Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Great to be in the "Field" Again Teaching a Ton of Lessons

We traveled a ton this past week and seemed to never stop at our apartment, but it was a blast! On Thursday, Elder Duarte and I left to go to an area called Lago Azul. There we did a trade with Elder Neres and Elder Fontana who are serving in that area. Me and Duarte went on splits with them for the whole day! We got a ton of work in and it was really successful. Elder Neres and I were able to mark 2 solid baptism dates and found 5 new investigators. It was great to be in the "field" again and teach a ton of lessons. It was a great experience and learned a lot. Elder Duarte and Elder Fontana had a ton of success as well. We stayed the night with them and then the next morning, we headed up to Gama-Leste to do splits with the zone leaders there. The elders from Gama had told Irmã Chirley that I would be coming. When we got to Gama, we went to have lunch at Edimar and Irmã Chirley´s house with their family!!! It was so great to be back. Irmã Chirley was so happy and was going crazy.  I love that family so much. They made a hugee lunch for us and it was great!! They live in an apartment now and they rented out the "party room" in the apartment building that is big area and has a huge table where we would eat. They said it was a special occasion! I enjoyed being back there so much and felt a lot of love from them. That day went great and we got a lot of work done even though it was pouring rain for about 4 hours.  I went with Elder Seth! He is a stud and it was great being able to teach and work with him. Elder Duarte went with Elder Xavier. At night, we all went to an area called Santa Maria to do 6 baptism interviews. Me and Elder Seth went with one of the elders in Santa Maria named Elder Josephson to the house where we would do 3 interviews. It was 3 awesome guys from Ghana!! They moved to Brasil during the World cup and decided to just stay and work and live here. They speak a language called "Tree" (that’s what the name sounds like) and they speak broken English and a little Portuguese. The Spirit was so strong during the interview. It was a really special experience. They are really awesome guys who feel that one of the purposes they felt to stay in Brasil was to be found by the missionaries and join the church. They desire to go to the United States or back to Ghana someday and they want to stay firm and make sure that they know where the church is located wherever they go!
On Saturday morning, we went and visited some families and then we ate lunch at Agostinho´s house!! He made some BBQ for us and it was great to see him and his family again. His 16 year old nephew who I had started teaching before I left, has already been baptized and going strong in the church!  It was awesome being back in Gama for the day and work with the zone leaders there! We had a blast and it was a ton of fun!! They are baptizing a ton and working really hard!
We then headed up to Novo Gama where we stayed the afternoon before coming back to Asa Sul because we had stake conference at 7:00. Stake Conference was great!!! President and Sister Lundgren spoke both Saturday night and Sunday morning and there was an Area Seventy visiting, Elder Antunes. Elder Antunes is really energetic and was a great speaker! Super hilarious and also very spiritual. He spoke both days as well. He talked a lot of the importance of doing Councils. Within the church, ward groups, within the family, and within a marriage. How we should always discuss things together and make decisions together. He talked a lot of missionary work and how the members and missionaries must work in unity! He was awesome. He has a great way of grabbing everyones attention, being funny, and serious when its the right time.  He asked everyone to raise their hand if they knew at least one name of an investigator that the missionaries are teaching in their wards. Only about 15 hands went in the air out of the whole audience. He then said jokingly but seriously, "Brothers and Sisters..., Repent!!"  We can’t do this work without the help of the members. Our investigators wont feel welcomed at church, wont stay active after baptism, and wont progress unless the members are helping! I am so grateful for the awesome members that we do have in our ward in Asa Sul who help us so much!  They do so much for us and we love em so much!!  
This week we are plannin on doing a few more trades and splits with some missionaries. It’s great being able to see how the work is going in other areas and learn from the other missionaries. There is always something new to learn, that we can then apply in the work and in life.
I am doing great and having the time of my life out here!!! 
I hope you all have a great week!!!


Elder Bean

Elder Duarte and I in Lago Azul with Elder Neres and Fontana

Elder Seth and I with the men from Ghana

Bean, Seth, Xavier, Duarte


We camped out in the office Sunday night because we had to work so late
and then had an early futebol (soccer) game to play Monday morning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trip to Palmas

Things are going great here in Brasil!! Last Thursday we gave a training to all the district leaders here in Brasília and the surrounding cities. It went really good! Since I’ve been here on the mission, there has never been a training specifically and just for the district leaders. Always to the zone leaders and then they pass it to the district leaders. We have a lot of young and new district leaders and felt like this would make a difference, and it has!! Through the reports from the zone leaders to us every night, they have told us how much the district leaders are improving and are really more focused in helping their districts. It’s awesome! It’s great to have these trainings and see them putting it into action and applying it and making a difference.  That day was also Sister Lundgren´s birthday so at night all of us from the office bought a cake and went with Red to President and Sister´s house. President opened the door and we snuck into the kitchen. A little while later, Sister and President walked into the kitchen and we yelled surprise and sang her happy birthday!! She was pretty surprised! ha It was really cool. Then they took us all out to dinner with them, which was really nice!
  On Saturday, we went to see some baptisms in Gama! It was such a blessing to go back and see lots of the members and recent converts there! I love that area so much. I felt like a rockstar when we entered the church building and saw everyone. It was really cool and special!!  We visited Chris and Marisa that night as well. They found out that they will be moving to live in some country called Azerbaijan on the 29th of April, since Marissa will work in a Brazilian embassy there. We had a very spiritual lesson and invited Chris to be baptized on the 25th. He will pray and fast to see if it is what he needs to do. We are praying that he will receive his answer. I know that the Lord will answer him. I have really grown to love Chris and Marissa, they treat us like their kids/grandkids. It will be tough saying goodbye to them. They will leave on the 29th to go to the US and see all their kids that live there, and then come back to Brasil on mother´s day weekend to then fly out to Azerbaijan where they will live. 
Ritchielle and her family are doing great! We did a family home evening on Sunday there. They are planning on going to the temple and being sealed as a family in October and we are helping them make goals to make it happen. She is doing awesome!
On Monday, President Lundgren, Elder Duarte, and I headed up to Palmas, Tocantins. It’s an area in our mission that has 36 missionaries. We got to go by plane which was cool, just under 2 hours! It was so great to see that part of the mission which is very different from Brasília. It is very tropical up there and really pretty. It was nice to feel humidity again which reminded me back home in Texas. Brasília is super dry! It was great to see the missionaries there and some of them that I haven’t seen in a while. There are two zones up there and my "son" Elder P. Lima is one of the zone leaders! such a stud.
On Monday right after we landed, we took the taxi to eat lunch. The taxi driver for the trip is named Marilio. He has been driving for mission presidents when they visit Palmas for the past 12 years. He was awesome to be with and talk to. He is catholic but really respects our church and beliefs. President took me and Duarte to eat at a really nice Churrascaria! It’s one of those Brazilian bbq style restaurants where they bring slabs of meet to your table nonstop. Super good!!! Some of the best food I have eaten.  We then headed to the church where President did interviews with all the missionaries and we talked with them and hung out. At night, President got us milkshakes and then he went to his hotel and we went to stay at the zone leaders house, which was fun!  On Tuesday morning we got the church early and gave the training to the district leaders. The training went really well. I learned so much from when President was teaching and talking about the gospel. He talked a lot about how we were all valiant spirits who sustained Christ in the pre-mortal life and how we have so much potential here on earth. We need to work hard here in the mission, which will help us prepare for our life. It was awesome!  Elder Duarte and I focused on the responsibilities of the district leaders and we created a form to help them with their daily nightly reports. To be able to follow-up better with the companionships in their districts and fulfill their purpose.  The Spirit was very strong!!
President took us all out to eat Chinese food afterwards and then we headed to the airport. It was a great experience for me and Duarte to visit Palmas with President. I have learned so much from President and its awesome being able to talk with him about the gospel and life and to learn from his example. So grateful to be in the position that I am to work closely with him and I am learning so much. When we got off the plane, we were already almost back in the airport when a flight attendant from the plane had radioed a worker in the airport to stop us. They told us how we had forgotten something on the plane. I then realized that I had left my scriptures under my seat! So we headed back and they were really nice and handed me my scriptures. That was a tender mercy for sure! AZUL is an awesome airline and has great service. Legitt!
Yesterday, a new missionary from the US arrived here in Brasil. He stayed with the secretaries during the day and then when we got back from Palmas we met them at the office. President and Sister Lundgren took us all out to eat at a nice Italian restaurant.
This week we have two trades planned to visit other areas and work with the missionaries in those areas! 
I am so grateful to be here and to have President and Sister Lundgren!! They are the best and have so much love for us missionaries. They treat us like their kids and are willing to do anything for us. I have learned so much from their examples and I love them a ton!  They have been such a blessing to me and to all of us missionaries!!
I love you all and wish a great week to yall!!!


Elder Van Wagoner, my "great grandson", Elder Montes, my "grandson"

Walking back to our apartment at midnight.

At the hospital, my big toe has a hole underneath that got infected.

Waiting in the airport to fly to Palmas with President Lundgren and Elder Duarte.

Plane snacks!

With Elder Silva in Palma.

Elder Lima, my "son" who is one of the zone leaders in Palma.

Flying back to Brasilia.

Monday, April 13, 2015

God is the Same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

This past week was great!!!
Today for Pday we played futebol (soccer) with president, the missionaries from the staff, and some other missionaries. It was a blast!! I love playin futebol so much here, it’s a ton of fun and its good competition since the Brasilians are really good. Last night, me and elder Duarte had to stay up late at the office to put the weekly numbers of the mission into the system and prepare the weekly email/boletin that we send out to all the missionaries every week. It was like midnight, so we grabbed a Taxi to take us to Asa Sul to sleep there with the four other missionaries, so we could all go together to soccer the next morning (today). The taxi driver´s name was "Junior" and we had some really spiritual conversations on the ride home. It was awesome! He is really open to the gospel and talked a lot about families and the importance of following Christ in this life. Junior said that he doesn’t know what to do sometimes about how to be a good dad and raise his family cause this life is full of difficulties and challenges. We were then able testify and talk of the importance of a living prophet. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God here on the earth today. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has always used prophets to reveal His will to us, since the beginning. Why would he not continue to have a prophet? (Amos 3:7) I testify that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet of God on the earth today, and is ordained of God to receive revelation and to know of God´s will for all of us. 
We visited a lot of members in our area in Cruzeiro to get to know them better and to help them continue down the path.  We were on our way to a visit one night and I saw a Little Burger Diner that looked really good. Even though I was hungry, I felt that we needed to go there for some reason. The plan was to just go and see the prices. We get there and see an awesome less-active family!! They were excited to see us and invited us to sit with them. Even though they had just finished, the dad got up and bought us food and the family stayed and talked with us! They invited us over to do a family home evening on Monday (tonight) and that they would invite their non-member friends!!!  
Sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways :) haha.  We visited this awesome family twice this week, the dad is a taxi driver and is awesome. The teenage son has been struggling with some stuff recently. We challenged the family to start reading the scriptures everyday, that they will read 1 chapter in the Book of Mormon per day. They all agreed and started yesterday. The dad works so so much to support his family and I have so much respect for him. He worked from Saturday at 6:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the morning on Sunday, took an hour nap, and then went to church, and even gave us a ride!! I’m sure many people would use that as an excuse to stay home and sleep in and not go to church. But he knows his priorities and that if he puts the Lord first, he need not worry about material and spiritual needs. I have a lot of love for that family after visiting only 2 times and for many many families here. There are some incredible people that I have met here in Brasil, who are incredible examples to me and have taught me a lot, through their examples and actions and words. The love that I feel here from the people we visit is incredible! I am so grateful to be a missionary and have this opportunity to help people. 
I love the gospel!! I love my Savior!! The church is true!! Stay true to who you are. The Gospel is the key to true and everlasting happiness. Don’t just believe it, Live it!!


Elder Lofton Bean

With Sister and President Lundgren

The new missionaries and office staff with President Lundgren.
Elder Barbosa, McLaws, President Lundgren, Elder Kohler, Van Wagoner,
Ostrom, Bean, Preator, Duarte, Gonzalez, Batista, Shinigoski

Lunch at the mission home with the new missionaries

Chilling in a hammock with Elder Preator

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter - Conference - and Transfers!!

Today was transfers and it was awesome!!! All the missionaries that got transferred got together at the church here in Asa Sul. President said some great and inspiring words to us before Elder Duarte and I read the names off of the new areas for the missionaries. The transfers truly are inspired and President knows exactly where Heavenly Father wants each and every missionary and who the companion should be. This next transfer will be awesome and the missionaries are all super excited. Padre Bernardo is the new area that is opening, and 4 studs are going there which will be awesome. They will have a ton of success and help the group become a branch really quick.  It was cool talking with all the missionaries and seeing people that I haven’t seen in a while.
Elder Montes (my grandson) will be training which means... I’m gonna be a GREAT-Grandpa!!!!! It’s so awesome. We are gonna get a pic together of the "family".  Here in the mission, right when we arrive in the mission our first companion who is our trainer is our "Dad".  And whoever trained your dad is your grandpa and so forth.  Elder Montes will be training in Santo Antonio where I first started my mission!! Super cool. And My great-grandson will be American! ha.  I have a Brazilian son, a grandson from Chile, and an American great-grandson.  Família de poder!! Família poderosa! ha
I am super happy for Elder Montes. He is a great missionary and such a humble guy, he will do awesome. The new missionaries come in tomorrow morning at 7:00 so we will go to the airport to get them.
I am super stoked because my bud Elder Preator just got called to the office!!!!! Staff de poder!! We are so stoked. It’s so awesome being able to be in the same area with him again. Its gonna be so much fun these last few months on the mission!! I’m gonna miss being companions with Elder Barbosa a ton, but I’m grateful that we are still in the office together so I’ll still see him from time to time. My companion is Elder Duarte. 
General Conference this weekend was awesome!! We had to watch all the sessions in Portuguese because the satellite only had Spanish and Portuguese available and the internet wasn’t working that great at the church. It was still very spiritual and uplifting. Saturday was pure "trunkyness" for all the missionaries. haha a lot of  the talks were bout eternal marriage!  
Its crazy thinkin that this was my last general conference on the mission. The Spirit was so strong and Heavenly Father answered many of the questions that I had. I am so grateful for the Spirit and for the opportunity we have each 6 months, to be united and hear from our beloved prophet and our leaders. I am so grateful for my Savior and the testimonies born of Him during the conference. I know He lives!! He is the resurrected Savior of the world, He lives and loves each and every one of us!
Chris and Marisa watched all the sessions of conference at home which was great! I was texting back and forth with Chris last night. It was incredible for me to see how he paid attention to each talk and related to me the things that stood out to him and what he needs to do better. Reading his answers, I thought I was reading a highlight summary written by another missionary or something. It was incredible!! He is an awesome investigator, but just needs something to touch his heart to make the next step.
I bore my testimony to him and just asked him what is holding him back from taking the next step in following Jesus Christ and being baptized by someone who holds that priesthood authority, and he can one day prepare to be sealed in the temple with his wife. 

My testimony was strengthened this Easter weekend and during General Conference. I feel so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a missionary and spread the good news that Jesus Christ lives!


Elder Bean