Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another week in paradise!

I am in paradise here. There is a road we drive down when we go to meet the district that is over the river and there is green everywhere. It is so beautiful!!!!! It looks just like Oregon and I LOVE THAT! I also drive down a street called Monument Avenue everyday. I don't know if you know what that is, but it is famous. Oh and I got a box today! It made me SO HAPPY! I love getting letters and boxes and guess what?! I got both today! Thanks for all the love!

Let me tell you about my Companions. They are so Awesome! I love them so much! Sister N is from Snowflake Arizona and Sister R is from Salt Lake City Utah. Sister N is so strong and has been out six months. She is 20 and is a cosmetologist!! So cool because I get to have my hair cut for free! Sister R is 21 and kills me. She and I have the same taste in movies and she is so funny! We look like twins with our blonde hair and blue eyes. We really stick out when we go to the downtown church. The church is not that far from campus which is cool, but we only go there for institute and for lessons it is easier for the students.That church kind of freaks me out...because it is downtown. When we pulled in the other day there was a criminal investigator car parked across the street. Yeah that was reassuring!! Haha, but then I realized that the police station was across the street Hahahaha,

Let me tell you about the three people we are teaching right now. We have an investigator names J and he is from Africa. He has been living in America just a short time. He speaks french and so we have someone from our ward come and translate. He is loving it and loves that we were able to give him a French Book of Mormon. He is excited about the ward and loves how everyone is so nice. Then there is S. Well he is from Kuwait and is Muslim. We don't really know if he is trying to convert us or we are trying to convert him. Either way it is super interesting to meet with him. We gave him an Arabic Book of Mormon and he was so excited.! Hahaha, he was so shocked it was in his language and thanked us a million times because he could understand. Haha I don't know what will happen there, but it has been so interesting learning more. Then we have H and she is friends with a girl that got baptized three weeks ago. She became interested because when she came when her friend was confirmed she felt so much love and it actually made her cry. She cried in our first lesson and texts us everyday to tell us her favorite parts of the Book of Mormon. She is the sweetest person and is just falling in love with the gospel it is amazing to watch her. Another cool thing happened this week! There is a recent convert named J! She just had her one year anniversary of being baptized on Sunday and guess what else she did?! She also opened her mission call that day too!! How cool it that?! She is heading to the Salt Lake East Mission in November and is so happy! However she is not sure how she is going to tell her family because they are still heated about her being a member of the church. She loves us missionaries and hangs out with us often! She is amazing and is going to change lives. I wish I had time to talk about everyone I have met, but I can't! We meet with a lot of less active and recent converts. I have heard so many amazing stories here. All the young people here are so faithful and so good. I can't believe Heavenly Father would give me the pleasure of meeting with them.

I love it here and yes my apartment is nice and has air conditioning. The weather here has not been bad. I am a little nervous when winter comes around because it gets really cold here. For example the missionaries don't have lemonade stands they hand out Hot Chocolate. Well I guess I will deal with it when it comes. I practice my Portuguese  everyday, but I feel it going away slowly. Some people in the ward are RMS and so they work with me a little bit. I will keep practicing!

Oh a cool thing! The Washington Redskins are practicing in Richmond right now and three of the football players came to our ward. They were HUGE! One smiled at me during sacrament a couple big deal!  Haha until he saw my name tag and haha he is married! Haha, I don't remember their names, but apparently they are a big deal? Cool, huh?

Thanks for all the prayers and love! I feel it everyday as I get out of bed at 6:30! Keep the faith and spreading the good word! Much love from da hood!:)

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Most Humid place on earth!

Hello from the most Humid place on earth, Virginia! I made it here and it has been quite the experience already. Well Mom, don't freak out, but I am serving downtown Richmond.....I live just outside of town for a good reason, but yes I serve down town. We are over the YSA Ward. It is very interesting...haha, I thought that I got away from all the dating stuff, buttt I have not. Cool thing though more than half the ward are converts and they are amazing! We are over the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) campus. We only teach young adults which is cool. I have two companions Sister Nelson from Arizona and Sister Romney from Salt Lake City. No she isn't related to Mitt Romney. I love them both so much! We have such a good time together and they are so funny! The only thing that has been a little hard is the jet lag is still effecting me.

It is so beautiful here! It looks like Oregon, but the humidity is crazy! Yesterday after church we had a Sunday supper and it POURED! We may have gone outside after church and danced in the rain a little bit...we may have....haha shhhhh. Anyway the mission President is new so everything that has to do with the mission is a little messed up. Everyone is still trying to figure everything out. Yes, we have a car. Thank Goodness! We have a car because we live outside of the city and need to get into the city often.

We had a lemon aid stand outside of VCU on Saturday and it was actually really fun and scary because this is like real life now. We didn't get to talk to everyone a whole lot, but we did talk to a few cool people. It is a little intimidating to me that they are all my age and stuff, but I guess that is a good thing. Oh and I had a baptism! Haha, Saturday the sisters and I was with had a baptism! Cool, huh? I conducted the music. So many people came! It was Crazy! They said the baptism the week before had to be moved to the chapel because there were 60 people there....can you believe that? The work is moving so fast here. We are teaching a man from Africa on Tuesday! FROM AFRICA! How cool is that?! He only speaks French, so another man in our ward is coming to translate. Can I tell you how weird it is to be the minority? I have never been the minority...we are here! I love it! There are so many cultures here and so many people from all over the world.

Sister Romney and I look exactly the same. People in the ward call us twins. Haha, just think about that and think about how it must be when we go downtown..haha, but know that I am safe because you know me when it comes to dangerous things...I get scared very easily...we parked by what they call homeless park and I kind of had a heart attack, but I am safe. I really am safe everywhere I go. There are places in town we are not allowed to go, which I will totally stay away from. Haha, like some people in our ward we are not allowed to go visit.

I just loved looking around our ward yesterday and thinking about where all these people have come from. I have heard some of their stories and it blows my mind. They are amazing and have changed their lives completely around. It is really fun to work with all the recent converts and we have 10! 10! Can you believe that? I love it! I love all the strength we get to be around often. They all love the missionaries! We have nine in our ward! Crazy, huh?! Oh and not to scare you anymore, but we are some of the first Sisters they are letting teach downtown Richmond, so we get a lot of people saying, "wait you are sisters? We have never met Sister Missionaries before?" haha, life is good. It is hard to really get into this real world work but I am learning. my companions are helping me a lot.

I am still trying to figure everything out. I know I will probably be here awhile, but it is okay with me! my Mission President said that he would call me right away when my Visa comes! oh, and I am so excited I can listen to uplifting music! Any! But they can't be lovey dove! Well, I love you all and hope to get letters from you! I am safe and well taken care of. MUCH LOVE!

Richmond Statistics:
Population in the city limits- 208,834
Metropolitan area- 1,282,509
VCU- 31,000
Ethnic makeup- 57% African American
                          38% White
                            5% Other

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heading out to Virginia tomorrow!

Bom Dia! Can you believe this girl is headed to Virginia in 24 hours? Not me!
Good news! Yesterday five people in our building got Visas! All of them being people who came after us and one of them was from the San Francisco consulate! Also I got an e-mail from Salt Lake about my visa. So this brings me hope! It is crazy this next week our ward is getting three new districts all waiting for Visas to Brazil! Sooo I am thinking Heavenly Father must have some kind of plan for this. Anyways, can I first tell you how awful it has been to be the last ones leaving.....I have seen all of my wonderful District leave and I have cried a million times this week about it because I am a Turner and for some reason the Turner has really been brought out of me. Haha, but really I had a wonderful District full of people that I love so much. I am glad I got to spend six weeks with them. That has been my favorite part! We got so close because we only spent very few hours apart. It has been quite an adventure here and I am sad that it is over, but excited to get into the real world with real FOOD!!!!! Ahh, I told my Sisters, "Tomorrow, I am going to buy a freakin' Dr. Pepper and I am going to be the happiest person on this earth!" Haha, also other good news I did not gain a single pound  in the MTC. I have actually lost three. How awesome is that?????

Let me tell you a cool experience that I had this last week. So one night we had a combined class with the new-be's. We were to teach them how to plan a lesson and also we were to teach with them. Sister Vance and I were together with one sister. She was shy and was very nervous we could tell. We then were combined with another group and we taught. As we taught she was shaking so much and actually started crying. It was heartbreaking, but after our lesson Sister Vance, Me and Elder Jones gave this sister and an Elder a pep talk. We bore our testimonies about the MTC and how hard the first week was. We bore our testimonies how we can always rely on Christ. It was so cool to see how far I really have come with the language. I really have progressed and that is amazing to me. That reminds me, today I got an e-mail from my Mission President in Brazil and it was all in Portuguese, but guess what?!?! I understood it! How awesome is that?????

By the way I just wanted to let you know that I will be calling very early in the morning. I will be calling from Salt Lake because I do not know if I will have time in Georgia. So that might be around 4 or 5 in the morning. I figured everyone will be home, right? Haha, and I am so excited to talk to you, hopefully I will be able to figure the phone thing worries I will! Man, I am really going to miss my district. They are all going all over the place Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington, California, New Mexico (Austin's Mission), Colorado, Idaho and Virginia! How awesome is that?! The only sad thing is more than half of my district is in my Brazil Mission, so i don't think I am allowed to email the Elders:( But, hey I will see them down in Brazil!! I am super excited to get down there. I have this feeling it will come fast. Sooo, Sorry this e-mail is not as exciting as usual, but hey I just e-mailed you not to long ago. I am so excited to get out of here. I wish I could tell you everything that is going on. I am sending a box today. It may have some letters in it that I want you to save and such because I am nervous about packing. We just finished all our laundry, but here comes the hard part. Getting it to all fit! man, I am so excited,nervous to get out there.

I got a blessing last week from the District President here. It was so special because a lot of the Elders from my District were in on it. I feel so much peace. This gospel brings so much peace. I am excited to hear real music again and my companions were always impressed how they could say anything and I could think of a song. Well let me close this e-mail with a quote my teacher said to me.

"No one knows how much confidence you have, so take as much as you want!"

I love this. It is true. The mission requires a lot of change. I am changing so fast! I am growing up and realizing what I want in life. Missions are wonderful and I am very excited to get going! Thanks for all of the love and it sounds weird, but here I feel closer to you all then I have ever before! I pray for you often! I Love You:)
Sister Siepert

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Couldn't wait to wear the Black Badge!

The MTC is coming to an end very soon!

Oi Familia! Como vi? Tuto ban!
Just thought I would share some Portuguese. Eu sou muito Legal! haha, that means I am really cool, no big deal! Haha, can you believe that I leave so soon?!?! me either! I either get my reassignment on Thursday or get my travel plans to Brazil soon! Good news! Yesterday two people in our building got their visas! How exciting is that?! They both went through the D.C. Consulate though...but I am still hoping! By the way when I get my reassignment I don't get to call home...but I do get to call you from the airport and then you will know where I am going! There also is a possibility of me leaving on Saturday! We don't know until Thursday or Friday! Is that blowing your mind or what???? I could be leaving here in less than a week!

Even though I am so excited to leave I am having mixed feelings about it! I definitely will miss my district like no other. I love them all so much! I am so so so so blessed to be in a district full of wonderful, hard working, and hilarious missionaries. We all are such great friends and there is a possibility of not seeing them ever again. That makes me pretty sad. Four of the elders in my district are heading to the Campines Mission and the rest are in my mission. But I just keep thinking, hey at least I get to see them all hopefully in Brazil. Everyone in my districts calls me Sister Perigo, yeah that's right I am sister danger. Hahaha, I love them so much! They all believe in my dangerous side too, which is nice because there are a lot of non believers of my dangerous side out there and that's ok with me! Right family? Right!

I also am really loving my teachers. They like believe in me which is nice! In High School sometimes you don't feel muck like your teachers want to be there or they don't really care about you, but here they do. I learn so much everyday! Which is nice because that makes the days go by and makes me super tired. I feel like and old women. I go to bed at 10:30 every night. Also that is one of my favorite times of the day. It's the point at the end of the day where my companion turns the lights out and you know that your day is done. It's like the only point of the day where you slow down. Missionary life is so much more busy that I ever thought it would be! I am always on my feet and I have to always be prepared to teach anything all day. Sometimes our teachers randomly say, now teach the companionship next to you about the Word of Wisdom or the Book of Mormon. I freak out in my head a little bit, but then I just do it!

Oh, let me tell you the grossest story there is this shower here that I love!(also the handicap shower, no joke needed) and I go in it all the time because like there is space in there to breath! How nice is that? Haha, well I went in there and I looked in the shower and there was a hairball the size of Brazil in there...You know how I feel about hair. Here at the MTC and in the dorm place we live in there is hair. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. The food is starting to taste pretty gross to me now. I am well over it now! There are Elders and Sisters that say in the MTC for 12 weeks. I would die! They are learning two languages too! I would die x 2...but other than those minor things I am sad about leaving. It's like I keep thinking, "I have to go out and teach real people..."  Haha, I feel like I live in a fake world.

Let me tell you about my 4th of July! Well the whole beginning of the day was normal for us. We studied all day and worked all day, that was kind of hard and made me a little homesick. Then we went to a huge devotional where the Presidency of the District spoke a little bit and then we watched 17 miracles. I seriously bawled all through is so sad and so awesome! Then they surprised us and told us that we could go out in the parking lot and watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire while eating Ice Cream! I didn't know that fireworks could be spiritual, but it was sooo amazing. I just thought about where I was last 4th of July and how I had no idea that I would be standing in the MTC parking lot watching fireworks the next year. I felt so blessed and felt like even though my family was far away from me at that moment you all were so close. It is kind of a strange thing to me that even though I don't get to contact you all I feel closer than ever. Missions are amazing. I am growing and learning so much more than I thought was ever possible. I feel like I am becoming that person I have always wanted to be, but didn't know how. The gospel changes you. It changes you into that person you have always wanted to be. I guess I didn't really realize that the gospel does all of that until you are immersed in it fully. I am here and I am working so hard. I feel the Savior there every step of the way. The other day I was having a hard moment and felt very much like I was not sure how I was going to get through the week or the day and it was like the spirit whispered to me, "Hello Sister Siepert, I have been here the whole time. I have been carrying you when you needed and I have been walking beside you always." You really feel that as a missionary. The Lord wants me here and he shows me everyday. I am here and I am doing his work. I am his hands and his heart out on the field. I just want you all to know at home I am doing my best because the Lord deserves the best from me. He has given men so much and when you start to realize that you start to realize how much you can give him.

I am so excited that Ty is on the Church History Trip! He will love it! There are three other people here at the MTC who went on that with me! Two of them are girls and one boy. So crazy! He will love every step of the way! What if I get sent o a Church History Site? I would be in Heaven! I am going out into the field soon. My life is changing fast!

I love you and thank you so much for what you have taught me! Thanks for being such an example to me! I am growing and I am learning! i work hard because you have taught me to work hard. I am understanding Portuguese more than I ever imagined I would. I love you all! Can't wait to hear your voices soon! By the way there is a possibility that I will be leaving very early in the you might get a call that wakes you up. So you better be excited! Haha, I already can hear mom crying!  You would be proud that my Turner side has come out more. I am more open to cry even though I hate crying! I love you all and I love hearing from you all in emails and Dearelders! Can't wait to talk to you! Paz!

Pictures From the MTC

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Another Week at the Provo MTC!

Well it is SO HOT HERE! SOOO HOT! Every time I walk outside I want to die! No, not really.Then I think about how hot it is going to be in Brazil. My companions love to workout outside and I love it too, just not when it is 100 degrees out.  I always fight against it but I always give in because I am a little Baby:)  haha

How exciting it is that for all those new missions?! So crazy, right??? I am actually technically on my fifth week. How insane it that?  The language is slowly, but surely coming along. I am getting it, but stupid grammar...stupid stupid grammar! But as a district we can only speak Portuguese during class. Which is basically all day, so that is interesting. We all use a lot of hand signs and stuff. Haha, by the way mom in Portuguese is jut Ma (well with a dash thing over the a) haha.

I hope we get to greet new missionaries this week! That would be so much fun! I love when they all come because my building is right in front of the front entrance of campus.  We see everyone come in. I love seeing all of that and how excited all the young missionaries look. You can always tell who the new sisters are because they are the ones on Thursday and Fridays in the bathroom way early and taking showers and such. Haha, they always look the nicest too. Then as they realize that sometimes sleep is more important, they get over that. It is fun to be the old ladies on campus!

I have a whole month done of my mission already. How crazy it that???? Only 17 more months to go! It has been fun and exciting. The whole visa thing is interesting. We have heard a lot of rumors.There are a lot of missionaries here waiting (A LOT).  We have heard rumors that July is supposed to open up and such, but I don't really know what is true. Honestly I would be fine serving stateside for awhile. The only thing is I would be teaching in English and that would stop my growth a little bit. I would only get to study Portuguese for an hour a day and that would not be enough. But it is amazing how much I know in just one short month.  I can bear my testimony, pray. I can say the First Vision and the missionary purpose. I can understand way more than I can say!It is cool when people on campus come up to you and want to bear their testimonies to you in their language (especially Spanish). I can understand them! Isn't that so awesome?!?!

Sister Sheri Dew came and spoke in our Relief Society on Sunday! I was so excited! She was so awesome and she was soooo wise. one of my favorite quotes she said was, "As you go off into this world wherever you go, you are not going alone." How awesome is that? And that is not only true to us as missionaries, but us as a human race. We are never alone. Even though we may feel alone, the Lord will never leave you alone. He is just waiting for you to call upon him and he will be right there. I have felt that a lot this week.

I am starting to get frustrated more and more with the language because I feel like the people all around me are progressing much faster than me. But serious I think I pray 39748273894723 million time a day. Sometimes I think the Lord is probably like, Sister Siepert really? Haha, just kidding he loves me and is so happy to hear from me! you  too and lets face it, the whole world....just kidding! Something else the Sister Dew taught was that we are going out into the world to heal others. We are going out in this world so that others can know that Jesus Christ and God want to heal our broken hearts. That is something I have learned a lot about this week. I love when we get to do personal study here. Its a time where it is just me and the Lord. You get so much out of life when you read your scriptures everyday. I am so happy after that no matter what. No matter how frustrated I get, I can read the scriptures and its like magic. I feel so much better.

We got to do something cool today. We got to go and help clean the temple. How awesome is that?!?! We were given white scrubs and all of the sisters were sent to the Brides room. We cleaned all the beautiful crystal and chandeliers in there. We cleaned each piece of crystal one at a time. It was so amazing to be apart of that! We feel so blessed because only five districts in the MTC were asked. It was probably the scariest cleaning I have ever done, haha because these are not just crystals they are the Lords Crystals.  haha, but really it was a lot of fun and we had a companionship in there with a group going to the Mesa Arizona Mission. They were so nice and it was nice to talk to them. One of them had a boyfriend who is in the Sao Paulo North mission! He has a maid!  What?!? Haha, she was excited to talk about it and told us so much about it.

My companion Sister Jones and I sang in church on Sunday. IT WAS PROBABLY THE SCARIEST THING EVER. I'm not sure why I said yes, but I knew that if I didn't I would regret it. I was shaking so bad. I was so embarassed....haha, and it went alright except at the end of one of the verses we missed it and it was not a thing we could recover from.....haha and Sister Jones got called up to give a talk! We are past our two week mark, so it had to be all in Portuguese. Before we went to church she told me she really struggled with what to write a talk about so she didn't have anything firmly prepared.  I was terrified for her. When she got called I realized how much I have grown to love her because my heart was aching for her. I wasn't sure how she was going to do it! She did a great job!

I am so excited that Ty is excited about his mission. That is amazing!! It is worth it, but it is hard. It is a lot of trust in God and his will. You just go and work had and God will fill in the rest. Happy 4th of July! I will be watching fireworks on a screen inside the gym!

I sing in the choir every week! I Love It! It is so good to get a break and sing! Our conductor conducted at General Conference a couple of time!  So Cool:)

I heard this really cool quote the other day it says, "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." It's true!