Happy Mother´s Day!

Mother´s day was fantastic. This week was crazy in our area. We had a surprise transfer where we had to spend a night in the Mission Office (without taking a shower, shaving, or brushing our teeth… yay!) waiting for our new companions.

My new companion is Elder Castro, from Argentina. He is great. I think he is shorter than Mom.

I´m not really sure what news I have this week other than that. I think all of the news I shared with Mom on Mother´s Day. I am learning a LOT about patience and humility and my personal conversion. My favorite scripture, which I never had in my life until now, is Ether 12:27, where we learn that God ALLOWS us to have weaknesses in our lives so that we may be humble and strong. I think that is my theme right now.

Eu amo todo mundo!

Sorry for the shortest email of my mission!

MTC District and Spokane North Stake: 22 months later

This week was awesome and encouraging and inspiring and discouraging and everything. But it was a good week.

Ivone and Luiz, the last active couple that I talked about last week (Ivone forgets everything, remember?) went to church on Sunday. It was awesome. We had already talked a lot with the ward leaders about the family, and when they got to church they were welcomed by everyone. She already talked to the relief society president and will make lunch for us this week. I am so impressed by her faith. She doesn´t even remember that she was baptized or anything about the church, but she is willing to believe and to serve because she knows that she believed and she served.

Also, the son of another part-member family we are teaching (just the mom is a member… and inactive 14 years… the husband and kids…not yet) named Miguel bore his testimony in sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was awesome. He talked about how his life changed the moment he started to learn about the gospel and he invited everyone to his baptism on May 17th. His mom started crying. We just need to get his dad to come to church!!!

Last Sunday, we received a miracle referral. We were leaving the church when a car honked at us. A couple from another ward yelled at us “Are you the missionaries that work in Jardim das Oliveiras”. After our affirmative response, they told us, “You have to visit our niece and her husband! They are getting married in June and they want to get baptized!” Without thinking twice, we took down their information and went to this referral´s house. It really was a miracle that they passed missionaries in the street that live in the same road as their niece. We should have left the church a lot sooner, but we had to help the ward secretary and the very moment that we left the church property, they passed us. To make a long story short, and a LOT of searching, we found this family, Alex and Aline. They are awesome. There isn´t much else to say about them other than that.

Also, we had a meeting with Bishop Caussé this week. It was an incredibly spiritual experience. We had the meeting together with the São Paulo South mission. I had the opportunity to talk to Elder Starr and Elder Palmer afterward. It was kind of a surreal experience.

The missionaries from our MTC district (The Provo MTC).

 

Elder Palmer, Me, and Elder Starr

We had a special meeting with Bispo Caussé with the mission São Paulo Sul (their mission) and so we had an awesome opportunity to talk for a few seconds afteward. I can´t believe it has already been so long! It seems like we were in the MTC two months ago!

I love everyone. This week was good and I know that this coming week will be even better.

Até mais!

PS Mom. Our ward is 2pm-5pm. I probably won´t call until 6:30 or 7:00 PM Brasil time, maybe later, depending on who calls first, me or my companion. I think 6:30 PM here is 2:30 in Spokane, right?

A Breath of Fresh Air

This week, around Tuesday or Wednesday, I was feeling horrible. Not physically, more spiritually. Emotionally. I felt like I was failing in our area, that I was doing about 10% of what I have been able to do in the past.

However, this week we had Interviews/Training with President Dalton and I also had the opportunity to do a few exchanges with other missionaries. I felt the spirit a LOT during those few days and I learned that to be humble means to be HAPPY with the circumstance in which we are in. To trust in the Lord´s timing more than ours. I certainly have learned a lot. I have passed through a lot of experiences that I never would have asked for but now I am grateful that I passed through them. I feel like I have learned to appreciate the trials and the difficulties in our life.

Also, I felt the spirit of the temple in the work throughout the week. I felt that there were people working on the other side of the veil, helping to realize miracles in the lives of the people we are teaching.

This week we decided to focus a LOT in less-active work. Not that we weren´t focusing in it before, but we decided to trust a lot more in the promises that our mission president has made about the power of “The Rescue”. We visited a lady whose named was on the list of members. Her named is Ivone. When we got to her house she said, “HOW DID YOU FIND ME? NOBODY EVER TRIED TO FIND ME!” She eagerly invited us to return to her house the next day because she was locked in her house. The nexted day, on our arrival, she welcomed us in and began to tell her story. About two years ago, Ivone had a stroke. In this stroke, she forgot 38 years of her life. When she had the stroke, her husband took her to the hospital in his car (faster than ambulance here). On the road, she looked at her husband and said, “WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?” She jumped out of the car and ran away. She could only remember until her 17th birthday, and she literally thought she was 17 years old. She forgot that she was married, she forgot that she was a member of the church, she forgot EVERYTHING. For those of you that have seen 50 First Dates, that movie is her life. She often wakes up and forgets everything. Her husband explains her life to her almost every day. Now, she has stabilized and doesn´t forget her life day by day, but she still has no memory of 38 years of her life. We will have the opportunity to re-teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ along with her son and daughter-in-law, who aren´t members.

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Have a great week! I love everyone!

I Love to See the Temple

Transfer 15: Doing family names at the Temple with Elder Dias

This past week we had the opportunity to go to the temple to do names of our own families. It was a sacred experience. We did all of the ordinances besides the sealing. The temple workers had “some” difficulties pronouncing the names. “Lindstrand” Wilhelm” and “Eliasson” aren´t exactly Portuguese names.

Transfer 15: Doing family names at the Temple with Elder Dias

Last week I mentioned that Cida would be baptized this week. Unfortunately, she became violently ill on Saturday and has been in the hospital, so we will wait a little bit and pray that she gets better.

I also mentioned last week a less active member named Cyntia. She came to church with us and her three kids. She LOVED it. Unfortunately her husband began a training course for his work that lasts 12 weeks, so he didn´t go.

I think right now as a missionary I am learning a lot about PATIENCE and FAITH. At the beginning of my mission I thought that being a missionary would get easier and easier as I gained more and more experience. However, I have learned that it is often the opposite. It seems that the more experiences and responsibilities that I have, the harder it is. But I love Ether 12:27. Through our humble faith, the Lord can take our weaknesses and make them strengths. He really is a God of miracles. But we have the challenge of making our timetable the same as His; the challenge of always accepting and embracing His will in our lives. I really enjoyed the article in the Liahona (The Ensign) this month called, “Why Having Weaknesses isn´t a Sin” (I think that is the name. I translated it).

I´m not really sure what other news I have this week. Tomorrow (April 21st) is called “Dia de Tira-Dentes” in Brasil, which means Take-out-teeth Day. Take-out-teeth is a nickname for one of the key historic figures in the Independence of Brasil. My birthday is a holiday. Woohoo!

A catholic church close to our area.

Catholic Church 1

Catholic Church 2

FELIZ ANIVERSARIO ADELAIDE AND GRANDMA!!!

Sorry that I didn´t wish Adelaide and Grandma a happy birthday in the last weeks. I remembered their birthdays, but I forgot to say something in the email. But I promise, I didn´t forget.

Dad: I am in Jacira Ward in the city of Jardim das Oliveiras in the municipality of Itapecerica da Serra. Also, thank you for renewing my license.

This week was great. We met a bunch of great investigators. Just like every family in Brasil, everyone needs to get married 😉 . But, these families are awesome. We met one inactive member in the street and wrote her address down, but in all honesty, I didn´t think much of it and we just never made time to pass by her house. One day the Spirit hit us in the head and told us to go there. We didn´t even remember who she was, but thankfully God did. And she remembered us. She is married (well, not married yet, but will be) and has three kids. She was baptized along with her mom and siblings, but her mom fell into inactivity and as a result she did as well. Her name is Cintia (Portuguese version of Cynthia) and her husband is Alexandre. Alexandre said he already visited almost every church on the face of the planet, but he never felt “good” in any of the churches he visited. As we shared the message of the Restored Gospel with this family, I had a copy of The Book of Mormon in my hand, and I noticed that Cintia was eyeing the book throughout the lesson. Just before we began to teach about the First Vision, Cintia asked, “Can I have that book?” After an affirmative and eager response from us, she continued. “I lost my Book of Mormon more than 10 years ago. About a year ago, I had a dream that two men would come and give me a copy of The Book of Mormon as a gift.” It was a clear testament to me that God really does prepare us to receive the gospel in our lives, even if it isn´t the first time.

Also, we have an investigator, Cida, who will be baptized this Sunday that told us she would NEVER be able to stop drinking coffee without a miracle. However, by her faith, God gave her a miracle. Here there is a coffee substitute called Cevada (Cevada means “barley”. It is literally just toasted barley that apparently tastes a lot like coffee) which we gave her to help her. She told us Sunday when she got to church that after drinking Cevada one time she lost the desire to drink coffee. Another recent convert bore her testimony in tears, talking about how she had been praying that Cida would accept the gospel but never had the courage to invite her. When she saw her at church on Sunday, she said she knew that God hears and answers our prayers.

I love everyone. I feel like I am learning a lot about the will of the Lord. I read the story of the people of King Limhi this week in my personal study and I thought a LOT about the fact that God didn´t save them from slavery until the were humbled “unto the dust”. It really is true. In our lives, blessings require humility.

TENHAM UMA OTÍMA SEMANA! AMO VOCÊS.

Passing the “Dias”

Kyle in Field

My new companion is Elder Dias (that means “days” in English). He is awesome. He is from Belém, Pará, and has been a member of the church for two years. He’s had four months in his mission, and we are learning A LOT about our area together. We only know a few of the members, but that is the joy of “whitewashing” an area. I actually love “whitewashing” areas, but it does come with difficulties. Our area is also a long way from a lot of things. There is no bank in our Zone, and our area doesn´t have a LanHouse (internet café) or a lot of other common necessities. We have to take the bus everyday to go to lunch and to go to church Sunday. We have to spend a LOT of our money in transit. But, the members are good and they don´t let us starve =). I think I said last week that this ward just divided 4 months ago. There are a lot of joys and a lot of challenges.

I can´t and won´t ever believe how quickly the time passes. General Conference (the last of my mission) has come and gone. And it was wonderful. The only sad part was that we missed most of the first session. We only heard Elder Perry´s talk, because the sound system burnt out in our chapel and the projector was having problems, too. And when I say that it burnt out, I´m not kidding. The sound went out and the chapel filled up with electric smoke. Everyone left the church running to catch the session in another stake. But we, being patient (and not wanting to leave our investigators) stayed. About 20 minutes later it was reasonably fixed and we were able to watch the rest of the sessions.

3 things I learned:

1. We need to have personal testimony, conversion, and worthiness NOW. And if we don´t have one of these three things, we don´t need to pretend we do. We just need to obtain them.

2. The family and marriage are SACRED, and we must do everything in our power to support and protect them. If we don´t do everything we can to create a gospel-centered home, our family will not be protected.

3. We cannot give up on the ones we love. Sometimes we can´t force blessings upon them. Sometimes we need to wait, watch, and pray.

Also, RM doesn´t mean Retired Mormon 🙂

I was impressed by the faith of some of our investigators, who made the relatively long and expensive trip to the stake center to watch conference, even though they had small (and VERY VERY ROWDY) children and are out of work. Faith allows God to act his miracles in our life.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like I am working as hard as I can to be a “profitable servant” but nothing is coming together. I often feel that I have all the right intentions but am incredibly incapable to bring about the results that the Lord expects of me. However, I seek comfort in the grace and comfort of The Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Tyler said in his email, I couldn´t survive my mission without the Atonement. Or my life. Or today. I would lose hope.

Our lives are hard. Imagine how hard life must be who DON´T have the hope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ; those who DON´T have the fullness of the restored gospel.

I really know that He is here in our daily lives and that we need to seek Him in every moment.

I love everyone!

Don´t forget to be happy. No matter how hard life gets, we can always get up.

Field

Overlooking City

Leaving the City, Blitzing the Country

So, I got transferred. I FINALLY left the endless city of São Paulo. I mean, my last area technically wasn´t “São Paulo”, but it is the difference between Los Angeles and Long Beach. Just city. And more city. And more city.

I arrived in my new area, a city of 20,000 people in the middle of the forest. It was like taking a huge breath of fresh air. Actually, I did take a lot of breaths of fresh air. The pollution is like 90% less than in São Paulo. Our ward, Jacira Ward, is modest in size. the average frequency is about 110 people. The ward split 4 months ago, so our ward is actually brand spanking new. It isn´t even on MLS yet.

This area is completely different from any that I have already served in. I really like it. It is so nice to walk up a hill and and see GREEN. And there are a LOT of hills. This area is notorious in the mission for having the most and steepest hills. The members are all really genuine. There is a LOT of opportunity for growth in our ward and a lot of potential. I am excited to see what will happen in these 2 1/2 transfers that I stay here.

This week was really dedicated to finding new investigators, of which there were none when I got here. Actually, there was one, but he can´t get baptized yet because he needs to get married and is waiting for a document from the Brazilian government to prove that his last wife is dead (he has been waiting for 6 months. And his wife passed away 25 years ago).

I don´t know who my companion is. This week I have been in a “super dupla”, or “4-companionship”. The two missionaries who were serving there are going home this week and President Dalton didn´t want to “whitewash” the area, so he sent me there to learn the area in a week. Also, a short-term missionary from a ward in our mission came to our companionship so that we could go on splits every day and be more effective. Tomorrow, when the other three missionaries leave, I will find out who my new companion is.

I am ecstatic for General Conference. Here, the priesthood session starts at 9:00 PM, so we pretty much have to pull an all-nighter to watch it. We will get home around midnight.

The weather here has actually been really nice. Cloudy and 70 degrees every day. I will send some pictures next week, but I forgot my USB converter so I can´t send any today.

I love my family. I´m grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. Every week I learn more and more and more about how precious those two truths are.

Have a good week!