Monday, April 28, 2014

LAST LETTER (Week 101)

Hey all!

Well, this is weird.  The last email that I will send. I am full of mixed and wonderful emotions as I come to the close of my mission.

We have been greatly blessed this week.  Elder Sonnefeld and I went on a tour of the mission because President is interviewing all the zones.  During the interviews, we did practices with all the missionaries and talked about how the work was going.  It was a wonderful way to spend my last full week on the mission - it was great to see a ton of new areas, so many wonderful missionaries that we have on our mission, and I was grateful to try and pass on some of the experience that I have received on my mission.  

The greatest blessing is that today we will have the baptism of João and his mother, Maria.  Since I got here in the office, we have been working with João.  He was an atheist and on the first visit we like fought with him for lik 30 minutes to say a prayer.  This whole time that I have been here in the center We have passed by to invited him to repent, to go to Church, but he never seemed to be able to let go of his sins.  And then last week, he had a change of heart.  He told us that he stopped breaking the commandments and wanted to be baptized.  He wanted to be baptized on Easter but we told him that he had to wait a little longer to show the Lord that he really repented.  He said that that proved to him that the Church was true and that we weren´t interested in just a number or one more person but with him and his needs.  He was interviewed on Thursday and will be baptized today with his mother.

I am so grateful for the inumerous blessings the Lord has given me.  My whole mission, I was blessed beyond measure.  On my mission I have learned that I am truly loved by the Lord and that I have an important work to do here on the earth.  I know that missionary work is something that changes our lives - it is the most important thing that we can do - to share the love of God and Christ´s atonement to others.   I invite you all to continue on your path to God.  If you need to come back to Church - come back! There are friends and family and happiness wating for you.  If you are on the path but it is difficult to keep going - don´t give up! The blessings of the Lord are just around the corner.  Let us all come unto Christ and be perfected in Him because that is the only and true way to be Happy. 

I love you all!

Elder Jacob

Monday, April 21, 2014

Howdy Do! (Week 100)

Hey all!

It was a great week. 

We did two division in Sete Lagoas.  It was absolutely awesome! We had some really awesome experiences.  We found a bunch of new investigators and had a really cool experience.  We were walking down the street and a man stopped us and started talking about baptisms for the dead and the three nephites.  Which usually means that he has heard a bunch of wrong stuff and wants to debate with us.  Instead of getting uptight, (as I am sometimes prone to do) we calmly responded to his questions and explained everything in a spiritual manner.  After this, he told us that he was a less active and wanted to come back to church.  We invited him and he promised to go to church this Sunday. It was a blessing and I was very grateful for the Lord´s goodness in helping us give a good division.

The best part of this week was a meeting that we had with all the new missionaries from the last few months and their trainers.  We practiced a ton with them and it was really inspiring. And President had everyone sing happy birthday to me since it was my birthday which was really embarassing but oh well.

Welbert´s baptism was awesome and we are really excited.  We have plans to baptize again this week a lady called Maria and next week we will baptize her husband and son next week.

That is it for me this week! I love you all and hope that you are all close to the Lord!

Elder Jacob

Monday, April 14, 2014

Minha Semana‏ (Week 99)

Oi tudo bem?

It was a wonderful wonderful week.  My my poor little brain sometimes gets tired as I try to handle all the wonderful and different emotions that are mine these days but! It will be alright! I am very happy and very excited! Here´s the rundown from my week.

General Conference was awesome for two reasons.  1) It was General Conference and 2) we had lots of investigators come to watch! It was really inspiring.  I loved all the talks and got sad that this would be the last time that I would be able to watch the prophets and apostles speak and hear them in Portuguese.  The talks were captivating and soul-inspiring.  I, like Grandpa Jacob, felt that the Second Coming is getting really close and I am very comforted to know that we have Prophets and apostles to guide us and lead us today.  

We did some great divisions with some zone leaders and other missionaries this week.  I like doing divisons a lot.  They are always really exciting and I feel really good at the end of a division.  The Lord has blessed us a lot on our divisions and I feel the Spirit a lot when I do one.

One of the highlights this week was that we received 5 new missionaries from the U.S. that had been waiting for their visas for a long time.  You should have seen how excited they were to be here.  They all spoke very good Portuguese and it was a breeze to give them a training because they had already been serving for a good time.  

We are going to have a baptism tomorrow! The stake president and his family is helping us reactivate a family and they have a cousin who lives with them that accepted to be baptized and he passed the interview this morning. We are very very excited and I can´t wait for tomorrow. 

Well, that is it for me.  I love life, I love being a missionary, and I know that the Savior lives.  Yesterday, as I walked some dusty roads in Santa Luzia, Minas Gerais, I was struck by the thought that being a missionary is the one time in my life that I will have a life that most closely resembles the mortal ministry of the Savior. Walking, teaching, serving, walking, testifies, being rejected, walking, teaching...that is what He did when He was here.  And for me, it is a choice privilege to be able to live a life that resembles in small way, His.

I love you all!

Elder Jacob

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Love General Conference! (Week 98)


This week was very busy but very good. We had a Leadership council on Wednesday that went really well. The Spirit was really strong and we learned a lot.  I gave a training about motivating missionaries and I was grateful that the Lord blessed me so much with this training.  I really felt the Spirit and received a lot of help preparing what I would say.  I felt good about it at the end and I was very grateful that the Lord sent His Spirit to help me. 

Things here on the mission are picking up steam! We have some big goals and plans for the month of April! Lots of excitement and lots of work to be done. President is really excited and we have officially more than 200 missionaries on our mission now! He is opening areas and expanding and dividing zones and the baptisms are happening.  We are really grateful for the marvelous blessings that the Lord is giving us.  It is an absolute privilege to be here in this part of the Lord´s vineyard serving Him.

We are going to watch the first session of conference in the office and then go to the chapel because we have investigators for the later session.  Everyone here is really really really excited, almost too excited actually haha, for General Conference.  Especially me.  I am very excited to listen to the Prophet speak today.

Oh and I almost forgot! The musical was an absolute success. It was a very stressful journey towards the end (missionaries got there late, etc.) and the van actually broke down when we were going to Sete Lagoas.  But instead of being sad, we all got out and sang some of our songs in front of people at the gas station while the new van got there.  It was really cool.  Anyway, the new chapel was filled to capacity and there were a ton of investigators.  All the songs went really well - I got to sing a song with a Sister who is like a professional opera singer who will graduate from BYU in singing performance, so that was a little overwhelming but it went well and I felt the Spirit.  The best thing was that there were a lot of people who came up to us afterwards who said that because of that musical they wanted to come back to church or to go on missions so I am very very grateful that the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to help other people.

That´s about it for me this time.  I love the Lord and I know the gospel is true.  I am so grateful to be a member of His Church.  I am trying everyday to be worthy of that blessing.  I am happy and excited to work this month!

Love you all!
Elder Jacob