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