February, 2011

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Man, I am so happy right now

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

February 23, 2011

Man that is pretty sweet that you guys will have a foreign exchange student there in the house. You guys are sure doing a lot to try and fill in that empty space. Not the physical empty space but my empty space. I hope he is a great kid and that he fits in there in the house. I can hardly believe that the craft room is clean. That is pretty unbelievable.

Well, what is going to happen now that basketball is over? I mean that must be a strange feeling. Preston’s last basketball season… I remember that it wasn’t that weird to me but still to him it must be strange. I hope he has the right vision and doesn’t get too sad. Well he will get through it anyways.

Piano. Man the other day I picked up a sax and I had this urge to learn how to play again. I think one of the coolest things in the world is playing the piano or another instrument. I have decided that I will learn how to play the piano or relearn the sax when I get back. I mean sure it will be hard but the feeling is so good. When I picked up the sax it sparked a sleeping desire within me. It was a strange sensation. Really really strange. That is cool that Kloey has got the piano. I hope that she learns well there is nothing better than knowing how to play an instrument well.

You guys got the letters! It only took forever. I knew that they would like the cards. The reason that they are smaller is because they are pirated. They just take the photos from the real cards, shrink them, and place on them their own cards with a Portuguese explanation. It is actually really funny. Everything in Brazil is pirated. It is hilarious.

Well everything is going good here. Our area is difficult but we are seeing some amazing miracles. We got two families that will be baptized this week and in the next — that is pretty cool. They were just contacts on the street but they went to church and loved it. They are reading the Book of Mormon too. The only thing that they got to do is stop smoking. Their names are Antonio and Maria, and also Wesley and his family and also Raphael and his family. They are all great people.

The Lord has blessed a lot these last few weeks. When I arrived we had nothing. But now we have people that want to learn and progress. The missionary miracles are amazing. Really really amazing. I wish I had more time to describe them to you but I don’t unfortunately. I will send you guys a picture of the baptism later.

I have learned a lot this year about progress. This life is a small part and it doesn’t matter in some ways but it really is decisive. I love how God just sent us here and gave us the cheat sheet but so many times we don’t want to follow the answers that He gives us because of pride and shame. It is so easy to make it out of the life without losing eternity. All we have to do is keep the commandments and covenants that we made in the temple and follow the prophets voice with exactness. God sent us here as a test and gave us the answers too. All we have to do is use the cheat sheet.

I really like being a zone leader. I love the responsibility and I am learning a lot — I mean a lot. I have a powerful companion and we are working hard. I mean we are in a hard place because our ward is really weak but it is still going great. Right now our mission is more like dad’s mission. We have 4 APs and 14 zonas. The AP´s have their own area and a junior companion and they care for 3-4 zones each. It is pretty interesting the mission has changed a lot since I have arrived. When I got here they had 2 assistants and 12 zones. Now it is way different but I think it is more effective with small zones and 4 assistants. I don´t have to leave my area very much and I can just work and do zone things. It is great. That way everyone works better.

They don’t have a word for hump day here. They just call it hump day. It was a day like any other.

Man, I am so happy right now, I love you guys so much. I won’t say that I miss you because that would mean that I would be thinking about my house and being trunky and you can’t have a trunky leader. That just doesn’t work out well. But I do love you guys a whole lot and I am really just loving the mission. I have learned so much and I have glimpsed into the future a bit and I know that this is nothing. There is a lot more after the mission to do. This is just another preparation for something bigger. So am happy and I am trying to learn all that I can purifying myself a little bit more everyday. I love you guys so much and I love the mission too.

I will go now. Tell dad and everyone to write separate letters because it is easier to respond to. I like being able to write shorter letters in response than just one big one to you guys both.

I have eaten a lot of sweet fruits these last few days. Elder Russell M. Nelson is coming tomorrow to visit the mission and we are going to baptize. Everything is good.

I love you all and I will write again soon. Tchau!!!

God is giving us many blessings

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

February 16, 2011

My comp. is from Fortaleza. His name is Elder Barroso. He only has 4 months left but he isn’t trunky.  He cooks really well. I just got done eating some homemade pizza and it was pretty amazing. I made a salami, cheese, olives and tomato pizza — it was pretty amazing. I loved it. I am pretty tired now though. Pretty tired.

Well, this last week was pretty good. We are making a lot of progress as a zone and we are really getting a lot done. I mean it is pretty sweet. We have seen some amazing improvements in these last two weeks. This last week in our area was pretty good too, we were able to find some really awesome families to teach. Really elect families, so it is really going pretty well here. God is giving us many blessings. So many blessings.

It also rained hail this last week. It was a terrible day and then it started raining hail the size of marbles. I am not joking they were immense pieces of hail. I didn’t have my camera so I didn’t take any pictures. Sadly I didn’t take pictures.

Yeah, I don’t know when this whole passport thing happened, it was pretty recent I think. Our mission is only getting 3 missionaries this transfer and 7 or 8 are leaving. We are getting 2 Argentines and 1 Uruguayan so it will be pretty interesting because Brazil hates Argentina. So if he gets in that would be sweet but we don’t do multi-mission stuff. Actually our mission goes into Minas Gerais a bit. I could be going there one day. I sure hope he gets here that would be sweet.

Man, it is great to hear that everything is going well with basketball. I hope Preston can go play in state that would be great for him. Wish him good luck for me.

I did start taking more pictures. So don´t worry. I will also make a few short films because that is always way better than photos. I made a sweet one of my companion and me passing through the jungle to get to another appointment — you guys will like it.

I got my haircut and I got my gel. Now I am good.

Sorry, you will have to forgive me my comp. is anxious to leave so he can sleep so I’ve got to go.

But hey, it is weird that so much is going on. Can you believe that it was a year and it passed by so quickly? So fast. Everything will be different when I get back I am afraid.

Well, we are doing a great work and we are having a great time. I mean it is all good. I will explain a little bit more about the families that we are teaching next week all right. I love you all and I hope that you all have a great week.

I also ate this crazy cool fruit the other day. It was pink and purple and the part you eat in the middle is clear. It was the coolest fruit ever. I will look up the name so you guys can see it too.

All right I am out. I love you all and I am learning so much here. It is crazy that my understanding and everything has grown so much — I am so happy. I love being a servant of the Lord, it is the best. I hope you guys also are doing the missionary work!!!

See ya - tchau!!!

I have been out for a year now…

Monday, February 14th, 2011

February 9, 2011

Well yeah, here in Brazil it is a real mission.  :)  We travel by bus and foot. They used to have cars but the missionaries here abused them badly, if you can catch my drift. Well, I do travel a little bit more since the zones are a little different than the zones in the U.S. they are a lot smaller. All the missionaries in Americana are part of my zone. There are only ten missionaries in total. So I really don’t have too much to worry about. I just get to baptize a lot and leave a good example for the other missionaries. I just get to be excited motivated and loving. I am pretty excited. My companion is Elder Barroso. He is from the northeast part of Brazil - from Fortaleza. I already had him as a Zone Leader in Rio Claro.

I actually travel a bit more being a Zone Leader. I have to visit the areas and stuff and I have to do interviews too. Today I am with the assistant to the President, in his area. It is pretty cool, I like hanging out with them. My schedule does not change being a zone leader, I just have more meetings and more responsibilities. I like being a ZL.

I really don’t think that the Elders waiting to go to Brazil are going to get in. Did you know that President Hinckley said that there would be a time when Brazil would have to take care of itself missionary-wise? Yeah, I don’t know if they have a bunch of help. You know, I knew Casey Call would be called to Brazil for some reason, but do you know what mission he was called to? I would like to know that because it would be pretty sweet if he was going to this mission or Cuiaba.

As for the weather here, it is just hot. I fasted the other day and I thought I was going to die. Just kidding!  It was really hot though. The rain has passed for a bit I think, but I think it will just be hot until winter here and then it will cool down a bit. It is weird but I like the heat a lot of the times it just feels like summer.

Man, I have been out for a year now — or really tomorrow I will be. It has flown by so fast. I can’t even image that one year ago I was entering the MTC in Provo. Wow it does not feel like that. That is so weird. I am going to be done in a year. Actually a little less than a year because of transfers. I don’t like that thought. I have to help a bunch of people still. That is so crazy!!! I will just not think much about that. I have to worry about college stuff in a bit. Oh that stinks. I think it is best not to think about time. So I will just serve this last year well. I have a lot to learn still.

As for the camera stuff, I think that is a great idea. I really need to take more pictures — you will hate me for how little pictures I have taken in the field. I will try to take a lot more. My camera is an SDHC memory card. The normal size one. When you send me a new one, I will send you guys this one to download.

Will you guys also buy that camera and send it as quickly as possible. Not an expensive one just a good basic digital camera. I trust in your judgment. A regular color too black, silver, blue… that would be sweet. I would also like to buy a new suit. The suits here cost 150 reais which would be like 100 dollars. I think that that is the cheapest that they have, and they are good suits too. I will need new shoes in a bit too. My left shoe is falling apart a bit.

Yeah, Americana is the hardest area in the mission. In Portuguese it is called a Buraco, which in English is called a pit or hole. The members don’t really get involved in missionary work here. That makes it pretty tough. I am excited though, I think we will baptize this week. I am pretty excited. I don’t let these things get me down, I don’t judge before knowing the full situation. It is an area like any other that has elect people waiting to be baptized. I really miss Rosolem but a good missionary and a friend is there right now so I feel pretty good leaving it in his hands.

I am pretty happy that you guys beat Brewster, I always wanted that to happen. It is cool that Colton is doing Knowledge Bowl too. I love hearing about these things sometimes.

I have to go, I am going to get a haircut. I am in a division… my hair is big and I don’t have any hair gel. It is terrible. I finally got money so I can finally get a haircut. I really need one — my hair is so poofy.

I love you guys a lot. I will try to send pictures next week when I am in my area. I can’t do it right now because I am in Hortolandia with the Assistant to the President. I love you guys I will talk to you later!

Tchau!!!

I want letters from more people. It has been a while. Sister Perry wrote me too. I will write her a letter next week.

I was transferred and I am now a Zone Leader

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I was transferred. Yeah, I just can’t stay in one place for very long can I? I really really liked Rosolem. It was the best transfer in my mission up until now. A lot of good stuff happened there. I grew a lot. Well, I was transferred and I am now a Zone Leader in Americana. Americana is a big city that is really close to Campinas. I am really excited to be here.

Well this last week was pretty great. We baptized 4 people, making the total for this transfer — 6. We baptized that Japanese family and Rachel’s kids. It was great! I will send a picture today. We also did a lot of other good things too. We taught and found a lot of great people. My comp. Elder Boudrero should do pretty good this next transfer.

The four baptisms were pretty cool. The ward got all excited and everybody is loving those families so it is great. It is amazing seeing the difference in the people’s lives after the baptism. They are just happy.

Man, the stories are pretty cool too. Rachel is the mother of 3 children. She can’t be baptized yet because of the whole marriage thing. The oldest daughter Camilla did not want anything to do with the church. She read a part of the Book of Mormon and she asked us to be baptized. Teenagers are usually a lot more annoying especially teenage girl but God did a great miracle there. He really strengthened my testimony about the power of the Book of Mormon.

The Japanese people have even a cooler story. Well, the last missionary in the area had actually stopped passing by their house before I got there. When I arrived, my comp took me there and I just started teaching them about baptism and stuff and they wanted nothing. We waited a week and we returned and just worked on strengthening their testimonies. Then we brought our new ward mission leader there and he just got them all excited. We then almost lost them again. I invited them to be baptized and they said that they would think about it. They thought about it, went to the temple, and then were baptized the next Sunday.

Before all this happened Maria (the mom) had a dream where Christ showed up and told her the Book of Mormon is the light. She then had another dream (or vision) when Satan (or some other demon) told her not to read the book but when she picked it up and read it, the demon went away. After all this and a visit to the temple, she was baptized with her mother and her daughter. It was a tough and long process. But it all worked out in the end. I will miss those families a lot.

Well what else? Oh yeah, that one kid probably is not going to ever get into Brazil (I don’t think that you should tell him that) because the Brazilian government is tightening up the border in preparation for the world cup and also the Olympics. So there were like 300 Americans waiting in Provo who got switched permanently to another mission because of the Visa thing. The mission won’t receive any North Americans for a long time.

Well I love you all and I will send you some pictures now. I sent some letters a while ago I hope you will get them soon. Tell Preston and Dad to write me too. I haven’t heard from them for a while.

Well I am going now. Tchau. Don’t forget that I love you all and I am loving the mission. It is the BEST to be a servant of God. Thanks for the pics. they are sweet. Keep them coming!!!

I LOVE TEMPLES

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

January 26, 2011

Well that is pretty sweet. I likes the photos. Just like always, I can’t send any because I am in the temple in Campinas using the computers in the Family History Center. I don’t have my camera and I cannot go back to my area to get it. I will take some sweet photos today but I will have to send the next week.

Man it was the first time that I did a temple session in like a long time. It was great I love the temple. I can only go to the temple once a month but if I am transferred next week it may be a while before I get to visit it again. The temple here is amazing – really, really amazing. It is big and beautiful and you feel the Spirit of the Lord radiating out of it. I LOVE TEMPLES.

Well this week and the transfer was great. We are working with some good families. We have a cool family of five that is awesome and also some Japanese people. I hope I can get them baptized before being transferred. I don’t know what is going to happen this transfer. I have improved a lot during the transfer. I mean, if we had a chapel in our area this place would explode. We have a chapel it is just being reformed.

I’ve got to make this kind of quick today. I have just been having a pretty fun experience here in Hortolandia. I love my leaders. I love the mission too. I have a certainty that because of these two years I will be able to start my life out right and so much stronger. It is like a two-year spiritual training program. I can’t say it is good physical training, but after these two years I will be set for this life. I love seeing the changes in the lives of the people that we teach.

I have to go for today. I am sorry it was a quick one. Tell Preston congrats on the Eagle Scout and tell anyone that I love them. I send my love to everyone in the family. Tchau!!!