Monday, March 31, 2014

8 Months on a Mission

8 MONTHS ON A MISSION. I seriously cannot believe it. So much to say and so little time so this is probably going to be way unorganized...
-We had Zone Conference this week! It was so great, but I couldn't understand everything. One day.... but I did learn a ton and am continually trying to become a better missionary.
-After Zone Conference, I tried out for a mission choir and made it! Today I am in Ribeirão Preto for rehearsal which is literally all day today. Sorry friends and family... looks like I probably won't be writing any letters today... I dont know what the choir is for exactly (to be honest, I don't understand what's happening 90% of the time...) all I know is that it is for something in July. Maybe an apostle is coming? Like Elder Nelson is apparently going to CA Ventura mission... so jealous....
-At the major bus station this morning, my companion was getting some money out of the ATM. A man started staring at me from a distance and said something I didn't understand. I must have given him a confused look, he repeated "bonita" which is beautiful. I said thanks. He came closer... He asked a question I didn't understand and then asked again and my companion turned around really fast and said "NO!" I guess he asked if he could kiss me on the cheeks like most brazilians do. He then reached for my hand so I went to shake his hand and he pulled my hand towards his mouth... and I pulled the other direction when I realized what was about to happen. He was confused and asked why and my companion explained about rules. Finally he shook my hand and walked away. Entertaining. Ha.
-Guess who I saw today, who is in the choir as well..... ELDER MENDEN! A blessing, really. We haven't had much time to talk, but it is so nice to talk to someone going through the same transition as me. Really. I was glad to see him. I can't believe its been almost a year!
-José Luis will be baptized this Saturday! YAY! We are all super super excited! I cannot wait!
This week, Ive been reflecting on how much I love the scriptures. Literally. I know that we receive answers to our prayers through the scriptures and the stories in them. What is amazing too is the opportunity we will have this Saturday and Sunday to listen to a prophet and apostles of God. I want to invite each of you to listen! Just get on and watch. I know that I will receive answers to my prayers as I listen to conference. I've been thinking a lot about my friend Chelsea Larsen this week. It's been 3 months since her accident and I miss her tremendously. I know that through the words I will hear this weekend at conference will help me. I know it will help me with everything I am going through.... missing Chelsea, adjusting to Brazil, everything. All I have to do is tune in and listen. How grateful I am for the words of God that we can find in scriptures and that the Prophet and Apostles will speak. I hope I can listen to it in English. I'll be praying for that :) Eu amo vocês. Obrigada! For everything!

Com Amor,
Sister Shipp

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eu Amo Brasil :)

This week was a lot easier! Thank goodness. Its still hard and I don't ever really know what's going on, but I love the people. We taught more lessons this week, which really helped. I started making a list of observations to describe Bebedouro. Here is what I came up with:

-lots of 1 way streets

-Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way, so watch out!

-lots of motorcycles

-stop signs do not mean ANYTHING. like at all

-rice and beans at every meal! I love it though :)

-rice, beans, and meat

-no air conditioning pretty much anywhere, just lots of fans

-every house is surrounded by a gate. Nicer houses have a wires extending the gate at the top with a current running through to shock anyone that tries to get past (due to crime)... we have a gate around our little house as well with locks and keys for each of our windows

-sometimes the toilet paper is like tissues... you pull out 1 square at a time

-I miss washers and dryers... We have a washer type thing and a clothes line

-no one here knows how to play the piano!

-kisses, even for the woman you just met on the street (and handshakes for all men of course)

-waking up at 5:30 so we can catch a bus and travel an hour to district meeting every week

-meeting someone on the street, intruducing ourselves... "Can we come and share this message with you another day?" "Pode (Yes, you can)"

-weird names I cannot spell or remember

-soda with every meal... Guarana or orange soda

-people love sitting outside because its cooler than their houses, so its really easy to talk to people

-its a regular occurence for us to walk an hour to lunch and then an hour back

-members feed us lunch here and they go all out, and it is so so so good

So about this week... The beginning of this week was really hard. Wednesday, I was thinking about the kind of missionary I was in California and I just wanted so badly to be that same missionary; to know what was going on and to always be able to respond to the things people say... I realized during my study that morning though, that I can either be so focused on the end, on being able to understand everything and speak, or I can enjoy the time its going to take to get to that point. If I just wait to enjoy it, I am going to miss a lot and be miserable. There are still hard moments, but this week was a lot more enjoyable. Its officially fall here and is cooling off a bit! I'm still getting a really good tan though. I cannot imagine what I'll be like when I come home.

I got my first hug from a man on the mission this week. It was a really old man we met. We were leaving, I stuck my hand out for a handshake, and he pulled me in for a hug. Then the same thing happened to my companion. Sometimes, its inevitable, I guess. It was amusing!

We are teaching a man who is scheduled to be baptized on April 5! So so neat. He is great. We taught him 3 times this week. My companion does a lot of the teaching, but I got to the point where I knew I had to speak, so I spoke, and he really listened, really listened. We were explaining the importance of baptism, and he expressed that he really didn't feel ready. Somehow we got to talking about the Bible, we showed him that we had the same Bible as him, he took the Bible to look at it and opened to Psalms 1 and started reading. He began to cry as he read, realizing God knew His situation and was responding in the form of this scripture. He then agreed that he needed to be baptized on April 5.

What a week :) Adventures in Bebedouro!

Eu amo vocês! Obrigada sempre por suas oraçoes!

Com Amor,

Sister Shipp

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bebedouro, Brasil!

Well, I've been in the field for a grand 5 days, but this has probably been one of the longest weeks of my life. I'm not going to lie, this is really hard. Really, really hard. Im starting over and I have no idea whats going on most of the time, but I know it will get easier soon.

-My companion is Brazilian, Síster Soares. She doesn't speak any english besides the few words I've taught her

-It's hot here and we walk everywhere, except we take the bus at night because it's safer. I'm so grateful for those sandals we bought. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have them

-We live in a little house with 2 other sisters. The four of us are serving in the one small branch that exists in this city. Our area is HUGE for people that don't have a car. We don't really have investigators right now, but it's really easy to talk to people on the street... well, it's easy for my companion to talk to people on the street, that is.

-I'm getting used to the culture. I love how nice the people are! They love Americans. We talked to 2 police officers yesterday on our way to a members house... one said he is going to marry an American woman... I couldn't follow the conversation too well, but I guess he was asking what I would do after my 11 remaining months as a missionary and my companion informed him that I had someone at home in America...

-I spoke in church yesterday. It's hard for people to say Shipp so they call me Síster Shippie or Síster Bonita (Beautiful Sister). No one here knows how to play the piano, so it looks like I will finally learn how to play hymns and play on Sundays. We have a key board in our house so I can practice.

-One of the Sisters we live with actually speaks English really well, so when I feel like I'm losing it, I can talk to her.

-We have lunch with members instead of dinners. The food here is really good :) And they expect you to eat a lot. We will have to see what will do more to me... the food or the walking.

-I have lots of mosquito bites right now! I'll have some good tan lines here pretty soon too! They are already forming. 

-My camera isn't connecting to the computer... so no photos this week! Sorry....

-It is beautiful here outside the city. Really green.

-We travelled to our area from Ribeirão Preto by bus. That was an adventure!

-In case anyone wants to send me a package... For the address, write:

A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias

Attn: Síster Maryann Shipp

then the address I sent out a few weeks ago, it'll have a better chance of getting to me.

Thats all I have time for. Thanks for the prayers! Theyre much needed.

Com Amor,

Síster Shipp

Monday, March 10, 2014

Leaving for Ribeirão Preto!

The day has finally come! Tomorrow I will arrive in Ribeirão Preto! Not sure of my travel plans yet... I´ll find that out later. This time in the CTM has been great, but I´m so excited to get back into the field. Hopefully soon I'll be speaking Portuguese like a pro. I only have like 10 min to email and not sure if I'll have a Pday this week.. Tudo bem (all is well).

We went out into the streets one day this week! My companions and I handed out 7 copies of the Book of Mormon. That would have taken like a whole week in California. I am so excited to work here! I know it will be hard, but I also know it will be so so so rewarding. I already love the people so much.

Eu Amo Vocês! Muito, muito!

Com Amor,

Sísiter Shipp

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brazil MTC

Oh. My. Goodness. I don't even know where to begin.


I love it here, but I'm still in the MTC, which is super crazy and strange. We are THE FIRST group to do this... to be out in the field and come back to the MTC. The time we've been in the field ranges from 5-12 months. Basically, we're the test group to see how this is going to work and what is effective. Another group came in today. They're taking videos of us teaching, pictures of us talking to people in the streets outside the CTM, in regular clothes... anything and everything and sending them to Salt Lake. Okay, it's not that crazy, but it's a very different experience.

We speak in Portuguese 24/7 here. I have 3 teachers and 2 of them can't speak english. It's a second shot at the MTC, and it's really helping. Portuguese is really coming back and I love it. I have less than a week left, I think I leave for the field on Tuesday.

Some exciting/big things...

-I was assigned to be the Sister Training Leader here, even though I have been out the least amount of time and only for like 10 days total, but I have definitely seen some of the reasons why this week. It's really hard for some to have been in the field speaking english and being able to express everything and suddenly being back in an MTC struggling to teach basic lessons in Portuguese and not being able to understand a lot. I'm doing fine, but I'm so glad I get to be in a position where I can help.

-Yesterday, we got to go out of the MTC and street contact! We also got to go to a shop and buy some chocolate. It was really really fun!

-Today we went to the Campinas temple! It's beautiful! Really. It was so nice to be back in the temple. That might be the last time until I get back home.

Some things about Brasil...

-I love the people here. LOVE THEM. I get lots of kisses on the cheek and hugs (only from Sisters, and Irmas... Don't worry!)

-The food is awesome too. I love it. A ton better than Provo MTC food. One of my teachers said the food in Ribeirao Preto is really good and drew a picture on the white board of what Sisters will look like when they get back from serving there... basically very round. We'll see. I will be walking a ton!

-It's so much easier to speak the language all the time this time around in the MTC because we all have a foundation of Portuguese!

-Also living in our room are 2 Sisters from Brasil and I can understand them most of the time! Sometimes it takes a few times of repeating, but it comes. I know the Lord is helping me. I have seen so many great things with my district and Portuguese.


I really love it here. Really. I know it's going to be another challenge to go back out in the field speaking a new language, but I know Heavenly Father will help me. Thank you so much for all the prayers. I KNOW that we can do hard things when we rely on our Heavenly Father.


Com Amor,

Sister Shipp