Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Good Bye Santa Cruz

Well it looks like my time here in Santa Cruz has come to an end. Between Canela and Santa Cruz, I’m not sure which area I love more. Let me tell you why I love Santa Cruz. First off, the city is surrounded by nature. Waterfalls, forests, monkeys, and so much more. Second that the church is small, but it is growing quickly. The members here are amazing. They feed us banquets on the daily, pick up our investigators, go teaching with us, support our crazy ideas (noite Americana), and treat us like representatives of Jesus Christ. Thirdly, it was the area where I saw the most people enter into the waters of baptism. The Lord blessed us to find prepared children of God. Fourthly, I became super close to so many missionaries including my German/Argentinian running buddy Elder Abretch, Guitar slaying Elder Southwick, 2 of my fave comps Elder Rocha Neto e Queiroz, e American bud Elder Tate. Overall, the last months have passed so fast because I have lost myself in serving the Lord. I can’t wait for the day to return to this city and visit and remember some eternal memories.

This week was once again amazing! We saw various miracles and saw much success in the zone. We started the week off with an awesome dynamic. We did an Easter egg hunt but with hand out church cards. The cards represented baptisms the Lord has been preparing for each companionship. It was awesome to see the excitement and desire to find these “baptisms.” I know that the Lord is constantly preparing his children to hear the message of the restored gospel.

One other highlight was the baptism of Tadeu. Tadeu was an incredible investigator. He started going to church because of our English class. Every Friday before the class I was able to teach and see the progression of this awesome young man. He read the Book of Mormon, arrived at church 30 minutes early, testified that he knew the church was the only true church on this earth, and marked his baptism date. He has lots of potential to be a future leader.

One of my favorite fams in Santa Cruz is Paulo e Linara. Paulo is active, served a mish in Manaus in 92, and trying to get his whole fam to be members of the church. 2 of his 3 step children have been baptized and none of his own children have been. Linara also has been waiting for 6 months for a divorce and the marriage to Paulo to get baptized. As I knew my time was coming to an end in SC, I was saddened by the fact that the family I most visited I wasn’t able to see be baptized. Everything changed when Paulo’s youngest daughter, Rayssa, and Linara’s youngest son, Guilhermo, came to live with them. They are both 12 and have an amazing enthusiasm for the gospel. Honestly, they were some of the smartest and most curious kids I have ever taught. After many challenging questions and a good talk with the parents, both Rayssa and Gi were ready to be baptized on Sunday. I have never seen 2 kids so excited to be baptized. Paulo life long member was thrilled to have his step son and daughter be baptized. The family is more united than ever, studying the scriptures and participating in family prayer. Their happiness brought me much joy. Unfortunately, a last minute family emergency resulted in the remarking of Rayssa e Gi’s baptisms. At first, I was saddened that I would be unable to participate in the baptism, but then accepted and acknowledged that what had happened was the will of the Lord. I love that family deeply and can’t wait to see the baptism photos next week.

Thanks for all the love, prayers and support. Sorry for the super long post, but I love Santa Cruz.
-Elder Bodine

PS I wil got to Caxias, the land of the Italians and hills.

FHE with Paulo Linara Guilherme e Rayssa

Finishing a 2000 piece puzzle

Tadeu Baptism

Monday, January 8, 2018

The week flew by!

Man the week flew by! We traveled to Porto Alegre and other cities nearby Santa Cruz. Overall, we spent just 3 days of our week in our area. Some of the highlights of the week included helping with 2 move ins of in-active members, a brownie/ice cream FHE, an amazing Friday night English class, a district attack (10 missionaries in our area) in a small city called Vera Cruz, and last but not least the baptism of Bira.

Let me tell you more about Ubirajara Freitos Soares. Bira is highly intellectual, successful in his work, and a born leader. People look to him and see power, authority, and success.  He is also an amazing father and husband doing everything to benefit his family. He was born and raised Catholic and had been a practicing Catholic for more than 48 years of his life.  About 20 years ago, Bira received a visit from the missionaries. After going to church and listening to all the messages, almost to the point to be baptized, Bira decided that he would stick in the Catholic church. 15 years after, his son Bruno began to investigate the church because of a close friend. After going to seminary everyday and Sunday church meetings, Bruno received/gained a testimony. When he decided to get baptized, his parents fully supported him and made him promise that he would stay active in the church. From then on and out, Bruno began to be a humble example for Bira and Helena. After 4 or 5 years of membership, Bruno began to fill out his papers for the mission. After his decision to serve a mish, his parents became more interested in the gospel. One week after getting to Santa Cruz, my companion and I could teach and mark a baptism date for Helena, Bruno’s mom. Her baptism was wonderful, and she is now a young women counselor. Bira, on the other hand, was quite a bit more complicated. After teaching for several months, bearing many testimonies, promising many blessings, resolving doubts, and imploring Bira to follow the feelings of the Holy Spirit, Bira decided to get baptized. The priest surprised him and told him to follow his heart and do what was best for his family. This family is easily my family away from home. They treat us missionaries like family and do anything for us. That is why on Saturday I felt so happy as Bruno baptized his father Bira. What a special moment that was to see a family filled with such great joy. Bira bore his testimony on Sunday that the joy was indescribable and that in one year his family would be sealed in the temple.

The gospel is so great because it makes families happy. Overall, the week was great. I was saddened to hear that our beloved prophet had passed away, but am thrilled to know that God will never stop calling prophets in these days. What a great blessing that is. One scripture that impacted me this week in thinking of how God, the prophet, and my leaders look to me was 1 Samuel 16:7. Here Samuel goes to the house of Jesse to choose the next king. After looking at and feeling nothing special with Jesse’s first 6 sons, Samuel asks if exists another. Jesse makes comment of his shepherd son David. I loved what the Lord says to Samuel, “Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” May we all learn to look and treat others as God would treat others. I love you all and I love this gospel. Dave

Baptism of Bira

10 Missionaries 1 area/ 1 lunch
House chapel

Elders of the District
The new band

Zone Activity

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!!!!

“Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever: but now saith the Lord, Be it far from me; for them that honour me, I will honour. “ (1 Samuel 2:30). This scripture left me with a strong impression, that this new year I should do my best to honor God. But how do we honor God? I have learned that honor is a daily process of being honest and worthy to others, yourself, and God. We honor God through serving him and others, keeping the commandments, and living his gospel. It’s funny cause in these days honoring God is criticized, ridiculed, and mocked. (2 Nephi 18:20). But I know this promise is real, when we honor God, he will honor us. I encourage you all to read “The Abundant Life” a talk given by Joseph B. Wirthlin. The talk is super inspiring as he tells us, “Who knows of what we are capable if we only try? The abundant life is within our reach if we only drink deeply of living water, fill our hearts with love, and create of our lives a masterpiece.” I’m striving to have an abundant life in 2018!

This last week was abundant with 2 baptisms of converts. Last Wednesday, we had the privilege to baptize Irma Maria.  Maria is incredible, she has amazing faith. With 76 years of age, she had an incredible desire to follow Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness for her sins. I loved seeing her great smile every time we greeted her and taught her. Our other baptism of the week was Diogo. Diogo and I have quickly become great friends. He reminds me of some of my younger cousins. He is 13, 6’3”, 230 lbs. and loves basketball. His dog’s name is Curry!!! Man we talk a lot of basketball to say the least. He also plays on a travel team. I played some 1 on 1 with him and it was fun. He was pretty obsessed with my Lebron’s. But the coolest part has been seeing his testimony grow. I remember the second time we taught him he told us he had prayed with so much faith to know if the things we had taught we true. From that moment he has been interested in his conversion wanting to return to Christ/God’s presence one day. He also already has a friend at church. So he is doing great. His baptism was amazing, and I loved his happy/positive attitude. He is always happy. The week was filled with many other miracles. Overall, I am already seeking to live the abundant life and help others as well. Be honorable and the blessings will flow. To end this letter, I challenge you to think, to share, or even write what your membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means to you.

Love, David
Baptisms of Diogo e Maria

Santa Cruz Sunsets

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Photos from Christmas

day in the life of Elder Bodine e Elder Queiroz

Rainy days 
Group shots

Puzzle and Christmas pajamas

 American bud Elder Southwick