Sunday, March 23, 2014

everything's better in the sun

First and foremost, HAPPY ST. PATRICK´S DAY!!!! I hope you all spend it however it is that we celebrate it over there. Seriously, explaining these holidays to my Brazilian companions has to be one of the funniest things I have ever done. Little leperchauns and rainbows and golden coins and 4 leaf clovers. I love America. 

This week was full of lots of amazing miracles. I am so happy, and the work here is so good. Maybe it´s just because the weather is beautiful and I handle everything better in the sun, but is good. God is so good. So many miracles, I dont even know where to begin.

So, we have this family, Fatima and Francisco, who we are working with, and we´ve already taught them everything, and they totally know the church is true, but they are just...i dont know actually. It´s easier for us to come to them, than for them to come to church. But, we decided to focus a lot on the Atonement and how we can apply it in our lives and how repentance is the greatest blessing the Lord has given us, and how the first fruit of repentance is baptism. Anyways, Sister Blanco and I were practicing in the morning and giggling about how great it would be if they actually responded to our questions how we would like them to. But then! We went into the lesson, and it was so wonderful. The spirit was so strong, and as we taught, they got it! And we read Moroni 8:25 and asked how they thought they could apply the atonement in their lives, and Francisco responded, `Well...baptism.` Oh, sweet blessing. And then we invited them to pray about a specific date that they need to get baptized, and we looked at Fatima, and we told her that we know that they know that this is the true church and that this is the path back to our Heavenly Father, and she just looked at us and smiled, that smile that is like---you caught me. Oh, the Spirit was testifying so strongly, and it was so amazing. They are incredible and progessing so much. Slowly, but surely, they are getting there.

Little Letícia (the one thats obsessed with JB) told us in church on Sunday, that ever since we taught her not to use the Lord´s name in vain, she hasnt said it since, and then that she went home and when her mom said it, she asked her mom to stop saying it too, and her mom hasnt said it since either. Literally, I felt like a proud mother. She is just so precious, and I feel like our Primary holds the future of the church here in Lagos. Also, she informed me that she will be holding the flowers at my wedding, so I´ll need to fly her over to the US when I get married. Hahaha, I LOVE her.

When we were teaching Prince this week, he got so excited about the authority of God and that it is on the earth again, that he started asking who could have it and if he could get it and when he asked, Sister Blanco and I just looked at each other and said, `Well...yeah. You can!` And then he goes, `How?` So we look at each other and get these huge smiles on our faces again and we´re just like well you seeeee....and we marked him for baptism right there! He got really excited about it, but then he didnt come to church, so we are still working with him, but he is so incredible and really looking for lasting happiness in his life. And I just feel like he is going to be our next branch pres. here in Lagos,... except...he needs to learn Portuguese first, but like...whatever. Minor details.

On Saturday, Sister Blanco and I were walking down the road, and we started talking to this man, Lazaré. Oh my, he is so incredible. He just started going off about the Bible and He honestly knows it so well, and we were both just so happy. It was such an amazing contact. It was such a breath of fresh air to talk to someone who believes in the Bible because they have actually studied it and knows what it says and not just because the rest of the country believes in it. Anyways, as we were standing there, I just saw him in white, walking in the water to be baptized. And Sister Blanco said she felt the exact same way! He said that he wanted to talk more with us tomorrow, so we invited him to church, and yesterday, he was there! What a miracle! He just showed up! Oh, that never happens. Sister Blanco and I started jumping for joy. He is seriously so elect. He is Romano, and Sister Blanco and I feel so strongly about him, that we know the Lord is leading His elect to us. So blessed. Seriously, I dont deserve all of these blessings, but oh I am so grateful.

Cesar got baptized this week!! Oh, it was so wonderful. He is SO incredible and so elect and SO happy. And he is going to be such and incredible help to our little branch family. Also, his Swedish girlfriend totally prepared him, and then when we were at his baptism, this other girl walked into the church, because her boyfriend in Brazil had told her about it and so she came by. Date to convert my friends. Works every time :)

Nelma´s getting married and Jorge is getting baptized and I just love this missionary life I live.
God is so good. The church is true. Jesus lives and He loves you. I LOVE YOU ALL. more than I love the sunshine.

Sister Brooks

these are the jeffers. our missionary couple here in lagos. slash our life savers. slash taxi drivers

Monday, March 10, 2014

`It´s from Elder Wilson, isn´t it?` Joana

So, every day, we eat with the Elders in Nelma´s house. Well, Nelma is from Africa, so Nelma´s house is like everyone´s house. Aka there are always 12 million people there and 14 billion children, which obviously is so much noice and commotion and yelling and ahhh. Anyways, there are these two absolutely ADORABLE little girls, Joana and Jessica, that are Nelma´s friend´s daughters, and they´re over there a lot too. Well, this week, we´re eating dinner and Joana is looking at the rings on my fingers, and she looks at one, and then looks at me, and says, `This one is from who?` And Nelma was talking to me, so I didn´t respond, and then I looked at her and she looks across the table at the Elders, and then turns to me and smiles with this little smirk and says, `It´s from Elder Wilson, isn´t it?` Hahahahha oh funnier things do not happen. Actually they do, but everyone just started dying laughing. She is the sweetest and I absolutely love her.
Miracle of the week: I didnt wear that stupid purple jacket for the first time in over 6 months!!!! I have never been happier!!! Lagos is my happy place. Dont worry, whenever we are walking on the street, one side is always on the sun, and I will just cross the street to walk in the sun and my comp looks at me and goes, `Why?` And then I just smile and point to that blessed light in the sky that we call the sun and she starts dying laughing. Oh, I was lacking vitamin D in my life.
Also, there was this time we had to wait outside for an investigator to get home, and we just stood in the sun for.....some time, and i was so so so grateful. AND it was even more of a miracle, because we were waiting and waiting and then we decided that it was finally time to go back, and WE FOUND PRINCE!!! Yeah...I know. You didn´t know we had lost him, but we had, because everyone changes their phone slash phone number every other day in this country, but we had prayed specifically that the Lord would let us cross paths with him, so that we could find him again, and we did!!! So really, it was inspired that we needed to stand in the sun so that we could find Prince. AH. God is so good. Super bonzinho. Literally, I don´t even understand why He loves me so much.
Speaking of, lately I have just been thinking about how I am just so imperfect. Not in the like ugh, stupid girl stuff imperfect, but in the like---why am I such a pecador? Ya know? Like why can´t I just have my thoughts and will perfectly aligned with God´s will and His thoughts and desires? And why can´t I just do everything that I know that I should do /need to do? And why can´t I just never get distracted? Or why can´t I just be who God wants me to be and have the faith sufficient to move mountains and just...ya know? Maybe it doesn´t make any sense. Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but it´s like---there are so many things that we HAVE to do here on this earth, but at the same time, the ONLY purpose we have here is to prepare to meet God. And to help to bring to pass immortality and eternal life for all of God´s children. So, why do I get so distracted by other things? Why do we care so much about other things? Why can´t I just consecrate every thought and action and drop of energy to the Lord and His work? It´s frustrating being imperfect, but it´s kind of fun too, because it always gives us something to work toward. We can always be working and striving to be better and to work harder and to be more in tune with the Spirit and to do the will of the Father even when it is hard, or even when we think of other things, or when we are dying from exhaustion because naps don´t exist and ohh how i miss them--but like that! why do I even want to take a nap? Whatever, Heavenly Father is perfect. His plan for us is perfect. His love for us is perfect. I have no idea how I even come close to deserving His love, but I am so grateful He loves me and is aware of me, and I am SO grateful that He loves YOU and is aware of you and that He answers my prayers and relays my messages that I send out to the universe :) Super bonzinho that Pai Celesital of ours.
AND. I read a talk from General Conference this week (actually, I think I´m viciada. I wake up and I read Conference talks, I get in bed at night and I read the Liahona until I fall asleep...ayi yi yi WHO AM I? haha its not nearly as fun though when Im not texting them back and forth with Erin. And maybe I am counting down the weeks til next General Conference...). Anways, it talked about how we have all these trials that we go through so that we can grow and learn, but then, he said something so profound that struck me so deeply.
He said, `I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort that comes through His plan; His Son, Jesus Christ; and His Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost. What a glorious blessing this is in our lives. Wouldn’t it be tragic if we didn’t feel great sorrow when we lose a child? How grateful I am to my Father in Heaven that He allows us to love deeply and love eternally. How grateful I am for eternal families. How grateful I am that He has revealed once again through His living prophets the glorious plan of redemption.` TRUER WORDS NEVER SPOKEN. Seriously, how INCREDIBLE it is that Heavenly Father gave us this potential to love so deeply. That I love you all so much it hurts. That is hurts so badly when people ask me if I have saudades, because ohh how I can´t even begin to explain how I miss you guys. How grateful I am that I have so many people that I love and miss so much every single day. How incredible is it that God gave us this gift of loving. Oh having such strong feelings for the people in our lives. Seriously, I can´t explain it, but I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for our ability to be sad, but also for the happiness that is the love of God and eternal families and the restored Gospel. SUPER bonzinho Heavenly Father. I can´t.
Something I think I am going to miss most from the mission--sprinting home as fast as we can on that crazy slippery cobblestone every night so that we get in house before 10. The best part of Lagos is that there is this big church that rings a bell every hour, so...we feel like Cinderella running home before the bell rings and we turn into aboboras. I think I just think the visual image has to be the funniest thing ever. These two foreigners in skirts sprinting and screaming at each other to hurry up. Sometimes I just start running even when we have time, but just because I think it is the funniest thing ever. Ah...I love my comp. She really is the absolute best.
Other than that, this week was spent doing heart attacks on our ward members´ houses and having the most wonderful carnival dance that actually everyone showed up to and it was a smashing success. This place is full of little miracles every single day.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. More than I love VM, but owww it hurts so bad that you are all going to see it without me. I will try not to cry and just be grateful that the mission blessings exist and the movie was made.
Sister Brooks
Ps. I found JRU videos on my camera this morning. Ethan, Kyle, Irene, and SJ---I love you guys with all of my whole heart. I found the vids from when we were on the way back from the Red Sea and Kyle and E were trying to rap boyfriend. Ahh such happiness. ERIN I MISS YOUR LAUGH. Actually, JRU crew, I love you with all of my whole heart. Oh, happy happy days. Such happy days.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vaca vaca ehhh eyy...This one´s for africa.

Miracles of the week.

1. WE WATCHED LION KING!!! Yes, we got permission from Sister Fluckiger to have a branch activity and watch O Rei Leão and ohhh such happiness. Favorite parts--When Simba said, `Minha Nossa!` and when the hienas said, `Ayyy gatinho gatinho gatinho!!` Hahah, maybe only Eleanor will really appreciate that, but ohh it was sooo funny.

2. We found an entire family! An entire Capo Verdian family! A mom, dad, and four children! Oh, my heart. Teaching them was like all my dreams coming true in one moment. There is really nothing better than teaching families. And they are so elect. Like, we asked what they thought happens when we dont have a prophet and the son answers, `Well, I think a lot of people would be really lost and not have the direction they need to know what God wants them to do.` Oh, Sister Blanco and I just looked at each other and smiled the biggest smiles, like...YEAH. Ah, they are so incredible and so sweet and just I feel SO blessed.

3. So, one of the liders here in the Algarve, President Melo, has asked us to knock doors in this one area of Lagos, because is a much nicer area of town, and we need to find the leaders of the church here. Well, I don´t know if you guys know this or not, but knocking doors is like my personal nightmare. But, Sister Blanco and I decided that we are going to humble ourselves and space out a couple of hours each week just to do procura in this area, because he has the right to receive revelation to this area, which means that there are elects there waiting for us. Well, last night was one of those nights that we had decided to work there, and we were both a little...scared. I know there is no reason to be scared and we have nothing to lose and the whole world needs to hear the message of the gospel, but there is just something about those little intercoms outside of people´s houses/buildings that just scare me like no other. But anyways, we have been studying a lot about how we need to just have confidence in the Lord´s promise that He will put the words that we need in our mouths in the moment that we need them and to just be bold and confident in sharing the message of the restauration and just being normal and friendly and yada yada yada. Well, before we started knocking doors last night, we said a little prayer in the street asking for extra faith and courage and to actually have fun in the process, and I wish I could explain to you how absolutely amazing it was! We met the most amazing people. People that didn´t really want anything to do with us, but at least didn´t slam the door is our face or yell, ´Sai daqui!´ And I know that might not sound like anything, but it really was so amazing. And then, we found another family that invited us to come back next week, and this lady who was actually so amazing. She was so cold at first, but then we ended up talking to her for quite a bit and she told us how she has problems with anxiety and insomnia and we ended up leaving her with a Book of Mormon and promising her that if she read it when she was feeling anxious that it would calm her soul and help her feel the love God has for her. Oh, she was so amazing. She doesn´t want us to come back, but we said a prayer for her afterward, and I just felt so overwhelmed by the love God has for her and how aware he is of her, and I know that she will accept the gospel one day. But, we both just left and literally just screamed and jumped up and down of happiness and hugged each other and said another prayer of gratidão, because Heavenly Father really did just answer our prayer so perfectly.´s to knocking more doors and having more amazing experiences and God continuing to fulfill his promises.

4. We had 41 people in church yesterday!!! Last week it was 31!! Ah! God is SO good! And it was actually the most powerful testimony meeting I have ever been a part of. The whole primary bore their testimony and I just died over how pure and honest their testimonies are. Also, side note--we work in Primary and it is like the happiest thing ever. Well, because my comp teaches and is an angel with children. And...snack time :)

Actually, there are so many I can´t even count. Sister Blanco just like invites miracles to happen. I literally feel like we are walking on clouds slash being lifted up by angels when I am walking by her side. Ps. She is crying watching mormon messages. Hahaha, oh how I love her. Shes so fofinha.

This week, my mind was blown with so much new gospel knowledge. Out of everything that I learned though, I think the most important part is obedience. Everything is based upon the law that is established in heaven since before the beginning of time. That law in heaven is obedience. Every blessing that we receive is based on our obedience. We receive our calling and election based on our obedience. The Plan of Salvation is about obedience. The Atonement is about obedience. EVERYTHING is about obedience. And the more obedient we are the more our will is aligned with the will of God which means the more perfected we become and the more we understand our Heavenly Father´s plan for us. We have been working hard to be more and more obedient every day so that we can be even better instruments in the Lord´s hands and fulfill his purposes for us even better here in Lagos. Oh, I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much. I can´t even express the love I have for them.

Big news for this week:

Carnival--aka Halloween in March. People are already walking around with masks on and creepy costumes. Im kind of terrified, but also find it hilarious. This crazy creepy little lady already touched Sister Blanco and I screamed. It´s like we´re living in a Haunted House. Oh, I can´t even imagine what Brazil must be like. But we´re having a branch dance. Every one is coming dressed up. And Sister Jackson taught the branch members how to dougie during the Halloween dance, so I´m stoked. Hahah

Dia da Mulher--Yes, it is a country wide holiday to celebrate being a woman. Apparently it´s a disgrace or whatever, but we´re gonna make the most of it and make the women in Lagos feel loved. The love of Christ that is :)

Also, our mission is doing March Madness with references and zones. Whichever zone gets the most references advances to the next bracket. Yes to the mission. Just yes.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! I hope you have a fabulous week and know how much I love you and how much God loves you and I hope you all feel His love and His hand in your lives every day. I miss you so.

Sister Brooks

zone conferenceeee.


This is Letícia. She is obsessed with Justin Bieber and I am obsessed with her. I already asked her mom if I could bring her back with me. Oh, she is so perfect. She told me she is going to be the flower girl at my wedding.


I FOUND FALAFEL AND HUMMUS. too bad it is in faró but still soooo good.