Monday, March 25, 2013

Heyah! Anyone for Guacamole? (Week 44)

Well hi!

It was a week of work and blessings. I am honestly very happy today and I am very grateful to be here serving a mission.

Paulo and Rosana were confirmed yesterday. They are a very very special family and I am very grateful that the members are helping them so much to be welcome in the branch. They have a little daughter called Susana who is the happiest, most talkative and playful 4 year old ever. I am so grateful that they are all accepting the gospel.

I am attaching a picture of some avocados a member gave us. They are quite a bit bigger than the avocados in the States.

We are working with a girl called Karol. We taught her a few weeks ago but didn't have a chance to return until yesterday. When we taught her yesterday, she told us about a dream that she had after she prayed a lot about the Book of Mormon. She saw herself being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and said that she felt so much peace after she prayed that she knew that she needed to be baptized. I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord - this really is His work and we are privileged to take part. He does most of the work I think so I have no reason to complain or get discouraged.

We were talking with a rapaz (young man) yesterday who was calling us crazy for being members of the Church. `You guys can´t do anything! How are you guys happy being here away from your family and everything in your life?` he said. Honestly, I told him that even though it is very hard to be away from family and friends, I am honestly very happy because I know that I am doing what the Lord wants. I was very grateful that in that moment, I could honestly tell him that I know the gospel brings happiness and peace (John 14:26-27).

Well I am happy, healthy and very grateful to be here. I have a lot of work to do still - man, I need to improve a ton, but I am grateful for this mountain I get to climb. Just like the hill above Timpview - just keep running and giving your all and the view at the top will be the best thing ever. I know that God lives and that Christ is our Savior. I know that we can truly be happy if we follow him!

Elder Jacob

Monday, March 18, 2013

Well Hi! (Week 43)

Hey All!

So they changed the rules about the email. I am trying to stay on top of all my thoughts today because I have to do this survey for the Church about Preach My Gospel, send President a letter, report key indicators and write you guys, all within one hour (that is the new rule about the email - we only have an hour.) Sorry if I am a little scattered today - I am trying to do three things at once!

It was a good week. We had a divisão with the Zone Leaders which really helped animate and give the work here a new twist. I really am grateful for Elder Jones - he is from Philly and a really spiritual guy. He helped us a lot and we were blessed with the baptism of Paulo and Rosana yesterday. They are a very humble and special couple that heard about the Church in Sao Paulo and have a desire to have the blessings of God in their life. I am really grateful for the help of the members here in Tres Coracoes - the branch is really great and has a lot of really strong and dedicated members. It makes all the difference.

This week, our goal is to work the Area Book and find a family that is ready for the gospel. I am really happy and excited to work this week. This really is the work of the Lord and I am just grateful to be part of the great final cause of Christ as Elder Holland called it. I know that the Savior Lives and that is probably the most important thing. I love you all!

Elder Jacob

Monday, March 11, 2013

God´s a God of Mercy! Praise the Lord! (Week 42)

Hiyah folks!

You´re the meaning in my life! You´re the inspiration! Gotta love Chicago. I am extremely happy to be writing you all this letter because it is the dawning of a new day here in Tres Coracoes.

First of all, I will attach a picture of me in front of a very pretty Catholic Church here in Tres Coracoes.

Second of all, I will explain the lesion on my forehead. I was, as I said, very excited to receive the exercise book that Dad sent. In my enthusiasm, I got into the push-up position to really start cranking out some push-ups. Due to my excessive excitement, I foolishly placed my head close the wall instead of away from the wall. So, when I went down to do the first pushup, I regrettably bashed my head on the wall. It didn´t hurt that bad, but started to scab the next day. There is true wisdom in the Lord´s counsel to be temperate in all things.

We are working hard here and seeking to follow the Lord´s will for us here in Tres Coracoes. We are helping a woman called Tatiane stop smoking so that she can be baptized. She has four little kids that she is raising all by herself. I really want to help her change her life - the gospel will help and comfort her so much. She came to church yesterday and really liked it. We are going to fast and pray with her this week. The great joy of serving a mission I think is helping other people change their lives through the gospel. That´s what it is all about.

Anyone else getting excited for General Conference? I sure am.

To all the wonderful people who are going on missions or are serving right now, I say GOOD ON YA MATE! One of my favorite hymns is Praise the Lord, The Almighty. And there is a line there that I really love and teaches a profound truth. The third verse says `Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee.` Just think! What can God do? Anything and everything! If you feel down or discouraged or overwhelmed and think you can´t go on, just remember that God has all power and He will support you and befriend you with his love.

Elder Sipião continues to be a great companion. Today we had a really great discussion about faith. He helps me see how I can have more faith and he has some incredible insights about the gospel. He joined the Church all by himself when he was 15 and has a fervent testimony of the truth. It really is a blessing to serve with him. He, like I said, has a great love for American pop music. Whenever we feel down or discouraged, he will sing Keep Holdin´on by Avril Lavrigne. Never thought I would appreciate that song as much as I do now.

Sometimes, you have hard times on the mission. Sometimes you feel like you are giving your all, but it just isn't working. What I do when I feel like that is I sing a hymn. Silly as it may seem, I find immense comfort in Vinde Os Santos or Alegres Cantemos. Today, I sang Do You Hear the People Sing and really, I felt the Spirit very strongly. It is really cool how the Spirit can speak to us and I feel the Spirit especially strongly when I sing. What a blessing music is.

I know that Joseph Smith was called of God. I know that God lives and the only way to true happiness is the gospel. To all who read this, please keep the commandments and stay close to the Lord! You are all loved and watched over by our Heavenly Father. I know that He loves all His children.

I love you all!

Elder Jacob

Monday, March 4, 2013

It´s Christmas Again! (Week 41)


How´s it going? Weather report first - it is a balmy 62 degrees (which is good news for you reptiles) and sunny. I was thinking about writing my email like a report from NPR today so I´ll do that. Here goes:

Dun dun dun, dun...dun....dun. Hi. For the LDS Church in Tres Coracoes, I´m Lakshmi Singh and I´m Robert Seagull. You´re listening to The Gospel, from NPR News.

Alright, I had my fun. It was a bit of tough week this week. We worked hard but the two investigators that we had progressing decided to listen to the natural man and stay where they are spiritually speaking. We were feeling a bit down, but the Lord blessed us with several investigators at church and right now we have one young man named Marcelo who accepted to be baptized this Sunday! We taught him about the Plan of Salvation yesterday and while Elder Sipião was explaining something, I had the thought come into my head to ask him `Now that you know God´s plan for you, what do you want to do?´ I asked him the question and he said, `Well, I want to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized.` It was a tender mercy and I am so grateful for the times when the Spirit takes over and teaches. It really is a neat thing.

Elder Sipião is a great companion. He enjoys American music and sometimes to relieve stress, he sings Katy Perry or Adele. I think I like Teenage Dream better when sung with a Brazilian accent, haha. He´s a great friend and I am very glad to be with him.

I got the package with the exercise book and man, I can´t tell you thank you enough. That book is perfect. I am doing different exercises everyday so it is not boring and I´m already sore and feeling better. Thank you so much! And those pictures were just wonderful. Also I got wonderful letters from both Grandparents! Thank you! Tell Grandma Bowler and Grandma Jacob thank you for the ties! I also got a really great letter from Demarie which was really nice and inspiring to read, tell her a big thank you for me. And Maddie Hall and Caleb Jenson sent me a large pacakge of Christmas goodies and a BYU pillowcase! Wow! They are wonderful friends! Elder Sipião and I enjoyed munching some Krisp Kringles during our planning session last night. Thank you for all the support.

Tell Zach to keep on keepin´on and stop being a Karma Chameleon for me will ya?

I am doing well but I have a lot to improve this week. I am really learning about the difference between being 100% obedient and being stressed - believe me, there is a difference! With the help of the Lord and Elder Sipião, we will have a really great week this week.

We sang Now Let Us Rejoice yesterday in Sacrament meeting (of course it was in Portuguese so I should say we sang Alegres Cantemos) and while singing, I was getting really choked up. There hadn´t been a lot of visible success this week and I was feeling down about how I was doing when we started to sing and I remembered how W.W. Phelps, when he wrote this hymn, wrote it just after Haun´s Mill and what a hard trying time that was for the Church. I was reminded to always have faith in the resurrection and the Second Coming of the Savior. What a blessing we have as members of the Church to sing and praise our God every sunday and then partake of the sacrament to renew our convenants with the Lord. I know the Lord lives and this is His Church. I know it with all my soul. Many people may talk about the blessings that come from serving a mission but I know that the great blessing is to serve a mission - even when it is hard. I am very grateful to be here serving.

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Jacob