Sister Lauren Ashford, from the Northridge Ward, is serving in the Brazil Piraciaba Mission. She has been serving for 15 weeks and absolutely loves the people, the culture, and sharing the gospel. As her Portugese improves, her English gets worse.
Last week there were some storms and some flooding, so we were concerned, but she let us know on her P-day (Monday) that everything was fine and provided a little update on the crazy weather. She also shared her thoughts on the Sabbath day and the importance of remembering the sanctity of the sacrament meeting.
Here are some excerpts from her most recent letters:
Sao Paulo Temple
Sister Ashford (right) and her first companion, Sister Freeland (left)
Oi família e amigos (Hi family & friends),
Isso semana (this week) we had so much rain. It was crazy. Almost every day it was raining and we would get soaked. Earlier this week there was also a lot of wind with the rain. The trees were bending. Luckily minha companheira e eu (my companion and I) were able to hide out in a Subway. Later we found out that a tree broke the bank. Literally!! J There was so much wind that this huge tree fell, and broke the side of the bank on the other side of the street, It is nuts. E we recently walked by this one area that had tons of trees and a little creek at the end of the hill, you could barely see the creek because of the trees. Mas, when we walked by all the trees were gone. We think they all fell because of the wind, por que there was a huge tree that you could see the roots of because it had been ripped out of the ground. It is nuts.
I have realized the importance of reverence during the entire sacrament meeting. Our sacrament meetings are an hour long and include the sacrament, eating bread and water which represent the sacrifice of Cristo, e some talks from different members of the ward. There are also some Himnos in between. We had a familía come to church on the last domingo de Feverario (last Sunday in February) e this week we visited them. We asked them if they had any questions because in the other alas de igreja we had discussed topics that were new to them. They only had one question and it was about if cell phones are permitted during the sacrament meeting. They had observed members using their cell phones e being distracted during the sacrament meeting and they were concerned. We teach our pesquisadores (investigators) that this hour of igreja (church) is this most important part. At times we even tell them that if they cannot make it to all, at least come to this hour. This familía recognized how important it was and was telling us that they did not want to go to a church where the membros do not respect this hour. It was so sad and a shock for me e minha companheira (and my companion). At times, we as members get so used to going to igreja (church), that we forget the importance of these things. We all have to be reminded at times that there are people watching us and our actions can affect their choices.
On a funny note, minha companheira (my companion) picked up a frog. She loves them e here they are huge. We were visiting the família e they are terrified of frogs. One was right outside their door. So, off Sister Freeland went to the rescue. It was supper funny e she is still deemed the most courageous of all.
Até mais. (See You)
Sister Lauren Ashford
Brazil Piracicaba Mission
Av. Dr. Paulo de Morais, 555
2° Andar, Sala 25
Paulista, 13400-853 Piracicaba – SP, BRAZIL