Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How my mission has changed me.

October 27, 2014

This was an awesome week. There were some HUGE bummers but also tons of miracles as always. The Young Womens asked me to help them make "cookies americanas" aka chocolate chip cookies. It was way fun. 
We also had a Seventh Day Adventist come to church for the first time and the lesson in Gospel Principles was about keeping the Sabbath Day... so that was interesting! 
Dad wrote me last week and wanted me to think about how my mission has changed me. That thought is just a little overwhelming but I was thinking about how one of my favorite things about the mission is the chance to develop Christlike attributes. 

Faith. I learned a lot about faith this week when this lady we´ve been teaching for a while and who has had a ton of contact with the church decided she didn't want anything more to do with any of it... she even tried to give us the Book of Mormon back. It was one of the saddest times of my life. It was a make it or break it lesson and we used the scriptures and had her all convinced to baptism, but her sister for the first time decided to sit in with us.... and told her it was way too soon and that she wasn't ready, and that she needed to keep learning, and that this isn't what she wanted. When we left my companion said, wow the devil really used his tools well tonight, but so did we! I was all upset thinking, how is it that the devil won? But then I realized that he didn't win, it was nothing but a lack of faith on her part. The Lords power really is WAY stronger than the adversary. But the Lords power only works according to our own faith. That night we found out she had been praying to know the truth but with 0 sincerity, with 0 intent to ACT, therefore although she loves the Lord a lot, she has 0 faith. 

Hope. Hope is more than knowing that something CAN happen, it´s believing that it will. When we really have hope we do everything in our power to gain promised blessings of the Lord. When we have hope, we will face challenges still, but our lives will only get better. 

Charity and Love. I have really learned on the mission that if you dont love the people you serve, you wont have success. Elder Zwick told us that with pure discipleship we will be accepted, because when we really follow the Lord, we love the people around us. Ive never been one to have a ton of compassion, but I know I have come a looong way on my mission. We have so much more capability to love than we know! and that means so much more capability to serve! 

Patience. After waiting 15 months for my visa I really learned the meaning of patience. Patience is trusting in the Lords plan for us. Trusting him completely. We have to trust that we are exactly where he wants us, and that we have a purpose there. If we dont, we dont trust that he loves us! Which is the first and most important thing we can understand about our Heavenly Father. If we can learn to be patient, we can be happy even in our afflictions. 

Knowledge. Well, I think Ive talked enough about my love for the scriptures for this one. Even though Ive seen so many miracles and other things that have strengthened my faith. It is my knowledge that has really deepened my testimony, and given power and authority to my calling. 

Virtue. Key to having the spirit! Which means key to having success! One of the best moments on the mission was when I walked into a recent converts house that was always playing something kinda sketchy, and she was watching BYU tv! She learned the importance of virtue. 

Humility. Where do I start. When I told people I was going on a mission. A lot of them said- You have to understand... a mission is hard. And I was always like- HA, I can do anything! But what I continue to learn, is that I cant do anything! Its the Lord. I learned that he really can turn our weaknesses into strengths. He`s willing to too, we just have to give him the glory. This work does not depend on us or on our goodness or on our love or power. It depends on HIS. 

Diligence. I learned that being away from the apartment 8 hours, is not diligence. Neither is walking really fast. Diligence is realizing that everything you do brings you closer or farther from your objective. Being diligent is a sacrifice, but its worth it! If you WORK all day, all your days, to bring one soul to Him, how great will be your joy! 

Obedience. I remember the first letter I wrote home was about how I was sick of all the lectures about obedience, Mom replied and said, "just think of it as living an obedient life for a while..." Now when I think of that I laugh. Because now I understand that obedience is the FIRST law of heaven. It is everything. It helped me learn the importance of the Atonement. Maybe before thinking about what we hope or expect of God we should think of what he hopes or expects of us! And we can be sure the commandments and words of the prophets will answer that perfectly. What a blessing. To know exactly what the Lord expects of us! That means we know exactly what we need to do to return to him and to be HAPPY! 


THANK YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH for you support and prayers and love. 

Seester Stevens 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A God of Miracles

October 20,2014


This week i have no time to write but I will do my best. 
Val had an interview for baptism and passed which is good. Now we just have to get him excited for baptism because he´s really not in a hurry:/. But it was a miracle that the Elder who did the interview got him to understand about the Priesthood and need to be baptized again.  Thats an obstacle we´ve been needing to cross for a while. The bad news is we got him to not go to the other church Saturday but then he didnt go to ours Sunday even after seeing how good his week was after going last Sunday! PEOPLE. 
I had a one day notice to give a training on Wednesday and i pulled out my notebooks and started looking at all the things I've learned on my mission and compiled it the best I could, and shared the best with everyone. It was mostly  stuff from mission and zone conferences. I just have learned so much I want to leave it behind somehow! It will still be important, but not like right now. 
One cool miracle this week was when I was feeling pretty down because we didnt get very much help this week and also our baptisms arent as sure as we would like but we were following up with a man and as we were leaving a woman ran out of the house and called us back. So we went back and met her mom and she explained how she had cancer and we were able to testify of the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement and to be able to do that was just a huge tender mercy in our week, because we preached and preached and preached and lacked service. 
Another miracle is how we found this rapaz on one of the first nights of Sister Andrade. We were in this narrow alleyway trying to leave this particular neighborhood, but hadnt done very much that day and I really wanted ooone more new investigator. So when I saw this scawny kid walking towards us I thought why not? I stopped him and we committed him to coming to church and being baptized. We finally got into contact with him this week. He got an answer to his prayer, he LOVES the Joseph Smith story. When he explained the response he got it was that he remembered and just knew that God was a God of miracles, and I was like THANK YOU that is exactly the message of the Restauration. That is exactly how I feel too when i see people getting answers to their prayers and discovering the fulness of the gospel. It was an Alma 29:10 moment. We got him to church yesterday too! 
We were looking for people until 10:30 (church starts at 9) and my companion didn't like that, she was like, we have to go to church! We´re missionaries! and I explained how the 99 are already there! and we cant forget that as representatives of Christ we have to go find the ones missing. We can never forget  this. 


Seester Scheevens 

Monday, October 13, 2014

18 Meses!

October 13, 2014

This week was really good! We worked a whole lot, never stopped for dinner and hardly even talked normally because we were talking to other people, or about our investigators! I am dead tired so that's why I'm writing early today, its been too long since I took a nap.
This week was weiiirrd because we were walking with this member- Carol to an appointment and she asked how much time I had on the mission and I stopped to think and was like- OXENTE hoje eu fiz 18 meses de missão! I had forgotten that it was so close. Its weird to have already served the full 18 months. I am just so glad that I'm still here and can keep working one more month. Everyday is more and more terrifying because every day is closer! But I really don't think too much about it, just at the end of the day when I think- ohhh nooooo one more day already passed. I'm not scared of going home I'm just scared of how close it is now. 
I know you are all anxious to hear about church since I said it was a strugg and I have good news! Our prayers were answered! This week we worked a lot with a man named Roseval. He is about 34 and smart but doesn't know how to read. So that's hard. But he already went to church once with his daughter, hes to the point that he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet but still believes that his baptism was enough... Last week he didn't go to conference, so this week we talked about church allll week to make sure he would go because we would have to drop him if he didn't. Saturday we stopped by just to remind him and he was like- well now i have to work tomorrow, I'm the father of my family ya know? i hardly made any money this week, i have to provide. I tried to stay calm and started explaining to him about the Sabbath day, and promised him that he would have way more success this week if he was put God first and went to church on Sunday. He looked at the sky and said- if it rains again tomorrow (becuase he sells ice cream by the beach) I'll go to church. We took it as a deal, and reminded him of the blessings we had promised. 
Sunday we were soooo happy because we woke up and it was raining! But when we passed his house to make sure he was awake and coming no one came to the door. Also everyone we looked for that had given us their word that they would go had excuses because it was Children's Day (yeah, a ridiculous national holiday!) or weren't there. So we went to church real sad. But about 20 minutes later Roseval showed up and just went into the Elders quorum all by himself! Then when we went down to the chapel, another investigator had come all by himself! And then a member brought her little brother so we had another! It was a lot of miracles one after the other, and now we have more people to work with. It's really humbling that we called and looked for at least 20 people and showed up with no one.. But the Lord brought 4 all by himself. It really is allll in his hands, I cant learn that enough. 
The other interesting thing that happened is I convinced Afonso to bear his testimony! But he got up there and started and then said- I cant do this and almost fell down and limped out of the chapel looking like he was in a lot of pain and about to pass out. Considering he has had 5 strokes I was really worried! He was ok but having real problems with his legs and hadn't eaten or taken his medicine so he was having issues with blood pressure :(. It was really touching how concerned everyone was. I think nowww the ward will help him have food to eat. His family later that day wasn't concerned either, some even laughed about what happened.

Well. kind of a sad note to leave off on but on a happier note i thank the Lord everyday for having a family that supports me so much. Thank you soo much everyone for helping me be here. 


Seester Stevens 

ps heres a pic of me on my 18 month mark with a goiaba beiju yummm 


October 6, 2014

 WOW! What a week. Shortly after emailing on Monday I got a phonecall from the AP telling me that I would be training this transfer! I did NOT expect that. I was really happy with sticking with Sister Palma here and just finishing off strong but NO. I was actually pretty disappointed at first because everyone here in this area loves Sister Palma a whole lot and it felt like more hers than mine, and she was suuuuper sad but we got over it. The area is awesome. There was only one Sister coming to the mission so that was sweet that President wanted me out of all the Sisters to train her.
The next day President came to pick me up at 6 30 to take me to the mission home with the other Elder who is training too. It´s actually pretty sweet. They treat you like a queen when youre a trainer. Its just us and the Andrezzos, the APs and office elders (that was weird not to have a companion). We had a huuuuge breakfast with a bunch of fruit and pancakes with syrup and peanut butter, and cinnamon rolls, and frosted flakes! 
Then we get a talk from Pres, then a training on how to train from the APs, and then our companions came! Sister Andrade is awesome! She is from Manaus, and is 25. I waited all day just sitting in the mission house while she had a bunch of training and stuff, oh and a huuuuge lunch. It was way cool I love her already. She is super humble, to the point of being gullable, I can tell her anything and she just trusts me! Good thing Im trustworthy. She´s also way committed to the mission and being obedient and helping people be baptized! She is going to help me finish off the mission strong for sure. I love obedient companions! 
By Thursday she was already stopping people on the street to do contacts! I was so happy! I was way scared of getting someone super quiet and shy, but she just loves and connects with everyone! I just know already her testimony is going to help a lot of people here. The only hard thing is shes not really accustomed to walking a whole lot, she was like the Elders in Manaus complain about walking so far but our area is way bigger than any of theirs! They also complain about the heat but Salvador is even hotter than Manaus! Yeah, summer is starting it was even HOTTER this week, apparently hotter than the amazon rain forest. So Im just getting used to walking slow. Also she doesnt like to be on the street at night, which is rough because Im not one to just go in early because its late. She´ll get more comfortable with it, I just have to get scheduled appointments every night.
OH remember Diego from Beurarema, one of the Elders who was alllways there came here to be in my district and he gave be all the news, including that Diego stopped smoking and got baptized!!!!!! YYAYYY sooo many  hours and lessons and phonecalls and fasting and prayer and I stayed like sooo happy for a good 2 days after he told me that. 
Im running out of time I dont even have time to talk about conference but conference was soooo goooood. I got to watch almost all of it. It was so cool how people gave talks in their native languages, when the guy who gave it in Portuguese started all the missionaries in the english speaking room looked at eachother and were like- what are we doing here! and ran into the cultural hall to listen, loved it. I think the Saturday sessions rocked it, I was so spiritually exhausted after. I have just never been happier to be called to repentance so many times in the same day! It was way cool how they focused on the church and following the Prophet, and being followers of Christ. They made it really clear, if you dont have a testimony... get one! I loved Elder Bednars story about why we share the gospel, he nailed it with how when the little boy found a source of relief from his wounds and pain, it was a natural instinct to want to give that same relief to other people. 

Love you family! Thank you for your prayers, I feel them every day. (If you are tired of praying for the same thing my whole mission and want to know our biggest difficulty.. here, its getting people to church.)

Seester Stevens

Friday, October 3, 2014


September 29, 2014

I cant believe it was the last week of the transfer! Where did the transfer go!? 
This week was awesome. 
Tuesday was the rainiest day Ive had so far in Mussurunga so that was too bad because we had a whooole lot of finding planned. But we did see a miracle, a Jehovas Witness of 15 years who has never accepted missionaries from a different church since being baptized there let us in! She didnt commit to anything really but its a good sign, because she loved our visit
We had another miracle too! So our recent convert has a son in law who was in church on Sunday! Apparently he went one other time but it was the first time I had seen him there, it was a miracle because we didnt even invite him and we never have an opportunity to teach or talk to him. He lost his job the other week and now has one where he will be home a lot more and has every other Domingo off. On Wednesday we were there and he came home and I invited him to sit with us for a message... and he accepted! Which he never does! I had to teach english class in like 5 minutes but the Spirit was like- this is more important. So we had the best lesson about the Gospel and he opened up and he wants to be baptized! The hard part is that he wants to wait until Otavio is ready and be baptized with him (remember the one who sold drugs and got shot in the head, its his Dad). It was so good, he talked about how he never felt ready or had much desire until now and has really been repenting. Now we just have to convince him that its better to set the example for Otavio than to wait to him. Never know what Satan will think of while you wait. This can apply to us too, we cant wait and wait for answers or wait to do something that we know is good, because its clear in the scriptures whats good, and if we wait, Satan will try to convince us otherwise. 
It has been kinda rough because yet again we are working really hard and it seems like no one is keeping their commitments, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, going to Church... Its not hard to keep going or to have faith that people really are ready its just hard to see soooo many people not accept our invitations to have SO MANY BLESSINGS in their lives. It just hurts to love everyone and know with certainty that God sent us because he wants to bless them and they just dont get it, they choose to continue miserable and try to do everything by themselves.But it does say in the Missionary of Success section of Preach My Gospel that one of our central purposes is to warn people of the consequences of sin. One of the purposes of the earth and of Christ himself is to separate the righteous from the wicked, and Im not any better than him so I just keep going, with faith that theres some righteous people who will accept the message too. 
We had our Zone Conference on Friday, it was sooooo gooood. President talked for wayyy longer than he has talked at any other but it was all so important and so spiritual. I had to give my goodbye so that was the worst! It was so weird being at the same pulpit I was 6 months ago giving my welcome testimony. The difference in my Portuguese was maybe the best part. My voice was shaking as always and I really thought I was going to cry but I just kept smiling! Because it is so good to bear my testimony and everything that I testify of make me so happy! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! 
até a semana que vem! quem sabe onde estarei... 
amoooo voces 

Seester Scheevens

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sister Palma, HEY!

September 22, 2014

Uhhh this week was awesome, I dont even remember what happened but its one of those weeks where it feels like its been a month since I wrote! 
Tuesday we had an exchange with Sister Gomes, she is the one who trained me when I first came! So that was sooo cool to teach with her again, we both have improved so much! She was always awesome, like a really powerful missionary, I always wanted to add my testimony and teach with her but never could very well, most of the time I just listened to her and learned... But now I teach and testify and we just rocked it TOGETHER like I always wished we could when I first came. We found a bunch of new people to teach! She has the power of persuasion big time, Im trying to work on that one. Missionaries in this mission are so different, all about dont take no for answer. This Sunday I fought with a lot of people on the doorstep, "Não você via! Vai lá se arrumar, e nós vamos esperar você aqui." It didnt work that, but that really is how everyone else does it! We did get at least 2 families to church. 
We also entered this neighborhood that used to be worked a toooon when the mission was baptizing 80% children, so there are a buuunch of kids there that are members. They asked us our names and since mine is too hard they started chanting and following us clapping their hands and shouting, "Sister Palma, HEY, Sister Palma, HEY!" hahahah it was so funny, I started chanting with them, Sister Palma loves that attention. 
One of the best moments of the week was going into church and seeing Afonso in a white shirt and tie and he shaved his beard! All because he´s a Priesthood holder now, what a champ! 
Last thing, IM FAT. Its a lot because of this awesome recent convert that Ive already talked about Francisca Helena, she is the ultimate bohemian grandma queen. She made lunch with every kind of meat you could imagine and 2 salads and potatoes and rice and juice that was basically a smoothy, adn then she brought out the cake and i just almost died. Then when we went last night she had made the same cake! And shes the type that puts in on your plate and makes you eat it. For real. Well last night she put 4 slices on my plate! Anyways... this week she said she received a revelation that she said she would only share in the next testimony meeting at church. Naturally we were curious, and more than curious, really worried! Because shes really into mystical stuff, and was part of all sorts of religions. Thanks to her being really emotionally drained and damaged (her grandkids stole all the money she had worked for that week to buy cocaine) last night we convinced her to tell us. She said that 20 years ago she had a dream that she saw Christ walking and he was walking past these windows, and she got the feeling that she should count the windows, and she counted 5 windows, and at the fifth he stopped, and looked at her. WOW, sometimes when people tell us these things I think they are crazy, but the spirit confirmed that it was legit. Then she said something last week reminded her of that dream and told her to try and interpret it. She said that she decided to count all the churches that she has been a part of and sure enough, she was part of 4 before, Catholic, Spiritismo, Messianic, and Candomblei (sp?) and number 5... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! 
Wow. So amazing, the Lord started preparing her 20 years ago to receive the fulness of the gospel. 
We are seeing miracles every day! I am loving it here! So sad that this is week 6 already! 


Seeester Steeevens 

ps i wrote this to dad and thought you guys might have the same question. 

yes my companion is from sao paolo, she doesnt speak english but wants to so i spend a lot of time during language study and while we walk teaching her and helping her practice. shes really patient and helps me work out the kinks in my portuguese. its awesome. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'll give it all I've got!

September 15, 2014

I cant believe Ive already been here for 4 weeks! 
This week was not very eventful, we walked SO MUCH! I think I say that every week but it was ridiculous. 
Last p day we hit up some sand dunes, because its a mission rule that we cant walk on sand buuut this sand doesnt have a beach so we got it approved. It was sooo fun! We hiked wayyy back up and down the dunes and discovered that there is a beach! Just really far away- I attached a pic. The funny thing was that there are a ton of church preachers and people that go there and climb to the top and just start screeaaming, "O SANGUE DE JESUS TEM PODER, jekajgidkjajdh" for like hours, i dont know how their voices do it. Also people lie in the sand and they pray and dance over them, I was like uhhh is this an indian ritual or a prayer to Jesus? It was ridiculous and a little frightening. But the best day playing in the sand. My companion has never been to the beach so it was a new experience. 
All we did all week was look for new people to teach and take care of our recent converts. The taking care of the recent converts paid off when Afonso, and Sandro received the Priesthood on Sunday! woo! 
And finding is always fun because when you dedicate yourself to finding the elect, the Lord puts them in your path! and you see miracles. 
I am freaking out a littttle bit about having less than two months, but on the morning of less than 2 months I read an article and Elder Holland talks about how missionaries say, "'I´ll give it all I´ve got for 2 years (MONTHS)', and that´s all a missionary has to do!" It was so cool when I read it I didnt even realize it said 2 years, my brain just switched it to months and it was really comforting. All I have to do is give it all my heart ], might, mind and strength and it will be enough, and my mission will be served faithfully. 
I was also studing about sacrifice the other day and read a really cool quote about how Joseph Smith said that a church that doesnt require its members to give up everything will never give its members the faith they need to gain exaltation. Sacrifice is a blessing, there is nothing worth more than it to the Lord. No other church or group or anything requires so much as the Lord requires of us, but no one receives such great promises and blessing and one day exaltation any other way. 


Seester Scheevens 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sandro's Baptism

September 8, 2014

We had the craziest week of miracles with the baptism of Sandro. 
I told a little bit of his story last week but Im gonna do a summary of it all again. 
So we have a recent convert who´s been having a really hard time with her husband and when we went to visit her last Saturday night, he was there, and they were arguing. So I shared a scripture and Sister Palma (being obedient to the training booklet) asked him- the head of the household to offer the kneeling prayer at the end. It was surprisingly a really powerful and sincere prayer, not a fluent prayer and not a long wordy prayer. A simple, honest, prayer where he talked to God about how he wants to change. The next day he was in church! And said that he really prayed for the first time and that he received an answer too, and that was the reason he was in church. (If the other Sisters that served here knew that after inviting him to church for like 4 months they would just die.) So when we went there on Tuesday he was sitting there reading his scriptures! And marking his scriptures! He said that before he had tried taking the Book of Mormon and the Bible and reading but that he just couldnt understand the BOM, only the Bible. But that when he picked it up and started reading where his cousin suggested it all made sense! We were like do you have any questions and he was like no, it makes perfect sense... That night we challenged him to pray about a baptism date. When we went back the next day he hadnt.. but that he was willing to do whatever the Lord asked of him at this point. Did I mention his whole countenance and temperance changed after that Saturday?  Since he was there a few months ago and had already had the discussions too, we were like well... Will you be baptised this Saturday? And he was like- well there´s no reason to delay. So we interviewed him, but he had a problem with question 4, about more serious sins so the next day our Zone Leader interviewed him, and the next day President came and interviewed him, and Saturday, was the baptism! I gave the thought and congradutated him for having sufficient faith to see such a great miracle. The baptism was really good, and right after the elders had a baptism and he didnt even want to leave, he stayed for it too. He is like a legit latter day Alma the Younger. He used to fight about the missionaries about the Book of Mormon and really was not the best guy, but now, is a real disciple of Christ, you can see it in his eyes and feel it when he prays. What a great day! 
Then on Sunday we were really upset because we put out a HUGE effort to get people to church we called a million and went to a million houses Saturday and Sunday morning and no one came! WHAT!? yikes. no one. I was shocked and embarrassed and upset but then Sandro received the Holy Ghost and bore his testimony of the change that took place in him and remembered how blessed I was this week, and was happy. 
Just loving the work! Out of time! 

Seester Scheevens

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot!

September 1, 2014

Im just here loving Mussurunga. 
Im gonna go backwards with the week. 
Today we went to Pelourinho because all the newbs in the zone always want to visit. We rode the Lacerda Elevator, saw macumbas, capoeira, and lots of rasta stuff. Always a sweet adventure. So pretty, but SO HOT there. 
This whole week was hot, and all of our lunches were in the Elders area! So we walked and walked and walked.... and sweated A LOT. 
One of our lunched was with Irma Tita, she makes shirts in mass amounts and the Catholic church had ordered 2000 and she was behind so we stayed after lunched and slaved in her brazillian sweatshop for a few hours to help her get the order done. It was good to finally do some service. 
This week we had a ton of help from 2 members! We even did exchanges twice! It was way cool, Ive done that like maybe once on the mish and it was a fail so this was the greatest. We got a ton of work done and were able to follow up with all of our previsions too! I just love love love working in a ward where the members want to help you. I cant even explain how good it is. Because when you teach a full lesson its gonna take a while, so when one of us can teach a full lesson and the other one find new people to teach we double in effectiveness. Our LMA takes his calling so seriously, sometimes its funny- this week he asked the ward missionaries how many contacts they had made individually. They were like, uhhh all the contacts we made were when we were with the missionaries, and he was like- no, next week I need you to start counting your own. 
This week we had the baptism of Afonso! Dont ask why I baptize all the old men... It was awesome, we had scheduled for him to come with the LMA but nope he walked there all by himself and was stoked. Loved that. He was so funny, after I was like how do you feel and he was like-- bem.... afogado.. 
We had like 10 members there so that was good and before was a little stressful because the water got cut the other night so we had to fill the font with giant buckets and all the other faucets in the church. 
One of the best miracles was on Sunday, we were real stressed about getting peeps to church... its rough here, city life everyone has work or stuff to do on Sundays.  But the night before we had visited a recent-convert-less-active member and she was discussing some things with her husband that she's been seperated from.... You could feel the tension right away, so that was real awkward real quick. We tried to lighten the mood a little and just shared an all around good scripture e fizemos uma oração de joelhos, we asked him to do it, and the spirit was really strong, and it was the most sincere prayer! Then on Sunday, he came to church all by himself! And so did she! Which was awk sauce again but reaaaally good. In Gospel Principles he raised his hand and was like- the missionaries were in my house last night and I felt something really different, and got an answer to my prayer, and thats why im here. It was just so good because we can be tools in the Lords hands even when we dont have the most powerful lesson and everything. 
Other than thaaat there is a church that opened RIGHT next to our church, like the walls are 3 feet apart, and it has a HUGE banner that says Missionary Church of Mercy and Peace..... MISSIONARY CHURCH!? Oh boy... I hope that doesnt confuse too many people when they are looking for our church or when we explain where it is... 


Seester Scheevens :) 

Monday, August 25, 2014


August 25, 2014

I finally got the t-call at 6 30 on monday. I then I packed my bags and said goodbyes Tuesday, rode an overnight bus, and here I am in Mussurunga (moo-soo-doo-nga) with my new comp Sister Palma- I finally got a black companion!!!! Sister Brimley was training her for the last 6 weeks and now Im gonna finish training her for the next 6 weeks. Now Sister Brimley and I have 2 daughters! HA 
Mussurunga is awesome. First of all it is HUGE! and a city! Wayyy different. There is a ward here! We have a bishop and a ward mission leader and almoço! And our apartment is chique de mais! que felicidades. We live like 10 steps from the "chapel" really its an old school thats white and yellow and orange tile, with a huge sign of the church it is so funny. Also the baptismal font is like built into the side of where we have sacrament meeting, soooo funny. We share the ward with the Zone Leaders which is a little intimidating but also awesome because they help us a lot! 
Ok the only thing about a Mussurunga that is a little unfortunate is that it is HILL CITY. Like death hills. Everyone walks in zig zags to get up these hills that are EVERYWHERE. But at least it will help me not get too much fatter with these almoços. 
We have this investigator that the Sisters had only been teaching for about a week named Afonso. He's gonna get baptized this Saturday, he is sooo funny! Like the funniest old man I've ever met. We always have to say, "aqui Afonso! agoro eu vou falar Afonso, preste atenção Afonso!" When the bread for sacrament was passed he said-- and next comes the feijoada é? and then the water-- they dont have soda é? Yiiiiikes but he is golden nonetheless. 
I have more peeps here to help stop smoking. MAN it's a hard one. One is a recent converts grandson, some idiot told him that to stop doing drugs it was best to start smoking so that he could have something else to do for a feel good and stay occupied. This was after he took two bullets to the head by some dealers... But he cried this week when we committed him, he really does want it.
We did a lot of door knocking in Buerarema to find people to teach but here its alllll street contacts, so different! Everything is! I feel like Im learning to do missionary work all over again... again. But I am just so happy to be here and part of the work and that the Lord had this in the plan for me.


Seester Scheevens

ps also I taught my first English class on Wednesday too! It was way fun! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Priesthood Power

August 18, 2014

Oiiii famiiilia. 
Eu finalmente tem uma resposta sobre a data que vou voltar. A Primeira Presidência disse que não posso ter mais tempo, nem um dia mais! :( Então minha data oficial para voar a casa é dia 9 de Novembro. 
This week was good, I remember that I didnt agradecer very much for the package I got, so again THANK YOU. My ears are happy with the motab, my feet are happy with the chacos, and my face is finally clean again thanks to the face wash!
Good news, that lady Carla was out of bed all week! When we visited her this week it felt so much better entering the house than before. She has been normal ever since the Elders did the blessing there. AND her Mom was so grateful and impressed that she came to church yesterday! (we've been inviting her forever.) GO PRIESTHOOD.
Speaking of Priesthood, Diego got a blessing yesterday, he has been having a reeaal hard time putting it down for good. Everyday I tell him- Go, Diego go! haha. We caught him smoking in the street this week and he was reeeaaal embarrassed. But he needed it. The next day we had an awesome come unto Jesus lesson and I made him imagine that it was us that found him smoking in the street but Christ who found him smoking. We read Mosiah 3:19 and he said it scared him, but it was in a good way. He hasn't smoked since. 
We're really hoping he can make it to Saturday so he can finally be baptized. The problem here is that we have a bunch of people that need to get married or have a Word of Wisdom problem that want to be baptized but cant. But at the same time a bunch of people that dont have any problems now but dont want to get baptized! I wish it was possible to give them that desire but its not... so we're doing all we can. Praying, and trying to teach them about God's love for them. They just dont get the Atonement! 
Speaking of the atonement, yesterday at church the Bishop asked me to talk a few minutes before sacrament meeting started.... I put together a talk about 3 blessing Heavenly Father has given us, the plan of salvation, gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Restauration. I connected each one to the atonement. How it is central in God's plan, and in our lives, how we apply it through the gospel, and how it is only thanks to the restauration that we can apply it fully. I held up a pic of Michelles wedding with the whooole fam as I talked about how thanks to the atonement and restauration- as familias poderão ser eternas. Got a liiittle choked up, congrats, only you guys can make me choke up. I was glad I got to talk because I think it was probs my last Sunday here. just 5 more hours till we get our t-call.... 
This morning was the best because one of the investigators of the other Sisters used to teach Capoeira and every morning this past week Sister Goodwin and I have been running to his house to help him stop smoking maconha because he always used to do it first thing in the morning. We pass by and make sure he's reading the Book of Mormon and that he's already prayed. But this morning he met us all at a field and gave us a Capoeira lesson! (Like fight dancing) It was the best! He said, "Raaaapaaaz esta menina tem sangue de negro!" So that was the best compliment ever. I attached a pic of us.

Love you all a lot, and really love this work, dont forget to be a part of it too. 

Seester Scheevens

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Doida Beurarema

August 11, 2014

Well I dont have much time so Im just gonna start right off. On Wednesday the most ridiculous thing happened. We were on our way to our district meeting and our onibus just stopped... and like 15 minutes later people started getting agitated, theres never traffic on the highway... but finally someone passed by and said there was a protest up the road, so about half the people left the bus and started to walk to Itabuna! It was a good 3 miles to the chapel and we had to pass the protest, they were burning a bunch of tires in the middle of the road. We had to run and jump when we got close to it(or add a bunch of distance walking around). It was reeeaaal warm on the side of my body of the fire but I was needing the adventure. We walked around the crowds of people and finally got to our meeting. 
This week has been kinda rough because everyone has been anti-ing our members and investigators. Whyyyy is it so easy to convince people that we are a cult? Or that we still practice polygamy? Or thatSaturday is really still the Sabbath. We lost some investigators and a member but I think they'll want the spirit back in their lives with time. 
Everyone we are teaching right now smokes, first we found everyone in Buerarema that needs to get married and then everyone who needs to quit smoking. Addictions are the worst! 
This week an Elder asked me if I was gaining weight recently. The answer is yes. I dont know how that works because we dont even get fed here! 
We have a member here who got a blessing from the Elders last Sunday for her health because when we saw her she was curled up on her bed crying and her mom said she had been like that for days. She was skinny to start out with but she was like skin and bone, it looked like there was nothing under the blanket! We have been having to pass by to help her eat, she only takes milk or mingau from her mom and so we go and make her eat beans and rice and stuff. It is a struggle getting her out of bed and to eat but we somehow convince her every time. We finally found out she had some macumba done on her a few years back and there's a spirit that follows her and tells her she's going to die and not to eat and not to sleep. After that it made sense why she would only talk and eat when we were there. So we sent the elders again to bless the house this time and I think it will be good now. 
Thats pretty much it in doida Beurarema, gotta love every minute, it's real bittersweet that transfers are next week... gonna be interesting! 

Obrigada por tudo familia! Te amo! 

Seester Scheevens 

PS finally got my bday package!!! the bad news is my feet are full of blisters. 

That's our church!

August 4, 2014

I dont have annnny time this week because I have to write my letter to the first presidency to get 4 more days my day to come home is either the 10th or 14th of November. We'll see! 
 This week we saw a ton of miracles, it was so cool! Everyday we were just amazed at everything that happened.
Here's one. We decided to follow up with a potential investigator we had and she is awesome! and was finally home! and was thinking about us! After that I was like lets knock a few doors on this street. There's like 5 on the street ive never knocked. (yes im getting that desperate) after the first door my comp was like- lets go this street is better to knock at night. So I was like- fine, but theres two men over there lets just talk to them first. We talked to them and one was like well I have my church but wouldnt tell us what church it was or anything so we were like ooook. We kept talking and he was like wait here I have a pamphlet that shows my church and went to get it. When he came back he pulled out the oldest, most tattered- Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet Ive ever seen and was like- this church! I believe in everything that is says  here, its all true. We were shocked! Thats our church! We carry that pamphlet! and he was like wow! I think I need to get baptized in this church!  Then later we found out he's the Dad of that less active member we found who has the Melchezidek Priesthood! It was crazy!! He was working and wasnt at church Sunday but  we're reeeaally praying to start teaching him and get him baptized and his son active! 
We had a lot of experiences like that that were just amazing. I love those experiences because they show that we are being led by the spirit in everything we do. At the beginning of my mission I thought that we had to be led by promptings in everything, and that the promptings needed to be clear, but as time has gone on I have learned more and more how we have to just trust sometimes that we ARE being led  by the Spirit, and the Lord will place people in our path and make sure we are in the right place at the right time, and send more obvious promptings when he needs to. I always try to remember- the more hesitation, the less inspiration. and that when we are humble adn meek he wont need to send any obvious prompting, he will just guide our steps. 
There were 60 people in church Sunday! Wooooo! There were a good amount of visitors from Sao Caetano but still. It was like the size of a ward! 
Today we are passing pday in Ilheus it is the beeeeeest! pics next week
love you familyyyyyy!
Tchau tchau!
Seester Scheevens

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Missionary work is life

July 28, 2014

This week didnt have anything tooooo exctiting happen but Saturday was beautiful. We went to Itabuna for the baptism of Senhor José Jaconias. The man who moved half way through teaching him. It was maybe the best baptismal service of the mission. We have a professional violin player and a really good piano player who did all the music, and we had the meeting in the chapel, and the Bishop was there! It was just so spiritual! Such a shame we couldnt get ANY of his family there, but it was awesome. Theres really not anything else I can say about it. I sat by him on the onibus home and he talked about his first baptism as a baby in the Catholic church and various other baptisms he had since but how he finally found, "o plenitude do evangelho e o batismo certo." 
I attached a pic of out cacau! I know I talk a lot about it but it is literally like peoples lives here, they come out the womb growing and collecting and preparing the cacau for the chocolate factories. Someone gave us some seeds this week and we are going to make our own chocolate! I cant wait! But we have to let it ferment in the sun like a whole week. 
We have a whoooole lot of potential here but lately no progress. It is really frustrating. Like so many people who want it and are learning but not doing anything with it! 
We had a big scare with Ivan and Lucia this week. It was soooo weird, all of the sudden they are just like really cold and doubting. They werent at church and we thought it was because Lucia was sick so we went to the rescue with the Elders but turns out they were just not feeling it. I almost started crying, and they could see it. It was a really tense meeting but in the end all three of them got a Priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel and the spirit was SO STRONG! Thank goodness. I literally have been so stressed out ever since they started acting like that, and yesterday was the worst and I was like- they probably think Im crazy for almost crying for them just because they didnt go to church today and dont want to pray about a baptismal date anymore but then I realized.. I dont have anything else to occupy my heart and thoughts. Like I wish I could explain to them... I love my family- but you are my family! and I love sports- but missionary work is my only game! and I usually have college to worry about- but when we study together IS my college. É bom perder si mesmo no trabalho. Being in a place like Beurarema where the world doesnt exist, its wayyy easier to lose yourself in the work. Im so grateful to be serving right now. I love missioary work! Do it! Dont be scared to invite people to come to Christ, theres no other place or way to really be happy, and who doesnt want that?
Love you family! 
tchaaaauuuuu ate proxima semana! 

Sister Stevinha

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


July 14, 2014

Our Pday adventure

A couple hundred feet from our house.

Wellllll Im still here in Buerarema, with the same companion. So thats uneventful. I was really expecting to leave since its so tiny here and Sister Smith has never had the same companion more than a transfer. Soooo not gonna lie I was a little dissappointed but after a lot of prayer Im feeling good. The Lord let me know that at the end of the transfer I'll be glad I stayed. 
I really do love all the people here a lot, they are like sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles. 
This Sunday we had church at 9 oclock because of the final world cup game. At 7:45 the other Sisters went to set it up and found that the lock on the school had been changed..... Yep, the director changed the lock and didnt say a word. We went to all the people we could think of in the town who might have a key but no luck. We even went to the Catholic church in hopes that she was there. At 8 45 we decided it was going to have to be down the street a little ways in a parking lot under a tree. We left some members at the school to direct people there and had a ledge and 10 plastic chairs that we borrowed from a bar across from the school. We actually had a really good amount of investigators there, some that it was there first time. I pray they can trust that its not usually that crazy and unorganized. I always wanted to have church under a tree but the grass is always greener... There was a man and a woman who wouldnt leave! They were both drugged and one kept singing Catholic songs and yelling about how he was a sinner as he smoked a cigarette. Im not sure what the woman was saying but she was sitting right behind the front where the speakers were. But hey, at the end of the day, we took the sacrament and nothing is going to stop us. 
I know it happened because really good things are happening here right now. We're sooo close to being a branch and getting a real place to meet. We saw a lot of miracles this week in both areas, especially with finding less active members and golden investigators. Ivan and Lucia have a nephew who came to our fhe the other week and has been obsessed with the church ever since! He should be getting baptized this week. Satan always works the hardest when the best things are on the verge of happening. But the work of the Lord moves forward, his power is much much stronger, and our little group will be too after these trials. 
Obrigada por todo o apoio e oraçoes! 
Amoooo voces! 

Seester Scheevens

Holidays and missionary work don't mix.

July 7, 2014

Well it was another eventful week in Buerarema. 
Tuesday was a joke because of the game. It really is a national holiday here everytime Brazil plays. The world shuts down ALL day, and after there is a party all night. Soooo many bombs and fireworks in the street. But our President made us switch our study from the morning to the night when we had to be in during the game so we had to be out of the house at 8 in the morning so that was new. We woke everyone up because we had nothing else we could do and no warning! They told us to fill our morning hours 10 oclock the night before. That was my Fourth of July too. Im ready for the holidays to be over. Bahia is lazy in the first place, Bahia with all these holidays is killin us. Since Brazil won the dont start school for a whole other week.
But really the thing that dominates the week is that the Dad of our recent converts Tiago and Elvis was brutally murdered by indians. Sometimes I wonder what year Im living in here. It´s actually not a really rare thing here, there´s a war between the people who live in Beurarema and have land in the surrounding areas and the indians who think all the land is theirs. Ive spent a lot of time in that house so I knew him, he almost broke my hand one time.. on purpose! Elvis was there with him but didn´t see much because he had to run to save his own life. Its soooo sad because there´s Elvis and Tiago and 6 more kids under the age of 12. So we spent a lot of time with them this week. It´s really cool because Tiago is really quiet and shy, and before baptism never religious but he stepped up and has been ministering to his family about how Christ suffered a lot more and how the Lord is going to deliver them of their afflictions. What a champ! I have really felt my testimony of the Plan of Salvation grow. Not just the power of the Atonement and resurrection of the Savior but of how God has a specific and merciful plan for everyone. I dont think it´s a coincidence that Tiago and Elvis learned about the gospel and plan of salvation just 3 months before this tragic event happened. 
Since everyone knows everyone here we´ve been taking the opportunity to teach the plan of salvation and temples and how families can be eternal. It´s been really good! For our investigators and recent converts! 
Well today is transfers but I dont find out until 6 oclock... the minute proselyting starts.... I dont know how that sounds like a good idea to anyone but whatever... 5 more hours! 

Te amoooo!

Seester Scheevens 

World Cup

June 30, 2014

It was a party week. Two days of world cup and a whole lot of São João, and São Pedro. Literally everyone was at the festa for São João and it was real hard to not feel absolutely useless following up on people who all were either at the big city party, having their own party  or drunk. But I think yesterday was the last day of that thankfully. Everyone looked at us like whaaat are they doing... Sorry we dont get holidays! The holidays are also slowing down the marriage process for our investigators because all the city buildings have been closed. We´re reeaaally praying for at least 3 of the 4 marriages to happen in July. 
Good news.... It is likely that I will get to watch the next Brazil World Cup game!!!!! 
Now for bad news. Amulek--- Inasio´s wife gave us this fruit that I see in peoples houses but never tried called Jabujicaba, well I was real excited and Sister Smith and I were eating a few and decided to take some to the other sisters and when Sister Muller bit into it she spit it out and said, "Sisters! Estes tem alcohol!" apparently she had been soaking them in some kind of alcohol to preserve them.... The ridiculous things that happen here dont end! I have no idea what she was thinking... it might have been on purpose cause shes a reeaal hard core Catholic. 
We allllmost had a baptism this week. Ew. Those are maybe my least favorite words. What good is it when someone almost enters the gate to salvation? Well the point is I think that Heavenly Father was working as hard on him as we were. He was going through with it all week after this really powerful lesson we had. He had the interview, we were following up everyday, we fasted and everything. The day the baptism fell through I read Alma 42:27. 
We have been searching out a lot of recent converts and less active members. It´s sad that there is a good list of recent converts that I´ve never met. We have been putting them first instead of putting finding new investigators first and it is sooo cool. We have had no problem getting the rest of our numbers in when we put them first and make an effort every day to work with them. Its a testimony that the church really has to be strengthened before it can grow. Like Moroni said we have to first cleanse our inward vessel. We didnt get a whoole lot of investigators to church but we did get a lot of less actives! AND tonight we are going to have our first activity- a Noite Familiar with all the members! 
Thats pretty much it for this week, its already the last week of the transfer! I cant believe it! Time is going sooo fast! Im trying real hard to enjoy each and every day here, its weird how accostumed I am to everything. 

Seester Scheevens 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Our Amulek

June 23, 2014

Bad news. This city is so small we just already know everyone. Also we have to make 10 contacts every week sooooo a lot of times its the same people over and over again. 
It's to the point of like a group of teenage boys will walk past and mock us, "vamos la para a igreja! hahahaahh" its not like we get offended but still. 
The good news is we are working with so many great people! Families! So I want to stay longer for that but it's also hard with all the other people. Its always rough when you work and work and someone comes in and gathers all your fruit! So I have mixed feelings. 
But we are so happy, because we found our "Amulek". This guy who we had invited a few weeks ago just came to church all on his own! We went to teach him last Monday and he understood! He has literally been to every church in this city and attended the Jehovas Witness church for a long time but he said he just hasn't found the truth. Since his infant baptism in the Catholic church he has been searching for the another, but never found it. (duh cause he never talked to us!) A person who wants a church for the doctrine!? FINALLY! I was beginning to believe there was no such thing. So I was like, good because you can know our church is true literally just by how we teach the godhead, and he agreed! AND he's .... oh just kidding he's not married. So there's one more for that ever growing group. 
This week was really good, we saw a lot of miracles! And taught a lot of spiritual lessons! 
There is a lot of work to do with our recent converts. One told us that she only got baptized because she loved a certain Sister that was here... oh boy. So pray for me as I try to help our converts be converted. 
Oh and we interrupt people watching world cup everyday. We had to leave after the game this week and there was sooo much partying in the streets. Even though they only tied! We literally cant get anywhere without walking through the center of the town and we like ran cause it was just so crazy. with dancing and fireworks andddd just everything. 

Love youuuuu allllll! 

Seester Scheevens