Tuesday, January 28, 2014

6 Months and 3 Baptisms

E aÍ!!!!!! :)

I love and miss y’all a ton and hope y’alls week was great!!! My week was awesome!!!! 
We had 3 baptisms on Saturday!! For Elicya, Sabrina, and Carol!!!! It was so awesome and spiritual. It was such a great experience seeing them make this change in their life. It was very special too cause we helped the uncle of Sabrina and Carol get more active and worthy so he could baptize his two nieces which was awesome!! The next day when we went to their house, he started crying talking about it and saying it was the best experience he has ever had and increased his faith and testimony!!! I was so awesome!!!
Carol has such a strong testimony. She is only 11 years old but has told us how much this has changed her life and the Book of Mormon always makes her feel better and has moved her life. She was taught several months ago by different missionaries but she never felt anything when they taught. She said after our first lesson with her, that she just knew it was all true based on how she felt and the way we talked with her. She is so awesome and reminds me a lot of Olivia so I love talkin with her and when we go over to teach her and Sabrina. Irmão Hélio has been the stud that has helped us a ton with his two nieces. He is there for every lesson and his testimony is really strong now. Me and Elder Tippetts made it a goal to help increase his faith while teaching his nieces. We helped him get worthy so he then could baptize them which was an unbelievable experience for him and for us. Elder Tippetts is a stud. He has already helped me a ton and so grateful for him!
After they were all baptized I could already see how different they were. Especially Elicya. She is so awesome and she seems like a whole new person!! When I confirmed her yesterday during church, the Spirit was so strong and by the end I was a little teary. I was really grateful for that opportunity and it really strengthened me. She is even talking about maybe going on a mission in a couple years. Her boyfriend Gabriel is such a stud, and helped me the most feel welcomed here in Gama. He will probably go on a mission this summer. I am so thankful for these opportunities that I have had here. It is such a great experience seeing the growth in these people from the first lesson, until they decide they want to be baptized. It is one of the most gratifying and amazing parts, is seeing peoples lives change and them so much more happier and knowing it will only get better from here. After the baptism, one of Sabrina´s cousins came up to me and said she felt really good being here and wanted to learn more. And then yesterday we met Sabrina´s sister who was taught by missionaries a long time ago but never got baptized, and yesterday she told us she wants to hear the lessons again but from us.  The work here in Gama is really starting to Boom! They hadn’t had a baptism for 7 months. Elder Tippetts and I found about 5 more people that are really strong and will probably be baptized.
Last Thursday, I had a cool experience. Our lesson with Sabrina and Carol wasn’t until 3 and it was 2 so we decided to go see a youth in the church who hasn’t been going in a while. I got an impression as we were walkin to just go to Sabrina´s house instead. Even though it was only 2:00.  Elder Tippetts agreed so we turned around. As we got closer to their house I saw a woman who was in her 30s carrying two big suitcases ahead of us in the street. I would of asked to help her regardless, but I felt a burning in my heart and felt the spirit really strong. So I ran up to her and asked if I could help. She was really grateful and we just started a casual conversation. When we got to her house she said she has seen us in the streets a lot before and always wondered what we did. As we explained to her our purpose she agreed to meet with us Monday night (Tonight). Her name is Sandra. She then was like I’ll invite my sister and friend too!! I’m just thinking yesss this is awesome. Then she told us that last week her two pre-teen nephews were shot and killed. It has been really hard on her sister (their mom) and for her too. 
I knew we were meant to run into her. That by going to Sabrina´s house early, it really was for another purpose. That’s why we need to always trust in promptings. That is something I have really learned here on my mission is to trust in promptings from the Spirit. Sometimes I don’t know why I need to do it, but when I do it always ends up working out and in ways I didn’t even suspect sometimes.
I love being a missionary!!! I love spreading the Gospel and the Lord´s word to these people. Even though it’s hard sometimes, I am always happy and full of joy. It is seriously awesome :) I am so grateful that I made the decision to come out here for two years to serve the Lord. Heavenly Father has blessed me in more ways than I could imagine. My relationship with Him is firm now and I truly know I can always go to Him in prayer. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That through Him we can return to live with God and our families forever. I know these experiences I am having will bless my life forever. Eu sou muito grato estar aqui no Brasil. Por meu oportunidade tenho para servir o nosso Senhor. E amo sendo um missionario. Amo demais. Eu sou muito grato por vocês. Por seu amor e apoiar.
Eu amo vocês!!! Para Sempre
I love you all so much, and know you are always in my prayers :)


Elder Bean

Service project, cleaning up a road covered in 5 feet of mud.

Elder Reis, Me, Elder Sowards, Elder Tippetts

Mangoes some of the "fruits" of that day's labors. They have a ton of mango trees here so
I will always grab some and eat it like an apple then spit out the skin....sooooo good!!!

Starfruits, we picked the fruit from the trees to eat later.

We ate lunch at a guy's house who is from Japan and still practices Japanese traditions.
He had us wear these legit Japanese slippers in his house (they only fit like half my foot).

Irmao Hélio ready to baptize his nieces, Carol and Sabrina

I love this picture that hangs in the church.

Carol and I, this little girl is seriously so special to me, she reminds me so much of Olivia.

Elicya's baptism, she was nervous for pictures.
Elder Tippetts baptized her and I got to confirm her.

Gabriel is such a stud!

Elder Reis

Houses in a wealthy area, they all have electric fences.

Making brownies, got the mix in a package from home.

6 months as a missionary and loving it!

It actually got a little cold so I took advantage and put on a sweater :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gama is Beleza


Wow, talk about a great week!!! This week was awesome!!! The people here in Gama are awesome. They help us a ton and are really involved which is great. We have 3 people that will be baptized this Saturday so we are so stoked for them!! All three of them are so strong and firm and have such a great desire. Teaching them and feeling their spirit has been a blessing for sure. Sabrina, Carol, and Elicya. We have possibly 4 others that will most likely be baptized in the beginning or middle of February. This area is usually hard to baptize but it’s booming now!!
I can’t believe I will have 6 months in the mission this friday!!! Golleyy time has flown by! Nossa!! The past couple months have been like a blur. Every week gets faster than the last. I am so grateful to be here. Really am. I have felt so welcome and loved here in Gama. When we get back home after a long day, even though I’m beyond exhausted I can’t help but smile and be so happy!!  The only way I can describe the feeling is like after taking a pre workout and feeling pumped :)) haha
I never thought I would say this but.. I regret quitting the piano. lol. Mom, I know you are dyin laughin and thinkin told ya so. haha. I remember when yall made me take it and the first chance I had to quit, I did!! But now I regret is so bad, lol. There have been so many opportunities where I could have played here on the mission during church or meetings. But its all good, sorry momma :)
Today our zone had interviews in our apartment with President Gaertner. He and sister Gaertner wanted to see how all the apartments are so they went to all the houses to do interviews. It was good! He was impressed with how good my Portugues, which is great! I am starting to like talkin in Portugues than English more, it just sounds better. It’s hard to explain. lol. but its nice speakin English every now and then with my companion. Elder Tippetts is a stud!! He has helped me a ton. In our first week together we got the Pattern of Excellence (The numbers the president gives us every week to shoot for to get). It is way hard and some people only get it a few times. But we got it our first week together and this week we almost got it but only had 3 investigators in church instead of 4. But it was still a great week!
Some members have bought us pizza at night after we have returned home and brought it to us. Since I’ve been here its happened like every other night!! ha its way awesome. Its always the same members and they understand we are usually hungry so they try to help us out. 
It’s a lot of fun getting to hang out with Elder Reis and Sowards. They are awesome!! The work here in Gama is good and starting to grow! The people are accepting our message and starting to get realtionships with Heavenly Father and the members are doing great at helping us.
I love yall so much and hope yalls week is good!! I sent a letter last week so hopefully yall get it soon!! Eu amo vocês demais. Sou muito grato por vocês. E tambem meu oportunidade tenho para servir uma missão e adjudar pessoas. 
Sinto falta de vocês tanto!!!

Tchau Tchau!! I love yall :))

Elder Bean

Drinking tereré while his companion takes pictures without him knowing.

Tereré, an herbal tea that you drink cold.

Elder Tippetts

We cleaned the apartment spotless for the visit from Brother and Sisiter Gaertner.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Big Things Will Be Happening Here in Gama!!

Bom Dia do Brasil!!!!! :))

Nossa!!! Minha semana foi otima!!! Foi muito bom. Eu gosto demais aqui na Gama Leste!! 
This past week was awesome. My companion, Elder Tippetts, and I get along really well. He has helped me a ton already. I feel so much happier throughout the day now. Gama is wayy cool. Its got some rich parts and then some poor parts too. The people and area are a lot different than Santo Antonio. I’m seeing a different side now of Brasil, which is awesome. 
Elder Tippetts is a stud and our two zone leaders are awesome. We hang out everyday and sometimes go on exchanges which is cool. It's awesome, cause we work super hard throughout the day but have a ton of fun at the same time. 
I felt so welcomed here in Gama by all the members!! It is a lot easier to understand the people here in Gama. Now during lessons and just talking in general, I understand everything!! Sometimes I will hear I word I don’t know but now I can figure it out by the context of the conversation. Everyone here in Gama is way impressed with my Portugues. They all say I speak like someone who has over a year in Brasil. Even Elder Reis was telling me how much better it is since my first transfer here, since he was in my first zone. The gift of tongues truly is real, as long as I do my part. On Wednesday nights, from 7-9 we teach an English class at the church. Members and nonmembers come. Its open to everyone. While I was teaching, One of the ladies said I need to teach Portugues when I go back home cause I can write and pronounce everything perfect.  It made me really think back to when I first got here and how I thought I would never be able to learn this language. It would be impossible. But now its all clicking.
This week we marked 3 dates for Batismo for January 25!!! Two of them were first time visits and references from their uncle, Sabrina and Carol. Elicya has been taught for about a month and her boyfriend is a member and is an awesome dude. We feel really confident that all 3 of them will be baptized!! The Spirit is so strong when we teach them!! It really is a testimony builder to me when we are teaching a lesson and the words just start flowing out my mouth like in English. I don’t have to really think how to phrase something to make it make sense, it just flows! It is really humbling and way cool.
It has been sooo hot here lately!! Nossa!! The other day for our service project, I forgot to put on sunscreen so I got fried!! Especially my neck part that hasn’t seen sun in a while cause of my collared shirts. Sweat like a pig here all day long :) but its awesome! There is a guy here in the church who plays American football for a small team in Brasilia, and he has a football!!  I was like duddeee no wayy!!! He follows the NFL and so it was cool to talk with him.
So next Pday we will probably play :) 
There is a member here, Irmã Shirley who is way awesome. She calls us her kids. She says she prays everyday for our moms and helps us the way she feels yall would want her to.
 I am adjusted to everything and life in Brasil now. I love it here. I love being a missionary and having these experiences that I have everyday. I am seriously so grateful to be here. It is seriously so hard to describe the joy and happiness that I feel from doing this. It’s seriously awesome!!
I can feel that Big things will be happening here in Gama!! 
I love y’all so much!!!!!!!


Elder Bean

With Leandro on my last day in Santo Antonio

Missionary I met on the bus last week, heading to the MTC
Gabriel a wayy cool member here.

Elder Tippetts, my companion

Views from my apartment