Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Daylen's last letter home

My mission has meant the world to me. I can´t even begin to express the gratitude of what I feel. It brings me to the hardest tears I´ve had to cry. I am grateful for all I have met along the way, and they were many. I am so grateful for the Savior, who has walked every step with me. He has upheld me like I never thought possible. I desire to lose my life for His sake.  
 Thank you mom and dad. For all your support. I feel so grateful for our family. I could not have done it without you. And I mean that. Your prayers have sustained me far more than anyone can understand. 
Many have been asking me, what´s the greatest thing I´ve learned on my mission. Frankly I don´t think it´s possible to answer. I don´t feel like I´ve finished or accomplished my mission, rather that I finished a certain stage and that I must keep going. It´s hard to evaluate the work I don´t feel is over. I´m still a work in progress, but everything has changed. Not a single perspective or opinion I currently have has not changed. The very way I think and feel is far different. Any topic, the way I think about church, beans, rice, people, relationships, ect. When I think about life before the mission, it often feels like it was another person who did those things. I may look the same or speak the same to others, but I am not the same. I don´t believe I´ll know until the eternities what the greatest lesson I learned on my mission. I believe it will effect every stage and decision for the rest of my life.   I´m excited and ready for new challenges.
I know this is the Lord´s work. He is our King. He loves us and cares for us. I know that the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Is the Lord´s kingdom- the only way to eternal life. I know the book of Mormon to hold the fullness of the gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!    

“When you choose to follow Christ, 
you choose to be changed.”
President Ezra Taft Benson

Friday, April 10, 2015

Daylens coming home

Daylen is coming home!  He arrives at the SLC airport on Friday April 24th at 10:30 AM (Delta Flight 1105) From there we will be taking him out to lunch at The Golden Coral in West Valley 3399 W 3500 S, about noon . We invite everyone who would like to come to come out and celebrate his return home. He will report at Sacrament Meeting on Mothers Day May 10th 10:30 AM With lunch to follow at noon at the town hall in Oakley. (We really like to Eat)

I will also be turning this blog into a book as a keepsake for Daylen if you would like to leave a comment on this blog I will make sure it is added.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Every Member a Missionary!

On Wednesday we visited our recent convert Patricia. She greeted us with excitement and asked "Where have you two been? We have much work to do here!" She then related some of her wonderful experiences of giving her friends copies of the Book of the Mormon. "Every owner of these near-by stores all have one. These people have to know about this church, so many just don´t know." She stated. "That´s great Patricia!" we told her "Now we have to get all the addresses of these people and start teaching them." "Already done" She said "I have all the addresses. I like to go out in the morning and meet with new people and pass out the pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon. I just tell them I have a present for them that will greatly bless their lives. Then I write the church address and my phone number in front of the book so they can call me for questions." She then showed us something that even the best of missionaries don´t do, she showed a hand-drawn map of the area and all the places she had left a Book of Mormon to follow up with these people. She marked with us for next Wednesday to visit these people with her. All I could do was sit back in the chair, eyes bulging, and mouth open wide, asking myself "Who is the woman? Could she really be the same person Elder Bitencourt and I met a couple months in the street? I can´t even recognize her as the same person, because she isn´t. She´s received the Lord´s image on her countenance. 

Yesterday we were with Patricia, and could not believe she was the same person I use to know. She is full of such life and good humor. She told us how she had been working on her family history, and has done everyone up to her great-great grandparents. She was so excited when we told her she could get to the temple in May.  She asked us to take her to the home of a member who had broken both her arms. We made a visit together. As usual, Patricia was excited to share our message with everyone. As we began walking her home, she introduced us to a few people she knew in the street. 
"Pollard!" She said "Are you using that Book of Mormon?" I shook my head "Then give it to me." She would proceed to walk up to some people and speak with them. She would present the book and bear her testimony. Years ago, Patricia had been a missionary for the baptist church. She helped many enter in to that church. Now, she introduced us to them and is bringing them the full truth she has found.  The people love her and she´s a very well known person in the city.  


Saturday, March 21, 2015

"And He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them."

We´ve learned a powerful lesson this week, that is to take up on the opportunities that come. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with everything going on and we often feel I can´t take up any more obligations or activities. But I believe if I want to live this transfer to the fullest, I must give my all to all the Lord sets before me. 
An amazing woman in our ward,Cliniriam Barroso, is known for being a member-missionary. Last June during the world cup she coordinated a training for all the transportation in this city where the world cup was at. Many of the people coming to watch the world cup don´t speak Portuguese, but usually speak some English. So, some trainings were given to hundreds of the taxi and bus drivers.  Sister Barroso does not speak English herself, so she invited the american missionaries to teach the classes. Many were baptized as a result. We often get, honks, waves and sometimes even free rides from the buses and taxis here.
Sister Barroso started working at an elementary school this month. She called this week and asked that we would come and teach the students English. The school board approved for us to come for one day and be a guest speaker to the classrooms,  
I went with one of the near-by zone leaders Elder Bailey. We got there early and met with Sister Barroso, she stated "You can´t teach the gospel to the kids, but the teachers are free game!" She introduced us to everyone she knew. As we gave lessons we also spoke to people about our message, she would invite her co-workers to her home for family-home evening. Many have accepted her invites. 
In the teacher lounge, we asked one teacher what she like about being a teacher. We shared with her a special part in the Book of Mormon where Christ takes the children in the Americas and blesses them one by one. She was very excited to receive a copy of this book. 
We taught about 8 classes of English from the youngest group of age 3 to about 12. After meeting the school owner, we were also asked to teach one of the college classes for adults in the afternoon. 
The classes we gave were simple. We presented ourselves in English and Portuguese. Then usually took questions for about 15 minutes about the culture or about us. We usually saw the questions as an opportunity to bear a small testimony of why we are here.
Then, we liked to present our families. I would draw a picture of dad on the board and we would review the words such as Father, Dad, Daddy, and Daddio. Then I would draw you, and include words such as Mommy, Mom, Mother, and I´d teach them your names. Then I drew Joslyn, and they already knew the word "sister." As I began to draw the next stick-figure- the kids assumed I would draw a boy to review the word "brother" But it was another sister. As I began drawing the head they would yell out "A brother this time!" Nope! another sister, then another, and another. Everyone had a good laugh at 5 sisters. 
Then we all stood and we taught Head Shoulders Knees and Toes to finish, (even the adult class). 
Last Sunday we went to Cajazeiras. It was so good to see everyone! I have a great love for that ward. Those who I taught were all still there going to church. Daniel and Josey are preparing to go to the temple. Pedro Lopes and Elonise showed me that they had their documents ready to go to get married. Those members are such a blessing in my life. 
Things are busy and I love it. Have a nice great week! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

3-12-15 Short n Sweet

On Tuesday we had our transfer meeting. It´s a largest meeting with 2/3 of the mission at it. It was a ton of fun. In one of our training's we presented the mission´s standard of Excellence called the model of Christ. The Standard of Excellence is a sheet that has a list of requirements in order to receive it. Requirements such as waking up every morning at 6:30, exercises, studies, and other rules. Missionaries who fulfill it each transfer are recognized in the zone conferences. 
I spoke how it´s not just a checklist of things to do, but rather opportunities of someone to become.

 Because our Savior has a list for us, His commandments. It isn´t enough to just do them, but want to do them and become them. 

It´s been a really great week, and I´m loving all my responsibilities, even though it can be stressful at times. I love these missionaries greatly. 
I love you all! 

3-5-15 Training and a Missionaries Testimony

Things are going really well. Tomorrow we are headed to Barreiras, back to one of my areas! I´m very excited. We are going to be flying out in the morning with President and his wife. In the evening I hope to visit some of our recent converts. Saturday morning we´ll give our training to all the missionaries. Saturday afternoon were giving a training to all church leadership of the 3 branches on how to better our capacity to teach the gospel. We´ll attend church with 2 of the branches on Sunday and then we´ll head back. 
We´ve been running around a lot. Unexpected challenges have appeared this past week, and my companion and I have been traveling around the mission to resolve them. It´s been a great experience. I feel that much is being required of us, and so much is also being given. We are full of energy despite all the bus rides. A feeling of peace and love has filled us as we go to resolve contentions. We have prayed for angels and they have sustained us. My heart as been brought ever so closer to the savior. 
I´m starting to see all the rules and tasks we have, are much like the Law of Moses, their purpose is to point us to Christ. 
The training's have been going far better than I could have imagined. Many have gained testimonies of Family History work and have become more converted missionaries. They´ve shared some really neat experiences during our trainings, I´ve asked them to email their experiences so that we could have them on record. I´d like to share on of the stories with you from a friend of mine (who gave permission) named Elder Williams. 

"So before my mission I was promised that I would feel the presence and help of my two grandmas that had died before i was born or when i was really really young and couldn't get to know them. It was a promise that was a little foreign to me because I really didn't have any idea how they would or could help me because they had already died and weren't here anymore, but then I had one of the hardest nights on my mission. It was a Saturday and after a few afternoon visits I wasn't feeling very good but I saw that we only had one more visit close to home and then I could lay down and rest. It was a visit that I had really been wanting to do for a while with a less-active sister that was always really busy and hard to meet with. It was a really good lesson but right in the middle I just felt like I was gonna throw up right on her floor so I ran to the bathroom and didn't end up throwing up but just felt really sick. After the lesson I was a little frustrated because I had disrupted the lesson and I had really been wanting to get her back to church, but we made it home and I laid down immediately to see if the sickness would just pass. It didn't pass, only got worse and after about an hour of laying with a lot of stomach pains I ran into the bathroom and threw up like 8 or 9 times and just felt super weak and sick. I made it back to the bed and was just laying there feeling really miserable! I started crying and just knew that I needed to say a prayer but I didn't feel like kneeling down was really an option because of how I was feeling, so I just stayed there on my bed and closed my eyes and started to pray out loud. Through my tears I just begged, pleaded with the Lord to help me have the strength and energy to be able to be at church the next day. I didn't want to go because all I wanted to do was rest and feel better, but I knew that we had to be at church. Like we are in a branch and there aren't a ton of people that go, and if the missionaries weren't there who would be? We just had to be there but on my own I wouldn't be able to make it so I just begged for his help. When i woke up the next morning, I wasn't 100% better but my prayer had been answered and we made it church. So, Elder Pollard, when you asked for experiences that we have had when we received help from the "other side" my mind went directly to this experience. I remembered joking with my mom that I needed her to be there to help me and comfort me because companions aren't as sympathetic and as I thought this during the training, I just knew that there was someone there helping me that night. Actually, there were two someone's to be exact. Like I felt the strongest impression to the point of knowing, without doubts, that my grandmas, Marilyn Richards Covey and Leonora Cannon, were there with me. That God, my Heavenly Father sent two of his angels to my bedside to help me through that night so that i could be at church the next day. The promise made to me before my mission was kept, and my grandmas were sent to help me when I needed it most and are here with me still. As I wrote this experience down in my journal I could literally feel their presence again with me! It is something that really means a lot to me, and brings a lot of hope knowing that I am never alone! 
So yeah, just thank you, for being inspired to have that training so that i could feel that and know that they are here with me!"
Elder Williams

Monday, February 23, 2015

We all have heroes!

When we choose heroes, we begin to copy, consciously or unconsciously, what we admire most in them." 
-President Henry B. Erying. 

I feel very very blessed on the mission. Among many blessings I am grateful for those the Lord has put before me to be models of Priesthood men. My whole life I´ve been blessed by the example of my dad and other church leaders. 
Here in Brazil I have been blessed to work with many leaders that have become my heroes. As stated in Preach my Gospel  "The relationships you establish with Church leaders will bless you for the rest of your life." (pg 213)
One great leader has been the 1st councilor to the Stake President, Nigel Costa. He has left an impression on me, that he never came home from his mission. I´m convinced He still thinks, studies, prays, and feels as a full-time missionary does. He´s helped us a lot. 
Another hero, has been our elder´s quorum president. President Mota. He took us to the home of a less-active man who was in his mid 50´s. He had fallen in-active for a couple of years due to an event that happened that had discouraged him from activity. This man felt his integrity had been destroyed. President Mota explained to him "We have a great challenge in the quorum. The problem is that I´m new here, and a lot of the elders are, and we don´t know everyone that should be there and who´s not there. We need someone that knows the quorum and it´s members, that is experienced and respected to take role weekly and call those who did not show up. 
I´ve prayed to know who should have this calling, and the Lord has called you. Do you accept your call? To be there every Sunday and help us with this?"
The man gladly rose up to and accepted his call. He became full of confidence as we read in the scriptures the importance of his call in Moroni 6:4. 
This week we went to the EFY (Especially for Youth) camp out for the day. It was a large campground with fields for games, swimming pools, dorms, etc. We soon met the owner of the grounds Maurcio. He wasn´t a member of the church, he and his wife were active Baptists. this was his 4th time renting out the grounds to "the Mormons" He liked the group of kids that came each year, but had his own ideas and religion. Missionaries had come to his home and visited his wife once years ago, but he asked that they never return.  However this year, he received a visit from a 70, Elder Ribeiro, who asked to speak with him in his office. 
Elder Ribeiro taught him the Restoration of true church of Jesus Christ. Later, President Lisonbee, my companion, and I were asked to speak with him. After his conversation with Elder Riberio, Maurcio was rather emotional and said he was very interested to come to know the True Church Of Jesus Christ. We challenged him to be baptized, he accepted. He asked his wife for forgiveness, for sending the missionaries away. He gave us his address and we´ve sent the missionaries over. 
Maurcio wasn´t the only one over-whelmed by the spirit at EFY. A young investigator from other missionaries, had gone to EFY. At the end of the 5 days, he asked if he could be baptized. Elder Ribeiro authorized him to be baptized there at the camp out on that same day. 
Got to go, we are headed out right now to get a bus to head to Petrolina. It 8 hours north from here, and actually is part of another state. We´ll be giving training's to the missionaries we have out there, I´m excited. 
Love you! 

Questions and Answers

Joslyn had asked Daylen the following questions and here are his answers. A challenge for all is to answer them for yourself, as a sort of spiritual self check.
1. What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Concerns for Missionaries in dangerous areas. Emergency transfers. Spiritual problems of missionaries. Missionaries wanting to go home. Disobedience. Lots of phone calls from President- lots of problems to resolve. 
2. What has been your biggest concern?
Spiritual and physical well-being of the missionaries in this mission. 
3. What has been your biggest success?
Choosing to always stop- no matter where I´m at or what´s going on- to have a personal study (1 hour) and companionship study (1 hour). Receiving revelation through the book of Mormon individually and with my companion on how to conquer our challenges. 
We´ve been running around a lot these days, but every day we´ve managed to get those studies in. One day this week it was after we had eaten a quick lunch at the mall and we were about to head to our next task, but we decided to study first. Surrounded by others in a loud place (for there was no other place to go) we began reading from the the Book of Mormon. I felt the spirit pour out upon me. All the noise seemed to stop. I felt entirely alone and that still small voice was piercing through my soul telling me word for word as I read from the scriptures of how I need to improve. It was a great experience.  My companion said he felt sucked into the book as he read. The best scripture studies were when it was most difficult to study.   
4. Who has been your favorite person this week? Why?
Besides my companion and our mission President and his Wife and the 70 that visited us for stake conference, it was a handicap man named Favio.  He´s 35 years old and he stopped us on the street, speaking loudly and claiming he knew us.  We followed him to his humble home. He didn´t seem to have the capacity to understand very well. The only impression I had as we began teaching was "Teach him as you would teach a 5 year old" 
That impression helped me have more love for him. Gave me patience to help him understand. Gave me ideas for using pictures and examples. Many things had to be taught several times using different ways to really help him understand. It helped me see him as a child, that made his comments more funny than annoying or worrisome. My companion was right there on the same page patiently helping this man understand the restoration. We felt the spirit so strongly that I began to cry as we spoke of the appearance of the Father and the Son to that young boy. As we left these words came to mind "Are we not all handicaped? Don´t we all require to be taught with patience and love until we understand? Are we not all children?" 
He is my favorite person this week for he taught me a lesson I hope I can learn and amplify. 
5. What has been your most significant tender mercy?
We were placed in a situation to go eat dinner or go do visits. We prayed, but didn´t feel anything on what choice to make. We were both hungry, but determined to help those who may need us that day. We decided to go to work and began visiting people. We took trust in the Savior´s promise that if we sought first His kingdom all things would be added unto us. There were many that we were able to help that evening we decided to go work rather then go eat. As we were visiting those in our area more than once they offered us food to eat that sustained us. 
I learned the reason why the Lord had answered that prayer with "no response"- was because both were right. And He trusted us to make a choice. Had we gone to eat dinner- i believe He would still have blessed us. But because we choose to do what was best over that which was just "good" we were greatly blessed and learned a lot.  
6. What are you looking forward to this coming week?
Training's on family history work and missionary work- we are giving to 4 different zones this week. Seeing all the missionaries from Salvador and Camaçari. We´ll be traveling with President as he does interviews for all 188 missionaries. We´ll be giving training´s as he interviews them. 
7. Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it.
Help 3 people be baptized in our area this week. Eliana and her sons are ready if they can just stop drinking coffee. We´ve made a plan together, I hope they can this week, or the next. 
8. Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week?

"Stop Listening to Satan´s lie that you don´t have time to study the scriptures." Elder Richard G. Scott

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Strong Converts

Patricia has turned into a super-member missionary. She helped us give a training at the transfer meeting. She told her conversion story to all the missionaries. She told how she had grown up in a Christian Church her whole life, but there was something very different about us. She said she use to know Christ- having heard of Him through the Bible. Now, in she´s a place to have real and personal experiences with Him. A living and true Church.
Last Sunday one of our investigators (Wilson) got up to bear his testimony. He´s about 25. A short man of African descent. Also one of the happiest people I know.  It was his 3rd time at church. He got up and stated
” I declare the importance of missionary work! For years I´ve seen the missionaries of this church walk by and I have always felt a desire to part of that. It´s a beautiful sight. Last month I say them walking by as I was on the bus- I decided to finally talk to them! I rushed down and headed after them…..man do those Elders walk fast…….When I got up to meet Elder Belo and Elder Allison, and I asked how does one become part of this group. They wrote down my name and address on that little planner and told me they would pass it to the missionaries in my area.
Well, 2 days went by and they still had not passed. Then I saw two other missionaries- Elder Pollard and Elder Bitencourt. I ran after them as well. Told them I wanted that visit. They already knew my address and marked a day to be at my house. I have loved it. They have brought a few brothers from the church with them and the lessons are amazing. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That it entirely supports the Bible. I know that all of you have friends and family that could be here and are not, and I invite you to bring them here. In the Name of Jesus Christ Amen.”
We were grinning ear to ear. After he bore his testimony, he took the initiate to talk to the bishop about getting the marriage papers in for himself and the girlfriend who lives with him. He is a very well prepared man. Already was living the word of wisdom for his whole life. After each lesson, he asks where we are headed and if he can come. He´s been going with us to teach others.

It´s been a good week. We´ve been really busy. Love you lots!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Monkey See Monkey Do!

On Saturday (which is our P-day, I´m in the office on Mondays and do email). We got a call from our President to go over to his house. We were in Cajazeiras at the time finishing a division. We told him we´d take the bus and be in about an hour and a half. But that seemed to take to long for him, and he told us to take a taxi. The first taxi that stopped for us, was driven by a member named Nelson- who recognized me and gave us a ride. We got to the Mission President´s home. I expected to have some kind of serious meeting. President Lisonbee is a powerful leader that pushes for a higher way of living for the missionaries. But I was suprised when we arrived to find him very calm. He said ´Oh, we were just resting. Why don´t you take off the ties, and relax a little bit. I´ll make some sandwiches then we´ll watch a movie called Meet the Mormons, what do you think?´ Haha.
While we were there, a monkey came to their window. (They live on the 7th floor) We rushed to grab some bananas, well that little monkey called about 8 others and they came climbing up to the window seal to grab some. Some would steal from each other, it was fun to watch.
I feel really privileged and grateful to get close the mission president and his wife. A lot of the time I wish I could trade spots with another missionary- so he could experience it. I still had this feeling of, I don´t deserve this, it´s really awesome, but I never sought for this. Elder Mitton came and told me he felt the same way. Elder Mitton is part of the Mission Staff as well. He´s the financial secretary. He then explained how he spent Thanksgiving with President. Sister Lisonbee filled the home with home-made rolls, jam, and all the turkey and thanksgiving food we are used to. He felt bad that he was there, when the rest of the mission is eating beans and rice. 
But then he saw them Skype their family on this holiday. He watched them talk to their kids and grand-kids. He saw how much love and homesick they were, and how badly their family wanted to be with him. 
He then told me, that we as missionaries have no idea what home-sickness is. Perhaps we miss our siblings and parents or a girlfriend. But it´s nothing compared to missing a child or a grand child. We have the members, our districts, our investigators. That become our family as we get absorbed in the work. But the Mission President and his wife just have us. The missionaries. They don´t love any other missionary more than another, and see and treat them all as grandchildren. (which explains why he took us to the zoo) 
With each act of kindness from taking us to a Mexican restaurant or giving us advice. President and Sister Lisonbee remind me of you two- my parents. I love you. I can say with surety I have ´been born of goodly parents´ and I have certainly I have ´been favored of the Lord in all my days.´ (Nephi 1:1). I know that´s true. This week President presented the Mission´s Goals. He showed the Plan for this mission and how we are to achieve these goals. We sat with all the mission leadership- all 60 of us- and discussed this plan. 
Then Sister Lisonbee got up and bore witness that we were in a similar counsel before this life. When God presented His plan to all of us. The plan to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. Though something was missing. We would need a Savior. We looked around thinking, who could do that? Who would want to do that? That´s when we heard the humble voice of Christ ´Here I am, send me.´ 

In the Book Of Mormon we read Mormon speaking to his son ´But, Behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved.´  I´ve thought about that. To be recommended of God. I believe we were. To be the Saints in the last days, the last part of this war, certainly He would recommend those he places the most trust to do so. I read in a talk ´The simple fact is that our Father did not recommend Eve or Moses or Nephi or countless other magnificent exemplars for this dispensation—He recommended you and me. Do you think God would have left the last days to chance by sending men and women He couldn't count on?´ 
I believe, that you two were recommended Parents. I´m very grateful for you. Love ya. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

1/5/15 A day in the life as Presidents Assistant.

I´m very proud of my family. All of you. Thank you mom for your such kind words and support and weekly updates. I find your emails spiritual and uplifting. I´m certain I feel as happy  and do well in things,  because you all believe in me.  I feel very very blessed on the mission, far more than I deserve. I wish I could give even just a portion of what I´ve been given, but I can´t. Each time I try to sacrifice something for the Lord or someone else, I am blessed greatly more in abundance for return. I´ve been having a feeling these days that I´m just undeserving. What did I do to get all of this? Many blessings are coming into my life- that frankly I don´t think I´ve earned. 
I feel blessed in all things. 
As I was heading to the MTC. Dad parked the car in a vacant parking lot. There he gave me the last Father´s blessing I´ve had until now. It was one of the most powerful and touching blessings I´ve had. Tears easily came and a sweet spirit of confidence and peace filled me. He blessed me to learn Portuguese, and I felt confident that that blessing would be fulfilled. And it has. I understand the language as if it was English. But the greatest Language I´ve learned has been that of the spirit. I couldn´t even fathom before the mission of speaking with God. I´m sure that many of my prayers I just spoke at Him, giving thanks and asking and then leaving. But now, my heart if full of Gratitude.......because I have a Father..... who listens and speaks to me. Not a day goes by, that we don´t hear His loving voice. He councils with me in everything. 
I´m enjoying my assignment. I love these missionaries, and I can feel the trust and respect they have in me and my companion Elder Bittencourt. With every phone call and email President gets, he councils with us on what to do- and often sends us. Sends us to make a phone call or head to the area and do a division with the missionaries. Or sometimes just sends us to pray. To ponder. And find out what we are to do. Certainly my assignment is changing me, more than I am changing others.
This past week we went to a city called Camacari. Where we participated in a training with the Zone Leaders. One of them being my old companion Elder Gonçalvez. It was so good to be with him again. We went out to work after. As we run home to home visit to visit for old times sake, I felt the difference of being with him again. There was the same excitement and fire. But, I felt there were moments that we used to be children back in Barreiras, now we were together as men. The mission has changed us. Elder Gonçalvez is a man I believe our paths will continue to cross. 

This week we will be meeting with all the missionary leadership to give a training. There will be about 60 of us. My companion and I have thought and studied a lot of what we need to train the mission on. Our training will be specifically on studies. Personal and companionship studies. We hope to better relationships with companionship's, and increase the quality of teaching- to teach with power and authority. Those years of Drama have helped me a lot for these training's

12/29/14 Carrying others burdens

Nanette and I met a wonderful family who happened to meet Daylen in Las Vegas and they in turn happened to be friends with another family in our ward. When they were here visiting over Christmas they had stop and tell us what a wonderful son we have. I tell you it is difficult living up to this kid. I just kind of stood there and said "yup that's my boy" if they only knew what a slacker I've been. Love you so much! That´s awesome you met the McKay family! They were so good to me. When dinner canceled, they were the ones I called. Elder Decker is an awesome missionary and speaking really well already. I loved to see you all for Christmas, best present I could ask for. Leaves me a little homesick for a time- but your advice played in my head ´Don´t come home cause you´re ready to, come because they kicked you out because your time was up.´ I´m going to keep that in mind, and keep telling everyone I´m in the middle of my mission and still have another year. 

On my first week here in Pernabués, we were walking on a crowded street. Traveling through the favelas (Which literately means ´the slums´ or rather it´s a bunch of packed-close houses built on these wickedly steep hills). Somehow through all the people and the noise of the music playing around us, my eyes were drawn to a woman in her 40´s sitting across the street. 
Many times on the mission comes a feeling or a prompting of ´Go, and talk to them.´ But this time was different. The prompting was more specific - ´Go, and talk to her, for she´ll recognize you.´ 
We went up to her, and learned her name was Patricia. But before we could even introduce ourselves she stated ´Hey, Elders! How are you? I had Elders pass by my house over 10 years ago.´ 
As we spoke to her, I saw a woman carrying some grocery bags up the hill. My first impulse was to leave the contact and help this other woman carry her bags. Which I would have normally would have done, had not an impression came ´Stay here. For some burdens are not visibly seen, but just as real for us to rush to the help and carry.´ 
Patricia has been a wonderful investigator to teach. She has challenges as we all do. I´m grateful the lord has given us the chance to mourn with those that mourn and give comfort of those who stand in need of comfort. 
This week, At the end of a visit, we felt to give her a baptism date. As we prayed, we felt she should be invited for the Jan. 17th. When we invited her she gave us a smile and said ´That´s my birthday. Patricia is doing great. She was at church yesterday and loved every moment. When we asked if she was going to be there next week, she responded ´Oh, I´ll be here before you guys get here.´ She´s very determined and preparing for her baptism. She isn´t legally married, and her husband doesn´t want to yet. But she´s determined to do what she can to live the commandments. Two others Eliana and Barbara are preparing for the same date. 

12/22/14 Be Your Perfect Self

Everything is wonderful and fun. I´m running around a lot and so much has happened. I remember during the week there were some really neat things that happened I wanted to share. But now that I´m here I´ve drawn a blank. I don´t know how. I´ve sat at the screen staring into to space for a while, I really just don´t know what to say. I´m just kinda excited. I got your christmas box, it had a little christmas tree and a stocking. I have my desk at the office all decorated, (with a value of less than $2,75 of decorations-close one eye and it´s almost like the river ranch!) with the AC turned up and some Christmas music with this chocolate orange it sure feels almost like home. 
I´m having fun. I get a lot calls from missionaries and love to talk with them. I find it neat at night to just look at the board of all the missionaries, and listen to the spirit to know who is need of our care.  I feel too much energy when we get to have a day with president at the office, I just want to get back out and teach.  
I was with Elder Driscoll (my past companion) and he was telling me about a training he was going to give about inspired invitations to bring people closer to the savior.  He told me about receiving revelation for the investigator to know what invite to give. I asked him to give me an inspired invite. He sat for a a while in silence. I know he was praying silently. Then he looked me in the eye, nodded his head. I felt a little anxious, but when he spoke I felt a soothing feeling come over my heart. 
He said
´Elder Pollard, I invite you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to accept who you are, for it has a part of who you will be. ´   
It was simple, but I felt it was what the Lord expects of me. I´ve learned on the mission, that the Lord gives personal commandments, the book of Mormon is full of them. (Nephi to go get the plates). Well, the most repeated personal commandment the lord has constantly given me on this mission is to be myself. The voice of the Lord has repeated this to me more times than I can count. To hold nothing back. To give it my all in all areas. To get even more open. To reach out even more. To get more out there. 
He has taught me, that all personalities are designed to be perfect. That no one actually is a quiet person or weak in any one area. For when when lose ourselves serving others, we will find ourselves. That is, find ourselves with the character of Christ. Full of light, hope, optimism, enthusiasm, faith, charity and every other good attribute and talent the Lord has given and plans to give us. 
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! This week we´ve gone Christmas caroling and it has been a blast, we´ve found some great people to teach. I pray our presents for the Savior this Christmas will be are very best self´s. 
Love you!! I´m so proud of my family, can´t wait to see ya!