TENHAM UM FELIZ DIA DAS GRAÇAS!

Happy Thanksgiving! My Thanksgiving is definitely going to be a whole lot different than the Thanksgiving of everyone else! (Well, maybe Tyler´s Thanksgiving will be similar) and will definitely be different than the last Thanksgiving in my mission (Haha… That was a YEAR ago?!) But even though I am THOUSANDS of miles from the closest thanksgiving dinner, I am definitely still full of gratitude.

First of all, I´ll share the story of our investigator Marlene who was baptized this week.

Tambem, no domingo uma irmã, Marlene, que nós ensinamos foi batizada. E ELA É INCRÍVEL! Tenho tanto amor por ela. Ela foi uma referência da vizinha dela e ela falou depois que sua vizinha nem sabia a benção que ela deu pra Marlene. Marlene morava perto de um membro toda de sua vida, mas sempre rejeitou o convite de ir pra a igreja. Agora ela está ANIMADA DE MAS para ir para o templo e fazer os batismos por seu pai, sua mãe, sua tia, e outros parentes falecidos. Ela tem um amigo, que batizou ela, que trabalha no templo, e ele vai para o templo com ela para realizar essas ordenanças. Marlene é casada e tem 5 filhos, mas ainda nenhuma pessoa na sua família aceitou o convite para escutar a nossa mensagem nem ir para a igreja. Mas quando ela convidou seu marido para o batismo dela e ele rejeitou, ela falou, “Só lembra-se disto: Que quando vocé for batizado, eu irei.”

You might have noticed it is in portuguese. That´s because I just copied it and pasted it from my email to President Dalton. but, don´t worry, I´ll tell it again in English. With a picture.

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Marlene is SO AWESOME. I have so much love for her. I don´t remember how much of her story I have told, so here goes. She was a reference from her neighbor, Silvia, who was just a contact in the street. We knocked on Marlene´s door and she accepted our invitation to come back and teach her. When we came back and taught the Restoration with a member, she read a scripture about the apostasy (Amos 8) and said, “That´s it! That´s exactly what is happening!” From then on, she ate up every material we gave to her. She calls Elder Rezabala. Marlene lived almost all of her life next door to an active member of the church, Maurice. He works in the temple now, and before we had the chance he taught her about the temple and how she could help her father and mother and other ancestors experience the joys of the gospel. She told us, “My children and husband might not have accepted the gospel yet, but my parents will.” She already has all the names and dates ready for when she will go do the baptisms in the temple. The whole ward already told her she will be the next relief society president. And I wouldn´t be surprised. She´s great. So the first thing I´m grateful for is the people I teach. My faith has grown in ways I cannot describe as I have watched and helped our investigators to know that our loving Heavenly Father has the church of His Son Jesus Christ here on Earth.

I just realized that I told different parts of this story in English and Portuguese. If you want the other parts of the story, you will have to use google translator. Sorry!

So what am I grateful for?

I am grateful for my family. More than any other thing I have on this Earth, I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for Mom´s constant faith and patience. I am grateful for Dad´s constant sacrifice, hard work, and teaching us by his faithful example. I am grateful that I was taught in a gospel-centered home, because now I know that the only way to successfully raise a family is when it is based on the essential gospel principles of Faith in Jesus Christ, forgiveness, hard work, and wholesome family activities

I am grateful for my mission. Someday I will discover the proper words to describe what my mission has given me. How it has helped me. But today, I still don´t have them.

Thanks, Mom, and everyone else, for sending what you are grateful for. It really is interesting to see the hand of God guiding us as we reflect back on what has happened. Especially when we compare that with what we thought would happen.

This week, the whole mission had interviews with President Dalton. It really was a sacred experience. I love him. In that interview, we talked about an interesting principle. I commented, “The farther and farther I get into my mission, the more experiences I have, it seems that there is always more to do; it always becomes more challenging when it seems like it should get easier. Why?” President Dalton shared a principle that Elder Bednar has also shared. When we experience and grow, when we increase our faith, when we come closer to the potential God sees for us, we have a greater capacity to act. We have a greater “vision”, or rather, we have more light. With this greater light, we see challenges and opportunities that weren´t even visible to us before. I imagine the moment in the Lion King when Mufasa tells Simba that everything that the light touches will be his.

Anyway, it was really good. There´s never enough time to say everything.

EU AMO VOCÊS!

FIQUEM FIRMES!

P.S. Thanks for the pictures, Mom. I really appreciate them. I definitely have not received it yet. I probably will in three or four weeks. This first picture is a picture of our zone. Don´t worry, the mustaches in front are fake. The second picture was just a little slice of home. We were walking down the street and I saw a car with a Utah license plate in the back window. Later that same day I saw a California license plate. My goal now is to find a Washington license plate.

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A LEI DA OPOSIÇÃO

The Law of Opposition

2 Nephi 2:11

Whenever we have a righteous desire and plead with the Lord to accomplish that righteous desire, Our faith will be tested.

And it is.

This week was probably the week that I saw the most opposition in all of my mission. Opposition for us, for our recent converts, and for our investigators. I think I may have even talked about A Lei da Oposição last week, but it is still true and I´m still going to talk about it.

Edna and Tawany, baptized last week, have had continual opposition since the day of their baptism. In their house (I don´t know how to explain it. It´s definitely not an apartment complex, but it´s not just one house. It looks like one house from outside and has a mountain of house behind it and beneath it, typical of São Paulo) lives essentially all of their family. And all of them are against them. And most of them are constantly smoking, drinking, and partying, even if they have two year old children sitting watching them. That´s pretty normal here. Anyway, I have been astounded by the faith and determination they have to stay strong and firm to their testimonies since their baptism. But they can´t do it alone. We are rallying our ward arond them to make sure they have a solid foundation to resist the mountain of opposition that is pressing at them from every side.

We found an awesome 28 year old kid this week named DJAlma. We went to his house on Saturday to teach the Restoration and he was listening to Be Still My Soul on youtube. Maybe this wouldn´t be as surprising in the US, since be still my soul is not exclusively a hymn of the church. But in Brasil, the only way Be Still My Soul exists is if it is from someone LDS. So that was a pretty awesome start to our lesson. Halfway through the lesson, DJAlma asked, “Hey, can I invite my friend? He needs to here this.” His friend denied, but DJAlma was so excited about the restoration that he wanted to share it with everyone he knows. The next day, we went to his house to pick him up for church and he was already waiting, dressed in a suit with a white shirt and tie. For anyone who has been a missionary, THAT IS A MIRACLE. He loved church, and our other investigator, Marlene, talked to him the whole time about how excited she is to be baptized next Sunday. When good things are happening is when the opposition comes.

But I know we will overcome the opposition. I mean, we have The Lord on our side. We can only lose if we give up or give in.

Mom, I will let you know when the package gets here. And I will pray for Tanasha. Definitely. I was thinking about her and the baby during the week. Also, I am SUPER excited for the My Family book. I didn´t know you would send me one too. But I will definitely appreciate it. Grandma: Thank you in advance for the Christmas present! I might have to give in and buy a new white shirt. Some that I have now are getting a little… old.

EU AMO TODOS DE VOCÊS! Fique firme.

BATISMO DE EDNA E TAWANY! Happy Birthday, Maria!!!

Another week has slipped by. But it was a GOOD week. We went to the temple as a mission (first time since the MTC here, so it was a huge blessing. Also, Tawany and Edna were baptized!!! I literally did not even realize Edna was short until we took this picture. I´m pretty much squatting in this picture because my head was not even in the first two pictures I had. Mom, you aren´t short! I don´t remember how much I have said in the past about Tawany and Edna, so I will give a little bio right now. Tawany is 17 and has a two year old son, Pietro. Edna is Tawany´s mom. We contacted Edna in the street one day, and she wasnt interested, but she told us to visit her daughter Tawany because “she was needing help from God”. So, we came back and taught Tawany. We invited her to be baptized and get married, but she said she would prefer to leave her boyfriend and get baptized. So, she moved broke up with him, moved out, and got baptized. It´s a good thing, too, because he´s not the best. I´ll just say that. Edna always stayed in our lessons and went to church with Tawany, and every lesson we invited Edna to be baptized, but she just said, “This is Tawany´s thing. I´m just here to support her.” Edna had already been baptized 6 times and been active in every church on the face of the Earth beside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had sold her car and her furniture because her pastors told her she wasn´t paying enough tithing. She has been a missionary for other churches. But the day we met her in the street, she was really fed up with all the churches she had been to and prayed to God to show her what to do. She was just to stubborn to accept the two missionaries that he sent. But thankfully she sent us to her daughter. Edna told us the day of her baptism, “I´ve already been baptized and been in every church I could find. Thank God that today I´ll be baptized in his church. I´m finally coming home.”

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The rest of the week was pretty normal. The Law of Opposition (Second Nephi 2) is REAL!!! Every single thing that could go wrong to prevent the baptism happened, even the Bishop at one point was against it and it appeared that they would not only not be baptized, but the whole ward counsel would turn against us and our relationship that we have been building with the ward would be destroyed. BUT, good will always overpower bad, so we kept going with faith that they would be baptized. Then, we called the Bishop and all of the issues were miraculously resolved in about four minutes. WOOHOO FOR MIRACLES AND ACTING IN FAITH!

Also, last Sunday we found a new investigator named Marlene. She is incredible. She grew up next to members of the church, and she firmly rejected the hundreds of invitations they gave her to go to church. However, many years later, and now with 5 children, she accepted our invitation. We taught her The Restoration and as she was read Acts 8:11-12 (about the apostasy) she stopped and said, “THIS! THIS IS WHAT`S HAPPENING! I KNOW THIS IS TRUE!” I put it in caps lock because she yelled it. She is so cool. To make a long story short, she went to church (and the baptism) on Sunday and loved it all. She knows the Book of Mormon is true. In Relief Society on Sunday, she felt a prompting that she should tell the sisters how she found the church and she told us everyone in relief society was in tears. She will be baptized November 23rd and we are starting to teach the rest of her family as well.

She has a 14 year old neighbor named Mariana that we found on a seperate occasion who is awesome as well. Mariana came to church on Sunday with a girl from our ward and Mariana´s two best friends.

I´m just so excited about the work of The Lord.

AMO MINHA FAMÍLIA!

PS It´s not too hot for now. All of Brasil will fast for rain this Sunday, so I´m sure you will be hearing stories of some crazy rain here pretty soon. We´re needing it.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!!!!

I hope your birthday is great! Our p-day almost got switched and I was going to be really sad when I wouldn´t be able to wish you a happy birthday. Words can´t describe the love and appreciation I feel for you, Mom.
Thank you for your example of perseverance and sacrifice. 🙂

Time keeps flying by. Every Monday that I come to email just seems like it comes faster and faster. And life keeps going by. This week was REALLY REALLY GOOD.

I feel like I am learning and growing a LOT here in São Luis with Elder Rezabala. Our ward is pretty weak (for now…) and our area had nothing happening when we got here and Elder Rezabala was being transferred from an extremely trying time in his mission. So, there were a lot of challenges. But, a lot of challenges lead to a lot of opportunities for growth. I´ve learned that if I´m growing, I´m happy. If I´m not, I´m frustrated. I´ve learned about the true nature of faith… how the real test of faith is endurance and being able to overcome our trials. I´ve learned the importance of setting goals and striving to realize them. I´ve learned to follow leaders because they have the authority to be inspired for the people they lead. I´ve learned that everything else falls into place when we focus on the most important things. I´ve learned that we need to critique our performance, but we always need to have a positive perspective.

And those are just the things I learned this week.

Just in case you missed the memo last week, read the book Evoking the Powers of Heaven. I´m assuming that´s the name, since I only have it in Portuguese.

It´s funny how sometimes so many things happen in a week that I feel like I don´t have the words to express what happened. We found a lot of new investigators… a lot of new families. And we marked a lot of them for baptism, which makes a HUGE difference. We found some awesome elderly ladies that are super excited for us to come back. Our lessons there will be like teaching the Red Hat Society. I´ll talk more about our new investigators next week when we know that they are more solid.

And for the first time since I left the Brasil MTC (already four months ago!) we are going to the temple this week! To actually do a session, not just to bring our investigators there. It is much-needed. I´m extremely grateful we have a temple so close to our mission.

It was great to see pictures and hear about Halloween. As I said last week, it´s only just catching on now. Pretty much all that happened was that as we were teaching a lesson a bunch of kids knocked on our investigators door. But the kids didn´t have costumes. And they just said, “tem doces?” (Do you have candy?), which our investigator didn´t, and judging by their candy bags, it didn´t seem like anyone else did either. So Halloween is still a work in progress here. Kimmie, Isaiah looked SUPER HAPPY as a cowboy. Also, your sons are clones of each other. What did Lacey and Michael and Adelaide do for Halloween? It seems like it has been a few weeks since I have heard from them.

EU AMO MINHA FAMÍLIA!
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