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, January 25, 2016

Week 73

This week we had the opportunity to be interviewed by the mission president, and the next day there was a missionary training that was broadcast worldwide. We learned a lot and were able to improve our teaching techniques throughout the week. On our P-day we accomplished a few more things we´d been wanting to do for a while. First we hit up the wax museum:

Our next stop was the super cars. We were able to take pictures in some of the cars that were displayed:

Nearby there is a chocolate factory and museum. In the Museum there are many things that some dude made entirely out of chocolate. The best was the Eiffel Tower that touches the ceiling.

Yeah this tire by the bench is also made of chocolate

During the week we followed up on the progress of Lucas, Luan, and Rafael that were baptized last week. They are reading the Book of Mormon very fast, and after we showed Lucas the Gospel Library app he didn´t put his tablet down. He loved all the manuals, scriptures, videos, and hymns that he could access.

We also found many new people to teach. One experience was particularly interesting that happened on Saturday. We were leaving Lucas' house and we had a bit more time to knock on some doors before heading home. We felt that we should knock on the door across the street and when we did so, 2 women answered, a little hesitantly. It seemed like they didn´t want to listen to us but finally they let us in. We taught them the Restoration and they told us how they'd already received the missionaries in the past. They'd liked the feelings they felt with the other missionaries and they said that they felt the same way with us. We invited one of them, Cinara, to be baptized next Sunday and she accepted. However, when we invited her to go to church the following day (yesterday) she began to be a little more hesitant. Then out of the blue her friend (who happens to almost be a pastor in her church) began motivating her for almost ten minutes saying things like, "Don't put this off, you can be blessing for going to church tomorrow or here in a week, do you want to put off receiving blessings that you're in need of? There's nothing more important that you can do tomorrow morning than go to church, so go tomorrow and don't let Satan tell you that you should go next week because next week he'll say the same thing to you. Go to church tomorrow." I was shocked and when I looked at Cinara she was crying. Cinara agreed and decided that she would go. We were so happy and I felt the Spirit. Afterward I realized that the Lord can use others for His purposes too.

Needless to say Cinara went to church the next day, made lots of friends, felt the Spirit, enjoyed the classes, and didn't regret her decision. We were happy because Lucas and Luan's dad also came to watch their confirmations.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 72

Last P-day for the first time on my mission we were all able to do something super cool. Our district decided to check out a really cool waterfall park named Caracol that is between Canela and Gramado. Not only does the park have the waterfall but it also is home to many other nature conservation houses. We were able to see a lot of wildlife and learn about a ton of stuff.

I was also able to complete my gaúcho traditional wear!

We're living in one of the best houses in the mission. As this city is one of the few very-advanced cities in Brazil, we're living in style! We have a water heater, 2 stories, and a very cabin-like style house:

This week we focused a lot of our efforts on 3 young men that had been to church last week. All of them had their own difficulties with different addictions but with lots of work, prayer, and fasting they all overcame them. We had many spiritual experiences with them throughout the week and we were particularly impressed by the efforts of the oldest, Lucas, who celebrates his 19th birthday today. He was always proud to report what he'd done each visit. He read all the pamphlets, made a great start on the Book of Mormon, deleted many things he had on his computer (it took 2 hours to do so and he told us how he cried while deleting everything), and turned his life around completely. His mom told us as he was being interviewed that he hadn't left the house to do anything for such a long time and just in the last week he'd biked around the town many times, made many more friends, and become a new man.

Another young man we taught, Rafael, also showed much interest in the Book of Mormon. We read it with him every visit and he enjoyed reading it on his own. He was always sure to remind us to say a prayer before and after every visit.

On Friday we did a Family Home Evening at a member's house to invite the young men that were to be baptized this week. I made cookies and we all enjoyed making new friendships with the members.

The other elders in this area also had success this week and baptized 2 with our 3. I felt the Spirit very strongly during the interviews of the two, they were very prepared as well to become the newest members of the church.

On Sunday Rafael surprised us by waking up earlier to ride his bike to church for his baptism! As we baptized 3 young men and the others baptized 2 more, we decided to have each elder baptize at least one. Beforehand we took a picture with everyone in white:

On Sunday as we were finishing up our contacts we saw this beautiful scene at the park:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 71

What a busy week, last Monday I had to say goodbye to many families in Lagoa Vermelha. It was sad to leave so many recent converts, Bishop Melo, the members of the newly formed ward, and investigators but I was excited to work in a new city after 6 months in Lagoa.

Bishop Melo
The family of Waldomiro, Zilda, Rejane, Gisele, Regina, Yuri, Anderson, and Iasmine
Recent converts: Elisandro & Almeri (left)
Members: Rui & Gorety (behind)
On Tuesday I was transferred to one of the most beautiful cities in the mission: Canela. I absolutely love this city because it's a turism city just like my hometown. When I got here they still hadn't packed up the Christmas decorations so I got to see how thoroughly they decorated their streets and parks.

I'm now living with 4 Americans! It's the weirdest thing ever but we're the only house in the mission with only Americans. I actually prefer at least one Brasilian because I always have questions about Portuguese.

There weren't a lot of investigators when I got here so this week we met a lot of new people and began teaching many families. My companion and I also focused on building a strong relationship with the members and gaining their trust. We had a great start and then yesterday it really worked out when we had 12 investigators at church (6 of ours and 6 from the other companionship). All the members were shocked and told us how it had been such a long time since they'd had so many new people at church. We told them that they'd better get used to it because this coming week there would be a lot more than 12.

For this coming week we have 4 baptisms marked and the other companionship 2. In the entire last transfer there were 4 baptisms in the ZONE (7 areas). We're here to make a difference and build up the church!

The Cathedral in Canela
Reasoning with Santa

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 70

This week we saw miracles happen in the year 2015 and in 2016. On Wednesday one of our investigators was baptized. Paloma is the oldest daughter of Maria from Boa Vista. When we went to pick her up yesterday for church she practically jumped the fence to hop in the car!


Then early Friday morning (New Year's Day) one of our other investigators was baptized. We´d been working with Jéssica for almost 3 transfers and finally she was married and right after, baptized. We told her how she was the first marriage AND baptism of the year (at least in this mission) 2016!

The week was full of farewells as well as I was transferred today. It was sad to have to leave my recent converts, investigators, companion, and the members but I´m excited to start anew in another area.

One family of investigators made a huge churrasco one day for lunch!
A few investigators with our recent convert Suelí

Rejane's daughter Iasmine's 4th birthday


One of my favorite members: Ritinha

Almeri & Elisandro invited us over yesterday night for their FHE (as my last one with them) and they surprised me with a gift and some whipped cream in the face! Gotta love these recent converts!