Monday, August 26, 2013

The Weekly Pão de Queijo‏ (Week 66)

Well hey all!

I am on a mission! What can I say more?  It is a blessing and a privilege.  I am really so very happy. This week was good and hard, but honestly, I am so very, very happy and ready to be better. 

We were blessed with the baptism of Carlos Henrique yesterday.  He is a great young man with a strong desire to do what is right.  We taught him at the end of July but they he went to another city to be with his dad for three weeks.  He came back this week and we invited him to be baptized this Sunday and he accepted! It was a really great baptism and I am very grateful to know Carlos.  He is really cool.

I was flipping through the General Conference Ensign from 2007 and enjoyed reading the counsel of the prophets.  I was struck by how Elder Bednar taught that the Atonement both cleans us from sin and changes our hearts to no longer desire the bad, only the good.  He taught that the Atonement is for the sinner and the saint in each of us.  I really liked that.  Like Pres. McKay said, the purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good and good men better.  Isn´t that cool?

The ward here is really really excited - on September 8th, we are going to have a very special sacrament meeting.  We have the goal to invite 300 people to attend the meeting. Lots of people here have just heard of the Church but never entered so we are hoping to have a lot of new people to get to know the Church and be touched by the Spirit that there is in the building.  

I love the work.  I am far from a good missionary but I really enjoy the challenge to improve every day and learn from the hard times.  Like Bro. Rich says, "Every adversity and every defeat carries with it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit, if you look for it!"

I love you all! Have a great great week! And keep doing what is right!

Elder Jacob

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Week in Paradise‏ (Week 65)

Hey All!

I don´t know if I have said this already, but I am currently living in the city of Riberão das Neves which means Snowy River in Portuguese.  So you could just call me the Elder from Snowy River. Yeah, I did just make that 80´s movie reference.

This week was hard.  We had so many meetings! It was way out of the ordinary.  Tuesday, we had a district meeting with the Assistants and President.  It was awesome.  And then we had another district meeting with Assistants and President with the other district on Wednesday (also awesome) and then later on that same day we had a meeting with President and Bishop Edmilson (of our ward) and then on Friday we had a council with President and the Assistants at the office! It was all really inspiring and wonderful but also very out of the ordinary.  When you are on the mission, you really get into a groove and when something goes out of the ordinary it can take some getting used to.  But I am not complaining - it was a week that I will never forget! I learned so much from President and I am really loving Preach My Gospel.  That manual is so inspired.  President read the part in chapter 6 about Hope to me in my interview with him and it really touched me.  I encourage you all to read what it says there.

But this week was hard because our two baptisms that we had lined up fell through on Friday.  Always a bit discouraging but we aren´t letting that get us down.  Our goal is six baptisms this week and we are going to reach our goal! With faith and works and the Lord, who can stop us? :)

Elder Smidt is a really funny and spiritual guy.  We have spiritual discussions and are getting along well.  I am looking forward to having a lot of success with him.

I´d like to close my letter with my honest testimony that I know that this work is the Lord´s.  It is a humbling work. It is a hard work.  But it is good and is not of men.  It is of the Lord.  I am so grateful for the gospel in my life.  Obedience brings happiness and breaking the commandments just makes problems.  I know that Pres. Monson is a prophet.  I love my Savior and I invite everyone who reads this to think about what you are doing to follow the only perfect and Holy man who ever lived and make a plan to follow him more actively in your life.  It is the only way we can be saved.  I love you all!
Have a great week!

Elder Jacob

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Good Week‏ (Week 64)

Hey all!

We had a good week. We worked hard.  I will be honest haha, it feels like there isn´t really much new things to say.  I am happy and healthy and ready to have another great week. 

I had a really cool experience this week.  I did splits with Elder Bowerbank and we taught a couple that he was teaching.  They weren´t super excited to be baptized this Sunday but we talked a lot with them and had a really spiritual lesson.  One of the coolest things about being a missionary is inviting someone to be baptized.  You always feel the Spirit really strongly. I bore my testimony to them and then invited them to be baptized and they accepted.  They are wonderful people and it was really cool to see how much faith they have.  

Elder Smidt is great. We are getting along well and looking forward to having a lot more success this week.  The ward is really excited and is working hard.  

I am feeling like this is the part of the mission when things get good.  You get to really kick it into high gear and get going.  I am looking forward to learning a lot this week.

Mom, I am going to buy some new shoes today.  Sister Fortunato told me that I need to.  So I am going to.  These roads in Florenca aren´t really good for the shoes.

I love you all and I know that the Church is true! I sincerely know that God lives and He loves all of His Children. I hope that everyone is doing what is right.  I love you all!
Elder Jacob

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hey family! (Week 63)

Hey all,
It was a great week.  Started off with a great meeting with Pres. Fortunato and the Assistants where we learned a lot and were really fortified.  We watched a short clip of the church movie "Only a Stonecutter" about John Rowe Moyle, a pioneer who helped construct the Salt Lake Temple.  Very inspiring.  It was a great meeting.
But unfortunately, we didn´t have anyone progressing for baptism and we really wanted to start baptizing.  We prayed and sought the Lord´s help.  Elder Smidt looked up some names of old investigators in the Area Book and we went after them.  After walking a lot and not finding a lot of people, we finally found Maria Ilza, a senhora who had already been taught by the missionaries and even gone to Church for a while.  We taught her and had a really inspirational lesson and thanks to the Lord, she accepted to be baptized.  She has wonderful faith - a very humble and inspiring person and yesterday she was baptized.  It was an answered prayer and a very tender mercy from the Lord.

Things are great with Elder Smidt.  He and I are very alike and he is teaching me a lot about humility and love for the work and the people we serve. 
Everyday, I think how blessed I am to be on my mission.  It is such a blessing.  I feel greater love, I better understand things and I honestly am coming to know my Lord more and more as every day passes.  We are so blessed to have the Gospel - it is a blessing of which we need to take more advantage.  I know that the Church is true.  I am honestly very very happy to be here serving my mission.
We´ve got a lot of work to do still! There are a lot of people, a LOT of people that don´t know about the gospel.  No matter where you are or what you are doing, you have people that you can help and with whom you can share the gospel.  Share the gospel with someone this week y'all.  It is too precious a treasure to keep to ourselves.

I love you all!
Elder Jacob