Monday, December 28, 2015

Ohhhhhh the Christmas season here is aparently not good for missionary work. Everyone is either gone or not quite sober....but we still landed one new investigator this week! We have 5 solid investigators, others that have potential but 5 that we've met with more than once. This month ALL OF THEM WILL BE BAPTIZED (well, that's the goal). January 2016 will be our month. So I officially passed 2015 without baptisms. But we opened the area so that's probably to be expected. We have to get people to come to church! That's the biggest struggle here. Like, people will believe everything and be willing to keep other commitments but commitments that involve setting a date/time and leaving the house are another story. Reminds me of how I always was with plans with friends. "Hey friend, there's a party on Saturday! Will you be there?" "I don't know...maybe....we'll see". Oh goodness I was annoying. I've learned my lesson now! When I return I will make and keep commitments ;)

We spent the evening of New Year's Eve in the house of a member and they gave us presents (a box of chocolates) and while most of the food was still the normal Brazilian food there was a turkey and the christmas music was in english, so I felt a little bit at home <3

Again this week, we worked more with less actives than with new people. We're still visiting "Grandma" all throughout the week, and we've been meeting with 6 other people, and trying to meet with 2 others but they're never home. Teaching inactive members is really cool because normally when we teach about the gift of the holy ghost, we say "you can have this after baptism" but with less actives, we get to say "you've felt this in your life before and it can come back right now if you do the things you know you should be doing" and sometimes "you have the priesthood, you have the authority to bless your family and those you love. Let's help you remember how to use it."

I'm wondering if we're having trouble getting people to come to church because God knows the ward needs to be strengthed before it can really help new people. If the branches of a tree grow faster than the roots, the whole thing will fall. So maybe we need to be doing more to help the ward members in addition to the inactives we're trying to reactivate. Not to say we'll stop trying to find new people! Of course not! But I'm going to try to think of ways to help the ward help new people. Hopefully my companion has some ideas because I've never done this before!

That's it for today. I love you all! When the holidays are past I'll have more to say for you <3
Sister Steele

Monday, December 21, 2015

the week nothing made sense

This week was...interesting. Literally what was this week. But I'll get to the weird stuff after!

So our "old" investigators are having trouble. One is having trouble believing in God and is considering leaving us, and another has been talking to people who hate mormons so that's fun! (Its not fun) Its very likely that we'll have to leave them. BUT WE HAVEN'T GIVEN UP HOPE YET. WE WILL FIGHT TIL THE END. Everything will work out.

This week we met Valessa's daughter Valesca who is 11. She reminded me a lot of my dear 11 year old sister. While we were waiting for her mom to finish up some things we talked to her about school and how her tests are going and what she likes to do and all that, and it made me miss my sister more! What was funny though is that this 11 year old knows her bible almost better than I do! Everything we talked about with her she could quote bible verses about and knew the references for everything! She told us she's mad because her church says she's not old enough to be baptised and she wants to really badly and we're like "well hey guess what you are old enough!!"

We got 4 new investigators this week! They're still super new, so I'll talk more about them next week after I see how things go but all of them seem pretty solid!

Now the weird stuff.

So first of all this week we played marriage counsilor, which I didn't know I, the dating expert that I am, was qualified to do. I hope everything we said was valid...and that they talk to people who know better what they're doing.

Secondly in the oddities and annoyances of this week was on thursday we taught this teenage girl and her mom, right? Everything went super well, the daughter was SUPER pumped about what we taught, mom wasn't interested but said her daughter can do as she pleases so we were all set to continue teaching her when out of nowhere her grandma pops up and starts yelling at us about how her granddaughter is a minor and doesn't know what she's doing and how dare we try to change her mind and practically kicked us out! It wasn't even her house??? Unfortunately her mom now sides with her mother-in-law and we can't go back, which seriously bites! The girl was soooo excited and said everything we taught was what she'd been looking for and it was perfect!! Someday. :(

Ok so then we were teaching someone, and literally their entire house fell apart a few months ago and they havent rebuilt it yet so we taught them on a couch in the middle of literal ruins. Like just dirt and piles of broken bricks. They're in the process of rebuilding but still like??? They don't have a bathroom??? Also there we learned the story of their sister who ran off with an older man she hardly knows and married him right away (which sounds like something from a few different books I've read) and the boyfriend who is 17 but already has an exwife? They were married for 2 years starting when he was 14? I think the girl was 12 or 13. Most of the time if I'm quiet while we talk to someone its because I'm struggling to understand what they're saying but this time I literally was speechless because I cannot imagine my 16 year old brother saying "my exwife and I seperated because..."

And lastly, we had just been half chased from a house (the other half being us running) because when we said the word Christmas the woman started sobbing/screaming and we weren't exactly sure what to do in that situation, when a young man, I will assume he'd been drinking, wearing nothing but a bedsheet-toga ran up to us waving a gigantic rainbow umbrella and yelled "you guys are believers?!?! WOOOHOOOO" and ran out into the street without looking and almost was hit by a car.

Yeah, so this week was weird. I hope you guys were slightly entertained by my experiences this week. 

I'm sorry I still haven't sent pictures!! I can't seem to figure out how? SOMEDAY I WILL I PROMISE. 

Now, for any of you that maybe will serve a mission some day or will spend next christmas away from your family or alone even, I offer one piece of advice: BRING EVERY SINGLE SONG FROM YOUR FAMILY'S CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST. Because if you don't you'll find yourself sitting on the floor at 6:30 am eating panetone listening to "Breathe of Heaven" on repeat because its the only song you have that feels like home. I learned this week that christmas music isn't really about christmas, its about the memories. Somewhere online there's this collection of "bad analogies" and one of them is something like "there was an eerie feeling in the air, like when you're on vacation and Family Feud comes on at 7 instead of 7:30" and thats how I feel about christmas music in portuguese. Because its the same songs but I can't sing along!!

A mission is a crazy crazy thing. But every annoying thing has a positive side! For example, I have 47 mosquito bites (not kidding) but I don't have dengue so clearly I've got good luck and God on my side. I haven't been properly dry in 6 weeks because its so hot, but that gives me the excuse to say "some people are worth melting for". My sense of humor has been reduced to reading my dictionary and writing pop culture references in the margins, but it turns out thats a really good way to memorize new words! Literally, this is the craziest thing I could possibly be doing right now, and that's not just the toga man talking. But on wednesday when we said a prayer together with one of our new investigators and she said super cutely and sincerely "God, I want to know if the things the sisters taught me are true. I feel really good about this and want it to be true, please help me know" I was reminded of why I'm really here. So as crazy and weird and bizare of a week this was, it was also absolutely fantastic.

I love you all! <3<3<3

Monday, December 14, 2015


WE DID IT (well no, God did it but WE DID IT). Yesterday "grandma" came to church. I was quite relieved because all the members talked to her and said how glad they were to see her there again and how they hope to see her again next week and like me too, members, me too. I hope this continues! She's not always the happiest of people, but I've seen her grow happier as we've been working with her and I know that will continue if she keeps coming.

Other than her...again, a bit of a dry week. EVERYONE LEFT TOWN. We didn't get to work with any of our usuals because no one is home! Not sure if its for the holidays or what, but we've still got a while before christmas so I hope they won't be gone until then!

But it was also a dry week because we didnt have quite as much proselitismo time because of the christmas conference WHICH WAS A BLAST. We were there literally all day, watching videos, seeing baby pictures of everyone that remembered to send them, and the "talent show" that lasted a million and sixty years. The Sister Training Leaders grabbed Sister Dewey and I and some of the hispanic sisters from our arrival group and said "so we're going to sing I Feel My Savior's Love in spanish, english, and portuguese. you don't get a say you're coming" so that happened. it was fun! Both Sis Dewey and I laughed and said that if they had asked, we would have said no so its a good thing they didn't ask. The mission is 100% outside of your comfort zone 100% of the time, so like what did we have to lose, I guess. 

We had a reunion of the "deer in the headlights" missionaries-meaning Sister Dewey, Sister Ruiz, and me since we're the only new americans and had a good half hour of rapid speed english spewing out all the things we've been wanting to say but couldnt and it had the theraputic effect of screaming into a pillow, so that was good. Our companions kept coming over and saying "speak portuguese!!!! stop it with the english!" and we were just like "tchau" because oh my goodness was that needed. I miss english. so much. Eh, not english so much just being able to comunicate /exactly/ what I'm feeling with all the nuances of idiomatic expressions.I think all of our egos have taken a beating this month. BUT eventually we swiched back to portuguese and several people told me my portuguese is actually really good #egoboost

That's pretty much it...we did lots of street contacting, I complained about the heat, we taught a few lessons that /maybe/ will lead to new investigators but maybe not, quem sabe? I saw lots of (albeit silly) tender mercies of the lord this week. Like how my one tube of cookies seemed to last 3x as long as it should (2 loaves and 7 fishes, anyone?) or when I spent ALL WEEK saying that I needed to read "His Grace Is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox and on friday felt a little nudge to look through the huge pile of ensigns again and BEHOLD there it was. I'm also counting it as a blessing that my conversational portuguese is still struggling because in a week Roberto and Matteus will see Star Wars and have promised to try to spoil every single part for me. They even threatened to learn english just to spoil it. But considering how much portuguese I know in 2 months with total immersion and the missionary mantle aND help from god on my side, I figure I won't be in this area by the time they figure out how to spoil it in english. Dorks. They keep getting into Star Wars v Star Trek or Harry Potter v Lord of the Rings fights. is it irony that in those moments I quote Twilight by saying "IM SWITZERLAND OKAY?" (though sorry Matteus Star Wars definitely wins)

We said Tchau this week to my 1st (well, 3rd. don't worry Elders Hyland and Fonicello you guys count too) District Leader. He's heading home to Porto Alegre. I told him to watch out for Sister Grubbs and Sister Johanson if he sees them.

Also I tried tapioca for the first time. With ham and cheese? I definitely thought tapioca was only eaten in pudding form not like some sort of weird taco, but it was good! 

That's about it! Love you all! EMAIL ME. <3
Sister Steele

Monday, December 7, 2015

week 10: Sister Frozen and the Spiritual Turkey

This was a dry week. We did TONS of street contacting because, I swear, every single plan we made fell through. No one was home, and hopefuls turned out not to be interested. But we spent a lot of time with less active members instead, so it worked out fine. 

We've been working with this inactive family of 3 generations-Grandma, Mom, and Daughter. The grandpa isnt a member, the dad isnt in the picture. Adorable, all 3. The daugher, Agatha, is 14. Super cute, and super up on all the social media sites. Enough so that through my /very/ poor descriptions (poor because my conversational portuguese needs help) of vines, she is able to find exactly the one I was thinking of. She agreed with me that the best compilation is that one kid who makes cup song videos where the song starts playing at inconvenient (I'm so sorry I've never spelled this word without spell check) times and "can't help" but start, resulting in water, cereal, coke, or an entire tub of oatmeal going EVERYWHERE while he screams "nooooooo every freaking time!!". literally its my favorite and she made everyone watch it. She's super cute.

Mom is nearly always working, so I don't actually know her. But Grandma, oh she's seriously the cutest thing. I LOVE her and she's taken a liking to me too. She refers to us as her children every time we stop by. 

All of them 100% believe in the gospel, I don't know whats stopping them from coming. We thought we'd convinced Grandma to come yesterday but she backed out at the last minute :( Seriously, sad. But we'll get her ;)

Speaking of sad, we were teaching this inactive member, right? He hadn't gone in YEARS but he saw us teaching Matteus and called us over and asked us to help him. So we got him new scriptures and were helping him remember all the things that once had made him so happy and everything was all set for him to come to church on sunday, but when we stopped by his wife says "my husband is not going to that church of yours, take your book and leave" and when we tried to say "no no, its a gift we can't take it back!" she threw it away!! I can't imagine if my husband or someone I loved wanted to do something that would make them happy, that I could ever possibly do something like that! I don't understand it. You don't do that to someone you love! I hope her heart is softened and she realizes how ridiculous she's being, and I hope he can come back still. It should be his decision, not hers.

BUT that isn't to say this week was a disappointment. Valessa is amazing me. The day after we gave her a book of mormon she read the first 6 chapters or so, and thats seriously not normal, usually it takes some coaxing and a few days at least. We had some ridiculously good days this week. Like /ridiculously/ good. Days where everything went right and even when it didn't we had the spirit with us so strong nothing could get us down. One day in particular, we had three solid lessons. three amazing lessons, na verdade. All about the Book of Mormon. There's a power in teaching about the book of mormon that I can't explain nor do I fully understand. Like, I was wayyy more exhausted that day than any other, even though we walked way less and had way more success than usual and all in all should have been more full of energy than normal. But it was a good kind of tired. Someone on "The District" described this feeling like there's something inside you thats a little too big, and somehow I feel like thats accurate. Like after Thanksgiving dinner when you ate a little too much, but emotionally/mentally/spiritually. Feasting on the spiritual turkey! 

Also this week, our district made our video for Natal! It was soooo much fun. Our district has me and Sister Pereira, DL Elder Rosa (though he's about to go home :( this will change super super soon) and his companion Elder Kosnocha (I have absolutely no idea how to spell his name) who are all from Brazil, Santa Maria I think. Then Elder Batten who is from Oregon and Elder Chave from Moçambique (I'm like 70% sure that's spelled right, its in Africa). All our Elders are hilarious, seriously. Every district is making a christmas video, and ours will be awesome. I think my favorite part was either Elder Rosa making a street contact with a golden retriever, or Elder Batten chasing down a bus trying to give it a christmas pass along card. I think we'll cut out the parts where the people we talked to said "christmas is for children, I hate christmas" though...seriously quem não gosta de Natal???!? 

Children love me. I don't know how I do it (yes I do, I'm just cool) and all the 3-6 year olds have taken to call me Sister Frozen because they think I look like Anna. I still speak either like Tarzan or like Yoda, but its getting better! I understand a little better now how the Book of Mormon prophets felt, speaking Hebrew but writing in scriptural egyptian because I don't actually speak portuguese, I speak english using portuguese. (have I already said this, probably). Also, I understand how the pioneers felt (I'm so kidding) because we still don't have clean water, so every night I have to boil a ton for us to drink. I'm like a regular old pioneer ;) AND I HAVE TAN LINES. I didn't think that was possible, given that I'm the whitest person on the planet but here I am. Looking every so slightly less like a corpse than before.  

I hope all of you are doing well! Natal é chegando!! Its almost Christmas!!! I hope you all have the christmas spirit with you. <3<3<3<3 love you all! Eu amo vocês!!
Sister Steele

Re: Week 9? 10? who even knows anymore

oops! Sorry guys! That wasnt supposed to send yet 

On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 10:58 AM, Taylor Lynne Steele <> wrote:
This was a dry week. We did TONS

Week 9? 10? who even knows anymore

This was a dry week. We did TONS