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Archive for September, 2012

Hey there Family!! Once again, I have so much to say!! But I’ll try to make it shorter than last week so I can read and respond to your e-mails!! Tuesday night we had an awesome devotional by President Degn on agency. A very powerful thought from his talk–that I hadn’t really thought about before– was, “Jesus paid the price for agency so “free” agency probably isn’t the best term.” Wow. So true. Before hand we all sang the EFY Medley in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. It was sa-weet. That night my District had a “desmurfing” ceremony and were no longer first weekers!! YAHOO. My District is awesome. I love them all so much and we all love to be together, it’s like family:) We have gotten so comfortable with each other that sometimes we have a hard time focusing, but we’ve made a couple of goals to help us with that and I can tell that it’s already working. One of our goals is to have an English fast after dinner every night while we’re in class. NO ENGLISH. I love it!!! Our work with investigators has been going well also. Lidia is progressing and tomorrow we will talk to her about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I think she will EAT IT UP. We had our first TRC, which is where you get all the information about an investigator that you have been visiting and then they record you teaching him. It was sweet. The teacher who watched us said that our Portuguese was really good for second weekers. Sweet. There’s another Elder here from the Naperville Stake. His little sister was my “little” sister at girls camp:) I’ve learned a lot more about the Atonement during my time here so far. I’ve learned to just trust in Jesus and do work and everything will be alllright. If I start to lose confidence in myself then I will just lose my hair… BUT if instead of focusing on my own ability and instead put my trust in Jesus, then all is well. We had a great workyshoppy this week. It was more focused on Doctrine (last week was more focused on Portuguese) and I really enjoyed it. One video we watched was a short clip of this woman who didn’t understand our purpose and why people have to suffer. I was thinking about it and really the Atonement can answer any questions or concerns. (Of course some pain and suffering results from self-infliction but..) If we trust in the Atonement and that Jesus suffered for each and every one of us–so much pain for each and every one of us– and then died for us then He MUST love us so much. If He loves us so much, which He really does, then He wouldn’t “let” things happen if He didn’t think it was for our good ultimately. I don’t know why everything happens, but I trust Christ because of His life, suffering, death, and Resurrection–ultimately because of His Atonement. In Sacrament a Sister shared a talk which ultimately challenged us to look inward and ask, “Is it I, Lord?” when something bad happens and you are looking to place fault or blame. My goal this week has been to constantly ask, “Is it I, Lord?” What can I change? It’s made a huge difference in my attitutde and perspective. I love the CTM and I love being a missionary. For no other cause would or COULD I do this!!! I am so grateful for a call from the Prophet to serve in Brazil and I am so grateful for each of you. I love you all so very much. I know Heavenly Father lives and loves us all so much. I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves us. I know that they want us to return to live with them for ever and I know that they have provided the way. “Inviting others to come unto Christ.” How great is my call. I love you so much!! Love, Sister Suzannah Jane Butler

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This is Sister Butler’s first email home.  She is learning so much and already has a deep devotion for the people, the language, the experience and teaching the Gospel. I’m sooooo glad she’s LOVING it!!

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 2:27 PM

Hey there Family,
Happy Chillean Independence Day!!  Today our cafeteria was decked out with red, white and blue EVERYTHING–even the workers’ wigs.  It was awesome–look up the Chile flag, it might look familiar.  I only have 30 mintues!!   I am so grateful for all of your e-mails, but in case I don’t respond to anything in particular, it’s because I am so grateful for all of your e-mails, but in case I don’t respond to anything in particular, it’s because I haven’t read all of your e-mails yet, because I want to write to you about everything.
I LOVE BRAZIL!!!  So much!!!  I am so happy.  My number one concern was being homesick, but Heavenly Father has blessed me immensly (sp?) so that I am not homesick.  Of course I miss all of you, but I am very much at peace in that regard.  Okay, I have a list of things that I wanted to write about so I could save time, so this may be jumbled!!  First, I wrote you a letter about my first day (travelling mostly), so in case you haven’t received that yet, it’s coming!!  Also, there is an e-mail coming your way from the Cheney’s.  Look at their website or call (it’s an American number) if you want some more information.  You definitely don’t have to sign up for it:)
I LOVE the CTM.  It has a courtyard in the middle which I will eventually get to study in.  We are called the smurfs for our first week here because we are given a blue dot to put on our name tags to indicate that we are first weekers.  That comes off TONIGHT.  Yahoo!!  Of course, it kind of helps people to understand that I don’t speak Portuguese.  Speaking of Portuguese, it is coming right along!  I have the mission purpose and about a third of the first vision memorized in Portuguese.  I know some conjucations, verbs, how to pray and testify, and other random vocab.  I have taught two lessons to “investigators” in Portuspanglish.  My companion is Sister Harrison–we have a mutual friend, Danielle Quist who I know from Jerusalem and she knows from school–and so we were messaging on facebook before we ever came to the CTM.  And now we’re companions.  Oh, so our first lesson was for 25 minutes becuase our “investigator” was short on time and the second one was 45 minutes but would have been longer if but we had a Visa meeting to go to.  Our first investigator agreed to come to church and let us visit again.  Our second agreed to read and pray about the BOM, and accepted another visit.  YAY!!  They were kind of easy investigators, though.  Although the first one, when we asked to end with a prayer, kind of sat like she was meditating, so I taught her how to pray.  haha. I LOVE Portuguese.  Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but as David says, “baby steps.”
My teachers are AMAZING!!  Irma Jardim (Garden) calls us her flowers and says to anyone who comes in our classroom, “if you mess with ONE of my flowers you get the WHOLE GARDEN!!”  She taught me all of my favorite Portuguese words (except sanduiche, of course) which are legal (“Lee-gow”) meaning cool, brincedeira (JK), chique (shee-kee) which means fancy.  She’s the best.  My other teacher is Irma Menezes.  We haven’t had as many classes with her because she’s been sick, but she’s pretty awesome tambem.
The food is… interesting.  Yesterday we had what the Americanos call “pig in a pot.”  They cut up an entire pig, put it in a pot, add beans and sauce and WALLA!!  It mostly tasted like hot dog.  But, it’s pretty good stuff most of the time.  Remember what that pizza box said?  Well, it’s true–our first day here, we had pizza with chocolate and bananas on top. Yummm.
…  Also, dont’ send packages to the MTC.  They take 2 weeks to 4 months to get here.  So if you could send those to the Mission home instaed that would be grand!!  Muito obrigada.
So we’ve watched some awesome motivational videos and such.  Yesterday we watched this video of compilations fo talks given by Elder Holland and President Eyring about missionary work and the Atonement.  AMAZING.  I’ve seen it before, but don’t remember where–look it up if you can.  We also watched this missionary soap opera called the district 2.  haha.  It was awesome:)  Dan, Dave, and Sam–did you watch this in the MTC?
So the teaching method is very interesting.  I really really like it.  They mix up teaching Portugues and how to be a missionary.  It’s sweeeeet.  A teacher asked us why Christ is called the Beloved Son and I said obedience and love and whaddyaknow those were two answers.  So, my mission goals (overarching) are to be obedient and loving, just like Christ–because I want to be called beloved tambem.
Today we had PDAY!!  I went to the temple in the morning and it was absolutely amazing.  It was mostly in English, although a little Portuguese.  The temple is sooo beautiful.  I loved it.  A perfect, peaceful morning.  Oh except the drive over there.  Haha it’s like Israel…  The motorcyclists think there is a lane in between the already incredibly narrow lanes of traffic.  They go speeding on through and I am just so scared for their lives every time.
Oh this is my district: Eu, sister Harrison, and Elders Bennet, Hawks, Angus, Davidson, Persinger, Allen (DL), DeYoung, Newey, Vemlione, and Tibbitts.  They are great and sometimes focus during personal study:)  Many times I was to say what Grandpa says, “Quit acting your age!!”  Brincedeira.  They are really, really great.  I am really happy with my district.
I talk about Israel way too much, I think I’m going to drive my group Israel crazy, but it’s paid off a little bit because Elder Allen found this tie pin that has an Israeli and a Brazilian flag on it!! So, I got it.  Couldn’t resist.  Legal!!
Right now it’s just Sister Harrison and me in our room, which is actually kind of nice.  We have our own shower, sinks, and toilet.  Chique.
I know two other missionaries here: Elder Meeks from Chicago and Sister Marelette from BYU.  YAY!!!  Our CTM President is Pres. Degn and he and his wife are just amazing!!
2 minutes left!!  I love you all sooo much!!  Thanks for all you have done for me and I want you to know that I am so very happy and will work hard hard HARD to help prepare Brazil for the Second Coming!!!  I know Christ lives.  I know the love of God is real.  I know the BOM is true and that it was translated by Joseph Smith, a true Prophet of God.  I know Pres Monson is a true Prophet of God.  The church is true!!
Love for ever,
Sister Suzannah Butler

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Email sent to Mom and Dad from MTC President:

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 2:47 PM

Dear Family,

 

We are pleased to be able to send you a picture of your missionary´s recent visit to the São Paulo temple.  The morning they enter as a group is a very sacred experience for them, and it is an experience that is always anticipated with much excitement. We know they will treasure this remembrance.

It is a great honor to serve with each of these fine young people and to watch their growth as they learn more about their sacred calling of a missionary.  We have a great love and respect for each one of them.

Thank you for your support for them.  They love to receive emails and letters from you, and feel of your love.  We know that your family will feel the blessings of their service.

Sincerely,

President and Sister Degn

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Sister Butler arrived safe and sound to the Brazil Missionary Training Center, YAY! Here is the email that was sent to Mom and Dad to let them know she has arrived and the picture of her with the group of missionaries she arrived with. She looks GREAT!

Dear Parents,
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.
They now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them 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 their 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 Tuesday or Wednesday, 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

ADDITIONAL  information . . .

DO not send packages to the Brazil Missionary Training Center.All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving, not the MTC.If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.
WE Strongly eNCOURAGE sENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.

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The Day Before

Tomorrow I leave for Sao Paulo to spend (I think) 9 weeks in the Missionary Training Center, where I will learn Portuguese and be trained to serve as a full time missionary.  I am so excited to serve the people of Brazil; in fact, I could not be more thrilled.

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The Call

Four months ago, in Provo, UT, I received my mission call in the mail.  Surrounded by friends and family (in person and on speaker phone) I opened the hefty white envelope to discover that I had been called to serve in Londrina, Brazil.  I knew that instant that I was called by God and absolutely supposed to serve there.

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