Monday, June 24, 2013

Ipe Semana 14

Good week.

Lots of rain.

Fireside directly from heaven.

More interviews and lots of miracles. We are now teaching a family that was taught in Santa Caterina (another state here in Brasíl) and are now ready for baptism minus marriage and coffee. So this coming week we´ll be working hard to help them.

Please but Vilson and Valdete in your prayers. They need divine help to marry quickly.

We´re off to teach our miracle family again and spent the whole P-day working on getting people married... so I don´t have any time.

Next letter will have info on new mission president and the mission split!


Elder House

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ipe Semana 13

Congrats to Mom and Dad on 25 years of mawaaagge! And with everyone busy, sounds like a normal start to the summer, everyone doing something different and exciting. The only downside to getting email is that every once in a while Dad has to let me know about something cool that happened back home, like the BYU Ballroom team getting the first standing ovation in Blackpool history... Which is indeed very exciting. Thank you for the update.

This week was a bit of a Russian Mountain (which is what they call roller coasters here), with the call to be District Leader, giving 6 blessings, completing my first baptismal interview, and fighting with the local cartorio to let Vilson and Valdete marry there... But that´s what a mission is all about right? We tried so hard to work well with the members, but almost every single member who had planned to go on visits with us, canceled. The Bishop was getting a bit frustrated with our Ward Mission Leader because he wasn´t completing the assignments he was given, so we recieved an assistant to the Ward Mission Leader who is on fire and ready to help everyone! We are very excited for this.

So now that I am District Leader, I get to do the baptismal interviews when someone is ready to be baptized somewhere close to me. On Saturday I did my first interview with a boy named William who is very ready, and very excited to be baptized because, as he put it, `all my life I wanted to be an Elder, and now this is the first step.` It was a neat experience.

We are doing well as a compaionship and growing together. Elder is feeling a bit under the weather every day when we wake up because it is cold, but with just a little persuasion, he´s ready and willing to leave the bed. I know that he is missing home because of the cold here, but he is being a good sport... The NE tip of Brazil, which is where he is from, NEVER dips below 65 degrees. And that would be during a rainstorm in the dead of night in the middle of winter. So the very Oregon-like 45 and drizzling has taken a bit of adjusting for him.

This week we were really working to use the Book of Mormon more effectively, and we ended entering in contact with people from varius cities that don´t have the church yet (Telemaco Borba, Mafra, and a bunch of little cities in Santa Caterina). So we planted many seeds and copies of the Book of Mormon. Elder Silva is now using and explaining scriptures very well and asking very inspired questions.

Last night we found an eleito named Diego. He was seated at a bus stop and night in the rain, and we decided to talk to him. His mother-in-law is sick and this was the event he needed to start looking for the truth. When we started talking about the Book of Mormon, his eyes lit up and I he wanted all the information we could give him about the church. He lives in another part of the mission, but I am praying that we can get his info to the missionaries there! This is why we do street contacts.

This past week was the craziest Sunday in the world. I taught the Gospel Principles class with about 2 minutes of forewarning, gave a talk on the spot when the Bishop called on me, played the piano, and still managed to follow-up with everyone who was visiting and mark brothers to help us with visits. Day of rest my foot! :) But it is the best feeling in the world to be super busy and have the Lord´s help to be able to do it all.

Speaking of my talk, I think it was probably the best talk I´ve ever given... I took a page out of the Brother Allen playbook and talked about how Salmon find their way back to their little stream from whence they came. I talked about how the plan of salvation is very similar. We were all there in the presence of God, but we left that little stream for the ocean (earth) where we would grow and learn and gain experience. But one day we need to return. But how are you going to find your way back to Johnson Creek from the mouth of the Columbia River? You follow the smell. As we choose the right, we make the choices that smell good, that feel right, as the Spirit testifies of what we should do. If we follow the Spirit, we will know what to do (2 Nephi 32:5). Wait... where´s the missionary connection? So I talked about how we are the little fishies who know where to go. With all the different smells in the big river, we know what to do, and how to return. So we have to let all our little fishy friends know how to get back too! It´s our responsibility to help them out! I also talked about how we need to be changed to enter the precence of God... Imagine that God only listens to country music, and you hate country music... you would hate being there with Him. So we need to change ourselves to like what He likes, the music, the food, how He talks, how He acts, or else we won´t WANT to be there with him... 

You know it was a good talk when afterwards, everyone wants to mark a visit with their friends :)

Working hard in Jardim Ipe!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Ipe Semana 12

Yesterday we had our transfer calls and...

`Elder House... Fica!`

`Elder V. Silva... Fica!`

So we´ll be together for at least another 6 weeks and I´ll finish his training. But after another week like we had this week, he´d be ready to train a new missionary.

This week we were teaching a family when we felt inspired to do a little activity with them. We read part of the talk in General Conference where Sister Wixom told about the man who had been separated from his family for 2 years, being taken prisoner in vietnam, and was permitted to send a message of 25 words or less to his family, in which he would need to show them that it really was him, and give some counsel. So each of us wrote a message to our families. Mine is as follows...


Maybe some of these things are not so important as I thought before the mission, but as a missionary, I know that some are even more critical than I ever imagined. The temple is a place of power. The mission president has a goal to help every new convert have an experiece with the temple within 2 months of baptism... that could mean visiting the grounds, or doing baptisms inside, but the temple is crucial in our taking the 5 and final step in the Gospel of Jesus Christ... Endure to the End.

The coming transfer will be exciting but also a little bit scary. As of the first of July, the mission will be split, and we will have a new President.

Wish us luck... Or even better, pray for it ;)


Elder House

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ipe Semana 11

Clouds make rain. 
Rain makes mud.
Mud makes missionaries,
Look like scrubs.

But in a city where half the population works in construction, rain also means that everyone stays at home so we can teach them :)

This week was a bit rough, but we made it through. Once again, we had few investigators at church. Those who came, were greatly strengthened by the testimonies shared. I don´t like it all too much when people shirk their commitments... I will be much better about this after the mission, having my word be as good as a contract.

In missionary work the only thing worse than being dropped (here we say `cut`) is having to drop them... even when they know the gospel is true. It is very hard to make the decision to stop teaching someone, and at first, I felt like we were condemning them to spirit prison or something, but now I have a testimony in this respect. If we are teaching people who are not making progress, but like talking with us for one reason or another, we are spending time teaching someone with the time that should be spent teaching someone who the Lord has prepared for us. This past week, we moved many people to the back of our area book and as a result we received 9 people and 3 families to teach... some of which were literally just waiting for baptism. The Lord can do his own work, and he is using us to hasten it.

100% obedience is really hard. Probably a mission-life-time pursuit... And I suppose that´s how life will be afterwards... A lifelong pursuit of perfection.

When your companion breaks down on the sidewalk crying because in one day everyone unloaded their baggage on you and the spiritual burden becomes too heavy to bear, remember that this is the Lord´s work, and that only He can do it, and that when we have the chance to help in it for a little season we will often feel inadequate because we are. And we must rely on His Grace to help us. I know that might sound a little Louisiana baptist-ish, but Grace (which is the enabling power of Jesus Christ) is perhaps one of the most powerful topics of study for a missionary.

We had a neat little miracle this week when all of the tobacco in one neighborhood disappeared in the same week that 4 families who live there began the fight against their addictions. But all the other smokers in the area there now blame those `boys with the ties` for it. :)

Maybe this week we´ll pray for all the alcohol to evaporate... 


Elder House