Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alina arrives at her mission

Letter from Alina's Mission President and his wife:

Dear Brother & Sister Neal,

We were so excited to welcome your great daughter to our mission today! We are so glad to have your daughter serving here in Santos. We will keep you updated periodically on how she is doing. We will do our best to take extra good care of her.

Here is some information about our mission:

We welcomed 9 new missionaries to the Brazil Santos Mission this Tuesday . They received training, were interviewed by President Cabral and had lunch at the Mission House. Transfers were the same day and the missionaries met their trainers and took a taxi out to their new areas. Sister Neal will be trained by Sister Oliveira. She has been assigned to serve in the Boa Esperança ward of the Guarujá Stake. I attached some photos of your missionary.

We were very impressed with how dedicated and prepared this new group of missionaries is. We know that they will do a terrific job building up the kingdom of God here in Santos. We will do our best to take great care of them. We have our own missionaries, a son serving in Tennessee Knoxville Mission and youngest daughter who arrived from Panama, Panama City Mission, few months ago, so we know how you are feeling.

If you want to follow the mission’s Facebook group, you must invite me to your group (SCabral Missão Santos ) and I'll add you to our mission's group (Missão Brasil Santos). I try to update it every time I'm with the missionaries with new photos. And the photos I took today will be there for you to download the pictures you want.

The p-day in our mission is on Mondays, so you should be getting your first email from your missionary then. If you wish to send letters or packages, the mailing address for the mission is:

(Put the full name of your missionary here)
Av. Dona Ana Costa, 414 - sala 24 - 25 - Gonzaga
Santos - SP - Brasil

We are very blessed to be in Santos to help build up the Lord's kingdom. We thank you for sending us such prepared, worthy and dedicated missionary. We pray that your family will be blessed while you have a missionary serving full-time for the Lord.

If you need anything, let me know, please.

Best regards,

Sister Cabral
Missão Brasil Santos - Sempre Fiéis

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Alina's Letter - 9/16/2015

Okay! So to start off this week at the CTM was amazing per usual! This friday we had Proselitismo (proselyting) where in your fourth week you get to go out to some part of the city with your instructor and actually talk to real Brazilians and hand out some Livros De Mórmon! It was insane because my district went to a metro station. We were all pretty dang nervous at first, but then I just got pumped and started going up to strangers and talking to them and I LOVE IT! My companions were a little more nervous than I so I feel kind of bad that I would just spaz and run over to random strangers when the desire hit me, but they got used to it and felt more confident as we went along I think. I was able to understand the general gist of what people were saying usually so that was nice! We all definitely still need a LOT of work on the Portuguese though haha It's funny because whenever we ask someone if they believe in God they're like "Of course!!! We're in Brazil! We all believe in God!" And then after more talking we find out they havent prayed, gone to church, or read the Bible in years, so our message is still fairly new to them, because many don't even know what it would mean to have a relationship with God. It was hilarious at one point though when we stopped to talk to an older man and he just stared at my companion fairly creepily and was like, "Olhos azuis!" Blue eyes! And looks at all three of us and is like, you all have blue eyes! But then stops and continues to stare at my companion Sister Siggard and goes "Olhos como o mar!" -Eyes like the sea! And we're trying to talk to him, but he's not even listening to anyone, just staring at Sister Siggard hahaha and then as we all go to shake his hand after somehow leaving him with a Book of Mormon he kisses her hand and invites us all back to his place! No thank you, creepy man!!! But it was honestly hilarious and I feel totally safe here, even in the sketchy areas of São Paulo that we saw. People are just usually friendly and willing to talk to you, especially about God! The majority of the country is Catholic, so it was fun to talk to some very religious people, including one woman who already knew exactly what we were going to say before we even tried to share our message hahahha

Teaching is going better and better each week too. Irmão Dos Santos, one of our teachers gave a great lesson about how we need to give all of our heart and soul each lesson to every pesquisador. If we truly know what we're sharing is true, then why wouldnt we be making every sacrifice to give it to other people?? We had a really spiritual lesson the other day with `"Fernanda" and it was about tithing and fast offerings (if you don't know what that means, ask a Mormon, or better yet a missionary;) of all things! The Spirit can't help but testify of the truthfulness of every aspect of the Gospel. I know that I am here for a reason and I know that that reason is the Savior wants me here in this specific place, at this specific time. This Gospel is everything to me and I am eternally grateful to everyone who has helped me gain a testimony of the years, taught me about the gospel, encouraged me to go on a mission, and helped to make this misssion thing actually happen. Thank you!!!! Love you guys!!!

Sister Neal


Okay, so apparently my teachers blood pressure went up because she had like an instestinal blockage and that caused her to pass wut. I honestly do not understand how that works, but its a good story and my companions think I have reflexes like a cat because of the way I leapt and caught her hahaha okay! So a regular day is wake up at 630, breakfast at 7, personal study after breakfast until 830 (like gospel study), then language study until 915. After that we have physical activity! Wooo! I play volleyball almost every day, it is glorious and the Brazilians are so funny with how they always use their feet in volleyball hahha Then we shower and make ourselves look decent, then from 1030-1145 we have TALL, which is this language learning program on the computers that teaches us portuguese in the context of like teaching gospel lessons, then we have lunch, then aditional study, then 3 hours with Dos Santos, which includes taking turns teaching him as "Idário" then we have dinner, then more additional study, then 3 hours with Irmã Fuocu which also includes teaching her as "Fernanda." Then at 9pm we have planning for the next day, 930 is snack and the go get ready for bed! Honestly it is insane and each day feels like 12 years hahhaa but the weeks have absolutley FLOWN!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Alina's Letter - 9/9/15

I decided to do the group message first since hopefully then I'll actually get it done! Life at the CTM is awesome as usual! Working hard or hardly working? Yeah, the answer would be ALWAYS working haha but as I've said before, I love my district, so the hard work is also always a party.
This week they split my district and it was actually traumatizing for me! I LOVE everyone and when they let us know that it would now be two districts (one with 6 people and the other with 7) I was ticked, and literally teared up, almost crying as they directed us into our separate classrooms. Well, as is usual in life I realized that the tears were a little overdramatic and it has been nice being in just a smaller district. I still miss everyone else a lot (its hard to go from seeing them 16 hours a day to just every once in a while and on p-days), but our smaller district has gotten even closer and we are much better at focusing and getting done everything we need to. Less 18 year old boys in one room = way better focusing? Who would have guessed?!?!

Something crazy that happened yesterday was that our "investigator" (actually our teacher who role plays with us) passed out as we were commiting her to a baptismal date! It was fairly scary as Irmâ Fuocu had been complaining about a stomach pain and then suddenly her eyes got all fluttery and she said "Meninas meninas, serio, serios" (girls, girls, this is real) and then in dainty english "falling" and as she starts to fall out of her chair I leap over and catch her! I told my companions to go get water and help as I tried to talk to Irmâ and make sure she was at least breathing as she came back too. Strong Spirit or what?! Just kidding, but they took her to the doctor and hopefully we'll here today if all is well with her. We've all been praying hard for her, especially my poor companions who were frozen and sat there terrified as it happened. I know my sister in law Brittany is shaking her head right now saying "I told her she should be a nurse!" ;) 

On a more spiritual note, we had an awesome devotional yesterday by the President of the entire Brazil area, and if we're being honest I dont even really know what he does or what that means, but it was broadcast over all of brazil and missionaries from the São Paulo areas came to the CTM to watch. He and his counselors talked a lot about missionary work and the blessings and it was just another confirmation that I made the right choice. I know this is the true church of Christ restored on the Earth today. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to tell everyone I can that this is true! I have a testimony of it as I know it in my mind, but also feel it in my heart. Hope everyone is having a great week!!!!

Sister Neal

Monday, September 7, 2015

Another Letter from the McAllister's in Brazil

Dear Brother Neal,

I am so happy that you enjoyed the picture and little update on your daughter!  It was our pleasure to visit with her and her companions and to be able to share a little snapshot of her day with you and the other parents.  The CTM President and his wife were very kind to us as were the other leaders who work and serve there.  The cafeteria staff are so sweet, they are not members, but love the missionaries!! The CTM is a really large, comfortable,  nice building with lots of facilities for teaching, learning,  recreation and exercise for the missionaries.   We have 7 children and all our boys and 2 daughters served missions.  One of our sons served in Brazil and studied and lived  in the CTM, too  We had never seen the CTM so it was neat for us to know that our son had lived and worked there which also caused our thoughts to go to  all of you parents who are at home praying mightily for your missionaries and who are missing them every day. We were  excited to be allowed to take their pictures and correspond with you with  permission from the CTM President and his wife.   There was a full CTM conference yesterday followed by individual Branch Fast and Testimony meetings.  In your daughter's companionship, two of the three sisters bore their testimonies and I went up to them at the end of the meeting to congratulate and talk.  It was fun to visit  together and to see the light in their eyes and to feel their enthusiasm and excitement about the work.  All the missionaries  shared very personal feelings about the challenge of learning so much  in such a short time - which  is a miracle to behold.  The Lord blesses them - they are courageous and diligent in their efforts to  prepare to teach.  

Your sweet email brought tears to my husband and my eyes.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sharing with us, your daughter is blessed with wonderful parents!  With  your love and support she will continue to shine as she spreads the joy of the Gospel here.   

All the best to you and your family!
Tenha um bom dia!
Doug and Janice McAllister 

Letter from Lady in Brazil

To the Neal family,

My name is Janice McAllister - my husband is working in São Paulo for the Church and we attended church at the CTM today and met your daughter. She is lovely , has a great spirit, is working hard to speak Portuguese and doing well with it!! I took her picture with her 2 companions in the cafeteria and told her I wanted to send this to you. If there is anything I can do for you or for your daughter, let me know.  You would be proud of her - she is positive, friendly and cheerful and has a good spirit!  She bore her testimony today in the meeting and she did a great job!
Lots of love 

Janice McAllister

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Alina's Letter - 9/2/15

Unfortunatly I dont have a lot of time to write, because I got a lot of emails to read, so actually thank you to everyone who send me one, because that is so sweet of yall:) Life in the CTM is still good! We teach 1-2 lessons a day now and totally in Portuguese, so that is hard, but amazing. It is awesome being here because we are told to speak our language  all day and so you get a lot of practice, but you also get a whole lot of humbling because you are reminded every day just how far you are from being fluent hahaha

This week 3rd Nephi 11 has been my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon. It is when Christ first appears in the America's after His resurrection and boy is that powerful. 
Missionary life is awesome! I am constantly tired, stressed, but so happy and having so much fun honestly! haha Maybe not fun, like most 19 year olds think about fun, but it really is!!! I LOVE IT
To everyone, please mail me any pics of us together or fun pictures to put in this little photo album I have! I would love that! And btw it takes 10 days to get from Kentucky to here, so I may not respond a ton, or at all to any letters I get... SORRY!!

Much Love from Brazil,

Sister Neal