It actually was quite the full week. First, I decided that my comp reminds me a lot of my old boss from the Pita Pit, that helps me like him a lot! He has been a good companion, but it’s funny because we have been so focused on the work that it seems like I don’t know him very well. We did an exchange this week with Elder Whitt. He talked with me once on a bus ride, and told me that he always wanted to be in my Zone, so I had a good time with him, good laughs as well. We got along instantly. He is in probably one of the best areas in the Zone, but their work needs to match it. Also, we redivided the areas inside of our Ward. When we got here the last 2 transfers that area was divided horribly, the area of the other Elders had all the members, everything close to the chapel, all the lunches and our house. Last transfer I wanted to do it, but no one felt like it. But now we did it!! So it will be interesting, I lost all my recent converts in the divide, but hey it isn’t about me.
I don’t know if I told you but for this month I decided to study Virtue. Something that stood out to me as I was studying is how President Souza is my perfect example of Virtue. He is super Honest, Focused, Pure, and has helped the mission change to a place of integrity with his time here. He always encourages us to excellence. I know that this is something my Heavenly Father wants to be a strong point in my life and wants me to follow in his footsteps and be an example in this as well. My whole mission I can see how President Souza has taught us about virtue and once again I have received a spiritual confirmation that he was prepared by God to be my Mission President. I love him, and what he has made of my mission. This weekend was Stake Conference and it was very good. President spoke in the two sessions that we went to. It’s funny how in the first he was super excited, and in the second super spiritual.
Sunday morning was a treat. We had 17 investigators at church! We first passed by Emanuel’s and saw that his sister would be going. We then passed by another one of the families that doesn’t seem to have an end to family members and walked with them to grab a bus. It was 8 people and 2 men. Then we swung by Junior’s house and to our surprise, Elieudo, the father-in-law of their daughter was giving them all a ride. Elieudo also brought his other daughter in law. These are people that we taught in the beginning of February but never made it to church, so that was another 7 people and a very good surprise! Oh it was great!Also it was very special to baptize Emanuel and then afterwards eat lunch with the lady who gave us the referral to teach him. Cool stuffs!
Alrighty, today I saw some Elders I knew from the other mission. I heard that some of the men that I baptized are receiving the Melchizedek priesthood now... YES!!! awesomeness... Alrighty... gotta go love ya all!
Muuuuuiiittooo Bom!!! You know, my whole mission I have always had the belief that having a girlfriend while on the mission is not the best. But I remember one pro that I always noticed about the Elders with girlfriends. When they get good news from the girls, they get happy, and then they work good. Ha, but now I believe, who needs a girlfriend?! I always get good news from the family, and I get happy!! Ha, I am sooo happy that my family has been so blessed during my mission. I know missionaries whose families are going through many tribulations while their kids are serving. It has been good for the Smith family since I have been gone. Awesome! Thanks for all the good news.
Anyways, for this week. This week was the last week of Elder Christiansen, and I’m not going to lie, it got a bit trunky. He tried to treat it as if it were just another week, but I don’t like that. When it is your last, you need to give your best!! We’ll see how it goes when I get there. Ha, but it was a very good week though. Today in the Center I bought another Hammock (great.. I have 2 now!) and some cultural food... mmmm.
I think Tuesday was one of my best days in my mission. First of all, we prepared training. I loved this training, and I think it was one of my best since I have been a Zone Leader. My companionship with Elder Christiansen has probably been the one with the most unity, especially in our teaching. But sometimes he would get lost, and especially in the trainings, but this time we prepared the training together and more importantly I helped him memorize it. So it went very well on Wednesday. But anyways, Tuesday was awesome because of the training preparation, but more because that day we marked 2 people for baptism this week (sadly it didn’t work out). Then after we had the Quorum President with us and we had 3 couples agree to get married and be baptized. This last Sunday we had 4 couples at church.... oh man! That was awesome! We had a lot of members and leaders very impressed and thank us for the work we have been doing, it was great.
Ha, so Elder Christiansen left. I don’t know if you noticed but I have lived with him since October, so about 6 months. It was great to have him as a companion. He was a very loyal companion, and I could really feel of his love for me. He had his difficulties, but really it didn’t matter, he was a great companion. The mission is great.
Anyways, for transfers, about half the zone left. I am excited though, it’ll be good to be here and help direct these Elders to have success in their new areas and to help them make these changes. I’d like to ask you all as well to pray to help the Elders in my zone to baptize. Por favor. My companion is Elder Packard, from Florida. I’ll tell you more next week, but he likes StarWars, so I’m psyched! Alright, Love you all, and have a Great St. Patricks day! =D
Oi Mãe! Bom Dia!! It is my companion’s last P-day, so while we are in the Center, I think maybe we will do some tourist shopping. Ha, any suggestions for souvenirs?
I’m glad you liked my last email. I try to spill out the good stuff. There are so many little and simple, but great things that happen everyday so sometimes its hard to share stuff with you all.
Speaking of changes, this week the Zone Leaders received the training for this month from the Assistants. This month we will be studying what I think (and I’m sure many others agree) to be the 2nd best chapter in Preach My Gospel (1st best is the 1st chapter that talks and motivates us about our purpose as missionaries.) Ch.6, How can I develop Christ-like attributes? Man it’s good! The Assistants really focused on the technical things in their training like baptismal invites. But as I have been studying and preparing this training I have seen how inspiring this chapter is for us personally as missionaries, but also for our investigators. I decided to give the theme as "Follow Christ’s Example" and we will really focus on the importance of us following Christ’s example (especially through studies in the companionship) And as Dad always taught, the best way to teach... By Example! So what we really need to do is always focus on Christ in our teachings for He is the example that God gave us. We often get caught up in all the technical part of the restoration, like Prophets, Priesthood, Apostasy, Joseph Smith. All these things are so foreign for the people we are teaching. We need to ring a familiar tone, and always focus our teaching in Christ and how we can follow His example.
This week Carnaval ended, and yeah it was a normal week.You asked about Riandra and Randerson’s Mom. So yeah, this week was funny because Luiz Alan, Alanice, and Riandra all had birthdays this week. So we passed by each day and gave each one of them a box of chocolates. I felt kinda bad because I’m not sure if anybody really celebrated it with them, there was no cake. I’m not sure if there were presents or anything out of the ordinary... the Mom really didn’t progress much this week, she still is going to church though.
Oh my, Sunday was awesome! So I don’t remember if I told you about the random contact that Elder Galvão did a couple weeks ago. Well, after that it was a little tough to follow up on this family, and when we passed by them this last week, almost everyone wasn’t very interested... except one Jorgilane. She promised that she would go last week but her husband drank so she ended up not going. But when we passed by Monday night, we talked to her husband, Geraldo, and turns out that after our lesson with him many weeks ago, he actually prayed and after had a dream about Joseph Smith. So he had already decided to visit the church the next time we passed by. We left a Book of Mormon with them, and Jorgilane said she prayed and also felt that the BoM is very valuable. It was great to hear that they were praying together as well during the week. Anyways, they went to church and they loved it!
During Sacrament Meeting there was a girl who is leaving to serve a mission this week who was giving a talk. During the talk, she (Jorgilane) asked me what they need to do to be missionaries as well. Ha! I told her that she has a different mission, she needs to raise her baby boy. I could see that she was a little sad at first but she soon responded saying, "Well that’s alright, I will raise him to be a missionary then!" I then bore my testimony about the power that Moms have in raising missionaries and how mine really helped me. It was a very special moment and it left us both almost in tears. They are very excited to come back next week.
As for Junior, this week we were trying hard to talk with his Wife, Erbênia. This weekend we finally talked to her and now that her Husband is going she said she will go as well. They went with their family and they loved it. They gave us dinner last night and she said how it really has been a very special day and how she has been already feeling the unity in her family from going to church. We will start the paperwork for their wedding this week! Two awesome families! It’s going good.
Alrighty, there is a little bit about my week. Elder Christiansen is starting his last week. He is doing very well, it’ll be a good last week. I will probably stay for this next transfer and maybe I will even finish my mission here. But yeah it’s going good. Alrighty, until next week my good family!
WOOT YAYY!! What a great birthday present to me?!?! I am very happy, but it looks like you are faaarrr more! Ha, just about all my friends from the mission are studying at BYU. Ha, it’s a party house for return missionaries. Well, I don’t know what to say, it really just seems like the right option to me for now, I am sure I will like it when I get back. (Zac just got the news he has been accepted to BYU)
Alright. My Birthday. HA!! Well I sure didn’t spend the whole day in a hospital again like last year, but the way we ate I am surprised I didn’t. I woke up.... and I was extra pumped to do some good work outs YES! That was good, then my comp made crepes and I felt like I was drowning in sugar... Nutella, Creme, Peanut Butter, Syrup..... and Chocolate milk to wash it all down. I felt like I was eating the 5 basic food groups in the movie, Elf! But I was very happy because I knew they were all doing it out of love. Then we planned for the week... and as you know I love weekly planning. Then lunch was AMAZING. I don’t know how that Irmã knew but she made my favorite... Brazilian Pancakes! Yuum! I ate sooo much and then out of nowhere she whipped out a giant cake as well... Oh my! Oh it was lovely. It had chocolate hair on it like me. Ha, I liked it. I thanked them in the Lunch Message. I began to talk about my love for the great people here and I really couldn’t... I had to fight back tears and finished. But I left there so grateful.
I feel SO LOVED. If there is an abundance of anything here on the mission it is Love for the missionaries. Sure maybe everybody isn’t perfect and they don’t do everything that we ask but I know they have love for us and it’s their imperfections that hold them back not their love.
The rest of the day was great, we spent the whole afternoon on a bus with our two investigator Love Birds, who we helped sign papers for their wedding. Then at night... we worked! The best lesson would have to be with a man named Junior who for the last 3 weeks it was hard to talk with him because he was drinking and there was a death in the family. It’s incredible how God prepared this man. Before he was a normal wishwashy man who accepted to do everything but didn’t do it. This time we talked a bit about the Plan of Salvation to comfort him, then we talked how we need to prepare ourselves to meet God and how drinking drags us off that path. He accepted to stop. We then invited him to a FHE on Friday. As we were returning home Thursday night I wanted to hurry and swing by everyone to remind them about FHE. My comp didn’t really want to, but we went. Friday, when we took Junior to FHE (the theme of the FHE was recognizing how the Spirit works in our lives) he bore his testimony about how when we passed by the night before he said to us that for sure he would go and he felt good about this decision. After work before coming home he had many friends inviting him to drink and party it up on the first night of Carnaval with them but he turned them down and now he was there in the FHE. He felt very good with this decision and he said after the FHE he felt a great peace and relief in his heart. Sunday was testimony meeting, and his stepdaughter who is a member took him to church and he went up to bear his testimony in testimony meeting. He said how it’s his first time seeking to be in a church and how this is his first time visiting, and he knows that God is very happy with him spending Carnaval at church. All this he said choking up on tears. Wow, he is proof to me of how the Spirit can change anyone, and how good the Spirit is to us as we repent and make good choices. Junior is very happy with how the Spirit has helped him.
Anyways... rest of the week... a lot of things. Well, we baptized two more kids in Espírito Santo´s family. Riandra and Randerson. It is super funny because their Mom since the beginning has been a bit irreverent and it doesn’t help to have her around in the discussions. But recently we have started teaching her and it is crazy how slowly she is improving as well. Before she discouraged her family members from being baptized... then gave permission for her daughter to be, then she visited, during the visit she talked bad but she came back this week. Before she said she would never be baptized but now she said she will in a couple years maybe. Ha so that’s progress... the Spirit it working very well with her. It’s great!
Oh and probably I should say something about Carnaval right? So I don’t know what you guys know but basically it is just Marti gras out of control. Fortunately here where I work it is just like a normal holiday with everyone in the streets blasting music and drinking beer. But now everyone painted their hair bright colors and are throwing flour and throwing eggs at one another. Ha, I think about the Festival of Colors I went to, so they aren’t as crazy. I did fun stuff like that too.
Cool, and to finish off I will put what President said in my email this week. In the Conference he said he has seen the growth of many Elders here during the mission. I asked him what he has seen in me. He said "Sobre sua curiosidade acerca de seu crescimento na missão, digo-lhe que você já chegou amadurecido, porque você aprendeu muito bem disciplina antes da missão. Na verdade, eu não tenho qualquer registro de problemas relacionados a você durante todo nosso tempo. Seu crescimento foi mais no sentido espiritual e de liderança, por conta dos conhecimentos e habilidades adquiridos. Parabéns!" or
"About your curiosity about your growth during the mission. I would say that you already arrived very mature here in the mission because you already learned discipline very well before the mission. Actually, I don’t have any records of having any problems with you during our time together. Your growth has been more in the spiritual and leadership sense due to acquired knowledge and abilities.. Congratulations!"
So parents!! Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back for President said that I came well prepared to the mission. Know that you raised a well disciplined son that didn’t cause any problems here on the mission!! (after many many times being kicked out of sunday school.) Ha awesome! I was suuuuuuuper happy to read that.
I am a dedicated missionary and one of the first things I said to President Souza in our first interview was that I am not here to be a slacker and I definitely don’t want to disappoint him or the Lord in my service. After all this time I know I have been fulfilling my purpose and boy it feels good! Love you all! Good week!