Monday, September 30, 2013

Missionary Life and Blessings!!

Bom Dia!!

Eu estou muito animado! Eu estou muito bem! I am doing great and everything gets better and better each day here. I am in such a good mood after reading all y'alls emails of love, support, and what is going on back home. It is so good to hear that all is well. 
I am really starting to love it here in Santo Antonio do Descoberto. I still miss home like crazy, but it gets easier everyday being away from home. I'm starting to realize how important what I am doing is, and so grateful that I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve our Heavenly Father´s children in Brasil for two years. It's not easy, but it's not suppose to be. The things we cherish in life the most, are usually things that didn't come easy. Things that take a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing me and everyone back home. I have been able to see his hand in my life more and more since I got here. I have noticed the little things more and how much certain things mean to me in my life. I love y'all so much!!
Its tough to hear about the loss to Waller. But I'm so proud of Noah! That is seriously awesome. I pray for everyone back home everyday. But I pray especially hard when I get back to the apartment at 9 (7:00 in Texas) until I go to sleep for Noah and Cade and them playing, Aspen Cheering, and everyone watching in the stand. I know that I can't physically be there, but I am there in Spirit. Heavenly Father knows how important that stuff is to me, and He is able to make me feel comforted and happy during those times. 
The language is getting a lot better. It is still super hard.. haha. But I am getting to a point where most people understand everything I say. I have learned that if someone wants to understand me, they will. If they don't, then they won't. Even though my accent isn't perfect and grammar isn't always perfect, the people that care understand and help me out. It is so frustrating when I say something though and they respond, `Não Entendi` (meaning they don't understand). Its so frustrating hearing someone say that, especially when I thought I said it right. I get mad when they say it rude, its like ´Cmon man you understood me!!´haha.  But its all good!!
They have alot of small, Italian bakeries here that are super cheap. So lately my dinner has been buying 2 loaves of good bread for like 50 cents U.S. money and just eating that as we walk around.. haha.  For lunch we always eat rice, beans, and meat! I'm loving it though! It is so good. the hard thing though is not eating too much. Here they are use to eating a TON at lunch. Problem is we walk a lot so if I eat too much, I won't be feeling too great later. The other day, we went to a cheap buffet for lunch. I think that says it all. Ha. I had 4 plates full of rice, beans, and steak. We went to see Danilo afterwards, which is 45 minutes away. I was feeling so sick. haha. The heat doesn't help either but yeah it was bad.. haha.  At the buffet I saw the trailer for the new Hunger Games movie! Looks good!!
So my companion told me that when he got on the mission the Heat still hadn't won a championship with Lebron yet. That seems like forever ago!!! haha. So crazy. 
Our showers from now on are in freezing cold water. The other day I was showering when the heater blew. Ha. All the electric wires are outside of the wall, so sparks started flying and a then a big Boom! It scared the snot out of me! haahah. Looking back though, it was funny. So since the showers are cold, I just do a bunch of push ups before I take a shower, It gets my body warmed up so the water doesn't feel as cold :) haha. 
It rained for the first time since I have been here yesterday!! It was nice. We had a missionary fireside in Taguatinga last night. I love all the guys in my zone!! Super cool guys. One of them is Elder Sales, a native Brasilian, who is way cool. He's such a stud! We have two sister missionaries, and they are way cool too!! 
We travel by bus to Taguatinga at least once or twice a week for meetings. Taguatinga is more of a city, and they have Subway and McDonalds!! It doesn't taste the same, they don't have ranch here, but it is still way good!! Its a treat to get subway haha.  So I have noticed that they don't have goldfish, pretzels, oreos, or peanut butter here. My like staple food to survive. haha. I buy a lot of bananas though. Super cheap, about 75 cents U.S for a dozen of them. They have a soda here called Guaranã that is legit!! It is so good. It is made from a fruit grown here. Manga (mangos) are way good here too!
I am so stoked for General Conference this weekend!!! So stoked!!  I have always liked General Conference, but never like super excited or looking forward to it. Now I'm like counting down the days to it, haha. And in one of the rooms at the church they will have it in English, it will be nice to hear someone speak in English! haha. 

I miss you all a ton! I am doing great though, don't worry about me. I enjoy hearing all about what is happening at home. Its hard not being there, but I know that this is the right place for me to be. I am so blessed and grateful to be able to be a missionary. So blessed and lucky. I thank Heavenly Father everyday for everyone that I have back home, and also the opportunity I have here. It will bless my life, and y'alls life forever. I will be able to come back a better person, and the man that God wants me to be! I know that this work here is true! I am so blessed to be able to be a part of it, and help share the word of God with the people here in Brasil. 
I love this Gospel, and I love y'all so much!! Thanks for all y'all have done for me. For all the support and love. The prayers help so much, don't think that your prayers go unnoticed. I feel them, trust me. I have felt Heavenly Father´s love for others so much here. I truly know that we are children of our Heavenly Father, and that we can one day return and live with him again. And that Families are Forever. He blessed us with families and friends here on Earth, so that we could learn and grow. To love, and continue with those same relationships in the next life! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He loves us so much. I know that the Bible and Book of Mormon are words of God. We are so blessed to not have just one Testament, but Two testaments of Jesus Christ here on the Earth. The Bible and Book of Mormon. Together, they will help us have happier lives, love one another, serve others, have true happiness, and one day return and live with our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. For all my family and friends back home who mean the world to me. And for this opportunity I have to serve a mission!!
I love y'all so much!!!! and miss y'all like crazy. God be with you til we meet again.


Elder Lofton Q Bean

I hope y'all had a good week!!! take care.
I love y'all so much!!! I thank Heavenly Father everyday to have such an amazing family!! I'm seriously blessed with the best family

I love you soo much and I miss you tons!!! don't worry about me, I am watched over I'll be ok :) Take care familia

EU TE AMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Muito muito muito

Monday, September 23, 2013

Families are Forever!!

Bom Dia!!

Tudo Bem!?? I’m doing a lot better and starting to get use to the missionary lifestyle. Brasil is sooo hot!! All day haha. In Santo Antonio do Descoberto (Saint Anthony of the Discovery) it is super dry!! I miss y'all like crazy!!!
We had a mission conference on Saturday! It was awesome. We heard from a General Authority and his wife. We got together with all the missionaries in this mission except for the zone that is 13 hours away. They don’t come down here ever except for transfers.
So the talk was in Portuguese I only understood a few things but Elder Grisham translated a lot of it for me in English, which was awesome! Got to see Elder Kesler, which was way cool! We are in like the same boat. Having the same struggles. Our birthdays are both on October 12 except he is two years older!!
I’ve realized that the work here isn’t what is hard. Walking miles and miles and miles everyday, struggling to speak to people and understand, always hungry, and getting rejected. I mean that stuff is super hard but it really isn’t hard compared to missing home. That is the hardest thing. Knowing that I still have 22 months from seeing y'all is so hard to think about. Missing out on y'alls activities, watching y'all grow and be with each other. It is so hard putting all that aside for two years. And knowing that I won't be an 18 year old kid anymore when I get home, but 20 years old. And that so much will have changed by the time I get home. Being away from y'all is the hardest thing. I have gained a greater appreciation for those little moments in life that don’t seem big, but now they seem ginormous. I have been blessed with the most loving and supportive family and friends. I truly am so blessed. I pray for y'all everyday. I love y'all so much!
On Wednesday, we went to teach Danilo. He is 22 years old and way cool. He just showed up to church last week and said someone had invited him a few weeks earlier. I know God had a hand in guiding him to church.  So after our first lesson with him, after the closing prayer, I felt such a strong feeling and inspiration in my heart to invite him to be baptized. It burned within me. So I looked at him and asked when he knows for himself that these things are true, will he follow Jesus Christ's example and be baptized by someone with the priesthood authority of God! (in Portuguese off course)  He said he would!! He committed to being baptized on Saturday October 12!!! It was awesome. We even committed his mom to be baptized last night! Heavenly Father has so much love for Danilo and all of his children here on Earth.
Right after Danilo´s lesson we taught Messias and committed him to be baptized as well. Messias is about 60 and is married to a member. He agreed but said he would be out of town for the 12th but wanted to do it sooner! So we planned for the 28th!! It was so awesome!! Such a spiritual night.  But on Friday when we went back to teach Messias, we felt inspired to teach Laws and Commandments. We found out that he isn´t married yet to his member ´wife´. He is still in the middle of a divorce. We can’t baptize him yet though because he isn’t married. We can’t baptize a couple unless they are married if they live together since they would be breaking the Law of Chastity.
We were sad for him, but they are planning on getting married right when the divorce is finalized. He will eventually get baptized but just not now.
That is one of the biggest problems in this area, people are together but not married. They call each other husband and wife but aren’t legally married. It is hard when we find those elect people that are ready but one of the persons in the relationship doesn’t wanna get married.
It will all work out though. My testimony is strengthened everyday here. It isn’t easy being away from home. Satan knows where I am weak. He constantly makes me feel like I am not a good older brother or son, because I am here and not at home with y'all. But I pray and I feel Heavenly Father´s love and I know that even though it is hard, this is the place I need to be. I think about y'all every day, and how y'all are doing. I think about the Friday night games I am missing, and just life at home. That stuff is so important to me, and means the world to me. But furthering the Lord´s work, and bringing others unto Christ and letting them receive the blessings and happiness I have received from it and how much it has blessed my family is what I want to do.
I left my family for two years, so other families can be together forever. True love and happiness here on Earth, and into the eternities in the life to come.
I love y'all so much and miss y'all more than everything!! Y'all mean the world to me
Families are forever


Elder Bean

They haven’t had a baptism in Santo Antonio do Descoberto in almost 9 months!! So we are super excited about the investigators we have committed to dates!!!

Thanks for all the love and supporting words of encouragement.
It is always hot here. Ha. Hot and dry.  We have to wear our suits to church every Sunday and to certain meetings with the mission. It kinda stinks cause it is a 40 minute walk to the church in a suit in the heat. I swear the sun is bigger and hotter here... haha

P-day in front of apartment

Sunday at Church

Out tracting

With Elder Kesler at a Mission conference

Typical streets with houses crowded together

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trials make us stronger


Almost two weeks in Brasil. And it has felt like two years... ha.
Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers. It really does mean a lot and keeps me going. I have been having a rough time but it is starting to get better each day. I am learning more each day and the language is starting to sound slower coming out of people´s mouths. But when they mumble I’m totally lost.ha.
Here in Brasil the main meal is Lunch. They hardly eat anything for breakfast or dinner but have a Huge lunch!!! So we usually eat at members for lunch which is always beans, rice, and meat. haha. But it is super good!!! And then I have a nutella peanut butta sandwich for breakfast and then I eat another one when we get back to the house at 9ish. It’s hard going off little food and not really dinner but I’m starting to adjust. We aren’t allowed to drink the water here, unless it is filtered. It’s super bad for you. Supposedly it gives you worms (so I’m showering in worms :)) haha. Our filter broke yesterday and since it was Sunday we went to the ward mission leaders house and he gave us a few bottles to take back home. 
My companion Elder D. Call is a good guy! We are different people but he has been great at giving me awesome words of wisdom when I am down and comforting me! He’s a great guy. He’s fluent in Portuguese and helps me out a lot with the language.
On Friday and Saturday we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. So | took an hour bus to Taguatinga to be with Elder Pedroso for Friday and Saturday.
Elder Pedroso is awesome! He is a native Brazilian that is as white as me. He is 27 years old and use to be in the Brasilian military before the mission, ha. He understands a little English. 
And guess what he had in his closet, a Tebow Jersey!!! hahah. Automatically had a bond just over that. He is a way cool guy though.
The people here in Santo Antonio are good people. The way of life is different obviously though. All the houses are surrounded by 8 to 10 foot cement walls with an iron gate. the houses are all crammed together. So since the door to the house is about 10 yards away from the wall we have to clap outside the gate instead of `knocking on doors` ha. We clap.  
Every night when we get back to the apartment after 9, we have to call the district leader and let him know we are good and safe. He then calls the zone leader, and then the zone leader calls the Assistants. The assistants call the president. So the president doesn’t go to sleep until he gets a confirmation that all 7 zones (130 missionaries) are good and safe. Pretty cool.
This weekend we are having a mission conference. We will meet with a general authority and everyone in the whole mission! pretty stoked to see Elder Kesler! It will be cool seeing everyone in the mission.
So in the mission your relationships with companions is like a family tree. For instance your first companion/trainer is your ´Father´, and since I am the first trainee of my companion I am ´His Beloved Son`. ha. If he trains anyone else then they will be my brothers. haha. My ´grandpa´ died a long time ago (got home from the mission) but my step-grandpa is one of the Assistants. (he did half of Elder D. Calls training). Your first 12 weeks is your training. 
I’m starting to say more and more in lessons now. It isn’t easy. I am still struggling and It’s hard thinking about home, family, friends, and football season. It’s hard thinking that I still have 22 months of this. They say it takes a while to learn the language and get accustomed but it is hard waiting. 
But Heavenly Father doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, and it is meant to make us stronger. He knows we can handle it.
It’s hard, but I know serving a mission is what I need to be doing! It is blessing y’all and me more than I could imagine.
I love you all so much and miss y’all like crazy!!!!! 
The church is true. I know it is with all my heart!!!! if it wasn't then I would already have quit and been at home right now. But I am here struggling to speak, struggling to eat (literally ha) because I know this work is true. Jesus Christ is our Salvador and Redentor. Savior and Redeemer. He loves us.

God is our loving Heavenly Father. He is watching over me as well as each one of you!!! He loves us and our family.

He gives trials to the strong, because he knows we can handle it. It will make us stronger. 

He is making me stronger already.
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Bean
Families are forever. For eternity

Oh yeah one cool story. On Saturday night we were walking around (we walk miles and miles and miles everyday) and all of a sudden a police car pulls this car over and like 3 cops jump out before the car stops and they pull out their guns. The cops here are dressed like the swat team. haha. It was literally 10 yards in front of me. I felt safe though and it was kinda cool. The cop looked at us after a few minutes and said casually you need to pass? You can pass?   So we just walked behind 4 guys with guns drawn and all these guys yelling and piling out of a car. ha.

My companion Elder D. Call

With Gabriel, he just received his mission call to Sao Paulo.
Elder Pedroso 

Outside of our apartment
Outside the apartment looking up the street
Outside looking the other direction