Sunday, August 30, 2015

Very Different From Anywhere I've Ever Been 8/24/15

Oh my goodness hello everyone!!

It feels like a lifetime since I last talked to you. Hope you didn't think I died :) Also, I'm typing on a weird keyboard so I'm sorry if I randomly miss letters haha are you all doing? Mom, are you alive? ;) Riley looks adorable and I wish I was there!!

Okay, so, after I talked to you guys on Tuesday in the airport, I flew to Reno and then met up with my mission president and his wife, President and Sister Chestnut. They are so sweet and kind and were definitely something I needed at that moment. Then, we all took a bus to the stake center in Reno, where we spent the day being trained on various things and getting to know the mission presidency. I was surprised by how prepared they were for me and Elder Ramsden, since they only found out we were coming a few days earlier.

That night, we got to find out where we would be serving and who our trainers would be. When they called me up to the front, they announced that I would be serving in Elko, Nevada and my trainer would be Sister Hingano. I was surprised when no one stepped forward. That's when they told me that Elko is on the East Side of the mission, which means it's far enough away that we couldn't travel there tonight and I would be staying with the Sister Training Leaders for the night and meet my companion in the morning. So, I packed some of my things and spent the night with Sister Stevenson and Sister Lawson. Then early the next morning, we packed up a trailer, and myself and 10 elders took the "Transfer Van" across the desert of Nevada for four and a half hours to get to the east side. When we finally got to Elko, I met Sister Hingano and we got right to work! Sister Hingano is Tongan and she's super chill and nice. I was a little intimidated by her at first, but she's great and we've been getting along really well. We are the missionaries for the Elko 2nd Ward and for the YSA branch! It has been interesting and really fun to be missionaries for a YSA group.

The Place: Elko is...very different from anywhere I've ever been before. It's primarily desert and the landscape is very brown and dry. It's super hot here and dust flies around everywhere. The Ruby Mountains can usually be seen in the distance, but the air is thick with smoke right now because of the California fires. There are casinos everywhere!! Like every block. There is a river in our area, but I haven't really gotten to see it yet. I'm sure I will grow to love this place.

The People: The people here in Elko are very different than I am used to but I love them already. They are some of the most humble people I've ever met and I have heard some of the most humble prayers I've ever heard since being here. Almost everyone works in the gold mines that surround this area, so they are always very tired and have very interesting schedules (a common one is 7 days on, 7 days off, which makes it hard to keep in contact with people). A lot of people have lived here their whole lives but are hoping to get out once they save enough money. They are hard-working people. There are a lot of addictions and despair, which breaks my heart. But almost everyone we talk to believes in God and prays for relief from their poverty or sadness. Almost everyone has a dog and almost everyone smokes, which has been an adjustment for me haha but I have been very brave with the dogs :) I can feel God's love for the people of Elko Nevada and I'm excited to bring them the joyful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Work: The work is moving along very well here!! Many people are interested in the Gospel, they just have a hard time committing to live certain laws and come to church (because of their work schedules). Sister Hingano and I are always very busy! We have tons of appointments every day and we currently have 4 investigators who should be getting baptized within a few weeks. There are a TON of less actives so we spend a lot of time visiting them. I think we probably talk to more less actives and recent converts than investigators.

The Ward (and Branch): Covering two units has been interesting. Yesterday, we went to 3 different sacrament meetings! (Elko 2nd, YSA, and Late-Night for the miners). We went to two ward councils and met with two bishops and ward mission leaders. Lots to remember! The Elko 2nd ward area is not too big, but because we are over YSA, we can teach any YSA's in the whole area!! So sometimes we drive pretty far to find and teach them. The ward is super nice and there a ton of members who are willing to feed us and to go out teaching with us. The YSA branch has a bunch of RM's who miss their missions and like to come teaching with us. It's great to have such strong support from the members. I know for a fact that the missionary success in any area directly correlates to the involvement and spirit of the members. The members are soooo important!!! Remember that :)

Driving...usually the senior companion drives the car, but Sister Hingano doesn't have a license, so I drive everywhere! Pretty crazy, huh? Definitely not what I was expecting. I'm terrible at parking. Terrible. We have a box in our car that yells at me if I speed or hit a bump too hard. It's scary. But it keeps the missionaries safe and law-abiding so we love it!! :)

I've already learned so much from being here. I know that the Gospel is true and that God loves every individual on this earth, regardless of their situation in life. The Gospel message is one of joy!! How could we not share something so great with everyone we know?! 

I love you guys so very much and I hope I have remained positive in this email. Missionary work is super hard. But it's super worth it as well.

Take care of yourselves and don't forget your prayers!!

All my love,
Sister Doyle

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Got My Reassignment!!!


Hello hello :)

So it has been a very anxious couple of days, but I FINALLY got my reassignment tonight!!
My district was super awesome, and the Elders made like an official envelope and put my reassignment in it and we had a mission call opening party :) Sister Moss took some pictures...

I've been reassigned to labor in the....


Crazy, right? I kind of forgot that Nevada even existed until about 5 minutes ago...

But yeah! It feels right! I'm just so happy to know where I'm going. We had in-field orientation all day today and it was way tough having no idea where I would even be going. But now I know! I can't believe that I'll be in the field in less than a week!

I love you guys and thank you so much for all your support and encouragement. It's tough to be reassigned without my district, but I'm just trying to remain super positive and faithful and hopeful. 

I love you, don't forget your prayers!!
Sister Doyle

Hello everyone!

I don't even know where to begin with this week....

The biggest event was probably my reassignment! I received my reassignment on Thursday and I am going to be serving in the Reno Nevada mission until my visa comes! Not what I expected my mission to be like, but I know that the Lord has very specific plans for each of His children and this reassignment is just part of His plan for me! I was excited to learn that Elder Ramsden, from my home stake, has also been reassigned to serve there. 

We leave the MTC tomorrow at 6am!! I can't believe that my time here has come to an end. I have truly loved the MTC and my district and teachers have been a family away from family :)

Crazy experience of the week: I was having a terrible day and I was really struggling with the language and with my purpose as a missionary. And THEN, on my way home from gym time by the Temple, I saw none other than Mitchell Hussey, stopped at the crosswalk on his way to pick up Adam from work!! We waved, and it was a great reminder that I have support :) God was definitely behind that.

On Sunday night, my district and I (as well as a couple hundred other people) had the awesome opportunity to perform as the backup gospel choir to a group called "Nashville Tribute Band" (they're the ones who did the Joseph CD we listen to during car trips). It was an awesome experience and it was something much different than anything the MTC has ever done before. The choir normally performs hymns, but they got special permission to do some crazy gospel stuff. It was so hard to resist the urge to dance and clap!! Way awesome experience. 

Another awesome part of the MTC has been the ability to watch past devotionals every Sunday night. They show videos of times when apostles came to speak and they are much different than conference talks, because the apostles can be super laid back and funny. I have loved coming closer to the apostles and leaders of this church through those devotionals. Not to mention their amazing messages.

Saturday was our last day with our teachers, so they showed us the pictures from their missions and we got to read parts of Irma Read's journal. It was a super cool experience and it got us all pumped for our missions. I can't wait to share the Gospel!!

In other news, there's a cold going around our zone, and I was feeling under the weather, so I took a bunch of Dayquil yesterday...I felt like I was floating all day and I fell asleep multiple times. It was crazy.

Every week, everyone in our zone has to prepare a sacrament talk in Portuguese and then at the beginning of sacrament meeting, the bishop announces who will be speaking that day. As we sat down 15 minuted before sacrament meeting, I looked over my notes, and I realized that I had written my talk in English!! I scrambled to translate a few main points in Portuguese before the meeting started. The bishop got up and announced that I would be speaking!! So I said a silent prayer, got up in front of my ward, and slowly gave a talk on Faith. It was basic and my Portuguese was far from perfect, but the spirit was there. God is good. :)

This morning, I had to wave goodbye to my whole district as they left on their bus to the airport. That was super hard. They are going to be amazing missionaries and I have been so blessed to know all of them. 

The rest of the day has been pretty interesting. It has included getting a new temporary companion who does't speak much English, helping her move into my room, cleaning her old room, getting locked out of my room, missing breakfast, having 6 hours of one-on-one Portuguese lessons from my teachers (beneficial, but very mentally exhausting), and all while running on 4 hours of sleep! God is good and He has definitely supported me today. Getting to spend some extra time with my teachers and helping another sister out has been a great experience.

I can't believe that I enter the field tomorrow!! I will let you all know how it goes :)

Don't forget your prayers!

All my love, 
Sister Doyle

It's Growing on Me

yep. it happened....
.'s growing on me....budumm chhhh

Last P-day in the MTC!

Hey everyone!

It's crazy to think that this will be my last P-day in the MTC! (Although I will get half a p-day on Saturday in order to pack and get things ready for Monday/Tuesday)...

How is everyone?? I hope you are all doing well, especially since you have one of the greatest gifts known to man! (Hint: a knowledge of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, including modern-day revelation, eternal families, and repentance....can you imagine going through life without knowing about those amazing things!?)

So anyways, wanna hear about my week? As always, I have a bunch of random bullet points to share...

Last Tuesday, Elder Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us!! It was way cool! He didn't necessarily have a specific topic, just all-things-missionary, but it was a fantastic devotional, probably my favorite so far! He talked a lot about repentance and about not beating ourselves up too much if we're not perfect missionaries all the time...I definitely needed to hear that. He said that God is never disappointed in anyone who is trying to repent. That was pretty cool to think about; that even when we're disappointed in ourselves and we mess up, as long as we're trying and repenting daily of our shortcomings, God is not disappointed in us. Jesus is so happy when we utilize the great gift of His Atonement.

In other news, my whole district got their Visas! I'm very happy for all of them, because they deserve it and they're going to kill it in Brazil :) Due to a change in the rules for my consulate, my Visa has been put on hold for a little while, and that's super disappointing. It's hard for me to be saying goodbye to my whole district; they have become my family here on the mission. However, I know that God has a plan for all of His children, and I guess He needs me somewhere other than Brazil for a little while. I have fasted and prayed about that, and I know that God has a very specific purpose for my reassignment. I should know where I am going within the next few days!! I will email you right away when I find out (that's allowed, I promise).

This week had a lot of great moments! We got to host incoming missionaries this past Wednesday, which was very exhausting but very rewarding. We meet them at the parking lot and speed along the process of saying goodbye to their family, constantly reassuring their parents that their child won't die from the food and that we've survived the MTC for 5 weeks, so we know their child will be okay. We then carry all of their luggage for them (yeah, it's crazyyy) while they go in and get their tag and information. We help them get their books and find their residence halls and then take them to their classroom, where we hug them goodbye, reassure them one last time, and then hurry over to the parking lot to help another newbie. It's a lot of fun :) We get to do it again tomorrow, so yipee! Pray for cold weather!

Sister Moss and I have been expanding our Portuguese horizons this week...On Thursday, we did an English fast where we tried to only speak in Portuguese all day. It was definitely difficult, but I think we were both surprised by how much we already know! We also taught the law of chastity for the first time this week...lots of interesting vocab in that lesson #awkward, and it went super well! One of our investigators is "married" to his wife, but not married to his wife. So we had to explain that and try to start the marriage process. We were both super nervous, but he was very accepting of the idea and we're working with the bishop to raise the funds for the wedding. (We're not actually doing this, since our investigator is actually our teacher, but we're supposed to be treating every investigator as if they are an actual person with real problems and real faith; it's pretty awesome). Marriage licenses are expensive in Brazil, so lots of people settle down with their "wife" or "husband" and have kids and everything without being legally married. They consider themselves to be married, but they don't have the necessary paperwork... That's one the hardest steps toward baptism. I'm excited to be planning lots of weddings though!!

I taught Relief Society on Sunday and my topic was repentance. I focused mostly on the hope and trust that we need to have in Jesus Christ and in ourselves during the repentance process, and that repentance should be a daily, happy thing. It's a gift that we have, not a punishment. I showed the Mormon Message "The Hope of God's Light," and used quotes from the talks "His Grace is Sufficient," by Brad Wilcox, and "Forget Me Not" by President Uchtdorf. All three of those resources are AMAZING! I highly recommend them!! Seriously, check them out. They're game-changers :)

Hmmm...what else? I'm getting my hair chopped off today!! Ahhh! So nervous! I've been talking about doing this forever, and I'm finally going to go through with it! I'll be sure to send you guys before and after photos!

In choir this week, we got to meet in this old chapel behind the MTC because the gym is being redone. We sang some awesome Gospel music, and it was a super cool experience! There were proabably at least 700 people singing in this chapel and it was amazing!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Life Here Continues to Be Going Well

"Okay, forgive me, because this email is definitely going to scatter brained....I literally just have a list of things I wanted to remember to tell you guys...

Life here continues to be going well, with the occasional rough patch, of course :) We're still on the exact same schedule as always, so there is a lot of class time and a lot of Portuguese! The one new thing we've started is something called TRC's, which is kind of like teaching a home evening lesson to someone who's already a member and speaks fluent Portuguese. Volunteers come in and talk to each companionship for about 20 minutes. The volunteers are almost always students from BYU who served their missions in Brazil or Portugal (Portugal-Portuguese accents are SO hard to understand!!). It's a lot of fun and we love asking them for advice!

Our district is as good as ever. They are definitely like my family away from home. Elder Bush is doing much better; thank you to everyone who has been praying for him and his family. I think I forgot to tell you guys, but we adopted two Elders about two and a half weeks ago, Elders Payne and Nunes. They were already done with their six weeks at the MTC and even had their travel plans to Mozambique, but they had visa troubles at the last minute. We were a little bit nervous about having new people, but both of them fit in perfectly and we love them so much. Sister Moss and I got very close to them, and so when they left yesterday morning, it was super hard. We're going to miss them a lot. I can't imagine what it's going to be like in two weeks when the six of us have to say goodbye to each other! :(

I bore my testimony in Portuguese on Sunday and I was so nervous!! But it went really well and a few people who have been here forever told me that my Portuguese is sounding really good. We also performed our special musical number this past Sunday. Elder Payne, Elder Christensen, Sister Moss, and I performed a four-part a capella version of "Nearer My God to Thee." It went really well and the Spirit was definitely present in the room. Then, Sunday night, we had devotional with Sheri Dew! She is definitely a powerful woman. Her main point was that we are going to encounter really hard questions in life, and if we're not willing to wrestle for answers, we won't get any. It was cool to hear her speak :) Mom, I know you wish you could've been there haha After that, we watched The Joseph Smith movie, which is way powerful, and then had a circle of trust, which is where we go around and compliment our district members. It was a very emotional day haha

In other news, I tried out 4-square this week! It is sooooo competitive here; it's like the Olympics or something. But I'm proud to say that after getting immediately eliminated multiple times, I'm starting to improve and actually get people out other than myself! Woohoo!

I'm loving Portuguese, even though it's very difficult. Any time you want to say a verb, there are at least 24 different ways to conjugate it!! I'm sure there's something similar in English, but I never have to think about that! So yeah, it's hard. But it's such a beautiful language, and I'm starting to get it more and more. On Sunday, I realized that I understood almost everything anyone said at the pulpit, so that was a cool moment. I still have so many weaknesses, and it's way hard to stay confident and positive some days, but you just have to rejoice in the little successes and remember that God is super good at (everything, but also) making weak things (me) become strong (me eventually). :)

I've also been loving to doodle and write. I doodle and write out Portuguese phrases during class (so I can stay awake for 9 hours of instruction!!) and it's been something that brings me a lot of joy :)

You know what else brought me a lot of joy?? Getting a package of cookies from my family!! Seriously, you guys are the best. When I got a package slip, I was literally jumping up and down :) Mail is the best thing ever. Scratch that. The Gospel is the best thing ever. And then family. And then Portuguese. And then mail. Or sleep. That might be a tie. 

Next, I received a priesthood blessing from Elder McKee and Elder Bush this week for comfort about the mission, and let me just say, thank you to every worthy priesthood holder out there right now. Seriously, thank you. The priesthood has blessed me in so many ways, from my mission call to my setting apart to my father's blessing to the sacrament to any other priesthood function. You guys rock. We need more men in the world who are worthy and confident and who can change the lives of those around them through the power of God. How exciting that the power and authority of God has again been restored to the Earth?! Seriously, we are so lucky to have such an amazing gift from God. Keep it up, men. You guys are my heroes."