A side note from Brianna's mom -- She LOVES to receive snail mail, but only receives it when the zone leaders come from Maceio, which isn't very often. She is currently serving 6 hours outside of Maceio. Christmas is her favorite time of year for many reasons, but one of the main reasons being that she loves receiving everyones Christmas cards, reading about their family and seeing pictures if included. So, if any of you are working on your annual Christmas card/letter please consider sending one down to Brianna in Brazil! You would make her holiday season! The following is her address. Thank you!
Sister Brianna Ball
Brazil Maceio Mission
Av Dom Antonio Brandao, 333
Ed. Work Center, Farol
Today marks two months here in Brasil for me! Ahhhhhh! So much has happened in so little time. It feels like I´ve been here forever, but it also feels like I was just saying goodbye to everyone yesterday. Lots of mixed emotions but mostly excitement :).
So this week was definitely a good week. Sister Custódio and I had lots of success in finding new people to share the gospel with and it was just a week of happiness!
On Tuesday, we visited one of our pesquisadores, Carlos. . . I don´t know if I´m allowed to use names, but oh well. Carlos owns a stationery store here and we´ve been visiting him for awhile. Every time we visit, he seems wishy washy with compromissos but likes the lessons that we share. His wife died a couple months ago, so the gospel has really helped him. Sister Custódio and I couldn´t figure out why he was so wishy washy though. So I felt like we really needed to talk about faith and having a desire to follow Christ during our next visit. After discussing what we were going to share with him, we visited him the next day and I shared some scriptures with him in Alma 32 about faith and desires. I testified to him the importance of faith and that, when we feel we are weak in faith and need support, we can turn to the Lord in prayer and ask for Him to help our lack of belief and He will strengthen us. I then asked him if He had a sincere desire to be baptized and become a member of the church. He replied yes, then thought for a bit and began to open up. He told us that he doesn´t feel worthy to become a member because he has an issue with drinking and smoking (which we already knew) and feels that he can´t stop. We testified of the power of prayer and the Atonement and committed him to take the drinking day by day (he´s been better about smoking). The next day we visited and he hadn´t had a single drink since before the previous day, which was a huge step! And since then, he´s only progressed!
Along with investigators, apparently my Português is progressing as well. It´s still difficult not being fluent, but I get by. On one day as Sister Custódio and I were inviting a lady to church, I asked her if she knew "os mórmons." Whenever I say this, no one ever understands me and Sister Custódio always has to help, but this time, the lady understood! I was so happy as we walked away and expressed my joy to Sister Custódio. She celebrated with me and told me that she had been thinking lately that my Português has really improved! I know I still have such a long ways to go, but that was so good to hear! And I´ve been teaching her Inglés as well! Now, she knows how to bear her teastimony and pray in English. It´s so inspiring to see her have such a strong desire to learn English and makes me try harder every day to improve my Portugues.
On Saturday, we finally got to do some service. We cleaned the house of a less active member. She has a sickness that keeps her from doing much because moving and working causes her great pain. Sister Custódio actually has the same thing, but somehow she pushes through it. So we got to clean this Irmã´s house and it was so fun! I´ve been dying to do service and we finally got to :).
Yesterday, we also had the Primary program. Oh how it made me miss Primary and my wonderful class of princesses! I thought of all the kids back home! It was great though! Super great!
Also, this week, Sister Barker ate Mentos for the first time. Just a little fun side fact.
This week was wonderful. I wish I had time to type all of the miracles that happened, but sadly I don´t. I´m so grateful to be here though in such a wonderful town with such wonderful people. I think of you all back home lots, especially with the holidays coming around but I wouldn´t want to be anywhere else than here right now. Thank you for all your support and love and prayers. I love you all!!!!! Hurrah for Israel!!
pay no attention to my arm, first of all. It was just a slight burn from the sun (reaction of the sun with my bug spray) and I was covering it to protect it from more damage, but I promise I´m okay!!! Pinky promise. This is a picture of Sister Ferreira, Sister Barker, Sister Custódio e eu at Irmão Antonio Carlos´ home for his birthday with his family and friends. The members here are so kind and invite us to everything!
Like I said, Christmas
with some of my best friends from the CTM
In front of the CTM
-my wonderful sister friends that I get to work with and see every day. I´m so lucky!!! This is an area that Sister Custódio and I walk by a lot each day in our area.
Doing laundry by hand for the first time in my life. Woohoo! I scrubbed so hard that my fingers have some booboos (what´s another word?) now. Hard work!! ;)