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!