Saturday, 22 August 2015

August 2015 - MIRACLES. I believe in miracles!

4 August 2015
What a week! 
I had such a good week this week, Sister Costa and I smashed it!! I'm so happy it's P-day though, hehehhe!
At Transferencia!  These elders where in our District,
but got transferred. ciao! ciao!
Well you already know that Sister Costa and I were staying in Saõ Bernardo together another transfer, but we still get to go to transfer meetings  to welcome all the new missionaries. Seriously 'transfers' here are crazy, like the transfer meeting is so CRAZY! hahaha, Brazilians are so loud, it's the best!!! It was also cool not being the newbie this time ;) hehehe. We received 14 new missionaries but said goodbye to 21? I don't  remember, but most of the ones that left where American Elders. There are no American Sisters in the mission at the moment. OHHH, but one of the new sisters that arrived is from Finland!!!?? How cool. 
At Transferenica, after we state our purpose and our vision, we will always end in “Missão São Paulo Sul, Mehlor Missão do Mundo” Which translates to "São Paulo South Mission, Best Mission in the World".
Later President  Broadbent talked about why São Paulo Sul is the best mission in the world, it was awesomee! Sorry to everyone else that is not serving! heehee. But one of the reasons is people, there are HEAPS of people, members and Stakes in such a small area geographically. Such a blessing since it's a walking mission, but also because it's such a small mission geographically, us missionaries get to meet together easily, for example for transfers! Cool!
This week was the best week I’ve had teaching lessons! That is, the most lessons I’ve taught in a week. It was awesome because I’m actually teaching more instead of just smiling and saying "yes", and bearing a simple testimony about how I love Jesus!! haha!
It's so cool that I’m feeling the spirt in Portuguese!!! 
Sister Costa and I have quite a few new investigators from this week's (hard work) in finding:
First, we have Cida, we only taught her once but it was the lesson I felt the Spirit the most.  I taught about Faith and Repentance.  After the lesson we asked her to say the closing prayer which she did and was crying, it was so beautiful. Sister Costa was also so in tune with the spirit she decided to talk about how we help people overcome our trials and problems, for example if people have a problem with drinking, this gospel of Jesus Christ can help.... Well it turns out Cida has a massive drinking problem. It is so cool when you feel in you heart and mind what the person you're teaching needs to hear. Teach people not lessons. PEM (PMG) Preach My Gospel.
But, we had this amazing, amazing first lesson and set up an appointment for the next day, but she was sadly 'smashed' when we came back the next two days.  We will try again this week.
Next we have Carlos.  Now Carlos lives in the house with this other guy we found while “finding”.  We ask people everyday if they would like to receive a message about Christ in their house, this guy said "yes" and gave us his address. It's a standard response. Anyway, whenever we go to his house which is the highest part in the Favela (that leg work out though, my gosh!) he is never home, but his friend or brother or house mate (didn't quite understand that part! haha!), Carlos is always home.  Anyway, on Saturday we talk to Carlos for ages outside his house, he has so many questions. Because he's in his 20's, the first question people always ask is, "what are the rules in your church?" haha, classic, but we talk so much about everything and he was quite interested. He is frequent in his church, which is both a good and a bad thing.  We were able to commit him to coming to Church the next day.  We told him we’d be at his house at 8:30 to walk with him. He loved church!!! And it was testimony meeting as well (I always get a little nervous for testimony meeting). The doctrine class was on the 'Word of Wisdom' which was perfect because that was his original questions. My ward is so good! SO WELCOMING!!! I love Brazilians! We are teaching him tomorrow and he already committed to coming to church again next week. But he asks alot a questions. Alot. Which is great.... mas eu não falo Portugues muito bom. Hahaha! so Sister Costa will be answering alot of questions tomorrow ;)

Next we have, Monica. Remeber Monica? She’s the sick one that we are teaching. Love her. We taught her again this week. She’s progressing and she was at church yesterday as well! SO praying hard for her. The hurdle with her was that she wasn't married to her partner, like all of Brazil seems to be... But this week, she told us that it's over and he's moved out and YAYYYYAYA, Progressing.
But my favourite new investigator from this week is Bruna. Bruna is 14 and is Monica’s daughter but lives up two levels of the apartment with her grandmother. Anyway, we often visit the Grandmother and share a scripture etc when we can’t teach Monica. We also do the same with Bruna, share messages with her and she's often very welcoming.  She's been coming to church with Monica. Anyway, we had a FESTA again this week at the church on Friday night that I will write about in a second. Monica couldn't come, but Bruna still wanted to come. While we were walking to the activity she's talking with Sister Costa and tells her that she wants to be baptised. 
MIRACLES. I believe in miracles! 

We talked about it the whole way to the chapel which was like a 30min walk. AHHHHH! SO HAPPY! I love, love, love Bruna. She's so funny, she wants to be baptised on a different day than her Mum. Her day! Haha. What a legend.
But out of everyone in the whole of Brazil, Bruna can never understand me. Never.... it's so sad! So when we teach her, I have to sit right across from her and talk really clearly and practice the correct words, and make sure she understands by making her repeat everything after I teach. AAgh! But this is probably both good for my portuguese and for her understanding.
Fiesta Friday - I'm so white
FESTA FRIDAY! The ward activity was so good, we had lots of our other investigators come. Matteus and GERMANO. It was a great turn out and we met lots of members' friends and got their details etc.  It's so funny, because they had a fiesta the first week I was here, which was the  best but so overwhelming, as I could not understand anyone and I couldn't tell who was a member and who wasn't. But Friday night was the best because even thought I still don't really understand what people are staying, I can get the gist.  I now have friends in the ward and it's just great. And, the food was 10/10. I'm in heaven. 
With members and Bruna next to Sister Costa
To answer a question on what I study in personal study: It just depends, but mostly the lessons for that day in 'Preach My Gospel'. I always read the Book of Mormon, the same chapter in English and Portuguese. I have also been reading the Bible alot since Brazil is so Catholic, it just depends on the day really.  BUT I LOVE PERSONAL STUDY.  I try and get ready quickly so I have more time to read the Book of Mormon in English without feeling guilty... Sister Costa always gives me that look when I pick up the Book of Mormon in English and not Portuguese! hahaha, Sorry, not sorry! mahehehehhe!
The selfie pic is with a member and Matteu, our golden investigator 
who's not allowed to get baptised because his mum won't approve yet.

With famous Germano who brakes his hand the day before his baptism... 

I'm so tired all the time, but my life rules and God is great.
Sister Bennallack 

10 August 2015
I think I just had the best week of my life.. okay, maybe not my life, but definitely the best week of my life here in BRAZIL.
BRAZIL! Sometimes, actually quite often, I still can’t believe I'm in Brazil <3 <3 <3
The first thing I would like to just casually say is....
I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!!!! Oh my gosh, it was so perfect!!!!!
Bruna was baptised yesterday after church! Bruna is the daughter of Monica, just incase you haven’t been reading this blog...
Bruna's baptism
I have so much love for Bruna, it was so amazing to see the full experience of conversion. From starting to teach her by sharing brief messages, to inviting her to activities, to her wanting to say the opening prayer and recapping what we taught her the last time we visited so she would remember. Her heart was so prepared. I know how much this gospel will bless her life as she’s learning her purpose on the earth, how she truely is a princess of an almighty king who always wants the best for her and is her biggest support system. LOVE HER. 
We still also have a baptismal date for Monica in two Sundays, as next week is Stake Conference here. We will see though, Monica was unwell, so didn't come to Bruna’s baptism yesterday, so sad, but she was full supportive and excited for her. 
Yesterday was also the DREAM situation at church. What the crazy? We had 8 attend sacrament meeting. EIGHT!!!!! I was sitting with Bruna while we had another new investigator Diego behind me sitting with the ward mission leader, who's a legend, Sister Costa was sitting with other investigators. THEN I look over to Sister Costa and she's gone... 
Gone to greet my favourite family that just walked in!!! Yayay! So much happiness. Remember Kedley and Pricilla? They attended church a few weeks ago, anyway, they decided to come again on their own and this time they were all dressed in church clothes and ahhhh! so cool.
The actual dream, then of course we had the baptisim with Bruna. Eu amo Domingos.
We taught Kedley and Pricilla last night as well about the Plan of Salvation. It was a good lesson, but I didn't really understand a whole lot as I still need to learn the vocab...awkward. BUT, you could feel it was so good. We couldn't get a member present for this lesson, but we had Mateus come. Mateus is our golden investigator if you don't remember who has the biggest testiomony and attends church every Sunday, but cant get baptised yet because his family is hard catholic and his Mum won't approve yet. But one day!! Anyway, Mateus bore such powerful witness of the truthfulness of our message, so perfect. 

Kedley told us that when I stoped him on the street he was thinking about God in his life and that he felt like we were the answer to his prayer!!!! I love this family so much, they have the cutest two litte girls. We are teaching them this week, they still have a long way to go as they need to find out for themselves that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for them. (Also they aren't married.... )
This week was also the best week because we had conferencia de zone. Zone conferenece/training with President and the Assistants. It was 10/10, so good! But it wasn't just our zone, it was with 3 other zones, so I got to see Sister Gudgeon again!! Seriously, it's like seeing family when I see her, she told me that Sister Newell, another sister in our District in the MTC recieved her visa and she arrives next week in our mission!!! So excited so see her, she's been 'visa waiting' in Denver.

I loved the conferencia so much because it was focused on Jesus Christ. We learn't more deeply about the atonment and what it really means to be a missionary representing Jesus Christ.  It was so great, and I can understand PresIdent's Portuguese pretty well!!!! That american accent helps a lot  haha!
Story time, so at the start of the week, Sister Costa said how she didn't want to have strogenoff for our lunch appointments at all this week because we do get it alot, and because she said that, we had it multipule times in a row this week! But I was stoked, Brazilian strogg is so differnt to AUS, it's like mustard chicken or beef, SO GOOD. Brazilian's know what they are doing when it comes to food I'm telling you. 
Anyway, we get to this one lunch appointment at one of the older ladies' home, and Irma (sister) brings out lunch and it's strogg, heheh! Sister Costa gives me that look! mahahha! Then Irmã brings out dessert, a huge bowel of ice-cream. Sister Costa does not like ice-cream at all. I think because she can't eat cold things? Anyway, her face was priceless, I also was a little sad as I'm trying not to eat dessert every day...  As we start eating our ice cream Sister Costa is punching my thigh under the table to help a sister out, then everytime Irmã and her sister weren't looking, Sister Costa was scooping her icecream into my bowl.  It was so funny, I was trying not to laugh but wasn't doing very well. I tell Irma how much Sister Costa loves ice-cream  mahahahahh, she goes to get her more icecream, so evil, so funny!

The worst thing I've had to eat on my mission so fa
r, is large servings of neopolitan icecream?? MY LIFE RULES.
Also, while we are talking about food, I cannot eat lasanga without rice. It goes so well together! lols! so Brazilian.
Also this week, we had over night tradeoffs. I left the area this time and was with Sister Mendonça the new 'Sister Training Leader'. Normally, I would've been stoked about it but it was for Friday and we had so many lessons planned including Bruna's baptismal interview and lunch with one of the coolest families. I was so sad leaving, BUT it was a really good experience, It was also so cool to see another area and another house which was a tiny apartment. I had a lot of cool experiences with Sister Mendonça. But when I came back to my area and my bed the next day, I was so happy! hahaha! Sister Costa understands my Portuguese so much more. But a soild, soild experience!!!
Eu amo Bruna! 

Today was meant to be Zone P-day but the other Sister's weren't keen, they want to sleep today... lame. What is even sleep? I'll sleep when I'm dead mate, lol jokes. When it actaully comes to P-day, I want to do things, this is my day to be a tourist in Brazil and to eat cool things and take photos etc. Anyway, Sister Costa called President last night to get approval to go into the city, city today to “25 de Março” No idea what it is, but it has huge markets? I'll let you know next week. I love President, when Sister Costa called, he also told her to take me to this other touristy place. Yay! so excited for today!!!!
Sister Bennallack xxxxxx

18 August 2015
Ola Familia (e minha amgias hehehe)
Yesterday was Stake Conference here and we left our house at 8am because we needed to meet an investigator, but it's close to an hour walk out of the way. but he couldn’t make it which was sad. So, we walked back to the metro station. A soild walk done so early, then we caught the bus to the Stake Centre but we weren’t quite sure where to get off… of course we stayed on too long and entered the highway! oh mate! So we get off at the next stop and there you have it, two sister missionaries in skirts, running and trying to cross a highway in São Paulo to get to church on time! hhahaha! It was so funny, but I was also scared for my life. Luckily we prayed for protection that morning ;)
This city that I’m living in is so giant. Crazy, crazy! My mission is such a different experience to what I thought would be Brazil.  When we talk to people while finding everyday, you have to pause about every two seconds or repeat yourself because it’s so LOUD here, all day/night. A 'jabillion' cars and so often when we are teaching lessons, especially in the favels, you have to talk so loud because music is constantly blasting!!! Louca! And I'm not even in the heart of the city! Which brings me to the next topic..
..Last P-day:
So, we got permission to go to 25 de Março which is in the heart of São Paulo and it was this street of outlet shopping and markets and two 'jabillion' people trying to sell you things. I was so scared I was going to loose my companion hahahaha! But seriously I have never seen so many people!!! This smashed New York! It was so fun, but so overwhelming. I bought cool things and ate lots of street food WOOOOHOO!  It was so fun, however, I am glad to be having a 'cruisey' P-day today! hehe!
I feel like last week was was so good and we had so many lessons and investigators that it was too good to be true, which it kind of was…. This week was also solid but a lot of heartbreaking times when investigators aren’t progressing or not home or avoiding you (one of our investigators, hahaha, literally ran away from us when she saw us outside her house, mahahhah! but probably because she just came back for the street bar, lols).
But we are teaching a new family, Adriana and her family! I can't remember if I talked about her last week but she is such a gem. She loves us so much and when she prays, she calls us angels, aww bless. We taught them a few times this week but we need to teach them again the restoration, why it's important to have the correct authority. Etc, etc, but so beautiful.
One of our other investigators, Carlos, is slowly progressing. Since he´s been coming to our church, he wanted us to go to his church, so last night we went. Oh wow! So different. It was just like in the movies with African soul singers praising with 'hallelujah!' every two seconds, but instead of African's, it was Brazilians in this packed building in the favelas!!!! So Brazilian so cool! What an experience.
I am so blessed to be serving here in Brazil because people are so, so religious. When I think about Australia, it makes me sad how so many people I know, don’t even believe in God or have never even said one prayer in their whole life. It was cool being surrounded by good people last night worshiping and singing with them. I’m not going to say anything negative about their church because I don’t think that would be right, but one thing I will say and what I was thinking about the whole time I was there, was I love how our religion adds more.  We don’t take away from other Christian religions, we add more. We can answer questions about why we are here and where we are going after this life, and that families are forever and we have the Book of Mormon which is anther testimony of Jesus Christ.  My testimony of The Book of Mormon has grown so much. It is literally evidence that the Gospel is true and that God loves his people in this time as well as in times of old.
But yeah, t´was cool last night! 
This week it was Sister Costa's 9 months on the mission (half way) and her TWENTY FIRST BIRTHDAY!  We ate so much goodness!
Her birthday was the best, I bought her presents sneakly when I was on trade offs with Sister Mendonça last week, wrote her notes and put them on her bedside table when the lights were off so in the morning she’d be surprised! heheh! I sung to her 'happy birthday' in Portuguese at least once an hour the whole day! haha. 
We had lunch at a members home, it was so cute, they had balloons everywhere! I love Brazilian culture and Rosilene, the lrmã home we where at, made the biggest cake and gave Sister Costa the biggest piece.  After I saw her piece, I just asked for a tiny piece but…. They gave me a giant piece as well! 
They thought it was so funny they were filming me! hahahhahaha! ohhhh, bless!
Sister Bennallack

25 August 2015 
Its Segunda-feira (Monday) already, Woooooooow, weeks go so fast. 
First, and this IS first, now I don’t really quite understand the situation right now since I really don’t understand everything when people talk.. 
The struggle is real! 
But sister Costa did a good job at explaining the situation by acting it out and using basic vocab. Anyways, apparently this police officer killed this guy in jail, who must have been an important bad person? I don’t really know, anyway now all these people in the whole of São Paulo are killing anyone and everyone to send a message to the police or protest? WHAT THE CRAZY?  I’ve been hearing about it all week as people are all talking about it, but I didn’t really pay attention to it until our Zone Leader called this week and told us that President want us to all be in our house at 7pm for now on until he says else wise. And not just our mission but all others in São Paulo too? What. So now we leave the house early and study at night.. Sister Costa said at least three people have died in our area. Probs have the story slightly or dramtically wrong, but something is going down and now we have to be in our 'casa' at 7..
BRAZIL MATE, what the madness.
It is so weird, the days go by so quick now, but I'm not going to lie, it’s nice coming home at 7pm and actually having dinner for the first time on my mission (I finally cooked something) but it's not good for missionary work, since I’m in São Paulo and everyone works crazy hours and are not home till late. So I don’t think this will last for long, but I guess safety is important too? Maybe just a little bit ;)
Yesterday Bruna was confirmed a member since last week was Stake Conference.  It was a lovely experience and she was so excited/nervous. Her mother Monica didn’t come to church again yesterday, we don’t really know what is going on with her, but she has a new bloke and he doesn’t really like us? But we’ll figure out what to do/ what she needs this week!!
We are teaching this lady Kaita, she's the BEST, so beautiful. Her husband is a member, anyway, she is so soild. I can't remember if I told you about her last week or not? We teach her on Tuesday nights since she works so much. She's so knowledgeable and reads The Book of Mormon everyday and the Liahona and ahhh, so good, we also had lunch at their house after church yesterday, which was the best food, they always make the most delicious food, not sure if it was Christmas or what? Ehhehe 
You remember our investigator Germano? Who was meant to get baptised ages ago but broke his arm the day before? Well, his arm is better now ;) no, but seriously he is doing great, he had some really hard times between then and now and yesterday at church he expressed how badly he wants/needs to be baptised. Ah, really Germano? Well we could probably help you with that!! SO we have a baptism date for him this Sunday! Wooohooo just have to pray the he won't relapse with the word of wisdom. I have faith though!!!
Funny stories time, 
So on Friday we had a lot of time finding people, anyway we where in this one rua (street thing) and I stopped this guy, his name was Wesley.  Wesley… I thought, that was a bit different for Brazil, the first time I’ve heard it here anyways.
Then, we stopped another guy right after Wesley. Hes name was also… Wesley.. and he lives on the same street as the first Wesley. So random.
Then we stop this guy and girl, her name was Sofia and his name was……………….WESLEY.
What the madness, am I on a pranksta reality TV show right now??
Sister Costa and I laughed so much!!
Then we see these two other guys in the distance, as we walked to them we made a packed to each other, 100% serious if one of these two guys names is Wesley we would both name our first born son Wesley.
We stopped them and there names are….
Hahah, not Wesley.   BUT, BUT, their names where Miguel and Diego. The two names Sister Costa and I actually want to call our children.
What the crazyyyyyy. Hahha we couldn’t believe it.  I think sometimes that Heavenly Father really has such a sense of humor.
Story number two is just a shortyyy, we went to teach Monica yesterday but she wasn’t home, so we taught Bruna’s cousins girlfriend Victoria instead. We ask Bruna what we should teach her? I was thinking maybe to share a message about Faith or Prayer.  But Bruna straight away replied, The Law a Chastity, as Victoria is holding her new born baby. We all just laugh. Then Bruna asks us if we want her to go get the Pamphlet hahah. Maybe the next visit Bruna. Hahha Bruna is the best, so proud of her!!! So funny.
 The days all blur into one!! But know that I’m safe and happy. This is hard, but everyday I have at least one amazing experience that’s makes it all worth it. 
I love my Saviour Jesus Christ and I love sharing His message in broken Portuguese to the world (São Paulo Brazil)!!  Até mais,
Sister Bennallack 

Editors note!
As a slightly concerned mother, I of course 'googled' the Sao Paulo news.. It turns out that the police officer didn't do the shooting but was shot in a drug related incident.  Then some concerned citizens in retaliation to the drug situation and shooting, randomly started shooting anyone with a criminal history particularly drug related..  (something like that..)  No one was shot in Sister Bennallack's area of San Bernardo 5, but scary nonetheless.

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