Dates Serving

Serving November 2014 to May 2016. This is a collection of letters e-mailed home from Sister Berry.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Isaiah 41:10

I read an awesome talk this week, Parents: The Prime Teachers of the Gospel by Tad R Callister, in the most recent conference. It was really good, read it!

 Crazy thing for the week…it HAILED. It hailed for reals. It was only about 5 minutes but it was still bizarre. It’s the middle of summer here! Brazil is so strange. It was really nice this week though. It rained a lot and it was chilly outside.  It was fantastic because I actually had to sleep with a blanket.
OOHHH. They have churros here! Oh yeah! But the best part is that you pronounce churros--"Shoohoos." Oh my goodness, I think it’s hilarious! I laugh all day. 

This is my district. I  love missionaries! My DL is the one in the back with a red tie and he’s great. He always tells us to be happy "fica feliz" or “seja feliz sempre.”.He’s from Peru and his companion is from Cape Verde (the tall elder with glasses) and he´s awesome too. He actually taught me a little Creole but I don’t remember it. Cape Verde sounds super cool though.

This is my new Brazil shirt that I bought in Brás--a place where everything is super cheap. I love it.  It makes me feel so festive and Brazilian.

This is a picture of all the sister missionaries with an awesome family from the ward. They are awesome! The little girl in the front with the dress and crown gave us a little performance from Frozen. She sang and danced to the song Let It Go exactly like the movie! It was adorable.  Frozen is super popular here too! Yup, it’s everywhere. 

Here are the answers to the questions from Aunt Kelley…

1. What is your favorite scripture - right now? Why?
Isaiah 41:10. Because I am scared.  I’m scared of a lot of things here. I’ m scared of speaking Portuguese and giving the lessons and everything. I really like this verse because it is what How Firm a Foundation is based on. “Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid, I’ll strengthen thee help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”  Yeah, I really love that. I really need that all the time.

2. What does your typical daily schedule look like? What do you do all day?
We get up at 6:30, I  kind of  sucked at that the first week here but now I am totally cool with it because it doesn’t matter what I want,  it is what God wants. Then we do some "exercises" but my comp doesn’t really do any so I kind of just run in place, do some jumping jacks, stretch, and the works. Then we get ready and eat breakfast from 7-8. Breakfast sucks here so I usually just eat some crackers. Then we study for 3 hours! Personal study is my favorite!! And I wish we had more time because there is so much I want to read. Today I actually finished reading all of PMG, looking up scriptures included and I’m reading the BoM in Portuguese and English. Portuguese is going really slow... then comp study is usually just talking about what we studied and then I don’t even know what happens because the time goes by really fast. We leave around 12 or 12:30 to go to a member’s house for lunch. I really like that they give lunches to us here because then I’m not hungry for the rest of the day. They give us so much, so that’s good. But these people love to talk so we don’t normally leave until 3. Then we go to work. Walking everywhere takes up a lot of time, but its ok because we usually do a lot of contacts (just walking up to people and asking them if they want to hear more, or sometimes just giving them a mini-lesson right there) on the way to appointments. If appointments fall through we can always find some random person who will let us in their house to teach them. It’s crazy how these Brazilians are. We don’t normally visit a lot of members, actually none besides lunches. Sometimes we’ll visit less-actives but normally its investigators. Then we always get home at 9:30. We’re supposed to be home at 9 unless we have an appointment, but we hardly ever get home before 9:30 because we are so busy. Which really sucks because then we have 1 hour to take a shower, eat dinner, plan the next day, get ready for bed, and write in our journals. the struggle is real. We are just so busy and the time is flying by for me.

3. How is the Sunday church experience? Is it the same as here?
Church is hard for me. The first Sunday was horrible. I thought it was going to be great talking to members but it really sucks because everyone is just speaking Portuguese and I’m just like –“wait… what?” I have no idea what is happening most of the time. It’s so hard to understand people who are in the front of the room or other people answering questions or reading scriptures. Impossible for me actually. But it’s the same church. The weird thing is that they have Relief society first and Sacrament last. My comp usually leaves me out and talks to everyone and I have no idea what to do. It’s getting better. I understand more, not a lot, but more. Sundays in general kind of suck actually because we don’t get any time to study. Church is from 9-12 (right during our normal study time) and then we go to lunch and to work again. Definitely not a day of rest for missionaries. But I’m learning to love it. Oh, one of the best things about church is the sacrament. A sister in the ward makes the bread special. She makes it, and it is soooo good. My comp says that it’s a secret recipe too and they only use it for the sacrament, which I think is awesome.

4. Can you see the Lord's hand in the work? How?
I totally can, just by the way he supports his missionaries.  I would not be able to do any of this without the strength of the Lord. We are still looking for the people that have been prepared for the gospel, but it’s going good. 

5. Are you growing up on the inside? How do you know?
I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like it. I think I’m the same I just spend more time doing things that are more important in life. I’m reading scriptures, studying them, reading conference talks and searching for answers to questions that only my Heavenly Father can answer. I still have a lot of weaknesses, and I’m working on making them into strengths. so maybe i am growing up inside, not sure though. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

God Has a Sense of Humor

Hey Everyone!

We are talking to a lot of people! We do a lot of contacts every day but it’s harder to find people that actually want to learn more and want to get baptized. The people are so great here though. We are teaching an amazing sister named Valkyria. Her husband is a returned missionary but fell away from the church. He smokes, drinks, and they aren't married legally :( It is so sad to see someone who was so strong fall so hard. But Valkyria is amazing and wants to know more and be baptized! We have a lot of work to do before that can happen, but she is just awesome and I love her already!

I don’t even know what to write! It’s hot and humid here now but people are super nice and always give us water and juice. Portuguese is coming... haha. Actually, yesterday we started talking to these two ladies sitting outside their house and they couldn't understand my companion very well, but they could understand me! What?! My comp has a strong American accent but she’s been here a year and understands everything and everyone always understands her, but not this time. So I had to do all the talking, which almost never happens. God has a great sense of humor. I know it I just so I would have to speak more Portuguese. But I actually did okay. I can speak Portuguese! I know Heavenly Father has strengthened me so much while I have been here. I wouldn't be able to do anything without the help of the Lord.

Pray. Read the scriptures. You have a Father in Heaven you loves you and wants to help you succeed. Just ask Him.

Com Amor, Sister Berry

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I've Been Out Two Months!

What another crazy busy week! Basically every week is crazy busy and I’m still getting used to it. I can’t believe I’ve been a missionary for 2 months already! The time is just flying by, and I’m trying to soak it up while I can. We talk to so many people and the people are just awesome here. I love Brazilians! Alright I finally figured out where I am. I am in Sao Paulo, the city of Gaurulhos, in the neighborhood of Novo Cidade. So if you want to google map that you probably could.

Interesting thing about Brazil: the grapes are disgusting here. Just nasty. I don’t even know how to explain it but I can’t even chew or swallow them. But every other fruit is SUPER delicious so I don’t know what the deal is with grapes. They also have Maracujá flavored Fanta!! Passion fruit Fanta! It’s pretty good too.

I got a bunch of Christmas letters this week!! Thank you so much! I sent you some snail mail!! I love letters so don’t be afraid to send me mail!

It is actually not as hot as I thought it would be, which is such a blessing. There is a lot of wind and it rains almost every afternoon. It does feel super-hot after lunch when we are walking around the neighborhoods but people are really nice and give us lots of water so really we are good. It doesn’t feel as hot outside as it does in Arizona, at least not yet. I’m really hoping it doesn’t get hotter than this because I can handle this! My hair is up every day though; I’ve been trying to do different braids every day. My comp does french braids too and people always comment on our “tranças.”  It’s awesome.

I was thinking this morning as we were walking around that I really love Brazil. It has been such a challenge to be here and learn a new language and walk around all day long in the heat but really I love it. I love the food, I love the rain, I love the people, I love how green it is, and I just love how everything is so different. This has been so amazing and I thank my Heavenly Father every day that I get to have this experience. 

I am so grateful that I get to share this wonderful gospel to the people of Brazil! I am learning so much. I always say to myself: In the strength of the Lord I can do hard things. You can do anything when you do it with the Lord. Stay strong. Pray always!

Love, Sister Berry

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas and New Years (Two Letters)

(This letter was sent 12/29)

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!

Christmas was good here! Christmas Eve our whole missionary zone went caroling with the bishop in Pimentas. About 20 missionaries were walking around the neighborhoods of Brazil, wearing red and green and all wearing Santa hats. It was great. We sang a couple hymns in Portuguese (of course) for each house we went to. Then after that we came back to the bishop’s house and had a FEAST. They had delicious mangos and these french-toast-like things that were delicious and it was great. Then, we went up on the roof of the house and watched all the fireworks at midnight. Pretty sure that that was the only night of the year we can stay up that late, so it was special. The fireworks here are crazy. Everyone has these annoying ones that just make a really loud bang sound, and they have been going off all week. It’s crazy.

A pretty cool thing happens here in Brazil. Kids are always flying little kites here. I always see people out in the street with wheels of string flying kites. I love it! People eat with a knife and fork here with everything-even just rice and beans. I’m getting used to it but it’s a little annoying.

Oh, we had a Christmas conference for the mission that was fun. We did a little present exchange and I got a cool frame that i put the picture of Christ that Aunt Beth took, and  it looks great in our apartment.

Everyone has little Charlie Brown Christmas trees. I love them. But mostly there aren’t a  lot of decorations here. It doesn’t feel like Christmas here. Christmas Eve was the only day that seemed super busy with people buying gifts and running around.

We met an amazing family this week. The Mothers name is Ceu (which means sky or heaven in Portuguese so that’s interesting) but she is great. The second meeting we had with her she told us that she had been thinking about what we said before and how she thinks that we are angels in her life. She just said so many things that just confirm to me again that this gospel is true. This last time we visited her, they were asking us a lot of questions about missionaries and how things work. One question she asked was great: she asked why did you want to serve a mission? I mean, this is really hard, we told her about all the rules we have and we have to learn a new language and she wanted to know why. I am here because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ and feel His love. It is hard to be in a different country and to learn a new language but I know that I am here for a reason. I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be.

(This letter was sent January 5th)

Oh my goodness. It’s a crazy week. So much stuff happened. First- it’s hot! It was 104 degrees on Christmas Eve. It has started to get a lot hotter now but still not too bad. It’s a lot better when it rains or when it’s cloudy. I am totally getting a nice tan. It’s gonna be really bad when I get home, I already have one from my shoes. It’s great ;) 

There was a FARMERS MARKET on New Year’s Eve! Oh my gosh. It made me sooooo happy! It was huge.  All along this giant road and there were lines and lines of fruit stands and clothes and food venders. It was amazing. It made me think of Beth and Kelley and California so much! I kept thinking you guys were right behind me as I tasted some peaches or picked out mangos. Oh man it was great.

Oh wait-- I forgot to talk about caldo de cana! It literally means sugar cane juice and it is so good! We put some lime in it and it is delicious. Also we eat pastels here--its a type of food, kinda like a fried tortilla with cheese or meat in the middle. We also tried this really weird fruit this week, that was spiky pink and was white in the middle. They called it a lixia, not sure what it is in English (maybe lychee). It is so crazy all the different types of food that they have here. They have açai here which is really good. I've tried it as ice cream so far, and they put sweetened condensed milk and granola on it and it was delish! I'm loving Brasil!!

For lunch we had flan for dessert. Legit flan just like mom makes it. That was kind of a hard day for me.  Literally everything was reminding me of home! We stayed up late to watch the fireworks, because we couldn’t sleep even if we tried. Everyone here just buys their own fireworks or bombs and explosions were going off all night! But it was really cool :) A couple times the fireworks were RIGHT in front of us. And mom I totally did the oooooooh and aaaaahhh thing just for you ;) And our New Year’s Eve dinner was delicious. We had homemade popcorn (my favorite!) and fresh mango. AND then we put sweetened condensed milk on some of the popcorn and it was heaven! It was great :)

The sky is always beautiful here. The clouds are just amazing and it’s green. I know that the clouds are one reason that I was sent to Brasil. I love clouds so much and I know Heavenly Father knows that too. Brasil is beautiful!! Heavenly Father loves me. :)

We’re going to be starting an English class! I am super excited.

Not sure if I said this already, but the first week I was here everyone said that I looked like one of their relatives. Literally 3 people in one day said that I looked like someone they knew.  It was interesting. 

I pretty much cry in every lesson now, all the time. We were teaching Ceu and Silani  about the Restoration  of the gospel and I was reciting the first vision (in Portuguese but here it is in English)…

 I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is my Beloved Son: Hear Him!

That part just gets me every time. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. I love this gospel and I am so grateful that I get to share it with others. I love Ceu and Silani too. They are sooo nice! But Ceu has a heavy cigarette and coffee addiction and Silani can’t come to church because of work. Please pray for them that Ceu will be able to stop smoking and that they will come to church. They need the blessings and happiness that comes from this gospel. 

I am doing so much better with the language now and saying a lot more in lessons and talking to people in general. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much and I am soooo grateful! Love you all! Read the scriptures, pray always, and be strong!

Sister Berry