Monday, June 24, 2013

Bus Riders are People too! Soak ´em for Crutchie! (Week 57)

Hey all!

Well it was a great and crazy week.  I have a lot to report on so here goes.

Bad news first.  Elder Sena went home last week.  He called Pres. Fortunato and asked to be sent home.  So that was a big bummer. Really, I was really sad to see him go.  He would have been such a great missionary.  But he let some things get to his head and he started thinking negatively so that´s what happens I guess. 

I went to BH on Tuesday night and spent the evening with the Secretaries.  Luckily for us, when we were in BH, there was a HUGE protest about the high bus ticket prices and they closed all the main roads in BH.  It was actually pretty cool to see so many people.  We didn´t participate but everyone was really animated.  The government raised the bus prices because of the World Cup next year but apparently they don´t have enough money for the hospitals and schools so a lot of people are mad that they are spending millions on soccer stadiums and people are dying and suffering still.  

I got transferred to Florence Ward (Ala Florença) so I feel like I am in Italy now! Haha, not really, but hey, it is kind of cool.  We share the chapel with the Venice Ward (Ala Veneza) so I might just start speaking Italian these days.  I am with Elder Fransisco, an excellent missionary and Zone Leader here in Zona Pampulha.  He is teaching me a lot and we are excited to work and serve together with the missionaries here in this zone. 

They had a big protest in our neighborhood about the bus prices this week too. The people blocked the highway for the whole day - they had huge trucks and buses, just stopped in the middle of the road.  It was annoying because no one was at home so it was a bit difficult to teach people. 

We were blessed with two wonderful baptisms yesterday.  Lilian and Vanessa were baptized yesterday.  They both are very special and wonderful people and it was wonderful to serve with them this week. The ward here is small but with a lot of great members.  One of the evidences that the church is true is that the people who live the gospel are happy and really can change their lives. I am excited to work here with them.

And the best thing (besides the baptisms!) about this week was that wonderful missionary conference last night. Wow! That was absolutely wonderful.  I am so grateful to be a missionary.  I really want to be a better one.  It was the biggest Zone meeting I have ever had.  Wow. It was so cool to see all the people singing and all the missionaries! It made me feel so good to see how many people are obeying the call of the prophet to preach the gospel.  I was struck last night how many times Pres. Monson has said recently that the most important thing that we can do is preach the gospel.  That really is the most important thing.  And I am grateful, for the opportunity that I have to preach this gospel.
I know that this church is true! I know that God lives and I have gained a great witness that He loves His Children.  I know that we can gain help from Him if we are obedient, diligent and have faith.

I love you all!
Elder Jacob

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Beautiful Day in BH‏ (Week 56)

Hey all!

I am doing well this week. This letter will be short because we are headed off to the office and have to be quick. We had a great Zone Meeting on Wednesday that really motivated all of us.  For the first time in the history of the Church the Seminary for New Mission Presidents will be broadcast to the worldwide leadership and the missionaries this Sunday! Yeah, I am pretty stoked. It is like General Conference all over again - this time totally devoted to missionary work! Like indoor plumbing, it is gonna be big. 

I was reading Pres. Monson´s talk from the past General Conference about obedience and I was struck by the promise that he made that if we are obedient, we will have truth and knowledge and answers that we need in our life.  I thought that was really interesting - I never thought that obedience to God´s laws will bring us greater knowledge and revelation that we need.  It makes sense, I just don´t remember ever hearing that kind of promise before.  I know that it is true and I know that Pres. Monson is a prophet of God. 

How blessed we are to be Latter-Day Saints?  If the world is going wrong, we can have the calm confidence that we can go right.  We have prophets and apostles to guide us.  We have prayer and scriptures to strengthen our faith.  We have bodies and families to bring us great happiness.  We have knowledge about why this life is important and where we are headed after this life.  We have so many confidences, so many blessings that it is hard not to smile and feel grateful for the wonderful mercy of God.  I don´t know why anyone wouldn´t want to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that it is the true church.  I know that God has ways to bless our lives, if we will just be obedient to Him.  If life is hard right now, just remember that God knows you and your situation.  He will guide you and bless you if you just trust in Him.  I know this to be true beyond all doubt. 

Have a wonderful week!  

Elder Jacó

Monday, June 10, 2013

"It's not that. It's his excessive consumption of mushrooms!" (Week 55)

Hey family!

It was a great week this week. Sorry about the delay in the email - We went to the office today to get mail, my package and copies of the Book of Mormon (Book of Mormons? :) )  and just got back to the area today.  By the way, I was transferred last week to Ramo Nacional in Contagem - it is pretty close to where I was in Riacho! I am finishing up training Elder Souto from Maceio Lagoas and it has been really great so far.  Honestly, I feel like I am starting my mission over again - I am excited and really wanting to work hard.  Time is flying and I have really got to keep doing what is right because man, the gospel is true.  

Ayssa was baptized - I found out today at the office! I was sad to leave Elder Sipião and Tres Coraçoes.  That will always be an area of the mission that I will love.  I am so grateful to be serving a mission - I have a ton to improve but I really am happy.  It is interesting because in my area right now we have another dupla of missionaries serving in the same branch, something that hasn´t happened to me yet.  I was pretty isolated in Tres Coracoes with just Elder Sipião and the Zone Leaders via telephone for months.  So it is a good change in that respect.  

Guys, I know that this church is true.  Yesterday, we taught a lady that is Espirita.  It is a religion that is interesting mix of christianity and apparently buddhism because they believe in reincarnation...anyway...we were talking to her a ton about the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she was just kinda saying, `Yeah, well, I believe it is this way...` I had a really strong spiritual impression to bear my testimony to her and I said that I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth.  I told her that we didn´t just represent another idea or theory about God or life but we represent the heavenly truth given to man through his authorized servants, the prophets.  I told her that there can only be one truth, because there is only one God and I told her that I knew that what we had taught her about the Plan of Salvation was the truth.  I was so grateful in that moment to be able to rely on the Spirit and to tell her completely honestly what I knew to be true.  I am so grateful for the wonderful teachers, prophets, leaders and friends that have strengthened this testimony of mine through the years.  I thought of all of you when I was talking to her yesterday and I was grateful to have been influenced and supported to the point where I can say that I know the gospel is true.

Keep doing what is right! Keep reading the Ensign because man, it is great! Hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Love you!
Elder Jacob

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello! (Week 54)

Hey all!

It was a good week here on my end. Rainy and cold but very good. We have two people progressing which is really great. A young girl named Ayssa and a man called Lucas. They both went to church yesterday and liked it a lot.

I am doing well - I have been focusing on improving my teaching and my reasons for doing what I do as a missionary. You really have a lot more happiness as you focus on why it is important to do what you are doing. Elder Sipião is a great missionary and I am so grateful to be with him. He is a superb friend.

No news about transfers within the mission or to another mission. I could be transfered tomorrow or no. We´ll just have to see. As far as other changes in the mission, I know nothing.  We´ll just keep going with faith and I know that it all will work out!

I hope everyone that is serving or will serve a mission soon is excited and doing well! I know that this is the Lord´s work and that He will bless us as we do what is right. I hope and pray that everyone is doing what is right and being happy.

I love you all!
Elder Jacob