Monday, September 1, 2014

Parque de Fonte Semana 2

Last email from a myldsmail account? Very possibly.

This week was great. I taught one of the best lessons of my mission this week. I was in exchanges with Elder Stout and we were talking with a few people on a street when i saw a little girl in the doorway of a house and I felt "TALK WITH HER." I asked her if her parents would be able to come talk with us but she said no. So we asked if there was some adult who could come to the gate, and she quickly disappeared inside the house. We waited and waited and finally a young man (named Miquéias) came out of the house and said that he was Baptist and didn´t like to "mix things" (which is one of the most common phrases we hear as missionaries... that and, "my mom is taking a shower and can´t come to the door right now" which makes me belive that the people of Paraná spend more time showering than any other group of people on the planet). But we asked him if he would accept hearing a small message from the scriptures and he accepted. We started reading a little about the importance of having prophets and he got very excited and told us that he had stopped going to church about a year ago and that he had lots of questions about the scriptures. He loved hearing about how the Lord called a prophet in our times and about the book of mormon. We then used the book of mormon to explain his questions about where his brother went when he died. we invited him to baptism and he accepted. but got sad thinking about his brother who died without baptism. he asked us if there was any way to help him. we taught about vicarious baptism and he wanted to be baptized as soon as possible to then help his brother. the only catch. he lives in curitiba. i passed the referral and I hope they get to him as soon as possible.

Vigilatto is ready to be baptized on 6/09. I had commented that I lost my scarf in an exchange and he gave me one as a present. I am excited to keep in contact with him for the rest of my life. It is amazing how good of friends you can become in only a few weeks when you have spiritual experiences together.

There are so many other things I wanted to say today, but i don´t have time to write.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Parque de Fonte Semana 1

That´s right folks, with 2 weeks left I was transfered! But this transfer was a little bit different... I have the same companheiro, I live in the same house, and I´ll keep the vast majority of my teaching pool... That´s because we´ve got a new ward in the stake!! Last year I served in Jardim Ipê, and this year I´ve been serving in Afonso Pena. Yesterday they took a chunk of both wards and formed a new one called Parque da Fonte which is where I will stay for the last 2 weeks!

It was a wonderful conference. Presidente Fernandes was there to give a few words of encouragement on helping the kingdom continue growing and preparing to divide the stake next year. The chapel was filled and we invited the whole community to see the calling of a new bishop and the creation of a new ward. I remembered back to when they took Walter´s Hill, Damascus, and Powell Valley, stuck them in the blender and poured out three wards with the same names but different boundaries. It was a very exciting conference.

We have a few people who are making huge progress. One man named Caio has grown to like the church a lot, but he doesn´t have courage to leave his current evangelical community where he knows that he will be shunned by all of his current friends when he leaves. #problems When we told him about "institute" he asked "para que serve?" which translates to something like "what is it´s purpose?/ what is it used for?" I started laughing because just a few minutes earlier he was asking about how he could find a future wife when all of the people around him don´t have morals. We told him that institute has a dual purpose :)

We´re working hard and sweating "de mais" in sun that has returned to Curitiba "com força!"


Elder House

Monday, August 18, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 9

This week was the week of baptismal interviews! Our area suffered a bit because we spent lots of our time in other areas doing baptismal interviews and training the other missionaries. But we also had several miracles happen.

A member of our ward gave us a referral... at the very end of our area, which if we were in the US wouldn´t be such a big deal, run out there by car or on bike, but in Brasil it´s a huge deal... cause it´s a LONG way away to walk. Anways, we went out there one night and finally contacted them. #eleitos Valéria and Emmerson are a couple that was basically waiting for someone to call them to the path that leads to the tree of life. I´ll take a picture with them and send it next week. They were very excited to learn about the Restoration and are excited to come to church this week.

Mauro and Aldiclea are another couple that is making progress. They are both from strong catholic families and they have fear of what their families will say when they become members of the Church of Jesus Christ. So now we are involving the ward better to help them out... Thiago and Thaissa (recent converts) are going to help them out, because they passed through basically the same thing, but it ended up being much easier than they had thought.

On saturday we had 3 baptisms in the chapel, three young men from different wards who were all excited for baptism and we put all of their services together during a mini-youth-roadshow so the room was packed.

I got that horrible email with the plane ticket to send home, but I´m still not trunky! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Love you all. Hope all is well.

-Elder House

Monday, August 4, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 7

Don´t have a whole lot to say...

This week we had Ward Council! Finally :) And we were able to talk about how to help the ward develop into an even better missionary ward. We will soon start a 40 missionary fast in which one family per day will fast to have a missionary experience. That should be cool. And it looks like the ward is going to divide right about the time that i´ll be leaving... It will be very cool to be serving in a ward as it divides!

The Gbur family is very happy with their two new priesthood holders, and the two brothers won black ties from a neat missionary :) They were at church all spify and passed the sacrament! We stopped by their house one night, and they were starting up the bbq to grill sausage and they invited us in. I think they might be my favorite family that i´ve worked with on the mission. What a grand blessing it is for them to be coming back to church in a place where gossip won´t hurt their spiritual progress!

We found an ex-drug dealer to teach... He´s very excited to be learning about the gospel and has already repented of the vast majority of his sins. Our "recém-ativo" Jefferson is a old friend of his and they were at church on sunday together! When this investigator came into the chapel, he sat down on the pew, but didn´t notice who was sitting next to him... another less active member who we´ve been working with for over a month and he finally came back to church yesterday... which just had to be the day that we had this new investigator with us and the less active shouted out, "hey, I know this guy, we were cell mates in prison" and everyone looked on, but didn´t know if they should be concerned or laugh. It was pretty funny for eveyone except our investigator.

Mauro and Aldiclea came to church! And we marked a FHE with the Elder´s Quorum President. But we left the chapel and were helping them find parking while the sacramental hym was being sung, and the lady who was recently called to be the receptionist, didn´t let us in to take the sacrament, nor let one of the deacons out to give it to us... #takingyourcallingseriously And we had to ask the bishop to let us have a mini sacrament meeting later on. But all we had were some wheat crackers... That was a first.

Denise has a baptismal date for the 23 of this month, so now we´re in the fight against cigarettes with her. But I think she´ll give up the cigarretes as she gives up the coffee. But that means a lot of headaches between now and the 23rd.

The airplanes continue making a mess of our teaching, but other than that, things are going quite well.  My area is underneath the path that the planes use to take off and land in Curitiba... so we always have planes that pass over and make a ton of noise that makes it impossible to hear anything. (usually happens during the first vision...)

"Momento GH do mês... 39 lições, 15 na sacramental"

I hope that all is well at home! I´d love to hear from ya!!


Elder House

Monday, July 28, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 6

Last transfer call. I´m stayin put! Elder Ritchie is goin out to Gurapuava (that cold place out in the middle of the nowhere) and I´m now with Elder Forsyth who i´ll train as a zone leader! Woohoo! My third gringo companion.

Speaking of gringo companions, today I got the wedding announcement from Victor Trevisanut and I opened it up with Elder Gonzales. We both got super trunky, and I told Elder Gonzales to write a FB message to Victor with "parabéns." Elder Gonzales and Elder Rocha are on their way to the airport as we speak. It´s crazy when you are the oldest missionary in the mission, and many of your best friends on the mission have already finished. But that´s how it goes right?

This week we had an awesome baptismal service of Juan (pronounced as if it were spanish) and we were very excited to see all of his family at church again. They are such a special family that we worked with to help come back to church. The father of the family ordained his two sons to the aaronic priesthood, and Juan was confirmed. This transfer we only had one baptism, but we have 6 people reactivated who hadn´t come to church for over 2 years. I will try to take pictures with each of them in these coming weeks.

Afonso Pena is the sister ward of Jardim Ipê, so I see the recent converts from Ipê every sunday! And it looks like a third ward is going to be formed from Ipê and Afonso Pena!! It was my dream that I would see the day that Ipê would divide and I think I´ll still be here when it happens. I think that as a Zone Leader, I´ll probably end up in the newly created ward, but who knows?

Our teaching group somehow filled up with people who believe in reencarnation, so Elder Ritchie and I have been learning how to help people understand the resurrection. It is very interesting that reencarnation denys the power of Jesus Christ... because perfection is attained through trial and error and progress over many lives. Which completely cuts Christ out of the picture. The reality is that Christ overcame death and sin and taught the gospel to help us put of the natural man and become a saint. I don´t have time to write out all the things we are teaching, but I felt that I should make a quick comment about this.


I hope that all is well at home and that someone is freezing blackberries.


Elder House

Monday, July 21, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 5

Churrasco! We had an awesome zone churrasco today. Maminho, contra filé, linguiça, and costelinha de porco. Then we played a little frisbee and uno. Finally the sun is shining so we are taking advantage of it!

To tell about the week, I don´t know where to start. We are teaching so many good families that it would be hard for me to share about them all. But there´s one success story that I want to share.

Jefferson. 27 years old. Baptized 5(ish) years ago. Suffers from epilepsy. Went less active after becoming involved in something or another in a soccer stadium and spending some time in a cold place thinking about what he did. Picked up a smoking habit (along with a few others). - Jefferson was waiting for a chance to come back to church, but he with the bad habits that he developed and the drastic changes that he made (for the worse) he didn´t know how. We were teaching his cousins next door, but we were ready to drop them from the teaching pool because they weren´t ready to progress, when one day Jefferson was at the gate smoking. When he saw us he threw the cigarette away and shouted out to us that he was a member of the church. We sat down with him and started talking and he needed to vent. We invited him back to church and he was waiting for us at the gate that Sunday. It´s only been about a month, but with steady study of the scriptures, church attendance, and living all of the commandments as well as he could, he gained the forces he needed to overcome the addictions. And this week he smoked his last cigarette. Needless to say we are very excited for him! The bishop still hasn´t interviewed him, and we had to break the bad news that he probably wasn´t ready to go to the temple with the ward yet, but he is very excited to continue putting his life in order, and help his mother prepare for baptism.

Okay one more...

Benedito and Elieleia. A middle aged couple with a daughter (25), son (15) and two grandsons (7&8). Daughter had two children and decided she didn´t like them (after she discovered that one had severe mental disability and problems in the intestine), and now they are being raised by their grandparents. This was a huge burden on their shoulders and they have been working hard for the past 7 years to help their grandson with special needs. The daughter took off with some guy and they are alone with lots of work to do. We shared a little bit of the Plan of Salvation with them and read in Jeremiah about how we lived with Heavenly Father before we were born, and how we were prepared for the challenges that we face. The Spirit was very powerful as they recognized that the reason why Luan was given to them is because the Lord trusts in them enough to give them a child with special needs. Then Elder Ritchie and I sung "Sou um filho de Deus" and they became a bit emotional. This week we will return and finish talking about the Plan of Salvation, and help them come visit the church with us next Sunday.

I love being a missionary. I´m glad that I still have bastante time to serve!


Elder House

Monday, July 14, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 4

Well Brasil was eliminated from the runnings for the World Cup... and was run over by the Germans. So for the last game (consolation 3rd/4th place) we worked normally, because nobody was too excited about the game. But I have to make a quick commentary about the Brasil x Argentina rivalry. Even though Germany destroyed Brasil, you wouldn´t belive the number of German flags we saw yesterday as they played Argetina. And when they won over argentina, you would´ve thought that Brasil had won the world cup! I think that they were just as excited that argentina didn´t win, as they would´ve been if brasil had won.

This week was awesome. I went on exchanges with Elder Costa and we worked "até o pó"! It was great to arrive in an area that I didn´t know at all and find new people to teach to help them build up a teaching pool. I also got to visit a deaf lady that I interviewed for baptism last week (using the very little brazilian sign language that I was able to pick up) but this time, the gift of tongues was working better, and I was able to communicate well and prayed in signs that impressed Solange!

The sun came out a bit this week! And we were recieved better by everyone. Yesterday we taught an awesome lesson to a lady who has lots of catholic and afro-spiritual beliefs about little saint figures and reincarnation, etc. But Elder Ritchie used a scripture so simply and effectively that I was almost shocked at how strongly the Holy Ghost testified to what we had read. Moroni 7:40-41. Now she understands what she should have hope in so that she can have the faith necessary for the Lord to respond to her prayers. It was awesome.

Well we are gonna go clean up the "green house". And sleep. 10 days of work is a lot to handle.


Elder House

Friday, July 4, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 3

Well Brasil won the last game against Chile, and they´re gonna play Colombia today (sorry Michael Nunziato... but Brasil is gonna win) so that means preparation day got bumped up once again.

Today being 4th of July, the family who we ate with made "american grilling" which was bacon burgers with pineapple and spicy ketchup (pretty close to bbq sauce). It is also my companions birthday, and he opened a super ultra mega trunky letter (or series of letters) from a girl back home and is now floating in the clouds. Perhaps the feijoada that I´ve got on the stove will bring him back to reality :)

This week we are having an awefully difficult time entering homes. So we are using more materials such as old Liahona magazines, family history booklets, plan of salvation booklets, etc. We are also having a bit of a hard time having our members not fall through to go on splits with us. In the last 2 days, we had 8 members cancel on us. So we had to flake out on several of our investigator families which was a huge bummer. Add in today wehre we won´t be able to teach anybody during the evening hours, and we´re havin a rocky week. When we have open time, our investigators aren´t at home. When we have appointments marked, the membesr aren´t able to go with us to visit everyone. But the good news, is that Saturday and Sunday we´ve got a lot of time for teaching.

Hope that all is well with the family and that 4th of July was awesome. If you want to give me an update on how y´all are doin I love to hear about.


Elder House

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 2

World Cup: Today Brasil will play against Chile, and we would have to stay in our house for a few hours anyway, so President moved preparation day to saturday so that we can work on monday and not lose any time. Hence the saturday email.

We thought that our teaching pool was filling up really fast. And it filled up with couples who are all legally wedded! #miracles 

But yesterday we had ALL of our marked visits fall through. Which stinks when you are with a member who was super excited to help you out (the high priests get really excited to go out with the missionaries!) and at the end of the day he says "well boys, we did all we could do... which was absolutely nothing" and chuckles to himself. Yup that kinda stinks. But compared with the sucess we were having, I think the Lord felt we needed a dose of humility.

I went on an exchange in Jardim Ipê (second area) and I was very happy to see some of the people who we taught, baptized, reactivated, etc. But the primary purpose was to help that area become productive again. President called Elder Ritchie during the exchange to ask why Ipe was going so poorly, and poor Elder Ritchie got an earful... and forgot to mention that we were in the very same hour, in exchanges to help them! :) It is a great ward that I hope I can help out again.

Afonso Pena is a great ward. Everyweek on the mission, I understand better the need for the members to bring their friends to church, and fellowship the people who are visiting. Manytimes we teach people  who have a special experience with the Book of Mormon, but when they go to church, the sisters in the ward look down on the wife because she didn´t have time to brush her hair while she was preparing the children, or the husband never used a tie in his life and it was a bit messy on his neck... etc. It needs to be a place where they´ll get a hug, and someone with take the children off to primary, and someone will ask their names, and someone will sit down beside them and explain how to read a himnal, and the bishop will tell them that they are welcome to return next week. Afonso Pena has enourmous potential for the Lord to bless them with converts because the bishop is fantastic at making everyone feel welcome, and he personally asks them to come back next week. 

I love this ward. I love the Lord.


Elder House

Monday, June 23, 2014

Afonso Pena Semana 1

2 Confirmations. #complicated

We had the ward Festa Junina on Saturday which was the best way ever to meet all of the members at once. Imagine the ward fall festival, but put a huge redneck twist on it, and lots of foods made from corn.

Rain makes corn,
Corn makes pamonha,
Pamonha makes the cultural hall
Erupt in pandimonium

I don´t think my future has Brazilian country singer in it...

But I´m loving being in the field. I had to remember how to teach a lesson at 10h in the morning, and what to do at 3 in the afternoon. My companion is absolutely nuts. Totally crazy. Insane."Piradinho" But that´s totally fine by me cause he works super hard and is gente boa. Elder Ritchie is from Texas/Illinois/Missouri/California/Ohio/three other states, and belive it or not, his dad isn´t in the military. He has been out on the mission for 1 year and 3 months and served for a little bit in San Diego waiting on his visa. His last 2 companions were ZL´s going out of the mission, and he thought that I would be more of the same, but this week, I think he was happy that I´m not draggin him down :) We are working a bunch.

Just a little info on my area.

It has the airport, and therefore the trunkiest area in the mission. But we´ll see if it gets the best of Elder House. My bet is NO! There´s too much work to be done. People to be taught. Exchanges to go on. Training to do. Frisbee to be played for excercises. I had one of those, "i´ve only got 3 months to be in Brasil as a missionary!!" moments this week, so I think it´ll be okay.

I am filling the shoes for Elder Poe and Elder Woodruff who finished their missions here, so the ward has a pretty high standard for the kind of missionary that they like to work with. So lets go to work!


Elder House

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Aqua Verde...Drum roll please...34

Last week in Agua Verde... Mixed feelings.
Ze-zinho is progressing about as fast as a snail. But he´s still movin forward.
Irineu wants to be baptized urgently, but still has problems with the word of wisdom. we´re hoping this customized cigarette case will help him out

Well I wanted to go out of the office to be a trainer (maybe a DL Trainer). But the companion that President had put me with in the transfer scenario, ended up postponing his mission call for a few months... So he put another with me, but that guy didn´t end up going to the MTC on time... And before President could put me with another greenie, we got a call from the MTC saying that another one would have to stay in São Paulo for at least another week to have a surgery...

Sooooo President got the message from the Lord and didn´t put me as a trainer (#rats!)

Looks like I´m going to be zone leader in São José dos Pinhais, in the Afonso Pena ward. Which means that I´ll be in the same chapel as Jardim Ipê! Which means I can see my recent converts there :) That´s exciting. There is one couple that is almost ready to marry in the temple and I think that I´ll be allowed to go participate. That´s nifty! (Also means that I´ll have another São João in São José!!)
Well the time is brutally short today because transfers were supposed to happen next wednesday, but there was a change and they´ll happen on monday. Which means that I´m sacrificing preparation day to write a manual of instructions on how to be a secretary for Elder Leite to use. But I think it´ll help him out. He is undoubtedly one of the best missionaries I have ever met. I´ve learned mcuh with him in the past 6 weeks.

I hope that where you´re at, the sun is shining. If it´s not, please count on His timing.


Elder House

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Aqua Verde Semana 33

I just noticed that last week, I forgot to finish my words... I´ll be returning to the field in the middle of the World Cup. This week will be the opening game, and we will... wait for it... stay at home :/ How exciting right? But at least we will be safe. Actually it should be pretty fun because President will let the Assistants come across the street and stay with us. Also, shockingly, Elder Lima will receive a new companion to train as auxiliary secretary (and have 1 week to train him), so this next week we´ll have 5 secretaries.

5 Secretaries + 2 Assistants + Free Time = Bagunça
Yesterday we had a huge baptism. 1st, Anglo is huge. 2nd, there were over 100 people. 3rd, He made great changes in his life before this could happen. I don´t even know where to start to explain his story, and how we started teaching him. But suffice it to say that the Lord can use the strangest means to help get His children on the straight and narrow path.
The baptism yesterday kinda swallows up all of my thoughts from the week.
One more thing. This week we took José (Zezinho) to the temple to help him feel more ready to take the final steps to being baptized. He had a few problems with the Word of Wisdom, and has been clean for almost a month now. He is very worried that he won´t be able to stay away from the bad influences that are all around him. So we took him to the temple where there are ZERO negative outside influences that can impede the Spirit. President Fernandes showed us an amazing scripture afterwards that I wish I had known beforehand. 1 Kings 8:41-43. It takes place in the dedicatory prayer of the ancient temple in Jerusalem and the promises made are applicable in our days as well. It is a huge blessing to have a temple close by. I can´t imagine missionary work without a temple.
Well I think that´s it for this week. Thank you for the prayers.

Elder House

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 32

Elder Leite is picking up all the office tasks quickly, so in a few weeks this weekly letter should be coming from somewhere in the FIELD! The only bummer is that I will return to the field in the middle of the
On Sunday, we had a little miracle happen. During the week, we spent some time exploring the darkside of our area... the darkside because it takes forever to walk there and there are basically no no members or old investigators there. And we thought that it had all been in vain, because nobody let a couple of cold missionaries in. But ONE lady (and her granddaughter) who had been contacted and invited to church came to church. They just appeared in the Sacrament Meeting! One minute, Irmã Flávia was sitting with her family, then all of a sudden Eloiza was at her side. "Legal!" And it was on the day that the youth gave a special musical number and all of the talks were extremely well prepared. I strengthened my testimony of the importance of working to have a good Sacrament Meeting. When all of the people giving talks really put in the time to prepare and there is good music, the Lord really does see the effort and blessed the meeting with the Holy Spirit.
Today I got trunky emails from almost everyone... Or they are finishing missions, or engaged, or recently sealed, or etc. But that´s life right?
Agua Verde is great! When we arrived at the house of one of our investigators he told us, "hey, I rented a view films that the guy there said would help me know more about the Mormons." My heart froze solid. I thought that he had gotten some film produced by one of the anti-mormon groups in the US that they had translated to Portuguese (luckily there is very little of that sort of thing here)... but when I opened up the DVD case it was the 3 films of The Work and the Glory!! So now he is watching those instead of Rambo. :)
Well I hope the family is well and that Christian is getting excited to be a Cougar!
Elder House

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 30

Calling home was a great treat! Mom and Dad were the only ones who seemed more or less the same, but Christian, Carsten, and Calli all look (and sound!) different. I called from the house of a family who recently sent their son off to the MTC in Santiago Chile who will serve in Vinha del Mar and got to call in from the MTC for a few minutes. I was with Elder Lima, and he got suUUUper trunky before and after the call home. Beforehand, he could hardly eat and wouldn´t respond to anything anyone said to him. When he finished, he kept saying to himself under his breath, "they´re all good at home. everything is okay." Elder Silva II, Leite, and I thought it was hilarious, until our proselyting stunk for a few hours and until we said, hey man, bring your head back from Goias!
The baptism of Anna Gabriela was awesome! She is in the middle, with her mom (Erica) to the right, 2 of President Fernades' daughters to the left, and the back row from left to right is Moisés, Elder Lima, Silva, House, and Leite. Erica got very emotional during the baptism and is preparing for hers as well. The only bummer is that they moved to just a little past the limits of our área, so the Sisters of Jardim Botanico will be teaching them.
We had a few neat experiences with contacting referrals from members and other missionaries. We had received a referral from Rute, a woman (Maria) who had heard about the blessing we gave to Odair and how he had been cured, and commented with Rute that she wanted to meet us. But when we went to her house, only her husband was at home. So we taught him (Aginaldo) about the Restoration and he became very happy to hear about God calling a modern day prophet! He is now going after a testimony of the Book of Mormon to have his answer from the Lord. Today we´ll meet Maria!

Well this week, I went a little bit crazy cause I found cheddar cheese. You don´t even know how hard it is to get cheddar here! Everytime I found "cheddar" in the grocery store I it was falsificated mussarela with cheddar flavoring. Then I started finding a bunch of things like cream cheese with cheddar flavoring... g-ross. But I even asked for a family who was visiting New York to bring back some cheddar cheese, and what they bring... spray cheese. :´( But this week we had a half hour to kill near the Rodoviária and went the the Mercado Municipal, where I found imported English smoked cheddar. Was it expensive? Yup. Did I care? Nope. I paid about R$30 for a little block of the yellow stuff, but it was worth it. Today we´re gonna make American style burgers with REAL cheddar. And if we get real fancy like, we´ll even put it in Brazilian tapioca (which has nothing to do with US tapioca... it´s like a salty fried tortilla made from tapioca starchyflour)
Well the oranges and persimmons are in season so fresh juice for breakfast is a must. A sister in the ward has a huge orange tree with the juiciest oranges I´ve ever seen! She gave one to us to peel and eat while we were talking with her about her neighbors and who we could visit, but when we opened the oranges, they practically exploded all over us... So we decided it would be better to take a few home to make juice instead of eat. One day, I´ll have a pé de laranja e um de caqui.
Well this week it´s supposed to start getting cold, so I´ll have to pull out the big overcoat and the sweaters and gloves and scarf. The cold is good, cause everyone gets lazy and stays at home :)
Love you,

Elder House

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aqua Veerde Semana 29

Minha nossa essa semana voou...
This was the first week of training Elder Leite to be the new secretary. Which means 5 more weeks until I can return to 100% proselyting! He´s picking up on everything super quickly and will end up being a much better secretary than I am (which really shouldn´t be too hard to do).

(yes, Elder House and Elder Milk [Leite] are together, along with Elder Oaks, Elder Blackberry-shrub [Silva] and Elder Lemon [Lima] in the mission office... the only one who doesn´t fit is Elder Ameigeiras which doesn´t translate into anything from any language)

I´m writing as the baptismal font is filling up for the baptism of Ana Gabriela. Next week i´ll have pictures and the story of how we started teaching her!
Our teaching pool is continuing to grow as we are going back to a few people who I met back in October/November. It is amazing to see how sometimes all someone needs is a few months to think about the things you taught to see the difference that the gospel was making in their lives, so that they have a stronger desire to apply what we teach. One man named Emerson was going through some very serious problems with depression, that he ended up having to be put in a clinic to resolve, but now he is out and has a newly built house! And is very excited to come to church with us this week.
Our recent converts are all going strong. I feel like a mother duck leading our little group of recent converts and visitors through the giant chapel from class to class each Sunday.
This week we were planning on getting 9 missionaries, but when the plane touched down, there were only 8! President called up and wanted answers. Unfortunately I had left my little zip-lock baggy of answers in the office and I was on the street... and was unable to contact anyone in São Paulo or Salt Lake who could explain... It wasn´t until we got back to the office that we had an email explaining that the mission in Arizona that was sending the 9th missionary got the dates mixed up and sent him one day late. President made it very clear that if I ever messed up something like that, then I would finish my mission as "tia" cleaning the mission houses (He didn´t use those words exactly, but I think he would do something like that). In the end, Elder Leite and I went to the airport to get Elder Bussiere and bring him to the office the next day.
I´m excited to call home again! But I´m a bit scared to see Calli as a small lady instead of a little girl

Elder House

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 28

Weeks are passing so fast I can hardly believe it. This week we made lots of progress in our area. We were able to go out every single day of the week with members to help us teach and were able to find lots of new people to teach.

Also, Irineu came to church! We walked a half hour to his house to walk with him to church, but when we got there, nobody came to the door. We clapped and clapped, but nobody came to the window. So then we had the bright idea to call him... and he was about one block from the chapel walking to church with one of our recent converts. I think the Lord just wanted to test our faith to see if we´d go all the way out to his house :)
We took a few investigators to the temple and they loved it! The temple is such a peaceful place, and it is hard to NOT feel the Spirit when we are there. I am happy that the ward seems to be putting an emphasis on taking the primary children to see the temple gardens and feel to power of that sacred place. It is a huge blessing to have a temple close by.
The cold (relatively speaking) is coming on. The other day it was 13 degrees Celsius and everyone was already complaining about the cold... I was talking with another missionary from Oregon (Elder Erickson) and then we realized that 13 degrees Celsius is probably the average temperature of Oregon! There is a recently returned missionary in the ward here who was serving in Boston, and he was laughing about how it was the first time he saw feet of snow! (and how he thought it was much less cool when he had to help shovel it).
We are helping several people fight against addictions to cigarettes and alcohol. Any ideas on how to help them break the habit?
Very excited to skype with the family next Sunday!!

Elder House

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 27

Easter was fantastic! The church is getting a bit hipster with all of their new videos and such... But even so, we used several this week to teach about the atonement of Jesus Christ.

This week I tried to make bread and failed miserably. My cooking skills are getting a bit rusty... here in Agua Verde, we rarely have to cook our own food, so I´m losing the knack... The other day I tried to make soup, but it was not nearly as successful as the Salmon Chowder that Josh and I nailed in wyview... If anyone has bread recipes (especially very simple ones that don´t require a rolling pin), I am accepting entries :)

Policia Federal keeps getting easier and easier. This time, we sailed through in less than 2 hours with only one person processing our papers! Just when you get the hang of things, its time time to leave the office :) I think that in one more transfer I´ll be returning to the field! I hope that President lets me train again

I love my Saviour and what he did, does, and will do to help us as we live our lives with our hearts centered on Him.


Elder House

The picture is my "genealogy" I trained Elder V. Silva, who trained so and so... and so on
don´t worry that´s the most GH thing I´ve ever done on the mission!

"GH" means "Gloria dos Homens," or Glory of Men... in other words, things that seem prideful :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 26

Great week!

Mission tour with Elder Ribeiro. He challenged us in the office to be more productive than the missionaries in the field. That´s a tall order, but if he says we have to do it, looks like it´ll be done! In his training he talked about how after the natural man leaves a person, the devil trys 7 times harder with different sins to get the person to fall. He used Luke 11 to explain 

Luke 11 :24 When the aunclean spirit is gone out of a man, bhe walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, che saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
 25 aAnd when he cometh, he findeth it swept and bgarnished.
 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the laststate of that man is worse than the first. 

He then talked about how we can´t let the gaps open in our testimonies that will let these temptations take us down.

We also had a huge easter feast. No lamb like they had at home, but it was awesome. It was enough "to put roofing on the stomach" like they´d say here.

Our teaching pool is growing again! We are using everything that chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel says to find more people to teach. Referrals from the members are the best! They call someone to listen to a message in their house, or we find someone who will receive us and invite them over to the house of a member! If we had a Ward Mission Leader it would help out a lot. It´s been several months that we are without an official one.

This coming week we are gonna do work!


Elder House

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 25

25 weeks is a lot of time... But the area is good! It took a while, but finaly Água Verde has become my favorite area (the goal is that every area I go through becomes my favorite area, and this one took a little while)
Today I ate a big American style hamburger and went to Coldstone! That´s right, COLDSTONE in Brasil! I´m the lucky bum who is serving in one of the two cities in Brasil (São Paulo and Curitiba) where they have a Coldstone. So that was the highlight of the day.

The rest of the time, i´ve been scrubbing who knows how many years of grime off of the upper shelving in our kitchen. Elder Ribeiro of the 70 will be visiting our house on Friday. Our Preparation Day is Saturday, so we´ve been doing a super deep clean to have a shot at having a presentable house at the end of the week.
We out on the hunt for new people to teach. It is amazing to see how the Lord prepares people for  you, when you are willing to look for them. I´ve never seen so many people accepting us into their houses while knocking (clapping) doors (gates). I am in the middle of Curitiba for Pete´s sake and these supposedly "fechado" Curitibanos are receiving us with smiles. I don´t know if it has something to do with being Easter season, or the recent report that passed on the statewide news program about the Mormon Missionaries, or that I am spending an extra minute ironing my shirts and slacks to be presentable, but we are receiving very few rejections. So we have a lot to be thankful for!
The rain is back. Which is good because nobody goes to work if it´s raining... nobody but the missionaries that is :)


Elder House

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 24

Well we had baptism and general conference on saturday, so preparation day went out the window... President had mercy and gave us time today to clean house and write email.

We had the unforgettable baptisms of Leandro and Alieete. Brother Fabiano Testa of our ward performed the baptisms (because we needed someone really tall and strong to baptize Leandro). And it was good we asked him, cause Leandro has fear of water! We had to repeat the baptism 7 times until finally it worked out without a leg shooting up, or hair sticking out, or his hands slipping, or something of the sort. After the fifth try, the bishop threw off his suit coat and I grabbed a white jumpsuit for him, which he quickly dressed and entered the water as well to help out. On the 7th try it went smoothly. Leandro was little bit "com vergonha" so we made a few Naaman jokes and he was okay.

General Conference was fantastic as usual and on saturday I´ll write a few of my thoughts about what I learned.

On Tuesday we´ll have another mini-transfer with 6 gringas arriving from the MTC in São Paulo. They had been serving in other missions in the US but returned to MTC for 2 weeks for a intense Portuguese refresher. So we´ll going crazy preparing everything for yet another transfer and 6 more people that I´ll have to take the Federal Police station in two weeks. But someone´s got to do it right?

Hope that all is well at home and that everyone watched conference.


Elder House

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 23

Last night was one of those nights that I will never forget.

Ubiratan and I were walking from one appointment to another, but we didn´t make it very far before a young man shouted to us "Hey do you know Odair?"... I responded that we had been visiting him a few months ago and that he was a friend of ours. The young man ran up to us and told us about how Odair´s wife had been having a relationship with another man, that a few hours ago she told him and took their two daughters, leaving for good. The young man was rather frantic and it took me a little while to understand that he was concerned that Odair would take his own life, and that none of the local preachers were willing to visit him. I looked at Ubiratan and he signaled that we should go there immediately. When we arrived, Odair was collapsed on his front stairs sobbing and whispering softly to himself "Lord, I lost everything". The rug was damp with his tears and he didn´t even look up when we entered. We knelt at his side and wrapped him up in a hug for several minutes until he was able to stop the tears. Ubiratan (who was recently ordained Elder) told him that we were there to give him a priesthood blessing and we helped him into a chair. We pronounced the blessing and the Spirit filled the home. Under our hands we felt Odair gaining spiritual and physical strength. Afterwards we sat and listened to him as he explained what had happened. It was very sad to see a man who had a beautiful little family torn to pieces. But I know that the Lord was watching the whole event unfold and that he put us in the right place at the right time.

How I am grateful to be a missionary. 

This experience capped off a week of study about how each covenant we make with the Lord gives us more responsibility in the Work of Salvation. I don´t have time today to write all of my thoughts but Baptism, Priesthood, and Endowment have each brought more blessings and more responsibility to take care of others. And that´s what we must do if we are to become like our Father in Heaven. He spends ALL of His time caring for others. The temple sealing will bring an even more elevated commitment to take care of my wife and children.


Elder House

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 22

Raining cats and dogs and people to be baptized

Curitiba weather is even crazier that Oregon weather. One minute it´s 80 degrees and sunny, and 10 minutes later, you can´t see the sun with all the rain that is falling. We were teaching Rute the other day and the rain starting hammering down on the favela. In 20 minutes the large waste canal (about the size of Johnson Creek) that runs by her house filled to the brim and ran over to fill in the patio that we needed to cross to escape. In a true act of charity, one of her adult sons took off his shoes, sloshed through the water and put some planks for us to run across to get out of the house. He has a Christlike heart, and we are trying to help him overcome the strong chemical addictions that he has and help him get over the shame that he feels entering the chapel.

This week we came up with a nifty way to teach about gospel dispensations and priesthood authority. We asked for a pitcher of water and a few cups. We explained about how Christ is the font of living water and how he gave his authority to one prophet to be the leader in his church, who then passed it on to the next and so on. So we pour water from the pitcher in the first cup and say that it is Moses, who then passes it to Joshua etc. But when the people don´t want to accept the water any more, Christ takes it back to him (back to the pitcher). Then when everyone is thirsty again, and ready to receive the water, he puts it back on the earth. After the crucifixion of Christ and his Apostles, the water was taken back to heaven and the people of the earth were left without the fullness of the gospel of Christ. Amos saw these days when he wrote in Amos 8:11-12:

 11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a afamine of bread, nor a bthirst for water, but of hearing the cwords of the Lord:
 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall arun to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
The family that we taught using this object lesson understood very clearly that the thing they were looking for, going to all of the churches in the city they wouldn´t find in an empty cup. The fullness of the gospel will only be found where there is priesthood authority to direct the church.

They are excited to hear the Prophet and Apostles during General Conference.

President has asked us to lengthen our stride and start talking to even more people each week. Our new goal is to find 15 new people to teach every week... That´ll be a great challenge that will help our area to grow bastante!

Everyone wants to be baptized during General Conference on the 5th... and by everyone, I mean, Leandro, Ademir, Norma, Arlete (and perhaps a few of her relatives). So we are working to have everyone ready! Prayers for these people would be appreciated.


Elder House

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 21

This was a pretty short week since the last email, but a few neat things have happened.

1. We finally got to teach Angelo and his family!
2. A friend of Rute who was at the baptism wants to be baptized.
3. Leandro is gobbling up everything we give him. And didn´t have too much difficulty trading coffee for "cevada" (which is a roasted barley powder that has taste similar to coffee, but it is healthy).

Hope that all is well on the homefront! Things are great in the field


Elder House

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 20

Rain rain rain...

International woman´s day, we baptized Rute! She had been waiting for this day for over one year. When we passed by on Sunday night her home was filled with peace and she was radiant. We have a member who is just a hair bit crazy named Ubiratan, but who has become one of the greatest member missionaries I know... he always says that "depois que você se-batiza, você torna bonitão!" (You´ll have to find a brazilian to translate that for you.) But it is very true. People somehow become more beautiful after they accept the restored gospel, exercise their faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and start persevering. Elder Rocha was the only one who was able to snap a foto, so I´m waiting on him so send it to me to send it home.

We worked on Saturday, so our preparation day for last week happened this week... and we´ll have it again this coming Saturday. 

Today we went to the temple. What a gorgeous place. As we left, it was raining in dense but very fine, almost misty drops, and it was warm. It was a neat scene to see the rain from the doors of the temple... luckily the doorman had an extra umbrella that he let us use :)

We are teaching a man named Leandro who was taught by sisters who passed by in Água Verde 12 years ago. He told us that at the time he had rejected the gospel, but that this time he won´t let it pass by! He is very excited for his baptism and is eating up all the church material we can give him.


Elder House

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Auga Verde Semana 19

At times I close my eyes and click the heels of my well worn but polished dress shoes together and say to myself "there´s no place like the field, there´s no place like the field, there´s no place like the field..." but when I open my eyes, there´s still a long list of office tasks to be completed.

I know the Lord has a sense of humor. Because every time that I think I´ve got it all figured, out we get a new challenge to face. But we have to be like Nephi:

 1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

So when we have a roadblock, it almost becomes a game to find the "out" that the Lord set up in the trial to win. This week it happened with the Federal Police. I thought that I had it all perfect, all the documents correct, all of the missionaries scheduled perfectly, etc. We woke up on Wednesday and the phone started ringing off the hook... "Elder there´s no bus!!" That´s when my companion remembered that he had been told by and investigator that the bus company would be on strike and there would be NO bus passing in Curitiba on Wednesday... which would mean, no bus to the Federal Police station for everyone to get there... but he didn´t remember to let me know and to plan accordingly. So after a deep breath and a quick prayer we had to find the solution that the Lord had prepared.

Plan B: We took off to the taxi stop to find a line that reminded me of when the first Krispy Kreme opened in Portland. So we left the sisters there to wait while we looked for another solution.

Plan C: We called a few members, but quickly realized that everyone who has a car was already working as a taxi driver for family and friends.

Plan D: My companion saw a taxi passing by and shouted to him as he was passing in front of us. Miraculously he stopped! (you can´t do that in Curitiba, you have to wait a taxi point). He asked us where we wanted to go and we told him that we needed to cross the whole city to go to the Federal Police station. "Wait here for 2 minutes." He dropped of the rider he had, and returned.

When we arrived, everyone had managed to do the same! It was a miracle. The only hold up was that no one had money to pay the ridiculous taxi fares for crossing the whole city. For some reason, a few weeks ago, I felt that I needed to start saving up my mission allowance and leave it all on the card (which meant just eating what I had in the house, peanut butter, eggs, and rice)... My companion (the financial secretary) had forgotten to manage the mission funds that were to be used there, and we ended up needed almost every cent on my mission card to pay all the taxi drivers. In the end we were able to register everyone, and I was able to renew my visa until the end of my mission! But it was crazy.

This week we had a hard time making it out of the office to teach as much as we would have liked... But, Ruth is locked on for the 8th of March for her baptism. And she´s inviting the WHOLE favela to watch. Everyone in her neighborhood knows her and she´s inviting all to participate. President Fernandes was saying something to the effect of "Here in Brasil, look at the huge parties that these people throw for the first birthday party of a child who will never even know it happened! Why is it that we don´t invite all of these people and the neighbors and all of our relatives and the guy from the grocery store and our coworkers to participate in the ordinance that will open the door of heaven for us? That´s something worth inviting people to!" So we took a sheet of paper to Ruth and started asking about all of the people who she knows who she wants at the baptism. She easily filled a sheet, and we are tracking down all of them. Gotta catch em all.

We are also having a hard time contacting all of the referrals that we are receiving! This is the best problem in the world to have. When members get excited about you teaching their friends, the missionary work moves at a different clip. The only problem will be leaving the black hole of the office to teach everyone.

This weekend, all the youth and half the adults are at youth camp. During Carnaval in Brasil, all of the youth go camping as a stake to take them out of the danger zones. They are taking one of our investigators as well, so we are hopeful that it will help his testimony continue to grow.

I know the Savior lives and that He is concerned with every individual on the face of the earth. He knows how to make things turn out alright. And if you ask Him, He´ll help.


Elder House

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 18

7 Brazilians, 4 Gringos, 1 Argentinian (or is it Argentine?)

Our new missionários arrived on Tuesday and all of the Elders slept in our house. The house of the secretaries is kind of like the room of requirement... if you need extra mattresses, they´ll somehow show up in the secretaries´ house. If you need more copies of the Book of Mormon, there´ll be a few hiding in some corner of the house. If you need space to put 7 more missionaries for a few nights, on top of the 5 that already live there... almost magically space will appear (along with space to put new bunk beds, because President didn´t want anyone sleeping with a mattress on the floor). At breakfast for all the greenest of the greenies, we made tapioca. Which doesn´t have anything to do with tapioca in the US... ya know, that lumpy pudding. Tapioca here is the closest thing that Brasil has to a soft shelled taco, where you spread some slightly dampened flour from manjioca (I think it´s called cassava in the US... it´s that big brown root in the supermarket that always is with the fresh veggies that nobody knows what it is or how to use it...) on a frying pan with a little bit of butter. This flour ends up sticking to itself and making almost a tortilla like thingy that you can fill with sweet or savory. We used salted beef and smoked provolone... A bit salty, but turned out alright.

On Wednesday we´ll be back at the Federal Police station to register the new foreigners... And finally, I´ll have to renew a visa (never had to do this before). It´ll be my visa! So i´m very interested in the doing all of the paperwork properly.

We were able to find a few new families in our area this week. Two of them are super excited about the Book of Mormon and are searching for an answer. They started asking a bunch of questions that the ministers and pastors from the local churches weren´t ever able to answer. I promised that the the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ could be found in the Book of Mormon, and we found the answers to all of the questions that they had. ALL of them. They were excited to "meet" new prophets like Alma and Nefi, and learn what they taught to the people of the day, and how it would apply to us. I love teaching people who can get excited about "getting to know" the prophets in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the prophets in our days by studying and applying the doctrines they taught.

I love Curitiba. She´s a bit moody when it comes to weather, but her only major flaw is that she doesn´t have cheddar cheese.


Elder House

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Agua Verde Semana 17

Follows: Excerpt from the Elder House dictionary

Ruth (ROO-chi) : Honest seeker of truth and eternal investigator. As of February 2014 has been attending church for more than one year. The missionaries began teaching her as a referral of a referral of a less active who was a referral of a recent convert. She fell in love with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and every week brings her granddaughter to church.

How great it was yesterday to finally invite Ruth to have a baptismal interview, because she is now able to respond positively to ALL of the baptismal interview questions. Sooo... we´re gonna plan a huge celebration for her! (But she still needs a lot of prayers).

This week we´re gonna get a new bishop (and hopefully a new ward mission leader).

Transfers on monday! But transfers aren´t so exciting when you know that there is a 95% chance that you are gonna stay put until you train the next secretary... #notgoingtodiehere

Working like a dog. But not smelling like one.


Elder House

Ok,  you´ll have to pardon the dorky smile, but I remembered to take a picture of a few of the cookies one day...