Cidade do Sol: Week 5

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Deybron, Nabila, and their son Bryan 
Deybron´s brother and family came to see the baptism. They have been members for 4 years and are in another ward.
A coconut and sugarcane
This is what a coconut looks like when it´s open. First you poke a hole in it to drink the coconut water and then you open it to eat the white meat.
Hey family! How were all of your weeks? Mine was pretty great. Everything ended up going perfectly with the baptism on Saturday. I´m writing later today because we went into the city earlier today with Deybron, the one who was baptized. We went there to buy some things and print some pictures. He gave us a ride there because he works near there, and he also showed us the store that he works in.

The cidade do sol (sun city) ward is doing great right now. The bishop was released on Sunday after being bishop for 6 years and another younger guy from the ward was called. There was a great sacrament meeting attendance on Sunday: 125! Several people had to stand in the back, but that´s just because the chapel is fairly small. After church we had a ward council meeting where the stake presidency showed us plans to divide the stake. Right now our ward includes 2 cities, and there are 3 sets of missionaries. One of the cities, Extremoz, is new and the church is just starting there, so there is a lot of growth potential. That city has a set of missionaries and will soon start meeting as a group on sundays. I´m excited for the growth potential that this area has and for the goals that the stake presidency has set. In order to achieve these goals we need to keep a high attendance rate.

The work is going well and we have a transfer coming up pretty soon. I´m almost sure I´ll stay and get a new companion, because Elder Wilson already has lots of time here.

Have a great week!

Elder Church

Cidade do Sol: Week 4

Monday, February 16, 2015

I´m happy that we have been able to work with a lot of families. Deybron and Nabila are still doing well and they are ready for their baptism on Saturday. We went to their house earlier this week to teach the 5th and final lesson before baptism about temples, etc. Without us knowing, Deybron´s brother had loaned them a movie about the construction of the Salt Lake temple and they had watched it before. So they already had some questions! They are progressing really well and have been at church every Sunday since we met them. Every time we go over to their house they have dinner ready for us too which has been super nice and even made us feel a little bad. But Elder Wilson made some brownies for them this week from a brownie mix that we found in one of the supermarkets.

We are also working with a couple named Márcio and Jaqueline. They are both in their 40s. Jaqueline is a less active member and they are not married, just have been living together for a long time. We are working with them to get them married so Márcio can be baptized after. They both really have the desire, but are both pretty busy with work (including on Sundays). But they are really close.

Lots of people have gone out of town for carnival. The two big carnival cities in the state are Macau and Caicó, so there´s not much that happens here. I think the streets will be pretty empty these next few days. We were even a little lucky to get into this internet place because it will close soon.

One of the missionaries that lives with us was made secretary of the mission the other day, so there was a little transfer and now we have 3 americans in our house. The other American is from Beaver, Utah.

I´m doing well here and am liking this ward and area a lot! The sun is hot as always!

Love you and talk to you next week!

Elder Church

Cidade do Sol: week 3

Monday, February 9, 2015

zone p-day
I got the package and letters this week! I also got several christmas cards. I love the family calendar and everything else. Thanks for the letters too!
The weekly update is late today because we had a zone p-day. 

Yes, the family that I sent pictures of is still doing well. We go to their house a few times a week and they have been going to church. Yes they are already married which is kind of a miracle here, haha.

I´m happy with this ward right now. It is pretty organized and seems to function well. We actually have a decent number of young men and young women, too. We´ve gotten some great help from members. 

Elder Wilson has a football and we brought it to play with a bunch of neighborhood boys this week. That was fun! 

We might start having some difficulties in a week when Carnival starts. Lots of people will travel or go to the beach and most of the stores close for a few days. From what I´ve heard, this time of year is a bigger deal than a lot of the other holidays! 

I tried to answer the questions you sent to me, mom-

What have you learned about being a missionary that you didn't know before you went to Brazil?  
Missionaries can always find things to complain about or people to blame for things, but it´s never worth it. It seems to me that your attitude determines how good an area or ward is. Even if there are difficulties, it doesn´t do anything to point fingers. And of course it´s always good to look at the positive side of things. You can talk to two missionaries that served in the same ward that have competely different perspectives about how the ward is, depending on what side of things they focused on. 

What have you learned about yourself?  
I´ve realized that before I came on my mission, I focused a lot more on myself than on others. For example: when I would go to church in the past, I would think more about myself and worry if I had friends there or not, instead of focusing on the experience of others and helping them to have friends and feel welcome. This is still something I want to get better at, but It´s something that you naturally learn as a missionary!

How is your testimony different than before?  
My testimony has been strengthened so far by seeing the strength of the church and the members here! And I´ve learned that I always need to be doing my part to maintain it strong (daily scripture study, etc).

Thanks for all of the prayers, thoughts, and letters! I´m praying for you all too!

talk to you next week,

Elder Church

Cidade do Sol: week 2

Monday, February 2, 2015

The view from our apartment
the cake that nabila made for everyone 
A picture at Deybron and Nabila´s house- they are the two on the right, next to them is his brother who has been a member for a few years (he came to be part of the lesson), On the left is Elder Wilson and I and a member in our ward
The dinner we had at another investigator´s house
 Shrimp stew
 Typical Brazilian salad
Let me tell you about my week. We have a great family that we are teaching! Their names are Deybron and Nábila and they have a 2 year old son. They first heard about the church from their brother who joined the church 4 years ago in another city. One day, another set of missionaries made a contact with them in another place and gave us the referral. They live little ways away, so we usually get a ride from a member and have them stay for the lesson. They seemed really interested from the beginning and they have been very receptive. They have been reading the book of mormon together and have already read the first 10 chapters! We marked their baptism for February 21st and they are inviting all of their family to come. I have a picture of the first time we visited their house. They even had dinner ready for us afterwards.

Elder Wilson and I also got invited to a shrimp dinner at an investigator´s house. We´re more of just friends with this family at this point, but they seem a little interested in the church so we´ll see. The father of this family works giving tours to people around Natal. He also offered us a free tour to see the american military bases in Natal and the giant cashew tree.

We have been working alot with 3 recent converts of 15 and 16 years old. Their parents have been happy with the changes that some of them have been making in their lives since their baptisms. One of them already stopped using his earrings, and yesterday, I made a trade with the other one that used earrings. He gave me his earrings in exchange for one of my white shirts, haha. Things are going pretty well with my companion and the ward probably has the biggest attendance of any ward I have been in.

Dad, thanks for your questions. Yes there was a day of service, but I didn´t hear about how it went. I heard several announcements about it in one area but then I got transferred. Yes, I´ve met a member who speaks french. The most surprising part of the word of wisdom for people is coffee because almost everyone here drinks it every morning. I´ve found it´s really difficult for people to quit smoking. Some of them talk about it like it´s easy and they will be able to do it when they decide, but sometimes it´s more addictive than they realize. Yes, most people here have a good understanding of the bible. A lot of them know it better than I do.

Mom, I´ll think about your questions and respond next week.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers and I´m praying for you too!

Love you!