Monday, December 29, 2014

December 29, 2014

Wooow, my first Christmas not being with my Mom, Dad, Sisters and Brother. Not going to lie it was a different, but I would be lying if I didn't say I loved every second of it. This was one the first Christmas where I wasn´t worried about what gifts I would receive or what gifts I had to buy to give to other people. This Christmas I was able to think about the true meaning of Christmas. I know everyone has heard people say ´´the true mean of Christmas isn't about presents, its about the Birth of Jesus Christ.´´ Sure I knew this but there is a huge difference between knowing and feeling. This Christmas I was able to truly feel the spirit of Christmas and have a experience I will never forget.
   I was able to read some talks that taught me something I never really understood. ´´that the most memorable Christmases can be those that are the most humble.´´ Not only being super far away from my life before my mission made me feel this, but also seeing the humble people I'm living with everyday. Visiting the houses of investigators and members I was given the opportunity to see the spirit of Christmas very strong. At some of the house the kids had receive maybe one present. But I never saw a single one of them frowning, of course everyone one was beaming! They were just grateful that there Mom and Dad had a received a day off for work. Its so true, sure receiving presents is great, but with out being with the ones you love its just an object. I wish I would have learned this concept many years ago. But one thing I know is that I will always cherish the time I have with my family because when its all said and done nothing else matters.
    Now about my comp. First off thank you Family (Steven, Christine, and Bryant family) for all the goods that you guys sent. My comp got a little emotional and I asked him why. He said because he has never had a real Christmas like this. One thing that really stuck with me that he said was ´´that it wasn´t the actually things he had received. It was the fact that people he has never met, seen or talked to were willing to make the sacrifice to give him these things.´´ I want to thank everyone who helped to make this Christmas so special for him. Little acts of kindness do make big different in lives of others.
   Lastly, It was Elder Sales' last Talk this Sunday. It was super powerful and spiritual. It was about the one thing the makes our Religion different from every other religion in the World. The Book Of Mormon. I won´t even attempt to describe what I heard or felt because I would ruin it. But really it was exactly what everyone needed to hear, the members, our investigators and especially me. The power in the voice and how he spoke without a doubt as created a huge example for me. I hope and pray that one day I can speak with the power that he did. I'm sad he is leaving, the past few months were the greatest days I've had on my mission. The things I learned from him are unforgettable and will always stay with me.
   I'm serving a mission because I have a mission. A mission to serve the people of Brasil and to bring them the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I loving it down here.


Com Amor,
Elder Seth

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2104-

This week started off pretty hard. Head down to Brasilia on the bus was a little hard for me. Lets just say that here in Brazil buses aren´t made for 6´4 white kids. Also the fact that I get car sick super easy doesn´t help. I was feeling super car sick and I only got a few hours of sleep. We were all really tired but when we finally arrived in Brasilia it was amazing.
    For the first time in 1 year every single missionary was together. I got to see all of my friends from my other areas and just see how they were doing. Then we got to watch the one non church movie were allowed watched every year! It was frozen! Unfortunately I fell asleep because I was so tired but its ok because iv already seen it 50 times with my niece Ellie and memorized every single word.
    I love my President, he is literally the best. We think so similar. He gave the entire mission training that can change this mission for the better. It was about how we need to use our time better and that we need plan out our day. I know that if the entire mission applies this we could easily double or triple our results.
   Lastly we had a Christmas feast. They have roasted turkey(here in Brazil is really expensive) potatoes, stuffing, and every type of fruit. It was such a great feeling to just relax with some really great Elders and eat amazing food. I drank up the feeling to say the least because that same day we hopped on the bus to journey back to our area. But the ride back was way better because I literally just passed out of exhaustion.
    Its truly a mystery how God works. You never know WHEN things will happen, HOW they will happen, or WHY they happen. A member told us they had a friend he wanted us to teach. We showed up and she wasn´t there. But we ended up teaching her sister and now she is wanted to get baptized. We your obedient and working hard you get miracles like this. Things like this make the mission so special.
   This week I got really frustrated with the language because I want to be fluent. I want to talk without a ascent. Because I know that I can be doing so much more if I could express my thoughts and desires like I could in English. Then I realized its not going to just happen over night. The only thing I can really do I just study, study and practice. Its an endurance thing. Something I learned in playing sports and running sprints. Nobody cares how you start off, its all about how you finish.
   Thank you so much mom and dad for the Christmas box. It was amazing to get some goods from America. But I'm more grateful for the stuff you gave my comp. He has never had nice things like you guys gave him. He was super grateful.
   I hope everyone has a great Christmas!!! Feliz Natal to everyone from Brasil.
   Its not easy being away from my family and friends for Christmas for the first time in my life but without a doubt in my heart I know this is exactly where I need to be. Not only to help others come unto Christ but to make me a better person.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth

Photos
Doing service for a investigator(yes I'm sweating a lot) Then they made us a lunch of grilled fish



Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

To start the week off I sensed something off with Elder Sales. He was very quiet and did´t seem like him self. At first I thought it was something that I had done or said. Finally I sat him down to straighten things out. Poor guy. He received his first email from his Sister during his mission. She told him that his last Grandpa who he was close with was really sick and passed away. The worst part is that he kept asking to see Elder Sales but because he extended his mission he didn't get to see him. If he would have gone home when he was suppose to he would have seen his Grandpa before. Really sad moment for not only him and for me as well, because we are literally family at this point. When he hurts, I hurt. It really made me think, why did this have to happen to him? He is doing everything he is asked and more. This I came to realize that God works in mysterious ways. I was thinking it was going to be a long and sad week but it wasn’t at all. Once we started working, teaching and loving the people it was as if we both had forgotten. It was truly a blessing that we are here doing this important work.
   
A lot of other stuff happened this week but I only have time to share one experiences. This week we were planning on having a baptism. He was a son of a non-member but the Grandma who is a member wanted us to teach him and baptize him, because she knows the blessings that come from living the church standards.
 
So over the past few weeks we have been teaching Gostavo and the lessons. He is super smart and had no problem learning everything. We know that a baptism is a event that no mother can miss so we finally convinced the mom to come. The only problem was that is was Stake conference which is a hour and 30 mins bus ride from our area. But she still promised to show up. We were so excited we baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies for after.
 
The next morning it was pouring, I have never seen it rain so much with such force in my life. We showed up at stake conference and there was no sign of them, we were standing by the only open door in the building. We tried calling the Mom 20 times but no one picked up. We had bishop pass by their house and he said that he couldn´t find them.
 
The meeting was about the start and Elder Sales said it’s all good we have next week. We both had broken hearts. We had anticipated this day all week. As we were heading to the meeting and turn the corner of the hall we saw Gostavo and his Mom standing on the other side of the hall way soaking wet!!! Elder Sales and I broke out in a sprit to greet them. We still don´t know how they got in the building because only one door was unlocked. (blessings)
 
The experience I had during the baptism is impossible to describe with words. The feeling I had inside of me was one I’ve never felt. I felt like I was glowing inside. I was so grateful for the opportunity I had to do this sacred ordinance. Now I know why we walk in the scorching sun for more than 9 hours every day and leave everything in our lives for two years. It’s not something you can explain to someone, it’s just something you have to experience.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas. Everything is great down here in Brasil.

Feliz Natal

Com Amor,
 Elder Seth



Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

This week was amazing. Time flies when you are working hard and are having fun. This week we had a huge focus to reach out to the less active members of the ward. This was a challenge because more than half of the people in the Ward list don´t live here anymore. On the bright side we were able to make contacts with the people that live there now. And were about to help bishop out in reorganizing the ward list.
   The ward I'm serving in is in great need of help. This is why president sent another two missionaries to serve in the ward. A lot of repairing of less active people and a lot of people to baptize.  The sad part of this Ward is that when people get an education and a better job offer they move, these are usually the stronger member, its hard to help ward strong with only a few strong members. Our Bishop is 32 and the ward secretary has 19. But they are doing a great job. I'm so glad that I'm in this area because I know they are in need of help. We are trying to make every member a strong member so its not up to just a few people.
   One couple we are teaching really want to get baptized but they have to wait to get married and she is 9 months and a few days pregnant. Every time we go and knock on there door we say to each other, she had the baby today for sure. But that moment hasn´t come yet. Talking to them about the Plan of Salvation is perfect since they are starting a family right now. They understand that the gospel of Christ will make them happier not only has a marriage but for there baby to come as well.
  This Sunday was fast Sunday. I went up and bore my testimony without my comp asking for the first time. I'm finally getting more comfortable talking in front of a lot of people in Portuguese. Although I'm far from perfect I can feel the difference for even one week ago. It was a really spiritual Sacrament meeting to say the least. Everyone wanted to share a spiritual experience but the 1st counselor had to cut it off. Lucky one of our investigators got up and bore his testimony. The greatest part is no one told him to do it. He just got up and bore a strong testimony through the Holy Ghost. (Its really weird writing in English right now)
   Another one of our investigators is a friend of a member. She is 14 and her mom passed away when she was 11. This is really hard for her to deal with. We were able to share a message that she can see and live with her Mother after this life. She really felt the spirit and teared up. The only problem is her Grandma who she lives with is a really strong Catholic but we still have faith. She has a desire.
  My Comp is still amazing nothing has changed. He wants to leave the mission being super ripped so we wake up 30 minutes earlier every day and workout. It always a good this to have a friend that is up to do anything and anytime. I'm so sad I only have 5 short weeks left.
   Here in Brasil there is a fruit called Jaca. I have heard of how amazing this fruit is from everyone, but I had never eaten it. We were all a less actives home when he picked a Jaca fruit off the tree. I was so excited, I even took a picture with him (the picture attached to this email) The moment he gave me it I started to eat super fast with out thinking. All the sudden I started to feel my throat, back, and face swell. Looking around I asked to go to the bathroom. The rest was history, now I'm aware of my allergy of Jaca. You learn something everyday on the mission.(my comp took a after picture but unfortunately that will not be attached)
   Can't believe this will be my first Christmas on mission. Its going to be weird but I already know I'm going to love it. Hope everyone is doing great back home. Save some snow for me!

Com Amor,
Elder Seth

________________________

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

Well we just had our thanksgiving here in Brazil. It was awesome. Thanks fam for sending everything down. We were able to cook all the food at a members house and share a little bit of America Culture. They loved it, especially the pies. And of course the Americans enjoyed it at as well.
  This week my Comp gave me alot more responsibility. He said he want me to learn to be the best missionary ever. Então, He makes me carry the cellphone around everywhere. If someone calls I have to answer and give them a solution.(he is the zone leader) Its really have because understanding someone over the phone in Portuguese is hard. He also makes me write all the teaching records. Lastly I have to act like the Zone leader that listen to the District leaders reports and give them advise. But its really helping me think and learn.
  This week I learn the importance of the Bible and the Book of Mormon together. When I was younger I knew the stories in the bible but never really studied it. Now being in Brasil you need to know the Bible because everyone here reads it alot. By know the Bible you can relate stories they know and connect them to Book of Mormon, letting people know its the word of God as well.
   We found a bunch of new investigators this week. Lessons were great and we marked a bunch of dates. There is just one problem, getting them to church. Its super hard to get people to church on a Sunday at 8:30. Also I know that Satan works that much harder to get people to do something other than going to church. There is 1000 ways not to go to church, But only on way to go to church.
   Since its super hot here and I don´t want to get skin cancer or look like a raisin when I'm older I thought it would be smart to put sunblock on for one of the first times in my life. The problem was that the sweat washed the sunblock from my face into my eyes. It burns to say the least. My comp have never had this problem because he used an umbrella all day, yep, here it is so hot that alot of men use umbrellas to walk around. I might have to compromise my past morals and use an umbrella.
  That last two days its have been raining really hard but we still work regardless. My comp have holes on the bottom of his shoes so his feet are always wet. I tried to give him a pair of my shoes but my feet are twice the size. So we glued this plastic thing on the bottom for now. Hopefully it holds up for Christmas;).
   Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did down here in Brazil. Only got 6 weeks with my comp then he goes home. Gotta make it count for him. Vamos Batizar até o pó
Com Amor,
Elder Seth

 



Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

All,

A lot has change here in the Mission this past week. We had a Zone conference where were briefed on how the mission was going to go. First off, I will only have 1 hour to email so sorry if I can´t write to everyone individually.(looks like ill be sending a few more handwritten letter). Also for Christmas and Mothers Day I can only talk to you guys for 45 mins. I don't know why President changed this rules and I don´t really care to ask because he is clearly doing it for a reason. Anything he says goes, he has received revaluation that this will make our mission better, that's all I need to know. One rule that was put in place by the Area 70 was that no Missionary can play Soccer or basketball. Now this made President and I very sad because He loves to play sport with the Missionaries.(I love anything competitive) There goes my dream of play soccer with Neymar in Europe, ohh well life goes on. On the bright side all the missionaries are all getting on a bus on the 17th to a Mission Christmas Event in Brasilia, thats going to be so much fun to see all the Elders at once.
   About this past week. I don´t even know where it went it flew by so fast. For the first 2 Days I was with Elder Patternson. For those who don't know he has the exact same time as me on the mission. And we were comps in the CTM. It was great to be reunited with him and to relive the glory days. But it was pretty difficult because you didn´t have an experienced Elder to just come in and save you. Those 2 days were difficult at times but it really help the both of us to learn to be on our own and it showed how important it is to speak good Portuguese.
   The other half of the week was crazy. Elder Sales is by far the best missionary I have meet on the mission so far. I'm so blessed to have him as my comp. One experience we had was we were walk and pass this couple, we said Tudo Bem. Then 30 seconds later Elder Sales just takes off running after them. He felt the spirit and acted on it. This couple is super elect, they loved the lesson we taught them. I have faith that they will get baptized with a few other amazing people we are teaching. Only the husband came to church this sunday because his wife is pre pregnant.(she's coming next week tho)
  I just want to talk about the love iv grown for Brazil. Love the people with all my heart, they have some thing that is so different from Americans that I just love. They are all super patience, easy going, and kind. I'm so blessed to be serving here for 2 years. Someone told me that I was already 1/7 done with my mission. Made me so sad because time does fly so fast in life. I just hope I can make it count.
  This past Sunday Bishop got up and said We will now hear from our new Elders. Elder Seth and Elder Sales. Well that didn´t go so hot because I wasn't planning on giving a talk in front of everyone in Portuguese. But it wasn't that bad shared a scripture and a story and was soaked in sweat since I was so nervous.
  My comp is amazing and he made me eat Açai pure, with meat. Very strange combination but I liked it alot. This stuff is so good but when its pure it dies your teeth for a day. I brushed them 3 times before going to bed . Woke up and still a light shade of purple. Its finally gone.
   These changes are going to be hard because I love talking to all of you but I know that it will benefit me in the long run to get more focus and lost in the work of the Lord. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Shout out the to New Canaan Football Team. Take FCIAC Boys

Com Amor,
Elder Seth




Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

One More Dawn, One More Day, One Day More.


I want to start out by saying this week was 1000 time better than last week for a lot of reasons. To start it off special thanks to Dad for helping us get a flight up to my new area. Generally it is a 13 hour bus ride. So grateful Azul flies from Brasilia to Palmas.  Having to jump on the plane for one hour really makes a huge difference when I was still recovering from my stomach ordeal.
   
When I first got to Palmas someone said to me welcome to the Mission of Palmas. After first I didn't understand what he meant but I quickly found out. Things are just different up here. To start out the weather here is on average 16 degrees hotter than all the other areas on the mission. Its so hot each missionary home is required to have air conditioning where as not one house in other areas have AC. Sure its super hot here, you have to constantly wipe your face with a rag to get the sweat out of your eyes even at night time. But honestly it doesn't affect my mood at all. Because its really what you make of the situations. That's when I realized the significance of The Mission of Palmas. Its hot, your never going to stop sweating, but your going to love every moment. Every single person we have tried to talk to on the streets takes the time to talk to us and always allows us to visit them in the home. People are just different here is a great way.

I've only been here for 5 days and I already never want to leave the Mission of Palmas. Numbers wise they out work and out baptize every other Zone in the mission by a landslide.
   
Another great this about this area is that food is sooooo cheap. We bought this huge watermelon for only 5 Reis. Its was huge to say the least. There was no way I could pass up this amazing offer so with out hesitation I bought it. Well our house was 3 miles up the road. I cradled that watermelon like my first born son. I have even more empathy for mothers that carry there kids around all day. Lets just say its a Marathon not a dash. My arm were losing all there strength. And for sure sweaty hands didn't help the situation. But of course the endures was worth that tasty water melon.

Although this story seems insignificant I was able to relate it to my life. If we just hang in there an do thing that we know will benefit us in the long run I know that our lives will be better. For example, studying for school, it can be the worst at times. So many other great this to do. But getting good grades will dictate your College and probably where you get hired. You can honestly relate this to anything. I'm going to start thinking of how I can change my actions now to benefit my life in the long run.
 
A lot more happen this week but this is already to long and I'm running low on time. Thank you so much for the package of goodies guys!!! I must say the pictures were easily my favorite because its good to actually hold them and know everyone is doing great back home! Cant wait for this week, time is already flying!

Com Amor,
Elder Seth



Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Well this week was one of the hardest weeks on the mission for me. At the beginning of the week I wasn't feeling so good. It kept getting worse and worse. Until I realized I hadn't eaten for 3 days. I called Sister Lungren and I had to go to the Hospital. First off I'm pretty sure people could easily die in these hospitals because in the emergency part I waited 4 hours to even have a doctor look at me. My head my pounding every second and my stomach was hurting so much. They immediately hooked me up to an IV and I went through 3 big bags because my body was so dehydrated.

    After that they had me take a cat scan of my stomach to see if I had something wrong with appendix. I was so happy when they told me there wasn't anything that needed surgery. I had an infection in my  stomach that lasted for 2 more days but was eventually killed by the antibiotics. They told me I could only get rice, bread, and grilled chicken for a week. Nothing else.

   Just as I thought things couldn't get worst President got back from São Paulo and said that an Area 70 Presidency said that he isn't allowed to open anymore areas. My heart was broken. I was so excited. My comp and I had already ironed our first shirts, planned our first meal, etc. It really hurt.

   Then the house were staying at lost power of course hahahaha. I started to ask why is this happening to us? I had a really great spiritual experience. I was literally at my worst state. So what did I do? Prayed its crazy how fast your attitude can change with the help of God. It really was instantly. Because I had received this feeling of its all going to work out. Being here I could have a horrible attitude about whats happening or I can use it as a learning experience. Such as being more thankful for little things like lights, good health, etc. Sure these events brought my spirits down for a short time but because of it I'm extremely happy to be here with my new comp.

   Nós vamos para Palmas. My comp has already served there any he has told me its awesome. My comp loves to have fun but lets just say we get work done. I will only have 9 weeks more with this guy so I'm going to make every second count trying to learn everything from him. I can't wait to finally leave this area and start getting work done. I know why I'm here and I know what I need to do. 2 years is a short time to sacrifice for this Church. I can have when ever I want, Its only one prayer away.



Hope everyone is doing great.

Com Amor,

Elder Seth


Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Sadly we haven´t left for the new area yet. There was problem with the contract of the house so we are leaving this Thursdays. I'm not going to lie I was a little mad because its less days that we can be working. I'm getting really antsy because this isn't our area so there isn't a lot to do. We mostly study and do street contacts. But its really fun living in a apartment with eight missionaries. We made the brownies that dad sent down and we ate it with a brigadeiro fudge with ice cream, that was amazing.
   For Halloween we made home made chocolate chip cookies and we throw in some M&M in there to spice things up with a little color.

   I'm finally with my comp that I will have in my new area. He was a assist to the President but I was able to find out for my self this week that he is a great missionary. First off he got baptized and his family disowned him. They kicked him out of the house. Then one year later after his baptism he sold everything he had to serve a mission. He hasn´t received a single package, letter or email for his family. That would be so hard to do. He is super funny and loves to cook, and he is good at it. And he knows the gospel really really well.
    This will be his 3 Christmas on the mission because president asked him to extend to open up this new area. Now that is some serious sacrifice. I already promised him that is with be is favorite Christmas on the mission that he will ever have. I'm truly blessed to have him as my comp, I already have learned so much from him and I know I going to learn a lot more.
    There's 4 missionaries going up to open this new area. And guess what my Comp in the CTM is one of them!!!!!!! I'm so excited because he is literally the best.
Well I can´t wait until next week. I hope everyone had a great Halloween.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth

   



Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014-

This week was way different than every other day on my mission. This Area is literally the complete opposite of Jardim Ingá. Jardim Ingá had dirt roads, few people had cars, you get the point. Cruizero, Everyone has a car, super nice, it really reminded me of America.
 
Missionary work here is different as well. There is literally nobody on the street to talk to. And the only people that are on the streets are walking there dogs. As you guys know I'm not the biggest fan of dogs. But they were the only people to talk to. I petted more dogs in two days that I have in my entire life combined. Also people don't really care to hear to gospel because they think they are happy because they have money. But little do they know money can't buy happiness. It was rough because very few people wanted to hear our message and I know it can change there lives of the better.
 
I've been spending a lot of time studying language with my comp. He is such a good teacher and I can tell that my Portuguese has improved a lot this week. I started to read the Bible in Portuguese and write in my journal in Portuguese. When I read, write and speak it I'm able to say it better and memorize it better.
 
Although the area here is super hard to teach people its not hot at all. Its crazy, its like perfect all the time. Minos one time when I was changing apartments with all my bags and its was pouring cats and dogs sideways. Everyone and everything got soaked. But we loved every second of it. An experience I was never forget.
 
My favorite moment was when were eating lunch at a members house. I was 2 other Americans and my Brasilia comp. the member thought I was a Brazilian the entire time. i know I'm far from being fluent but little moments like that help let me know that my studying is actually going somewhere.

 November 1st were going up to our new area. I cant wait, everyone says that its super bonito e has a lot of culture. I imagine it as a theme park with no lines because we are going to be the first missionaries to ever set foot in that City. 5 more days.

Eu não posso esperar. Eu estou muito feliz por esse oportunidade para servir uma Missão por Deus.

Photos of a family here and a picture of us after walking 3km in pouring rain.

Miss you guys, I'm doing great cant believe its been 3 months already

Come Amor,
Elder Seth



Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014-

Oi,
   I want start out by saying this week was pretty hot. I lost 3 kilos in 5 days. There really was no escape, it was hot morning, day and night. But iv been trying to eat double the beans and rice, so I have faith ill gain it back.
 
This week the American Elder that was staying in the same house went home, he finished his 2 years. It was hilarious because he returned home with literally nothing, a few soccer Jerseys, but that's it. For his going home party his investigator bought a ton of food and stuff. It was really cool to see the relationship he had with his investigators. Its to bad he isn't able to see there baptism. I cant wait to have this with my investigators when I can speak way better Portuguese.
   
Some funny things that happened to me this week was this member gave us this thing called Din Din. Its basically like a Ice(frozen popcical ). But with fresh juice. There are so good. The Irmã made me try this green one. It ended up that is was avocado with a lot of sugar. I didn't care because anything cold sits fine with me. Also one person said that I look 28 years old. Either she has no idea what she's talking about or that mission has made me look really old.
   
My comp said that I taught and entire lesson while I was sleeping in Portuguese. He said I invited them to pray, invited them to baptism and everything. We were laughing about that for a long time. I always love to hear what I do when I'll sleep walking because I remember nothing.
 
I got transferred to a new area. I will miss my first areá, Jardim Ingá. I learn so many thing culture, language, and stuff about myself. I'm leaving 5 Baptism dates of people I truly grew to love. I'm going to miss João a lot. I loved this kid, he was that one that came to church after the dunking thing. I feel bad because I didn't even say bye. He loved hearing me talk English and he asked me if I was going to play in the NBA when I returned home(Hahaha nope) I will really miss the people and members there but life keeps going.
     
I really liked my comp but I know I will be better off in this new area. My new comp is the Assistant to the President. He is amazing, he is from Brazil and have 6 weeks left on his mission. We are also opening a new area that has never had missionaries. Its going to be hard because we wont´have members to help us. Looks like were going to have to baptism them haha. I'm really excited because he is an amazing missionary.

Time is short here and I'm dripping in sweat. I want to let of you know I'm doing great and cant wait for what is to come
 ``Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life.``
-The Chinese fortune cookie I have taped on the back of my plaque.

Eu sei que eu preciso fazer esse trabalho porque pessoas precisam o Evangelho de Jesus Crsito. Eu oro para vocês cada Dia.

No pictures this week, they don't have an adapter at this computer place.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

This week was great, had its ups and had its downs. We had a a lot of great experiences that were extremely memorable.

Remember when I was talking about how awesome the rain, wind and clouds were last week. Well unfortunately, a members roof got blown off, and then it started to pour. All 4 missionaries went over to help. The poor sister was crying when we came to the scene. We spent the next 5 hours helping restore the house. I'm just glad that there are missionaries in the area because for just the man in the house to do the work it would have taken days. I'm happy to say there roof has been restored and were going back to move everything back in the house. Its the least we could do for the members for all the help they give us.

So this week I went on a companion trade with Elder Labrada. We were all the bus on our way to the city of Luiziana. Suddenly the bus came to a complete stop. There was a road block of buses. They had parked across the highway on both sides cause miles and miles of traffic. It was a protest because of all the bus robberies. We had an appointment so Elder Labrada and ! had to walk the rest on foot, 9km (6 miles) on foot. At 1 in the afternoon with that blazing sun. Lets just say that was a great experience.
 
Although that wasn't the best way to start the day, It was probably the best day of my mission. We work like dogs. Didn't pass a single person with out talking to them. I really like this Elder a lot because he knows how to work and he works in a very smart way. He told me "Were trying to find people that are ready to hear our lesson. Its not that we don´t help others but we need to help those that are ready, the elects." So we would teach lesson right there on the street, it acted as a "tryout". If they maintained eye contact, asked good questions and want to hear more we made sure to visit them again. This is brilliant because everyone in Brazil is nice but you can tell who is looking for the true gospel.

Later with that Elder we were walking by the sports courts and we saw a kid who was less active. He was with 10 of his friends playing basketball. I told them "Se eu posso dunk com duas mãos, vocês precisam ouvir a nossa mensagem." (If I can dunk with 2 hands you guys have to listen to our message)They all agreed. I was a little neverous, Im not going to lie because I was in my full out church clothes and I haven't played ball in forever. But God gave me the power to do it and we got to teach them. 2 of them were extremely interested and wanted us to teach there families. The best part of all was the less active kids Dad said he would bring them to church. This was truly a miracle because we found some "elects" and we are receiving the help from less actives to do so.

One of the down sides of the week was the Mom and Daughter who we have been teaching all week and they had a baptismal date didn't show up to church. It hurts when this happen because you work so hard to get them to see the truth. We cant force them to do anything. If they don't go to church next week were going to have to let them go.

I can say I'm able to understand almost everything that has to do with church stuff is Portuguese but other stuff I'm up in the clouds. If someone tries to talk to me about features of a car, I just smile and act like I understand. IT was come eventually. This Sunday was my first fast Sunday in the mission field. I got up and bore my testimony. I was so nervous but so glad I did it. Conquering fears one at a time haha.
 
Its crazy to think my first transfer ends in a week(Transfer 6 weeks). It flew to say the least. I only have 15 more to go. So crazy to think about.
   
I'm trying to make every moment count because just like that its gone.
 
Hope all is well, pray for you guys everyday.

Thank you Dad for the package, the family with the 8 kids loved the coloring books and candy. They were hugging those simple books like it was there first present ever. It brought an smile to my face that I'm able to serve the people of Brazil for the next 2 years.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth




Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014-God does Answer Prayers!

Oi,
   I want to start out my saying God does answer prayers if you truly ask with real intent. The power of prayer is as powerful as you make it. If you ask for help and you have faith it can happen it will,  In Gods own way and time. He will help with the big things and even the small things. I have been praying for many things while I have been living here in Jardim Ingá, Brasil. One of the first things was for weather. The weather here for my first 4 weeks was literally unbearable. You couldn´t escape the treacherous heat unless you took a cold shower. It gets up to 38 C and doesn't cool down much a night. This week was amazing, it was always cloudy and if there wasn't clouds there was a breeze. We were able to sleep better at night and work hard in the day going from house to house, and contacting people after people.
    I understand that the language isn't going to magically appear to me over night. But iv learned that if I truly listen I'm able to feel what the person is saying. Iv realized its all about how much you want it, just like everything else in life. If I truly want to learn this language, I need to work. Practicing conversations while walking, memorizing new words at the bus stop, and reading the Book of Mormon. everything counts.
    I loved conference this week it was really great to here directly from the people who speak for the Church and God. I'm not going to lie my favorite talk was Jorg Klebingat. This guy was so direct and didn't waste time beating around the bush. That's what I like to hear.
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2014/10?lang=eng&vid=3821222904001&cid=8
    We have 2 baptismal dates coming up. We would have a lot more but people don't go to church on sundays. They can pray and read all they want but they will never develop a testimony with out going to church. We try to pick people up to go but magically they aren't in there houses. Its frustrating but we cant force people. Its a work in progress to say the least.
   Some members told us to be careful when going home on the bus because there has been a lot of bus robberies from Brasilia to Jardim Inga where we live. I was already bugging out when I saw two clowns jump on the bus and start yelling. This was literally exactly want happen in every Holly Wood movie, clowns robbing people. My comp and I were freaking out. We thought we were done for. Then the clown reaches into this hug bag and pulls out a small guitar. He danced and sang for a little bit and ask for money, no one gave him a cent.

   Every day you learn something new. Iv learn to stop eating the pasta and pizza here. Its true not worth eating. They just cook the pasta for just 30 mins to long, so I like to just stick with my rice and beans. If a legit Italian restaurant opened they would make some serious cash.

   In our zone there are 3 Elders heading home in 13 days. Its really weird for me because we are basically on two different sides of the spectrum. I'm starting and there heading home to caring on there lives in the land of the Red White and Blue. Its weird but I hope that I can be like them some day and be great missionaries like them.

   Nobody has the control to be perfect in this life, that's a fact. But we can be perfect in the things that we can control. It starts with the little things. If you can't do the little things how do you expect to do the big things.
    I try to live by this motto, praying, read etc. So that when I have a chance to help someone come unto Christ ill be prepared.

Hope life is going great. Love you guys. Brasil is treating me good.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth
----------------
Here is some pics of the Americanos watching conference








Elder Seth
AOS 5/6 Bloco A
Bairro Octogonal
70660-665
Cruzeiro-DF


Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

This week literally flew by. Time flies when you working. Just got done with playing soccer with the zone. Man I'm bad, but I definitely saw an improvement. Good thing I have two years here.
 
I went to another wedding. 2 weddings in 3 weeks, that must be a record. The people getting married were baptized this Sunday. It was really amazing to see how people change there life styles completely to be in harmony with Gods commandments. Getting married, not drinking alcohol, coffee, etc. I really admire that sacrifice converts make.
 
One of the funniest things I see around Brazil is how they sing American music. There favorite is Bruno Mars. I cant stop laughing at how they sing with the funniest accents. But the best part is they have no idea what the lyrics mean.
 
A huge struggle I have is soda. Soda to me is death in a bottle. It just so happens that people serve it at every meal. I swear they have Coke and Guaranã running through there blood streams. At first I just drake it but now I ask for water. I'm going to see how far I can last, its been 5 days.
 
My funny experience of the week was that we were teaching this lady and her daughter. I look outside and see some guy with a bottle, spraying some stuff. All the sudden 50 cockroach's come running in to the house under the door. My companion and I jumped up and just start stomping on them. These things were huge, the size of a human thumb. Took us 15 mins to eventually clean them out. Lets just say it cut the lesson short.
 
There is this family that is inactive in the Church. They have 8 kids! all under the age of 15, can you image that. This family has very little money, very little. The Dad can't go church because he has to work like a dog to provide for his family. The worst part of all is the Mom wants to just walk away from the family and start over. We went over there yesterday and the house was at the worst state I've ever seen, clearly a mom hasn't been there. It really hurts me to see this family suffer. One of the children always snuggles up to my arm and smiles at me. As a district were planning on going over there and cleaning out the house, and other solutions to help. We are here to serve and help.
 
We have made some good progress in reactivating members. First week we had 78 people at church, 2nd week 94, and 3rd 130. Put in the work and you see miracles happen. I may not understand everyone when they talk but I can understand what they are feeling. Work here isn't easy, its tiring. But,
"it hurts so good". There is no better satisfaction than laying on your bed dead tired. There is so much work to been done here.

Hope all is well. Brazil isn't getting any colder unfortunately.

Com Amor,
Elder Seth

Also we have a new address for mail.

Elder Seth
AOS 5/6 Bloco A
Bairro Octogonal
70660-665
Cruzeiro-DF



Friday, September 26, 2014

Sept 26, 2014- SPECIAL Edition!

Paulinho delivered a package to Seth today. When he arrived at Seth's apartment he was gone. He asked 4 young boys where the missionaries were. They went looking and found Seth in a Assembly of God Church talking to the Pastor and his wife. Paulinho said Seth is very happy and he is with a good companion and 2 other good missionaries.

Attached is a picture of where he lives on the 2nd floor. A LDs chapel that is on the same street. The Assemble of God Church where Seth was found and a picture of Seth and his companion with the provisions. 







Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Oi,
    I want to start out by talking about public enemy number one here in Jardim Ingá. That is the heat. This one day got up to 38 C. I have no idea what that is in F, but I'm pretty sure its in the high 90s. For lunch one day we had to go eat at this member house who lives 50 minutes away by foot. It was pretty rough at high noon in shirt, tie, black pants, and dress shoes. But what I didn't know what that this member owned a restaurant. Although the walk was torture, it was so worth it. The best food I have had in Brazil, with fresh juice. I was true grateful for this experience. Put in the work get the reward.
   A few days ago I witnessed a biker getting drilled by a car. The guy was fine and the car honked at him to get out of the way. This made me think back to the New Canaan bikers that act like they own the roads. Good thing people in the states don't just hit a biker because there in the way.
   I love walking up and hearing people describe my sleep walking events from the night before, (in Portuguese) Its always a good laugh and a good way to start the day. One night they said I jumped out of my bed and starting playing lacrosse. Another night they said I was trying to break out. Good thing we have steal bars and all the windows and doors. Looks like there not only to keep people out but the keep people in.
   My companion and I are both new to this area so its been talking us some time to get use to this area. Its hard because the city were staying in was very poorly planned, that's a fact. But were getting use to it. We just try to work, work, work. Our goal is to get 100 contacts a week. Its a lot and only happens if you working hard.
   The language is coming, slowly but surely. Learning new words and phrases everyday. I've come to realize that its not going to come all at once. But the harder I try to memorize stuff the faster I will learn.
  I've also tried a lot harder to listen to the spirit and then act on what I've heard. This one day we were waiting at a members house to teach and investigator, I felt prompted to go talk to people on the street. The first people we talked to were really interested and asked us to come inside to teach them. When the spirit talks to you its really easy to miss it, so act when you get the prompting.
   I am really nervous  to talk to people because my Portuguese is rough. But my companion always pushes me. He told me that I was going to ask this person to be baptized and I just laughed at him. Then when the time came he stopped talking. It was a awkward silence for 30 seconds. Then I did it. I wasn't sure how it went until she said yes. Crazy right. 7 weeks in Brazil and I'm able to do that. Dom De lingues é verdeiro. (the gift of tongues)
  Well this is getting a little to long and times running short. I miss home a ton but there's work I need to do here. I love the members here, they are all like my parents and friends.

my address
Elder Seth
Brazil Brasilia Misson
Shin CA 05
LOTE B1 Salas 304/307, Brasilia
71503-505 DF, CEP-DF
Brazil

Com Amor,
Elder Seth



Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Bom Dia,
 
Well this week was way different than all the others I have had in the mission field, because I wasn't actually in prison. The CTM was a good experience but I'm happy to be out of there. Well I finally figured out that my apartment does have hot water which is good. You change the temperature on the shower head. I made the mistake of trying to change it while I was showering. Big mistake, the moment I flicked the switch I felt the electrical current go through me. Didn't feel that good I promise you. The good news is that will be the first and last time I do that.
 
Since my Portuguese right now isn't the best its hard for me to understand people who talk really fast with a different accent.  I have mastered this technique where I mirror the face of the person and throw a yes I'm there to act like I understand them. Well I was at this members how and this lady was talking to me for a good 20 minutes and I thought I was playing if off pretty good considering I didn't understand a single word she was saying until she made her daughter go buy us all ice cream and then she dragged me into the bathroom and was putting this lotion stuff on my face. My companion was laughing his head off. I strategy back fired on me.
   
This one day we were lucky to help this member get ready for his wedding. The poor guy was planning most of it by himself and he was clearly bugging out. But its really cool how the entire church help each other out. Half of the ward was there sacrificing there time and money for this kid. He invited us to the wedding and it was pretty interesting. Its kind of similar to a American wedding but I'm not sure because we have to leave at 9.
 
One of my favorite parts of the mission is members. they are literally the best people ever. They understand that its not easy to leave everything in your life for 2 years to serve the Lord. They have so much love and respect for the missionaries. The language is really tough, trust me. but with the support of the Elders, members, and the love I feel from God I don´t need to me frustrated because I know I'm doing the right thing.

When ever I'm feeling down I turn to the scriptures they always pick me up and keep me going.  `` And I will also ease the burdens which are put on your shoulders, that ever you cannot feel them upon your backs, and this I will do that ye may stand as a witnesses for me`` Mosiah 24  14

My new address is
Elder Seth
Brazil Brasilia Mission
Shin CA 05
LOTE B1 Salas 304/307 Brasilia
71503-505 DF, CEP-DF
Brazil

Its crazy of different life is down here.I can`t wait to be fluent and experience this a better level. Miss you guys. hope all is well

Com Amor,

Elder Seth

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Daniel Neeleman (left) Seth Neeleman (right) years later in the MTC at the same spot!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10, 2014

Well its finally happening
 
I'm finally in Brasilia on my mission. Sure leaving the CTM was weird to leave because it was my home for the past 6 weeks but I was excited to finally taste the culture of Brasil.
 
Yesterday I got the meet president. He is literally the best person ever. Then I got my and with my two bags I was off. I got to meet my companheiro for the first time. Ele nome e Elder Najarro. He has been serving for 6 months and he is from El Salvador. He is the best, very happy, nice, energetic,and doesn't speak a lick of Ingles. Baptism by fire as I like to call it, that is how I will become fluent in Portuguese.
 
We had to take a 2 hour bus right from the mission house which at first didn't sound to bad but people on the roads here are crazy., especially the bus drivers. They are fast and stop nothing in between. Plus standing up the entire time gave my arms a great workout. They were sore when I woke uphaha.
 
I'm staying at a really cool area its really humbling. I saw a family using a horse drawn wagon as transportation and a lot of homeless people. also there is a huge market for spiked fences down here, future company idea(I think so).

Our apartment has 2 sets of elders and there all really cool. Its funny how in Brasil they made the floors out of nice marble but they don't have filtered or hot water, gotta give a little to get a little I guess.
 
I get frustrated with the language because everyone seems to have a different accent. I just need to practice more and more.

Well I don't have that much time on the computer because its not my P day they are just letting me check in. My Area is called Jardim Inga. This is my home for the next 6 week at least hopefully more.

I know there are so many people that can use the gospel in there life here, I can just see it in there faces how they aren't happy. I know that the gospel can and will help them live a happier life for not only then but there family.

I will talked to all of you next segunda-fiera, Monday. Love you all and hope I can make you proud. quote of the week is "Let your work talk, not your mouth"


Com Amor,
Elder Seth

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

OFF TO BRAZILIA- Post from David

I found out yesterday that Seth was leaving this morning for Brasilia on Azul with 25 missionaries. I had work to do at the airport so I decided to see him off. Victoria baked cookies and came too. When I arrived he was already at the gate. He wasn't too thrilled to see either of us and only spoke Portugeese to us. I am sure he was concerned he was violating a mission rule. He was in full missionary mode which was great to see. I love that boy. I didn't dare take a pictures of us together so I snapped one while he was boarding.

He took off at 8:30am Brazil and should be landing shortly. 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this was my último semana em CTM. this week flew by so fast, it was crazy. We have 2 Brazilians move into our room, what a blessing. First of all I love the people of Brasil. Love the teachers, the other staff members, and the other Brazilian Missionaries. Every night i sit down with Elder Juliani and we read O Livro de Mórmon together. I read in Portúgués and he helps me pounce words correctly and I help he with íngles. Verse by verse we do this. Its amazing how much 30 mins helps me. I pray for a great first companion in the field.
 
This sunday I said the sacramental prayer for the first time in Portúgués. I literally practiced 100 times because I wanted to make it perfect. It went surprisingly well, crazy how this work out if you put your mind to it.
 
My study focus this week was to memorize as many verbs in every tense as possible. Iv realized that the secret to this language is verbs. Once you understand the verbs everything works out. I just feel like there isn't enough time in a day. My idea of the day is that its a hour glass that seems to drain faster and faster each day.

I'm so close to finishing the O Livro de Mórmon in the CTM. I have around 50 pages left. Its amazing how much stuff you learn from the scriptures when you read, ponder, and pray about it. I just find myself wanting to read just one more chapter. Also, I have this weird addition where I just want knowledge. I want to study, read and learn everything. which takes me back to my only problem, time.

Sadly my favorite Elder left last Tuesday. elder Alva. I love that kid so much. When I said good bye he just started to cry. I hope I can have a heart like him some day. Although he is only 5 ft tall he has a heart twice the size of a normal person. Well I'm short on time per usual. Next time I talk to everyone I'll be in Brasilia slaying dragons.

Meu favorito escritura (my favorite scripture)
Eis que sou discípulo de Jesus Cristo, O Filho de Deua. Fui por ele chamado para anunciar sua palavra ao povo, afim de que tenham vida enterna.
3 Néfi 5:13

    I'm missing the little things back home, but I love the big picture idea of a mission and its purpose. I hope all is well, and I would love to hear from all of you.

                                                                      Com Amor,
                                                                   EElder Neeleman




p.s.
I just spoke with Elder Seth here in the temple of São Paulo and I realize that that boy left the MTC a few weeks is another person's voice is different and understand speech in Portuguese, and a unique feature, humility, good boy he is. Today he is the district it will have lunch at a steakhouse as Farewell group. He is commanded memories and hugs to all.

Paulo Bergoc

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014

Hey Everyone,

A lot has happened in the past 10 days and I don't have a lot of time to write. Sorry if I'm unable to respond to everyone individually. If you send me your address I will be able to send you a more in depth, and personal letter.
  
Last Wednesday we hit the streets of the heart of Sao Paulo to hand out copies of the book of Mormon. We each had 2 and we handed them out like hot cakes. The people here are so nice, Love Americans, and love God-Jesus. Its crazy how I was able to talk to random people about the church in Portuguese. The lord truly does work miracles.
 
Next we had Elder Holland come and speak to us last Thursday! It was amazing, he said so many inspiring things to me. Like the area you serve with be a area of your rebirth. He also talked about how every single of successes in life are connected to his mission. It made me feel a lot better about what I'm doing here in Brazil. Half way through his talk I was inspired to be a better district leader. I brought my district into a room and put a snickers bar on each of there desks. I said we need to step it up and learn this language. I said here is a snickers bar, were going on a english fast for the next 8 hours. If you don't say a single work of english you can keep it. Those 8 hours we learned so much about the language and ourselves. It was hard but so worth it to give up my stash of American candy.
 
My birthday this year was different to say the least. I was always so use to having 2 a days for football, jumping in the pool, going to capital grille with the boys and getting some sweet presents. This Birthday was great in a different way. I woke up and brushed my teeth came back and my bed was made. Then I would find notes every where from my friends. But my favorite part was when I was sitting next to a Elder at lunch. Elder Alva from Peru. He said Feliz Aniversario and handed me a candy bar he was clearly saving. It hit me so hard how someone with such little gave so much. for my birthday this year I learned gratitude. to really appreciate the little things in life.
  
Miss you guys a ton, I'm finally getting the swing of things around here. Don't send letters to the previous address I gave you guys because I'm out of the training center in 12 days!!! I let you know my new one. I love all of you guys thanks for you support.

Eu sei que esta Igreja é verdadeira é o trabalho que eu estou fazando é para senhor, eu oro para vocés cada dia.

(I know that this is the true church and the work I am doing is for the Lord. I pray for all you everyday)                                                          
Com Amor,

Elder Seth Andrew Neeleman




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19, 2014-

Hey Everyone,

The enter button is broken on this board so HA. My preparation day was changed to today because We are going to the Federal Police Friday. So you guys wont hear from me until ten days from now.

Not that much has happened in the past few days. Its crazy how much you want something you cant have. We went to go and purchase peanut butter so we could have some good protein after our workouts. There happens to be a small jar that costs 15 American dollars. Thats crazy, now I know why Dad hauls down suitcases of that stuff each week.

Thank you so much Grandma and Grandpa for the Grandchildren's letter. My entire district was so jealous that my family has its own news paper. I would say every other night we wake up to gun shots, which strangely I like. It makes me feel like I'm on the streets when I'm really locked up in the CTM.

A lot of the Brazilian have seen the movie Enchanted and they say i look like the Prince. I'm not sure if thats a compliment or not. My room mates have told me some funny sleep walking stories about me. They never get old. One of the things I'm working on this week is patience. That is one of my biggest weaknesses. Being a kid with really bad ADD I tend to get annoyed easily. Especially during quiet time and someone starts humming or whistling. It kills me.

We just hit our half way mark in the CTM. I'm able to carry on a 45 min conversation with a Brazilian on church doctrine. sure I sound like a gringo but I'll take it. God has truly helped me through this difficult time. From missing home to dealing with the extreme amount to learn. I want everyone to know that I happy to serve the Lord for the next two years. Miss you guys a lot. I'd love to receive some pictures, i cant get any through the computer. Its going to be weird not to have my Birthday at home with 2 football practices and getting ready for school. Turning big 19 this week so pumped. I carry a fortune cookie paper in my wallet that says.....Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life.

Love,
Elder. Neeleman                                                                                                                                                                    

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dear Everyone,
  
First off I'm going to say sorry again for the horrible grammar, I have little time and no spell check. Everyone told me it was going to be down hill after the first week, but I wouldn't believe until it was behind me. I was so frustrated with everything. Missed home, American food, friends, family, and a bed where my feet didn't hang off. It was really difficult to go from free lancing in senior summer to being apart of something that is very similar to a military program. Big changes in my life to say the least. But at the second week came around things started to get better. I can that the Lord for answering my prayers. i was in some serious need of some help. That week we had 2 Brazilian Missionaries move into our room, they didn't speak a lick of English which was a blessing. In order to communicate with them we had to truly study the language. We would hound them with questions on how to say and pronounce stuff. Good thing they are the nicest people, they loved helping us. Its to bad that they will only be here for 2 weeks since they don't need to learn a language.
   
Daniel wasn't lying when he said I would be eating beans on rice for 6 days straight for 3 meals. And for the last day we would eat rice on beans. I'm so glad I love that food combo or else I'd lose so much weight. Some of the elders in my district just eat the rice.....ewwww, there in for a long 2 years. My favorite part of the meals is the fresh juice, I have to water it down because its so sweet. I really enjoy the food which is a big plus.
       Besides sunday being my favorite day because its the day of rest, I would have to say that Wednesday is the best behind sunday. Because thats when the new American missionaries come in. I just think to myself, things could be so much worse, I could be those sorry kids not knowing what's about to happen to them. I always go up to them and try to make them feel better and say things I wish people said to me. Our district has truly advanced a lot.
       Its crazy how affective the Gift of tongues is, God truly does work miracles. When you are one with the Spirit you just get it. Word, phrases, verb tenses just stick to your mind like glue. Although it doesn't seem like it the words always come back when I need to use them in a lesson or conversation. This week truly did fly by. My mission President told us the first day, It may not be the best two years of your life, but it will be the best two years for your life. Its so true. It's hard but I'm learning things that will help me for the rest of my life. I've learned things I never dreamed I could learn.
I'll finish with a scripture, D&C 4:2. google that if you don't have this book at home haha. Talk to everyone in 7.
here is my correct address sorry about that

Brazil Brasilia Mission
Rua Padre Anotonio D Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo -SP
Brazil


Love,
Elder Neeleman

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hey Everyone,
   
Sorry for taking so long to write everyone. They made my P day on Friday and they skip they first P day (I don't know why). Sorry about the grammar. Little time and this key boards are Brazilian to say the least.
    
Ok so I'm not going to lie its been a pretty crazy week and hard. You really don't know how hard it is until you get here. You never have a second to yourself. Wake up and 630 and going to bed at 1030. With no free time. I think that its better that you don't get any free time because the second you do you just think of home. When the mind is idol, that is when it wanders and loses focus on the work. It has happened a few times to be where I think of home, you feel awful. The only way to fix it is put your head down and get back to work.
     
This place is no joke. They literally ram you every second of the day. From learning the language, studying doctrine, and teach investigators in Portuguese. Yes, that's right. Everyday we have to give an investigator a 30 min lesson on church doctrine in Portuguese. They made us do it on our second day, I was surprised we actually did it. The first day we all could pray and say our testimonies in Portuguese. Its crazy what effect the Spirit and gift of tongues has on someone learning. I've learned 2x more Portuguese in the past 8 days that Spanish in 6 years.
    
My District is pretty legit. My companion is named Elder Patterson who is a red head (Hannah(winkyface)) that lives in St. George Utah. Amazing kid, very easy to get along with. He is very Spiritual and obedient which is the best part. I was honored to be called as the district leader which isn't as fun as it sounds. You have to act like a mom to a bunch of 18 and 19 year old kids. But They are all smart kids and understand why I'm telling them what they have to do. They are all from utah, surprise surprise. Also 5 of the 7 are going to Brasilia which is going to be awesome. They are all great kids.
    
It is truly amazing how much you love doing church stuff 24/7 when you are feeling the spirit. I am attempting to read the entire Book of Mormon in the 6 weeks that  at the CTM. Its gonna be hard because we have no time to. This work is not easy, you get discouraged very easily and you are always tired because of a lack of sleep. But it is so rewarding to just think that in a few weeks I'll be on the streets of Brasilia serving the people and bringing the true gospel into there lives.

I miss home and everyone a lot but i know this is where I must be.
  
I want to thank everyone that helped me get here. i know I would be sitting in the CTM without all of your support.


Love,

Elder Neeleman

PS letters might be a better form of communication since computer time is so limited and only on one day of the week.
Elder Seth Neeleman
Brazil Brasilia Mission
Brazil Mission Training Center
Rua Padre Anotonio D Angelo
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo -SP
Brazil 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30 2014- Entering the CTM








All,

As you all know Seth entered the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo today.

This morning we met at Daniels apartment and I had the privilege of giving Seth a father's blessing.

Then we traveled to Sao Paulo and met President Swenson the MTC President at a chapel near the MTC. Ron and Marcia Ferrin also attended. He set Seth apart and gave him beautiful blessing. He blessed him with everything he will need to be a great missionary.

After the blessing we asked Seth if he wanted to go to lunch with us. He said he wanted get going and go back to the MTC with the president. He loaded his bags in his car and off they went together.

He was totally ready to go as witnessed by the email he sent an hour later.

"Its so funny to see the other new Americans. These kids are so scared it hilarious. I keep trying to calm them down. I ain't nervous yet at all hahaahhha. time to kick butt for the lord. So bored right now while all this kids are writing there essay long sob stories."

What a boy. Already leading.

He will be a great missionary. We are so blessed to now have 2 missionaries in the field.

Thank you all for your help in preparing Seth. Enjoy the pictures.

Love,
David 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014

Mission Farewell!

Seth’s speech:
Good Afternoon Brothers and sisters
I would like to start out by thanking everyone for coming today, I know the summer is a very busy time and people are pulled in a lot of directions. I am sincerely grateful that so many people that are important to me have come to hear me today. As many of you know, 9 weeks ago I was just straightening up my royal blue bow tie and vest and throwing on my white James Bond jacket, Bishop Pace’s Red Ferrari keys in hand when my sister told me my mission call had just arrived. I was just a kid at the time to say the least. Not knowing where my life was gonna go, not knowing what college I was going to attend, not knowing what professions interested me, and for sure not knowing where the Lord would have me spend the next two years of my life. I felt like a wanderer. The envelope I held would answer all my uncertainties. Where I was being called would dictate what language I learned, the people I met, and my spiritual development as well as my development as a person.
Fortunately, I have had a lot of great influences in my life that have led the moment that I held this envelope. School, academic and religious teachers, athletes and coaches, family, and good friends just to mention a few.
     I think one my greatest blessing growing up here in New Canaan was how strong my bond was with my friends. Sometimes people say to me “I just don’t know how you do it?” growing up in a town where only 5 kids in my grade are Mormon would be tough, but I just have to shake my head and completely disagree, because I moved New Canaan when I was 5. I was able to go to Elementary School, Middle School and High School with my best friends. They were able to learn and know what my standards are and respect me for that, never tried to push it, or make me do anything I wouldn’t do.
In fact, whenever I was thinking of making a bad decision, one of my friends would say “No. I’m not letting you do that on my watch. Go with someone else.”  My friends taught me how to be a good friend. Hopefully I can take their example and be a good friend to the people of Brazil.
     Another person I have looked up to all my life is Lou Maraneli.  Going into Sophomore year there was no way I was going to play football. I absolutely hated the freshman football experience and I remember my dad would come into my room at night and say “Come on Seth. You gotta play football.” And  I would just start yelling and screaming and I would storm out saying, “Dad. I’m not doing it. I’m not playing football. It’s just not worth it.”
     I remember this one time I was walking down the hall with a bunch of my buddies and I saw Lou walking from the other direction and I just turned around and ran. I didn’t want to face him. I just wanted to slip through the cracks. Until one day I was sitting in the back of Spanish class and the teacher picked up the phone and said “Seth. Go to Lou Marinelli’s room, immediately.” I’m looking around thinking “What is going on here?” So I’m walking there already thinking “He’s just a old guy. I’m gonna just tell him no. I’m just gonna tell him there is no way I am going to play football.”  I get in his office and he said “Seth. It doesn’t matter how many touch downs you score or how many tackles you get, it’s about being part of the family and the tradition of New Canaan football.”
As soon as that hit me, I flashed back to being in the stands on Friday night lights, with my youth jersey on, telling myself that I was going to be on that field someday. He said the most perfect things to me. I ended up playing and never looked back. I loved every second of it. He told me its not about getting all the glory, its about being part of the family.
This relates to me on my mission cause it doesn’t matter how many baptisms I get, as long as I serve and love the people of Brazil I will be successful.
     Another person who taught me a very important lesson in my life was Coach Buzzeo. He taught me to have faith in others. One of my biggest dreams was to play Division 1 lacrosse. The older I got, the less likely that dream seemed to happen. As I would go to camps, coaches would talk to me, and when I would tell them I was serving a two-year mission right out of high school, it would scare them cause a kid that is going on a mission for two years and not playing any competitive lacrosse is just a huge risk.
     I know Coach Buzzeo has spent hours on the phone with different coaches, sticking his neck out for me helping me edit my highlight video, until he finally got his foot in the door with Loyola and the rest is history. I want to thank him for that, because Coach taught me to sacrifice for something that you care about, and that is why I am leaving for two years, because I really care about this church and it will really help me in the long run. He also taught me to have faith in others, and hopefully I will be able to have faith in the system in Brazil, and engulf myself in the Lords work.
     I was also fortunate to have so many great leaders in this ward. One of the greatest people in my life is Bishop Pace. His love for others is just so unbelievable. The amount of time he spends on others to just proves his love and testimony for this church. I want to thank him for that.
     There are so many really important people, and just to name a few, I’d like to thank Keith Dickenson, Bryan Blair, Craig Bench, Chip White, Brent Alvord, there are also so many more, but that is just to name a few of my most recent ones.
     The number one reason I am serving a mission is because of my family. My family has gone through some rough times, just like all families do. If you haven’t gone through rough times as a family, “Buckle Up!” because it’s gonna happen sooner or later. But that’s why I love this church so much, because the foundation of this church is built around families. I know that if I didn’t have the church in my life my family would be crumble. I don’t know where I would be without it. One of the most comforting aspects of this gospel is that families can be together forever.
     I know that tragedies happen and people eventually pass away, but I know that we are able to spend all eternity together.  I can’t wait to share that comforting message with the people of Brazil.
     Many of you don’t understand why I am doing this, why I am giving up the next two years of my life, so I will give you the quick down-low.  I am dropping everything in my life, leaving for two years. No cell phone, no social media, no going to movies, limited contact with friends and family. I am basically removing myself from the world at large. The purpose is to remove all distractions, to get lost in the work of the Lord, sot that all your heart, might, mind and strength are being exerted to doing the will of God. The work of the Lord is to spread his gospel and bring people into His kingdom. People say, “I don’t understand why you are taking off for two years, leaving school, lacrosse, and your social life.” And sometimes I throw myself a little pity party and ask myself “Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I setting myself back for two years.”
     I like to reflect on the scripture Matthew 10:39.  “ He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for me shall find it.”  I interpret this scripture to mean that the guy who just lives his life for himself isn’t successful, but the guy who loses himself in the work of the Lord will find an abundance of blessings.
     Not only does the mission come with many benefits such as learning a language, teaching myself to live on my own, teaching me to live in a foreign country and improving my social skills, but there is also a huge spiritual aspect to it. For the 2 years I will be completely immersed in the work. I will eat, sleep, drink and breathe CHURCH. That’s hard to do that when you are going to school and everything, but these two years I will be able to access a spiritual side of myself that I have never seen any other time in my life. That makes me really excited. I am really excited to do this.
I know that me serving a mission in Brazil was decided a long time ago, even way before I was born. Missionaries don’t get to choose where they go, but I believe that our family has been so involved in Brazil that the calls are inspired. My grandpa was called to Brazil when the city I was called to, was under construction.  My father, my uncle, my brother, and now my sister are now currently serving there.  I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that I was meant to grown up in this community to make me the best person that I can be. And I believe that I was born into a family of 9, so that they could watch over me and make sure I’m doing the right things.
     I know this church is true. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the companion to the Bible and further testifies the life of Christ. I know that if we follow the Lords instructions, and do as he asks, that families can be together forever.        Although I get a little nervous about leaving, and its not going to be easy, I am excited and anxious to go and serve the people of Brazil for the next two years of my life. I’d like to say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Matt just came to tell Seth goodbye and called this a “great and dreadful day!






Nieces and Nephews!
These kids will look quite a bit different in 2 years!