Saturday, October 26, 2013

Agua Verde Semana 2

Working like dogs (who know how to use excel).
President Fernandes decided that we had lots of projects to complete, so he changed the P-day of the secretaries to Saturday to more effectively utilize the business hours of the week. So I´m not being a ´fubeca´ the correct day for me to send email will be Saturday, at least for the next few months.
The mission office is a crazy place. Every night we plan what we will need to get done in the next day... then we get here in the morning and President has a big ol list of emergencies that need to be resolved immediately (in addition to the things we needed to do anyways... we almost need another secretary just to handle the emergencies). So we buckle down and start working and go go go until 5:00pm when president kicks our ´bundas´ out the door to start proselyting. But really, we get more done in those 4 hours than anyone else in the mission (Zone Leaders, Assistants, you name it, we beat em :)   ). It is a great blessing to be companions with Elder Rocha again. We didn´t end our other transfer very well together, which was something I always wanted a chance to change. Now we´re doing that, and then some.
We work in a little part of Curitiba called `Parolin` which is really sketch. I´ll be sure to write down all of the experiences that we´ve had in less than two weeks, and i´ll share them after the mission. It´s not too hard to pull someone out of the ´favela´ but literally, only the Lord can pull the ´favela´ out of them. We are teaching people who have been fighting with sin for all their lives, and only now are they being able to win.

This ward is crazy good. It is chock full of ex-bishops, ex-stake presidents, ex-mission presidents, etc. We are thrilled that they are really catching the vision of how missionary work should work. They find, invite, and support... and we teach. We are seeing how well the Lord is preparing the people of Curitiba to hear the gospel, and with more members opening their mouths, more of these people are being found. It´s very exciting to be at the heart of it all.
I shared the rootbeer candy that mom sent with everyone, but brazilians seem to think that it tastes like medicine :)
Finally this week I got an email from my trainer, Elder Trevisanut. Looks like he´s doing pretty well and looking forward not backward! `Estou feliz que ele está trabalhando na obra missionária ainda... é muito facil tirar um missionário da missão, mas para um missionário que serviu com coração, deve ser imposivel tirar a missão dele.` That was my little trunky experience for the day.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that if someone wants to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true, need only to read that book... some will know by hearing about the book, others will know by reading, others will know by putting in practice the doctrine taught therein, and others will know asking Heavenly Father about it´s divinity. And with time, all of these experiences will lead you to a certainty that the book is from God.

Elder House
p.s. Happy Halloween. I´m going to be a missionary :) Next year, I´ll be a Brazilian postal worker!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our crazy zone out there in the boonies (aka, Guarapuava)

When you spend all of your money on 5kg of babyback ribs, 
all that´s left is money for rice and beans :)

There´s a really funny story that goes along with this picture, 
but I´ll have to write it out some other time!

So much for the two year mission guarantee! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Agua Verde Semana 1

Well this week was nuts! We went to Curitiba, had a Zone Meeting, argued with the electric company of Guarapuava about which apartment they should connect the electricity to, moved our apartment, and prepared our area to be whitewashed by Sisters. Yup that´s the life of a missionary. The idea was that we would move to the Guarapuava Center branch... and that´s where my companion is at, but I got a rather interesting call when I recieved the transfers for our zone `Elder House to Agua Verde as Executive Secretary` I thought for sure I would stay in Guarapuava, but I was moved to the `escritório` to be companions with Elder Rocha, for the second time :) This´ll be interesting.
Our zone was lacking a bit of fire in the bones in relation to talking to EVERYONE as chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel teaches, and in finding ways to help the members fulfill their responsibilities to the Lord as his people who have been charged to bring the gospel to others... So we gave a training that maybe left everyone a little bit `sharply reproved` but we showed an increase of love afterwards sharing the wonderful Reeses Peanut Butter Cups that mom sent. The result was very positive and everyone left more animated. I guess the Lord knew what he was doing when he taught this principle to Joseph Smith.
I loved General Conference, and I´ve been reflecting about the messages that where shared. I loved the comment of Elder Ballard `Oh, no... not again. Missionary work?` because many people really feel this way. But it´s cause this is the hour for us to get to work. To invite a neighbor who never visited the church or an activity (or one who has!) to come to an activity or a church service. We also need to help those in our family who aren´t participating 100% to come back or start doing so. We need to look at that ward directory and search out the people who are members but we don´t know too well who need help. Some people think that missionary work is done by people with nametags. Teaching is done by people with name tags. Finding, supporting, retaining, helping come back, testifying, is done by members. It doesn´t have to be something that you plan for 3 months to do. Just pray that you will recognize the person that is close to you that the Lord is already preparing, and have the courage to open your mouth when you get that little feeling that you should (that same feeling you have sitting on the church bench during testimnoy meeting that says you need to bear your testimony :)   ).
I also have been doing a bit of thinking about how helping others feel the joy of the gospel helps us and our families. Doctrine and Covenants section 4 is all about misisonary work, but I think that this verse helps us to see what helping others does for us,

 `For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store, that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul`
Participating in the work of salvation is one way to help us bring salvation to our souls and the souls of our families. Missionários and missionárias are there to help members with the teaching part. Don´t worry about having to do that... just help them find, support, retain, help come back, and testify to  the children of our Heavenly Father who is preparing more of those who will follow Him to accept the gospel.
I know that this is His work. And we can do a very little in it, but it will do a very lot in us.

-Elder House

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bonsucesso Semana 12

2 more velhinhos baptized in Guarapuava. (This time in Prudentópolis)

Thoughts on why I´m having success with the `seasoned citizens` of Paraná... Mission preparation often takes many forms. I think that in part, the Lord formed me to be a missionary in the time I spent listening to my paternal grandparents relive their childhoods and adolescences and lives as newlyweds and time spent in Peru and so on... I also remember many of the visits I did as a young man in the capacity of taking the sacrament to the old and at times sickly, and as a home teacher. I learned how to listen before the mission, and now I´m putting it all in practice.

This week we got a call from the missionaries in Prudentópolis (the little Ukrainian colony where my trainer was trained, famous for being the largest producer of black beans in the nation, waterfalls, and some really fancy painted eggs) saying that they wanted a follow-up/progress interview for a little old couple they were teaching. The interview is a confidential thing, but I will say that this interview was one of the most spiritual experiences that I´ve had in my life. The result... I found that they were ready for baptism, and we marked the date with only three days to prepare. It had been a long while since that branch has had real convert baptisms, and they were very excited to accept Meron and Amélia! That branch also had a bad taste in its mouth for missionaries who just wanted to call all the youth off the soccer field to fill in the gaps in a baptismal program, or not call anyone to participate, so I decided to stay in the area for another day to plan the baptism. I got a call from the missionaries yesterday saying that it all went well and the branch is exploding with enthusiasm for the missionary work. The Lord does his own work, and this week I didn´t get in the way :)

Our branch is struggling a bit with our leadership, and the only program that is running really strong is the young men. So we decided that we will focus on our young men that we are teaching and hopefully Alan, Giovani, and several others will be ready for baptism this week!

Workin hard and loving Brasíl.

I ask you to doubt your doubts, before doubting your faith.

Elder House

(This is a waterfall that is part of our area! Salto São Francisco)