Panatis: Week 1

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dear Mom,

Wow, you all saw the lunar eclipse too? We went out at night and saw it. That sounds pretty tough for Alyssa and Grant to share a car. Since I´ve been out here I´ve realized how lucky I was to be able to use the car. It´s rare for a family to have a car here and the driving age is 18 too. And after walking such long distances here, walking from our house to Bingham doesn´t seem that bad.

Well I got a little break from the weather because I´m here in Natal again. I´m in the Panatis ward in the Potengi stake which I had already served in while I was in Cidade do Sol! So I´ll get to see a lot of the same people again when we have general conference next week. My companion is Elder Ledesma from Argentina. He is my brother on the mission because he was trained by my same trainer!

This is a good area. So this week I have kind of just been learning the area and meeting the investigators/members. We have been working a lot in a neighborhood near the river. There are a lot of good neighborhoods to work here. But I do miss Mossoró quite a bit! I´m excited for general conference too! It will be a historic one because of the apostles being called. Has dad been interviewed for one of the spots in the seventy yet? ;)

And I´ll try to think if there´s anything that I need or want in the Christmas package. I´ll let you know soon. Thanks!

Love you all!

Elder Church

Mossoro: Week 6

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear family,

How was your week? Is today the first day of fall there? Congratulations to Grant for getting his patriarchal blessing. And happy birthday to Grandma Lowe.
Everything´s great here. I´ve been really happy to be in this ward. One thing that helps us out a lot here is having a good Ward Mission Leader. I´ve been in other wards where the WML didn´t really know how to work or didn´t do very much. But ours now is an RM with a lot of vision. We work quite a bit with him. The ward was excited yesterday to have an attendance of 150 people! There are some very dedicated members here that help out a lot. There are a couple of families that are willing to give lunch anytime that it falls through. We are keeping up the hard work here. Today we´re going to have a zone p-day because one of the elders in the zone is finishing his mission this week!

Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Church

Mossoro: Week 5

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wow, that sounds like an eventful week. Happy Birthday, mom! Of course I was wishing that I could have been there to celebrate too. I´m glad you got a couple of days off. I´m surprised you were able to fit all of that into one week! That sounds like a fun cabin trip too. And that´s great that you got to spend time with your parents and with Milan too.

Well fortunately my cold went away and I´m back to normal now. I can feel all of your prayers here and this week was a very great one. Yesterday was one of the most memorable days I've had on my mission so far. We had lots of blessings happen this week and I feel very grateful. I have been thinking about the chapters in the book of mormon that talk about the great joy felt by Alma and the sons of Mosiah as they preached to the Lamanites. Although I haven´t been feeling quite as much joy as Ammon did in chapter 27- so much that it overcame his forces- I had a great feeling of joy yesterday and today. Chapter 29 says that this kind of joy comes from bringing people to repentance and also seeing the success of others. Alma says that he finds joy in striving to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I have been just as happy for the success of the other set of missionaries in the ward as for Elder Bento and I. But I was really happy yesterday for being able to help out 3 families.

First, Cleide´s family. We had been working with Cleide for a while, doing all that we could. Her baptism had already been marked a couple of times but something had always come up at the last minute. She lost a little bit of her excitement about baptism too. But the Lord sent a miracle this week that helped her to get baptized. She has a ten-year-old daughter that had been living in another city, but she moved in with Cleide last week. We took them to a ward activity on Wednesday and Elder Bento also showed them the baptismal font. As we were walking home, Keila, her daughter asked if she could be baptized on sunday with her mom. So she was really the key to getting her mom motivated again. So we finished teaching her during the week and they were both baptized on Sunday!

Second, we had gotten to know a young woman named Geovana that we started to bring to church. We found out last sunday that she has a sister who lives in a different neighborhood who has been a member for a few years in a different ward in Mossoró. So we taught Geovana and got her excited about baptism. And we arranged for her sister to come on sunday to watch her be baptized! Later, her sister told us that in her Patriarchal blessing it said that she would help bring the rest of her family to the gospel.

Third, in these couple of weeks we have become friends with a really good, receptive family. We started teaching them and they accepted baptism pretty quickly. The only problem is that the parents were never legally married, so we still have to do that part. But we baptized their two oldest kids, Karol (16) and Maurício (12) on Sunday. This was a miracle too because the kids had originally been a little reluctant to mark a date. But Karol is friends with Geovana and decided that she wanted to be baptized with her. And Maurício decided to go with them! Their dad works on sunday morning, but he arrived at the end of sacrament meeting with their mom and aunt to see the baptism.

So it was a great week with a lot of blessings. We were also able to have lots of investigators at church. We have been working hard here and I hope to be able to stay in this area a while with Elder Bento.

I love you all! Have a great week. The church is true.

Elder Church

Mossoro: week 4

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The weather must be nice there this time of year. It is a holiday here too today. This is Brazil's Independence Day. We weren´t able to email this morning because we had a few things come up. But yes, I´m glad too that we don´t have to rely on hand-written letters. 
This was a good week and we were able to see once again some of the blessings of fasting. We worked really hard this week and the week ended off well with having 10 investigators in church. It´s always nice when investigators go to church because we are able to help them progress more quickly. The work is going great and we are excited about a family we found a couple of weeks ago. The only problem is that the dad works on sunday mornings and the mom has to stay at home, but the 3 kids have been going to church. I have had a cold that hasn´t gone away for about a month. Luckily it hasn´t gotten in the way of the work though. It was a little hard to start working a couple of days this week, but I we had so much to do that I didn´t want at all to have to stay home. But luckily today I have some rest. I´m sure I´ll be fine this week though!
I am loving the mission- it is a lot of hard work but it is worth it!
Have a great week!

Elder Church

Mossoro: Week 3

Well we´ve been working pretty hard here! We are working with lots of people and we have been trying to double the weekly mission standard of lessons/people in church, etc. The people here are very receptive. It´s very easy to find people who will listen to a message, invite us into their house, etc. But the harder part is finding people that will go to church on Sunday. We have lots of people who say they will go to church during the week, but then Sunday morning comes and they don´t end up going! We always get up early on Sunday morning to go to peoples houses and walk to church with them. But sometimes more than half of them that said they would go end up not being able to, or they make up some kind of excuse. But in these 3 weeks in this area we have been able to have 7 or more investigators in church every week!
Unfortunately our baptism yesterday ended up falling through. Her name is Cleide, she is about 40 years old, and she is a part of a family that we have been working with ever since we got here. She lives with her brother, mom, and daughter. We were able to baptize their mom a couple of weeks ago, and both she and her brother want to be baptized too. She had stopped smoking and was ready to be baptized yesterday but she travelled at the last minute. Her brother, Claudio really wants to be baptized but unfortunately he is alcoholic. But he´s a super nice person that wouldn´t harm anyone. His alcohol addiction has just become stronger than him. It was so serious that he went to the hospital last week. He actually stopped drinkng for a few days, but he went back. He is super funny though and he always says funny things that we laugh about later, haha. For example, he tells us everytime we go there that he wants to be baptized on sunday and he gets mad that we haven´t baptized him yet because he´s already been to church a few times. Haha. We will help him though.
The members are great here and lots of them are converts within the last few years. I like the elders a lot in the house that I live in. Elder Juma is super funny. He has lots of stories from Mozambique. The sun here is super hot, and i´ve been starting to use sunscreen. Today I will go to Natal for a mission council but we´ll come back tomorrow.
I´m loving it here and this area is one of my favorites for sure. The church is growing quickly. I haven´t been taking a whole lot of pictures here, but I´ll send a couple of the ones that I have.

1. Maria, the mom of the family I mentioned. Elder Bento was nervous about baptizing her because she only has one arm!

2. The four elders in this ward, a couple of members. The man in the green in the middle is a man that the others baptized yesterday and the others are his family that came to watch his baptism! It was a really cool baptismal service.