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.