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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Carnival, not Olympics 2.19.2018

Another week has flown by on the mission. Everything goes by so fast and we are racing to follow up with all of our investigators. This week we were able to visit a few friends of Brother Douglas and we met with 2 families. They didn't have much time so we just said a prayer with them and marked a return visit.
     This week I don't know what happened but we were able to teach lots of families. Two of these families have had a child less than 30 days ago. One of them is Michele and Elison. They have two kids, one is 5 years and the other was only 25 days old, João Rafael and Angelina. We were able to teach about the plan of salvation and eternal families and they loved it. Elison is a Geologist and when we taught about the creation and Adam and Eve he said that what we explained answered his long question about the creation of the earth not really being 7 days but 7 creative periods. At the end we left a spoiler about what is the Book of Mormon and what is the power of God to bind things on earth bound in heaven. The other family is of Rafael and Samela. They also have 2 kids, one of which was born 18 days ago and they said that they are looking to be more religious and find a church so we taught a little about the restoration and they liked it a lot. We had made a contact with them and showed the church site and they went there and learned a bit about the church. It was great. 

     Friday we did the baptismal interview of Lucimar that the sisters baptized this week and then Saturday we had a surprise baptism interview. We were 1 hour from their church and Giovana showed up to be baptized so we had to run there and do the interview. Luckily there was a member at the church at he went and picked us up by car. Nathália, that we are teaching, wasn't baptized this week but is for sure going to be baptized now. We announced her baptism in sacrament meeting and prepared baptismal invitations for her to deliver.

     Sunday was really spiritual. Izabela, who was baptized a month ago, gave her first talk in church. She talked about faith and hope and cited a story of a family that only one was baptized but after 2 yeasr of hard work, prayer, and faith the rest of the family went. She compared it to her life and gave a powerful testimony. That night Elder Gale and I were asked to help out the Young Women's In Excellence and play the violin and ukulele and we went. It was great and there were even a few investigators there. 

Today we are going to Ouro Branco to do another baptismal interview and then relax a little bit. 


Do you have and still use your music player?

Yes and i use it every day.

How was carnival there in Lafaiete?

It didn't change like anything here. There was just a huge 3 day party in the center of the city but it was a lot more mild than last year. We were able to teach a lot of people.

Any winter Olympic excitement there in Brazil?  They are going on now in S. Korea.

I havent heard anything about the olympics here. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, February 12, 2018

Travel and Carnival this week....02.12.2018

Hey everyone,

     So this week was really busy with travel. Monday we had to leave early to go to Juiz de Fora to set up things for the zone conference, Tuesday was zone conference, Wednesday was splits with the presidents assistants, Thursday we left Juiz de Fora to go to São João del Rei to do a baptism interview, and when we got back to our area 6:00 it just gave time to take a shower and then do another baptismal interview on the other side of the city. So all in all we just had Friday and Saturday to work in our area. 


Friday we worked the whole day with Douglas. He helps us a lot and it was a day working by car. It was great. We gave some challenges to Douglas to invite everyone to be baptized and it went well. We visited Natalya, a friend of a member and we marked her baptism date for this week right now. She had already been to the church in another city and said that the book of Alma was one of her favorites. She just needs a little more confidence, but she is more than ready for baptism. 

    Saturday we had another day full of visits by car with the bishop. Although we weren't able to enter anyone's home, we made the best of the time and talked with people in the road and even got 4 people to go to church the next day. It goes to show that every effort that you do will bring some kind of result, Nothing is worthless. 

      Sunday Elder Gale and I were able to give talks. I chose to talk about union. I cited a training by Sister Lacerda talking about synergy. Synergy is the capability of working in perfect union with another. In the construction of a house, wooden beams are placed closely to the other. Two beams, closely placed together have the capacity to support 4 times the weight that they could support alone. In order to bring Zion to the light as spoken in Doctrine and Covenants we need to all work together. Then Elder Gale talked about the Spirit. What we need to to do to always have it and act on its promptings. When we live the gospel and all of its requirements we will have the Spirit. When we don't do what the Lord asks then we won't have the Spirit. It is a simple recipe to have happiness in this life. To top it all of Sunday we had the Ward Council and new goals were set and everyone left really excited. We have family nights marked for every night this week and will be making visits with different members every day as well. It will be great. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, February 5, 2018

Twentieth Birthday in Brazil...02.05.2018

Hey everyone, 

     First off thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes. It was a pretty good birhtday this year, with a sweet American flag cake and a baptism to top it off. It will be one to remember. It is kinda hard to celebrate during proselyting so the celebrations will continue on today as well!

      The week started off really well with a leadership council where we debated every key indicador and suggested ways to improve in all of them. Lots of good tips and hints were given and as always meetings with Pres. Lacerda are really great. They also sang happy birthday to me there. Even after 20 years of life I don't know how I am supposed to act when people sing. Do you sing along, or just stare everyone down? It is one of life's mysteries. 

    This week as well we met with lots of new people to start teaching. We met with a teen called Agnaldo that had gone to church with his friend Taisa last week. He liked our message a lot and we even marked a baptism date with him. We met with another members friend called Natalia. She already had a Book of Mormon and had even gone to the church a few times before, but in that period she wasn't ready to be baptized, but now she is ready and just needs to know more. She said that she will go to church this next week. We also met with Naiara who is a members girlfriend and it seems like she is wanting a change in life. We marked a visit with her for this Thursday and we will see how it goes, but I am excited to see where this goes. 

 On my actual birthday it started off pretty normal, but when I got to lunch it went great. It was one of the best lunches I have had here and at the end, as I was getting ready to leave a message, Jois brought out the American flag cake and sang. It was delicious. Then that night Victor was baptized and his whole family went to watch it. His mom and dad are very supportive of him, but weren't that interested in religion, but they loved the baptism and the church and we might be able to start working with them. His mom didn't participate in the lessons but the last 2 she joined in with the prayer. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The mission is going super well, and I am benefiting from every minute. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith