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

Monday, November 7, 2016

God Answers Our Prayers

This week flew is it that today is the start of week 5 in this transfer.....? Just imagine me freaking out a tiny bit inside.....other than this I’m doing very well.

This week I ate a ton of sushi with my district to celebrate the age change to 21. Now I’m going to have to get used to saying “tenho vinte e um anos” that’s going to be so hard....haha but it was a great birthday :) Simple but great! Thanks for the happy wishes.

This week was filled with a few fun experiences. Going along with the title I received a few answers to my prayers. One is kinda irrelevant but I was sure happy for it. We had traveled a bit farther into our area to get to know it and had eaten lunch, when usually I go to the bathroom after but forgot. So there we are in the middle of the neighborhood, far from stores etc. and I need to go so bad.....and basically there’s no hope when you are surrounded by big houses with fences and no one in the street. I was just thinking, help me please!  And we turn the corner and I see a taxi point, and their little bathroom! Boy was I happy! I booked over there and asked if I could use it...they were like sure! How grateful I was....I wouldn’t have made it any longer. That was answer number one. Then this week we had been trying to use more recent converts in our lessons, so the Lord blessed us with 9 member lessons! It was so great and He truly helped us out on that one. That’s answer 2. Also, it was a super hot day and I had chugged the rest of my water....there we were far from the stores again, but thankfully in Brasil there’s usually a little bar on every street. So I walked in a little neighborhood bar, and my hesitant companion followed me in haha (poor thing, she prefers not to enter bars....) but I needed water, sooooo...I asked the man how much a bottle of water was and he goes, I don’t have any but I have a big bottle I can fill up your bottles with. I thought, yes! It was super cold water and he gave it to us for free. That’s answer number 3. On Friday we got to give the training at district meeting because last Sunday we had 5 people at church, so our LD asked us to give training on how to get investigators in the church cause our district is struggling with it. So we prepared a few questions and found some scriptures but I really was hoping for it to be a discussion, interactive training and it turned out great :) The practices we did and the comments they gave were awesome! There’s answer number 4 and my last one was something more spiritual. This week I had been struggling with pride, nothing too big but I was having certain thoughts and feelings that I knew weren’t helping me and weren’t of God. So I asked Heavenly Father to help me be more humble and I used many study materials, but ended up finding Deut. 8:2 which helped me a ton to realize that my mission is hard to humble me. I invite you all to try and be more humble. I think we each have a hidden piece of pride somewhere but God helps us replace that pride with humility and love. I loved a line from the hymn “Be Thou Humble" which is 'Be thou humble in thy calling and the Lord is there to teach thee'. This is a sacred calling to serve a mission and I for sure want the Lord’s help to be humble. One last piece of study was from a Primary hymn. I’ve been reading the Primary Hymnbook like a real book and it’s quite refreshing. From the song 'Reverence is Love' a line that stuck out to me was 'Reverence if more than just quietly sitting, its thinking of Father above' this made me think of the Sacrament as well as everyday life. How can I better turn my thoughts to the Father?

Love you all! Have an uplifting week :) Know that I’m great; trying my best to know God and know who Sydney Oldroyd is in His eyes. Boa Semana!

Sister Oldroyd -who ate an oyster (or was it a muscle? not sure) at a member lunch in the restaurant cause he loved them and told me to try was cold....bland. . . and rubbery but I tried to looked pleased....afterward Elder Johnson said it was obvious that I didn’t like it....I’ve gotta get better at faking it till I make it haha!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sister Pumpkin :)

Well the title has nothing to do with anything besides my birthday! Just wanted to quickly say thank you ten billion times for those of you who wrote a memory or two in my memory book. It brought me such joy and has been by far one of the best gifts I’ve received. Who knew turning 21 would feel so normal and yet so weird at the same time? I continue to realize that I spent my whole 20th year in Brasil and will spend a part of my 21st year in Brasil. I am so blessed :) Only more happy memories to come.

thank you thank you thank you! i cried, laughed, smiled and 
got to reminisce about how wonderfully filled my life is with you guys! 
thank you for making me who i am! 

This week was really cool! Tuesday we had interviews with President Thomas as a district and while waiting, Sister Thomas wanted to take pictures and hear everyone’s conversion story. Sooooooo....that meant I got to help translate them for her. It was such a privilege to be seated there with her and the Elder or Sister and explain to her how they were converted or how they are still finding their testimony right now. We got to know a bit about their family and asked them how they obtained a testimony and how they knew they wanted to serve. Some were quickly given while others were filled with a few tears. It was one of the coolest experiences to get to know these missionaries even better by only talking with them for 10 minutes. It made me think about how much better I could get to know people, like my neighbors, relatives and friends if I truly just sat down and talked with them and really asked them questions and really listened. Wouldn’t you like it if the person asking you questions actually wanted to hear your answers? It kinda makes me frustrated when I feel like the other person only asked me the question cause they were feels so much better when you can see them processing everything you’re saying. Anyway, just an idea.

an elder (the blue tie cut off head one kkk) kept saying i was the famous 'cookie' sister when i had never even made them yet on the mission haha i can take a hint elder...they weren't fabulous, but i patted myself on the back for how they turned out, and not having had the proper cooking tools haha i wung it! thank you cooking shows :)

I thought this quote I saw in the street was cool "Be as you are......everybody else is taken”. Well I thought, that’s true haha such wisdom casually written in the street. Who knew graffiti or store logos/names could be so uplifting?

A really cool moment was when I saw a lady at the bus stop with a huge rounded yellow bag that said 'smiley'. It was just calling my name! So I went up to talk with her and she goes, “I don’t speak Portuguese very well”...and I stop, “do you speak English?' she goes, “yeah..well I’m Hungarian so I actually speak Hungarian, and English cause everyone learns it there in Hungary cause very few people speak Hungarian and French and now Portuguese". I thought wow! You go girl! Get that brain a working haha. I only had a bit of time to explain and respond to a few of her questions before her bus got there but I felt so happy for how she accepted me and talked with me. I hope she reads that restoration pamphlet and gains a testimony :)

We had two fun family nights this week, one with a recent convert who works for facebook as an engineer so he is always traveling and we took advantage now that he is in town. We took over a young married couple with us and had a lesson on testimonies. Each of us bore our testimonies and it was so great to see the difference in each one, but to be able to feel the spirit in all of them. Our testimony truly is a declaration of what we have found out to be true. Another family night was with a family who are all members besides the daughter and we decided to show a video and share about Christ’s role in our life. I got to share a scripture that I had never even realized until now, but unfortunately I can’t remember, it’s in the end chapters of Third Nephi about Christ gathering everyone to pray and then saying that he cried. I shared that yes, our lives are quite blessed by the gospel but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t cry, for even Jesus cried. That it plays a part in our progress, which explains why Joseph’s name isn’t written directly in the bible. Or who would truly be converted by the spirit if it were? A lady firmly questioned us, 'but I want you to show me exactly where this man’s name is in the bible so I can study it and ask my pastor" and all we could say was to pray and showed her a few scriptures that explained the restoration.  We repeated many times that she should ask God and not her pastor. Just like it says in 3 Nephi 26:11, God is testing our faith by not giving us all the details. But He promises to make everything clear when we ask in faith.

family home evening with pizza! it was so much fun! and this irmã makes me think of elfiba from wicked every time haha shes there in the back, dont you think?

There was also a sweet story a recent convert told us about her 11 year old daughter having to explain to a boy wanting to be her boyfriend that she couldn’t until the age of 18 (I explained that she could date at 16 haha ) and that she was going to live the law of chastity and was planning on serving a mission so she couldn’t be his girlfriend. The boy with a puzzled look on his face asked, what is the law of chastity? And what is a mission? Oh how I love C. and hearing these wonderful stories of her and her example at such a young age!

Also I’ll quickly just say that sometimes being American has its down sides haha like a contact I did with M. I asked him the name of a street and he didn’t know but he was fascinated with my little accent and talked with us a while about religion then finally at the very end as I went to shake his hand, he took it and pulled me in to give me a huge kiss on the cheek. Let’s just say I tried to say no and pull away and my companion was just in shock…(poor thing haha I think that was the first time that happened in front of her eyes on the mission) ugh.....why me??? Sacrifices to preach the gospel I guess. God will forgive me....anyway, that was my week basically!

Happy living for you all :) Know that I’m great and am trying to wake up every morning excited to see what God has planned for me!

Sister Oldroyd- who’s going to eat endless sushi for her birthday with the whole zone :) yesss!!!! Oh and Sister Thomas called her to sing her happy birthday. Cutie :)