Monday, September 30, 2013

Excited for General Conference! (Week 71)

Hey all,

This week was a week of blessings and faith.  Yesterday we were blessed with the baptism of Noiva and Kelly, a mother and daughter.  We had a wonderful time teaching them this week and helping them join the Church.  They are really wonderful and it was so great to enter the water again.  There is a special spirit that I can´t describe when you enter the water to baptize someone.  You know in that moment that it isn´t you that is important, it is the Lord.  It is His work and His joy that He let you feel for an instant.  We had a very spiritual baptismal meeting and it was great to see them.

We have two people with a date for this Sunday too.  I am feeling alive again and am excited for this great month of October because I know that it will be a great month. 

General Conference is here! Oh yeah! Gonna be powerful.  We are only going to the sessions on Sunday but it will be great.  Hope you all are excited!

I know that the Church is true.  I know that Joseph Smith was chosen of God to restore the Truth to the Earth.  I know it and I am so grateful for this knowledge.

Have a great week! 

Elder Jacob

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Week‏ (Week 70)

 It was a great week this week.  We are learning a lot together. Here´s the lowdown.
Our zone isn´t doing so hot.  We are really in need of an upbeat, a break in the tradition of few baptisms.  We had a really inspiring Zone Meeting on Wednesday with the Assistants and afterwards they had a divisâo with us in our area.  It really was awesome to feel the spirit they bring and to learn how to improve the work.  It doesn´t matter how much time you have on the mission - you always have to learn and improve! I needed to hear and work with them to learn how I need to improve and things are looking a lot better now.  We have 6 people in our ward with a baptismal date for this Sunday.  We, along with the ward council and the ward missionaries, are working hard ot help them progress.  That is the lowdown with our work here in Florença. 

Elder G. Almeida is a great friend and I enjoy being with him.  I am helping him learn English because he has the goal to study at BYU.  It is still the best school out there, even if they lost again to the Utes.... 

I am honestly very grateful to be a misisonary in this time of my life.  There are so many misisonaries in the world and I am so grateful for the gospel that brings happiness and peace to our lives and to this world.  I know the Savior knows and loves us.  I know that even if everything looks bleak and you feel like your efforts are in vain and nothing is getting better, we just have to hold on to our faith and keep pushing forward.  Things will get better.  Things will improve and we will overcome, with the grace of Christ, all things.

I love you all! Keep the faith!

Elder Jacob

Monday, September 16, 2013

Walking, Teaching, and Praying (Week 69)


Hey all!
This was a great week! Lots of hard work, walking, teaching and praying. 

Here´s a cool story for the week. We have two investigators Elionildo and Leandro.  We taught them through out the week and they told us they would come to church on Sunday.  We stopped by their house before church and they weren´t there.  I was really disappointed because this happens a fair bit - people say they will go to church and then don´t go.  But my companion had a lot of faith - he didn´t say anything and we just started heading to the chapel.  When we arrived at the top of the hill where the chapel is, who did we see sitting in the parking lot?  Elionildo and Leandro! They went to church by themselves! It was a tender mercy and taught me a lot about having faith, even when it looks like all is lost.
I am very grateful for Preach my Gospel. I know that it is a true book.  I noticed that some of the General Authorities quote Preach My Gospel in conference talks - I guess that goes to show that the book has a lot of spiritual merit for everyone, not just for missionaries.  Or maybe that means that everyone should be a missionary, thus everyone should read Preach my Gospel. :) One of the two!
I am a bit tired today.  Really tired actually. We walked in the middle of the forest to go to a lunch appointment on Friday.  I think Elder Almeida will send some pictures.  I am looking forward to resting a bit.

I love the gospel.  It is my support and I know it is true.  I am doing well, I am happy and very grateful for the chance to learn and grow so much on my mission.
Love you all!
Elder Jacob

Monday, September 9, 2013

Open House (Week 68)

Hey family!
It was a great week this week.  Very tiring and exciting.  We worked the whole week preparing and inviting people to come to the open house.  It was a very good success.  We had more than a hundred people come through (almost 150) and many of them were interested and accepted the invitation to learn more.  We worked long hours at the chapel but it was really inspiring and worthwhile.  Yesterday we had a special sacrament meeting with Elder Cruz, an Area Seventy from Rio.  It was really inspiring. Pres e Sister Fortunato gave testimonies and there was a sweet spirit in the meeting that was, to me, a blessing from God saying that he was pleased with our work.  We sang Tal Como um Facho (The Spirit of God) for the hymn in the middle and it was really powerful.  I received a confirmation that this is the true gospel, that God really called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and restore His Church.  I also was really happy to see a recent convert in the ward Carlos Enrique pass the sacrament for the first time yesterday.  It was really gratifying.  I am very grateful for this work!

Elder Almeida is a great companion.  Really funny, calm and a good example.  He and I are getting along well.  It is good to joke around a bit and let off steam with him.

The beauty of life is that it doesn´t end - there is always another day, something more to do or someone new to meet.  That is something that I think is really special about the gospel - it helps you keep going so that you have a life in abundance as it says in the book of John.  We aren´t meant to get to the Celestial Kingdom in one day - but we are meant to get there.  It is a long journey but we can reach our destination if we just don´t give up and give our all every single day.  I am so grateful for this great truth - it never ends! :)

I love you all! Have a wonderful, wonderful week!
Elder Jacob

Monday, September 2, 2013

An Invitation (Week 67)

Dear Family,

You are cordially invited to the first Open House of the Florença Ward in the Pampulha Stake this Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m.  As you enter the chapel, you will be greeted by friendly missionaries and have the chance to learn more about the Mormons you have always heard about.  Then on Sunday, you are also invited to attend our worship service where we will hear great discourses by Sister Fortunato and Elder Cruz, an Area Seventy.  It will be a great experience and I promise that you will learn and feel of God´s love for you.

That is what we have been working on this past week.  We are going to have an open house this week to let the community know what we believe.  We are really excited and have the goal to bring 300 people to the sacrament meeting.  We are really excited.

The move to the new house went well.  Elder Smidt got made assistant on Tuesday! So I got a great new companion Elder G. Almeida from Curitiba and things have been going very well so far.  I was sad to see Elder Smidt go but he is already doing a great job as assistant and I am grateful that I get to now serve with Elder Almeida.  We are also sharing the ward with Sister Sackley from Oregon and Sister Yamaguchi from São Paulo so with all of our help, we are going to see a lot of miracles this week.

Everyday I learn a little more about the love that God has for us.  It is so evident that He loves all His children.  I have been thinking a lot about committments lately and I realize that every blessing in the gospel rests on our personal, sincere committment to live the gospel and keep the commandments.  You can´t lie to God and can´t pretend you are doing your part if you aren´t.  You must have a sincere, honest and firm decision to serve the Lord to receive the blessings - there isn´t room for half-heartedness.  Like President Taylor said, `The Celestial Kingdom or nothing!` I have been re-evaluating how I am doing with my commitments to live the gospel and I am grateful for the opportunity we all have to repent and do what is right.

I love you all and hope that you are doing what is right! Thank you for your prayers, example and support! It means more to me than I can say.

Elder Jacob