Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pictures! - September 23, 2013



Elder Wood and I with our Milky Ways! :-)
 

Our Chilean Fiesta!

Sister Tooker and I!

I'm Going to Ribeirao Preto!





Special Lunch Today With The Members!


Some Pretty Cool Elders!

Scripture Cases

President and Sister Dehn!

One word to describe our zone: poder (power). - September 23, 2013

Hello to all you lovely people :)
 
Okay, I have lots of pictures to send to you today, so let`s hope this works. First off, September 18 was the independence day of Chile, and one of the sisters that lives in our house with us is Chilean! so what did we do? We made empanadas of course! It was great. Last tuesday was our first zone meeting, and guess who just happened to be in my zone? Drum roll....Zach Labrum! Haha it was way fun to talk with him. One of the first things he asked me was, So how are you liking the food here? Spoken like a true Elder. Our zone has a really special thing to accomplish by the end of this year. The leaders of our Zone said that President Brum used one word to describe our zone: poder (power). Our mission is to make a third stake of members here in Ribeirao! How cool is that?? He told our leaders that he only put really hard working, obedient missionaries in our zone, so i´m super excited.

Today we did lots of fun things with the members! We went to a park with a really pretty lake and took some fun pictures. I will try and send some!

We have been working our little tails off here in our little country side Bebedouro. We contacted (which just means we were meeting and talking with people on the street) a lady named Eliani, and she doesn~t seem super interested but her son Luis is AWESOME. He has 14 years.The first night we came to their house we had an activity with the members and we invited him to come with us after our visit that night. He was like, sure why not! Next visit we watched the first vision video about Joseph Smith with him and at the end he had tears in his eyes and couldn~t even speak. It was really a neat experience to see and feel that he knew it was true. That night we gave him a Book of Mormon and he prayed. The next day we held our english class and he brought his book of mormon with him! He also brought it to church on Sunday :) He is really an awesome kid and i can~t wait to see what happens with him. Also, we had 15 people at church on sunday and 5 of them were investigators (non members). I was like, what is this!! This is awesome! :)

Sister Tooker got a package last week and guess what...her mom sent PEANUT BUTTER. It~s really a huge deal...because they don~t have it here! They try, but it`s not nearly the same. Anyways, we have been eating it by the spoon and the jar is half gone :) It really is the little things...

Yesterday we were talking with some guys on the street and one of them said I want to practice my english with you. So I said, okay go ahead! He says, `he is beautiful.`.......then Sis. Tooks says, I think you meant to say SHE is beautiful. And then he points to me and says oh no!! Yes yes, you are very beautiful sister and you are not a guy. hahah. Also, today I was showing a member some pictures of me at the CTM. He says, oh sister, you were a little fatter at the CTM! They are pretty direct here but i guess it~s good news! haha oh the good times on the mission. Anyways, this is incredibly hard but i am trying to find joy in the journey, Dad! Every day I laugh and enjoy this breathtaking country i~m in. The gospel is true! I could not be more proud to be representavie of Christ! Love you all so much.

Sister Sperry

The Race - September 16, 2013

Dad, I want to thank you for the poem. This week has definitely been the most difficult I have had. It has also been the most rewarding. But this work is really hard and I wish I could talk to you. I don't want you to think that I hate it or want to come home. I would never want to be any other place. But at times tears fall from my eyes because for the first time in my life I feel like I don't know how to do something completely new and strange to me. It's so great that my companion is the leading baptizing missionary in the mission, but that makes me feel the pressure of being better and better, and it's only my first week. But i know I can do all things through Christ. I am learning so much. I love you more than words can express and I miss you terribly. I hope all is well with the floods, that makes me really sad. But Christ is getting ready to come, that's for sure.
Give the family my love. Tell Connor congrats on team captain, he's a good kid. tell kellie I love her and I always ttell all the cute brazillian girls about my beautiful sister who will meet them one day. tell colby to keep working hard! I love you all so much.

On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM, Greg Sperry <greg.sperry@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Hello my dear daughter,
You may have read this poem before. It's one that I used to help keep me motivated when I was feeling a bit down. Don't think so much of me as the father in the poem, as Heavenly Father. I've tried to be a good father, but He is the perfect father for each of us, there to cheer us on and encourage us when we need it.
Love you,
Dad
The Race
Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win the race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.
 
The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat upon his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
 
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. 
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
 
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
 
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win the race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
 
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
 
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

God is good, and miracles are real - September 16, 2013

To all the lovely people in my life,
I hope everyone in CO is safe. That's definitely scary to have floods like that! Please keep me updated. Wow, what a week it has been. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to my district at the CTM. They have been my family here in Brazil and I won't see many of them for 2 years or more. It's incredible to me how you can become so close with a group of strangers in just 6 weeks. I love them dearly.
September 7th was the birthday of Brazil's independence! We had a special lunch with ICE CREAM. i couldn't believe it...the whole 6 weeks i had been there we hadn't had ice cream! It really is the little things :) It was difficult to say goodbye to our instructors as well. Something funny was that Irmao Allan said, "Sister Sperry, your spouse will be a mix of your best and worst companion." haha I thought that was great. We"ll see if that's true! He prayed for us individually in our last prayer. He prayed for me to bless people's lives with my happiness, and that through my Christlike attributes I could invite others to be like Christ. I really appreciated that, especially because it was scary to leave all that we know at the CTM where we are so sheltered. At the same time though, I was ready to leave and meet the people in my mission.
So, a few things about Brazil and Bebedouro. We have mate every morning Chandler! And you were right...they do give you fruit for dessert. My first lunch here the Sister is like, okay it's time for dessert! And brings out an orange haha. The food is actually really good, which scares me because I don't want to come out of this country doubled in size!! :) However, I have never walked so much. I can literally feel the pounds sweating off of me! Not that I mind :) Our area is ginormous, just like the toilets in the movie Elf :) (that part where he goes to NY...ya know?) We always always have rice and beans, meat, and salad.Every day we have lunch with a Sister in the ward, and then don't eat until we get home. But trust me, i feel like i'm eating enough for 3 people down here!
I'm glad I grew up with brothers, because the bugs and dirt don't scare me at all. Our house is definitely in humble circumstances, but i'm just grateful to have somewhere to come home to at the end of the day.I already have an awesome sandal tan line, so that's pretty cool! Oh, and the other day, a bird totally flew into our house!! It's funny because I just smiled and eventually it left. My view on the world is definitely changing. I would say i'm pretty accustomed to the culture now, but at times I have to remember that i'm not in the states anymore!
So the members are great. Church is definitely different here, but the people are wonderful. I was asked to speak yesterday, my first sunday here! I think it went alright. For the most part I am feeling more confident in my ability to speak and understand,. which is such a blessing. It can be so hard at times, and I wonder if I will ever get better. But I know I am already improving. You kind of have no choice when all you speak, hear, and see is portuguese. You can choose to live in misery, or you can choose to learn the language and communicate with the people. The second option is a lot better.
The people here are hilarious. So open and loving. We'll be talking with someone and ask them if we can mark their address to stop by later, and they're like, sure! However, the brazillians are not very good with committments so that's the downfall. The other night we were walking and asked a lady if she could direct us to a street. She said, "no, i'm going to jail." we were thinking...what??? so my companion, sister tooker, just said, "boa sorte!" which means good luck haha. We could not stop laughing.

I want to tel you about a wonderful miracle I experienced yesterday. We were looking at our area book, and there is a lady whose mom is a member and she has an 8 year old who was just baptized last year, but she has not been progressing. Tooks didn't think it would be worth it to visit them, but i figured we should give it a try because we are all children of God. We went to visit, and we got to know her. She said that she wants to be baptized but she wants to improve in her life and in her sins first. It was strange, but I had the impression to tell her that she could do that if she read the book of mormon. I then told her that any verse in the BOM can apply to her life. So i had her open to a random page and point to a verse. It was a blank book of mormon; nothing was marked. She began to read the first few words and cried. the verse was Alma 42:29. It talked about how she shouldn't be troubled anymore about any of her worries. It was incredible. God is good, and miracles are real. Have a good week. I love you all.
Sister Sperry

First Letter and Picture from Mission Office in Ribeirao Preto! - September 12, 2013

A big Hello from down here in Brazil! I’m excited to tell you that Sister Sperry has arrived safely and is in the field!
Attached to this email is a letter from President Brum and some photos from the first day!
My bests,
Elder Graf
Executive Secretary
Brazil Ribeirão Preto Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
 
 

MISSÃO BRASIL RIBEIRÃO PRETO R. São Sebastião, 1003 Centro Ribeirão Preto – SP 14015-040 (16) 3610-0992
September 12, 2013
Dear Sperry Family,



We are excited to have your daughter,

Sister Aubrey Kay Sperry, in our mission. This will be a great opportunity for continued growth and development as she serves faithfully here in the mission field. She will meet, teach, convert and touch the lives of many people who are seeking to know, understand and live the truths of the restored gospel. Your daughter will have the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and better understand how to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Through her continued study and application of gospel principles, we pray her testimony will increase and her love and obedience to Heavenly Father's revealed truths will forge a pattern for the rest of her life.
Your daughter has already been assigned to her first area. She will be working in

Bebedouro B in the city of Bebedouro, and will be trained by Sister Tooker. The area is very blessed, and your daughter’s trainer is a reliable and responsible missionary. Your daughter will certainly have much success and great spiritual experiences.
Along with missionary service come many new and interesting demands and challenges. Your daughter will continue to learn and adapt to new and interesting customs, cultures and foods, as well as a new language and schedule. As parents you play a very important role in the well-being of your missionary. Your continued love and encouragement will give her the support and help she needs. Please write her regularly, sharing your testimony and love of this great gospel plan and help her stay focused on this sacred work.
Trust the Lord’s watchful care as you pray regularly for all the missionaries thoughout the world. Remember the Lord has said:

"I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (D&C 84:88)


My wife and I are very grateful to have your daughter serving by our sides in this great missionary effort. The lives of many will be influenced and blessed because of your daughter’s great service and dedication. We will do our best to help your daughter succeed in her service to the Lord. Thank you for preparing a daughter, that is willing and ready to be of service in this part of the Lord's vineyard. May the Lord bless you for your sacrifice and help in this important and eternal endeavor.
With love,

___________________________________

Mauro Tupinambá Brum de Oliveira


Presidente da Missão




 




HELLO FROM BEBEDOURO! - September 10, 2013

Hi family!
I don't have any time to write, but just know that I am SO in love with being here! I love it so so much. Minha companheira, sister Tooker, is incredible. She is finishing her mission in 3 months, and I am so lucky that she is my trainer for my first area in the field. Her portuguese is incredible, and she is the leading missionary in the field. We have been called as Sister Trainer Leaders here over all the sisters, so i'm stoked for that! Essentially that means we check in on the sisters and make sure all things are going smoothly in every aspect. I am basically running on one hour of sleep, but I know i'll sleep good tonight!! We are officially opening this area here with another set of sisters, so I am incredibly excited. There are so many people to talk to! President and Sister Brum are absolutely awesome. I already feel such a strong friendship with them. We had an awesome lunch with them after some orientation at the mission office. after interviews with the president, we went to go be put with our trainers and here I am a few hours later, writing this email to you all! I am so excited to start the work here. It is real. What a week it's been. I can tell you that flying into Rib. Preto was surreal. It is more gorgeous than anywhere i've ever been. It felt like, "welcome home sister sperry. You've been waiting your whole life to be here."
Love you all. I will write next monday!
Sister Sperry

Campinas Temple Visit - September 4, 2013

Dear Family,

This week the temple in São Paulo was closed for cleaning, and we have had the opportunity to have the missionaries visit the beautiful Campinas temple. It is a little further away than our temple in São Paulo. It is a smaller temple set high on a hill, which is seen from a distance as we enter into the Campinas area. The missionaries have really enjoyed the visit. We thought you would like this photo.

We have an amazing group of missionaries here in the CTM at this time. It is such a blessing for us to be able to serve with them. Thank you for your continued support with emails and letters. They are much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Sister Degn
 


 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Do I want the life that's up ahead or the one I left behind? - September 4, 2013

Everyone should serve a mission. 2 months ago, I did not realize just how much I would learn. As a missionary, you need to work with people, and a lot of times it can be difficult. You must work diligently to study more than you ever have, whether you are learning a language or not. You hold meetings and are involved in leadership responsibilities. You learn to not waste any time, because the mission is not about you. Selfishness cannot exist within a successful missionary. A missionary learns to get out of bed when he thinks he can't. A missionary works constantly until she drops. As a representative of the Lord, you must be respectful and dignified. However, I have never laughed so much as I have on my mission. If we are sharing the plan of happiness, shouldn't we live it?

I have learned as a missionary to rely more on the Lord than ever before. If we didn't do that, we wouldn't make it. Our families, friends, and normal lives are put away for a little bit right now. When you are a disciple of Christ, you put away your own name to wear His on your heart. My life before the mission will always hold a special place in my heart, but I am not here to live my old life as Aubrey. It can be difficult at times when I miss my old life; it was easier, more comfortable, and certainly not as scary as this is. However, I like to think of a quote by Richard G. Scott: "To reach a goal that has never been obtained, one must do things that have never been done before." He also said "to get from wehere you are to where God wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain." These words give me hope that through these difficult challenges I am facing, I will obtain things I never have before and be stronger than ever before.

Christ lives. With all the miracles I have seen the past month, how could He not? I testify that life is too difficult to go through without him. Why fight what happiness and hope He has to offer? My mission will forever be an experience that has changed and refined me. I know without a doubt I will be more successful in the professional world, as a mother, wife and disciple of Christ because of these 18 months. I want to share a poem that I feel really reflects what it is like to be a missionary:

Behind or Ahead

As I stared out the window, the tears till in my eyes
I see the vision of those I loved as we had just said our last goodbyes.
The ride was long and tiring; two questions plagued my mind:
Do I want the life that's up ahead, or the one i left behind?
Two years is such a long long time; going door to door.
In my reflection I thought to myself, "There really must be more."
Well, I dragged myself down off the plane and smiled at the Brazillian rain,
when a man turned me the other way, saying, "Elder, go and find the stray."

It is reflecting once again, you see, as this day is my last.
Please Lord, it isn't fair; the time goes way too fast.
As I stared out the window, with tears still in my eyes,
I saw Elders, Sisters, and friends I love as we had just said our last goodbyes.

The road was long and tiring as two questions plagued my mind:
Do I want the life that's up ahead or the one I left behind?

I used to become somewhat emotioinal when I read that first part of the poem, because I love my old life and I always will. But now, after coming to love this country, people, language, and work, I cannot bear to think of leaving. Thank you all for being a part of my life; past, current, and future. I love you all to the moon and back. Keep pressing forward; try a little harder to be a little better. Have a great week.

Love,

Sister Sperry



A letter sent in response to my letter to Aubrey.  We had just put our dog Brandy down, who we had had for 14 years...most of Aubrey's growing up.

Hey Daddy,

I have tears in my eyes because i just read your letter about Brandy. I know you're right that she's in a better place now, but it sure is sad to think about her not being there anymore. Did she seem scared at all? I hope she felt it was okay to let go and feel no pain. I'm sure her and Grandma are having a good time.

I leave next Tuesday for RP! I cannot wait, but i'm extremely scared at the same time. It's a weird feeling. I don't want to leave the CTM yet i have the "senioritis of the CTM'" as my district calls it. So today is teh last p day here, and the last wednesday, and the last pizza night (which we always have on wednesdays.) I had my last devotional last night here. We will have a lot of lasts and a lot of firsts in the next week. It's a mix of emotions for sure.

I LOVE my scripture cases. They are BEAUTIFUL. i wrote you a missionties email about them that i will send later today. I can't thank you enough for thsoe!

About missionties, i'm really not sure. When does the subscription end? does it go by month? WE can just finish whatever month we're on and then wehn i get to the mission i'll find out how mail works. I have really appreciated it while here at the CTM, but i think you're right about it possibly being less efficient once i get to the field. between the two of us we'll figure it out.

Love you lots, i am gonna go write my family email now! Thanks for everything. If i have time in about 10minutes i'll email again!

The best month of my life - August 28, 2013

Familia,

Can you believe I have been here a month! It feels like just yesterday that I left. But at the same time, i feel I have learned an incredible amount in the last four weeks.

First off, we committed our investigator Michael to baptism! Can I get an amen?? It was awesome. Also, we got to go out on the streets of Sao Paulo on Friday and talk to people! Real people, can you believe it! With real portuguese! Haha. All I know is, I would not have been able to do that had I gone to Provo for missionary training. So i'm really grateful. Okay an experience from talking with the people: Sister Chatwin and i were walking around and we come across this painfully drunk lady who also probably had some sort of dimentia, and she is just throwing rocks at this yellow van and yelling things! We were like...uh.....what do we do?? So we just tip toed quietly behind her and then turned right. It was quite the experience. People are genuinely so nice and they always wonder what are americans trying to speak our language doing here?? We had some good conversations with people. I already am in love with brazil and the people here!

Last p day, Elder Wood and I saw a box of 24 full size milky ways. We went back and forth..should we get it, or should we not? Well, since milky way is both of our favorite candy bar, of course we splurged. It was a killer deal: each of us only paid 7 bucks! haha. I now have 8 milky ways left after giving some to the new americana girls here. We took some pictures with all the milky ways so i'll send those in a few weeks. American candy is a treasure here! Also, in the mornings sometimes we make paninis with bananas and milky ways with the bread that is to DIE for. It sounds weird, but it's pretty good! (or maybe my taste buds are ruined by now. it's totally possible :) especially because we just had lunch and my district scarffed it down while the new americans barely touched theirs. They just have to wait until they realize they won't get anything else. haha )

One of the Elders in my district was made Zone Leader on Sunday! So that's cool. Basically that means he is over a big group of Americans that's here.

I have to tell you, this email is so awesome. Currently we are all in a pact to speak only portuguese until we leave the CTM. seriously. only portuguese. I have a love hate relationship with this. However, I know I am improving. So, to enforce the law, we made a cone of shame that says (in portuguese) "I spoke english...what shame!" and you have to wear it if you speak. it's hilarious. At least we can have fun when we can't speak our own language.

So they try to help us americans feel at home by ocassionally giving us hot dogs or hamburgers. The other night we were in line to get food and sister willette says, "are these hamburgers or spamburgers?" HA! wouldn't i like to know.

It's funny because the verb esperar means to wait. So all the latinos and brazilheiros always use a form of that verb to say "wait!" turns out "espere" is how they say sperry as well. So the big joke is always to say sperry espere! Or "Sperry wait!!" they all get a kick out of that.

I want to express my sincere gratitude for being here on a mission. I have learned more about myself, others, and life in general in these 4 weeks than ever before. It is miraculous how fast I am learning portuguese. I love this work. I laugh every single day, all the time. I am truly grateful to have my family and friends, and realize now how much they mean to me. You all are incredible. Keep up the good work!

"For this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo" -Alma 26:36

Love always,

Sister Sperry

The CTM is a killer on the waistline - August 21, 2013

Hello hello!

I'm sweating right now because i have 15 minutes to write this email...hopefully it doesn't show too much in the content that my stress level is through the roof!

We have two new roommates who only speak spanish. So there is an interesting language beign spoken right now in our room....portuenglanol. (portuguese, engish, espanol) but they are awesome.

So, since we have people that came from the Provo MTC to our district, they also brought this virus from provo that made nearly everyone in our district sick. We are all wrapped up in blankets in our classroom, eating cough drops (they are becoming candy because we eat them so much :) ) and blowing our noses and coughing. Everyone calls it "the Plague of the Americans" haha. it's quite funny. Instead of shaking hands, we do lots of "elbow bumps".

I work out every day with Sister Shirts. She's a machine! We run sprints on the track and try to run a few miles, and incorporate some abs and legs as well. If nothing else, i feel better and am maintaining a good weight.

This week Irmao Allan didn't come to class one day. The next day he comes in and says, "You want to know why i didn't come to class yesterday? Because i dislocated my jaw while eating an apple!" Everyone was like....what! Haha so now he has to be really careful. Too funny.

Irmao Allan also has names for each of our books that we use to learn portugues. One is Shrek, another is Fiona, and the last one is "gato de botas" (puss in boots). Its so funny...he'll say, "okay, page 15 in gato de botas and page 175 in Shrek!"

They have cheese bread here that is similar to Tucano's...it's a killer on the waistline but soooo good. I try to contain my self :)

On sunday, the whole CTM had to prepare a music choir number for the fireside that night. There was one part that our director wanted someone to demonstrate how to sing. But no one raised their hand! So i went up there and sang the part into the microphone. Once i finished singing, everyone went, aweeee ohhh. It was funny. Later on, Elder Wood said, "Sister Sperry, i'm pretty sure all the Brazilian's name tags flew off once you sung so that they could propose to you" :)

Some sisters in our District bought the brazilian version of "funyuns chips". They smelled awful...we were all passing the bag around to take a whiff when Elder sprouse said, "ya know, they have a familiar smell. They smell like my brother's 5 year old sandals!|" They seriously did smell bad. In that moment, i will admist i missed America a bit :)

So. There are two buttons on the drinking fountains here: one for the American's (blue) and one for the Brazilheiros (white). The white one is normal temp water, and the blue is cold. It really is true though. I only drink from the blue one!

There is a kid here from our stake in Illinois named Easton Huch! He's super good at piano....last night at devotional he played this arrangement with the choir that he just made up from the basic hymn we sang. How funny that he's here at the same time as me in Brazil. At the devotional,. Sister Moore, Sister Christophersen and I sang a trio by Sally DeFord called I come to Him. It was beautiful! I really do love music.

ON Sunday I was called by our Branch President to be the Sister Leader of our Branch. Essentially I need to make all the new Sisters feel welcome and make sure that everyone is doing okay. I am really excited to serve and get to know them better!

The other day I was reading in Alma, and it talks about the 2000 young men, the army of Helaman. As Helaman is writing about them, he has great respect for them. I want to share a few of the things he says:

"And they were all young men, and they were exeedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength; but behold, this is not all - they were men who were truat and all times with whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before Him . . .

Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with EXACTNESS; even according to their faith it was done unto them. Never had I seen so great courage. Now they had NEVER fought, neither did they fear death . . . yea, they had been taught by their mothers that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. . . And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such and power and miraculous strength"

So, what can we learn from the Army of Helaman? Have courage. Be EXACTLY obedient. Remember what you've been taught and have faith in that. Trust in God. This mission is the most difficult thing I have ever done. But it is the BEST thing I could be doing in my life. Like the Army of Helaman, I will go forth with courage and faith in who I am and who I can become. When we have God on our side, we can NEVER lose. So rise up; try a little harder each day to be a little better. When I think about the type of missionary I want to be, I think of these young men. I challenge each of us to try a little harder to be a little better.

I love you all more than i can say and I wish you a fantastic week. Christ lives! And I love Him so much.

Love,

Sister Sperry

Visit to the Campinas Temple! - August 14, 2013

Dear Family,

This week the temple in São Paulo was closed for cleaning, and we have had the opportunity to have the missionaries visit the beautiful Campinas temple. It is a little further away than our temple in São Paulo. It is a smaller temple set high on a hill, which is seen from a distance as we enter into the Campinas area. The missionaries have really enjoyed the visit. We thought you would like this photo.

We have an amazing group of missionaries here in the CTM at this time. It is such a blessing for us to be able to serve with them. Thank you for your continued support with emails and letters. They are much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Sister Degn
 


 

"Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you" 1 Peter 5:7 - August 14, 2013

Ola from Sister Sperry !

So I need to start off by saying that I don't have much time, but so much to say. First, this week Elder Wood in our District is SO funny. I really don't think i've met a funnier human being outside of our family, really. Okay, maybe not, but in the mission everything is funny. He was saying how he talks in his sleep and he's afraid one of the Brazilheiro roommates in his room will freak out because he doesn't know how to tell them "I talk in my sleep so don't be alarmed." haha! And then I told him about how one time my dad was at this camp where this guy totally freaked out in the middle of the night, talking in his sleep saying "what's happening, what's happening!!!" hahahahaha we were all laughing so hard and I could barely get the words out! My district was crying....we were laughing so hard. I didn't do the story as well as dad normally does, but i gave it my all, hand motions and everything!

Also, because they feed us so much here, they also have us exercise mostly every day. So we play volleyball, run on the track, basketball, lift weights (well, everyone else lifts weights :) ) etc. And i just have to say....the other day we played knockout with our District and it was down to just me and the best Elder in knockout! Talk about stressful! I definitely have not experienced loss of oxygen like that in awhile :) and then...I WON! it was quite the accomplilshment.

Time is so strange here. Saturday's don't really exist....and every day really does feel like a week and the weeks feel like days. But honestly, time is FLYING. I cannot believe we have been here two weeks....eeek!

Good news is, we had a solid dessert yesterday. I'm knocking on wood right now that we continue to have them. I'm tired of slurping my desserts off of a spoon! It was a really good pastel with caramel sauce in the middle...we saw that and thought, "oh my gosh...did we just skip all this and go straight to heaven?" haha

Okay, here they eat Halls cough drops like candy. Weird? Yes. Extremely weird for us Americanos. One girl in my district has a cold so she has a huge bag of cherry halls, and one day our brazillian instructor comes in and after he sees that, says, "oohhh! Candies!" we were like, what?? and he explained to us that they eat halls like candy here. We told him that in estados unidos they are definitely medicine, and he laughed right in our faces! We even showed him the medication instructions on the package, and he thinks for a minute, then says, "well, in Brazil, we don't print that on the package." We still laugh about that. This would also explain why last sunday, the Brazilheiro girl next to me handed me a halls out of her purse randomly. Now I get it! She was giving me a candy! OH the good times at the CTM,.

We have two new sisters and one new elder from the Provo MTC who just came in a week ago. They are adjusting i think. They definitely think that we are weirdos! They say the food is better here...i told them "that may be, but just wait until you have some mystery meat and jello that looks like relish every day. then you might think differently." :)

I feel sort of like a dog here, on a schedule. Let me explain. They feed us at exactly 4 hour intervals, and I find myself getting hungry right when we are supposed to be fed! At home, i could go all day and just forget that i'm supposed to eat. But oh, not here. They even feed us a snack at 9 pm of bread, juice, cheese, and fruit. EVERY.DAY. My district and I decided we are all going to gain 5 pounds a week here, so we can sweat it all off in the summer.

We have something here called TRC. It's where you teach an investigator, member, or inactive member a short lesson. This week we had an inactive member. We got to know him and then asked about what his beliefs were. He was really uncertain about going to church, and hadn't been in 5 years. I asked him if he would pray then with us to feel God's love and peace in his life. He was hesitant, but he agreed. His prayer was humble and sincere. I was so thankful for that. He agreed to come to church on sunday, and then asked when he could see us again! How cool is that? At the end he said, "Sisters, I have never felt the spirit like that. Thank you thank you for teaching me today and being my friend. and your portuguese is really good!" What a humbling experience. It really helps me to know that we have the Lord's help here in the mission.

Sometimes I take a step back and think about what we are accomplishing: teaching the gospel in another language that we don't know. Both new things, and I am already speaking really decent Portuguese and get compliments wherever I go. I am so grateful for the Lord's help. None of this would be possible without Him.

A quote that my companion shared with me that helped me lots: "There are events in the future, and not very far ahead, that will require all our faith, all our energy, all our confidence, and all our trust in God, to enable us to withstand the influences that will be brought to bear against us... We cannot trust in our intelligence; we cannot trust in our wealth; we cannot trust any surrounding circumstances with which we are enveloped; we must trust alone in the living God to guide us, direct us, to lead us, to teach us, and to instruct us" - John Taylor

I love you all more than I can say. Have a fantastic week!

Love,

Sister Sperry

First Visit to the Sau Paulo Temple - August 12, 2013

Dear Family,
 
We are pleased to be able to send you a picture of your missionary´s recent visit to the São Paulo temple. This is always a special moment, entering the temple with other missionaries engaged in the Lord´s work. We know they will treasure this remembrance.

It is a great honor to serve with each of these fine young people and to watch their growth as they learn more about their sacred calling of a missionary. We have a great love and respect for each one of them.

Thank you for your support for them. They love to receive emails and letters from you, and feel of your love. We know that your family will feel the blessings of their service.

Sincerely,
 
President and Sister Degn

 
 
 
 

Sister Sperry With Her District (Group of Missionaries) in the Brazil MTC. August 7, 2013




I Believe in Miracles! - August 7, 2013

Familia, (e amigos)

Wow. I have never experienced learning and growth like I have here in the CTM. I have only been here for one week and I have multiple conversations in Portuguese every day, all the time. While I am not fluent and the Brazilheiros speak SO fast, i can understand a lot more than I could last wednesday. I believe in miracles. It is a miracle that I am here, it is a miracle that my District is incredible, (we are all so different but it just works. Sometimes, I think to myself, this must be what Heaven is like. Laughing and learning and being happy with the people you love), it is a miracle that God has allowed me to be a missionary. It is a miracle that He lets us pray to Him for help, and it is a miracle that we can change and grow and be totally different people than we ever thought we could become. I. believe. in. miracles.

I have to start off by saying that there is so much to say but not a lot of time to say it! I'm sorry if I didn't have the chance to respond to you personally this week, but I will try better next week!

Being a missionary is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is hands-down the BEST thing I have ever done in my entire life. I am learning so many valuable things. Patience, for one. It is very difficult to be on such a strict schedule and be with a companion all the time. But that's how we learn to deal with people who are different from us and become more Christlike. My instructor's name is Irmao Allan (irmao means brother). He is without a doubt one of the best men I have ever met. He served a mission in Brazil and now he has a little family. His english is funny...sometimes he says things and we're like...what? haha. But he means well and really cares about us. He speaks mostly in Portuguese, to challenge us and totally immerse us in the language. There have been some really funny things that happen when you're learning a new language.....i'm sure you can imagine how you can make one tiny mistake in your pronunciation of a word, and it changes the whole sentence. Example 1: yesterday, I was reading out loud in Portuguese. I read, "Esta gravida e do meu irmao" and Irmao Allan is like WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY??? All panicky...and I'm like, what? He says, Sister Sperry, that sentence means "I got pregnant from my brother". What you meant to say is "Esta GRAVATA e do meu irmao. You MUST learn the diferencia!" haha. So we laugh a lot about EVERYTHING in class. LIke you said Dad, I have never laughed more in my life than on the mission. My companheira is very very different from me, but I love her lots. We quote movies all the time, which makes it fun. We work really well together. Our investigator, Josiel, is progressing well but we are trying to figure out how to get through to him better. So tonight, we will try a different approach. We want to let him know that we love him and are here for him as just a friend. If we can get to know him better and earn his trust, he will feel more comfortable opening up to us. And really, that's all that being a missionary is about, right? Letting people know we can help them in any way if they will accept it.

I'm sure you're all wondering about the food here. Well, there's a lot of mystery meat, so that's interesting. But I made a goal that I would try at least one bite of every thing! (sometimes those are very small bites that end up in my napkin, but nevertheless, i am trying). They always have rice and beans (no question there) and the desserts are always like a mousse, pudding, jello, or flan. always. And they feed us a ton...the first few days I lost like 5 pounds, but now I am getting more used to the food and I like it better.

Last night we had a devotional where Elder Holland spoke. It was from a few years ago, but the message still remains. He acknowledged that they expect a lot from us. They expect us to be near perfect. However, they do not apologize because exact obedience brings the spirit of God into our lives. I know that this is true, for I have seen it as a missionary. It is true. I have so much more to say...next week! Also, there is a place here called Mr. cheney's cookies or something like that right across from the CTM. For like 20 bucks, you can write a bunch of emails throughout the month and they will print them off and deliver them right to me. Can you look that up Dad? I would love to hear from you guys, even if it's just an email printed off. If you go to like missionties.com or something it should come up.

I love you all more than you know. Being here away from you is so hard...but I love you and wish you the best week ever! Keep smiling. love you!

Love,

Sister Sperry

Ola Minha Familia! - July 31, 2013



Oi oi oi!!

Hello from BRAZIL! I only have a few minutes but I wanted to let you all know I am here safe and I love you all so so so much! You mean the world to me. I am absolutely LOVING it here...the people, the food, the culture, the CTM, all of it. We have only been here since late afternoon, but it seriously feels like days. We are already talking in portuguese as much as we can and beginning and ending our prayers in portuguese. At dinner tonight I talked with a few girls who have already been here for cuatro semanas and we talked in all portuguese! They all speak spanish anyways, so there was no ingles.

I am so grateful to be here. My district is awesome! There are 3 elderes and 6 sisters! Crazy! We all taught a man named Marcus tonight as a sort of exercise to teach with the spirit. Man, how cool was that. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I can hardly stop smiling any time I think about what I am doing and who I am representing. What a privilege it is to be a missionary. I will say that forever!

My plane ride was long but good! Even though I felt silly carrying my pillow, it came in handy. Still not much sleep, but definitely more than the ride to Chile. Funny thing, my seat actually got switched because the man I was sitting next to wanted to sit by his wife (not much argument there haha) and so I took her original seat. I ended up sitting next to probably two of the only Brazilians who spoke somewhat decent english (such a blessing!) Their names are Bruno e Alessandro. They were so nice and told me what to expect and everything. They are so excited for me to experience Brazil. The sunset around 530 this morning was stunning...I tried to get some pictures so i'll send those. It is SO GREEN here. love it love it love it. Reminds me of Chicago. At the end of our flight, Alessandro wanted to kiss me goodbye on the cheek, but i explained that we dont do that as missionaries...he didn't like that ha. The people are SO AWESOME. Everyone is so kind and open here'; i love it. I feel like I belong in South America and always have. However, there were hardly any americans on my flight! All the missionaries were on other flights coming out of Dallas. I am so obviously american that it's painful. So I was by myself, but don't worry mom; I did everything fine! The driving is of course nuts. The houses span from all the colors of the rainbow and then some.

Once I found the guy who was to take us to the MTC and we waited like 3 hours for the other missionaries that came in on other flights, we drove to the CTM. Security is nuts..... there are full on guards and everything here! When we drove up through the gate I was like...holy cow! The feeling here is awesome and I feel so blessed to be here. Today we got to walk around the town and see some shops. Randomly, there was some kids coming down the road at full speed, on top of a mattress which was on top of a wagon! WHAT???? hahaha. They are crazyyyy down here. AH there is so much to say but they are only giving us a few minutes. Did you get the picture that Presidente sent of us and our district? I hope so. Please remember to not send packages to the CTM, because they take awhile to get here and the CTM cannot forward them to our mission once we get there. Just send it to the mission home! But letters are fine sent here.

I'm trying to write a lot because I know you will appreciate it Mom! I know I am rambling...gosh there is so much to say. My Companion's name is sister Chatwin, she is from Oklahoma. She's great! She always knows exactly what's going on. I am excited to work even more with her.

Okay okay I need to go soon. Oh, before I forget, tell the Jennings that I have seen Leah already like 4 times! We gave each other a big hug, and it was nice to see someone I know. Her portuguese is stellar and I also got to observe her teach an investigator with her companion...what are the chances of that! Alright, I love you all SO much. I'm not sure when i'll be able to write again, but know that I miss you and hope to hear from you all soon! Can you make sure that anyone who wants to recieve these emails is recieving them and that you can send the emails to me of those who want it? Thanks! And mom, can you get my address out? They don't have dearelder here, which is kind of a bummer. So write me letters and email me? muah love you all and miss you but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Love,

Sister Sperry