Monday, April 29, 2013

If I Were A Rich Man‏ (Week 49)

Good morning family!

Wow! It was great to get your email today! Thank you so much for the wonderful news and exciting stories! I am so grateful that you are all well and happy!

I am doing well here too! We were really blessed yesterday with the baptism of Leonor Aparecida. She is a older lady who lives basically alone and she´s a neighbor of a member. She was really worried about not understanding everything about the gospel before her baptism so she wanted to wait to be baptized until she understood everything. With the help of some of the amazing Relief Society sisters here in the branch, we were able to help her understand that she didn´t have to understand everything, she just needed to understand the importance of baptism and living the commandments. Once she understood that more clearly, she accepted to be baptized. But she was really worried about the water being cold. She´s older and has had a cold for a while. (The chapel here doesn´t have a water heater and it´s starting to be winter here in Brazil so the water isn´t exactly warm.) We invited her to be baptized anyway and to have faith that the Lord would provide. She went to church and entered the waters of baptism and was baptized. Afterward, she said that she didn´t feel cold when she was baptized and she was so happy and bright after she was baptized that I really was taken aback. I know that the Lord wanted her to be baptized and He helped all of us overcome all the difficulties to make it so she could receive that blessing yesterday. It was a wonderful day for all of us.

I am still here in Três Corações and loving it. The branch is wonderful and we are really excited to work this week and find new people to teach and baptize. I don´t know how much longer I will be here but it really doesn´t matter because I am happy and it is great to be here serving. Elder Sipião and I gave talks in church yesterday and it went well. I am really grateful for the Spirit - when you are teaching or explaining a gospel principle and suddenly you feel the Spirit touching your heart and teaching other people, that is the best feeling. I am grateful for my merciful Heavenly Father and all that He gives to me.

I don´t know anything about the Mother´s Day Call. I think this week I will learn more because we are going to have a Zone Meeting on Thursday.
I read Mormon 9 today and I really want to understand that chapter better. I really want to improve and increase my faith so that I can be a better servant and missionary. I know that faith is what we need to see miracles and the promise in Mormon 9 about asking in faith, doubting nothing, in the name of Christ is real. I know that God lives and loves us all.

Keep the faith! It will all work out!

Elder Jacob

Monday, April 22, 2013

Para Para, Paradise! (Week 48)

Hey Family!

First of all, I love you all very very much. Second of all, we are so very blessed. The gospel is true! Thirdly,  it is yet another beautiful day here in Tres Coracoes - you should see the sky!

This week was good, hard and helpful. We had one investigator progressing who chose not to be baptized yesterday, but we will continue to work with her and I have faith that she will be baptized on Sunday.

We had district conference yesterday in Varginha, a neighboring city. The district where I am serving will be part of the Brasil Juiz de Fora Mission as of July 1, 2013. I really don´t know anything about if I will stay in Missão Brasil Belo Horizonte or be transferred to the other mission. If I am here in this area in July, I think I will be transferred to the other mission. But I really don´t know anything. But, I am calm and know that it all will workout. I´ll be serving the Lord no matter where I go!

I am really grateful for the time that I have every single day to study the scriptures and learn more about the gospel. It is one of the best things about the mission. I have grown to love the scriptures and everyday I realize how much more there is to understand and apply about the gospel. It never ends the gospel! And I am so grateful to know that it is true!

I am working on being more charitable and patient with the investigators. Sometimes it is hard when you have people that can be rude or ignorant, but then again, we are all rude and ignorant sometimes and Christ still loves us and wants us to be happy so just gotta keep being loving and patient!

I know that God lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Read the scriptures and you´ll be blessed! I know it!
Elder Jacob

Monday, April 15, 2013

You've Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray.. HOORAY! (Week 47)

Hello My family! I just say....I love you! Gotta let a little Stevie Wonder into your life.

First of all, your email was a blessing! Thank you so much! I love you all! We had a really wonderful week this week, thanks for asking. We worked hard and played hard also.

Most importantly, we had the baptism of Fluvia on Saturday and she was confirmed yesterday. It was Fast and Testimony meeting and she, without being invited, stood up and bore her short sweet little testimony and everyone really liked it. We are excited to keep working with her this week and help her make the full transition into the church. Bruno and Salomão were confirmed yesterday also and are excited to start going to Seminary and the activities with the young men. The members here in the branch are the creme of the crop - they are such examples to me and I am so grateful for them. Man, it is a blessing to be on a mission. I really am happy. :)

Saturday was Elder Sipião´s birthday. I got up early and put a bunch of posters with birthday messages around our apartment, gave him a tie and a letter and made him breakfast in bed. Gotta keep the Jacob birthday tradition of breakfast in bed alive! He thought it was different, but I know he liked it. I haven´t gotten the birthday package yet but it´s all good - when I get it, it will be my birthday again! Haha. Today Elder Sipião said he was going to make me a Brazilian dessert I really like here. I think I´ll get some extra pão de queijo also. But the best birthday gift was emailing you guys! Thank you so much for your great email - that really made me smile.

We are working with Dona Aparecida for baptism this Sunday and we have a goal to really find a lot more people. It is really really great to serve a mission - I honestly love it. You gotta have fun you know - you gotta believe that it is fun to knock on doors because you never know what will happen. You gotta believe that people will listen and let the Spirit touch them. You just gotta believe and then it is great!

One funny thing that happened, we were walking on the street and I stopped to talk to a woman that was coming towards us. She seemed interested but then, apparently, she realized who we were and threw up her hands and said, `ewwewew!` as if we had leprosy or something and walked away. I had to laugh and I honestly hope she finds the gospel someday soon.

We were practicing the 1st lesson today and I was practicing the part about the 1st Vision. I felt the Spirit testify that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. I am grateful that Heavenly Father is good enough to always confirm the things that are true to us, even after we receive a witness of them. I know, because of the Spirit, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I am so grateful to be part of the true church. It brings me great happiness!

Can´t believe I am twenty. It is weird - I am old. But that´s alright I guess! Just gotta keep going! Like Bro. Wardrop says - today is the best day of my life! And it is just going to get better. Have a great day you all, you all deserve it!
Elder Jacob

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Pygmy Puff of an Email‏ (Week 46)

Hey all!

It was a wonderful week this week - we worked hard and were blessed with the baptism of Bruno and Salomâo, two brothers that are really humble and have a desire to do what is right. I really love teaching the gospel - we were teaching Bruno and talking about the changes that he has felt in his life since we started teaching him. He talked about how he has more desire to work and do good, how he feels happier and more calm. When he was talking, I was really touched and in that moment, I was so grateful for the gospel and how it changes our lives. It is a privilege to see the change in a person as they accept and live the gospel.

We had a Zone Conference on Friday which was a benção. Presidente Fortunato talked a lot about faith and having love for the members and investigators. I know that he is a man called of God. The mission gossip is that part of the mission will go to Missâo Brasil Juiz de Fora and the Southern Part of Minas (Where I am now) will be part of the mission. We´ll see what happens but really, it doesn´t matter. I´ll still be serving the Lord no matter where I go.

Conference was wonderful! We listened to it in Portuguese of course at the chapel. All the members here were really excited that there is going to be a temple in Rio de Janeiro. Apparently the members there have been working and praying for a temple for a long time - the church is strong there. I was really touched by Pres. Monson´s talk in Priesthood - it is such a great time to be serving a mission! Soon there will be close to 100,000 missionaries in the world! And yet, the gospel will continue to be preached one person at a time, one conversion at a personal and individual level, as the Savior would want. I know that we are lead by true prophets and apostles. We got to watch the Saturday Morning, Priesthood and Sunday afternoon sessions. I sang Òh What a Beautiful Morning today in honor of Bruce D. Porter´s cousnel to be more optimistic.

The food continues to be wonderful here in Brazil. Our fridge is divided into two parts - the fridge and the freezer. The freezer was almost completely covered with ice so we unplugged the fridge and the ice is melting in our apartment. We´ll clean and organize everything when we get home. I like to clean - helps my mind feel calmer haha.

I´ll close with my sincere testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jesus Christ is our Savior and He knows us individually. I know that God lives and that He responds to every honest and faithful prayer. I love the Lord and I am happy, healthy and humble to be here serving. 

Elder Jacob

Monday, April 1, 2013

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape DUMBLEDORE!‏ (Week 45)

Hey all!

I am doing well and am so grateful to be alive today.  You always have something to be grateful for right?

I hope everyone had a great easter.  We got chocolate easter eggs from a really nice sister in the branch.  She´s kind of adopted us as her sons and she always helps us if we need her.  The eggs were delicious.  But most importantly, we had a really great sacrament meeting yesterday and my testimony of the resurrection was strengthened.

We have two young men progressing for next Sunday which really is a blessing.  It was a roller-coaster of a week - we had one pesquisador progressing really well and then he decided not to be baptized. But we aren´t getting down on that!  

I am constantly grateful for the Spirit of the Lord.  Constantly throughout the days you have moments when you need help or direction.  Prayer and scripture study really are the keys to keeping the Spirit with you.  I am more convinced every day that the Lord is in the details of our Lives and that He truly is aware of what we need.  It will all work out - just trust in the Lord.

Elder Sipião has a great gift for making juice - but he makes it with milk which makes it more of a shake.  A member gave us a bunch of avocados so Elder Sipiâo made an avocado shake with sugar and milk.  It was really really good.  I made one myself this morning.  Who knew? Avocado, sugar and milk - it´s a great combo.

We are going to have a zone meeting on Thursday which will be really great. And then we´ll have General Conference! It´s going to be a great week this week.

I know that this Church is the true church and I know that God lives. 

Elder Jacob