Monday, September 25, 2017

Training Elder Miranda...09.25.2017

**Nina here*** No group email from Ethan this week.  He's finding that he doesn't have much time to email with the new 1 hour time frame.  Hopefully he'll figure out to email the group letter first.  He didn't even talk about how he's got a brand new missionary companion (Elder Miranda) and will be training him this transfer.  He also has 2 people who are planning to be baptized this week.
Here's some things he said to me and of course the question and answer portion that I think is fun to share***



Elder Miranda is a native from Sao Paulo. Have you seen a photo of him? I am pretty sure Pres. Lacerda put something up on Facebook. 

The plan for today is go into centro and relax. We already played some basketball and pingpong and now we might go for some acai. The hike wont be happening very soon. No one has a camera to take pictures and that is the main purpose of the hike and the cool hikes are only open on mondays if there is a holiday. 

Oh this Wednesday I will be going to Teresopolis for a dermatologist appointment. Sister Lacerda was here at the stake conference and said that the mission would pay for it if I went so why not give it a try. Lets see what the Brazilian doctors can do. Don't worry about a medication if there will be one, because I have to have everything passed by Sister Lacerda first. 

Time is ending...

We will be getting 80 Reais more every pay period so that will help a ton. This money must be used for healthy foods and we send the receipt to the mission home to prove it. It will be great.


Who else lives in the house with you now after transfers?

I am training elder Miranda, Elder Guiterrez stayed in the house and his companion is Elder Mires.

Did we send you with a micro fiber towel?  If so, do you use it?  Would you recommend others bring one?

No I don't have a micro fiber towel, but i know people who have one and yes I recommend one. If it is what I am thinking it is, it is much smaller, lighter and helps to not take up much space.

I ordered a replacement camera and have a courier service that will take it to Brazil and mail it from within the country....it takes mini sd cards.  Is that what you have?

Yes I do have a mini sd card to use with it. Is it the same camera, or is it different and you have already bought it?

What small and light things could I put in the package for the courier?  Sunscreen?  Deoderant?  Hard candy?  Chocolate? Peanut butter?


Sunscreen I can get here, Deodorant i still have 3, candy is always great. If you want you could send a violin song that you like that is a little more challenging and I will learn to play it. I am wanting some new songs to play. Peanut butter would be good as well. Oh and some reeses!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Zone Conference and 2 baptisms this week!! 09.18.2017

 Hey everyone,

      This will be extremely short. Our internet time got reduced to 1 hour and I will have to get used to managing my time a little better. But this week we had zone conference which was great, but I lost my camera... The mission paid a bus to take the two zones to the zone conference and on the return trip I left it in a pocket in front of my seat. I slept the  whole 5 hours and forgot that I had left it there. I called the bus company but they said that they didnt find it... So yeah I lost all of those photos, videos, and don't have a camera anymore. 

I will be going to Juiz de Fora tomorrow to get my new companion because I will now be a trainer. We had 2 baptisms of Jerson and Leandro. I am loving the mission and learning a lot. 

Until next week!

Elder Smith

Packages???  Did you finally get any??  I hope there was one from us and one from the Goodriches...

Yes I got both of the packages thanks. It was great.

What are you studying in your personal/companion study time?

Every day I study something to help my investigators so it varies a lot. One day The plan of salvation, another priesthood authority, another baptism.

Are the members getting excited about General Conference?  Do you get a good attendance at General Conference meetings?

No one is saying anything about general conference. General conference meetings though seem to have a lower frequency.

Is church the same there as here?  3 hours?  Is sacrament meeting first?  Does it start on time?  Are you in a ward or branch?

Church is the same 3 hours. Sometimes it starts with sacrament meeting, or sometimes it starts with sunday school. Right now it starts with sunday school and i am in a ward.

What was the theme at your zone conference?  What zone(s) were there?  What zone are you in?  Who did you see there?

The theme of the zone conference was obedience and desire. It was My zone( Teresopolis), Petropolis, and Volta Redonda. I got to see Elder Goodrich, Elder Crandall, Elder Ricks, Elder Kaiser, Elder Gale, and some others as well.



Baptism of Jerson and Leandro!!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Brazil Independence Day and a promise 09.11.2017

Hey everyone,

    The highlight from this week was September 7th (Independence day of Brazil), hospital visits, and splits with the assistants to the mission president. 

     Well, September 7th we got a promise that if we worked hard we would find a family that has a son who could serve a mission.  So we went to work to find this family. That night we hadn't found anyone and we went to visit one of our investigators and we found a wallet in the street. We started knocking on doors to try and find the owner and with some help we found him. The owner was a man that we had knocked his door the day before and he had opened it and closed it in the same second saying he didn't want to know anything about religion. But once we gave him his wallet he humbled himself a lot and asked for forgiveness. Then we said the least he could do was hear our message and he said that really it is the least he can do and marked a return visit for the next week. He lives with his wife and son, so the promise was completed. The Lord works in mysterious ways to open doors.
     The assistants to the mission president made a surprise visit with us this week. They showed up Saturday night and slept there to prepare for the splits the next day. I stayed with Elder Kaiser and Elder Cruz went with Elder Taporosky. It was a really good division and the lunch was BBQ. BBQ is the best lunch possible here because it is real meat: stake, sirloin, ribs... Brazilians know how to have BBQs. 

    We visited some investigators and at the end of the night we made a visit with the Stake President as well. He went with us to Jerson and Leandros house, who have been investigating the church for almost 3 months. It was a powerful lesson and the stake pres. took control and marked a solid baptism date for this Saturday. It was a powerful lesson. 


Questions:


How is your contact lens supply?  Will you have enough to last?


You wont even need to worry about my contact supply. I think that i still have 8 boxes. enough to last 4 more years. 


What time was stake conference last week?  It seems like i got the live feed from President Lacerda at 1:30pm and 4 pm my time, which would make it 3:30pm and 7pm your time.


Stake conference started at 4 p.m. and went until 6 p.m. 


Do you have senior missionaries in your mission?


No my mission doesn't have senior missionaries

Do you use the sausage and shrimp seasoning I sent?  What do you make with it?  Do they eat seafood in Brazil?

I have used that seasoning. I already used it with sausage, stroganoff, and some other things. Most brazilians love sea food, but it is a little expensive.


How many missionaries are serving in the office?  2 AP's and then who else?  Do they stay there longer than other typical missionaries?


Staff has 4 missionaries: Executive secretary, financial secretary, and the two  assistants. However, the two assistants of the president don't stay in the office much. They work in the field and just go to the office when required or to travel with him. 


Where will you be tomorrow for Zone Conference?  Will you be there overnight?


Zone conference will be tomorrow in Volta Redonda. I will take a bus to Teresopolis tonight at 7:00 and then the mission rented a bus to bring Zones Terespolis and Petropolis there and back. I will get back to my area Wednesday morning.


I saw somewhere it was Brazil independence day last week...was that a big deal? 


I thought that it would be, but nothing happened. Everyone just stayed inside their houses and slept or had bbq´s and drank. I didn't see any flags or any fireworks. Brazil doesn't have a lot of patriotism. 


Tell me about one great person you met this week?  Why?


Leonardo. I had made a contact with him 2 weeks ago in the elevator of going to an investigators apartment. I went back there yesterday in a division with Elder Kaiser and we said a prayer and marked a return visit and he liked the fast visit a lot. He has a wife and a daughter and they seem to have lots of potential.

     Now I am off to zone conference tomorrow which will be good. I am out of email time now, so this is all you guys get. 

Until next week!

Elder Smith

Monday, September 4, 2017

Stake Conference 09.04.2017

Hey everyone,

    This week has been pretty good. There were two things awesome that happened. The first one was an activity that we planned for 3 weeks. It was called "Testemunho Alado" which is Winged Testimony. In this activity, we did a play with some of the members that was really funny about our daily life and how the members can help us. We interacted with the audience and everyone laughed a lot. Then we got ballons filled with helium and we gave everyone one with a note attached. They had to write their testimonies on these note cards and then we went outside and had a ceremony to release the balloons to spread the testimonies all around the city. It was a great activity.


 
     The other thing was the stake conference. It was the best stake conference that I have been a part of in my life. To be honest it was more spiritual than any other meeting that I have been to. The first talk was about virtue, and how the simple act of defining our standards when we are young has a great impact. It was the "worst" talk, but was still great. Next was our Ward Mission Leader called Daniel. He returned from his mission 4 years ago, married, and has a daughter. He talked about why we as members joined the church of Jesus Christ, and pretty much taught the restoration with lots of scriptures and challenged all investigators to be baptized. Next was Sister Lacerda, the mission president's wife who pretty much told her conversion story and it was really spiritual. After that Pres. Lacerda gave his talk. He talked a lot about how we can be the miracle in the ward. How we have to make changes in our lives and go forward. How we choose to either enter the church doors and make them doors of transformation, or a veil of forgetfulness. We need to hear and then apply the things we learn in our lives. If we just sit on the benches than we will never improve. He also gave a great analogy asking us if we missed our own baptism. Then compare that to missing the sacrament. That sacrament is us baptizing again and we need to understand the importance of that. Then the stake president closed with a really spiritual talk about where do we want ourselves to be. It seems like I have written a lot about this meeting, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. But yeah that is what happened this week. 

Questions:

How are you making your video logs?  I thought your camera only recorded 30 seconds at a time and those are 2-3 minutes (I love them!!)

I can only send 30sec low-quality video logs frfom my camera using wifi, but I can record high-quality videos and send them when I link my camera with the computer. The lan house here that I use is safe so I can hook up my camera here to send them.

How often can the members in your area go to the temple?  Which temple do they attend?

It seems that this ward has a caravan (I don't know the word in English) 8 times each year. There are x spots available for each ward because it is a bus for the whole stake maybe 2 and they sign up and go. They go to Campinas.

Did you finally get packages?  Or do you have to wait until zone conference?

I will have to wait for the zone conference to get the packages... 

What do you call a sea full of spaghetti?  The Apostacy!!

Just no...





Until next week.

Elder Smith

Monday, August 28, 2017

Great week and no, I'm not dead or missing...08.28.2017


Hey everyone,

     This week has had a lot of stuff happen. Lets start it off with a funny story. This week we had a division with the zone leaders in Teresopolis, another city, so we left Tuesday night and would get back Thursday morning. Well the other missionaries in our house forgot and woke up at 1 am and we weren't there so they started calling everyone looking for us. Our phone was off and so we didn't see any of this. He called the stake president who called the mission president and they called all the hospitals in the area looking for us. The mission president almost called the Brazil presidency saying that we might be dead, that we were missing. Luckily, they thought to call the zone leaders who settled the whole problem. But yeah when we got back everyone started teasing us that we were lost. People were legitimately worried. On this division as well Elder Cruz and I were sick. My throat was so inflamed that I couldn't even eat so I drank 1 liter of yogurt for lunch and went to work. By the end fo the day I was able to eat a little bit and i just felt a little weak during the day. Elder Cruz almost passed out as well...good times. 

    There are spiritual things happening as well. This week we were going to Maria´s house, our recent convert, but we felt the need to stop at an apartment building and ring some of the intercoms. Well one of the intercoms had a man called Evanildo. He said that we could enter and talk with him and then said that less than 1 hour ago he had prayed in the car asking God to send someone to help him spiritually. He said that we were the answer to his prayer and started to tell us about his life and we talked about the plan of salvation because he wanted to know God's plan for him. He used to be into some dark stuff (macumba) which is letting spirits into your body and they use totems and baby doll heads and stuff like that. It is really dark. But he left that and right now is evangelico but still doesn't know much about the Bible or Christ and we will be going back there this Friday.

     Saturday we were at the ward Father´s day commemeration party and a member showed up and asked if we could help someone move. Obviously we said yes and went there, white shirt and tie, to help. It was a really poor area and the husband was abusive so the women left and while we were helping he just kept yelling insults from the couch but all went well. We got some references as well because people wanted to know more about us because we were helping in white shirts and that isn't normal. We got to the activity at the end and got to eat so that went well as well. 

     Then Sunday I was called to give a talk. Actually Elder Cruz and I were both asked to give talks. I literally prepared for 10 min and then went and talked and I didn't have to look at my notes or anything. This time i didn't even shake. I gave a talk about what does it really mean to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. And then Elder Cruz talked about rescuing less-actives and friends. Everyone came up to us and said that it was a really spiritual sacrament meeting and that the talks were great. I thought as well that it went really well. 

Until next week!

Elder Smith

video

Questions:

1.  The best thing about my companion is... That he has a huge desire to work and is pretty chill.

2.  On my mission this week I learned....  That if you prepare a talk before you speak when you speak you will have the words given to you. I didn't look down at my notes once during the talk. That was cool.

3.  This week I have been wondering....  How to make the members more animated to call friends and support more actively the church.

4.  Did you get packages?  Audrey's?  Mine?  The one I sent got there in 10 days, so it should be there for you as well. 
There hasn't been an opportunity to get anything from the mission home yet, but maybe this Sunday when Pres. Lacerda comes for the stake conference. If not I will get its Sptember 12 at the zone conference. 

5.  How do they do stake conference there?  What are you violin part are you playing with the choir?
I will be playing "I believe in Christ" and I forgot the other one. I know it is number 172 in the Portuguese hymnbook. This stake conference will have two parts. Part one we will watch via transmission and the second will be vice-versa because the highway in between the two cities is really dangerous and they don't want mass travel there so it will be a broadcast.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Brazil holiday...time is short 08.21.2017

Hello everyone,

Today I won't have much time. It is a holiday so all the LAN houses are closed. We are using the internet of the church, but it only has one computer and there are 4 missionaries going to use it, plus we might have to help someone move before the end of p-day so it will be really short today.

I don't even know what is the holiday. In Brazil there are tons of holidays some are just for each city as well. For example, the city adjacent to us in Teresopolis and they arent on holiday. We would have gone to a tourist hike called Cao Sentado, but it rained so it is closed... Sadly the best places are closed on Mondays and this was our window to go to a better place, but due to the rain it was canceled.

We should be moving Friday. We would have moved this last Thursday but a document that we have to give to the renter is an official doc of the government and would take until 7 days to be ready. So as soon as we get it back we can move. 


Questions:

1.  One great person I met this week was.....   Maria da Penha. She is the wife of a less active that we had on the list of members and she likes the church a lot. She was really friendly and invited us to come back the next week.

2.  This week's most spiritual experience/moment was....   In the leadership council meeting. We were discussing about how we can help the ward through improving sacrament meeting and Diego (Stake Young Mens Pres.) talked about factors that influence the spirituality of sacrament meeting. Just the conversations that we had showed the perfect organization of the church.

3.  My companion and I are working on.....  An activity to unite the 2 wards here.

4.  This week's schedule includes....   Division with the ZL´s, Primary activity for fathers day that happened two weeks ago, and yeah work stuff.

5.  One great accomplishment has been....   Baptizing 3 with elder Cruz.






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Brazilian Fathers Day 08.14.2017

Hey everyone,

     I don't have a lot to say about this week. We have started to work in a new neighborhood. We are finding a few people here and there, but this week we didn't get to do a lot of teaching. Lots of people were busy and so we just gave summaries and marked return visits. 

     Our recent convert Maria is going really strong. She made cake and calda de candica for us. She waits in the window for us to pass by and talk with her and she already entered in the lunch calendar for the missionaries. She has a strong testimony and loves the change that she has had in her life after her baptism. 

    Sunday was Father´s day here in Brazil. So Happy others fathers day dad. But because of this the church was a little empty and we didn't have many investigators there. They had all planned to do things as a family and I wasn't going to tell them not to do family things and go to church. So I hope next week we will have more investigators at the church.

     The stake president gave a great talk about the importance of fathers in the home. How it is their responsibility to provide for the family. He told the story of the dad who brought his son with him to work. He worked raising bridges to let boats pass beneath and then lower it to let trains pass. That day he was distracted and his son entered in the chains and a boat was approaching. He was panicked and started to run to save his son, but knew that if he saved his son the people on the big boat would die. So with tears in his eyes he pressed the button to raise the bridge and sacrificed his son. This is what god did for us so that we could live. It is a great story to put in perspective what god did for us. 

Questions:

Do you have your drivers license or did you leave it here?  If you have it, when does it expire?

I have my drivers license with me and it doesnt xpire until febuary 2019.

What is the school year for kids in Brazil?  Are they headed back now, or have they been in and they are out during the summer there, which is?

The youth had a break for i dont know how long, but they just went back to school at the beginning of last week.

Did you get your package yet?

There is a leaders conference tuesday that the ZL´s will be going to so if it is there they probably will pick it up, if not or it hasnt arrived there i will get it 12/09 which is the zone conference.

What is your favorite song on the drives we sent?

To be honest right now I haven't been listening to music. But I think the favorite song right now is called Pergunte. It is from the Brazilian FSY music.

What talk is your favorite from last conference?  Or one that you've been studying lately?

I haven't studied a talk in months. I am just reading Jesus the Christ and the scriptures.

Until next time..