Sister Ashlyn Brooke Unbedacht

Sister Ashlyn Brooke Unbedacht

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31st, 2015 - Transfers This Week

I hope all is well!  It was good to hear an update on Grandma and Grandpa.  They're in my prayers. You all are in my prayers.  I'm so grateful for such a wonderful family and friends that support me and love me.  I LOVE YOU ALL! 

This week is transfer week.  We found out today that Sister Angulo will be leaving Iguatu!  I have loved every moment with her.  She's been such a great companion and I've learned so much from her!  My new companion will be a Brasilian, and so hopefully my accent will get better as I work along her side.  I'm excited to see what is to come this week!

I will explain quickely what happened with my hair last week.  I went and got my haircut and then went to email the family and realized that the woman cut my hair totally wrong.  It was awful! There were pieces that weren't cut.  It was bad!  After emailing we went to another lady who said  she could fix it, but it would be a little shorter.  She cut it, and she fixed it, but she only cut off length she didn't thin it, so my hair was like a lion!  I finally understand the word desperate. You all know that I take pride in my hair and that I like it to look good. I asked Sister Duca, another Sister here, if she would fix it (She doesnt cut hair).  She said yes and started thinning my hair. As she was thinning it I felt like I was in Les Mis when the lady is cutting her hair and she's crying. I wasn't crying, but I was close!  That is the story with my hair.  When the members saw my hair they couldnt believe that I got it cut so short.

This past week was truly amazing!  I learned so much!  On Wednesday we traveled to Juazeiro for the Devotional with Elder Andersen.  The first night the missionaries sat in a different room because they wanted the members to fill up the chapel with him, but we had the chance to listen to all that he said.  He spoke in Portugues, which was really cool, but funny at the same time because he spoke really slow and didn't know all the words.  I received a testimony of the Prophet and Apostles.  They are the mouthpieces of God here on earth.  They speak the words that God wants them to speak.  

The second day was the best day!  In the morning there was a meeting with Elder Andersen, President Fusco, President Costa (Of the 70) and all of the leaders (Zone Leaders, district leaders and sister Training Leaders). Sister Angulo is a Sister Training Leader for the 4 Sisters serving in Iguatu, so I had the chance to go to this meeting as well.  There were like 30 people there with Elder Andersen!  He talked about MANY things, but something I loved that he talked about for a long time was being an example.  To be like Christ we need to be an example to all.  Lead by example.  DO the things that we believe.  After the meeting with the leaders there was another meeting with the missionaries of this mission that are inland (All but Fortaleza area).  I was able to see Sister Neilson and Sister Andrews!  It was so wonderful!  One question that Elder Andersen asked that I want to invite you all to think about, "Is Christ just a part of your life, or is he your whole life?"  I learned many things, but I can't write about them all in such short time.

Reunited with Sister Andrews
I'll be honest, I'm exhausted!  My body and my mind are always working, but I'm here because I love the Lord and I know he will help me do this work.  I remember missionaries saying that they were always tired, and I finally understand.  This work is hard, but this work is worth it! 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Com Amor,
Sister Unbedacht 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 24th 2015 - Count The Blessings

Oi!  This week has been so wonderful!  I will start off with a funny story.  Sister Angulo and I were eating at a members house and she said to me, "Sister Unbedacht, you would be a great model here in Brasil.  You're tall, your hair is blonde, and you have a pretty face".  I laughed and said that I could never be a model and she said back to me that I would be a good plus size model here in Brasil.  ah!  I didn't know whether to be offended or take it as a compliment!  I just laughed and took it as a nice compliment!  hahaha. 

Another funny story... today I decided to cut my hair.  I didn't know how to explain to the lady how to cut my hair and I asked for her to layer my bangs, so it blends with the rest of my hair.  I don't think she understood this and she cut my bangs straight across.  I didn't realize that she did this until we left the house and I didn't want to say anything.  My hair doesn't look very good and she cut a lot!  I remember that this happened before my mission where a lady didn't cut my hair very well and I was stressing so much, but here in Brasil I decided that all I can do is laugh it off and have a bad hair cut.  I have learned to have a lot of patience here and not care about the little things.  Which is good!

It is warming up here!  Everyday I keep thinking that this is the hottest it will get in Iguatu, then I realize that the following day is even hotter.  September is suppose to be the hottest month here.  We don't get rain and there is not much wind.  It will be interesting! 

This week was a very busy week.  We taught many people and walked A LOT.  It all paid off because Samantha was baptized on Sunday in a river.  It was such a great experience to teach her and watch the change that occurred in her life.  She looks so much happier!  The blessings of serving a mission are so grand!  I love it! 

I want to share some things that I studied this morning.  I read the talk "Count the Blessings" by President Monson.  I absolutely loved this talk!  I loved everything he talked about.  He said, Rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness.  He then challenges us to take an inventory of our lives and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, that we have received.  There are so many things that we could talk negatively about, but there are even more things that are positive in our lives.  He then goes on and talks about prayer.

He explains that we need to not only pray for help and how Heavenly Father will help us, but that we need to be worthy to receive promptings so that we can be an answer to anothers prayer.  I thought about this message this week and if I was following the promptings that Heavenly Father gave me.  I then remembered something that happened this week.  

We were on the street walking to a meeting and I smiled at a lady and said good morning to her.  I had a feeling that we need to talk with her, but we were hurrying to a meeting so I didn't say anything.  Later on that same day we were walking in a completely different part of our area and someone started to shout something at us.  I looked over and it was the same lady.  She was saying how she saw us earlier and how she wanted to talk with us.  We entered her house and talked with her and she told us many things that obviously indicated that she has been prepared for this time to hear our message.  While we were at her house I realized that I didnt follow the prompting I received earlier, but the Lord knew she needed to meet with us and he made it happen so we could share a message with her that day. 

President Monson also says, The Lord is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. The Lord is in the details. 
I would like to invite all of you to read this talk and think about the things that he talks about. For me, this talk changed a lot of how I think about prayer and promptings we receive. 

I am so grateful for a Prophet who lives. I am so excited to hear from an Apostle of the Lord THIS Wednesday!  Elder Neil L. Anderson will be visiting my mission.  It will be such an amazing experience!

I love you all!
Sister Unbedacht

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17th, 2015 - The Church Continues to grow in Iguatu!

I am so happy to announce that this week was the first week for the members in Iguatu to attend a full 3 hour block of church and have callings!!!!!!!!!  The group here has been growing so fast and we are so close to becoming a Branch.  This past Sunday was truly amazing!  We now have church from 9am to 12pm and there are callings for every class and group.  It was so fun to watch the members step up and accept positions to serve and lead the classes. I absolutely loved this week at church!  It was different because normally the missionaries do everything, but now we finally have the help we need and I know that Iguatu is in good hands.  It is an amazing feeling to see the fruits of our labor and God doing his work here. I absolutely love it here in Iguatu!  I cant imagine leaving this place. I keep telling myself that I would be just fine with staying  in Iguatu for the rest of my mission!  

Now, other news. The area that Sister Angulo and I serve in is the poorest area of Iguatu. This past week something very interesting happened. There are people rebelling to buy homes and so there are now (in our area) areas of houses (more like huts) that are built out of literally cardboard and blankets. When I saw this I was in total shock!  It was like the photos of India that Dad would show us. The people made their own community out of the most random things. It is very sad! 

I have a funny story, but I dont know if emailing it will do it justice. Sister Angulo and I were walking from one area to another and to do so we have to walk on this road that goes on forever and just has plants on both sides. Well, some people decided to burn some of the plants and there were HUGE flames in front of us. We continued to walk towards the flames and then something just bursted! We ran on the side of the flames to hurry past all the smoke. The funny part of this story was that were in our skirts running through smoke as the ashes are falling around us. At this moment I felt like I was in an action film!  I was laughing so hard because it just seemed like I was Jason Bourne.  It was awesome!

Now for my favorite story of the week!  Do you remember the man that I talked about that would smoke all the time and I stole his pack of cigarettes?  Well we returned to his house Saturday night (His wife and daughter are members).  We sat down with him and asked for him to be honest with us and tell us if he had smoked any cigarettes since that day.  He said that for almost a month he hasn't smoked and he is happier now than ever.  He then went on telling us the details of his experience of what happened when we left his home with his pack of cigarettes. He explaied that at first he was mad at me, but then he realized that this was a chance for him to really stop. He had his wife read the Book of Mormon to him (he cant read) and he decided at that point he would change forever.  He then explained that because of God and me that his life has changed.  At this point Sister Angulo and I are in tears because all of our prayers and fasts for him really worked!  I recieved a testimony that miracles really do happen.  God can soften the heart of any person!  We are now working towards his baptism! 

Like always, I am so grateful for the experiences I have had here and continue to have! 
Love you all!
Sister Unbedacht 

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th, 2015 - It's Been A Great Week!

OI FAMILIA!!! Tudo Bem? Eu espero que sim! 

This week in Iguatu was wonderful!  It was also full of many things!  First of all I just want to say I cant believe that I've been away from home for 6 months!  Honestly, I never thought this day would come, but it came so quickly!  I have a year left to work very very hard!  I love it here in Brasil!  I've loved all of the experiences I've had on my mission!  I'm so grateful to be here! 
I saw Batman at a local park this week!

This week was full of illnesses for the Sister missionaries here in Iguatu. One of the Sisters had Dengue (A viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes).  Sister Angulo was sick for a day and I was sick on Sunday. The wonderful thing though is that now we are alright and we can continue on with the work here. The members here helped out a lot this week so we could continue to work.  I'm so lucky that I was only sick for a little bit of time. I hated staying in the house for the day and missing the baptisms, but I am grateful I was able to go to Church. 

I want to talk mostly about Sunday at church. Yesterday was a great day here in Iguatu!  In the area of Sister Angulo and I we had 3 people receive the Melchizedek priesthood, one being Ricardo!  It was such an amazing experience!  President Souto, the counselor of President Fusco was at church with us and it was so nice to hear a talk from him.  After church he announced to us missionaries that starting next week we will start having church for 3 hours in a row (right now we have 2 hours in the morning and 1 hour at night).  He also said  that there will finally be callings for all of the different classes. Here in Iguatu the only people who have taught are the missionaries and then 2 talks from members each week.  Starting next week it will all be the members!!!  Our goal for church attendance is 200 people.  At the moment we are at 90, but it is growing so fast that we think we can hit this in a couple of weeks. The church truly is growing here!  I am so happy!  Soon we will be a branch and have a house to meet in!  The rewards of being a missionary! The happiness I have felt here is so great! 
Ricardo with Sister Angulo and I

This morning I was studying in Alma 49. Normally in the chapters of war in Alma I just read and feel like I don't really learn very much, but this morning I was just feasting upon the words and I learned so much. In this chapter Moroni is preparing for war and when the Lamanites arrive to fight the Nephites they are shocked that the people have built forts and ditches and so the Lamanites flee. I thought about this for a while. Then I related it to our lives. Moroni prepared the people for when the Lamanites would come to attack them. I then thought of the question, how can I prepare myself for the war of the world that will attack me and my family? It is so important to do the simple things!  Read the scriptures, pray, go to church, attend the temple, have family home evening (every monday), serve others, etc. These things are so important! We need to prepare NOW for the things that will come. Satan is trying very hard and is building an army to attack us spiritually, we need to be prepared, have faith in the Lord and build our forts. 

I love you all!  Keep doing the things you know you should be doing!  Remember to always follow our Savior and make the best decisions you can.

Sister Unbedacht 

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3rd, 2015 - So Many Wonderful Experiences!

Once again I cant believe that I am already emailing. I think I say this every week but the week goes by so fast! 

This week was another great week!  This week Jardel was baptized! Jardel is very young and has  friends who are members of the church.  He started coming to church with his friends 3 weeks ago and he has come to love it.  It was so awesome to see him be baptized this past Saturday. He has such a big heart and will do many wonderful things here in Iguatu! 
Jardel's Baptism

This week I saw a huge miracle! Remember Jamili? The young girl that was baptized the first week I was here. Her mom is a member as well, but her father is not. Her father smokes A LOT each day.  We've been trying to help him stop for a long time, but it has never worked. His smoking has caused many family problems that are very hard and one day they (the couple) just snapped. We promised them that if they went to church the next day they would feel better and happier. The next day they were at church. After church we visited them at their home and they both were much happier.  The husband said that he felt a change and a peace he hasn't felt in a long time. I then asked him where his cigarettes were. He showed me the package and I asked if I could see them, so he handed them to me and then I walked out of the house with them.  Sister Angulo just started laughing and followed behind me. He started telling us to wait and to not leave with his package, but I just continued. He thought I was joking, but I wasnt!  His wife was just laughing at the door and then he yelled that he will just buy another pack that night. Good news, he hasnt smoked since that night. For 6 days he hasnt smoked! That is the most that he has ever gone without smoking. The family is so happy at the moment! It was a really funny moment this week, but yet a complete miracle! We continue to pray for him everyday, so he can quit and be baptized! 

This week Sister Angulo and I had the chance to sing at the hospital. We sang from the hymn book to some of the patients there. I feel so blessed to have been raised in the United States. The hospitals here are very sad, but Im glad that we could bring a spirit into the hospital. 
Sister Angulo and I

This week we received amazing news! Elder Anderson will be visiting a small city close to Iguatu on 26 of August!  Only the small city that he will be visiting and Iguatu are invited! It will be a two day thing. The first day is for all of the members and missionaries in both cities. The second day will be for the 26 missionaries here! Amazing! I am so excited! This never happens here. Normally an Apostle will visit a big city like Fortaleza, but never a small city like this! It will be a wonderful experience! The people here in Iguatu need this at this time! 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 
Sister U

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July 27th, 2015 - Baptism, Wedding and More Stories!

Familia! Oi!

It is always strange when I get on and email because all throughout the week I only speak Portugues and here I write in English.  I tried speaking English this week with an Elder here and it was hard to say all I wanted to say in English, so I ended up switching to Portugues! 
I'm with some of the youth in our Group.

This week was so awesome!  Full of many great things! I will start with a story. This week was a birthday of a 9 year old in the ward. He is such a sweet boy, his name is Lucas (mom grab some tissues;)). We were talking to his mom on his birthday and asked what kind of cake she is making for him and what he is receiving. She quietly said that he wont be receiving anything, not even a cake because they dont have any money. She tried to earn some money for his birthday, but couldnt get enough. When we left the house we went straight away to the store. We bought two big cakes and a huge candy bar for little Lucas. We snuck into the house and wrote a note for Lucas saying that all this was from his mom, and then we left so nobody would see what we did. I guess when he entered the house and saw all of the stuff he started to cry being so grateful that he finally had cake on his birthday! This broke my heart. It shows how little the people here have, but yet they do so much for others. 
The Wedding
Next story. On wednesday we had permission from President Fusco to attend a wedding in our ward. Funny thing, us missonaries were the bridesmaids and groomsmen. We were the witnesses and had to sign for the wedding... strange but awesome! It was so fun! 
On Friday we went to another city for training and interviews with president. I am so grateful for President Fusco! He is an amazing person! We were all so tired though because we took the bus at 1 am and arrived at 4 am and just sat outside waiting till 9 am to go to the meeting. I slept for 2 hours! It was rough, but worth it!

Now the best for last.. Ricardo was baptized yesterday!!! It was such an amazing day! Ricardo will be a leader here in Iguatu when we have a branch. He is attending all the activities and always trying to learn more about the church. He is an example for all the people here. I am so happy for him and I am so grateful for the day that we met him. It was such a great experience to teach him all the lessons and be able to see him be baptized. I am very excited to see what happens with him next!
Ricardo's Baptism

As you can see things are going great here! I am finally starting to be okay with the heat! I dont have to sleep with the fan on, which is an improvement! The language is still coming along.  We talk in Portugues 24/7 here and I even think in Portugues now. Now I just need to work on growing my vocabulary and my accent. The people here are very nice and are always helping me. On sunday I gave my first talk in Portugues and all of the members after said how I did a great job and then I asked if they understood it all and most of them said, hmmm yaaaa... hahah. I have a lot to improve on! My time on my mission is flying by and I cant believe that soon I will hit my date for being out for 6 months. I am grateful for all that I am learning and for my Savior, who has helped me every moment here. My testimony has been strengthened as I've struggled and have tried to improve. 

Please remember that you are never alone. We ALWAYS have the Savior on our side when we are doing good. I know that Christ always has his arms stretched out waiting for us to grab on and let his atonement heal and strengthen us. 
Celebrating a birthday with one of the members of our Group.

I love you all! I hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Sister Unbedacht 

July 20th, 2015 - I Love Iguatu and the People Here!

Weeks fly by here in Iguatu!  I cant believe that this week will be my third week here with Sister Angulo!  A lot of interesting things happened this week and I learned many important things.  This whole week we have been walking a lot each day to a different area for our new investigators. We are teaching many people, but the people that we have been focusing on are Ricardo, a 25 year old, Lorena, the friend of Ricardo, and the family of Lorena.  Lorena is amazing!  She has shared all the lessons with her friends and neighbors.  We teach her and her family each day They all are progressing differently, but it is so cool to see how the Spirit is answering their prayers.  I have loved getting to know these families! 

I want to focus this email on yesterday, Sunday. Sunday was a day I will NEVER forget! On Sundays we leave our house at 8 am to start picking up investigators and remind everyone about church. Our church starts at 9:30, and it is at a school. At 8:50 the Elders called us and said that there were tons of people at the school and that we couldnt have church there. After Sister Angulo and I panicked for a moment we decided to stop and say a prayer. We all decided that we couldn't change the time of church to prepare, but that we would have church in the Elders house (which is very small!) We called who we could and then started the real test on getting people to fit in the elders home to hear the messages. We started asking people for chairs. Across the street is a bar and we asked for chairs for church and they gladly said yes! We found tons of chairs!  

When doctrines class started at 9:30 we didnt have many people, but slowly people were arriving. As more and more people started coming we were running out of space to hold our meetings in this tiny house. At this time we found out that President Fuscos counselor would be visiting this day at church. When he arrived he asked a restaurant nearby if we could hold church there instead, and they said yes. We moved over to the restaurant for the Sacrament. During Sacrament meeting a Priest (who was not very nice) came in and started passing out flyers to the people. The Counselor got him to leave quickly. At this point I was thinking how everything that could possibly go wrong, did. As sacrament meeting went on I started thinking about how all of these things happened, but that it all worked out so we could partake of the sacrament. 

This sacrament meeting ended up being one of the most spiritual meetings I have attended. The spirit was so strong and we had the most attendance we have ever had in this group!  Now the things that I learned from this. Satan will do everything to stop us from partaking of the sacrament. We cannot let him win! We must partake of the sacrament EVERY WEEK! Next thing, it's so important for us to partake of the sacrament every week so we can have the spirit with us. I never realized how important the sacrament was until yesterday. I'm so grateful for that experience! It really was such a great day! 
Sister Angelo hit her 1 year mark

Next thing that I will talk about that Im sure all of you wanted to know about Brasil. The food is amazing!  People love feeding us, and they feed us well! Two things that I absolutely love here. Cuz Cuz (I dont know how to spell it) and Tapioca (Which is not similar to the tapioca in the US).  I think the members have a fun time feeding me all sorts of things, so I can experience Brasil...haha. 

Things here are wonderful!  We didn't have any baptisms in Iguatu this week but we are working our hardest so we can have many next week! It is still HOT here, but Im loving every moment! What a privileged to be here with the people in Iguatu! They are so humble and kind! I look up to them all! 

Have a wonderful week!
Sister Unbedacht