Monday, October 16, 2017

All Out

The mission is pretty dang sweet because every moment brings growth. I feel like every week has a take away. Whether it be faith, courage, or trials, God puts purpose in our path. This week was one of the most physically and mentally tiring of my mission. And the take away was being observant. This take away has always been a strong point for me. If you know my dad, then you know where I learned of being observant. But on the mish, I’ve had to fine-tune my spiritual observancy. I love Doctrine and Covenants 103:7 in which we learn that observing all the words or teachings of Christ, we shall always prevail. Of late, I’ve been making a real effort to observe spiritual impressions which cause miracles.

When I got to Santa Cruz, I was able to organize my desk which was cluttered with dozens of useless papers. As I almost threw away the stack of papers, I felt a need to look through them. Upon observing the papers, I found an old, small spiral paper with a list of names, addresses, and crazy math/numbers. I grabbed the paper and stored it in my folder. This week, I came upon the paper feeling a need to visit the listed families. With our planning completed, my comp and I went out to contact. The first couple names on the list didn’t turn out so great. Finally, we went to contact one of the last families on the list: George and Franchesca. We got to a crazy address and entered a tiny alleyway. We got to the end and asked about the names. The boss or owner of the crazy apartment complex told us that they had moved 8 years ago. At this point, I was a little confused, but we decided to leave. As I turned to walk out, I observed an open door just outside the complex fences. When I looked, I saw a little girl and felt an undeniable feeling to go and teach there now! So we left the alleyway and took another alleyway until we found the house. We clapped and a woman and the little girl appeared. Without saying a single word, they let us in. We asked if they had previously met missionaries, and they replied nope. We shared a wonderful lesson with Adriano, Rosa, Sabrina, Jonaton, e Monitelli. They also had a visitor in house named Marici who heard the message. We got her address and were able to teach her husband Adolf, who calls me alemaozindro (little German), and their grandson, Eric. From one observance, 8 people or 2 families went to church alone without us picking them up. All are crazy to get baptized but first need to be prepared with more lessons, living commandments, and gaining testimonies.

Another experience with observance came from a morning run. When my German running buddy and I left to run at 6:00 am, we observed that all of the doors were open. When we got back, all of our money had disappeared. At first, we thought it was a joke, but then we realized we had been robbed. In total, we lost 600 reais (about $197), but the robber left our cameras, credit cards, and Ipods. I was happy and thanked the Lord that we were protected, and our most valuable items were left. I learned that we needed to be observant in locking doors, hiding money and protecting ourselves.

The last experience I had with observance was kind of funny but had awesome results. One night we had a family to visit who lives way in the boonies of our area. My comp wanted to walk to save the 1 dollar bus ride, but I was like no, no, no and said that I’d pay for his bus ride. So we took the bus and took the different route to the center. When we passed Walmart, a woman called us down and asked, “How do lessons/teaching work with you guys?” She explained how her family has all of the necessities of life, but they were always fighting about money. She said she had been praying that we would feel the spirit and knock at her house. When she said that I felt a little disappointed that we hadn’t knocked there, but later, I realized that maybe she was the one who needed to take the first step in calling us down. When we went to teach, she asked if I was American. I replied yes, and she said that 13 years ago an American and Paulister (a native or inhabitant of the city of São Paulo, Brazil) had taught her about the restoration of Christ’s church. She had almost been baptized, but in the last moment, desisted. She told us that the things we had taught her were the things she had been taught 13 years ago, but this time things were different. This time, she was married legally, has no addictions, and this time she is passing a family need. Her only wish is to have a happy family. We promised her many blessings and she accepted to be baptized.

Overall, the week was amazing. In total, our branch had 28 visitors. The gospel principles class was lotado or filled with so many people that we had to teach in the cultural hall. All of the missionaries in the branch gave talks, and we finished the reunion with 6 baptism. 5 of the other companionship and 1 of ours, Alberth! We have been teaching him for 4 weeks now, and he has made big changes in his life. He wants to serve a mish in a foreign country. Overall amazing week! I’m dead tired, but I know being observant to the spiritual whispers of the spirit brings miracles. Have an awesome week. Thanks for the prayers.

Love, Dave

Baptisms in the district this week

Alberth in the white suit

 P-Day Parque da Gruta (Cave park)

The Fruit Salad life is REAL

Monday, October 9, 2017

Conference was fantastic!

Another week gone and out in the good ole Santa Cruz. Sorry that I didn’t send a main email last week, but this week, I’ll leave a solid message. Conference was amazing last week. Many questions and doubts were responded to. Conference had many highlights. I loved D. Todd Christofferson’s thoughts on Christ’s atoning sacrifice. I loved his commentaries on the sacrament. Every piece of bread is unique like every partaker is unique. God and Christ know all of us perfectly. I loved Elder Rasband’s thoughts on God’s perfect plan. God’s plan doesn’t contain coincidence or chance.  It is perfect. Quentin L. Cook’s talk on humility showed me the importance in forgiving others, serving with only others and God in mind, and how every church calling requires humility. Neil A. Andersen’s quote on “we don’t know everything, but we know enough” was an answer to one of our investigator’s prayers. Overall, conference was fantastic, and I could talk about the talks forever. Man, I’ve really come to appreciate the words of the prophet, apostles and General Authorities. To make the conference even more sweet, we had the baptisms of Henrique and Helena. After twenty years of waiting, studying, and pondering, Helena was baptized by her son, Bruno, who has waited forever for this moment. She cried throughout the meeting. Henrique, on the other hand, was baptized after just 2 weeks of getting to know the church. Despite different backgrounds, both had huge desires to enter the waters of baptism and be cleansed of their sins. It’s funny here in Brazil, everyone thinks that you have to be nearly perfect after your baptism, but that simply is not true. We know that after we are baptized, our lives will still be hard, we will be faced with the same temptations, and none of us will be perfect. What matters are the desires of our hearts. If we desire to chose the right and learn with our inevitable mistakes, we shall fulfill God’s plan for us. This week, I did an in depth study on desires as members, missionaries and non members. I learned that many types of desires exist whether they are good or bad. I could really take a step back and look at my desires and how these desires affect my life. I know that God wants us to have excellent desires. Look at Peter and John the Beloved. Peter’s desires to return to his Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ was great, but John’s desire to remain on the earth preaching the Gospel was excellent. Excellent desires bring more responsibility, happiness, and spiritual growth (Doctrine and Covenants 7).  Look at Alma who had a desire to be an angel to announce God’s word to all. I know that excellent desires allow miracles to happen, make us more loving and humble. May we all have excellent and righteous desires in all aspects of our life. The week was great and ended with the baptisms of Henrique’s brothers, Marcos and Vitor. How sweet the joy to see God’s children follow His son through baptism. I know that these things are true.

Love, Dave

baptisms of Marcos and Vitor

Early mornin run to the blue cruz

hiking in the mato

just chillin

lots of catholics here in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz looks like down town Paly

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

White Conference

Baptisms of our Branch this Sunday after Conference

With the family of Bruno, Bira, and Bira´s mom for Helena´s special day

Henrique´s baptism with his bros Marcos e Vitor who will get baptized next week

Had a crazy storm and forgot about my pants that I put out to dry.... ja era

P-day da Zona Paint ball

Zone photo with Presidente Campos

Monday, September 25, 2017

Authority is undeniable

This week had highs and lows and many inbetiveins. This week, I was doing my daily language study, and I decided to open to a random chapter in the Old Testament. To my luck, I opened to Deuteronomy 10. So I began to read out loud to practice my pronunciation. Let’s just say the chapter struck me. In verse 12, the Lord tells Israel that all he requires of him is to love and serve Him. The Lord also requires him to keep the commandments. However, this love/service is not an easy task. The Lord implores Israel to serve with all his heart and soul. As a missionary, this is my goal that I can dedicate and sacrifice my weakness (Omni 1:26) to develop more Love for my Savior, Heavenly Father, and all his children. I love verses 14 and 15, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.  Only the lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them” The Lord created EVERYTHING that we can imagine and more, but of all of his creations, he finds Joy in his children’s love for him. These few scriptures filled me with the spirit and gave me a greater desire to be more grateful, loving, and kind, because I want my Lord to rejoice in my love for him. Overall, a great language study!

We had many great experiences in the area this week. One included a lesson with Jão Luis. We were knocking doors when I felt that we needed to knock a door of a pretty rich house. I knocked and an old man with shirt off and bible in hand came to the door. He started to preach to us about his biblical studies, church experiences, and revelations… I’m not quite sure, but I know that the spirit provided a way for us to enter his house. In the beginning of the lesson, he was completely closed off, but when I recited the first vision, something changed in him. After he asked us, “But prophets can see God? Show me an example in the Bible.” After we found his doubt, we began to teach with POWER and AUTHORITY. Man the spirit was so strong. And when I thought he would get offended and defensive after claiming his church didn’t have prophets/authority, I learned an important lesson. When we teach and testify with authority, no one can deny because first off, the spirit is so strong, and second off, no one can deny this feeling of truthfulness sent from God. At the end of the lesson, he graciously thanked us and said we had answered a long time doubt of his. Another special experience was with Helena. Helena is a mother of 3 super intelligent kids, and had recently undergone a heart procedure. Her son got baptized last year, Bruno. He is 18, but she has been going to church here in Santa Cruz for 20 YEARS! On Wednesday, we decided to give Helena, and her husband, Bira, a visit. Never have I seen a non member with a testimony so strong. We asked her how she was feeling about the church and about being baptized. She lowered her head and looked to the ground, I expected the worst, but what she said shocked me. She told us that her time had finally come and that she had wanted so long to follow because of her desire of knowledge and preparation. She told us that a heart filled and humble prayer had given her a feeling or revelation from God that He doesn’t require us to be all knowing or perfect in anyway. He wants us to be willing to be imperfect and willing to use Christ’s sacrifice to become a little better everyday until the day arrives when we are perfected in him. Her testimony was powerful, and I honestly felt privileged to be one of the missionaries who has participated in her conversion. We marked her baptism for Sunday next week. Her son, Bruno, will baptize her, and she told us that in October, she will go to the temple. Let me tell you, these are just two stories of many miracles that happened this week. I wish I could tell you about all of them, but my time is up. My testimony was strengthened so much this week. I don’t know who reads these emails, but whether you are a member with a strong testimony, weak testimony, in-active or non member, God’s authority is here on this earth. He created the heaven and the heaven of the heavens, we are his humble children, and I know that we must love him. No trial is too great, no sin too grave, God’s love is forever provided through His son’s, Jesus Christ’s great and eternal sacrifice. These things are true and will forever be true. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

We made breakfast burritos for zone conference.... ten pounds of bacon

My comp with the bacon... hah

It was a week of gaucho holidays so we celebrated by doing an in house churrasco

Fruit salad with... Orange, mango, papaia, kiwi, bananna, apple, pear, melon, grape, and pineapple... all of the fruit totaled 8 dollars... I love Brazil!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Was up my family!!!!!!!!!

It's time to get started with the adventure in Santa Cruz. Let's see, where can i start... This week I will give you a little update on the area, comp, and investigators.  Well, Santa Cruz is nothing like the Santa Cruz in CA.... No beaches.... But the city is super pretty. AND LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE HILLS. Man 1 year on the mish, and I have never passed in an area with hills... well here in Santa Cruz, it is all hills. To my suprise also Santa Cruz doesn't look like your normal Brazilian city... it is more like Canela or in other words pretty americanized or europeanized in terms of style and houses. Everyone is german and catholic here which can have its difficulites, but we are creating a good group of investagators through working with the members. We found a great family of inactives that went to church this week and still have some members that need yet to be baptized... Also, we are teaching the boy friend of a member inactive named Albert.... Lol he is so ready to be baptized and said he was willing to completely change his life to follow god. This week we had the baptism of Paula.... She is the neice of a recent convert, and I have never seen someone so ready to be baptized. She literally accepted all of our invitations and commandments so willingly and knew that it would be a blessing for her and her family... We are trying to teach her mom but she is deaf so it will be a little complicated. My comp Elder Rocha Neto... Is hilarious. He is from Recife and has 1 year 8 months on the mish... We are always crackin up in the street and have a ton of similar interests. He has been out here in Santa Cruz for 2 transfers, and we got a lot of big goals for this transfer. We also live with another dupla of a crazy Elder from argentina and a verdinho (greenie or new missionary) from Kirkland, Ohio.... The dude sings let me tell you. Overall, that is the weekly update here in Santa Cruz... other sidenote, we are teaching an amazing family who recently moved from a small town in the middle of nowhere. The husband is a member inactive and served a mish in Manaus.... His kids got baptized a few weeks back, and now his wife is preppin to be baptized. They are the most amazing fam ever, and we are gonna have  FHE there today... Brownie time ahaha. Have an awesome week and know that you are all in my prayers ....


Elder Bodine

Paula´s baptism

Dessert at member´s houses (this is why Missionaries gain weight)

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Week is Gone!!

I honestly don’t know how this week passed so fast. I feel like I was here yesterday typing this email. The week was fantastic! We were hoping to leave the week with a couple baptisms but our investigators still need a little more time to prep. So next week we should have a couple.

This week I continued to focus on prayer, and we had a marvelous experience. On Thursday, all of our lessons had fallen through, and we were left with nothing to do at 7 pm. In our daily planner, my comp’s back up-back up plan was find a family. So we said a prayer and went off. I was feeling pretty in tune with the spirit and was praying constantly. I felt that we needed to cross Avenida dos Maias, and work a neighborhood we’ve never worked before. When we crossed the street, I knew that after the 3 roads we passed we needed to take a left. The third left we walked into a beacon (don’t know in English cul de sac). Then we arrived to a green house, and I had the strongest feeling to knock here. So we knocked (clapped), and a teenager named Alan came out. I chatted it up with him and asked if we could share a message. He said of course, went back out in the house and grabbed his dad. We talked with his dad Clairton who said that we could come in. He went back in the house and 5 minutes after, he came back out and let us in the house. After all the waiting, I was confused, but when we got in the house, Clairton’s wife, Isabella, told us that she had just got in bed to sleep, when we arrived at the door. Her husband wanted to hear the message, she decided to get out of bed and listen too. She told us that the “message” better be good.  After a super spiritual lesson, Isabella asked how we found their family? And how we convinced them to let us in? We explained about the prayer we said, and that we are truly messengers of Jesus Christ. After they excitedly received her new Book of Mormon, she told us we have to come back. They also gave us a reference of a family who lived across the street. The next day, we went and found a family of 6 who loved our message of the plan of salvation. The mom cried during the message. After this experience, I thought, “Why can’t I always be so in tune with the spirit, so focused?” In that moment, I was so full of faith and power that I knew what was going to be the result. I love 1 Nephi 7:12 that tells us God is able to do everything and anything for us if we exert faith. The miracle never comes before the faith. After reflecting on that quotation, I realized that I am able to always be super in tune with the spirit if I’m willing to develop more faith, pray always be obedient, and focused on my purpose as a missionary. I’ve always loved 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” We have to be firm, steadfast and immovable in God’s work. As a missionary no extra effort is in vain. I love this work and this Gospel. Nothing compares!!! I love the people and culture of Brazil! I love the power of prayer! I love being a member of my Heavenly Father’s army. I love seeing my own spiritual progression and the spiritual progression of others. I love my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. Have an awesome week.


Division with Alvorada... I went out with Elder Romero.... from Arizona... super chill 

Lunch today

streets of Porto Alegre... pretty right.. not