Arrival at the Mission Home in Teresina!!!

Sister and President Melo

Sister Sanabria ha llegado bien.

Con Cariño.
De la Mission Teresina
Pres. e Sister Melo

Week 5:Last week at the São Paulo CTM..!! Elder Costa, Temple, and Blessings All Around

So, we are starting on our 6th week here at the CTM.. which means next Tuesday, Ill be on an early morning flight to my mission in Teresina!! Ahh!! Its scary to think about, but I also know that this is what all this preparation has been for.
For starters, Sister Packard is the best MTC companion I could have ever asked for, hands down.  For us being our lonely little district of 2 sisters and basically being on our own, we just love being companions. We have lots of fun… like lots of fun, shes one of the coolest people ever. But also know when to get serious! And Im grateful for her being so receptive to the Spirit, because she has honestly read my mind and my feelings so many times, its crazy. But its not because, the Spirit is real! Im so sad that we are going to different missions, but I know she is going to be absolutely fantastic. Her, and the other sisters in my old Provo MTC district, are all going to the Brazil Belén mission, and then theres me, going to Teresina (Ive only met one sister here, the entire time Ive been here, going to my mission! Its a big mission, but no one ever hears about it! Haha).
We were also able to go to the São Paulo temple today!! We had asked one of the brothers in charge herem, because we had gone to Campinas all the times before, and we really wanted to visit the São Paulo one. Its a special temple, being the first one in South America and all, and its super pretty and unique. My cameras battery died though, so if I eventually get some pictures from Sister Packard once we are out of the CTM, I will definitely send those!
I still get so shocked by the fact that I am actually here in Brazil! But its such a huge blessing and privelege. There is no other place in the WORLD who is baptizing as many members are there are here in Brazil. The people here are just open and ready to receive this gospel, and it is incredible to see the work accelerating and moving so fast and growing so strong. It is definitely exciting to be able to be a missionary here at this time.
On Tuesday night devotional we got to here from a General Authority, Elder Costa. Whoa, spiritual overload. I dont even know where to start with all the spiritual insights Ive gotten this week, but I can write a few tips.
One thing that I really loved that he said, was “Dont distort the spiritual with the social.” Because in Brazil, and anywhere, its very easy for people to get attached to the church for the wrong reasons. You need to teach and preach with the intention of those ending up in the temple, and receiving the fullness of the blessings that come with embracing this gospel. This gospel is meant to be ENDURED, and to the end at that. Elder Costa said lots of things that simply motivated me to get out in the field, and be a more committed and attentive missionary, completely in tune with the impressions of the Spirit.
Reading assignment for the week? Ether 12. Because this chapter, every day, all day, has helped me so much these past several days. I had been studying it on my own, I read it in the temple, and then my instructor brought it up again last night because I was having a particularly hard time. Learning a language is hard. Ive been seriously blessed with progress, but some days, you can really back track, and its discouraging. But faith requires that first step, it requires that trial. And the Lord does promise us He will make our weak things become strong. Its a promise, and its by our faith in that promise, blessings really Do come to pass.
Its sad to think this is my last week here at the CTM. Dont quite know when the next time will be that I will get to write, but Ill soon be in Teresina!! Ahh!
Love you all and have a great week!
Sister Sanabria

Week 4: Some CTM Proselyting and Brown Nosing Galore

Well olá everyone!!
This starts my FIFTH week already in the mission. Ive got about a little less than 2 weeks now left! Its so crazy to think how fast the time has gone by!!!
The CTM has definitely been warming up on me. As Sister Packard likes to point out, Im such a brown noser with our instructors here, haha. Its true. Its the way Ive been able to cope with such a different language and culture… just tease them and have a good time! Irma Fuoco is our evening teacher, and shes hardcore grammar and Portuguese, but we definitely have warmed up since the first week. Irmao Alonso is just so awesome, and I generally just really love how he always brings everything back to being more like Christ. I feel like thats the major theme thats consistently and constantly being brought up… Ser Como Cristo! And its so true. Because if you dont like your companion, if you dont like the culture, if you dont like… well, whatever it is that is making your experience difficult, then you are really thinking too much about yourself. And Christ was anything but that. He always turned outward, and he already paid the price. We can do ANYTHING through Him!
Now, the best part by far this week was that Friday, Sister Packard and I got to proselyting! We went to this really busy bus train station place in Sao Paulo that had SO many people. And they gave us as many Book of Mormons that we could hold, it was 8 between the two of us, and just sent us out to go talk and do some street contacting. It was seriously so scary! Like, our Portuguese still isnt the greatest, and there isnt ever anything you can smoothly say when you START talking to people (seriously so awkward). But the Spirit is absolutely essential. And once we started talking, it got so much easily. It was cool to see. We met some pretty interesting people, and Brazilians are generally really open. But we also faced a ton of rejection. But, I got a great testimony of the Spirit, because even if you just have the slightest  feeling or thought to go talk to someone, you just do it. And sure enough, most of those people accepted our Book of Mormon and gave us their names and addresses to stop by. It was amazing to me how many people just dont have this gospel when you think about it. Irmao Alonso made a great point that through your obedience, the Lord will send those individual souls that are just ready for you to find.  And you really cant tell at face value, because there was such a variety to the people we talked to. But there was a good few people that we got to meet that were so happy for our message. So cool to have this experience while still in the CTM!
Other than that, its just been studying, studying, and lots of bonding between me and Sister Packard and our lonely little district! But have lots of fun. We were able to join another district for district meetings and after devotionals, because President Swenson figured we were a little too lonely. Just to be around other elders and people was so great, we probably were so awkward, but we were so starved for social interaction haha!
Its been good here. Im loving everything that Im learning. We went to the Campinas temple today again, and I got to talk to a bunch of youth that were there. They thought I was Brazilian! Lots of people have been telling me that I dont have much of an accent. I dont entirely believe them, but the Portuguese is just getting better, which is such a huge relief and blessing. The Gift of Tonguese is real!
I love you all, and I love hearing how you are doing!!!
Sister Sanabria
PS Happy birthday JD and Camila!!!!!!

WEEK 3 : One Week in the São Paulo CTM…Rules, Campinas, and the Celestial Language

This was probably the longest week of my life… but it was good!!
The president of the CTM here is President Swensen, and he is a very good, very spiritual man, but also very “caro palo” as Mom would say– he lays down the rules! Sister Packard is my companion here, and our district is a whole total of 2 people! Yep, we’re our own district, which was tough the first few days, but we’re definitely learning a lot more Portuguese with our teachers and simply a lot more about ourselves. Compared to the Provo MTC, this one is completely scheduled, which keeps you on your toes about time management and effective study. It’s good preparation though, and I feel myself improving nearly every day!
The Portuguese is going awesome, what can I say. It’s the celestial language, as we all like to say here, haha! Im loving it.
I was able to go to the Campinas Temple today!! Its about an hour and half away from the CTM, and you never know if youre going to Campinas or the São Paulo temple, they do both for missionaries here, so we went to Campinas today. It was beautiful, it sits on this hill top that overlooks the entire city which is huuuuuge. Another cool thing was that this sister from Capo Verde (yep, Africa) came this week, and her companion doesnt come until later today, so I was her companion for this trip. She hadnt received her endowments yet because the nearest temple for them there is literally Recife Brazil, a 6 hour plane ride. So, I got to be her escort for her going through the first time… what an experience! This was only like my 4th time doing the temple, but it was really special going and helping with what I could, with this sister. She is so happy and humble. Im really glad I got to meet her during this time at the CTM!
Sister Packard has been above and beyond as a companion. We pretty much see only each other with our lonely little district, all day every day, but we are definitely great friends by now.
A few cool things about this CTM…
We get to go proselyte this week on Friday! On your fourth week, you get to go with one of your instructors and your district, and they put you on a bus and you go anywhere in São Paulo (which is HUGE) and you pass out a bunch of Book of Mormons and just talk to people on the street. Im a little nervous, but everyone here says its so nice to get out and talk to real people and that its actually pretty fun, so Im excited too.
We also get to go out on the street in the neighborhood around here in the CTM on P days. Theyve got a bunch of little shops, so its also nice to get out and actually use the Portuguese we are learning with other people. Yesterday, we spent the whole morning at the police station getting our IDs and visas figured out so that wed legally be here. It was cool to get out and be among other people. You can just feel the difference when you wear this nametag.
Thats about it! I accidentally left my room key in our room the other day after gym time, and Sister Packard and I had to walk around in our shower sandals all around the CTM until we could find someone that understood us and had keys. It was pretty hilarious, what can I say.
Also the food? SO good. Also, too much. But its all homecooked Brazilian meals, and its delicious.
Im learning a lot here. Ive been getting a great testimony on prayer and gratitude. Just yesterday, I read 1 Nephi 1 entirely in Portuguese and understood all of it. The gift of tongues is real, and its so apparent how much more reliant you need to be on the Spirit in order to get it. As my teacher, Irmão Alonso likes to say, “Cristo pago o preço” (Christ paid the price). Its just up to us to pay our price, and “buscar” for the gift of tongues. We have to put in our effort and remain obedient so that we can become subject to the blessings in store for us.
Ahh, I love this gospel so much! I know its true, and every day I’m learning more and more about my Savior.
Until next time!!
Sister Sanabria
(Sorry for the no pictures.. we cant send them while we’re in the CTM here. But I promise eventually youll see some!)

My First Day at the CTM in Sâo Paolo, Brazil

1st Day at CTM en Brazil

Ola familia!

They are letting us briefly write our family to let you know that I made it to Sao Paulo safely! I am here, safe and sound, at the CTM. Sister Packard and I have been up since 5:30 am on Tuesday morning, and we got here around 6 am today. SUCH a long flight, seriously. I thought the 3 and half hours were long going to Atlanta, but boy oh boy, that had nothing on the 9 hour flight to Brazil. By the way, Mom and Dad, did you get a picture of me from the sister I was sitting next to on the plane to Atlanta? She asked for your email and we took a selfie, so, yeah, that was nice of her! And yeah, Sister Packard and I basically spent the whole 24 hours talking, so pretty much know eachother so well by now, that we are really excited that we got to be assigned to be companions here!!! Makes me feel so much better having her around, shes pretty great. It was also fun finally being in the “real world” with our tags, and we traveled together 2 by 2, so it felt legit. Unforunately I dont have any cool pass along cards stories, because I basically sat next to members and then this old Brazilian woman who was asleep most of the time haha.

Also getting out of the airport was interesting. We totally had to trust these people with the signs and putting us in cars and taking our luggage, that spoke Portuguese. Act of faith, Id say!

Theres a lot of latino missionaries here in the CTM from Latin America. LOTS of Spanish speakers, that Im able to talk to, but Im part of the American missionaries here. Interesting mix huh? Theyre new so their Portuguese isnt down, but I dont know if I speak Spanish to them or what or just English, haha. Still, Im definitely going to try hard to get to know everyone!

Sao Paulo feels like Bogota, haha, big latin american city, with a lot of mopeds, bad traffic, and fenced houses. But, its all in Portuguese, which is cool and really different, but Im determined to understand it. The accent and speed that they speed is definitely different!

So far, so good, and Im excited. The Provo MTC was great and spiritual and awesome, but I have high hopes for this CTM. Its got nicer rooms than our residence halls in Provo actually! But it is smaller, still, the church is the same everywhere and so is the spirit. Ive only been here a few hours so I dont know a whole lot, but I have a feeling that its gonna be great!

Anyway, thats about it. Cant send pictures while Im here apparently, so itll have to be in a few weeks when Im in the field. Sorry about that!

Love you!!!

Sister Sanabria

My Second Week at the MTC in Provo, Utah

Ola everyone!!

So biggest news first, I’M GOING TO BRAZIL!! I’ve been able to go to Brazil since like a month ago, but they still sent me to the Provo MTC. Thing is, everyone here is a visa waiter, so finally I got sick of wondering and went to the travel office to ask about it. They made my ticket for a few days later, and boom, I’m flying to the Sao Paolo MTC TOMORROW!! So yeah, so much for Tuesday P-days, right? I’ll let you all know what my new P day is once I’m there.
I can’t describe how exciting, nervous, happy, and sad it all is. I really really enjoyed the Provo MTC. The food was good, gym time was great, but the people were even better! I seriously loved the friends I was able to make and the things they were able to teach me. It’s sad to leave this place, but that’s the mission life! Better get used to it I guess.
Happy belated fourth of July, too! Independence day here at the MTC was actually real fun. My district and I all decided to pretty much sing patriotic hymns all day long, sport the red, white, and blue, and speak in a southern accent when appropriate. It was pretty great. We also had a nice long devotional in the evening, and then they let us go watch the fireworks, so curfew pretty much was completely ignored. It was a nice break from the usual routine, but waking up on 6:30 on fast Sunday the next morning was definitely rough! Still, it was so great to be here, the devotional at the MTC on the 4th of July was about blessed America, yes, but we also had a flag ceremony with a whole bunch of nations from around the world, which I thought was cool. We definitely emphasized how the gospel is for ALL nations. We also read about Captain Moroni, and I’ve gotten such a better appreciation for this country that we live in and the values and liberties we are privileged to have. Woo, go America!
The devotionals here too, are just awesome. We got to hear from Elder Sitati and his wife on Tuesday (very very cool) and then yesterday we got to hear from Jenny Oaks Baker, Elder Oaks daughter, and she gave a great talk and some amazing violin performances. Soo cool to be in a place where general authorities are walking to and fro.
I’ve also really come to appreciate my MTC teachers here. Irmao Machado is the best. He always asks these really intense personal questions, because he’s Brazilian and doesn’t care about being too open, but he really knows how to invite the Spirit and I’ve learned so much already. Our district has become really close because of it, and I’m so happy that at least Sister Packard and Sister Dickerson are both going back to BYU the same semester as  I will be. Yay!
A very important lesson I’ve learned lately is the importance of teaching by the Spirit. The gift of tongues is so real– this past week has been INSANE with the amount of progress me, my companion, and the other sisters in our district have been making with Portuguese. But because Sister Packard and I will be traveling tomorrow, we’ve had a half P day of sorts today, doing laundry and getting ready, and we didn’t focus too much on our lesson we had with an “investigator” this morning. The result? We stumbled, we stuttered, and it was probably hands down the roughest lesson we’ve had yet. Even though it’s roleplay, that all goes out the window once you say that prayer and you enter that room. The Spirit was not with us, and it was obvious. It was the first time it was just so obvious to me, and I’m coming to understand how sacred this calling is, and how much power this is in being set apart as a missionary. When you keep the Spirit consistently there, it’s amazing how much it can help!
So, obviously I still have lots more to learn, but it’s simply SO cool how much you can just absorb as a missionary. I love how much you learn about the gospel and yourself, and this is truly a unique opportunity.
So yeah, biggest lesson of the week? The Spirit is real, it works, and you have its constant companionship so long as you are obedient. It’s simple, but it’s powerful, and it requires faith with works from our part.