Pau dos Ferros: Week 10

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Pioneer Day and happy birthday Jillian! Wow I was here thinking I was the next missionary from our ward to get home but there are still several more. Those are some great pictures that you sent! And this camp sounds like a cool experience for Grant. Yes we continue to teach and visit people after they are baptized. They receive the 5 missionary lessons after their baptism. During the week we have a youth family night on tuesday, and a ward integration night (mainly for youth) on thursday. These activities help keep them active too.

This week was another good one. We were busy like usual. This week we were teaching some people in distant neighborhoods so we were always walking all over. But our focus is near the church. Pretty soon the church will move to another spot though. This week our testimony was strengthened that the Lord prepares the elect for us to teach. Mirosmar is 19 and we have known him for a few weeks. He was riding his motorcycle down the street and he asked us what days we had church meetings. The next week he came to the activity on thursday. We found out that he learned about the church through a friend who was baptized here but moved away. When we went to Mirosmar´s house to start teaching, he showed us that he had already asked for a book of mormon online and had it sent to him. And the part that surprised us most was that he had read from the beginning until Ether 12! It was easy to teach him because he understood the messages well and he knows the bible well because he had gone to other churches in the past. He accepted baptism really quickly and he was baptized on Sunday.

We have a couple of great families that we are working with right now. The members are helping us a lot here. Pau dos Ferros will be a branch really soon, we just have to wait for the next time that the leaders come to our sacrament meeting to officialize it.

I miss you all! Have a great week,

Love, Evan

Pau dos Ferros: Week 9

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Well the Pau dos Ferros group will become a branch really soon. It´s been ready to become a branch for a while, we´ve just been waiting for the approval. Probably the next time that the stake leaders come it will become a branch. This week President Soares came to interview us four. He was going to arrive in time for sacrament meeting but he ended up coming after. We had 80 people at church again on Sunday!

We had a baptism this sunday of Dennis, a 15-year-old who is a member´s cousin. On saturday, the day before, we went to his house to talk to him. He wasn´t there but his dad was. His dad called us in to sit down. He had a serious look on his face and I was thinking that he had decided to not let his son get baptized or try to delay it. But instead, he asked if it would be appropriate to buy a cake to celebrate his baptism with us and their family that night! Haha, we were pretty relieved afterwards. A lot of parents here are like that. Even if they have another religion, when we start teaching their kids they thank us for helping them because they worry about them going down a wrong path. We rarely have problems with parents supporting the baptism of their kids. A lot of times the youth in a family is a doorway to over time help the parents to go to church.

This morning we climbed up that little mountain again with some of the young men, including the ones that were baptized recently. These kind of things are good for them to make friends and get integrated.

Thanks for the weekly report! I hope you can enjoy the rest of summer vacation. It ends so quickly for elementary school kids. Wow sounds like Jill is using her time well this summer. It doesn´t seem like that long ago that I was taking that class! Thanks for sending me those talks- I´ll read them. I´m learning a lot about the gospel, too, as I try to simplify everything in order for people to understand. One lesson that we teach multiple times per day here is the gospel of Jesus Christ- faith, repentance, baptism, receive the HG and endure to the end. So we have practiced a lot and learned lots of examples of how to teach it simply.

Love you, Mom. And thanks again for the package and for the letters. I love you all and think about you a lot. Have a great week!

Pau dos Ferros: Week 8

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This is really a great area and I hope I can stay here for a long time! It was funny when we were in the mission office and the president was talking to the new missionaries about the new areas they would go to. He introduced pau dos ferros as being the longest area from the mission HQ, but the area that every missionary dreams about going to. Later, when a new missionary asked about what we did for lunch in the mission field, President explained that it is in members houses but that in some areas there aren´t enough members and it´s only a few times a week. He said: for example elders, how many lunches does Pau dos Ferros have per week, Elder Church(directing the question towards me)? But I was happy to say that we have lunch every single day.

Here are some pictures:

Dear Family,

This week was a really good one. All of us worked hard this week and were able to have success. My companion and I have been working lots with one specific family that has kids of ages 13, 14, 16, 18, and 20. We found them by making a contact on the street a little over a month ago with the 14 year old. He said he would go to church and so we stopped by his house during the week and started to teach the family. They all live close to the church which is nice and they all became interested in going to church on sundays and the activities during the week.
On sunday we were able to bring lots of people to church, even though that included having to going around to some of their houses to wake them up, haha. My companion and I had to give talks on Sunday. This was actually the first time I had given a talk on the mission. There was a great attendance on Sunday- 77 people! But the number we counted was 80 because one of the active families was traveling. And yes, there is quite a strong group of youth here- it´s actually bigger and stronger than just about any other area I´ve been in.
This morning we went to visit Portalegre, a nearby city that a family invited us to visit with them. There is a waterfall there and a couple of other cool places. I´ll send some pictures.
It´s going great so far with my new companion. Just like most new missionaries, including me, he arrived with a big desire and enthusiasm to work hard.
And some other good news from the week: I got the package! It came really quickly. I was happy to read all of the letters and loved getting all of the snacks. You picked them out well. Thanks so much! I just wish I would have remembered to ask before you sent it to send some 1 dollar bills or coins or things like that that I could give away to people. Because people here think it´s pretty cool.
Anyway, last week was a good one and I´m excited for this week. Both my companionship and the other one are working well. I hope you all have a great week too.

Elder Church

Pau dos Ferros: Week 7

Monday, July 6, 2015

Here is the soccer stadium in Natal.

nd this is the type of lunch that we always have on p-days that Ivoneide makes for us (and we help).

Well, there was a little change this week with the transfers. Both Elder Andrade and I went to train. He was transferred but I was lucky and stayed! He was transferred to Caicó. We left for Natal early tuesday morning and travelled almost 10 hours to get there because the bus stopped in lots of cities. We got there in the afternoon and waited in the mission office for a little while. It was good to see Elder Harris again who is secretary right now. At night we had nothing to do so I called Deybron who works nearby and got to see him again. He even took us out for dinner!

In the new group arrived 5 brazilians and 1 american who had started serving a mission in the US. I didn´t get to see the American because he arrived late, but Elder Andrade is training him. I will be training Elder de Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro. He is awesome and already knows how to be a good missionary so there´s not really much training to do. This week was a little tough because we were only able to work thursday through sunday. I had to travel for a tiring 20 hours on tuesday and wednesday! The other two elders in the house stayed the same. We will need to work hard this week in finding new people to teach.

I was missing the US on the fourth of July and thinking about home. I thought about getting people together to do a barbeque but we didn´t end up doing anything. That morning one of the assistants did a phone conference with all of the americans on the mission to play the national anthem haha.

This area is really great here like I always say. We are always busy during the days of work and we don´t always get done everything we want to. I hope my new companion will have a good experience his first transfer.

I´m glad to here that the family traditions are staying alive, like the teacher dinner and the Delta 4th of july parade. Yes I did hear about the death of President Packer while I was in the house of a member. Wow, that is pretty hot- hotter than here. I guess the only difference here is that it never gets cold. And the sun shines really strong and it's humid. Have a great week and thanks for the thoughts you shared with me.

Love you all and miss you!