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.

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