Monday, July 29, 2013

God´s a God of Mercy! God´s a God of Love! Right now, He´s gonna lend a helpin´hand from up above! (Week 62)

Hey all!

This week we worked really hard.  I am doing well and looking forward to this week when I can really improve and see some progress. We were blessed with the baptism of Mauro and we have plans to baptize his friends when they get back from the school break.  Things are looking up here in Florença!

Today I finally memorized the words to I believe in Christ in Portuguese.  I have a goal to memorize a lot of the hymns - it will help me in my future I am sure. 

We had a really cool story this week.  Two weeks ago, we went to the lan house to send email on the PDay.  When we arrived, the lady that runs the lan house asked us to say a prayer for her.  She explained that she was having a lot of difficulties with money and with her family also and she was just at the end of her rope with everything.  We talked with her a bit and then said a simple prayer in the lan house.  We got her address and passed it to the elders who work in her neighborhood.  Turns out she was really just waiting to hear the gospel - she progressed very quickly in the lessons and was baptized this Saturday.  She is a very special lady who unfortunately has a lot of troubles and difficulties.  But I am comforted that she will find solace in the gospel.  She really is an elect.

Tomorrow we go to BH for a council with the President! I am really looking forward to it.  Tonight, we are going to do a family home evening with a really strong family in the gospel and they are going to invite a bunch of people to learn about the gospel.  Members of the Church are great people.  I am very grateful for them!

Other than that, I am doing well! Gettin´ along great with Elder Smidt - he´s a very spiritual guy and I am looking forward to the success that we will have together. 

I love the gospel and I am very grateful to be here serving a mission.  I love the Lord and I know that He lives!

Elder Jacob

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brightly Beams our Father´s Mercy (Week 61)

Hey all!

It was a wonderful wonderful week! Very crazy but great.  Here´s the report. 

Elder Francisco went home on Wednesday.  It was short and sweet. I really will miss him.  He was a great elder and taught me a lot.  I am with Elder Smidt from Idaho right now and I am already really grateful for him.  We are going to be great friends to be sure and we are going to inspire the zone to have more success! He is great.

The highlight of the week was the Mission Tour with Elder Jairo Mazzagardi of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.  Man, that was a great experience.  They had a meeting with the leadership of the mission before the general session and I was playing prelude on the piano when suddenly, I heard everyone stand up and get quiet all of the sudden.  Elder Mazzagardi entered the room and inspected us.  And then President asked me to play Called to Serve to open the meeting.  Man was I nervous! Literally I was praying the whole time that the Lord would have mercy and bless my fingers to not mess up.  Playing piano for a Seventy - that´s motivation to practice for you!

The conference was awesome and very inspiring.  I learned so much and felt so much. Elder Mazzagardi really likes music and talked about how music has a great impact on us.  He asked a group of us missionaries to sing Brightly Beams our Father´s Mercy and it was a really spiritual experience. He told us that we were in the agenda of the Lord for that day and I believe it because of the strong spirit that we felt and the truths that were confirmed to us during that day.  

The best part was that after the conference ended, the assistants told me that I would be interviewed by Elder Mazzagardi.  The interview was an experience I will never forget - it was only 5 minutes but filled with the Spirit.  I know that he is a servant of the Lord - it was as if he was reading my thoughts and knew the answers to my questions and concerns.  I am so grateful for the Spirit of Revelation. It is real my friends, it is real.

Other than that, we have our work cut out for is this week.  We´re praying for a miracle  so that we can reach our baptism goal this week. I know the Lord will bless us if we are obedient. 

I know this Church is true! I know that God answers our prayers! Have a great week!

Elder Jacó

Monday, July 15, 2013

Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way? (Week 60)

Hey meu povo do Provo! (and the Utah Valley Area)

I am here in the bustling city of Belo Horizonte after a short visit to the office so that Elder Francisco could be interviewed.  He goes home on Wednesday - weird.  It was fun to see some friends at the office today too. 

This week was really good but also not as fruitful as it should have been.  Unfortuntately, we only had 1 baptism in our entire zone! Yikes.  We´ve got some good work ahead of us this week.  I am starting to get the hang of being a Zone Leader - it is very different and I´m learning a ton about helping people change their atitudes.  I have learned this week the blessing of work - if you are sad, tired, feeling lazy or confused, just start to work and I have learned that whatever negative feeling you had gets lost in the concentrated and diligent effort you make.  Just keep swimming, just keep working and it will all work out. Funnily enough, I remembered a quote from Glory Road. The coach says ´I wasn´t the best player, but I busted my butt and I outworked better players.  I am not the smartest coach,  but I busted my butt and I outworked smarter coachs.´ I feel like that.  Nossa lei é trabalhar!

I am everday more convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to be happy in this world.  One day this week I woke up feeling stressed about everything that I had to do that day.  I started listening to a talk by Pres. Monson about gratitude and in that very moment, I felt great peace.  Hearing his voice and the Spirit, I immediately felt better and gained a stronger testimony that we have living prophets and that the Lord knows what we need and when we need it.  

I love Brazil.  It is a great crazy wonderful country.  Riberão das Neves is a very blessed area and I am honestly very grateful to be here. I love you all and hope that you are happy, healthy and looking forward to the great week that it will be this week!

Come what may and love it! 

Elder Crepuscolo
(that is how you say Twilight in Portuguese and everyone says that when they see the name Jacob.  Thanks Stephanie Meyer.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do I talk too much? (Week 59)

Heyall! (Yall! I am country now!)

Well it was another week on the mission and I am every day convinced that through the things that happen in our lives, the Lord molds us and makes us who we should be.  You feel that on the mission, you feel the Lord guiding you and giving you opportunities to grow and be tested so you can be better.  It is pretty darn cool.  I am so grateful for the love of the Lord and for the Plan of Salvation - to know that everything will work out for our good and benefit is a great comfort.

Funny story of the week - We were contacting a reference we got from an investigator.  We knocked on the door and a young man opened the door.  We explained who we were and that we wanted to share a message with him.  He was flying a kite (pipa) at the time and without a moment of second thought he said, `No, no sorry, I am busy right now.` Afterwhich he promptly turned his back to us and continued to fly his kite.  We laughed and went to our next appointment but from now on when we see someone flying a kite (and they have a ton of kite-flyers here in Brazil) we say to ourselves how busy the young generation of Mineiros are.  :)

Don´t have too much new to say or report. We had a great Zone Conference this week with Pres and Sister Fortunato.  It really inspired me to be more animated and to use my faith more.  It is such a blessing to be a missionary.  I know that this is the Lord´s church.  I know that the way to happiness is the gospel. 

And one more thought to close - I was struck by how the gospel really is for everyone.  You don´t have to be incredibly smart, incredibly rich, incredibly beautiful or incredibly popular to please God.  You have to keep the commandments, you have to have faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end.  That is what God requires. He looks on the heart and in this world where every day more and more people look at how much you have, how much you know or things of that sort, God looks at your sincere desires and your faithfulness in doing what is right.  Anyone can be saved, anyone can enter into the Kingdom of our Lord.  Isn´t that cool?

I love you all! Have a wonderful wonderful week!

And i hope you all had a very patriotic 4th of July! I wore a red, white and blue tie for you all, just so you know. 

Elder Jacob

Monday, July 1, 2013

Eu sei que vive meu Senhor‏ (Week 58)

Hey all!

I decided to break the mold this week and make a list of things I wanted to say.  I am losing a lot of my English speaking ability (it is a good and a bad thing)  so it is a bit easier to write a list of tidbits and stories that I wanted to share.  It might be more of a list of things that I am grateful for but here goes.

1. I am grateful for the beautiful sky that reminds me of God´s infinite power and love.
2. I am grateful for pão de queijo and avocado shakes.  They are delicious. 
3. I am grateful for my companion, Elder Fransisco.  He is from Santa Catarina and will be returning home in just three weeks.  But we are working hard and he has a ton of great experience with missionary work.  I am learning a lot.
4. I am grateful for Elder Tad. R Callister´s talk `The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy.` 
5. I am grateful for walking all day on these dusty roads of Florença.  I can´t really describe it, but you have a different spirit when you are on a mission - it is a working happiness.  It is hard, hot and tiring but despite all that, you feel within you a peace and a motivation to keep working and walking.  It is very cool. 
6. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible. I know that they are true.  John 15:1-16 was really inspiring to me this morning and being a missionary gives really great perspective to what Christ teaches in that scripture. 
7. I am grateful for the gospel.  It is so simple - faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end! Anyone can and everyone should follow this path!
8. I am grateful for Brazil.  It really is a great country, with wonderful people and great potential.  
9.  I am grateful for my family.  :)
10.  I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.  I have so much still to learn and improve, but honestly, I am so grateful for how much I have learned about my Savior thus far on the mission.
11. I am grateful that life never ends! I am grateful for the great hope that the Plan of Salvation gives to us! As Bro. Wardrop always says ´It never ends.  The Gospel never ends.` It is true.  There will always be more to do, more to grow, more people to meet and serve and more we can change to be more like our Heavenly Father.  There will always be another day tomorrow! How cool is that?

In short, I am very grateful to be here serving as a missionary.  Sincerely, I am grateful. I know that God lives and He loves us all. He restored the Church of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith.  We are so blessed in our lives. 

Have a wonderful week yáll! Have a great 4th of July! God bless America! 

Elder Jacob