Panatis: Week 10

Monday, November 30, 2015

Glad you all had a great thanksgiving! I remembered you all this week. This week we had 2 birthdays in our house. Elder W. Silva on Thursday and Elder de Jesus today. So what did we do to celebrate? We made pancakes for Elder W. Silva, and today, Sister Soares, the president´s wife, took us out on a "cultural p-day!" It´s a once in a mission experience that she started doing with a few missionaries at a time starting a few months ago. It´s because Natal is a beautiful city, but most of the parts we see every day aren´t all that beautiful. So anyway, I´ll include some pictures.

AND, we also enjoyed a nice present this weekend. The couple that we had been working with was baptized. Really we can´t take credit for much because the members have integrated so well with them- especially the Bishop´s family who are great friends with them. They are great and they love talking about the church to everyone they know. They had gone about 4 or 5 times before their baptism and had felt really well in the church. It was a neat experience to teach them. Janaína had gotten really interested in learning about the church and started reading through her daughter´s book of mormon/D&C. We were surprised in the family night last week when we were singing a hymn from the hymnbook and she made the comment "wasn´t it Emma Smith who compiled the hymnbook?" What kind of investigator knows that kind of stuff?! haha. But their baptism was a really great experience. Elder W Silva, a member and I also sang a special hymn. It is fun to see the members get excited about helping with missionary work.

Well those were a few highlights of the week here! Sounds like it was a great one there too. Save some mashed potatoes in the freezer for me ;)

Love you,

Elder Church

Elder W. Silva´s birthday pancakes

Celestino and Janaína´s baptism. In the picture are two of their kids and the bishop´s family. The bishop and his son baptized them

We made a little stop in the Sahara

This is a dromedário, a close relative of the camel.

 Climbing up to get a coconut ;) just kidding

What if I were called to the mars south mission?

6 months left!

The world´s biggest cashew tree.

Did you know that the cashew nut is actually part of a fruit? This cashew we picked from the biggest cashew tree in the world today.

Panatis: Week 9

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy thanksgiving! That´s one thing I will for sure miss this year. My companion´s birthday is on Thanksgiving day. Maybe we´ll plan a Thanksgiving dinner or something. Wow, will everyone fit in our house? How are Church gatherings going to continue in the future as the family keeps getting bigger??

Well this week was definitely full of miracles. We have been working hard and talking to lots of people. But we learn that on our own, we can´t accomplish much. The Lord is the one who puts the elects in our path. In these last couple of weeks we have had 2 or 3 people approach us on the street and start to talk to us. We clearly saw that this was the Lord´s hand in our work. When we work hard and pray for help the Lord will send people who are ready. Our baptism yesterday came through one of these people and we have other baptisms marked because of these miracles that happened.

Also, there is a family that are friends with the bishop´s family. Their daughter is dating the bishop´s son and she was recently baptized. For a few Sundays, her parents have been going to church. We have tried several times to meet with them at their house but they are busy because of their restaurant. We have only been able to teach the mom 1 time. But they have been learning a lot in the gospel principles class. The gospel principles class is awesome here! The teacher is great, the class is always full of new members and investigators, and there are a few other members that go in to help out. Everyone has a great experience! We found out yesterday during the class, that Janaina (the mom I was talking about) is really liking the church and even had an answer. She and her husband commented during the class that they want to get baptized! There´s also a temple caravan at the end of this week and when she heard about it she really wanted to go, even if it would just be to walk on the grounds. But the Bishop explained to them that they would be able to enter if they were baptized and confirmed before. They ALMOST ALMOST decided to be baptized yesterday but they decided to mark it for next Sunday. So anyway we will have a family night at the bishop´s home tonight.

The other set of missionaries was able to baptize a really great man yesterday who is married to a less active who had been a member for years. It was really exciting to see his progress after his grandson was baptized last week. But the ward is really excited and the members are helping a lot. We have even been receiving help with making visits from members like the bishop, his counselor, the patriarch and others.

Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Church

Panatis: Week 8

Monday, November 16, 2015

I´m excited to watch family movies when I get home now! Has there been a lot of stuff passing on TV about France? We´ve been hearing a lot about it these past couple of days.

Well, this was another week of hard work. We focus a lot on key indicators (numbers like investigators at church, baptisms, lessons, etc.). Usually these numbers are pretty good indicators of success. We were happy to have lots of people at church on Sunday. We saw this week that the Lord blesses us even when we need to spend time out of our area. We took out a little time to help the sisters in their area and when we went back to ours, we didn't even notice the missing time.

We are finding success in working with recent converts. The work is a lot of fun. I find more joy in it than I did at the beginning of my mission. I am really impressed with the leadership here in the ward. Things are going well here! I´m sad that I´ll have to miss Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks. But the mission Christmas conference is coming up in not too long!

Have a great week!

Elder Church

Panatis: Week 7

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

the family from Caicó that came to visit last week!
Well we worked really hard again this week! At times I get a little stressed about the work but I don´t ever get discouraged. We try to do all we can during the week so that we can see lots of people in church on Sunday. I´ve been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon about faith- specifically in the last chapters of Alma during the wars. We can learn a lot from the examples of the Nephite armies when they had faith and confidence that they would achieve their goals. Even if the odds were against them they chose not to doubt or to be afraid because they knew that the Lord would help them. I have been applying this to missionary work. Sometimes we have our own goals/plans and we do all that we can to accomplish them during the week. At times it seems like it´s not working or that it won´t be possible, but it´s important to always trust in the Lord instead of doubting or getting discouraged. Because when we show doubt or fear we do not have faith. They are opposites. But then sometimes the results we want don´t come in the time we want, but that´s perfectly okay because we know that if we do our part, the Lord will bless us. Sometimes we just need to have patience, trust, and a good attitude! I also know that the lord blesses us according to our desires.

But this was a good week. I was able to recognize several miracles. There were a couple of days when we were needing to finish a couple of things to reach the weekly standard of excellence (lessons with members, baptisms marked, etc). and the Lord put people in our path so that we could do it. For example, a couple of times we were teaching a short lesson on the streets and a member walked by and participated. This helped us get lessons with member. Also, we were able to make progress on our goals to work with more men/families. We met an older woman named Aurita who works near a members house. We talked to her and set up another visit. She ended up going to church on Sunday and wants to be baptized! It seems like she knows everyone in the neighborhood and so she will be a huge source of references.
We also had a good experience last Monday. November 2nd is a holiday where everyone goes to visit the cemetaries. So we decided to go there in the evening and use it as an opportunity to find people to teach. We went around getting to know people and telling them a little about the plan of salvation. We found about 15 new people to teach!
Well I'm loving it here and I miss you all! I´ll send you a couple of pictures.

Elder Church

Panatis: Week 6

Monday, November 2, 2015

the zone

What? The family room looks quite a bit different. It looks really professionally done. I don´t get how you did it. Did you just order the pieces and put it all together yourselves? It looks really cool. Wow what an awesome party that you guys made for Corinne! That´s good that you have Alyssa and Jillian´s help. Glad that you kept the tradition of soup with bread bowls. Sounds like you have great missionaries there. I can´t imagine being a missionary there though because the work is so different!

Well now my companion is Elder W Silva. I´m in the same area. He is great and I lived in the same house as him a couple of transfers ago in Mossoró. We´re working hard here and are starting to find lots of miracles and people to teach. We are finding success in working with the recent converts of the area. Recent converts always have friends and family members that we can work with. We also received a new missionary in our house- Elder Ballaich from Black Forest, Colorado. He is really good too.

Yesterday the sisters called us and told us that a family from Caicó had come to visit a family in their ward and went to church that day. The family invited the sisters and E. W Silva and I to have dinner that night. It was a lot of fun because all four of us had worked in Caicó before and had gotten to know their family.

Well it´s November already! The year went by fast. Hope you all have a great week!!!
Elder Church