Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

People! It's almost 2016! What is life right now?! I can't even believe it!

Seeing as how I have pictures to send, this email won't be very long.

What I do have to say though is thank you to all the people that have continually written me over the last 9 months. I appreciate it a ton! Knowing that there are people who haven't forgotten about me and still love me even from thousands of miles away makes being away from home a little easier. To those of you who haven't written me, I promise I won't hold a grudge...at least not for too long haha! Kidding! 

Also, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that your New Year starts off swimmingly!

Love you all!

Sister McEldowney


I made tacos this week! I had a major pride moment.

I was reunited with my favorite companion ever!
How grateful am I to have seen her this week!

My AMAZING companion!

My HUGE Christmas box!

BATISMO!

Parabéns Vivaldo! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Serious Lack of Motivation...To Write

So, I've discovered that 2 hours in front of a computer is not my favorite thing. I'm not really sure how I managed to do it for so much longer before, but anyway, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to want to write. With that, I'm going to send a few pictures and say that Morrinhos is great and Sister Arévalo is my new companion and is great. Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Ok, that's all for this week. Sorry people, I'll be more interesting in the week that comes!

Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney


Meet my companion!

Welcome to what sister missionaries find entertaining at 10:25!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I Can Be Taught

Thursday, December 10, 2015

So behind...crazy computer viruses!

From the keeper of this blog -

We've had computer difficulties galore since Thanksgiving. This blog entry is going to include all the ones I've missed in the interim.
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Not A Whole Lot to Say 
November 23, 2015

I'm just going to send the pictures that have been backing up because this week was a lot of walking, trying to work with members, and teaching our three solid investigators. Enjoy the pictures!

1. Meet my friends...who are all home now. Weird...I miss them...
2. Meet my new companion! She's from Peru. She's really nice and a super good missionary.

Felicidade
November 23, 2015

I got a package this week and I may have felt like a little kid at Christmas!

AMERICAN FOOD GALORE! #MintOreos #CANDY #purejoy #MissingHashtags #MissingJimmyFallon Ok, I'm done now haha!




I May Have Waited Until the Last Minute...Again
November 30, 2015


A Chance to Cook and a Chance to be Trunky
December 7, 2015

So, I have basically no time and apparently am learning really well from my lovely MTC companion to write some real quick bullet points for everyone. (Thank you Sister Aston! Glad I'm not in this alone! Hahaha)

Anyway, I'll explain the title and send pictures. Pode ser? Perfeito!
  • So the sisters in the ward where I am serving generally feed us every day for lunch. If they don't give us food, they give money. We're poor missionaries and everything they do helps us a ton! Well, this week we had a lot of the sisters not be able to receive us in their homes, so guess who cooked a lot this week! This sister missionary! The good thing is that I love love love to cook and it gave me a chance to try out some new things. This is totally preparation for when I'm a mom and have to cook every day regardless of anything.
  • We found a Mexican restaurant in our area! Guess what else! IT'S AUTHENTIC! The family that owns the restaurant is Mexican! They're from Cancun. We ate there on Friday night and I was in heaven! I totally got trunky thought because they starting speaking Spanish and we talked all about Mexican things and I just cried tears of happiness because I felt like it was home. They're the sweetest little family too and I think I have new friends. It was great! 
  • We baptized an incredible man who was so prepared for the gospel. I'm starting to realize that quality baptisms are much more worthwhile than the quantity of baptisms. Both are the best, but I'd rather have 1 super solid baptism, one super solid convert, than 50 more-or-less. 
Ok, I'm out of time and really need to send this! Love you all!

-Sister McEldowney

PS. 18 days to Christmas! Watch this - Christmas

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Week of Changes

Hey y'all!

I've been missing my country music like crazy this week. This whole 8 months on a mission thing is starting to take its toll on me. BUT, I love love love my mission, so it's worth giving up music and a normal life for 18 months.

Anyway, this week has definitely been interesting. Like I told y'all last week, we had transfers. My new companion is Sister Dávalos! She's from Lima, Peru and is super sweet. We're very different, but we're definitely making things work. Different isn't always bad! It's working to our advantage because...WE HAVE TWO BAPTISMS THIS WEEK! Holy cow! I'm so stinking happy! We had an amazing experience with them that I'm going to share with you all.

So the two baptisms are two young men who are grandsons of our recent convert. Anyway, the older of the two asked us why he needed to be baptized if he was already baptized in the Catholic Church. I have been scared to death to answer that question since the MTC. I truly didn't know how to answer, but I knew that I needed to say something. Also, I know that prayer goes a long way! I said a silent prayer as I thought about how to respond. Let me tell you all something: it may have been a silent prayer, but I was pleading for help. As we like to say in Portuguese, "socorro, socorro!" It was much needed in that moment. Anyway, as I silently screamed for relief, words started to come out of my mouth. The Spirit not only gave me the words to say, but helped me to gain a testimony I didn't know I had.

As missionaries, we invite all people to be baptized. We know that it is through baptism that we follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and enter in the gate on our path back to our Heavenly Home. I knew that, but I didn't know how to explain to this 15 year old why we were asking him to change his life. I understand now.

In Mathew 3 we read ,
"13 ¶Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Do you know why Jesus went to John the Baptist? Because he had the authority to baptize. So, there's one thing. In order for us to follow in Christ's path, we need to be baptized by someone who has the authority. 

Another thing. How was Christ baptized? By immersion. It's only logical. In order for someone to come up straightway from water, they have to be completely immersed. Point number two: we have need to be baptized by immersion. 

The last thing I said? Well, this is one of my favorites. We need to know what we're doing. Christ made the decision and we need to as well.

I'm out of time, but I want you all to know that I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I know that there are men on the earth right now who have the authority to act in God's name and to baptize in the same way that Jesus Christ was baptized.

I'm out of time but love you all!

Have a great week!

Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Home run!

No time. Had a miracle baptism this weekend! Sending pictures!

Also, we had transfers. I'm staying in Ponta da Praia as senior companion! Ahh! No pressure or anything!

Have a great week!

Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney

PICTURES:
Baptism of irmão Marcio! #miracle



1 Companion, 2 Transfers, and 3 Baptisms Later...

From the keeper of this blog -

A little bit late with this one. Kayla's 11/2/2015 blog below -

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Well, you guessed it! It's P-Day again! Happy day! I love P-day!

So this week was slow, but also super fast! I don't have a lot of time though, so this week will be relatively short blurbs about some major events.

  • BATISMO! Irmã Margarida got baptized on Saturday! My goodness, talk about someone who was truly prepared for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their life! She's awesome! In two weeks she met the missionaries (cough cough - my companion and me - cough cough), went to church, felt the Spirit, accepted baptism, and got baptized! People, that process took me over a year! She's so solid too! She's already planning her first trip to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and wanting to sign up to feed us and my goodness, she's just the best! I love love love her!

  • I went on my first divisions with the Sister Training Leaders here in Brazil! I did exchanges in Maine, but here was weirdly different. I survived with only some minor injuries. No, seriously, I have a "mild" sunburn as a result of my day in Praia Grande, but I'm alive and well!

  • Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, (known as Dia dos Finados here) is a thing! It's actually a really depressing day for Brazilians, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes everything better! We taught the Plan of Salvation to people in the cemetary. I wrote this about my day to my mom and thought the rest of you would enjoy it too! "We explained to them that the Plan of Salvation is God's plan for each of us. It explains where we came from, why we're on the Earth, and where we'll go after we die. It's amazing how knowledge of God's plan provides such comfort, especially in times of grief. I love that we, as missionaries, share with people that we lived with God before this life, that He sent us here to gain a body just like He has and to choose the right so that we can return to Him after we die. I think the best part is when we explain that families can be together forever through this plan. When we do all the things we are supposed to do and choose to follow Christ's example, we truly can be reunited with our families. I love to bear my testimony to people that families are forever in the Celestial Kingdom. We have the choice now to follow Christ's path so we can return to His presence and the presence of our Heavenly Father in our families. The choice truly is ours."

  • My companion hit her one year mark! I made chocolate cake and German Pancakes for her! That may have been slightly selfish on my part because I love both of those things, but she loves them too, so it worked out well!

Well, that's about it! Have a great week!
Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney

From the keeper of this blog, caught a few things worthy of more information. I've included hyperlinks below -

"She's already planning her first trip to the temple to do baptisms for the dead..."


"I love to bear my testimony to people that families are forever in the Celestial Kingdom."






Monday, October 26, 2015

Two for one...

From the keeper of this blog - 

I thought I'd posted Kayla's 10/19/15 email, but I logged in today to add her 10/26/15 email and guess what? In the name of positive thinking, you get two for the price of one in this blog entry.

October 19, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Week in Pictures!

Not a ton happened. A pretty ordinary week. Finally sending pictures though!




My district last transfer! Almost exactly the same this transfer haha!


I was in a trio for a week! Sister Mendes had to go home for medical reasons, but I love love love her! Missing her and it's only been a week!

Sister Aston! Goodness gracious, how I love this sister missionary! One day we'll be companions again!

I basically prepped like a mom for General Conference. #MissionsAreMomTraining #SnacksGalore

Sister Martinez! Love this girl! She's my other Mexican who speaks English and watched conference with me!


Sister Castillo! Meet one of my Sister Training Leaders who I love to death! She's great!

Monday, October 12, 2015

It Came and Went

From the keeper of this blog -

I can't believe I missed posting this. Sorry everyone! Without further ado...

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Can you believe conference is already over?! Minha nossa! That was the fastest weekend of my life!

Really though, General Conference is the best! I was like a little kid at Christmas this entire last week. Every day I woke up with a countdown to conference. Thursday morning I even woke up counting down the hours! What can I say? Hearing from the living prophet is a huge deal!

Because I'm going to continue with my fan-girl rant for this entire email, I hope you all accept it and keep reading! But first, if you haven't watched conference yet, what are you waiting for?!


No excuse now! The link is right there!

Anyway, I loved all of conference, but three talks stuck out to me in particular.

1. Elder Robert D. Hales
"None of us marry perfect, we marry potential." I loved that! Our goal is to be perfect, but we wouldn't be on the earth if we already were. Heavenly Father sees our divine potential and it is important that we see whoever me marry in that same light.

2. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"No love in mortality comes closer to Christ's love than that of a selfless, dedicated, mother." Pure perfection! Seriously, this talk left me speechless.

3. Elder Russell M. Nelson
"The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them." This entire talk was just great and gave me new aspirations!

Quick side note: Elder Kim B. Clark spoke during conference! That man is powerful! I remember hearing him speak when he was President of BYU-Idaho and thinking "wow! He'll probably be an apostle one day." He's now a member of the Quorum of the Seventy! The Spirit is so strong in his presence and in his speech. Secondary fan-girl rant over.

Anyway, General Conference is great! Every question I had was answered and I'm grateful that we have such wonderful men who lead this church through revelation they receive. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is Christ's church on the earth today and I'm so grateful for this knowledge.

Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney

Monday, September 28, 2015

4 Trainers, 3 Areas, 2 Countries, and 23 Weeks Later

I'M FINALLY DONE WITH TRAINING! I don't think anyone understands how stinking happy I am! For missionaries there is a program called "The First 12 Weeks" that is a training program for the first 12 weeks in the field. I've done it twice. I was literally being "trained" for the first 23 weeks I was in the field. TWENTY THREE! Needless to say, I'm super grateful to be done with that. 

On to the next piece of news. TRANSFERS! We got a transfer call! Sister Henrique Lima: continuing in Ponta da Praia. Sister McEldowney: CONTINUING IN PONTA DA PRAIA! Also, we're now in a trio! The two of us stayed, and we're now in a trio with Sister Mendez. I'm up for the challenge!

Truly, I can't remember a whole lot from this week. It was a lot of street contacting and trying to contact formers. Welcome to the real life of a missionary: trying to find golden investigators after you baptized all of yours. 

Oh wait! Can we all take a second to appreciate that General Conference is this weekend?!?!?!?! I'm through the roof! We get to hear from the prophet! People, we have a living prophet who receives revelation directly from God for us. He receives revelation for us, right now! We are so blessed to have a living prophet and to be able to hear from him and the apostles every six months.

I'm so stoked for conference and can't wait to watch it. I hope you all take the opportunity to watch it. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. 

Well, there's the week that Sister McEldowney had. Hope you all have a great week! And don't forget about General Conference!

Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney

P.S. I can't send pictures from this computer, but I will next week

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From the keeper of this blog -

Just in case you're interested in watching General Conference, I've included a couple of links below. The first is a brief history of General Conference and the second is the link to stream it live from LDS.org. The link to stream it live is on the splash page typically the day before the sessions (there are 4 - 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday) are scheduled to begin. They are broadcast from Salt Lake at both days 10-12 and 2-4 Mountain Standard Time. Hope all is well where you are!



Friday, September 25, 2015

So. Many. Things.

I seriously never have time to write anything! Someday, someday. Maybe...

Anyway, it's another bullet point week. Sorry all! I'll send pictures too though!

This week:

-I made cookies last Monday...again! I love love love baking!

-We did a whole heck of a lot of street contacting. That's what happens when even your back-up plans fall through. Like I said last week, it's a really good thing I like to talk!

-I taught a lesson on the bus. It may not seem like a big deal, but I managed to teach a lesson by myself (and with a lot of help from the Spirit)! #ICanPortugueseSometimes

-I rubbed ketchup into my hands for an object lesson in district meeting. Never again. I smelled like ketchup the rest of the day. It was a neat object lesson though!

-Sister Aston knows me so well! She called me this week just because she missed me and she wrote me a super legit note! Little did she know that was exactly what I needed to start my week off right! I have the greatest friend/first companion ever!

-We did weekly planning right this week! Food galore! Pictures will follow.

-We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this week. Such a simple thing, but I loved every second of my sandwhich. I miss the little things. And by the little things, I mean food hahahah!

-BATISMO! Caio got baptized! Happy happy happy day! Baptisms are the best! It's such a blessing to see someone make their first covenant with Heavenly Father. It's even more of a blessing to know that greater blessings are ahead so long as they keep those covenants.

Well, that was my week in a nutshell. I hope all is well in everyone else's neck of the woods! Have a great week!

Amo Sempre,

Sister McEldowney

Cookies!

Planning done right!

Batismo do Caio!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Happy Place and An Accomplished Goal

I never have enough time to write everything that I want to, but I'm going to give it my best shot this week!

Nope, just kidding! I have ten minutes!

Bullet points for the win!

-My district leader is the best and constantly helps me find new ways to improve my language and be a better missionary. He's pretty fantastic!

- I accomplished my mission goal! I was determined to stand in front of a full bus and invite every single one of them to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Guess what sister missionary did that this week! #missionarymoment #livingthatBrasillife

-People think I'm from Argentina because of my accent when I speak Portuguese. Success! I don't sound like a gringa!

-We found 3 golden investigators this week! #stoked #blessingsofobedience

-BATISMO! Yuji, who has been an investigator for about a year, is officially a recent convert! Saturday was great and the Spirit was so strong!

-My happy place is officially the kitchen! I've missed baking so much! I went to a member's house this week and we baked cookies and I about cried tears of happiness! I miss baking and cooking! something to look forward to in a little under a year.

-Oh yeah, I'M SIX MONTHS OLD!!!! 1/3 of the way through my mission!

Also, everyone should read 3 Nephi 11. Christ comes to the Americas and it is a super powerful chapter!


Love you all!
Amo Sempre,
Sister McEldowney








Friday, September 4, 2015

I'm About Out of Witty Titles!

I can't think of any witty titles for my email today, so this is what y'all get this week. My brain really hurts. I blame the fact that I'm still trying to learn how to speak another language all while actually speaking said language. Yeah, my brain hurts. #cantEnglish #cantPortuguese #cantWords

Anyway, on to the part I'm sure you're all waiting for.

Monday:
We literally cleaned our apartment for 5 hours. I about died. I guess it's nice to not be living in a house of dust bunnies anymore though.


Tuesday:
We didn't have any appointments, so we spent all day doing street contacts. Good thing I like to talk! #praticandoportuguês

Wednesday:
Zone Conference! Zone Conference was great! Presidente Cabral is an inspired man and the Spirit is so strong when he speaks. He's great! We were talking about our role and responsibility as missionaries. Our call letters all say that we are here to baptize those who are prepared. We aren't here to convince people the gospel is true, we are here to convert them to the gospel they already know is true. My call as a missionary, as a representative of Jesus Christ, is so much more than to find, teach, and baptize; my call is also to strengthen my relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. How can I represent someone I don't know or have a relationship with? It made me think of our families, too. We bear the names of our families. Our surnames are the names that our families have borne for years. What are we doing with that name? Do we know our ancestors? Do we have a relationship with the people who bear our same name?

As a missionary I visibly bear two names every day when I put my name tag on. I am Sister McEldowney, my name tag says that right up top, but the only thing that is bigger print then my name is the name of Jesus Christ. I pray every day that I am acting in a way that would make my Savior proud of me.


Thursday:
We had a huge storm! The power was out for 8 hours! Talk about a difficult wekly planning session! When I say huge, I really do mean huge. The winds were blowing at 80 km/h at one point. How insane is that?! On top of that, it was pouring rain. Welcome to winter in Brazil I suppose. Tuda bem, I'm alive and see sunny days in my future.

Even with a crazy morning (and afternoon) we had a major miracle happen! We were walking down the street after weekly planning and we saw one of the young men (boys age 12-18) in our ward. Well, he was sitting with someone we didn't recognize. Guess what! Turns out he was an investigator the elders were working with who fell off the face of the planet for a bit! His name is Yurgi. We had a super solid lesson with him about the Book of Mormon, the importance of reading it, and prayer. We also committed him to go to church on Sunday! #milagre


Friday:
We went to go visit a man we had been teaching who accepted baptism last week. I was so stoked to see him again! We planned everything to have daily contact with him in the week leading up to his baptism, and he dropped us when we got there. I wanted to cry! What's comforting, though, is knowing that he has all the resources he needs when he is prepared for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some day, hopefully soon, his heart will be softened and he will have a desire to follow Christ.

Saturday:
Lots of tracting and street contacts. We need to find new people to teach. That's literally what we spent all day telling ourselves.

Sunday:
Yurgi went to church! I screamed a lot inside! So much joy! HE ALSO ACCEPTED BAPTISM!!! #September12 I'm so stinking excited! He's so solid and I'm dying! September 12th needs to get here quick!

We're also teaching a 9-year-old who's getting baptized the same day! Apparently my entire mission I will be teaching children. Tuda bem! I can do it! They're fun to teach.


Book of Mormon!
I was reading my favorite book this week, also known as The Book of Mormon, and I fall more and more in love with it every day! This week I was reading in Helaman and I got to one of my favorite chapters, chapter 5. The verses that seriously stood out this week were 10-12. Take a look, read it, and let me know what you got out of it! I'll report next week!

Helaman 5:10-12

10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Amo sempre,
Sister McEldowney 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fixing My Illiteracy and Learning a New Area

Before we get into the meat of this week, I need to fix some things from weeks past and fix what seems to be illiteracy for Sister McEldowney here.

1. I did not eat a brigadeiro and moreno. I ate a cupcake with brigadeiro and morango! Moreno means brunette and morango is strawberry. I don't always pay attention to what I write, but I do know the difference.

2. I'm not serving in Pontal da Praia, I'm serving in Ponta da Praia. That was just a slip of the finger. It's that whole typing fast on different keyboards thing.

Ok, I think those are the only glaring issues.

As for this week:

Monday
TRANSFERS! I'm now serving in Santos in the Ponta da Praia Ward! I had to travel for 5 hours by bus to get here and was a solo missionary for a bit trying to get to my companion, but I made it!

Tuesday
Lunch fell through, then it didn't! #miracle

Wednesday
I saw Sister Aston! Serving so close to her area makes surprise visits a whole heck of a lot easier!

Also, we work like there's no tomorrow and it's awesome!

Oh yeah, my companion is Sister Henrique Lima. She's from Alagoas and she's awesome!

Thursday
We had some intense wind and rain and it was making the waves hit the rocks and jump the barrier. Well, we were walking down the boardwalk and this guy got totally soaked! We just about died laughing!

Friday
We had reunião de districto and it was great! I learned how to invite people to be baptized in the first lesson and during a contact. It was grand! Also, I ran into Sister Aston on the street and it was great!

Saturday
We met a super solid investigator that the elders left for us. His name is Ian and we committed him to baptism and put him on date. I'm pretty stoked! #batismo
We were on a role with meeting people today and just working our hardest! I love being a missionary!

Sunday
I'M SERVING IN A WARD! No one has any idea how much of a blessing that is for me. I was almost crying when we walked into sacrament meeting and we had more than 20 people! Also, there were young men passing the sacrament and more than 2 people in Gospel Principles! I'm in heaven. For those people either serving in a ward or living in one, DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED! I have a new appreciation for wards!

Alright, no time left!

Love you all!

Amo sempre,
Sister McEldowney

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São Sebastião at night!

Reunited!

Mission!

São Sebastião Sisters! Last District Meeting!

Beach!

New companion!