Monday, December 11, 2017

Transferred from Nova Friburga to Conselheiro Lafaiete....12.10.2017

So, today is super busy and I have a ton to do since I got transferred to Conselheiro Lafaiete. I will be a Zone Leader there and will be the companion of Elder Gale. He is an American that arrived one or two transfers after me but I have talked with him before and all should be well. It was really sad to leave Nove Friburgo and I have already said goodbye to almost everyone. Just a few left. 

We have already cleaned the house and i have packed almost everything. Just a few last things to go. I will leave tonight at 7:00, sleep in Teresopolis  and then tomorrow I will have to ride a lot of busses. Elder Mirnada and Elder Mires will stay here. Elder Esparza will be leaving as well. And no we never did get the new apartment... But oh well right now I don't have to worry about it. As for about my new area I don't know anything. Literally nothing. 

    This past week we had gone to be interviewed by the mission president. because there wasn't a zone conference. There was a mission tour but it didn't give enough time to interview each of us. It was a great interview and President Lacerda. made me think a lot. I will give more details when we Skype at christmas

Monday, December 4, 2017

December countdown....12.04.2017

Hey everyone, 

     One more week goes by on the mission. This week was the 11th week of training for Elder Miranda so he was the senior companion and I got to be a little more relaxed. It all went well and he showed that he knows how to do everything. We planned really well, but lots of appointments fell through and so this week was more tracting in the streets and knocking on doors. We didn't get to enter many houses this week but we have a lot of names to contact. 

     This Friday we had an activity at the church about our savior Jesus Christ. It was the same activity that we did in Varginha 7 months ago and it worked equally as well here. We talked about a friend that has helped us through some trials in life and how because of him we got through it. However the catch is that we didn't say who the friend was. After we talked we had people write down their biggest challenge right now and then we passed a slide show with pictures of Christ and then a short video from the church. It was a spiritual activity and it went really well. 

    This week we learned that Josimar, the man we baptized last week, went to to Brasilia for December so we aren't able to have much contact with him. But he is really excited still and when he gets back we will go there. Sadly we had to cut Eduardo because he hasn't been progressing so that wasn't that great, but we are after new investigators. This Sunday was fast Sunday and their were lots of powerful testimonies shared. Tiago, a soon-to-be missionary bore his last testimony before he is off to Chile! He cried a little in front but bore a powerful testimony. I love this ward. 

Transfers are next week and we will see if I stay here for Christmas or if I will be off to another area, but whatever happens I will be happy. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, November 27, 2017

Josimar's baptism, hard work, and pday hike...11.27.2017

Hey everyone, 

     This week was pretty normal, but had a fantastic finish. During the week lots of appointments were falling through, so we had to knock on doors and make lots of contacts. We talked with a ton of new people in a neighborhood called Jardinalndia and marked a lot of return visits. At the end of the week though Josimar was baptized! He was a reference from the sister missionaries in Mexico and everything went great. The sisters got to watch the baptism via skype as well. He is an elect of the Lord. 

    During the week we went to Bom Jardin which is a city next door that is part of our area to visit a less active member that the bishop asked us to visit. We got to talk with a woman named Renata that is passing through a really rough time in her life. We shared a message abut how God blesses those that go after a solution and invited her to come to church. Then we went to a members house there that is sick, but is going to church without fail. Sister Maria do Carma. She is an example in the ward. 
    During the week I got to do 2 baptismal interviews for the other companionship of 2 teenagers called Rulian and Breno. Everything went right and they were baptized this Saturday as well. The zone leaders also did splits with the other dupla so they were here. It was great to see Elder Gomes, who is ending his mission in 2 weeks, and Elder Wilson. We ate pizza at night and talked a lot about past areas and missionaries. It was great. 

     Sunday the talks were about rescuing our friends that have fallen away from the church, and about how our decisions affect others. Our decisions don't just affect us, but they can affect the lives of 3-4 generations. One decision to serve a mission can affect the lives of hundreds, if not thousands. We have to always remember to think about the others that are around us, or those that we could meet before we make any decisions. All in all it was a great Sunday

Today we went on a "hike".

Until next week!
     -Elder Smith

Monday, November 20, 2017

Devotional with Elder Antunesand more work in Nova Friburgo...11.20.2017

Hey everyone, 

     This week was really good. Today is actually a holiday, so it was the normal scramble to try and get a place to use the internet, but we got it worked out. 

We had a special mission devotional with Elder Antunes who is a 70. It had all the mission menos 2 zones, but I got to see lots of old friends. I also got 2 packages and my replacement camera so I can send pictures again. Oh but I almost didn't get the camera because it was in a box with Elder Hill´s name as well. In the end it all worked out. 

     Elder Antunes taught us a lot but I will just share a few things. He talked about the difference between a Just man and a Holy man. A just man is fair to all and strives to do things right, but a Holy man doesn't need to try because righteousness has become who he is. That we need to let the gospel transform us so that is isn't just a part of us, but it is us. He then continued about light. The scriptures talk about the light of Christ and how we need to be a light in the darkness. The more we are like Christ, the more light we have. 

On the Earth our blood is what gives life, but after we resurrect we don't need blood. The light that we have gained gives life to us  The light we gain here, together with God´s mercy, will be our glory in the next life, so we need to get to work here. It was a great experience.

     As for our investigators Jocimar will be baptized this Saturday. We had a good talk with Eduardo to see what is holding him back and he talked a little bit about his fears to mess up after the baptism. And we were able to help him with this doubt and made a deal with him to pray every day. He loves the church and wants to continue coming but just has this little thing holding him back. We met some others, but I will talk about them as they progress a bit more. 

Why do you (and others) do the thumbs up in most photos?

I dont know, just to do something I guess. Like hey this is fun. 

Do you still have room in your journal(s)?  Did we send you with one or two?

Yes I still have one journal. I am almost halfway done with the first one... You had sent 3 but the other 2 I gave one away and I traded the other for a tie :)

Are you gaining or losing weight?

I have gained a little bit of weight. About 12 lbs.

Who can we pray for by name this week and why?

Please pray specifically for Eduardo to not have fear of messing up after baptizing, and for Jocimar that everything will go all right.

Until next week!

Elder Smith

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