Curitiba Temple

Curitiba Temple

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