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.
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
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.
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!
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