Monday, December 22, 2014

Manifestações do Espírito

December 17, 2014

Oi família,

Today was the Mission Christmas Devotional. It was so good to see everyone, and so good to here from Presidente Perrotti. I have grown to love him so much over these two years. He leads with a smile, loves to give hugs, and is a good person.

Our little drama with Luciclea and Fernando ended up turning out well. I guess there are some novelas with a positive ending, or at least one. We ended up going back to Luciclea, and just listened to her for about an hour telling us about all the spiritual expierences she had had after we left that dramatic night. After giving her a blessing and leaving, she went to bed and fell asleep right away, and while she was sleeping she felt a light envelop her. She told she thought she was dying, but then heard a voice that said, "you are not dying. I am giving you a word of comfort." She continued sleeping, and then had a dream in which she saw an angel guiding me and my companion to her. When we reached her, the angel told her, "Listen to these my servants, for they bring you peace." As she told us of these experiences, I felt my love for the savior increase, and realized again how this work is his. How greatful am I to participate in this wonderful work.

Ana was baptized Sunday. Her family came to watch. Her parents are really catholic and don't plan on changing soon, but we'll see how things go.

On christmas, I plan on calling you all after lunch. I hope that doesn't mess up any plans you have. We have lunch with the bishop, and after lunch we will get online. Probably around 1 or 2 brasilian time (são paulo). I don´t remember what time that is in Utah. I´m way excited to see you all. It just hit me yesterday that I´m in the final two months. The weeks are just flying by.

Lembre-se que `Deus amou o mundo de tal maneira que deu o seu Filho unigênito, para que todo aquele que nele crê não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna. Porque Deus enviou o seu Filho ao mundo, não para que condenasse o mundo, mas para que o mundo fosse salvo por ele.`

Feliz Natal e um próspero Ano Novo



Monday, December 15, 2014

Cansado e Feliz. A missionary combo.

December 10, 2014

Oi fam!

It´s been a crazy week here in Brasil. Waking up early, lots of meetings, temple trips, and miracles. I´m honestly exhausted, but it´s all worth it. I´ll try to let you all into the highlights.

There are moments on the mission when you feel like you are being dropped into a Novela (brasilian soap opera. they are kind of huge down here, and a horrible influence on society if you ask me) and one of those was yesterday. Looking back it really feels like I walked into a set. I say that joking, but honestly its really sad because it involves real people with real problems. But the way everything played out it felt surreal

It started out yesterday. We dropped by at Neide´s store to say hi. It´s always fun to go by there. I always leave more excited for the work. She is getting ready to get her Patriarchal Blessing which is way cool. After talking for a bit, she helped us set up an appointment at a government office in Campinas for one of our investigators (Luis Fernando) to renew he outdated ID so that he can get married and baptized. We had planned with Fernando to mark on Saturday, but realized the office was closed Saturday, so we tried giving him a call, but no answer. We then called his girlfriend/wife (Luciclea) to set things up with her, and when we called I could tell she was in a bar. Lot´s of noise, music in the background, and to top things off she was almost crying. As a friend and a missionary, I naturally got worried. First that she was crying, second that she was in the bar, and third because she kept saying over and over again, I need you guys to come by tonight. I told her we would drop by and continued on with the day, putting the events in the back of my mind.

Fast foward a couple hours. We grab a bus to go back to the neighborhood where we live, with plans to stop by Luciclea before going home. Pretty normal bus ride until this lady sits next to me. Like always, I start talking to her and ask her how she is going.
`Mais ou Menos` she responds. I could tell she had been to the hospital because she had that cottonball and bandage that they always stick on you after drawing blood or giving medicine, so I asked her if she was sick. And then she replies,
´Look, I´m the next door neighbor of that lady you have been teaching. We were actually really good friends until today.`
"Well good to meet you," I said with a smile.
"You wanna know what happened today?" she asked.
At that point I was thinking, "well, the way she is asking me, I really don't think I want to know." but I asked anyways.
"I was at a doctors appointment," she says, "and my husband didn't know I was coming home early. And as I was walking home I walked passed the bar, and who was there drinking and kissing, Luciclea and my husband."
She continued, "So of course I marched in to figure out what was going on, fought with my husband, and he beat me up pretty bad so I had to go the hospital again."
Pretty shocked I replied, "Wow, that makes me really sad," Praying that what she told me wasn't true.

I talked with my companion and we prayed and prayed to know what to do when we went over to Luciclea, and when we get there she is out of control crying. Through sobs, we here her side of the story, which is completely different then her friends and ends up with her friend hitting her across the face harder then she has ever been hit before. Luciclea has a pretty bad temper, and told us that she fought and fought not to fight back, but was more angry then she has ever been before. We talked with her, listened to her, prayed with her, and gave her a blessing. We left the Spirit there. And that's where we end our little drama, at least for today. We have to go back to see how things will run out, but if I learned anything, it's that the love of Christ can heal the deeepest wounds. I truly felt that with Luciclea as we left her house last night.

Other highlights of the week include Ana and her family. We taught them all Sunday, and there are excited for her to get baptized. They haven't accepted baptism, but have at least accepted having us over and really felt the Spirit as we taught. I'm really excited for Fabiano, her older brother. Sadly he smokes, which will probably be his biggest challenge, but he loved the lesson.

We also met a sweet couple, Rai e Micaela. They are 21 and 19, and usually when we find young couples like that they are just living together to see how things play out, which makes things difficult, but to are surprise, they are legally married and accepted baptism. Now comes the teaching process.

We had the opportunity to go to the temple today. I have to tell you that it is really nice to have a little piece of heaven on earth. There is so much wickedness. Just riding the buses here in brasil I am pretty much constantly singing hymns in my head to keep my thoughts pure. There is literally pornography everywhere you look. I've already memorized when I can look out the window, and when I have to look out the other window, and when I need to close my eyes as we take the bus around down. I'm not even kidding, it's horrible. But the Lord has protected me and it was so nice to be in the house of the Lord today and feel his presence. And even nicer to feel worthy to be in his presence.

Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.



Saturday, December 6, 2014


...without captions. But we're pretty sure this first one is Romário's baptism. :)

As últimas doze semanas

Wednesday December 3, 2014

Oi fam!

As I already told you guys, I´m training Elder A. Sousa.  The training program is called The First Twelve Weeks, and I always tease him that instead of doing the first twelve weeks we are going to do The Last Twelve Weeks.  I´m guessing he doesn´t appreciate it that much, but that´s what you get when your companion is finishing up the mission.  

We started off the transfer really well.  Romário was baptized on Sunday.  Really a miracle.  A great example of why we do street contacts, even if it´s one thing that most missionaries don´t like doing.  Romário was a street contact of me and Elder Grandberg two weeks ago.  We were just standing outside of the church talking to everybody that walked by, and he was one of the few people that accepted a visit.  He is a great guy.  20 years old and always looking to do the right.  I´m really hoping he will go on a mission here in a year.

We also had great progress we Luciclea and Fernando.  They went to church on Sunday, and Fernando told us he wanted to wait a year before getting married.  Luciclea wasn´t too excited about that because she is really anxious to get baptized.  She treats her book of mormon as if they were the original golden plates.  She doesn´t let anyone touch them, or write in them, or do anything with them.  It was funny because a lot of times we mark chapters to read with a pen, and in our second visit, we tried marking a chapter and she got mad at us.  She hasn´t let us touch her book again.  Anyways, after Fernando told us that at Church we went to his house and taught a really inspired lesson about the Law of Chastity and Families, and he accpeted the marriage invite again.  They just need to find some documents to mark the marriage.

Another cool expierence this week was with Ana.  Ana is the girlfriend of a recently called misisonary, and we have been teaching her at the house of her boyfriend.  She accpeted baptism for december 13, but then we found out that her dad was completely against it. Everyone got a little bit disappointed, and she told us it wouldn´t be possible to go to her house to talk with the family.  But then last night we were on splits with members, and my companion was teaching her.  When we were waiting for him to come back, I did a street contact with a guy passing by, who turned out to be her older brother, who got way excited to invite us over to his house.  So it looks like now we have an in with the family.

As you can tell it´s been a great week.  I´m loving every second and am so grateful to the Lord and all he has blessed me with.

Love you all a ton.


Semana de Milagres

Monday November 24, 2014

Oi fam!

A semana passada foi maravilhosa!  Literally a week of miracles.  

The biggest miracle week was the mighty change of heart that Alison (it´s a guy´s name) had.  We have been teaching him from quite some time now, and were almost ready to give up.  He´s an awesome guy, 20 years old, studying law, and loves studying stuff on the internet.  That last part led to a lot of doubts, a lot of questions.  A lot of times he seemed a lot more set on believing in Greek gods, then in believing in God and his son Jesus Christ.  Slowly but surely he started reading the book of mormon.  He started going to Church every once in a while, and he started believing in the gospel.  But he kept looking for something else.  We took him to the temple about a month ago and he told us that he felt a strange energy there.  But then he had some problems with some members he didn´t like, and stopped going to church for a couple week.  He also had a lot of questions about the commandments, especially the law of chastity.  He kept trying to justify his way out of living up to God´s standards.  This week during a split, one of our zone leaders taught him with us, and after that lesson we had all lost hope that he was going to make the changes in his life that he needed.  But we prayed and went back on Friday, and as soon as we finished the opening prayer, he told us, `The only thing that lacks for my baptism is to understand better the fall of Adam and Eve`  So we read two chapter of the Pearl of Great Price with him to help him understand, found out he was keeping all of the commandments, and marked a last minute baptismal interview for him to be baptized on Saturday.  When the Zone Leader did the interview, he told us, `That isn´t the same person I taght on tuesday`
It was so cool to see such a mighty change of heart.  Now we´ll  keep working with him.  Who knows.  Maybe in a year or two he´ll be a mission of his own.

Alison´s story reminds me a lot of one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon.  Mosias 5:1-5

1  E então aconteceu que, tendo o rei Benjamim assim falado a seu povo, mandou investigar se seu povo acreditara nas palavras que lhe dissera.

  2 E todos clamaram a uma só voz, dizendo: Sim, acreditamos em todas as palavras que nos disseste e também sabemos que são certas e verdadeiras, por causa do Espírito do Senhor Onipotente que efetuou em nós, ou melhor, em nosso coração, uma vigorosamudança, de modo que não temos mais disposição para praticar omal, mas, sim, de fazer o bem continuamente.

  3 E também nós mesmos, pela infinita bondade de Deus e manifestações de seu Espírito, temos grandes visões do que está por acontecer e, se fosse conveniente, poderíamos profetizar sobre todas as coisas.

  4 E foi a fé que tivemos nas coisas que nosso rei nos disse que nos levou a este grande conhecimento, pelo que nos regozijamos com tão grande alegria.

  5 E estamos dispostos a fazer um convênio com nosso Deus, de cumprir a sua vontade e obedecer a seus mandamentos em todas as coisas que ele nos ordenar, para o resto de nossos dias, a fim de que não recaia sobre nós um tormento sem fim, como foi anunciado pelo anjo, e não bebamos do cálice da ira de Deus.

Always remember that people can change.  That God can change us.

Elder Grandberg was transferred.  I am going to miss him.  We had a great transfer together.  I found out that I will be training again.  The 9th transfer I will be studying the first 12 weeks training program.  Excited, but a bit nervous at the same time.  New missionaries always have some surprises up their sleeves.  I know I did.  But I´m excited.  I´m guessing he will be my last companion unless something goes really wrong ;).  

Love you all!