Monday, October 27, 2014

I Miss the Northern Hemisphere

So October is getting hot. And Brazilian heat is horrible. My goodness. 

So this week was kind of slow because I had horrible allergies at the beginning of the week, that I couldn't be outside. So I ate a whole bunch of lemons and oranges and got better. Thank you mother nature. I also used a whole load of oils, so thank you my real mother, too. 

Alright. So my week. 

-Tuesday, I had horrible alergies, but we were going to do a family night at the bishop's son's house. So I put a scarf around my face to protect from all the crazy dust and walked an hour to his house. There's some news hear about ebola and everybody thinks that the US is in a zombie apocalypse or something, so I imagine that it was scary to see a sick american walking down the street with a scarf to cover his face. But we were able to arrive at the house without any problems. We taught an awesome lesson to his family. Two people that we are teaching also went, and we were able to teach them the importance of being an "uncommon person". As members of the Church, we are uncommon. Let's face it. We're not normal. Sometimes we need to stand up for what we believe in, and sometimes the right thing is not the cool thing. It reminded me of how when I played football and basketball with my friends, I didn't let them say bad words or talk about bad things. Yeah, it wasn't always easy to tell them to stop, but it was always worth it. We need to be uncommon!

-On Thursday, we had another activity at the church, and it was super fun. We did a little play. We told the story of Samson and Delilah, and then we told the story about what happened to Samsons cut hair afterwards. It was found thousands of years later by scientists and they started using it as a wig and got really strong. It was super funny and everybody loved it. Then we talked about the importance of helping our friends to find true happiness through the gospel. It was a fun activity and everybody liked it! Then we ate crackers. 

Me and my companion

-Saturday, I taught an English class, and then a Piano class afterwards, and a whole bunch of non-members were there, and it was awesome. This next week, we're gonna see if we can bring more people to the classes. 

-A brand new family from Uruguaiana moved into the ward. They are super awesome and super strong in the church, so they're going to help this ward out, a lot. And they know a lot of the families that I knew when I was in Uruguaiana, so it was cool to talk about the people that I loved with them. 

-Sunday, we found a super awesome family that already want to be baptized! So we marked them to be baptized on the 15th of November. I'll let you know more about them next week. They are AWESOME! And at church, my companion was able to recieve his Patriarchal Blessing, because there wasn't a patriarch in his Stake in Peru, but here theres a patriarch. It was pretty cool to see his face afterwards. He was so happy! It was cool. 

Well, I am really grateful that I'm here on a mission. I'm so grateful that I can serve these people who don't know about the Gospel or how to have true happiness. I am also so grateful that I was born into a family that has this happiness! I love you all so much and I hope you have a week full of awesomeness. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Crepes Refritas

HELLO! This week was quite fantastically great n' stuff like that!

I would like to start off my email with a special message to my new
nephew, CHARLES HOLDEN MICHAEL BEANS! I just want him to know that his
name is a sentence. Charles is holding Michael Beans. But also, I want
to welcome him into the world and let him know that he made a promise
with Heavenly Father that he would come to this earth, and follow the
example of Jesus Christ so that he can have eternal happiness with his
family. And now, it is our duty to help little Charlie on his path
back to his Heavenly Father. He started a journey and now we have the
responsibility to help him out. Good luck, little man. I love you!

So, Tuesday was Zone Conference. Normally, there are 3 zones that head
to a city on the border of Uruguay called Quarai, and we all meet up
there. But this conference was different. 4 other zones came here to
Alegrete and the conference was here. We didn't go to Quarai because,
guess what happened? That city was taken out of the Brazil Santa Maria
mission and put in the Uruguay mission. So now there is a part of
Brazil in the Uruguay mission. Kinda crazy. So President Parrela came
on Tuesday and gave an awesome training about how we need to start
teach about family history and temples more to our investigators so
that they can not only make covenants that bring happiness for
themselves, but that they can also help they ancestors make covenants
so that they can have eternal happiness as an eternal family. It's so
true! When we talk about how families can be made eternal through
baptism and temple ordinances, people recognize that it's true and
have more desire to make changes in their life to follow Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is an amazing thing!

Friends at Zone Conference

We also did a family night at the Bishop's house this week. The Bishop
of this ward is super awesome, and it's kind of sad because his 2
oldest children are inactive. The oldest daughter was strong in the
church but then got into a bad marriage and it lead her down the wrong
path. And then his oldest son entered into the military (which is a
requirement to be in the military for at least 1 year in Brazil) and
then he would go on a mission. But then some stuff happened and now
he's inactive. But we left a message at the family night this week,
and all of his family was there. We were able to talk about the
importance of obedience to the commandments, and the purpose of
families, and it was amazing. The Spirit was really strong and now
Douglas, the Bishops son, wants to have a family night with us at his
house. It was just another little miracle.

This week, I called everyone in my ward on a mission! I printed out a
bunch of fake mission calls with missions to all over the world...The
US, Portugal, Norway, China, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Canada , everywhere. And then, I put them in envelopes and gave
them to the members. And then I brought my books of Mormon in in
German, Italian, French, English, and Spanish and then I wrote down
how to bear your testimony in each one of these languages, and then we
all went to the MTC with our new mission calls on Thursday. First, we
all learned the languages of our mission, and then we started to learn
how to be missionaries and talk to people to invite them to church and
church activities. It was pretty darn cool! And pretty effective. Now
everyone knows a little bit what it's like to receive a mission call.
I sure hope it helps the ward get more into mission work!

This week there was also some crazy wind and lightning storms. It was kind of crazy.

Well, I am so grateful to be here on a mission! It is amazing to see
the changes in so many peoples lives, including mine! The church
really is true, and the Lord really does love each and every one of
us. I love you all so much, and I hope you have a week full of
fantastic awesomeness.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Tenho saudade de gravatas borboletas

Hey there, people. This week was sweeter than chocolate covered lollipops. 

I had to kick a dent in this guy's car

On Monday night until Wednesday morning, I was on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders. It was pretty great. I learned a lot of things and it was a cool experience. Their area is super big, so we walked a whole bunch, golly goodness. But it's all good, because I like to walk. The coolest part was when Elder Nascimento, one of the Zone Leaders, made banana pancakes for breakfast. They don't have pancakes here in Brazil, so I sort of ate all of them with a chocolate spread, and it was an amazingly flavorful experience of awesomeness. 

Incredibly large tree system

When I got back to my area on Wednesday, my companion told me that Eliane had stopped smoking completely! WOOHOO! It was so awesome to see that she had made that change in her life! So what happened is that she was smoking 15-16 cigarettes a day and then on this exchange she told Elder Mamani that she hadn't smoked a single cigarette that day. Then we went back the next day, and she had smoked 2. So we asked her what time she finds it hardest to avoid smoking. She told us that it was normally in the morning when she woke up and was alone. So we woke up at 5:30 AM the next day to go visit her and study the scriptures together so that she wouldn't have the desire to smoke. We got there, and she started crying and told us that she didn't think we would come and visit her, but she was so grateful that we had come and hadn't given up on her. So we just chatted, studied the scriptures, and drank chimarrão. 

At the church with some fine people

Friday, we had a super cool experience. We had plans for 7 PM, and so we met up with Anderson (A 16 year old from the ward) to go visit someone. When we got there, she couldn't talk to us, so we went to visit plan B. She was sleeping. And Plan C also couldn't talk with us. So we were without anything to do and any ideas. We decided to go to the church and say a prayer to know where to go. We went into a quiet room, and all 3 of us got on our knees. I wanted Anderson to say the prayer so that he could have a cool experience with receiving answers to prayers, but he was a little scared to. Then I suggested that we all say a prayer out loud, one after another. I said a prayer, and then Anderson, and then Elder Mamani. During the prayer, the face of a sister in the ward who's husband is inactive appeared in my head. After the prayer, I said "I know where we're going". I said that I felt like we should visit Rosemere, and Anderson looked at me in shock and said "That was exactly the feeling that I had!" We went to visit her and her family. It was a great spiritual lesson, and then we played a quick game to get them laughing, and then we left. It was nothing out of the normal, but who knows why the Lord sent us there. Maybe Rosemere was struggling. Maybe they just needed to hear the message we left. Maybe Anderson just needed to have a cool missionary experience. I don't know why, but I trust that the Lord sent us there for a reason, and that whatever was done, was what the Lord wanted to be done. 

One of my favorite families. I'm on exchange with one of the Zone Leaders

I am so grateful to be a member of this church! This is the one and only true church, the same church that Jesus Christ established when he was here on the earth. Only through the ordinances and principles of the Gospel can we really return to our Heavenly Father to live with our families in eternal happiness.




Monday, October 6, 2014

The Lord speaks with Prophets today!

Well, might I say, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ, here, on the earth. 

Conference was amazing! I'm so grateful that I had the chance to hear the real Prophet of God testify of the the real gospel of Christ! So before I talk more about General Conference, I'll let you know a little bit about my week. 

So, Tuesday was Zone Meeting and it was pretty good. We broke up into districts to make goals about how we are going to increase the frequency of members at church on Sundays. We talked a lot about how we want each ward in the stake to have a "frequência" of 100 people at the end of 2 months. We made goals for what goal we wanted to fulfill every Sunday until the end of 2 months, and what we are going to do daily to reach that goal. It was pretty sweet. Normally, the "frequência" of the wards here are about 50-60 people every Sunday. It's kind of sad, but we're going to change some things here in Alegrete!

Also, Tuesday, it rained all day, and my companion didn't have an umbrella and I had a water proof jacket, so I let him use my umbrella. Even with the umbrella, we got soaking wet. We went and visited Eliane, and she wanted to give us dinner, but there was a meeting at the church that we had to attend. Right as we were about to leave her house Bishop called and told us the meeting was canceled because of the rain, so Eliane told us that we had no choice but to stay so that she could make us dinner. It's food and we're missionaries, so of course we didn't decline that. We also had the opportunity to stay and study in the Book of Mormon with her son, who was once addicted to drugs, but is now getting over it, working, and wanting to go to church. What a miracle!

Ward Party

Thursday, we did an activity at the church. It was super awesome. We did a play to demonstrate the parable of the seeds that were planted in rocks, thorns, and then good ground (. There was a prophet, 4 people, and the Devil. I was the Devil, and Elder Mamani was the prophet. He was preaching about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Little by little, as he was preaching, I would sneak up behind one of the 4 people and invite them to a party. The first one (who represented the seed that was thrown on the path and the birds ate), went to the party without thinking twice. Then, I went to the second person. He didn't want to go the party and wanted to listen to the prophet. So I ran to the other side of the room and changed my clothes. I then went behind him and tried a new method. I invited him to watch a soccer game. Then he gave up and went with me. He was the seed that was planted in the rocks and whose roots weren't that strong. The 3rd didn't want to go to a party, or watch a soccer game, but when I offered free food, he totally fell for it. He was the seed that was planted among the thorns. His roots were strong, but his company didn't strengthen him. The last one didn't want to party, watch soccer, and wasn't that interested in free food. Her only interest was to listen and heed the words of the prophet. She was the seed that was planted in good soil. It was cool to see how the ward understood the principles much better, and I think it prepared them a little better for conference. But always remember, plant your seeds in firm soil so that the devil doesn't tempt you. He will try many different ways, but if you are in firm soil, you want fall into his lies. 

Me as "The Devil"

General Conference was amazing! The Saturday Morning Session, I watched in English with all the Americans in the zone. It was amazing and I loved it. I really like D. Todd Christofferson's talk about free agency and accountability. Really, we are accountable for our actions, and we need to use our own agency to make the choices that lead to eternal happiness, like keeping the commandments, repenting, going to church every Sunday. Those little things are actually the bigger and most important things. After the first session, President Parrela sent a text to the Zone Leaders saying that nobody could watch Conference in English, even the new Americans that arrived this transfer and barely say anything. I don't know why, but it didn't really matter to me. It was an act of faith for Elder Hayes, an elder in my district in hasn't even been in Brazil for 3 weeks, and didn't understand anything, but we all watched it in Portuguese. I offered to translate for him, but he said he'd be fine. Before conference, I made a list of questions that I wanted to know about, and every single one of those questions was answered. And the ones that weren't answered, I received distinct feelings that I didn't need to know the answer in that moment, and that the answer would come at the right time. It was amazing! 

This one's for Cooper
On Sunday, a little miracle happened. We needed to watch conference at the Stake Center, and Elder Mamani and I were running a little bit late. The Stake Center is about 30 minutes from our house on feet, and we were just leaving the house 15 minutes before conference was going to start. And it was raining really hard. We started running, and then we happened to stop running right at a bus stop when a bus arrived. And guess what? The bus rides were free yesterday because it's election time here. So we got on the bus, and it happened to stop right in the front of the church, and we walked into the chapel, 10 minutes before conference started. It was super cool!

Isadora the Hipster
The last session of conference, Elder Lemos said that he was worried about Elder Hayes and asked if I would translate for him, so I did. Holy moly, translating is not easy, but for my first time, it went pretty well, and Elder Hayes understood. It's hard because conference is in English, and then it was being translated into Portuguese, but then I was translating back to English. So the conference that Elder Haye's heard might be a little different then the conference that everyone else heard. But the important thing was that the spirit was there. It was also an amazing experience to hear a talk in Portuguese, from the conference center, without translation! It was history and it was amazing! When the talk started in Portuguese, I didn't even notice that it was Portuguese until Elder Hayes asked me if I could translate. I just thought the translaters had stopped talking, but nope. It was actually Portuguese over the pulpit at the conference center. It was amazing to  hear it and to be part of that historical moment. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for having the Prophet of God testify to us! I love the church!

The Church of Jesus Christ is here on the earth. I know it!

I love you all so much! I hope your week is amazing! 

Always remember the tools for peace in this life:
1. Pray
2. Read the Scriptures
3. Have family night
4. Go to the temple/prepare to go to the temple

Let's head the words of the Prophets. 

Elder Hintze 

P.S. -Here's my thoughts about conference in Portuguese:

Sessão Sáb. de Manha. 
Eu gostei muito do discurso de Elder D. Todd Christofferson. Nos precisamos usar nosso livre arbítrio para tomar responsabilidade para nossas ações, e para escolher a fazer as coisas certas. Os mandamentos são bem claros, e precisamos usar este dom maravilhoso de livre arbítrio para escolher seguir estes mandamentos, e ser obedientes. 

Sessão Sáb. da Tarde. 
Antes da Conferência, eu tinha escrito a pergunta, "Como posso me preparar para ser o pai e marido que O Senhor quer que eu seja?". Eu recebi minha resposta durante esta sessão. Primeira, eu senti que eu preciso me casar com uma moça que tem as mesmas crenças que eu e os mesmos desejos que eu. Segundo, eu senti que eu preciso ser mais obediente ás regras da missão. Se eu consigo cumprir meu propósito como missionário, eu vou conseguir cumprir meu propósito como pai e marido no futuro. Também, eu preciso aprender os princípios do evangelho mais claramente, e saber como ensinar estes princípios para que possa ensinar aos meus filhos. 

Sessão Dom. de Manha. 
Eu estava assistindo, e eu senti um sentimento muito forte de que realmente, eu estava ouvindo os Profetas de Deus. Eu soube muito mais naquele momento porque nos temos profetas, a porque eles são importante. Eu recebi mais uma confirmação do Espírito Santo, talvez mais forte que eu já tive, que Deus chamou um profeta novamente aqui na Terra. É um sentimento maravilhoso. Eu sei que Thomas S. Monson e os Apóstolos são profetas de Deus.

Sessão Dom. da Tarde. 
Eu recebi uma outra resposta para uma pergunta que eu tinha. Eu queria saber o que eu posso fazer para ajudar minha família fortalecer os testemunhos deles. Eu aprendi que eu preciso ajudar eles orarem, leram as escrituras, fazerem noites familiares cada semana sem falta, e iram no templo com frequência. Eu vou falar para eles hoje para que possam começar agora.