Mission: Brazil Joao Pessoa
Entered the MTC on: December 15, 2010
Release Date: December 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Letter from November 12th, 2012

Hello - thanks for everything.  I had a whole lot of emails today of people wishing me a Happy Birthday.  It's crazy to think that I am 21 now.  I'm feeling pretty old now.   But, it was a good day yesterday.  We had a nice lunch yesterday and cake and there was a lady in the other ward who threw a little party for me last night after church.   All the Elders that I live with threw a more or less surprise party.  I pretty much knew that they were gonna do that.  But, they did buy some sweet sunglasses for me, which I love.  I love Brasil  because there is a lot of cool fake stuff that's cheap to buy.
Last Tuesday we had to go to Joao Pessoa for our monthly meeting and all.  That was good and on Wednesday we had to give a training to the missionaries about how we can do a better work in reaching our goals.  It seems to have went well because we are already seeing better results in the work.   Sadly that man is still smoking.  There isn't much more we can do for him - just put it in the Lord's hands and just wait.  But, we did have some other people who went to Church yesterday that are really good people who we are going to try to work with now.
Another really awesome surprise yesterday was a family that came and visited our ward.  They are a family from my 3rd area here, Rosa dos Ventos and they came and visited me since it was my birthday.  (It was that same family that you sent the PS2 to them.)  It was so cool to see them again!!  It has been about a year since I have seen them, so that was really special.  And, they even hooked me up with some really nice cologne.   So now I'm gonna come home smelling good!!
Thanks so much for everything. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Letter from November 5th, 2012

Yeah - I for sure was pretty excited to be able to stay here in a place and with people that I'm already used to. This should be a good last couple of weeks here. I'm excited!!  This week was a pretty good week.  We haven't had too much craziness since last Wednesday.  On Friday we had an activity at the Church and had a bbq there.  They invited us to eat there.  That was awesome!   Then that night we had a member from our Ward who made us a delicious dinner.  It was super nice.
Things have been alright lately.  That man still is trying to quit smoking.  I really hope that he will be baptized before I leave.  I have created a huge love for him and his family.  We have another guy who went to Church the week before last and this past Sunday.  He seems to be liking the Church as well, so were hoping that he will show some promise.
I'm sending some pics.  One is of all of our house and the bbq.  There is also a pic of the leather scripture case that I had made for me for my English scriptures. 
I'm pretty sure that I can register for my classes now.  If Dad could, it would be nice if he could do that for me. I was thinking about doing that Freshman writing class first.   If he can sign me up for that snowboarding class, I would cry - that would be so sick!!   But, I'm sure that's a class that everyone wants to take, so if he can get me signed up now before it fills all the way up that would be awesome. Then I was thinking about like maybe a math class or something and ask him about the whole Portuguese thing because that could hook me up with a lot of credits and give a nice boost to my GPA. You know something crazy - I will only get 4 more emails from you and that's it.  Craziness!!!!   But, yeah - just tell Dad to  send me an email if he can with all of those details and stuff like that.  Hey, got to go.  Love ya and have a great week!!

Letter from October 31st, 2012

Things are getting pretty crazy here (ha ha).  I was thinking yesterday about how I was all anxious for transfers and to see what would happen and everything, and then we got them and I thought "never again will I have to worry about that" (ha ha).   And then the same thing about waiting at the bus station pretty much all day today.  I thought  never again will I have to do this.  It's a relief and sad at the same time.  So - - - yes transfers happened as I thought they would.   I ended up staying here with my comp and everything.  Actually our whole house stayed the same which is really cool.  So, I will be spending the last days of my mission here. EXCITING!!
I think that tomorrow I will be able to take money out and then on the 15th I will take money out again.  So, if you can get all of the money in there before the 15th, that would be nice.  Just throw it all in there and let me know how much it is.   I don't plan on taking it all out, but I would like to get some gifts for the family. I do have two huge bags that are gonna be pretty much empty coming home. So, I've got to fill them up with some goodies eh? 
I got your emails from the whole BYU thing.  Grandma Tenney said that the scholarship thing is already taken for this winter and spring semester, so I will only get it next fall.  I have no idea what I should take as my first classes. The kid who lives with us went to BYU for a year and he said that it's good to take the writing class first semester. If you can, tell Nolan to send me an email about the whole housing thing and all. He is part of the family so he is allowed to do that.  It's gonna be a huge shock going from the climate here to up there.  I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have a heart attack (ha ha).   I haven't been in the COLD in almost 2 years.
That's about it for here.  I will be emailing you here again in just a couple of more days and all.  If you can, get more info on BYU and all about classes I should take or something.   The thing is that I don't have time to talk to a mentor or anything like that.  Love you - until next time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Letter from October 15, 2012

This week went by well.  On Tuesday we had interviews with President Hall.  It was pretty crazy to think that it was my second to the last interview with him and the next one will be my temple recommend interview on the last day before I leave.  On Monday afternoon the Assistant's to the President came to our house and stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon.  We went on splits with them that night which was pretty fun.  The rest of the week was pretty normal and all with not much action.  We are still working with that couple.  We can't hardly ever visit them because he is almost never at home.  But, we were able to visit him on Friday and we made some goals and gave him some ideas so that he can stop smoking.  We made goals with him to be ready for their baptism by the end of the month.   We have a couple of people who we are working with that should be pretty close to the waters as well.  This transfer is going by really fast!    I only have one more email after this one until we will find out if I stay or go.
That's pretty funny that you made that comment about the girls going on missions.  I found out that Myreel is deciding that she is going to send in her papers now (ha ha).  My fear is now becoming a reality (ha ha).  But I guess I'm just going to have to trust in the Lord and hope that there is someone there for me to marry when I get back.  But - it is what it is!  So, that's about it for today.   Until next time - have a great week!

Letter from October 8th, 2012

I got on to BYU's website to check the application, but it shows the same thing as always.  I was thinking about BYU when I think it was President Eyring was speaking and he said that he was at Stanford when he got an answer to his prayer saying that he should go to BYU Idaho.  He said he heard a voice say "it's MY school."  (ha ha)  Now we can say that Heavenly Father's school is BYU (ha ha).  That's crazy about the whole new age thing for missionaries.  I was telling Dad how I'm  worried now that there isn't going to be anyone for me to date or marry when I get home now because they are all gonna go on missions!  But I sure hope that's not the case.
Conference was awesome.  I think my favorite talk was by Jeffrey R Holland.  His is legit!!  He always has such a strong spirit when he speaks.   Yes - we did have the marriage of that couple which was super cool.   I  was so happy for them.   I smiled so much that my cheeks started to hurt (ha ha)!  He is still trying to stop smoking and their baptism is marked for this Saturday. So, we are gonna see about that for this week.  I hope and pray that everything works out well. 
If you could let me know about the money situation by next Monday, that would be great.   Next Monday we will be in the part of town where there is a bank so I'll be able to get that money out.  If not, I'll have to wait a couple of more weeks.  All the kids are telling me how they all want hammocks and stuff like that for me to bring to them.  I hope my bags are big enough (ha ha).   Have a great week!!

PS:  Tell Aunt Felicia thanks for everything that she has sent me.  I freakin' love her so much.  I'm pretty sure I have gotten more packages and letters from her than from any other person. As a missionary, those are really important things to us. Sometimes we think like Moroni in Alma 60:6.   You can read that - that's a good one.

Letter from October 1st, 2012

This week was good.  As you can see by the pic, the young lady was baptized!!!  It was a cool experience.   Me and my comp even did a special number for her.  My comp played the violin and I played the recorder.  We played "Fala se com amor" (Love is Spoken Here) with the two parts separate and then the last part together which I thought was cool.   The only thing was that I messed up like crazy (ha ha).  I'm not too good with playing in front of people.  That family that we are working with is gonna get married this week on Saturday.  We are planning everything for that.  It will be after the Saturday afternoon (night here) session of General Conference.  And, we are trying to see about the baptism after that, but they aren't too sure about it right now, so remember them in your prayers.  It was cool on Saturday.  We went to visit them and we went with a member. We were just messing around with the member about taking us to McDonalds.   After we finished the lesson and everything he actually took us there (ha ha).  It was so awesome!!  It's been like 2 years since I had eatin' it. Then afterwards we had the baptism, so it was a super awesome day!!
Have a great week!!  Just to inform you, every Wednesday I'm able to open up my email to read so if you ever want to send me some news before Wednesday, you can send it.  Love you all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Letter From September 24th, 2012

These past couple of days have been good.   We were able to have a couple of people at sacrament meeting and all so we will start working hard to help the people that we have.  My new comp is super cool.  He is a way funny guy and we are getting along very well.   As I mentioned, he is from Sao Paulo and has about a year and a half in his mission.   He saw a picture of Emma and now he keeps on telling me how he is gonna marry her and jokes about that (ha ha).   But, he has a sister who is 17 and I just tell him that we could just make a trade (ha ha).   But, I am sure missing my old comp.  We got along really well.   I will see him today.  He is going to stop by the house to get one of the bags he left so that will be cool to see him, but weird at the same time because he will be normal (ha ha).
This week should be good.  We should be having another baptism on Saturday of a young lady who is friends with the girls that we baptized a couple of weeks ago.  So I'm excited!!  Things are going good here. We got up early this morning and went to our Relief Society president's house.   She has a bunch of weight equipment and a treadmill and stuff like that so we went to her house and she let us do exercises there which was awesome.  Even afterwards she invited us to have breakfast
with her.   We are gonna see if she will let us do that more often.  But hey - got to go.  Have a great week!  Until next time . . .

Letter From September 19, 2012

This week was a good and a sad week at the same time.   It was sad because me and my comp had a really tight relationship and it was sad to see him go.  He is gonna get with his parents tomorrow.  I will see him on Monday so that should be pretty cool.  He left one of his bags here at that house, so he will have to come and pick it up.  This morning we had to get up at 3 :30 to go to the bus station for him to go to the mission home.   That was a sad last hug as comps.   We only spent 6 weeks together, but we made a huge friendship.  My new comp, and most likely my last, is Elder Rinaldi.  He is from Sao Paulo.  He seems like a really cool guy.  I don't know much about him yet, except that he speaks really goood English and he has a pic of him and his family in the Word of Wisdom pamphlet that we use to teach  people (ha ha).  But, I'll be able to tell a little bit more here in a couple of days.  And, at the same time it was a good week.   We did end up having all 3 baptisms on Saturday and they were all confirmed on Sunday which was cool.   We had a young man who was baptized that he was super prepared to be baptized.  The Lord had been preparing  him for a while.  Pretty much all we had to do was invite him.  He is already visiting the members and pretty much home teaching already which is super cool.  And then we baptized 2 young ladies.  They are daughters of a member couple who are really cool.  They come from really humble circumstances.  The couple were baptized about 5 years ago and then had ended up falling away from the Church but we found them and got them to come back.   And it was super cool to see their Dad be able to baptize them.  It was so special and it was just an awesome feeling.  
But, I've got to go.   I'll be here again in a couple of days with more details.  Have a great week!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Letter From September 10th, 2012

This week was super busy.  On Monday night, we had to go to the other Elder's house about an hour away from here to spend the night with them because on Tuesday morning we had to get up at 4 am to take a van to go to Joao Pessoa which is about 3 hours from here.  We went and had Zone Council there and ate with Pres. and Sister Hall and I got to see a lot of the Elders from my group which was cool.  Then we came back and got home a little late.  I think it was about 7 pm before we got home and I was just beat from traveling so much.  Then on Thursday we had Zone Conference which was about an hour away from here and we had to get  up a little bit earlier to do that as well.  So, a lot of this week was spent in meetings and traveling and all that fun stuff.
Yesterday we had Ward Council and when I got there they asked me if I could talk in sacrament meeting .  I got to speak for about 12 minutes which was cool.  I'm pretty sure that nobody was paying attention, but that is pretty normal here (ha ha).   I talked on Mosiah 25.
Yes - this is my comps last week, so we are gonna make it good!!  We should have 3 baptisms this Saturday, so we are super excited.   And yes, you will have to wait to hear from me next week until Wednesday.  It will be a little bit later since I'll have to wait for my new comp at the bus staion and for all of the Elders of our zone to get here.  Have a great week!!  Next week I'll have a little bit more to talk about.

Letter From September 3rd, 2012

Finally I'm sending some pictures.  The first is of my shoe.  As you can see here in Brazil we walk quite a bit (ha ha).  The next is of the lady and her son that we baptized last week. The last picture is of my comps b-day a couple of weeks ago when we threw a surprise party for him at our house. 
One thing that I thought would be cool that I have been looking for is a blue and white hammock for you guys to put in the house.  So, I'll keep my eyes open for that.  That way you can put a little bit of Brazilian taste in the house. Plus, hammocks here are pretty cheap.  I bought one the other day that was 60 reais, so that's only like 30 dollars which I think is pretty cheap for the size of the hammock. Today in our house we are going to put some hooks in the walls so that I can sleep in my hammock like I used to in my other areas.  Here the houses are made of brick, so it's a little bit harder to do stuff like that. We are going to have to chisel holes in the wall, then put the hook in, and then fill it all in with cement. So, that's going to be most of our pday today (ha ha)!  
This week went well.  I had another division with a different Elder this week and spent the day with him which was cool. Their house is super small - it's crazy.  We have an awesome family that we are teaching that they started the marriage papers, so they are going to get married next month.  We are super excited for that!!  We had quite a few people at Church yesterday which is good.   We are workin' our tails off here trying to find and teach new people and do everything that we have got to do. This week will be pretty crazy.  We have got a couple of meetings that we have to go to this week, so I'm pretty sure this week will fly by.  We also have Zone Conferences this week on Thursday ,so that will be cool to see some old friends and get trained by President.  This conference will be our whole state that  will go, so there is gonna be quite a few missionaries.  But, that's about it.  The work is going on and we are working our hardest to save souls here in this blazing sun.  It's funny because everyone - literally EVERYONE - always comments on how my face is red (ha ha).  I don't know if it's getting worse (my redness) or if they are just not used to it, but I always just tell people it's a family thing and that I was born this way.  

But hey - have a great week.  I only have one more email before transfers which is crazy.  These days are flyin' by.   Until next week. . . 

Letter From August 27th, 2012

This week went well.  On Tuesday we went on a division with some other Elders.  I got to go to their area and work for a day there.  The cool thing was it was an Elder who I had already known a little bit and we had even passed in the same area together.   So, it was cool to talk to him.   I wanted to send pics to you guys, but this computer isn't letting me.  
One sweet thing that we did this week was we learned how to make what is called coxinhas.   There is a member in our Ward who seriously makes the best coxinhas in Brazil!!  They are so delicious!!  We were just going to go there to buy something to eat and then he just invited us in to help him make them.  So, he taught us all the steps and stuff and how to do it.  It was awesome, so today we are going to try to make it oursleves at home.  We will see how that goes.   Coxinhas is like a dough thing that you can put meat or chicken inside of it and then you roll it in bread crumbs and then fry it.  It is SOOO good!!  I'll have to make it for you guys when i get home now that i know how to do it (ha ha). 
We did have a couple of baptisms yesterday.  We had a young lady and her 8 year old son who were baptized.   It was super cool.  She was an elect lady.  Whatever we asked her to do, she just did it.   She is really a special lady.  But, that's about it for this week.   Have a great week!!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letter from August 20th, 2012

Things here are going good.  I'm starting to get a little bit more used to the area and the members and all.  This is probably the best ward that I have been in so far.  I think yesterday we had 136 people in our sacrament meeting which is great.  But, I still have a lot more to get used and a short time to do it.   I only have 4 more week lefts in this transfer.  The good thing is I know for sure that I'm going to stay here and that I will get a new comp next transfer.  My comp's name is Elder Woolley and  as you can see by the name, he is also an American.  He  is from Salt Lake City.  This is his last transfer, so now he only has a month left. So, he is a little trunky, but he is still working really hard so that's not much of a problem.  He said that his parents are going to come and pick him up, so I should get to meet them as well.  But he is really a cool kid.  He reminds me of cousin Josh (ha ha). 
But I'm hoping this week that we should have a couple of baptisms here. We had a lot of people that went to church which was nice, so that's gonna help us out a lot.  It was nice to get to talk to you guys for a little while on Tuesday even though it was only for a couple of minutes.  Also on Tuesday, we had a leadership training meeting.  It was nice and I saw some old friends and learned a lot of good stuff.  I have a lot of things that I need to get better at (ha ha).   On Tuesday night it was my comps birthday, so we threw a surprise party for him. The other elders who live with us set it all up.  We had pizza, cake, chips, and soda - it was awesome!!  It was funny because we went the whole day without saying anything to him.  We didn't say happy birthday or anything to him, so I'm sure he was a little dissapointed.   But then we got home that night and sang happy birthday to him and everything and it was really cool.
If you want to send a package to me that's fine - you can send whatever you want.   But, I had an idea.  Instead of sending me a package you can send me some money instead, because there are some things here that I will only get to eat while I'm here, and there are some things that I want to buy here so that I can bring them home with me.  I want to bring home some hammocks and some stuff that they only have here.  I'm gonna bring home some food for you guys to try like cuscuz which is delicious and some other stuff.   It's pretty much for sure that I'm going to finish my mission here, so I'm already gonna start buying things to bring home and souvenirs and stuff like that.  So, let me know what you think about that.
But, that's about it for me.  I'll let you know how things go this week with baptisms and all.  It was actually a good thing that I didn't watch the funeral because the same time that the funeral was going on, we did a street contact with a young lady and invited her to go to church with us.  AND to our surprise, she actually went and after the meetings we marked her baptism for next month!!  Love you so much and until next week:)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Letter from August 8th, 2012

So . . . I did end up getting transferred.  My comp was called to be a trainer in our area, so I ended up getting transferred to the other state capital.  My comp will be Elder Wooley.  This is his last transfer, so I'm pretty sure this will end up being my last area as well and I'll only have one more comp after him, but we´ll see.  I'm going to miss my old comp, Elder Leite.  He was a great guy and we got along super well.  It was really tough to say goodbye to all of the members and people that we helped and got to know there.  There was a sweet old lady who really is a mean old lady.  I'll send you a pic and you'll be able to see she is holding a huge knife in her hand.  She sleeps with 2 knives under her bed to defend her children.  But, when I told her that I was going to leave, she just broke out in tears and that was just super hard for me.  But, the Lord has His hands in all things, so I'm sure there is a reason for this.   
But other than that, things are going quite well.  I'm pretty sad to hear all the news and things that are going on with Grandpa Tenney.  I really want to see him again, and know that I will someday, but I think it just won't be in this life.  What are a couple of years compared to eternity!  In this mission, I have gained a much stronger testimony of the gospel and the plan of salvation.  I have talked to many people from different churches, but no other church is compared to us in the plan of salvation.   We are the ONLY church that preaches about the priesthood authority and how this can bind our families together.  Grandpa was a very righteous man and for sure will be able to rest well after he passes to the other side.   Sometimes during the day to day I forget a little bit of how blessed I am to have such an awesome family like I do.  I think sometimes of what I did to deserve such an awesome and beautiful family.  But, I've got to go - I love you so much and you have a great week. 

Letter from July 23rd, 2012

Well Hello!! As you can see by the pics here, we had a baptism!!!  We baptized this young man on Saturday.  The other 2 young men are his brothers who were baptized 3 weeks ago. And, the young lady in the pic is his little sister who will be baptized this Saturday. They are from a super humble family, but we have a made a huge freindship with them and we love visiting them and their family. Things are going good here.  We have been having success with these kids, but this area is still super difficult.  But, we are working our hardest to find someone who wants to hear about the gospel.
Transfers will be the 8th of August.  So, we have about 2 more weeks.  Hey if you can, send me some pics of the new truck and the new house.  I would like to see where I'm gonna be going to when I get back.   That will be super weird not going home to the house that I pretty much spent my whole life in. But that's about it for me here.  Other than that, things are pretty much the same here.  I do miss the Elder that lived with us that was transferd.  I liked him alot. The new Elder doesn't talk too much and just keeps to himself. I found a recipe book in our house this week and made some things. I made pancakes, french toast, and german pancakes, syrup, cookies, and brownies. It was nice to get a little taste of home, even though it wasn't nearly as good.  But other than that, things are good.  I have really had a huge personal growth in this area, and even though it's super tough here, I'm still super happy with everything. The gospel is just a great blessing in our lives!  Until next week -

Letter from July 2nd, 2012

These past couple of days have been some of the best of my mission.
yesterday for one was awesome. those two young men were baptized which
was awesome and we also had one more baptism of an swesome lady as you
can see in this pic. this lady has 3 kids and all of them are members
and she has known the church for the past 7 years. so you can imagine
how many elders have passed by and taught her in the past 7 years. but
you can see how the lord works in his own time. and i had the great
privilege to baptize her which made me so happy. also on thursday
night pres hall called and said that he needed to talk to the other
elders in our house. so it turns out that on firday morning pres and
sister came to our house. pres talked with one of the other elders,
and sis took part in our weekly planning session. it was really cool
and sister helped us out with a lot of stuff. and i took advantage and
talked with pres as well. he said that he has the right to send me
home 30 days early without any problems. if it becomes anymore than 30
he has to talk to the general authorites and stuff like that. he shared
a couple of experiences with me. he said that its up to me and that i
should fast and pray about this and then decide. i need to know if im
gonna get accepted first before i tell him anything.so do you have any
idea when we will know. and this wednesday we will be have interveiws
again haha. so ill ask him on wed to fill out that honor code thing.
today i had to go and renew my visa which had expired 3 months ago
haha. so im good know. but hey got to go; love you all so much and
have a great week.

Letter from June 28th, 2012

Man - it's so crazy to see the whole family together like that.  It sure made me a little bit trunky (ha ha).  Sound like the girls are handling the idea of the move pretty well.  The only rough thing will be the move for real!!  
I would be more than happy to send some rain your way.  We have plenty here!!  Well, as you know it was transfers and all here.  So, I ended up staying here in the same area with my same comp.  He will officially be the comp that I spend the most time with, which will be 12 weeks.  I'm pretty sure I'll stay here with him this transfer, and then he will leave.  Then I will stay one more with someone else and then go to my last area.  Only 4 more transfers left if I go till December.  Actually our house stayed the same so we will stay all 4 toegher, whcih I was happy because I really like these guys.  It's just the area is a little rough. 
This week was pretty good.  It was a holiday here in Brazil called Sao Joao which is a Catholic holiday, so there was a lot of people traveling and partying so it was a little rough.  We have a couple of  young men who always are going to Church and playing soccer with the members.  There were a lot of members who I'm sure will be happy that we stayed here at least for one more transfer.  That's about it for this week.  . We have a couple of young men who should be baptized this week.  They are really good young men who always are going to church and playing soccer with the members.  There were a lot of members who I'm sure will be happy that we stayed here at least for one more transfer.  That's about if for this week.  Today wasn't much of a "pday" because there was a ward baptism today.  It's funny here.  It was a baptism for the ward but they pretty much made us missionaries do everything (ha ha).  So that took up pretty much my whole day.  But hey - love you all so much and have a great rest of the week.

Letter from June 18th, 2012

Sounds like your Young Women's trip to St. George was super fun.  One of the first things that I will do after I get back from the mish is go to the temple.  I miss it so much - seriously the best place on earth.  I sent Dad an email and Ithink I'll write something to Grandma Tenney tand have her read it to Grandpa.  
Things have been going pretty good here.  We had some people who went to Church with us yesterday, and one lady who is gonna be baptized this week!!  This is the last week of transfers, so the next email will be a week from Wednesday.   We will see if I stay or go.  I think I will be staying and my comp leaving.  This is already his 3rd transfer here and only my first.  Well, officially I have been in the mish for a year and a half now.  I was joking around with Dad that now I have served more time than he did (ha ha).  We celebrated by going to all you can eat pizza on Friday.  It was good since we received our allowance so that I had money because I was straight broke (ha ha).  It's been going by pretty fast - only 6 more months now. 
I think we might go visit the zoo today to mess around a little bit, but it has been raining a lot here, so maybe not.   This week our water bill came 1,200 reais.  We think that we have some sort of leak somewhere or someone is stealing our water because that is just super expensive!  It should only be like 75.   We made a delicious cake this week that is like a chocolate cookie cake.  It was SOOOO good.  I don't know if they have all of the ingredients to do it in the states.  If they do, I'll have to make it when I get back.  I want to learn how to make some of the foods here so I can show to you guys how it is here.  But, it will only be the good stuff (ha ha).  But hey, love you all so much.  Have a wonderful week.  Until next Wednesay.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Letter from June 4th, 2012

That was a dog that bit my finger, and it swelled up like that and bled a little bit (ha ha). Also, I forgot to tell you that last week I was walking home with the pacakage that I got, and it started to rain and all.  Ever since then, it's been raining like every day here.  So, YES - I use the new umbrella like everyday.  It's so nice. 
On Thursday we had Elder Mazzagardi of the Seventy here with us to give us a training. It was super cool. He taught us a bunch of cool stuff. He is super intelligent and knows the scriptures very well, so that was super cool.  It will be fun when I get home to share all of the cool things that I learned.   It was also good to see old friends and comps and to get the mail. Yeah, it has been pretty rough in my area lately.  It is because in the past there used to be 6 Elders in this area.  So, 99% of the people we talk to have already talked with the missionaries and don't want anything to do with the Church.  But, the Lord has His hand in everything.  And Gods plan is perfect.  So, there has got to be some sort of reason why I'm here.   All I need to do is find out what that reason is.  We have been working with a lot of less active people here and we had a couple of less actives at Church yesterday which was cool.  Next Sunday we won't have sacrament meeting because the Manaus Temple is being dedicated so that will be awesome!!  Also, I have already lost a little bit of weight in this new area. When I got here in Brazil, I was weighing about 180.  Now I'm around like 165.  I'm trying to get rid of the little gut that i have (ha ha).   But hey, love ya tons and have a great week!! 

Letter from May 28th, 2012

The weeks here lately have been passing by pretty slow. We have been having some difficulties in this area lately. When I got here, there were no investigators, and the members haven't been helping at all with referrals. So, we have to do all of the work by ourselves. So, pretty much we just knock on doors and do contacts all day.  I went one year without knocking on one door, but here it's the only way that we can work.
Our meetings on Sunday are hillarious.  I have been seeing just about everything here. Yesterday after sacrament meeting I saw 2 little primary kids who were putting the sacrament away. The bishop here just yells at the pulpit like a pastor from some evangelist church and doesn't really talk about anything (ha ha).   I'll have a lot of stories to tell when I get home.
Tuesday we had a meeting and they gave us our mail finally.  I got the package from Amanda and from Grandma. I am so happy right now!!  I have only been eating cereal lately and junk food.  The only thing that I still haven't gotten lately was any letters.  But if you can, tell Amanda thanks. I don't know if I'll have time.  I  asked President about the whole going home early thing to get ready for school, and he still hasn't answered me yet.  So maybe I'll have to call him and ask him specifically.  I have been praying about this lately and all - about college and everything. Pretty much I think that whatever Pres. Hall decides is what should be done. And if I get accepted to BYU, that is where I want to go. So, those are my thoughts as of now. 

Here are some pics - hope you enjoy them.    Love you so much.  Have a GREAT week!!  

Letter from April 23rd, 2012

Thankfully this week I have been feeling a lot better. My nose has still been running a little bit lately, but my fever and throat have gotten a lot better. I took some medicine that seemed to help quite a bit, but I'm not gonna lie - it was miserable there for a couple of days.
This week was pretty chill.  Not much news to talk about.  We have just been trying to find new people to teach , and it hasn't been workng out very well.  But, we're gonna keep working our hardest to try to get some new people going to Church.  Meetings yesterday went well and all.  We ended up having to teach some kids in Primary.  That was just straight crazy!  They gave us a lot of work, but by the end of the class they were asking us to teach them next week as well (ha ha).  They seemed to like our class quite a bit.  Maybe it's due to the fact that we played Book of Mormon hangman (ha ha).
You asked how many times I've read the BofM on my mission.  Let's see - I have read it I think 3 or 4 times in the mish, but only one time in Portuguese.   I recently started again in Portuguese and I'm in Mosiah right now.  So, I'm hoping to read it a few more times before I get home.   There is a great spirit and power from reading the Book of Mormon everyday. That should be your goal as a family. Well, that's about it for this week.  I hope you have a great week.  Love you so much!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Letter From April 11th, 2012

This will have to be a pretty short email today because I am almost out of time. I can't believe that Trey is already 12 years old.  It seems like only yesterday he was just a little guy. By the time I get back he is gonna be bigger than me.
This week has been long,  but went well.  We had a good turn out at Church and all, and we actuallly had 2 less active members come back in to activity. The guy had been the ex-branch president and district president and had fallen away for a couple of years, but he is back now.  Him and his wife are really great people.   We will be using Skype at their house to call on Mother's Day.  I'm so pumped, I can hardly wait!!
Well I bet your wondering about how the transfers went and all.  I'm staying here in the area with my comp too.  I reversed the curse and will finally stay 2 transfers with the same comp (ha ha).  And also we have 2 new elders living with us because they opened up a new area here.  One of them is an American who got here today.  He is really green, but he is already speaking pretty well.  But, our house is  really small is the thing that is gonna be rough now.   I  love you all and will talk to you here in a couple of days.  Sorry about the short email.

Letter From April 2nd, 2012

I absolutely love General Conference. Such a strong spirit. Usually they have it in English, but they only had it in Portuguese again.   I felt bad for the newbies that didn't understand hardly anything. My favorite talk was Eder Jeffery R. Holland's talk.  He goes way hard.  He is my favorite apostle, but there were a lot of good talks given.  I didn't get to watch the priesthood session, so I still don't know how that was.  But, I did get to watch the 4 main sessions.  It's always nice to get a little break every once in a while from walking everywhere and sit under the AC for a little bit.  We were able to take a couple of investigators to watch Conference and they all said that they liked it.
We baptized a young lady who is the Relief Society's niece.  Yes, here we have to get permission to baptize if they are under the age of 18.  But, we have the baptismal record paper thing that when the parents sign it you can baptism them.  It had been awhile since we had baptized, but finally we had one.  This is the last week of this transfer so are gonna have the "drought" here this week and a half without emailing.  Who knows - maybe the next email I send will be in a different area, but I don't think that I will leave.  I have only been here for 3 months.  We are gonna get a lot of new missionaries this transfer, like 19 newbies and only 3 people are going home, so there is gonna be a lot of new areas that will open up.  So, I think maybe my comp and I will stick together and get some new elders in our house. I would like to stay with my comp another transfer.  I like him a lot.  But, as you know, President doesn't like to leave me with anyone even if I do like them.  Until now I have never stayed 2 transers with anyone, so I don't see that starting now (ha ha).  But, we'll see what happens.  A part of me wants to stay, but then again, there is a part of me that wants to go.
That's thats about it for this week.   One other thing, we got to do a service project this week for a member who was needing some help with doing the floor in their new house. Man, am I sure grateful for the way that we build our houses in the states.  It's way better.  Really, I'm gonna be so grateful when I get back for so many things that I think we take for granted as Americans and especially as members of the Church.  Love you all so much.  Talk to you here in a week and a half:)

Letter from March 19th, 2012

 Man - I just miss the snow so much.  I think when I come home, I'm just gonna spend like a straight week snowboarding.  That's so crazy that you guys got a snow day a week before Spring Break (ha ha).  It's pretty funny here because there are some people who when it gets to be about 75 degrees, they start to complain about how it's cold and then I just like to laugh at them and I tell them they don't even know what cold is!
     I got lucky on Tuesday at Zone Conference and I didn't get called on to talk (ha ha).  But, I was prepared.  It only had to be like 5 minutes long.  It's hilarious how before the mission a 5 minute talk seemed like a big deal, but now that's a piece of cake!  But each person in our Zone had to memorize a paragraph from the Family Proclamation and prepare a talk based on the paragraph.  So, I got the third paragraph which is the second longest, but it wasn't too tough.  It was cool to see all of the old freinds that I have made at the Conference. There was one of the elders from my MTC District.  I would just love to be comps with him, but we´ll see if that ever happens.  I don't think Pres. Hall gives much attention when people ask to be comps with someone. 
     I'm sending a pic of me and the sign that there is as you come into the city.  It says "Welcome to Rio Tinto". This week was a pretty normal week. On Tuesday we had the Zone Conference.  All of the talks were about the family and the importance of the family in God's plan.  It was an awesome meeting.   I think everyone got a little trunky thinking about marriage and everything (ha ha).  My Branch Pres. has a new born baby girl that is just the cutest little thing.  I just can't wait to be a dad (ha ha).  But, I still got a little time left before that comes.  The parents of the young woman still didn't give permission, but we will see if they change their minds. Yesterday at Church it was awesome to see a man, that the Lord baptized through me a couple of weeks ago, pass the sacrament for the first time.  I was so happy!!  But, other than that things are pretty much the same ol' same ol' here - just workin' hard to get these people dunked here.  I love you sooo much - have a great week!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Letter from March 12th, 2012

Well Hello!!  Sounds like another busy week for you guys as well. This week was almost like Christmas for me (ha ha).    On Tuesday our ZL's went to Joao Pessoa, so of course they got all of our mail.  First off I got the package from Chris and Lauren that was just full of great stuff and I was just so happy. The package didn't have a return address, so if you could, can you please send them a note telling them that I thank them so much.  Then I got your guys package as well that was just full of a bunch of great stuff as well. I am addicted to playing the recorder now. I don't even care that it is like the simplest instrument to play (ha ha).  It is a lot of fun.  I still have to practice a lot, but I am getting pretty good at reading the music and everything now which for me, a guy who never played anything in his life, it's awesome!  Also, I got that letter from Elder Davis (I think is his name).  Sounds like the Elders over there are having some pretty good success which is good to hear.
This week was pretty much the same as they always are. It's getting really hot and the rain is starting to fall as well. If you can find an umbrella for me, I would greatly appreciate it. The rainy season is gonna start here in the next month or two and then it's going to pretty much rain everyday.
We had some of our investigators at church yesterday.  We have a young woman who, if her parents give us permission, we should baptize her.  Just the whole permission thing is gonna be a little bit difficult.  Then pretty much all of the other people that we have need to get married first. Pretty much here in Brazil out of every 10 families, 1 is legally married. So it's really difficult here. Tomorrow we are going to have Zone Conference in Joao Pessoa.  Each member of our Zone has to memorize a certain paragraph and prepare a 5 min talk on how we can apply this to our teaching. I have to memorize the 3rd paragraph which is the 2nd largest paragraph. So, we will see if I get chosen tomorrow to talk or not. And, I will be getting mail as well! So, we will see if any young ladies have written me!!
Yes, I finally made it to the single digits in months left.  That's pretty crazy!!i  It seems to go by so fast and so slow at the same time (ha ha).  But, it is a once in a life time chance, so it's all worth it. But, I love you all.  Give everyone a great big hug and kiss for me. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Letter from March 5th, 2012

Well how are things going? I take it that you guys had some pretty good ol' times at "Wicked". Amanda sent me some pics of the boys (ha ha). They are just getting so big!!  I freakin' love Kolten's hair (ha ha). 
Not much new stuff that has been happening these past couple of days. I have just been getting to know my new companion and all.  He is super white (ha ha) and he reminds me of Shawn White. One of these days I will send you guys some pics. I need to try to figure out how to send like all my pics at once because I have a bunch. But,  he is from Curitiba, Paraná.  It's way down in the southern part of Brazil. He has 9 months in the mission. He is pretty chill too. It's funny - he is so white that like everyone says that he is American and some people don't believe him so he has to like show them his identification and everything. People say that I look more Brazilian than he does (ha ha).  This week was pretty calm and everything with transfers going on. We had Fast and Testimony meeting which was good. Our branch is so small that pretty much everybody that could bore their testimony, and we even finished a little early because there was no one else to bear testimony (ha ha). We have this one lady who we are teaching that we are trying to get baptized.  She is ready and everything, but she still isn't baptized and there is nothing holding her back from being baptized. Even she got up there and bore her testimony how she knows the church is true and the Book of Mormon is true.  I'm just sitting there thinking why doesn't she want to get baptized??!!!  But, I know that the Lord works in His own time and everything, so maybe I'll just have to wait.
This morning we played a little bit of soccer which is always fun. The best part was when we put the Brazilians vs. the Americans. All I'm saying is that we represented quite well against them and we ended up pulling off the big upset which just felt so good. But, that's about it for news this week.  I hope that everyone is well and all. Hope Dad's feeling better.  Love you all so much!

Letter from February 29th, 2012

Sounds like things are going good for you guys. So, yeah - pretty much you guessed right.  Pres. Hall doesn't let me stay with my comps ever. So, I'm getting a new comp today. I don't know him or anything about him right now, so I'll be able to tell you more this Monday.  All I know is that he is a Brazilian.  But, we had a really good transer with my old comp and we got along well.  
This week and a half passed by really fast. With all the work and traveling and things that have to get taken care of and everything, it seems to pass by really fast. But, I'm excited to stay in my area at least one more transfer. We are gonna have to work really hard to have success here, but we are always working hard.  I hope my new comp likes to work!!
I feel like I'm pretty much writing like the same thing every week.  If you have any questions, it would help a little bit (ha ha).  Hey, you need to get on Amanda and Jessie's case because I haven't heard from them in months, so I don't know anything that's going on in their lives. Quite a few Elders from my district were transfered and pretty much now we have the coolest district in the mission I would say (ha ha). We have so many cool Elders, and 4 of us are Americans (ha ha).  This will be my 3rd Brazilian comp and my 10th comp in my mish and I only have been out a year and 2 months.  I hope that you guys all have a great week and I will be able to give a little bit more info here in a couple of days on Monday when I pass internet again. Love you so much!!

Letter From February 6th, 2012

You had asked the reason why I had to leave my last area - the reason was because a bunch of missioinaries left and only a couple got here so we are down a couple of missionaries right now.  So, there was a couple of areas that had to get closed.  My new comp has about 5 months in the mission right now.  This is about his third month here in this area.  This is his first area.
Here are some photos - some from this week and others from a while back.  I have a bunch of  photos, but with this email and computer, I can't send that many.  But, this week went really well.  We had two baptisms this week which was cool.  One was a young man who is 16 years old and another that's 18 years old.  We are still teaching a lot of people here.  We are STILL trying to help people get married though.  Most of the people don't want to which is kinda rough.  But, what do ya do?  I'm just gonna do everything in my power and then leave the rest up to the big guy upstairs.  He does some strong work!! 
But, things are going really well here and all.   We got to play a little soccer this morning which is always fun.  Our Branch President blessed his first child yesterday, a little baby girl.  So, there were quite a few people there visiting. Please get that package sent to me ASAP - I just love getting mail.  We will be getting mail on Wednesday because the ZL's are going to Joao Pessoa, so I'm hoping that I got something waiting for me. Well I hope that all is well with everyone.  I love you all and have a great week!

P.S.  This area has the most delicous churros in the world.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Letter from January 30th, 2012

You wanted to know how things are going here in my new area, if it's good or bad?  Do you think that I would ever talk bad about my comp or area - come on (haha).  Here in this area we have  a bunch of little cities that we are always visiting that we have to take a taxi to. Our chapel is in a different city as well, so we have to take a bus there with all of the members every Sunday.  Usually we have about 30 people in sacrament meeting.
My new companion is pretty much the opposite of me.  It's funny because he always asks me if I have seen
such and such a movie or know such and such music,  and I tell him no.  And then I ask him the same thing and he says no (haha).   But, he is a good kid and a hard worker which is nice. Our district is way chill.  We got together today and played soccer which was super fun. It had been a while since I had played. But, that's about it for here.  I will try to send some pics next week because this computer is really slow.
We have a big group of people that we are working with right now. A lot of the people that we are teaching need to get married before we can baptize them, and most of them don't want to get married.  So, that's probably the toughest thing here.  I will send a longer email next week for sure.  I'm back for sure now (ha ha).  Love ya so much!!

Letter from January 18th, 2012

So, I finally got  my email back!!!!!  I don't know what's better - talking to you guys for a little bit longer at Christmas or being able to email you every week (ha ha).   Well, there sure has been a lot of things that have happened in the last couple of weeks since I was able to email you.  The one kid who got sick Christmas Day did get baptized a couple of days later and then confirmed the following Sunday.  We also had 2 miracles happen.  First was with J.  He is the husband to a lady in our ward. Everybody was a member of the Church except him - his wife, kids, in-laws - everyone was members and have been for 9 years.  So we were trying to work with him and everything, but he wasn't really wanting to talk to us much.   I even told my comp "this guy will for sure be baptized, but I just don't think I will be able to see it".  Well, a miracle happened and the Lord opened up his heart and he came to Church the next Sunday and told us that he wanted to be baptized!!  So we put it all together and baptized him. Now everybody  in that family is members. The next week he was confirmed and another miracle happened. Another guy who has  known the Church for 3 years now came to us and told us that he wanted to be baptized as well.  Really - 2 miracle in 2 weeks.  This is really something that I have never seen or even heard of.
Another cool experience was my comp had an earache/infection.  It was really hurting him a lot. So, he asked me to give him a blessing.  In the blessing  I felt the prompting to say  that he would have no more pain. He said a couple of minutes later his ear wasn't even hurting. It's experiences like these that really show the power of the Lord and the priesthood. I have truly been really blessed. 
As you said it is transfers today as well. I got transfered to Rio Tinto.  It's a pretty small branch here, but it should be cool.  My new comp is Elder H.  He is from Washington. I was really sad to leave my last area because the members were great and we were starting to have success. But what can I do??  It is what it is I guess.  I was sad to leave my comp especially.  He is a great kid and I really enjoyed training him. Well, that's pretty much it for now.  I'll email you here on Monday again and let you in on more deatils about the new area.  Love you all.  It's good to be back!!