences at church. Arlete's response was cofirmed and Rocha met an old friend who is a member of our ward and was very impressed by the meetings and the classes. It was like everything that was said at church had been planned with them in mind. Rocha invited us to teach his family that very night (3 daughters with baptism age and the oldest daughter's mission-aged boyfriend). All of the children were very receptive. I had also been concerned about Arlete taking the sacrament--because she has been baptised and currently smokes and she is not legally married. I explained the sacred nature of the Sacrament but did not tell her when we shouldn't take it. However, Arlete told us in the lesson about how she had been impressed not to take the sacrament that day. She truly was taught by the Spirit. I was touched by her sensitivity and received, yet again, a confirmation that the Lord is personally involved in the very details of this sacred work.

And they all went to church again this week! Arlete and Rocha brought their two younger daughters, and Arlete's brother and sister-in-law also came. Her brother-in-law is a returned missionary (who baptised Arlete when he got home from his mission 20 years ago), but he's been less active for several years. It was very interesting to see him in Gospel Principles. Can you imagine how it would feel to come back to what you know is true after years? Arlete said that 6 months ago her sister-in-law had said she did not ever want to go to church (she'd never even visited), but after Arlete went and said she liked it, they all went together! And the little girls loved Primary. They learned about baptism and confirmation. And then they went home and read the Book of Mormon together. On the first try, they ended up fighting, but then Arlete sat down with them to help them understand. And they all read the Introduction and 3 Nephi 11 together. And Rocha is taking the Book of Mormon to work with him. And he went to church exhausted because he works nights... so he didn't even sleep before church. And had to work again Sunday night! Imagine the sacrifice. More elect. Arlete has said that things changed a lot in her home since they started learning together. I love to see families blessed by the gospel!

Sister Todd

May 12, 2009

Dear Family:

This week was awesome. I want to tell y'all all about Eder and our new family Arlete and Rocha and their children. But I have no time because I have to update the references website and it's driving me crazy!! But I loved talking to y'all on Sunday. It might have made me really excited to see everybody in another little while. But Eder...

Eder is almost getting baptised. He is my favorite. He is turning 19 today! He is a cute skinny little thing. His face lights up when we go to his house. There's a scripture in the Book of Mormon somewhere that talks about how Ammon knew that the people were converted because of the great love that they had for the missionaries. Sometimes you can just feel this incredible love from the people that understand how valuable your message is. And the love you feel for them is indescribable. Different.

And Arlete and Rocha are amazing and I want to tell you all about the miracles that have happened with them. And I will. Next week.

Sister Todd

May 5, 2009


Today is a particularly wonderful day because I am currently wearing pants. We just got back from a hike in a nature preserve. I bought a pair of jeans from a thrift shop yesterday especially for this occasion. And they are not just any jeans. They are stretchy and perfectly comfortable and fit exactly and were only 7 reais!! I may or may not have slept in them last night, I was so excited. The nature preserve was absolutely lovely. I really miss what is known as "mato" here in Brazil. At home, I always lived in relatively civilized areas, but there was always some kind of access to green areas. Here, in all of my areas for the last year, it has been almost entirely straight cement. My current area includes a little neighborhood in the middle of nowhere that is totally green with no cement at all. My pure euphoria was surprising even to me. Only in that moment did I realize how much I missed nature. And today our district went to hang out in the nature! I had the privilege of watching a butterfly give birth, and analyzed giant spiders with 6 foot webs, and saw tons of cicada exoskeletons and giant scary caterpillars, and I sat and lay in the grass and leg wrestled with Sister Souza, and we had a picnic, and climbed up hills... and all in all it was heavenly.

Deer is our most promising investigator right now. He's already been to church 3 times and he knows he has to get baptized, he just doesn't feel the desire to get baptized yet. He lives all the commandments, and is 18 years old. He's a miracle. We would appreciate your prayers on his behalf. If all goes as planned (by me), he should go on his mission about the same time as Ethan. :) They could even be companions!!

We are still in the midst of the chapel open house. It started yesterday. It will be dedicated on Saturday, and I will tell y'all all about it on Sunday!! I can hardly believe it!

I'm so proud of everybody for doing so many awesome things--except for the dating before 16 thing---and we'll talk so soon!!

All my love,
Sister Todd

April 21, 2009

Dear Family,

This week has been great! The only bad news is that the chapel's dedication was postponed for another week: May 9th.

We met 3 new families this week: José and Leonilda, Carla and Alexandre, and Vivian and Joaquim. Each deserves a short commentary.

José and Leonilda
They are an older couple that was taught by the sisters in December. José is more interested than Leonilda... who didn't want to schedule more visits with the sisters. However, last week we were passing their house and José was in the doorway. Sister M. Silva was one of the original sisters that met them, so she started talking to him and he invited us in. And we made friends with Leonilda. Leonilda is a nurse who has worked in surgery for 20 years. She also makes jewelry in her spare time as a thereputic activity. She told us stories about the surgeries she's witnessed and showed us all the jewelry she's made... and she has lovely pieces. It's all beaded and every piece is different. There were a few that I thought Mom, April and Emily would like. If only I had money... : ) And after all this it was time for us to go as it was approaching 9:30, but she asked "Aren't you guys going to say a prayer?" So we left a short message with them and she even scheduled our next visit, which was last night. I went back with a family from the ward (on splits) and it was really great. I have great hopes for them, although it might take a little while for them to progress because of Leonilda's work schedule (every other day 12 hour shifts).

Carla and Alexandre
Carla and Alexandre are the owners of where I am right now, a LAN House. They have known the sisters for YEARS and they say that no one ever asked them if they wanted to hear a message. We taught them last week. Carla explained James 1:5 better than many a missionary. And Alexandre also understood and made awesome commentaries. They are a beautiful couple and work really hard to make the LAN House a healthy invironment for all. They teach all the teenagers that come here to respect one another and care about eachother. They will be amazing members and leaders.

Vivian and Joaquim
Joaquim stopped us in the street the Sunday before last. He was sitting on his motercycle with Vivian at his side. He asked if there was anyone that could go to his house to teach about the church and if he went to church if there was anyone that could sit by them and explain things. We humbly offered our services. They are a 20-something couple and were celebrating their first wedding anniversary on that day. They scheduled for us to go back this past Sunday. They told us that they have complicated religous pasts and had decided that as a couple they would look into some religions and figure out what they believe and what they want to do. They're not even sure if they believe in God, which is very rare in Brazil. But they are super smart and really want to find out if they believe. So the Book of Mormon should help with all of that.

So, we'd appreciate your prayers on behalf of our families. I'm so excited to be helping so many amazing people and very honored that the Lord would trust me with them. I love the work!

Sister Todd

Sisters: Souza, M. Silva, and Todd

April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009

Dear the Family,

Santo André is HUGE... or at least my area is. And all I do all day is walk up and down hills and staircases. Our area is just a little bit hilly. It's like an eternal hike. It makes me kind of happy.

I have arrived at a very key time for my ward here. Santo André Ala 5 has spent 11 months and 25 days away from their home chapel, because the chapel was being reformed. The meetings have been in the stake center. This has been quite a challenge, because the people do not, as a rule, have cars for transportation. So the Church rents a bus to go back and forth every Sunday... but that means that Church now takes up 4 1/2 hours of your day... and you don't have any flexibility. If you get to the bus stop a little late you can't go. So all the people that would have gotten to church half an hour late end up not coming. So attendence went from 120-150 to 80ish in the past year. HOWEVER, the grand opening of the new and improved ward building will be taking place May 2nd. So we are now preparing the area so that millions of new people will be at the grand opening/dedication and so that all the less actives will come back. It's a lot of great work.

My companions are amazing. They are great teachers and a ton of fun. It's entertaining to be in trio... cuz you have more people to talk to. And it's good because you just need to find one member to go on splits. And because you have three testimonies instead of just two. And because you get to learn from two other professionals instead of just one. Lots of ups. I'm having a great time.

And yes, Kevin, time is flying. I keep trying to reign it in... but no success with that as of yet. Just got to work as hard and as much and as fast as you can...

And P-day's over. We got to the Internet place late today because Sister Souza was straightening (sp?) Sister M. Silva's hair. So I only had half an hour. But next week we already made plans to come early so i can write you guys more.

Love and stuff,

Sister Todd

April 8, 2009

April 8, 2009

Dear Family,

I got transferred! I have no time this week in internet. I am now in Santo André in trio with two other sisters, Sister Souza and Sister M. Silva. Both wonderful. I finally left the Baixada and the weather is fantastic.

I might have cried a lot in saying good-bye to everyone, and I still can't believe they took away my "filha" after only one 5-week transfer, but I'm super excited to be out in the big new world.

And wasn't conference incredible? And Nova Força was also amazing! It's the meeting for all new missionaries and trainers at the end of the first transfer. I learned a lot of things to better my teaching techniques.

Love you all!


March 31, 2009

Dear My Family,

This week was pretty great. We had some amazing reactivating experiences. One of the area authorities told us that in our work with the wards we, as missionaries, had to pick 6 less-active families from a list of 15 that the ward would give us. We might have put off making the visits to all of the families, but this week we made a goal with the High Council Rep to have the six families ready by this past Sunday. So we finally visited all the families. And it was incredible. There was a family that wasn't going to church for years because they were all working all the time, several jobs each. But LAST WEEK the parents decided that they'd had enough and gave up the extra jobs and decided to stick with just one... and they don't even work on Sundays!!! And they have the desire to come back to the fold. There were several other families that are ready and willing to come back as well. It was the perfect moment for quite a few. It was by far and away the most positive experience I've had with reactivating in my mission. There really are people just ready and waiting for us to invite them back into the fold.

There are also people just waiting for us teach them. We met a man yesterday--who called out to us and invited us to tell him what is to be Mormon. He's always wanted to hear about the church... but the missionaries were always running from here to there... he was just dying to read the Book of Mormon. Our eleito! His name is Dalimário. Pray for him with us? His wife was also somewhat interested... a new family!!

Conference this week! And Nova Força for the new missionaries--we have to go to São Paulo on Thursday. And transfers next P-Day! Should have some big news next week!

Love you guys!


March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009

Is everybody excited?? We're doing great in boa esperança. Is it weird that I feel like I'm learning so much about how to be a good missionary now that I've been a missionary for a whole entire year? I'm still learning so much. It seems like I should have already got it all figured out... but I haven't. I'm learning a ton! And it seems like the more I learn the more there is to learn and it's like the learning will never stop! Sister Candland said that her mom said that she felt like she finally figured out how to be a good missionary after about a year. Sister Candland thought that a year seems like a really long time to figure out how to be a good missionary... it really should be faster than that. But now I think that a year is a really short time and that I'll probably need another 50 or 100 or 1000 years to figure this out. But now that I'm thinking about it, isn't God just the best missionary in the universe? And he's probably only so good at it because he's been at it for... eternity. Maybe I'll only be a perfect missionary after an eternity, too. So I guess it's okay that I didn't learn everything in a year, right? I'll just have to keep progressing. I'm okay with that.

These couple of weeks I've made breakthroughs on baptismal invitations and working with the members. I already commented on the baptismal invitations, i think... last week, right? But this week was all about the members. We had a super awesome fireside about how the members need to be the main missionaries. And the bishop is super excited. And we started really training the members to share the gospel. And an ex-bishop returned from inactivity and started helping us with all the less-actives. We're finally working with the members! And this is a goal that my mission president gave to me back in... November. And in March I started to get it right. :) I might be a slow learner. But at least I'm learning. And it is so exciting to see the changes.

Still loving my mission!
Still loving all of you!
Miss you all!

Sister Todd

March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009

I'm so happy that everyone's doing so good.

We're working great together in Boa Esperança. Sister Candland is already doing everything and teaching everything. We even spoken in Sacrament Meeting--at least I spoke and she bore her testimony for everybody. And she did a great job. We had an awesome Zone Conference in the which I learned how to do a better baptismal invitation than I ever knew how to do. We also found some great new investigators.

The best lesson of the week was when Luiz and Cleide (recent converts) went to visit a family that we're teaching, Marcos and Edilene. It was perfect. Well... it was as perfect as Marcos let it be. Marcos has a bit of a hard heart. He is afraid to read the Book of Mormon and doesn't want to believe the Joseph Smith was a prophet. But we gave him the perfect oportunity to accept the invitation to read... He really respected Luiz and listened to everything he had to say and almost gave in... but at the end he still said he wouldn't read. Hmmm. Edilene has already read a lot and says that the doctrine is everything she always believed but no church ever preached. Luiz and Cleide and I left the lesson euphoric, knowing that we had done exactly what the Spirit wanted us to do and knowing that we'd done our best. And now it's in the Lord's hands. Sister Candland left sad because she still can't understand why someone would reject the opportunity to read and ask God... what's the risk?? And she does have a point. But that's the beauty of free agency. People are free to reject the truth. And they will continue to have other chances to accept it. We can only do our part. And it's so great when you know that you did your part. Because sometimes you don't... you are full of maybe's. Maybe if I'd said or done or been this or that they would have accepted... And you doubt yourself. But that lesson with Marcos and Edilene was perfect.

Dona Teresa will be baptised on Saturday. I don't know if I already mentioned her. She is the mother of some really wonderful members in the ward. She used to smoke and drink lots of coffee and was really angry and bitter at life. She used to xingar--call names and talk bad--about all the missionaries that went to their house. But since her daughter and her son-in-law joined the church, the Lord has slowly been changing her heart. She stopped smoking. She stopped drinking coffee. She got happier. And recently she had a dream in the which her foot was entering in blue, blue water. And now she wants to be baptised. And now she loves the missionaries. She is 79 years old.

Isn't the Lord wonderful? He can really open hearts that are very, very closed. Gotta keep hoping.

Love you all!
Sister Todd

Dona Teresa

Sisters Candland and Todd - Sitting

Sisters Candland and Todd

March 10, 2009

Dad and Family,

I'm sorry if I sounded mad about the trip details. I wasn't. : ) Love you!

And I wasn't transferred. I just had to go to São Paulo to pick up my new companion. Then we came back to my old area. You can't send a greeny by herself to her new area. So we had a meeting and lunch with President Richardson last P-day... and then we came back to Boa Esperança.

Sister Candland is wonderful. By the way the people respond to her, you'd think they'd never seen a red-headed, freckled, blue-eyed, beautiful giantess. We've never got so many stares and comments. And she is so brave. She teaches her half of everything and is super excited to talk to everyone in the streets. She hasn't even cried when some people said they didn't understand anything she said... : ) She's got a great handle on the language, but the accent is just a bit thick for now. In a couple weeks she'll be up and running. We've walked so much that she's got some great blisters, too. It's great to remember the first few weeks... the great and the not-so-great. The mission really is a physical challenge. But she's amazing and has a powerful testimony and awesome scripture knowledge and is so excited to preach the gospel. It was a great first week together.

I love the mission!

Sister Todd

March 6, 2009

March 6, 2009

Dear Family,

love you guys! Glad to hear everybody's good. i'm training! We got special permission to write a quick email today cuz of our travel on tuesday. Sister Candland is 6'2" and red-headed--we get a lot of comments. And from California San Francisco Bay Area--Danville. She is wonderful and brilliant and already speaks perfect portuguese. Will send pictures next week. It's great to have a new, super-excited companion.


February 24, 2009

Dear Family,

Our entire ward went to a ward campout to keep away from Carnaval... the great big worldly party that happened in Brazil this weekend. They have huge parades and lots of dancing and drinking and drugging and fighting and I don't know what else all night for 4 nights in a row... So we had almost as many investigators as members at church on Sunday!

Luiz gave his first talk in sacrament meeting (and it was awesome, of course). He spoke about how we need to enter in communion with all the members of the Godhead... and that the church is true because we have access to God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost because of the priesthood and baptism and the sacrament. And a lot of other stuff. Really profound, awesome talk. And I had to give a last minute talk because the person that was supposed to talk had not been informed of that fact. But, despite the lack of warm bodies in the chapel, it was really an incredible Sunday. I know I should have learned about the importance of the sacrament a long time ago, but every Sunday it's turning into a more sacred, meaningful experience. I love to go to church!

And Fabiano and Claudia are awesome! They finally went to church as a family on Sunday and liked it a lot. Claudia said she was starting to feel that answer that we keep telling her she's going to get. Fabiano is extremely logical, so we're going to work on helping him feel the spirit.

My companion is still having a tough time. I think all the stress of everything is getting to her, and every once in a while she just has an attack of complete depression. So we're working on that, too.

But I love the mission and I have to go...

And I loved Ethan's goal of Complete Self Mastery. I'm going to do that, too. Thanks for writing, Ethan! I'll write more later. i'd just like to say: CONGRATULATIONS!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 17, 2009

My dear family:

Congratulations, Ethan!! I'm so proud of you! You're gonna love BYU! I just can't believe you're going to desert me so soon after I get back from my mission.

This week we visited several less-active families and I would just like to tell you guys that you should NEVER EVER EVER fall away from the church. Ever. Never let anything else all of the sudden be more important than your salvation and exaltation. Because it isn't. Nothing is.The saddest thing in the mission is when somebody knows that it's true and doesn't act. This happens occasionally with investigators, but it's quite rare. Most investigators that give up don't ever really get the vision of the gospel. But there a lot of less actives that know. And when you visit someone who has a testimony of the gospel, but has decided to not go to church for some reason or other (usually pride-related) it breaks my heart. So just remember, please, that it doesn't matter who you don't like or what everyone says about you, or that you just have to work on Sunday. Don't let anything become more important--Thou shalt have no other gods before me. And if your pride gets hurt and you don't want to show your face in church, remember that this is your opportunity to lean humility or forgiveness or charity or repentance, and that God will help you. And if you don't seize this chance you're losing your chance to prepare for your exaltation.

Love you guys,
Sister Todd

February 10, 2009

Dear Family:

Our investigator Virginia has been feeling depressed and anxious. But she’s going to be baptized, because when she went to church she felt a great peace that stayed with her the whole day. She is seeking peace. And she’s being blessed by the gospel. Pray for her!I remembered this week how my testimony used to be. I used to like church and think that it was a good thing and I liked “the lifestyle” and I thought it was probably true. I had enough confidence that it was true to live the gospel. But I couldn’t say that I knew it was true. But now I can. And I’ve known for quite some time... but it’s kind of funny to remember when I didn’t know. So now I don’t have to let doubt even enter. I can be strong!

Love you all,
Sister Todd

Sthefany was baptized

My Sisters!

February 3, 2009

Dear Family:

It was a Miracles Week! We had Zone Conference last week, and Presidente and Sister Richardson taught us about faith and miracles and told us to get to work proving our faith so that we deserve our miracles (or baptisms)... and they invited us to do a mission fast Saturday. Starting with a prayer at 2:00 pm and ending with a prayer at 12:30 pm on Sunday. The miracles started immediately. It was a blazing hot Saturday... and to walk in the sun all day without getting heat or dehydrated…. that was the first miracle of the fast. The second was the incredibly strong spirit that we felt as we prayed at 2:00 that afternoon--I had to fight the urge to cry. The third was that our splits fell through, but we managed to find another Irmã to take the place of the one who didn't show up. The fourth was that EVERYONE WAS AT HOME! We taught or talked to ALL of our investigators that Saturday afternoon. The fifth was that Kátia, the recent convert that went on splits with my companion, helped me and my companion realize some things that we can do even better. The sixth was that 10 investigators went to church on Sunday! Plus 2 more who weren't investigators at the time but are now showed up at Sacrament Meeting! That's 12 people. And many of them are now progressing for baptisms. The seventh was that Sthefany was baptized. And her family went. And everyone was happy and it was great. And there were probably a lot of other miracles that I didn't number here... like the fact that Relief Society was awesome. And that my companion managed to fast for the first time in ages without getting sick. Etcetera, etcetera, and so forth.

I love the Lord. I love to work with all my everything and witness the miracles.

I love you all.
P.S. Journal is going better. I only missed one day this year!

January, 27, 2009

Dear My Family,

I had a wonderful week. I'm so glad that we stayed here together. This week seemed much different than our other weeks. We more than doubled our number of lessons with members! The work is completely different when you are with a member. It's already making a huge difference. I love the people here! I love being a missionary! Time is passing too fast!

Love you all!

January 20, 2009

Dear Family:

I'll be staying in Boa Esperança for another transfer with Sister de Souza! I might have cried a little bit. I like change so much! But now that I got over the momentary, selfish disappointment, I'm excited that we're going to be able to work with our families some more. We have some really great families that we're teaching. Another family went to church on Sunday! We're also starting to work better with the ward here.

I don't know if you guys are having the same changes there in the "Estates," but here, all the bishops are being told that if they don't work with the missionaries they are going to lose them. Worldwide there is a shortage of missionaries and so they have to pull them out of some places... and they'll pull them out of the places that don't help the missionaries. Help from the members is really essential. You guys should invite somebody over to have the missionaries teach at our house! Make a goal! Do it this month!

Gotta go.

January 13, 2009

Dearest Family:

Happy Tuesday! I had another fabulous week with a lot of wonderful blessings. Cleide was baptised this week! By her dear husband Luiz. It's a family! In the scriptures we're promised that we'll have many sheaves upon our backs. Up till now in my mission I haven't had any sheaves... just a stalk here and a stalk there. But now there is a family (a.k.a. sheave). It is so incredible to see the changes that are happening in that family. They're planning a January 2010 sealing!

We also had two new families at church this Sunday, I think I might have already mentioned them: Renata and Alex and Vanessa and Fábio. We've been having a hard time getting people to go to church these last few weeks. Our only investigators at church have been old ones... no one new has gone. But this Sunday we had a list of 17 people that had said they'd go to church. And of that 17, 5 made it there! And a 6th that wasn't even on the list made it. And now we have two families progressing. I don't know how much y'all know about key indicators, but to be progressing toward baptism you have to keep your commitments, and the first commitments are 1- read the book of mormon, 2- pray, and 3- go to church. Without going to church you cannot progress towards baptism. But as soon as you make it to church, it's a huge step, because there the spirit can testify that it really is the church of Jesus Christ... even if all the talks are weird and you get really nervous because the bishop and relief society president don't show up... But in the end it all works out because the Lord is working in the hearts of these people and they feel the spirit. I love that the church is true. And I love that the Lord works miracles. (Even though I can't cure people... I wanted to be Kevin this week when we met a man with a horrible sore on his foot and calf that has not gotten better in 6 months. We had to call the 1st councilor in the bishopric to give him a blessing. But I love the work.

And I'm happy and wonderful. I got your letters, too! Thank the ward members for all the Christmas cards! Transfers next Tuesday...

Love and miss you all!

Luis Baptised his Wife Cleide!

January 6, 2009

Dear Family:

It's been a great week. We had interviews with the president, and it always makes me happy to talk to someone so wise that can set me straight. My companion and I have never had problems or anything, but it seems like this week we're even better friends and even better companions. We met a lot of neat families and everybody promised to go to church on Sunday, but Sunday dawned with an incredible downpour. And when you have to walk to church in the rain with your children... you don't. So all of our new families are not yet progressing. But give us one sunny Sunday and we should have lots of families there!

We met a really neat family this past week--Vanessa and Fábio. They have a little baby girl. It's incredible how people open up to strange girls that invite them to church. People trust the missionaries. People who are searching for God and truth feel comfortable sharing their lives with us and asking for help. Fábio was really excited to meet us. He told us during our first visit that he had just made a new year's resolution to stop smoking and drinking. He said he learned to drink and smoke with his dad when he was quite young. They spent every weekend in the bar with the guys. But he realized just over the New Year that all of those friendships are false and what really matters is his family. And he wants to be a great dad and an example for his daughter. He's really searching for something more. I'm excited to help him and his family.

Cleide is now really progressing, too! She's still reading the Book of Mormon and accepted a baptism date for this Sunday! She and Luiz are doing way better as a couple. I don't know if I've already said this, but Luiz has become a better husband and father since his baptism, and that's really helping Cleide warm up toward the church. Luiz is helping out more and home and is more present. Luiz told me this week that he has a problem with an American Phantom that torments him into washing the dishes and cleaning around the house. I am that American Phantom. I don't know if you guys are getting the irony here. I, Whitney Amber Todd, pre-mission not known as a clean-freak, am the phantom that is inspiring/tormenting another to help around the house.

I'm also doing really well on my new years resolution to write in my journal every day... something I haven't been at all good at up to now.

Gotta go! Love you!


December 30, 2008

Dear Family:

Some sad news for this week... Mires, Kamilla's grandmother, gave up the search. She got nervous to abandon the Seventh Day Adventists and said she didn't want to hear any more. But her daughter is still investigating... so there's hope that she'll come around. Some happy news for this week... Renata and Alex are still progressing! They promised to go to church this week! I've got a good feeling about this. We also did a painting service project this week. We painted the ceiling of the kitchen of the house of a couple that we met this week. They're quite poor and live in what's called a barraca. It's a very simple house. They were painting with a type of paint known as cal that is this powder that you just add water. And it's more water than paint. So you splash it all over yourself and the floor in your attempt to get it on the ceiling. It was a pretty good time. Short on time this week, but I love you all. It was wonderful to talk to you

Sister Todd

Santa Found me in Brazil!

A New Outfit from Santa!

Companions at Christmas Conference

Sisters De Souza and Todd

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

December 16, 2008

Dear Family:

I've got some random stories for y'all this week. My Broken Head:I may or may not be a clutz. The other day we were catching a bus, and I was looking one way and walking another and ran full speed into a post. Body first and then head. The bus was stuffed full of people and I gave them great joy. Then we were coming back on the bus and I was talking to the bus driver to find out if I was on the right bus when he started going all of the sudden and my body was flung into the iron turnstile that you pass threw after you pay. Then that night we went to a lesson and a couple kids were fighting over the keys and the little girl flung the key ring into my forehead. It gave me a goose egg. All of these experiences gave my companion great joy and so I do not regret them.

Sister de Souza's Sickness: My companion was sick this week! She’s weighs 43 quilos. That’s 94 pounds. And she’s my height. And she’s got a sensitive stomach. She’s been feeling quite nauseous basically all the time. This is not good. On Friday she’s going to do endoscopy to see what’s going on in her tummy. But we think it’s got a lot to do with stress. If people start telling us about their problems—and people around here have a lot of problems—then she starts to feel ill. You can’t love people that much! It’s just not healthy! We’re working on emotional separation from the people.

:) Weird Mission Schedule:
This whole month is going to be kind of strange. Two weeks ago we did two of the musical things—took up basically two whole days. Last week we went to the doctor twice—took up basically two whole days—and we had to stay home a couple times when my compy wasn’t feeling well. This week we have the ward’s Christmas dinner, Endoscopy, and two more Christmas musical things! And next week we have the Mission’s Christmas Conference and phone calls home! I won’t have time to work ever! But we’re gonna make it.

João Luis:João Luis, Luis’s son, should be baptized this week! Pray for him! He’s 18 and has been studying the Book of Mormon a lot. But he isn’t confident in his testimony yet. He’s going to have a Baptismal Interview tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Love you all, got to go.


The Jaca Fruit...Looks Delicious!

Sisters Tittlefitz and Todd - BFF

Sister Todd Singing at the Christmas Program

December 9, 2008

Dear Family:
It's been a great week. We did two apresentações of the Christmas Music Program. It is gorgeous. And they're recording them. And I'll get a copy. And I'll send it to you. You can put it on my blog. :) It's, of course, all in portuguese, but it's still pretty. I'll translate for you next year. We had a big scare with transfers--but we're not going anywhere. We told Luis that a transfer was coming up and he got all nervous. I told him that my dad wanted to meet him in August when my family comes to pick me up and he got emotional. He said it would be an honor. :) How I love that family. So you've got one appointment here and you've got to make it too. Can you call Christmas Day at 2:00 pm my time? I don't know the difference in hours or anything... but I'll try to figure it out this week. Call this number: 13-3384-1528. It's Norma and Danilo and Carmem's house. They're wonderful members. I'm short on time this week. But I'm doing great. I'll write better next week. And we'll be talking on the phone in 2 weeks! And it's supposed to be 30-40 minutes.

Love you all.