Rio Branco: Week 19

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wow, great to hear that you and dad were able to take a couple days of vacation! I like the climate of Southern California a lot. Is this the first time in a while that you have a stress-free loosely-planned vacation?

This week was really busy with transfers. But there is a 3rd assistant now which helps a lot! Now we can divide the work a little more. He is learning everything to be ready for when the new president comes. It is Elder Balaich- I already lived with him once in Panatis and he is great!

On Thursday we went back to our area after all the missionaries arrived in their places. We worked hard until Sunday to have as many people at church as possible. One thing we are doing that is helping out is to talk with everyone on one single street. This has been an effective way to teach lots of people and take lots of people to church. We had a van help us to get everyone to church this Sunday.

Yesterday was Sister Soares´ birthday and we had the chance to visit her and the President at their house! We went with a few other Elders and Sisters to wish her a happy birthday and give her a present. She was really happy to have us! And she even served us açaí. We had gathered pictures from lots of missionaries holding up happy birthday signs and we made a banner with them.

I´m excited to work hard in this last month out here!

Elder Church

Rio Branco: Week 18

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Really, you found açaí juice there? I have actually never tried it as juice. You´ll have to let me know if it´s good or not. The açaí I was talking about is frozen, pretty much like ice cream. I am curious to know if it exists in Utah. It´s almost like the berry smoothies that you would make.

I was in Mossoró last week. It was pretty good. I just stayed in one area. We worked really hard and had some good-quality people at church on Sunday. Mossoró is a city that the church grew really fast in! A couple of years ago there were only a couple of branches and now there is a strong stake! If I could, I would finish my mission in Mossoró because it´s a really great city. At the end of the week, one of the elders there was called to be the mission´s new financial secretary so I traveled back to Natal with him.

Haha, that´s funny to hear that getting a dog was the topic of the family council. I hope Corinne and Hayley understood and didn´t get disappointed. I didn´t remember that I had written a poem about wanting a dog!

That´s good to hear that you got together with the Kelley´s. I´m excited to be able to talk to Jameson and his family when I get back. No, I haven´t read Jacob 5 in a while- I´ll have to read it this week!

Thanks so much for the email! Have a great week!

Elder Church

Rio Branco: Week 17

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Today we got the travel itinerary for Evan's return home! May 27th--just 6 weeks away! I had to laugh when the letter said, "Please arrange to have someone waiting to pick him up at the airport." Well, I think we might be able to arrange that, if we're not too busy that day.

Dear Mom,
Good to hear that the weeks are passing by! That means that you´re working hard or that you're having fun. The weeks were passing by super quickly here too, but then once I realized that I was getting close to going home, the weeks started passing by a little more slowly. Which is good.

How was the Provo temple? Are there lots of people going there this month?

Wow, I'm sad that I won´t be able to see Bryson before he leaves. And I miss ward service projects. That´s one thing that they don´t have a lot of here. But most of the members don´t have yards or trees like they do in our ward, so it´s a little different.

That´s great to hear about dad from the point of view of his coworkers.

Yes, I would like it if you could find housing for me. I am guessing that Alta Housing is already full! You might have to put my name in a few different places. It would be great if you could find a place for less than $300/month.

No, I can´t think of anything you can do for me. Thanks for all of your prayers!

This week we worked hard in our areas. On Saturday night we bought a 5-liter container of Açaí! One of the highlights of the week was hearing from Maria das Neves after she went to the temple for the first time with her daughter to do baptisms. The temple is 4 hours away from Natal, and once a month there is a bus from the stake that takes members there.
On the mission we work a lot with the list of recent converts and help fill out every step of the process in their integration- everything from the missionary lessons after baptism, to having an interview from the bishop, receiving a home teacher, all the way until the final goal of receiving the endowment at the temple. But one cool thing is that after baptism, the recent converts can go as soon as they want to the temple to do baptisms. They just need an interview from the Bishop.

We made a plan this week to get more references from members through family nights. We also set up a schedule of family nights in one of the neighborhoods that we work in so that every monday night can have one in someone´s house! The first one will be tonight with Judson and his mom and several other members and recent converts.

This week we will be traveling. I hope everyone at home is doing well!

Elder Church

Rio Branco: Week 16

Monday, April 4, 2016

This is from the conference we had with all of the missionaries in the capital
Dear family,

When I get home and see our living room I´ll probably feel like i´m in the wrong house! It looks great though. That´s great that Melayna spent the weekend with you guys.

Yes, I had several favorite talks too. The other conference sessions on the mission I had watched in English, but this April conference we didn´t go to the stake center- it was just in our ward´s chapel so it wasn´t worth setting up a separate room with English. Plus it was just me and the 3 other Brazilian elders that live with me. This was also the first time I was able to watch the priesthood session on the mission because it usually doesn´t work out with our schedule. I love how lots of the speakers talked on the theme of temples and/or the work of salvation. I am always uplifted by the stories of apostles that receive promptings from the spirit, follow them, and end up answering someone´s prayer. I want to be able to listen to the spirit better and be an instrument in the Lord´s hands. The Prophet´s message was short and clear. I am grateful that twice a year we are able to have these conferences that teach us and help us feel what we can improve on.

Mom, I was thinking about you on April Fool's day and wondering what prank you would come up with this year! That was a pretty good one, haha. We also had a little fun here and switched 2 of the elders´ things around when they left the house.

Yes, I was able to sign up for BYU classes. I also started to sign up for Alta Housing but I´m not sure if my request went through yet.

This week I stayed in the area. One of the highlights of this week was teaching an 80 year-old woman that I think I had mentioned before. It´s cool to have the experience of teaching someone in a nice apt building with a view of the whole city and the beach. She has 2 maids in her house. She is a member´s mom but she lives alone. Her daughter has a neat story of how she was baptized. She was living in Barçelona, Spain for work and met the sisters. They started teaching her family and after a month, the mission president who was Shayne Bowen at the time (he gave the closing prayer in the last session of conference) invited her to be baptized. She was baptized and later moved back to Brazil. Her mom was living in Brazil and never had contact with the church. Throughout the years, she had always talked to her mom about the church but her mom never had a whole lot of interest. They are a very prominent family of lawyers in Natal. So we spent a couple of hours with her mom on thursday afternoon! I loved hearing some of her stories about how she studied in Rio de Janeiro, Portugal, France, Canada, and Maine. She helped a lot with women´s rights in Brazil in the 1960s. She is so nice and humble. She reminds me of Grandma Lowe because of her hair and blue eyes. She´s also very intelligent and healthy. I´ll take a picture with her some time. But we were able to teach her the message of the restauration and she commented after that she felt the spirit. We will keep working with her and plan on teaching the Plan of Salvation next. Her husband died 4 years ago. After the lesson she called her driver and had him pick us up and take us to our next appointment in another neighborhood. She treats us so well and the driver said that he really admires her and that she treats all of her employees really well.

Today we will spend the rest of the time preparing for our mission council tomorrow.
Have a great week! Love you all,

Elder Church