Monday, January 27, 2014

Great Week! (Week 88)

Hey family!

Well it was yet another wonderful, wonderful week.  We spent Monday in the hospital with an elder who had surgery on a hernia.  Tuesday we had a Zone Conference in Contagem and I got to see a few members from Riacho which was great.  Wednesday we had a Zone Conference in Sete Lagoas which was very cool.  Uncle Ted served there and they have a goal to divide the stake this year in Sete Lagoas so that is really exciting.  After the Conference, we did divisions with the Zone Leaders there which was a great experience.  We returned to BH the next day, did some work in the office and welcomed the new senior couple that we have on our mission! They are wonderful - they are from São Paulo and very excited to work.  They will be serving in our ward.  We have an american couple waiting for a visa and another Brazilian couple to arrive so the mission is just getting bigger and bigger.  In February, we will lose 5 missionaries and gain 17!  President is opening new areas almost every transfer! It is really exciting to be a missionary!

We have very high goals for the mission this week and we are excited for the baptisms that we will have today and tomorrow.  President changed the day that we invite people to be baptized to Saturday which will help a lot of the people be confirmed.  We are very excited and I am very grateful to be serving this mission.

Have I already told you this story?  If so, forgive me. Two weeks ago we did a division in Ipatinga with the Zone Leaders.  Right before we went home that night to plan and sleep, we decided to visit a less active member.  We entered the house and we meet her cousin who was there staying with her.  We taught him the first lesson and he accept to read the Book of Mormon, pray and when God responds, to be baptized.  That was all that I have heard about him  because I went back to BH.  But as I have called the Zone Leaders and followed up on things, they told me that this young man had a dream where he dreamed that he saw God and Jesus Christ and they told him that this was the true church and that he should be baptized in it.  He will be baptized today.  I am so grateful for the work of the Lord because He really does work and help us in all that we need.  He knows His children and loves them. 

I love you all! Have a righteous and happy week!

Elder Jacob

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hey All! (Week 87)

Hey Family!

It was a great week this week! Very busy as usual.  We had zone conferences every day this week except Monday.  Zone conferences are wonderful and I really loved them when I was in the field.  Presidente  Fortunato likes to do conferences with each zone every three or four months and it is that time of year again.  We did conferences in the three Zones in Belo Horizonte – BH, BH oeste and BH Leste and then we drove to Divinópolis, a city about two hours away and had a conference there as well.  All the conferences were very inspiring and it was really great to be with President and Sister Fortunato and learn from them more than I had before.

Elder Lima is a wonderful companion.  He is very smart and likes to teach me about the culture of Brasil and I am learning a lot.  He is a convert to the church.  His grandpa was a member and invited him to church but he didn´t like it when he went.  Then one day, he was in his room and saw that there were four copies of the Book of Mormon in his room which he thought was strange.  He decided to start reading.  He read the Book of Mormon, Gospel Principles and Our Heritage.  He then, of his own accord, decided to go to church.  This time, when he went, he loved church and felt the Spirit very strongly.  The missionaries started teaching him and he accepted to be baptized.  He went to church all by himself for 8 months until his parents were also baptized.  He gave up the family tradition of going to the mall every Sunday to keep the commandments – just because he knew that it was the right thing to do.  His whole family is strong in the gospel and he is an amazing missionary.  I am grateful to be serving alongside him.  He is a very inspiring person and a great friend. 

Other than that, I am doing very well! Happy, working hard and staying focused on the gospel.  Because that is what matters.  I love you all and hope that you are all keeping the commandments.  I know that those that keep the commandments will be happy and blessed all the days of their lives.
Have a great day!
Elder Jacob

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fast, Amazing Week (Week 86)

Hey all!

What a fast, amazing week it was! I am really tired today but very happy and excited! I am very grateful to be a missionary of the Lord!
We had a counsel of the leadership of the mission on Tuesday which was really really inspiring.  Elder Lima gave a training about planning and I gave one about doing divisions with the missionaries.  Presidente Fortunato taught us a lot about vision, faith and what we believe that we will accomplish.  It was great to talk with Elder Stadler, Elder G. Almeida, and a lot of other friends from the mission and see how they are doing. 
On Thursday, we woke up at 3 in the morning, got dressed and went to the Presidents house.  There was a girl from one of the branches here on the mission that was going to the CTM in São Paulo to serve a mission.  Since the mission president is responsible for the branches in districts, the President hosted her in his house and asked us to take her to the airport. So, we picked her up, took a taxi to the airport, got her on the plane and then went to to the train station where we got a train to go to Ipatinga, a city 5 hours away from BH.  That was a really cool train ride.  It was so smooth and quiet! I like trains, better than buses. We went to Ipatinga and did a division with the Zone Leaders there, Elder Carnaúba from São Paulo e Elder Sonnefeld from Virginia.  Elder Sonnefeld was in my zone when I was in Três Corações and he´s been a great friend to me ever since.  It was a great division and we learned a lot together.

The next day we had a zone conference with the whole Zone of Ipatinga.  I gave a training about finding new people to teach and Elder Lima gave a training about planning.  The Spirit was very very strong while we were there.  The President talked a lot about the Atonement and we all were taught by the Spirit.  It was such a blessing.  During the conference, we left and did street contacts for twenty minutes which was really fun.  I like doing street contacts - you never know what is going to happen! 

After the conference, we were leaving the church when a man came up to Elder Carnaúba and Elder Sonnefeld and started talking to them.  They offered to show them the chapel and they gave him a tour of everything.  When they showed him the baptismal font, he started to cry and told them that he felt like he needed to be reborn, that he had been to 25 different churches, already been a deacon, a pastor, an elder yadayayday in a lot of them and yet, felt like he was missing something.  The zone leaders invited him to be baptized, he accepted and he will baptized next week! They called us after all this happened and told us the whole story and it was really excited.
We got back to BH last night and now we are having our PDay.  So that was my week! I am really excited and grateful to be a missionary!

Love you all!

Elder Jacob

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Wonderful Week of Work‏ (Week 85)

Hey all!

Well it was a great great week! We worked very hard this week but I was really excited and animated. 

Being in the office is pretty different because the work becomes a whole lot more mental than physical.  But I am enjoying it a lot!

This week 14 missionaries arrived on the mission.  We were only expecting 13 but magically a 14th missionary straight from the MTC in Provo showed up.  So President Fortunato had to change a bit of the transfer but we got it all sorted out.  We went to the airport and got the 10 that came from Sâo Paulo, brought them to the office, then went back and got the 4 that came direct from the U.S. and brought them to the office.  Then we ate dinner at the house of President and Sister Fortunato, had a testimony meeting and went back to the office and gave them new misisonaries a training about some rules procedures and all that stuff about the mission.  After the training, we called all the duplas in the mission about TRANSFERS! It was really exciting and fun.  It was a very big transfer this week and everyone was really excited. There were a lot of people to call but we got it all taken care of.

The next day (friday) we woke up early and went to head off the chaos at the large bus station in BH where everyone was meeting.  We resolved lots of little problems, told people where they needed to go and sent everyone on their way.  It was very tiring.  Once everyone was sorted out and headed to their new areas, we ate lunch and then took Elder Viera to the airport.  He finished his misison with honor and went home yesterday.  After that, we accompanied the zones about confirmations and baptisms for this week. There is a lot of stuff to do and a lot of accompaniament to do, but I like the work.  I am trying my very very best.

One thing interesting was the fact that Sister Pedersen from Argentina also went home this week.  She and I were in the CTM together and have become good friends.  She served in Florença with me for the last half of my time there.  Her parents came and picked her up.  It just hit me how fast the time passes because I remember vividly the day that we both arrived on the mission and with all the arrivals that we had this week plus the fact that she was going home, made me think and reflect a lot about how the mission passes so quickly and how much I have changed in this time.  I am so grateful for my mission.  It is a great blessing and I am very excited to see how I can imrpove and grow in the 5 months that I have left. I am excited!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Jacob