Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Can Feel Heavenly Father's Love

Tudo Bem,

Dang another week has gone by!! I can´t believe it is almost November and that Halloween is here this week. It feels like June here, ha. They don’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving here. It doesn’t feel like fall, just summer haha. 
This week has had a lot of ups and downs!! Today I went to downtown Brasilia with my companion, Elder Redd, and Elder Grisham. We had a blast. We got to see all the government buildings and the different architecture, art, and statues. Had a lot of fun.
This week on Wednesday was one of the hardest days of the week but also very rewarding. We taught Jonas and his family. He is in his 50s and is less active. We have been visiting him about twice a week since I got here. He has helped me out so much with Portuguese and adjusting. He is an awesome guy. I even had my first throwing up experience at his house haha. I was feeling sick and so he gave me this weird drink to drink to help my stomach. Not even 5 minutes later I turn to my companion and I’m like dude I’m gonna barf. haha. I made it to the bathroom and felt way better. It just takes a while for the stomach to adjust to the food. I always tell people that my mouth loves the food here, but my stomach doesn’t. But I am really good now. Feel awesome.  But so Jonas loves us and has offered to drive us places, which is awesome since no one offers to do that. But he is just kind of stuck in his ways. We have had so many great talks with him. He knows the church is true, but he just doesn’t want to live it. We just poured out our heart to the guy, and I felt like I could see him differently than I usually would. His wife has been really sick lately, she is so awesome though. As we walked away from his house I was feeling really down. Because I have such a great love for this guy and his family, and it is so hard knowing that he knows it is true. and that it will bless his life so much. I felt so down and kinda heartbroken. We decided to stop and pray that we would feel better and feel encouraged. Afterwards, I could feel Heavenly Father´s love for me so much. I knew he was proud of me and my companion. That we did all we could do.  
So our next appointment was with Danilo, who is just continuing to grow!! He is so awesome. He is so much more outgoing and smiles like all the time now. He is a totally changed guy. It has been awesome to see the Hand of God in his life and help him change.  After Danilo, we went to see Messias and Marcia but they weren’t home. Marcia is a member and Messias isn’t. They are in their 50s and we have been teaching them for awhile. The only thing holding them back is the law of chastity since they live together but aren’t married. They are waiting for Messias´s divorce to fall through. But anyway they weren't home. Messias is always there waiting for us. He is so awesome. I love that guy haha. We end up calling Marcia and she said she and Messias had decided that it would be best to still be together but live in separate places until they were married. 
We were shocked!!! In an awesome way!!!! (Elder D. Call said in his whole mission he has never had anyone that decided to change and obey it)
Messias moved in with his parents!!! I was running around screaming for joy like a little girl haha. I was so shocked and happy.  We had prayed and fasted with them the previous week that the divorce would fall through and they would have guidance. They prayed and fasted and they felt this was the right decision. It was awesome!!!! So Messias will probably be baptized in 2 weeks!!!!!
That definitely picked my mood up!! It was crazy how at one point I was brought really low, and then through Heavenly Father´s love picked back up!! 
I love teaching the Gospel and just talking to people on the streets!! I don’t hear the words "I don’t understand" a lot now haha. I am starting to really get a hang of the language and understanding more each day. I use to have trouble with daydreaming. ha. It is really hard to focus sometimes when I didn’t understand anything. So my mind would just wander, but I have tried to be more focused and I can understand a lot more. Some times I’m still really lost, but usually I am good!!
I am really starting to love these people. I have gotten use to the lifestyle here. I still miss home like crazy, and still have my moments where I think this is too hard and that it won't ever get easier. But when those times happen, I know I can pray to Heavenly Father and feel completely better. 
The other day I went to the grocery store and saw a swweeeet deal. or I thought so. 2 reais (1 u.s. dollar) for two big cereal boxes AND a free bowl!! Im thinking Jackpot!!! haha good thing I only had 3 reais with me or I would of bought several boxes. haha. I’m thinking to myself this is amazing!! I’m just gonna load up on this stuff when I get more money and live off of this. 
Yeah there was a reason it was so cheap. haha. It was suppose to be like frosted flakes, only it was like beef jerky. hahah. I couldn’t even chew it haha. It seriously was like beef jerky. 
Yeah it was about 9 months over the valid date.   I felt like a genius one second, and the next like an idiot. haha.  
There are stray dogs, horses, and cows here. But sooooo many stray dogs. It’s kind of sad. So lately, every night when we go out I take the cereal box with me and anytime I see a dog I feed them :) haha. I feel like such a nice guy. Olivia would be proud of me. ha. I probably look like a dork walking around with a cereal box, but oh well haha :)
The other day at lunch, the lady feeding us was guessing our names. She guessed my name was Greg!!! I was like wow, no that’s my dads name. It was pretty crazy. I love lunch here. It is the only meal pretty much but soooo much food. haha. Here, everyone eats little to nothing for breakfast and dinner. But load up on Lunch.  We are signed up to eat at a member of the church´s house each day for lunch, but if the person signed up doesn’t have time then they give us money, and when we get money we always go to Gula´s!!!!   Here in Santo Antonio, all the restaurants that serve rice beans, and meat are only open from 11-3. Then they close. The burger and pizza joints open up at about 6. The bakeries are always open.
There was this guy outside of the bakery the other day beggin for money. So I decided to buy the guy two loaves of bread.  Right when I handed them to him, he says "Where’s my juice?"
I was thinking what?? Aren’t you hungry!!  I just said You’re welcome and walked away. The next day the guy followed me in asking me for Juice. I felt bad afterwards but I got kinda heated. I told him you weren’t even hungry and grateful for the bread I gave you. I felt bad afterwards so I decided to buy him a piece of bread.  There are a lot of people here that ask us for money. Everyday. I always tell them do you want food? I’ll buy you something. They just say no I want money. Only one time has someone actually said yes I’m starving. So I bought him something to eat and gave him a little money. He was so grateful.  I saw this 12 year old boy sleeping on cardboard at the bus station. I bought him some pastels, I think I scared him when I woke him up but he went to town on the food. 
It is so sad seeing people that are struggling. I want to help them, but sometimes they just want to buy drugs or stuff. One guy told us he need 5 reais or someone was going to kill him. 
I really am grateful for all I have been blessed with in my life. I love sharing with these people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That their sufferings is only for a little while. That they are children of God!! And that He loves them soo much!!  The Gospel brings so much hope and happiness to everyone. My eyes have been opened on my mission to how much just knowing the fact that there is a God who loves us and we are His children, brings so much joy to people´s hearts.  They all believe in God, since pretty much everyone is Catholic, but only a few truly know who God is and how much they individually know to him. I love it!!
We started teaching Calistone and his family this week. He is such a stud. He is in his young 30s and has a 10 year old son. I met him in the street we became like best buds. haha. I am looking forward to more lessons with him. 
I taught my first lesson all by myself on the bus last Tuesday. We were on the way home from Taguatinga and we decided to split up and teach lessons. The buses are jam packed, has like 60 seats but about 120 people ride it haha. I started talking to this guy named Peter. I never fully understood how much Portuguese I actually knew until I had to do it all by myself. It went awesome!! I shared with him the whole message of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. I was able to answer all of his questions. It was awesome!! He was so receptive. We ended up talking about how bad the Lakers are. haha. He loves the NBA and hates the Lakers. haha
Even though it is still hard, and I still have moments where I feel weak and not strong enough to do this. That I miss home soo much and that it is so hard. I know that it gets easier with time. I am grateful for this opportunity I have to represent my Savior Jesus Christ on my nametag and dedicate two years of my life to serving him and others. I try to go out everyday, to make the Bean name proud but more importantly represent Jesus Christ. I am so grateful and blessed to have such a loving family, and friends. I have been blessed so much. This two years, is thanking Heavenly Father for all of my blessings I have had. For I am nothing without him. I cannot teach or touch people´s hearts without him. 
I love this Gospel, it has brought so much love and happiness to my life.
I love you all so much!!! You keep me going everyday!!!  I miss you soo much but I know I am where I am supposed to be. Trying to bless the lives and help others come unto Christ here in Brasil. The Church is True!!


Elder Bean

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Testimony Keeps Growing

Boa Tarde,

I hope all is well at home in Texas!!! Its going good down here in Brasil! Super hot everyday but loving it! I miss you all so much!!! 
This week nothing super exciting happened. My first official week of my second transfer in the mission!! It seems sooo long ago that I got here yet so fast at the same time. My boy Elder Sales got transferred, but most of our zone and district stayed. Tuesday´s are really fun here. We head up to Taguatinga every Tuesday and do our personal study at 8:00 at the Church building there with everyone in our zone. We then either do a zone meeting or split off and do our district meetings. I love getting to see everyone in our zone at least once a week!! Grown really close with those guys. We now have 4 sisters in our zone as well. Two of them are in my district. One is from Paraguay and the other is brand new from Chile. Pretty cool. The other two are Americans. 
I’ve never realized how much Spanish I actually knew until I got here. Ha. I always thought I never learned anything at school. But I actually get a lot of words mixed up, saying them in Spanish instead of Portugûes. 
Two guys from my district at the MTC got their visas last week!! We had a mission conference with everyone in the whole mission on Thursday. So I got to see Elder Kesler, but also Elder Magana and Darke. Those guys are studs. Mission conference was awesome!! We heard from Elder Snow, first quorum of the seventy, and his wife. They spoke in English and then had a translator for the Brasilian missionaries. It was so nice hearing something in English. haha. Their talks were awesome, I felt like each said something directed at me. 
Afterwards, we had a testimony meeting. I wasn’t planning on going up but towards the end I decided to go up. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had bearing my testimony at church. The spirit was so strong and everyone felt it. 

Meu nome é Elder Bean, ou Elder Feijão. Eu sei que, Eu não falo portugues mutio bem, não perfeito. Mas Eu tenyo testemunho A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias é verdadiera. O livro de Mórmon é a palavra de Deus. Palavra de Pai Celestial. O Nosso Pai Celestial. Você pode por você mesmo, O livro é verdadiero Eu sou muito grato por meu opportunidade a servir a missâo aqui em Brasilia, Brasil. Eu sinto falta minha familia e amigos e futebol americano muito, mas Eu estou aqui. Nos estamos aquit, por 2 anos porque nos sabemos A Igreja é verdadiero. Nos queremos todos as pessoas. Todo Familias ter o nosso felicidade. 

That is a little bit of what I said. Everyone was really impressed and felt the spirit really strong. I am so grateful to be a missionary here in Brasil. To bring these families what my family has. Love, peace, happiness, and a knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior, God is our Heavenly Father and that we can return and live with them again someday. And live with our families forever. 
After Mission conference, we got to all go out to eat together before taking a bus back home.
On Friday, I had to go get registered with the police.. ha. So now they have my finger prints and mug shot on file.. dang it. ha. 
I ended up teaching the guy taking my fingerprints a lesson. He spoke fluent English so we just talked in English. He actually started the conversation saying he was an atheist and saying how he knew I was a missionary and how could I believe in God?  It was a really cool opportunity. I offered a pamphlet and Book of Mormon but he said no. He wanted something written by a scholar about religion. But 15 minutes later, He asked to have the Book of Mormon. ha. It was so cool.
Its moments like that where we have opportunities to represent what we believe and who we are. Who would of thought it would of come up during me getting my finger prints taken. It worked because I respected his beliefs and he in turn respected what I believed.  It was awesome.
Danilo is doing awesome!!! I love that guy. He is so strong and loves the Gospel!! We taught a lot of families this week. It all went really well.
My testimony has been strengthened so much for serving a mission here. I truly know that God lives, as well as our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel so honored to represent him on my name tag and in my heart everyday here in Brasil. To share with these people a message of happiness. Of strengthening families, and bringing them closer together, of bringing your family closer to Heavenly Father. 
There are people here that don’t like us. Get made fun of sometimes. Some guys called at us "Hey Jesus Men, come save us", and just started laughing. You just got to smile and say all is well. I’m doing great.  And then they are shocked.  I’ve had a lot of cool experiences that I know I will cherish and remember forever. 
I miss y’all so much!!!!!! I love you!!!!! I miss you like crazy but I know it will all be worth it in the end. I know this is where the Lord needs me. Serving his children in Brasil for two years. 
I love you!!!!
Families are forever. 
Familias são Para Sempre


Elder Bean "Feijâo" 

Elder Darke, Magana, Me and Kesler

The dinner I cooked for the Elders when we stayed in Tanguatinga.

Local supermarket

My favorite restaurant here, GULA's the best thing to happen to Brasil
besides the Mormon Missionaries!


Walking to Danilo's house

Walking to Danilo's house

The Mission president's wife, Sister Gaertner, gave us permission to buy a new shower set.
I installed it so now we have hot water again!!

Emailing from the land house about 10 minutes from our apartment.
The lady there is nice and lets me try ice cream flavors for free.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Baptism and a Birthday


Thanks for all the birthday wishes! It means a lot. So last Friday I got a call from the secretaries saying I had a package that was being held hostage at the post office.. haha. So today we traveled to Brasilia and I had to pay 120 reals to get it from them.. but it was all worth it!!! It made my day!!!! The package is awesome, thank you so much!!! Seriously love and appreciate it!!!

On my birthday on Saturday, we BAPTIZED DANILO!!!!!!! It was such an awesome experience seeing the growth of Danilo and how far he has come in the past three weeks!! He is so elect and has such a special spirit about him. There was an awesome turnout at the baptism. I got to confirm him a member of the church on Sunday and give him the Holy Ghost. One of the most incredible experiences I have had here!!! I was pretty nervous cause it was in Portuguese and during sacrament meeting, I prayed so hard that Heavenly Father would help me and be with me. It was such an amazing experience. It came out perfectly and sounded smooth. Impossible to explain how I felt. I could feel the love that God has for him.
I then bore my testimony later and towards the end I was trying to say "I know the church will blossom here in Santo Antonio".  Well I didn’t know the word for blossom, and so I just did hand signals and said Blossom in English. haha. It was pretty funny.
Danilo is such a miracle though. It has been amazing to see Heavenly Father´s hand in his life. Danilo used to be a drug dealer. Smuggled them in from other countries, and was addicted to everything. He never had a normal job. He is just 22 years old. He was trying to change his life around, before we met him. He is now clean, has no addictions, has a job, and has a testimony of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He has such a strong testimony. One of the cool experiences he had, he told us last Tuesday.
So on Saturday session of General Conference, Danilo was listening to one of the speakers. He started to pray that Heavenly Father would help him find a job. After conference he left to walk to the bus stop. Me, and Elder D. Call had to stay back to help clean up. While he was walking a member from Taguatinga offered to give him a ride to the bus stop. Danilo agreed and they started talking. The guy, when finding out Danilo wanted a job, said he had been looking for someone to fill a spot at the business he owned!! Danilo was hired on the spot!! He works everyday now except Sunday, which is awesome. We even had to schedule his interviews and more lessons around work, and right after the baptism he had work. He is so excited.
He now has a strong testimony, that God answers prayers in His own time. Sometimes in days or years, or within a few hours. He will answer our prayers if we pray sincerely to Him. It is amazing to see how different Danilo´s life is from when we met him, to now. He used to be jobless, he was addicted to drugs and felt like he had no purpose. He now knows he is a child of God!!! He loves the Gospel, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. He is much more outgoing now and has a deep love for others. He now has a job too!!! It is so amazing to see how much Heavenly Father has blessed his life. It is a testimony builder to me.
We started teaching this awesome family this week!!! It is a mom, and her three teenage sons. We met one of the sons about a week ago while he was playing soccer in the streets with his friends.  His family is awesome. The spirit was so strong!! One of the most powerful lessons I have ever had. After I would talk, I would literally think in my mind, How in the world did I say that or come up with that. I knew it was the spirit testifying to these people through me that our message was true. When Claber asked me why I was here and why I knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God, I was able to explain everything my heart wanted to say. That I at one point in my life, had questions. On whether or not it was true. I read it and prayed to our Heavenly Father, I felt such a burning feeling inside, and I knew that it was true. That both the Bible and Book of Mormon are true words of God!  And that he could find out for himself. Just as I did. I told them how they didn’t have to just believe in what I taught or said. They could find out for themselves if it is true. So they can know, what I know. Not just rely on my words, but truly know for themselves. I was here with them because God has blessed my life tremendously. I have been blessed with such a loving family and great friends. With the Gospel in my life that has helped me become the person I am. I want to share the happiness that I have with others. So others can know how much God truly does love them, and how Jesus Christ is our Savior. And that they can return and live with God again someday. That families are forever.
It was an incredible experience teaching them. My Portuguese is getting better each day. I can pretty much say what I need and want to say. It is just hard understanding certain people, especially when they mumble.
The weather has been bipolar lately. It will be like over a hundred degrees in the afternoon, and then a storm in the evening. I like it when it rains cause it feels soo good outside. There was a really bad storm the other day though. It damaged some member´s  houses and blew off some people´s roofs. We went and helped put roofs back on.
For my birthday, it didn’t really feel like I had turned 19! haha. But it actually went good. They sang happy birthday to me at the baptism and then the whole zone did a phone conference to sing happy birthday to me! That was pretty cool!! I got a tie from Elder D. Call, Elder Sales, and Lucas (a youth in the ward). A sister in our zone is making me a cake for our zone meeting on Tuesday.  But on Saturday night we stopped by a member´s house, and she had a surprise party for me!!! haha it was awesome!!! It wasn’t big or anything but it was the thought that counted. It was so nice and cool of them to do that. It was hard being away from home but it was a great day :)
Last night was the official end of my first transfer!! Crazy!! So much has happened since I first got here. I have grown so much more spiritually and mentally. I wish I could say I have grown physically but I can’t... hahah. I am so honored and grateful to be serving the Lord for two years. I still have hard times. I miss home and everyone soo much. But I know it will all be worth it. On Thursday we have a mission conference and get to hear from Elder Snow. Two guys from my district at the MTC got visas so I will see them!!! pretty cool.

I am doing good!! Missing y’all like crazy :) Thanks sooooo much for the package and all the birthday wishes and everything. I am so extremely blessed and grateful!!! I love y’all soo much!!!!


Elder Bean

Danilo's baptism

 I promise Brazilians are the most happy people. They just NEVER smile in pictures. haha.
Danilo smiles all the time. 
Surprise birthday party.


Before the storm hit.

Beautiful day before the storm hit.

Later that day, here comes a big storm.