Monday, April 28, 2014

The Bread of Life.

I´m stoked for Kendyl and Rayna to go to trek. I don´t know how they choose Pa´s and Ma´s, but you and dad need to go! You would be amazing! The strength, humor, and love from you and dad carry me to this day on the mission and I haven't even seen you two in person for over a year. I´ve watched 17 marriages on the mission here with some members, because they are the pioneers. They love to hear the stories of my ancestors I tell. I am touched by the sacrifices I see these members make to get to the temple so far a way to help their family.
At the start of this week, after a great day of teaching lessons in an area, my companion and I stopped at a bakery to eat some bread as we walked home. As we came out of the store, laying on the ground near by was a withered-looking woman named Victoria. She was frail, dirty, skinny, weak, and hungry. She silently pleaded for food as people walked by, she was ignored. 
My companion and I approached her, raised her up. Gave her the bread and juice we had. We asked her as she was scarfed down the loaf of bread, why she was in the road like this. She cited her story of traveling very far to come here to work, but the job had dropped. She didn´t have sufficient means to go back home, and so found herself living on the street starving. 
We asked her if she had problems with drugs, smoking, or drinking. She claimed none. She told us she was 19, but she appeared to me to be in her 50´s. We felt much compassion for her.
We stated we perhaps may not completely understand the situation or how to help, but we know one who does. After we had given her our bread, we taught about the Bread of Life. We helped her to pray. We gave her a book of Mormon, promising that coupled with prayer, it would change her life. I am fully convinced without a doubt of the Lords promises, that when we seek first His kingdom everything is then added. 

A couple days later I saw her again. Our member lunch had dropped. Vicotoria was sitting on the side of road, with the same tattered clothes and look of hunger. I asked if she was hungry, she said yes. ´Segue-me.´ (Follow me) I said. She rose up and followed us across town. The words in Matt 25:31-40 came to my mind with even the song a poor way-faring man of greif. We went to a restaurant that has lunch for $5,00 Reais (Less than $2.50) (Super cheap, I love that place, it´s 5 Reais for a plate, and you self-serve your plate. So I load all the food I can on a plate till I have a mountain and can´t place more, and it´s still 5 Reais. (This type of thinking must be Pollard family thing. I think about Grandpa and the buffets in Vegas) After we had eaten. We told her, look, we can pay for a meal like this, but nothing is going to change, you´ll still be hungry tomorrow, you must change. We then advised her to start looking to work. Just start asking everybody, if she can work, even if it´s clean the floor for just a day. We used the restuarant we were at as an example, after some persuasion we got her to ask. She was denied. Yet we encouraged her to never give up. We went with her to try another place. She recieved a no again. But  we saw that she could do it. We commited her to keep going all day, not to sit on the street asking for money, get up and start looking to work. She promised she would. A couple days later, we saw her again. She told us she was reading and praying. And that she found a job. She starts tomorrow working at a Salon (the hair place) doing pedicures.I was unable to keep in my excitement and joy to hear this. As we left our friend I found myself jumping with joy, my eyes full of joy. I am so grateful. I know that our Savior Lives. That He uses us often to be His hands in reaching out in mercy and love. My love for Victoria and others here I know didn´t ever come from me because I had the will or a good heart, the Love I feel comes from Him. I know when a power greater than my own is working in me and through me. 

Our district is doing awesome. We had a baptism this week on Saturday. His name is James De Matos. Age 14. His school teacher is a member here, Eurides. who invited him to come to church with her a couple weeks ago. His life and poor background is enough to make one cry.  The gospel has been the best thing for his life.  Love you! 

Going back even when you're not welcome.

April 21, 2014
I really am enjoying training Meu Filho (my son) Elder Costa e Silva. He´s from São Paulo. Like many of my companions, he excited to be the first missionary from his family. I am grateful for his Child-like attributes of love, patience, and kindness he shows for the people. He has already taught me much. 
This week, while searching for people to teach, the name of a past investigator came to mind. I was hesitant to visit this investigator, she was someone I was teaching when I first got to Barrieras. She had been going to church, reading scriptures each day, saw miracles in her life, bore her testimony to me and expressed her desire to be baptized. 
Yet, somehow the faith she had, had turned to doubt. She began canceling appointments, lying, denying everything she once claimed to be true, and asked for us to not come back. 
I didn´t go back for over a month, yet, this week I felt compelled to return. It was difficult for me. I did not think we would be let in, but I felt these words ´the savior goes back, even when He knows they will reject Him.´ I thought, there´s no possible way I could be more forgiving or merciful than the Lord, and If I´m willing to go back and try again, so is He. 
Through expressing our love for the investigator and the Lord, hearts were softened and we were let back in. 
I know that Jesus is the Christ. That He walked with apostles serving and blessing others. And He still walks with us. He spent His time showing people that they matter to Him. Those who were judged as terrible sinners and unworthy of His presence, but he reached out in love and mercy for them. His love is unchangeable. Whether we feel worthy of it or not, it´s always there. And He´s willing to forgive as many times at it takes. I am often astounded of the Love God has for us, I feel it in each hug I give and receive. I feel it for each person I speak to.
I have come to believe that the repentant sinner must suffer, should suffer and feel sorrow for sins, to bring about a change. This suffering is not punishment. Sometimes we face challenges and problems because of our own mistakes. Other times we face hard times, like Job, or many prophets, or even like our Lord, some challenges, whether physical, mental, or emotional are not always linked to sin or lack of faith, but rather that we may learn to become more like Him. The Savior who suffered everything, when we suffer a little we can chose to develop His character becoming more humble, meek, loving, patient, faithful, ect.  
I was sick one night this week, perhaps I ate some bad food or something. I went through the tough night, trying to get rest to get better. The next day I asked Elder Gonçalves for a priesthood blessing, with the amen the stomach cramp stopped and I was healed.
Never doubt the faith you do have. Miracles do not produce one´s faith, but at times miracles do affirm one´s faith. 
I love you so much. I may not be able to fully express the Love I have for my family here, but I am so grateful for who I am becoming because of my amazing parents, sisters, cousins, family, and friends. Ate maís, com amor Tchau. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14 One Year has passed

This week has been awesome. i love Barreiras, it´s got a bit of everything. From the large center with shopping, the out-door Brazilian mall. To these rope thingy´s that Tarzan uses. I went to the waterfall this week, the area was so amazing. The name of the waterfall was Acaba Vida, which means the end of life. Haha. The area around the waterfall was called Paraíso (paradise), and it was! I drank from the pure water streams. Ate weird fruits. It was so green and amazing that I felt like at any moment King Kong would come crashing through the trees. Most beautiful place I´ve ever seen. 

Our area is doing really well, but it´s still so large. So We are getting 2 more Elders here, and making this area a district. I´m now District Leader, and also heading to Salvador today (yay the 28 hour bus ride!) to get a new missionary and train him here. Don´t know anything about my new companion yet, I think it would be fun to train an american though. 
We had 9 investigators at church yesterday, haha i remember a meeting here we had less than 9 members (myself included). But we are seeing a bunch of members on Sunday. We pray every-day to re-active more, have baptisms, and see this Branch become a ward, get a chapel here. I will not be able to hold back tears when that day comes.
A recently activated member Sidiclay (age 20) brought with him to church his friend Hogo. Hogo came once with his friend, the next week he came alone. He arrived by himself. I asked him what made him come, he told me he came for the Lord, he desired to learn from Him and feel His presence. Others perhaps go out of feeling obligated, they often find the meetings long and dull. They feel tired or hungry. They expect the speaker to teach them, and they fail to realize that we are meant to act to receive revelation and not just be acted upon. I am convinced those who go to church for the Savior, find His presence there. They learn from His spirit. They come with a desire to repent, with humility, they come looking for answers and they always find them. They leave feeling energetic, refreshed, and loving, they cannot get enough. Such was the case with Hogo, who learned many things, because he sought them. He expressed that he knew this was the Church of Christ, he felt His presence and believed we spoke his words. He wants to be baptized. Hogo has a 1 year old daughter with an ex-girlfriend, Stephanie. We told him that he should marry her. Hogo was hesistant, saying that marriage is the right thing to do. He said it would be easier if she was in this with him, but doubted she would receive the gospel. My companion and I went to visit her, we treated the situation like a regular contact not claiming we were sent by Hogo. She received our message really well. Believed in our words. I was so happy to see Stephanie and Hogo hand in hand, with their child, walking up to church yesterday, determined to make it work. Man I hope we have some weddings, it´s so common for couples just to live together here for years and years. An inspiring woman named Teka has been actively been going to church here for 4 years, but is unable to be baptized because her husband refuses to mary her. 
The miracles I am unable to count. I have seen more than I am able to count receive answers to their prayers that this is the truth, in this year. It has been the best year of my life.

April 7 April Fools and trials

This past week did a crazy service project at a members home. I learned how to trim palm trees in Las Vegas. Here, I learned how to trim banana trees and such. (Have you ever seen a banana Spider? WIth yellow webs? I was grateful for the kitchen knife they gave me, though I´m not proud that I was using like a scared 6-year old girl!
April fools here is called Dia de Mitiras which means the day of lies. I fell for it when my distressed sounded District leader called and told me that 2 other missionaries didn´t come home last night. They sent me on a little adventure. Haha, punks! 

  We teach many people each day. Every lesson is different, because people are different. Yet, what I have come to find, the most powerful lessons are the ones in which I need the very content in the lesson. When everything I say is significant and powerful to me and I learn with the people I teach. 
I remember after one long day in blazing heat then in pouring rain. We had attempted our very best, but felt we had fallen short. We found ourselves at our last hour before going home. Having been rejected, faced disappointments, we were hungry, tired not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, we found ourselves attempting one more house before the making the walk back home. We met with a humble family. A family of  7 in a small mud/cement home. I remember one with a fever. Another recently broken a leg. Their desire for hope that comes from the Savior is what let us in to speak with them. We barely fit all of us in there to hear our message. I looked them in the eyes and could see their desire for peace, that I too desired in the moment. After the opening prayer, I just opened my mouth to bear testimony, and as always the Lord gave me what was needed for all of us. My companion and I spoke, but the words came from our Loving Savior. We all shed tears as we learned about the atonement and repentance. As we learned from the spirit the reality that The Lord Jesus Christ lives. He is the Head of this Church. He has 12 living apostles today. A prophet again on the earth. With all the authority that was given to the apostles anciently is on the earth today. 
Joy filled our hearts to see some of this family  who believed in our words come to church yesterday. 
We have seen many miracles, some I will wait to say in person to my family and loved ones. Although we may have had disappointments (we had a baptism all set last Saturday, everyone there, things set up, but the investigator didn´t show up) We are never discouraged. I love every moment on the mission. One thing I have really loved is that we have never been left alone, we have been surrounded by unseen help, and it´s the incredible experience when we are reminded of this truth.  
I have learned that all of us will have trials. All of us will have hard times. Wicked or Good. All will. It is up to us, what these trials do to us. They can be for our good. Through the power of the atonement these trials can give us more power behind our words, fill us with more love and light. Give us greater joy and stronger relationship with our Lord. Or we can choose to shrink instead of rise, allowing the trial to cause us to become bitter and miserable, full of grief and pain. 
I know that God is cheerful, uplifting, merciful, patient, and loving. Because that is how I feel when I feel His spirit. 

I love my family deeply, it grows more and more each week. I laugh because the stories I am sent. 1 year! that went by way too fast. Love you all. Love you Mom. 

Shout out to
-Lance Allred- Parabéns para o Cassamento! Congrats on the wedding engagement! 

March 24th The Atonement

This week has been awesome. We are so excited for the work, we find ourselves literally running at times from appointment to appointment. Desiring to teach as many as possible. We run down the roads with excitement. I am unable to tell our message without getting exicited. 
Here´s a photo of Gostavo and Kedson and their little sister. Who´s story I shared.
This past week we had some family nights with groups of people. One was with his family. My companion began our meeting together by pulling out 0.95 centavos, he had just enough for everyone in the room (except himself) to have a brazilian coin. He asked would you like this gift I gave you. Everyone said yes. ´Well, he can´t just give you it, someone has to pay for it. ´ I explained. I determined the price to be 20 pushups for each person. I asked Gostavo `would you like this gift?´´yes ´ he replied
´well, it need to be paid for, Elder Gonçalves will you pay for him?´ I asked´I will. ´ Elder Gonçalves responded as he got down on the floor and did 20 pushups. It was a little humorous. After I asked another the same. Elder Gonçalves did another 20, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another. By this time Elder Goçalves was panting and sweating a bunch from the exertion and the massive heat. Some asked him to stop, they felt compassion and said they didn´t want the gift. But Elder Gonçalves responded that he would still pay it for them. He was trembling unable to continue going, he fell on his face a few times.One woman cried out, ´Elder Pollard! Why can´t you help him. Step in for him. He doesn´t need to keep going. ´ But I insisted it had to be him. After all was done, I related that this moment reminded me of another. When someone much greater and a whole lot stronger fell on His face. He trembled as He paid for us. He arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, and there he fell to the ground. Because of the pain he felt. ´And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death, for behold blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.´ (Mosiah 3:7) He suffered and paid for our sins. Not only just our sins, but our afflictions, burdens, sicknesses, stresses, not just iniquity but all inequality. There is nothing we are feeling, no trial we face, that He did not feel first. This suffering didn´t happen all at once, everyone's pain all together. Rather, he went one by one. He suffered for me. He suffered for you, just you. Just your pain and your sins. He had a moment he thought just your name, and bled just for you. ´Ánd even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.´ (Mosiah 3:9) All the pain he felt in the garden of Gethsemane, returned to Him as he hung on the cross, and He suffered it all again. At times I cry out, why him? He was perfect. He has shown nothing but love, can´t we have someone else? But it had to be Him, the only one who could have given the eternal sacrifice.
I know that these things are true, independently, I have an undeniable testimony. I know that 3 days later he rose from the dead. He lives today with a perfect and glorified body. Because He lives, so shall we. I testify that same Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered for us and died for us, appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820. I testify that our Lord has once again re-established His Church and kingdom once again on the earth. That He has once again called a prophet and 12 apostles and that He is literally the Head of This Church. It is the only church with the fullness of authority. To seal things on earth and in Heaven. 
I am His missionary, when times our tough and ask why is it so difficult, why don´t they get it? I know that all the things that existed on the earth in Christ´s time, exists today. With all the angels, visions, revelations, healings, priesthood authority, ect. Why can´t some people see that? My savior, gently reminds me, that when I ask for another way I should remember I´m not the first to ask. He once asked  if their wasn´t another way. ´father if it be thy will let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.´ Why should  this life be easy for us, when it was never, ever easy for Him? 
The joy I have felt on this mission, is far greater than anything I´ve ever had. I´ve never been happier or more uplifted. I am carried by His infinite atonement.  In His name I bear my witness, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Love you all! 

March 17TH The long bus ride and our Saviors Love

This past week, we found out Monday that we needed to leave Tuesday for a 14 hour pass ride to a city called Fera, to a missionary conference with the mission President. We arrived Wednesday morning just as the conference started, sat in the 8 hour conference, waited at the bus station for a few hours, back on the bus, in our area in time for our lunch appointment on Thursday. Haha, here´s a photo of us arriving back here. 
(For those of you who don't know Daylen gets car sick very easily and would even get car sick from Oakley to Salt Lake if he sat in the back of our van) It was cool, we taught a bunch a lessons at the bus station, and I bet the lady who sat by me for 14 hours has to be converted by now. :) jk

 On Friday we invited a young woman from the branch to visit a investigator with us. I should have known that if you invite one, you invite them all. We found ourselves with nearly all the young women from both branches here. Our appointment dropped, as did our backup one. Yet armed with the guidance of the spirit and 7 giggly girls, we felt impressed to visit a less-active couple. Alvise and Lone. Now in their 50´s. They joined the church 25 years ago in the south of Brazil. 
They know the truth, they have felt and experienced the miracles of being part of the restored church of Christ. Yet for whatever excuse they had, they have been inactive. We have passed by on Sunday to have them go with us, and they denied us. 
Yet here we were once again and the spirit was with us. We entered and the Lord gave us all what was needed to be said. Everyone of the young women that came with us gave powerful testimonies of the church. The couple bore their testimonies as well. 

We stated to them ´We know that the Lord loves you. Because we feel that Love. He sent us to be here with you, we are His angels. Sent with His message, it is a message of His love. He loves to forgive. He loves it. He wants so badly to forgive us, if we will just come to Him. He knows you need to be at church on Sundays, partake in His Sacrament. Remembering His body and Blood, His pain He felt individually for you.´Great joy filled us to see them at church on Sunday. Joy and smiles on their faces. With tears in his eyes Alvise gave me a grateful hug there. As I marveled how they had returned. I wondered what made the difference. How was this change brought about? I believe it was brought about by the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His hands, those He touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result. As we strive to emulate His perfect example our Hands become His hands, our eyes, His eyes, and our heart, His heart. If we fail to be obedient, if we fail to be keep the commandments, if we fail to be humble, if we fail to be fearless, perhaps we intellectually understand the Atonement, but somehow we fail to grasp  the underlying love of His sacrifice. Once we feel that, as well as understand it, we will be given to give our all. We love Him, because He loved us first. When we truly love Him, we keep all His commandments, we preach His gospel, we give our will to His. Nothing can separate us from His love. This love never changes. It´s always there. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we feel we deserve it or not. It is ever encompassing. It was His Love that brought him to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. That same love He has for us today. 
We as disciples of Christ should have our hands stretched out in compassion to others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path. We are called to support and heal, rather than condemn. We are commanded to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. 

Love you mom! Love you Dad! Love you Kendyl Love you Rayna (stay on the road). Love Sienna because she is Awesome! Love you Lilly, keep these nutjobs on track.