Monday, January 15, 2018

Setting goals, working hard, and having faith....01.15.2018

Hey everyone,
     This week has been a really busy week. Tuesday we started off with a special combined meeting of the Queluz and São João del Rei districts. We talked about the things that were discussed in the Leadership meeting about our purpose, how to work, and how to have more results. It was a great meeting and then we had a division with Elder Cordeiro and Elder Lopes. I went with Elder Lopes and we had a ton of appointments, but the afternoon appointments fell through. Luckily there were tons of people to visit and we met a man called William Dias. He was an ex-investigator that was almost baptized. As we arrived there he started telling us about priesthood power and that when he went to the church the first time he felt the difference. We marked a baptism date with him and invited him to church. Then that night we had a Family Home Evening with the Stake President. We showed the old Good Samaritan video and then how it would be in our days. It went really well. 

     Wednesday we visited lots of people by car with Douglass. It went really well and we taught William Dias about the Book of Mormon. He liked it a lot and said that he would read. That night we had English class as well. We taught them how to pray in English which was cool. 

     Thursday was the baptismal interview of Kauani and Isabela. They passed, but were a little hesitant about asking their mom to sign to authorize their baptism. So we did a few practices to give them more confidence and said we would return the next day to see how it went. We did splits with 3 members: Italo, Vinicious, and Helemã. We got drenched and the umbrella that I had didn't do anything because there was a ton of wind, but it was good. 

     Saturday started off rough learning that Kauani and Isabela´s mom wouldn't sign the paper just yet. She wanted them to talk with a few people first and for them to prepare more. We are going to work with them this whole week for them to be baptized this Saturday. We just hope that we can help their mom see how being baptized will be a blessing for them. 

     Sunday we had the miracle of having 10 investigators at the church. The assistants gave the challenge for all Zone Leaders to have 10 and we worked a ton to get 10. We had to bring Mike and Maxson to church and when we showed up there were only 4 investigators there. We had fasted and prayed every day that we could have 10 there and we had confirmed with 17 people. As the meeting continued more and more investigators started to show up and as the last 5 minutes of sacrament wound down the 10th entered the church. Lots of people that we had invited didn't show up, but we worked for the 10 and 10 were there!! The last 2 were people that said they just felt the desire to enter the church and so they entered. I know that when we ask, do our part, and trust in the Lord he works miracles. 

Until next week. 
-Elder Smith

1.  BYU registration for classes is in June.  There is a hold on your account until you get a new ecclesiastical endorsement.  I am told that you would get this from your Mission President some time in the next couple months so the hold can be lifted.  Start looking into it and I don't know if you have to request a form or if the MP would have it. 

That´s good to know. I am sure in my next interview with Pres. Lacerda I can ask him about it. 
4.  Did you get any letters in the mail at the leadership training?  We don't write a ton of letters, but we have written letters and mailed them and we never know if they get there.  

I didnt get any at the lidership meeting no. I think they just brought the packages that people recieved there. If there is something there i will get it this week because we have divisions with the assistants tot he pres. in Juiz de Fora this week. 

5.  Are you writing in your journal at all?  (Nag, nag)  

I am writing in my journal 1-2 times per week right now. Better than I was doing.  Thanks for the reminder!  

Monday, January 8, 2018

It happened like I dreamed...01.08.2018

Hey everyone,
     This week has been full of work and miracles. I participated in my first mission leadership council and it was a great experience. We discussed about how we can be better leaders and help the missionaries in our zones be successful. We set the standard of excellence as well. I learned a lot and got to see a lot of old friends. It was great.

     This week I think I had the biggest miracle of my mission until now. We have two investigators Kauani and Isabella, and their mom was totally against the church and banned them from receiving the lessons. So we fasted with a few others as well to soften the heart of their mom. One night I had a dream that we encountered them in the road, close to the church, with a little light still in the sky. And that when we met them they said that everything was fine with their mom and that she had let them continue. The next day we planned for this encounter and it didn't happen... but the next day as we were going to the Church we met them in the road and things literally happened exactly how I dreamed. Their mom had let them receive the lessons and even asked them if they would be baptized. I was left dumbfounded. 

     There were lots of other miracles that happened because of our obedience. In the leadership council we made a pact, as leaders, to be 100% obedient in all moments. And we are already starting to see the fruits of this obedience. Ask with all faith, not doubting and it will be given unto you. 

Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Happy New Year 2018...01.02.2018

Hey everyone,

    Christmas has passed and so has 2017. I had a great Christmas and Christmas eve. We got a little lost trying to find the Raul´s house to eat dinner with them and we gave in the towel. but as we were going back home they called and helped us find the address. We had to eat fast to be able to get home by 9:30 but it was good. Raul is the "founder" of the church here in Lafaiete. He helped open the first branch and has lots of stories. Then on Christmas day it was great to talk with my family again and then we had a family night with Raone, Jul, Jaosinho and a few others. It was great. 

     New years was alright. We worked a lot on New years eve and then when we got home I was so tired and so I just slept. Not the most exciting of New Years, but I woke up relaxed at least. Because of New Years they changed our p-day to today.

     Yesterday was the baptism of Efigenia. She was prepared by the Lord to be baptized. Literally we met her in the hospital to give her a blessing because she burned her feet really bad making hot coffee. Then she said every time that she wanted to make coffee her feet burned and so she stopped immediately. There were lots of others miracles the happened for her to be baptized but I don't have time to count them all. At the baptism Elder Gale and I played the primary song "When I am Baptized" on the violin and the ukulele and it was really spiritual. 

     Tomorrow we are off to Juiz de Fora for a meeting and then Thursday we get back to get to work. We are having lots of Family Night evenings that are helping us a ton. We had one last night that we talked about union. We used a block with one thick nail in it. And we told the people there to stack 14 nails on top of the one in the wood. After many attempts we showed them how it is possible and talked about how our families have to be united. It was a great lesson. However it was meant for 2 investigators Kauani and Isabella, but their mom is being really hesitant against the church. So she didn't let them go, but we are praying and will not give up on them yet. 

    Happy New Year everyone,

 Until next week!
-Elder Smith

Monday, December 18, 2017

Zone leaders and a new area....12.18.2017

Hey everyone,

    I think I sent out that I got transferred but just to make sure that everyone knows I am in Conselherio Lafaiete with Elder Gale. I am back in Minas Gerais. It is really hot here, but it rains a lot, and it isn't as humid as Rio so that is good. 

     My last week in Nova Friburgo was full of lots of goodbyes. I was wanting to leave but I was wanting to stay at the same time. I had lots of great experiences there and I won't forget everyone in Nova Friburgo. We had lots of people to work with, but Elder Miranda stayed there and will hold down the fort. 

     As for this week I think it has been one of the weeks that I have worked the most in my mission. Wednesday we had to go 3 hours by bus to São João do Rei to do a baptismal interview and then run back to go to a Family Night at the Bishops house. 

The next day we were running from appointment to appointment. One woman that we met was a reference of a member. She is called Efigênia and she had spilled boiling water on her feet and was in the hospital. We went there to visit her and we talked about the priesthood. We gave her a blessing and the next day we went to see how she was. To our surprise she had already gone home. We went to her house and she told us how the blessing had worked miracles. She wasn't able to walk, was taking morphine, and couldn't sleep; but after the blessing she slept well and recovered enough to be able to go home. Now we're are teaching her and she said that next week she will go to the church. It was a great experience. 

     Friday was full of Baptismal interviews as well so we only had half the day to work in our area. Saturday was normal with lots of work. Sunday we met with a friend of a member and we taught the restoration. Today we will go back there at night to see if she read a part of the Book of Mormon that we marked and if she prayed to know if it is true. We also had ward council meeting, meeting with our ward mission leader and a meeting with the stake president. Everyone is really excited to work and we made the ward mission plan. If everything goes right I will be working a ton with the members. We got 72 references from the meeting alone. Now we have to contact these people. I am really excited to work here and it is going to be a challenge.

Do you enjoy teaching the English classes?  How have you learned to teach?

I like the people that are there, it's fun to talk with them. If they speak a little English it is good to mess with them and have a conversation, but I am learning patience in teaching English. I think that I have learned to teach a little bit. This is the 4th time that I am involved in English Class. 

What things will you be responsible for as a Zone Leader?

As zone leader we have to note down the numbers of the zone every Wednesday and Sunday. On p-day we have to pass the numbers to the assistants. We also do the baptismal interviews of the District leaders in the zone. The District that we are part of doesn't have a District Leader so we are the District Leaders as well. So we have to prepare the District Meeting every week. Lots of things...
Until next week!

-Elder Smith

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