Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas (Week 83 & 84)


Hey Family!

It sure was wonderful to talk to you on Christmas.  I walked away from that call with my head really light and a feeling of great love.  I will be honest - it was a strange thing to talk to you on Skype.  It was almost like we were in the same room.  Everyone was a lot older and yet just the same as when I left.  I am so grateful for you guys. You guys brought me great joy - the best Christmas Present that I could get! :)

I don´t have too much to tell you guys since we talked just a few days ago! (What a Blessing!)  I got transferred to Santa Lúcia on Christmas day and now I am working with Elder Lima in downtown BH.  It is a lot different than Florença.  But I am really excited.  Really really excited! Like I told you guys in the Christmas call, I feel like I am at the point in my mission that I have to give my all because the end is coming.  Now is the time to dedicate everything that I have to this great cause.

And it is such a great cause! Think about it?  How wonderful it is to know that God speaks to men again on the Earth - that He is doing a great work among us and that the Truth - the complete and pure Truth - was restored to the Earth! I am so grateful to be a missionary of the Lord. 
It was a great Christmas.  Really happy and focused on the Lord.  We ate a ton.  We went to a member´s house to eat lunch and the brother there wouldn´t stop putting meat on my plate.  I felt like I ate a whole cow.  But it was great Brazilian barbeque. 
I know that the Church is true! I love you all and hope that you had a wonderful wonderful Christmas!
Elder Jacob

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merry Christmas! (Week 82 --we didn't get a letter for week 81 :( Elder Jacob was busy practicing for the Christmas Conference)

Dear Family,

Merry Christmas first of all! :) I hope the Christmas spirit is alive and well at home, because it is in full swing here in Brazil! 

Elder Wensel went home on Tuesday.  We had a great last few days together, getting him all ready to go.  We had a big family home evening with a ton of ward members to send him off and it was really spiritual.  

My new companion is Elder Stadler! From Curitiba Brazil!  I like him a ton.  We are getting along super well.  He is a new Zone Leader but really really animated and excited to work, which I like a lot.  He and I have big plans for the Zone - we want to animate and inspire our missionaries to have faith and believe that God will bless us.  We are talking to everyone about baptism - in our street contacts, we explain that we help people to repent and be baptized like Christ was baptized and the response has been really wonderful.  We have found elect people, people waiting to be baptized.  It is a very inspiring and gratifying way to work. I feel and have felt great joy this week working and helping God´s children.  I have gained a strong testimony that the gospel really is the truth.  In 3 Nephi, the Savior teaches HIS gospel.  What I learned as I read this chapter today was that there are many gospels, philosophies and doctrines in the world.  Even in Christianity, there are millions of doctrines and ideas.  But the fact is that there is only one true gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is why it is so important to find and follow the TRUTH because the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ is the ONLY way that someone can truly be saved.  It is the ONLY gospel that is eternal and has the power to save. I am learning this more and more and I am so grateful for this.  It is blessing my life a lot. 

We didn´t have anyone with a date this week, but we sincerely prayed, worked and exercised faith that the Lord would bless us with someone. We were blessed yesterday with two baptisms.  Jaime, who is the father of a less active in the ward and Breno, the brother of a member here in the ward.  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this great blessing.  What made the difference was our faith, our desire to have success and our diligent faith that the Lord would bless us.  My testimony grew a lot this week.  The Lord truly blessed us and gave us these two baptisms.  We are very excited to keep baptizing and helping this wonderful ward grow.

On Saturday, we got together with all the ward missionaries and the sisters and we sange Christmas Carols on the streets of Florença, handing out pass-along-cards like President had encouraged us to do.  It was a whole lot of fun! You know how I love to sing, and there ain´t nothing like Christmas carols to bring the spirit! We met a lot of people, sang all the Christmas songs like ten times and had a grand ol´time.  We are planning on doing this again this Saturday.  

Tomorrow is the Christmas Conference! It´s gonna be great.  I am very excited.  Pray that I can sing well and bring the spirit with my words and that all the other missionaries can do the same.  I am very grateful for Christmas and I am even more grateful to be a missionary!

I send you all my love and gratitude and devotion.  Have a very merry Christmas! :)  Love you!

Elder Jacob

Monday, December 2, 2013

Something ´bout Christmas brings out the kid in me! (Week 80)

Hey all!

Today is December 2.  Do you know what that means?  That´s right! It´s time to break out the Donny Osmond Christmas at Home album! The Best complete Christmas album ever made! If you haven´t listened to it yet, get on that.  It´ll change your life. 

It was a good week this week.  We worked hard.  No progressing investigators though - I have learned that our faith and our desire really make a difference on the work.  If you want to have success, you have to desire it for the right reasons.  We are looking forward to a great week this week.

We had an amazing leadership council with Pres. and Sister Fortunato this past week.  It was very inspirational.  To hear Pres. bear testimony of the divinity of the work and the existence of God was a great honor for me.  I can´t tell you how grateful I am to be serving with Pres. Fortunato.  Ever since I have met him, I have felt that he truly was called of God to lead this mission.  I felt that again this past week as we met and discussed the direction of the mission.  

Elder Wensel is going home next week.  This is his last week in the field.  He is a good misisonary and I am glad that I have been able to get to know him.

We are in BH today for another practice for the Christmas Conference.  I will be narrating parts of the program as well now.  Yikes.  Haha, seriously though I am really excited and anxious to do well.  

I love the gospel.  The gospel is the only thing that I know of that tells you what you are doing wrong and need to improve while at the same time giving you the hope, courage and desrie to make those improvements.  It isn´t easy to be a member of the Church, but it is worth it.  I have learned to not give up and get discouraged when you are reminded how mortal you are.  You just keep being humble and the blessings and the miracles will come.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Start wrapping the presents! 
Start hanging the lights!
Start makin´ a list,
and checkin´ it twice.

Start hanging the holly and the mistletoe oh oh oh,
And off I go,
Back to where I used to be!
Something ´bout Christmas,
Brings out the kid in me!

Elder Jacob