Monday, December 30, 2013

Feliz Ano Novo!!!!!!

Oi família!!!
Tudo bem?!

It was great to see you all this week via skype. Fun to see everyones
faces, snow, and a nice dog again. Don´t have any of those things in
Brazil. Natal was a blast down here. We spent the day with some
other missionaries in an area close to ours and played basketball,
monopoly, rook, ate yummy food, and then went back to work the next
day. Got to love life as a missionary!

And sorry if I still haven´t said thanks for the christmas packages.
Thanks for all the bubble gum Lisa (at least I´m guessing it was you),
thanks for the pic of timp mom, I love it. Thanks for Rook, the
Nativity, Hi chews, and all the other yummy stuff you sent. And
thanks for that fun playing ball thing. Still figuring it out, but
it´s fun when I have a couple minutes.

The week kind of flew by. It wasn´t the best of week as far as the
work goes. A lot of people were out of town for the Holidays, and
people who weren´t were running to and from but o ano que vem dever
ser muito melhor. I´m honestly pumped for 2014. I´ve learned a lot
in 2013 as a missionary, and now it´s time to put it all into action
in 2014, the year of the mission. I´ve got some great goals, know how
to speak the language, and am ready to go to work. I´m going to have
to be diligent, I´m going have to give it my all, but I´m excited.

I would like to share one of my favorite scriptures from the year with
all of you in Alma 32:27

Mas eis que, se despertardes e exercitardes vossas faculdades, pondo à
prova minhas palavras, e exercerdes uma partícula de fé, sim, mesmo
que não tenhais mais que o desejo de acreditar, deixai que esse desejo
opere em vós, até acreditardes de tal forma que possais dar lugar a
uma porção de minhas palavras.

If you have nothing more than a desire to serve God, let that desire
work within until that desire turns into action. It all starts with a
desire, and we just have to let the desires God puts in us grow into
action, by nurturing it through diligent prayer. It all starts with
desire, but we got to identify our good desires, and make plans to
bring those desire into action.

Well love you all, hope you have a great day, a great week, and a great 2014!!!

Abraço,

Evan

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dezembro sem neve. O que é isso?

Oi Familia!

It has been such a hot, hot, hot, hot week. I can´t even explain how
hot it´s been. My shirts are turning a beautiful Brazilian yellow, my
sweat glands feel like they are growing, and my sunscreen is quickly
running out (don´t worry mom, I can buy more sunscreen here in Brazil
;) ). But the work is going. Right now we are kind of low on
investigators, so that means we will be out in the heat a lot this
week finding new. The trick here isn´t finding people who will
listen, but finding people who actually have desire to change. It´s
easy to get frustrated, because everyone loves to hear about Jesus
Christ, and love talking about him, and love reading the bible, and
love going to church, but they don´t like to change. It seems like
the best people here are the hardest ones to work with, because they
already have beliefs, already go to church, and already have purpose
in their life. How can I help them see that there is more? I guess
it´s just part of being in Brazil. There is a different Church on
every corner. Deus é Amor, Deus é Fiel, Assembleia de Deus,
Congregação, Bola de Neve (yep, that´s right, translated as snowball,
don´t ask...), and who knows how many others, but everyone loves to
say `Mas Deus é um só` Sometimes kind of frustrating to hear this
over and over again, but I know there are people out there waiting for
the message of the Restoration, it´s just up to us to find them.

My faith is really growing out here on the mission, probably because
it´s always under attack. I have to have faith every day, because the
other option is just giving up. I have to have faith that this gospel
will make a difference in the lives of people. I have to have faith
that what I´m teaching is true. I have to have faith that God
loves me, that he wants me out here in the heat of Brazil. I have to
have faith that I´m learning from this experience. I won´t lie, there
have been some moments of serious doubt since I´ve been out.
Honestly, there are moments every day when I doubt, but I just do my
best to keep on going. And as I work to overcome my doubts, as I pray
to God to bless me, I remember all he has blessed me with, and all
that he has promised me. I remember all the wonderful things that
have come to me from the Gospel and I am filled with a desire to give
back. There are a lot of people out here with a lot of different
beliefs, and sometimes it´s tiring and frustrating to help guide them
to the truth, but I know God loves me, and because of that I know he
loves everyone else in this big world as well. Somtimes I wish I had
a nice long Christmas break, but I suppose I´ll have to wait another
couple of Christmas´s for one of those. But in the mean time, I will
remember the life of Christ and try to spread his love.

One other cool opportunity I´ve had is to give baptismal interviews.
It´s so cool to see the end result of the work of all the other
missionaries. It´s encouraging to be reminded that this can be done,
that people can change, and that people want the gosple in their
lives.

Happy Holidays to all of you! Have a great week!

Love,

Evan

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mais uma semana

Oi familia!

Sorry I didn´t write yesterday. I had to go to a meeting in Campinas,
so p day is today instead!

Anyways its been a great couple weeks here in Itupeva. One of the
most special moments of my mission came when Gabriel bore her
testimony after getting confirmed. It was so fun to see her share her
personal experience of coming to learn of the divinity of the Gospel.
Like President Hinkley said, the miracle of conversion is honestly one
of the greatest miracles. People get a tiny testimony of the truth,
and change their entire lives to act on it. So great to be a part of
it all.

The biggest challenge here in Brazil is retention. There are a lot of
missionaries that baptize, baptize, and baptize. Too be honest, it´s
not hard to find people who want to be baptized. But a lot of times
we forget that the gospel is so much more than baptism, it´s literally
a change of heart (see Mosiah 5). Yesterday President told us that
conversion retention in Brazil is 5%! Practically nothing at all. So
we really have our work cut out for us in finding people that will
stay, and helping new members stay strong.

And the trick to all of it is the Book of Mormon. At least for me.
It´s honestly been quite a different experience here in Brazil for me
because there are so many people that have huge faith in Christ, and
are absolutely converted to their evangelical church. So converted
that they even go out and prosilite, and so when they see us, they are
like, Cool, we do the same thing as you, followed up by a phrase like
`só um Deus`. It was really honestly hard for a while and a lot of
times I questioned what makes us any different from them? What makes
our church different? A lot of people like to say prophets and
apostles, but there are a lot of churches who believe in their own
prophets here, so really, what is the difference? The answer is the
Book of Mormon. It really is God´s proof to the world. He knew how
many Christian churches there would be, and he knew the confusion it
would cause, so he gave us the Book of Mormon. And like Nephi says,
if we believe in Christ we will believe in the Book of Mormon. Anyone
who reads on a daily basis will grow and mantain a strong testimony.
That is our responsibility. To gain this testimony for ourselves, and
help others do the same.

Well I hope you know I´m loving life. It´s so tiring, so exhausting,
and sometimes I have days I just want to go home, but almost without
fail, I come home to a nice hot house and am just happy. Sometimes it
seems without reason, but I know it´s because I´m doing what the Lord
wants.

I love you all, hope it´s snowing a lot for all of you there, and hope
you have a great Christmas season. Might be a good idea to get a
Skype account all set up as well :). Send me some snow if you can!

Love,

Evan

Monday, November 18, 2013

Começando de novo em Itupeva

Oi Familia!
Tudo bem?!

Well I´m officially taking a tour of the mission. 4 transfers here in
brasil, 4 different areas, 3 different cities, 4 different companions,
and a lot of fun hard work. I know a lot of missionaries that
complain about getting transferred, but I´ve actually kind of enjoyed
it. Sure it´s been hard to leave behind friends, get to know the
streets and the cities, get to know the ward, and get to know the
comps, but it´s honestly been a great adventure for me.

So right now I´m in Itupeva with Elder Schulze. He has about 6 weeks
here in Brazil, but served two transfers in the Tennesse Knoxville
mission before he got here. Story sound similar? Anyways he is a
great guy, a really hard worker, and super obedient. He´s from
Phoneix, and is quite the athlete. Basketball star, quarterback...
etc. He´s probably going to play college ball when he gets back but
hasn´t decided which scholarship to take yet. He kind of wants to try
to walk on to BYU as well. It´s been great to work with him this
week.

I love the area here. The ward is awesome. Great members who are
willing to work with us. We have quite a few investigators who are
progressing. Gabriela is 17 whose brother joined the church two years
ago and he is getting ready to go on a mission. She´s serious about
joining the church, and if everything goes right, should be baptized
this week.

Claudinei is another investigator we have with a baptismal date for
this upcoming Sunday. He´s awesome and really ready, but is
struggling to quit smoking and coffee. But he´d already made huge
strides before I got here, so I think he´ll make. I´ll be praying
lots for him and keep in touch on a daily basis.

I definitely miss Pouso Alegre. It´s amazing how many friends you can
make and how close you can get to people in a short period of 5 weeks.
Truly built my testimony of the power of the gospel. Only the love
of Christ can unite people that strongly, that quickly, and although
it´s been hard, I know I´ve made some eternal friends and am looking
forward finding more friends here. Who knows? Maybe I only have 6
weeks here as well, so I`ll have to hit the ground running.

I´ll just end it off with an awesome scripture I found in 3 Néfi 13.

Portanto não vos preocupeis com o dia de amanhã, porque o dia de
amanhã se preocupará com suas própias coias.

Too often in life we catch ourselve worrying about the future when we
would be better off focusing on the moment and enjoying every
opportunity to live that God has given us. I really have a testimony
that tommorrows problems will take care of themselves, especially if
we put our faith in the Lord and live in the moment. I love you all
and wish you all the best of weeks.

Love,

Evan

Monday, November 11, 2013

Um bom fim de minha tempo em Pouso Alegre

Oi família!
Tudo Bem!?

It´s been a great week! Lots of work, lots of fun, and a lot of
knocking doors. So much happens in one week it´s kind of hard to put
it all in the letter. Earlier in the mission I organized some
thoughts before I went to email, but right now I´m having a hard time
remembering exactly what I did. I´ll have to go back to some of my
older habits.

I´ve been loving my life here in Pouso Alegre. In five short weeks
I´ve made some really good friends. Elder González, Elder Silva, e
Elder César. Definitely the best house I´ve passed through. We had a
blast together, studying, laughing, sharing stories, eating. So fun.
And I can hardly forget Tchelo, my best friend of the mission so far.
His testimony is so Strong and we´ve grown and learned so much from
each other. As it says in D&C 50:22:

Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one
another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

This truly happened with the two of us. The spirit truly connected us
and I made an eternal friend.

I´ve also been loving everyone else here. We spent a lot of time with
Carol (recente convert) and her friend Renata, who has been taking the
lessons and going to church. They are both studying medicine here,
but managed to find some time in their busy schedule to pass with us.

We also found a great young family, Danniel, Denise, and their
daughter Faviana. They all went to church yesterday, and really
enjoyed it. I remember the day we found them was really hard. It
rained all day and we were absolutely soaked to the bone, and
literally nothing was going right. All out appointments fell through
and no one wanted to talk in the streets. We had a list of menos
ativos (less actives) we started stopping by, but literally all of them had moved,
and the people that were living there didn´t want to listen to us
either. We walked from one end of the city to the other, and nothing
was happening. Finally after a long day, we passed by the last menos
ativo on the list, and guess what, he had moved out as well, but who
had moved in? Daniel and Denise. We taught them the Restoration, and
they really enjoyed it and accepted baptism and everything. Daniel
told us he was abandoned as a child, and grew up on the streets. But
he never got angry, never joined the gangs of the streets, and has
been looking for the right path in life. He told us he accepts anyone
who talks about God, but really felt something diferente about our
message, and brought his whole family to church, a 30 minute walk.

However, I won´t get the opportunity to see how it all turns out. My
life in the mission will take another path to who knows where. I´ll
let you all know next week. The transfer was one week shorter then
normal this time around, but I have to say, it was truly the best 5
weeks of my life. I absolutely loved it. But life goes on and I´m
moving on to my next área. I´ll let you all know where I end up!

Love you all, e espero que todos vocês tenham uma boa semana.
                     (and I hope you all have a good week.)


Tchelo (center) and Elder Gonzalez


Tchelo (right) and Elder Gonzalez
Tchelo (left) and the apartment

Monday, October 21, 2013

A obra está progredindo!


Oi família!
Tudo bem?!

It´s been another good week here in Pouso Alegre.  The definite
highlight of the week was Tchelo´s baptism yesterday.  It was honestly
a miracle how fast he accepted the gospel and sacrificed everything to
change.  We met with him every day this week helping him and
encouraging him.  His birth family rejected his decision, his adopted
family rejected his decision, his girlfriend rejected his decision, a
lot of his friends rejected it, but he stayed firm.  It´s honestly
amazing to see a miracle like this occur in the life of a friend.  I
was talking with him the other day, and started talking about a friend
of his who drinks, is addicted to marijuana, and just really isn´t
happy, and I asked him `Why do people do these things to themselves?
Why don´t they just think for a minute?  It doesn´t make any sense?`
and he replied to me `Porque eles não têm propósito.  Mas temos
propósito.`  It´s been so cool too see him find purpose in life, and
make a goal to have eternal life.  We´ll keep working with him a lot
this week before his confirmation next week, so should be another
great week.  Right now he´s looking for another house to live in, and
is thinking about moving to the states or to Argentina.

Other than that the week was kind of difficult.  We have a lot of potential investigators, but haven´t been able to teach a lot of them.  Lots of dropped appointments.  We
are going to change barrios this week to see if we can´t find some
houses to enter and some families to teach.  We had another
investigator who was progressing really well but didn´t come to Church
again after promising he would.  Sergio loves having us over, loves
the Book of Mormon, loves analogies, and loves learning.  But if he
doesn´t come to Church this week we´ll have to drop him. Maybe pass by
once a week to invite him to Church but nothing more than that.

I´m loving this transfer.  Me and Elder González were assigned as
co-seniors so I´m loving the responsibility too.  I was kind of tired
of being trained, so after 6 and a half months of being trained it´s
been great to have full responsibility for the área.  Elder González
is great.  He´s really patient with the people which is sometimes hard
for me.  Sometimes I get impatient when we are teaching and just want
to get up and leave, but he always does his best to help everyone
understand, even if they are kind of slow.  He´s been a great example
of Christlike love.

I´m making a ton of friends in the city.  We met an awesome lady who
sells hot dogs in the central from the back of her car.  Her and her
family have  been selling hot dogs for 20 years, and she is famous for
having the best hot-dogs in the city.  The cool part is she has been
smart with her money, and now has money to travel the world.  Later
this week she is doing a tour of Europe, and then later in the year is
going to Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.  All from money saved from
selling hot-dogs.  Anyway we talked with her quite a bit and have a
lunch/dinner appointment with her tonight.

I´m honestly loving life here.  The work is hard and exhausting.  Our
área is about a half hour or fourty minute walk from our house, and
there are a ton of hills in the city so I´ve been absolutely exhausted,
but absolutely happy as well.  I´m learning to love the culture here
in Brazil.  The people are so great and so friendly.  The city is
great, the branch is great and the other missionaries are great.
Hopefully we´ll get some more people progressing this week and I´m
confident we´ll have a lot of baptisms.

Eu amo vocês!

Evan

Translation: "Because they have no purpose. But we have purpose." Tchelo


Monday, October 14, 2013

Memories from Iguatemi

Carol´s Baptism.  Sadly I was transferred after she was baptized, and I´m still not sure whether or not she was confirmed.  The pastor from her other church kind of scared her off and me and Elder Carmongio were double transferred to make room for Sisters, so hopefully they were able to smooth things out.
 Raimundo and Joslali and some of their family and friends when we took them to see the temple.  They have a date to be married October 26th, and President gave me permision to go back to the area to see the marriage and the baptism.  I kind of have to go back since I´m legally signed up to be one of the witnesses to the wedding.






Oi from Pouso Alegre!!

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?!

How´s the week been going for everybody! So I just want you all to
know that this week has been amazing. I love Pouso Alegre, I love the
branch, I love the area, I love the new companion (Elder González) and
I´m loving life. It´s honestly been a week filled with miracles.

I got to my area later tuesday night. Pouso Alegre is a 4 hour bus
ride from Campinas. Me and Elder González opened up a second area in
the city, so now the branch has 4 missionaries, which is kind of fun.
Once again, I´m the only American in house. My companion is from
Chili and has 5 months on the mission, and the other two Elder´s are
from Brazil. Elder González is great! He´s a hard worker, loves the
people, and works for the right reasons. He´s not driven by numbers,
and not trying to force people into baptism, but really feels a love
for the people and a desire to help them invite others unto Christ.
At first I was kind of nervous opening up an area with him. Both of
us are still learning Portuguese, both of us are relatively new to
Brazil, but so far it´s been great.

So like I said, a couple of miracles have already happened. We found
an awesome guy named Marcelo who has been looking to speak for
missionaries forever. This guy is brilliant, and I mean brilliant.
He studied at Cambridge in England, speaks English, Spanish, German
and Greek! Yeah, GREEK! Crazy. Anyways, he was born and raised 7th
day adventist, and even studied to be Padre (or priest) in the Church
for a while, but it just didn´t feel right. When he was studying in
Cambridge, someone referred him to mormon.org, and he studied about
the Church there, found a Book of Mormon in a library and started
reading it, and has been hunting down missionaries for a while.
Somehow he got a hold of the number of the other Elders in the city,
and gave them a call, who referred him to us. We taught him, he loved
it. We invited him to baptism, he accepted. He read and studied the
Book of Mormon we left him, and told us he really felt something
different while he was reading. He is all set and ready to be
baptized this Sunday. The only thing holding him back is talking to
his family. He´s in his late 20s, but living with his parents right
now, so isn´t sure what he´s going to tell them or his girlfriend, but
he knows it´s true, and has been waiting for this his whole life. I´m
so glad he has finally ended his search for truth.

So the other miracle is Heloisa. Saturday night we were looking for a
house, but weren´t sure where the street was. I saw this lady walking
down the street, and went to go ask her, but before I even said
anything, she yelled out in English, `Are you lost?` Turns out she
had also lived in England for 7 years, spoke nearly fluent English,
and had investigated the Church for four months while living there.
We talked for about 20 minutes, and she expressed to me that she felt
there was some divine intervention in our meeting. I invited her to
Church with us, and she came and really liked it. After sacrament
meeting I was talking to her and she told me `The people here are
really great, but they don´t know why I´m here` and then I asked her
`So why are you here?` and she said `I´m here to find answers.` I
promised her she would find all her answers here and told her to write
down all her questions and we have an appointment on tomorrow which
I´m really excited for.

And then I met one other guy in our area the other Elders had been
teaching who was works online programming with some members in
Gilbert, Arizona. They referred him to the Church and I´m excited to
start teaching him to. All in all a really good week!

Well I hope you all have a great week and I´ll let you all know how
things turn out!

Love,

Evan

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pics

1. Cookies!
2. Me and Elder Warlen (roommate) on a cold morning



Bautismo, Transferencias e mais

Oi Familia! Tudo Bem!

So it´s been a great week that ended on a great note, and then on a not so great note. The best news is Carol was baptized on Saturday, inbetween sessions of general conference. The other best news is that we set a date for the marriage of Josali e Raimundo. October 26! We set up an appointment with the Judge, payed the fee, finalized all the information, and are really excited! The bad news is that I´m not going to be here for any of it, and neither will Elder Carmongio. We did such a good job with the area this transfer that President decided to move sisters in. Oh well... I guess a little feminine touch couldn´t hurt a wedding. I have one sliver of hope. They have my name down to be one of the marriage witnesses at the cartorio, so I might get to come back for the wedding and the baptism. I guess we´ll see what happens.

I enjoyed conference, or at least tried to enjoy it as good as I could. It´s not quite the same in Portuguese as it is in English. I missed hearing the voices of President Monson, Elder Holland, Presdent Uchtdorf, and all the other speakers. I tried my hardest to focus, but kind of zoned out a lot so will try to download the talks in English to listen to.

I´m sorry about the letters last week. I´m not sure what was going on. I got a bunch of replies from the Mail Delivery Subsystem saying my letters didn´t make it through to you all. I got all your letters though. Thanks!

Well it´s been a great week and a great transfer. I´ll let you know where I end up. I´m hoping to get out of Campinas and into the interior of the state. Kind of getting tired of the city. But whatever happens it will be good!

Scripture thought for the week is from Alma 29. He talks a lot about his desires to serve God, and how God will grant unto us blessings according to our desires, be it for good, or be it for bad. Desires are at the base of all we do in life. As we purify our desires, our thoughts will be purified, our actions will be good, and our blessings will be many.

Sim, declararia a todas as almas, com voz como a do trovão, o arrependimento e o plano de redenção, para que se arrependessem e aviessem ao nosso Deus, a fim de não haver mais tristeza em toda a face da Terra.
3 Mas eis que sou um homem e peco em meu desejo; porque deveria contentar-me com as coisas que o Senhor me concedeu.
4 Não deveria perturbar com os meus desejos o firme decreto de um Deus justo, porque sei que ele concede aos homens segundo os seus adesejos, sejam estes para a morte ou para a vida; sim, sei que ele concede aos homens, sim, dá-lhes decretos inalteráveis segundo seus bdesejos, sejam eles para salvação ou para destruição.
5 Sim, e que o bem e o mal se apresentam a todos os homens; e aquele que não distingue o bem do mal não é culpado, mas aquele que adistingue o bem do mal, a ele será dado segundo seus desejos, deseje ele o bem ou o mal, a vida ou a morte, a alegria ou o remorso de bconsciência.

Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Eu Amo Vocês

Evan


Monday, September 30, 2013

sei que nada sou

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?!

It´s been a pretty great week.  We are finally starting to see some results from a long transfer full of hard work.  Kind of exciting.

Yesterday we got 3 people to church.  Carol (Daughter of Loreval who is Raimundo´s brother), Beatris (Niece of Raimundo), e Katiele (Daughter of Raimundo).  They all really liked it and want to come back for conference next week.  We stopped by Carol´s after Church yesterday and she commited to be baptized next week!  She didn´t promise, but she said she loved church, loved the youth, and with a good solid week of teaching I think she´ll be ready.  We want to commit Beatris tambem but didn´t really get the chance to talk to her yesterday.  The other good news is that Raimundo and Josali are really starting to progress.  The other day we watched Os Testamentos with them, and after had a really good discussion with Josali.  She told us about a dream she had, where someone was talking to her and she felt a ton of peace and joy, but she couldn´t remember the words.  We then opened up to 3 Néfi 11 and when we read verse 7 Eis aqui meu aFilho Amado, bem quem me comprazo e em quem glorifiquei meu nome—ouvi-o.  She stopped and told us ´That´s what he told me, that what I heard in my dream.`  Quite a miracle.  Anyways, her and Raimundo agreed to get married so we´re going to stop by the cartorio later this week to set up an appointment with the Judge.  So exciting!

So I finally got around to making cookies last week.  So good and so yummy.  All the roommates want to learn how to impress their girlfriends when they get back.  Also whipped up some pancakes yesterday for dinner.  Delicious.  Just lacked syrup, something I´ll have to live without in my time in Brazil.  Oh well.

So the other week we lost the hot water in the shower.  No big deal, it´s been so hot that cold shower´s feel good anyway.  But when the Assistent´s came to inspect the house they took it upon themselves to fix it, and in the process, completely destroyed the shower, tearing it out of the wall.  Never trust a missionary with home improvement.  Anyways, we had been taking pitcher showers for the last week until a kind member came and fixed everything up for us.  Hot water is back.  Which is good because it´s actually gotten kind of cold this week, at least during the nights.  Some afternoon´s get way hot, and then the nights get way cold.  Kind of bipolar.

So one last funny story.  I was showing Beatris and Katiele some photos of the family, and when she saw a photo of Dad, Beatris told me ´Ele aparece como Justin Bieber´  or `He looks like Justin Bieber`.  I got a kick out of that.  It was kind of picture from a distance, but still funny.

Well all in all it´s been a great week.  Transfers are next week so not sure what will happen.  I hope I stay with Elder Carmongio, but he´s been in the area a while and thinks he´ll be transferred, so we´ll see what happens.  Let you know next week.

I´ll close it out with a scripture i really liked from Alma 26:12.

Sim, sei que nada sou; quanto a minha força, sou débil; portanto não me avangloriarei de mim mesmo, mas gloriar-me-ei em meu Deus, porque com sua força posso fazer todas as coisas; sim, eis que fizemos muitos milagres nesta terra, pelo que louvaremos o seu nome para sempre.

Truly this is the work of the Lord, and it´s amazing what he can do with a bunch of 18-22 year old kids.  So with the force of the Lord is the work of Salvation possible.

Eu Amo Vocês 

Evan


Monday, September 23, 2013

Quente! Quente! Quente! Tenho saudade de invierno e neve.

Oi familia!
Como vocês estão?

The heat is slowly killing me down here in Brazil.  So I´ve kind of been sick with gripe (brazilian version of the flu/cold) this last week, but no big deal.  I´ve worked through colds several times in my short lifetime.  Life was going good, we were working hard, teaching lots, and having a really productive week, and then Saturday it hit me really bad.  The sun was killer, I was exhausted from a long week of hard work, and my body decided to overheat.  Seriously probably the worst fever I´ve ever had.  But we stopped at a members house, took some medicine for fever, rested a bit, and then he took us home so I could recover a bit.  Took a cold shower, started to feel better, but by the end of the night the fever started to spike again.  My overconcerned companion and roommates freaked out, called Sister Perrotti and who made me go to the hospital (brazilian hospitals are pretty much like american doctor offices) at 10:30pm just to have the doctor tell me I had gripe.  Lost two hours of sleep for nothing.  Oh well.  I´m feeling a lot better today.  I was still kind of exhausted yesterday so we took things easy, but I´m drinking a lot of water and should be in tip top shape in no time.

So we have a huge teaching group right now.  Lots of awesome people, but not a lot of progress. Our biggest problem is getting people to Church.  The Church is next to a bunch of apartment buildings, so it´s kind of hard to work near the church, so the area where we are working is way far away from the chapel, so we have to find rides for everyone.  To top that off, almost everyone here works on Sunday.  It´s tough, especially to see people who are interested but aren´t willing to make the sacrifice to change.  We´ll probably start cycling through some people this week.

Bright spot of the week is we found an awesome couple, Felipe e Fernanda.  Felipe was really good friends with a patriarch in another stake before he moved here, and has already been taught everything and is really interested in the church.  His wife is a little overwhelmed right now cause he´s already talking about the 12 tribes of israel and temples, and all sorts of stuff that is completely over her head, so we´ll have to keep things simple and plain so she can see the joy of the gospel.  I´m really excited for them and have a FHE planned at a members house hoje a noite.  Should be great.  Hopefully we´ll mark a baptismal date with them.

We´re still visiting Raimundo e Josali, but things are tough with them.  He doesn´t really want to get married, she works almost every Sunday, and he is drunk most of the weekends, so this week we want to set some goals with them to get them progressing, and if they aren´t interested, we´ll sadly have to let them go for a while.

Should be a great week though!  I´ll end it off by inviting you all to read Alma 15:5-12, which talks about how Zeezrom was healed from his guilt and his sin through his faith in Jesus Christ.  To me it shows how powerful true faith really is.  It has the power to change our hearts, heal our sorrows, and cure our guilt, but only if we let him. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Eu amo vocês.

Evan


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Translation (yesterday's letter)

I can destroy my life with the same thumb that I can read all the scriptures, conference addresses, etc.

                                                         Elder Claudio Costa Stake Conference Campinas Brazil




Monday, September 16, 2013

Já fiz 6 mezes da missão. O loco!!!

Oi familia!  Tudo bem!

I can´t believe that 6 months have already gone by since you all dropped me off at the MTC.  Time is flying by!

It might be kind of a short letter today, not because I don´t have time, but more because not much happened this week.  We didn´t work as much as we would have liked due to me getting sick for a day on Tuesday, and then Elder Carmongio got sick yesterday, but all is good now so no need to worry.

It´s starting to get blazing hot down here.  The afternoons are absolutely miserable.  Within 30 minutes I´ve soaked my shirt through with sweat, have a parched throat, and am ready to go back home to a Utah winter.  But all is well.  The nights are really nice, so I just do my best to slug it through the afternoon until 5 or 6 when the sun starts to set.

Sadly, Lela ended up moving to Belem (another state here in Brazil).  She was so ready to get baptized.  I only hope she finds the Church there.  Other than her we found a lot of young couples this week to teach.  Most of them are unmarried but have been living together for 5 or 6 years, so we´re hoping at least one of them will turn out and accept the gospel, get married, get baptized, and then go to the temple a year from now.  Should be good!

Yesterday was Stake Conference, and Elder Claudio Costa of the seventy, who is also president of the Brazil area in the church came and spoke.  He spoke a lot about the dangers of media and had a quote that I really like. Eu posso destruir minha vida com o mesmo dedão que eu posso ler todas as escrituras, discursos de conferencia, etc.  So true.  Technology really can be a blessing or a curse.

Well that´s kind of the week in review.  I´ll end it off with a scripture I enjoyed this week in Mosias (Mosiah) 23:21-22.

Não obstante, o Senhor julga conveniente castigar seu povo; sim, ele prova sua paciência e sua fé. Entretanto, quem nele confia será elevado no último dia. E assim foi com este povo.

Sometimes we don´t know why the Lord gives us trials, or why we have to go through some difficult times, but like the people of Alma, sometimes even the righteous have to pass through tribulation to prove our faith to the Lord.  But the Lord promises to lift us up to eternal life in the last days, so remember to take everything with an eternal perspective.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Evan

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pics!


Last Day in Indy with Elder Paxman and Elder Cozzens.



First Day in Brazil with Elder Miranda e Elder Bonfanti.  I spent one day with them in Progresso before being moved to Vida Nova.



California Pizza with Elder Barbosa. We probably ordered this pizza three times a week while we were together. The pizzeria ordered the ingredients just for us. Kind of a hawaiin pizza but a million times better. Not sure why. Maybe the fresh pineapple, or maybe the chocolate inside the crust.  Delicious.



Friends in Vida Nova.  Christina was one of the first people I met in Brazil and one of the last people I talked to in Vida Nova.  She has a billion kids, and loves saying Good Morning in English.



Speaking with the Birds!



A Brazilian Horizon



Standard Brazilian lunch.  Beans, rice, and meat.  You can get a plate like this for about R$10 in pretty much any restauraunt.  That adds up to about 5 bucks!  Can´t beat that for a deal!



Brazil Campinas Temple at night



Resting in the Rede (hammock for you Americans). Kind of cool they have hooks built into the house!



Closer and Closer to Baptism


Oi Familia!                                                                                 Monday September 9, 2013
Come vocês estão?

I´m doing great here in Brazil.  We found a lot of people to teach this week, now we just need to teach them and baptize them.  I´m looking forward to a great week and only hope the Lord will bless our efforts.

The highlight of the week was definitely taking a couple families to see the temple here in Campinas.  We took Raimundo e Josali e sua familia, and surprisingly they invited a friend, Lela, and her daughter to come along too.  All of them felt the Spirit a ton and told us they had never felt anything like it before.  It was especially a big step for Raimundo.  He has never liked going to Church or anything like it, and Josali told us it was a huge that he came, so that´s a great sign.  However, it´s going to be a process with them. They aren´t legally married yet, and have some problems with the Word of Wisdom.  This week we are hoping to teach the O Plano de Salvação e talk about eternal families, so hopefully that should get them excited.

Lela has been a huge highlight as well.  She is totally ready to be baptized, but the problem is, she´s moving to another city tomorrow.  Things are still kind of up in the air, so there is a chance she will stay.  If not we gave her the address of the Church where she is going and will talk to the missionaries there as well.

It was kind of a downer when we talked to Vandersson again.  He didn´t read the Book of Mormon, didn´t pray, and didn´t want to come to Church with us.  He is a great guy and really spiritual and sincere, but maybe a little to converted to his other church.  He expressed a desire to read the Book of Mormon, so we´ll give him another shot this week.

I´m learning to love Brazil a lot more this transfer.  I´ve gotten to know the neighborhood a lot better, and a lot of the kids love talking to the American who is learning portuguese.  Yesterday I had a couple dozen swarm after me all with a gazilian questions like ´Do you know Justin Bieber` or ´How do you say moon in English`,  and a thousand others.  I´m loving getting to know the people here better.

It´s amazing to see how far my Portuguese has progressed.  It´s still a struggle but definitely better.  Some days I feel practically fluent, and others I feel like I just got to the MTC, but I´ve definitely seen progression.

And one last thing that I almost forgot.  The box you sent got to me last Tuesday!  Pretty quick huh?  Thanks so much.  Especially for the English hymns.  The hymns have really become a comfort to me here on the mission.  When I feel down and out I love singing about Christ.  It really is a lift to the soul.  I´m memorizing some hymns in Portuguese as well.  So far I have the first verse of How Great Thou Art, Called to Serve, and How Firm a Foundation.  Love it.  The food was delicious as well, especially the Reeses, but it disappeared kind of fast in a house of four hungry missionaries.  Those word puzzles have been kind of fun as well.

And one last spiritual thought to close things out.  Just want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  There really isn´t any other book out there as powerful.  I´m in Mosias (Mosiah for you Englsh readers) and am just devouring the words of King Benjamin, Abinadi, e outros tambem.  They all have such powerful testimonies of Christ.   I really love the last testimony of the prophet Nephi in 2 Néfi 33:10-15 but will only quote part here for you.

E agora, meus amados irmãos, e também judeus e todos vós, confins da Terra, dai ouvidos a estas palavras e aacreditai em Cristo; e se não acreditardes nestas palavras, acreditai em Cristo. E se acreditardes em Cristo, acreditareis nestas bpalavras, porque são as cpalavras de Cristo e ele deu-as a mim; e elas densinam a todos os homens que devem fazer o bem.

Eu amo vocês!

Evan


Monday, September 2, 2013

Oi from Iguatemi

Oi familia!
Tudo bem?!

It has been an amazing week for me.  New companion, new area, but this time around I´m still speaking the same language which is nice.  

My new area is Iguatemi.  It´s close to the temple here in Campinas, kind of in the hills above the city.  So far I love it.  It´s kind of the richer part of Campinas so everything is completely different.  No favelas, big houses, etc.  Kind of weird sometimes.  I had gotten used to the tiny houses and humble people of Vida Nova.  However, I love it here.  My new companion, Elder Carmongio is great.  He´s from Brasil, but lived for a while in Boston.  He actually was baptized in Boston when he was 18, moved back to Brazil, found a girlfriend, and then decided to serve a mission.  He´s the oldest missionary in the mission, 26 years old, but we get along great.  He´s a hard worker but relaxed, and I honestly just love being around him.  

With Elder Barbosa I was always stressed out because he had kind of given up on the area, but with Elder Carmongio, I know every day will be good.  I still come home exhausted, probably because everything here is a lot farther away from the house so we walk a lot more, and everything is hilly so we are constantly climbing up and down.  But all in all we are honestly following the spirit in all we do.  Instead of rushing to teaching appointments we take our time and look at every person in the streets, and if it feels right, we talk to them.  If we see a house we want to knock or feel like we should knock, we knock it.  Gone are the days of picking a bairro and knocking it till its dead.

We found a sweet couple last night.  Vanderson e Patricia.  Vanderson is so ready for the gospel.  We taught him the restoration, and he was finishing our sentences half the time without ever having heard it before.  Patricia was kind of quiet, but I´ve never felt the Spirit so strong before.  We´re praying he gets off work early enough tonight so the family can come to a family home evening with Eddy e Andrea.

One thing you all might find interesting cause it seems like you asked me before is that there are a lot more Japanese people here.  It´s kind of interesting to see the difference the from one side of the city to the other.  One of my favorite parts of the area is we can see the temple all lit up at night.  It´s kind of far away, but still beautiful, and gives me an extra boost to keep working.  Another nice thing is we actually have a nice church building.  It is super super nice, nicer then a lot in the usa, or maybe I had just gotten used to our not so nice building in Vida Nova,  who knows?

But anyways I´m loving the area, I love my companion, and I´m loving Brasil.  We live with another set of missionaries, Elder Souza from Paraguay and Elder Warlen from Brasil, so I get a lot of Portuguese practice and its coming along really quickly.  

Well I love you all and hope school and life and everything else is going good.  I´ll get around to taking and sending pictures one of these days.

Eu Amo Vocês

Evan

Monday, August 26, 2013

A New Beginning

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?

I can´t believe school has already started up for all of you.  As I look back on the last year I´ve realized how much I´ve done.  It seems like yesterday I was finishing up work for chick-fil-a, packing up boxes for BYU, and getting my missionary papers all filled out.  Since then I´ve done a semester at BYU, helped start an amazing software company ;), learned spanish (sort of), moved to a different country, and learned Portuguese (sort of).  Crazy.

The big news this week is that I get a fresh start in Brazil.  I found out this morning that me and Elder Barbosa are getting transferred out of Vida Nova.  Not sure if they are closing it or just putting two new missionaries in, but either way, I´m leaving.  I was kind of dissapointed when I found out.  It´s a rough area, but I was kind of excited to get to work.  Elder Barbosa was sick of working here, and since he´s my trainer and senior companion and the only one that speaks Portuguese, it was kind of rough to get him excited to work, and we spent the last two weeks really dragging along.  I was expecting that he would be transferred and I would stay, but I guess you never know what will happen.  Mostly I´m just excited to get a fresh start here in Brazil.  The first transfer was pretty tough, but I feel like now I kind of know what to expect and how to work here, and am excited to give it a new shot in a new area.

Other than that nothing too exciting happened.  Did a couple exchanges with some other elders which was fun.  We got back in contact with Jose e Ana and tought them the Plan of Salvation, and Ana really started to get excited to come to Church, but sadly, their son got really sick Saturday night so they were in the hospital.  All is well now, but I´m leaving so not sure what will happen with them.   Hopefully the other Elders will pick them up.

I guess I´ll just share some more Brazilian culture to finish this letter off.

Motorcycle delivery:  We have pizza delivery in America, but here they have motorcycle delivery for everything.  Be it Pizza, burgers, hot dogs, mineral water, propane gas etc.  It´s kind of fun.  When we order pizza, we usually stop in the store and order it on are way home, and then 20 minutes later here a honk outside and know the pizza is here.  

Churros:  Delicious.  And way better then the churros in America.  They have Churros trucks that drive around, kind of like and ice cream truck.  But when you want a churro, they stop and make the churro fresh.  And the best part is that they fill up the middle with chocolate or doce de lete, and tip the top in nuts, or coconut. Delicious.

Well I guess that´s all for now.  I´ll let you know where my new area is, who my knew companion is, and anything fun that happens this week.  Hopefully I´ll find more success in the future, but as for now, all I can do is work my hardest.  

Love you all,

Evan

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ja um mez aqni na Brasil

Oi Familia!
Tudo bem!

I´ve probably said this before, but I can`t believe it´s already been nearly a month since I got here to Brazil.  This week has been great!  A lot of work, and not a lot of success as far as finding people, but I´m finally starting to settle in and figure things out.  Portuguese is coming a lot faster than Spanish.  I guess that´s what happens when you are forced to speak and think in Portuguese all day everyday.

The more I learn Portuguese, the better I get along with Elder Barbosa.  We still have a lot of differences, but it´s amazing what increased communication can do.  I have decided I can´t worry about what all the other missionaries do.  As long as I am doing my best to use the Lord´s time wisely and diligently, things will work out.  Elder Barbosa has been kind of home sick this week, but all is well.

Now for a little about my investigators.  I feel like I´m throwing new names at you every week.  We found an amazing lady Saturday night.  Edineia was a referral, and she had actually asked for missionaries a while ago, but they could never find her house, so she asked again about a week ago, and we couldn´t find her house.  However, Saturday we started knocking this random bairro (neighborhood), and after a while realized it was the bairro we had been looking for.  We went back that night, taught her the Restoration, and she´s commited to be baptized this week!  She even came to Church yesterday and everything, so that should be good.

Other than her, we found one more promising person.  His name is Alex.  He´s probably about 30 years old, but just recently separated from his wife so is living with his mom right now.  He really enjoyed our first lesson with him, but sadly he didn´t come to Church.  He seems to want to know the truth, but is just busy like so many other people.  He promised to read the Book of Mormon though, so we need to follow up and see how things went.

Fernando is doing alright.  He had work Sunday so couldn´t come to church which means we have to wait another two weeks before he can be baptized.  He´s so concerned about Emily, a recent convert girlfriend who has gone back to drinking and smoking and partying, so hopefully he can be a good example for her.

Other than that a lot of knocking doors this week. I want to improve the way we contact people.  Too often we just tell them we are missionaries and have a message of Christ, but kind of leave out the testimony.  Hopefully that will improve this week.

Brazilian culture bit for the week:  Coca-Cola, or Coca as they call it here.  I refer to it as the water of Brazil because I´m pretty sure they drink more coke than water.  In one month here I think I´ve had 20 times the amount of soda than I had the first 19 years of life.  Probably not the healthiest thing, but we do so much walking I think it cancels it out.

Not much more to say this week.  Hope you all are having a wonderful summer and I know everyone is looking forward for school to start up again!  Have a great week!

Love,

Evan



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tudo bem de Brasil

Monday August 5, 2013

Oi Familia,

Another week has gone by in Brazil.  Time is so weird, it goes by so fast and so slow at the same time, but I´m mostly enjoying my experiences here so that´s whats important.

I´m still frustrated a lot of times in my inability to speak Portuguese, but when I realize I´ve only been here for three week I realize how fast I am learning.  I just need to be patient and do what I can and trust that the Lord will make my meager efforts count for something.  There is just so much I want to do and say to these people, and a lot of times I feel kind of handicapped.  But the people are nice and loving and  understanding.  So all is well.

The area I´m in is kind of struggling.  We aren´t really working in unision with the ward which makes things tough.  It´s a tiny ward, and I hear rumors that they might close it soon and combine it with Ouro Verde soon.  Elder Barbosa has also told me that Presdient will probably close the area after this transfer, but nontheless there is still work to be done.

We are working a lot with Fernando right now.  We found him last week, and are hoping he´ll be ready for baptism in two weeks.  He just has work sundays which is difficult.  His girlfriend is a member, so he has some support from the ward. But she has a hard time coming. It´s hard here because a lot of people just don´t see the need to continue going to church.  There is so much more after baptism, so I guess we need to do a better job of helping people catch the vision.

We also found a great family this week.  Leandro, Thais, Leandro jr, and Lucas.  Currently they are reading the Book of Mormon and looking for an answer, but haven´t been to Church yet.  He works in Sao Paulo which is a couple hours away, and a lot of weekends is there so it´s tough to get them to Church, but I´m really hoping they find a way because they are an awesome family!

To conlcude this letter just some other cultural tidbits about Brazil.  Omnibus, or bus rides, are a roller coaster.  They have a pretty big bus system here in Campinas, but the roads are horrible, and the drivers crazy so you have to hold on for dear life.  We use the busses quite a bit so that´s been and adventure.

O cachorro quente:  The brazilian version of a hot dog.  I haven´t figured out what all they put on it, but they load those babies up.   You´ll have to google it cause I don´t know how to describe it.

The culture here, especially the mission culture is a lot more relaxed than Indiana, it´s just hard to relax and enjoy myself in Portuguese.

One other thing that is kind of fun, is instead of going to the first two hours of Church, we stand outside the church inviting people to come in.  So far we haven´t gotten anyone to come in, but I guess the mission has had success with this in the past.  So just sacrament meeting for us.

Well I think that´s it for this week.  I´m slowly getting used to things here, and know things will all work out  in the end.  Hope things are going great in the states!

Love you all :)

Evan

Monday, July 29, 2013

Oi from Brazil

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?!

Things are going a lot better for me this week now that I´ve had some time to adjust to the culture, mission, companion, and everything else.  Definitely still like some things about Indiana, but I´ll get used to things.  The thing that helped the most this week is a mini explosion of frustration to my companion.  I just told him everything that had been bugging me, and just venting really helped me settle down and be excited to learn the language and the culture and serve here in Brazil.  Still struggling a little bit with starting completely over, but with time, I´ll learn the language and culture.

So a couple more culture things about Brazil.  Everyone lives in cages, okay, not really, but the houses are all completely walled off with huge gates to let you in, so to knock houses we just clap outside the gate, which is kind of annoying because usually people just poke there head out the door and say they aren´t interested.  I kind of miss having a nice house with a yard, but oh well.

We go through investigators a lot faster here.  Everything is within reasonable walking distance, and people´s schedules are a lot less busy, so it´s not uncommon to find someone and then drop them within a week since we can meet with them every day.  We kind of cycle through quickly.  Right now we don´t have anyone commited to baptism, but we found a couple great people yesterday.  We met Fernando at almoco (lunch) yesterday.  He´s a friend of some members, and we taught him the restoration and invited him to baptism after.  He didn´t commit, but wants to come to church and read the book of mormon.  We also found a family, Jose e Ana.  They are a little more religious, and it will be a little more difficult to help them accept the gospel as the only fulness of truth, but I think with time, their hearts will open up.  

The goal for the mission is that every area has a baptism every week.  So far it seems a little unrealistic, but hopefully I´ll figure out how to meet expectations.

Portuguese is coming along.  Mostly, I´m back to speaking sportiguish.  A lot of Spanish is still engrained in my head, but usually people can understand me.  My biggest struggle is pronunciation.  Letters just make different sounds here, and a lot of times I still pronounce things like I´m speaking Spanish.

Now for a little about Elder Barbosa.  He´s a great guy and a great missionary.  The language barrier has been a struggle, but we manage to communicate.  He´s actually serving as district leader right now, which is kind of cool considering how new he is.  I think worldwide missions are struggling with the influx of new missionaries, and a lot more is being asked of the newer missionaries.  He´s only been out about a month longer than me, but obviously speaks the language and knows the culture a lot better.  He´s the oldest of 4, loves music, and is learning as much English as he can while I´m trying to learn portuguese.  Whenever I´m done with my flashcards, he takes them and learns all the English which is pretty cool.

I guess the only thing worth noting this week is I gave a talk in Church this week.  It was a struggle, but hopefully I was at least able to invite the Spirit.  I´m technically serving in a ward, but it´s tiny, smaller than the branch I was in in INdiana.  I´m guessing a lot of inactives as well, but becaue of the language barrier, a lot of times I´m left kind of clueless.

Hope all is good at home.  I´ll try to respond to all your letters.  Thanks for writing!  Love you all and have a wonderful week!

Com Amor,

Evan



Oi from Brazil!

Monday July 22, 2013

Oi Familia!

well i finally to brazil! it´s been a crazy week so far and quite exhausting. 7 companions in 7 days, a new language, a new country, a new mission, a new president. its all been kind of exhausting. but i made it and life is good.

so much has happened so i´ll just try to fill you in as best i can.

the trip down was an adventure. it was fun to be with elder mckay again. i would love to be companions with him out in the field one of these days. after the late flight to detroit that caused us to miss our flight to sau paulo, i had a fun time working with elder jones and elder bytheway for a couple hours before going back to the airport. the flight down to brazil was long, but uneventful. i didn´t sleep much, so my first day in brazil was kind of exhausting, but fun nontheless. we got picked up at the airport by a member who drove the three of us to the mission office in downtown campinas, about a two hour drive. drivers are crazy here and there are tons of motorcycles who just zip inbetween the cars even on the freeways. crazy. anyways, once we got to the mission home we went to breakfast with some of the mission secretaries, and then spent went through some training with them, the assistants, and then had a short interview with president perrotti (pehochi). president seems like a great guy. funny, hardworking. couldn´t understand a ton and i doubt he could understand me either, but we made it work.

after that we went to the mission home to have lunch with president and sister perrotti. good food, good people. and then we got assigned companions.

as for companions, it´s been quite a story. i first got but with elder bonfanti and elder miranda, both brazilians, in an area called progresso. then the next day i got a call that i was being emercency transferred, so had to pack everything up again, and go to vida nova with elder barbosa. vida nova is within the city of campinas, so that´s been fun.

so with all that i think it makes 7 companions in the last week. elder paxman and elder cozzens in indy, elder mckay while traveling. elder jones and elder bytheway in detroit, and elder miranda, bonfanti, and barbosa in brazil.

personally, it´s been kind of a rough transition to brazil. my companion doesnt speak very much english, so it´s portuguese all day every day, which is good in the long run but difficult right now. they do everything differently, and are so focused on baptizing quickly, i almost feel like we aren´t really converting anyone. elder barbosa is upbeat and lively, but i almost feel like we are just shoving the gospel at people and just expecting them to be baptized withouth meeting their needs, and listening for their concerns.

it´s been hard to start a new language again. i was finally starting to communicate in spanish, and now it´s back to square one. i think learning spanish helped, and it feels like portuguese is coming quicker, but difficult all the same.

well it has been exhausting, and i come home everyday absolutely wasted, but there are definitely some fun stories i want to share.

1. people are a lot more friendly. there are tons of people just walking around in the streets, and you can talk to anyone and everyone about anything, and they´ll listen and respond. it´s kind of cool. i like how lively it is.
2. music. half the music they listen to down here is american music, and the other half is funk (weird brazilian rap). my companion probably knows more american music than i do. people play music loud everywhere. bars have it blaring, cars driving by, all in all its actually kind of annoying how much noise there is. fun fact, all funk artists go by MC and then their last name, so all the brazilians who arent sure how to say my name just call me mc daniel, which they love.
3. we were teaching a lesson to an investigator and she asked me what the strangest thing i´ve seen in brazil was so far while she was nursing her 5 year old kid who didn´t have pants on right in front of me! what did she think i was going to say?
4. kites. everybody flies a kite. kids, teens, some adults, its awesome!

well a lot more has happened. all in all it´s been a crazy week, but i´m sure i´ll settle in eventually. things will work out, the language will come, and eventually i´ll be out of training and just be a regular missionary.

love you all and hope you have a great week.

love, evan

p.s. sorry for the horrible grammar and lack of capitilization. the keyboards here are a little strange and hard to work with.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Brasil Bound!

We just got off the phone with Evan! He is at the airport headed to Detroit and then to São Paulo. He's been in Indianapolis Spanish speaking while waiting for his visa ...which came last week. He said it feels normal to be headed to Brasil. He just finished up his twelve week training so it feels like a natural time to go. It was so good to hear his voice and talk and laugh with him!

Update:

Hey Family,

Just sending a quick email just let you know I didn't quite make it to Brazil tonight.  There were some weather delays in Detroit, so we weren't able to leave Indianapolis on time, and by the time we got to Detroit and booked it to our terminal the plane had already left to Sao Paulo.  Entnonces, we're staying the night in the mission home in Detroit, will work a little bit tomorrow with the missionaries here, and then catch a 7:45 pm flight to Sau Paulo tomorrow night.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to call from the airport but maybe.  Love you all.  Have a good night.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Bound

It's been a tough week for Elder Paxman.  He got sick again Monday when we the two of us were on exchanges with Elder Aranda.  He didn't get sick till about 8:30 so we were still able to do everything we had planned, but it stunk for him.  And then he got really sick again Saturday so we had to go in early, at a about 5, and then stayed in all day Sunday as well, which drove all of his crazy.  Elder Paxman from being sick so much, and me and Elder Cozzens from having to stay inside for so long.  You can only read so much scriptures and Jesus the Christ before your brain gets fried.  He started feeling better this morning so hopefully he keep up for a couple days more.  I think he's lucked out with a new President and wife coming in, because Sister Collins was about ready to send him to the ER or home, neither of which Elder Paxman liked.  But the President and Sister Cleveland are still a little clueless so it looks like he's bought some time.  He has a couple appointments with some gastronologists out here in Indiana the next couple months.  I guess some of the best in the country so hopefully they'll keep him at least until then.

With Elder Paxman being sick so much progress with investigators has gotten slow.  It's so hard to find time to meet with them regularly, and then we have to cancel, things just get tough.  We went through are area book and decided to drop a lot of people who weren't keeping appointments or commitments, so we're kind of starting over with some people.  

Another potential bright spot is the Nephews of the Garcia's, some sweet members in the branch.  All of Hermano Garcia's siblings are members, but most of them have been less active since coming stateside.  However, they have been bringing three of their nephews to Church and branch activities, JJ, Austin, and Brian.  A couple week ago JJ, who is 11, came up to me in Church and asked me when I was going to come to his house to help get him baptized.  It kind of lit me up when he asked me that, but it's been a process because we want to get his Dad's support as well who really isn't interested in coming back.  But we just talked with the Garcia's and we might start teaching them at their house for now.  We just don't want to baptize them into inactivity, and we are scared that's might what happen since they don't have support at home.  And then again, we don't want to not baptize them if they have that sincere desire.  

Personally, I've been doing pretty good.  It's been tough working in a threesome.  I love both my companions, but it's just hard to compromise with two people instead of just one.  Too many different opinons.  I don't think I've lost myself completely in the work yet.  There was about a week where I was really hoping to get my visa and had a feeling it would be coming, and I think that pulled me away from the Spirit and made me get a little down on myself.  Elder Paxman lovingly called me out on it Thursday night, which kind of snapped me out of it, but since then we've spent a lot of time inside instead of out.  Spanish is getting better, so that's been fun.  I'm crossing my fingers it transfers over to Portuguese as good as my Portuguese transfered over to Spanish, but I'll worry about that when the time comes.

I have no idea about my visa.  Still completely in the dark.  I'm curious what they'll do with me in transfers a week and a half from now.  They usually split trainers and trainees after the 12 weeks are finished, but they like keeping  visa waiters in a threesome so they don't have to close any areas if and when visas finally come.  Not sure what they'll do with me next.

I guess the other big thing this week is I met President and Sister Cleveland this week.  They are great people, and President's theme so far has been "Touch All The Lines."  A nice analogy on running ladders in practice.  Half of me thought he would open up the gym and have us run some right then, but that didn't quite happen.  I guess he coached Paul George when he was at Fresno State, who now happens to be the best player on the Pacers.  Kind of a fun connection.

All in all things are going well and the work continues to progress.  Sometimes not as fast as I would like, but like President Uchtdorf said, "patience requires actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged or frustrated when results don't appear instantly or without effort"  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

People and Places

Monday July 1, 2013

I'm dedicating email time today to sending everyone pics so sorry but there won't me much of a letter.  But I figure pictures are worth a thousand words so enjoy.

1. Yazmine Corona's baptism.  May 14th.  Elder Mancilla baptized her, and I participated by giving a talk on the Holy Ghost.  I think I emailed more about it earlier so that should be good for now

2. Hermana Liliana.  She used to feed us every Monday night before she had to go back to Mexico.  Sad to see her go but we still eat with her two sons, Carlos and Luiz, before we teach Carlos and Guadalupe every tuesday night.


3. Vicky, Maria, and Anthony.  Vicky and Maria are recent converts we've been working with a lot.  Every once in a while they will have a giant lunch for all 8 missionaries after church in the church kitchen.  People use the kitchen a lot more in the church here than they did in Utah.  Anthony is the cutest little kid.  Yesterday we made him a little future missionary plack with a sticky note.  So much fun.  He loves calling us "corchino" which pretty much means pig.  I think we eat too much at there house.

4. Downtown Indianopolis from near the Church.  I took this after I went on exchanges with Elder Ustach, one of the Zone Leaders.  Most of the zone leaders here work on college campuses, so I got to work on the campus of IUPUI with him for a day.  It was pretty fun.  We just talked to people all over campus in English, and handed out a lot of Mormom.org cards.  Definitely a more diverse school of thought on campus than among the hispanics.  We ran into atheists, muslims, hard-core christians, people who didn't really care, but over all most everyone was willing to listen and it was fun talking to so many different people.



5. Guadalupe, Carlos, and Luiz Reyes.  Since Hermana Liliana left, Guadalupe has been feeding us every Tuesday and we teach them right after.  Carlos and Luiz are both members, but inactive and have a lot of doubts.  Luiz has a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon, but thinks the Church has veered off since then and he has a lot of questions about living prophets, tithing etc.  Really cool guy though.  Carlos doesn't have the same testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he's been reading, and has definitely made some progress since we started.  Guadalupe isn't a member, but she really wants to find out if its true for herself and has been reading the Book of Mormon, and feels like it's true, but she wants a more solid answer before commiting to baptism.  I love teaching them though, because they have a lot of sincere questions, and a sincere desire to know.  It's just been a longer process, but I have faith it will all work out.  We are teaching them the Law of Chastity tomorrow, and I really hope Carlos and Guadalupe will commit to obey it, either by living separate or getting married.  I think we need to get them living all the commandments so the Spirit can testify to them more strongly that this really is the truth.  They have felt the Spirit, but the Spirit obedience is prerequisite to feeling the full force of the Spirit in our lives so I'm hoping that will help.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Highs and Lows in Indiana

Oila familia!                                                                                                       Monday May 20, 2013

It's been a crazy week in Indy.  The city has really started to grow on me.  Serving in the east side, I'm kind of in the ugly part of the city most of the day, but we get to drive through downtown 2 or 3 times a week, and it's really a pretty city.  Nicely kept with cool buildings and monuments etc.  Still miss the mountains though.  

The last week has been a roller coaster of sorts.  I've hit some definite highs, but definitely some lows as well.  The baptism on Tuesday was awesome but also a near disaster.  None of us have ever organized a baptism before, so we didn't really know what we were doing.  Our investigator was already really nervous, and us scrambling around to get stuff ready didn't help.  But we finally figured things out, and the baptism went well.  I was still kind of nervous it wouldn't be a good memory, but when I got up to give a talk on the Holy Ghost after the baptism, our new member had a glimmer in her eyes and all the anxiety left and I was completely filled with this Spirit and was able to give my talk just fine.  I'm glad the spirit came, cause I can't speak Spanish without him.  Pretty much, the Spirit gave a talk on the Spirit, and I just happened to be moving my mouth.

It's amazing what a difference the Spirit makes.  I've noticed it with me and my companions.  When the Spirit is there, the Spanish flows, the investigators are engaged, and the lessons go great, but when he's not there, our Spanish falters, investigators get anxious, and the lesson just goes on and on, without going anywhere.  It's amazing what the Lord can do with a bunch of 19 year olds when we invite the Holy Ghost into the room.

Other than the highlight of the baptism, the week was really tough. We had a lot of dropped appointments, and none of our investigators came to church. Saturday I think we had 7 planned lessons and they all but one dropped. It was a long day of knocking doors, and I really felt discouraged at the end. But because of this, we realized we aren't doing missionary work the way its meant to be done. The branch is hardly involved, and we want to change that. I personally want to know who the members are and love them, and as we do so, I hope they will love us back, and really help to fellowship the inactives, and bring us people to teach. We've been studying the role of members in training, and it's something we definitely can improve on.

Anyways, that's kind of a rundown of my week. I love you all and hope the last week or so of school goes great!  

Love,

Evan


Monday, April 29, 2013

Oi or should I say Hola from Indiana

Oi!  Or should I say Hola!

Yep, President Collins threw me a curveball and assigned me Spanish speaking!  Adios Portuguese, at least for now.

I guess that's the biggest news this week.  It's been a crazy week with a new mission and a new language and new companions and delayed flights and so much more so hopefully I can tell you everything. 

The day we flew out was kind of crazy.  Since our flight was delayed so much in SLC we missed our connector in Phoneix, so US Airways felt bad and gave us a free tour of all the country's airports!  Haha not really, but we flew from Phoneix to DC and then to Indianopolis, and all our flights were delayed by an hour or so, and by the time we got to the mission home is was like 2 am, so that was definitely a long 24 hours.  Being late also kind of threw off all the orientation, so we were mostly just thrown into the work right after we got here.  I got to talk with President Collins a bit, but time was short and everything was so rushed, and before I knew it I was trying to teach the gospel in Spanish.  It's been quite the adventure.  I'm serving on the east side of Indianopolis, which is more run down then the west side, but the people are really nice and pretty receptive to the gospel.  Since we are Spanish speakers, tracting is kind of different because we don't knock all the houses.  I guess their are some tell tale signs of Hispanics which include cleaning supplies on the porch, Christmas lights up year round, minivans, and a couple other indicators.  Pretty much we guess what houses/trailer homes are hispanic and knock.  The formula is pretty effective, but everyone once in a while we get some English speakers, and we teach them if they let us and then hand them off to the English missionaries.  It's kind of funny because we're looking for people I don't know how to talk to.  It's been great though, and Hispanics are awesome.  We're in a Spanish branch with four other missionaries and have a ton of investigators, but it's so hard to teach them because they work like crazy and since we're only in certain areas on certain days schedules don't match and appointments fall through all the time.  The other struggle is that we can't teach women unless a man is there, and a lot of times the husband is off working late and there are a lot of single moms that want to be taught, but we just can't teach them.  But despite all that we have a ton of investigators, and a lot of people working towards baptism. It's tough because I can hardly participate in the lessons, but I love talking as much as I can, and even though I hardly know the people here, I already love them, which is really cool.  Further confirmation this is the Lord's work.

I'm in a trio again, same with all the other visa waiters.  Our visa's can come at any time, so they put us in Trio's just in case.  Elder Cozzens is my trainer, and he's a great guy and a great missionary.  He's so hardworking and so humble, and really leads by example.  My other companion, Elder Paxman, is a newbie as well.  Both of us are picking up the language decently fast, but I just have to remember to be patient, and I'm trying to keep up with Portuguese too which is a challenge because when I talk I kind of default to Portuguese, and since I don't know it that well it just sounds like really bad Spanish, so pretty much I'm speaking a weird mix of Spanish, Portuguese and English, "Sportugish" as I like to call it.  Life is good though, and it's mostly a blast out here! 


NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.