Monday, September 16, 2013

Quasi Morri

So sometimes members give us money to buy lunch on the street instead of making us home baked meals, which is exactly what happened on Saturday. We had just finished a once-a-month conference with our mission president and his wife, and decided to go to our favorite restaurant in the downtown. After I finished eating, I realized I couldn't breathe very well, but for some reason just thought it was normal and it would pass. There we are, me and my Brazilian and Argentinian companions, waiting for the bus to arrive, when I seriously cannot breathe. I bend over and start hyperventilating and crying and try to walk. Make it about 10 steps and then can't move much farther--I bend over again and my heart hurts so bad and my stomach is on fire and I am gasping for air and can't get it to my lungs. People are starting to gather and my companions start splashing water on me and sit me down in my skirt in the middle of everyone. I'm hysterical by this point--my hands are completely numb and disfigured and my face is starting to numb as well. Apparently I was swollen and red. Still sucking air, I start to weave in and out of consciousness. I hear Sister Lopez somewhere yelling into a telephone and then the Elders are there and Sister Monteiro. She starts shoving stuff down my throat and the one elder who can speak english keeps saying: I need you to focus, I need you to stay awake, keep your eyes open, look at me. They lay me down on a bench and he puts his hands on my head and gives me a blessing.

It was an interesting moment for me, because I remember feeling stillness in my body. I couldn't breathe, but inside of me for some reason I felt calm. 

Right then Sister Monteiro grabbed some medicine from her purse that she randomly had and starting giving it to me and forcing me to swallow. (I felt like a 2 year old. NOOO MOOMMMMM DON'T MAKE ME EAT MY VEGATABLESSSS!!!!) The car arrived to take me to the hospital and they dragged me across the rest of the terminal. I suddenly had a brilliant idea and was able to say in a tiny raspy voice: Sing.......Come, saints......please......

They all started in, belting ``Come, come Ye Saints`` and I truly couldn't help but smile, so smile I did:) 
They took me to the hospital and brought out a wheelchair, to which I said: Oh my gawsh, fancy!! Never before in my life!!!`` I decided that if I was going to die, I was going to be the girl in the wheelchair cracking jokes before she croacked... 

They stuck a needle in my arm for 15 minutes and a needle in my butt, (there were a lot of jokes for that one,) and drugged me up really really good. I was in a tiny little room in the middle of Brazil with a bunch of other people, needle in my butt, needle in my arm, finally can move my hands, and I just wanted to take a picture. So I did!! (I'm smiling in these pictures because by this point, I was super thrilled to be able to breathe.) 

If Sister Monteiro wouldn't have been in Ponta Grossa that day, with THAT medicine, I would have died. I have a testimony that the Lord is over this work and that He watches out for His missionaries. I also say ``quasi morri`` often in Portuguese because it means ``I almost died`` and I think it's funny to say when I trip. Which is a lot of times in one day. But really, I almost died!! What a day. 

They took me back to my apartment and decided I couldn't stay there one second longer, so I've been emergency transferred, once again, to Curitiba. I had 20 minutes, once again, to pack my bags. I was so drugged and tired. President Monteiro pulled me aside because on Sunday, we baptized my first family here. Oh, a beautiful family and oh, I love them. I wanted to stay for it. He told me that I was important in the conversion of the Pineira family, and they could be my family still, and that he was asking me to please leave Ponta Grossa right now because it was the best thing for my health. 

So, I missed my first family baptized. But, they were baptized and that's what's most important. I may have shed a few tears over this, but tudo bem:) 

I can't eat without having a hard time breathing now and we're not sure what's wrong but I'm a little discouraged because it was a very close call. I was informed this morning there is a good chance I get sent home. A little bit of a rough break, you know? I want to stay here.

The good news is that this week, I raced the boys in the family we're teaching and absolutely destroyed them. And the other good news this week I finally learned how to say ``bowl`` in Portuguese. And the best news of all is that a family I love very much was baptized this week:):) I'm a happy camper. I'm really grateful to be alive. You know? 

I love this work so much. I want to do it and I don't know if I get to anymore, but for heavens sake I will anyways wherever I am. I have such a testimony of the love that the Lord has for His children. I have such a testimony of His involvement in our lives. I know that the Atonement is real and that it works and sometimes hard things happen so we can learn. How great it is to have opportunities to learn:) 

All my love!!

Sister Brooks

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sweet Moments!!!

I have a new companion, and she is from Argentina. Which means that we have a three-some of English, Portuguese and Spanish. I can’t understand a word she says, so we’re still super good friends. This week was hilarious with the language barriers going every direction. Sister Lopez will say something in Portuguese and Sister Garnica won’t understand, so I’ll naturally explain it in English as if that will help. We’ve all added dictionaries to our standard works that we carry around every day all day.

Us trying to make room for
one more person in our
tiny little home.
She really is darling. It’s so funny to me to see the stark cultural differences between all the different people I’ve met in the last month and a half. Example: When I arrived, I was concerned about buying food and finding someone to watch me run. Sister Garnica wanted to know if we could go to a spa on P-day so she could get her hair done and get a massage. What? 

This week we saw a grand and marvelous miracle. There we were, walking up the massive hills of Ponto Grossa, when a woman with a big bag of groceries walked past. We’ve been making goals to talk to more and more people every day, (partially because you find more people to teach that way and partially because it’s super hard to breathe walking up this particular hill and I needed a break,) so we stopped and started chatting with her. It turns out that she is member with a very strong testimony who fell away because she had been living in an area without the church. She moved to this area only two months ago and has been wanting to come back to church with her family. Two of her sons aren’t baptized but want to be. Through another miracle, the heart of the father of the family was softened and they will be baptized this week:) I’m as happy as a clam. 

New missionaries from America arrived this week, and apparently the President told them not to worry about the language because ``Sister Brooks got it in 30 days.`` Well, I think it’s kinda like when a woman asks a man if a particular dress makes her look fat and he says no, but really it does. What President Monteiro said was a complete lie, but I’ve been feeling pretty awesome the last few days. 

Our lightbulb burned out this week
 so I like to study in the dark
with my handy dandy HEAD FLASHLIGHT!!!

We approached a drunk man this week and gave him a pamphlet about the gospel, to find out later that right before we arrived, he had been in a rage with a knife trying to kill a couple of kids. I’m really grateful that we have the Lord’s protection as His missionaries. 

The language is coming, at a snail's pace, but it’s coming:) I have been able to start teaching this week, not just talking. I’m starting to have a sense of humor in Portuguese, which is wonderful because I was starting to miss laughing at myself every day. 

This week we taught everyone in the whole world and their dogs which roam the streets here. (PS. My fear of dogs is vanished. They growl and I pick up a rock and yell in English and they fear me.) We found some really wonderful people this week, including a woman who started screaming in the middle of me rehearsing the First Vision about how glorious and wonderful God is. It was the most exciting First Vision recitation I’ve ever heard, and you better believe we’ll be visiting her again soon. 

We also taught a man who wasn 4 feet tall and at least 100 years old, and I wanted to ask if I could take a picture of his cute little old face. I resisted because that is kinda weird, but I was smiling the whole entire lesson and wishing my buddy Abby was there to enjoy chatting with the cutest old man in all of the world:)

I apparently have tasty blood on the left half of my body. I wake up with a bloody left leg every morning from something eating me during the night. I’m convinced it’s a spider bigger than my face. 

I learned a lot this week about patience and about the Lord’s timing. My timing is never the Lord’s because I want everything to happen NOW. But the Lord is teaching me through so many things and people how to truly be patient with myself and other people. As I’ve tried to exercise patience, I have felt the Lord’s love for His children in this area so much stronger. Every morning I pray and feel how precious every soul is to Heavenly Father. And then we go to work, and I have my companion teach me hymns in Portuguese that I can sing while we walk the streets:)

I love the work. It’s hard, but the moments when it clicks with someone, like it did this week with the family we found, are some of the sweetest moments of my life. What a privilege:):)

Oh, and my love plus a little more, 

Sister brooks
The "gyms" of Brazil.,,blue and yellow toys
next to a playground.
And, a funny little sticker in all the buses in Brazil. The first people it says to make room for on the buses are the obese. Before the old, the woman with child, the diseased. Make room for the obese.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Laughing in the Rain



I have marvelous news!! This week I was asked to say a prayer in English, because people think I'm super cool when I speak English. So I started to pray and completely tripped over all my words. I was SO EXCITED! I am fluent in Portuguese prayers! No, I can't carry on a conversation about much of anything, but ask me to pray and you better believe I'll show off. 

This week some crazy man on the street passed a huge group of people waiting for the bus. My companion and I were in this group, waiting to take the bus to Centro for a district meeting. He was walking fast and saying ``Bom dia`` and ``Tudo Bem`` to absolutely everyone. He saw me and approached me nearly running, starting a conversation loud enough for everyone to hear as if we were best friends who hadn't seen each other in a year and a half. He had a lisp. I can't understand people without lisps half the time, so in this situation I was toasty toast. He was practically yelling at me, completely animated, and I was just nodding and saying ``Ohhhh, sim!`` and ``Nao acredito!!`` My companion stepped back and let me have a conversation with my new best friend for probably 10 minutes, and it was maybe the strangest thing that has ever happened to me. The good news is that now me and the man on the street are buddy buddies.  

This week every investigator we had left dropped us. Every single person with a baptismal date now wants nothing to do with us and we walked and walked and walked yesterday to get people to church and no one wanted to come. We probably taught 25 first lessons to people this week, knocking on doors and talking with everyone we saw, and everyone agrees with what we say but doesn't want to change. (This is a picture of me with a perfect family we found. Totally on board until they discovered church started at 9 AM. Really?) I prayed last night: For heavens sake, tell me what I'm doing wrong and I'll fix it!! I decided I need more faith. This is a work of faith and perserverance, and this week I'm absolutely determined that we will find people prepared:) We're also getting a new companion tomorrow to train because of transfers, and currently are trying to figure out where the little one will sleep. Every day an adventure. 

It started pouring rain yesterday and naturally I forgot my coat. There I am, waddling around, looking for anyone to teach, and suddenly every person in Brazil is busy making eggs and toast. (People here don't even eat eggs and toast, I KNOW YOU'RE LYING!) Soaking wet, no one to teach, middle of a dirt road and I just started laughing. OH MY GOSH WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?! (This picture is me very wet when somebody finally let us in.) 

We've been getting a lot of pressure to perform and our area honestly is super struggling right now. One night my companion and I sat down and she said something that has stuck with me all week: ``Sister Brooks, the Lord wants souls. Some people may want numbers, but the Lord wants souls.`` Well my goodness, yes He does!! I keep thinking of the scripture in Ether that AFTER the trial of our faith we see miracles. I'm pretty thrilled for the moment after the trial of my faith. The Lord values patience a lot. I have no patience. What a stinky opportunity to learn. 

How grateful I am for prayer. At the end of a difficult day, how grateful I am that I can kneel down and say. ``Well. I worked a lot today and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Help me feel like I'm an alright person.`` I'm learning a lot about what the Lord expects from us, and it is often a lot different from what people expect from us. 

I so wish I had exciting stories of people we found this week to tell!! WE had two baptisms this week and were informed by them yesterday that they weren't interested anymore. We talked to so many wonderful people this week and I am obsessed with them all. I think one change I want to make is really help the first lesson be focused on Jesus Christ. People always feel the Spirit when you focus on the Savior:)

I am in love with Portuguese. I LOVE IT! I WILL SPEAK IT FOREVER!!! I love to study it, because it's a technical language with many rules. It's like a really hard math problem that always has a solution, or like a complex puzzle. The interesting thing is that no one hear speaks correctly, all the rules I read so much about. 

I would tell you that you're speaking your language wrong, but I don't know how to say that. 

This week we had a conference with the mission president and his wife, and I learned so many things I want to do better. A mission is like a college of learning about your own personal weaknesses. Super awesome. But really, we watched this video of Christ coming to the Americas, and a picture popped up of Christ with this old, broken woman on His lap. They were both crying, and for crying out loud, I wanted to join in too. (I'm becoming Gus from Psych. The sympathetic cryer.) But how many times has the broken person been me? Haha how many times THIS WEEK has the broken person been me? How grateful I am that the Lord is always there with mercy and love.

We also had a women's conference with the sisters in my area. We learned the importance of putting on make-up and being a classy and elegant woman. Worst part of my mission so far, no exceptions. Except that they did feed us chocolate afterwards. 

The Lord wants souls. I'm pretty confident that there are souls here He needs, and I get to learn a little bit about patience right now:) And I get to learn about laughing in the rain, and apparently about how to put on make-up, oh heaven help me.

One thing is for certain. I love the Lord. He listens to us when we pray, and He loves us always, and what I am trying so very hard to teach people is truly the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a priviledge :)

Com amor!!!!!:)
Sister Brooks

ps. this is me at the girly conference. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Onward and Upward

Remember that one time we had 9 baptismal dates? That apparently was so last week because everything that could possibly go wrong in a week, went wrong this week. Let me demonstrate:

The family of Louis and Tonya. Came to church and apparently had an awful experience. No one at church asked their names, no one welcomed them, she felt like trash in Relief Society, and she now refuses to return or allow her family to be baptized. She started smoking again and doesn't want to change. There are two things you can do when you hear news like this: you can either laugh or cry. The choice for me was easy, and I cried for a good long time in the dirt on the side of the road, and ate a giant carrot because that was the only food I had. I am so ultimately sad about the situation. She has a testimony of the gospel, I know she does. We did everything in our power to make it right. Started fasting immediately, prayed like never before, brought members to lessons, had a good talk with the relief society, met with the bishop, I EVEN MADE CHOCOLATE CAKE! But the chocolate cake here isn't that good, and she still wants nothing to do with it all. 
Milane. Baptism and marriage in two weeks. Her father figure randomly showed up two days ago drunk and beat her, apparently really bad. Her kids were screaming, the police came, and she had now moved to who knows where. Her dad showed up yesterday and started losing it with my companion and I---sobbing uncontrollably in the rain and begging us to help. I felt like I was in a movie and for once was very grateful that I didn't understand a word that was being said. What an ugly situation. 

Marcilina and Cheila. We went to mark the day of their wedding this week, and because he was born in a different country, they need all this paperwork before they can get married, and thus be baptized. 

Daneilla and Fernanda. Suddenly decided they didn't want to be baptized even though they know that the church is true.

Well, apparently discouragement is a thing. It was a pretty rough week to be honest and I'm still trying to think of something wise to say about it all. I really did learn a lot about faith. The Lord values our agency more than our salvation, and sometimes no matter how much faith you have in something or how much you pray about something, people are going to choose wrong and life is going to happen. It's hard to have a lot of faith in something that falls through, or a lot of faith in 9 things that fall through. But I decided this week that there are two kinds of people, the kind who have faith that things will go their way and the kind that have faith that sometimes ``failure`` is the Lord's way, and that He will work everything out in His way and timing. What a hard lesson, my goodness! I don't like seeing people I love reject what they need, and this week I saw it every single lesson I entered. 

I'M NEVER HAVING KIDS. I've heard watching your kids make bad decisions is the same type of feeling, and I'd rather avoid that for the rest of my life. Or just have perfect kids.

Crazy child pulling out my hair

On the bright side, I found 50 cents on the side of the road this week, which is equal to a quarter in America. This was especially exciting because the mission forgot to give me money for some reason, and so I had a grand total of 31 cents to my name. It was kinda like a fun game of trying not to spend any money, except if you lose the game, you don't eat. Haha I don't know why people always forget me, but I´m getting more and more comfortable being forgotten. So family, if one of these days you feel like just not writing me, I probably won't even notice. 

Another exciting thing that happened this week: I gave a training!!! In Portuguese! About the wonderful week of finding we had 2 weeks ago!! I speak Portuguese you know!! People are starting to be able to understand me more or less, EXCEPT for when I ask the question: ``What is your name?`` Ok, that was the FIRST phrase I learned, but NO ONE understands when I ask!! I practice every single morning when I wake up. What is your name? What is YOUR name? WHAT is your NAME? Still, no one knows what I'm asking. Why? 

We taught this lady this week who was just prepared. She had just been praying for an experience to come back to God the day before we showed up. We found her on the side of the road and taught with the Spirit, and I was feeling my Spirits lifting when suddenly, AFTER THE LESSON, she remembered that she WAS was a member of a church. Haha what? Sometimes things like that slip my mind too, don't worry. 

I prayed a lot this week because let's get real, who wouldn't feel like a failure of a person and missionary after a week of a series of unfortunate events? I was asked to say the closing prayer at Tonya's house for the final lesson this week, and I thanked the Lord for our Savior Jesus Christ and just started crying again, but this time it was more out of gratitude than sadness. The Lord sees our efforts even when they are weak, and I have so much faith that He makes our weaknesses strengths when we are humble. FAITH, FAITH, FAITH! Onward and upward:):) I have a testimony that the Lord knows more than we do and that He refines us in sometimes uncomfortable ways. I love the Lord and I love sharing His gospel, and even though it at times is hard, how grateful I am for the gift of choice. 

All my love plus a little more,

Sister Brooks

PS. Everyone pray they remember to feed me

Me and some random people who wanted
a picture with an American
and thought it was the coolest thing ever that
I was serving a mission in Brazil...
Interested to learn more:)

Monday, August 19, 2013

When it "clicks"

Me and my pantry
I’m going to be very honest for a hot second here. I hated my life for the first few weeks in Brazil, and I'll admit that there have been a few pity parties I have thrown for myself. I speak like a 3 year old, I feel like a burden to my companion, I just want some warm water, and I don’t like fried food and beef on everything I eat. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but for the first two or three weeks, I really wanted to come home. I mean, not really, but kinda;) Last Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to run for 20 minutes and made some decisions while running in circles around my companion. I prayed very, very hard and told the Lord that today was the first day that I was going to truly unpack my bags here and give the day everything in me. I told Him that I was very sorry because let’s get real, I’ve been a little selfish, and I told Him that I love Brazil, but that I’m super lonely and I need His help a lot, a lot. I gritted my teeth and ran as hard as possible in a 10 inch radius and just made up my mind to really, really, really really serve Him. That day, my companion and I went from 2 baptismal dates to 9. We had 11 investigators at church yesterday. We have 6 baptisms this Sunday that we didn’t have a week ago.

I got to the end of the day and was so overwhelmed with the mercy and
kindness of the Lord. I tried my best to give a little bit more and I
had no doubt that day that we would see miracles, and this week was
one huge miracle. I am a psycho journal-writer, but Tuesday night I
could only write a few sentences because I was so incredibly grateful,
more than I think I ever have been in my life, for the goodness and
kindness of the Lord. He takes every opportunity we give Him to show
His love for us:) Wow, what a week.

Tonya and Luis Fernando and their family will be baptized this Sunday
if she can stop smoking. She will:) They are the MOST INCREDIBLE
family, and I love them so much. Luis Fernando got in a gang fight 2
months ago, and lost almost all of his vision. So Tonya reads the Book
of Mormon to him:) We gave their family a picture of the temple, and
I’ll never forget Luis Fernando trying to see whatever he could of it,
and asking us to describe all the details he wasn’t able to see. Tonya
hung it up on their wall the second we gave it to them:) Oh, joy!!

Every Friday our ward throws a mini little party with food and games
and lots of new people:) This week Sister Lopez and I hosted games for
the teenagers and kids. We played this game where you have to remember
the names of fruits, and I have never focused so hard in my life. It came
down to the wire with me and a 5 year old. I was at a disadvantage
because I dontt know Portuguese, and they don’t teach you fruit names
in the MTC. But I conquered and ended up winning, and I’ll be honest,
I was thrilled! It’s not every day you beat a 5 year old at a fruit
game in Portuguese you know.

I gave a full talk in church yesterday. That was an adventure!! The
language is coming, slowly slowly slowly. I got a little bit excited
yesterday because in a lesson, I suddenly realized that I understood
what was going on! This was the first time in 4 weeks!

We are planning a wedding, it is for real!! If there is one thing I
know how to do, it’s plan parties. This will be the wedding of all
weddings in Brazil:):)

I am the blonde one:)
I love Brazilian culture. I think every American should come down here and learn to chill out a little bit. I’m trying;) Everyone is just
happy to be alive and happy to talk to everyone, and everyone wants to talk my ear off about American music:) I really think this week I
started to love the work. It is hard, no doubt.  We walked 4 miles before 9 in the morning yesterday to pick up investigators for church. (It was uphill both ways in the wind and the snow.) But I can’t really sufficiently describe the feeling of when it ``clicks`` with someone
you love an incredible amount; when they realize that they have divinity in them, regardless of money or race, and when they realize that change is possible and that they can be clean every day as they try, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I saw the Atonement change hearts this week, and I am so indescribably grateful for the eternal principle that when we help others, the Lord takes care of us.

I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I started my talk
yesterday by saying that I may not speak well or understand the
culture, food, or people. But there is one thing that I do know, and
that one thing is big enough to overshadow the things I don’t know. I
have a testimony of this church, and I know that Jesus Christ lives.

      All my lovey lovey love!
Study time in my freezing
cold apartment

                           Sister Brooks

Making new friends wherever I go

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hungry for the Beautiful Things!!!

A telephone booth here in Brazil

This week I locked myself in a bathroom. I still do not understand how and I still get stressed out when I think about it. Here´s what happened: I went to the bathroom. I got up and tried to exit the bathroom. The door wouldn't open. So I stood there for about five minutes racking my brain for vocabulary I've learned about keys, doors, and bathroom. NOTHING!!! SO I started pounding on the door and yelling and my companion came running. The family of the house that we were in all got involved and for about 15 minutes, they were hollering at me what to do. I am so sorry but I have no earthly idea what you're talking about. Eventually I ended up chucking the key out the tiny window into the backyard weeds outside, and I was rescued! I have decided not to use bathrooms anymore in Brazil. 

I had a marvelous week. I was emergency transferred this week because of some things that happened in my last area, and I had 10 minutes to pack my life and get on a bus, wet laundry and all!! (This picture is of my zone leaders helping me onto the bus. The 60 lb suitcase also mysteriously broke, which is why he is carrying it on his head.) 

My new companion is a angel and my goal in life is to be her. She is so patient with me and the language, and tells me every day how much she loves working with me. She gives me more responsibility than most days I think I can handle, and this week made me explain the commandment ``Thou shalt not kill`` in a lesson. What? I get frustrated to the point of tears almost everyday in companion study, because she makes me practice speaking over and over and over again. She looks at me calmly and tells me to relax and follow the Spirit. She always makes me talk first to people, and we found many people to teach this week because they are interested in what an American is doing in Brazil:)
                                Why, let me tell you!!!

We found a family this week because I felt like we should knock on the door. Actually that's a lie. We found a family this week because the house was a bright color and I'm like a child who likes shiny things and got excited and ran to the door and started clapping.

My gosh, they are prepared for the gospel. I absolutely love them all, and we set a baptismal date for them in two weeks. The house is tiny and filthy and they are the kindest people in the world. I love asking people the question: What importance does God play in your life? because without fail, they sail ``Everything.`` So it is with the family of Louis Fernando and Tonya:) God is everything to them because they have nothing else. They know that everything we say is true, and they want to be baptized. I don't think I've ever felt as much joy in my life as I did when they accepted our invitation.

We taught another family. The mom was super distracted and not paying attention to anything when I recited the First Vision with all my heart. I asked her afterwards who she thought appeared to Joseph Smith, and she said she didn't know. I started to repeat the first vision and out of no where, the little 4 year old sitting next to her mom and staring at me intently said: ``Deus.`` I was overwhelmed with the Spirit. Yes, yes God did appear to Joseph Smith, you are exactly right. Everyday my testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is strengthened through the people I meet.
Just happy to be here...

We are teaching 2 other families who are ready for baptism EXCEPT the parents don't want to be married. I am so grateful I watched the Wedding Planner 25 times before I came on my mission, because me and my companion are about to plan a couple of weddings!

I asked another investigator this week if he had prayed about our message. He said no, but he had prayed about which church was the closest and had definitely received his answer. HAHAHA WHAT?! He said it so smugly, like he had discovered the mysteries of God. I burst out laughing. I am so happy that you have received the answer on which church is the closest distance to your house. 

Bringing stickers to Brazil was the best idea I've ever had. I give them to everyone, and everyone is obsessed with them. I can't speak your language, I really don't like your food very much, but have a sticker!

I seriously am in love with Brazil. My companion and I walked a lot this week, and ran when we were running behind, and talked with a lot of people. We sang hymns walking down the street and started teaching an 84 year old woman who I started talking to on the street. (She likes our church but is scared of what her friends will think if she joins. Haha darling you've got bigger things to think about. Like meeting God tomorrow.) 

Last night on our way home we ran into a man asking for money. He had no arms, and my heart just broke for him. He was crying and asking for anything, any help. I asked him if he was hungry and he said yes, and I asked him if he liked to read and he said yes. I told him that we don't have much money on missions, but we have something so very much better:) I gave him an apple and a Book of Mormon and we talked to him for a long while. He kept crying and saying ``thank you for talking, thank you, please come visit me more, please help me.`` I asked him if I could say a prayer, and it was one of the most fervent prayers I have ever said. I'm quite certain my Portuguese grammar was terrible and I don't know if it was understood. I was quiet all last night, (which is rare,) because I was so sad that people have hard lives. My favorite part of missionary work is meeting people who are broken and who are hungry for the beautiful things somehow I've been blessed enough to know. 

I love love love this work, and can't quite grasp how enormous it is. This is the work of Jesus Christ, I have no doubt of that. This is His church, and I know that it is true. 

All my love plus a little!
Sister Brooks

My First Friend in Brazil

Me on a Freaky Little Bridge
that made me feel like Indiana Jones
in a skirt:)