Monday, November 13, 2017

Working with the members...11.13.2017

Hey everyone, 

     This week was pretty simple but we got a lot done. Wednesday we had a division with the zone leaders in Teresopolis. I go to go with Elder Wilson again and it as a great experience. We went after a lot of less-actives and climbed lots of hills and stairs. Teresopolis is the most confusing city that I know.

    Friday we got back to our area and that night we taught Stevan and Karini. They are a young newly married couple that are progressing a lot. Last week we stopped them in the street and this week we caught them at home. We taught about eternal families and then about the Book of Mormon. They promised that they would read.

     Saturday Elder Esparza was sick so I went with Elder Mires to confirm people for Sunday at church, returned home, got Miranda and then went to my area. I talked a ton and went right to sleep as soon as I got home. Sunday was really relaxed. At church we talked about the gathering of Israel and the miracles of missionary work. I got to share a few experiences and I am a witness of miracles of missionary work and the changes that the gospel makes in our lives. That night we visited Fabio and Iza again and then had ward council meeting. It was good to get some more focus with the members about how the ward can grow. 

Yeah so that was preyty much my week. The mission life is great. 

You will get 2 packages this week I think...hopefully the camera and then a December (pre-Christmas stuff) box.  What are you doing on the 17th?

There will be a mission devotional with Elder Antunes a seventy I think. 

Will the mission be getting together for Christmas again like last year?

There will be a Christmas conference yes. 

Which of your companions are home now?

Elder Willian Santos, ELder Choi, Elder Palomo, and Elder Sousa.

What do most people do for work in Nove Friburgo?

Here is the capital of lingerie. Literally everyone makes bras, underwear, and short-shorts. 

Do you see livestock around Nove Friburgo?   Cows/pigs/sheep?  Or is more of a city?

I dont see any livestock no. It is a city.

Do your companions get packages/letters?  Do they get email?

Yes they do. As for emails they have a ton as well.

Until next week!
     -Elder Smith

Monday, November 6, 2017

Just a quick note today...11.06.2017

Hey everyone,

     One more week on the mission has gone by. Things are progressing nicely here in Nova Friburgo. However, this past Tuesday I woke up with a bad fever. I woke up, took some medicine and went back to sleep. When I woke up I asked for a blessing and then went to lunch. I was a little weak, but after lunch I was able to work. Thursday Elder Miranda was hit harder than I was and we had to stay home. I gave him medicine and we gave a blessing and the next day all was well. 

     This week we met with a less active family and started teaching the mom of Fabio, called Julia. We had a good lesson with her about eternal families and the power to make it happen. She understood everything, but thinks that it isn't her time yet, but we won't give up on her quite yet. Eduardo is progressing a lot. We set a goal with him to be baptized this week. If he doesn't smoke he will be baptized. We weren't able to visit Jocimar this week, but he went to church .He liked it a lot and we are going to try and make a baptismal date with him.

     This Saturday we had family night with Jair and Maria Jose. I played a video called "Look Where You Step." It talks about decisions and how they affect our lives. Then Sunday the men and women had a combined class that talked about choices as well. There was an interesting example given about a man seated on a wall, with one leg on each side. One side of the wall had lots of people in white pleading for him to come to their side; and the other side had lots of silent people with their arms crossed. The two sides represent heaven and hell. The man on the wall asked the silent people why they were silent. They responded they don't have to do anything to the people on the because they already on their side. If we don´t have our minds decided before a choice happens we will probably fall. We need to be 100% committed to what we believe. It was a good Sunday. Until next week!

Do you still have your speaker for music?  Does it work?  Do you have Christmas music still?

Yes, I still use my speaker and i still have the Christmas music.

Were there any celebrations for the Day of the Dead there in Nova Friburgo?

The only thing that people do here is go to the cemeteries. So besides this, the streets were completely empty.

What did you learn from your companion, Elder Miranda, this week?

I don't know. Probably some good examples to use in teaching. 

Do you still have your glasses?  Do you ever wear them or just contacts?

I still have them yes. I have used them twice on the mission. 

     -Elder Smith

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween there...Day of the Dead here...10.30.2017

Hey everyone, 

     So to start things off this week was transfers. I will be staying here for 6 more weeks with Elder MIranda. Elder Gutierrez will be leaving us and Elder Sparza will be arriving. He is relatively new here on the mission. Elder Wilson wlil be coming to the zone so it will be good to see him again. 

     Our investigator, Eduardo, is progressing really well and we told him to pray every day this week and at the end of the week if he has an answer we will baptize him the next Saturday. We also went to a less-actives house of a man called Fabio and his wife Iza. When we got there we talked a little bit and found out that he served a mission and he told us that his mom is ready to be baptized. That she has been giving lunch to the missionaries for 12 years and is pretty much a member not baptized. We marked with him to go to her house this Wednesday. She seems like an elect lady. 
      This week one of the highlights was an activity called "Show do Mormão com a Noite do Chocolate." It is kinda like jeopardy with questions about the church. It took a lot of work and planning to make it happen, but everyone liked it. The food part was the night of the chocolate and there was tons of chocolate to eat. I even made cookies and they were the first thing to be eaten. 

     This Sunday was the Primary program in both wards. I was able to help and play the violin with them. The two Primaries did really well. They definitely brought the Spirit. Sunday I was able to see my recent convert Leandro pass the sacrament for the first time as well. That was a really good experience. So yeah the work is moving forward, there are some baptisms lined up here soon and I am doing well.

Today we are going to go into the city center and I think we'll eat some Burger King because I am needing some fast food in my life right now. I am a little tired of rice and beans again. 

My time is ending, so until next week. Love you!

Who/what do you need me to pray for this week?

This week you can pray for Eduardo, Diego and Jocimar. They are all investigators that I am teaching that have lots of potential to be baptized soon.  They are amazing.

Have you received any letters from people?

Letters are mostly from family, but I get some good shout outs from home friends in emails from time to time. 

Do you ever use (or did you ever) the smart straw and filters?

The smart straw I used a few times, but then gave it to Elder Cruz. But the life straw water bottle thing I use every day. I switched the filter on it one time as well, but I still have 3 filtesr unopened. Each one filters like 1000 liters so I probably wont switch filters again. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, October 23, 2017

The work is good in Nova Friburgo...10.23.2017

Hello everyone!

This week was really good. I was able to help Elder Miranda enter the waters of baptism with our friend Diego. Diego was a golden investigator. He accepted everything that we taught and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. The only problem is that he was called for obligatory military service for 1 year. It is common in Brazil, but he should be able to go to church still. 

   Wednesday was the regular dual ward volleyball activity. There were lots of youth this time so we didn't play. I won´t lie I really wanted to play, but we didn't have an investigator there so we didn't stay long. This time the youth had set up some speakers and played a few songs in English. I miss good music... We got a call fro Mexico that night as well about a reference for us. A man named Jocimar asked for a Book of Mormon via the church site and we contacted him 2 days later. He is 23 years old; doesn´t have a religion, but studies the Bible at home, and is really curious. He has a lot of potential.

     We are reactivating a man named Maicon Tostes. He has a huge testimony of the church, but he gets deanimated sometimes. He suffered a really bad car accident which put him in a coma and he had to relearn how to do everything. He is really charismatic and needs to be in the church. He invited a friend Marcio over and called us to teach him. It was a good lesson. 

     This Sunday was really busy. I got to go back to Primary as well again. I was asked to play the violin to help with the primary program that will be next week. Then out of nowhere a woman of the other ward asked if I could help their Primary as well. So next week i will have 3 hours of sacrament meeting. In sacrament meeting Diego received the Holy Ghost. 

   Then a youth called Adam talked about repentance. One part I liked is that when we sin it is like putting a ball and chain around our ankle. This slows down our forward progress and can even stop us. But we can repent, and if need be use the keys that the bishop has to become free again. It was a good talk and a great SundayTonight I will be going to a school where a member teaches English as well to help out so that should be fun. 

That thing that we have is called a pala italiana that a member made for dessert for us. It was probably the most chocolate and sugared dessert that I have eaten on my mission but it is so good I ate 3 pieces. I wont lie I wasn't feeling too good after I ate a ton but after 2 hours I was back to normal. 

Today we are going to go to the center of the city and try a Belgian hot chocolate drink and pass by some stores. Katie told me about a mixture that she used on her face that  has helped a lot. My face right now has gotten a lot better, but is really red. Before you ask I use a lot of sunscreen.

Yep Elder Miranda is already 5 weeks trained.  I think that I will be transferred here next week, but I am hoping that I wont. I love this ward and we are getting some good references from members and some good investigators. We will see though. 

Do you have a copy of your patriarchal blessing?  Have you read it lately?

I do have my patriarchal blessing. Once in a while I get it out and read. I read it a few weeks ago as I was doing a little study. 

Did you get the package with your camera in it?

No... It still hadn't gotten there. The mail system is really backed up. Literally, I sent a letter to Juiz de Fora, which is 6 hours by car and it took 4 weeks to get there.  But I did steal Elder Guiterrez' camera to send you these photos!

When was the last time you laughed with your companion?  What makes you laugh in your area?  How do you keep things light hearted?

We laugh everyday. If you don't than you will get depressed and go crazy. Literally there are lots of "no´s" in the day that if you don't laugh and stay light hearted the day gets long. We make jokes about a lot of things. it is random.

How are your clothes holding up?  Have you opened/used everything we packed?

My clothes are going well. I have just had to stitch 1 pair of pants. I have thrown out some white shirts because they had bad sun screen stains and gained some from Elders going home. The Costco shirts in the package that I brought with me I have given away to other Elders that were needing them. Oh but don't send more because they are really big... 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spring the clocks forward...10.16.2017

Hi everyone, 

     This week was decent. It was full of ups and downs. Lots of appointments fell through. This week the weather is starting to heat up. At the beginning of the week it was way hot and the end felt like someone was breathing in your face. Gotta love the Brazil Summer, but we've been eating a lot of acai to cool down. 

      As for the work, this weeks saving grace was Diego and his mom Adriana. Diego loves the Book of Mormon and keeps asking us to mark new chapters for him to read. His mom likes our messages as well and his stepdad showed some interest. We haven´t talked with him directly yet, but we will. This week we met Ruan. He was sitting on the ground and I said "Good Afternoon" and he responded "Good Afternoon Elders." I wasn't going to stop, but when he said Elders I walked back and talked with him. He said that after the tragedy in 2011 in Nove Friburgo the church and missionaries helped him a lot. (**You can see some of the news here: However, the missionaries were transferred and he lost their number. We wrote down his address and we will go there this week. 

     Sunday meetings were good and even had a surprise visitor called Phillip. He lost everything and is wanting to start a new life and is looking for a church. He arrived here and stayed the whole 3 hours. In sacrament meeting there was a good talk about prayer and another about faith. The talk about faith was given by Tiago, a young man that will serve a mission in Chile and leaves the 15th of December, and he made lots of reflecting questions to evaluate our faith. Do we have enough faith? What do we do to show our faith? How can we get more faith? It was well done. And in the talk about faith, Perola said that sometimes we have to pray to have more desire to pray. It was a great sacrament meeting. 

This week will have zone conference and just 2 more weeks until the end of this transfer.  If my package with the camera has arrived her in Brazil I should get it.

Does your mission president speak English very well?

The mission president is learning English right now, but he already speaks decently.

Did your last package from us have $1 bills in it when you got it?

yes it had the $1 bills. i already gave 2 away and still have 3. 

Who have been the most influential people you've encountered in the mission and why?

Elder Jared helped me a lot with being more actively engaged in the work and not being dragged into somethings. 

Elder Palomo taught me a lot about service. 

Daniel (Ward Mission Leader Nove Friburgo) is helping me see new ways to help investigators and work with members, Pres. Maicon helped me realize that 2 years is a short time to be a missionary.

Elder Ramos showed me how a sincere message changes lives. The list could go on but these are some that I remembered right now.

Did you put the clocks ahead Saturday night?  We are now 4 hours apart.  In November we fall back and will be 5 hours apart, so later email time for you would be better for me, but I'll be here whenever you are!!

Yes, we changed our clocks here. However, quite a few members forgot and showed up late or didn't show up at all. There wasn't the usual number of people there at church this week. 

Today we went to the center of the city and tried a Mate Suica and ate what they call the best acai in the city. It was good, but things were a bit overpriced to be honest. It was cool though. Now I will take a nap because I am dead tired and I will prepare for the zone conference. I was designated to give a training there so I have to prepare.

Until next week,
-Elder Smith

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Still training and working hard...10.09.2017

Hello everyone!!

This week there has been a lot of progress. Our teaching group is growing and we have people with a a desire to change. First off is Antonio and Eduardo. They are father and son who were brought to church by a member who is dating Antonio We taught the Restoration to them and they will read the book of Mormon. They just have to stop smoking and drinking but they want to.  We also met a teen called Diego. We left a Book of Mormon with him and when we returned he had read a chapter and loved it. Then he asked if we wanted the book back and we said that it was a present and he was really surprised and thanked us. He is 19 years old and if he gets baptized he could serve a mission. Antonia and Ricardo were full of surprises this week. Antonia would have been baptized but one day earlier, when we brought the bishop with us, she was drunk. Yeah... Then Ricardo, the one who is a little depressed, agreed to go to a pizza place with us. He went,liked it, and will now go to the youth activity this Thursday. He is starting to open up. Our recent convert Leandro brought his friend Joao to church as well. 

     This week sadly didn't have the baptism planned. But this week there was a surprise party for the stake presidents wife, Keila. We didn't know about it until we stopped by the church to use the bathroom. But it was good to animate us a little bit and a member introduced us to his friend Carol and we took her address and will go there this week Friday, I also went on splits with Elder Mires to do a baptismal interview. He is really excited and a hard worker. The interview went well and Andrea was baptized for the other dupla. This Sunday was fast Sunday and this ward loves it.There is always a line to bare testimony and many talked about missionary work and the Book of Mormon. Some of the members asked for another Book of Mormon to read at work.

Well until next week. After I finish email today the stake president invited us to a BBQ at his house!

Elder Smith

Monday, October 2, 2017

Great General Conference weekend...10.02.2017

Hello everyone,

The mission rule  changed to just an hour of email on p-day and  I am adapting. For those who don't know I am a  trainer. I am training Elder Miranda who is from Sao Paulo. It is different than normal. We have an extra hour of companion study to do a program for all new missionaries called "The first 12 weeks."  I have to do most of the planning a resolving problems but I try to show Elder MIranda how to do things. It is a learning process, and he is pretty humble and observes everything that I do. 

     As for teaching we are teaching Antonia and her son Ricardo. They want to change their lives and are really excited. If all goes well they will be baptized this Saturday. Ricardo is really timid and lost his dad recently so we got to teach about the Plan of Salvation which really helped him. We also encountered a women called Sueli this last week. She has a huge family of 10 kids and more than 20 grandkids. She liked our message, accepted a baptism date, and invited us to come back. There is also Altair and Joao . Altair is 77 years old and just needs to stop smoking. Joao is 19 years old and we want to baptize them together. 

     This general conference was really good and had a lot of talks about the Book of Mormon. Russell M. Nelson started off with a great story of how a king of an african tribe was converted because of the Book of Mormon. Then he went on and asked 3 questions, one of which was " How would your life be without the Book of Mormon?" It is a question that all of us need to ask ourselves. I know that my life would be drastically different without the Book of Mormon and not different for the better, but for worse. Tad R, Calluster gave a great defense and then took the offense against people trying to challenge the authenticity away of the Book of Mormon. It was a great talk. I would also like to give an honorable mention out to Craig Zwick who gave my personal favorite talk of conference. He gave some good stories and examples to talk about how our perspective is really important. There were lots of good talks but these 3 were some of my favorites.

Did you get to watch priesthood live?  That would have been 9-10:30 your time?

We got to watch the first 30min only. I will have a member download them onto a pendrive to hear later. 

How was the dermatologist?

Long story short the dermatologist wasn't there... I don't want to have to go to Teresopolis just for this again so I will just try that soap thing that you had sent me 2 weeks ago.

 Until next week!

Elder Smith