Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sadly My Last Week :(

Well, it is sad that it is my last week but it is with the highest degree of Happiness that I make this post. This has been one of the best weeks in my entire mission. I am so thankful to the Lord for all he has done in my life and for the blessings he continues to pour out upon me. This week as part of my study I finished reading Doctrine and Convenants. In section five there was a scripture that cought my attention. D&C 5:35 "And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen." In this last week I have seen this promise come to life and the Lord has lifted me up at the last day.
So to understand really the magnitude of the blessing this week ill have to explain a bit.
Here in the mission one of the worst thigns that can happen is the you go a transfer without baptizing. The goal set forth by the President is that no one zeros for a transfer. Generally about 5-10 duos go a transfer without baptizing per transfer. So it is a big deal and everyone in the entire mission makes that goal to never zero. So with other goals that was one of the goals I made early on in my mission.
This trasnfer things were going well we had worked hard to get a teaching pool and we had a group of four different families accumulating to about 15-20 people. They were all going well but as it happens they all slowly fell and we had to leave them because of the lack in progress. And we kept being forced to leave them till the point were we just had one family which consisted of two young adult girls who are sisters, Cida and Clau.
Two Sundays ago things made a turn for the worse we visited them Saturday night and everything was good to go but when we called them Sunday morning they said they decided to go to the beach and wouldnt go to Church. As Cida and Clau both got to the Bus Stop they both felt a horrible pain in their stomachs and were foced to go home. But we didnt know that they didnt go so we were upset at their choice to go to the beach and we believed that they wernt going to progress anymore. So this last week was a little different and at times difficult. I had thought that I wouldnt baptize anymore and that in other words that my mission was finished. I was brought my knees and a lot of praying to have help from the Lord. I got to the point were I had given up on baptizing. Through my prayers the Lord confirmed that or at least I thought he did. I felt that what had happened had happned and I just needed to work so I could at least finish my mission workign but baptizing was out of the picture.
So I had given up and decided that I just needed to face the sad reality that I would baptize but that I still neded to work. Come the next Saturday, this past Saturday, we marked an appointment to visit them. We had discussed what we would teach and we decided that we would just visit them and see if they were really interested in the church and following the Savior, basically asking them if we were just wasting our time with them in nicer words. They thought we were mad because they didnt go to church and purposly marked accepted the appointment just to tell us off. So everyone went with one purpose in mind to finish things.
But it was great, it has been a while since I have felt the spirit so strong. The Lord was there as we taught and he aided us to resolve what had happned. Helping them realize that the Lord did nt let them go to the Beach to teach them a lesson. The greatest blessing was that he gave us the words to mark their baptism and help them make a firm decision to follow the example of our savior.
After marking their baptism I was amazed literally, I could not believe it. I became so nervous that something would not work out. But we had atleast marked their baptism. Generally someone will go to Church three times before being baptized. Cida and Clau had been multiple times before getting to know us and then went five or more times with us. With all we taught and all of their visits we could not mark their baptism. They were afraid of being baptized and at some point falling away and receiving even a larger condemnation.
On Sunday things went great for Cida. She was super excited she told many of the other girls her age about her baptism and she was super excited. As for Clau her younger Sister we stil had to help her a lot. She accepted to be baptized on Saturday but she became unsure on Sunday. But once again the Lord blessed us and gave us the words she needed to hear.
Then as I said it is with the highest degree of Joy that I can tell you that monday morning, just after the sun rose we held the Baptism of Cida and Clau on the Beach not to far from here. It was a great baptismal service and I am so thankful to the Lord for all of the blessing he has given me in my life. He has truly lifted me up the the last day. I was down and even at times I felt almost not like a missionary, as President Beynon taught in our last zone conferance... What do we do in the Brazil Maceio Mission? We Baptize!
I am so thankful for the chance I had to serve my mission here in a land that has so many open to receive the Gospel. So many striving to find something that they cannot find. They have the thirst but do not know where to quench it. I love the Lord and I love Brazil and it´s people. I am sad to leave but I will never forget all I learned. I love the Lord and the Savior. He is my friend and I know he loves each and every one of us. I thank you all for all you have done to aid me along the way, for your prayers, love, and support. The work of the Lord is grand and the worth of souls is great. I cannot decribe in words what I am feeling but I look forward to these last few days that I have. But I am especially thankful for this great experience I have had this week. The Lord will truly lift us up at the last day and we must trust in that. Many times we want to know that he will do something or we want to see that it will work out. But Trust in the Lord! Trust that he will keep his promises do your part. I didnt think I would see or feel the happiness again to baptize but through fervent prayers and faithful commandment keeping the Lord has brought me up in the last days of my mission. I pray that the Lord may life me up once again in the last days and I pray that you may also.
I love you all and I will see you in a few days!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Faltam Duas Semanas

Hey how is everyone doing, I hope you are all doing well so last week I didn’t get a chance to update. For our P-day we went and played volleyball and we were beat so we didn’t even get into the office to send e-mails, but I have had a great two weeks.

As I said last P-day we played some Volleyball which went well and we had a great end to our week. Elder Silva and I did things a bit different which turned out well. Here in the office we generally get in at 9:00 or 10:00 and leave at 6:00 or 7:00 and go to work. We did things the opposite working in the morning for a few days giving us a great opportunity to teach a few of our investigators. We were able to teach some great lessons where we felt the spirit so strong. The weekend also went well, the Maceio Stake Conference was held. We were pleasured to have the visit of two seventies including Elder Soares the area president. It went well and they called a new Stake President.

But our work has been going well we are super excited for families that we helped reactivate here in the ward. Luciano the father was just called as a counselor/assistant in the high priest group. His wife also just received a call as a counselor in the Relief Society. And their son Vinicios who we helped baptize couldn’t be more excited to soon get the aerobic priesthood and go on his mission.

But I cannot believe that I only have two weeks left so pretty much I am getting nervous but I am also excited. An Elder who will go home with me asked Elder Soares while he was here what he would tell us as missionaries who are finishing their mission. He told us just work to the End and the Lord will do his part. Not just on your mission but in life. If you don’t work till the end you have no promise but if we work till the end the Lord will richly bless us. So pretty much were are pretty sure we are going to work till the end because we definitely want to be blessed. I am nearing the completion of the D&C countdown (reading the last section to the first) and I have been enjoying all of the sections on missionary work and I am sad at the same time that soon it will not be a missionary anymore.

But I love all of you and I keep you in my prayers and hope to see you soon but not too soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Well I have had a pretty good week, acutall since I didnt update last week, I have had a good two weeks. First of all lets talk about some fun I have been having. Well on the 6th we had a multi-zone activity which went well. We had over 70 missionaries and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Then on the seventh well that was my Birthday woo hoo! In the morning President and Sister Beynon came into the office with a carrot cake that Sister Beynon made with 21 candles which was fun. Then Elder and Sister Hansen gave me a present which was nice. For my birthday night I went to Jacintinho one of my old areas and visited a few recent converts of mine and had a family night with them which was fun. They gave me a tie which was also nice. Then to finish up the night just as we were leaving One of the elders that lives with us called em and said that his companion got a bloddy nose and had passed out on the floor and didnt know what to do and knowing that I had first aid training said I shoudl hurry home to help. But once I got there it was all a joke and surprise for em for my Birthday which was lots of fun. They got a bunch of Soda and pizza. Then today we had an activity with a few other Elders where we watched some Disney movies and played a brazilian version on risk.
So that is the fun but morre importantly lets talk about our work. It has been going great. Two Sundays ago we were really blessed during the week but we really saw the magnitude of those blessings when we had 8 investigators at church whish is awesome. We took two twins he are young adults and are truly an elect. Twelve years ago missionaries tought them and also gave them a Book of Mormon. Recntly they begain reading the book of Mormon again. And that is when we found them, and they are excited. We got a bit down when they didnt make it to church last Sunday but they are doing well and they are excited to mkae changes to get out of the world. We also have been working a lot with the family of our last baptism, Valdomiro. Things are coming along, slowly, but they are still coming along. I am not sure if I will be able to see them baptized before I go home but I trurt that with time they will make the decision that they know they need to make. I believe that laziness is what is preventing them from being baptized.
Next we are teaching a young adult woman who lives in our apartment building and everything is going well with her. She is going through a bit of a tough time in here life. She has realized how far of the path or how far into the world she has gotten herself. And she says that shes not sure if she can get herself out but knows and trusts that with the help of the Lord she can return to do whats right. She told us last night that sometimes when finds herself crying at parties that she goes to with her friends realizing all she is doing that she shouldnt. We are workinghard with her and we are close to marking her baptism. It will be a bit of a change but she can do it. She is truly blessed she has felt the difference in here life, she has felt the missing happiness that comes from the gospel and she said she sees that happinessin us and other church members. Recently she prayed and recieved a response to her prayers which will make a huge difference in her progress. But we are praying that everything moves smoothly with her baptism.
But things are going well today I am a bit nervous cause I will bear my exit testimony tommorow. I wish i could write it down and just read it like it did when I was a bit younger but I have learned that a testiomny doesnt really work that way. But I love you and miss you all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Well I had a good Christmas I enjoyed calling you and talking for a while. The rest of my Christmas went well. Nothing to esciting though. We had a dinner apointment with a ward family which went well. But as I said nothing to exciting. But our weekend went well we had lots to do. My companion and I were very happy to see our recent convert, Valdomiro who was baptized last week receive the priesthood. He is a great convert, yesterday we were workign near his house finding new investigators and we ran into him and he invited all his friends who were nearby. He bore his testimony and invited each of them to visit church sunday. Sadly none of them took up on his offer but it was great to see him with the desire. As all the first second third or fourth person that we invite might not go maybe not even the fiftieth. But I know by my own experience that the Lord is preparing people to recieve our invitation and I don´t just mean the invitation as a missionary.

But this week has been coming along well. Yesterday we received seven new missionaries, four Brazilians and three Americans. They are all super excited, and one of them, Elder Godinho spent the night with us and helped us out in our area. Tommorow we will get two more Americans which will be good. So that´s how I will spend my New Years Eve, picking up Elders and the airport. But maybe that´s not a bad thing cause working wouldnt be to easy with the parties. But the picture above is a picture of the new staff. The assistants Elder R.Marinho, Elder Shawcroft, President Beynon, ME! and Elder Silva.

But we have had a pretty good week. I have been busy but I have been enjoying myself. I heard that Maria and Rayssa a few recent converts of mine spoke in church on Sunday which made me happy. It is always great to hear about the progress of my converts. But I love you and miss you all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas. Today is Christmas and things are going pretty well here. Nothing to crazy. So this last week went well we had a baptism. Brother Valdomiro was baptized. He is a great man, he is over 60 but there is nothing that stops him from walking to Church every sunday since the day we met him. He made quite a few changes in his life to prepare for his baptism. He changed his work schedule and even left some work to make it possible for us to teach him the lessons, he made changes to keep the word of wisdom, he was truly prepared. So this last Saturday he was baptized which was great.

But this last Wednesday we went to Arapiraca to take Christmas packages and letters to the missionaries there. I also took advantage to visit some recent-converts and friends in the two areas that I have passed in. It was lots of fun but also tiring. This week we have been in a trio since Elder Speakman finished his mission. Elder Fernandes has been working here for a few days in the office which was fun.
But now for our Christmas.

So Christmas Eve we worked here in the office than at night we went to Luciene and Junior´s. Here in Brazil it is tradition to stay up late and celebrate at 12:00 foloowing the Catholic-based culture here in Brazil. Everyone isnt catholic but because of the catholic roots there are a lot of traditions that come from Catholisim. But we got approval from our President and we went to there house eating dinner watching a few disney movies and also opening presents. Santa Claus even remebered us, lol. Luciene and Junior gave both my companion and I a shirt and tie. They are great. Finally at about three we got home. Then as for today nothing to exciting in the morning. I wanted to make breakfast but we were a bit to lazy to do that, in addition we didnt get things bought to do anything. Then we had lunch at a members house which went well and then tonight we got invited to another member´s house for dinner so it should be good.
But as I said I hope everyone is having a great Christmas and I hope you all have a happy New Year. I know that this time of year at times we get cought up in the receiving part of Christmas but I know that it is when we give that we are the happiest. As I remember and look back it isnt the presents that I remember or the gifts I received. What I remember are all the memories I had with friends and especially family. Memories cant be bought, they can only be made. So take advanatage of these season and make it one to remember. Make it one to remember in the life of another and it will in turn become memorable to you. This time of year is great to invite others to learnd of the gospel. The lord Jesus Christ has given us so much, we can never thank him enough. But what we can do is help our neightbor come closer to him. I know that when we are in the service of the Lord when we are serving our neighbor. There is no great hyappiness than this.
Merry Christmas and I love you all.

One last thing that will make this Christmas memorable for me... I was cutting my hair as I always do on Wednesday night. Then when I was almost finished I took the comb off the trimmer to do my side burns and set it down. Then I noticed I needed to do some touching up but I forgot that I had taken the comb off and I did this beautiful work as you can see. So then I cut it quite a bit shorter. You can see in the picture by the tree how short it is. I guess it had to happen sometime, but I love you and miss you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Well I have had a busy few weeks, we have had lots of things going on. So this last week we had our Christmas Parties/Zone Conferances. So we had lots of things going on before hand to get everything ready which kept me pretty busy. But this past wednesday is was held here in Maceio. Prior ro lunch we had the more spiritual portion of the conferance and then after a BBQ we held a talent show which was really more of skits. But it was fun and we enjoyed it. Then on this past Thursday I went to Sergipe along with my companion and the assistants for the conferance which was held there. Then on Friday we had the conferance which was held ther and it was the same as here in Maceio. I enjoyed it and I also took advantage to visit a few people from my first area which is there in Sergipe. Overall it was a busy but fun weekend. Then to move on this past weekend went well. We had a Stake Conferance but it was more of a region Conferance. President Eyring and Elder Scott along with Sister Beck were here in Recife, and they transmitted the conferance to the entire north east of Brazil. It was quite enjoyable. I didnt get a chance to watch the Sessions on Saturday but I heard they were great. I didnt know that Sister Beck (General Releif Society President) spoke portuguese and she speaks it well.
But as for this week we have also been busy we are workign really hard with a family who has now been to church for a few weeks. Brother Valdomiro is the best of the family he a the father and a sixty-year-old man who was prepared by the Lord. We are also working with the rest of his family but they are not quite a well prepared as he is. Along with the work in the field things have been busy here in the office too.

But we are geeting excited for Christmas and I am excited to get to call home, it is a bit crazy to think that it will be my last call home. But I love you and miss you all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Well we had a good week. On Wednesday night Sister Beynon called inviting us to their house for a thanksgiving lunch which was great. We had turkey which I have never had in my entire mission along with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and what I porbably liked the most pumpkin pie. i guess all of that I havnt ever had here on my mission but it was great. I wish I would have got picture to upload but I havent got it from the President yet. But going into our weekeng things were going well. But upon the arrival of Sunday things didnt go as we had hoped. But that does always happen sometimes. But this week we have been working a lot more to build a teaching group. We have decided to work in another part of our area so we dont know the area to well but there are quite a few members who live ther and we hope to have success with them.
Today we had a multi-zone activity which went well. The same one I plan a put together every trasnfer. It went well we had almost 70 missionaries there. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, its crazy to think that I will only go to one more.
But I guess I really dont have to much to write this week but I got the updats from home. Congratulations for everyone. I love you and miss you all!