Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (Week 27 . . . SIX MONTHS)

Hey all!

It was a great week this week ending with the baptism of Gilson yesterday. It was a really great baptismal service and I am very grateful to have participated. We are working hard to have Aline and Elizebeth be baptized next sunday - they went to church for the first time this week and liked it a lot.

My Thanksgiving was very good - another day serving the Lord. Glad you all had a great time with the food and the family - I can smell the rolls and stuffing from here! We will find out about transfers tomorrow night but most likely I will be here in Riacho for this next transfer with Elder Sloan. It is his last transfer so he probably won't be transferred. But who knows?

Pres. Fortunato is giving us a lot of trust and responsibility in our individual areas of service - the district leaders don't call every night to check up on us and our numbers and he is emphasizing seeking the Lord´s help and direction in our stewardships here. His goal is four new stakes in Belo Horizonte before the end of next year - looks like we will be working very hard this next year.

That is great news about Grandma and Grandpa Bowler! Wow! We are really blessed to have such a great family - can't wait to have them in the ward! Congrats also to Maddie for going on the mission! That is really neat!

I´ll leave you all with my testimony that I really do know that this is the Lord´s work. I know that God is in control and He listens to our prayers. I have found great comfort from studying the scriptures because the scriptures testify of God´s love. I know that whatever point we are at in our lives, our Heavenly Father is always there to bless us and direct us if we seek Him. I love you all!
Elder Jacob

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Weekly Pao de Queijo‏ (Week 26)

How is going over there in the 801?

It was wonderful to get your email today. Thank you so much for your insights and stories. You really are the greatest family.

It was a great week - we worked hard and have two investigators progressing for baptism this Sunday. Dilson went to all three meetings yesterday! He was tired but he made it and it was a great blessing of the Lord. We also found a man called Joaquim that has a desire to follow Jesus Christ and change his life. He went to church yesterday and was touched by the respect and love the members showed him. He said that the thing that struck him about the Church was the emphasis on learning the gospel, instead of just hearing the gospel. Edna, who got baptized back in September, gave a talk yesterday about her decision to get baptized that was really powerful. She talked about how she prayed for many months to find the truth and then decided to go to the church and she knew that she had found what she was looking for. The members here are great examples and it is great to have their help.

Weather here in Brazil is just the same - usually just sunny and nice, with some rainy days. Most people already have Christmas trees up - they dont have a holiday like Thanksgiving here.

I studied Mosiah 5 today during personal study and I was struck by what it teaches about covenants. The more I think about it, our covenants and dedication to them are what keep us happy and safe in this life. As we listen and always remember the name that is written in our hearts (as it says in Mosiah 5) we will hear and know the voice of the Lord. I think that is why it is so important to always go to church and partake of the sacrament worthily - so we can always remember who we've promised to be and thus receive the blessings of our dedication. The weekly blessing of the Sacrament is just another testament of the divinity of this Church. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ.
love, Elder Jacob

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Weekly Pao de Queijo‏ (Week 25)

Hey all,

I am doing very well out here. Dilson is progressing. Despite his Parkinsons, he came to church at 9:30 in stead of 10:30 yesterday and has great faith. We gave him a blessing of health - here is a funny Portuguese story for you - and as I was putting the oil on his head I mixed up the words for drop and little girl (gota and garota) and I told him that I was going to put a little girl on his head. Yup, I am still working on the Portuguese.  Oh, another funny story - we were teaching a lady this week and I told her that I was going to leave a part of the Book of Mormon with her to read. She asked if I was going to rip out the pages of the book and I, not understanding, confidently and happily said, ´´Sim.`` Elder Sloan came to the rescue and understanding was established.

As far as time on P-day goes with the computers/letter writing, the time is restricted - we only have about 45 minutes on the computer and today we had to email abunch of information to the escritorio about contacts so I wont send pictures today but hopefully next week. I am sorry that I haven't been able to send letters very frequently - going to the post office is hard. I will try and send more letters next week. Pd-ay is really fast so we don't have a ton of time. I really am sorry.

While you guys were running Ragnar, I have a story about running this week for you. We taught a man named Claudio in a neighborhood half an hour from our house. We finished the lesson at 9:10 or so and needed to get to our place by 9:30. So we started running. It was a really really cool memory - running in the rain up a hill with my backpack bouncing on my back past some old warehouses in the nighttime in Contagem Brazil. As I was running, I thought to myself how cool and blessed I am to be where I am. I really wouldn't rather be anywhere else right now except running in the rain in Brazil. It was a cool memory and I am grateful to be here.

Dad that was such a cool story about your investigator. Wow, that is really so neat. Thank you for sharing that because that gives me more motivation to see the people we teach as they can be and not as they are now. Selma and Giselle are doing very well and loving the gospel. It really is a blessing to see these people grow and help them understand the beauty of the gospel.

I love you all and I am doing well! I know that the Church is true and that we are blessed beyond measure to be members of the Church.
Elder Jacob

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oh yeah‏ (Week 24)



Hey All!

I am doing well out here. We are helping Dilson prepare for baptism this Sunday. He has Parkinsons disease and is a really smart guy. He has been having a lot of troubles with family lately but it is edifying to see him embrace the gospel. Celma and Giselle were confirmed yesterday. They are already talking about going to the temple in a year. They are really special and I am going to miss them a lot.

Crazy story of the week - in sacrament meeting yesterday there was a man from Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in Belo Horizonte but moved to Georgia when he was 7. He moved back to Brazil a month ago because of all the crazy stuff that has been happening with the storm in New York. He saw it as a sign of the times and ended up in a sacrament meeting in Contagem, MG. We taught him the first lesson (in English - boy, was that weird.) and he accepted to be baptized next Sunday. The elders in the area next to us are going to teach him, but it was really cool. He is a really intelligent and interested individual. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.

Elder Sloan and I are doing well and working hard. Elder Sloan has this habit of singing hymns but only the first line of the hymn - for example, he will sing ´´Come Come Ye Saints, oh come, come ye saints! Come ye saints, come ye saints.´´ to the tune of the hymn. I enjoy it - it helps to bring a laugh to our work. I am really enjoying Brazilian juices - they have some really tasty ones thanks to the proximity of a variety of fresh fruit. And for all those of you who thought I don't like to eat eggs, I have learned to like them. One thing we are doing is inviting all the members to fast and pray that the branch can grow and the missionary effort will be blessed. Fasting and prayer are simple things that really bring big blessings.

I am honestly so grateful to be serving a mission right now. I read in Our Heritage about Zion´s camp and all the early leaders of the Church. I thought about my ancestors distant and not so distant and I am honored to have their examples. And yesterday, hearing the Brazilian saints bearing testimony of the gospel, my faith and resolve to be more dedicated to this cause was strengthened. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this Church is His church. I honestly am grateful to be a missionary of the Lord.

Well, that´s it for me this week! I am doing well, happy and healthy! Hope you all are the same! Be Happy! Be good!

Elder Jacob

P.S. The cockroaches aren't huge here but there are quite a few. I try and shoo them out of the shower in the morning just so I don't have to worry about them, but really they aren't that bad.