Curitiba Temple

Curitiba Temple

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.


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