Curitiba Temple

Curitiba Temple

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giraffes, Haircuts, and Priesthood Power!!!

Hey fam! How's everyone doing? I hope you all enjoyed General Conference this weekend! It was a bittersweet one for me. It's hard to believe that the next conference I'll already be home! The time is passing quickly. But this conference was super special, because Marcos was baptized Saturday in between sessions! He came to the church to watch conference, and after the first session we had the baptismal service. It was so great! He's so happy and so changed. Exciting times!!


Conference was really good. We watched all the sessions at the church. I watched two in portuguese and two in english with the other american sisters. More than anything, I felt such a great feeling of gratitude to know that we aren't alone here on Earth, that Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent us His servants, the prophets, who guide us in our modern-day trials. We are so blessed to have this guidance, and I hope you all took great advantage of the opportunity.

This week, we're praying a lot for Manuel and Bianca. We're not sure what happened, but Manuel changed completely. Bianca still wants to be baptized, but he doesn't. So she doesn't know if she wants to be without him now. Please keep them in your prayers. Well, know that I love you all infinitely much! You're the best family in the world. Thank you for all the support and love. Have a wonderful week, beautiful people!

My dear family,

I hate cars. Seriously, I'm shaking just imagining Skyler's experience this week. Don't worry about me, knowing that he and Alex are okay is more than comforting. But even more comforting is hearing his beautiful testimony, that certainty he has that it was Heavenly Father who protected them and all the other people involved in the accident. My heart is so full of gratitude that they were protected from worse injuries than they received. That experience just tops off the experiences we've had with the power of the priesthood this week.

Tuesday, Sister Pereira woke up feeling super sick, so the Bishop came over to give her a blessing. She's still not feeling 100%, but we're doing better. Other news, Bianca went to the hospital last Monday, and she's been there ever since. She's had a fever and pain in her leg that aren't leaving. Her white blood cell count is suuuper low, and the doctors have no idea what it is. On Saturday, she had been waiting at a little hospital in Fazendinha to get to a bigger hospital. We visited her twice there, and she asked for a priesthood blessing. So Saturday morning we went over with the Elders, and they gave her a blessing. Within one hour, she called us and said that there was an opening in another hospital and she was leaving immediately. As of yesterday, there were still no results, but we're hopeful. Her faith is growing incredibly through this experience. She has 5 Liahonas and the Book of Mormon to keep her company, and she's praying every hour.

Haircuts! The two of us on the bus :)

The priesthood is literally the power of God here on the earth. We're gonna sing "Love is Spoken Here" with the Elders for sacrament meeting, and every time they sing we literally feel the power of the priesthood in their voices. It's something that's super hard to explain. But I am so grateful for the priesthood. Without a single doubt, I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of our Savior. I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful for your faith and your examples. Have a wonderful week, loves.

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, September 29, 2014

Walking in Sunlight, Proverbs 3:5, and President's Plan for Keeping Sisters Ramsden and Pereira Together Longer!!

Hey family! How are you all doing? Sorry we couldn't write yesterday. Momma's birthday is Brazil's Independence Day, and everything was shut down yesterday. Happy birthday, Momma!! I love you!

So my transfer guess was off. Sister Pereira and I are still here together in Fazendinha! Hallelujah! I don't know what I would do without her. Last week we had interviews with President Fernandes, and he called the two of us in at the same time which was a big surprise. He told us he really wanted to keep us together, so he thought up a brilliant plan. He proposed that I would become Sister Training Leader but Sister Pereira would still be senior companion in our area, and he asked our opinion. We were a little confused with us both being seniors, but we agreed with the idea! So the transfer call wasn't really a surprise Sunday.

I can't even say how grateful I am that I'm gonna stay with Sister Pereira as I get used to being STL all by myself. I'm feeling a bit of weight on my shoulders already, but I know Heavenly Father will help me. I only have 3 companionships to take care of, and I already love them all! Love makes everything easier :)

This week, we set a baptismal date with Rosicler! She was a referral from the bishop's wife, went to church for the first time Sunday, and accepted baptism with no hesitations! We're also teaching two couples who need to get married before baptism, but we're working on that, and they're super excited! There's also a girl who just got home from her mission last week whose mom isn't a member, and we're teaching her and there's no doubt she'll be baptized too!

I have no doubts that this gospel is true. It's the only way that we can get back to our Father's presence and live together forever as a family. I feel such a desperation to help these people understand these things, but unfortunately many people don't get it. But fortunately many do! Still seeing miracles :) I love you all so much, and I feel so blessed to have you in my lives and to know that we will be together forever according to our faithfulness. Stay strong and stay happy and healthy, loves!

Hey family! Sorry things changed up a little and we ended up emailing today. This week was really good!

Marcos is gonna be baptized this Saturday, and Manoel and Bianca the next! Let me tell you the miracle that happened with Manoel and Bianca. Bianca is Maria Antônia's daughter and Manoel is her husband. So we set a date with them once, but it fell cuz Manoel didn't go to church one Sunday. So we re-set it, but they weren't super serious about it. One day, the elders were gonna teach for us cuz we already had another appointment, but it didn't work out that way. We got the lesson plan they had made and we were gonna teach it, but we felt like the elders should. So this week it finally worked out! They went there to teach, and it was exactly what Manoel and Bianca needed to feel more solid about their baptism.

On Tuesday, Bianca had won a prize at a church activity. Wednesday, Manoel asked her if she was gonna be baptized and she said she didn't know. So she said a prayer and grabbed a scripture card that she had won. The scripture was Proverbs 3:5. She took that as an answer that she needed to trust God more, but she didn't fully understand what it meant. She set the card aside and was determined that sometime she would figure it out. When the elders went over to teach them on Friday, they used that same scripture, and Bianca felt a burning in her chest that she couldn't deny was an answer from God.

Now she is super excited to be baptized, but Manoel was a little iffy. Yesterday was ward conference, and seriously everything was directed to him. He himself said that he felt like everyone was talking directly at him. He's still not super solid, but he says he's "pretty sure" he'll get baptized too, with Bianca, on the 11th. Miracles!!!

Sister Pereira and I are determined to make our last 3 weeks together the absolute best. Heavenly Father is so good. I know He loves us and will always provide for us when we ask, seek, and knock. The Church is true, I don't have a single doubt. I love you all so much, and I'm so happy that we have an eternal family. Have a wonderful week, loves!

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Learning to Juggle, Overflowing With Love, and Transfers Approach!

Hey family!!

How are you all doing? I can't tell you how great it was to hear from you and know that you support my decision to stay another transfer. It's the best feeling in the world! This week was super productive. Sister Pereira and I are learning to juggle (figuratively) with all of the recent converts, plus continuing to baptize, plus finding new investigators, etc. It's not easy, that's for sure! We got an e-mail from the general missionary headquarters that we need to work closely to the recent converts for 3-4 months after baptism and stay close for a year. With 6 of our own recent converts plus the other recent converts, we have been thinking a lot about what we can do to keep them progressing while still bringing others to the gospel. But it's been fun!

This is the last week of the transfer, and most likely one of us will be leaving, and it'll probably be me. We're gonna cry all week because neither of us wants to leave Fazendinha, and neither of us wants to leave each other. Seriously, I feel like a lot of our success was dependent on our relationship with each other. We know that the Spirit can't reside in contentious relationships, and the two of us never fought these last 8 weeks. We've become close friends through the experiences that we've had together. I'm trying to write down everything that we did to see success here and bring it to the other areas I'll serve in.

This ward is amazing. The members help so much, and we all just feel a great love for each other. Yesterday at church, I was just filled with this feeling of great love for everyone. Sister Pereira and I were overflowing with happiness to see the progress of our recent converts: Leonardo was called to be a counselor in the Sunday School Presidency, André was called as assistant in the priest´s quorum, and Alessandra was called as a family history consultant. It's amazing to see the fruits of your labor. But in all things, we recognize the hand of the Lord. There's no way we could've seen all these miracles if it hadn't been for much prayer and fasting and putting our trust 100% in our Father, who knows what is best for His children.

My heart is so full of happiness and love. This week will be a great end to the transfer, I'm feeling it. Please keep us in your prayers, and keep Leonardo in your prayers too. I love you all immensely! You're the best family in the world. :)

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bus Station Contacting, First Talk in Portuguese, and Really BIG News!!!

Hey family!

I hope you're all doing wonderfully. This week was incredible, mostly because of amazing miracles that happened yesterday at church. First off, Saturday was Maria´s baptism! It was combined with a child-of-record baptism, and it was perfect. When she left the water, she cried and cried for feeling the Spirit so strongly, knowing that she had just been made completely pure again. Yesterday, she was confirmed, and her daughter came to see! We don´t have any doubts that Bianca will be the next baptism we see here :)

Maria´s baptism

Saturday night, Sister Pereira and I decided to do some late-night contacts at the bus station close to our house, and we found a young man and spoke with him a bit. He´s a bit of a lost soul who needs direction, so we invited him to church and promised that his week would improve. And guess who showed up Sunday morning, just 12 hours later? When Sister Pereira and I saw him, we couldn´t stop laughing of shock and happiness. Heavenly Father truly blesses the faithful. In addition to that, Leonardo and André both passed the sacrament for the first time! It was so cool seeing them both in their suit and tie performing this sacred ordinance.

And I gave my first talk in Portuguese! I was oddly calm, and the Spirit definitely spoke through me. So much that Alessandra decided she wants to serve a mission, too! Ever since her baptism, she´s said that she really doesn´t have a desire to serve, but yesterday she told us that during my talk she felt super strongly that she needs to serve a mission. I can´t even express how gratifying it is to see these amazing things happen, people changing their lives. Through the changes that I see in them, I´m changed too. I´ve never been happier in my life.

Cotton Candy!!

And that leads me to the big news. Tuesday last week, one of President Fernandes' secretaries called to offer an extension to my mission. I and some other American Sisters have the option of extending until Feb 23rd, and we need to decide by today. After lunch I immediately began fasting, praying constantly, thinking, and studying the scriptures to know what I should do. I made a list of the pros and cons of staying. After a sincere prayer, I let the scriptures open to Doctrine and Covenants 15:6, and I couldn´t deny in the slightest that it was an answer from Heavenly Father. So, I´ve decided to extend my mission until February. I know I´ll miss the start of school, but I have no doubts that Father will provide a way. Everything will work out the way He´s planned. I only have this time in my life to serve Him with all I have, and I know I would regret it if I let this opportunity pass.

I love you all more than you can imagine. I pray that all is well with you and that you have an incredibly blessed week. Take care, loves!

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Field is White, Two More Baptisms, and Great-Grandma is Super Firm!

Happy Monday, family! It was good to hear from y'all this week. I love that the ward does the 40 day fast every year. I know that it brings huge blessings! This week was a little bit slower than the other weeks.

The baptisms of André and Andressa, performed by the YM president

We had the baptisms of Andre and his sister Andressa on Saturday which was amazing. Their mom has been less-active for a long time, but their great-grandma is super firm. So we started visiting the family, and Andre told us that he's always wanted to be baptized but his dad never let him. He had been praying for years that his dad's heart would soften so that he could be baptized. And finally it happened! We started teaching the lessons to Andre and Andressa. They always read the chapters we left super quick, understood everything, highlighted the parts they liked. But not only were they baptized and confirmed, their mom started coming back to church. She always sat in on the lessons. She told us that when we started coming, she stopped drinking coffee and she feels the Spirit a lot more clearly now.

Our daughter, Alessandra :)

The confirmations of Andre, Andressa, Alessandra, and Leondardo all took place in sacrament meeting yesterday. The Spirit was so incredibly strong as these individuals received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The blessings they received were beautiful, and I have no doubt that they were led by the Spirit. The testimonies that were borne only intensified the strong spirit in the meeting. I don't have a single doubt in my mind that this is literally the church of Jesus Christ. The organization is flawless, there's no way it could be run by man. Being a missionary and helping people learn these things for themselves is the most gratifying experience of my life, and I will never forget it.

It's awesome to hear of the growth in the ward back at home. It's amazing to see the miracles that happen when the missionaries and members work together. The Lord is seriously hastening His work. I've never felt a greater desperation to help the people prepare for the Second Coming. It's not always easy to be a missionary, there are definitely tons of challenges. But my Father is with me, there's no doubt. I love you all immensely and hope you have a great week! Take care, loves. :)

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, July 28, 2014

One, Two, Three Baptisms!!!

Hey family!

I hope you're all doing well this week. This was the most tiring week of my whole mission, but probably the most worth-it, too! Sister Pereira and I worked like no other, and we had two baptisms yesterday! Leonardo and Alessandra were so super prepared!

Leonardo, only 31 years old, was a Father (in the Catholic Church) for ten years, who literally worked in the Vatican with the Pope. But he saw a lot of things there that he didn't agree with, so he left everything he knew and believed in, abandoned God, and started work as a baker. One day, he exited the bus and saw a huge church and said to himself, "I'm gonna enter this church." Well this church was actually the temple here in Curitiba. So he entered the gate, took one look at his street clothes and the beautiful temple and decided he wasn't worthy to enter. But a kind brother beckoned him over, and he entered! He gave his address and phone number to the temple workers, and we got the referral.

The temple!!!

I've never seen someone so willing to make changes to follow the teachings of the gospel. He quit drinking coffee and wine without thinking twice, he didn't question a single thing we taught, he broke up with his girlfriend who didn't want him to get baptized, and he moved in with members of the church to avoid temptations presented in his previous home. He is so humble and close to Heavenly Father, and I have no doubt he´ll do great things in the church. Everyone was so excited for his baptism, the whole chapel was filled, and President Fernandes and his family were all present! The Spirit was so strong, and my heart was just happy. It was the best feeling in the world.

Bishop Oliveira baptized them. Best day ever!! :)

Now, Alessandra. She has lots of family who are members, including her mom who was just baptized 3 months ago. She´s very religious, too and searched for the truth everywhere. She finally decided to investigate the church, so we taught the Restoration. She was very hesitant, and like I said last week, she avoided us for a whole week after the first lesson. But the Spirit touched her and she let us back in. Last Sunday, she accepted a baptismal date, but by Wednesday the doubts had crept in and she changed her mind. We came back Thursday, and everything was different. All her doubts flew away, she was calm and acceptant, she told us she had prayed and cried hard and that Heavenly Father showed her very strongly that she should be baptized this weekend.

President Fernandes came to see the baptism of Alessandra and Leonardo

We talked with the elders, they called President, we got the okay, taught her all the commandments Friday night and Saturday morning, she passed the interview Saturday, we taught everything else Saturday night, and she was baptized yesterday! Never in my mission have I taught the lessons so quickly. It was amazing to see her change so much. She went from stubborn to submissive, totally accepting Heavenly Father´s will. She and Sister Pereira and I are super close. We laugh together, cry together... We´re basically sisters and we've only known each other for two weeks! It's experiences like these that strengthen my testimony in the Plan of Salvation cuz there´s no doubt in my mind we all met before this life, that Sister Pereira and I promised we would teach Alessandra and that she would be baptized.

Fábio's baptism (She wrote about this last week)

This Church is so true. There´s no way I could ever doubt it. I love you all and pray that you´re doing well. Write soon and have a great week!


Sister Ramsden

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mid-Transfer Transfers, Baptisms, and the CURITIBA TEMPLE!!!


It feels like forever and a half since I've had the chance to write to you! How are you all doing? Daddy, I finally got your letter today! A month and a half later haha, wow. Okay, big news. I was transferred! Halfway through the transfer, the visa waiters arrive, so there´s always a chance that someone will be transferred, and we knew Pres Fernandes doesn't like trios. What´s crazy is that I had that feeling that I would be transferred. When I thought about the work that was going on in Lapa, I felt like I wouldn't be there to see more changes. That didn't make it much easier when we got the phone call last Sunday, but all is well!

Cely was confirmed, we said goodbye, and I left Monday morning! I´m now in Fazendinha with Sister Pereira! She´s from Rio de Janeiro and has 5 months on her mission. Oh yeah, and we´re white-washing! Fazendinha now has a set of sisters after 20 years, and a set of elders. There was a pretty significant task ahead of us cuz we didn't have a map or a list of members. Just the Area Book. But the map and list of members came super quickly. The elders have helped a bit, but mostly we've relied a lot on the members for help. The wife of the stake president helped us locate where the majority of the members on our side live. She has been an enormous blessing, my goodness.

I was a little nervous to white-wash at first, but we have seen miracles just in our first week. Fazendinha is part of Curitiba, where the people´s hearts are a bit colder, so we knew we´d have to rely more on referrals rather than door-knocking. This week we received 17 referrals! I'm pretty sure that has never happened in my mission before. And they´re promising referrals, too. So much to say and so little time! Basically, the stake was nervous to have sisters cuz there were sisters recently who didn't work very hard. So we have a lot to prove to gain the trust from the members here. But we've met with the stake pres various times and yesterday he told us that we surpassed the expectations he had. He said that we´re Zone Leader level and that he never anticipated the spiritual strength that we have. I know we both needed to hear that, cuz we both feel a little insignificant to be the first sisters here in 20 years. But the members (mostly the irmãs) are super excited that we´re here. And we are too! Obviously there´s lots of work to be done here if Heavenly Father saw it fit to place two sets of missionaries here.

We have a baptism this Saturday! Fábio, who has met with missionaries for a long time, but had to make some changes before baptism. He is so prepared, it´s insane. He calls himself Elder Oliveira because he has a great desire to serve a mission. He´s super cool! We also have Leonardo who is very religious. He was going to be a Father in the Catholic church, but he left because of the corruption. He´s already been inside the temple, and he has an incredible relationship with Heavenly Father. I ask that you pray for him, cuz he has a desire to be baptized and his understanding is incredible, but Satan is working really hard against him.

Sister's Conference

Last but not least, Sister Pereira. Where do I begin! I have no doubts that we knew each other before this life. Her and I are so similar. We've only known each other for a week now, but people always tell us we teach together like we've known each other forever, like we´re best friends. She is a super powerful teacher, and she helps me tons with the language. We fit together perfectly cuz she has a great desire to learn English, and I have a great desire to teach it! So we have a rule that we speak English at home and Portuguese outside haha. We've already had good laughs. I´m super happy to be here, and I know the Lord has great things in store for us and for the people of Fazendinha! Love you all to the moon and back! Take care and write to me soon!

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Hey family!!!

I hope y'all weren't worried that I didn't email this Monday. You´ll never guess what we did today that changed our P day. We went to the temple!! It was the best feeling in the world finally seeing the temple that I've been staring at pictures of for over a year. The Spirit was stronger than any other time I've been to the temple since I received my own endowment. In the Celestial Room, Sister Pereira and I prayed and discussed the needs of our investigators and were able to receive divine revelation. Guys, the Church is so true. Every time we teach the Restoration, I feel the Spirit so strongly, and there´s no way I could ever doubt that this is all true.

We had Fábio's baptism Saturday, and he was confirmed Sunday!

Leonardo is 110% incredible. He read the entire Book of Mormon in just one week, is now reading it in Italian, and we just bought him one in English. He just accepts everything so humbly! He has tons of friendship in the ward now, and everyone who meets him automatically loves him. He´ll be baptized after church Sunday and confirmed the following Sunday.

Helping Hands!

Alessandra, 22 yrs, is amazing. She's one of those awesome examples of a quick change of heart. She cancelled our appt last week, so we stopped in Sunday when she wasn't at church. She told us she had been kind of avoiding us, that she wasn't going to answer when we knocked. So we discussed her concerns, kicked her with the Spirit, and by the end of the lesson she decided she wants to be baptized! She said she's already received tons of answers that she should be, so she should stop ignoring the Spirit. So she´ll be baptized next weekend!

André is the son of a less-active woman who´s the only member in her family. André randomly showed up at YM last week, so we visited him and he told us how great his desire is to be baptized. So he'll be baptized next weekend too, and we´re teaching his sister Andressa, too!

More Helping Hands!

We met an adorable, super humble couple, Anamaria and Ademir this week knocking doors. They´re an elderly couple with super great faith. Anamaria came to church with us Sunday, made friends, felt the Spirit, and her and Ademir decided to be baptized. We all cried together when we visited last night, the Spirit was so strong. Sister Pereira and I left with this satisfying feeling that we literally did nothing during the lesson. I feel so strongly that we are truly just instruments in the Lord´s hands. We love the people, speak the words that the Spirit gives us, and hearts and lives are changed. Being a missionary is the best thing in the world! I can´t believe that I've officially been set apart for a year, yesterday. Heavenly Father is so good, and I've learned so much the last year. His plan is absolutely perfect.

It breaks my heart to hear that Uncle Wayne passed away. I know he struggled for so long. But I take comfort in knowing that he isn't in pain anymore. I have no doubts that he is with Grandma and Grandpa Woolley having a long-awaited reunion. I love the knowledge that we have of eternal families. Please send my love to the whole Woolley family. Know that they´re in my prayers. I love you so much, family. Take care of yourselves and have a good week.

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, June 16, 2014

Military Presence in the Streets, Another Lockdown, and WORLD CUP FEVER!!!

Dearest family!

I can´t tell you how much I miss you and love you and think about you. You are the best family there is, and I couldn´t be more grateful! I don´t know if yáll have done much research on Lapa, but it´s a cute little town with apparently a lot of history. I´m not sure what all happened here, but I know there was some kind of battle fought here, so there are war memorials, and we occasionally see the army running around the streets. It´s funny that every area I´ve served in has had military influence.

As I was reading this letter, this game was on TV; it was the first of this year's World Cup to be played in Curitiba!

So World Cup... Brazil won! We were on lockdown after lunch the day Brazil played. But we could hear all sorts of cheers outside, and when the game was over, cars just drove around the streets honking with flags out their windows. Quite a different experience! Nothing like Almond Bowl haha. The whole atmosphere is really exciting and I feel a great love for these people and this country. I´m still striving to develop that true Christlike love, but it´s amazing how much your love grows for people when you can see them the way God does. It´s amazing feeling my capacity to love grow.

So this week was interesting! We were planning for a baptism that was supposed to take place yesterday with an investigator, A**x. He has a strong relationship with God, and he was really excited about his baptism. We´re not entirely sure what happened this week... He had to work out of town towards the end of the week, so we couldn´t teach everything we needed to, we called yesterday when he wasn´t at church and asked if we could move the baptism to next week and he said yes. The District Leader was gonna travel to Lapa to do his interview, so we made sure that was still okay, and he said he´d be home. But he wasn´t home when we got there with the District Leader! And they bussed an hour to get here.

So we took him over to another investigator, C**y, who´s going to be baptized this week! It was a little unorthodox because she hasn´t had all the lessons and she didn´t even know about the interview, but everything worked out so super perfectly. There are reasons for everything, I tell ya! We can get discouraged or frustrated because things didn´t work out exactly as we planned, or we can be grateful for the things we do have. A**x didn´t get baptized yesterday, but C**y passed her interview!! Everything happens in the Lord´s time, we just have to trust Him. I love you all with all my heart. I love you more with each day that goes by. I pray for you and hope that you feel that and know how much I love you. Have a wonderful week, family!!

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The CTM, the Sao Paulo Temple, and On to Her First Area in Brasil

Oi familia!!!!

Last Friday at the MTC! I can't believe we'll be hitting the field in four days! The CTM is awesome. The food is amazing, the people are super friendly, and we're much more immersed in the language than in Provo. Sister Hamill and I received a new companion this week, Sister Stone! She was the only sister from the states this week, so she'll be with us till we leave, then join another sister that comes in next week. The language is coming! I'm working on not letting myself remain stagnant in my abilities, trying to always improve more and more. Most everyone says I look like a brasileira, haha. I even get compliments that I speak like one, which is kinda hard to believe. Goodness, I love it here, though! We've become super close with some of the Hispanics here. I'm playing the piano for them for Sunday devotional, and they call me Sister Mestre.

Sister Ramsden's CTM group

Sao Paulo is one big crazy city! We get to leave the MTC campus and proselyte once a week which is an awesome way to learn the language and the culture. The people are amazing! They are so willing to listen to us. In one hour, we gave away four copies of the Book of Mormon. It's just crazy how ready they are to receive the gospel! My leg has been recovering miraculously. I know I keep saying that, but I'm seriously amazed by how quickly it's healing. I can walk down stairs without any real discomfort, and I can walk up stairs with just a little bit of pain. I'm a little nervous about flying down to Curitiba on Tuesday, but I know the Lord will take care of me. It really is something else to be here in Brazil. I still can't believe this is real. But I know that I'm meant to be here at this time. I have nothing to worry about as long as I live close to the Spirit and trust the Lord. Oh, highlight of the week: Going to the temple today for the first time in like, 9 months!!!!!! Best feeling ever! I missed that place. Seriously, take advantage of it. Go as often as you can. I love y'all muito!! Have a wonderful week!!!!

Amo voces!!!

Sister Ramsden

Sister Ramsden in Curitiba waiting for her new companions

Oi familia!!

Well, I´m officially in my first area, Lapa! And guess who my companion is? Sister Russell, a sister who served in Georgia with me! She got her visa the transfer before I did. And even funnier, when I was transferred from Warner Robins to Martinez, she was transferred from Martinez to Warner Robins. So we served in the same areas! My other companion has been out just two weeks longer than us, Sister G. Silva, from.... Fortaleza!! They´re great.

Sister Ramsden's companions in Lapa, Sister Russell and Sister G. Silva

The work here is so different. The people are so open to listen to us, to let us come back, to accept baptismal dates, to come to church... We set three baptismal dates since I got here. That´s crazy! So a little bit about Lapa, it´s a pretty small town, and we share it with another set of sisters. We're a branch, and we meet in a small little church building. Small but mighty! Also, I found out that Sister Wilson also served here. So that's cool!

Brazil is amazing. I love it here. It's definitely very different from the states, but I don't miss anything that I had before. Except maybe the heater, cuz it's kinda cold here. But we're warm with the Spirit :) I'm so excited to serve here and to learn all the things the Lord has in store for me to learn. The language is alright, we're working on a language study plan. Because Sister G Silva is learning English, so we kind of take shifts with languages. Also, my leg is doing alright! The first couple days were rough, cuz we walk everywhere. But I tried to let the Spirit help me know when to take a break, and it never said anything! So I pushed through the first couple days, and my leg actually feels better! Still sore, but it's healing for sure. I did get sick already, though! I guess that cold really got inside me. Just got that crummy feeling in my sinuses. But I've been drinking EmergenC and taking Advil Cold and Sinus, etc. So I'm getting better!

I just want you to know how much I love you! I pray that all is well with you. I don't feel homesick, but I feel a little more distant and disconnected. I just pray that you are all happy and healthy. Know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Always. Have a wonderful week, family! I love you!!

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Contour Pillows, Electrode Therapy, and I MADE IT SAFELY TO BRAZIL!!!

Hey family!

Well this has been the most interesting week of my whole mission! On Tuesday, we all drove down to the transfer meeting together. It was really weird not having my name come up with a new companion. It was even weirder literally not having a companion at all at the end of the meeting. I didn't quite know what to do with myself!

I know that President Cottle called you when they set my flight up for tomorrow, but I don't know how much he told you about what I would be doing until then. So I kind of got paired up with Sister Cole, the mission nurse, and her husband. The rest of Tuesday, we didn't really do much. Wednesday morning we went to the gym at their apartment complex and I biked, which actually didn't hurt like I thought it would. We had set up an appt with a chiropractor, so we saw him. He took more x-rays and was very concerned about the curve in my neck. I told him that I have scoliosis, so that curve wasn't new. But he asked me to get a contour pillow and try to sleep on my back so that curve can get corrected. So I've been doing that and it's been working pretty well. I also did electrode therapy Wednesday-Friday at the chiropractor's. I know it was supposed to relax my muscles, but I don't know exactly how it was supposed to help.

An incredible blessing was being able to spend a bit of time at the Cottles'. They have a tub with jets that Sister Cole wanted me to soak in, so I was able to do that a few times last week. And I got to meet Sister Cottle's sweet 90-year-old father and talk with them all. President Cottle and I spent some time speaking Portuguese. We all grew so much closer with the time we were blessed to spend together. When we decided that I needed to come to Forsyth with the sisters here, President Cottle was sad to have me leave. He said he had to remind himself that I am a missionary, even though I feel like his daughter. I feel so blessed to have had that time with the Cottles. It makes it harder to leave, though. But I'll see them again!

Anyways, my leg is doing so much better! I can walk a lot better than I could even two days ago. President Cottle is confident that I will be able to handle the MTC. He said he would be a bit more nervous if I was going straight into the field. I know he's right. And I know it's time for me to go to Brazil. It's really hard to leave this mission, but I trust Heavenly Father so much. I am grateful for the time that I've had in this mission. Everything is in His hands, and I trust Him! Whatever happens is what's meant to happen. Thank you for your prayers and love. I hope you have a great week! I'll be calling from the airport tomorrow, from a cell phone before I enter the gate. That'll be around 3pm your time. I'll call around until I get someone. I love you all so much! And happy birthday, Daddy!!! Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you tomorrow :)


Sister Ramsden

Hey family!!!

They gave us a minute to e-mail home today, so just wanted to let you know that I made it safely to Brazil! It is so surreal being here, in a different country, speaking a different language. It's actually pretty amazing. I know I fought it because I loved Georgia so much, but I know that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be. My leg continues to heal, and I am being well-taken care of here at the CTM. My companion is Sister Hammill, who was in my zone back at the Provo MTC! And our roommate is a native Brazilian who speaks absolutely no English. But she is patient with us as we try to understand her and communicate in broken Portuguese. I can't believe I'm here! This is crazy. The plane ride was a bit rough. 9 long hours, and I really couldn't sleep. Probably a combination of my mind going in overdrive and not being very comfortable. So I'm running on very little sleep right now. It's gonna be a long day, but I'll push through it and everything will work out great. Anyways, know that I love you all so so much!! I pray that all is well with you. Have a wonderful week, and don't forget to write. :)


Sister Ramsden

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Skypes, Burns, and One-week Delays.

Dear family!

It was so good to see your beautiful faces yesterday! The time flew by, that's for sure. Thank you for helping me be obedient, even though we all wish it could've lasted longer. I'm sure it was a wonderful Mother's Day gift to see the burns I received from the car accident. I just want you to know how much I love you and that I am so sorry that happened. All I know is that Heavenly Father has a divine plan, and that must have been in it. It was a blessing to be able to call home three times in the last week, even though the circumstances weren't super ideal! It was wonderful to be able to hear your voices and to tell you myself that I'm okay. Thank you for the love and for the prayers.

I can't tell you how miraculously and how rapidly we are recovering. It is truly a miracle of God! I can walk much better today than before. My left leg is still incredibly sore and full of bruises, but I have been so well taken care of. Sister Jackson serving in the other ward is an EMT, and Sister Van Dyke's father is a physical therapist. So they have been helping tend to my ailments. Sister Waddoups is incredibly helpful, always looking for somethings she can do to be of help to me. I sat in a chair and directed her in the packing of my suitcases, which are miraculously under 50 pounds, and everything is fitting beautifully.

I received a powerful priesthood blessing from President Cottle when he and Sister Cottle visited me in the hospital. All four elders, Elder Robbins, Elder Moyo, Elder Hunsaker, and Elder Seedall, were able to participate. I know that my speedy recovery is a result of that beautiful blessing as well as all the prayers that have been said on my behalf. I can't even begin to express my gratitude for the Cottles and the elders for all they have done for me. I know I keep talking about this, but it just blows my mind that the elders stayed with me at the hospital for six hours. They sang hymns for me (which they never do!), they read the scriptures for me, they made me laugh, they made me cry. They are absolutely stellar individuals, and I will forever be grateful to them.

I love Heavenly Father so much! I know it's easy for us to be confused or frustrated when plans change, but I know there is a reason that these things have happened. There's a reason that my flight is being delayed until next week, there are reasons for everything, even when we don't understand them. I trust my Father with everything that I am. He knows me and loves me so much more perfectly than I or anyone else does. I know these things are true! My testimony of them is so strong. I love my Father, and I hope I can always be worthy to accept and do His will.

I love you all so so much! I told Mom earlier to just write the mission office if you need to send something. I'll be in Macon recovering for the next week or so. I hope you have a wonderful week. <3

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes, Getting Organized, and "Now that I've made you emotional..."

Minha querida familia!
(How's my Portuguese?)

I hope you all had a wonderful week. Just to clarify, there wasn't an actual tornado in Evans, Georgia this week. But one went through my suitcases, that's for sure! I've been tearing my things apart, making list after list, trying to get organized physically and mentally as I prepare to leave for Brazil. Add to that load going on exchanges almost every day this week, and there's another tornado! Sister VanDyke and Sister Eggett both had doctor's appointments the same day, but one was in Warner Robbins, so we had an exchange so they could both make their appointments. I feel like I haven't seen my companion all week! This was seriously the craziest week of my entire mission. Crazier than the ice storm! But I'm happy to say that the sisters have gotten the medical care they needed, and they are doing so much better today. Also, shout out to worthy priesthood holders! It's amazing to know that we have the ability to call someone at any hour of the night, and they will find a companion, put on their suit and tie, and come give a blessing. I love the priesthood!! So I'm just taking things a day at a time, working hard to not get overwhelmed. And I think I'm handling everything pretty well! Thank you for your prayers, they are seriously felt. There's no way I could've gotten through this week without some added strength from my Heavenly Father.

On Tuesday we had our Zone Conference combined with the Augusta Zone (my last one here :( ). It was amazing. President Cottle asked us each to prepare a short talk on a conference talk, and he would ask a few people to share theirs throughout our meeting. Before we broke for lunch, he got up and said they were going to announce a transfer that would take place and told everyone I had received my visa. Then he asked me to share my talk ("Now that I've made you emotional..."). So I spoke about President Monson's talk about love. And of course I cried in front of everyone! But we had an awesome training from one of the Assistants about expecting to baptize. He talked about how we know that baptism is necessary, so we shouldn't be afraid to extend the commitment to be baptized. He gave me this new vision of looking at everyone we meet, knowing that they need to be baptized by the priesthood authority of God. It definitely helps us make our contacts more of a conversation and less of a "Here's a card, bye!" approach. I think we were glowing yesterday as we walked down the streets, because people were so much friendlier and more open than I've seen them in the last three months. Miracles do happen! Sometimes all we have to do is change our way of thinking.

I love you all to the moon and back! Seriously soooo much. Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely take everything into consideration as I continue making my lists and sending things off and buying things. I love you and hope you have a wonderful week! Let me know if there's anything I can do for you!

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Caroling, Because of Him, and I GOT MY VISA!!!

I got my visa! I know you already knew that, but I'm telling you anyway haha. President Cottle called and told me this morning so I could tell you all today. Honestly, it hasn't completely hit me. I'm so full of emotions that I'm kind of indifferent right now haha. Crazy stuff!! I don't even know what to buy, what to send home, anything. Should I really try to buy enough hygiene stuff for the next 9 months? (Oh yeah, happy 9 months to me!) I'm gonna try to think things out, look at everything I have, probably pray a lot. Yeah! So pray for me please! And give me any advice you have!

Exchanges were awesome this week! I feel bad that I keep leaving and Sister Drollinger has to take the reins in our area, but that's what the Spirit says, so that's what we do! I was with Sister McElroy, and she is just an incredible missionary. We have a ton in common, and she's just the best example on the planet. I truly believe that being in a leadership position teaches me infinitely more than it teaches the missionaries I serve.

Thank you for the package! I love love love the skirt. The shirt didn't fit as well, but it fit Sister Drollinger, so it was perfect. :) Easter was just awesome. Actually, it has become my favorite holiday on my mission. We went Easter caroling! That was fun, and people loved it. I just love thinking about Christ, His life and resurrection. How absolutely amazing is the gift that He gave us! Dad, I have watched "Because of Him" sooo many times the last week! I'm glad that you loved it as much as I did! What a powerful message. I love that because Christ was resurrected, we know that we will be too. And even more than that, we can be resurrected and live with our Father in Heaven and our families for eternity. That gives me the greatest hope in the world. I love you all so much! I hope you're all doing wonderfully, taking good care of each other. I hope that you see the Lord's hand in your lives and that you feel His love around you. I love you!!

I am sad to be leaving the mission. Insanely sad. But I trust my Father with all I have. I know He will take care of me and help me through this new adventure. I love Him, and I am so grateful for everything He has done for me in my life. He truly loves each one of us and only has our best interest in mind. Have a wonderful week!!

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference Weekend, Mission Leadership Council, and TAXES!!!

Hey family!

I hope you all had a wonderful week and that you enjoyed General Conference!! I love love love Conference weekend. It's always so uplifting and just much-needed. I have such a great love for President Monson and all of the men who support him. He truly is a man of God. He is so loving and so humble and so Christ-like, and he has such a huge weight on his shoulders. I love him and pray for him! So what did you love about conference?? I want to hear what kind of themes you saw. I saw a lot about love and obedience. It made me think about how hand-in-hand those two go together. When we love God, we will obey His commandments. And we will be blessed! I love the Plan of Salvation, just knowing that we know exactly what we need to do in order to return to our Father's presence, and live with our families for eternity! That is seriously the greatest blessing we could ever receive.

So we got three new sisters in our district! Sister VanDyke is brand-new, and Sister Eggett is training her. They still live with us, and then two sisters opened a new area in the other ward! So they now have two sets of sisters and a set of elders in that ward. We're all super curious to see what the Lord has in store for the work here! It's fun having so many sisters in our district.

Sister Drollinger and I are loving our new responsibilities as Sister Training Leaders. We've already seen the Spirit working through us as we've prayed and pondered over the sisters in our zone. We also got to attend the Mission Leadership Council meeting at the mission home in Macon on Thursday with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders, President and Sister Cottle, and President and Sister McCoy (counselor to Pres Cottle). So I got to see two elders from the best district ever, because they're still zone leaders! It's always awesome to see people you worked with and talk about how the work is progressing in new areas, etc. So that was a long day, we woke up at 5:30 am and got home about 8:30 pm. But it was wonderful receiving trainings that we will be teaching to our zones this week. And there's just a great power that comes in being in a room full of amazing people who have the same purpose as you. I love being a missionary!

I hope you are all doing well! Thank you for being the best family ever. Oh, I your letters, pictures, and tax forms, thank you! I'm sending my taxes out today. That seriously meant a lot to me that you took the time to fill them out so I only needed to sign. You're the best! Have an awesome week, and don't forget to write me about conference! I love you!!!

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sharing Birthdays, Indian Food, and SISTER TRAINING LEADER!!!

My beautiful family!!

How are you all doing? I hope you're well and that you're happy! This week was so good! I don't even know what happened, nothing super exciting I don't think. I was just really focused and happy all week long. Sister Drollinger and I are both staying together for another transfer, and guess what?? We're the Sister Training Leaders! I actually almost threw up when we found out and every time I've thought about it since. But I know it's what Heavenly Father needs us to do right now, so I am okay with it. It will be fun! I'm also super okay with the fact that I still haven't gotten my visa. Whenever people find out I haven't yet, they feel bad for me, but they shouldn't! All I know is that there is absolutely a reason that I haven't gotten it yet. It's all in the Lord's hands, and like I keep telling people, those are the best hands to be in. :) So I am doing well! No one should worry :) You may already know this, but Sister Evans got her visa! Also, Sister Beeson from my MTC district, and Sister Russell who reported the same day I did. Pretty exciting!!

Me and the little birthday girl!

Well, I'm a year older! It's weird to think I'm 21... Just like every other holiday on my mission, my birthday didn't entirely feel like my birthday. It was pretty much a regular day, except the sisters sang happy birthday to me like five million times. Also, the elders wrote all over our car windows! They're the best. My birthday was actually the day we did weekly planning, so we were inside most of the day. But we did have dinner with an awesome family in the ward who was celebrating their daughter's 10th birthday, so it was fun to be there for that! The rest of the night, we visited members that the bishop asked us to check up on, which was really nice. So all in all it was a good day! Nothing too fancy, just how I like it haha.

We also had exchanges this week which was awesome because our roommates were the Sister Training Leaders. Sister Curtis and I stayed in Martinez and did some awesome work! We checked up on R***e and were able to help her understand how taking the sacrament would bless her life, and we talked a lot about the prophet and the organization of the Church. So we invited her to the women's meeting, and she was super stoked! But she didn't end up making it, and we've been trying hard to get a hold of her with no luck. :( Well, we also went to follow up with a potential, D***e. Her husband, L***y, answered the door and let us right in! We ended up teaching them and their son, J***h, the Restoration, and they just soaked it all up. D***e has always wanted to attend our church, but she works weekends as a nurse. L***y and J***h attend a local church, but they're open to learn more about what makes us different. Sister Curtis and I click so well. She's getting transferred, and we're all really sad to see her go. :( But it's all in the Lord's hands!

This is the best picture of the hair... I'll try to send a better one next week! A member took us to an Indian restaurant for lunch! Boy, do I miss Nani's cooking!

Last miracle. Sister Drollinger and I were on a street to contact a potential, and we saw this guy outside, so we decided to talk to him. Turns out he is a less active member that no one knew about! He's from Puerto Rico, and they've been in the area for 8 months. His wife and kids are not members, and he wants to come back to church and have us talk to his family! So the miracle is that last week we had seen someone outside that house and we both felt like we should talk to him, but neither of us said anything, and we didn't talk to him. I truly feel like the Lord was giving us a second chance when we saw him outside again. But the lesson is to never ever ignore a prompting, because sometimes there aren't second chances. I'm just so grateful that we were able to meet him, and now we have an appointment to meet his family tomorrow evening.

I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support. And thank you for the packages! I love the new music you sent me, and the skirt fits well. :) I hope you're all doing really well and that you're able to see the Lord's hand in your life. You're all amazing! Have a wonderful week!!

Love always,

Sister Ramsden

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Swinging an Ax, Pink Chemical Beads, and I Highlighted My Hair!

Dear family!

I hope you got the picture I just sent. I highlighted my hair! I'm not sure what possessed me to do that. But I really like it! Anyways, this week was pretty average. It started out really slow, but it ended well! We got to get in our jeans and do some service this week, which is always awesome. Especially because the weather was nice for a few days! I got to do things I'd never done before! On Tuesday, we went to Sister Rayburn's house and fertilized her yard with these pink chemical bead things. And on Friday we went to the Tiede's to help them tear apart the shed that got smashed by a tree in the ice storm. I got to use an ax and a sledgehammer! It was fun. We love doing service because it gets us out of our normal routine, but it just makes us feel good. We put quite a dent in that shed, the five of us working together. Definitely more than Brother Tiede could have done on his own in the same amount of time. They do so much for us, so we want to do as much as possible to pay them back, even though they say we don't need to.

We finally got to see S***i again after a long time! She's having a hard time with her dad, still, but other than that she seems well. We were able to meet her husband, R***y, too. We answered a lot of their questions, which was really good. And S***i brought up some of her concerns with joining the Church. The first is her fear of being immersed in water, but she said she'll get over it. The other thing came up yesterday when she offered us coffee or tea. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom, and she had a hard time understanding why it's bad for us to drink those things. We just bore testimony of prophets and how we sometimes don't have to understand the things that God commands us to do because we don't see the big picture, but He does. So she recognized also that she could overcome that challenge, but it may take more time. But we have faith in her! She is amazing.

I can't believe there are only two weeks left in the transfer! Time seriously just flies by. It's amazing. My predictions for transfers aren't super solid, but we're thinking I will stay in Martinez (we pronounce it right since the Spanish branch joined us ;)) for one more transfer, but we're not totally sure if Sister Drollinger will stay, too. Stranger things have happened! I love you all so so so so so much!!! You are amazing individuals. I love the gospel, and I know it's true with all my heart. Have a wonderful week, loves!

Your number one,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sunshine, Sister Drollinger, and the Yellow Shirts!

My dear family,
> I hope y'all had a great week! I just want you to know how much I love you. I feel so blessed to have your support and love. What brings me the greatest happiness is the knowledge that we have that we are sealed together for eternity. That is such a huge blessing that our Heavenly Father has given us! I love you all so so much.
> Well, I'm sure you received an e-mail from Sister Spencer with the picture she took of me and my new companion, Sister Drollinger! She's been out for 4 and a half months, and she last served in Savannah, which is where Sister Evans is now! I sure miss our old district. We all just clicked and had so much fun together. But everything absolutely happens for a reason, and I know we will learn to love our new district and that we will grow together. Exciting times! Sister Drollinger and I really started off the transfer with a bang by meeting with a lot of our investigators, setting up appointments, and working hard. It was a good week! It was nice and sun-shiny, so no more tights and boots and jackets, and lots of water. I seriously felt like I couldn't drink enough water! The sun felt so nice though, after being cold for so long.
> On Saturday, we had the opportunity to get on our yellow shirts again and help the elderly and disabled clear fallen limbs from their yards. This time, it was announced by the county, and the majority of participants were actually non-members! It was awesome seeing everyone get together for such a great cause. Between 9 and 5 that day, somewhere around 300 houses were served. It was amazing.
> We had contact with S***i during the week, who was in Pennsylvania for business. She wasn't able to make it to church yesterday because of her flight, but she had us over for lunch, and we taught the Plan of Salvation with one of my good member friends here, Lawana. S***i's beliefs were already pretty similar, but if there was any difference, she immediately put it aside and accepted what we taught to be truth. She has such a desire to know the truth and do what Heavenly Father wants her to do! I feel so blessed to have met her.

What happened to our house. It got fixed this week!

> This area has been hard for our entire zone, so we have all been praying for success, and I know those prayers have been heard and answered. If there's anything I've learned, it's that Heavenly Father cares about our needs so deeply. Even the tiniest little thing like food cravings. He knows what our needs and desires are, and as long as we're obedient and faithful, He will fulfill our needs in His own way and time. I have felt His arm unfailingly around me in times of need. I pray that you will seek out and feel His love for you, cuz it is so real, and we have every right to accept it into our lives.
> I love y'all so so so so much! I hope that you have a wonderful week at school, work, church, etc. You're wonderful people. Take care, and write soon. <3 >
> Love always,
> Sister Ramsden

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ice-pocalypse 2014, The Great Convergence, and Transfers!!!

My dear family,

Holy cow, what a week! I guess y'all heard about the ice storm that hit Georgia this week. We were on lock-down all day Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday we started out doing the normal studies and some weekly planning so we could be productive. We cleaned the apartment in more detail than P-Day normally allows us. And then the power went out around 1pm until about 6 or 7pm. We heard sirens next door, our neighbor who helps us with our maintenance. Turns out his wife went into pre-mature labor and the ambulance came down the icy streets to take her away. We went over to give them some cookies we'd made before the power went out. We borrowed our neighbor's game of Scrabble, and got ready for bed. It was storming pretty hard outside.

We kept seeing green flashes, our lights flickering, and tree branches falling. The sister sleeping by the window was super nervous. None of us could really sleep cuz we were super uneasy. We were kinda looking out the window to see what was going on, and all of a sudden we hear a huge pop, see another green flash, and our power is gone again, about 11pm, and a cable came down to rest right on our roof. Right when we decided to move a couple mattresses to the hallway and all sleep there, we hear a huge branch come down and hit our roof, right where the bed by the window is. Luckily it didn't expose us to the outside! That was a huge miracle. There was a branch sticking out that absolutely should have gone through our window. We know 100% that God was protecting us. It did pin that cable to the ground though.

Our neighbor called us and told us not to go outside, to stay safe. A family in the other ward told us to call the power company about the fallen cable, but the lines were all booked. Well, it was not a very restful night. We all got about a total of 3 hours of sleep. The branches falling continued into Thursday morning, and our front yard is covered with them. Luckily no other branches fell on our house, and our cars remain untouched as well. Sure gave us a scare though! We were inside most of the day Thursday, trying to stay warm, catch up on sleep, etc. There really wasn't much we could do. So we got permission to go the the Tiedes' house, a member in the other ward who did have power. We went and played Life with them and had a great time. We got home that night and our power was still out, so we got permission to spend the night at Brother and Sister Tiedes'. It was nice and toasty, and we slept pretty well on their living room floor.

Friday was a regular work day, and also Valentine's Day. A lot of places were still without power, and a lot of people had plans for the night, but we did get the opportunity to spend the evening with an awesome sister who has recently divorced. It was good being able to support her. Our power still hadn't returned, so we stayed the night at the Tiedes' again. It was about 10:25 when the six of us knelt down to pray together, when we feel the ground shaking beneath us. My mind went back to elementary school trying to remember what they taught us to do in an earthquake. It was a pretty good shake! But it passed after a few moments. I know y'all had heard about that, too. We finally got to sleep after Brother Tiede researched the quake for us, and after we made sure our sisters in South Carolina were safe, cuz they were close to where it hit.

Saturday, we spent the majority of the day doing service, helping people clear the trees out of their yards. It was an incredibly humbling experience realizing that we did not at all get the worst of the damage. There were power companies coming from other states to help restore the power to our county. almost 90% of us lost power. We finally got it back Saturday evening around 7. Just when we thought it was all over, we felt another quake yesterday around 4pm. Just a tiny one, but it hit somewhere in South Carolina as well. What a crazy week!

In other news, we had an investigator at church yesterday!! S***i, the lady I told y'all about the other week. She just soaked it all in. She learned a ton about the Plan of Salvation and realized that Latter-day Saints really aren't weird like people might think. She plans on coming back, and she wants us to talk to her husband. She's super cool and super nice, and we are so blessed to know her. Another big event occurred at church yesterday.

Our ward has been combined with the Spanish branch. A lot of releases and callings happened in sacrament meeting to help us support one another and become one ward together. I can't imagine what these dear saints are feeling, but I feel some pain for them. It must be so hard coming to a ward where your native language isn't spoken and having to adapt and get to know a whole new group of people. But we welcome them with open arms. It will be a wonderful experience working with them and seeing the opportunities that arise from this convergence.

Well, last bit of news for this week! As you know, transfer call was Saturday night, and Sister Evans is being transferred. I figured we wouldn't stay together longer than this transfer. It will be interesting to see where she gets sent and who I end up serving with here. I am excited for the experiences and opportunities that are ahead! I love y'all with all my heart. Thank you for your love and support! Thank you for the package, too! I got it Friday, and a made the cookies yesterday. They were delicious :) Thank you for all you do for me, especially for your prayers. I pray for you every day. Have a wonderful week, my beautifiul family!

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, February 10, 2014

Retirement Homes, Episcopalian Ministers,and Gypsies!!!

No, I didn't actually see any. But I did see their houses!! So this week, we had exchanges, and I got to go to North Augusta, South Carolina! It was exciting. It's funny, cuz I just got Dad's letter giving me more info about the gypsies, and then I got to see their houses the next day! Unfortunately, I didn't see any of the gypsies. That was just an interesting experience. It kind of creeps me out, but it's also really fascinating.

One of the gypsy houses... I'll probably be haunted for taking pictures haha. Notice how they board up the windows... Super creepy! But yeah, their houses are huge, and they have super nice cars!

I can't believe this is the last week of the transfer. Time seriously flies by! Sister Evans and I are on the edges of our seats, knowing that a phone call could come before transfer call on Saturday, and one of us could have our visa. But we'll be patient this week and continue working hard!

I know that y'all enjoyed the miracles that I shared with you the other week, so Sister Evans and I have been sharing miracles with each other every night so we can focus on those blessings Heavenly Father does give us on a daily basis. So on Saturday, we went with the other sisters and sang for some sweet elderly women. We got to this retirement home, and the ladies asked what church we were from. When we told them, one of the women shouts, "Not the Latter-day Saints! No, no!" So the nurse gently told her she didn't have to stay and listen, she had the choice to leave the room. As we began singing, the lady left the room. But before the hymn was even through, she came right back and sat down. Towards the end, she actually sang along with us! It was a miracle to see how the Spirit totally softened her heart toward us and how her attitude changed to one of gratitude by the time we finished singing. That one experience set the tone for the whole day, and all four of us sisters just had a really good day!

Sister Evans and I had a lesson with a woman named S***i, who told us she had a lot of questions for us. We went over planning to answer her questions and hoping to be able to teach the restoration, and it went really well! She is just genuinely curious. She didn't doubt a single thing that we taught her. We cleared up some misconceptions she had heard, and she even gave us a referral. We talked about prophets, and she was awed when we told her that there were prophets in the Americas. She has a huge fascination with Native Americans and took the Book of Mormon right out of our hands, she was so eager to read it. Her husband is out of town the next few weeks, but she wants us to meet him when he returns. She said he is very open :) It was amazing getting to teach her and just have a really great day. It turns out that the neighbor she referred us to is actually good friends with our stake president! The man is an Episcopalian minister, but he has great respect for the Church because of the influence our stake president has had on him. We as members of the Church can seriously be such examples to those around us. Something the stake president is pushing members to do is just make it known to those around them that they are members of the Church. If people know that, that's when they wonder why we're so happy and what's so different about us, and it will open the door for our associates to accept the gospel. I love y'all so much and I hope all is well! I know that the Lord does bless us every day, we just have to have eyes to see the blessings He gives us. Have a great week, and write to me soon, please!!

All my love,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow!, Bottled Water, and Livin' Off of Peanut Butter Sandwiches!!

I don't know if y'all kept tabs on the weather here in Evans, GA last week, but it snowed!! It was super suspenseful all day Tuesday, cuz we knew that if it was precipitating and below 32 degrees outside, we were on lockdown. So we kept checking the temperature and looking out the window while we did our morning studies. One of the sisters from our ward stopped by with a case of bottled water in case our pipes froze, and we got text messages from other ward members making sure we had everything we needed. I've never experienced snow like this before, so I had no clue what to expect. But I was gonna take precautions and prepare for the worst! So we kept a faucet dripping and made sure we had food to eat in case the power went out (we decided to live off of peanut butter sandwiches), etc.

We went out to work at 1, like usual, still wary of the temperature and weather conditions. Well at 6 when our dinner time was over, sure enough it was below 32 degrees and we were on lockdown! Finally at almost 9pm, little white flakes started falling from the sky! The Elders made fun of me for saying I've never seen snow fall from the sky before haha. But it's true! It was such a cool experience. And the snow stuck! Since Georgians don't know how to drive in that weather, we were on lockdown until 4pm on Wednesday. I decided I love the snow! But I don't know if I could live in it... haha.

That was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened this week! We had a zone conference on Friday which was the best ever. President Cottle is just so inspired and so uplifting. We are so blessed to be placed under his direction and care. Most of the conference was missionary-centered, obviously. But one thing I want to share with y'all is something he said about fasting. Cuz it's super easy to complain about being hungry when we fast! So he told us that fasting helps us put off the natural man. Our physical body's needs get filled much more than our spirit, all too often. So fasting is a way of our spirit showing our body who's in charge. I really liked that, and it definitely helped me keep a positive perspective as we fasted yesterday.

Warner Robins district reunion!!! :) Elder Ecklof and Elder Clay are in the Augusta zone and Elder Pittard and I are in the Augusta zone

Y'all, this area is rough. But we're blessed with awesome members who are so proactive in sharing the gospel with the people they know and offering to help us in any way they can. And we're trying to keep our spirits high and our attitudes positive! Thank you for your love and prayers. I truly appreciate and need them. I love y'all so so much! More than you know. I hope all is well for y'all with school, work, callings, etc. Have a blessed week!

All my love,

Sister Ramsden

Monday, January 27, 2014

Milagres, Pain in the Neck, and "Just Trust Me"

(That's Portuguese for miracles ;)) This was a week of miracles! They may seem small and maybe of little significance, but they were incredible to be a part of.

Well, I told you last week that my neck was hurting. I'm not sure exactly what happened to it, but it was this sharp pain on the left side that shot down my whole arm. So that makes me think it was a pinched nerve or something. Well, the more I put heat on it and stretched it, the worse it felt. On Friday, it got so bad that I couldn't even turn my neck from side to side. It hurt to just hold my head up without support. I called the mission nurse, and she recommended taking advil and tylenol, which I had been doing a little bit. But I decided I really needed a blessing. I had done all I could do, and the pain was really inhibiting the work. On Saturday, our district was playing soccer with the youth, and I was sitting on the bench on the sidelines. I looked up at the sky, and in my heart I told Heavenly Father that I knew if I got a blessing, I would be healed. I just had this overwhelming feeling of love for Him and from Him. I am His daughter, and He looks after me. So I asked the Elders to give me a blessing.

We had stake conference that night, so we met beforehand, grabbed the ward mission leader, and they gave me a blessing. It was a beautiful blessing! Now, the pain didn't go away immediately. But my attitude changed a lot (the pain was making me cranky). The rest of the night, I was just filled with peace and happiness. I kept thinking of what position I should sleep in so that my neck could recover, and when I woke up the next morning, the pain was gone. At least the shooting pain down my arm was gone. My neck it still a little bit sore, but the pain that made it so I couldn't turn my head is gone. I have such a huge testimony of the priesthood. That testimony has been so strengthened the last few months. It literally is God's power given to men! And I love that there are so many men who are worthy to hold that power and exercise it in righteousness.

The other miracle happened early in the week when Sister Evans and I were tracting. We walk past this house, and she says to me "Let's come back to this one later. Just trust me." I don't like denying people of what may have been a prompting from the Spirit, so I trusted her instinct. We knocked the houses around it, and talked with a woman across the street from that house. She was very friendly, but already a church-goer and not super interested in our message. So we offered to serve her, which she also declined. But she pointed to the house across the street and told us a woman lived there with a young child, and her husband had just passed away unexpectedly. She told us we should visit her and see if we could serve her.

We walked across the street to that house and met a woman named E****n and her 8-yr-old son D***o. When she opened the door, we didn't introduce ourselves as missionaries as we normally would have, we simply told her we wanted to serve her in any way we could. She let us in and told us about her husband and said they had to move because she couldn't afford to support that house on her own. They're moving this Thursday, so we offered to get some strong guys over to help with the furniture and stuff. We exchanged phone numbers and taught her the blessing of eternal families. She said her and her husband were not very religious before he passed, but she felt like he had sent us to her. It was a miracle that Sister Evans didn't disregard the prompting she received. If we hadn't gone to the other house first, we might not have said what we did when we met Evelyn, and she might not have let us in like she did. You just never know! But I am a firm believer in miracles, especially after what we witnessed this week.

I love y'all so much! I hope all is well, that y'all are healthy and happy and that you can feel your Father's love for you. Cuz I know it is there always, no matter what. Write soon, loves :)

Love always,

Sister Kashmir Janae Ramsden

Water Damage, Gypsy Capital of America, and One Year Left!!!

It has been one crazy week! Our apartment has been falling apart - it started with a leaky dishwasher, leading to floor replacement, leading to our hot water getting cut off. Well, the kitchen sink only gave hot water, and the shower only gave cold water. It was crazy! But Sister Evans is a handy woman and she fixed it for us. Our dishwasher is still broken, but at least we can control the temperature of the sink to wash our dishes.

Then on the way to the library today, our neighbor called us and said that our front door was wide open. We aren't worried that someone got inside or anything, but apparently our door doesn't click into the frame, and we forgot to lock it :/ We're super lucky to have awesome neighbors who help us out. One who replaced our floor for us, and one who calls us if something's wrong. Anyways, we are blessed!

Can you believe I only have a year left? It's crazy that my mission is already a third over. But I still got two-thirds to go, and I certainly plan to use it to the best of my ability. Sister Evans said something interesting the other day. She was just thinking about how she would feel if she were coming home tomorrow. If she would feel like she really gave her heart to the work. That just put things into perspective. We have both resolved to work that much more diligently and obediently. Speaking of Sister Evans, I can't believe she's related to the Holmeses!! I started seeing Mariah around the YSA ward before I left. What a small world!

Fun fact about the Augusta, Georgia area: It's the gypsy capital of the country. Did you know that? I haven't seen any that I know of, but we have heard all about them. One of our investigators was actually stolen from by gypsies. It kinda creeps me out, but it's just interesting the diversity that we have in this country. I never would've thought we'd have legitimate gypsies...

But anyways, C*****a is a woman who's been investigating the church for years. We found out last week that she wants to be baptized really badly - she knows it's all true - but her husband has heard weird stuff about the church, so he doesn't want her to. His heart is really softening though! So I know some day they will be baptized together. Probably the greatest miracle this week was in mine and Sister Evans' plan to help an investigator, H**e, accept a baptismal date. She has also been investigating for years and has been going back and forth between two religions. But she accepted the date of February 8th! We have really good feelings about that day, and we have faith that she can make the necessary steps to be ready to be baptized that day. It'll take hard work on our part and on hers, but it can happen. So the work here is moving forward slowly but surely!

I love the sisters that I serve with here. We all needed to be here together, I know that for sure. But more than that, we were all called to our specific areas for a reason. We just have to dig to find what that reason is. On Sunday, we taught a youth fireside with the elders about applying the scriptures to ourselves. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown sooo much!! I love this book! Go back and read "Safety for the Soul" by Elder Holland. I read it and watched it this week, and it just strengthens my testimony even more. I love this gospel, I know it's true with my whole soul. I love y'all and thank you for your love and the things you do in your lives to be missionaries in your own ways. Keep up the good work, and have an awesome week!

Monday, January 13, 2014

That's Pronounced Martin-EZ, Driving Privileges, and Tornado Warning!!!

That's pronounced Martin-EZ (Crazy Georgians). Well it has been the longest week of my mission! Adjusting to a new area is kind of surreal. Sister Evans is my new companion, and she IS the Brazil visa waiter I told you about last week! So I'm just doing the second half of her twelve week training. Which is still very difficult!

She doesn't know the area very well, so the first thing we did when I got here was drive to Walmart and buy a GPS. Yeah, I bought it. I didn't want to at first! But I figure I'll send it home when I get my visa, so I can have it later :) It actually wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. I got my driving privileges the day of transfers, so I get to drive this transfer! I was super nervous, cuz it's been almost six months since I've driven. But it was a piece of cake ;)

The work here is really rough. A lot of members I met on Sunday told me this is a rough area. We knock a lot with no real success. But Sister Evans and I have a ton of fun together. She helps keep the spirits light. She is crazy and we just laugh a lot. We live in an apartment with another set of sisters, Sister Curtis and Sister Eggett. I love living with three sisters! They're awesome. I love them all, and we have some good times. Our apartment is a little old, it's been in the mission for a long time, and elders have lived there before, so you can only imagine... But it definitely has character! I figure it's preparing me that much more for when I get to Brazil, cuz it is a huuuge difference from our apartment in Warner Robins. But it's all good!

I really enjoy getting to have all these different experiences. I feel like Heavenly Father has been allowing me to have baby steps to when I get to Brazil. Maybe I wouldn't have been able to handle everything in Brazil if I had gotten my visa right away. I'm just grateful for the many opportunities I've been given, all the people I've met, the things I've learned. I know Father only has my best interest in mind. There is absolutely a reason why I haven't gotten my visa yet. Father knows best :) I have to say, I really feel like I'm getting my visa this transfer. I just get these feelings every transfer about what's going to happen, and I've always been right so far. So I love being able to practice Portuguese with Sister Evans! It's fun.

So on Saturday, we were playing sports at the church with the youth, and we got a text that all missionaries were on lock down because of a tornado warning in Georgia. We ended up being at the church for three hours! It was pouring down rain outside, but it didn't seem too windy, so we weren't really worried. So, no tornadoes :)

Oh, Sister Evans has family in Chico! That was a crazy connection. We both felt like we'd seen each other before, so we really might have cuz she's been to Chico before! About my new address, the sisters said we're supposed to go through the mission office, so just write to that address. Packages can also be forwarded from the mission office, just so you know. I figure that will help me prepare for Brazil, too, cuz I'll get a lot less mail there. So y'all really need to e-mail me every week! I need to hear from you and know how you're doing and what's going on. And keep writing letters, too :) I wanna get them while I'm still in the country! I love y'all and I hope you're doing really well. Know that I pray for you!! Have a great week :)
> Love always,
> Sister Ramsden

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Love These Mid-week Surprises!!!

Hi, my name is Candy S. Your daughter has been transferred to our area. She is not in my ward, but in the sister ward in our building the Martinez Ward. Her companion is another Brazilian visa waiter, Sister Evans, so they will have a chance to practice their language skills together. I saw them at the Book of Mormon class tonight and thought you might like to have a sneak peak before p-day. My daughter is serving in the Italy Rome Mission. I am always hopeful that someone there will send me pictures! Anyway, I hope all is well for you! Enjoy the pictures.

Looks like Martinez is in the Augusta Stake, right next to South Carolina.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Being Transferred, Popping Sparkling Cider, and FBI Clearance Needed!

Well, I'm just gonna cut to the chase. I'm being transferred! All last week, I was super stubborn about transfers. All I knew was I didn't want to leave. I wanted to believe that Warner Robins still needed me. But deep down I kind of knew my work here was done. So Friday night when I was writing in my journal, I had this moment where I just gave my will to the Lord. I know that He knows what's best for me, and I ultimately couldn't control whether or not I was transferred. So the only way to be happy was to accept God's will. And His will is for me to move on! And I'm okay with that!

We had the conference call Saturday at noon, my heart dropped a little when the assistants called my name, but I was okay. No tears. Until... They called me to be a trainer. My first emotion was shock, then fear, then inadequacy. But Sister Madsen helped me realize that it will help me a lot to be able to train a new missionary. That means one of two things: a) I get someone straight from the MTC and we white-wash or open a new area, or b) I finish the second half of someone's 12-week training period. "A" is the scary one! But also exciting, cuz then we can start fresh. It'll be an adventure, and I am excited now! Packing has been crazy. It's kind of surreal, actually. My things are all over the place, like something exploded haha. So until you get my new address, you can send stuff to the mission office: 400 Northside Crossing, Macon, GA 31210.

In case the pictures can't be found on my card, Sister Madsen let me borrow her camera to get the baptism pictures to you!

Ana's baptism!!

In other news, Amy got her mission call! She wanted us to be there, which was such an honor. I'm really grateful it came before transfers!!! She's going to the Argentina Bahia Blanca mission!! And she's going to the Provo MTC. So it was cool being able to tell her a little bit about learning a language there. She's gonna be awesome, I'm super stoked for her! Oh, Happy New Year!! We were on lock-down at 6 New Year's Eve, so Sister Madsen and I ordered a pizza, popped some sparkling cider, and went to bed early haha. It wasn't too exciting, but we got some much needed catch-up time with journal writing, cleaning, sleeping. It was good!

I'm not sure if y'all know this already, but I just got some paperwork to fill out for my visa. Apparently I need an FBI clearance now? So we've already gone to three police departments today trying to get me finger-printed, and no luck yet! But the last one referred us to the sheriff's office. So we'll go there next. The instructions say it should take 6-8 weeks to process this report, so looks like I'll probably have two more transfers here. Who knows! The Portuguese is rough. I need to study better. I do know that there's a visa-waiter in training whose trainer just got transferred, so maybe I'll finish her training and we can study together? That would be cool! How are y'all doing? I hope everything is going well! I love y'all and hope to hear from you soon. Have a great week, loves!

Muito amor,

Sister Ramsden

Speaking Like a Hick, Two Baptisms, and TO THE WHALES!!!

Can I just say, Christmas was the best ever! I LOVED seeing you all and hearing your voices and feeling your love. You're the best family ever! Thank you for your support. It means the world to me. It was so fun laughing with you and praying with you and crying with you. I am so blessed! So, in light of Summer Jade's suggestions, it sounds like I may need to adjust the content of my letters home? So tell me what it is that y'all wanna hear from me! I definitely want my letters to hold your interest and for you to enjoy them. Maybe send me some generic questions that I could think about during the week so I have more of an idea of what to tell you when I email. I love y'all and I wanna make you happy :) Something you did say, Summs, is that you wanna know more how I feel and something funny that happened. So I did some pondering and made a list of funny things that happened this week, but I left it at home by accident :( So I'll tell you what I remember.

We were reading scriptures with A. and E. last week, and A. is hispanic, right? So she has a hard time pronouncing some of the names. Like Laban was LaVAHN, and Lemuel was LemanUEL. So E. was getting all worked up about her pronunciation, and he decided she needed to speak like a hick in order to pronounce the names correctly. It was just really funny hearing him try to speak with a southern accent. Then, we met a lady living at this house of a guy we had met with before, and we had to assure her that we were not Jehovah's Witness. She was relieved and she said, "Good, cuz those Jehovahs... they be lurkin'" hahaha. I love the people here, they're awesome.

One more funny story. We were at the Eubanks' for dinner (I'm so glad you got to meet them! They're the best!!) and Allan laughed or something, and I was like "Allan, when did you get your braces off?" And he just paused and was like "...Were you even here when I had braces?" Then I asked when he got them off, and he said back in April. I wasn't even on my mission in April! We split our sides dying laughing! It was kinda embarrassing, but it was really funny. Later, I realized why I thought I'd seen him with braces. Cuz he reminds me a lot of Skyler, and Skyler has braces haha. It was awesome.

Well, Ana and Michelle were both baptized AND confirmed this week!! It was a little stressful cuz Elder Clay really wanted us to combine their baptisms, but they already had their programs made and stuff, but we wanted to follow his advice and respect his leadership, so we combined them. It was such a beautiful service! People cried when Ana was baptized (it's been a long time coming!), and Michelle bawled when she was baptized! I was so excited, I wanted to dance and sing and do cartwheels. It was the best feeling! I felt so blessed to be able to work with them. They're incredible ladies.

Transfer calls are Saturday at noon, and I'm really nervous. I literally have no idea what they're going to bring. But I trust that President Cottle is so close to the Lord, and he will know where we need to be. I know Heavenly Father has a divine plan for me, and I feel so blessed to have been placed in this mission as I wait for my visa. There is absolutely a reason for everything! I love y'all, and I'm grateful to have you as my family. Y'all are the best :) Have a happy New Year! Make a toast to the whales for me :) XOXO

Muito amor,

Sister Ramsden