Here are some pictures!! The first one is the sample photo they sent us, well right in the front middle is Elder Ashford and they got him with his eyes super closed. Well Elder McArthur got creative and using Paint he added eyes to Elder Ashford which you will see in the second photo. THose eyes look familiar??? They are mine! And my glasses, and my left ear! It turned out pretty good didn´t it? Also that third one would be a great one for my facebook page...
Love you all!!
Feliz Natal minha família e meus amigos! Natal aqui em Brasil é um pouco diferente, não tem as mesmas tradições, mas eles sabem como ter uma boa festa! Haha Christmas here is a little different, but it was so great to be here again for Christmas. This last Sunday we got to the church building and it was one of the first times on my entire mission where I had no one to go get to come to church... it was such a weird feeling! We decided to talk to literally everyone who passed by us and also get to know the neighbors of the church and unfortunately no one wanted to enter in at that exact moment but we got a lot of addresses and will return to visit those people! So we were bummed, we had worked hard that week but in opening the area it had been difficult to find someone to come to church and realyl feel the spirit there. So we went in and in the Gospel Essentials class there was an investigator there!!!!! Her name is Rosangela, she is the Relief Societies neighbor and has been invited many many times before but that day she decided to come to church! It was a miracle. Such a tender mercy. We got to know her and marked an appointment with her that afternoon. There we met her mother, Josefina, who is about 65 years old. We got to know them a little bit and started with a prayer and after we closed the prayer both of them were crying! Josefina told us that her prayer of 3 years had just been answered, she has a really strained relationship with her daughter and they really want to fix things and love each other and she said she just knew that we were sent to help her exactly with that! It was an incredible lesson and Josefina readily accepted a baptismal date. Rosangela seems to have an iceburg as we call it and we don´t know what is impeding her from accepting baptism yet but we are really praying to help her understand and to understand her needs right now. The next time we went there we went with their neighbor and it was a wonderful lesson. Rosangela hadn´t read the Book of Mormon so we read it with them and it was an great lesson, the Book of Mormon is so powerful, I love reading it with people, it brings such a sweet spirit.
On Christmas Eve we had lunch at a recent converts house, Jorge, it was great. He has a handicap and lives alone, he also used to be a horder before he met the missionaries. He loves having the missionaries over and has such a strong testimony. He also basically designed his house using things he found over the years, it is beautiful! It was a great lunch. Very humbling. He spent a lot of time preparing everything just so he could have us 4 over for Christmas. He really tried to prepare his absolute best for us. I was grateful for him. That night we also got invited to dinner with President Zanforlin, who is the 2nd Counselor of the mission and lives near our area but in the Jaçanã stake. It was wonderful being with his family, him and his wife are super awesome people, it was uplifting to talk with them.
Oh! Also on Tuesday we had our Mission Christmas Conference! It was so great, it took a ton of planning to do, but the entire mission got together in Sorocaba. The missionaries from the Capital woke up early to get a bus that the mission rented. We got there and it was awesome, President and Sister Farnes gave great Christmas messages and then the office staff took turns reading nativity scriptures and between each reading everyone rose to sing Christmas hymns. Also a new elder played a christmas song on the violin, it was great, he was realyl nervous but did a fantastic job.
Then we had a great group picture which is going to be sent here soon and then we had a great lunch (BBQ!!!). Afterwards we had a talent show and it was great, haha a couple misisonaries imitated President Farnes and used his kids in their talent. It was hilarious. President and Sister Farnes and their kids made a video as well, it was pretty funny.
Christmas was fun, we ate at this great families house and the sister made us SO much food. Haha so so much. It was really good too, It was great to be with them and also there were a ton of non members there so that made it even better! Then I got to talk to you all which made for a very very good Christmas!
Afterwards we worked!! I loved it! It wsa so great beacuse so many people were home and we were able to talk about Christ and really serve him on such a special day. I just loved it. I love being on a mission. It made me sad to think that it is my last Christmas on the mission. I love serving my Savior in this way. I love Brasil and these people. Through this service it has become a sacred place to me. I just love it here. Love you all, have a great week and Happy New Years!
Jan 3, 2015
I just cannot believe that it is already 2015! Boy did this last year fly by. This week was really good, we were able to work hard and we received a lot of blessings! I am so grateful for how Heavenly Father blesses us.
Last week as I said I was able to have a pretty cool opportunity to see the baptism of one of my old investigators from Tucuruvi. While I was in the area he couldn´t be baptized as he wasn´t married, but now he doesn´t have anything hold him back, so Felipe got baptized!!! Normally we can´t go to the baptisms in our old areas because it´s far and it would gast a lot of time. But since I live in Tucuruvi and was already at the office that day right before the baptism I was able to see it. And I actually got asked to baptize him! It was really great to be able to bless Felipe and see him make this decision, it was really gratifying to see that.
We also had a great day at church last week, we can see the members starting to get excited to be involved in the work. Both Josefina and Rosangela went to church and loved it. THe members received them really well. They invited them to a family night on Monday which went really well, haha it was at this member´s house in the middle of the forest!! Our area is in the city but is on the border with the hills/forest on the edge of the city and so we went there and there are monkeys, giant plants, dirt roads, a bunch of stuff that normally we don´t see in the capitol. It was a great experience to see the members receive Josefina so well, she really enjoyed herself and loved learning how to hold a family home evening as she is looking on how to strengthen her family relationships. Also, on Monday we were going to our area (by bus as always) and my companion was talking to a man right around when we were going to get off, so we decided to keep on talking to him about the church and get off a little bit later and go a different route to our appointment. Well we got off and didn´t really know how to get there!! Haha so we saw this young man sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house nad we asked him for directions. We ended up sitting down with him on the sidewalk and teaching him a lesson! His name is Emerson and he is 17, it was great, the Spirit was really strong and he accepted our invitation to be baptized on the 17th of this month! We are eager to keep teaching him and we were able to teach him and his father on New Year´s Day. Heavenly Father truly gave us a little miracle in finding him and having him be right there so we could ask for directions!
We are really trying to build our teaching pool since we opened the area and we were so blessed this week! We met this couple named Antonio and Fatima, they are middle aged and don´t have any children, just a really great couple. They readily accepted our invitation to read the Book of Mormon and to be baptized. When we returned Antonio had read the first three chapters! We had marked 3 Nefi 11 for him to read but he ended up reading more! They both are very excited to go to church and are just really caring people. Also we had an appointment and unfortunately it fell through, but we asked for a glass of water from the man who told us that his neighbors weren´t home. He gave us water and we asked if we could say a prayer with him as a way to show our gratitude. He said yes and invited us in and we ended up teaching him and his wife and were able to invite them to church and mark dates with them as well! Heavenly Father really blessed us this week in finding people who are ready to be taught and accept the Gospel! I just loved it. We are realyl praying and doing our best to now follow up with them and help them go to churhc and there feel the Spirit.
On Friday (yesterday) we had leadership counsel in Sorocaba, it was great as always to be trained by President and Sister Farnes. They are incredible. It was also interesting as we saw the goals that all of the different zones have for baptisms this month of january, I loved seeing how excited everyone was. This time President also invited the district leaders as a way to start of the year realyl united. It was great to be fed spiritually nad now we are psyched to follow up with the zone leaders nad really help the mission as a whole move forward and start off great for the new year.
I am just lovign it as always!! I had a little realization this week on New Year´s that my only full year of being a full time (young) missionary (because I definitely want to serve someday again) had passed!! It was crazy! It made me really sad to think that it was gone! But I also am really happy with the service that I gave this last year and that I was able to grow, help other people, represent Christ, and really consecrate myself to the Lord this whole entire year. I am so incredibly grateful to serve as a missionary right now, it is the best thing I could be doing with my life. It is truly fantastic being a missionary.
Just to finish it off, we had a funny moment in language study, Elder Farias is learning english and so I was quizzing him on words. Here´s how it went but translated into english.
Me: How do you say "barba" in english?
Elder Farias: Ummm... barbation????
Me: Hahaha no, it´s "beard"!
Elder Farias: How is it? "Bieber"????
Have a great week my family and remember to open your mouths!!!!!!