Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Feliz Ano-Novo!!!

Tudo Bem :)

This past week was awesome!!! The highlight for sure was getting to skype!!!!! and we also had a baptism for Nilson yesterday!!!!!! It was so good getting to talk and see y’all. Not gonna lie, it was pretty rough afterwards :) I wanted to skype everyday after that ha. But now its getting back to normal. I miss y’all so much, Mother´s Day will come up faster than we think :)
Nilson´s baptism was yesterday!! It was awesome. The guy has so much desire to follow Jesus Christ and change his life around. We have been teaching him for about three weeks. He is 16 yrs old and his girlfriend brought him to church one Sunday. He told us later that he didn’t plan on ever wanting to get baptized or take the lessons from us missionaries but he decided to just listen to us once and then say it wasn’t for him. Well after the first lesson he had a complete change of heart. After we taught him about the Book of Mormon and faith and repentance he decided to act and do something. He prayed about what we were teaching him and about the Book of Mormon, he received an answer! Then he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to forgive him for all of his sins and mistakes. He ended up calling us after this experience and said he couldn’t explain how happy and at peace he felt. He told us he even started crying and then went and told his mom he was sorry for all the wrong things he had done to not respect her and treat her right.  It was amazing!! Just seeing how the Spirit was able to work into Nilson´s heart and he became a whole new person. He has such a strong heart and great desire. It is seriously way cool, just seeing how much he has changed in these three weeks. I gave a talk at his baptism and as I was talking directly to him, he started to just full on cry. He told me how grateful he was for what I did to help him change his life and for the example I was to him. I was so humbled when he told me that. That’s why I love being a missionary. Just being able to be a representative  of Jesus Christ and helping people change their lives and be happy!! To gain the knowledge that I have.  Nilson is such a stud. His parents are really supportive of him and they think its awesome what he is doing. It is hard on Nilson because he has a 18 year old brother who has been having a lot of problems in life and hasn’t been there for Nilson when he needed him. Nilson would break down every time he talked about his brother in lessons, but Nilson is a tough kid and he has such a bright future.
Domingos and Aldesena have kinda given up and don’t really want anything more to do with us, its sad and hard after the experiences ive had with them. Same with Waldivino. He loves the church, believes the Book of Mormon is true, but his new girlfriend who he is gonna marry is like anti-mormon and goes to the church Universal. Its tough for Waldivino but he’s decided to go to church with her. We have been teaching this family that are loving what we teach them. They have their Grandma living with them who is 82 years old and one of the funniest people I know haha. She is hilarious. I love when we go over their and get to talk to her. She is so lively and says the funniest stuff. :)
I love serving here in Santo Antonio. Its gonna be hard leaving when Ill probably be transferred next week. I feel like I have put so much of myself here. I really hope that my next area is really poor like it is here. It is hard seeing people in really bad living conditions but I love working here and helping the people. Everyone we eat at for lunch always goes all out to feed us so awesome and make sure we are taken care of. But it is hard when some families, even when they do their best they just don’t have alot food because they don’t have a lot of money and they have a bunch of kids that need to eat too. I don’t mind not eating, but its hard when the mom, just being so humble and kind, tells me to put more on my plate and I’m like no no its ok. I’m not hungry. (even though im starving:), but that there is several kids that need to eat also) They sometimes get a little upset. Even though she means well and is just trying to make sure we are takin care of, I would rather have her a little upset at me for not eating a lot so her kids can eat! Its just sad and truly humbling to me to see how these people live and how they make sure a missionary who speaks white boy Portugues is taken care of. That’s one of the things I’ve learned the most here, being humble and being grateful for what I have instead of just thinking more more more. I have been blessed with so much in my life, truly have.
It was such a joy to me to see how excited kids got when I gave them the little gifts/finger puppets y’all sent me and the bracelets that Aunt Rebecca´s kids sent me. The kids would go crazy and were just so so excited. It was so awesome to see these kids run around, smiling and happy. Y’all made a lot of kids Christmas´s here much more happier and special.
Our Christmas was awesome. Woke up, opened gifts. I was so grateful to have stuff to open. Studied the scriptures about when Christ was born and the things that occurred before and after. Christmas truly had a whole new meaning to me this year. I’m grateful for that I was able to focus more on the spirit of it, and to remember the birth of our Savior. That talk you sent me "Christmas within us" by Elder Holland was awesome. It meant a lot.
When Im having difficulties here or missing home a lot, I think of some of the people we are teaching and what they are going through and their difficulties and it makes me stop thinkin about myself real quick. Heavenly Father truly has blessed me with so much and I feel so grateful that He got me here to Brasil to serve others and help make a difference.
Messias, another investigator, probably wont ever get baptized. He doesn’t really want anything to do with us anymore. But long story short, his girlfirend who is member is so grateful for what me and Elder D. Call did for her. She was having a lot of problems and new she needed to change to get back onto the straight and narrow road but she couldn’t do it alone. We helped give her that push. So the whole time, I thought we were teachin Messias (since my like second week here in Brasil) we were really teaching Marcia since she was there every lesson too. Guess you could say we "baptized" Marcia figuratively. That’s what this work is all about! Helping people endure to the end and getting them back onto the pathway that leads to returning to live with our Father in Heaven. Helping people gain Faith in Jesus Christ and know He is their for them!!  We all need help in this life. This life isn’t easy, has a lot of trials and dificulties, but on the other hand it sure has a ton of happiness and love. Some people need more of a push or help then others, but everyone needs it. We all have friends who could use our help, with anything. When we reach out and help others, Heavenly Father will bless us in more ways than we can imagine and in turn we will be blessed for it. That’s the miracle of it. When you serve others you really are "just helping out your own situation" technically :)  But I know that when we serve others, we are serving God is a true statement. For we are all His children. He loves each and every one of us. I have felt his love for me but more importantly for others so much on my mission. It is truly amazing to give someone a blessing or when teaching, and feel God´s love for them.
When we have hard times, sometimes we just need to have Faith that everything will be alright in the end. Pray to be given strength to change our situation, rather than just have God take it away. I love the story in Alma 14, when Alma cried unto the Lord for strength to get out of his situation. They had already gone through so much persecution and he asked Heavenly Father, give me strength ACCORDING to my faith which is in Christ.  It isn’t always easy to have faith and when we have difficulties and problems, but if we continue to pray, read the scriptures and have that faith, God will bless us and everything will be ok.
I know this is true, it has helped me out so much on my mission, when I miss home, family, cant speak as good or other problems. Heavenly Father is there for us always, sometimes we just need to humble ourselves and get on our knees and ask him for help.
I love y’all so much!!!!! I hope y’all have a great New Year!!! Feliz Ano-Novo. So grateful that skype exists and that I could talk with y’all!!!!! :))
Até next year!! :) haha


Elder Bean

Christmas morning, looking sleepy

Nilson's baptism

Taguatinga for P-day

Sitting in "Santa's" chair

Friday, December 27, 2013

5 Months in the Mission

E aí!!!!!!! :)

Woww I cant believe it is already almost Christmas!!!! It came up so fast. Gonna be Natal in two Days!!!!  I miss y’all a tonnnn and so stoked to get to skype!!!

Como está?? :) I am doing good. This week was awesome!!! On Wednesday we had our Christmas Conference for the mission. Even the missionaries in an area 15 hours away came down. It was the first time in 3 years all missionaries were together in the whole mission. I got to see a lot guys I haven’t seen in a while which was sweet, got to be reunited with Elder Sales!!! haha
The mission conference went awesome. It was way cool singin in the choir. Had a lot of good speakers and then there was this world known pianist (i forget his name) from Hollywood that came and played the piano for us! He was born in the U.S. and his parents are Brasilian. He served a mission in Brasil so he knows Portuguese but he speaks fluent English. He is in his 70s I think, but he is way cool!!! Elder Kessler almost broke down when he heard he was playing for us, guess he is super famous. haha. But after he talked he jumped on the piano and played a bunch of Christmas songs and everyone was just singing and havin fun. I got to talk to him afterwards, and he said he feels bad for us Americans cause Christmas is his favorite holiday, and it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all here.  I miss it, but i guess its just a sacrifice for two years :) All is good.
After the spiritual stuff, they had a lunch all set up for us!! Wayy good food. They had a slide show from pictures of the mission and Christmas music playing. Good times!
I got 4 packages!!!! Gosh I was sooo happy, I couldn’t stop thinkin how lucky  I was and so grateful. I tried my hardest to wait until Christmas but I couldn’t help it :) haha I opened them all but left some stuff still wrapped in each box to wait until Christmas! It was Awesome!!!!
We have a baptism date marked for the 29th, this Sunday. His name is Nilson, a 16 year old awesome dude!! His girlfriend is a member. He has already come a few times to church and loves it. His parents are even happy that he is wanting to get baptized. They think its great! He talked about it with them before we even brought it up. We committed him last night!!  You can tell that he wants to be baptized for himself, not just cause of his girlfriend which is way sweet!! Its so cool seeing this guy just want to follow Christ and change his life for the better. Such a stud.
On Saturday we had our Ward Christmas Activity at the Church. We had a blast. Like 15 of us guys in the Ward did a "flashmob" to a remixed version of Silent Night. It was awesome, they had us all wear blue bow ties and blue Christmas hats. haha. Then the kids did the nativity and afterwards had a bunch of food!! 
Today for Pday, we went down to Taguatinga with everyone from our zone. We made pizzas at the church and hung out since on the missionaries in our zone is leaving after this transfer. This transfer has seriously flown by!!
I got alot of good stories but I’m gonna save them for skype ;) hahah
I miss y’all a ton!!! sooo much. I am so grateful for all that I have been blessed with. I am grateful to be a missionary and to be serving our Heavenly Father. I know its where I need to be for these two years. My testimony has grown so much, and I can already tell the difference in who I am from reading my journal at the beginning of my mission. It will be 5 months on Christmas Eve.. wow!  The Lord has blessed me with so much. The least I can do is give Him these two years of service. I know y’all are being blessed at home too. I love you, and see you on SKYPE!!! :)


Elder Bean :)

{ We got to speak with Lofton via Skype on Christmas. It was awesome!!! He looks so good and sounds great!!!  He had to keep reminding himself to speak to us in English as he kept slipping into Portuguese. :) He is loving his mission and the opportunity to serve Heavenly Father.  We miss him sooo sooo much but we couldn't be prouder of him!!!}

Misson Conference

All the missionaries had an ornament on the tree at the Conference.

Me and my 4 packages, so grateful!

Reunited with the guys from my MTC district

Ward Natal (Christmas) activity

With Leandro

My district

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zone Activities for Natal (Christmas)

Tudo Bem Familia,

Oi!!! Como Está?? Eu estou bem.

I got an update that I have three packages for me here!!! Can’t wait to get them!
I am so stoked to be able to skype in a few days. Muito Animado!!!!!!

Today we had our zone activities for Christmas. We were with a couple other zones, about 70 missionaries, and we just hung out in a chapel in Ceilandia. We had to take a bus to Taguatinga, and then a metrô to Ceilandia. I thought that was pretty fun.  But our activity was awesome!! We hung out, had a BBQ, then watched Despicable Me 2!! We are allowed to watch a movie for Natal :)
It was awesome!!! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much. It was way sweeet.

This week has been pretty stressful. Just a lot of stuff!!! but I’m doing good. I’m missin Elder D.  Call.  I miss just being able to talk to him, cause when I was going through rough times, I could always talk to him and we was always willing to listen. He put my needs above his a lot, which was awesome. He’s a stud. He is a zone leader right now.
I miss y’all a ton!!!  Our area is doing good. There is this awesome kid, Mateus. He is 13 and a stud! He acts like he is 18 though. His story is awesome, he has already been to church twice. A few weeks ago, he was at his Uncles house and his uncle had a Book of Mormon. His uncle was like I don’t need this.  But Mateus was interested so he asked to have it. He was reading one day and loved it, and saw on the back of the Book the name of our Church. A few days later, he was walking down the street and saw a building. With the same name on the side of the building as on the Book. He saw a sign on the Church that said Welcome, 9-12 every Sunday. So that Sunday, he told his mom (who is awesome) that he was going to Church. She just said, no it’s too far. He kept saying he was going so she gave in and let him.  And that is how we met Mateus, in Sunday School :) He is a stud!!  He loves it. We went by his house the other day, he is out of town because his Grandpa died but his mom is so supportive and says Mateus doesn’t stop talking about how awesome church is and how cool the missionaries are.  The kid is Elect!!  He is so smart too. Already finished with high school almost. 
We also meant another guy named Leandro, a 17 year old. He was baptized in a different area, the same area as Elder Kesler, when we had 5 days here in Brasil. The other day we get a call from him, asking if we could stop by his house and tell him where the church is. He just moved to Santo Antonio with his mom, to live with his Grandma and aunt and uncle. The kid is an inspiration. He moved because his dad is a crazy drunk that doesn’t care about him or his mom. His mom is disabled, a noodle, and can’t talk or move. He takes care of her like a champ. Watching him care for her and giving her kisses on her cheek and just telling her how much he loves her was such an inspiration to me. This kid has been through so much. He has had to grow up fast. And through his difficulties he decided to get baptized. We brought him to Church and he just goes and talks to everyone and tries to make others feel welcome when it was his first day! Such a stud. But seriously, watching him take care of his mom, the way he cared for her almost made me cry. Such an inspiration. Love the kid.
Even when I’m having a rough time, or having rough days, it’s stuff like that just makes me look at the bigger picture and so grateful to be a part of this work. I have more cool stories but I’m running out of time so they will have to wait for next week. :)
I know Heavenly Father is watching over ‘y’all. I miss y’all a ton, I miss home, Christmas and everything, but I am so grateful to be here and a missionary. Putting my needs behind, to be able to help others is so humbling and has helped me grow a lot.
I love you all so much!!! Y’all are the Best!!!! Freakin Amazing :)


Elder Bean

Morning light in Santo Antonio


Zone Activity