The Work has just gotten sweeter!

The Work has just gotten sweeter!
Espirito Santo, Brasil

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What Are We Doing Now?

Living in another country always brings amazing opportunities. You get to experience things that you would NEVER get to experience in your own country. You get to see a new culture and interact with people that you would've never had the chance to meet. I am grateful for this chance that I have been given to expand my circle of friends. This circle has now expanded to another continent!

Lucas and I have the wonderful opportunity to feel like missionaries again, but this time we are teaching English! We go to our students' homes and talk with them and teach them grammar and vocabulary. Usually, all of our students have a special reason to learn English, whether it is because they are going to the US soon or they need to use English at work.

I have met so many amazing people through our job. Our students have become our friends! And that has led us to being invited to eat some pretty good Brazilian barbecue ;) or to go paragliding! And some of our students have some super cute pets.

This is Malú. She just turned one years-old and she welcomes us every time we teach her owner. One time, she was so excited to see us that she peed on the floor! She has even started to learn a little bit of English too. 

Teaching private English lessons has been a major blessing from Heavenly Father. Before we started this though, things were kind of tough for us. Lucas was working in two English schools that didn't pay very well. One of them didn't even pay him! We are still working on getting a lawyer to get his money. But we were worried about being able to pay for all of the things we need for our new home.  For all of you married people, you know how tough it is to buy ALL the things that go into a new marriage. We had received so much help from friends and family, but we were still worried. Other job opportunities came to Lucas and they seemed better, but we felt that those jobs weren't the jobs for us. It was hard to let those go and trust in God, but now we see what God had planned for us. Once we started the private lessons, things just exploded! We got more and more students and got busier and busier. Just from our lessons, we have been able to pay for all of the things we need. Lucas is able to work and study without feeling overworked. Lucas and I spend so much time together, which I am very happy about. We are just making up for the time that we lost when we were dating. 

I have been able to share my knowledge with other people. I have learned more about the English language over the past 5 months than I ever have in my years at school. I had no idea what a "phrasal verb" was until I started teaching English. (If you don't know what a phrasal verb is, it's a verb that uses a preposition and this will change the whole meaning of the verb. For example: pick up, take out, get in, hang up.) English is a tough language! I had no idea how lucky I was to be able to speak English until I started helping others learn it. 
Who knew that the "th" sound would be so hard for non-native speakers haha. But I have been learning some sounds in Portuguese that sound just as weird and that I never knew were humanly possible, so I guess each language is just as hard. 

Now, God has blessed us even more. I am now working for the online school Open English. They are a US-based school so I will be paid in dollars. I work from home and pick my own schedule. As we are planning to return to the US in about a year, this job is great because we can have american money already saved up for us to use when we go back. And I can continue to do this job while I am in the US. I am very excited to continue to teach English. Teaching is such a blessing. 

I am very happy to be here and to be with my husband. We were finally together for Lucas' birthday a few weeks ago.

And the stake had a cultural night where each ward represented a country. We were able to bring out our "frança" side last night as we experienced the country of France.

As my dad told me on my mission, I am trying to "breathe in" everything during my time in Brazil. Sometimes I can't believe that I am actually here! I have been able to God's hand in everything, and my testimony has truly deepened. God loves His children and will guide them every step of the way. We just need to let Him.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Blessed in Brazil

I've been in Brazil for a little more than 5 months so I want to catch everyone up on what's happened so far.

My adventure started the day I set foot in the Rio de Janeiro airport. I finally hugged Lucas after 4 long months of waiting and it was the most wonderful feeling. Being so far away from someone truly makes you appreciate them. And when you are finally with them, you never take a day for granted.
We had the opportunity to spend the day in Rio! After getting some paperwork that was needed for our "international" wedding, we went to the famous Cristus statue that Rio is famous for. Man, what a sight! It was amazing to see such a huge statue on top of such a small mountain. It truly is a wonder of the world!

After our trip to Rio, we went home to Vila Velha, Brazil, about 8 hours north of Rio by car. I stayed with Lucas' amazing family. Lucas has two wonderful parents, an older brother (who recently got married as well) and a younger sister, who is the sweetest person I have ever met. They have been my very best friends while I have adjusted to this big change in my life.

While I waited to marry my best friend, my life consisted of eating, learning Portuguese, figuring out marriage paperwork, and planning for our wedding. Those first few months were hard though. I felt like I was in the mission again. I couldn't understand that much Portuguese and I struggled trying to communicate with people around me. I wanted to be more outgoing and friendly like I was on my mission, but it was extremely hard for me. I didn't want to attempt to speak Portuguese and sound silly. I wanted the language to come faster, but it wasn't happening. These first two months were very humbling for me and made me rely on God and my family and fiance a lot. But through these months, I have met so many wonderful people and learned so much about this wonderful country.

I had the opportunity to have another bridal shower....but Brazilian style! It consisted of lots of food, games, and kitchen items ;) Lucas got to participate too, and I'm sure he enjoyed it. Even though I was knew to the ward and couldn't speak much Portuguese, the sisters were so supportive and kind.

Finally, Lucas and I got married. And finally, my parents and sister met Lucas! It was kind of weird that they met him a day before he became part of our family, but they already knew how amazing he is from Skype.
That weekend was a very crazy one! We decorated and prepared everything, while at the same time trying to show my family around Vila Velha and Vitoria, My parents and Jenna were so fun to be with. They loved the beach and food and people. I didn't realize how much I missed laughing with them and joking with them until they got here. I am so grateful for their sacrifice to come all the way down here to support me in my marriage to Lucas.....and buy us some groceries.  And God was kind enough to give them First Class seats for the 10 hour flight down here and back.

The wedding was great! The receptions are not like your usual American receptions. In Brazil, you have a big party with food and cake, and usually everyone stays through the whole thing. We introduced the American tradition of a First Dance and a Father Daughter dance. We took lots of pictures and ate lots of cake and brigadeiro (I'll explain what this is later)....and by the end of the night, we were worn out. 
The best part of the weekend was being sealed to Lucas. We got married on a Thursday night, spend Friday showing my parents and sister around the city, and then woke up SUPER early on Saturday to catch a plane to Sao Paulo. Since the temple isn't close by and Brazil doesn't recognize sealings as official marriages, the wedding and sealing are two separate events. We spent to whole day at the temple! I was so happy to finally be sealed to Lucas. There is a difference between getting married and getting sealed. I could feel that difference. I know that God wants us to have eternal families. Our families are what bring us with joy. 

Saying goodbye to my family was very hard. I still don't know exactly when I will see them again, but I know that God has a plan for me and Lucas. I am trying to learn all I can from this unique experience of living in Brazil. 
Lucas and I spent our honeymoon in a resort in the beautiful mountains. I almost forgot that I was in Brazil because the weather was so cool and fresh. We stayed in a cabin by a beautiful lake. We relaxed and went on hikes, went fishing, went swimming, and just enjoyed being together. My fishing skills prevailed in our fishing competition!

After all the fun, we moved into our apartment, moved into a new ward and started our lives together as a family. I received a calling to be a Sunbeams teacher. The kids are so sweet but have so much energy. It was hard at first to accept this calling. I still felt nervous about my portuguese and I still do, but I stuck with it and now I feel a little bit better. At least the kids are pronouncing my name better. 

Lucas and I are busy with English lessons. I will talk more about those next time. But we have been truly blessed to meet so many great people and help them with their English. I am so grateful to be here and to share my talents with others. It's an opportunity that I wouldn't have anywhere else!

Friday, October 7, 2016

My New Mission

Hi Everyone!

So.....a lot has happened over the last year that I have been home from my mission. BYU, teaching at the MTC, and falling in love with someone in a different continent definitely made my life busy yet wonderful. I am now married to my sweetheart, Lucas França, and I am living in the beautiful country of Brazil.

I have been in Brazil for 5 months now and it has been a very humbling and amazing experience for me. I can feel that God wants me to be here to learn something.....and that is my mission now. To figure out what God wants me to learn.

I was talking to my parents today and they gave the idea that I should continue my mission blog and talk about all the experiences and things I am learning while on my new "mission" in Brazil. Even though I won't ever have to change companions, I am now learning a new language and teaching people in their homes (but this time, it's English, not the Gospel). I am trying new foods, meeting new people, and growing as a person. Sounds like a mission to me!

From now on, I will be writing about the things that happen here in Brazil, and talking about what I am learning. Feel free to comment!