Monday, December 11, 2017

Spread the Light of the World

This week I don't have much time.... but I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful season and invite you all to shine your light. This week I had the chance to sit down with the branch president and talk aobut members who needed a visit from the missionaries.  We were able to concentrate the week entirely in visiting members, active and inactive. Man what a crazy week. I have never seen so many people who have fallen away from the path. It was sad seeing previous Branch presidents, young womens leaders, and seminary teachers who had no interest in heading back to the church. But we also found others interested to come back to the church. We were able to teach a mom of an active member who hadn't been to church in more than 20 years... to my suprise she was one of the first people at church... Many other miracles filled the week.. honestly I love this work... I love sharing my testimony... and I love being a representative of Christ... Spread the light of the world and you will be happy!



Feliz Natal Elder Queiroz

Feliz Natal Elder Queiroz e Bodine

Before the lesson inside look

Return to the Gruta

Monday, December 4, 2017

These are the moments my testimony strengthens.

Another transfer gone and out. And the big news is that I will stay one more transfer in the Santa! It will be my 3rd transfer here, and I’m pretty stoked because we have some awesome investigators who will be big leaders in the church. This past week was crazy as normally weeks are on the mish. There are always so many highs and lows. But as we learn in 2 Nephi 2:22-25, it is impossible to know happiness without knowing sadness. So we must continue on and search out living this gospel.

Let’s start off with a low. Man the low of the week was when my memory card reformatted, and I lost hundreds of photos and videos. Luckily there were only photos/video from the Am and Santa Cruz. Also, the majority of these photos I have already passed onto the cloud, but my videos no. If you know me, you know that I like to make videos. Man the videos I lost crushed me. There were many special moments saved on that card. But, it’s all good, just gotta keep on shootin video. Let’s forget about the lows and move on to the highs.

Man the high this week was a high of highs, 100% miracle. Let me tell you about Michelle da Luz Santos. About 6 weeks ago, we arrived at the church building and found a woman who was extremely stressed out. She then explained her story. She had arrived in the Santa Cruz that day with her 4 children. She explained how she had run away from her house and ex-husband in Canoas. In Canoas, her ex-husband had been put in jail for drug trafficking. As Michelle lived in Canoas peacefully, slowly things got rough. She met a few church members, and she started to get to know and go to church. When her life seemed fixed out, her ex-husband sent his drug trafficking friends with the mission to find her and take her life. After several attempts and several near deaths, the church helped her take refuge and bought bus rides for Santa Cruz where her oldest daughter lives. The first thing she did upon arriving in Santa Cruz was seek out the church. We were able to calm her down, get her address, and mark a visit. When we got to her house, she was in tears. Michelle, her 4 children and 3 other family members were living in a house with 1 bathroom, 1 room, and kitchen. After a prayer to calm the family down, because the owner of the house threatened to kick them out, we taught the message of the restored gospel, read scriptures of comfort, and testified of eternal families. The spirit was so palpable, the spirit of peace circulated in that small wooden house entering the heart of every family member. In that moment, I felt as though every word that left my mouth wasn’t said by me but the spirit. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon, ask God of the truthfulness of our message and to follow Christ being baptized in his church. Michelle and her two older daughters, Natalie and Raisa, accepted the challenge. They went to church, we taught them 2 more times, and then they disappeared. We learned that she returned to Canoas because her son-in-law kicked her out of the house. Well, in the moment, I was sad, but I knew that they would continue to search out the church. Almost a month after, this Saturday, I received a call from the assistants. I answered, and they passed me to a conference call. I began to speak with a sister who is in a city called Bento Goncalves. The first thing she said was, “Your investigator is getting baptized…” “Huh? I never worked in Bento.” “Remember Michelle???” In that moment, I dropped to the floor and let out a shout of rejoice. She then passed the phone for Michelle who was 15 minutes away from entering the waters of baptism. She explained to me what had happened, how she was threatened by her ex-husband again, and how she had to move to Bento where she lives one street away from the church. She thanked me for my testimony I shared with her on that first day and how her life has never been the same since. I congratulated her on her decision and learned that one of her daughters would also be baptized. These are the moments that show me the importance of being a missionary. These are the moments my testimony strengthens. These are the moments of joy. When the time comes, we need to raise our voices and testify of this ever-lasting gospel. I love you all and wish you the best! Take advantage of the holiday season to share this gospel.
Love, Dave   
me and monitcheli

Sunday Lunches

 lago dourado... de novo

Monday, November 27, 2017


Today my letter is going to be on the joy of being a missionary. Every single day at least one Brazilian asks me, “Why did you leave the USA to come to Brazil?” always with a face of  “This American is crazy.” Every time I have the opportunity to bearing testimony and share how I love this gospel and love sharing with others. I love Doctrine and Covenants 28:16 which states that in all moments one must declare this gospel with a rejoicing voice. People ask me, and I am sure people think, “How can 2 years separated from your family, friends, country, hobbies, and so much more be fun or a time of such pleasure?”  I have found that when I forget about these things and forget about myself, I am better focused on those who need this gospel. There is no feeling better than a recent convert bearing their testimony, seeing a light in a person who was surrounded so thickly by the darkness, or who finally knows that they can be eternal. These moments are priceless, these moments make the mission joyous (joyful), and these moments make me see change in others and also in me. For sure, the most astounding thing the mission has done for me is make me into a better servant of Christ and holder of the priesthood. I love placing my name in section 31 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Verse 3 always hits me, Lift up your heart and rejoice, your mission has come and you will announce the good news of great joy to the people of Brazil. Overall, the week was great. I found myself laughing a lot. Whether it was a pancake party with Bira and family, exercising on a sketchy bridge in the pouring rain, or teaching 20 students in our English class, I found myself laughing with a smile and happy as a missionary. This week had some downs, but we were always finding the positives.  One of my fave moments of the week was participating in the choir for the Stake Conference. Man the spirit was strong as we sang oh how wonderful was the morning. Our 7 investigators enjoyed the music and the messages.  Be happy, be a light, find joy in every waking moment.

 Sacolé.... On the streets of Brasil, people sell sacolé which is a popsicle in a bag.... decided to make 100 in house of the flavors: avocado, mango, grape, chocolate, chocolate peanutbutter, papaiya, orange, and strawberry.... Peanutbutter was the crowd pleaser... 

Apple crisp to celebrate Thanksgiving

Monday, November 20, 2017

Day in the life of Elder Bodine

Man, November is flying by. This week was solid and had many special moments.  This week, I’ll try and give you a close up at life as a missionary. What is it like to be a missionary in Brazil in Santa Cruz do sul? Wake up at 6:00, go running with my Argentina/German running bud, Elder Alretch. We cruz for an hour, and man it is amazing.  3 great things about running in the mish. 1. It gets the adrenaline flowing. 2. It keeps me more alert/awake during our morning studies. 3. You get to know and memorize your area. I feel like I know every road/alley of my area. Get back to the house at 7, drink a banana smoothie, take a shower, plan, and then study. This week, I loved a scripture in Jacob 6:12. The scripture is just a simple command and rhetorical question. It helped me think throughout the week in all aspects of missionary life, “Am I being smart/am I being wise?” Reflecting on a simple question has made me a better decision maker. After studying by myself, with my comp, and a little bit of Portuguese, we say a prayer and hit the road. Normally before lunch, we teach a lesson or do some street contacting. I’ve learned the importance of using this time with wisdom. From 10:30 – 12:00, there is a huge amount of time to find the Lord’s elects. For example, this Saturday we marked a visit with an inactive member, but when we got there, they remarked with us, and we were faced with a decision. Head to lunch or try and find somebody to teach. We decided to find. Within a couple of minutes, we found Irmã Maria, an old woman about 80 years old.  She accepted our message, went to church on Sunday, and is preparing to get baptized next week. After morning appointments, we head to lunch. Lunch is almost always with members. Here in Santa Cruz, the lunches are almost always amazing. For example, here in Brazil, it is always family style. There is always a bowl of rice, black beans, salad, and a meat (chicken or beef). Spaghetti is guaranteed, and there is always soda/or juice. Man, grape juice, mango juice, passion fruit juice are my fave natural juices. After 2 or 3 or 4 plates of food, we leave a message, sing a song, or play a video for the members. (Dessert is normally just on Sundays). At 1:30, we leave and head out for the street. From 1 to 4 o’clock are the slower hours of the day. Everyone is sleeping, at work, or are not very interested to hear a message. So we focus this time on teaching inactives. Teaching inactives is an awesome way to receive referrals and find families that are incomplete. Also, it is amazing to see the spirit touch those who have fallen away from the church. After 4, we enter prime time. From 4-9, we can teach anywhere from 5 – 7 lessons. Brazil is amazing because the people are so receptive. Of course, there are people who don’t want to hear, but the majority are very receptive, open, kind, and loving.  We always have people to teach which is a huge blessing. The biggest difficulty is finding people willing and ready to accept invitations and act on them. We are teaching an old man named Carvalho who is amazing. In two weeks since we have met him, he has read ½ of the Book of Mormon, stopped smoking his daily 20 cigarettes and drinking 6 cups of coffee, and has so much desire to be baptized. But he is not willing to change his work hours so that he can go to church. We want him to believe that the Lord will provide a way to get him to church, but first he needs to take a leap of faith. One other difficulty we have here in Rio Grande do sul is appointments that fall through. I don’t know what it is about this culture, but here, it is totally chill to remark an appointment in the last minute, forget about the appointment, or hide form the missionaries when they arrive at your door in the hour that you marked a visit. Because of this, we have always got to be prepared. That’s why we always have back up plans. This week, we have been teaching an old lady named Irene who went to church last week. We noticed a young couple that lived next to her and put them on a back up plan if our appointment with Irene fell through. Well, of course our appointment with Irene fell through so we headed to the young couple, clapped and they opened the door. We taught the restoration, and when I said the words Joseph Smith, the woman’s eyes lit up. At the end of the lesson, she told us how she had been baptized in the church at the age of 11 but shortly after moved, and her mom traded religions. She told us how she had been waiting many years to find the church again. Awesome experience. After proselyting at 9, we get at home, update teaching records, eat, talk about the day, and sleep… Dead tired. Then we repeat. Let me tell you, it is an amazing process. Everyday is amazing. Honestly a privilege to be a missionary. I love this work and leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.  Dave

We were the first missionaries to enter the city Sinimbu... taught lessons, did contacts, in a city with two streets... it was awesome

Sunday lunch selfie with Irmão Messias

Monday, November 13, 2017

21 and Noite Americana!

I can’t believe that I’ve passed for two birthdays on the mish. Man time flies. It feels like yesterday that I was in Canela celebrating my 20th birthday. But, now one year after, I’m here in Santa Cruz celebrating 21. Nero (Right) haha! Well, this birthday was a normal day in the life of a missionary. I went for a run at 6 with my Argentinian/German running buddy, and when I got back, my comp and his comp had a cake, balloons, signs and hats waiting for me. It was a great little surprise to start off the day. Once again, I tried to focus on others rather than myself on my birthday. I found an article the other day that teaches of the importance of seeking out miracles. On the mission when I am constantly searching out miracles, there is no way I can be depressed, distraught, or unfocused. When we search out miracles, we will find them and crave more. I witnessed many miracles on my birthday. And now, I have created a daily goal to find or see or witness a miracle in my life or in the lives of others. I have begun to write down the miracle of the day, and I’m loving it.  Overall, it is great to be 21, and I’m loving the mission everyday.

The highlight of the week was Noite Americana. Man what a crazy night. We spent the week setting up decorations, making video invites on Facebook, visiting members to invite friends, and get in the American spirit. A member here runs an English school and loaned us a ton of decorations so it turned out great. We had over 110 people at the event. We separated the members into 3 teams…Red, White and Blue. Each team participated in activities, competitions and more. Blue team, my team, started off in the front, but we finished off weak. The highlights from the activity were the over 20 non members at the activity, me giving a message in broken English, ice cold apple bob and 350 chocolate chip cookies. I made 6 batches of my mom’s famous recipe and baked cookies for 5 hours. They were a hit! My fav part of the activity was when I announced the teams in a WWE voice over the mike. Turned out sweet. We finished the night off by announcing our English class. Everyone turned out super stoked to have a free English class again in the Branch. Overall, I highly suggest doing an American night. We got the members super excited, met non-members, and had super fun. By far best activity I have participated in.

Overall, I’m grateful to be a missionary and to serve in such a friendly, receptive, loving, and happy place. I love the Lord, his gospel, and to be a missionary. Have an amazing week searching for miracles.
Love, Dave

District photos

Downtown Santa Cruz photos

21st b-day suprise... only blurry photos

American Night!