Monday, April 16, 2018

No transfer for me...and that's great!!....04.16.2018

Hello everyone,

This week was transfers and I am happy to announce that I will be staying here in Lafaiete with Elder Pereira! We have lots of plans and people that are preparing to enter the waters of baptism. The zone changed a little bit, and I am ready to work with the new missionaries. This week we said goodbye to Sister Silva and Sister Gonçales that faithfully ended their missions here. They were great missionaries.

     This week we went to São João Del Rei and Barbacena to do baptismal interviews. We had to wake up early to ride the bus, 3 hours to get there, 4 baptism interviews, going straight to Barbacena for another 2 interviews and then going home. It was very tiring. 

     This week we met with a teen called Jailton. He went to the church last Sunday night, returned Wednesday for English class, went to Institute on Saturday and Sunday morning was back at the church. He is 19 years old and is loving the church. He will be baptized very soon. I can feel it. 

     I learned about a miracle this week as well. Samuel, the kid that we baptized 4 weeks ago has a rough life. Last week he was assaulted and the thief took his phone. A women posted about him on Facebook and the public started to send him clothes, an oven, a tv, and a bed for him and his mom. His house is the size of a small living room and people donated materials to help build a bathroom for them as well. All of this started happening after his baptism when we promised his mom  that if she let Samuel be baptized their lives would change. The power that we have to promis blessings is real. The mission is great. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, April 2, 2018

What an amazing General Conference...04.02.2018

Hey everyone,

This week went by way fast. We had divisions with Elder Andrews and L. Costa on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we had divisions with Elder Lesuer and Elder Chinchilla. These were two of the best divisions that I had done for a long time. Almost everything went well, we visited investigators with members, and even encountered some less-actives. We spent that whole week talking about a living prophet and how general conference can answer all of our questions and inviting everyone to participate with us.

Saturday morning we went with the Stake President to a school to talk about how the church celebrates Easter. There were leaders from other churches as well and they talked about the true meaning of Easter for them. It was a cool experience and we passed the churches Easter video that the church had made. Everyone loved the video and some even cried. It was a good experience.
 The highlight of the week was definitely General Conference. Although I still haven't watched the priesthood session the Saturday and Sunday sessions were great. Saturday had lots of talks about President Nelson and how listening to the prophets will help us in these days. Then Sunday President Nelson gave a great talk about personal revelation, how to obtain it, and said that in these coming years it will be essential to our success. Elder Oaks talked about how we need to pray to know what needs to be done and not pray for God to resolve our problems; and that it may not be on the first try that our answer will come. There were lots of other great talks and changes that everyone is excited for. Especially for a Brazilian Apostle. Conference was great and I have lots of notes to remember at least the important parts. I hope you all loved conference as much as I did.   We had 4 investigators at conference you could pray for them: Priscila, Junior, Lívia, and Samuel.

Our new Ward Mission Leader Jacksander and his geese.  They are pretty much pets. He keeps them around because they give eggs, but they walk in the house and everything. He is a cool guy though.

Were there any interesting Easter things in Lafeite?

Easter here is lots of chocolate eggs. They sell chocolate eggs that are 1ft tall and filled with different things. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, March 26, 2018

Travel, meetings, and finally cheesecake...03.26.2018

Hey everyone, 

     This week started off great with a killer District meeting where we arranged desks for everyone and placed name places just like it is in the Leadership Council and it was great. We talked about how everyone needs to know the Savior better and the question was made  "When was the last time you had a spiritual experience?" It made everyone think about recognizing the Lord's hand in our lives more. It was a really spiritual meeting and in the end the sisters of São Joâo had made a song for the Zone and it was awesome

This week we had our divisions with the APs and it was good to see everyone again. I went with Elder Carneiro and we had lots of people to visit, but many weren't home. It was good though because we never had to stop and think of what to do because there were always more people that we could visit. 

     This week we met Helena who had already been to the church 5 times before and had only stopped because she didn't have the means to pay the bus fee to go to church. She is really excited and she wants to start a family again and said that she wants to find a man of god. She went to church this week and loved it. She has a baptismal date for the week after General Conference.  We also met with Eduardo who is open to new ideas and we shared the Restoration with him. When we returned we talked about how a living prophet could help him in his personal life. He said that this Sunday wouldn't work, but that the next week he would go. 

     Sunday was filled with lots of meetings. There was the usual 3 hour block meeting, and then the meeting with the leader of the missionary work, Executive committee, and then with the Sister Leader Trainers. All in all it was almost 9 hours of meetings. Lots of things were talked about and plans made but at the end of the day my mind was fried. In the Quroum we talked about how the priesthood working in the family and with the missionaries will grow the ward. We marked to do visits this week with everyone at least 1 day. 

After a long day I was able to make the cheesecake from my birthday package and celebrate with Elder Pereira.  It was delicious...even if it was almost 2 months late due to the slow mail.

This week will be great. Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, March 19, 2018

No, I didn't wear green here in Brazil....03.19.2018

Hey everyone,

     This week was full of mental work and not much boots on the ground. Tuesday night we left for Juiz de fora for the Mission leadership council, then the next day was zone conference, and as soon as we got back we had to do 5 baptism interviews. 

After the leadership council there was about 3 hours before we could go back home, so I went on splits with my old MTC companion Elder Ricks! It was a good time and we got to remember old memories. We also had a meeting with the sister leader trainers about what we could do to help the zone and it was very productive. There are going to be some changes here in the zone.
     This week was full of good experiences including the baptism of Samuel! He is 11 years old and his life is really rough, but he is a relative of a member that brought him to church and he is loving it. This Sunday the two wards in Lafaiete divided and formed a 3rd ward here. It was great to see that the work is going forward, and our district baptized 4 people this week. Every week my vision of the Lord's work and our purpose here on the earth is increasing. Lots of things change on the mission and i am loving the whole experience. The church is true and miracles happen. 

Did you ever get your birthday package?

I got it this week! I still haven tmade the cheesecake but it will eb made soon. Thanks a lot!

How many will be returning to Utah on your flight in your group that is released?  Is it only Elder Nichols?

I think it will be Elder Nichols, siser griffin, sister mckenna, and sister Faupula. I learned this week that these sisters will be returning with us.

I'll put together another package.  Only request so far is peanut butter.  Is powdered good (I figure a jar costs me $15 to buy and mail)  Anything else?

To be honest the best things to send are candy and sweets that i cant get here. Missionaries with food, letters and baptisms are happy. I would say send more razers, but i think i will buy an other razer here because mine is black...

Today we are going to eat açai, play guitar, and maybe take elder pereira to the Christ statue. Nothing too fancy planned yet.  

Until next week!-Elder Smith

Monday, March 12, 2018

Do you talk to 500 people in a day?...03.12.2018

Hey everyone,
       To end Elder Gale´s time in Lafeiete we had a FHE at Monica and Fernando´s house. Their son made homemade pizza and lets just say he used to work at a pizza place. I ate pizza until I was was so good!


 (Looks like a tie exchange...a tradition in the mission!)

       Tuesday morning we ate breakfast with Italo and Larissa to say goodbye. Elder Costa, who is serving in Barbacena, stayed with me and we bounced back and forth between appointments and the bus station. Elder Pereira arrived at night and gave just enough time to visit Karmen. She is really open to new ideas and we presented the church to her and she seems really interested.

     This week we were really busy and we walked a lot. A member brought her nephew Samuel to church and we are teaching him. They live in a neighborhood called São José which is 90 min away walking. He is really receptive and accepted a baptism date so it was worth the walk.

      Wednesday night we got a call that we had to make 500 contacts this week instead of the usual 210. So we had to talk with literally everyone. It was a challenge but we did it!!
     The wards here are dividing and this next Sunday so we will see with which ward we will work with. It is exciting and everyone is a little anxious to see exactly what happens. They are opening a 3rd ward here in Lafaiete. Sunday the talks were about the family responsibilities of the the parents and the children. Everyone has a role that they need to fill in the family. If one part doesn't do what they need to the family is weakened. One essential pillar of the family is the Family Home Evening (FHE) weekly. We are blessed when we set aside the time to do it. Tonight we will be going to Juiz de Fora for the leadership council and we will stay for the next day because it is already zone conference. It is tiring but it is great.


Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, March 5, 2018

Staying in Lafaiete...03.05.2018

Hey everyone,
     This week was full of great lessons a families. First off I had the most spiritual lesson of my mission with Elison and Michele. We had left the pamphlet about the Restoration with them and they had studied it completely! When we arrived there they already knew everything. Michele´s mom that lives next door also participated and Elison explained everything to her without us needing to do anything. They said that our message was opening their vision and that they are praying for a confirmation, but believe it to be true. The only sad thing is that they will be moving to Belo Horizonte because Elison doesn't have a job and there was an offer in Belo Herizon... At the end of the lesson there was a guitar and I asked if I could see it and I started playing "Peça a Deus" and Elder Gale and I sang it. Then Elison took the guitar and played "Hallelujah" in Portuguese and the spirit was so strong. We said goodbye and might have one last meeting with them depending on when they will move, but as we left their house I felt very light. We had lots of things to resolve, but I wasn't worried at all. At least they said that they would look for the church in Belo Horizon and there are lots there. 

 Elison and Michele

     Another miracle this week involves something called a contact of fire. It is challenging someone to be baptized in the first encounter. I did this with a 18 year old called Guilherme and he accepted. We taught him on Wednesday and Sunday he went to church. He arrived 1 hour early. We had arranged to meet with him at his house and then go together, but as we started on the long road to his house he was already arriving. To make things better in the first class, he turned to me out of nowhere and asked what was the date and hour of his baptism. He just has to go to church one more time and then the next week he will be baptized. 

     There is another investigator called Lívia that has frequented the church for 7 years. Her parents are baptized, but she is still looking for her answer. She has already told us that she wants to be baptized, but still needs a confirmation before she takes that leap of faith. As we were eating lunch at home one day we decided to listen to some talks that I had with me (thanks Mom!!), one of which was Elder Holland´s April 2013 talk "Lord I Believe." It was perfect for Lìvia and so we sent her the link for her to watch and when we went to teach her she said that she loved it. She is sooooo close to being baptized and here soon she will see clearly her proper testimony that she already has. 

     Transfers are out and I will be staying here in Lafaiete and my new companion will be Elder Pereira. Elder Gale will be going to Leopoldina. It was a good run with him in Lafaiete and i will stay in touch. The zone will receive lots of new missionaries and I am excited for this new transfer. 

The last district meeting for Sis Braga!

Dinner with Mara and Renato

Elder Smith, Brother Wilson, Elder Gale

Felipe and Janaina

Monday, February 26, 2018

Goodbye February...02.26.2018

Hey everyone,

This week was a week full of problem solving. I don't think that there was one day that went as planed in our daily planning. It was full of good problems though because all the areas in the zone were calling to mark baptismal interviews. We had to go to Ouro Branco, São João del Rei, and do 3 interviews on the other side of the city for the sisters. I will admit that lots of walking was involved and today I am just resting. 

     President Lacerda gave the promise that every companionship of faith would baptize this week and I was a little worried because of the time spent away from our area, but I know that when we are on the Lord's errand He cares for our sheep. We were only able to meet with Nathália one time this week, but we worked with members to pass by her house, we called her as well and at the end of the week she was baptized!!! It was a great baptism and had a choir of the Institute students. In the 3 weeks that we know Nathália it is cool to see the happiness in her countenance. You can see the light of Christ in her eyes now, and now we are working with her mom and brother to be baptized as well. 

     I know that doctrine understood is doctrine applied in our lives. The more that I study and live what I preach the more that I am able to feel the spirit. In a conversation with a member called Marcôni here he talked about how to gauge your spirituality. He said that if you can say that your last spiritual experience was the last time you prayed then you are doing it right. You can even feel the spirit when you pray to bless the food. I focused a lot this week to be attentive to the spirit every moment that I prayed and although I may not feel the spirit every time I bless the food, I am feeling it with more frequency. 

The mission is awesome and I am excited for transfers next week. I think that I will be staying here because Elder Gale has been here for longer than me, but everything is in the air. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith