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!!!



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

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



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

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!