Monday, January 27, 2014

New Area, New Companion

I just traveled 14 hours by bus to meet my new companion
So I´m in a city called Barreiras with Elder Brito. It´s really cool. actually that´s not true, it´s really hot here. We are near the edge of the state of Bahia, there are about 10 missionaries kinda out here (within 2-3 hours). Besides that, the next closest group of missionaries is about 14 hours away. We are somewhat close to the capital of Brazil, Brasilia. Bahia, is known for being a little part of Africa in Brazil. Majority of the people are African-Brazilian. But being way out here, I´m still not used to seeing people with blond hair, there are white people here, its odd.
The church is new out here, started only about 6 years ago, we meet in a house. It´s a small branch, I´ve never seen anything like it. But the small group of less than active 30 members faith is inspiring. I´m grateful to be here, and excited to help strengthen the members and find some leaders.  The area has great potential!
There is an English school here, I´ve become friends with the English teachers, haha it´s fun. This past week, I spoke at a college. I was asked by a professor who found out I was an American, if I would come in and speak to a class, on the day a presentation was going to be done on the importance of learning English for business and careers. My companion and I presented ourselves in front of a group of about 35 adults. I told jokes and stories about coming to Brazil and learning the language. We were well received, and began being asked questions. We bore testimony to the group, explained our purpose, what we do and what we teach. We briefly taught about the message of the restoration. After the class, everyone received a pass-along card. We had many come up and speak with us, that we took down addresses and have began to go homes to teach because of this.
Things are good! I´m happy and excited for the work here. 

Administering to the sick.

The photo is from Joelina´s baptism, the woman in the middle is her mom, Jovelina (not a member).  (don´t ask me who the duffus is on the left)
Shortly after the baptism Jovelina fell ill to some kind of disease I still don´t comprehend. Yesterday, Joelina asked me if I would go with her to visit her mother in the hospital. My companion and I headed to the hospital after church. They only permitted one in with Joelina at a time, so I went up. 
I entered into a large room, where there were serval inflicted patients of different infimities laying on beds. Some seemed near death, some alone, others with loved ones at their side.
Jovelina was on the far end of the room, as I approached, her face lit up and was so happy to see me. She informed me that the first counselor had already given her a blessing. To my suprise she lifted the sheet off from her legs, one foot was bandaged and appeared to have no toes. The other foot had to be amputated, it was gone. Just a small stitched up nub. 
It made me want to cry, the emotional pain to lose one´s limb. But Jovelina bore testimony to me, of how greatly she has felt the love of our heavenly Father through this time, and how great her comfort has been. I shared a scipture with her and my testimony.
As I was leaving the room, I noticed an inflicted woman alone on her sick-bed, I felt compelled to talk to her. I shook her frail hand, asked her name, how she was, told her I just wanted to give her a present, a picture of Christ (pass-along cards), than gave a short testimony of His love. She thanked me with a sweet smile. Then I realized an old woman on the bed next to her, was holding out her hand beckoning to me unable to speak. She wanted one too! I soon found myself going one by one to each bed. All of them wanted me to. Giving brief testimony, smiles, and pass-along cards. I met one woman who had spoken to missionaries over 10 years ago who asked for a book of mormon to read, which I gave to her and marked a chapter for her. It was a tender and sweet expience I had. The thought brifely crossed my mind that I shouldn´t touch these inflicted people, but I am convinced that I, as the lords servant, hold the mantel of the Savior, I cannot be harmed by their illness. (of course I need to be careful and wise, but I know that when I go forth to do His will, it´s not my hands, it´s His. )
One of the special things I´ve learned on the mission is; that faith isn´t knowing that the Lord will heal you, it´s knowing and believing that He can, then accepting His will whatever it may be. Those who are healed from a sickness, their faith is strengthened, but those who aren´t healed, but continue in faithfulness, their faith is being perfected. 
Robert and Marilee, I love you, you are in my prayers.

Thank you mom for everything. Sienna and Lilly I love you and appreciate you writting me. Thank you for all the prayers in my behalf. I have been well protected because of these prayers, of this I am certain. I have been given great health, and kept safe. I am so grateful. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Member Missionaries

 One photo is with me and Irmao Da-Hora (with his daughter sneaking behind) The Da-Hora´s I feel have become life-long friends. I've learned from them first-hand a lesson I´ve always heard, but now experienced. They live in a small humble mud-brick home, Irmão Da-hora bulit. They don´t appear to have much.  But they are the happiest people I've ever met. As I sit in their home I have an overwhelming feeling, there is so much love and peace and joy in the small home, to me I feel they have have everything. 
They joined the church about 15 years ago, were baptized, sealed, and are faithful and strong members. Shortly after I arrived, Irmao Da-Hora was in a critical accident and was on the verge of death. But even through the surgeries and the pain, he was so strong and humble. Now fully recovered, I have never seen him without a smile and a calm look on his face. This family has touched my life. They are so kind to me. They are true examples of what matters most. 

 The other photo is this funny dude Gueddes, that acts just like Dirk (our cousin), he´s like the black version. Hahah

The woman in the picture is Crispina; Small in stature, but a massive spiritual giant. Joined the church about 7 years ago. She is one who has the missionary name badge painted on her heart. She was probably a back-up plan every day. Because we would just show up to her home, and she always had someone for us to go teach. She would quickly change and take us to people´s homes. Less-actives she knew of or just people that are struggling or going through a hard time. I am so grateful for her example.

The other photo is Jean. He´s my role model here. Served a mission 8 years ago, but never stopped being a missionary. He loves the ward and works diligently.  We work a lot with him, he´s funny and a powerful teacher. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Doing the hard things.

No missionary event is ever too small, in fact the way the lord brings about his purposes is through small and simple means.  I think last time I wrote I spoke about an investigator Nildes, well, she´s going to be baptized by Irmão Da-Hora (the father of the family who gave the referral) this Saturday. She´s been amazing to teach. We taught the word of wisdom a week ago, she immediately had a desire to live it. She faced a few days of headache´s from quitting coffee, she´s been ridiculed by past friends in her decisions, but she´s been an example to us as she pushes through the hard things to do what she know is right. I think, whether as missionaries are informed or not, know that every investigator faces challenges on this straight and narrow path. Some hold fast to their testimony and what they have felt to be true and leave behind everything to change. Others don´t. I think about them every time it gets difficult for me. When it´s hard to get up at 6:30 am and work out, I hear the alarm and think that I´m too tired.  I deserve to sleep in. But than I think of them. How can I expect there to be power behind my voice as I ask them to do hard things, if I don´t do hard things. When I hear the very exscuse coming from some of them, that they were too tired to make it to church, too tired to read, too tired to pray. This gets me up every morning. Things are great. I´m happy, and I get happier every day. 

P.S Shout out to- Grandma and Grandpa Hatch, who diligently send me an email each week and occasional letters. I am grateful for their support, even when i don´t respond too often. Keep the Letters and emails coming, I love them. 
Shout out to- anyone who has emailed me and I have failed to respond. I´m sorry. If you would, Just Continue to email me I do enjoy them. And I´ll try to get better at responding. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 6th letter and observations

On Christmas day we as a family got to Skype with Daylen for about 40 minutes. He looked so happy and was overcome with emotion seeing us. I of  course still had my Fezziwig beard left over from The Christmas Carol which sent Daylen and the members whose home he was in into fits of laughter. It was nice to hear his voice and to see that he was doing well. He wished everyone a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. The following is the letter we received on Monday the 6th. Dad

The past week has been amazing! Yesterday we had about 10 less actives at church, my companion and I can´t take the slightest credit, the Lord is performing miracles here. We´ve made a large push with working with members. Recently a beloved family, the Da Hora´s, gave us a referral. They had a friend named Nildes who´s mother had passed away. Concerned for her, they took us over to her home. Nildes had never spoken to missionaries before, yet had visited various religions for many years. She didn´t believe in a life after death. The spirit was strong in the lesson, I knew instantly that the Lord wanted her to hear our message because I was speaking near fluent Portuguese.  
We taught the plan of salvation, she loved it. We returned a couple days later, and explained the restoration. She was so excited through the lesson, saying "wait, there´s a prophet today? What is his name?" We left her a book of Mormon with the commitment to read 3 Nephi 11. We returned again, and followed up. We asked if she had read it, and if she had any questions or doubts. She responded  "I read, I loved it.....I read the chapter then prayed, then I read it again. .......only one question....... (with a large smile) how long does one have to wait to be baptized?"
My wise companion responded "let us begin with prayer" We walked her to church yesterday, but after Sacrament meeting, she told us that we don´t ever need to walk her to church again, she will be there every Sunday. She had prayed to know where the Lord wanted her, and she had found it. 
So, that was cool. 
Just some observations so far of Brasil

-everyone gives each other a thumbs up, for just about anything. Thumbs up for a greeting, to say goodbye, to cut someone off. It´s nearly impossible to hitchhike, because they´ll think you're just Brazilian. 

-We don´t knock on doors. Nobody does. We clap our hands. Everyone claps when they want someone to come out of their house. 
-Beans and Rice always.  But depending on how wealthy they are determines the quality, also. There´s usually a salad (dressing seems non-existent, they put mayonnaise or ketchup on top of the lettuce) Noodles, Chicken (it´s common for homes to have chickens running around, depending what part of the city I´m in, I sometimes wonder just how fresh the chicken is.) BBQ is really good, when it happens. Then juice (almost always homemade from exotic fruits) or soda 
-I don´t know what this powder stuff is in these cans. Or what is in these cardboard boxes on the shelf, but our milk comes from cows. 

More observations later, frankly I think I´m just getting use to everything. 
Love you mom! E tudo mundo de famílias e amigos, escreve me por favor. Vous tentar responder. (And all the world of families and friends, write me please. I will try to respond ).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Short messages

(Dec 16)

Mmmmm, what to you can hear my voice......metaphorically....I think........I yelled HELLO at the screen, let me know if you heard it. I hope so, because now I gave away my cover that I speak English  and I´m American. I think am the only American in the City, for some I´m the only American they have ever met. Some think I´m like some kind of rich actor. They think, OOOh, an American from the US. Where you from? Hollowoogie? Novo Yorck?  I tell them I´m from Utah, and they get all excited,!.......I have no idea where that is......say something in English? Are you an Actor? Is every one there tall? Do you know Michael Jackson?  Why are you here? Take me back with you. 

 It´s so funny. All the members know though, they can just guess, oh, your from the US, let me guess, Utah? Because all the American misisonaries here are from Utah. Hahah. It´s fun
Uh..... the weather....It´s nice.....I just got use to sweating like crazy, it´s okay if you stink a little, everybody here stinks......haha. They have no problem to give you a sweaty handshake either.....I´m not use to those, I still find myself wiping my hand on my pants after the handshakes. But I just smile real big, and tell them I´m a famous actor, but dropped everything because our message is true...jk...the actor part....the message is true...I think...
Uh....My Comp is amazing! 

Eh...It´s hard to express me self using these little buttons with letters, staring at the computer screen, and day dreaming a little about ice cream cones. Sorry if it isn´t up to par. But tis this. 

(Dec 2)

My favorite part isn´t the faces of the missionaries. But rather Elder Pardo, (the darker one, he´s from bolivia), has no idea that over an hour ago I had managed to switch name tags, and he wore mine for hours throughout the day without noticing. It wasn´t until a lady kept calling him Elder Pole-large (pollard), and asking him why we both had the same name, that he looked and saw....maahahahaha..... 

Love ya

(Nov 20)

Short on time, try to sum this up shortly

There was once a man, who was fluent in many languages (Portuguese, French, English, Italian, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, German, ect) He had a masters degree in literature here in Brazil. He was working towards become a DR. Had a high paying job at a college for 25 years. But pride and self-absorption caused a downfall, as he divorced his wife, tried to start a company and lost everything in a year.

Everything. He is homeless. walks city to city, with nothing more than the clothes on his 62 year old back, and his degree. He looks for work, but is rejected by many schools. He has a clean record, is well qualified. A quick and witty mind. But is homeless and alone. Realizing the need for change, he began to seek for truth and a new beginning. His goal now being to find the truth and live as closely he can to it. He asked for help from the lord 
This is when the Lord took us to him. We meet him in a park. We gave him our clothes, bread and fruit, water. But most importantly we gave him the gospel and our testimonies.  More later, out of time. But its soooo cool!!!!

(Nov 11)