Curitiba Temple

Curitiba Temple

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cold Feet, Out of the Blue, and Hitting a High A!!!

My dear family,

I hope y'all are doing well! So, the cold feet is referring to the fact that it is really cold here! Nothing figurative haha. It was a good week!

We taught a lot of lessons. M. is still progressing toward her baptism on the 28th! And... so is A.!! Remember her? Well she showed up at church out of the blue the other week, so we started visiting with her more regularly again, and she feels ready to be baptized! I can see the change in her from when I first got here to now. She is so much happier and has a much greater desire to follow God's commandments and enter the covenant of baptism. We met with her almost every day last week, and we have full support from the bishop and many others in the ward who already love her so much. We're working with her and E. as a family so they can progress toward the temple together as well. Everything is just going really well with them! After 35 years of investigating the church, A. is finally getting baptized! Woohoo!!!! We are ecstatic.

We are still working with the R. family, and they are still progressing, just very slowly. E. is a very educated man and has a lot of deep questions. Deep questions and surface concerns. We struggle with knowing how to help them progress toward baptism. They continue attending church and they love the people and they receive answers to questions there. The girls have even been better about reading from the Book of Mormon. I. said she gets answers every time she reads! She is really the most receptive to the things we teach. So Heavenly Father is teaching us patience with this family. Sister Madsen and I joke that we'll sing Hallelujah when they finally accept a baptism date (The South has gotten to me).

Speaking of, we got recruited to sing in the ward choir for Christmas, and that's one of the songs we're singing. For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea for Sister Ramsden to sing soprano... I invite you to listen to the Hallelujah Chorus by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and wonder how in the world I was able to hit a high A! It was truly a miracle. I feel so much happiness with Christmas coming up!

I love that I have the opporunity to serve my Lord and Savior as a gift to Him during this season. I feel more love for my brothers and sisters around me, and for you!! Thank you for your love. I hope that y'all are having a wonderful Christmas season. I wish to give you the advice that President Cottle gave to us: Choose to look outwardly instead of inwardly. I know that that is when we will feel the truest and deepest peace and happiness. I love you all with all my heart! Take care.

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Friday, December 13, 2013

Devotionals, Comforters, and Cold Turkey!!!

My dear family,

I love and miss you all! I hope y'all had a really great week. We had a pretty slow week, working on building up our teaching pool, developing new finding approaches, etc. We have a lot to work on and it can be hard! But we're definitely learning patience. Yeah, pretty much most of the week was spent doing finding activities. Not many new investigators, but some promising potentials!

I love this time of year because people are more open about talking about religion, with the focus being more on Christ at this time of year. I love seeing all the decorations! We actually helped a family decorate their tree, so that was fun. Amy Eubanks has been coming out with us a lot. It's the best! We learn so much from her, and she gets to have these real missionary experiences as she prepares to turn in her mission papers! We have great times together. The coolest thing is hearing her tell us of the blessings she has seen in her life since she started working with us more. To me, it just builds my testimony of who I represent. It pushes me to want to act more like Christ and bring people closer to Him by teaching them His restored gospel.

Christ is everything! I've been reading the New Testament, the miracles He worked... He lived so perfectly. He is such an example to me. Last night at the Christmas Devotional, I had the strongest desire to just be with Him physically right now! But I know that even though He isn't here physically, I can feel His presence with me always. That's what He promised us - that He would send a Comforter. The Holy Ghost has helped me through everything as a missionary. I am so grateful!

Throughout the difficulties in working through weaknesses, M. has been such a light in our lives. She is so excited about her baptism, she does everything in her power to make it to church every Sunday, and she lives the commitments before we even extend them. This week, she sent us a text early one morning and asked us to pray for her because she was quitting coffee cold turkey. We haven't even taught her the Word of Wisdom yet! But she knows she has to quit in order to be baptized, and she is willing to do that because it's what Heavenly Father wants her to do, even though she doesn't understand why. She is so incredible. I learn so much more from her than I feel like I teach her. She attended a baptism with us this week and felt the Spirit tso strongly. Yeah, she's just amazing! We are so blessed to have her in our lives.


Us with M. at the baptism :)

Mom, Dad, Summer, and Skyler, I love you all so much. You have no idea! I can't wait to see your beautiful faces on Christmas. Thank you for all of your support while I've been gone. I hope you have a great week!!

Muito amor,

Sister Ramsden

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Black Friday, New Companion, and TONNSSS of Food!!!

Oi familia!!!

Alright, I'll start with the big news because I know you all want to know her name... My new companion is Sister Madsen, from West Jordan Utah! She's awesome. We get along really well. She's been out for about six months. She served in the Augusta zone before here. Yeah! She's cool! So it's been a fun week of adjusting and learning to teach and work with someone new. But she makes it so easy! I'm very blessed.


The Fantastic Four!

How was Thanksgiving?? I hope y'all ate some homemade pie for me :) We went to the Boyds' for dinner and they sent us home with TONNSSS of food. Like, two fridge shelves full! It's super yummy. It was hard to know what to do because it was a holiday... So we ended up going to some stores for Black Friday. No, not to shop... To contact! It was super fun! We just talked with the people in line around us and if that didn't work out, we got out of line and went to the back of the line and talked to those people haha. When the line went inside, we went to the mall and sat with people who were waiting on benches. It was a really fun idea! It was a good day, and it didn't really even feel like Thanksgiving, but I definitely took time to think of all the things I'm grateful for. There's a lot!! Heavenly Father has been so good to me.


Me and Sister Madsen! She's 5'11"!

So, Wednesday night we taught M. the Plan of Salvation. She thinks it's a beautiful plan, and she already believed everything except for the three kingdoms of Heaven. So she told us she'd pray on it. And she came to church yesterday!! She was so excited to finally get to come. Testimony meeting was perfect, she was crying the whole meeting. The Spirit was so strong, all through church! And the members were awesome in welcoming her.


Our district last transfer

After our correlation meeting, we took Amy Eubanks (new ward missionary! Yeah!!) and went to follow-up with M. She had been crying since she left the church! She said every question she had was answered, the service was everything she hoped it would be. She loved it! We brought up baptism again, and she said she absolutely knows that's the direction she's going. She knows that she needs to be baptized. So she will be baptized on December 28th!! Her testimony of the gospel blows me away. She wonders how it took her so long to find it! I can feel my testimony growing so much as we teach her and as the testifies to us.


Me and Amy!(She is the daughter of Kevin's last missionary companion)

This gospel is 100% the true gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness, once again on the earth, never to be removed. I love being a part of this great work! I learn so much every single day. I love you all with all my heart. I pray for each of you. Thank you for everything you do for me. I am SO blessed to have you.

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, November 25, 2013

EDIMGIAFAD, Red Clay, and the Fantastic Four!

My dear family,

I love you all so much! I always love hearing from you. I hope everything is going well for y'all. This week was pretty chill. We taught the Reyes family the rest of the Plan of Salvation, and they agreed with everything we taught. E still has a lot of questions, and it can be really intimidating, but we're trying to help him realize he doesn't need to know everything right now. He gets into some pretty deep stuff. They still weren't able to make it to church, but he said he already looked ahead to next week because he knew we would ask. So he said they look free! I'm sooo excited for them to come! His wife and daughters are very accepting of the teachings as well. They're an awesome family.

We've tried to get in contact with the McMullins this whole week, and they've been sick. S loved the Family Proclamation we left her, and so did H. They are very interested, but J is still super stubborn. We're going to stop by today to see what we can do for them. Kiya's friend, M, is awesome! She reads the Book of Mormon almost every day, and she prays every day! She says she understands it pretty well! She has a hard time waking up in time for church, so we'll see what we can do to help her with that.

Biggest miracle this week! We got a mystery text from the 2nd ward elders saying "Good luck!" About an hour later we got a phone call from a brother in their ward, Max, who is dating a non-member, M. Well, they talk a lot about religion, and M started reading the Book of Mormon and wanted to meet with the sisters! All we knew was that she had read through the testimonies and had some questions she wanted answered "from a woman's perspective". We met her on Saturday, and she is awesome! Her questions are so sincere, not contradictory at all. And everything made perfect sense to her! She even talked about being baptized! So we have a dinner appointment with her this Friday. She is just the sweetest little southern lady!


EDIMGIAFAD = Every day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day!

The work in this area is definitely progressing! We still have some major struggles, like member support, but we're learning to just love everyone and to be patient. That actually reminds me, we've decided that us sisters and the elders all needed to be here at the same time because we all bring something different that this area needed right now. Elder Clay has the experience, Elder Forbush has the patience, Sister MacDuff has the conviction, and I have the love. Amy Eubanks is really good at drawing, so she's working on a picture of the four of us together: the Fantastic Four.


You know you're in Georgia when... There are a ton of brick houses made from Georgia red clay!

It's been fun here! I can't believe transfer calls are in five days!! My stomach is doing somersaults, not knowing what that call could bring. It scares me to death! Especially going to Brazil. It was funny, a stake rep spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday and mentioned his son waiting for his visa to Brazil, and half the congregation turned around to smile at me. They are so supportive in that way. A few of them came up to me afterwards and made little jokes about it, and some told me that they're praying for me. That helps put my nerves to ease a little bit.


Our zone with Elder and Sister Aidukaitis!

I know that wherever I go is where I am meant to be! I'm learning to trust in the Lord more and more each day. "Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (Doctrine and Covenants 6:34-36) I love you all so so much! Thank you for all of the support you give me here. I couldn't do this without you! I miss you. Write me soon <3

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sweet Tooth, Pea Coats, and Slow! Church Zone

My dear family,

I love and miss you all so much! How are you all doing? I hope it was a good week for y'all. This was a pretty good week! A lot happened, so I apologize in advance if I seem more scattered than usual! First off, Halloween was really interesting this year. President Cottle had us all on "lockdown" in our apartments by 6pm, so we didn't do a whole lot. I seriously had the biggest sweet tooth of my life that day! I guess there's no better day to have a sweet tooth, huh? Well good thing, because that's the day I got your package! I don't know if y'all planned this, but I also got a package from Mataji that day and she sent me candy and nuts. Did you do that on purpose? Anyways, I appreciate it. I love y'all. That candy is not going to help the weight situation, but I'll lose it all in Brazil.

Speaking of which, Sister MacDuff really thinks I'm getting my visa this transfer. The thought literally scares me to death. When President Cottle calls me to tell me, I'm probably going to cry I'm so nervous! But I know it's all in the Lord's hands. The members here love that I'm learning Portuguese, especially the ones that served in Brazil themselves. Brother Lochner is genuinely concerned that I'm going to lose it all before I get there. But there are families that have asked me to pray for them in Portuguese, so I do that occasionally. The members really are awesome. I feel so much love for them! We get many offers to come out to lessons with us. They're great.


Our district last transfer!

Can you believe this transfer is half way gone already?! I can't believe it! It has seriously flown by! It's already November! Oh Dad, you asked about the weather. It's about as random as it is in Chico. We had rain, 85 degrees, and 60 degrees all in the last week. It gets really cold here! It was already 45 degrees when we got in at 9:00 last night. Crazy! I'm actually really regretting not packing my pea coat (the dark blue one... hint hint, haha). If you can send it to me, I would be sooo grateful! I don't know why I didn't bring it. I'm really putting those scarves to use, too! I never was much of a scarf person until I got here. I love the scarves you got me when y'all went to France. They keep me nice and warm. Well enough about the weather.

It was a good week! We made some serious progress with the less-actives we've been working with. We were able to be bold and loving with them in inviting them back to church. They seemed promising in their responses, but none of them were able to make it. They truly are changing though and I know we will see their faces in our chapel again soon! I have such a great love for these people. I've found that showing love for them truly brings the Spirit so much stronger and increases their desire to take the steps necessary in coming back to church. We've also decided to re-teach the discussions to some of the less-actives. That will really help them remember why they loved the gospel once and rekindle that flame for them to come back. I'm excited for that! The best one this week was with a woman named H. The sisters here have been trying to reach her for months. We finally caught her at home and set up an appointment to get to know her better. So we met with her and asked her what her expectations were for us coming. Turns out that her husband, E*, is actually interested in learning more and potentially being baptized! We did not see that coming at all. He was super rough the first time we met him, but he really wants to feel more unified with his wife. He loves the fact that they can be together forever. So we're starting to teach him!


You know you're in Georgia when...

Other than that, we just met with E again. He really wants to be able to connect himself to God somehow. He stopped praying when he was really young because he felt that he wasn't getting answers. He lived in really rough circumstances. We told him that maybe the prayers were giving him the strength he needed to endure. He cut Sister MacDuff off in the middle of her sentence and said, "Okay you can stop there. You touched me with that." We can tell he really wants to understand more of his relationship with God and to develop it. He has read the first 10 chapters of 1 Nephi, and he really likes it. It's interesting to him, and he doesn't question that it's true. We invited his family to join us next time so that they can share this learning experience together. He told us they only go to the church they do because it's better than not going to church at all. So we'll see what happens!

S and her family are doing okay. They ended up cancelling our appointment Saturday because they had family in town, and then they have "revival" all this week, so we're not sure if we'll be able to see them this week at all. I hope that they've been able to read the Book of Mormon and that J has kept an open heart to it! That will help them so much. We also had our first lesson with the two 10-yr-olds, M and C. That was an interesting experience. Our car got surrounding by little children all younger than 10 who all wanted us to teach them! They are sweet children, but most of them are younger than 8, and we feel that they just all want to do it together because it sounds fun. We had a talk with M and C's parents about the commitment of being baptized and the importance of them being able to make it to church. Their parents said if the kids ask them, they will take them to church, but they have to show that they want to be there. It's good to know that their parents will support them in that way. The kids weren't at church yesterday, but we have a lesson with them today, so we'll see what happens.

K is doing well! She seems so much happier since she was baptized! She really does have a desire to be at church, she just doesn't have a way to get there because her mom works. Also, her grandma has dementia and it hurts her to leave her home alone. She has so much love for her grandma. She's a sweet girl, and she really is progressing and growing closer to her Father in Heaven.

I'm really happy for the time I've had to be here in Warner Robins and to work with these people. I have learned so much from them. I don't know where this next transfer will take me, but I know that I am doing the Lord's work no matter where I am, and I am grateful for this time in my life. I love you all so much! Thank you for your support. Have a great week! I'm praying for you.

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, November 11, 2013

10-year-olds, Trunk or Treat, and It's a Big Deal!

Familia!!

What a week this has been! Goodness. Sister MacDuff and I have been able to try and apply the things that we learned from Elder Aidukaitis last week. It's incredible what a difference it made! After many weeks of no new investigators, we found six in this one week! It's been incredible. Two of them are two of K's friends who are both 10 years old. We talked to their parents and they agreed to let us teach their children. It will be really tricky, we have to figure out all the details with Bishop Stewart, so we'll see where that goes. We have a lesson with them tomorrow, and we're really going to emphasize to them and their parents what a commitment it is to get baptized. Hopefully they'll be able to understand that and be willing to work hard to gain testimonies.

E, the guy that we gave the church tour to, is another new investigator! He has so many questions, really really good questions. Actually some questions that are hard for us to answer. But he really wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true! We committed him to read one page every day (he's really busy so that's all he could commit to), and we have a lesson with him Wednesday! He told us that he respects our persistence. He also told us that he wants us to come over every week so he can learn more. We didn't even have to ask! He's probably going to be a tough one to convert, he's weird about prayers and church. So I'll let you know where it goes!

Last, we have the M family. Sister MacDuff tracted into SM months ago, and we've tried her several times since I've been here and she's never been home. Well we finally caught her at home and taught her about temples. She loves the idea that her family can be together forever. Turns out her husband's step-dad is actually a member! Well, after that day, she told her husband and 12 year old step-daughter all about it. We went to visit her the other night, and they were all outside getting ready for their nightly walk. So we set up an appointment for yesterday. Turns out her husband, J, is very into his Bible. He really doesn't think that we need any more than the Bible, but he was very nice about it. Despite his beliefs, he did recognize that he has to read the Book of Mormon to know if it could be the word of God. So we taught him, S, and H about the restoration of Christ's gospel. S is so into it! Every time her husband had some issue and we addressed it, S would look at him and say excitedly, "What do you think about that, honey?" She really really wants to be with her family forever.

We committed them to read the Book of Mormon as a family and to pray to know if it's true. We really emphasized the importance of them, especially J, keeping an open heart, really desiring to know if it is true. They are going to come to Trunk or Treat on Wednesday, and they offered to feed us dinner before our next lesson on Saturday! They're awesome. I'm really excited to see them progress as a family. J actually has been to the LDS church about 15 years ago, so we asked if he would come again, and he said he would come to our church if we went to his. We told him we'd have to get permission... I'm not sure if we're allowed to do that. Anyways, they're awesome!

There is another man, Mr. A, that we met this week, but we haven't been able to set an appointment with him. He's a private investigator, so he's really busy and he doesn't know his schedule for this week yet. But he agrees with everything we have taught him so far! And he was really interested in reading the Book of Mormon. As an investigator, he told us that he analyzed us and could tell that we were honest people, so that's good. He really likes Sister MacDuff. She's so bold with him, it's awesome! We're definitely learning to be more bold with people. Like Elder Holland says, "This is eternal life!" It's a big deal!

But it really was a great week. The Lord has blessed us so much. I can feel my love for others increasing as I learn to see them more as my brothers and sisters. I have a lot of work to do to improve my teaching and other things, but I know that the Lord will help me. Plus, always having things to work on is what keeps us humble. :) Dad, Mom, Summer, Skyler, I love you all so much. I pray for each of you every day. I hope all is well with you! Write to me soon. <3

Com muito amor,

Sister Ramsden

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Zone Conference, a Baptism, and Waffles!!!

Oi minha querida familia!!!

How are you all?! I love you so much!! I loved getting letters from you all this week, y'all are the best. :) Well, this was definitely a week of growth! First off, our ward grew by one new member, K*** J*****! Woohooo!!! K*** was baptized on Saturday and confirmed as our newest member on Sunday in Sacrament meeting. She was nervous all week, every time we saw her. But when she walked into the church on Saturday, she was so confident. We're so so proud of her. She's going places!


You know you're in Georgia when... there are Waffle Houses EVERYWHERE


Sister MacDuff and I hosted our first church tour! We visited a potential that she met on exchanges named Ed. He has a wife and three daughters. He's a very interesting man. He did ask for a Book of Mormon, but he doesn't seem super into doctrinal kind of stuff... So we offered him a church tour, and he was surprised we do things like that! He said, "So I don't have to go to your services?" Not yet, E**. Not yet... :) Well the Elder texted us that morning and offered to come with us, so we challenged them to invite someone. Five minutes later, they texted us and said they got someone! So the four of us with a couple of members, J*** K*** and her dad, gave E** and his daughter, I****, and M***** a church tour! It was so cool! E** had a lot of good questions, especially about the organization of the church. We haven't heard from him since then, he's really busy with school and work, but we're going to stop by tonight and see if he's been able to read from the Book of Mormon yet.

Well, now that K*** is baptized, we don't have any investigators. We don't have a huge problem finding people who will listen, it's just turning potential investigators into new investigators, and new investigators into progressing investigators. But luckily, we had a zone conference yesterday with... Elder Marcos Aidukaitis of the first quorum of the Seventy and his wife! They are from Brazil, and they are amazing! It was really a blessing to meet them and be uplifted by them. Elder Aidukaitis is super funny, and he totally cracks himself up. But they both have powerful testimonies. Sister Aidukaitis talked about patience. She used me as an example, as I'm waiting for my visa. (Of course, I am not impatient for my visa to come). And at the end of the conference, she assured me that this is where the Lord needs me right now and that I am in good hands with President and Sister Cottle. She also advised me to learn my Portuguese well here, because when I get to Brazil they're going to think I'm a native because I look like one. She is very sweet.

Elder Aidukaitis focused a lot on our weekly planning sessions and how we need to set goals with faith so that we can see the end from the beginning. Something he said that really helped me was about acting on good thoughts that we may not think are promptings. He said that when we act on good thoughts, Heavenly Father knows that we are willing to listen, and He will then bless us with promptings all the time! So Sister MacDuff and I are working on telling each other when we think we got a prompting, then supporting each other in that, and acting on it. We really learned a lot of things we could be doing better, that's for sure! But there's always room for growth. We both went through our notes today and set personal goals for how we can improve, and we're definitely changing some things as a companionship to improve ourselves as missionaries.

Our district leader has committed us to reach the Standard of Excellence by next week! It may seem like a daunting task at times, but I know that if we apply the things that we learned from Elder Aidukaitis and increase our faith, we will see miracles and we will be able to reach the Standard of Excellence! After the conference, Sister Cole, our nurse, surprised us all with the news that we are all required to get our flu shots! So we went to Walgreens and filled out a voucher to get a free flu shot.

Momma, you had asked how the 5-step with the members is going. It's going really well! We've started quite a few families on step 1, and they are super excited about helping us with this. The challenge is to invite someone to the ward Christmas social where we will be having an open house, and to use Preach My Gospel in FHE. We're excited to see how this improves the work in the ward! I just have to say, it sounds like the stake musical was amazing! I wish I could've been there! Someone better have recorded it so I can see it. :) I love you all so so much! Thank you for your love and support. You're the best family in the world!!

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Transfers, the Curse of Columbus Day, and "You Know You're in Georgia when..."

My family!

I'm sorry that I didn't email yesterday! I hope it didn't throw you off too much. The library was closed, so we were told to email today instead. So just a heads up, next week we're emailing on Tuesday again because we have a special conference on Monday!

Well, I'm sure you're all dying to know about transfer calls, so I'll just come out and say it... I'm staying in Warner Robins with Sister MacDuff for another 6 weeks! Woohoo!!! I really am so happy about it. I know that Sister MacDuff and I still have things to learn together and from each other. And it means we're both here for K**a's baptism this Saturday! She had her interview on Friday and passed with flying colors. She's so awesome. She cried when we told her one of us could be transferred, but we figured it was better to let her know before hand than be a surprise later. And she's very happy we're both staying! She's the sweetest.


The sisters in our district!

Well, Saturday came, and Sister MacDuff and I could not focus on anything all day, waiting for the phone to ring. Elder Clay had said that if you didn't get a call before noon, you're probably staying. Well noon came and went, and no one in our district or our neighboring district had gotten a call! Finally at 3pm, the Zone Leaders texted saying there would be a whole mission conference call and 4:55! No one had any idea what was going on. But it was really cool being on the phone, knowing that every other missionary in the Georgia Macon Mission was on at the same time. I felt so unified. Anyways, President Cottle just gave us some info about the conference next Monday, and then the APs took over and told us, zone by zone, who would be transferred. We didn't hear our names, so we're staying!

Sister Sperlein who's in our ward and works in the mission office, told me that Sister Wilson got her visa!! So she is in Brazil as we speak. Kinda crazy to think about! I'm so excited for her. I actually got to see her last week! Sister Cottle has been trying for a long time to get the sisters together for a Sister Conference. So we went to the mission home on Thursday and learned about how to be healthy, how to tie scarves, and a lot about marriage... We're not sure what President Cottle was thinking with that last one lol. But it was so fun to have a break from the normal conferences and do something girly and fun! And it was really good to see Sister Wilson. I didn't realize how much a missed her till I saw her!


Reunited!! (With her MTC companion, Sister Wilson)

I just have to say, I am super jealous that y'all had pumpkin cinnamon rolls! But we had dinner at the Eubanks' on Sunday and they made us pumpkin cookies. I love being at their house. They really feel like family. Their daughters Amy and Christine remind me of mine and Summer's relationship haha. And it's cool knowing that Brother Eubanks was Dad's companion! Oh Dad, you asked where we watched General Conference. We watched all the sessions at the church. Thank you all for your letters! I love hearing from you. I've really learned to let you be my motivation to work harder and serve with all my heart rather than be sad missing you. It does get hard, but the Lord lifts me up and strengthens me! I am so blessed.

So there's this couple in the ward, the Rhodens, and Brother Rhoden is just about as southern as you can get. He cooked us brunch of omelets, sausage, grits and chocolate milk one day this week. And he gave us 15 referrals! So we've been working to get them all contacted. One of them is named T***a. That was a really cool experience because we just started teaching right there. The Spirit totally guided us. Sister MacDuff felt inclined to teach her about temples, and T***a seemed really interested to know that her family can be together forever. She even gave us a referral for the Elders in Perry! Just all around awesome. We hope that we're able to get in touch with her again and teach her and her family. Other than that, we're not really teaching anyone right now. But we have a lot of potentials we're trying to work with. And we definitely work a lot with the less active members. There are three families that we know will start coming back to church soon. The Spirit guides us so much as to how we can help them.


Pt 1 in series "You Know You're in Georgia when..." hahah

It's truly amazing to see the Lord's hand in our work. Know that I love you all and pray for you every day! I am well taken care of here. Thank you for your love and support. I am so grateful for you. Write soon, and have a great week! I love you!!

You asked for an example from this week, something I learned. There's a book called "Adjusting to Missionary Life" and it has helped me learn how to be more self reliant emotionally. As I've learned to make my prayers more sincere and striven to get more out of the scriptures, I'm feeling my heart soften and allowing myself to be more open to revelation. Especially in working with Sister Laidlaw. We have made some real progress with her in getting her to come back to church. She totally softened up to us last night. She told us she feels the Spirit just rush into her home when we visit. I know we couldn't help her without the Spirit. And I'm learning to recognize it more fully. The biggest thing is being patient with myself. That's definitely what I'm trying to focus on the most right now.

Love,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference, Alfalfa Hair, and Ground Deer

My beautiful family!

I love you all so much! I don't know if you realize what a help you all are to me, being out here. Thinking of you gives me such a push to more fully put my heart into the Lord's work. Something I learned a lot from Conference this weekend was what a driving force love is. Love is the reason Heavenly Father created the world, why He sent His Son to die for us, why He restored the gospel through Joseph Smith. So we can return to Him, because He loves us and wants to be with us forever!

I hope you enjoyed Conference as much as I did! I don't think I ever looked more forward to Conference. I felt the Spirit so strongly and received such inspiration to live much more like the Savior. It's been a day since the last session, and I have already felt a difference in my life! We are so blessed to have living prophets who give us such counsel. I want to hear what your experiences were with Conference! Write me about it. :)

Momma, I'm sorry you weren't able to catch me online last week! You mentioned that you noticed how long my hair is. That has just been one of many blessings that I know came to me because I am serving the Lord. It actually started back at the MTC. Those little patches you might have noticed (I like to call it Alfalfa hair haha) has started since I entered the MTC. The Lord has blessed me greatly in that way. This week wasn't too eventful. I did have an interview with President Cottle! He and his wife are just wonderful. We are blessed to have them. Sister MacDuff and I have adopted a new habit to give us incentive to remember to ask for referrals. For every person we forget to ask for referrals, we have to do two push-ups. I know it's not much, but we're too weak for any more! It actually has been a good reminder for us. Plus we get buff arms.

Well this week was pretty uneventful. We've really only been teaching K**a. She's right on track for her date on the 19th though, so we're excited! She's a sweet girl. She always prays that we won't stop seeing each other after she's baptized. We have seen A*a once or twice the last week. We're still not 100% sure where were going with her. She's been really sick actually. She got a blessing, but the Elder said it didn't seem like she has a great desire to be baptized right now. We're gonna check on her this week and see what's going on. She may not feel ready right now, but I know it will someday, there's no doubt.

Other than that, we've mostly been seeing less-actives and starting the 5-step with the members. It's been going well! Bishop Stewart thinks it's a great idea. So we've started with the senior missionaries and some of the ward council members. After Conference this weekend, we've actually felt inspired to get some of the less-actives into doing missionary work. We're really excited to see how that goes. I know that as they pray to know who to share the gospel with and bear their testimonies, they will feel that desire to come back to church and grow closer to our Heavenly Father. As we've visited some less-actives, the Spirit has been incredibly strong. Sister Logan's husband is a preacher, so she doesn't come to church anymore. But we visit her often and know that she has a strong testimony. We didn't know why at the time, but we felt like we should visit her a second time this last week, and we found out that the message Heavenly Father told us to share with her was exactly what she needed to hear. It's been really cool to have those spiritual experiences and to serve these people. Sister Laidlaw claims that her husband's inactivity is what keeps her away from church. When he's at home when we're talking with her, they just bicker back and forth the whole time. We finally caught her home alone and almost made a break-through when he got home from work. I guess some people told her that the husband should take the lead in getting his family to church, so she backed off. We shared an article from the Ensign with her about equality in marriage, and we'll check up on her this week to see how she's doing.

I love serving these people! I've been blessed to start seeing them more like Heavenly Father sees them. They are His children, and He sent me here to help them. We also had a cool experience with Edrick this week. We went over to teach him a new member lesson and invited him to have a question to be answered in General Conference. We've talked a lot about missions with him, but we don't want him to feel pressured. He knows it has to be his choice. He's always seemed a little iffy about it, but when we told him to think of a question, he just told us he wanted to know if he should serve a mission! He would be such an awesome missionary. So even though we don't have a lot of people to teach right now, exciting stuff is still happening!

I'm so grateful for the time I've had here. I can't believe it's already the last week of the transfer! Saturday we find out if either of us will be transferred or what's going to happen. I don't really know what I want to happen. I know that whatever happens is because the Lord knows it's what I need at the time and I will learn to adjust and will grow a lot from the experiences I have. I do know that I haven't gotten my visa yet. I spoke with Sister Cottle, and she told us of an Elder who got his visa, so I know that they would tell me when I get mine, even though I wouldn't leave until the end of the transfer. So I'm pretty sure I'm staying in Georgia, but we'll see what the Lord has in store.

Oh, I had my first ground deer yesterday! It actually tasted just like ground beef haha. The people here are big into hunting. Also, Brother Rhoden, the RS president's husband, is always looking out for us Sisters, so he told us there's a tropical storm coming in. It's supposed to just be through tomorrow. But it hasn't actually rained very much yet. We'll see what happens! I have yet to experience a true Georgia rain apparently lol.

Thank you all for your love and support. I am so blessed to have you. I love getting your letters. This week, I especially loved Nani's letter. That was the sweetest thing. I love her!! Also tell Gina I said thank you for her note!! Y'all are too sweet! I love you so much. I pray for you all every day. I hope you are all happy and well. Take care, and write to me soon.

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, September 30, 2013

Exchanges, Zapping Cockroaches, and New Delhi

Minha familia bonita,

How are y'all? I love and miss you more than words! I hope y'all are doing really well. First off, I wanna say HAPPY BIRTHDAY SKYLER!!! I love you buddy! I can't believe that you're 16! You're gonna be a priest! You have to tell me all about it! Including your first date ;) I love you!


Sister Wilson and I the night that Elder Anderson spoke to us at the Mariott Center. Walking back to the MTC in the pouring rain! Luckily, Elder Gale lent us his suit coat.

It has been a really good week! I went on my first official exchange. I was in Gray, GA with Sister Wood. We get along really well! So well that it's probably a good thing we aren't companions. But I learned so much from her. And ever since then, Sister MacDuff and I have worked so much better together! Like much more than before. We've been communicating better, our companion studies are better, and we've been teaching by the Spirit better. It's kind of like a marriage (from what I hear anyways) because you need that little break from each other once in awhile. I've even got her to help me with my language study. I read a verse in Portuguese, then she reads it in English. I used to just read it all in Portuguese by myself and wasn't getting a lot out of it. And she even speaks Portuguese words to me sometimes, words that I've taught her and that I say to her. She used to always respond in Spanish, but now she's been responding in Portuguese. It's just been really helpful for my language learning. And we cooked our first actual meal! We made fajitas. It was so fun, and I feel like it brought us closer. We've been working in unity so much better. Things have just been really great since the exchange.


4am - saying goodbye to our sisters at the MTC!

Except for that we got more cockroaches! So nasty. But I just have to tell you how blessed we are to have these really awesome Elders in our ward. We tell them pretty much everything that goes on from our investigators to our cockroaches. So they gave us a bottle of this bug spray for the perimeter of our apartment. We ended up spraying the perimeter of every room for good measure. We just work really well with these Elders. Elder Forbush and Sister MacDuff have actually been in the same district since the MTC! And Elder Clay goes home in February.


My first chigger bites!

The four of us have developed a 5-step plan to get the members more involved in and excited about missionary work. Basically it's just 5 lessons we teach them and some commitments we extend so that they can create their own family mission plan. It kick-started this week with our 5th Sunday lesson about hastening the work of salvation, and it will come to a close when the ward holds it's annual Christmas Social, where members will invite their nonmember or less active friends. Our plan is to close the Social with a chapel tour so their friends can learn more about the church and feel of the Spirit that dwells there. I think it will be really great! I don't know if I'll be able to see the whole thing through, but I'm excited to see what happens to the work in this area.


After tracting in the rain, Sister MacDuff and I had to get a pizza

Yesterday, Sister MacDuff and I went tracting for the first time in a week probably, and we knocked on the door of this nice East Indian family! I'm not sure if the father fully understood what we were saying and what our purpose was in being there, but he took our phone number and said he would call when they were free for us to return. They have three young children who were there at the door with him. They seem really nice, and I'd love to be able to teach them. I'll let you know what happens there! There's actually a member in the ward who I just learned attended church in India! He said the meeting was in New Delhi, and there were about 70 people in attendance! It just made me so excited to hear how the work is progressing.


Saying goodbye to the Smythe's! We helped them pack their house up last Monday for their move to Washington. This family is AWESOME. We miss them a ton.

As for our investigators, we've been struggling to get them to progress more. K**a is scheduled to be baptized next Friday, but she hasn't done much reading, and she wasn't at church this Sunday. She's only 9, so we really feel her family needs to be more involved in getting her progressing. They told us they would hold family prayer and scripture study, but so far they haven't really followed through with that. K**a is supposed to be interviewed this Friday, but she may not be able to be baptized if she isn't keeping her commitments. We have a lesson with her tomorrow, so hopefully we'll be able to express our concerns to her mom and they'll be able to help her progress more.

A*a hasn't been to church the last two Sundays. I love her and her son E***ck so much. It's really hard to see her not progressing. Her son was baptized earlier this year. He'll be graduating high school this year and thinking about serving a mission. His dad passed away last December. Just a lot going on there. He hasn't been to church the last two weeks either. We just really feel like there's not much more we can do for them right now. We stop by to check on them, but they haven't been putting their effort forward. So we're going to visit them once this week, give them a lesson about the Plan of Salvation again, and tell them we can't keep coming back. If they want this, they have to show that they are committed to God and want to follow His will. It breaks my heart that we have to do that, but we need to know if A*a is really willing and wants to commit to be baptized. I'll let you know how that goes.

Other than that, things have been good! I can't tell you how much closer I have felt to the Spirit this week than before. The Lord has been here to comfort me and guide me and protect me in times when I have needed it. I love feeling the Spirit and knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me. I want to do His will, and I am striving to realize how to do that more and more. It's a really great feeling. I also have been feeling physically better! All week, I only took Zyrtec every night, and my throat has been much more clear. Not 100% better, but still better than before!

I love you all so much. I'm proud of you and all that you have been doing. Take care of yourselves and write to me soon!

Love forever,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chigger bites, sleep talking, and banana spiders!

Familia!!!!!

I love you all so much!!! I hope all is well with you. Write to me soon! I love hearing all about what y'all are doing. This week flew by! It was pretty eventful. A few lessons, my first chigger bites! And some sleep talking.

I'll start with the chigger bites. First off, I hadn't even heard of chiggers before I got to Georgia (It's kind of bizarre to think that I'm in Georgia). They don't hurt, they kinda just look like mosquito bites, but really red and more like a pin point on your skin. And they don't really itch lol.

Sleep talking: I guess Sister MacDuff was kind of awake at 5:30 am and she heard me ask her, "I have a quick question. Are we gonna teach the lesson in English or in Portuguese?" And she really had to think about her response! So after a minute, she said "Hmm, let's give it another hour, and then we'll decide." So at least we talk about the work in our sleep!

Also, we have gotten two cockroaches this week! Someone should've recorded the way Sister MacDuff was banging a broom under her bathroom sink and I was crouched up on her bed with a plastic cup, ready to cover the prey. We have some good times. Like tracting in the rain! We got soaked, and we were hungry, so we went to Little Caesars and ate half a pizza and a whole bag of crazy bread. I forgot my camera today, but I'll send pictures next week!

Hey, will you look up banana spiders for me? Just take a good look at those babies. They are huge! One of the Elders in our ward said they used to be poisonous, but not anymore I guess. We see those hanging from their webs outside people's houses. I guess some people keep them as pets! Kinda gross. They're super creepy. There are a ton of bugs here, but I guess it's just preparing me for Brazil, whenever I end up there!



I wanna thank y'all for the package you sent! It was so cute, getting those early Christmas presents (that was this week, right? You really lose track of time out here!). Also, thank you for the medicine! I do still have some phlegm, so I'm trying different things to get feeling better. The YW president said maybe it's allergies, so I'll try only taking Zyrtec for a week and see what happens.

Well like I said, we had a few appointments. Mostly the same people. A*a has decided she isn't ready for baptism yet. So it's been postponed indefinitely. We're still working with her cuz we love her, but we're letting her kind of make decisions on her own. We won't call her to wake her up for church or call people to give her rides places. If she wants to be there, she needs to make the effort. But we're really stressing the importance of reading the scriptures every day. That will give her so much strength to overcome her struggles! So we check up on her a couple times a week so she knows we still love her and haven't abandoned her. She seems to be doing a little better.

K**a is still progressing! She hasn't done her reading, so we're trying to urge her along and be patient. But she feels good about being baptized October 11th! R**a is a photographer we tracted into, and she is very interested. Her personal beliefs are so close to the true gospel already! We had our first formal lesson with her, and she seems to agree! But she's very busy, so hopefully she's able to keep up those good feelings.

I was wondering if you could send me my gospel library books? (Jesus the Christ, Our Heritage, Our Search for Happiness, etc.). I really feel silly for leaving them! I would love that. I've been thinking about President Brown this week. How is he doing? Send him my love.

I also have a challenge for y'all! I've been reading the Ensign a lot, and it made me wonder why I didn't do it more at home? I think it's because it looked like such a daunting task. But if you just read one article a day, you'd finish in less than a month! So I challenge y'all to really dive into the Ensign. I know that it contains the words of people we sustain as prophets, the words of God. And you will feel so uplifted through your reading! I love y'all soo much. Thank you for all you do for me! Take good care of each other.

Much love,
Sister Ramsden

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Surprise Sunday Treat!

I received these texts today, along with this picture.



It's your junior companion, Elder Eubanks. Does this Sister missionary belong to you? Pretty fortunate to meet her. I relocated to Baltimore but was home the same weekend wife invited the Sis Miss to dinner.

Anyway, she and my daughter are talking at the dinner table when it comes up that she's from Chico. I said, "I had a companion from Chico." She says: "Where did you serve?" Me: "France, Geneva Switzerland mission." Her: "My dad served in France." Then it dawns on me she's about my daughter's age. Me: "What's your dad's name?" Her: "Kevin Ramsden." I'm like, no way, that's the one. I'm grinning and she started to cry.

Sweet girl, I know you're proud. What's the chance of me meeting your daughter being that she's assigned to Brazil and I'm usually out of town?

We definitely needed this special message today

Monday, September 16, 2013

Robitussin, Retainers, and Steak and Potatoes

Oi familia!

How is everone? I miss you all sooo much. Thank you for the letters and the package! The Robitussin has really been helping my throat! Did you get my package? I hope you didn't get too excited haha. I forgot to add that I would love it if you found Melissa's burned CD with Christ's picture on the front in my room somewhere and uploaded that music! Thank you so much!!

This was kind of a rough week, I won't lie! We had three appointments who weren't home when they said they would be. That was hard. But, with every hard week that we endure faithfully, the Lord will bless us. Like yesterday! The Smythe family in our ward is so solid. We love spending time with them. And they have given us two referrals! One of them is M*****a, their neighbor who they had a four hour long gospel conversation with, and she loved everything they taught her! So we met her last night, and she is SO prepared to accept the gospel! It was so cool to see how excited she is about it after that one conversation. She's been telling her whole family about it! She's already a missionary and we haven't even taught the first lesson yet! We are beyond excited to work with her.

On top of that, two investigators that we've been working with set baptismal dates! A*a is from Guatemala and was baptized at age 19 but never confirmed. Now, about 20 years later, her 18 year old son has been baptized, and she has been re-investigating. It's been a struggle getting her to stop drinking coffee and start coming to church more regularly, but she's been coffee-free for over a week now and we called her at 6:30 am yesterday to remind her to come to church, and she was there! So she will be baptized on September 28th.

K**a is 9 and her whole family has been baptized, but her mom wanted to make sure she fully understood what the church was all about, so we've been teaching her. She has ADD, so it's been fun coming up with ways to engage her more fully into the lessons. She loved our Plan of Salvation pictures, and we set a date with her for October 11th! Good stuff is going on here. We are very excited.

Sister MacDuff and I have been thinking a lot about the Family Proclamation, so I want to invite you all to read it and really ponder it's teachings. It really is a blessing in our lives!

Momma, you had some questions.
1. I wear my retainers almost every night. Like at least 5 nights a week.
2. Sister MacDuff and I workout every morning (but Sunday) from 6:30-7:00. Our apt complex has a gym with treadmills and weights and other machines.
3. Transfers are 6 weeks long. This transfer ends on October 14th.
4. The people here really love their steak and potatoes lol. I try to eat more fruit and veggies, but it's hard when I can't control what the members feed us! Sister MacDuff is embracing it, I'm having a harder time lol. I've definitely gained a few pounds since I got here. Not very noticably, but I'm praying it melts off in Brazil!

Anywho, I love you all so so much. I hope you are all doing very well. I miss you and pray for you every day. Write to me soon <3

Love,
Sister Ramsden

Monday, September 9, 2013

Warner Robins Address, Thunderstorms and Phlegm

OI FAMILIA!!!!

How are you all?! It feels like it's been forever since we were speaking on the phone a week ago! A ton has happened in the last week! So you now know that my mission president is President Cottle. Him and his wife are just wonderful! He actually served in Brazil! And so did 4 members in the ward I serve in (Warner Robins 1st ward)! The Lord totally knows what He's doing. One member actually offered to let me practice teaching him lessons in Portuguese, so we'll see if I can work that out. I love it here in Georgia. It is very different from California! It's pretty humid here, but I figure I'm taking baby steps to Brazil. The first two days, Sister MacDuff (my companion!) and I were tracting, and we got hit with a flash thunderstorm outta nowhere! I actually discovered I love tracting, and I still love it when it's raining. I don't know what it is, it's kind of energizing, even when we feel like we're gonna pass out. Also, we drive cars here! So I filled out some paperwork at the mission home my first night, and we'll see what comes through first: my driving record or my visa. Really, I'm okay with anything! I know that the Lord sent me here for a divine purpose, and I'm learning to just let go of my will and seek to do only His will. It has been a great learning experience!

So, I'm still sick! Sorry for the details, but I need Momma's advice on what to do. I've been coughing up phlegm since like two days before I left the MTC. I started taking Zyrtec and Advil Cold/Sinus every night for three nights now, and I don't feel any different. Really, it doesn't hurt or make me tired, it's just kind of annoying. What can I do?

Anyways, there are a lot of less active members here, so Sis MacDuff and I try to visit as many as possible. We haven't had much success there though. There are also a lot of part member families here, and usually the members in the family are less active. We're trying to work with them and discern their needs so we can get them back at church! The active members are so great. They are all very excited about the work! They are very supportive of us and do all they can to spread the gospel where they are. We get fed about 5/7 nights a week, which is just awesome. Pretty good food so far! Lots of red meat, but I am grateful for what they do for us.

Sister MacDuff and I were tracting one day, and we knocked on the door of an African American family. The woman answered the door, and she seemed a little scattered and we were sure she was gonna shut the door, but she asked us to come in! So we talked to here about her beliefs and what we were there for, and she wanted us to come back and teach her family the next morning! So we taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and her and her husband both accepted the invitation to be baptized! On the first lesson! It was amazing because we didn't even bring up baptism yet, C*ence (the husband) said he'd never been baptized and that's something he knew he wanted. So he just opened that door right up for us! They are such a loving family. M*y and C*ence have 4 kids between ages 18 and 27, so they all moved out, but they have custody of their 4 grandchildren who all have special needs. The children have shown us so much love. These people are absolutely ready to accept the gospel. I can't wait to work with them more and tell you about their progress!

I love you all with my entire heart! You make me so happy and so proud. Here is my apt. address: 121 Margie Drive Apt. 1502, Warner Robins, GA 31093. Try not to write a week before transfers, just in case. Also, when I get my visa, I'll stay the rest of the transfer in GA. I love getting letters from you! Especially since I can't see my emails until Monday. So write me as much as you want :) Momma, how was your birthday?! I wish I'd had time to send you something! Just know I was thinking of you! Also, can I have Lauren's email? I wanna know how the pregnancy is going! Tell her I love and miss her, and I pray for her and Chris.
A less active member we visited gave me this scripture to send to you from me, look up Galatians 6:11. I hope it gives you a good chuckle ;)

I love you all! Write soon!

Love,
Sister Ramsden

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First News of Sister Ramsden in Georgia

Dear Brother and Sister Ramsden,

We were so delighted to meet your daughter as she arrived in our mission on Monday and to be able to spend time orienting her to this new phase of her service. On Tuesday morning we had our transfer meeting which included instructions to the missionaries, inspirational talks, some heartfelt testimonies and assignments to their first companion and area of service. Following the meeting, Sister Ramsden and her companion traveled to Warner Robins, Georgia in the Macon Zone to her first assignment.

We know she will prosper here in the days ahead and assure you that we will do everything in our power to help her find joy in her service and success in her labors. Your weekly emails will do much to support Sister Ramsden as she labors in this wonderful work. Sister Ramsden will be able to email home on Preparation Day which is each Monday. Just a reminder, when Monday happens to fall on a national holiday, those who use the public libraries will not have access to a computer, therefore, they usually email on Tuesday instead.

Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote from President Lorenzo Snow. "There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder (sister) when he is preaching the Gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children" (Millenial Star, July 16, 1894, p. 451).

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you have done to prepare Sister Ramsden to faithfully serve a mission. We look forward to getting to know her as we serve our Heavenly Father here in the Georgia Macon Mission.

Attached please find a photo of Sister Ramsden with Sister Cottle and me. We are extremely pleased to have your daughter here serving with us.



With great appreciation and love,

Brent T Cottle
President
Georgia Macon Mission

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday P-Day to Start Packing

Oi familia!

As I am leaving the MTC on Monday, today is my P-Day so I can pack everything up and get all ready! Honestly, I'm not even nervous, which is surprising. I'm really excited to go to Georgia! And Sister Wilson is coming with me! She hadn't received her re-assignment yet when I e-mailed on Thursday. So, we're both going to the Georgia Macon mission! So excited.

Okay, I'm sure you're dying to know if we really did get a special speaker during Tuesday night's devotional. And the answer is yes! Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Twelve came to speak to us! He brought a former missionary who served years ago when he was a mission president in France. So we didn't actually hear a lot from him, but it was cool to see him! When the devo ended, we were informed that there was a thunderstorm outside, and we were at the Mariott Center on BYU campus, so we couldn't go back to the MTC yet. So Elder Andersen decided to come out and shake some hands. Well, he started walking up the aisle where I was sitting! He was shaking hands with sisters one row in front of me, and then he stopped to wave. So I didn't get to shake his hand, but I was literally two feet away from him! And he looked me straight in the eye and said "Stay dry out in that rain!" Feeling of his spirit just confirmed to me that he really is a prophet of God. His calling is divine, and he knows what we need to hear as missionaries of the church.

On Wednesday, we got two new districts! It's been a little overwhelming meeting with all the sisters every night now because there are so many of them! But it really has been a privilege and such a great learning experience to serve them. My capacity to love has grown so much through this experience. Sister Wilson and I will be released from our calling during Sacrament meeting tomorrow, and the new Sister Training Leaders will be sustained. They are awesome sisters and I know they will perform the work well! Also, one of our elders, the first ever in our whole district, got his visa on Wednesday! We are all so excited for him. If anyone was to get it, a lot of us hoped it would be him. He just has such a kind nature. He was our first District Leader and he really looked after us well and showed so much care for us. We know that the Lord has great plans for him and for all of us. Everything happens for a reason!

On Thursday, we had In-Field Orientation! It was basically one big workshop. We had a lot of speakers and did a lot of activities to help us become familiar with what we will experience in the field. It was a long day, but we learned a lot! I can't wait to be out there! We all got our re-assignments Thursday too! 5 are all going to Ohio Cincinnati, one to Ohio Columbus, one to Florida Jacksonville, one to Tennessee Nashville, one to North Carolina Raleigh, and two to South Carolina Colombia. We're all so close to each other! The Georgia Macon mission touches Jacksonville and Colombia, so we joke about waving from across the border haha.
Yesterday was our last day as a whole district, as our first left early this morning. During our morning class, we had a testimony meeting with both of our teachers. It's incredible how our love for each other grew so much in the short time we knew each other. We really just became a big family. I am so excited for all of them, and I will miss them! But I know that we all came here with the same purpose in our hearts, and our time at the MTC has only strengthened that purpose.

I'll arrive in Atlanta around 2:30 pm on Monday, and I'm not sure if I'll get to write again that day since it will be their P-Day or if I'll have to wait a week. Just know how much I love you all and how incredible proud I am of you for all you've accomplished while I've been gone. I pray for you every single day. Wish me luck in Georgia!!

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Thursday, August 29, 2013

RE-ASSIGNED!!!!

Oi familia!!!

I just got my re-assignment!!!!
"Sister Ramsden:
At this time, we have not received your visa to travel to your mission. You will be serving a temporary assignment in the Georgia Macon Mission until your visa arrives."!!!!!!!! I'm going to Georgia!!!!! I am so excited for this opportunity to serve the Lord there! I absolutely know that this is where He needs me right now. There is someone I will meet who needs me to teach them the gospel! I will be leaving the MTC on Monday morning at 4:30am, flying from SLC at 8:30, straight to Atlanta Georgia!! I love you all so so much and hope to hear from you soon!!!

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hosts, Sister Rasmussen, and January of Next Year

Oi familia!

How is everyone doing? I love and miss you all! I can't believe my time at the MTC is already coming to an end! This Thursday or Friday, we will find out where the Lord wants us to serve now. We think that if people get visas past 3 weeks of being here, the travel office might hold them until the entire district gets re-assigned, so maybe we'll have some visas with our re-assignments. Two districts left this week, and four people got visas while everyone else got re-assignments! But we're all very excited and very ready to go wherever the Lord sends us. We've all grown so close that it will be kind of sad leaving each other, but we have each other's e-mail addresses, so hopefully we can keep in touch.

Last Wednesday, our district got to host new missionaries! We just helped them get their stuff out of the car, took them through the lines to get the name-tags and such, took them to the bookstore, dropped everything off at their residence, then dropped them off at the classroom. Each person took maybe 20ish minutes, so I got to host 4 new sisters. The work just keeps moving forward! We got one new district this week, which included four new sisters that Sister Wilson and I have had the opportunity to get to know. We still love our calling! We just sent ten sisters off to Brazil and various states here. And we get 14 new sisters tomorrow! Now we are the oldest district. It's a weird feeling. I feel like we just got here! Time really is flying.

On Thursday, we had TRC, and we were supposed to Skype with native speakers in Brazil or Portugal, but they only had one volunteer that day, so Sister Wilson and I taught Irmão Miller as himself. It was kind of cool talking to him as someone other than an investigator or our teacher, just as a regular person. We talked about how to receive revelation through reading the scriptures, and I could feel the Spirit so strongly.

On Friday, we taught Juliano and committed him to baptism! What was funny though, was we set a date for next month, and he was like "Yeah! In 2014!" And we were like uhhhh.... Actually this year. He said he would commit if we made it January of next year, so that's what it is! When we ended, Irmão Cannon told us that a lot of Brazilians will accept your invitation for the following year. Sadly, we only have one lesson left with him, so we won't get to see where we could have taken him. But next week we'll be doing all of this for real! So exciting!!

This week again, Brother Egget (choir director) told us that tonight's devotional will be broadcast to all the MTCs! He didn't make it as obvious as he did last time that it would be an apostle, but my district has been buzzing with ideas of who it might be. I think the general guess is Elder Holland. So I'll tell you all about it next P-Day! Also, I said the closing prayer during Sunday night's devotional in front of thousands of missionaries! It was super nerve-racking, but I got lots of compliments. Then yesterday, I was in the cafeteria, and I hear an Elder calling, "Sister Rasmussen! Sister Rasmussen!" And even though that isn't my name, I looked around to see who it was for some reason. Well, it was this blonde elder who looked familiar. I look down at his tag: "Elder Fillerup"!! So I went over, and Ian Fillerup and I talked for a little bit! He's going to Argentina on his mission! It was cool but kinda funny to see him.

On Friday, both of our teachers taught spiritual lessons that I feel we really needed to hear as a district. They taught us enough that I think it taught each of us something different that really helped us individually. With Irmão Cannon, we learned a lot about the importance of obedience and diligence before, during, and after our missions. At the end of class, he went around the room and individually invited us to commit to certain things that were specific to our needs. It was a perfect message. I hope that we can all more fully apply that to our missions and the rest of our lives. The second class, Irmão Miller ended the discussion by having us write in our journals what we learned about Heavenly Father's will for us individually. It really opened my eyes and helped me realize and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord is pleased with my decision to be here on a mission. He knows I can do this. He has already strengthened me so much to fulfill this work. If there had ever been any doubts in my mind whether or not this is where I was supposed to be right now, they all went away. I am so happy to be here and to help bring the Lord's children to the truth of the gospel. I am ready to go where He wants me to go! When I receive my assignment, I will get to e-mail you, so check your inbox Thursday or Friday! I love you so much!!! Write me soon!

Muito amor,
Sister Ramsden

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Germs, Hugs and RICHARD G. SCOTT!

Oi familia!

How is everyone? I love you all and miss you! This week was alright, not much different happened compared to the other weeks. Other than new responsibilities as Sister Training Leaders. But we have so much fun with it! We have really grown to love the sisters we serve. I haven't fully recovered from being sick. I feel fine, but I definitely sound like a man. Today more than any other day. But everything feels fine! I'm sure it's just the number of people at this place. Lots of germs floating around.


The Chico sisters!

So, like I said in my letter Tuesday, our devotional last Tuesday was with Elder Richard G Scott! It was really inspiring seeing him in person. The Spirit testified that he truly is a prophet of God. His words are inspired. He is one of the closest men to God. It was amazing. He is a wonderful speaker. He spoke about prayer and how to receive answers. He really said some amazing things that I needed to hear. He was just so personal with us as missionaries. He really emphasized how important his mission was to him. Towards the end, he said this, with tears in his eyes: "If I have seemed emotional tonight... Perhaps I can tell you why. I have had the strongest impression that my wife has been permitted to be in attendance here tonight. And for that, I am truly grateful." His wife passed away almost twenty years ago. I'm pretty sure we all broke down when he said that. I am absolutely sure that she was there with us, watching her husband as he spoke to us. It was such an incredible experience, and I will never forget it.


Our sisters with the former Sister Training Leaders

We had TRC again this Thursday. It went much more smoothly than last week. We spoke with a man, Brother Haynie, who lived in Brazil for a few years. He was the happiest, most helpful man! It was so nice talking with him. He was very helpful when we struggled with words, and his Portuguese was so easy to understand. Sister Wilson and I felt the Spirit so strongly, it brought us to tears. We could feel the love he had for us and for the gospel.


District Temple day :)

Funny story for the week: Thursday night, our teacher was leaving, and he always hugs the elders goodbye and shakes the sisters' hands. Well, I was standing next to an elder when he was going around, so when he got to me, he almost hugged me! I just put my hands in front of me and said "Woah!". He was super embarrassed, but it kind of made my day! It was just really unexpected and really funny.


Goin to Curitiba!!

Sister Wilson and I have been reading the Book of Mormon together in Portuguese, and one day some elders decided they wanted to join us. So we all read a verse in Portuguese then decipher it together. It's been a cool experience. It can be tough, but we'll pull out our English Book of Mormon and compare if we need extra help. The elders are way into it! I'm really proud of them. They have grown so much since we've been here. They are awesome missionaries.


P-Day!

What's new in all your lives? I hope everything is going well. I love you all so so much. Know that I pray for you constantly. You're always in my heart and on my mind. Write me soon, my beautiful family.

I love you forever!

Sister Ramsden

Doctrine and Covenants 50:21-22 "Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wixom, Yoga and STLs

Oi familia!!!

How is everyone?! I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters and for the package this week! I have been enjoying dry fruit all week. I can't say the chocolate lasted me that long :) This week has been a crazy one! I'm feeling much better than I was last week, though I still have a tiny bit of a sore throat. And now Sister Wilson is sick too! :( But getting better. We now have two investigators, and we started doing Training Resource Center. That means that we teach members of the church who are just themselves. So we teach them as members. It was a different experience. It's almost harder than teaching investigators because you don't know how much to ask them! But we'll be learning a lot from that.

This Sunday has to be the best day so far. We had Relief Society in the morning, and Sister Rosemary Wixom, General Primary President came to speak to us! She gave us really cool insights. She just radiates sunshine! It was awesome. Then, Sister Wilson and I had the opportunity to prepare a lesson about the importance of the Book of Mormon in our District meeting. Well, the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency, Brother Jackson, and his wife came too. And when class was over, he asked to speak with the two of us... Sister Wilson and I have been called to be Sister Training Leaders!! We are so excited. We were already sustained in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, the former STLs left yesterday morning, and our responsibilities have begun! It really isn't a huge responsibility. We have meetings on Sundays and Tuesdays, and we visit all of our sisters (7 rooms worth!) every night before quiet time at 10:15. Our hearts have already grown so much, and we have received nothing but the greatest love and support, especially from our district. They really are so great. We have become like a big happy family! They call me their mom. But they do say I'm a cool one :) I taught them all yoga on Wednesday, and they loved it so much that they want me to teach them every week! It's cool seeing how the Lord has allowed me to use my talents and teach others. The Lord is blessing us so much!

I don't think I told you how visas work. So if someone in our district gets their visa by tomorrow, they get flown out to the Brazil MTC right away. If someone gets it any later than that, they finish the MTC here, then go to Brazil instead of getting a reassignment. So far, no one in our district has gotten their visa. I will continue to keep you posted on that!

Dad, you asked about choir. The Elders GREATLY outnumber the Sisters! And they sound phenomenal. We have an awesome director, Brother Egget. It's actually funny you should ask that this week. Cuz Sunday practice, he told us that this weeks Tuesday devotional would be broadcast to all the MTCs, and we all flipped! We have no idea who's coming, but the buzz is that it will be at least one apostle! Hopefully I can get on later tonight and tell you who it was! I love you all so much. Thank you for the love and support and prayers. I am so incredibly proud of you all. You are the best family in the whole world! Write soon. <3

Te amo para sempre,

Sister Ramsden

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MTC, Week 3: Devotionals, Disney and Yummy-smelling Trees

Oi familia!

How is everyone? How was your week? I hope things are going really well for you all. It's been quite the eventful week here! Tons of people in my branch have been getting their visas, and our district leader is convinced that a few of us will get ours in the next week. I guess we'll see! Pretty exciting stuff. When I first got here, everyone would tell me that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I didn't understand that until now. That literally is exactly what it feels like! The days go on forever, but looking back, the weeks are so short! It's crazy.

My district

I'm still getting over a head cold today that started on Saturday morning, but I'm doing well other than that. Sunday was hard though because it was fast Sunday and my district decided to have an "English fast" as well. That only lasted the morning really. I seriously love my district so much. I'm already dreading leaving them when we all head off to our missions. The elders have offered to give me blessings or anything they could do to help me get over my cold. They're great.

My companion, Sister Wilson, and I with Sister Heffernan from Hawaii and Sister Beeson from Virginia :)

Last night, a few of the elders were singing Disney song to us sisters. It was the sweetest thing. We have an Elder Packer (yes, 4th cousin of Boyd K.), and he seriously reminds me so much of you, Skyler! Just the things he says and his facial expressions. It's hilarious. I miss you, buddy! He is also fascinated by Punjabi, so I taught him the few words I do know. We all learn so much, so fast! An elder told me last week that the gift of tongues doesn't necessarily mean that words you don't even know come to you in a moment of need, it also means Heavenly Father aids you in speeding up your ability to learn the new language. And we have totally seen that. It's incredible. We learn so much. Brother Cannon taught us about the importance of helping our investigators strengthen their relationship with Heavenly Father. It's cool to have a relationship with them personally, but we need to remember our purpose as missionaries and use that to push them toward developing a relationship with Him. I just really liked that outlook.

On Thursday, we had our last lesson with Antonio, and it went so well! He loves the scriptures and the feelings he gets when he reads them and when he prays. So we testified of the importance of baptism and told him that through baptism he could have that companionship of the Holy Ghost forever as long as he lived righteously. We had just been working on memorizing the baptismal invitation in Portuguese, so we decided to try it out, and he accepted!! We were so excited, and we could tell he was too! It's amazing how these situations are pretend, but the Spirit is still absolutely there and testifies of truth. We testified to him that through his decision, he'd be able to live with his wife, Laticia, forever. He just smiled humbly and said "Eu quero isso." I literally almost cried.

This tree smells like creme soda! It's amazing!

And then the next day, we knew we'd get a new teacher. So we're all goofing off in class, and in walks Antonio! He's really Brother Miller, and he will be teaching with Brother Cannon for the rest of our time here. We're all very excited that we get to continue working with him, even though our roles have been reversed. He pulled me and Sister Wilson aside after class one night and asked us if we could try to keep the class in order while he was gone. We tend to get a little crazy. We just love each other too much :). So we agreed, and then he asks me: "Sister Ramsden, do you know a Cami Greenall?" I was way excited! I guess he met her through a friend of his at BYU and she saw the picture of his new class at the MTC and she recognized me! Such a small world.

Yesterday, we got a new investigator, played by Brother Miller again. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to get over him being Antonio, but it was actually really easy. He's a junior in high school who loves soccer and loves his family. His family is Catholic, but they only go to church on Easter and Christmas, and he isn't really familiar with saying personal prayers. So we taught him about eternal families which he really seemed to like. And while I was giving the closing prayer, he was whispering everything I said, repeating me so he could remember how to pray. It was way cool! Sister Wilson and I realized they probably play roles of people they actually met on their missions, which is really cool.

Our class with Brother Miller :)

On Sunday, we had our devotional, and Sister Jenny Oakes Baker spoke to us. She is Elder Dallin H. Oakes' daughter and she is an accomplished violinist who graduated from Juliard. She played a few songs for us, and it is incredible how the Spirit can testify of truth through music in that way! It was beautiful. She taught us the importance of using our talents righteously, to build up the Kingdom of God. That really made me think about what talents I have and how I could be using them to lift others and build the Kingdom.

Anyways, I love you all so so much! Please write me soon! I want to hear from you. Also, if you haven't sent that package already, I like love Trail Mix. In fact, if you got me some Costco trail mix instead of Clif bars, I'd be one happy Sister :) Maybe some pretzels too... Just a thought :) And Dad, you asked how long Dear Elder takes to get to me. Well, you wrote on Saturday, and I got it after dinner on Monday. Our district leader checks the mail around 5 every day but Sunday. But I think they come pretty much the same day. I hope everything is going well for all of you. Know that I pray for you every night. I want you to continue growing and improving.

Love you forever, family,

Sister Ramsden

"And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst." - Doctrine and Covenants 84:80

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 1, Part 2: Getting started

Arrived via e-mail on Tuesday, her preparation day.

Oi familia!!

How is everyone?! I love you all so so much! Thank you so much for the letters. It means so much to me to hear from you! It's been a crazy week! Probably the longest of my life! But I've learned so much already. It's really an amazing experience. The day I entered the MTC, over 600 other missionaries from around the world also entered this MTC alone! It's amazing, and the Spirit is so strong. We jumped right into learning Portuguese the first day, but it was very chaotic with people arriving at different times. Our district has 10 elders and 4 sisters. The elders are all super young, haha. But we have so much fun together, and we've already become like a family. All of the sisters are going to Curitiba Sul together! We're so excited. The four of us all live together, too. So orientation was just a lot of information. I felt so empowered though, being in that room with hundreds of other young people with the same purpose. It was amazing. We learned a lot that day, participated in 3 group teachings where like 50 of us took turns asking investigators questions and teaching them the gospel. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted! The MTC is HUGE. My companion and I walked the perimeter one day, and it took us over 20 minutes. Oh yeah, my companion is Sister Lacie Wilson, just like you said Mom! We get along really well. We've already had three lessons with our investigator, Antonio, in Portuguese. He's in his mid 20s and his wife was a member of the church, but she passed away 2 years ago in a car accident. He really wants to know why she believed what she did, and he wants to feel peace in his life. So we taught him about the plan of salvation in the second lesson, and the Spirit was so strong. We told him he would see his wife again, and he could be with her eternally as a family if he was baptized. The room was quiet, and when he looked up, he had this emotional look on his face, and he said, "I want that." I almost cried when he said that! It was amazing. It's amazing how much the Lord helps us in learning the language so that we can communicate the message that we prepare on our own for every lesson we teach.

On Thursday, we met the Branch President, President Radebaugh, and his counselors and their wives. They're very friendly and encouraging, but also funny to keep us feeling light. Church on Sunday was good. We had a ton of meetings. Choir was fun! We watched a talk by Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ. It was so inspiring and really helped us understand the importance of seeking others who need help and trying to meet their needs. That will really bring us closer to Christ and make us more like him.

The temple is closed until August 10th, but we've been on the grounds twice already, and the Spirit is still there. I love our classes. Our teacher, Brother Cannon, is super enthusiastic and patient in helping us learn Portuguese as well as how to preach the gospel. He also served in Curitiba, so he's been giving us sisters lots of advice. It was really cool, cuz one day Sis Wilson and I stayed back to talk with him, and he told us how he appreciates our focus and how hard we study, and he asked us to be an example to our other classmates. That was really nice. I've gotten to see Sister Seagraves and Conley a lot because we're in the same zone, but I've only seen Sister Larson a couple times in passing. Its so awesome to be here with all of them!! Exercise time is such a nice release from all the info we receive every day. Sis Wilson and I usually run and use the arm/leg machines, haha. One day we did yoga. And they have a dance class for the sisters at 6am, so we're gonna try and do that soon! The food is alright. I mean, it tastes pretty good, but it isn't super healthy. But there is a wrap bar during most meals. So I eat that sometimes. Sorry my thoughts are so scattered, I'm running out of time. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to upload pictures in time. I'll try to figure that out for next Tuesday.

I love you all so so much!!! I love hearing from you! Skyler, Im so proud of you. You're becoming such an incredible young man who will be an awesome missionary some day. Good job, Dad, for being his faithful companion! I'm praying for you. And let me know if there is anything at all that I can do for you all! I know I can't do much from here, but if you are struggling, please tell me and I will be on my knees. Momma and Summer, stay strong my beautiful ladies!! Tell Sara I love her. I don't have her email address. Thank you for the prayers, I absolutely feel their effect while I'm out here. They give me the strength that I need to make it through these big changes. Send my love to all the family, too.

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, and He is just waiting to bless us if we are obedient to Him and ask Him in Faith.

Love you forever,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 1 Provo MTC

Dear Family,

How are you all? I hope everything is well. The MTC is awesome!!! I feel totally calm and just happy. It is a lot to take in but I'm not at all worried.

My companion is Sister Wilson, just like mom said! She and I are so alike! These companionships are totally inspired and I know that we were put together for a reason.

We are jumping right into things already-learning/speaking Portuguese as much as possible and learning/practicing how to teach lessons by the Spirit. I have felt the Spirit so strongly here. It's incredible!
I have already seen Sisters Seagraves and Conley tons, but I still haven't seen Sister Larson.

Honestly, this all feels like a dream! Or, like I'm at a camp or something. But it's so awesome. My District is adorable haha. I'm pretty sure they are all 18 but they are so much fun. There are four sisters in our District and we're all serving in Curitiba Sul!! I'm having so much fun.

We teach our first lesson in Portuguese tomorrow. Holy cow! But I know that if we study the language and the materials diligently, we will be blessed.

Overall, it's been such a good experience already. I've learned how important it is to be open to the Spirit and to ask lots of questions-in class and in lessons.

Anyways, I'm sorry this letter was all over the place! A lot has happened and it's hard to get my thoughts straight. But I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear from you and write you on Monday.

With much love,
Sister Ramsden (see-ster ham-stain)