Tuesday, February 23, 2016

11-4-15 Another Holiday - messes up missionary mail on p-day

[note from Holly's mom]

Dear Holly's Friends and Family,

Brazil had another holiday on Monday (All Souls Day) and everything was closed so Holly couldn't find a LAN house that was open to use for email. On Tuesday, she briefly logged in to send me a quick explanation, but she didn't have time to write her usual email. She took a few minutes to answer some of the questions that I sent her, so that's what I'm forwarding. Her answers come first, then farther down, you'll see my questions.

Also, her hump day (half-way point in the assigned 18-month mission) is coming up on November 18th, so for giggles, I ordered a toy camel and a camel notepad that said "Things to do on Humpday."  She wrote the following about receiving those two items:

"My District Leader had my box and on Saturday night over the phone I asked him to open it and tell me  what´s inside. After he opened the box, all I heard was  BUNCH of laughing. When I asked him what was in the box he said, Sister Denton, you have a stuffed animal LLAMA. I was thinking first of all, HOW COOL A LLAMA. Second, who the heck would send me a llama? anyways, he named the "llama" Milo and I got my "llama" on sunday at church. Only after that I realized that it was a camel, and that it was for HUMP DAY. WOOP WOOP. Okay, so it´s not hump day yet, but I really liked the idea. I like the notepad too."

From: Holly Denton <holly.denton@myldsmail.net>
Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: Questions
To: Amy Denton

I am in Mauá central, so like, the middle of Mauá.
Mauá Ward. A few, We have 7 pairs of mishies in my zone, so about that many wards.
No. Irmão Peixoto (that one guy who always helps out the sisters in the sao paulo missions) Brings all the luggage to the housees of all the sisters. During transfers, I just take my little suitcase carry on thing with a change of clothes, shower stuff, and study stuff.
Relatively safe. I mean, there´s always a chance to be assaulted, but we always walk with purpose. And our area is really suburby with absolutely 0 favelas, so I think we´ll be okay.
It´s been twilight weather,. I think this zone is the rainiest zone in the mission.
It´s going well. sister araujo has a few problems adjusting to mishie life, but I think that lots of training will solve that.

On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 4:18 PM, Amy Denton wrote:
how is that pronounced?
What part of the city are you in?
What ward are you in? How many wards and stakes are there?
When you and your new companion were traveling there on public transportation, did you find yourself struggling with the amount of luggage or any other struggles?
Do you feel safe there?
How's the weather?
How is the training going?
Have you heard from Sister Alencar about the investigators you left in SP?

10-27-15 Transfers, Whitewash, and My Beloved Daughter in Whom I am Well Pleased

Olá gente! Tudo bom?

Wow what a week what a week! By the subject line of the email, you could probably guess how stressful this week was, but I'm coping, LET´S GO.

At the request of my mother, I will tell every detail of transfer day (okay, maybe not EVERY detail, but I won't be too vague). So I left my 2nd area of my mission (Jardim Consórcio) to go to the transfer meeting and learn all the exciting new details of my life. During the meeting, all of the missionaries who are leaving go and bear testimony. One very trunky Elder had a toy airplane (complete with sound effects) that he made fly all the way to the pulpit. After that, we all were ready for the transfer facts. So when we do this, the assistants make a slideshow with each companionship in the mission and which zone and area you are in. Since I'm training however, when I showed up in the Mauá Ward, the picture of my companion was just a picture of Cinderella with a nametag. After everyone had their companions and went to their respective areas, the trainers and the greenies all have lunch before we get to know who our comps are. During lunch, one of the greenies said, "I think that Sister Denton will train me." Lo and behold, when the time came that we got our companions, Sister Araujo (the same greenie) became my Beloved Daughter in whom I am Well Pleased.

After the meeting, we got on the subway to get on another subway to get on a train to get to our area. (Mauá is REALLY far away from the rest of the mission, I'm talking boondocks here.) And we finally arrived in a brand new area that President just opened after being closed for some time. So yeah, our area is HUGE too. To be honest, opening an area is super hard, and I'm not a huge fan of opening areas, but it appears that I will be opening areas for pretty much all of my mission, so that is fun. Anyways, the challenge is that my companion and I don't know anything about this area, the people in it, the streets, or the traditions of the area. But anyways, we already found a few people to teach and we have a few good members to go out with us to go and get to know our area, so that's good. We had one of the people we're teaching at church (which was pretty funny because she's been to the church before and she knew more about the chapel than we did.). This week was a little tough because the weather here is staying pretty cool, and when it stays cool, people stay in their houses, and we're accustomed to meeting and talking to people in the street and not knocking on doors. But we're able to make things work through member referrals and other cool stuff like that.

So now you get to meet my Beloved Daughter! Her name is Sister Araujo from the interior of São Paulo. She's like, super good (she takes after her mom) but seriously, I barely have to train her. she's only been a member for a little more than a year, and almost all of her family are part of a different church, her dad being the preacher thereof. Nevertheless, she is fantastic and she is just helping me out a lot opening the area and staying positive, so that's good. 

That's about all for this week. I hope you're all doing well! And I hope you all have a Happy Halloween (I won't, it doesn´t REALLY exist here even though I keep seeing decorations in the stores all around)!

Monday, February 22, 2016

10-19-15 2nd Gear, a Miracle Story, and I´M PREGNANT?!?!

First of all, I'm totally kidding, and I will explain the subject line in a little bit.

How are all of you? I'm doing well! This week has been a very slow one coming due to the fact that transfers are coming up soon and the entire week I didn't have the slightest idea of what would happen with me and the lingering feeling of impending doom lingering over my head ALL WEEK LONG. But all is well. 

I actually enjoyed this week a lot. Sister Alencar and I have switched gears and we worked a lot harder this week than the last one because we were falling a little bit short. We found a lot of people this week that were pretty ready to hear about the gospel and tried our hardest to help them in any way we can. In the end, we still came up a little bit short, but there was a good feeling of accomplishment when we returned to our house by the end of the day.

So the miracle story:
Yesterday, Sister Alencar and I didn't have very good plans, just a lot of people who aren't really interested in our message. So we started walking when Sister Alencar started talking:
SA: What are we going to do now?
SD: I don't know really. I think we're going to go visit J. (A referral from the zone leader)
SA: Who's J?
SD: J stays at our house. Really, he's our beds. We're going to go sleep. Just kidding. He's a referral from the zone leaders. 
And so we go to the street where J lives and we were looking for number 35. When we finally found the house, we went to the front door to try it out, but the front door had the address of number 7. We rung the doorbell anyways. 
While we were waiting, a little black chihuahua came running up to us, barking. At times (when I´m really tired, hungry, or crazy) I kind of like to pretend that animals can lead us to our next investigator, so I started asking the dog where J is and if she could lead us to J. So she just started running back and forth. 
FINALLY, the owner of the house opened the door. I noticed that she had another chihuahua inside the house so I asked her if the dog belonged to her (it did) and I also asked if I could share a message with her. (she accepted!) 
After sharing a little bit with her, we found out that she is J's wife and that really she has been having problems with J and that she was praying that God would help her with her marriage. She told us that she has been waiting for someone to come and help her and bring God back into her and her husband's lives.
Moral of the story: Always follow the promptings of a chihuahua, I mean, the Holy Spirit! 😉

Soooo ´bout the whole "Pregnant" thing. Remember how I talked about that whole "cloud of impending doom" that is the transfer call? Well, that came in last night. After waiting for basically 3 weeks, which is when this cloud of doom came to me, we finally got a call from our zone leader. All that happens in the call is that the zone leader says your name, if you stay or go, and what you'll do. (For example: Elder Santos, leaving as zone leader.) And so... I´m pretty sure that he did it on purpose, but he left me until the very end. Try to understand my anxiety about this, I almost couldn't breathe. 
Sister Lima, staying as Sister Training Leader.
Sister Tyckson, staying.
Sister da Costa, leaving.
Sister Alencar, staying as a trainer.
Sister Denton, leaving as a trainer.
WHATT? HOW? So yeah, that is actually going to happen. Tomorrow I´m going to get my very first greenie and I have NO CLUE who she is, but I'm hoping for the best. Really transfers stress the heck out of me and I think I just need to get over it. But anyways, we're all anxiously waiting to find out who my "daughter" will be and what she'll be like. I guess you'll all know by next week!
Me waiting for my daughter (chalkboard: 8 months! I'm Pregnant! #trainer)

District P-day at the park riding bikes

That´s all for this week! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

10-12-15 Temple, Hair Dye, and the bomb.com

Another Tuesday Email! Graças á Nossa Senhora Aparacida! (Thanks to Our Lady Aparacida) I don´t know much about Catholicism, but yesterday was a Brazilian Catholic holiday, and since a majority of Brazil is Catholic, pretty much everything was closed, including the LAN house where we write our emails!

On Tuesday last week, we got to go and visit the temple here in São Paulo with our entire zone. It was so cool, but the temple looks a lot smaller in person than it does in the pictures, but none of that took away from the beauty that the temple has! I loved being able to go and visit a different temple and I can´t wait to go back! 

This week was pretty good because we picked up a few new people to teach. As we were teaching one of our investigators, F, her boyfriend came in from work, so we decided that we would share a message with him as well. R (the boyfriend) is pretty good. He and F have 2 beautiful boys of 8 years and 2 months old, and we´re working on helping them get married pretty soon so that they can get baptized! Marriage really is a challenge here in Brazil because at times the marriage registry can be really expensive and it´s just easier to live together instead of getting married. In fact, this is a problem for most of the missionaries in our mission. One of our leaders, Elder Santos, is teaching one of my old investigators, RA, who will get married really soon! Elder Santos was talking to me one day and he said that we´re just going to marry the entire world here in this zone of our mission, and it´s true! We will! 
For the Temple Selfie Collection

Holding up the Angel Moroni

MTC District 69D (minus Sister Magleby and Elder Brand)

The São Paulo Temple is so beautiful
My zone

Yesterday I dyed my hair (again). Partially because with blonde hair, everybody just assumes that I am American (which shouldn't really bother me, but it does) and partially because I just don´t like keeping the same color for very long, and I get bored with my hair, so I just like changing. Anyways, it was super stressful because all of the instructions we in Portuguese and Spanish and I was just afraid that I´d end up with purple hair because of misread instructions, but I managed to come out of it with some dark brown hair. (I feel like myself again!) 

Yesterday we had zone pday where I learned a few things:
-I am trash with soccer,
-I am trash with American football,
-I´m the bomb.com with water balloon volleyball!
-Also, I´m the bomb.com with making brownies (Due to the fact that I'm American according to my zone leader, Elder Lopes)
But yeah, zone pday was super fun! I really like getting to know the missionaries that I get to serve around they´re all pretty cool! 

But that´s pretty much all for this week! I hope that all is well with all of you! Love you all!

Our photo was on the cover of the mission newsletter this week

This is some weird fruit that was the size of a baby, so I decided to treat it as such.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

10-5-15 Conferences, Conferences, and more Conferences!

Good Morning everybody! How are you all? I feel like I only hear from about 6 of you sometimes, but when I do hear from those 6 people, it´s a pretty good day, so thank you 6 people for your wonderful emails each week!

So this week was another one of those "Conference weeks." Which isn't really a bad thing because conferences are really awesome and cool and we learn lots of cool things. But this week, we had a 6 hour conference with President and GENERAL CONFERENCE!! (Side note: Woo! Other side note: This made 14 hours of the week that we weren't doing much missionary work and that we were listening to people talk, and I was listening to Portuguese for 14 hours, which at times my attention span cannot handle, so that can give you an idea of why I have mixed feelings about conferences.) I LOVED the conference that we had with President Broadbent. He talked a lot about our potential as humans to make it to heaven, which is something I think about a lot. One thing he said that hit me was that there is no one who will live in the Kingdom of Heaven (except Jesus Christ) who will be sinless, the only people who will live in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who utilized the Atonement of Christ and continually strove to improve and become more Christlike. We also had trainings by the Assistants to the President who talked about our potential in general and showed a really good video of a man talking about how the only limits that exist in our lives are our own doubts and fears.
Saturday and Sunday were GENERAL CONFERENCE! (Whooo!) I loved this opportunity that we had to be able to hear from our beloved prophet and apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ! I felt the Spirit of the Lord as they spoke (even though I heard their words through translators.) It was truly a special experience to be able to witness the calling and sustaining of new apostles, who are now special witnesses of Jesus Christ. It reconfirmed my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ exists on the earth, and that it is united under His direction and authority. I tried my hardest to understand most of the talks that were given, but it was SUPER hard to pick out some of the things that were said, but I felt uplifted and strengthened by the love that these servants of God have for each one of us who listened. I especially liked President Dieter F Uchtdorf's talk about simplifying our view of the teachings of Christ. He certainly said some things that I can apply in my own life.

Other than having the wonderful opportunity to hear these inspired leaders teaching us by the Spirit, this week has been a pretty good one. I think one cool thing about missionary work is being able to serve around all different types of missionaries, members, and people that are learning about the gospel, and in all of these, you are able to watch the personal growth of people in their lives and in the Gospel of Christ. From a few of the emails that I have received from friends and family, I am able to see how the Light of Christ is illuminating your individual lives. I think this week, I got to see that in another missionary in my ward. This missionary, who has only been a member for a little more than a year, has such a strong  testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ it's almost unbelievable that he´s been a member for such a short period of time. That´s just one thing I love about Christ and His Gospel, that it can completely transform any ordinary person into something extraordinary. I was able to see a little bit of that this week as my fellow missionaries shared their individual testimonies and thoughts about the Gospel.

Well, anyways, that´s a good little bit about my week. Looking back sometimes, the week is a blur, especially this week. But it was a good week nonetheless! :) Hope yours was too!
Love you all!
Sister Denton
Not related to anything that I previously wrote: This week I ate a pizza with chocolate in the crust, it was AWESOME. Just imagine, you eat a whole slice of pizza, and at the end, there´s dessert! Yum! 

Sister Alencar and Sister Denton

Sister Denton, Elder Melo, Sister Lima, Sister Tycksen

[note from Amy: A sister from their area emailed this photo to me a few days after p-day]

Cutest companions in the world!
Companheiras mais lindas no mundo!!! 

9-28-15 Good Mormon Morning!

(I accidentally wrote Mormon instead of morning first, so I decided to keep it there.)

So this has been a very unusual week for me, but mostly the only thing that sticks out in my mind is Saturday, so I'll get to that in a second. 

This week was pretty good, but very abnormal, because we had Pday on Tuesday for Mission PDay instead of a regular Pday on Monday. That's why there wasn't an email last week. Our president only allowed us to write our family and him, so yeah, sorry about that if you were expecting an email! 

Anyways, Mission PDay was fun! We spent the day at the Botanical Garden here in Sao Paulo! There was lots cool stuff to do. The mission played games, sang, danced, and had a talent show. At the talent show, one of the mission secretaries (an Elder of about my age) kept bugging me to go up front and sing something, so I went up and did the missionary rap that I learned in California with my trainer. It was pretty funny because I don't think that anyone was expecting the white girl newbie missionary to get up and rap, so that was cool. After the rap, I sang amazing grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island and to the tune of the mission hymn, which everyone liked as well. 

So the rest of the week was pretty difficult just because I was sore from playing hard at pday, but the good thing is that we picked up some new investigators. As of now, we've got 5 different Marias in our teaching pool. It's so funny sometimes when we're planning because something like this  will happen

Me, Let's go see Maria after lunch.
Comp, Mother Maria?
Me, No, Maria Two.
Comp, And what about Maria-Divina?
Me, She's after Maria the Wife of Corinthians.

So yeah. I'll probably never name a child Maria after my mission.

So this week, we've been trying hard to accomplish more things and stuff. We want to increase our workforce and do lots of more work and baptize more people, and this has our leaders on edge. So our leaders were pushing hard to have more baptisms at the end of the month. Also, I'm guessing that my comp and I were having the most success in the zone because pretty much all of our leaders were breathing down our neck to have us baptize someone. So after lots of thought, we decided to go and talk to one of our investigators who is preparing for baptism and has huge desire, but she lives with her boyfriend and she's not married or separated, which needs to happen before someone is baptized. When we went to talk to her, she told us that she's not been sleeping with her boyfriend for 3 months, that he's been sleeping in another room, and that she's trying to get him moved out of the house! So after a little deliberation, my comp and I decided that she was ready for baptism. As of right now however, our bishop has a few concerns about the situation and he just wants to wait a little bit longer until the situation is 100% resolved. But now, our investigator is ready for her baptism that'll be coming up soon, so I think that's pretty much a miracle!

That's pretty much it for the week! I hope you're doing well and that you have an amazing week!

Sister Denton

I held a rooster this week, which was pretty awesome. In Portuguese, there's a phrase ''Quando galos tem dentes'' ''When roosters have teeth'' Which is kind of like the equivalent to ''When pigs fly.''

Everybody jump on 3!

9-21-15 Obrigado por usar o We Transfer - o ficheiro foi enviado para

Here's a video of me and sister alencar teaching the importance of being baptized by the proper authority. a couple of things I like about this video. 1. we've been teaching a group of 12-13 year olds who are pretty awesome, and this is one of the lessons that we taught them. 2. The dye that we use is orange, and when it is mixed with water, it kind of looks like guarana. so when we ask the boys what we've become after we sin, one of them shouts out guarana! 3. the reaction of all the boys after we pour in the bleach.

[note from Amy]
Another week without a letter of any significance. Sorry about that. It's my understanding that her mission is having a mission-wide p-day gathering at a botanical gardens tomorrow. I think they have activities and lessons scheduled for a good portion of the day, so maybe they took an abbreviated p-day today and she didn't have much time. Anyway, she did send the following quick note, a video, and a birthday list. Here's a link to the video:

p.s., guarana is that soft drink that they love in Brazil, probably the equivalent of American coca cola, but a different flavor. It's really good. If you ever go to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner, they probably have it, try it sometime.