Friday, September 18, 2015

9-14-15 Transfers, New Investigators, and Rainy Cloudy Weather

Hello Everybody! I don´t have much time, so this will be a cut/paste email! If you already got some, you can skip over to the next part!

Transfers were pretty cool. It was refreshing to not be the freshest freshie, so that´s something. I liked knowing what would happen and knowing a little more Portuguese. We sat around for a good long time before the greenies came. We had a visit from an area 70 who serves in the Portugal region but he´s been doing a mission tour here. They speak Portuguese SO WEIRD there! It´s pretty funny. So transfers then. My new companion is Sister Alencar from northern Brazil, close to Fortaleza, but I can´t remember the name of the city. She´s pretty cool. She has 10 months on the mission and she´s 24 years old. She´s a really good missionary. Together we found 17 new investigators this week, which was pretty darn good. We´re going to hit the standards of excellence sometime this transfer and have pizza and ice cream with President Broadbent. My housemates are Sister Lima (brand new STL) from Brazil somewhere and Sister Tyckson from UT. Sister Lima has 7 months on the mission and Sister Tyckson has 4-5 months on the mission. She served in Montana before coming here. They´re opening a closed area so they've been a bit stressed out this week, but I think they´ll be just fine. We've been working a lot with the old investigators in our area and we've been having pretty good success in our area. We´re targeting the favela (ghetto) and finding lots of really prepared people there! Yesterday we taught two 12 year old boys named Daniel and Ryan and we´ll try to be teaching them a bit more this coming week! It´ll be pretty great! Woo!

This week has been a rainy cloudy one. We had a couple of days when we were caught off guard and without umbrellas, so we got pretty soaked (not pretty, we got completely soaked) The first day we were together, Sister Alencar and I were waiting to cross the street in front of a HUGE puddle when a bus passed by, drenching us right before lunch at a member´s house, so that was pretty fun. (Not.) Ahha. But we have a new elder in our ward, Elder Alvim from here in Brazil, along with me, Elder Melo, and Sister Alencar. We´re going to hit standards of GOLD this transfer and do GREAT things! 

Hope you all have a GREAT week!

Sister Denton

9-7-15 Sick Companions, 60 Contatos, and Transferencias

Hello Everybody!

Sorry about not sending an email last week! It´s a little difficult at times when you have limited time on email, but I will try harder in the future! 

This week has been a little bit strange for me because each day either I or Sister Rubilar were sick, so we didn´t get a lot of work done, sadly. It´s a little frustrating to just stay in the house and not do anything, so I tried to make the best out of the time we spent there and I organized our area book (a binder with information about the area and people we teach here) into semi perfection. Before papers and folders were spilling out of the book, but now, everything is beautiful and secure. I´m pretty happy about it because I HATE having a bad area book. It´s pretty frustrating, but all is well now!

This week, we had a training with president and the assistants for just the new missionaries in the mission. It was a pretty good training. President Broadbent spoke a lot about following the example that Christ has set for us and about following His path. He also talked a bit about another mission president who requires his missionaries to make a minimum of 60 contacts per day (our minimum per day is 10) in order to find people to teach. Our zone leader, who was also at the training, bet me and Sister Rubilar that we couldn´t do that, but that if we did, he would buy us pizza. Needless to say, we were more than inspired to make those contacts. We spent the first hour when we were back in our area making contacts until we had 60 each. Then on Saturday, we had the pleasure of eating pizza paid for by our zone leader.

Transfer call came yesterday! It´s so stressful here in Brazil with the transfers! In Cali, we had all the information we wanted the Saturday before transfers. Here, we get the call Sunday at night saying just if we´ll stay or if we´ll go! Ah! Anyways, I´m staying here in the Jardim Consórcio ward, but Sister Rubilar is getting transferred. So tomorrow I´ll be getting a new companion! 

All is well for the most part here! Last week, our ward split, and we lost an investigator because of it. Now she´ll be taught b our district leader, but all is well because she is awesome and she wants to follow Christ and do the right things, so I´m happy about it.
I forgot my umbrella yesterday and this was the result!

As always, I hope everybody is doing well and that your week will be AWESOME!

ps. today is Brazilian Independence Day! Whoo! 

8-31-15 No letter this week?

A note from Amy:

Dear Family,

We don't know why, but Holly didn't write a group letter this week. She and I emailed back and forth a bit, so I'll share some of that with you. She also emailed Grant, so I'll share that bit too. She's doing well. I asked her how she's doing on a scale of 1 to 10 and she told me she felt about 7 or 8. I'd consider that pretty good. I can't say I'm much better than a 7 on most normal work days, can you? I save the 9's and 10's for banner days, like vacations, homecomings, and cash bonus days!  

She said, "Things are pretty good for me, but  now Sis Rubilar is kind of down. I feel like I´m on a seesaw with her. When I´m up, she´s down, and vice versa. Nossa!...Yep, still sick. Dunno what we´ll do. She´s also pretty down because the ward split yesterday and Rosangela (our investigator who has a baptismal date) is now the investigator of our district leaders. She´s pretty sad because we´ve been working hard [with her], but I´m just glad that she´ll get baptized. Dunno. Eer since Velia´s baptism, I´ve been less and less concerned about numbers. I´m trying to recognize success in different ways...  heey check  out what I did this week while Sis Rubilar was sick! The scriptures that I got at the MTC are really heavy, and while I use them to study, I hate lugging them around everywhere, plus, I don´t really need D&C and PoGP, so I´ll just be using this. When we visit the temple, I´m going to buy a smaller bible (super cheap, R$10-15)"

She decorated the book with pictures from old church magazines. 

I had told Holly about our dinner last night, which consisted of smoked pork shoulder, baked beans, cotton candy grapes, and corn on the cob. She's always hated corn. This was her reply:
Cotton candy grapes sound awesome! I want to try some! Before I left there were some awesome cherries in Cali called Washington cherries. Keep your eyes open for them! You´ll be shocked, but I actually like corn. One night in California, we had dinner with members, and I decided to try corn on the cob. There´s this one streetfood stand here in my area that there´s a guy ALWAYS steaming corn on the cob, but I haven´t gotten to try it yet.

This is what she sent Grant: "So yesterday we had dinner with a member who´s half Japanese. She lived there for 4 years. She told me that in Okinawa they speak a completely different dialect than the rest of the Japan! You never told me that! Did you know, or did you feel like Japanese was just extra hard in Okinawa than in Kobe? Anyways, she had a Book of Mormon and a Japanese book. I learned how to write "to fly" in Japanese. Does this scripture look familiar, or have you forgotten completely any Japanese characters?"

Sister Denton with Japanese Book of Mormon

Pages from a Japanese book

We think her hair looks a lot lighter. We don't know if it's because she colored it, or if it's from being in the sun. She's definitely more tan too. 

That's all for this week. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8-24-15 Hey! Hello Peoples!

This week has been so long! We had a lot of changes this week, and on top of that, Sister Rubilar has been sick this week, so we were attending to that a lot this week. We went to the hospital here to get some relief for her sinus infection and I got to witness firsthand the Brazilian health care system. I think that will be incentive to not get sick here. :/ It sufficeth me to say that it was a lot of unnecessary waiting to get a shot and a breathing treatment.
At the hospital with Sis Rubilar getting her breathing treatment.

About my life here. It´s missionary life! 6:30 is the beginning and we get to work! This week was kind of strange though, because Pres Broadbent issued a new rule that we have to leave the house at 9AM and return by 7PM due to perigosos... Eeeep. But I kind of like it this way better. We have all evening to do studies and get ready for bed. The few downsides that I can see are that we have a few people that are nighttime only peeps, we have district meeting on p-day from 5:30 until 7:30. Oh well, we´ll make it work somehow. 

We have a member here who is kind of like a senior office missionary equivalent named Irmão Peixoto. He has  daughter on a mission and he just adores sister missionaries. When I went to the mission offices this week, he went to each sister missionary and asked what we need. Each one said, Nothing, I don´t need anything, I´m good. But I said, A new bed! He said he´d work on it. I don´t know who decided that it would be a good idea to give missionaries a bunk bed! The last thing I want to do in a day is hoist myself onto a bunk bed and the last thing I want to do in the morning is hoist myself out. ugh. but Irmão Peixoto is pretty awesome. I´ll have to get a picture with him someday.

I went to the police this week to take care of visa stuff. It was pretty fun (not really, it was quite boring, but that´s not the point) because I got fingerprinted but in a cool kind of way with an electronic reader that I can see my fingerprint on the computer screen and it was pretty cool. We travelled a bit by ônibus and train to get to central São Paulo, so it was kind of a two day ordeal.

I celebrated 6 months this week! Whoo! 1/3 finished!
6-month Pizza!

Hope you´re all doing well and that this week has been a good one!
Love you bunches!

8-17-15 Hello Beautiful People!

Grafiti aqui na São Paulo
It´s been another really long hot week na Missão São Paulo Sul (A Melhor Missão do Mundo!) (It really is the best mission in the world!) It´s been another week of walking an talking to people. I think the most interesting thing about this week is the sheer amount of Testemunhos de Jeová standing around. We always smile and wave as we walk by them, and they smile and wave back. Their chapel is just a couple doors down from ours, which I think is kind of funny because it was exactly that way in Mt Juliet! Anyways, that´s not really that important....

Side note: sorry if I have bad grammar or spelling, the keyboards here are different and I have a bit of difficulty with them. On top of that, it looks like pretty much every other word is misspelled when you´re typing English on a Portuguese computer.

This week, Sister Rubilar and I have been working to help the people we teach get baptized! For the most part, it´s been pretty progressive. We have a few problems with each person we teach. One woman we teach wants to get baptized, but since she lives with her boyfriend, she has to be married first. She was really surprised when we told her that. Apparently the previous missionaries didn´t let her know that. So she said that she´s going to get married! We´re waiting for them to set a date for the marriage, and until then, we just keep teaching her. We teach another woman with the same problem, but her boyfriend doesn´t want to get married and she doesn´t have the money to move out, so we´re kind of at a standstill at the moment and we don´t really know what to do. We´re also teaching a kid who wants to get baptized, but he has trouble waking up and getting to church in the morning, so we´ve got to help him get there. We also have to talk with his mom. Things are looking pretty positive with these three people, we´ve just got some little molehills to get over.

Anyways. I feel like I´m adjusting well to Brazil. The only thing I can´t really get used to is almoço. Instead of dinner, we have lunch with the members, which is alright. I enjoy food no matter what time of day it is. But they feed us SO MUCH. And the way Brazilians cook, it seems like they were not able to make up their mind about what to have for lunch. For example: Yesterday at lunch, we had ribs, lasagna, potatos, some sort of fried root that was similar to potatos, salad, rice, beans, veggies, strawberry cookie stuff, and chocolate cake. So after to have at least a bit of everything, and you finish your plate, Irmã says, Sister, come mas! (Sister, eat more!) And if you say that you don´t want more, they´ll start asking if the food is bad, and then you feel guilty and eat more. So by the time you leave, you´re just plain MISERABLE, but the food is so good, so it´s kind of worth it.

Well, that´s pretty much been my thoughts for the week! Hope you are all doing well! Love you all!

I held the cutest puppy this week!

8-10-15 Sister Denton´s thoughts about Brazil

Boa Tarde! 

How´s everyone doing? This week has been a pretty good one! There´s been a lot of walking, talking, and conferencing this week! Mostly just walking. Before I came, I knew that I would be walking a lot, but now this much! It´s crazy! If we´re not teaching, we´re walking. Oh well, it´s all good for me. It gives us a lot of opportunities to talk to people about Jesus Christ!

Not a lot of spectacular things happened this week that I can think of. So I guess I´ll just talk about Brazil a little bit.

Brazil is SO DIFFERENT from the United States in a few different ways. Firstly, the people here are so social. You can literally bring up a conversation out of nowhere with anyoe on the street. It´s very strange to me that anyone will just want to talk on the street. But it´s really good for contacting people. Another thing, people can sell anything here. You can have a store right out of your garage if you want to. Lots of people just make do with the resources that they have, so walking down a street in a neighborhood, you can see a hair salon, daycare service, bottled water shop, bakery, convenience store all within about 5 minutes. People also sell things on the busses. They´ll just come on up and start talking about what they´re selling. Chocolate, water, yogurt, peanuts, you name it, they´ve got it. Everybody was right, there´s lots of rice and beans here. Staple foods. We have them with literally EVERY SINGLE MEAL. I can´t wait for the day that I never have to eat beans again. Until then, feijoa it is! 
Eu gosto Guaraná

This week we had a conference with two other zones and President Broadbent. It was a really good conference for a while, but the thing lasted about 6 hours. The whole thing was of course, in Portuguese, and I just cannot concentrate for that long. It was really hard. However, President gave a couple of really good trainings about How to be a Representative of Christ and How to Work with Members. Both of them were great trainings. During the one about working wit members, we talked about how missionaries should not flirt with members, especially youth. President said that there were only two things that we could say to youth: ´´Bom dia!´´ and ´´Você tem uma referencia para nós?´´ (Good mornig, do you have a referral for us?) It was really funny. :) 

Today my zone went out to the park for a picnic and a bike ride. It was really fun. We rented the bikes for about an hour and just rode around the park.
Zone Activity - bike riding in the park
Sister Denton and Sister Vasquez

The Zone

Anyways, I hope you all have a great day! 

Love you all!

Street Feet


Our kitchen
Kitchen and Laundry

The washer has to be set to start each cycle ... wash, rinse, spin. No dryer.

8-3-15 Plane rides, Hills, and a good night for a Casamento


Nossa! This has been the longest week of my LIFE! I have finally arrived in Sao Paulo! It´s so cool here I can´t even believe that I´m here! This has been a pretty good week here. My companion, Sister Rubilar, and I are doing a lot of work here. Neither of us know the area really well, so we´re doing a lot trying to get to know the members and the area. There´s a lot of people here, and the houses are literally one on top of the other. The street names are really confusing and our map wasn´t really helping at all. However, we are still trying our hardest to try to figure all of this out. 

I got here after a full day of plane rides and layovers and bus rides and missionary travel. When I arrived at my mission here, we  went to a transfer meeting. There was probably the entire mission at this meeting (or at least the people being transferred. I haven´t figured it out yet.) It was so cool! All of the missionaries here are so excited about the work and they´re so spirited and it is so great! I love it. My new trainer, Sister Rubilar, and I left the meeting to go do work! I our area, we went with the elders to get to know our area a bit more. We met with the ward mission leader and checked out the chapel and talked to people. Our mission has so many hills! It´s crazy! My calves have been killing for the past few days, but I think it´ll get better over the next few months! Literally everywhere we walk is either uphill or downhill and there is no in between. I´ve got to admit though, I like walking a lot! It´s a lot easier to do the work waling than when we´re in cars. We´re able to make more contacts and talk to more people. In one night, we can contact up to 15-20 people and 140 people a week! 

Anyways, on Saturday night, I was able to go to a Casamento (wedding) for two of the elders´ investigators. It was really nice and almost the whole ward was there. Later that night, we were out tracting and we passed by the Igreja Verde (Green Church, it´s in our area. HUGE green church) and found another Casamento. /they had trumpets and stained glass and violins and TUDO. It was pretty cool. Sister Rubilar and I stopped for a second to watch the ceremony. Then later we were passing my the Igreja Universal (a big deal here in Brazil. not really sure if we have a similar church in the states) and we found another Casamento! So apparently, it was a good night for a casamento. 

Right now, Sister Rubilar and I are teaching a few people. Most notable are R, a long time investigator who wants to get baptized, but she´s not married, L, a catholic lady who has family who are members of the church, and L-E, the younger brother of a recent convert! L-E is on date to be baptized on August 16! 

So everything is going pretty well. I´m alright, but I don´t really understand ANYONE at all. There´s a lot of people from different places in Brazil, lots of different accents, and lots of people who talk really fat, BUT, I´m trying my hardest. Like Nephi, I know that the Lord will provide a way for me to understand and communicate with this people. I hope all of you have a great week and that you are all doing well!

Love you! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

7-31-15 Brazil São Paulo South Mission

Dear Family of Sister Denton, 

Sister Denton has arrived safely in the São Paulo South Mission. I have had an opportunity to visit with her in a personal interview, and I am inspired by her missionary efforts thus far and know that she will make a great contribution to the work of the Lord here. We are so pleased to have her! Sister Broadbent and I love her already, and we appreciate her desire and preparation to serve the Lord. It will be a wonderful experience for us to work with her in this great missionary effort as the Lord hastens His work here in Brazil and throughout the world. We know that our Heavenly Father will bless her, as she is obedient and diligent.

Thank you for your willingness to share her with the people she is serving her in Brazil. May you feel peace and joy in her service.

I have attached two pictures: One of Sister Denton with my wife and me and another with her new companion, Sister Olmedo.

With our love,
President and Sister Broadbent

7-20-15 Bugs, Baptisms, and a 6:35 AM Phone Call

This week has been such a good week! Pretty much almost everything that has happened has gone according to plan. I'm just super happy and don't really know what else to say about that! Haha:)

So this week, Sister Skelton and I were preparing for forever for V's baptism. On Friday, we went to the church building to clean out the font and to make copies of the program. While in the font, Sister Skelton found a spider and a cricket that crawled up through the drains, so that was an exciting discovery! After killing the spider and the cricket, she and I went down to clean the font out in preparation for the baptism (partly because the font stinks and partly because the last baptism was in January, so it needed a bit of cleaning. So we went down and squirted soap everywhere and just scrubbed that thing until it was squeaky clean! (Then I took pictures....) Later that day, we had a training from President Tew that lasted pretty much 4 hours, so that was pretty long, but it was a really good training with lots of great suggestions for our work.
Font Selfie
On Saturday, there was a baptismal service for V! It was so great! I was so happy to see her get to that point. It was such a good baptismal service. Sister Skelton and I sang a musical number for V, and Sister Saintonge was able to come back, so she talked a little bit at the service as well. After the baptism, V got up and bore her testimony of the gospel, and it was so sweet and spiritual. She is such an example to me and to her family. I was so happy for her on Saturday. It was amazing. :)
L to R: Sister Saintonge, Sister Denton, V, Elder Gibson (Zone Leader), Sister Skelton

So probably the 2nd most exciting part of the week for me (besides V's baptism) happened on Wednesday morning. At 6:30, I woke up, got dressed and got ready to do our morning exercise (which is a zumba dvd. SUPER fun). As I was turning on the dvd, I heard the phone ringing. The first thought that came to mind was "Who in the WORLD is calling me at 6:35 in the morning?" I checked the caller ID and discovered it was President Tew. I answered the phone (quite sleepily I might add). The conversation is as follows:

Sis D: Hello, this is Sister Denton...?
Pres T: Hello Sister Denton, it's President Tew, how are you?
Sis D: I'm good....? How are you?
Pres T: I'm doing well. Have you heard anything from Salt Lake lately?
Sis D: No...?
Pres T: Well I have. Last night I was notified that you've received your visa to go to Brazil!
Sis D:............... When is my departure date?

So yeah, that's a good way to wake up a visa waiter! So I'll be leaving in a week to go to Brazil and pretty soon I'll be in Sao Paulo speaking Portuguese and eating rice and beans and living it up like a true Brazilian!

That's pretty much it for this week! Hope you all are doing well!

[Holly's mom: Sister Denton traveled on July 27th from Long Beach to Salt Lake City, then to Atlanta and then an overnight flight to São Paulo, arriving there at 6:30 am on July 28th]

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

7-13-15 Key Indicators, Bible Videos, and a Baptism

This has been one long hard week, just let me tell you! Haha!

I had a pineapple this week, and I ground the whole thing into a smoothie. LOVED it.
Sister Skelton and I have been hard at work this week, and it has just felt like one of the longest weeks of my LIFE! I don't even know why it was a long week, but it was just one of those weeks.

Now that my murmuring is out of the way....

Some good news: On Tuesday, V passed her baptism interview! Now we're paving the way to get her into the water. We've finally made it to the final stretch with her, and I couldn't be any happier about it! We've been working for quite a while to get her to the place she is today! After about 4 different baptismal dates, we've finally pinned one down, which will be this Saturday. Please just some prayers that I'll make it through this week! We're making final adjustments and preparations for the baptism, and all throughout this week we're having meetings, exchanges, and more meetings, so it'll take a miracle to make it through the week without going insane!

Today was pretty cool. There is a member in my ward here who played John the Beloved in the Bible Videos on You can see him in this video. He's the one without the beard. Anyways, today was cool because he came and told us about the filming of the Bible Videos and gave us behind the scenes footage and commentary about the making of the Bible Videos. He talked about his experiences and feelings as he was playing John the Beloved. He also shared stories from his own mission and how his testimony has grown throughout his life and everything. *It was a really cool experience.
This is a picture of me and Spencer Oberan (John the Beloved.)

This past week has been a long one, and I guess that's because I had a lot of days when we've only gotten a couple of things done. Each week, we work to accomplish certain goals (a new person to teach, receiving a referral for someone who might be interested, lessons taught to non members, lessons taught to less active members, and so on) and each day, we try to accomplish smaller versions of those goals. Throughout the week, we were only getting little bits and parts of our goals accomplished, and it made each day seem so long. However, at the end of the week, we totaled up our key indicators (the goals) and realized that we did a lot more work than we though we had. So that made the whole week a lot better. I was happy about that.

Anyways, Just pray that I remain sane this week. We'll see if that actually happens by next week! Haha:)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

7-6-15 People, Fireworks, and Water Gun Bandits

Hello all you Beautiful People!

How has your week been? Mine has been pretty great! Granted it's been a long one and I've been working super hard, but I feel great about it!

This week, we talked to a lot of people, mostly because in Huntington Beach there's a lot of people to talk to! Haha! We have been trying to build up our teaching pool because pretty soon our investigator, V, will be baptized and we'll need someone else to teach by that point. So we've been looking for a lot of referrals from members and people on the street. This is some pretty lengthy work when you think about it. From receiving a referral to contacting and teaching and baptizing can take months for one person! But the reward is great compared to the work that we put in. People ask all the time what our incentive is and why we're doing this. the simple answer is that we're all brothers and sisters, and God is our Father, and He wants each of us to return to live with Him after this life. Knowing that, I want to help everyone to be able to get there! I think about the scripture that says that "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." My favorite part is at the end though because it says "How great shall be your joy if you should labor all your days and bring save it be one soul unto me." I can 100% agree with that. The opportunity to see someone come closer to Christ and Heavenly Father is such a great one and I love that I get to see that kind of thing every day.

So I've officially had the opportunity to experience the 4th of July in Huntington Beach, and it was CRAZY. All week as we talked to people we experienced a lot of hype concerning the 4th. Everybody had plans and the town was abuzz. On the 3rd however, everything was quiet. It was like the calm before the storm. Then the 4th came. People were out on their bikes headed to the beach and the sun was shining. My area is a huge tourist spot, so there were cars EVERYWHERE (especially in the tract that Sister Skelton and I wanted to work in that day) so we couldn't find parking ANYWHERE. We drove up and down the streets where we wanted to work (pretty slowly too, maybe 5mph due to all the bikers and partygoers) At one point, two men walked out and stopped our car, pulled out two water guns, and started squirting our car. That was probably the funniest thing. After that, we went home and parked and decided to walk to our appointments. We helped one guy fix his motor bike, I contacted a man in HORRIBLE heavy portuguese/spanish, and walked around a little suburb for a little while. We worked on foot for most of the day until dinner and then went to grab the car to work in the evening. On the way home, there were fireworks literally 3 stories above us (they're going to ruin the car nooooooooo) but it was fun.

Other than that, there's not much to tell. Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a great week! You're all amazing!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

6-29-15 New Investigators, Goals, and Hard Work

Hello Everybody! 

This week has been a long one, and it's a new transfer, so I don't have my planner to help me remember what happened this week, so my email might be unpredictable...

So it's been a pretty great week! We've been working hard here in Huntington Beach getting lots of stuff done. I was so happy last night when we totaled up our key indicators (basically the numbers of the work we did during the week) and realizing that we met and exceeded all of the goals we had made for the week! There's not much of a better feeling than being able to reach and exceed goals. 

Anyways, we've had a lot happen this week. V's baptism didn't happen on Tuesday, but we're still seeing her pretty much every day. We set a new date with her 3 weeks from now, and she's pretty serious about meeting that goal. We go over almost every day and we're reteaching her the lessons because she's not sure if she knows enough (even though we almost constantly reassure her that she does) and we just answer questions that she has. I hope that this time it will go through. Sometimes planning a baptism is so stressful. I'm glad I have an extra three weeks to plan it! :) 

So I'm going to have a little braggy moment for my companion. She is AWESOME. Sister Skelton is so sweet and loving for everybody, and she pretty much LOVES to talk to everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. We'll just be walking down the street and I'll turn around and she's talking to someone new. Together, we've been able to get a lot of new investigators (maybe 8 or 9 this transfer? I can't remember...) Anyways, we've been working hard to catch these people back at home a couple of times. We've been able to keep teaching a new lady named K who's super sweet and inviting. We're pretty glad that we've found her, especially since we're about to get V baptized, we'll need new people to teach!! 

I'm just pretty glad to be in California right now. There's lots of good stuff happening here. Sister Skelton and I are working hard and teaching people. Sorry about the short email, there was just a lot of work to do this week! 
Zone pictures never turn out well. Someone is always moving or making a face. Anyways, Sister Skelton (who is Samoan) gave me the skirt that I'm wearing. It's called a lava lava. All of the elders fight over who's going to get one from her, but she just loves me so much and gave me one. hahaha :)
[Holly's mom: interesting note: Sister Skelton is Samoan, but in another email, Holly mentioned that she is from Australia. Sister Skelton was called to serve in California, but she actually had to visa wait in Australia for three months before coming to California. It's like Holly's situation, only in reverse!]
The staple meal of this week for Sister Denton: Minute Rice and Chicken Nuggets. Yum.
[Holly's mom: We seem to be getting a weekly food highlight. I guess she's just impressed with her own cooking. Her cousin, Elder Donald does the same thing though. Last week he told about making rice that was too watery, so they added flour to thicken it. Yuck!]
Love you all! Hope you all have an amazing week!

6-22-15 ET's, Baptism Probs, and A Vegemite Sandwich

Hello All of you BEAUTIFUL People!
So I've been told that I've been sounding depressed in my last few letters, so I would like to say 2 things. 1) I'm not a very enthusiastic typist when I write, and I'm not skilled in sounding peppy all the time and 2) Sometimes I only have a little bit of time to email, so I don't have time for said peppiness. Nevertheless, I will try to sound less depressed in my letter this week, although most of the events of the week were pretty devastating in missionary life. 

As you can tell from the subject line, there's been a few difficulties this week. On Wednesday, right after weekly planning, Sister Saintonge and I got a call from one of the assistants to the President informing us that there was an emergency transfer coming up. Sister Saintonge was getting transferred out of my area and I would be receiving a new companion on Friday morning. So that was pretty big and surprising news. As a missionary, you really expect that kind of stuff, but definitely not a week before transfers. I was completely blown away and a little bit devastated. So we spent the next two days getting Sister Saintonge packed up and moved out and seeing all the people from the ward. There were a few tears and a lot of grumbling in the process, but in the end, everything turned out fine.

On Saturday, my companion and I went to one of the baptisms in the stake for a lady who was taught by some other sisters. She was so sweet (and side note, she's Brazilian!) and the baptismal service was beautiful. She had to get dunked a couple of times before it happened right because the water was a little shallow, but we were able to get through it. Before she was baptized a few sisters in the zone, including myself, sang a song for her and at the end of the service, she got up herself and bore her testimony about her conversion and everything. She really is amazing. After the service, I got to talk to her and a member of the ward for like, 10 minutes in Portuguese. It was so funny because they were just going back and forth about how I speak Portugal Portuguese and how funny I talk. Sister N (the member) called me irmazinha (little sister) and Sister S (the investigator) called me linda americana (Pretty little American) I was cracking up the entire time!
Me and Sister S
Unfortunately, we will not be having our anticipated baptism this week. V hasn't been doing too well lately, and she didn't show up to either her interview or church on Sunday. So that baptism is going to be postponed until we figure out what's wrong and what we can do to help her out. Lots of prayers would be greatly appreciated for her until we can help her out more. 

So my new companion's name is Sister Skelton. She is so sweet and funny and she's from Brisbane Australia. I've only been with her 4 days, so I don't know much about her, but she's a great companion. 
Me and Sister Skelton
[Holly's Mom: I received this photo via text message from Sister Wood, a member from Holliday UT who had just moved to Huntington Beach. I love missionary moms who send me photos spontaneously. They get it!]
She's so good at finding and talking to people so I pretty much sit back until I figure out a good time to pipe in about saying a prayer or getting a return appointment. We've got a lot of new people to go through this week, so lots of prayers would be nice that we don't get lost (because neither of us know the area) and that we can work more with these people that we've found. Anyways, she's pretty great. Last night, she made me try an Australian snack known as a vegemite sandwich. Apparently, she makes all of her companions try one of these. She makes it using a vegemite spread, butter, and cheese all on top of a piece of toast. I tried it, but I did not like it very much. She just laughed and laughed because I kept on picking it up and then setting it back down and scooting the plate around, hahaha. All's well though! 
My vegemite sandwich late last night
Me and my new companion at a zone activity this morning
Sisters will be Elders! Last week, the sisters in the zone decided we always feel left out in zone meetings because we're the only colorful ones amongst all of the white shirted elders, so we kind of coordinated a little bit before zone meeting

I hope everyone is doing well and that you have a great week!

6-15-15 Security, Missionary Rap, and a Quesadilla Waffle

Not much has happened this week, and I've used most of my email time, but I'll try to make this a quality email! I can't remember so much as to the day-to-day events that have happened, but I'll just share what sticks out most in my mind of this week. 

(Security) This week, my companion and I have been trying to work through the directory for our local congregation to get some information for the ward leaders about members who've been missing church lately. One of these members live in a super guarded community near the ocean, and we've been trying to go visit her for a while with absolutely NO success. There's no way to get in or out, hahaha. So a couple of days ago, we were walking by again and noticed a car going in, and we were able to follow it in and get to the member's apartment. She was so surprised and kept asking us "How did you get in? How did you find me?" So we're pretty much secret agents with a knack to get to places we want to go!

This week has been one that is super frustrating, but one that has taught me the value of patience. On several occasions, we weren't able to meet with our investigator V, because she's been working super hard to make money and get a job since she's recently been laid off. After making several appointments that just flat out fell through, we were able to meet with her yesterday and really impress the importance of doing the things we're asking of her. The Spirit was so strong in her living room as we told her of the importance of reading the Book of Mormon before she gets baptized. I feel as if before it was kind of a less-prioritized thing, but when we were there explaining that to her, she was able to understand that it is a testament of Jesus Christ and that it will help her grow closer to Him before she's baptized. She's now on track to be baptized on June 23rd and she'll be an official member on the 28th. She is really excited about it, and so am I! I can't wait to see how the gospel will continue to bless her life!

To finish, I guess I'll explain the rest of the subject line. In our zone, we really enjoy sharing our music since there's only so much we can listen to. This week, as we were listening to a new playlist that another Sister gave to us, we discovered a rap song that someone made up about missionary life. Sister Saintonge and I are working on perfecting it in preparation for any upcoming rap battles.

As missionaries, we don't have many amenities, including quesadilla irons, so we really have to improvise. This week, I used a waffle iron to make myself a quesadilla after church. It looked really interesting, but it still tasted like a quesadilla! 
My quesadilla waffle

My companion and I found a rubber chicken stuck to a tree this week.
Strange things here in Cali. Strange things.

So I hope everyone has a great week! I know that Jesus loves each one of you so much (and that I love you too!) 

6-8-15 Meetings, Hunger Games, and Brazilian Bites

Hey Everyone! How's life?

Things are pretty good here in Huntington Beach! This week feels like it's been the longest week ever, but I guess that's due to the fact that we've had three different meetings on three different days and that P Day was on Tuesday last week. That'll do it to mess up a missionary's week! Haha! Anyways, due to the sheer amount of meetings, not much has happened this week, but it's still been a good one.

On Tuesday our first "meeting" or the time that we saw the whole zone was at the Temple to do an early morning session there. That was nice to be able to go back there and visit the temple, but I talked about that a lot on Tuesday, so enough of that.

Wednesday, our second meeting was our Zone Meeting for the week, and we talked a whole lot of business and stuff, which is fun still, because it is run strictly by us, the young missionaries. I'd like someone to find another kind of organization where young adults ages 18-25 voluntarily do service, conduct meetings, and make work schedules. All independently, all without older adult supervision or incentives. It just doesn't happen. Anyways, we spent that meeting discussing how we can improve our area because truth be told, it's a tough one. We also talked a lot about how we can improve our teaching methods and finding people and such. Just a day in the life of a missionary.

Thursday was a huge zone conference with President and Sister Tew. We talked a lot about how to teach about the Restoration of the Church of Christ and how to teach it with power so that we're able to teach it on less that 30 minutes. It was a really good training by President Tew because he's a REALLY good teacher. My mind is blown every time that I hear him teach.

On Saturday, I was kind of bummed out because Saturdays are pretty awful in our area. We usually don't have anyone to teach regularly on Saturdays, so we just go around contacting less-active members of the church and people who've showed potential interest in the church in the past. But, this Saturday was truly an answered prayer from Heavenly Father when we were able to teach two less-actives and visit with members of the ward. I was so happy because we stayed relatively busy all night long.

Today has been a lot of fun so far. Our zone, in an effort to become more unified, has decided to start playing games in the mornings on Mondays. today, we all came to the church building and played Hunger Games in the cultural hall. We set up a whole bunch of tables on their sides along with those fake trees that are usually in church foyers. Then we set up a whole bunch of nerf guns in the middle of the cultural hall and split into teams. After that, we turned out the lights, except for a few, and had some pretty awesome Hunger Games fights. We played about 4-5 rounds of this, building strategy and stealth, but most importantly, teamwork. It was so much fun. So we spent a few hours just doing that and letting off some steam. Afterwards, Sister Saintonge and I went down to main street by the beach to go get some lunch. We found this little street vendor selling Brazilian food, and I was like, "Heck yeah! Brazilian food! Let's do it!" So we went to get some coxinha (chicken, cream cheese, and mashed potatoes all fried up), empadinhas (Brazilian chicken pot pie), kibes (same as coxinha, but with beef), cheese bread, and Guarana Antarctica. (My MTC district can correct me if I got any of that wrong, since most of them are there anyways.) So that was pretty exciting.

Anyways, it's been another great week for Sister Denton! How about you? What's life like out in the world?

Have a great week!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

6-2-15 Visit to the Newport Beach Temple

Surprise! You get an email from me on a Tuesday!! Haha! Today, my zone got to go to the Newport Beach temple, so our entire Preparation day switched over to Tuesday! It's honestly been kind of strange having pday today and all. Actually working all day yesterday was really weird. Oh well! It's pday now!
Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Sisters at Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Sisters at Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
We've found a couple new people to teach this week. They're some who show a little bit of potential, so we're pretty stoked to start trying to meet with them more. We're mostly stoked just because the work in this area is SUPER hard to do, and finding people to teach is the hardest part, but we've just been praying and working on that. We're really hoping to see a change in this area soon, and that we'll be able to turn it around. 

Yesterday marked the second day in two weeks that we got locked out of our apartment on accident. Luckily, we have a pretty good relationship with our next door neighbors, and they'll let us climb over their balcony in order to get to ours. It's a good thing that we keep the screen door open, because we cannot afford a locksmith! Haha!

On Monday night, I was trying to remove my sliding closet doors in the hallway of our apartment and accidentally shattered the  ceiling light in our apartment, which caused damage mostly to me. I got a cut on my head and my arm, but nothing serious, so we're all good here! Between me and Sister Saintonge, out first-aid job was kind of shabby. We have a huge box just full of bandaids, but not really any other first aid anything, so we ended up putting like, four bandaids on my arm and tying it with a shopping bag to keep pressure on it, and a Spiderman bandaid on my head. Haha. On Tuesday, I spent all morning with those Spiderman bandaids on my arm and head. It's a good thing I'm a pretty fast healer, because I looked pretty ridiculous.
Spidey Bandaid
Shopping Bag Tourniquet

This has been a pretty awesome week for me and my companion. We've been working pretty hard with our investigator, V****, to prepare her for baptism. We've moved her date up, so her baptism is in less than two weeks! We started freaking out this week because it's the first baptism for both of us, and we don't know how to organize any of it! Haha. We've been checking out what our training manuals have had to say about it and all, but there's not enough info!! Luckily, we have some pretty good members and leaders who are willing to help us organize it, so I feel like everything is going to fall into place pretty soon. Keep V**** in your prayers so that she'll be able to prepare herself for her baptism! 

Well I hope everyone has a good week! I love you all and wish you the best in whatever comes your way!! :) 

5-25-15 Hey y'all!

My brain is kind of fried right now, so I'm not sure how this email is going to turn out... 

This week has been pretty interesting for me. I'm beginning to learn what it's like to do what the Lord wants you to do. This week, the LA Brazil consulate has changed its requirements for a visa, and a little more paperwork was required before they can process my visa application, so needless to say, Brazil has been on my mind a WHOLE LOT. I've been reading out of my Portuguese scriptures and singing "Ide por Todo Mundo" all week long, trying to keep my spirits up about the whole situation. I think all the time about my Training Center friends and how they're doing in Brazil, and I pray for them a whole lot. I'm the only visa waiter in the CA Long Beach mission, so it's pretty tough to keep the spirits up with that all week. 

I've been keeping busy though. There's lots to do as a missionary, so thankfully I'm able to keep my mind off the entire visa thing. This week, we were able to meet with V**** more often.  Let me tell you, V**** is a missionary's DREAM. She is faithful, prayerful, and keeps her commitments (most of the time) she always wants to meet with us and she's super sweet! I am so glad to be here and teaching her and helping her come to Christ. She's had a pretty tough week this week, so it would be good to keep her in your prayers if you'd like. She lost her job on Friday night and has been facing that struggle a bit, but Miracle of miracles, she's still remaining faithful! On Sunday she came to Church and she was able to feel the Spirit there SO STRONG. I felt it there too. I know that everything that was said was said just for her and it was just what she needed to hear and know. She's just amazing. 

This week, not much happened because we were back and forth between our area and the mission offices a whole bunch. We finally smoothed out the car/bike/walking situation and we were able to get our car back after it was in the shop for a while to get a paint job so it's all shiny and brand new. Another day, we found more stuff saying that we need too move out (even though we really don't) of our apartment, so we had to go back and figure that out. Then we left our gate pass for our apartment complex in the other car, so we had to go back and get that! So needless to say, I'm very familiar with the office missionaries, and they're awesome. 

This week we contacted a man who the Elders referred to us. We started talking to him to try to see if we could share a message with him about the Church, but we very soon figured out that he speaks about 5 words of English and that he speaks Italian. So that's frustrating. anyways, we picked up an Italian Book of Mormon at the office and dropped it at his house with our phone number. I don't know what's going to happen next, but God moves in mysterious ways. And I guess that's all I need to know. I don't need to know about my visa or if that man will read the Book of Mormon and call us, but I know that God is preparing him to receive the Gospel one day from someone. 

Well, that's about all I have for this week! Hope all of you are doing well, wherever you are! Have a blessed week!

5-18-15 Hello all!

How has everyone been this week? Mine has been a pretty good one! I made it through my first transfer in the field, so I'm pretty excited about that! This week, I met a lady who lives in our apartment complex who's from Brazil, so I was able to converse with her em Portugues a little bit. That was fun! We've certainly kept busy this week!

So on Tuesday, we had to go to the offices to do a vehicle swap due to the fact that my companion did a little bit of damage to our car concerning the back door and the side of a garage. So we went to swap cars with a couple of Elders who had bikes so we'd be able to get around when our car was in the shop. We felt kind of bad about it, but at the same time, Elders don't have to wear skirts, so we got over it. 

On Tuesday night, we wanted to surprise our ward mission leader and his wife before they got back from a trip to Utah, so we "heart attacked" their front door for his wife and "crashed" his garage door. Pictures will follow, because that's pretty hard to explain. Anyways, we did that at about 8:30 at night, so we felt kind of vandalous and we were praying that nobody would come along and call the cops on us (even though we weren't doing anything wrong, we just looked kind of suspicious.)
Heart Attack on Front Door

Heart Attack on Garage Door
On Wednesday, we had our last zone meeting of the transfer, where we made up a vision for the next transfer and what we wanted to work on for the next six weeks. We came up with "HB (Huntington Beach) Quality Culture. Our new motto is "In HB we do hard things." Which is true. Missionary work is hard, but it's totally worth it. I love the things we get to do as missionaries. When else can you just talk to random people on the streets about Jesus and religion. People look at us like we're crazy, but it's just part of the job! 
Zone Meeting 5-13-15
Friday, we had a specialized meeting for just the sister missionaries. That was pretty nice I guess. We talked about how we should be doing our hair and makeup and dressing, so that was pretty boring. After that there were different trainings about how to control stress and how to be a great missionary pretty much. One sister told us about her conversion story and how Heavenly Father has helped her out of her bad family life and other situations. I was also able to see Sister Magleby, Sister Taylor, and Sister Reisewitz (the other visa waiters)for the last time that day. All three of them received their visas and were able to fly out to Brazil sometime yesterday and today. It was pretty bittersweet, but I can deal with that. I get to stay in California for another transfer and work with the amazing people I've met here, which I'm totally pumped about!
Visa waiters 5-15-15
Saturday was pretty frustrating. On Friday, we had anticipated having our car back, so we switched back with the Elders, but when we got to the office, our car wasn't there, so we were without a car. We borrowed some bikes from a couple of sisters in the zone, so we thought we were okay. Fast forward to Saturday morning. We finish studies and get ready to leave, helmets on, skirts tied, we're ready to go! One little problem: Sister Saintonge cannot ride a bike. We weren't able to get anywhere, so we just went back inside the complex to let her practice a bit. Going back out, we were on our way to an appointment with the ward mission leader, and we were doing pretty well. We made it a couple of blocks down the street and suddenly, Sister Saintonge hits a light pole on the street. After ensuring that she was okay, we continued on to our appointment. However, now Sister Saintonge no longer wants to ride, so she just decided to walk with the bike on her side. I stayed a little in front the whole time riding along. It was a hot day, so it wasn't the best bike ride in the world, but it was more enjoyable than a walk (and much more enjoyable than walking with a bike!) The whole time, I just thought of how nice the wind felt and how fun it is to ride a bike instead of sit in a car, and it worked pretty well to change my attitude. We finally made it to the mission leader's home, covered in sweat and with helmet hair, but we made it!

Yesterday, I was so excited to go to church because we were visited by Bishop Causse of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's French, so Sister Saintonge was pretty excited about it too. When he walked up to shake our hands, she just started spouting off French to him and he just went along with it. At the end of their conversation, he turns to me and says, "She speaks very good French!" and went on his way. So that was pretty fun. He gave a very nice talk in sacrament meeting about his call to one of the Quorums of the 70 and how he and his family reacted to it. He explained the difference between sacrifice and consecration and how we should try to consecrate our lives to Christ and His cause. I really enjoyed his talk. 

Last night I saw a huge duck. Pictures will follow. 

Huge Duck
I hope you all have a great week! If anyone needs a little Lift for the week, check out this video about how service can help us become better people!

Love you all! Have a great week this week!