I am serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Brazil, Porto Alegre North Mission. I post on this blog every week, so check it out to hear about my life as a missionary!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 60

We were really blessed this week to baptize two more people! Morgana is a 37 year old woman that had marital problems in the past and began living with Poliana, her cousin and our baptism 2 months ago. We´d been teaching her for about a month and after she began living the Word of Wisdom she really saw a difference in her life and decided that she needed to be baptized. I loved hearing Poliana´s testimony every time we visited them because she could only be thankful for the blessings she received after baptism. Morgana was difficult in the beginning but it all paid off because she was baptized with a strong testimony and desire to do good.

Larissa is a young woman that we met through her friend, Mateus, who was baptized a few weeks ago. He was ordained a deacon recently and began to introduce us to all his friends. Larissa wanted to be baptized right from the beginning. Her step-dad was opposed as he was attending another church. Larissa's mom gave her permission and so she joined Mateus as a member yesterday!

Also during the week there was another Helping Hands initiative in the Stake and so we were able to help out and we gathered over one ton of food, cleaning products, and clothes for the people suffering in other cities where the rain had caused a lot of flooding.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 59

This week was great! On Monday I received a call from President Campos and he told me that I would train for the next two transfers. I was super excited and I took a bus to Porto Alegre that night. The next day the new missionaries arrived from the São Paulo CTM and we got to know our new companions. My companion is Élder Reis, from Brasília. I always tell everyone he´s Dilma´s cousin. As he is brazilian, I don´t have to worry about teaching him Portuguese!

For the next few days we stayed in Porto Alegre as the Assistants, Secretaries, and President gave a few trainings. Finally on Thursday I was able to head back to Passo Fundo for the District Meeting, and afterwards we headed to Lagoa Vermelha. I only had 3 days to work in my own area this week but we concentrated on two investigators that I´d brought to church last Sunday. One was Mateus' friend Aldoir, and the other, Henry's mom Eliane.

Eliane had a few problems with depression as she'd just arrived in the city after years of abuse from her ex-husband. Her children, especially Henry, helped her out a lot this week and encouraged her to be baptized this Sunday. She received lots of help from the members of the church and was excited after she passed the interview.

In these few days we ran all over the city getting the marriage papers in order for Almeri and Elisandro. The process takes 30 days so we hurried so that they could be married and baptized this transfer. They became excited about the whole deal and Vanderlei and Cristina helped out a lot. I´m excited to add another married couple to the branch.

When I talked with a few stake leaders in Passo Fundo they informed me that Lagoa Vermelha already has the tithe payers and priesthood holders that it needs, and that they´ve already begun the papers to make Lagoa Vermelha a ward. It's been clear to me that the Lord wants a ward here because of all the people He's placed in our path to be baptized.

On Sunday my companion had his first 2 baptisms on the mission! Eliane and Aldoir were baptized and the Spirit was strong during the whole meeting. We got a white shirt and tie for Igor and he passed the sacrament for the first time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 58

This week was pretty busy and I didn´t have much time to work in my own area unfortunately. When I was in my area it was always raining too so we didn´t have as much success. However, due to the help of a recent convert, we were able to begin teaching a family that had recently moved here to the city. The mother had suffered for years under the hard reign of her husband and had finally had enough of it. She took her 3 kids and moved far away, and ended up here in Lagoa Vermelha, where one of her good friend liveds (the recent convert).

We taught them almost daily and prepared her 12 year old son Henry to be baptized this Sunday. He was very hesitant in the beginning but each time we visited him he became more determined in his decision. I was happy because it would be the 5th young man I´ve baptized here. When he came out of the interview he gave his mom a hug, and with a smile on his face said, "I´m going to be baptized, be more obedient, and help you out around the house!" His mom was very touched and she too had a spark of interest in being baptized.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to visit Carazinho, my second area on my mission. There was an activity themed on Missionary Work and so all the elders in the zone were invited to sing and do a presentation. I was very happy to return and visit Carazinho because there were several people that I´d grown very close to there. Most of all I was happy to see Giovanne, a man that is the son of the 1st counselor to the bishop in that ward. He fell away from the church when he was 17 and had spent almost 20 years away fromt he church. When I was there we began visiting him and his family and finally on our last Sunday there he came to church.

This Saturday when I saw him he told me everything that had happened in these 10 months. Ever since that Sunday he never missed another, he married the woman he had been living with and she was baptized, he was ordained an Elder and became a counselor to the Young Men´s president, his wife is counselor in the Young Women, and they´ll be sealed this coming Abril! I was so shocked and happy when they told me everything. They were happy to see me as well and I saw how much their testimonies had grown.

Giovanne and Larissa
On Sunday was the baptism of Henry and I was very proud of Vanderlei because he passed the sacrament, participated in a confirmation, gave a prayer, was called as 2nd counselor in the Elders Quorum, and baptized Henry. Not only that but we were happy to see another couple that we´d been working with come to church and be involved with everything. They´ll be the next marriage and great addition to the branch.

Igor also was ordained as a Deacon and will pass the sacrament this coming Sunday. Three more young men that were baptized recently will also become Deacons soon. I was impressed with Igor because after Sacrament Meeting, without being asked, he began collecting all the hymn books and placing them on their shelf.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 57

This week we focused most of our efforts on a young woman named Suellen. She's the friend of a young woman in the branch and they go to the same school together. She had previously gone to Passo Fundo with her 2 sisters and this member to a huge Stake dance and had had a great time there. She went to church the following day, last Sunday, and we began teaching her this Tuesday. Every time we visited her to follow up and teach her more I was always impressed with her understanding and being in-tune with the Spirit. When we taught her the Word of Wisdom she had a big problem with coffee, but we challenged her to stop and the next day when we returned she told us that she knew the Word of Wisdom is true because she had prayed about it that night and received a witness that it was. Even though she usually drank around 4 cups each day she stopped immediately.

Suellen's little sister Emili also went to church with her last Sunday and had asked Cristina (who was teaching in the Primary as her new calling for the first time) what she had to do to be baptized. She also participated in the lessons we taught Suellen and after she was interviewed her mom was hesitant because she thought that Suellen was too young still. Then to our surprise Suellen spoke up and bore her testimony to her mom, also telling her how Emili would be part of the Primary where they take care of all the kids and that there are always activities to keep them involved. I was very impressed with her young testimony and I'll never forget how she had said simply after we asked her if she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, "I know he was, I felt it."

We also worked with a woman named Marlene, who is the mother of Mateus, who was baptized last week. She had had a few more questions and doubts but this week we were able to help her. Her son Mateus really helped out as well, already demonstrating the change in him after baptism.

Igor (baptized 2 weeks ago) left with us quite a bit during the week and introduced us to all his friends in the neighborhood. He as well changed a ton after his baptism. Even though we had given him a ride to only one session of conference, he came to the other 3 just because he loves church so much now. In between sessions of conference I took a picture with the 3 young men that were baptized in the last 2 weeks:
Igor, Mateus, & Endrius
After the first session of conference on Saturday we held the baptism service for Marlene, Suellen, and Emili. Vanderlei once again helped us out and used his Priesthood by baptizing all 3. He didn´t even mess up once! I was very happy because many of my other baptisms participated in the baptismal service.

On Sunday we were blessed to have a few of the members bring their friends to church. General Conference was awesome! Cristina and Vanderlei loved it especially and were absolutely enthralled with all the speakers and music.