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 mormon.org 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. 

Questions:

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

Monday, January 29, 2018

Two baptisms this week...01.29.2018

My week went well. It was a pretty normal week. Stefany moved here from Belo Horizonte and was reveiving the missionary lessons there. Then last week she went to church here and said that she was preparing to be baptized and we went there, and learned that she had been taught almost everything, was reading the Book of Mormon, and had already gone more than 8 times to church and was all ready. Her sister who was married to a return missionary and sealed in the temple, and it was her husband that baptized Stefany. Izabela was one of the teenage girls that we have been teaching.  Her mother was not sure and then their dad signed the baptismal sheet saying that she could be baptized. We have been working with her for 6 weeks already and it was great that she was finally able to be baptized. 






Monday, January 22, 2018

New Prophet and Presidency...01.22.2018

Everyone,

     Well another transfer has gone by and I will be staying here in Lafaiete with Elder Gale. The American duo was not separated.!!  We have made our plans and we have lots of people that will be entering the waters of baptism here soon. There were lots of changes in the zone and we even opened another area for sisters in Lafaiete. This district is just us and 3 companionships of sisters. They all work hard so it is great.

 

     Tuesday was the special announcement of the first presidency and then the press conference after. We watched it in the bishops second counselor´s house Agmenon. He has huge 4k TV so it was like we were there watching live. I was sad to see Elder Uchtdorf leave the first presidency, but he is still an apostle so all is well. It was great to see how easily that they responded to all the questions and how there was always a light atmosphere. It was cool to see how they all responded in union, each one supporting the other which is how we try to teach as missionaries. 



     Thursday we had splits in Juiz de Fora and I went with Elder Carneiro. While I was there I got to see Elder Nichols, Elder Papalino, Elder Crandall and a few others as well. During the splits we went to some of the highest and furthest points of their area. Lots of appointments fell through, but there were lots of opportunities not planned for that we made the best of. I learned how to make every minute count and learned a few scriptures to use in my teachings as well. It was great.



     This week we have had to accept that Kauani and Isabela will have to wait a little bit to be baptized. We will pass there every week, but we can't invest a lot now. The ward has started working with their mom to have her let them be baptized, but it is out of our hands. They are at all the activities and meetings and it is great to see the changes that have already happened in them. 

     Sunday went well and even had a miracle. There is a new family in the ward that moved from Belo Horizonte. The mom is the sister of a returned missionary but she isn't baptized. They were receiving the lessons from the missionaries in Belo Horizonte but they moved before they were baptized. They were preparing for baptism. We made some visits with Dú as well and she introduced us to two friends of hers, and we will be returning there this week. They both said that they will go visit the church so we have high hopes. Ask and it will be given you, knock and it shall be opened. This is what I am learning on the mission. 



-Elder Smith

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