Monday, July 25, 2016

From Ferreira to the Countryside of Caucaia :)

Well folks I am in another world! Caucaia has so much fresh air and trees and has been quite chilly cause of that but I can’t complain! I have loved meeting the cute humble members and getting to my area with my new comp Sister Borges who is from Rio and is 19. She has been a member for 7 years and almost everyone in her family is a member. We both are new to the area so we got to know it this week. Taking buses into the countryside to find our lunch appointments and using a fun little drawn map a sister gave us on Wednesday during our district meeting. We tried using it Thursday and it went well! We were able to find a few old investigators and recent converts by looking at her little map because fun fact...we don’t have one. Well we have a few that Elders drew a year ago and is in our area book but it’s easier for someone to just show you where they live.

I have loved living in four again. Fun little adventures with the cold, walking on dirt trails and training. Mission life is full of just twists and turns but the fun thing is to see what’s around those corners! Even in the cold, we have been able to feel so much love already and so many of the cars stop for people to cross the street! How awesome is that :) The Lord’s hand is totally involved in this work :) This is my first time opening an area but I can’t wait to really rely on the Lord and trust in Him; Try listening to the spirit better and just going with the ideas that come to my mind. Ideas require action! The spirit gives us so many thoughts in order for us to act.

I’ve already eaten a Churro which has been a while! We are going to try and run in the morning and she is going to help me be even more fluent in Portuguese cause it has been sooo long since I have had a Brasilian comp. She is so willing to help and learn and I am very excited to work with Sister Borges! I feel like I have so much to say but nothing is coming at the moment.

We had interviews with president here on Thursday. He is such a sweet special guy. We were able to talk a little bit more and he gave me some counsel. I am so lucky to be serving! Just know that I am the biggest fan of Christ. And what do fans do? They follow the person, mimic them, and know who they are, cheer, and learn. In Portuguese its "Seja um Fã de Cristo"- Love Portuguese.

Just some study thoughts I’ve had this week.. "Day by Day we prepare to walk before God, guilt free!" Mosiah 4:26 make sure you all are preparing yourself to walk with and before God sinless, and it all starts back with repentance and our baptismal covenants. A cute experience was after our lunch on Sunday, the Elders had the opportunity to bless some bread and water for a 93 year old member and her daughter who stayed from church to watch over her. We sat and watched as the Elders kneeled to bless and break it for them. It really hit me that even these two humble sweet sisters needed to partake of the sacrament because Christ suffered for us all and it is necessary that we remember and continue this covenant. I felt so much love and just wanted to cry tears of gratitude for the meaning the sacrament has on all of us. I am so grateful as well that the elders were worthy to do the ordinance for them. We have so much of God among us, we just unfortunately forget, and take for granted what he has given. Aproveite! Or take advantage please :) I will be grateful and for sure our Father in Heaven will be as well :) Love you all, happy days of living for you all!

Loves Sister Oldroyd- the tight wearer...only for now

Monday, July 18, 2016

1 year now...and who am I? A Mother?

Wow everyone, I always plan exactly what I want to say the next week after I see what I didn’t get to or explain but then so much more happens during the week! Lemme get started. 

I wanted to explain some of the great people that I spend my time with here in Ferreira. The first one is Aparecido: a recent convert who is 63 and very lively. He can fix basically anything and loves to chat and give us what he has. He always makes us tea and shares fruit or avocados that grow from his garden. It’s always a great Sunday cause his calling is the greeter. Love it! We have been helping him a lot with praying and studying the scriptures. He calls us his angels and sometimes I’m the "Italiano" or "Alemanha" (Italian or German) haha basically cause of my light skin. He said he would go around smiling everywhere if he had my smile. I love him to death :) 

The next person is Paola: a recent convert who is about 30 and has a little 2 year old girl Alice. She has such a strong testimony and is progressing so well. We have been able to help her with this transition and see her immense progress! She loves to listen to the hymns on her way to work (a kid’s nurse) but our joke is that it’s only an instrumental when it’s on the Portuguese setting but they have a singing option when in English. I guess they don’t have time to have Portuguese singers. She also found a hot chocolate mix that she can take to work to make because they took away the tea option and only had coffee. Then this is the big news; she had suggested to her boss to move her to another wing or area so she could work the Monday to Friday shift (cause right now she works one Sunday then not) but her boss returned to her a couple weeks later asking "don’t you think you could just stay with us here and work Monday to Friday?" she said "Of course!" She testified to us that the Lord was helping her do what’s right and stay where she absolutely loves to work. I was so happy when I heard that! 

Now with the new president change I would like to share a bit about them - President Thomas W. Thomas and Sister Ellen Thomas. They got here a couple of weeks ago very excited to get working and loving the missionaries. President Thomas left being a surgeon at his highest success but accepted to come serve us. He is very humble and so is Sister Thomas. They have 6 children, and brought their youngest daughter who is 17 with them. I have been blessed to really see behind the scenes in how the switch goes and what is must be like to start taking care of a mission. I’ve been able to guide them a few times in their car to get where they need to go and actually had a chance to help sister Thomas make a few leis for the outgoing missionaries and incoming ones as well (she actually decided afterwards that 40 leis was not going to happen haha so she is going to think of how to do it in the future when she has more time but it was still fun wrapping all the goodies and reminiscing about Hawaii days :) 


We had a special opportunity to have Sister Thomas come to a family night with us where we taught a recent convert and his mom who’s a member. We tried talking slower and the mom knew most English so it was a great experience for us all to remember that the spirit speaks stronger than fluent Portuguese. Sister Thomas always bears the strongest but simplest testimonies. I was so blessed to be there! 

So those were a few people that I have been spending my days with this week but now I want to explain this week! During a division we did I got to stay with Sister Gomes, the sweetest sister ever! We weren’t having much success in finding anyone and we stopped in the church to get some water. I really wanted to teach someone with her so I felt we needed to pray. I needed to rely on the Lord. So I prayed that one of our investigators would be at home and that we could teach her. She wasn’t there when we passed by but I said, "We prayed for her to be here so we are coming back around 7!" We tried more people with no luck and made our way back, happy to find the car in the garage. They were home! The Lord really blessed us with a wonderful lesson with S. and E. We read a part of the BoM and talked of many things. I was so happy that He answered our prayer and could end our day with a lesson :) I am really understanding that prayer helps us see the will of the Lord. We pray for guidance and inspiration, that’s the Lord allowing himself to show the path He wants us to take. Without our prayers, He can’t answer them and show us what He desires us to do. Boy am I grateful for prayer and how it connects us to our Heavenly Father. 

Friday was pretty funny cause sister Harris had to go renew her Visa, so four of us stayed behind while our four companions went to the police station. While we stayed, we got to do some contacts near the temple and I got to meet 3 sisters who will be coming to our mission tomorrow! Super excited for them! So then we get a call that the Elder forgot a document they needed so they were going to get back late.....long story short, I called our Irmã who was going to give us lunch and she was more than happy to let us four come and eat! So off we went to eat lunch and it was very special cause Irmã said that as she was preparing lunch she felt the impression that "more will come to lunch, prepare extra" so she did :) I was so inspired by her spiritual sensitivity even when it involved making lunch. The loaves and fishes is what we referred to haha so that was a fun happening on my year mark! 

Anyway, I will get to the fun part of transfers!!! Sunday I was saying my goodbyes cause I had been here 3 transfers already but it was confirmed to me I was being transferred when I got a call from the Assistant thanking for my service as an STL but that I was being released. Now that’s not what I was expecting but I felt calm about it. Then president called me and I’m thinking, huh? He sweetly called to explain that I wasn’t being released out of "displeasure" but that he was wanting to make a few changes and that something they repeatedly said in the MTC was the importance of the first companion of the missionary and not the District leader or Sister Training Leader and that he needed me to train a new sister. I was very touched by his reassurance and know that we are going to do great in Caucaia do Alto! I will pick up my daughter tomorrow :) Sooo excited but wondering how opening up an area will be like. Any ideas? 

Thanks for everything! I am doing well. Wondering what it will be like leaving all these great people and skyscrapers to an area where there are more cows than people. Only God knows exactly why but I have a bit of time to find out :) A work that comes to an end only means another is about to begin! 

Sister Oldroyd-Who’s expecting a girl! But is she Brasilian? American? Likes sports? We will see :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Translating times two :)

This week was great :) Tuesday we taught English class- the classic head shoulders knees and toes and practiced parts of the body. Then we did a mad libs game! It went so well! We were laughing our heads off with the phrase "I have a ____ head". What kind of head do you have? A big one?  Then we got to teach a lady named V. this week which was a blessing. She just came in to English class wanting to know more, so we marked the next day to meet with her! She had so many questions but we were able to have a great lesson and leave the Book of Mormon with her! Then Wednesday came around where we had "get to know President Thomas!" He had the mission split into a group of zones in a space of a couple of days so our day was Wednesday with two other zones. I got to play piano and translate Emily’s and Sister Thomas' talks. Haha.

This is Emily! President Thomas' daughter! She is so sweet . . . and tall!

Well.....when we rushed in after our lunch and I already knew I had to start playing prelude but then and elder asked us that we needed to translate. What? Ok, so we decided that I would do the first half of the meeting and Sister Harris would do the last half. My half included their talks. So yay me! They were so patient and talked slowly (most of the time) and the audience helped me with a few words or verbs I hadn’t used or had forgotten. Sister Thomas speaks so strongly with the spirit and they all do actually. On Sunday in RS the lady gave Sister Thomas a minute to share how they taught their children to stay worthy to marry in the temple and she said the coolest thing about how Heavenly Father’s work is Moses 1:39 but it also is the work of our Mother in Heaven. "There isn’t anything a mother wouldn’t do for her children, so they can marry in the temple" -Sister Thomas. This is the work of our Mother in Heaven as well :) Loved it!

we tried a new bakery and I found this huge toast looking thing! yeah I gotta try it, then I had most saved and decided to share it with my favorite doorman at our apartment when we got home that night...he liked it so much that as we were going up in the elevador he used the microphone and said "hey, this is really good!" in portuguese, "é bom, viu?" haha

I also had a great division with Sister Dias this week where we were led by the spirit and saw the Lord’s hand in this week. We had left to do contacts and teach early before lunch and the first house only had the cleaning lady so we decided to go somewhere else, but sister Dias told me that she felt like we needed to try the lady again and I had felt like we could’ve taught the lady who told us she wasn’t off we went back to the house! We only ended up leaving a pamphlet cause she would have been in trouble for stopping her work but we felt better after that BUT as we were leaving Sister Dias did a contact with a lady nearby and long story short, we ended up teaching her, her sister and 5 children; In total, 5 new investigators who had been living two houses down from ours. The Lord is so loving and patient! So glad we followed the spirit!

Some fun things this week, I got to play keep away (knock out? I’ve forgotten many soccer terms) with 3 boys before lunch in their living room haha. I only had to be in the middle a couple of times :) woot woot. Sunday we got to sing "Search ponder and pray" during the Counselor’s talk cause he called us that morning asking for a favor. (He was alone that day because the others are traveling and President Costa was there. Poor guy had a lot to do) Yup we just got up there without practicing and sang it in Portuguese. The pianist in the ward was kind enough to go up and play for us.

on our way back from the division I couldn't resist....gotta love the signs in Brasil...soooo detailed haha

Something I have been studying this week is love, charity and growth. Growth shows progress. If we aren’t growing, we aren’t accepting that which is given and God has given everything. Show God your gratitude by growing!( D&C 34:1-4) I have to go now but keep up the great work! Stay happy, keep growing and allow God’s gifts to bless you :) Roots are essential to having strong branches. Guess who are our roots? Ancestors! Christ! We have so many strong roots! That was random but I can’t help myself :) There are so many cool metaphors and parables. Do you have a favorite?

Sister Oldroyd- the happy English Portuguese switcher

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Del Guerso Goodbye and a Thomas Translator

Well folks this is gonna be quick! Lemme just say that switching Presidents is quite different especially when you work in the President’s ward. This week was all over the place but I’m still in one piece and I think the Thomas' are too :)

geckos are still my buddies

So this week we were able to find pants to use at a bazar for 10 reais a piece. That was a score! Then we had a great quick lesson with A. and M. about the Book of Mormon and were able to bear testimony of its truth and how glad I am to have one more testimony that Christ is our Savior. We found a new investigator, A., who knows a little about the church but has a lot of questions about baptism. So we are going to help her with that :)

Wore them that night and it was soooo weird haha it was only 3 hours but still!

In English class, one of our students who I just adore, practiced writing a prayer in English and just made me tear up. She said "thank you for my Sisters, Oldroyd and Harris, because they truly are sisters." She’s going to write us each a copy of it cause it was the sweetest most sincere prayer I have ever heard :)

So Wednesday came around where we sang for President and Sister Thomas (and Emily their daughter) at the mission home. We ended up staying with them and President and Sister Del Guerso the rest of the day because Sister Thomas asked if we could translate. SO we went with them to lunch and to the apartment where I said my last good bye to President Del Guerso. He had finished showing them around and hugged them good bye then turned to me, held up his hand to give me a high five like usual but as I went to high five his hand, he pulled me into a hug and whispered with tears in his eyes, "I love you." I mustered out "I love you too" but couldn’t believe what was happening. We waited there while he made his way to the front gate, wiping his eyes and realizing that his mission had come to an end. I am so grateful for the leadership and love of this man. He has done such good in this three year span and I know he will be very blessed for it. After this I was able to turn to the Thomas family and say through my tears "We are so excited for you guys and all you will do here!" We helped them with a few more things but later we just let them settle in themselves. It was fun during the week answer questions or help them out, like making it to the chapel for Conselho (Council) the following Thursday. They are going to do great! Every time Sister Thomas bears her simple yet spiritual testimony in Portuguese I get so emotional! And President Thomas is going to be fabulous. They are so humble and so excited :) They also gave us a ride to church and I showed them where the chapel was.

President and Sister Thomas

This week we also got to do a "helping hands" project with food storage of rice and beans (obviously).  All in all this week was full of emotions, English, the spirit, and love. I am so lucky to be a missionary. I am so happy. Use the strength of Heaven. Am I giving my heart to God? He helps us especially in struggles. For me, He gave His life. Often times we write only what we hear, and not what we feel. You can’t believe in Christ and not His words, it’s a package deal :) This was just a piece of what I learned this week!

Love you all -Boa Semana

Sister Oldroyd, the English translator :)