Monday, January 30, 2012

Full of Faith and Desire

I don't have much time today so here I go-
My new companion is Elder Nunes. He is from Fortaleza, up in the North of Brazil. He and I arrived on the mission together. So he has a transfer less than me in total because of MTC time. He was baptized only a year and a half before he came on the mission. I had a cool picture to send you all but it´ll have to be sent next week. But things have been good.

Last p-day I read the book (the whole thing)' Lifes Lessons Learned' by Elder Oaks while eating freshly picked grapes from the vine in our backyard. It was really good -very good book. It is a quick and good read. I recommend it.

Do you all remember that story told in General Conference a few years ago about the boy who was an inactive member of the church, who surfed on Sunday mornings, and then his Young Men's President came out in the water to get him on Sunday morning to bring him to church? When I heard that story, I thought it was a really cool story, but it never crossed my mind that I would meet that young boy.
That yound boy is now Elder Araujo, the area Seventy over my mission, and he came to Santo Angelo on Saturday. He did a devotional for all the members, telling everybody that they had to work hard to make a new Stake here, and beforehand, he had an hour and a half long meeting with us and the other missionaries in the city. It was really cool and really good.

I am really excited about where I am at this point on the mission. I feel so excited, and full of more faith and desire than I have been at any other point on the mission. And I feel like at this point, I know how to do stuff pretty well - teach, work, etc. So yea, I´m excited.

Monday, January 23, 2012


So, last p-day, that night we taught Laura and then afterward Alexandre and Luciana. Laura is so intelligent and has been studying the scriptures a ton- quite impressive. I joked with her that she would be able to teach Relief Society better than the rest of the sisters at church.

Then we went to Alexandre and Luciana's house with members Caudio and Camila. Camila is Relief Society President, and informed us that she would call Laura to teach a Relief Society class! Haha, so funny how that happened, and also awesome. At Alexandre and Luciana's house we taught a lesson about Lehi's dream. It was way good.

Saturday there was this big Regional Leadership Training, and while we were at the chapel about to do a Family History center activity, we saw like all the church local leadership from the mission. It was cool to see the people I knew.
Sunday Bishop Augusto from my ward in Cruz Alta was visiting relatives here in Santa Maria, and came to our ward. It was way cool to see him.
Also on Sunday we found out that Elder Jones, who was my roomate in the MTC, was going to take my spot as assistant! Cool huh?!
During the afternoon we went and did a bunch of visits with Victor, it was way good. He was talking about how he wants to serve a mission and stuff, he is awesome!

Then on Monday I helped with the transfer and stuff in the office, and at night, Alexandre & Luciana and Laura and her family got together and made me a Churrasco. It was way good.

Then Monday night I was up until 1:30 am packing, and then I woke up at 5:30am to get the bus to SANTO ÂNGELO!

Santo Ângelo is pretty cool. It is probably the nicest city in our mission - well taken care of, beautiful scenery and buildings and such. I am liking it a lot. I lot of my companions served in this area too: Elder Black, Elder Wiscomb, and Elder Marx all served here.

When I got here at the begining of the week, we were living in a really old and horrible apartment, that the missionaries had lived in for a while.
Then the day after, we moved to a new little apartment condo thing. It's way way nicer. And then that day a new companionship came to the area too. We have 3 companionships in our Branch! That is because like I have told you in the past (if you remember) Santo Angelo and the sorrounding cities are very important to the mission right now so that a new stake can be formed!

The move took like 2 days, it ate up a lot of time, but it was worth it. Then the day after the move, we had Zone Leader Counsel in Santa Maria. It was nice going there just to listen and stuff for a change, instead of having to give all the trainings and stuff like the last 6 months.

Lately I have been studying a great deal about Zion and building up Zion. It is a very good study subject.
On Saturday, we went to a meeting with the District Presidency and all the Branch Presidents, and we talked to them about we as the missionaries can do better to help build Zion. It was really good, very helpful.
The District of Santo Angelo is the 2 branches here in Santo Angelo, 2 branches in Santa Rosa (a city one hour to the north, Elder Rodrigues is district leader there right now actually), and one branch in São Luiz Gonzaga, a city a bit to the south west. we need to stregthen these branches, baptize families, and make a stake!!
Have an awesome week!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Santo Ângelo Here We Come!

So, my term as Assistent to the President is coming to an end!
So last Friday we went to Porto Alegre to pick up 4 Americans that just got their visas and got here to Brasil, and then two of them stayed with me and Elder Menk so it was pretty cool. On Saturday I worked with Elder Powell, from Santa Cruz, CA, and on Sunday I worked with Elder Miller from a place near Oakland. It was way cool.

We taught Alexandre and Luciana about temples and eternal marriage, and they accepted our invite to be sealed in the temple in a year!
Also we found and taught this guy named Milton. He is really good. Yesterday we marked Milton's baptismal date for the 28th. He said he will read the whole Book of Mormon before the 28th. Eleven years ago, Milton took a 40 meter fall. He is completely okay today except for that he hit his head in a spot that made it so he cannot use his right leg, nonetheless, he said he would go to church on Sunday even if he had to walk! He is a very interesting guy. He was a catholic monk for a year. We are going to baptize someone who was a monk! So cool! Also currently he is apparently a member of the Knights Templar organization, interesting right?

Anyways, these last few weeks, President had the intention of keeping me here as assistent for a bit more. But then he called me up Saturday morning and asked, "Are you a little tired of your area?" and I said, "Well, not really, but a little bit." So we talked about what he wanted to do with me for the rest of my mission. And we talked and stuff. In the end, I am going to be transferred to Santo Ângelo to be Zone Leader there! I am so pumped. It is going to be way sweet. I told you all about the situation there. There's lots of good work to be done there. The members there are excited about working to make the district into a Stake and so am I! My zone there is going to be huge. The biggest zone in the mission. There will be 15 companionships, 5 cities, and 5 districts in my zone. That is big. It's going to be awesome.

On Sunday, Elder Menk and Elder Powell went to visit Victor, and read D&C 20 with him and Victor got super excited about fulfiling his priesthood duties of teaching and visiting and stuff. Elder Powell asked him if he wanted to serve a mission, and he said he would like to!
Yesterday we visited that Milton guy with Alexandre, it was way good. Alexandre and Luciana are both super exited about serving and participating in church. Anyway, Alexandre said in the lesson, "When me and my wife came to church, we knew this was where we wanted to raise our kids" - so good.
Also other cool news, Elder Jones, my roomate from the MTC is going to be the one that will be taking my place here as assintent, cool right?
Also the area where I am going is an area where a lot of my companions have already served. Elder Marx, Elder Wiscomb, and Elder Black all served there.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feliz ano novo!

Hey lo!
So on Saturday (New Year's Eve) we ate lunch at Alexandre and Luciana´s house. It was really good they invited us over. They told us that the night before, they had done a family night together! They read the Book of Mormon together and made goals for the next year! They even made a little notebook to record all of their family nights and what they did.

We thought New Year's Eve the work would be tough, but it was actually pretty good, we found a pretty good family. Hopefully they progress well.
New Year's night was normal, we went to sleep, and at midnight I got woken up by all the fireworks and stuff, but not very interesting.
New Year's day was kinda lame, everybody was jsut sleeping. Not a very productive day.

This week two men were shot and killed in my area, but mom, don´t worry or have a heart attack or anything. They got killed because they were involved in drug deals and stuff, that's why. Also, we don´t even work on that side of the area (Vila Oliveira, Northwest part of the area) we work all on the south side of the area, nobody gets killed there.

Two days ago an American arrived on the mission who just got his visa. We picked him up with Presidente and then went to Subway (the only Subway that is in my mission boundaries), it was really good. Its been a while. But it is way expensive here. It was like 20 reals for a 30 cm sandwich.

Yesterday we visited Laura. She is doing really well. She seems like she was basically raised in the church. Its crazy.
Victor is also doing really good. We visited him yesterday too.
Here on the mission, for the first time in my life, I have pushed myself so hard that I have really felt my "limit". Of course my limit is always expanding, as I push myself diligently, but here on the mission, we really push ourselves to the limit. The limit of Faith, Work, and Desire. I have felt myself push up to the bumper, really feeling that I am doing all I can do. But I know that there is more that must be done. My boundaries must be expanded.
Thinking and reflecting about this last year and the next has been a very interesting experience. 2011 passed very fast. My only full year that I got to spend as a missionary. It has been an amazing year. As Elder Matthew Richardson said of his mission in General Conference, this last year truly has been the best year for my life.
I think back to where I was a year ago (in Quaraí, companions with Elder Martini still) and I think about where I will be one year from now. Just as this last year was so vitally important in my life, the year ahead will be equally important. I will have to make many important decisions in the next year. This next year is going to get split in two halves for me. Mission, and post- mission. I look forward anxiously to it all.
Boa semana para vocês