Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26th FELIZ NATAL

I hope everyone had a happy christmas! It was so good to talk with my cute family yesterday. I love you guys so so much. I am so lucky to have the family i have.
This week was good! I will be returning to Camaçari tomorrow for this next transfer! I am happy to go back and see the members and my pesquisadors but I am sad to leave Cabula! It is so hard leaving areas and people. I will also miss all the sisters I have been living with but hopefully i will see them from time to time.
This week i had 2 experinces that i wanted to share with you guys. Both happened while we were teaching lessons in the homes of 2 awesome investigators. So firstly we went to go teach a woman and her son who live in the favela here. Favelas are the super poor areas where the houses are literally stacked on top of eachother. It is very sad to see the way that some people live and it is truly humbling and makes me realize how blessed and fortunate i am. So the woman rita and her son geovan have been speaking with missionaries for a while now. They are both super receptivo and they have a lot of faith but they need a desire to go to church and read o livro de mormon. They told us that they knew that what we taught was true because they felt peace and calm and a light when they received missionaries into their home. We taught them that they needed to pray to gain a desire to read and to attend church so that they could be baptized and recieve the holy ghost and have access to those peaceful feelings always. They said they would and i hope they do. I am sad that i wont get to continue seeing their progress, but i will be praying for them still. They are very humble and very kind and i feel so much love for them. At the end our lesson rita said the prayer and she automatically got onto her knees which i thought was so cool. I guess the first missionaries who ever taught her, taught her to always kneel when she prays so she always does. She prayed and the spirit was so strong. I have a feeling that they will both be baptized someday.
The second experience was while we were teaching an investigator about the priesthood and his mother was sitting in the other room. She lost her leg to diabetes and is very sick and pretty much cant ever leave the house. When we finished our lesson she shouted out asking us if woman held the priesthood too. I thought Oh great we have to have this conversation. We told her no but that woman have many important roles in life and in our church. She went on quite the feminist rant of which i understood almost nothing. When she finished she started to cry. My companion asked what was wrong and she apologized for the rant and said that she was in a lot of pain and was very frustrated and felt hopeless in her life.  She then looked right at me and said "I know you dont have the priesthood, but will you please say a prayer for my leg and my heath right now?" I was shocked and almost ralphed on the floor but i said ok and i prayed for her and for her leg and for her to feel gods love. I felt gods love for her as i prayed. I felt the spirit hhelping me to know what to say. She showed so much faith in asking for a prayer. She said she knew the prayer came from God. I dont know if the pain in her leg will go away but i hope she felt the spirit and i hope she will want to feel it again. We taught her alittle bit more about the priesthood and hoepfully shhe can come to understand the importance of it and the amazing roles woman have in our church.
Well, christmas was hot here. Hotter than usual haha. But it was awesome. They dont celebarte christmas here in brazil the same way we do back in america. You never hear christmas music or see decorations or lights but its alright because it makes it easier not to focus on thhat part of it. I was able to experience christmas in a whole new way this year. Yes i missed being with my family and hearing christmas music and seeing the tree all decorated BUT i got to focus alot more on others and on the Christ. and it was really cool. I love my savior. I know he lives. I know he performed the atonement for us so that we could repent and so that wwe didnt have to feel sad or alone or hopeless. I know he was born to save us all i know he was born to give us all anothehr chance. I know he loves us and wnats to help us so badly. HHe wants us to return back to our heavenly home someday. He wants us to be happy. I am so thankful for the ooportunity i have to share this with people who dont know. To bring the light of jesus christ into their homes so that they can feel the happiness i feel.
I apppreciate my home and family so much more now that i dont have it for a little while. I realize that there is nothing more important than family.
I am coming to realize Gods love for all of us more and more each day. He loves these people here in brazil so much and they love him. I am learning so much from theh example of these humble beautiful people.
I love you all so much. I hope christmas was happy and i hope that we can remember these happy feelings all year long.
EU AMO VÔCES MUITO!! tchau tchau

One of my favorite scriptures for Christmas:
Isaiah 9:6
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19th! New City, New Companion

Oi family and friends!!  
Well this week has been crazy just like all the other weeks haha. I was suddenly moved out of Camaçari on tuesday becasue i had to go have an MRI and my Sister Lund was going home. I cried and cried when i had to say goodbye to sister Lund because she had literally been such an angel and pretty much my mom for the past 4 weeks. But I'm happy she's home with her family and ill see her in a year and a half. But  So my new area is Salvador Cabula! Im right in the city and its way cool here. At first it was really hard because i loved Camaçari so much and i didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to anyone there. But like I talked about last week i am trying to trust more in god and his plan for me and it always ends up being ok. hopefully i will get to serve in Camaçari again someday though!

So i live with 4 other sisters right now..sister Hamblin my old mtc comp, sister gonzalez from mexico, sister Rhodes from guatemala, sister Tembe from mozambique, and my new companion sister Nogal from Sao Paolo. I LOVE sister Nogal. she calls me gatinho which means kitten because she says thats what i look like haha. Its super fun living with all of them.

I love the area and the members and things are super good right now! But so far the mission has been a rollercoaster of emotions so we will see what happens next haha. Ohh and the MRI was scary but everything is fine and i just have to see a physical therapist for a little while. Conquering all the fears here in Brazil mom!!
we had a baptism this week forr maria eduarda! she is 11 and so so cool. her brother is a member but her parents aren't. Her brother has been a huge example for her and so she was baptized by him on Saturday! It was so awesome. She is very smart and so full of the spirit and im just so happy for her and her family. Her dad didnt come to her baptism which was really sad and hard for her but we are going to keep teaching them and hopéfully the parents will accept baptism as well. They are an awwesome family.
Today for pday we went to Pelorinho and im in love with it!! Its the pictures that you see when you type in salvador on the computer. Its seriously beautiful and theres cobblestone streets and people dancing and coconuts and cool chapels and the ocean and uggghhhh HEAVEN for me. Such a cool place.

I can't even express the love I have felt from my heavenly father the past few days as well. I have struggled alot since I had to go to the hospital because I just couldn't understand why these things would happen especially while I'm serving a mission. But like I've said before I have never had to rely on heavenly father in the ways I have had to here. There are just moments of such loneliness and nervousness and anxiety that i have never felt before. But i have no other option other than to get on my knees and pray. And you know what? Help always always comes and the hard days always pass. I am so lucky that i get to be here and i get to see peoples lives change for the better because of this gospel. i especially love the things we get to teach about this time of year because its all about joy and happiness and Jesus Christ. Even though it doesnt feel like christmas at all here haha i still love the spirit of christmas that i can feel. But its gonna be a hot christmas and thats for sure haha.
The people here are amazing and humble and so accepting of our message. They love god. The food is so good. There are monkeys! I still get lots of stares bercause of my glowing whiteness and everyone thinks im from europe and tell me my cheeks are very red haha. But hey its a good conversation starter.
I am so sure that god loves us and that jesus christ is our savior and that he died so that we could live and he suffered so that we could repent and return back home someday. I know that he sends us help and angels every day if we ask and if we have faith. I know that hard times always pass and im learning that attitude and state of mind have such a huge impact on how our days are. We canchoose to be happy if we want to be. it can be tough though. I am learning to that work really is the remedy for any kind of sadness or anxiety or whatever. Getting up and going to work and focusing on other peoples needs instead of our own is the best thing we can do when we are feeling down. Again its not easy to do but its possible and it really works.
I just am trying to remember these things every day. I am so glad that i get to be a missionary. Im so happy i get to serve here in brazil. I miss home some days but i am really trying to make this my home and these people my family for the next little while. I am so excited to skype you family on christmas!! i will proabbly cry the whole time but im so happy to see your faces!!
I love this gospel i love you all and all the support i receive every day. I am so lucky to have such awesome examples and friends back home.
Ohh funny story the other night we were all talking about where is one place you want to visit most in the world and we get to sister tembe (from africa) and she says ventura california. hahaha and i was like sister tembe, thats where i live! haha so funny. She really likes surfing so i told her one day she can come visit me and go surfing in Ventura.
Ok i love you all!! tchau tchau

sister lytle
Enjoy the view.

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12th- Going to miss Sister Lund!

Oi family and friends!
Well not much to report this week but i did want to share a scripture passage that has helped me alot this week.
Its in Matthew 14 and its the part about Jesus walking on the water.
Jesus is walking on the stormy sea and the disciples are in a ship.
Peter calls out to God and says "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water."
The Lord says come and when peter steps out of the ship he starts walking on the water to go to jesus. a true miracle! and peter shows much faith.
But then Peter becomes afraid because he looks around and realizes that hes in the middle of thsi stormy sea and he gets distracted and starts to sink. He cries out the jesus to save him and of course jesus does. But he says to him "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt."

When peter fixed his eyes on the savior and acted with faith, peter had the power to do what he could never do alone..walk on the water. this is the role of the savior and his grace in our times of need.

i have experienced this alot these past few weeks. There are times when i am struggling so much and i feel like im praying and doing everything im supposed to and i am not recieving any help. this is never true. i can always open my eyes and see the love of my savior all around me. But we get distracted. by physical pain, by fear, by embarrasment, by frustration, and we take our eyes of of the savior and his love and we start to sink. We cannot lose our faith, we cannot doubt. it is hard to do but it is possible. I am still learning this but i see that god is teaching me this for a reason.

i am so thankful for each of you and your love and support. I am learning and growing so much everyday. I am sad to say goodbye to my companion sister lund but i know my next comapanion will be so great. I am so thankful for this opportunity i have to serve a mission in brazil at the time of my life. i am so thanful for my trials because they make me stronger and they make me pray and they make me humble. I love this gospel and i love my salvador jesus cristo.
have a good week everyone. love you all. tchau tchau

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dec. 8th...been a rough week!

Oi family and friends
well this week has been interesting. On friday morning i slipped on the stairs while we were leaving our house. It was raining and super slippery. I hit my head on the back on the edge of the step and my arms and back. It happened very fast and thinking back on it i cant even imagine how funny it mustve looked haha. Anyways the members here found out and were very concerned and took me to the hospital. Well we all know how much i hate anything medical so that was a scary experience for me to be in a tiny hospital in brazil without my mom. Of course the first thing they did was come at me with a needle haha. then i had to wear a diaper and a hospital gown. sounds really fun right? haha and then they did a catscan and found a small idema on my head so they made me stay in the hospital for 4 days. the amount of bloodwork and needles and gross hospital food was really hard for me. They gave me another catscan and found that the swelling had gone down alot but i still had to stay in the hospital for observation. This time was very difficult for me. I was having a really hard time understanding why something like this would happen and why i wasnt able to go out and work like i was supposed to.I felt helpless and alone and really scared. My constant thought was- am i not supposed to be here? is this heavenly father telling me that i had made a mistake in deciding to serve a mission?
Even though i still havent been allowed to go out and serve and work like i want to i have learned alot from this awful experience. I have learned that this is a test of my patience and endurance and faith.

My companion has been so awesome and has literally been my mom since i dont have my real mom here with me. She sings christmas hymns to me and reads my scriptures to me. She cheers me up when i start feeling down. She lets me cry and she is so patient. I see that throughout this i am being so blessed. The members are so concerned about me and bring food to our house every day. They pick up my medicine and kiss my face. I see that it was a huge blessing from god that i didnt get hurt worse than i did. It couldve been so much worse. While i was in the ICU i saw a woman come in with bleeding in her brain. Shortly after the doctors put her into a coma. I saw another lady come in with a heart attack. She cried alot. I realize now that my pain and suffering was so small in comparison. A woman who we have been teaching was attacked by her son this past week and was stabbed and her eyes were swollen shut. She wasnt even worried about herself and her pain because she was so worried about how i was doing. She said she wants to be baptized because she has seen the lord bless her life so much during this awful experince.
I am trying my best to count my blessings. I have so so so many. All is well. I know that so many of you have been worried and praying and im so thanful and i feel your prayers. Even though there were moments this week where i really wanted to give up i didnt and i know its because of the help heavenly father has given me.
I know that god lives. i know he sends angels to comfort us in hard times. I know that this gospel is true and can help us through any sickness any pain any trial. I know that jesus christ is my savior. I love being a missionary. I love this work. Is it hard? so hard. but so worth it and i see light at the end of this tunnel. I miss you all and love you all and hope all is well back home. Tchau until next week
Eu amo vôces!

Christmas Zone Conference