Monday, December 26, 2016

Beginning With a Goodbye

So I totally have been thinking of other cool titles that could go with my last mission email! like 'My São Paulo Stroll' 'Bring on my Next Transfer!' things like that. But this last email I would just like to say how God has been preparing me to go home. You might think wait that’s kind of weird, why would He do that and how? Let me explain :)

So I’ll start with the question 'If you could only take one thing with you home what would it be?' The first thing I thought of was my set of Portuguese scriptures that have helped me so much and are so important to me. But then my companion’s answer really struck me when I asked her, 'My nametag.' There’s not another moment in the world where I will get to use or have a missionary nametag. Yes I could maybe ask someone to make one etc., but the meaning, the value behind something I actually wore every day to represent the Lord is priceless. So I switched the question to 2 things; my nametag and my Portuguese scriptures :) haha.

Another funny way of preparing me was out of nowhere the member couple we were eating lunch with starting showing us this film and tv program thing like Netflix that you can download but it’s free. Literally he spent a solid 30 minutes explaining and showing us how it worked etc. and I’m just thinking, 'Why in the world is he showing 2 Sister missionaries this? Is he wanting to clue me in on the best offer ever before I go home? I chuckled at this one. And in the elevator my companion and I looked at each other like, what just happened? The good thing was that he shared with a ton of facebook and twitter friends the #sejaaluzdomundo haha.

Another preparation was after we were able to visit a lesser active sister and her nonmember husband; they are the cutest old couple and will be married for 60 years in a few days! woah...anyway, he and I started talking and he was telling me about his life and career and then he asked me what I wanted to do. After I said design, he went into this huge pep talk about how I should do 3 things and went into detail with those 3 things. I don’t have time to write them each down here but you can be sure I grabbed my planner and wrote down his advice. Who knows when it’ll come in handy these next couple of months. I’ll be able to turn to it during college and life and will remember oh yeah, that one Brasilian man told me this :)

Another great preparation was at our Christmas party. There were a ton of married missionary couples there and they all speak English, and started talking to me so I got to practice English, practice being friendly and keep a conversation going with adults and try to think back into my family history roots to see if I know an Oldroyd in a certain city which I have forgotten. I really need to do my family history homework. So many have asked the origin of my name and I’ve never been quite sure......

The best and last preparation that God has given me was one of the most amazing visits I’ve ever had on my mission. Bishop was going to visit our investigator and less active member family, but when we got there they weren’t there, so he said 'Where else can we go? How can I help you guys?' So I pulled out the list of less actives I had made and my eyes were drawn to Z. I knew she still hadn’t met him and I knew she would really appreciate our visit, so off we went to visit Z, an older lady who had 3 strokes and leg pains and lives in a very small room. We got there and talked with her. During our sweet chat and visit, Bishop asked her if she had a valid temple recommend cause she was talking so much about wanting to go back. And she goes, yes it’s valid. In my mind I thought, 'There’s no way, she probably has forgotten that two years have passed already cause of her bit of Alzheimers’ but nifty Bishop pulled out his cellphone to double check (I think he thought the same but who am I to say that?) Anyway, he goes, looks like your recommend will expire in March of 2017, so I am going to mark a day to come over and renew your recommend, how about that? And I was just thinking 'Woah" she is the most faithful, dedicated, non-complaining, loving member I have ever seen!' Even amongst all of her difficulties and pains and trials that might restrict her from being a faithful member, she remained solid in what she believed. And in that moment I knew that I could never allow my recommend to expire. After my mission I have to be a faithful member like Z. No matter what happens with me after my mission I will always have her example to keep me going. God was really telling me and showing me what needs to be done in life. I’m so grateful for this experience. I was truly uplifted and forever changed because of this.

So I would just like to end my mission emails by saying that Sister Sydney Oldroyd has served her mission in São Paulo Oeste for a year and a half, learning, living and loving every minute. She understands that it wasn’t a perfect mission. She knows that everything good that happened was from God. She hopes that with time, she will be able to still use the habits, knowledge and ways of mission life in the future. She is so grateful for the support and love she received from so many different people, including family, friends, neighbors, and her Heavenly threesome (God, Christ, and the Spirit). She is sad to let this life go, but she is excited to see what else God has kept in store for her as He did with her on the mission. She can think of nothing that would replace this year and a half time span spent in Brasil. She thanks all of you and God for your patience and love and guidance. She is excited to share and show a bit of her Brasilian side and prove that she truly immersed herself here in Brasil. She also is super excited to see you all, to see what has happened with all that she left behind as a naive 19 year old. She understands that it won’t be the same, but she knows that whatever is waiting to receive her is what must be. Sister Sydney Oldroyd, now 21, a few inches taller, and little bit more muscular (only in the legs I think haha), with lighter longer hair, is coming home a better person. Someone molded by God because her mission was of God. He always knew what he was doing and she was understanding this day by day, that it was never about her. This mission was God’s and she was just the tool He used. So expect one well used Godly tool coming home on January 4th :)

Thanks for bearing with me! I really wanted to talk in the third person for effect and to see if I was still capable at writing in the English language haha. This truly is me signing off. For the last time.

Adeus, Tchau, Até Logo, Até Breve, Sincerely,
Sister Oldroyd- who will never forget this year and a half stroll she had with God. Lucky duck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tis the Season

Well everyone, I am writing my second to last email (if my calculations are correct) so I will try to make it good but I can’t promise that. So we have had some blessings, like two investigators marked for baptism! M. and her cute daughter M. Also, the less active R. with his wife A. are planning on getting married and she is preparing for baptism as well. The Lord is blessing us so much! 

The feelings of coming home aren’t really sinking in, only a few times like when President marked our temple visit (it’ll just be me and one other Sister, not one Elder is going home this transfer....weird huh?) or when they told me when I will do 'CASP' or our going home preparation thing, it’s a class or something. Also I have to repeat basically every visit I make to the question, 'How long have you been on the mission?' and I say, ONE YEAR and 5 MONTHS! Then they say, 'Opa, you’ve only got a little left!' and go 'Uhu, yup...crazy right? I don’t know how to feel" haha so it’s been fun battling the emotions. But the Lord has helped me so much, especially in my studies and at church this week. Some great quotes or thoughts were: 'The Atonement gives us the power and ability to overcome everything. It helps us achieve Eternal Life" also, ' We serve because we love God' and 'How’s the construction of your Heavenly Mansion going?' 

I am so happy to have served (don’t freak out, I still have two weeks left :) but I hope you all know that I have become a better person. I am so happy to have spent this time with God’s children in Brasil where I needed to learn their beautiful language, live their loving culture and get to know God better on a different level. I have learned a few things that only the mission has been able to help me learn: The love the Lord has for me and His other children, Learning is an amazing tool and opportunity, We need to decide what our salvation will be worth, and how I can give back to the Lord. These are just a few things the mission has taught me but there are so many more. 

Enjoy this holiday season, try to understand Christmas a little better and ask yourself why we celebrate it, even though Christ actually was born in April. Why is it 'Christ'mas? When you stop to think, it’s surprising how much the Lord is able to share with you. You just needed to allow space for the spirit to respond in your heart and mind. 

Love you all, até logo. 
Boa Semana por todos e um feliz natal! 
Com Amor, 

Sister Oldroyd who's slowly 'dying' in mission terms kkk

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The True Convert

So since I only have three more weeks on the mission, I wanted to share with you guys who has been the truest, most converted person thus! You guys probably guessed it, but it’s true. This week I’ve been pondering on this and how this year and a half separation from family, my comfort zone, my base to everything has truly allowed me to stretch a bit. to test a few things out that weren’t necessary when I was kicking back relaxing in the comfort zone haha. My mission has opened my eyes, my heart and my desire to become better, to prepare myself to be worthy to return to my Heavenly Father. 

This week we had a great chance to hear form a Brazilian area authority, Aidukaitis (I think I spelled that right) and he talked about many key points that helped me stay excited and spiritually strengthened for more weeks ahead. It’s funny how after we leave these types of meetings, you just leave exhausted from all the spiritual confirmations/responses and being so involved mentally and spiritually. 

Something else on this conversion stroll I’ve had has been getting to know God’s children. This week we got to know M and J. They are both less active because of serious health problems. Her legs are super swollen and he is suffering from an illness where slowly his nerves stop working, so he can’t walk, sit up straight, basically can’t do anything anymore and she helps him. He is also losing the ability to talk cause it’s so hard. But that visit was very special as she was sharing this experience and how they still read the scriptures and say their prayers. I was just astounded by their faith and lack of murmurs. They still had smiles on their faces and accepted us so well. 

The mission has made me love so many things. It has made me live life better. The mission has helped me know God and my Savior to another level. It has allowed me to practice hearing and feeling the Spirit. How grateful I am for the chance to have lived and done this mission. I know that the work won’t stop when I leave this place, but that I will only have another chance to apply everything I’ve learned and see where God has planned for me to go. My mission has saved me. My mission has blessed me. My mission has converted me :) How lucky am I??? And to be honest, it wasn’t the 'mission' but the Spirit, my Savior and my God who never gave up on me, who never stopped trying to save me. This has been the best year and a half stroll :) where I’ve been able to see the hand of God daily, feel of his presence regularly, and understand better the purpose of life and this gospel. I’m still not perfect, of course, but I feel lucky to know God has perfected me a little bit more through this mission. 

Some other highlights from this week were the ward Christmas dinner where we sang and I played the guitar :), having a Brasil Stake transmission where Elder Holland tried speaking in Portuguese! And Sister Bonnie Cordon from the General Primary spoke in Portuguese as well! It was very special :) Also, a family night where we watched the Christmas devotional! So much of the good word was spoken this week. So many times was I able to feel the spirit and receive answers. I invite you all to continue to convert yourselves! Conversion is a constant process. There is no end. 

Cutest cheese ball ever!

Some little phrases I liked this week were ' He remembers us even when we struggle to remember Him' 'strawberries, if you want them, you gotta plant them!' 'I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow, or what will happen but I do know I have now. I have today and I must treat it as my last day and maybe the day I return to God'.  And to end it up, some Primary Hymn phrases :) 'Child, be glad with all that lives but forget not God who lives' 'But to have a friend, you must be a friend too' and “Be happy, happy all day long and others will be too!" haha love it. 

Have a great week folks! I’m signing out! 


Sydster Oldroyd

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Just hope and be the light of the world!!!

Have you guys started doing the awesome 25 day program??? The hashtag thingy? We are sharing it with everyone! #sejaaluzdomundo. It is so inspired and perfect for not just members but everyone :) The church is true.

This week was crazy as usual when opening an area. We were lucky to find a way less active sister, A. and leave her with a new Book of Mormon. Also the Lord blessed us with an awesome lesson with A. (R.’s wife who wants to come back to church and bring his family with him). She accepted us so well and shared a sweet experience she had doing a walk in the holy land or something. It was very sweet and great to see her opening up to us. We also had a goal to contact more of the billion referrals that we kept getting on our phone. So I just started calling every single one that had a number (even though our phone credits are precious....the show must go on! haha) Some of them had no idea what I was saying when I kept repeating "We are the missionaries..." "The missionaries!" My accent doesn’t help at times when I have to talk on the phone haha. I got a few hang ups in the face and others kindly denying or questioning how in the world I had gotten their number. But we were able to contact a lot through this. One of them was J. S, who had called crying to the Sisters at Temple Square after he had found our card amongst his deceased wife’s things (at least I think that’s where the call goes to from our pass along cards). They told us to go as soon as possible. When we got there, we entered his sewing/seamstress store and found him there. We were able to chat with him and he opened up to us. He had a very successful career as a seamstress (which showed it by all the pics with famous designers/people and awards etc.) but he said that it’s gone downhill since her passing. Long story short, he called in hopes of finding a church for his 14 year old son to attend and find peace. Turns out that he only works in our area and that he lives a bit away in the Elder’s area so we told him that for sure the Elders will be able to help him. We are hoping the Elders go over there and take advantage :)

This week was special too cause we went to the temple! Woohoo! Love that place :) and there were three young ladies from the states there! Woot Woot! Only one of them served in Brasil, the others were just following her around. Ya, you go girls!

I loved this Fast Sunday. I don’t know what it is but these Fasts on the mission are just completely different than the ones I was doing before. I get super excited to pay my offering, and I get thinking on what my purpose can be and I rarely feel hungry. I do catch myself wanting to stop and buy a snack cause I have forgotten for a second but then I remember again. But truly the Lord has taught me the true purpose of the Fast and that he reveals to us our needs when we put our wants aside. When I am allowing the physical necessity to weaken, He allows my spiritual necessities to strengthen. We are more prone to the spirit when we stop allowing our physical needs to get in the way. I am so blessed to be serving this mission.

I was touched this Sunday when in Relief Society the President announced that our lunch appointment had fallen through and was wondering if anyone could feed us (a bit awkward, and it went silent for a second) BUT a sweet sister who we have started visiting shouted, "If they don’t have a problem with frozen lasagna, that’s what we are going to eat" and another lady, who we have started to help with family history, said that she could help us as well, even with her husband being in the hospital. It truly showed me how much better I need to become. They forgot themselves and put others (us) first. This member whipped up some pasta and sausage for us and was so helpful. No wonder the RS lesson was on gratitude. I needed to be reminded of the amount of gratitude I have. I am so lucky that the mission is teaching me so many things in so many ways, through the Spirit, the Savior, the members, strangers, my companion, the scriptures. Only God would be so loving and kind to have given us so many ways to be taught and brought back to Him. He wants us back and that is why He has put so many signs for us to see! Anyway, it was a fun week!

A few other fun things were translating RS for a Ukrainian who married a Brazilian and they are seeing if they want to move here and playing the opening hymn on their sweet oldish organ piano thing. Also, me and my comp both got pooped on by birds this week...first me on my arm...then her a few days after on the forehead haha. Since we have both passed through it, we understand the other better. Isn’t that so true? Since the Savior passed through the same things we are, He is able to help and comfort us, like how I was able to comfort my companion when she asked me, 'Sister, please don’t tell me that what just fell on me was bird poop?!" Unfortunately I had to say yes, but I knew how to help her since the same thing had happened to me earlier that week. Boy do we laugh together. Life is way better when lived in between laughs. That’s my reasoning for putting so many 'hahas' in my emails, so you guys can imagine Sister Oldroyd laughing when she trips, gets pooped on, says something wrong in Portuguese etc. Life is full of Laughs :) and Light #sejaaluzdomundo or be the light of the world!

Sis O

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Literally We Were Led

Well like the title says, we were literally led by the Lord this week entirely. Sister C. Silva and I are opening Perdizes A, or where Elders were before. It’s the center of all centers! I am in the true center of São Paulo haha and you know what’s cool??? Remember way back in the MTC where I did proselyting in the street with books of Mormon? Well I came back to where I did it! Yup, I’m ending my mission where I began it :)

Can you see what I see? (the Temple)

Here it’s quite different than any area I’ve been in. There are a lot more homeless people, buildings and I have never opened an area after Elders had been working there so our goal this week was to get to know the members who live in our area which is 80 percent of the ward. Luckily this week we got to meet some great people.

Tuesday we basically just grabbed the map and started walking around in our area that is pretty large. It covers three big neighborhoods, Santa Cecilia, Bom Retiro and Republica. We walked and walked and walked and tried to visit some of the Elder’s investigators, but it was really great for us to get a feel of our area.  Afterwards on the other days we grabbed the members list which is 60 pages and just started writing down names, not knowing if they were active, in-active, gone etc. and we ended up truly seeing the Lords hand amongst us. We ended up visiting a sister who had never been randomly visited by missionaries until us and she got all excited and had us help her with family history :) The others were blessings as well. We found D. who let us in and the first thing she said to us was 'I know, I know! I need to go back to church, it’s just that I’ve been working on Sundays and we were like woah, it’s alright :) So we had a great chat with her and her 15 year old daughter G. who is super awesome! She plays softball for Brasil’s 15 year old league thing and has won a ton etc. It was so fun getting to know them. And you know what was the best part? Seeing them come to church! She wasn’t too sure that she would be able to but they came. I was so happy! We also got to know the Bishop and the ward mission leader. There I played a bit with his kids and now whenever I see them they throw little paper balls at me haha whoops. Also a funny detail is that everyone has made popcorn for us in these I guess I’m in popcorn Perdizes now :)

I am so blessed to be here with Sis C Silva. We already know each other well from previous divisions so it’s been a blast, especially yesterday when she locked me in our house. Lemme explain. We had just said the prayer to leave and she went to the bathroom to do something real quick so I ran to grab water real quick but she thought I had already left the house so she left and I hear the door close behind me and I ran like crazy and pounded on the door....haha. The door opens and I find her laughing her head off. Then later that day I locked myself in the RS president’s bathroom.....whoops again. I just am not great with doors.

There have been some great contacts and references as well. F. was the sweetest and R. is a part member family who wants to come back! We have been so blessed here in Perdizes. I am so excited to help this ward progress and become more united. Know that I am doing so well even with the thought of how quickly my time is running out. I am super divided cause I want to put into practice everything I have learned here but I also don’t want to leave this amazing spiritual loving environment. But I know the Lord planned everything.

All is well :) Keep up the great work and I’ll keep up the member visits and map using haha. We still haven’t gotten lost yet! Woohoo!

Sister Oldroyd- who got to give a little testimony at church and talk about how excited she was to work there, then she got to play piano for the RS.

Don't mind the weird branch....he is helping me have an epic picture of the buildings 
of my area haha and my nametag.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Same House, But New Area, Companion and Ward....How?

Alright this’ll be quick! I was transferred to a new area/ward with a new companion but I will live in the same house. Here’s how it works, I will now work in the neighboring area where the Elders were and they will now work where we were. It’s a long story but it’s going to be great!

Irmá E made us tea :) we were in her house when we got the transfer call. 
She is adorable :)

I wanted to explain a bit about what happens in the mind of a missionary or more specifically, the mind of Sister Oldroyd haha. Lots of questions go through her mind, like why am I so happy but am sweating a ton and am exhausted? Or I think about where we should stop to eat or use the bathroom, who we will teach next or what we should teach. The desire to do the Lord’s will is very strong and is on our minds constantly. I am constantly praying and am hoping that I can listen to the spirit. I also am at times tempted. I’m being honest here. Satan is very persistent in trying to tell us we are weak and that our forces aren’t doing anything. But throughout the mission we turn our thoughts, and hearts to Christ. We truly don’t just convert our hearts but our minds. We learn how to be more confident and stronger so that when those temptations or trials come we don’t pay attention to them but stay strong. Our minds have many battles but just as Christ was able to beat his trials and temptations so can we. That wasn’t a huge description on what goes on in a missionaries mind but I think you guys get the idea. We also hope that our families and friends are doing well.

I just sneakily took this pic, so you guys could get a feel of the bus stop location and how this is where I wait every day basically to get on the bus to our area. 
I also had the privilege of watching these three paintings be done, during the last couple of weeks, I love the one in the middle...its so deep neh?

Just a few study thoughts I would like to leave with you- 'through tears and trials, we train ourselves to be triumphant.' 'When I have faith, I believe that the holy scriptures have God’s answers and so I read Rom 10:17.' I need to stop thinking 'me' and more 'him.' I love what Elder Ballard says in 'Our Search For Happiness' about how things of the church aren’t just for Sundays but 'It is a way of life' and how 'By their fruits ye shall know them' (Mat 7:20). How will God know you? Are your thoughts fruitful? Productive? Are you living not only on Sunday as a diligent member and follower of Christ but showing others daily in your everyday living? My greatest desire is that I can become a true believer because I’m a true liver. (Not the organ inside our body but someone who believes by living that belief). Show your faith to God by exercising it. I’m so grateful for these moments and I’m going to just soak in these last 6 weeks that I have. Who knows what’ll happen but I for sure am going to let God know who I am by the fruits that I will leave behind. And maybe others will be able to kill their hunger with them, who knows. But at least I know God does.

Love you all!
Sister Oldroyd- who got to play piano for the primary, and meet the cutest old lady named Zuleika one day who gave us chocolates :)

This is outside of the biggest shopping around here, Iguatemi, and I couldn't dreams came true! Our bus always passed it and I made a promise that I would one day take a pic with him. My only regret is not hugging him....sad day

My old companion sister Valdera is going home tomorrow! We are sad....
and kinda mad haha I was actually just testing out my serious intimidation face that I used to do for soccer pics. I kinda still have it

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A General Authority Visited Us!

So this week was just amazing. All I can say. We had a great family night with our new bishop and his family. Then with R. and R. who are recent converts and it was their first FHE in their house. Then I got to have a fun change up on a division with Sister Bido. It was just a sweet blast from the past, eating all this American food and chatting it up with her. We kinda got soaked that day but getting real wet only plays a part of missionary work :) Also our zone won the ice cream cause we were able to install our smoke detectors first, so that meant ice cream with President Thomas! I felt like I had died and gone back to school cause I had to make a huge poster to surprise Sister Thomas with, our LZ really wanted to do something and bought the supplies and helped us cut stuff but that meant me designing it and drawing all the letters by hand....where were my mother’s already made letter prints when I needed them? haha. Luckily it all turned out well and they loved it! We then donated it to President  to use for future things cause the letters were only taped and they could reuse it. Also I have no idea what we would do with something like that again on the mission. 

I got to spend a fun division with Sister Bido, who's been on the mission a year and 1 month, shes from North Carolina and has the sweetest accent and made us chicken and shared her ranch and Idaho potato mix with me :) and also made me french toast! made me think of you dad! haha also made me realize I am so sad in the kitchen still, I am determined to get better mom!

I love these people :)
Tthis is the final product! the lines are supposed to be a crosswalk etc. I'm just happy its done haha

Anyway, getting to the General Authority part! On Tuesday our LZ informed us that Friday we would be getting together as a whole mission to hear from President Nielson, from the Missionary Department. It’s been a while since something like this has happened and boy was I super excited to hear from him (and to see my mission buddies again I can’t lie). Anyway, Friday finally came and it was all I had hoped for. The spirit was so strong. They both talked, Him and his wife and it was pure inspiration. He talked about many scriptures and one in particular in Alma 26 that proves Joseph didn’t write the BoM cause it’s written in the perspective of a missionary and Joseph never did anything like that. Also I loved what Sister Nielson said about companionships and that 'you don’t have to be a Nielson to be loved by the Nielsons.' Another tip she gave was 'marry someone who matches your testimony.' I had never thought about marriage like that. I knew spirituality was important but that makes it a lot easier. Going there and hearing from a general authority was such a privilege and blessing. He carries so much of the spirit and makes me remember how blessed we are to have the truth. I would just like to ask you all a question that I didn’t have time to ask Pres. Nielson in the question and answer part, 'How do you correctly measure success? and not allow the unrealistic success that Satan tries to throw at us get in the way? How do you maintain a heavenly perspective and not get down if not everything is achieved? That was sort of three questions but it’s kinda a broad big question, so if any of you have advice or ideas I would love to hear from you! 

Hope you guys know I’m just floating around here in happiness, getting to know amazing people and creating such special memories. During studies I loved this scripture in 2 Cor. 5:7 'walk by faith, not by sight' and this little part from Our Search For Happiness 'Our Heavenly Parents' love and concern for us continues to this very moment' that is so true! I love to learn :) 

Have a great week! Enjoy the pretty fall leaves while I’ll be hear enjoying the sudden rain showers and every strengthening Christmas decorated store haha.


Sister Oldroyd- who gotta lead music in front of a general authority! and loved looking down and smiling at all my buddies (Sisters)

Yup, I'm dreaming of a Brazilllllll Christmas' :) where I'm not even near the beach....haha

these beauties were so fun to snuggle with, when they stayed still. their hair only covered my bag entirely and this little guy only chewed my cameras sock for 3 minutes....haha