Arapongas, Brazil

Querido Família e amigos,

           This week was pretty wonderful (aren´t they all?). We traveled to Londrina for Mission Tour! Elder Suarez of the seventy visited and gave our troops the spiritual encouragement we needed. We heard a lot about how there are two types of people: two types of missionaries: those who act and those who receive action. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what type of missionary I am and in what aspects I can better myself. I am coming up on my half way mark and I have been reflecting if I have become half the missionary I envisioned. Turning it all over to the Lord has allowed for amazing growth and changes in character that I would have never dreamed of achieving on my own. The mission is molding me into a better life long servant of the Lord and I am so grateful to be here progressing alongside with my investigators.
       Recently, Sister Briggs and I have been teaching a couple from Hati, Rosalie and Luiz. Hatianos are amazingly friendly and open, but well versed in the Bible. Luiz is here to do the Lord´s will, but he needs a concrete response. We are working diligently to find answers to his biblical questions and praying that he will feel a loving response from our Father in Heaven.
        The end of the transfer is coming up and I dread the thought of being separated from Sister Briggs. She is so wonderful… but she´s already passed 3 transfers here in Arapongas and everyone is feeling she´ll be moved out soon…   we´ll see. I can´t believe how fast this transfer has flown by. Not just the transfer but the mission! Take advantage of the time you have missionaries! It passes fast!
com amor,
Sister Dean
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Arapongas, Brazil

DSC03784 (1)Querido Família e amigos,

           Yesterday Sister Briggs and I watched as our beloved investigator Walquiria was baptized! Walquiria is such a blessed daughter of our Heavenly Father. We´ve been working with her for 3 weeks now and it was truly a blessing to be apart of her journey. It is so surreal sometimes to remember that our Heavenly Father has been preparing his children to meet the missionaries. Walquiria is so special and so spiritually in tune; I don´t have a doubt that our Father in Heaven had been preparing her for that moment when we accidentally knocked on her door (clapped at her gate). I don´t mean to sound cheesy, but the hymn “I stand All Amazed´´ describes my sentiments perfectly right now! I am so weak alone, but I have someone who loves me more than I can imagine who is paving the way, clearing obstacles, guiding me to be an instrument for good and planning my return. I also want to thank those of you that have been praying for our investigators. Milagres são reais!!!
           This week Sister Briggs and I helped 9 investigators make it to church! It was so wonderful (and such a headache to plan!!!) A family of 6 ( Basílio, Teresa, Franciele, Vanya, Alcides and Gyselle) sat with us and it is unbelievable how wonderfully receptive they are! They are such a friendly and loving family and they are working on baptismal dates, but there are quite a few obstacles we all need to clear that will take a little time and a lot of prayer 🙂 I know miracles are real though; I know God works according to our faith and I believe they will enter into the waters of baptism to receive an ever greater unity and love into their lives.
     Thank you for EVERYTHING! Eu amo vocês e estou muito feliz para estar aqui para representar vocês e meu Pai Celestial!
com amor,
Sister Whitney Dean

Arapongas, Brazil

Querido Família e amigos,

      Bom Dia com muito alegria! This week I received an envelope of letters from the Young Women in the Green Bay stake!!! I feel so special! It was sooooo great to read their testimonies and feel their support. I can´t believe how fast time passes; it feels like yesterday I was going to Girls Camp 🙂
     This week Sister Briggs and I have been hitting the Portuguese hard core 🙂 . We don´t have much time in the morning to practice, so we´ve decided to talk in the streets in between contacts and appointments as much as we can about our families. Sharing stories from our childhood is so great! Not only are we learning how to better our grammar, but we are laughing SO much! We had it so good as children, and I´ve realized that’s how life works: you pass through difficulties and funny moments, but with time you reflect and cherish it all. I am so grateful for the motivation I have to make every second of my mission last so I can return and look back with nothing but satisfaction. That has been my ´theme´for the week: not having regrets. Every time we teach, If I feel a prompting I don´t hesitate. If we pass someone in the street and I feel the urge to talk to them, we turn around and run them down. During this week, I’ve been reading a lot about Paul and his bold preachings; my companion and I were standing in the street faced with a very difficult decision. It would have been so easy to turn away from that difficult decision, but we stopped and thought, ´what would Paul do now in this very instance´and WOW. It was so obvious that he would go in ´guns blazing´to bring that fellow child of God to light.  Read the scriptures and learn from real life heroes. When you do, you will have the strength to defend your beliefs. I am so happy and grateful for the examples I have in the scriptures and in you: my family and friends 🙂
              Sister Briggs and I continue to work with Walquiria and if all goes well she will be baptized the end of this week! Prayers for her and her search are more than welcome! 🙂
Eu amo vocês e sei que vocês estão fazendo milagres pelos filhos Deus esta colocando em  seus caminhos!  Fique Firme!!
com amor, Sister Dean

Aparpongas Brazil

Whitney

September 8, 2014

MUITO OBRIGADO POR OS PHOTOS!!!!!!

It is so good to hear all about what you all are doing! I can´t believe how fast the world outside the mission is moving. This past week I hit my 7 month mark and had to sit back and take it all in! I can´t believe Jessica is at college, I can´t believe Sarah is driving and I can´t believe how stinkin big Matt is! I´m going to return and he´ll be a whole other person!
The work continues to progress here in Arapongas. I am so blessed to be here working with the people of this city. Recently I´ve been studying the new testament, and I´d like to share a line or two from an Epistle from Paul:

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

The mission has taught me to value the gift of agency; the ability we have to make our decisions in life. As servants of the Lord, we are here to help everyone feel the loving orientation our Father in Heaven has left for us. It is not always easy. We get discouraged, we get sad, but like Paul described, we cannot help but be filled with a deeper happiness and hope despite the circumstances and the manner in which our investigators are using their free agency. We have so much to be eternally grateful for and my mission is giving me a deeper sense of what it means to fuel that fire. I love my Heavenly Father and the plan he has.
Thank you all for the support and the pictures 🙂

Com Amor,

Sister Dean

Arapongas, Brazil

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Querido família e amigos,

It is so strange to hear about all of the changes going on back home! I can´t believe everyone is growing up so fast! Things on the mission too are changing faster than I can believe. It was sad to leave Cascavel, especially with those people very precious to my heart who I´ve learned to love and have progressed with these past few months, but I am feeling very special about Arapongas. Sister Briggs and I are perfect for each other and we have very high hopes for this transfer. The city here is definitely smaller than Cascavel, and very charming. For the first time in my life I am in a Branch not a Ward and I consider myself so blessed to be surrounded by people with such high dreams and hopes for progression of the Gospel. It truly is strange to say ´President´and not ´Bishop`though! Here in Arapongas, we live with one other companionship, Sister Diaz from Argentina and Sister Garcia from Rio and Sister Diaz and I are collaborating big time! We´re trading Spanish lessons for English lessons 🙂 (Maybe if I´m lucky I´ll come home tri lingual).
The work here is coming along. We found a woman named Walquiria who has had a hard life… my mission has truly opened my eyes to the hardships and realities that so many people go through, but at the same time, my mission has taught me that there is a balm for every degree wound… Walquiria attended church with us and it was such a special sacrament meeting! As missionaries, we promise everyone that church will be an experience they will not forget. We promise them that there, they will find answers to the difficulties and questions they have about life. AND that is exactly what happened for her. She received personal revelation and I am so blessed to be a part of her progression.
We are also teaching a man named Claudemir. Claudemir is quite a character. He has a few vices in life, but he has a desire to become the best Claudemir he can be. He is a bit frustrating to tell the truth. People express a desire to change, but Heavenly Father does not want only our words, he wants our actions, he wants our change! From teaching Claudemir, I am learning the value of our free agency; we have done everything we could to help this man leave his old life behind, but it has come down to his agency, whether he wants to really change or not, and I can see how we are to make these life changing choices. I am also comforted to know that we are not alone.
Thank you all for your support and love. Eu sou muito grata pela oportunidade de estar aqui. Eu sei que Cristo vive! Eu amo vocês e Eu valorizo o seu apoio.

Com Amor,

Sister Dean