Monday, December 30, 2013

Prayer as a Process

Oi familia!

So, it was awesome to talk to y´all last week.  (My english might be lazy when I get home because we have simpler ways of saying things in Portuguese)  It was kind of cool that it was actually hard for me to speak in English.  Frustrating, yes, but cool.  I just never speak in English here so doing so is rather uncommon for me.  But, I hope you all learned a few new words and had a lovely time.  Glad to hear you´re all doing well and maybe we can actually Skype on Mother´s day.  I´m learning that we have ways of doing things here that aren´t explicetly stated, like using the computer in the chapel.  But, live and learn.

So, my experience for the week happened yesterday.  Actually, the Lord saw fit to teach me a number of things this week and I feel I´ve changed imensely over the course of this past week whether by study, faith, or the refiner´s fire, I´ve grown so much this week.  But, yesterday morning as I was eating my pão e maçã (bread and apple though it´s not quite pronounced how it´s spelled) for breakfast I was reading a talk by Elder Bednar of the Twelve.  In this talk he explained that some of our most powerful and best prayers are prayers of gratitute where we ask for little to nothing.  So, I got on my knees and thanked the Lord sincerely for the grand number of blessings I had recieved.  It made me realize just how blessed I am and how the Lord is truly always looking out for us with His tender mercies.  However as I did so, The Spirit descended upon me like I´ve never recieved it before.  It was truly a powerful experience.  But, this isn´t all.  The talk goes on to mention how prayer shouldn´t be viewed as a series of events throughout the day, but a continual process.  Thus, our morning prayers lead to our daily prayers which lead to our nightly prayers which prepare us for our prayers the next morning.  So, I considered this prayer as a process and began such yesterday.  Combined with the Spirit I mentioned earlier, the day was quite profound.  During church, our teacher for Gospel Principles was absent so I had to teach the lesson.  What happened?  Inspiration and the gift of tongues.  I thought "hmm, Gospel of Jesus Christ today" and I was able to teach the whole lesson.  I didn´t have to use my dictionary, look to my companion, or pause for long periods of time.  It was amazing that I could speak the thoughts and intents of my heart and mind without difficulty.  Truly, the Lord was with me.  As we continued through the day, I felt impressed to go to a specific street in our area and bater portas (tract) because the Lord had prepared someone.  We went and sure enough, we met a man who is displeased with his church and was very impressed with our building when he passed by.  He lives a minute away by walking and is seeking to find more truth.  Golden contact.  As we continued through the day, the Spirit was strong and urged me to find, speak, and prepare those of God´s children to one day enter His kingdom once again.  So, I want to invite you all to try this this week.  Offer a prayer of heartfelt gratitude, and then consider your prayers as a process and watch for the miracles that ouccur.

Truly, this is the Lord´s restored church on the earth once again.  Prayer is real, and I we can talk with God, our Heavenly Father at any time or place.  Joseph Smith knew this and he applied this principle and through him the church was restored.  We all can recieve the bounteous blessings of heaven as we pray with real desire and intent.

Vós amo!

Elder Evans

Monday, December 23, 2013

What's the Lord's plan?

Oi familia!

Wow.  This week has been the biggest roller coaster of emotion.  My new companion is Elder Tribino (pronounced Tree-bee-noh) and he´s from Rio Grande do Sul.  Funny enough, he lives in the Santa Maria mission, where Scott Omer served.  Sadly, he doesn´t know him.  He lives right on the boarder between Brazil and Uraguay.  When I picked him up Tuesday night I said ´Welcome!  You ready to teach a lesson tonight?´ He was like ´Well, yeah.  Let´s do it.´ So, I was pretty pumped.  We saw two miracles that night.  First we taught a lesson to Augusto about the Restoration and I said to my companion `Okay, I want you to share the Joseph Smith story and the Restoration´ and he did it flawlessly.  It was amazing.  Augusto totally got it and he´s going to be baptized this coming Saturday!  Then we headed out for a family night with a part-member family, though the wife (member) hasn´t been active since her baptism about 14 years ago.  We talked about eternal families and I shared a scripture from Matthew 19 about how marriage means ´becoming one flesh´and that they could be together forever.  Then Elder Tribino offered his testimony that we can be with our families for eternity.  The Spirit was so strong and the room felt like it was on fire.  We closed and the husband offered the closing prayer.  As he was praying he asked our Father in Heaven to know more about eternal families and there was a little catch in his voice.  He stumbled through the rest of the prayer and when he closed I looked up and both he and his wife had tears streaming down their faces.  It was such a powerful moment to see that they trully have a desire to be an eternal family.  One day, I know they´ll enter the temple together to be sealed.  What a blessing.

During the rest of the week we had a number of appointments fall through, but I quickly learned that man´s extremity is God´s opportunity.  We continued to work hard and talk to all the people we could.  We found a few potential investigators and we ran into three families one day!!! Three!!! Sadly, two of them live way outside our area, but we ran into one that I have high hopes for.  Something new we´ve been trying is going to people and saying ´We´re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we´re going around spreading a message about Christmas.  Can we sing a Christmas Hymn for you?´ Almost everyone says yes and it´s an amazing way to bring the Spirit.  We went to one house and sang for them and afterwards she said ´That was so beautiful, thank you.´ And we marked for another day to return.  This was the other family we found and we have an appointment with them tomorrow. But that´s the key thing.  We we´re far from our house and had little idea of what to do, but it´s in those moments that we have to buckle down and say ´Well, our plans didn´t work out.  What does the Lord have planned for us?´ I´m learning that what I talked about in my farewell is completely and 100% true.  Sometimes, we just have to hang in there and do what we can.  As D&C 123:17 tells us we should "cheerfully do everything that lies within our power".  Sure, sometimes it´s hard, but what matters is that we´re giving the Lord our best.  100%.  All day.  Every day.  Until our work is finished.

And after all of this, our Christmas Miracle.  We´ve been working every week with a great couple Ronald and Cleid who were baptized within the past 6 months but since fell to inactivity.  We´ve been trying and trying to get them back to church and nothing was working.  We headed over there with Elder Tribino and our Ward Mission Leader and I was thinking about what to share.  On the way over I though, ´Luke 2´ so we read Luke 2.  The Spirit was so strong and testified that we truly have the church of Jesus Christ on the earth again.  We visited them the next day and they said ´we read the scriptures as a family and prayed together.  It was great!´ And the next day (yesterday) guess who came to church, Ronald & Cleid!!! It was so amazing to feel the Love of Christ for those two wonderful people.  Truly, the Lord works miracles every day if we´re willing to strive until the end.

Feliz Natal!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Foto da Conferencia de Natal

Picture of the whole mission at Conferência de Natal!

Feliz Natal!

Well, wasn't expecting that...

Oi familia!

This week has been buckets of interesting.  We had a shortened transfer because of Christmas so transfers were today.  I´m chilling with my new comp right now, except he isn´t actually my comp.  He´s a temporary because I´m training!!! AHHHHHH!!!!! (scared scream, not necessarily excited, just mostly nervous but faith-filled at the same time) Everyone getting transfered went to the Montese Chapel and President Souza read off the new Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and trainers. My Zone Leaders have been joking continually that I´ll train this transfer and as President Souza was reading through trainers he just kept listing names.  The more he listed the more I was thinking ´yes! not training!´ Then he read my name.  We have 43 missionaries coming in this transfer (yeah, seriously) so we´ve got buckets of trainers.  This will be a very interesting transfer.  I feel so humbled and so unprepared all at the same time.  Whatever happens, I know it will be the will of the Lord.  I think it´s very interesting that I gave my farewell on how we need to focus on the will of the Lord and not our own, and the Lord has seen fit to test me in this very thing.  But let´s be real, we all knew it would happen.

But the news of the week was something I didn´t even see coming.  We had a fairly normal week, though as always adjusting to a different mission culture is difficult. Tuesday night our Zone Leaders called and said ´we´re having an exchange tomorrow.  Elder Evans is coming over here with Elder Lima´ which was abnormal.  We´d already had exchanges this transfer but I went with it anyway.  When I woke up Wednesday morning I was overwhelmed with this monsterous feeling of inadequacy, like I was the world´s words missionary and I didn´t have a prayer of ever accomplishing anything.  Then we headed out to exchanges.  Elder Lima was jubilant and thrilled to be working.  I looked at him and realized that he reminded me of, me, when I was in Kansas.  I reflected on this and at one point he told me ´you know, making contacts in the street is so hard for me, but I keep doing it.  One day I´m sure it´ll get easier´ and I realized that he had struggles just like I had, but he was still thrilled to be a missionary!  Sometimes, yeah, missionary work gets you down.  But, we´re sharing the greatest message the world has ever known!  Christ lives and He and our Father in Heaven love us SO much!  Because of that we have prophets on the earth!  How awesome is that?!?!  No greater message has graced the earth before!  The next day we had Conferência de Natal (Christmas Conference) and we watched a motivational clip about a guy named Billy Peck.  Billy lost his left arm and part of his leg in the war, but he doesn´t get down about it.  He focuses on always doing his best and fulfilling the expectations of his leaders.  As I considered this the thought came to mind (yep, I´m thinking the Spirirt) ´Am I living up to my best, what the Lord expects?  Or am I creating a higher standard than the Lord expects?´ Essentially, the film was exactly what I needed as well as the exchange.  Basically, the word of the week is that the Lord loves us.  Because of that, sometimes he gives us what we need, even before we realize we need it.  I love the Lord and He loves me.  More important, he loves each one of you more than you can ever comprehend!  Even better, he is ALWAYS looking out for us.  Just call him whenever you need something.  His prayer line is always open :)

Feliz Natal!

Elder Evans

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pennies (centavos) from Heaven

Oi familia!

Fun fact! They don´t have pennies down here!  Well, all of their coinage is called centavos, but they don´t have 1 centavo coins.  They have 5s, 10s, 25s, 50s, and 1 real (pronounced hey-al) coins.  But anyway, this actually has significance.  I´ll explain later.

I hope the challenge went well this week.  It´s been reminding me to be more charitable this whole week and has brought back many good, happy memories of grandma. Another thing that helped was the talk Sunday Will Come by Elder Wirthlin.  It was given at the OCtober 2006 general conference.  Elder Weaver showed it to me when I was in Kansas and since then I found the Ensign with it in my apartment.  Tender mercy?  Absolutely.  I discovered that we have some amazing old conference Enisgns in the apartment (yeah, Ensigns, not Liahonas, so they´re actually in English) and they´ve been a major blessing and tender mercy. 

Anyway, centavos from heaven.  In the movie Elf (which Brazilians know nothing about, sadly) when Buddy first goes to New York there´s a great little jazz ditty playing in the background called ´Pennies from Heaven´ and it talks about how when it rains we can find our fortune falling all over town.  Buddy proceeds to have a blast with all the new things he finds about New York.  Revlolving doors, gum, free flyers, the world´s best coffee, etc.  Well, I imagine he was quite aprehensive about first going, but he went there filled with faith that he would find his dad and everything would be hunky dory. Well, I had a similar experience.  This week we did two exchanges.  The second of the two was quite eventful.  I was paired with Elder Rector.  Elder Rector is a great guy who is from Arizona.  He entered the CTM (in Brazil.  Apparently a few Americans get their visas straight off.  Not common, but it happens) in October and we came to Missão Brasil Fortaleza on the same day. LSS, (long story short) he has the same amount of field experience in Brazil that I do.  Neither of us can communicate super well. But, I had faith that the Lord would help us out. Anyway, I picked up Elder Rector and we headed to lunch at a members house.  After some advetures in finding the house, we went in and sat down.  They began talking to us and miraculously, I could understand them.  I was blown away.  Then, the next thing I knew, I was able to respond! It was amazing. The rest of the day proceeded the same way.  Suddenly, when I was challenged, I wasn´t afraid to open up and share with these people.  When I did open my mouth, the Lord filled me with words, conjugations, and vocabulary.  When I didn´t have the words, the natives helped me (Brazilians are so nice :)), and we made it through the day!  At the end of the day, we went to make a visit to a family we´re teaching, Aluizo + Redilane.  Redilane (hedge-ee-lan-ee) was baptized about 16 years ago when she was 9 with her family.  She doesn´t have much of a testimony of the gospel and really knows nothing about the church.  Aluizo is her husband who is not a member.  Elder Rector and I went over and reviewed the Restoration with them.  I asked Elder Rector to share the Joseph Smith story and he still struggled, but it was amazing.  As he was speaking, especially with the story of the First Vision, the Spirit intensified gradually until the room felt like it was on fire.  Seriously, I´ve had some pretty awesome experiences before, but I think that was one of the most powerful moments in my life.  Elder Rector bore simple testimony at the end and we asked them ´So what do you think?  Do you think that God would call another prophet?´ and they said ´Well of course.  God has always worked through prophets, why would he not call another one in our day?´and on.  At the end Redilane gave the closing prayer and it was so powerful.  She asked for God to reveal the truthfulness of the message to her and her family if this really is the church of Jesus Christ on the earth once more.  Wow.  We left and Elder Rector said ´Wow, that was amazing.  I´ve never had a lesson that good before.  And now I know that the gift of tongues is real´ Yeah it is.  So, that was our day.  And the whole day I felt like I was recieving pennies from heaven.  A prompting here.  A word there.  A conjugation here.  A little more faith there. 

I know that I have been called of God to share this message with the world.  I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I know, without a doubt, that the Book of Mormon is TRUE!  I invite you, along with President Eyering, to ´drink deeply from it´s pages every single day´.  Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and restored the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.  Thomas S. Monson is his rightful successor today and I know this message is true.  

Vos amo!

Elder Evans

P.S.  The computer said I´ve spelled everything wrong EXCEPT my testimony.  Penny from heaven?  You know it :)

More pictures!  The first is Guilherme´s family.  He was the only one baptized. His aunt can´t be baptized because she isn´t married.  Yet...  His dad doesn´t live in our area.  First time we met
Second, us with Guilherme´s family
Third, Guilherme and Elder Lima (Zone Leader.  Guilherme wanted him to baptize him)
Fourth, us and the chilluns

Monday, December 2, 2013


from our baptism last week.  I seem to always forget my camera when I go to baptisms (I don´t carry it on my person at all times here like I did in Kansas.  Kind of a different environment) so these are from my companion´s camera.  I´ll send the past baptismal pictures later.

There Is Sunshine...

Oi familia!

Well, this week has been very interesting, to say the least.  I´ve learned a lot, and in turn I´ve grown a lot. I´ve seen a multitude of miracles pour out of my own mouth and I´ve been able to see the power of concecration in my life. 

The last e-mail I seem to recall mentioning something about how I missed Kansas terribly.  Well, to be real, I was beyond missing it terribly.  I wanted to go back.  I was seriously considering calling President Souza and asking if I could return.  I was seeking for some consolation or comfort or something to help me understand what was going on.  My companion and I returned to the apartment and he went to take a nap.  I chose to remain awake and study a little, trying to understand why I was so down on Brazil and why I wanted to return to the US so bad.  I was seeking guidance in the conference Ensign and felt to go back to my place in the Saturday Morning session and begin reading.  I read ´Do we know what we have´ by Sister Stevens, but I still felt nothing.  I continued onward to Edward Dube´s talk `Look Ahead and Belive` and the Spirit filled me. ´Look Ahead and Believe´ begins with an experience Elder Dube had when he was a child how his mother told him he must always continue looking forward, not back.  The talk continues to describe how we need to look back and learn from the past, but not live in it.  The Spirit testified very strongly that I had fulfilled my purpose in Kansas, that I was in Brazil now, and I have a work to do.  I had turned inward and focused on myself and the fact that was struggling but ignored that there are people here who are strugging as well.  The difference?  I´m here to help these people who are struggling.  I have the gospel, and these people need it.  I was focusing far to much on my own desires rather than how I could help these people.  I turned my head down in prayer and asked for forgivenes from our Father with a solemn promise that I would dedicate myself 100% to the work of salvation.  We went out that night and instead of sitting tight-lipped afraid to say anything, I opened my mouth, and suddenly I was able to speak freely.  I wasn´t concerned if these people thought I sounded uneducated and like I can´t speak Portuguese.  I have a message, and I needed to share it.  Many times this past week I´ve had to overcome fears and open my mouth, despite every time the natural man said that I shouldn´t do it.  It has been amazing to see the miracles that have come as the Spirit has filled my mouth in times of need.  At times, when I understand what I need to say, the Spirit strengthens me to be able to say it, but there have been amazing times when I´ve had out of body experiences when I´ve realized I´ve been talking, but it wasn´t me.  It was the Spirit. Truly amazing blessings.  This is the Lord´s work.  In addition, we had some amazing lessons this week, where the Spirit filled my mouth and cleared my mind. We´ve seen miracles in so many ways.  Lessons, baptisms, investigators, and some far more simple.  A word here.  A word there.  A powerful scripture in personal study.  A feeling of love from the Spirit.  Truly even in ´The Valley of the Shadow of Death´ there are sparks of sunshine to light the way.  What a blessing.

Now, on a more serious matter, Grandma has been weighing on my mind heavily lately.  Her passing has been difficult for all of us, I know.  In addition, yes, this will be the first Christmas without her.  As I mentioned in my remarks with her death, Grandma was truly an exaple of charity at all times and was always giving of herself.  So, I wish to offer us a Christmas challenge.  From when you read this e-mail until Christmas, I want each of us to do a charitable act each day.  It doesn´t have to be anything big, just a little something to help someone else out each and every day between now and Christmas as a way to remember Grandma.  As we do this, I feel to promise that as Malichi said ´the windows of heaven will open and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to recieve it´.  Though I don´t know what the blessings will be, I know they will be real.  I love Grandma and at times I miss her more than I can believe, as I know many of you do as well.  But, as I once told Sister Noland (awesome less-active lady in Wellington) I think the Lord takes people from us so we can remember what they would do, so we can follow their example.  May we ever be filled with the Spirit of Charity that Grandma always exemplified is my hope and prayer.

Vós amo!  

Elder Evans

Fotos de seu Primeiro Dia

Pictures of my first few hours in Brazil.  The first is of me with President and Sister Souza.  The second is of all the americans that got their visas.  Murica!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Oi familia!

Well, to put it simply, this week was really hard.  Which was great, because it helped me to learn how to rely more fully on our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  This past wek we were watching `The Lamb of God`with a less-active member and I began thinking about how I´ve come to know my Savior over these past 6 months.  I considered how I learned about his love for the people in Kansas and how I learned to love them as well.  I considered how His Atonement has been applied in my life.  It´s been amazing to see how, in those moments of desparation and depair, I´ve been able to call upon our Father in Heaven in prayer, and relief has come through our Savior.  I don´t understand how it works, but I know that it does.  The Atonement is so so real.

It´s in this manner that I wish to write this week.  I´ve been struggling with the language, horribly, and at times I really feel like I´ll never get it.  I know I will, but like we all know, sometimes in the moment it´s much more difficult than it is when you look at it before and after.  Through all of this, a lot of time has been spent on my knees pleading with our Father for things that I desparately need.  For saftey, comfort, security, and a knowledge that I can actuallybe a missionary, when I can´t communicate with these people.  Every time I have petitioned the Lord and, in patience, waited upon His response, the empty gaps in my feelings have disappeared.  I have felt that I can and will one day be able to feel side by side with my brothers and sisters in Brazil in this great work and not simply like I´m playing catch-up.  

In that respect, the other thing I learned this week is that fluency does not necessarily determine ability.  Yes, I´m still struggling with the language, but we had a rather telling experience with one of our investigators, Taceiane (I think is how you spell it) this week.  She´s been having some major reservations about being baptized and is struggling to accept what we have to offer.  We went over with the president of the Sociadade De Socorro (Relief Society), and spoke with her.  At the end of the lesson, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony to her.  I can´t say that I opened my mouth and that this long speil burst out using words I don´t even know etc. etc. etc.  No, I simply used what few words I could to describe my love for the gospel.  Though my speech was limited, I felt the power of the Holy Ghost flowing through me as I spoke, and the whole room seemed filled with it´s influence.  Still, she hasn´t been baptized, but it after I finished my simple but sincere testimony, I knew that she felt something, and she recognized that she did.  I´m learning quickly, that no matter the part, if you can´t fill it, the Lord will, if we are willing to cover all that we can.

Thank you all for your prayers.  I´ve felt them.  I know the gospel is true and though this ´valley of the shadow of death´has been extremely hard, it has also been extremely rewarding.

Até mais!

Elder Trent Evans

P.S.  Tender mercy?  I totally have zero jet lag from the plane ride.  Huzzah!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

One year older and wiser too...

Oi familia! 

Wow.  This week was nuts.  I can´t believe that it´s already P-day, and at the same time I can´t believe it hasn´t been P-day already.  But, that´s mission life.  What do you expect?

Fun facts:
My companion is Elder Gonçalves.  He´s a native of São Paulo and he´s learning English to go to BYU´s MBA program.  He´s super awesome and he´s been so helpful.  
Here in Brasil, apparently it´s cheaper to have three cell phones than one.  One for calls, one for text, one for internet.  We only have one, but apparently everyone else has multiple because putting all of the stuff on one cell phone is way more expensive.  I don´t get it.
Our Ward Mission Leader had us over for lunch on my birthday and surprised me with a cake.  It was quite exciting. Pictures will probably be on facebook eventually.  
We taught and baptized a guy this week.  Yeah.  All in one week.  Brazil rocks.

Well, I can try and sumarize events in order to tell my weekly story.  Hopefully this will all work out.

So, Monday was one of the hardest days I´ve ever had.  Leaving President and Sister Bell at the airport was so dificult.  I loved Kansas so much and I was so sad to be leaving.  But, I know it´s for the will of the Lord.  Anyway, we flew to Atlanta and I talked with everyone and then we boarded a really long flight to São Paulo. On the way over I started reading in Ether 12 about faith because of the trials I knew would lay ahead.  Much like I talked about two weeks ago, faith often requires us to step beyond what is comfortable into the darkness so that we may grow and learn to trust in our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ even more. As I was reading I felt prompted to read in Psalms 23. 

1 The Lord is my ashepherd; I shall not bwant.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he aleadeth me beside the still waters.
 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths ofarighteousness for his bname’s sake.
 4 Yea, though I awalk through the bvalley of the cshadow ofddeath, I will fear no eevil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they fcomfort me.
As I read I considered the ´valleys of the shadow of death´ in my life.  I considered how often in the moment we realize how dificult things are and we wonder where the light is at the end of the valley.  As I read that, I felt that I would be entering a ´valley of the shadow of death´ in my life.  I didn´t know what, but I felt it would come and that even though I wouldn´t be able to see the end from the beginning, or even the next step, I needed to run head-on into the valley.  We landed in São Paulo, and I realized that all these people were saying things to me, and I coudln´t understand a thing.  Fortunetely, the 7 of us headed to Fortaleza kind of stuck together and continued to speak English (yeah, not the best idea).  We flew to Fortaleza and were greeted by two of the office assistants and Sister Souza (President Souza´s wife) who took us to the mission home where we had dinner.  We went to the mission office where we had interviews and met our new companions and we were in our areas before the end of the night.  We had some extra roomates (other missionaries) that night for one reason or another, and one of them was an american so he translated most of what was said.  The next morning we went to District Meeting.  I wish I could tell you what an awesome experience it was, but honestly, I couldn´t understand a thing that was said. As the day (and week) progressed I realized that though I can speak to people (in very very slow and broken Portuguese) for the life of me, I couldn´t tell what anyone was saying to me.  This continued and slowly I began talking less and less because I was scared our of my mind and didn´t want to sound like an idiot.  I slowly began to withdraw and was finding it very difficult to do much of anything right, even though I knew I needed to.  So, I was reading one day in Alma 37 and I read verses 6 & 7 which talk about how ´by small and simple means are great things brought to pass´as I pondered these things The Spirit taught me that I´m not just going to fly down here and have native-like abilities with speaking and understanding.  I´m not going to be able to speak just like all of the missionaries who´ve been here for forever.  I need to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, until I learn it all.  I know this particular valley will get much deeper before it gets better, but I do have one major advantage.  When I speak, I speak the truth.  I didn´t come to Brazil to talk to people about just anything.  Even though I speak slowly, I speak the words of God.  I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I preach His gospel.  Joseph Smith was His prophet and seer to restore the church in these latter days.  The Book of Mormon provides convincing evidence that Jesus is the Christ and that His church has been restored.  I´m learning that we must descend into our own ´valley of the shadow of death´in order to rise to our mountain of exaltation.  Sure, I´m slow, inexperienced, and weak.  But, as long as I remember Him at all times, in all things, and in all places, I cannot fail.  So, don´t worry about me.  I have the Savior by my side 100% of the time.  And at very special times, both Grandmas will be with me as well.
Te amo!

Elder Evans       

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Well, I don´t think I´m in Kansas anymore

Oi familia!!

So, after a really long day (or two or so.  Let´s be real traveling overnight to other countries is not even remotely fun) I made it to Brazil!!!!

Here´s the official address

Elder Trent Leon Evans
Missão Brasil Fortaleza
Av. Santos Dumont 1789 Sala 1612
Aldeota, Fortaleza-CE

This address applies to ALL packages and letters and everything else anyone may ever want to send me for the next 18 months or so.  

I don´t have a ton of time, but all I can say is that I absolutely love it here.  IT just feels sooooo good.  The Spirit has been so strong and I know I´m in the right place.  Kansas was definitely where I needed to make my start and now it´s time to give everything I have.  

You´ll get more details next week!

Vos amo!

Elder Evans

Monday, November 4, 2013

One week more...

Oi familia!

This week's e-mail may be really short compared to what you're used to because today is kind of hectic because of all the stuff we have to do.  Given that I'm leaving in a week we're trying to get on top of everything so we don't have to worry too much next week and we can just pack up and go.

Well, the theme of the week has been faith.  Actually, Elder Weaver and I have been big on faith in general lately.  Elder Weaver and I talk with people about it a lot, and because of such discussion, we now have 3 people on date!  Yay! But really, faith is an interesting principle.  We like to describe faith as the hardest easy thing to do.  Most people can give a brief definition of faith: "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)," "A hope for things which are not seen which are true (Alma 32)," or basically a belief in something that we've never seen, but we believe is there.  Well, let me say a little about faith.

President Packer describes faith as "taking a few steps beyond the edge of the light (what we know) and into the darkness (or what we don't know)."  President Uchtdorf has a similar sermon that "faith is sometimes having to take steps into the darkness with confidence that God will place solid ground under our feet" which is something we have to do frequently especially as missionaries.  I have always enjoyed being the man with the plan. I like knowing exactly what is going to happen when it is going to happen so I can prepare for all contingencies.  Well, as a missionary, sometimes that just doesn't happen.  We made a plan for yesterday and headed to Harper after church to carry out said plan.  As we got there, something just felt off.  As we were walking we felt directed to visit Bro. Slaughter, so we did.  As we were walking away I mentioned to Elder Weaver that I just felt like we were hitting a brick wall over and over again while visiting people.  Elder Weaver said "well, maybe we're not supposed to be in Harper" and as soon as he said that the Spirit indicated it was the case.  So, we packed up and headed 9 miles down the road to Anthony.  As soon as we got to Anthony we felt we should go visit the Trotters, so we did.  They invited us over for dinner this next week and we had a nice chat and visit with them.  After we left we didn't have any particular plans for the night, but we hadn't seen an investigator in Anthony for a while so we started in that direction.  Shortly after turning towards their house Elder Weaver and I both felt the impression to return home.  Though we didn't know why, we turned and headed back home.  We had dinner and the thought came to share a message with the Brundages, so we did.  As we were sharing the message with the Brundages I felt we should visit our friend Troy with another member here in Argonia.  So we did.

Why did this require faith?  Well, I didn't know if God would illuminate the next step.  I had to wait upon Him to give us the next step in His timing.  Though God did illuminate my steps last night, He doesn't always work in that way.  Much of the time, God will cause us to test our faith and see if we're willing to follow what he presents even if it isn't what may be comfortable.  Every day Elder Weaver and I ask people to exercise faith by reading the Book of Mormon, by praying, and by attending church because as they do these things they will be blessed.  I know that sometimes, the path ahead is dark, but it's in those moments that we must trust that God will place solid ground under us.  I know that God lives and that He isalways watching over us.  I've felt His guiding hand in my life consistently and especially as a missionary.  Most of my experiences as a missionary were not like the one from yesterday.  Often times, I've had to just act, and hope and pray that that was the solution that God wanted.  I know that in all hours of darkness, with trust in God, we will never stumble on the unseen path in front of us.

I don't know what will happen in Brazil.  I don't know how I can ever truly leave Kansas behind.  I don't know how I'll be able to communicate in Portuguese, and I have no idea what my purpose is in Brazil.  What I do know is that I'm on the Lord's errand and He will not let me fail.  I know that I'm a representative of Jesus Christ, and I will serve him fully through to the end.

Te amo!

Elder Evans

Monday, October 28, 2013

So, I hope I didn't forget anyone in the sent mail, but if I did, forward it to them.

President Bell just called and informed me that my VISA came through!  I fly out of Kansas on November 11th at 11:00 AM and arrive in Fortaleza the next day at 3:00 PM or something of that nature.

This truly is a bittersweet day. I love Kansas, but I know I am to be in Brazil one day.  I love you all and thank you for your support.

The Book of Mormon: The Rock of My Eternal Happiness

Oi familia!

This week was so awesome.  By the same token, I had to go through some of the hardest things I've gone through during my missionary service, but it's really helped my fe' (faith) to grow and I've really had to rely on the Lord. It's been truly amazing to see the hand of the Lord blessing our service and helping us find those who are prepared.  

On another note, Spencer Staten received his reassignment.  He's headed out to the California Roseville mission (north of Sacramento).  I doubt his Mission President is anywhere near as cool as President Bell, but I suppose any mission president is supposed to be cool.  But let's be real, President Bell is straight awesome.

So, the experience of the week.  To be honest, this week was jam-packed with awesome experiences, but we had one super cool experience with one of our investigators named Jared.  Jared is in high school and we dropped by his house to give him an overview of the Restoration.  We started talking with him a little about the Book of Mormon and we just started testifying.  I told him about how when I was in college I would read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon each day before I would start my calculus homework, and because of it I got an A in the class and was able to ace the final.  We testified of how when you read the Book of Mormon before you do anything else, you always have time to do everything you need to.  As we were testifying of all these blessings he would receive he stopped us and said "Whoa, it's just a book."  Well, let's be real.  It's not just any book.  I know that the Book of Mormon is scripture and that "[anyone] will get close to God by abiding by it's precepts than by any other book" {Introduction to the Book of Mormon).  The Book of Mormon has brought me guidance and strength in my life in a plethora of ways.  I've received peace and happiness in times of frustration and bitterness.  I've received guidance for my most difficult problems.  I've found friends in the loneliest of times.  Through it all, the Book of Mormon has been my constant rock and something that I would be completely lost without.  These blessings are available to everyone!!!  When we told Jared this he said "This all sounds so great, but what's the catch?"  Well, that's the great thing about it.  All you have to do is read it.  President Benson once said of the Book of Mormon: "It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (see D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance."   I know these promises are true!  So go!  Pick up that Book of Mormon!  If you don't have one, get one and watch the blessings flow!

This is the Lord's work.  I am His servant.  As a representative of Jesus Christ I give my undying testimony of this record.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God!  I have seen it bless my life and the lives of many others.  I know that there is no greater work than the work of salvation, and now is the time to hasten it.  

Vos amo!

Elder Evans

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Promised Blessings

Oi familia!

So, I love Kansas. It's really weird.  I always remember when I would hear missionary homecomings I felt like every single time they would stand up and say "I loved my mission and I really love the people of *insert lugar (place) here* so much..." and I'm beginning to understand why.  Kansas is so beautiful.  It's really fantastic living in the country too, because there's less light pollution so we can literally see millions of stars! Hopefully my camera can pick it up and I'll try to e-mail you all a shot of the sky at night.  The first picture was a sunset that we caught the other day.  The sunrises and sunsets here are magnificent.  But even so, there's something beautiful about being in the country and not being surrounded by civilization all the time.  Beyond that though, the people are so fantastic.  We rarely get doors slammed in our faces.  Most people are genuinely happy that we're sharing the good word of Jesus Christ with people, though they have no interest in learning about our message themselves (yet). More than that, the ward is so fantastic.  I feel like they've truly taken Elder Weaver and I in as their own children in a way.  I feel so loved whenever I associate with them and I absolutely love them.  I had the opportunity to speak to them yesterday in sacrament meeting and I felt so compelled to tell them how much I loved them.  It was a very powerful moment.  

But beyond that this week was quite fantastic.  The beginning of the week our zone leaders called us and talked with us a little.  We discussed how Elder Weaver and I had had very few member present lessons over the past little while and asked how we could create more.  Member presents are very had to come by down here because we have very few set appointments.  Most people say "just drop by" or "we're always busy" or whatever the case may be.  But after that Elder Johnson said "you know, I know standard is 5, but I promise you if you get 2 member presents this week, you will see miracles.  Will you get 2 member present lessons this week?"  We said, "absolutely".  That's one great thing about being a missionary and associating with other missionaries.  As representatives of Jesus Christ when we promise something, it will come.  So fantastic.

Anyway, so we went about our work.  We took a recent convert to a lesson with Katie, our person on baptismal date.  At the very beginning of the lesson when we reviewed baptism a little bit he said "wow, that's a really special date.  I'll never forget my baptism" and throughout the lessons we'd turn to him and he was able to say exactly what she needed to hear.  It was so awesome.  They connected so well and after we left the recent convert said "wow, that was so cool! I've never done that before and it was such an amazing experience."  He was feeling the Spirit big time and Katie was too.  One way or another, she's progressing steadily towards baptism and it was awesome.  Then last night we were short one member present for our call ins with about an hour to go before we had to turn our numbers in.  We were eating dinner with the Brundages and Sis. Brundage asked how things had been going with Richard and Bonnie Strickland.  We said, "actually, we haven't visited them for a little bit and we were going to see them tonight.  Would you two like to come with us?"  Brother and Sister Brundage agreed and we headed over.  We felt really strongly that we needed to speak with Richard about eternal families, though it wasn't something we'd ever brought up before.  We brought that up and the Brundages both shared powerful testimony about Eternal Families, but about their experiences about the gospel in general.  Then, partway through the lesson Bro. Brundage just opened up and shared some powerful experiences he'd had in the Air Force that confirmed to him that the gospel was true.  The Spirit was so strong in that room and you could tell that Richard was feeling it.  Every time we met with him we felt like we were running into a brick wall over and over and everything we said really didn't matter to him.  Then, the miracles came.  It's truly amazing to see the Lord's hand in his work and how we're helping those prepared to enter the Kingdom of God once again.

I truly love being a missionary and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  The gospel and the church has brought me so much peace and happiness that I can't help but share this!  The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the greatest message that has ever graced the world, second only to the coming of Jesus Christ himself.  

Vos amo!

Elder Evans

P.S. The second picture is of Elder Weaver and myself laying down the law... of God.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sometimes you're prompted to see someone...

Oi familia!

Tudo bem? (means, everything good?)  Coisas (things) are good here in Kansas.  We've been experiencing some cooler weather recently, which is really weird.  I still remember my first day here when Elder Sutherland and I walked all the way around Anthony and it was a million degrees and I felt like I'd taken a bath when I was done.  Now, it's cooler and I hardly sweat at all.  It's super weird.  In fact, the beginning of the month, we walked outside in the morning and there was frost on the ground.  Granted, that's never happened since, but it's been different than what I'm used to for sure.

So, cool experience for the week.  We finished dinner with Sister Shaw on Friday night and we were wondering where to go.  I pulled out of her complex and Elder Weaver started reading down the list of names and when he said one of them I had a very strong feeling we needed to go over there.  We went over and they weren't home, but their neighbors were out front digging up sidewalk. So, we went over and began talking to them.  Cheryl (?) and Forrest are a young married couple who recently moved into the area and have some interesting views on religion.  He was baptized Catholic and she was baptized Christian but both have taken detours away from their church.  We talked with them for a little bit and just got some good BRT (building relationships and trust).  Then she started asking us questions about the mormons.  She said her grandma was mormon and she didn't know a ton about them.  We answered her questions and eventually we asked if we could return and share a little bit more of the message with them.  They said yes, so we went away fist-bumping.  The next day (saturday), we went over to see them and began teaching lesson 1.  It was so fantastic.  Cheryl was asking fantastic questions and wanted to make sure she understood what we were talking about.  At one point she said "so, you're saying priesthood authority was lost after the death of Christ and the Apostles, so who has it now?"  Best question ever.  We testified of the Restoration, of the divine call of Joseph Smith, and of the blessings of the gospel as families.  We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it was true and they said they would.  We commited them to attend church and to continue on this journey they had begun.  They accepted! Elder Weaver and I left that lesson so thrilled for the blessing that it was.  The Spirit was so strong and we're so excited for them. The message of the restoration is so powerful, and more important, it's so true!!! What a blessing to have the Book of Mormon, modern-day prophets, and continued revelation from our Father in Heaven.  I know the Priesthood authority is real and I'm honored and humbled to hold that gift.  

Well, keep it real family.  Have fun.  Because as Elder Weaver will tell you "Elder Evans always says that his brother says "If you ain't havin fun you ain't doin it right"

Te amo!  Ve, e compartilhar o evangelho com todo do mundo!
(Love you!  Go, and share the gospel with all the world!)

Elder Evans

Monday, October 7, 2013

Muitas experiencias! (Many experiences)

Oi familia!

Entao, this week has been crazy.  The Lord has really been blessing Elder Weaver and I with a lot, despite a number of setbacks we've received.  But things are rockin' and we love it!  Being a missionary is so awesome!

So, the picture I attached is kind of random, I know.  But, WE GOT A NEW CAR!!! And when I say new, I mean new.  The picture is the odometer just a few minutes after we picked her up.  Literally, the car had 37 miles on it when we picked it up.  It's a 2014 Chevy Cruze and she is absolutely beautiful.  We named her Sadie. I'll try and send you a picture of her before I sair for Brazil (but who knows when that will happen). We were super bummed to have to give up Maximus (out truck), but Sadie is one of a kind. 

Speaking of visas, my friend, Elder Smith, from the MTC received his visa this week. Brazil is clearly processing them, the question is how long it takes.  Well, I know I'm here in Kansas for a specific purpose, and when that purpose is fulfilled I'll receive my visa.  Until then, I'll continue to "joyfully do all things within my power" (D&C 123:17)

Meanwhile, in the spiritual department, how about confernece?! I loved how so many people emphasized member-missionary work.  There are things that need to be done in the field!  The work is hastening across the world and we have the wonderful opportunity to be a part of it!  We have the single greatest message which has ever graced them world, second only to the coming of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind.  We have living prophets! Prophets are not just something of the past, they are of today as well!  God always called prophets to guide His children in the past.  God does call prophets today to guide us, and he will call prophets throughout the rest of time.  Following conference last night, Elder Weaver and I had the opportunity to visit Lancy, and investigator of ours.  He had a really rough weekend and was exhausted but we tried to talk to him anyway. I bore testimony of prophets and how we truly have prophets on the earth today.  After I finished my testimony he said "Wow.  You really believe that don't you?" We left the lesson a little later and Elder Weaver said "When you were bearing testimony of prophets, the Spirit was super strong.  Even though Lancy was totally out of it tonight, you could tell he was really feeling something too."  God loves us, and He has given us prophets to lead and guide us because of His infinite love for us.  

We also had an amazing lesson with a lady named Katie this week.  Katie came to us by way of referral, kind of.  Last week Bro Albert told us to go visit a man named Alvin Crippen who is a less-active member of the Wellington Ward.  We went to drop by and Alvin was there with his girlfriend, Katie.  She said she was searching for the right church.  She said she'd been to "every church in the world, except the mormon church".  We talked about that a little and we gave her a Book of Mormon and said "if you want to know what we're all about, just read the Book of Mormon" we came back the next week (this past Thursday) and started talking with her.  She'd already read to 2 Nephi 16!  We then had a super awesome lesson and we challenged her to baptism for November 9th.  Without skipping a beat she said "Yes".  Wow.  The Message of the Restoration is truly an amazing and powerful one.  

We've had a number of amazing times so far, but those seem the most pertinent right now.  I love being a missionary!  We had dinner with the Lawrence family before Priesthood session, and they have a grandson who is going to one of the Las Vegas missions on the 23rd of the month.  He seemed a little bummed, and I felt like it was because he realized this is his last conference with his family before the mission.  As we were leaving Elder Weaver and I both said "The mission is an interesting thing.  Though stressful, tiring, and downright painful sometimes, it's literally the best experience ever.  We love being missionaries and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world"

Ate mais!
Eu te amo!   

Elder Evans

Monday, September 30, 2013

4 months already?!?!?!

Oi familia!

I seriously cannot believe that it's been four months.  At times, I definitely can see how I feel like I've been out here forever.  But, in the grand scheme of time, I feel like my time as a missionary has been so short.  

So transfers are this Wednesday, but we don't really need to worry.  Elder Weaver and I are staying together in Wellington (transfer number 3!) and we're super excited to be here.  We're getting another visa-waiter moved to our district (Sister Beus from Tremonton) and beyond that our whole district is staying the exact same.  We're super pumped for that.  Elder Weaver and I were discussing the other day how close our district was and how thrilled we are that we got to serve with them, and now it gets to continue!

So, our cool experience of the week didn't really have anything to do with an investigator, though we had a number of cool teaching experiences this week.  Elder Weaver and I had to share a miracle story during our conference call this week and we were discussing what to share last night.  The whole time we were talking about it we said "We've definitely seen miracles this transfer, but none of them feel like we should share them."  Then we pondered for a bit and we both said, "we need to share about our class", so the story goes like this.  Last transfer, nearer to the end, I was frustrated that we were seeing less member missionary work than I wanted to see, so Elder Sutherland and I sought for some inspiration about how we could get more member involvement.  Elder Sutherland and I came up with ideas of sharing Preach My Gospel and The District (training videos we watch) with the ward.  We presented the idea to something of a lukewarm response from the Ward Council. Then I brought the idea to Elder Motes and he thought it would be cool and we should present it, to which we got a slightly better response. Then Elder Weaver and I presented it a third time to the Ward Council and they started to catch the vision.  Elder Weaver and I had companion study the next day and said, "It's probably going to be a lot better if we actually show up with a plan and an idea of something we want to do, rather than just say 'oh, we have an idea of something...'" so we went to work.  We watched videos, we examined Preach My Gospel, and after about a week of planning and prayer we presented the idea to the Ward Council.  They loved it and asked us to show it to the Bishop when he returned from vacation.  We went back home and for companion study every day until then, we reviewed it.  We refined it.  We pruned some pieces while letting other pieces grow and develop.  We wanted to make sure that everything we said, presented, testified, and did, was 100% the will of the Lord.  We presented it to the Bishop in it's finalized format and he said "Absolutely.  Do it for the 5th Sundaymeeting in two weeks."  During this time, the Stake and the Ward have really began pushing member missionary work and President Willams (stake president) said, "Delete the old way of doing missionary work from your minds.  It's time for a new vision."  We went into class yesterday with the Spirit bearing powerful witness to us that this lesson was in the Lord's hands.  We went to and taught and testified with the Spirit.  After the lesson was over Elder Weaver and I both agreed, that everything we said was exactly what the Lord wanted the people of the ward to hear so they could catch this new vision of missionary work.  Our emphasis was on inviting.  Simply inviting people to partake of this glorious thing we call the gospel.  If we don't invite, they can't see what we have.  So, go and invite!  Invite people to church! Invite people to read the Book of Mormon! Invite people to come unto Christ! Invite people everywhere to be a part of the gospel of peace and joy!

The gospel is true.  I'm spending two years of my life proclaiming the most glorious message the world has known, second to the coming of Jesus Christ Himself.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the kingdom of God once again established on the earth.  We have modern prophets and we have the opportunity to hear from them this weekend.  What a blessing!  

Eu vos amo!

Elder Evans  

Ridin' the range

Yee haw!

That's our truck, Maximus. I got the hat for free at a thrift shop (what what) in Wellington (I tried to pay them for it, I really did, but they wouldn't let me).  We're having a party

Monday, September 23, 2013


Oi familia!

Before you get too excited and think that "chuva" means I got my visa, it doesn't.  It means rain. And we had a decent amount of it this week. Well, we had a decent amount one day, for one hour.  Elder Weaver and I headed out to Harper one day this week and it was decently sunny.  We were working on making some contacts and with about an hour before dinner we were talking with a guy and just doing some good BRT (Building Relationships & Trust) when it started raining lightly.  So, we got in the car and drove to the other side of town.  We got out and got to our first contact on that side and BOOM the rain came pouring out of the sky.  So, we pulled out my umbrella, which saved us for the most part.  Long story short, my shoes had to dry out for a few days before I could wear them again.  and I had to re-polish them.  Oh well.  Now they're shiny.

Anyway, things are going well in the Wellington Ward vineyard.  Elder Weaver and I are teaching the combined 5th Sunday meeting this week about the importance of member missionaries. When we were planning this idea, it just kind of seemed cool but then the bishop and the ward council approved the idea and they're really excited to see it happen.  Long story short, please send some prayers our way for that.  We're kind of scared to do this, but we feel really inspired about it, so basically we'll need an abundance of the Spirit and we'll be fine.

On another happy note, I've been approved to drive!  I've missed getting behind the wheel and now I basically get to do it full time. Elder Weaver and I have yet to switch off yet, but we'll get to it eventually once this whole driving thing gets old for me.  Or I feel obligated to give him the opportunity.

Anyway, we had a cool experience this week with a super solid referral we got from a member when we were at the post office.  Sis Church was at the post office when we were mailing my license copy for the consulate and she stopped us afterwards and said "I've been talking to this person a lot about the Gospel and I feel like she needs a visit from the Elders" so we were like, "well, we do love visiting people" so we went off to visit her later that night.  She was kind of busy so we said we'd try to stop by another night.  We did, she was busy again.  As we were preparing to leave town Friday night we were debating if there was anyone else to see in Wellington or if we should go to Milan or Mayfield on the way home.  As we were looking over our names we saw this lady and we were like "We need to see Brenda!"  So we boogied on over.  One of the first things she said when she opened the door was "oh hey.  I was actually thinking about calling you guys tonight" (Spirit will guide).  We started talking with her and she asked "what are you guys all about?" and I don't really know how this all happened but I just started giving her a brief overview of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.  Elder Weaver testified of Eternal Families and how the Gospel blesses all families.  Then we testified of the Book of Mormon and the peace and happiness that comes into someone's life when they read, ponder, and pray about it.  Basically, we just testified about how the gospel has blessed our lives and promised it would bless hers.  We left her with a few pamphlets and a copy of the Book of Mormon and she said she would definitely begin reading.  We got back in the car and were both just like "wow.  Best.  Contact. EVER!!!!"  Long story short, the Spirit really is the key element in this work.

Well, Elder Weaver and I are going thrift shopping so, yeah.  Have a party!

The gospel is true!  

Eu vos amo!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Mixed emotions

Oi familia!

I'm officially old.  I turn 20 in two months.  Wow.  I'm old.  On another note, I'm still quite young in the ways of the Lord and especially as a missionary.  Elder Weaver and I talk about how inexperienced we are a lot. While there's certainly advantages and disadvantages, it's amazing how much the Lord's promise to us in Ether 12:27 really applies.  As long as we remain humble and remember whose work this is, and how we are accomplishing the things we are accomplishing, things end up working out.  Sometimes we approach doors and I have no idea what to say but when people answer I just open my mouth.  Most of the time, the first few words always are super awkward, but as I just listen to the Spirit, the words start pouring out and I can really feel the love of God for this people.  It's quite the experience. Truly, this is the Lord's work.

On the subject of the e-mail, we had interviews with President Bell last week.  I love that guy. He really is called of God and one of the most amazing people I've ever met in my entire life.  As we were talking during interviews he asked if I'd heard anything about my visa.  I told him I hadn't (because I hadn't heard about the license thing yet) but I also followed that up by explaining my goal when I came out to Kansas was to be able to leave with excitement about going to Brazil, but also that I would leave Kansas with some sadness because of the people I would be leaving behind.  It's amazing how when I really chose to invest myself into the work how much I began to love these people.  I think of so many people who I've had the wonderful pleasure to meet.  The Maxwells, Sis Shaw, the Lawrences, the Brundages, the Trotters both old and young, the Alberts, Sis Mock, the Stamps, Paul, Lancy, Sis Goodenough, Karlin, Mario & Christie, the Mosers, the Slaughters, and a whole host of others, who I never would have known if I hand't been reassigned to Kansas.  Though sometimes it's hotter and more humid than I ever would have wanted, and it's flat, the sunrises are beautiful, the sunsets are breathtaking, and the people are fantastic.  I have no idea when I get my visa, but I do know that when it comes, I'll definitely be able to leave and shed a few tears.  I love these people and I love Kansas.  Truly a beautiful place.  And if you really want to know how I feel about it, I think Mosiah 18:30 would be most appropriate in describing my feelings.

Anyway, our cool experience for the week was this past Wednesday in Anthony.  We had about 45 minutes left until dinner and we weren't sure which direction to go.  We had a list of names to see but we wanted to try and contact those most open to the message.  We stopped and had a prayer and afterwards we just stood and listened for a little bit.  I felt like we needed to go visit Janet, so we went that direction.  Janet was a lady who had read the whole Book of Mormon as kind of a research deal just to find out more about us.  The last time we had visited her she said it was interesting but that she wouldn't be converting.  Elder Motes had asked her if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon.  She said she hadn't, but that she would.  We hadn't been able to follow up since then because she was never home when we went by.  For some reason, we don't have her phone number.  Anyway, we went by and we knocked.  Then we knocked again.  Then we figured that we should knock once more for her salvation.  Nothing.  As we were doing all of this though, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone come out of his house and sit down on a lawn chair.  The instant I saw him, I knew we needed to go talk to him.  We went over and began talking and he told us how he always saw us around and wanted to know what we're all about.  Elder Weaver explained to him a little about the church and the miracle of modern-day prophets.  He seemed genuinely interested and then blew us away by asking "do you have any literature I could have?"  So we gave him a few pamphlets and a Book of Mormon and he said he would love to learn more about us!  Yay!  It's interesting how the Lord will direct us where we need to go, even if it's not for the reasons we think that it is.  

The gospel is true!  Eu te amo!

Ate mais!

Elder Evans

Monday, September 9, 2013

Trainers in training

Oi familia!  

Yep, still partying.  Elder Weaver and I are having some interesting times together.  We're still not 100% sure what we're doing, and we think it's super funny that President stuck two missionaries together who haven't finished their training and then instruct them to train each other.  But, President Bell isn't one of those people that would just do it because he has nothing better to do.  We're confident that President Bell would only have put the two of us together if he was sure it was the will of the Lord.  Sure, we're inexperienced, but in the past week we've already been learning a lot and trying to take advantage of every opportunity.

This past Saturday was a prime example of that.  We had prepared a list of names of people to see down in Caldwell.  As we were going, we went through more than half of the list in the first hour we were there and we were planning on 4 hours of proselyting down there plus dinner.  Every single person we went by was either not home, or didn't answer the door.  We were totally at a loss for what to do and as we left one of our potentials doors I felt like we needed to pray.  So I turned to Elder Weaver and I said "I have no idea what we're going to do.  But, there's a reason these people were unavailable and I think we need to open our minds to all the possibilities the Lord has in store for us."  He agreed so I said the prayer for us.  In it I said that we would continue to see the names we had prepared but we would visit anyone we felt directed to see.  As we ended, Elder Weaver pointed in a direction and said "we need to go that way" so we did.  As we were going that way we passed by a house that I had contacted with Elder Sutherland a few months prior. The lady had very bluntly told us she was not interested so we moved on. So, I was quite hesitant to contact her again.  But as we walked by I felt nudged in that direction so we went.  The lady (whose name I seem to recall is Lana) came to the door and this time was much more open to what we had to say. She listened to us talk a little about our message and said she would have interest in learning more about the "Mormons".  It's really quite amazing how the Lord can change people's hearts to be more accepting, even just over a little bit of time.  Now, this is just one example of this kind of event, but this happened all the time this week.  We would be traveling by a house that we had contacted endlessly that had entertained us briefly, but they had no real interest. As we were traveling by, I would feel a little nudge in their direction.  I wanted to say "no.  They weren't interested before, they certainly won't be now" but we would try anyway.  This past week, we were able to teach 17 other lessons, received two new investigators, and increased our pool of potentials, simply by following the Spirit.  So, while we may be inexperienced and don't have a complete idea of what we're doing, it really helps me to see how the Lord takes the weak and simple and helps them to become strong.  This week has been a very humbling week where I've really been able to learn how this is the Lord's work.  This is not Joseph Smith's work. This is not Thomas Monson's work.  This is not the work of any ordinary man, woman, or child.  This is the work of our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ in bringing souls into the fold.  What a thrill it has been to be a part of it. I have 21 months left, and believe me, I'm going to make it count. 

This is the Lord's work.  His kingdom has been reestablished on the earth in these Latter-Days for the benefit of all of his children.  I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration and in an unbroken chain of authority stemming from Jesus Christ himself, Thomas S. Monson is the prophet for the world today.  The Book of Mormon stands as the evidence of this work.  I know that every word of that book is bursting with truth and light which will save the world if they choose to accept it.  I know I am a servant of the Lord, and I love it more than I could have ever imagined.

Ate mais! Eu vos amo!

Elder Evans

This is the Lord's work. Jesus is the Christ.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Muito trocando (much trading)

Oi familia!

This e-mail may be a little shorter than normal because we're on a major time crunch today because we have to run up to Wichita and back. This occurred because of a sequence of events which will be explained.  Anyway, Kansas is doing well.  We're having a lot of fun and we're keeping it real.  

Now for the long story, which I will shorten.  Elder Motes talked to President Bell this past week and has returned home this week because of a family emergency.  I'm not sure what and he didn't tell me, but he has temporarily returned home, but he will be back to missionary service one day. Please pray for him.  Long story short, my new companion is Elder Weaver, who lived in Tyler & Michelle's old ward back in Salem.  He's also a visa-waiter for Brazil, and he's been a missionary one week longer than I have.  We have been given a full time car, a 2011 Chevy Colorado.  We've been told to "just train each other" and "light it up in Wellington". Already Elder Weaver and I are hitting it off great.  Elder Weaver reminds me a lot of Spencer Staten.  Not 100%, but they have similar personalities so it's almost like serving with my best friend.  We're meshing super well and we're just having a blast being missionary companions. 

After the whole debacle with trading companions and cars and rapid packing, we made our way back to Argonia and then went down to Caldwell for the day.  We did a lot of walking and didn't see a ton of people, but one visit in particular really sticks out to me.  We visited a lady named Dawn, who between her and her two daughters constituted our 3 people we had on baptismal date.  We went to talk to her and she was expressing her concerns about investigating the church and letting go of her past beliefs.  I don't entirely remember what happened after that, but I just remember that Elder Weaver and I just went to town.  I started testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon and how it truly changes lives and will answer all of her questions and concerns and then Elder Weaver just took that and ran with it and began teaching and testifying.  There was just something about that conversation and we could feel the Spirit so strong.  Dawn said she would continue to search for the goodness we had testified of and just keep up searching in general.  Since then I've realized the power of what has happened.  Sure, I'm super bumbed that Elder Motes had to leave.  I didn't exactly enjoy being up in the air for 3 days unsure of who my new companion would be and I wasn't thrilled to have to return the Pratt Sisters' car.  But, things have worked out rather well.  Elder Weaver and I are working together really well despite having only been together for a few days.  We've been given a full-time car.  We're both new, but we're both thrilled to be missionaries and it's not a monotonous thing for us.  We're super excited to really jumpstart the work here and now I can practice my Portuguese with my companion on a daily basis.  Absolutely, the switching of everything has been stressful and President Bell is still learning along with us, but the Lord manifests His love for us in so many ways.  It's truly a blessing to see Him work in our lives.

That's about the report.  Other things have happened, but that seemed the most significant.  Keep strong! I'm so thrilled to be a missionary and I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything!

Ate mais!  O evangelho e' verdadiero! Eu te amo!

Elder Evans

Monday, August 26, 2013

I will go and do according to His own will and timing

Oi familia!

So, things are still flat here in Kansas.  This past week has been, interesting, to say the least, but it has been good.  I'm still living well and doing what I can to serve the Lord here in Kansas.  No news on the visa, but I'm not super worried about it. It will get here when it gets here according to the will of the Lord.  I'm learning quickly that the Lord has his own plan for us and is in the details. If things don't go according to plan, it's because the Lord has better plans for us. 

Essentially, our biggest problem this week has been transportation.  Due to the huge influx of new missionaries zones have had to be split, more zone leaders had to be called, and zone leaders are required to have a car. Not a problem, until Elder Sutherland was instructed to take our car with him until the mission gets new ones. So, we don't have a car and our area covers 2100 square miles.  One way or another, this past week has helped me to learn a lot.  We've really had to rely upon the Lord that our plans will go through.  My motto for the week has been 1 Nephi 3:7.  It's a fairly famous scripture that talks about how the Lord always prepares us a way to accomplish what he commands us.  It hasn't been easy coordinating rides, making visits, planning, and generally trying to be a good missionary, but I'm quickly learning that if we aren't able to do something or get somewhere, there is a reason for it.  

Last night was a perfect example.  We had returned from church and had lunch and it was about 3:30 by this point.  We had planned to go to Harper (about 15 miles away) and proselyte there.  We had a decent list of names that would have filled the entire rest of the day.  We had received a suggestion from the Bishopric that we should request rides from less-actives to try and bolster them as well as get us moving from city to city. We called one who could bring us back home, but we couldn't find one to take us there.  We went over the lists of names we had of people around the area and none of them were available to get us to Harper.  The day before we discovered an extra bike in the Brundage's shed and I'd used that, but we simply didn't have the time to bike to Harper and back.  Frustrated, we knelt and prayed and asked the Lord for a way to accomplish our plans.  After we had ended, my companion said "Well, how about we go and see the names we have here in Argonia, then we'll come back and see if we can get a ride then?"  We only had two names to see, but I didn't have a better idea so we went for it. The first guy is an investigator named Richard who I may have talked about before.  We dropped by him.  Both cars were there, we heard him in the house, we knocked three separate times, no answer.  Then we went to see Troy. Troy had no real interest in joining or learning about the church, but asked us to drop by every once in a while, so we figured we would today.  We got there and he sat and talked with us.  He said he was kind of in a weird mood (translation: buzzed) so he would sit and talk with us.  We began teaching about the Restoration and he would disagree here, and disagree there but over time you could tell that he was beginning to open up.  He began talking about how he had a terrible week and everything that had made it terrible. We talked with him for almost two hours and finally determined that he felt he had been abandoned by God.  We testified to him that we were messengers sent to comfort him and that we were not only here as messengers but as friends.  It was amazing to see the change in him as he opened up to our message.  He may not be baptized, but for nothing else, he needed to know he was loved.  We returned home and had an hour left to proselyte after dinner.  We never made it to Harper yesterday, but I know there was a good reason for it.  Troy needed to know that he was a son of God.

Kansas is still good.  Flat.  Dry.  Hot.  Humid. Wonderful. Fantastic. My temporary mission.  Being a missionary has been exceedingly challenging, especially this past week, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Ate mais! Eu vos amamos! (turns out I was saying it wrong)

Elder Evans  

Monday, August 19, 2013

One transfer, one baptism, lots of firsts

Oi familia!

Wow, can't believe that a whole transfer has gone by.  At times I can, at times I can't, but one way or another, it's been a whole transfer (almost) in the field.  Nuts.  Anyway, some changes are being made.  My companion got a call last night from President Bell informing him that he was being made a Zone Leader in the Wichita Zone so he'll be leaving me *sniff*.  My new companion is Elder Motes.  Never met him before, but Elder Sutherland says good things about him so I have hopes.  I'm still here in the Wellington Ward for another six so we'll see what happens.  No news yet on my visa.  I received a nice e-mail from the Mission Travel department informing me that my visa had not yet arrived and they were grateful for my service in Kansas during this time.  Well, I'm just glad I can help out. Two sisters from my MTC district received their visas, so at least we know they're coming.  I guess we'll find out when we find out.

Anyway, Wes wasn't baptized the first time.  Or the second time.  But Bishop got him immersed on the third!  We're pretty excited for him.  He's expressed the desire to serve a mission as well so we'll see where that goes.  I'd be thrilled if he made it happen.  Guess we'll see.  One way or another it's been amazing to see the Light of Christ grow within him as we've taught him.  His progression was slow at first and we were honestly concerned he wouldn't make it.  As we continued to pray about it we kept receiving the feeling that he was ready for baptism and so we continued.  His progression hastened and we've been so pleased with the results.  Elder Sutherland confirmed him yesterday and he said he felt "amazing."  Which, for him, is quite the exclamation.

After the baptism we had a 6-week training conference call with President Bell, the Assistants, and all those who are in training right now.  It was fun to hear from my friends and see how they had received miracles from the hand of the Lord and to really learn how much the Lord is in the work.  At the end of call President Bell asked three missionaires "are you lost yet?"  The responses were all roughly, "no, I don't think so."  President then shared with us the scripture from Mark about "whoso shall lose his life for my sake shall find it" (sorry, don't know the exact reference) and encouraged us to lose ourselves in the next six weeks if we haven't lost ourselves already.  As I pondered that I've decided that "losing myself" is going to require an increase in charity.  I don't know much about charity except what I've read in PMG and in Moroni 7, so I have studying to do!

I'm really learning about the importance of taking to everybody.  My companion has really embraced the idea and has no qualms about talking with anyone.  We don't always get a warm reception and sometimes people just want us to leave, but every single time my companion just testifies about how the Book of Mormon will change their lives and what a blessed miracle it is to have it.  He really wants to be able to save every soul in our ward and I think that is so awesome.  It's really a trait I would love to exemplify and something I think I'll try to incorporate.

Well, that's my week in summary.  I'll let you know about the beginning of the transfer next week!  I hope all is well and I know this is the Lord's work.  I'm so thrilled to be a part of it in Kansas or in Brazil.  The Gospel is TRUE!

Amo voce^s!

Elder Evans

Left to right: Elder Sutherland, Bishop Porter, Me, WES