Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN!

One night this week, I was deep asleep, and my companion was calling my name and taping my leg. I heard him faintly, but was too tired to get up. He seemed to give up and went back to bed. 
When 6:30 am came he told me why he was trying to wake me up. In the middle of the night, he felt something fall on his bed. Half awake, he tiredly looked around to see. He reached to his side and picked up something black. He brought it close to his face to see what it was. It was warm......then it breathed...... A Bat! 
He let go and the Fruit bat took of screeching around the room. The little guy flew over by me and fell down between my bed and the wall, right by my feet. Elder Costa e Silva got up and tried to wake me. Then just shrugged his shoulders and went back to bed. 
WHAT WAS HE THINKING!?  Do you know how cool of a picture that would have been? When I got up, the bat was already gone. Why didn´t he wake me? I´m still going to sleep with the window open and hope for a second chance. 

This Saturday, was a very remember able. I had the privilege of finally seeing Gostavo and Kedson Baptized. Gostavo and Kedson have been waiting for this day for about 4 years. It was so amazing. The spirit was so strong and there was just a sacred feeling around, like that of the temple. It was a moment of a surety that there were many rejoicing on both sides of the veil. 

On Wednesday I had a neat experience. A few weeks ago I met a man in his 20´s named Kyle. Though he didn´t seem really interested in our message. I felt to just start teaching and helping him. Soon, we began teaching his younger sister as well. This week we met his mother. I asked her "what is a prophet?" She responded with tears of gratitude "I believe in prophets, because a few weeks ago I prayed for the Lord to send prophets to my home and teach my son and help him, then you guys showed up. "
Although we are not prophets, we are sent by one. I am sure of this.

Thanks so much for everything. I love you mom. I love you dad. I am so grateful for my family and friends and your support. I have been upheld by your prayers. I have learned this language because of your help and prayers in my behalf. I couldn´t be here without you. 
Till next week! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The field is ready for harvest

Yesterday we had a large district meeting, the two branches and the one 1 branch from Luis Edwardo (1 hour away) met together in one chapel. These 3 branches are all the Saints on this side of Bahia. Our mission President Hart (and his wife) presided. There was just such an exciting feeling having all the members together, we were crammed into the chapel with people standing. To think just a few years ago they met together in a small home. Only 8 years ago, the church wasn´t even here. 
They called the meeting an historic event. Now with 12 missionaries, it´s the highest number of members and missionaries here. President Hart and other leaders spoke about our goals for another branch, then a few wards, then a stake and so on and how we will accomplish it working together. 
One of the neatest part of the meeting was the 6 youth about to leave for missions. They are 6 people that have become my friends and have gone with us to teach.
19 year old Wesley, joined the church about 3 years ago, last year he baptized his younger sister. His older sister and parents are still not members. He´s the Elder´s quorum president. He received his call yesterday brought with President Hart, to São Paulo North, Brasil. 
Joice is 20 years old and I´m grateful she has gone with us nearly every day to teach people. She joined the church just a couple of years ago, and is the only member of her family. She also received her call yesterday to São Paulo North, haha. 
Sara, about age 22 is leaving to São Paulo West, going to the MTC the same time as Joice and Wesley. She´s also the only member from her family. 
Derivan age 20 is heading to Santos, Brasil, his older sister is a member as well, but inactive. He didn´t even tell his parents he was going on a mission until a week after he got his call. 
Leo age 19 heading to Columbia, the only member from his family. 
Vania age 20 (who left 2 weeks ago) is in Capa Verde, Africa. She´s the only one from her family. 
Wonderson, still waiting for his call, age 18. 
These people have touched my life. They are amazing examples of youth. They have become my friends and I´ll miss them, as will the branches. we just feel so happy seeing this area not only just grow, but putting out servants of the Lord to bless others. 
That´s all folks, love ya´ll. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 12, 2014 After the Call Home

It was so awesome to see you guys yesterday. But I can see why they only allow it twice a year, I was doing just fine before, but after that will get you home sick. Okay now, but working and planning after skype the day of was tough my mind wasn´t very focused. Talking to each of you was such an amazing joy, I couldn´t stop smiling. Kept laughing of prank after, I wish I could have seen the reaction when you thought Elder Costa e Silva was me (with my name tag) then he sat down. I thought about how you said I look the same, then laughed, perhaps because for a split second you thought I turned into Elder Costa e Silva.

(Yes, Daylen played a prank on us, when the Skype video came on Elder Costa was standing in front of the camera, all we could see was a white shirt and name badge.  We kept calling out "Sit Down!"  and screaming with delight to see our brother.  When he finally sat we saw a very dark-skinned short-haired fella who just grinned at us... we were totally fooled).

Yesteray Hogo was baptized. I met him when I first got here. He was a friend of a less-active named Sidiclay. It´s been so amazing to see the Lord´s hands in their lives. They started Capoeira class (A brazilian fighting style) in our church each saturday. Sidiclay brought his friend to the activity. Then eventually to church. The impressive part was Hogo continued to go to church by himself, even without his friend. He gave us the referral of His girlfriend Stefane, they have a little baby. They began coming to church together, and obeying the cammandments.  Now Sidiclay is preparing to go on a mission, and Hogo was baptized and is a great example for everyone. He´s brought with him a couple of friends to church as well, including His Capoeira Master/Trainer. 
Stefane was also baptized last week. There was no doubt that she was just ready with her large smile and joyful presence. The week before Elder Gonçalves and Elder Alancar (who also taught Hogo and Stefane) found a young man named James, 14 years old. The gospel has been the best thing for him, I love to see His excited face, and just how happy is each Sunday

In a letter to Joslyn: 

I was thinking about what you asked me yesterday. You question was something like what´s my favorite food, and what food I miss the most. If I remember right. So, Here´s some photos. One is a classic plate of what my lunch looks like. Lunch is the biggest meal, dinner is at about 9:30 just before we go to bed we make something. Breakfast is usually a tube of cookies, or crackers with juice and fruit, eggs.  You know those one vanilla wafer cookies we use to always eat? They have those, but in like 10 different flavors, with lemon, strawberry, etc. 
The other photo is called a corxina. It´s deep fried and has a type of chicken inside. I love the Pastels here,. I also love Cheese bread. It comes in little bread balls filled with cheese, kinda like a mozzarella stick. 
The other photo is a coconut, they cut of the end, than you drink the water. It´s really good and sweet, doesn´t actually taste like a coconut. 
There´s all kinds of fruits we don´t have. 
I think what I miss the most is mom´s beef sue. And a large plate of Nachos. 

Oh no, I´m like out of time. But I said I would answer Nate´s question, which in actuality I did in my testimony, but I don´t think you guys understood. In short (though it deserves a longer answer), one of the greatest things I´ve learned in personal study is how to lose myself for Christ´s sake and thereby finding myself. I´ve learned about losing all acts of disobedience, stresses, worries, fears, anger, pride, self-centerness, and using my personality to help the work. Talking and bearing testimony to everyone, even stopping to sing a hymn for people in the streets. We can still be us, be our character and have the character of Christ. We cannot lose ourselves for His sake, without being ourselves. That´s how the light of Christ works, and when we exercise that light, when we see Him we shall be like Him. With our smiles, we have His image on our couternance. It is through our true personality we come to know His.
Needs better explaination, but I Love you! 

May 5, 2014 Craving a Taco

Man, this computer is annoying, it´s translated all the emails to
Portuguese. You speak pretty well mom.
I will get on skype 8:00pm here Sunday, that´s 5:00pm there. (Daylight
savings doesn´t exist here in Bahia) I´m stoked. Also grateful for my
friend Brian, the only American I know here that started an English
school here. We were talking about our craving for a taco or a burrito.
Despite what most people think, there´s not really any Mexican food
here (there´s also not 5 de Maio), I have never seen a taco or even a
tortilla. Yesterday, somehow Brian found some expiensive type of bread
that was basically a tortilla. And he made us some Fajitas. It was
awesome, when I eat something similar to what I ate at home it brings
back of feeling of being home. Brian also has the fastest internet
connection in the city in his school, where I will do skype. If it
doesn´t work out, I´ll try to email you before hand with a different

I haven´t gotten the Easter package yet, hoping it will get here in a
week or so there´s some transfers. If you could (realizing you may
have already sent in the other package) send me some type of mixing packages would be good. Like sloppy jo,
gravy mix, and stuff that´s small and light-weight so it doesn´t cost
a lot, but can last me a while with some american food.

The week has been awesome. Remember the story I shared of 3 children,
Gostavo and Kedson, that have been going to church now for nearly 4
years? We had an amazing experience with the dad, in just small and
simple means of listening, asking questions, and showing genuine love,
the spirit touched his heart and he gave permission. Gostavo and
Kedson are going to be baptized this week. I love those kids so much
and I just had a moment of overwhelming gratitude to be here when they
ran and gave me hug with big smiles.

Do you remember a story I sent about Hogo and Stephanie? Who were a
couple with a child? Stephanie was baptized yesterday. She is so
amazing. I loved some of the responses she gave as I interviewed her.
I asked what does repentance mean? She responded ´it´s what I am doing
right now.´ I asked her if she felt she had completely repented of all
her sins and felt forgiven. Her face light up and with a large smile
and soft laugh she responded, yes. It was just so neat to see that. To
see someone really come to find that faith in the Savior, to feel
clean of everything, and make a promise to follow Him.
Hogo is also preparing to be baptized. He doesn´t have a date yet, but
is doing really well.

Thank you so much for everything mom. Thank you for your prayers and
thoughts. I thank you and dad for each time you speak about me, and
you share with people and I hope it helps their lives. I love you all.
I am so excited to see the smiling faces of my family Sunday. The time
has gone by quickly, and at the same time I feel like ´home´ was a
life-time ago, like a different life, or nearly a dream. Because I
feel different. I feel so much lighter, happier, full of love, and so
grateful for this opportunity to serve.

Shout outs to- Talesha! Parabens! Congrats on graduating! That´s
awesome, your´re an awesome example for me and our family.
Robert and Marilee- If you get some time, send me a quick email and
tell me how things are going. I love you gurys.