Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't Be Deceived

The philosophies of men surround us. The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that. The character of transgression remains the same. If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness—and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so.

Thomas S. Monson, “Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign, May 2008, 65–68

The old man, the teenagers and the midget

Sister Reva Brooks took this picture of Heidi (Sister Hope), companion and two other Sisters at the Sao Paulo, Brazil Temple on Wednesday.

Following is an excerpt from Sister Roper's last email:

Last friday was my last day going street contacting in São Paulo. A few hours before we were to leave I got really tired and wasn't really feeling like spending time in São Paulo. But I got tired of not feeling up to it because I am a missionary, this is what I am going to be doing for the next 16 months so I told myself that I just needed to have fun and enjoy the moment and enjoy São Paulo because I may never be in this crazy city again.

So before I left I told Sister Lundstom that we were going to just have fun while we were tracting. So before we left we decided to contact 3 specific types of people. We decided to look for an older to contact because the are always really mean :). Then we decided to contact a teenage girl because for some reason they are really intimidating to contact.. Probably because they think we look like nuns and talk like 3 year-olds. And Third I told sister Lundstrom that we were going to contact a Midget. So we are driving in the van to our contacting area. We were each given three book of Mormon's to place. We didn't get any pass along cards this time, and Irmã Fillao told us that if our whole district got rid of all out our BOM's she would buy us sorvete (ice cream).

So we got to our area which is the frist area we contacted at where all the J.W.'s were (a few weeks ago) and where Sister. Lundstrom got stoned. Yeah it wasn't my favorite place to go but I just decided to have fun with it and was looking forward to the challenge. So we got to the park plaza place and start working. It was a little less busy then the first time we went, the J.W.'s were there which was awesome...but we actually didn't talk to them. There was a lovely cool breeze so life was good! Right when we started walking down the plaza we saw these two teenage girls sitting on some steps and before I knew what was happening I started talking to them. Once girl had a bunch of piercings but seemed nice enough and the other girl had a really nice friendly countenance. They both listened to us and were really friendly. We asked them if they wanted a book and the friendlier girl took one. It was really interesting because I could tell that she was interested in it even though the other girl wasn't. Anyway....

We were excited after that contact. So the rest of the day went fine. We actually had a lot of laughs and we were passing out our book of Mormon's. We talked to one guy forever trying to understand what he was saying and could pick out little bits and pieces but he was just kind of rambling and we felt prompted to just move on and stop listening to him. So finally after probably 10 or 15 minutes I asked the guy in Portugués if he wanted to learn about the Book of Mormon or not, he said no and so I was said "Taobóm. Obrigada por seu tempo. Boa Tarde!" (okay, thanks for your time see ya) It was crazy because the spirit can really help me identify who to teach and what to do. We contacted one guy and the whole thing was so quick, but I could tell he was truly interested in the book. I am grateful for the gift of the spirit because he definitely directs me and helps me be bold and unafraid. I am so blessed.

So we only had about 20 minutes left of our contacting and we still had one book of Mormon left. Luckily for us Sister Lundstrom spotted out our very last contact....Our Midget! Haha I couldn't believe it. At first I thought she was just pointing to some short man but when I looked again I saw a midget across the park from where we were. He was so accommodating too because he was in a bright orange outfit. Sister Lundstrom slowly walked his way figuring out if we should go over there. Duh..of course we should go over there. We are missionaries. We spare no one :). So we walk over to the Midget and he is actually a city worker and he was with two other coworkers. We started talking and the MIdget wasn't interested but one of the other workers was....especially when he found out the Book was free. haha it was good way to end the day. Even better is that our whole district passed out all of our BOM's in about 2 hours. We passed out 31 BOM's total. I felt so proud of all the elders and Sis. Lundstrom. All of us went out and had fun and relied on the Lord and overcame our fears. That was probably my favorite day here in the CTM. It's so important to remember to have fun while work hard because if you don't life will just be miserable.

I am so excited to get to Rio (de Janerio) because I know there is a ton of work for me to do. I know that modesty and morality is a huge problem in Rio and Women have a skewed image there. So I am dying to get there and help God's daughters know who they are and who they can be. I want them to feel the purity and strength that I feel daily as a result of my knowledge of the Gospel and usage of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are so so blessed to have this gospel. I am learning so much. I love studying so much. I love this gospel and know it is important to remember that we don't have to go on a mission to feel close to God and feel the power of atonement. All we have to do is show God that we want to be closer to him, that we need his help, that we need a friend, that we need some comfort, that we need direction. For anything we need God is waiting to help us with. All we have to do is let him in. I know that as we make a process of daily diligent scripture study and prayer, our lives will literally be filled with peace and love and happiness. That doesn't mean that every day will be perfect and we won't make mistakes and that we won't have struggles, but there is a definite added strength to our lives. I am starting to become grateful for my challenges because I can see how they are slowly molding me into who the Lord knows I can become...I just feel so blessed and am excited to go teach the gospel for real.

Sister Roper in Sao Paulo

After being set apart by the Stake President Charles Rudd Sister Heidi Roper began serving her mission by entering the MTC in Provo on Wednesday, February 4, 2009. Sister Roper has been called to serve in the Brazil Rio De Janeiro Mission and was supposed to fly directly to Sao Paulo to learn Portuguese there. About thirty five missionaries called to serve in Brazil, did not receive their visas in time so a class was started in Provo. There they began to learn the Portugal style of the language.

Two weeks later she received her visa along with everyone except one lone Elder. Arrangements were made and that group began their journey by the leaving the Salt Lake City Airport on Feb. 17th.

Her family received a few letters from her and she reports to being very happy. She reports that she already loves Brazil and noted the following: “Being in the Brasil airport was interesting. There were so many people and some of their lines and stuff weren't very efficient but it was fun to feel immersed with the Brazilian people, despite the fact that I don’t speak the language yet.

Once we got through security and customs and there was a cute little Brazilian man who picked us up and got us on the right van. Driving to the CTM was awesome! I don’t think there are any traffic laws except one; no road rage. Everyone just goes, and swerves in and out of each other. They just plow their own way down the highway. People get cut off all the time but they are totally chill with each other and no one gets frustrated our mad. It really is incredible because in America people are much more intense.

It was crazy too because tons of people ride motorbikes and they don’t have to stay in any of the lanes. They just zoom by the traffic even if it is at a stand still. They will just honk their horn for a few seconds before they zoom by so no one will run them over. Ha ha, it was pretty sweet.

It was interesting driving through Sao Paulo because it didn’t seem real, but then it did all at the same time. I just know that this is where I am supposed to be. They have some pretty big canals in the city by the highways. I understand why I won’t be able to drink water from the tap now; yeah that water is pretty nasty. The city is crazy because there is a huge contrast of nice and ghetto right next to each other. There are many hills that have little cement houses built on top of each other. We are so blessed.

The CTM is way more chill than the MTC. Some rules at the MTC in Provo don’t even apply here. I love the food here too. I literally eat beans and rice almost every meal every day. They have other stuff too but the beans and rice are my favorite! It is sooo good. Every meal is a treat.

No one ever told me about Brazil’s amazing BBQ sauce! I think I have already eaten a whole bottle by now. Sis. Lundstrom, my companion thinks I am crazy but this stuff tastes so good on their meat, the rice and beans, the bread...everything, I love it.

The rooms here are 100 times nicer than Provo and a lot cleaner too. There are four Sisters in our room. We have two Brazilian roommates and I love them. They don’t speak much English and whenever I try to speak Portuguese they always respond in Portuguese and it sounds like this "adasdlkfjbelak aldflakljadf cbabe alkdabceladlfka" they speak so fast and I still really have no idea how to differentiate between different words. But it sounds good though, right?

Their names are Sister Da Silva and Sister Santos. I love them a lot even though we can hardly communicate. We have apartment prayer together, and sometimes and we will all laugh about random things. I want to be able to communicate with them so bad but so far the language is coming slowly. I am going street contacting on Friday! I am so excited. I know that it will be hard for me but I am really excited. I am sure I will have some good stories to tell you all next week. I know the language will come. Some days I am better at having faith than others, but I made a pact with myself to never say again that I won’t learn the language. Instead I will learn the language!

Most of the missionaries here are Brazilian and so we eat a lot of our meals with them and just talk to them a lot. Everyone is so nice; even when they laugh at my attempts to speak.” (In Portuguese the R’s are often pronounced with an H sound) Many of the missionaries here call me Sister Hope when they read my name tag and I absolutely love it when they do.

We went to the Campinas Templo today and I loved it. It had some of the prettiest art work and the whole interior was gorgeous. It was such a comfort to hear the covenants that I have made and feel recommitted to this great work that I am privileged to be a part of.

Attending the temple was a major highlight of my week. I love my Savior Jesus Cristo and am so grateful for the atonement and his gospel on the earth today. What a blessing in my life!”

Eu amo voces muito!

I love you all a lot!

Sister Roper - Sister Hope!