Monday, February 25, 2013

Man in the Mirror‏ (Week 40)


It is always a blessing to write you guys email - I love and miss you all so very much. Tudo bem aqui (all good here). It´s still beautiful here by the way and the sky is awesome.

Last night, we had a really great fireside with the 1st counselor of the mission, Pres. Monteiro. We had a turnout of 120 and 16 pesquisadores! I think the branch and everyone will be more animated to share the gospel because of what happened last night. It was a really great blessing of the Lord.

Two young men in the ward, Caio and Gustavo were called to be ward missionaries yesterday. Today we are going to have a meeting to decide how we are going to work with them in this area. They are such examples to me - they teach and work with us almost everyday and are a great asset to this area. I am very impressed with them and it is an honor to work with them.

Elder Sipião is a great companion who continues to teach me a lot. We read the Book of Mormon together to practice the language - I read in Portuguese and he reads in English and we both laugh at each others accents. It´s a good trade off. We´re going to be good friends and I feel like I will be here in Três Corações for a good while which I am happy about. We´ve got to really get to work this week - it´s been two weeks since a baptism and we´ve got a lot of good people to teach and help this week.

That is super exciting about how many new missions they are making! We got the call on Thursday that they will create 7 new missions in Brazil, but they dont know/didn´t tell us where they will make them. They said they will create them in July of this year. The mission Brazil Belo Horizonte was divided a few years ago so it is very possible that they will divide the mission again. We´ll just have to see what the Lord wants. But one things for sure - it is very great to be serving at this time.

To close, I´ll share a small thought that I had during personal study today. Alma 29:2 says, Ì would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and ocme unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.` I read this scripture and wondered, `Why does repentance and the plan of redemption mean no more sorrow?` The answer is simple and true. All men everywhere can change. You can change. I can change. But we can´t do it alone - we need the Savior and His Sacrifice. We need His Grace but the blessed news is that He made the sacrifice, He paid the price and we can be free from our sins and weaknesses! Isn´t that wonderful? Through Christ, we can change. Elder Holland said, ´After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before.` and Pres. Packer said, `To me, perhaps th most beautiful phrase in all scripture is when the Lord said, ´Behold, he who has repented of His sins, the same is forgiven and I the Lord remember them no more.` That is the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement: to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life, they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ.` (end quote.) The Atonement is why we do missionary work. As the song `These are the Days` says, We Believe the World Can Change! Because we have been changed through repentance and the Atonement of Christ, we feel the desire to help others. I really am so grateful to be here serving a mission. I know that Christ lives and He has all power. Have faith that you and other will change. Christ will bless us as we diligently seek Him.

Elder Jacob

Monday, February 18, 2013

This tent? This guy? This paramecium? (Week 39)

Elder Jacob and Elder Sipiao at a baptism.

A beautiful view . . . it's idyllic!

They have R.O.U.S.´s here in Três Coraçoes. Brazilians call them capivara. 
I don´t think they exist.

My desk 

Hello my family!

It´s another b-e-a-utiful day here in Três Corações. You may think it weird that I always talk about the weather, but really, it is just great here. After sending email, Elder Sipião and I are going to get some açai and write some letters in the town square.

It was a good week and I´ve learned a lot. We´re working hard to have a good turnout for the fireside on missionary work this Sunday. The youth are going to sing songs they learned at youth conference and Pres. Monteiro, counselor to Pres. Fortunato, is going to speak. It will be a really good night; I am excited.
Just so you know, SpongeBob is very popular here in Brazil. His name is Bobesponge here. Elder Sipião and I relieved some stress yesterday recounting some of the great adventures of that porous fry cook. Patrick´s name is Patrique haha.

As far as investigators go, we are being extremely blessed with great help of the members here in the branch. We had 10 pesquisadores in sacrament meeting yesterday! Alright! The Lord is really helping us. I am learning everyday out here that this really is the Lord´s work and you can´t forget to trust in Him. At times, I may think I know what to do or that I can do this by my self, but the gospel truth of the matter is that I have to trust in the Lord. If I am obedient and doing my best, I know the Lord will bless me.

One of the greatest blessings of the mission is studying the scriptures every morning. The only way I can describe it is a spiritual feast. There is such a special spirit in the scriptures; I am convinced that one of the most powerful ways to deepen our testimony is diligent, sincere study of the scriptures. It´s not just about understanding or gaining knowledge but feeling the truth of the gospel through the scriptures. Sometimes I couldn´t exactly tell you the new thing that I learned but I always feel the Spirit testify of the gospel through the scriptures. I am blessed with a companion who likes to discuss the gospel so we have had a good time discussing many topics together.

To anyone contemplating a mission, I just want to put my plug out there that what I have learned about myself, how to work with others and about the Lord and His purposes while here is something priceless. I am learning and will continue to learn how to be a true disciple of Christ and I can´t tell you how grateful I am for the Lord calling me to be a missionary. So if you are contemplating a mission, think about what you want in life and how serving a mission will bless your goals and then go to the Lord. I can only speak for myself, but I am very grateful to be serving a mission.

And with that, I´ll sign off for the day! Keep smiling and living the life! Ba dee ah, never was a cloudy day!

Elder Jacob

Monday, February 11, 2013

It´s a Christmas Miracle! (Week 38)

Hello All!

Que benção! It´s a blessing to email you today. It´s Carnaval here in Brazil so most everything is closed but luckily we found a lan house that was open. And I finally got the Christmas Letters! So today, it is kind of like Christmas! Hurrah!

Big news first - it is sunny today and man, it is beautiful here. Smaller news second - I was made senior. Elder Fernandes was transferred last Monday to BH where he will serve very capably as district leader. My new companion is called Elder Sipião from Curitiba. He is a fantastic missionary, a convert of 4 years to the Church and it has been a real pleasure to serve with him this week. But I will be honest - it was stressful this week. Now, the responsibility of where we go, what we do, how many lessons we teach and everything is on me. For anyone that knows me, I can let stress and guilt get the better of me sometimes. The greatest blessing and promise the Lord gives us is ``Ask and Ye Shall Receive.` I´ve been asking a lot this week and I´ve been receiving a lot this week. Like Elder Hales said in his talk last conference, `The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His Work. ´Follow me`he said ànd I will make you fishers of men. As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents and the strenght to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things that we´ve never before thought possible.` I know that this is true - I am not equal to the work of the Lord just yet, but I feel like I´m making progress and I know that the Lord is with me in this process of changing and becoming a converted disciple of Christ.

One of the greatest blessings we received this week was the baptism of Cassio. Cassio is a friend of the president of the young men here in the branch. He was already taught by the missionaries last year but moved to Sao Paulo before being baptized. He moved back to Tres Coracoes recently. Cassio has a really sincere desire to serve Christ and my faith was strengthened as I heard him talk about his desire to be baptized. The whole week, I had been praying to find someone who was ready to be baptized and the Lord answered our prayers.

We are going to have a fireside in two weeks called the Search for Happiness and our goal is to bring 40 investigators to the chapel. I ask you´re prayers in this endeavor - it is going to be a really great fireside.

We were practicing and studying as companions today when I just felt the Spirit testify that this work is true. I, really suddenly, just felt incredibly happy because I know that the gospel has the power to cleanse us of our sins. I need that cleansing, that purity of Christ so much in my life. I am so grateful for the incredible hope of the gospel - that we can change! That we can be different and through Christ, one day we can receive a fullness of light and truth. Man, the gospel is true. I know it.

I hope you all are happy and healthy and close to the Lord. I know the Lord answers prayers. I heard a quote in the CTM that I was thinkning about the other day that I´ll close with - If you´re not as close to the Lord as you were yesterday, guess who moved? The Lord is constantly waiting and ready to help us with our difficulties - just trust in Him and do what is right. It will all work out for the best. I love you all.

Elder Jacob

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Beautiful Day In Brazil! (Week 37)

Hey all!

Ah, what to say. I am grateful that it is PDay. It was a good week but we this week we are going to really focus on finding new investigators.

We had a zone conference on Friday that was a blessing. It was really inspring to learn from Pres. Fortunato. He talked a lot about faith. Mormon 9 is one powerful chapter of scripture. We spent the day listening to talks by them and practicing teaching with our companions. The assistents taught us about being more bold in our teaching. One of the Assistants, Elder Wilks gave us three tips to be more bold. He taught to be bold we have to 1. remember our purpose (Invite others to Come unto Christ) 2. Have faith (Mark 4:40) 3. Remember that perfect love castesth out all fear. I was really inspired and it was a great conference.

I´m sorry, this email is really lame. I am pretty tired today and am not thinking very well right now. We are going to do a divisão with 6 elders in another area that is really struggling right now on Thursday. I am looking forward to it.

I apologize again for the lame email this week. I am happy, healthy and so very grateful to be here serving in Tres Coracoes. The members are wonderful and I am so grateful to be serving the Lord. I know that the Lord calls prophets in our day. I know that we can be happy if we only follow Christ! So follow Him and be happy! Today is the day to be happy, to repent, to change and to be better than you were yesterday! What a blessing we have to always have another day to live! I love you all!

Sorry Fam, I am pretty tired today. Next week I will write more! Please knowthat I love youand pray for youalways! You are mygreatest blessing and I can´t express how much I love you. I am very happy and grateful to be here - it is an enormous blessing to be amissionary. I love theLordand Iknow that this is His CHurch. Have agreat week!

Elder Jacob