Friday, November 27, 2015

My Companheira and I sing excessively loud in the shower

Oi pessoas que eu amo!

Ill start off by saying that im halway done with my time here at the CTM in Sao Paulo! Im already anticipating how hard it is going to be to leave Sister Mcknight. We're the weird sisters that stay together all the time not just because we have to, but because we actually want to. We will genuinely wake up in the morning and say "i missed you while you were sleeping". Not in a weird way or anything.......

Happy Hunger Games this past Friday! I hope everyone goes to see it an extra time for me. Mcknight and i wore our hair in braids and mourned a little that day.

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow too! Rumor has it that were having a nice thanksgiving lunch tomorrow and Friday were lighting Christmas lights up here! WOOHOO! FELIZ ALMOST NATAL!

SO heres a pretty basic summary of my day to day life here: wake up, study, eat, study, play volleyball, shower, eat, study, teach lesson, eat, study, teach lesson, study, sleep. (Sister Mcknight is making me add in that we take 20 trips to the bathroom. I drink so much water here, partially because i want to stay hydrated, but mainly because I just get bored in class and so i constantly sip on it hahah oops). We have two "investigators" we are teaching, so most of our time is lesson planning, but aside from meals ever hour im awake is spent in the classroom with my district, 6 elders and us 2 sisters. All day every day. I MISS GIRLS. BOYS ARE GROSS.

On  wednesdays, we wear pink. literally. Our whole district. believe it or not, it was our elder's idea hahaha. They wear pink ties and we wear pink skirts or shirts, and then we take freaking cute pictures. 

McKnight and I literally sing ALL the time. Seriously, in our classroom, walking around, in the shower (loudly). She's amazing at it and i just backup her glory. The other day we were doing service, sweeping and mopping this hallway, very loudly belting all the Disney princess songs we knew. It was a very "Enchanted" moment.

Ok so many other funny things happened this week and every week but I want to take a second to talk about my spiritual goal. BECOME MORE LIKE CHRIST. I want my investigators to look at me, to know me, and get to know Christ through me. Humility, charity, diligence, hope, all those good things and more. Moroni 10:32. There is no better way to become like Christ than to come to Christ.

Last night we had one of the best moments of my mission thus far, and it involved 8 missionaries sitting in a classroom, with tears streaming down every elder or sister's face as they bore testimony to each other of the truthfulness of this gospel. Seeing and 18 year old boy cry=so tender. Seeing 6 of them cry=SO TENDER. Im so grateful that as a missionary, i have angels all around me, to bear me up when i cannot bear much more. And i want to thank you all for being some of my angels too. 

Te Amo!
Sister Lipps

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And on the second week, I accidentally called my teacher saliva...


On Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 2:08 PM, Emily Lorraine Lipps <> wrote:
Hahahah im still laughing at my header. True story. We were trying to call him our babysitter, but they only had "nanny" in the dictionary, but its spelled the same as the world for saliva, "baba", just with an accent. So yeah basically we pronounced it wrong and were like "HEY SALIVA!" and it was freaking funny.

My first week was 2 months and this past week felt like 2 hours. So many stories to tell, but so little time!

ok in the order of things that pop into my head:
An elder in my district has grandpareents that live in Sao Paulo, and I dont know how she accomplished this, but his grandma got someone that works here to smuggle in something for him. SO end of story we have a big black suitcase sitting in the corner of our classroom full of Brazilian cookies and crackers and candy and its the best and also im going to gain so much weight here holy cow.

5 days a week we have physical activity for an hour and we play volleyball with the Brazilians and any one who has ever seen me play volleyball knows its not my thing but it is SO fun! Brazilians are hilarious and its the highlight of my day.

We sang the Brazilian National anthem on SUnday night and it was hilarious because its so fast and has so many words and notes and Sister McKnight and i were trying and failing so hard to keep up and we were just cracking up the whole time, along with all the Brazilians watching us struggle lols.

LORI LEEDY THEY DO EAT SALT ON THEIR WATERMELON HERE. U R NOT ALONE. Haha oh and the fruit here is amazing. Fresh passion fruit is my new favorite.

An elder in our district told me and Sister Mcknight this week "Ever since you guys cried two days in a row ive been carrying around this hankercheif in my pocket" SO PRESH RIGHT?! melted my heart, but also it makes it sound like we are emotionally unstable AHHHHHHHah

I officially speak Portugles, which consists of really bad Portuguese plus really medicocre Ingles.

President Swenson, the CTM president, loves me and Sister McKnight. It's probably safe to say that we have the "favorites" title in the bag. we make hearts with our hands at him and he makes them back and the one day we tried to speak all portuguese, He and his wife overheard so basically they are really impressed and yeah thats that.

In reality, we are very bad at portuguese hahaha. We will be having a 3 minute conversation with someone, responding yes yes oh cool yeah wow, and we walk away and Mcknight asks me "what was she talking about?" and ill reply "i have no idea" and thats life and it makes me laugh.

The spirit of God in this place is unreal! It is so awesome to feel so wonderful and happy all the time, even when im exhausted. 

Until next week,
Paz e bencoes,
Sister Labios 
Just put 3 stamps on it or take it to post office for exact amount.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We laugh until we cry, and we cry until we laugh!

Oi familia e amigos!

i´m in Brazil! the past 7 days have LITERALLY FELT LIKE 2 MONTHS. not even kidding. it is so weird. I´ve never been so productive in my entire life. like every hour of every single day is so plannned out to do something it´s so weird. AND WHAT PEOPLE DONT TELL YOU ABOUT MISSIONS IS THAT YOU ARE LITERALLY EXHASUTED ALL THE TIME. IM SO TIRED. ONLY LIKE 17 MONTHS AND 3 WEEKS TO GO. 

Ok holy cow where do i even start?

so i sat next to this guy on my first flight to LAX and basically he asked me out and i was like `sorry mister im a sister´. but i mean i gave him a book of mormon so #flirttoconvert amiright? (I AM JUST KIDDING. I WAS NOT EVEN FLIRTING. (this message is specifically directed at Brother Joey Danneman))

OK my companion is like literally one of my favorite people ever. Her name is Sister McKnight, she´s from Ohio, and we are the same person. It´s kind of scary how similar we are. It basically just means that we pretty much pee from laughing so hard every single day (ok not literally). Really though we are so funny. I wish I had written down every funny thing we´ve ever said in a book so I could sell it because we are hysterical. The other Elders in our district think we are insane, and I can´t argue. Most of our funny things involve asking how to say weird things in Portuguese ´Como se diz 'crap'?' 'Como se diz 'kidnap'?" 'Como se diz 'I really don´t appreciate your attitude right now'?" we are two hysterical peas in a party pod. 

So heres the thing: Portuguese is kicking my butt. I've learned SO much in the week that I've been here and can sometimes hold a conversation if they are speaking pretty slow, but yeah it´s tough stuff. we taught a lesson to an investigator the second day we were here, and have every day since. SO basically that is equivalent to alot of mental breakdowns and our instructors having to learn to console two crying american sister missionaries saying "nao falo portuguese" (i dont speak portuguese"

I've already had some of the toughest moments here but also some of the best. ITS A CRAZY LIFE IM LIVING. oh and you see how often im using all caps in this email? that is about how often Me and Sister Mcknight are yelling random things in portuguese in our classroom. also we make up words in Portuguese when we dony't know the actual word for it and it's freaking funny.

basically what ive learned so far is that being a missionary is like studying all day to take a really hard final at the end of it (aka teaching a lesson) and after your head really hurts and you kind of feel relieved, but not really because tomorrow you have to take another really difficult final. and thats just how it goes, every day. 

oh funny thing: apparently Brazilian Elders really have a thing for blonde american girls because my comp and I (she's blonde too) have already had multiple guys ask us for our emails???? Uhhhhhhhhh LOCK YOUR HEARTS ELDERS! SEND THE KEY TO YOUR MOM!

The food here is most of the time FREAKING AMAZING but sometimes VERY QUESTIONABLE. Literally the desserts here are just different colored jello consistency pudding things. I dont even know. but it cracks me up because every day imn like "what color is it going to be today??" 

Lol we just laugh alot here and it's amazing because things really arnt that funny but it just is.


Also apparently there isnt a way for us to send pictures here, which is totally a bummer but Ill get some for you when I get outta the CTM and into the mission field (which is going to be so scary by the way)


Sister Lipps

Monday, November 2, 2015

Farewell Talk

Recognizing and Understanding the Spirit

Like many others, as a young woman I attended girl’s camp each year. It was the best week of my summer every summer for six years. For those of you who have been there with me, first off I apologize for the noise levels. I’m just……loud. I’m loud. And second off, I think you can probably confirm how much I absolutely loved every second. There was no pressure to impress, no bad influences, all fun and joy all the time with my favorite people. I think attending camp helped me grow socially, in a setting where I felt comfortable being outgoing and a leader, which was not always the case the rest of the year in school, especially in my younger years. I learned how to start fires, perform CPR, and produce an expert Sasquatch call. I learned that I have a firm motherly instinct when, on our hike, Natalie Rutledge tripped and rolled down a hill, and me, not knowing what to do but needing to do something, within 5 seconds had put a Band-Aid on a barely there scratch on her knee. I scared Lori Leedy half to death on multiple occasions by hiding under her bed, in her sleeping bag, and so forth; and I think I successfully lost my voice from singing most every year. All of these experiences helped create me, and are still some of my favorite memories to look back on.
However, the biggest impact on me was the strength of the spirit there each summer. My first year, during our testimony meeting, was the first time I can vividly recall feeling the spirit, and knowing it. I remember sitting there, taking a moment to glance up at the unblemished sky full of stars, and feeling so grateful because I KNEW in that moment that God was real, and he had created those stars and he had created me. I remember feeling so at peace in that instant, and I wanted to tell everyone what I was feeling because I wanted them to feel that wonderful too. It had taken me 11 years being raised in the church before I clearly recognized the spirit as I felt it. Many of us were baptized at age 8, others of us later in life, and maybe some of you have yet to be. Despite this, I know that we are all in a constant process of conversion. I am 19, leaving on a mission in 3 weeks, and I can honestly tell you that I am still being converted every day. I grew up in this ward and I want to thank so many of you for helping me along in this conversion, for teaching me, being an example to me, and loving me. You all have helped me become who I am in this moment, and I am so grateful for that.
I read a quote a few months back of an anthropology professor speaking to his students. He said “you all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it is okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you”
Today I will be relating the role of the spirit in missionary work. We cannot all be full-time missionaries in this moment, and that is okay. Like I said before, we are all both learners and teachers, being converted each day. I want you all to know that there are opportunities for missionary work everywhere in your life. And it is okay if, right now, your top investigator is yourself. Although I will specifically reference missionary work, this is applicable to the personal development occurring daily in each of our lives.
Every human that travels to this earth is born with an influence called “The Light of Christ”. This is the power for good in the lives of all people. One of my religion professors taught that this light is the power source of the entire universe. We can learn of this in the Doctrine and Covenants. “6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
 7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
 8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
 9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
 10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
 11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
 12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
 13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.” (D&C 88) All good things were made by Christ and powered with his light, including man. Everyone, whether they have experienced the gospel or not, has felt the light of Christ at one point or another in their lives. It is the influence to do good, “given to every man, that he may know good from evil” It is an uplifting, ennobling, and persevering influence. Joseph B Wirthlin taught that "The light of Christ will lead the honest soul to 'hearkeneth to the voice' to find the true gospel and the true Church and thereby receive the Holy Ghost". It is through the light of Christ that investigators become investigators. As they are taught the gospel, there will be a familiar ring to them as a missionary is bringing forth the Spirit of Christ that already resides within them. The Holy Ghost then works through that spirit as they develop in their faith and become converted to Christ. 
The Holy Ghost is a personage, rather than a power in the universe. He can be experienced through the Spirit of Christ before baptism, and after baptism becomes our constant companion. He is the means by which we can learn the truth of the gospel. Mormon wrote, “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” This last verse, Moroni 10:5, is one that I heard often during my year at BYU. However, it was more than not being spoken about being applied in the testing center, and the “all things” was an American Heritage exam. I’m sure he is well-versed in US History, but the Holy Ghost’s main role is to bear witness the truth of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. To “feel the Spirit” is to have those moments where we allow Him to testify to us that that which we are hearing is true.
It took me so long to understand what it meant to “feel the spirit”. That is a phrase that we hear every week repeated, but it is not comprehended until we have experienced it for ourselves and are able to recognize it. Most often when we talk about testimonies, we refer to feelings. We talk about “feeling the Spirit,” or “feeling good” about a decision, or “feeling impressed” to do something. And yet, when we try to describe how we felt, or exactly what something felt like, we discover it’s very hard to explain. President Boyd K. Packer taught: “We do not have the words (even the scriptures do not have words) which perfectly describe the Spirit. The scriptures generally use the word voice, which does not exactly fit. These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears”. My mom has told me many times that I am a very literal person. The concept of “the spirit” was difficult for me to grasp. For YEARS, I sat in primary or Sunday school or young women classes about the Holy Ghost and all I wanted to know was “But what does it feel like? Can’t I just get a straight answer, that the Spirit will literally be this, so I can know?” Apparently, it’s not as easy as 12 year old me had hoped.
Perhaps the feeling described most often when discussing a testimony is a “burning in the bosom.” This expression is used in the Doctrine and Covenants regarding the translation process for the Book of Mormon. “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” It is also used in the New Testament, describing the time when the resurrected Jesus walked along the road with two disciples who didn’t recognize Him. After Jesus departed, they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
Many of us hope for, long for, and pray for this type of “burning,” powerful witness, and some of us get discouraged when it doesn’t come. We might even feel ashamed or worry that we are less spiritual than others because we’ve never had our heart burn within us. Our mistake is when we assume that a witness of the Spirit must be the burning in the bosom. If you have never felt the burning feeling described by these verses, it doesn’t mean that you’ve never had a witness, that you’re not worthy, or that you don’t have a testimony. You are not alone in your confusion. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:
I have met persons who told me they have never had a witness from the Holy Ghost because they have never felt their bosom “burn within” them. What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works. Truly, the still, small voice is just that, “still” and “small”
Elder Jay E. Jensen shared this comment from another member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
As I have traveled throughout the Church, I’ve found relatively few people who have experienced a burning of the bosom. In fact, I’ve had many people tell me that they’ve become frustrated because they have never experienced that feeling even though they have prayed or fasted for long periods of time”
One of the most important principles to learn in your quest for spiritual knowledge is that the Lord communicates differently to different people. He knows us individually, one by one (3 Nephi 11:15), how can we assume that everyone has an exact experience with the Spirit? The secret is to take the time to discover it for ourselves. Notice the symptoms of your good feelings in church, at the temple, while doing service, etc. And then, notice them the next time. I think the key to recognizing the spirit is to have the desire to, be mindful so that when those feelings come, you can remember them and recognize them the next time.
To answer the question, “how can we recognize the promptings of the spirit?”, we read in Moroni, “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” (Moroni 7:13) President Gordon B Hinckley added, “That’s the test, when all is said and done. Does it persuade one to do good, to rise, to stand tall, to do the right thing, to be kind, to be generous? Then, it is the Spirit of God”
The Power of the Spirit is incomparable in missionary work. It would be near impossible without it, because of its personal testifying power. WE do not have power to do all things, to know all things. But, The Lord does, and that is why it is essential that we let him work through us to reach others. We are weak, but with the spirit we can become strong with the power of God. And this is nothing new in the history of the church.
Paul, in his missionary efforts openly exposes his struggles. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God….And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling….Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2)
Jacob spoke for all the prophets in their teaching and their writings saying “Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.” (Jacob 4:7)
In Alma 26, Ammon is in essence giving his mission homecoming talk, glorying the power of God. “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever” (Alma 26:12)
And finally, Moroni, a missionary to every individual who reads the book of Mormon, wrote about his own weaknesses, saying “Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing…and thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands” and the Lord’s response was “if men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12: 23-24, 27)
Even with all the knowledge in the world, missionary work would be fruitless without the Lord and the Spirit to guide us. “[We] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]” (Philippians 4:13)
When we allow the power of God to run through us and give us the words to speak, the result will be an outpouring of the Spirit, an honest sincere testimony that cannot be denied.