Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

Hello everyone, and Happy December! I can´t believe that it´s already December... Where has the time gone?! I´ll be calling home in 23 days! CRAZY!

I hope that Thanksgiving was perfect for you all. I actually almost forgot that it was Thanksgiving this past Thursday. But I got together with some of the other missionaries in my district on Monday and we had a ghetto little Thanksgiving up at the church. It was awesome! Four of the six of us are American, so we had the chance to teach our two Brazilian missionaries about the wonders of Thanksgiving! Stuffing your face, and passing out on the couch afterwards! Oh yeah, and giving thanks too...

This week was good. I learned about the importance of talking to people with more love, and I did some of the best contacts of my mission this past week! I felt the love. They felt the love. There was just so much love!

Sister Lourenço and I were blessed yesterday night with another miracle for Ramo Santa Cruz. The baptism of Alvarino Da Cruz! He´s awesome!

This Ramo is growing and soon enough will become an Ala.

I love you, and I want to share my testimony with you all. God loves us so much. He sent his son Jesus Christ to this Earth to atone for all of our sins, and we can have peace in this life and joy in the world to come if we just look to him. Heavenly Father has a perfect plan. Have faith, repent, be baptized, recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost, and keep on keeping on.

Have a perfect week!


Sister Stevens

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

What?! It´s already time for Thanksgiving??? Where has the time gone? I reached my Three month anniversary this past week, and let me just say, It´s been a week of miracles!

Since this is the Week of Thanksgiving, I think that I will send you a list of things that I am grateful here on the mission.

1. I am grateful for rain! This might seem strange, but let me just say, before it rains, Santa Cruz is like a bubble of humidity. It´s AWFUL! But you always know it´s gonna storm. I love when it storms. It makes missionary work more of an adventure! Usually I throw my unbrella to the side and take a shower in the rain. It feels so good when you´ve been sweating all day.

2. I am grateful for almoço. LUNCH! There´s nothing better than sitting down at a table of three other missionaries and a family to eat. I love lunch because you don´t have to worry about what you´re going to eat. The members take care of you!

3. I am grateful for my apartment full of Sister Missionaries! Me, my campanion and two others. Half of the time we´re lying on the floor laughing!

4. I am grateful for p-day! We work Tuesday through Saturday where everything is amiss. We hope for a miracle on Sunday, but if everything goes wrong, Monday is P-day! This is a poor translation of what my companion quotes every week, but seriously, even if we have a week full of craziness, we can always look forward to p-day. Usually this is the day to prepare for the week. We grocery shop, write letters home, etc... but with the missionaries in my district, we never get anything done! We´re too busy playing at the church and cooking food!

5. I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because this is my pathway to Salvation and an eternity of joy. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I know my purpose in life and always have comfort through times of difficulty and trial. I have hope for the future. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I can live with God, Jesus Christ and my family forever. Que Bencão!

6. I am grateful for my opportunity to be a missionary because I can have experiences like this:

Don´t pay attention to how horrible my hair is in the picture, but focus on that cute little lady dressed in white. Yesterday, I was blessed with my first baptism of the mission. Nerci! We found her teaching record in our area book. She had received all of the lessons and had attended church many times back in July and August, and was almost baptized. So, we set out to visit her this week. She was ready for baptism. She wasn´t sure why the sisters had stopped visiting her months before. But here we were again. A new set of Sisters for this cute child of God. She was baptized last night at 6pm. Que Milagre!

Anyway, family and friends! There are so many things to be grateful for! I´m grateful for each one of you and I´m grateful for this chance I have to be here!

Have a perfect week and a perfect Thanksgiving!


Sister Stevens

Primeira Transferencia

Oí Gente! How are things holding up in the U.S.? I hope all is well and that you are happy.

This week has been full of fun, laughter and lots of sweat. Oh, and how could I forget, TRANSFERS! My oh my, what a week...

Transfer day was Tuesday, and I am now blessed with the opportunity to have the first and only step mother. Sister Lourenço from Fortaleza Brazil. She´s got this cool little Fortaleza accent where she pronounces her R´s more like H´s. She´s 21 and likes Avatar the Last Air Bender. She´s cool. End of story.
Transfer day is really interesting. We live about 2 and a half hours from the main bus area in Porto Alegre (Rodoviarea), which is where all the missionaries that are being transferred meet up with their luggage. So, On Tuesday morning, there I was waking up at 4:30 so that we could make the bus in time. When you get to the Rodoviarea there are probably around 100 missionaries, with at least 2 suitcases each standing around waiting until 11:00 when you find out who your new companion is. It´s awesome! It´s pretty much like a giant reunion. I met up with a few people from the CTM, and a girl that I knew out in Utah! It´s such a small world. I´ll send some pictures of all the fun.

Ok , so getting a new companion while you´re still in the middle of your first 12 weeks of training is really interesting. Let´s just say, I am sooooooo not prepared! My area is huge, and I don´t remember how to get to people´s houses! It was a difficult week for lessons, but the fact that we were walking around holding a map everywhere we went had its benefits. I was able to talk to several people I probably wouldn't have had a chance to know with out the map. It really strikes up some cool conversations! Even though it´s been difficult being the one that ´know´s the area´ it´s given me more of an opportunity to really rely on the Lord. I don´t know anything, but the Lord does. I know that he´s put me in this difficult situation to help me grow.

On the bright side, We´re teaching a man named Alvarino right now. He´s awesome! He contacted the other sisters 2 weekends ago, and the sisters introduced him to me and Sister Barros. Sister Lourenço had an awesome surprise lesson with him last night. At 5:30 we got a call from the Branch president saying that Alvarino was at the church... He wasn´t at church during the normal meetings earlier that day, so it was so strange and random that he would stop by the church at such a strange hour. But QUE MILAGRE! Sister Lourenço and I ran to the church as fast as we could. We had a great lesson, and Alvarino told us that he had prayed about our message, and he received an answer that it was true! He´s Elect! If everything works out well, Alvarino will be baptized on Sunday night. Let´s just say, I was walking on air after our lesson with him.

Anyway, Things are well. It´s such a great experience and opportunity to be here sharing the gospel with the world! I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It´s perfect, and it is only through this perfect plan that we can return to live with our God, our Savior and our families for Eternity. 

I love you all!

Sister Stevens

Me and Sister Gamaz from the CTM

Me and Elder de Assis

Me, Sister Barros, Sister Mactiaco and Sister Stratton

Me and Sister Lima. I met her several times out at BYU because she was friends with my Brazilian roommate Rafaela. 

Me, Sister Lourenço and Sister Barros(my two moms)

Me and Elder Soares

Igreja in Santa Cruz

Jabuticaba tree. They grow on the branches. 


Monday, November 11, 2013



We had a whole day long P-day last Monday! We went to this cool place called the Gruta. It was pretty much this really pretty preserve that had some animals and tiny little cave to explore. But it was a blast!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Miracles Happen When You Believe!

What a week! First I have to wish every one a belated HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween here was definitely something interesting. The other sisters and I decided we needed to celebrate, so we made last minute costumes for our district meeting at the church and had a grand ol' time!

But, even better than celebrating one of my favorite holidays, sister Barros and I had an AMAZING miracle! And guess what? It totally happened on Halloween! I knew there was a reason why I liked this day so much...

So, Sister Barros and I were walking and sweating as per usual, not having much luck with lessons when Heavenly Father decided to bless us with something miraculous.

We were clapping at doors up and down Rua Antonio Assman. We had just finished an awful lesson with hard-hearted adults, and we were trying to find another person to teach. There was this tiny little house on the right that Sister Barros stopped at, and we clapped but nobody came to the door. All of a sudden these young teenagers hanging out in this little shack on the left side of the street yelled to us that we could just go inside the little house because the man that lived there was really hard of hearing. Of course we didn't though, because that´s just weird to walk on into someone´s house! So, one of the youth ran over and did it for us. Unfortunately the man didn't let us teach him. So, Sister Barros and I walked over to the shack to thank the youth for their help. This is when the miracle occurred. These 4 youth were awesome! They were so thrilled that an African and an American were in their little club house talking to them. They thought we were so cool! So Sister Barros and I started laughing and joking with them, which then lead into us teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel... These youth are some of the most intelligent and open minded youth I have ever met in my life. They were interpreting scriptures about apostasy that adults more than twice their age can´t even understand. Let me just say, that shack became an extremely sacred place in that moment. When we finished our lesson, the youth didn't want us to leave! They begged us to come back the next day and talk to their parents so that we could have permission to teach them! WHAAAAA????? We left them with a pamphlet about the Restoration, and promised to come back the next day.

The next day we returned and met with the mother of Anderson(14). Anderson read the pamphlet and asked us if we had The Book of Mormon for him! WHAAAAA??? His mother graciously gave us her permisison to teach Anderson. And he said he wanted to come to church on Sunday.

Then we met with the mother of Jefferson and Jelson(14 year old twins). Their mother gave us permission to teach them if it was what they actaually wanted. One twin responded that yes, he wanted to learn more. Then the other said no... I was shocked! He was so golden the day before. Unfortanately they both ended up deciding that they didn´t want to learn more....

The next day we returned to speak with the parents of the last youth, Emerson(13). He was so excited to learn more! Just like Anderson, he had read the pamplet and had stared reading The Book of Mormon. Talk about elect! Unfortunately his older sister is really hostile and tried Bible bashing with us... I have a feeling that she´s going to have a lot of influence on what the parents ultimately decided. Right now he has permission to learn, but I hope that that doesn´t change because of her.

I can´t even express in words how much I LOVE these youth. We´ve returned to this area about 4 times this week and we always meet a new friend. I have a feeling that if one of them joins the church they all will come in time.

On Sunday we had Anderson and Emerson at church. They´re both amazing and excited to learn more. If all works out, we´ll be having 2 baptisms on Sunday!

Anyway, I´ll be praying and fasting my heart out this week, because I really love these youth! I want them to continue! I want them to be baptized, and I want them to be the world´s coolest missionaries!

Alas, my time is up, but I wish you all the best! I love you all! Miracles happen!

Sister Stevens

I love crianças! Our miraculous youth! Emerson, Me, Anderson, Jefferson, Sister Barros, and Jelson.


Santa Cruz

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sister Stevens with the Youth

Rain, Rain Go Away

I hope that all is happy and well in the good ol' U.S. of A. While you are all enjoying the lovely Fall weather, think of me. I´m sweating like crazy over here! Summer has begun, and let me tell you, it´s not gonna be very pleasant. Also, I hope that you´re all enjoying bucket loads of Halloween candy, because here they don´t celebrate Halloween! How sad!

This week was full of fun, laughter and LOTS of rain. It rained EVERY DAY! And not just a little bit of rain. I´m talking lightning, wind and probably tornadoes (but I´m not super sure about that one). I had many a Marilyn Monroe moment this week... It was hilarious!

So, Sister Barros and I tredged and tredged in puddles, clapped at every door, and somehow miraculously managed to teach 25 lessons this week despite the pooring rain. A miracle, a miracle!

Our little branch is growing slowly but surely, and I feel like one of my purposes here is to help strengthen the branch. We have a hard time getting help from the members, but I've been making a lot of friends with the youth and the primary children (even though the primary kids can´t understand a thing I say!). So, we´re trying to get the youth more involved with the work. We need the help of members, because if the members don´t get involved then all of our investigators and new members will fall through the cracks as soon as us missionaries are transferred.

Yesterday I gave a talk in the Branch about missionary work, and this week we have a branch council meeting. Sister Barros and I are going to stress the importance of members and missionary work.

I love this area and I want to see it grow and grow!

Anyway, time is short and I have a lot to do, but I hope that everyone is happy and healthy!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! They mean a lot to a missionary far away from home.

I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and on the Earth today.

Sister Stevens

Monday, October 21, 2013

Que Coisa Boa

HEEEEELLLLLLOOOOO!!! How are you doing in the real world?? Is the government back in action? Are you all alive out there? I haven´t heard from some of you in a while, so it makes me wonder...

Anyway, this week was full of coisas boas! Good things. First off, I have to say that I´m beginning to understand a lot more when people speak to me. Miracle! Now, my Portuguese on the other hand, still isn´t so great... but let´s not get into that right now...

Second, the people here are awesome! We had a ward activity on thursday night, and it was so fun. It´s nice to do something a little bit different every now and again because the mission is always so repetitive. Oh, and we also had a youth activity on Saturday. I LOVE the youth! They are hilarious! And they think I´m hilarious because my Portuguese is so bad! But hey, sometimes you´ve just gotta roll with things. I may stink at Portuguese, but at least I make people laugh!

Third, the Elders had FIVE baptisms last night. It was AMAZING! People from two different families. One new primary child, three new youth, and a new member of the Relief Society. Que coisa boa! The spirit was amazing last night during that baptism. I admit, I almost cried... It reminded me that this is the purpose that I´m here in Brazil. To find the people that are ready to accept the gospel and follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Now, I just need to work a little harder to find those people. They´re here, I just know it!

Oh, I can´t forget to mention my really ridiculous mistake the other night...

SOOOOOOO, as you all know during the Fall we set our clocks back an hour for day light savings. Well, Brazil does the same thing. So,on Saturday night my companion reminded me that we I needed to change my clock. I was so happy! I would get to sleep an extra hour. And I admit, I went to bed a little bit later than normal because I knew there was a time change... I was getting stuff done, don´t judge!
Anyway, so morning time rolls around, and for some reason my room is super bright at 5:45 am... and for some reason my roommates and companion are up and being really loud... OH. MY. GOSH. I forgot that the seasons are the opposite in Brazil! My clock was 2 HOURS off! I had 15 minutes to get ready for church... And let me tell you, I really needed to shower... But I just didn't have time. I felt so gross. And to top it off, it was around 35 degrees celsius. We were cooking! Oh the things I do... Living in a different county is an adventure, that´s for sure.

Anyway, this week was full of good things! Santa Cruz is beautiful. You smell churrasco in the air every day. It´s pretty much heaven. Now, I just need to find the people that are ready to accept the gospel in their lives. It´s been a heck of a time finding people with genuine interest here, but I know that miracles can happen, and I feel some miracles coming pretty soon.

I love you all. I miss you often, but I´m here for a purpose. I know that God loves all of His children. I know that He wants all of us to live worthy to return to live in His presence again some day. I know that the path to be worthy is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Have a perfect week!

Sister Stevens

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's true! It's really true!!

My oh my. What a week. Or maybe I should say month, because I think that´s about how long it´s been since I've written an email for the blog.

It´s been so crazy and busy out here. But for a quick update, I left the CTM on October 1st and I´m about to start my 3rd week in the mission field. Waahoo!! It´s been quite the adventure already...

First off, I am now in the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission serving in an area called Santa Cruz. It´s really beautiful here and the members are fantastic! My first companion is Sister Barros from Cabo Verde, off of the coast of Africa. She´s so sweet. She doesn´t speak any English, so things are always interesting, but I love her.

Secondly, I am feeling MUCH better. Thank you everyone who heard that I wasn´t feeling well and sent prayers my way. I got sick the second day in the field. It was just a general cold, but it never went away. And when you´re working for 13 hours a day in the sun, it´s not very fun. But tudo bem, all is well! My ears got really stuffy and I literally couldn´t hear a single thing anyone said to me. So, to add to the confusion of not understanding a language, there I was without hearing as well... Oi! Talk about a rough time! THEN, on Monday another really fun thing happened. I got pink eye!! Woohoo! For the first time in my life... What an adventure.

There I was on Tuesday morning prying my eyes open with my fingers because they were glued shut... GROSS! So, I called up President Wright and he gave me the direction to head to the doctors to get a perscription. So, Sister Barros and I walked up to the hospital, because that was pretty much the only place to go, and I walked away with 4 different perscriptions. I had no idea what they were for, but I took them religiously and haven´t died yet! Blessings!

Right now we´re doing our best to teach as much as possible here. It´s been really difficult because we´ll hike and hike and hike and then when we get to a house an hour later, nobody´s home. So we hike in another direction and nobody´s home there as well. So then we knock on doors, or actually clap at the gate in front of their house, and hope that they´ll let us teach them about the gospel. It´s a challenge for sure.

Right now it´s the beginning of summer, so it´s been ridiculously hot out in the sun. So, I´ve become one of those people that walk around with an umbrella.

Oh, I do have a story though that I never got to share. When I was on the flight from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre, I had an awesome missionary opportunity! I was sitting next to this man named Waldir, and I was able to teach him about the restoration and give him a Book of Mormon! It was AWESOME! And I did it all in Portuguese. It wasn´t the best Portuguese in the world, but Waldir was awesome, and patient, and helped me a lot. It was such a cool experience. He promissed me that he would read The Book of Mormon and pray with his family to see if it was true. A lot of people will say things just to appease you, but I honestly believe that he will. He was so sincere.

Anyway, I want you all to know that I love you! I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it´s true. I wouldn´t be out here sweating and hiking and knocking on doors if it wasn´t. A mission isn´t a vacation. It´s hard work. But it´s worth while to teach people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Have the best week ever!

Sister Stevens

Thursday, October 10, 2013


My CTM companions Sister Melendez, Sister Smith, and Sister Wright

My first time drinking Chimarrao.
 It´s bitter at first, but then you get used to it. 

Your Missionary in the Mission

"Oi! I just arrived in Porto Alegre! I feel great, other than being a little tired. I had to leave the CTM at 4:30 this morning! It was a great last week at the CTM, and I've made so many great friends.

I have P-day on Monday, so I'll email you then. Oh and really important: Stop using the address in my packet. Use the address on the top of this letter. I guess the one in the packet is only for a tiny mailbox, so if you send a package it's hard for the mailmen to get it in the box.

I am so excited to be here! Porto Alegre already seems very different from Sao Paulo. It's much prettier.

I talked to this really awesome man on the plane and I taught him about the Book of Mormon! It was AWESOME! I gave him my extra copy and promised him if he read and prayed he would receive an answer. He was so helpful and patient. I didn't understand exactly what he was saying, but I knew he was interested. He was great.

The Gospel is true! I'm excited to be here!

I love you, but I'm so glad I'm here!

Brazil is awesome!


Sister Stevens"

The address on the top of the paper is: 

Sister Emily Stevens
Missao Brasil Porto Alegre North
Caixa Postal 13008
Porto Alegre - RS Brasil CEP 91010-971

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Week in the CTM

HELLOOOOOOOOO!!! So, since I changed districts I also happened to change pdays as well... I forgot to even mention that that might happen last Friday. But I'm glad that you were able to email me anyway. I was so sure I would't have any emails today.

This past few days have been interesting but great. My whole district left early yesterday morning and I headed upstairs for my last week at the CTM. My new companions are great. Their names are Sister Skousen and Sister Burris. They've been really nice and welcoming. It's their last week too, so we'll all be leaving together next week. We went to the Sao Paulo Temple for the last time this morning. It's kind of sad thinking about how I'll never be back there... Maybe someday! It's so beautiful inside. I definitely think it's one of my favorites.

I can't even believe how fast time has flown by. It feels like I have been here for 2 weeks max, but at the same time it feels like I've been here forever. On Sunday, all I wanted to do was leave for the field with the rest of my district, but then when I thought about it, this whole week is going to be such a blessing. It's one more week to brush up on things I'm going to need to know when I'm in the field. I have 2 new instructors(one is really intimidating), but teaching 2 new investigators has been good practice for when I get out in the field. I've also been doing my best to step up during the lessons.

On Sunday I was asked to be the sister training leader during my last week here. I pretty much just keep an eye on the girls in my branch and make sure they're doing well. It's been really great. Plus, having the chance to serve the girls keeps my mind off of the difficulties of the language. It really makes me feel good to help them out. Plus, they're just really great sisters.

Today is my last pday, and then I have only a few more days until I'm out in the field... It's so crazy to think about! I don't feel ready at all! But honestly looking back on even just one week, I can see that I've really learned a lot. I may not sound like a native, but I can at least piece things together and the Brazilians can figure it out. I really need to kick butt this week so I can be blessed to understand more of the language.

I love Brazil, the language is hard, but I love being here. This last weekend with my district was so spiritual, it made me want to be out here even more, working hand in hand with the Lord to bring about miracles in so many lives. I'm so grateful for the teachers that I had, Irmao Anderson and Irmao Armazan. They were so amazing, and I'm pretty sure that Irmao Anderson is going to be an apostle some day. I'm not even kidding when I say that.

I miss you all, and I'm glad to hear that things are going well.

I love you all!

Sister Stevens

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mesmo Coisa

Oi!!!!! Tudo Bem?! I hope so!

Ok, so another week is gone at the CTM and my mind is BLOWN. Where does the time go?! I've been here for a whole month as oftomorrow. It's amazing. the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days when you're on a mission. By the time 10:30 comes around, you're knocked out because you're so exhausted. Or at least you should be sleeping, because that's curfew... BUUUUUTTTT, going to bed on time is a little difficult sometimes when you have Brazilian roommates! We're ALWAYS talking! Plus, it doesn't help that Sister Wright and I take 10 minutes to explain a relatively easy concept in Portuguese. So, the average time I went to bed this week was around 11:10... I tried to go to bed on time, I really tried! Some people might think that that's not a big deal, but when you're constantly on the go on a mission, those 40 minutes are really precious!

So anyway, since I've been in Brazil I've had a pretty hard time recognizing the difference between several words... And this has cause a few embarassing, yet hilarious moments during my stay here. So, there are 2 words that sound very similar that I always mix up... Mulher(woman) and Melhor(best/better). Mesmo Coisa, right?? Nope. Anyway, I was in a lesson with 2 of the elders in my district who we were pretending to teach. It was the first time we "met" so we were trying to get to know them. Well, let's just say, I accidentaly asked these two Elders if they were woman friends... Waaa waaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... EPIC FAIL. At least it got some good laughs though. At my expense, of course. You'd think after making such a ridiculously embarrassing mistake, that I would have learned my lesson, right? Nope! Last night while I was talking to my Brazilian roommate, we were talking about our friends, and I was asking if "he was her best friend..." Well, at least that's what I was trying to ask... I did it again! All of a sudden my roommate, Sister Farreira was doubled over, laughing at me! AAAAHHHHHH!!! Whyyyy meee? Por que?!?!?!?!? At least my lack of language skills makes me funny to all the Brazilians :) It makes life more interesting, that's for sure.

Ok, I'm out of time, and I hope that all my stories make sense. I don't have time to write, and proof read and edit, so ya kinda get what ya get.

Today is the last pday I have with my district here at the CTM. It's bitter sweet for sure. But we'll all be heading off to bigger and better things in no time. We'll be serving in the exact missions that the Lord called us to! I can't wait to see what Porto Alegre is like! I hear that they grill cheese there... WHAAA??? I'm all up for trying some of that!

Be happy! God loves all of His children! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true! and I love you all!


Sister Stevens

Saturday, September 14, 2013

OHHHHH, we're halfway there....

And I am most definitely livin' on a prayer... Or maybe 5,000... It's at least somewhere between 1 and 5,000. I've lost count by now.

Life has been pretty good this past week. There were a few crazy stressful moments, but overall things are up and I'm learning Portuguese one word at a time!

This week we taught a lot of lessons. And during those lessons miracles happened, the spirit was felt, and people are getting baptized! Oh yeah! Now, if only these investigators were real... I have to say though, it's amazing how much you can love a fake investigator! It feels so real when you're teaching. You're completely following the direction of the spirit and relying on His guidance during the whole lesson, and then when you leave, you feel so giddy and excited because the person prayed or went to church or said they believed what you were saying was true! But then you come back to reality and realize that in the CTM, it's all practice. But the thing is, that doesn't matter! Because, even though the investigators are actually our instructors pretending to be someone else, we're still missionaries. We feel the spirit while we're teaching, because 1. It' s truth. 2. because we're not acting, we're being who we really are, representatives of the Lord's church!

This week was not easy by any means, but since when is life easy? I've learned a lot of things. I've learned that when I desire something, and exercise faith toward that desire, the Lord will bless me. For example, I have a desire to learn Portuguese, and so, I've decided to read The Book of Mormon in Portuguese. The. Whole. Thing. Gordon B. Hinckley promised that if you have a desire to learn a language, and you read The Book of Mormon in that language, you will become fluent. I'm trusting in the Lord on this one. He sent me here for a reason, and that's to teach the people of Brazil in their own language the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a very daunting task, but in the word's of Cinderella(the brandy, Whitney Houston version) Impossible things are happening EVERY DAY! It's so true!

I love the Lord, I love you all, and I am so grateful to be here in Brazil! I wish I had more time to write and respond, but I have 30 seconds left...

Have the best week ever!


Sister Stevens

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

At the Campinas, Brazil Temple

Another One Bites the Dust...

Another week gone???? Where does the time go?!

It's been a great week here at the CTM. Another week of change and transition, but that's ok. I got a new companion last week and she's still awesome! Sister Wright is so sweet and helpful. I don't know what I would do without her! She was definitely a blessing!

This past week was almost just like any other week, except for the fact that we went proselyting! WHA WHA?! We ran up hill to catch the city bus, and drove for an hour to get to the main business district of Sao Paulo. It's kind of like Sao Paulo's version of NYC. It was pretty cool. There were people performing for money, and the normal hustle and bustle of people rushing to get where they need to be. So, it kind of made things interesting when we wanted to have conversations with them... Each of us were given 2 Book of Mormons to hand out on the streets of Brazil. So, the first person my companion and I talked to was a man that was waiting at the crosswalk to cross the street. He made eye contact, so it was his own fault! haha I have to say the best part of proselyting for me is actually saying hi to people. It's the whole talking Portuguese thing that scares the dickens out of me! So, there I was saying hi to every last person that I could, and then we caught the guy at the crosswalk! SCORE! We had to talk while we walked and eventually we got him to stop so we could finish teaching him about The Book of Mormon. He was very nice, and was incredibly shocked when he found out that we were giving it to him for FREE! "Eu nao tenho dinero" That's ok, good sir, because this is a gift for you! Trust me, if you read it, it will bless your life!

We walked up and down the street, and within 30 minutes we had accomplished our goal! The second guy we talked to thought my Portuguese was so bad that he suggested that we talk in English... OOOOHHHHH... Low blow! haha I'll get there eventually.

Oh, and another funny thing that I did. When I was practicing Portuguese with my district before going to the city, I accidentally called our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of AWESOME Days... Otimo means awesome, and Ultimo means Latter or last... But hey, it's true either way I say it!

Things are looking up! We've been teaching and studying and eating lots and lots of food... They pile our plates with meat in the cafeteria each day, and then every night we get launche! Which means snack. It's the Elder's favorite part of the day, I think.

Anyway, I'm so grateful for all of your love and prayers! I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is here on the Earth. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ that goes hand in hand with the Bible. I love the church and I know it's true!

Good luck and god bless, and I look forward to hearing from you next week!


Sister Stevens

Saturday, August 31, 2013

So much to say and only 15 minutes to say it...

Hello from Brazil!

Please forgive all misspelling because I have only a few minutes to write and i am super bad at typing!

Anyway, I first want to say that life has been a whirlwind adventure. And i've only been here a week and a half! Geesh.. I don't even know where to begin...

Well, I already mentioned how they didnt know i was coming, and they moved me ahead a week so that I would be with some other sisters. Well, I love those sisters to death, but they are miles a head of me! I was litterally thrown into the deep end! So, that was last week. I learned to adjust to being a week ahead, and things were actually going really awesome! I made friends with my district, I worked well in my companionship, I ate cookies on p day! Everything was great! I even learned how to pray in Portuguese!

But then it all changed..... Dun dun duuuuunnnnnnnnnn

On Tuesday night I was sitting in class with my district, and it was getting close to the end of the night, when all of a sudden my teacher Irmao Anderson was pulled out of the room by the guy who works out all of the CTM logistics. Well, apparently he was telling irmao anderson that I was leaving the district the next day and going back to my original district because a new sister missionary was coming from Provo... WHAT! No way! I was just starting to feel like I was getting how things worked around here... Then they were gonna thrust me back down! BOOOOO! I was super upset, and my district rallied behind me! haha REVOLT! So Irmao Anderson told me that he would plead my case and see what he could do.

WEEELLLLLLLLLL let's just say his pleading didnt work...

The next morning I was told to pack my bags and move up stairs because I would be starting a brand new district. At this point I had kind of come to terms with being changed, and I actually saw it as a blessing because I wouldn't be a week behind anymore. So, I packed up my stuff(I have wayyyy too many things) and huffed it all up to my new room.

BUT that's not the end of the story!

That night during dinner(pizza night. Brazilian style!), Irmao Paulo(the man in charge of logistics) came up to me and told me that I would be staying a week ahead with my current district. WHAT is happening?! First I'm in one district, then I'm moved, and then I'm back! GAH! Im scared to know what's going to happen next week... Anyway, So now instead of being in a trio, I have a new companion that just came from Provo. Her name is sister wright, and she is so fantastic and so helpful! We taught our first lesson last night and it went really well. Yes, I had to pull out the dictionary a few times, but oh well, they know I'm a stupid american that can't speak the language!

I really love brazil! The Brazilians are so helpful and nice! The weather has been muito frio and I actually heard that it snowed down in Porto Alegre... Man, I'm in for it!

Anyway, I love you all and I wish I had more time to write a better email. But now it's time to go out and buy some churros!

I know that gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It's here on the Earth!

Sister Stevens

Friday, August 23, 2013

Three Days and it Feels Like a Dream

Oi minha familia e amigos!

I can't believe that I've been in the field for less than 3 days and I'm already emailing you on pday... Let me just say, that that is REALLY unusual.

When I arrived at the CTM on Wednesday, apparently they had no idea that I was coming. WHAT! (insert a question mark in your mind, because mine isn't working) Anyway, that's just typical Emily luck that they wouldn't have anything ready for me. So here I am, a lone sister in a district full of 18 and 19 year old boys... yeesh! They're really nice and everything, but c'mon, they're 18 year old boys... and i'm all alone! They didn't have a companion for me, so I was sort of allowed to break mission rules for about 24 hours. I wandered the halls alone. I went to my room alone. I walked the streets of Sao Paulo with a group of elders. Alone. It was actually sort of heavenly! Until I had free time and didn't know what to do with myself!

Since they couldn't have me being alone each day, they decided that the best option would be to move me ahead to be companions with 2 sisters who've been here for about 10 days. Oh my gosh! Talk about intimidating! Even though they've only been here for 10 days, it feels like they're already light years ahead of me. I've skipped learning how to teach an investigator for the first time, and instead had to sit in on probably the 9th lesson with an investigator that was completely in Portuguese! This is tough! Muito deficil! 

It's been a bit of a hard transition having to leave my original district to be with a district ahead, but at the same time it's been a blessing. My companions are so sweet, and since I moved ahead a week or so, I'm able to be writing you today! Yay for pday! 

The missionaries are also allowed to go to the temple each pday! So, I've been here for 3 days, and have also been blessed to go to the temple! The Sao Paulo temple has been closed for cleaning, so we got to go 2 hours away to the campinas(I think that's right) temple. It was so beautiful! 

Oh, I forgot to mention, last night while I was sitting in on the lesson with an investigator, he asked me to pray! I literally had to hold back tears because I was so terrified! I think I ended up starting my prayer out by saying, THE Heavenly Father and I closed in MY name of Jesus Christ, amen.. Oh man, that lesson was sure to be doomed right from the get go with that prayer! Oh, and all the words in between were in English...

Despite struggling with the language and with not having companions for a while, the MTC has been great. The missionaries are so wonderful, and the Brazilians are always more than willing to patiently wait for you to ask them a question. Those poor Brazilians! They just smile and nod and say you're doing great, but you know it's all LIES! haha

I hope that you're all surviving life without me! Yes, It's hard to imagine that happening, but it must! Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to keep you in mine. I know that the Lord has asked me to come here for a reason. He knows that I'm capable of learning this language and doing these hard things, now I just have to show my faith in Him. 

The church is true!

I love you all, and miss you!

Sister Stevens

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sao Paulo MTC Welcome Letter

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

She now has a companion and is settled into her room. She is assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give her a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for any health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".

Please accept our love,

President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn

Sister Emily Stevens and companions at the Sao Paulo MTC!

Monday, August 19, 2013

One Day More

One more dawn. One more day.  One day more until I leave to begin my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  I can't even believe that the time has finally come.  After 10 long months of waiting and preparing I will be a missionary. 

So much has happened since the last time I wrote on my blog, but to make many long stories short, I miraculously received my visa 2 weeks ago, and I will be heading straight to Brazil tomorrow evening! 

I just want to leave one last testimony before I enter the mission field. 

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is real.  It is here on the Earth, and it is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I know that Christ lives, and through him and his loving atonement we are all given the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again one day. 

I love the gospel and I am so excited to be a missionary.

God bless. 

I love you all and hope to hear from you often!

-Sister Stevens

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Love To See The Temple

Ok guys, before I start out this post, I just want to say that this one is a little more serious than the last few.  That doesn't mean you need to head for the hills!  These are just some thoughts and feelings that are important to me.  Now onto the post!


Today was an amazing day!  I was blessed to be able to go to the Orlando, Florida Temple with my mom to see one of my amazing friends from BYU go through the temple for the first time.

Now, for those of you who are not LDS, or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you may not know what "going through the temple" really means.  Let me explain real quick:

In the LDS church, temples are considered to be sacred houses of the Lord.  Just like how the Lord directed the building of temples anciently(Solomon), he continues to ask us to build these sacred places of worship to this day, where we can learn eternal truths and make covenants to follow Him.  "Going through the temple," simply put, means you've gone to the temple and made promises to follow God's commandments.

Now let's get back on track:

So, it was my honor to be there today as my awesome friend Sara went through the temple!  It brought me back to that time a few months ago when I went for the first time.  It was an overwhelming and amazing experience.  It was overwhelming because I felt the weight of responsibility I had just placed on my shoulders.  I felt the true importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and my responsibility to share it with the world.  I also realized the important step I was taking to help, in a way, shape my destiny.  Because of the promises I have made with the Lord to honor Him and live His commandments, I will be able to be a force for good in my family.  Not only my current family, but the family I will have in the future.  Those are also the same reasons that made it such an amazing experience as well.  I gleaned quite a few insights that day.  

The day after I went to the temple, I emailed a few of my best missionary friends to tell them just a few of those insights that I learned.  I would actually like to share them here:

I can see the effects that living a righteous life has on families.  My family is so in need of the gospel, but I see it changing their lives slowly, one person at  time.  They had it at one point, but they lost sight, and now slowly members of my family are returning.  I'm the first of all my sisters/cousins to go through the temple, and hopefully the good news of the gospel will fill all of their hearts and I won't be the last.  My aunt and uncle(mom's brother) were able to attend with me yesterday, an event that will go down in Todd family history!  We never thought the day would come when my uncle and his wife would join/rejoin the church and then go to the temple.  It was such a blessing to have a small part of my family with me yesterday.  I have another Aunt up in New York that reposted my temple picture on facebook and said, "I want to go their someday..."  There's always hope with the gospel and through the atonement!  One family member at a time...  I was so overwhelmed at the temple yesterday... at one point I couldn't even continue speaking because of the overwhelming sobbing that took hold of me.  I felt the weight of my responsibility.  I felt the weight of importance of the covenant that I had just made, and that through righteousness, I can bless my posterity.  A woman can change generations...  I know it's up to me right now, to help my family and be an example of truth and righteousness.  I don't know why I'm writing all this, but I hope you understand how much I love and appreciate you and your righteous example as a daughter of God.  You will bless the lives of so many, but most especially the lives of those in your family now and your family to come.  What a wonderful yet humbling realization. 

Our decisions shape our destinies, and I have to say, I'm so glad that I made the decision to go to the temple.

"For the temple is a holy place where we are sealed together.  As a child of God I've learned this truth: a family is forever."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

South America!

I don't think there's any way to truly describe what it feels like to be called to serve a mission.  Especially when you're asked to serve in a country you've never been to, and don't know a lot about.  This pretty much sums up what I could tell anyone about Brazil after I opened my call:

Honestly, it was a feeling of wonder and excitement!  I pretty much had a smile a mile wide plastered to my face the night I received my call.  After lots of hugs, celebratory phone calls and dinner with family and friends, I immediately went home to Google everything I could about Porto Alegre Brazil.  The first thing I learned was that I was pronouncing it completely wrong!  So long everything I learned in high school Spanish class, I'm learning Portuguese, and unfortunately it's a heck of a lot different...

Despite the fact that going to a foreign land is terrifying, it's also really exciting as well.  I can't deny that every Brazilian I have ever met has been kind, loving and generous.  I also can't deny the feeling I had when I realized that I would be serving the people of that country.  It felt right.  No matter what doubts or fears have crept into my mind during these long months of waiting, or no matter how little I know about Brazil right at this moment, I know that this is where the Lord wants me to go.  He qualifies whom He calls.

So, in the words of Little Red from Broadway's musical Into The Woods, i'm "excited and scared!"  But, mostly excited.  Brazil is only 35 days away!  It better brace itself! :D

Brazinglish, The Language I Think I Speak

So, It's been a fascinating past few months.  Living life one day at a time, trying to "prepare" as much as possible before my departure to Brazil.  I say, "prepare," because what i'm really doing is sitting around, watching endless hours of TV and soaking in every ounce of lazy that I can before I leave for a year and half to serve a mission!  Haha, no matter how much that might seem to be true to some, I really have been working hard to get every possible thing in order before I leave.  Scripture study, Portuguese study, work, study, study, study, not to mention all the paperwork involved in getting a visa!  Talk about cray cray...

Anywho, with all the hard work and studying I think that I can officially say that I have managed to tackle the art of Brazinglish!  It's kind of like Spanglish, but for Portuguese.  And since i'm specifically speaking Brazilian Portuguese, I think Brazinglish is a rather fitting title.  

Over these past few months of waiting, I've been blessed to meet several people that are going to the same mission as I am.  Let me just say, Facebook is a complete blessing at times!  This is how I discovered my fluency in such a little known language... Because of Facebook, I found the sweetest girl who's going to my mission.  The only problem we had was a slight, or maybe not so slight, language barrier!  She's from Brazil, and spoke very little English.  And of course there's me, the bumbling buffoon who can't even remember how to speak English correctly, not to mention Portuguese.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well we were able to communicate.  My Brazinglish is coming along quite nicely, if I do say so myself!

Now, se alguém could please point me to the banheiro, Eu acho que sou feito com this blog post  :)