(she's holding the doggy and her name is Carolina)
Well well well...Where do I begin?? This week was super great, and on top of everything today is officially my very last pday in the field. Where did the time even go??
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10...............Did y’all get the joke??? Because that is how many days I have left out here! Bahahah I am hilarious! Just kidding...but seriously trunkiness is inevitable.
In all seriousness I have learned so much since I have been out here. I’ve learned about the gospel, myself, people, culture, Portuguese (haha), sacrifice, diligence, responsibility, "and so forth"...I was talking with my companion and reflecting a little bit about the mission and came to the conclusion that it has been the furthest thing from easy. To say that these were the happiest two years of my life might be a bit of a stretch, but the BEST two years? The mission definitely wins that title. This is the best decision I’ve made in my life so far, and will be something I’ll look back on every day for the rest of my life. It has given me the chance to take advantage of learning so much about the gospel and to gain experience. No matter what anyone says, it can be the best two years. The mission has certainly opened up my eyes to what kind of blessings God has for those whose sacrifice something for Him. I have never felt His love for me as deeply and strongly as I have while serving those who need to feel the light that the Gospel brings. I have felt my testimony grow so rapidly as I have been doing this work. Looking back to the person I was to the person I am today, the physical appearance doesn’t seem too different (just the receding hairline...), but I can make out the spiritual differences that I have needed to go through to become more converted. That does not mean that I am a perfect person today by any means, but that I know the way I can become the person God wants me to be. Sometimes we ask for miracles to happen in our lives and we look for the miracles that happen around us, but it can be easy to forget and overlook the miracles that God does inside of us. This email is kind of all over the place, but I know today more than ever that the gospel is the right path for someone to find their way back to their heavenly home.
See you all soon!
Last mirror selfie for the folks.
As camisas que compramos para mostrar que gostamos de futebol kkkkk
Well this week sure had its ups and downs but we are doing this thing still! We started off the week with a real bang and had our best day of teaching…then EVERYTHING fell through... It was kind of annoying. But this week we were able to help out this family that we have been visiting. They invited us to their house this week for a barbecue where they made us pork hearts (super dope!) and chicken wings. They are having a really hard time because they don’t want to stay together anymore; but in this visit the mother didn’t mention anything about divorce, and didn’t treat her husband poorly, and the same for him. Their whole countenance kind of changed. And as bad as the situation may seem, it’s incredible to see how the gospel really can bless these families.
On a different note, this week, Morales and me did a training/ sermon/ activity thing about the mission plan and missionary work. We spent and hour and a half reading scriptures, watching videos, and doing dynamic activities. It turned out to be super good seeing the members make an effort to really change their ways of thinking, and HOW they help. We resumed everything in 4 points: Cultivar União (2 Nephi 1:21), Aprender e ensinar pelo espirito (DC 42: 12-13), Banquetear-se com as escrituras diariamente (DC 84:85), e Alcançar e Resgatar as Familias (Alma 31: 32-38). It turned out super good! Five people even cried! hahaaha Now we just got to "turn the knife" (pull on the members ears a little to get them to get going a bit...).
This week was super busy with a lot of traveling and stake conference and stuff so I don’t really know what to report...We did have interviews with President and they were super good. Not to mention that it was the last interview I will have with him until I go home...In 23 days! hahaha sorry but yeah!
This week we visited a family that is really struggling to stay together and they really opened up to us and are willing to try to make some changes. We also have a little girl that we are teaching that looks like will be baptized here soon; she’s a daughter of some members here and is really making some progress!
Morales and me have found serving in this area pretty difficult because of the lack of unity here, and unfortunately nothing seems to get better. I’ve really learned to be more patient with how things happen and how God has something to teach the people in this area that is outside of my control. Our job is to teach and exhort and sometimes that is all we can do. But in the words of president in our latest interviews, "We cannot get discouraged elders, just keep working."
And that’s all there is to it! The church will never stop being true! Love you all and keep your heads up even when it’s hard! Tchau!
Outside the temple *cough cough...sorry I meant the chapel
FROZONE IS IN OUR MISSION!!! oh wait thats just Riberão Preto
So this week was really good! We traveled quite a bit to our zone meetings and slept over at the zone leaders house again so that was basically awful. Hahaha The training that we received was good though; we talked about the role of the Spirit in conversion. We learned a lot!
We have some investigators we are teaching now that are showing a bit of interest, which is way cool. I don’t know if they are going to follow though with certain commitments, but it’s good to be teaching. We have a little girl that we are teaching who is the daughter of a member here and looks like shell be making the commitment soon to get baptized.
I forgot to tell everyone last week that we did a split in the other area in our district and it was freezing there. Literally. hahaha. I think its pretty rare for Brazil temperatures to go down to 32 degrees but it did and we about froze to death. I’m going die when I go home. And on top of everything, while we were there, I met my grandpa in the mission (or in other words, my trainers trainer)! He is a pretty cool guy, now I know where I get it! ;)
But everything is good with us here. I hope you all have a great week! Tchau!
So this week was really uneventful, but the members are helping us out a bit more these days, which is really good. It’s a big difference today from when we got here. It’s a good feeling to know that we are making a little bit of a difference here, even though some days it doesn’t seem like it. Some days it is hard for us to not get discouraged because of some things that happen here with the people (and not excluding the members). Unfortunately, there isn’t much harmony and without harmony there is NO PROGRESS. So sometimes it is sad to see the church here being separated or broken up into groups.
I have learned a lot about people though, and how the real changes that need to happen in the church are in the hearts of the members. Sometimes I think, “why doesn’t God help us find new people to teach and why is it so hard some days”, but then I think about the ward and what could happen to a recent convert. I’ve decided that maybe our real work hasn’t been necessarily baptizing, but rather organizing, planning, helping, sustaining, and doing our part. Sometimes we just got to let God do his part and we do ours.
No matter what I wouldn’t give up these experiences for anything, because its all part of Gods plan for us to learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. The church will never stop being true! Stay strong my friends! Love you all!
So this week was super busy with the activity. Getting people to commit to bring desserts for the organizations was really stressful, but the result turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be! We had a solid 17 non-members and a bunch of less active members there. It was by far the best activity that I’ve ever planned in my mission. It was really great to see the ward get together to set up everything and eat and talk together. I have never seen so many people in that chapel the whole time I’ve been here. We also got a couple of referrals (the first since I’ve been here may I add hahaha) and it was so worth all the stress! Now we will just see what happens. So the work is progressing a bit, we just have a lot of following up to do now! And for more big news: I started my very last transfer in the field TODAY :) Love you all! Tchau! Elder Buck
So this week flew by super fast as me and Morales have been preparing for an activity this week. It’s an activity I’ve done in my past areas and it worked super well! It’s a dessert competition where all the organizations (Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Primary, etc) will all be bringing in desserts to be judged. The judges are the non-member friends and family that the members bring with them. We’ve been planning it for a whole month so that this activity can help the ward here grow a little bit! It’s been kind of nuts trying to get people excited for it! We’ll see how things go...
As for investigators...It’s been super tough getting anyone to really progress and seek for their own testimony. But we have some investigators that committed to go to the dessert competition so we'll see if they come! We do a lot of tracking and a lot of knocking doors, and a lot of walking. I don’t think I have ever felt so tired in my entire life. All I want to do these days is sleep hahaha. But Morales and me are going hard in the paint here and really doing this area good! It seems like a lot of the areas I’ve been sent to in my mission are ones that were struggling, but I have to say I wouldn’t have had it any other way because I have seriously learned so much from it! From organizational skills, patience, diligence, following up with people, etc... I’ve definitely taken so much away from it all for sure! I just hope I will be able to apply it when I get home.
This week was pretty uneventful, we have walked a lot and been working hard at getting the members involved here a bit more. The work is MEGA SLOW but we have been planning activities to give the members more opportunities to do missionary work. The biggest problem we face is that the members sometimes have the idea that missionaries just knock doors and stuff, when in reality that is the MOST INEFFECTIVE working tactic that exists! Hahaha Work with the missionaries y’all, they need help!
As for investigators, we have found it super hard to find anyone that wants to really progress. We have 4 pretty solid investigators (meaning investigators that we consistently visit but are not necessarily...progressing). We consistently find a lot of people to teach but we get cut quite a bit... but its all part of the work I guess. The most we can really do at the moment is trust that God will help us to "find the pearl in the mud”. On the bright side we are learning to have a lot of patience!
And exciting news: I dry-cleaned my suit coat for the first time in my entire mission this week!
Well this week was great with conference and everything. We honestly only had about 2 whole days of work and the rest of the week we were in the areas of other missionaries for zone meetings and general conference broadcasting, so I don’t have anything very special or interesting to report. We went to the stake center in Chapecó to watch conference and it is a 2 ½ hour bus ride (not too ridiculous). We slept in the same place with 10 other elders... it's awful! The mattresses are so nasty too! hahaha I’m definitely happy to know I will be sleeping in my own bed tonight (sort of...)!
One of my favorite quotes though from conference was, "The best leaders are the best followers..."
I made my very last planner and I think it’s a beauty! But there are still 3 more weeks before I can even use it...
I got soaked and Elder Morales sleeps with his eyes open! #creepy
I’m just going to wrap up this email very simply by saying that we had a really great week of finding and teaching. I really like my companion because he’s a hard worker and makes my life a lot easier sometimes! We have been working super well together and we have seen a lot of the fruits of our labor, I think partly because of the Harmony we have in our companionship! We have been gaining a lot of trust with the members and seems like the missionary work is starting to fire up. And I have to say that my testimony hasn’t grown as much in my entire life as it has in these past 21 months. It is incredible to look back and see how much I’ve grown and progressed personally and how much the Lords work has progressed. I know that the church is true and that "after all that has been said, our greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel." I know this to be true because I live it!
Welp y’all, I’d really love to fill you in on what happened this week, but I’m afraid it would bore you to death...but mom insists so I guess I’ll say what happened hahaha. I’ll just start on Wednesday... Wednesday: We had an appointment marked with a member that hasn’t been going to church for a while so we talked to him about Jesus and the atonement. It went really well. Afterwards we went to lunch at a restaurant nearby, ate quickly, and ran back home to get our stuff packed. There we took a bus at 4:30 going to Chapecó. There, Morales and I split up. I went with the companion of one elder all the way to Florianópolis and we got there at about 6:00 am or twelve hours later the next day. Thursday: From the bus terminal we walked to the mission home and got there at about 6:30, then we went to the Internal Revenue Service place (Receita Federal) to get my CPF done (which should have been done a long time ago...) After that we ate lunch with the staff there in Floripa and then ran to the Bus terminal to get on the bus at 1:30 going to Itajaí (my second area and where the mission tour would take place the next day). When we arrived we went to the missionaries’ house there since no one was home, I decided to visit a couple families (fubeca!) that I used to know from that area hahaha. The missionaries got back and it was Elder William and his companion! We then helped them get stuff ready for the mission tour and then visited a dear family there (see picture) :) We slept over night in the same house with 14 other missionaries (16 in total...Que Horror) and.... Friday: We woke up early (to shower and stuff, I was looking and smelling like an animal) and we all headed over to the church building. We waited around forever for everyone to show up (100 missionaries and Elder Zwick). After the meeting, we had lunch and then me and 9 other missionaries sang a special musical number where I sang a SOLO for the first two lines of the song (QUE MEDO). We did pretty well I think....I mean, I didn’t screw up to bad this time!! And the meeting with Elder Zwick was super cool and I learned a lot on how to "Simplify, Intensify, and Testify". It was super great! Then at 4:30 pm we got back on the bus going back to Chapecó and arrived the next day (Saturday) at 5:30am. Saturday: We walked from the chapel in Chapecó to the missionaries' house and we all slept for about 2 ½ hours before we had to wake up again and go to the bus terminal to get on our bus at 9:30. We got back to our area (Concórdia) at 11:30 where we walked home (super fast) to drop off our stuff and run to our lunch appointment at 12:00pm. (haha We took a taxi because my body wasn’t functioning properly I think.) We got there right at 12:00 and ate, we went home and I took a shower and died. Until Sunday morning haha… Sunday: We went to church and afterwards had to walk up the biggest hill in the universe to go to a ward council meeting. Afterwards it starting raining like crazy for the rest of the day so we called it quits bahaha... Exciting huh??? :) Tchau! Elder Buck
So there isn’t much to report this week, but Morales and I are working hard on getting this ward united again! There is a lot of drama here because of missionaries from the past, old leadership problems, apostasy, etc... But it looks like things are getting whipped into shape on our part. The members are marking more lunch appointments, people are coming back to church, referrals are starting to roll in, so it’s all good. We missionaries don’t have a lot of authority in respect to the members, but we sure are doing our part and everything they ask us to (within our limits).
My testimony has really grown a lot about sustaining our leaders and fulfilling our callings. Sometimes we just need to sustain our leaders and do our part and the rest (ward growth, unity, etc...) will all come around naturally. Put our pride to the side and let God’s will happen. My mission has not been anything less than great! One thing I have figured out on my mission is that if we put our faith in a people, we can expect to be disappointed. The only person we should put our faith in fully is Jesus Christ because He is not capable of letting us down or disappointing us. He will always lift us and help us to become better people. It must be part of God’s plan for us to learn to trust and confide solely in Christ.
Morales and I are doing really well together though! hahaha I swear we lived the same life before the mission! We have so many things in common its kind of creepy. Great guy! …and he’s teaching me Spanish too! You know what they say, " you gotta take advantage when the opportunity comes around." -Elder Buck