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, May 30, 2016

Week 91

This week we found a really awesome family. Grasiela is a single mom with two daughters. Sara is 8 and after we taught them about Joseph Smith we gave them a Book of Mormon so they could read it and pray to know it is true. To our surprise, Sara grabbed the book and hugged it tight. Before we left we saw that she'd already begun to read it! When Grasiela told us how she works at a hotel (which means including on Sundays) it broke our hearts.

During the week we visited Suana (recent convert) and she told us how she was called as the Laurels President! She has impressed us with her determination to stay firm in the church despite a family that doesn't encourage her to be active. She went to the annual Chocolate Dance in Gramado on Saturday. I will help her to go to the temple for the first time this coming Saturday with the rest of the branch.

Thursday night was the usual Integration Night:

On Sunday Suele was finally able to come to church after waiting 2 months! We'd found her a while back but we became discouraged when she told us how she'd recently begun working at a pizzaria. As the newest waitress there she had to work every Sunday for 2 months. However, she had previously told us how after our 2nd visit to her house she'd dreamed she was inside the church for 3 nights in a row. So we continued visiting her, teaching her new things. This week when we asked her how she was feeling about her first visit to church she said, "I'm pretty anxious, after 2 months I'll finally be able to see if what I dreamed is real."

We'd previously taken a member that lives nearby to her house and she offered to take Suele to church for the first time. On Saturday we ran into her younger sister and her 5 year old daughter Isabelli. Isabelli promptly came up to us and said, "I'm going to visit your church tomorrow. Does it have Sunday School?" She's the cutest little girl ever.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 90

On our P-day we went with Adriano again to Gramado. There we visited Mundo A Vapor and Super Carros. Mundo A Vapor is a museum created by a man fascinated with the steam engine. He created many miniture models of different machines that are powered by the steam engine, including the world's smallest paper factory!

World's Smallest Paper Making Machine

 I'd already been to Super Carros but we went again for the other 3 missionaries here that hadn't been yet. They recently added the Transformer Bumblebee in the front:

 Jair & Patrícia are progressing towards marriage so they can be baptized like their kids (Tamara and Felipe). Adriano is still not sure what he wants. He knows the church is true, he's already gone 3 times with his younger brother, has come to all the activities, and already made some friends at church. We're planning on watching the Restoration film with him this coming week. Suelen told us how she's stopped working on Sunday so she'll be able to go to church and be baptized shortly!

We continued working with Camila and Taina this week with their progress towards baptism. Taina turned 11 this week and at her party she told her Taekwondo teacher Mario who is the member that introduced us to them about her plans for her baptism.

During the week we also found another family who showed up out of the blue. Lucilaine recently separated from her husband and lives with her 4 children, Victor, Danieli, Jonaton, and Mateus. They were referals we received from other investigators that stopped investigating this week. This family loved our message and accepted baptism.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 89

On P-day our plans were to visit a really cool Buddist temple nearby. However, when we arrived at the gate we were informed that Monday through Tuesday is their P-day! We were only able to take a few pictures from outside of the grounds:

Instead, our investigator Adriano took us to a nearby lake that is really beautiful:

On Tuesday we took a picture of the Zone after District Meeting:

On Thursday we held our weekly integration night with our recent converts and investigators. This time a few members showed up as well. After a short message we organized a few simple games.

On Sunday we were happy to see Adriano come to church in a suit. Every week he dresses up more for church. Unfortunately many people we'd marked with didn't show up, including Rudimar's family. We'd visited them during the week and everything had been ready for them to go to church, they'd read a part of the Book of Mormon and loved it.

Sunday night I we ran into 2 missionaries that had served with me in the beginning of my mission, Élder Owen and Sister Horn! They'd recently gotten married and were passing through Brazil again.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 88

This week was my first week with my new companion, Élder Ferreira! He's from Minas Gerais and arrived in Canela super excited to work hard. I was happy to be able to finish 6 months in Canela as well, I've grown very attached to the members here and the city itself. This Thursday we held our weekly integration activity with the branch and even though few members came, we very happy to see all our recent converts and investigators. We were all able to have fun together and the recent converts helped the investigators feel welcome.

After sharing a message about the Livro de Mórmon we played a few activities from Minute to Win It.

 Our focus this week was on Jair's children Tamara, Felipe, and Vitória, and Adriano and his brother Silnei. They had all been to church last week and were preparing themselves to be baptized. On Sunday Tamara and Felipe were baptized, Tamara choosing Mario to baptize her as he had given us their referral. Vitória wasn't baptized unfortunately because of her fear of water, something we'll help her with this coming week. After church many members came up to us and told us how impressed they were with our converts as well as investigators. They told us how all of them were participating quite a bit in the classes and they'd loved how Tamara was so excited to be baptized. She may have been the most determined young woman I've known to be baptized. While the water was heating up she told us that even if the water was cold she was going to be baptized.

Felipe and Tamara

Adriano and Silnei came to church and enjoyed themselves, however they decided that they want a little more time to think about their decision. They told us how they have no doubt that it's the true church and that it's something they should do. The only thing that's holding them back is their doubt if they want to dedicate themselves to this new life-style. Adriano told us how he does things with determination and that he'd treat this decision the same way so he wanted to be sure that it was what he wants because he wants to be baptized knowing that he'll stay there until he dies.

We also got to know a new family this week, Rudimar & Ironi, and their 14 year old son Adrian. I had contacted Rudimar in the street and when we visited them at their house they listened very intently. What surprised us is when we returned another day, Ironi told us how Adrian had come up to her after our last visit and told her that he thought we were really cool, and how he wanted to get to know our church. We could tell it meant a lot to Ironi because she cares a lot about her son and wants him to have a purpose in life and follow the right path. They're excited to get to know the church.

To cap off the great week, we got to talk with our family on Sunday for Mother's Day! Luckily we were able to skype them on the big screen of a member that lives nearby. Happy Mother's Day Mom, you're the best!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 87

This week was the last of this transfer, so we worked hard because we knew that one of us would be transferred. Beginning on Tuesday there was a cold front that came through and the temperature dropped down to 25°F (really cold with all the humidity here).

Early in the week we held a Family Home Evening with a member family and they invited their neighbor to join them. We'd been teaching her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and so it was good for her to see another aspect of the church. We shared a message about the importance of prophets and afterward there were a few activities. In one of them you had to grab a coin buried in a pile of flour with your mouth!

On Saturday there was a combined activity with the Young Women´s New Beginnings and the Branch´s Talent Show. During the young women´s presentation of awards our recent convert Suana gave a talk! We were so happy to see her involved with the young women and doing her personal progress.

Even though it rained quite a bit and we didn't have the best umbrellas, Lucas persistently accompanied us many times in the week.

Sunday was the best day of the week. Finally after much work, fasting, and prayer, we got 8 of our investigators to church! The best part was that they pulled right up to the church by themselves for the first time despite the super cold weather and early hour. As it was Fast and Testimony meeting we were happy to see Georgia bear her testimony for the first time. She did it again that same day during the baptism of another woman. We're so blessed to see so many fruits of conversion with our recent converts here in Canela.

Unfortunately my companion Élder Clark was transferred away after we spent 2 transfers together. But it was exciting for him as he was designated by the President to be his assistant! Sunday was full of many goodbye's for him with all the families we'd grown close to.