Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"We prepared a deathblow lesson, but have not found him at home since preparing it!"

Me and Proulx

My prophecies for the world cup and my planner

Well, sorry about the low quality email last week. But I will try to make up for it today.
So we got back here to Medianeira on Thursday morning at about 6 AM. So I slept for about 30 minutes, then got going preparing to help Elder Proulx settle in. We have this book called the Trainer's Kit. Basically it outlines point by point what we need to teach new missionaries each day. For example, the first day was about street contacts. So when Proulx got up we practiced how to do these type of contacts, how to get people to let us teach them the gospel.
So we went out to work and all of the challenges, stresses, nerves, problems speaking, etc. came rushing into my mind again. Man, the first transfer is very hard! I had forgotten the feeling of not being able to communicate to others something that is extremely important to you, despite all the effort and preparation you can do.
Basically I figured I would be kinda guiding him while he learned to do all of the things he needs to do. But really as a trainer, the trainee's problems are our problems too. So the extreme tiredness from thinking too much that I had not had since the first month of my mission came back. I almost fell asleep during a lesson, it was ridiculous. But with the added responsibility and struggles have come an incredible rush of blessings.
We started basically on the first day looking for more less-active members that we could teach. We were wandering around looking for the address when we walked in front of a house that I remembered. I was like "I think a member lives here" so we talked to the people there. A woman lives there who just had a baby a couple weeks ago (indicator of readiness for the gospel!) So we taught her, her mom, and her mother in law the restoration. She was incredibly interested and decided that she wants to go to church.
She isn't a member and had never visited. But her husband is a member and his brother went on a mission until he got extremely sick and was forced to return early. We ran into them in the street, and he talked about how he wanted to return to church. It was great to talk to him. We also ran into a member who has been away from the church for a long time who doesn't even have a record in this branch. His wife also isn't baptized, but he approached us on the street and asked us to visit him. So we are super, super stoked to get going hardcore with them and help them return.
We are trying to help Luiz get baptized on Saturday. We prepared a deathblow lesson, but have not found him at home since preparing it! Rose and family are also doing well. Really two of them are close to being baptized, Marcos and Marcia, because she is still smoking. But we are working closely with them. Valderesa is also still smoking, we are going to step up our offensive against that. All of her kids have completely stopped drinking coffee, which is super super dope! We are having really a lot of success here, we have faith that we can still make our goal of three baptisms this month!
My health is good. My quads are getting freaking strong, oh my geez! I have started to use my increased weight to make my legs stronger in exercise time each morning LoL. I got letters from Ryan, Evan, Elder Fujimoto and Elder Ellis (CTM thugs) on transfer day. They are all good. I was looking at the conference edition of the Liahona, and Spencer Champlin got his photo in there! LoL what a lucky dogg!
I'm sorry that Spencer got bullied into cutting his hair.
Well, as you all know it is World Cup time. Looks like mine and Evan's country and Philly's country are among the favorites. Ryan is probably going to get eliminated by Brasil hehe. And Matt didn't even make the cup... step your game up Eskimos!!
Basically the only people here in Brasil who really believe that Brasil will win are Elders. Elder Carmo (got transferred to Foz and calls me every day for no reason...) is pretty stoked for the victory. I have high hopes for the United States, I think Bob is doing a great job and the game is developing well. It's sad that I won't be able to watch all 64 games, but I will be engaged in an even higher cause (Before the mish it was hard to believe that anything was holier than the World Cup haha).
Thanks for all the love and support. Love you all and hope everything there is going great!

Maintain Internal Heights- Trevor Hall

With Carmo in the bus station


Elder Holt, a nice elder

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A short but great letter sent home from Joey's mission president

Dear family of Elder Burt,

Sister Leal and I are pleased to inform you that Elder Burt has been called to be a trainer to a new missionary. This calling has many responsibilities while he teaches and guides with love and patience. One of the greatest blessings of presiding over a mission is to get to know these young people with strong testimonies and the desire to serve the Lord. I’m enjoying your son and observe his progress as a missionary. Elder Burt has the abilities necessary to be successful and fulfill with this calling. I trust in him completely.

Please continue supporting him with your prayers and counsel. This support is so important for him for him to have success as a missionary. Thank you for all that you are doing.

With Love,

President and Sister Leal

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Training to be a trainer

Well I am in Londrina for the day. I will go ahead and give you a preemptive sorry because this is going to be a short email because we don't have time.
But I got on a bus last night at 9:40 and got here this morning at 6:15. I came because I am going to be training this transfer and I needed to go to a trainer's training meeting and pick up my new comp.
His name is Elder Proulx (pronounced Pru) and He is from Springville. He seems super boss. Basically I would describe this transfer as humbling and exciting, I'm a little nervous to train because, well, I don't really know how to handle myself and have not been senior yet, but I'm sure it will all work out.
Well, I gotta go right now. Love you all, I will make up for this crappy email next week!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"We continue working and hunting the elects."

On the phone (I promise I still haven't ever smoked weed, don't let the eyes fool you)

Hello, it was great to talk to all of you on Sunday! It was good to hear that everything is good there. Everything is good here too. Thanks for all the support and words of encouragement. It was good to hear about all of the latest dealings of everyone.
I'm a little jealous of the weather you have there. It has been very cold here the last few days, and unfortunately heating doesn't exist because all buildings are just made of bricks, so there isn't room for ducts and stuff. But sweaters, socks, and blankets take care of it. Also I have gained an elevated appreciation of Cevada. I think it is kind of healthy and it is hot, so that is pretty solid. I don't really like tea so much anymore, it is cheaper because it is made with water rather than milk, but it is really weak and doesn't sustain the body at all. So I have been relying on Cevada and bread, which is really good actually.
The work here has been good. We found a great family consisting of Cesar, Rose, Marciano, Marcos, Marcia, Vagner, and a baby. They are a great family with a lot of special perks. Cesar and Rose are actually married, which is rare in the lower-middle and lower classes. They are not going to any church at the moment. The moved here little time ago, which is something that is actually important. In Preach My Gospel, we learn that three indicators of people that might be willing and ready to accept the gospel are: 1. People that had a recent death in the family; 2. People who recently had a child; 3. People who recently moved into the area. They moved into the house that a member vacated, so we were like "Let´s teach there." They are really excited about the gospel, Cesar and two children went to church on Sunday, and they are stoked about the Book of Mormon.
We have been doing family meetings the last two weeks. We can't call it family home evening because it isn't on Monday, and Brasil is really uptight on "standards" compared to Utah (hard to imagine, but true).
Elder Carmo is concerned about his brother because his mom said he has longish hair. I told him that his concern is completely senseless. I think I would have been pretty persecuted in my youth if I lived here LoL.
But basically we just get a few families and investigators and a member gives a thought, we sing, we elders leave a message, and we eat something afterward. It is pretty good, it seems to really help unite the members and help the investigators feel at home.
Well really I told you about pretty much everything in the phone call. We continue working and hunting the elects. I finished Jesus the Christ this morning. That was a good book. It sounds like the other books written by James E Talmage are ill too, House of the Lord and Articles of Faith and The Great Apostasy are books that I want to read when I get home.
The Brasilian national team for the world cup was announced yesterday, no Ronaldinho! Everyone here is pretty perturbed, many now believe that Brasil wont make it out of the group. That would be hilarious hahaha.
Don't feel like you need to send me anything, but if you send something send peanut butter eminems.
Love you all!
Playing soccer with Lyon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"...I know that every little thing I do will help the world be a better place."

A successful family night

Well, this week has been pretty normal. This girl Ana that had gone to church with her friend twice seems to have completely disappeared. We have set multiple times and looked for her always, but she is gone! That is pretty frustrating, because she seems to be really interested in the gospel.
Ari seems to have completely lost interest in the church. We were there yesterday and didn't feel very welcome. Its too bad, he was sooo close to following. But seeing as he became disinterested so fast, it seems like maybe it is better that we didn't baptize him.
Luiz is our number one once again. Lourdes is getting pretty involved in the igreja mundial, and it showed in our last lesson with them. We were talking about the relationship between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and somehow the topic of tithing came up.
Now, here in Brasil, tithing is the main point of doctrine of the vast majority of evangelical churches (that, and demons). Lourdes always pays tithes and offerings at her church. She started telling us that Luiz is not a very good person or doesn't understand very well because he doesn't pay tithing. When she leaves the church having payed a big offering, she says that Luiz laughs at her. Luiz was like "I know tithing exists, but the problem is that they ask for it at your church."
Basically the doctrine that caught his interest when we first started teaching him was that nobody at the Church of Jesus Christ receives money for their work, and that tithing needs to be payed in secret. Since then he has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, he reads it all the time!! We are going there today to try to commit him to baptism. We both feel that he will get baptized, but only when the time is right. So hopefully the time will be right, right now.
The other investigator that I think is really cool is Lourdes. She is about 25 and we found her doing contacts in the street. We taught her the first lesson and she was really excited to go to church. She understood the lesson really well and was really excited to learn about the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, just like Ana, she is next to impossible to find at home!! But of course we will not give up.
President Leal had a special conference with the zone leaders of the mission. They set goals and made plans for the month of May, which we plan on making the best month in the history of our mission. The goal for baptisms: 386. The plan: OBEDIENCE. I think worldwide the doctrine most preached TO the missionaries is obedience. I did a lot of thinking when I read the letter from President and realized that the reasons that obedience is so important are 1. Salvation, and 2. When we listen to the spirit telling us to stop breaking commandments, we become eligible to receive promptings on things that are more specific (What to teach, who to talk to, where to find elects, which car to buy, etc.) to us in our unique circumstances. So that is something I am trying to do better. Our mission doesn't have a music rule, but I decided to ditch even my Matisyahu and leave just classical and hymns on the ipod. That was a hard thing to do but I know that every little thing I do will help the world be a better place.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, at times I feel really depressed when something not fun happens, but I feel that there is always someone helping me continue, not get frustrated, and stay focused.
Love you all
Breakfast: French bread, Cevada, and the present subjunctive

A big spider