Curitiba Temple

Curitiba Temple

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!


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

Sister Ramsden

Monday, September 9, 2013

Warner Robins Address, Thunderstorms and Phlegm


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!

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
Georgia Macon Mission