Friday, June 28, 2013

Boy does He love us

 Minha familia!

Things have been chuging along.  It's been nice to recieve everyone's letters and get updates on how everyone is doing.  I'm glad that Tyler and Michelle made it safely to Georgia (though apparently with some difficulty). At least you'll always be able to have something of a summer all the time.  Heaven knows I'm going to be in summer for the next two years.  We can write each other and talk about how hot it is. That'll be fun ;)

So, to the best of my knowledge, my visa isn't here yet.  To be honest, I stopped worrying about it a while ago.  On day two my branch president said that "visa is a four-letter word that we try to avoid saying" though I don't remember exactly why.  One way or another I think it'll be kind of fun to be reassigned and experience the missionary life a little in the states before being shipped to a completely different country.  I should be recieving my travel plans next week whether they be for Brazil or a temporary reassignment.  If I get reassigned I'll be allowed to shoot you a quick e-mail on that day to give you a heads up.  This will be either Thursday orFriday night, so watch out for it.  I think getting reassigned to the east coast would be fun (maybe Georgia, though I'm really kind of hoping for New York (especially Palmyra) or something) just because of my lack of experience and time over there.  Plus I've looked into a lot of graduate schools over there so hopefully that would be a fun experience.

I'm glad to hear grandma's funneral went well.  I'm sure it was a very spiritual experience.  I enjoyed the program you sent me, especially becuase Braeden and I were inesrted as missionaries.  What a blessing that is to have two missionaries serving from our family right now! I would have loved to be in attendance, but I think grandma and grandpa would want me here instead of back home for the funeral.  I've been praying for you all a lot and I hope you've felt it.  If you haven't I'll pray harder.  I've certainlly felt your prayers lift me up.  While life here at the CTM isn't exactly "difficult" it sure isn't easy, and I'm sure the mission is significantly harder. One way or another, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Anyway, life here at the CTM is somewhat mundane but overall it's been fun.  I suppose my issue is that we just keep going the same routine over and over, but lessons are always fun.  We've been teaching our "investigators" almost every day and even though they aren't real investigators it's so wonderful and exciting to see the changes in these people's lives, especially since these people are people that our teachers actually had as investigators on their missions! Our sister investigator is named Adrianna and she has a son on a mission, though she wasn't particularly open to the church.  We taught the restoration and while it made sense, she didn't really catch the importance of the message.  Our next two lessons were all about prayer and how we knew that God hears and answers prayers. Finally on our next lesson we were talking and she said "I tried praying and I didn't recieve an answer" and my companion and I were both like "What did you do after you finished?" and she said "Oh, I went to sleep."  Then we said "Well, try listening for two or three minutes after your prayer for a response.  In fact, would you try it for us right now?"  Though she seemed a little aprehensive she said she would.  She said a really brief prayer and asked to know if the Book of Mormon was true and our message was true.  She ended and just sat there with her head bowed.  The Spirit filled the room and the smile on her face kept getting bigger and bigger the whole time.  Then she looked up and said "I feel so happy right now! This is so wonderful!" and we said "That's the Spirit.  Do you know that our message and the Book of Mormon are true?".  She replied "Yes! know they're true!"  We talked a little more but it was so fantastic! Granted, all of what my companion and I said was in very broken Portuguese, but it's not the language that matters.  As long as your testimony is true and sincere the Spirit will carry what the investigator needs to know into their hearts.  What a blessing it has been.

Based on what I've read, none of you were really able to see the broadcast.  But that's okay, because it was posted on the Church website within a few minutes of it's conclusion! I know all of you are very busy, but I definitly encourage each of you to try and watch it, or at least part of it.  Much of it was focused on member missionary work.  Mostly, the Bretheren talked about how true missionary work can't be accomplished without the efforts of the members and the full-time missionaries are simply there to assist in the work and teach the lessons.  Long story short, let's get changing lives!  We have the greatest message in the world! The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth by our loving Heavenly Father!  He wants us to return to Him and we know how to do it! You can live with your families for eternity! You can read the histories of the people of ancient america, and recieve another witness of Christ! Don't be afraid to invite people to hear about our message.  Our message is one of love and happiness and we want all to recieve it.  Anyway, om case you can't tell I'm super pumped to be a missionary.  What a blessing this is and how thrilled I am to share it with the world. 

In my Book of Mormon reading I finally made it to 3 Nephi.  I finished Helaman last night and was taught about what a wonderful man Samuel the Lamanite was.  In particular I was reading in Helaman 14 and verses 15 & 17 really stuck out to me.  Both of them talked about how Christ suffered and died so we could return to our Father. I've heard that so many times and I've even taught it multiple times while here at the CTM, but there was something about the way Samuel said it that went straight into my heart.  We can return to our Father because of Christ! What a blessing! It reminds me of John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotton Son that whosover should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  Wow! Who's excited to share that message with the world? I am! I'm just a normal man.  I've only had the Melchezidek Priesthood for ten months.  I've never worked miracles.  I've never borne testimony and changed anyone's life.  I certainly haven't seen angels and my Portuguese is a struggle every single day.  But I know that our message is true! I may not move mountains or raise the dead, but I do have the One who did by my side every day.  I know he will be there for each and every person if they sincerely call out to our Father.  What a blessing!

We're hosting again next week.  DearElder me to let me know if there's anyone I need to look for.

Amo voces! (I love you all, though there's supposed to be a little teepee accent over the e)

Elder Evans

Friday, June 21, 2013



“The Work of Salvation” Missionary Broadcast

  • JUNE 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
Provo, Utah, USA

Hey family,

Just though I'd update you.  The Church is doing a worldwide broadcast entitled "Hastening the Work of Salvation" all about member/missionary relations and how to further the work.  More details can be found on the Chruch website.  It's going to be so fantastic and I hope each of you can watch/listen/be a part of it.  I'll be in the choir so look for me! (Granted, there's 2,500 choir members, so I may be hard to spot.  But try anyway)

Make sure this gets to the blog.  I want as many people as possible to see this because truly, this will be an amazing broadcast.  Everything at the CTM is being flipped around for the next few days because of it.  Also, the new mission presidents are coming in, so they pretty much get the main building.  Beyond that, it's going to be so fantastic.  Hope you can be a part of it!

Elder Evans

I've Felt His Embrace

Minha Familia!

Wow.  Legit, can't believe it's been three whole weeks now.  Granted, I still have over 100 to go, but I feel like after that first Sundayeverything has flown by.  On a happy note, our district was picked to be new missionary hosts next week! YAY! I wish we could temporarily leave the monastary, but I think we know that isn't going to happen.  Blast. Still, I'll be glad to get out of class for a little while and help other people get situated.  Heaven knows my transition into the CTM was hard enough.  Hopefully I can help other people to enjoy the first few days more than I did.

Anyway, apparently there's been an "intestinal virus" going around the CTM so all bodily contact has been nixed until further notice.  No hugs, no ossos (bones), no handshakes, no elbones, no nothing.  Some kid puked and blacked out at the devotional on Tuesday which is probably where it all started.  My companion said that the reason for the intestinal virus is because of the food they serve, which seems the most likely explanation.  You never know.  The meals are rather hit and miss.  Occasionally they have something worthwile (and the only time I've had something fairly good was a week or so ago) but most of the time it's just a lot of "well, this seems the least likely to kill me or give me a heart attack" so I go with that.  Sometimes, absolutely nothing looks good.  Fortunetely, we've been blessed with cereal for those instances.  The CTM has recently introduced Cocoa Roos into the mix, which has been nice so I can get my daily fill of chocolate.

By the way, if Tyler or Trevor could write and explain what happend with grandma from a medical standpoint, that would be awesome.  However, I can't deny that I've loved getting the updates on the family and the funeral.  Not that I love updates about it, I just prefer being kept in the loop.  You can only learn so much when you're inside the monastary.  I think it's great that every single grandkid will be at the funeral.  I know Braeden and I would both love to be there, but we are in the Lord's service and grandma and grandpa will be with us during that time anyway.

Devotionals this week have been pretty good.  The Sunday devotional was by Stephen B. Allen, the Executive Director of the missionary department.  Basically he showed us a lot of really old commercials that the church produced.  Given that many of them were made in the 70s and 80s, there were some pretty hilarious clips.  There wasn't much of a common thread to what happend, but each commercial ended with a nice tagline like "If you think childish arguments don't hurt, stop kidding yourself", "It's not who you aren't, it's who you are! And being yourself is great!", and things of that nature.  Rather cheesy, but entertaining.  Also, for the first time, they broadcast the devotional from the West Campus so we were actually seeing a transmission which was a little different.  Altogether it was a good meeting.  After Sunday devotionals, there are "films" or talks to watch throughout the CTM.  This past Sunday I really wanted to see "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar, but since I had chosen the talk the previous week, I figured I should really let my companion choose the talk/film.  I tried really hard to get my companion to go to Character of Christ, but he said he wanted to go to an actual movie.  We decided to go to the Testaments, though I initially wasn't very happy about it.  Finally I decided to grin and bear it and just be happy about serving my companion.  Thank heaven I did.  The Testaments is a fictional story about some people in the Americas during the life of Christ.  While the story is fictional, we all know that Christ did in fact come to the Americas after his time in Jeruselam.  The story in the Americas was interspersed with clips from the miracles and life of Christ in Israel.  I wasn't initially pumped to not hear a sermon, but I know I learned about the Character of Christ from watching The Testaments than I would have from listening to Elder Bednar. Seeing His miracles was such a blessing and it reminded me of times in my life when I was suffering and I felt His embrace.  What a blessing it is that I get to share that with the people of Brazil, and more likely than not, the people in the US somewhere. On Tuesday we hear a great devotional from Robert C. Gay of the seventy.  Mostly he talked about following the spirit and putting the focus on our investigators.  The Spirit was so strong and it was amazing to feel of his spirit and learn through his experiences.  Afterwards I was talking with and Elder in our branch named Elder Gosch (gosh) and he said the most insightful yet simple thing.  He said "it's amazing what can happen when people speak by the spirit.  When people speak by the spirit, no matter what their words are, their message will be customized to each individual who is listening" which I can definitely understand.  Wow, what a devotional.  Granted, it was super nice to leave the monastary temporarily.

The district is doing well.  Sister Brown tore her miniscus the beginning of our time here, but she's since been through surgery and recovering very well.  We've had a number of miracles during our time here, but that has been the biggest one.  Please keep her in your prayers. 

Anyway, though things have been difficult, being a missionary has been pretty awesome.  Having the spirit of discernment has been such a blessing and it's helped me so much when having to pray about others in our district.

I'm thrilled to hear the LeAnne got the RBS job.  Hope that goes well! I'm praying for you guys ever day.  If you feel you need anything, hit me up.  I'm more than happy to help you in any way I can, which at this time, all I can do is pray for you.  But I'm more than happy to do that. 

So, I can't think of much else to say.  I hope the funeral goes well.  I think the musical selection was very beautiful.  Of course, I'm very excited Earl will be there.  After all, he is Earl.  Though I haven't felt the tender mercies of the Lord upon each of you, I know he's been bearing me up.  I know the Lord will bless us through this trying time.  There's a verse in 1 Nephi 1 that explains how the tender mercies of the Lord are upon those whom he ha chosen and I know that that is true.  What a blessing it is to know that the Lord is looking out for his faithful followers, especialy when we have to suffer.

May the Lord's blessings be upon each of you

Elder Trent Leon Evans

Friday, June 14, 2013

Week Two! Plus some sadness


First off, thank you for calling the MTC to let me know Grandma passed away.  I was called down to the District President's office and he very kindly shared with me what had happened.  He shared with me a thought from D & C 42: 44-46. Read it right now  if you don't remember it (literally, stop reading my e-mail, go read the scripture, and then come back).  It seemed to parallel exactly what happened with Grandma and I.  I knew that I wasn't going to see her again and that her passing would be quickly after I entered the MTC.  I'm glad that she passed away peacefully and I loved the sentiment Mom expressed that "Grandpa was there to take her home".  I know she really wanted that and I prayed one night that he would be able to pick her up. It's very hard to think that I won't see her again in this life, but I know she's in a much better place and is much happier there.  What a blessing it is to know that we can be with her for eternity and that our family ties are not severed.  As the scripture above says (and I paraphrase) "we will mourn when they die because we loved them" but the will be taken into peace and happiness.  My companion was really helpful as well because after I got out of our meeting I think it was fairly obvious that I was emotionaly shaken. He asked if I was okay and I just told him that my grandma had passed away.  He wrapped me in the biggest bear hug and didn't let go until I got everything out.  Since then I've had a few sad thoughts but ultimately I'm so grateful to our Father in Heaven for granting my requests.  I asked that she could return home in peace, that she wouldn't suffer, and especially that grandpa would pick her up.  What a blessing that is.  What a long, full life she lived.  I'm sad she has left us, but supremely grateful that  she has "returned home to the God who gave her life."  He loves us so much, and He loves her.  He will not leave us comfortless, especially in this difficult time.  Christ suffered so He could understand our pains (Alma 7:11-12)  

I don't remember much about Grandpa's funeral, obviously because I was five at the time, but if I get to share any thoughts, these are the thoughts I want shared:

Grandma was a fantastic individual.  I consider her to be one of my greatest mentors, and truly one who was blessed with the Spirit of Discernment.  She always had a way of being able to make me feel better about things that were going on in my life and helping me to remember to always trust in the Lord.  I loved going to plays with her and talking for endless hours about all sorts of things.  She will be dearly missed, especially for playing 12th Street Rag on Christmas Eve.  She is truly one who was blessed with the gift of Charity and sought to serve everyone around her.  I love her so much and I'm very sad to see her go.  However, I look forward to being able to serve with her as a missionary for the next two years.  I know she'll be on the other side of the veil, but I know that we will serve together and the family wil be blessed for our service.  D&C 42:44 explains that.  However, I love in 45 and 46 how it explains that she will not even taste of death "for it shall be sweet unto them".

Anyway, things have been good here.  I was super glad to be able to go to the Marriott Center for the devotional because of the opportunity it gave us to escape from the monestary.  Granted, we were sheparded through a very direct route, however it was nice to get out.  Our devotionalon Sunday was Richard Heaton, the Administrative Director here at the MTC.  He gave us a wonderful talk on how the very beginning moments between missionaries and investigators are so crucial.  He said "most converts will tell you that they knew this message would change their lives in the fist few moments that they were meeting with the missionaries".  He talked about the importance of the Spirit and really teaching to the needs of the investigator, not simply teaching a lesson.  More than teaching, he emphasized understanding who the investigator was as a person.  We're not about simply teaching lessons, we need to teach people.  My companion and I struggle with that a litle because we don't know as much Portuguese, but we're getting better.  This past Tuesday was in the Marriot Center and the speakers were Elder and Sister Mervyn Arnold (I think is how you spell it) of the Seventy.  Sister Arnold's talk was my favorite, personally.  She quoted from D&C 123:17 which is about doing all things that cheerfully lie in our power and then we can stand back and see the arm of the Lord reveal itself in our work.  What a blessing! I know this is truly the work of the Lord and what a privelege I have of sharing that with the world!  Elder Arnold talked about a lot of thing relating to missionary work.  I don't remember a ton about his talk, but it was powerful.  In district devotional review, very tender feelings and powerful testimony was shared.  It was amazing to me that the Spirit of Discernment is real.  Things I've been praying for for the members of my district are truly what they need.  I look at one member in our district in particular who seems so confident about themselves and seems like someone who would never be afraid of anything.  I felt I should relate the story about when Brother Sackett came to visit to tell me that I needed to stop worrying about the mission because the Lord would guide me.  Sure enough, that story was something that I'm sure that individual needed to hear.  I was so blessed to be the instrument through which the Lord manifestied His love to them.  Anyway, we're really growing in unity as a district.  My companion is pretty awesome and though we don't agree on everything, we're still great friends who would back each other up any time.

I hear the blog is fantastic Michelle! Thank you so much for setting that up.  I can't actually see it because of the internet blocks on this place, but in a few weeks I'll for sure check it out.  My talk is on the computer, though I'm not 100% sure where.  I'm pretty sure I entitled it "Peace Through His Plan for Us"  but I coudl be wrong.  Have Trev or Dad do a full computer search (spyglass in the corner) and you should be able to find it.  If not, I'll figure out another way to remember where it is.  Regardless, thank you for keeping the world updated on my life and how things are going! If someone could put a link on my facebook, that would help my friends to know what's going on. 

I forgot to mention, my Branch President here offered us a challenge the very first day we were here.  He challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon before we leave the CTM (it's Portuguese for MTC).  He said it would be difficult but completely worth it.  We've had to read 13-14 pages a day, but it's been such an amazing experience.  Knowing me, of course I would try to go even better, so I'm trying to read 17-20 a day so I can finish in 4-5 weeks.  What a blessing the Book of Mormon is! I know that it's pages contain such beautiful truths! I especially love the phrase "and if ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper" which I've found over 30 times so far in my study.  I'm also so impressed with how ofter the Book of Mormon testifies of itself.  So often I'll read "and I know not the reason I put this in here save the Lord has commanded me" or "only a hundreth part could be included", or some iteration thereof.  Everything, every word, every number, every name, every everything, is in there for a reason! What a blessing! That our Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us another witness of His Son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ!  It's beautiful, it's glorious, and most important, it is true! I also love how often there are prophecies of the comming forth of the Book of Mormon even within itself.  "That these records may be preserved", "they will come forth for the teaching of the Lamanites", and other such prophecies.  What a blessing the Book of Mormon is! I'm currently in Alma 7, and I look forward to Alma's testimony of Christ.  The words of Alma 7:11-13 have always been very important and personal to me.  I've learned so much from this reading and I can't wait to finish.  This is true! Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration! I know that this church is true and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be an ordained and set apart representative of it! This message is true!

To close, I invite each of you, especially at this time, to read and ponder on Job 19:25-26.  I read it a few nights ago when I first found out Grandma was going on hospice.  What a beautiful promise! "I know that my Reedeemer liveth.... Yet in my flesh shall I see God"

Eu tenho muito amor por voces and por tudo a familia!

Elder Trent Leon Evans

Friday, June 7, 2013

First week down!

Hey family,

First off, I love you all to pieces.  Its so fantastic to get mail and packages from you guys so freque
This past week and a half has been super hard, but so rewarding.  Very first day I walked into class and my teacher instantly started asking us to do things.  One problem, he was speaking in Portuguese.  It wasnt a super huge problem because what little Spanish I know came back and I was able to pick out what he was saying.  Things have gotten better, as I now know a little Portuguese.  I can introduce myself, pray (kind of, it is difficult, but Im getting better as time goes on), bear a brief testimony, conjugate present-tense regular verbs, use a few irregular verbs, among a few other things.  I still have to refer to my notes a lot, but Im learning a ton and its been pretty awesome for the most part.  I would love to be out in the field, but seeing how much I dont know, Im slightly glad that Im here instead of straight out.

First day I met this fantastic Elder named Elder Smith.  He and his companion, Elder Childs, were our zone leaders for the first few days and they helped the transition so much.  From the first second I met Elder Smith he just exuded the love of our Father and Savior and it was the most fantastic thing ever.  I felt so loved and seeing how he has loved, I was able to glimpse how much Christ loves me, my companion, and especially the people in our district.  I know the Lord blessed me with a fantastic zone leader because I coudnt have gone through the first week anywhere near as well without them.

Our district is pretty cool.  We are evenly split between Elders and Sisters which is kind of fun.  In addition, every person in our district is going to Fortaleza, so we are all tied together there.  We have Sisters: Walker (West Jordan), Sherman (Texas), Brown (Riverton) , Tenney (California), and McBride (Idaho).  All of us Elders are bunking together as well and we have Elders: Lash (Idaho), Hartman (Georgia), Stratton (Holladay!!), myself, and my companion Elder Pimentel (California).  We all work pretty well together, though like any gathering of ten people, we have our struggles from time to time.  The zone leaders have really helped me to see what things I can do with our district to increase unity and love for each other and the Lord and our Father in Heaven has given me some very powerful and divine guidance as to leading them.  (I'm district leader, but no one needs to know that)

The food is, alright.  It's definitely cooked to feed the masses and not to please the individual.  Fortunetely, I've converted my companion to the ways of cereal and we have a bowl every meal.  I was eating Raisin Bran every meal until I discovered the generic Honey Bunches of Oats and I've since started on that.  I know it doesn't sound super healthy, but I'm pretty sure everything else in the cafeteria will kill me if I eat too much of it so I figured that Raisin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oates were my best options as far as "healthy" foods.

On Sunday we had the most fantastic devotional buy a man named Ted Gibbons.  It was unusual for a devotional and I'll explain why.  Brother Gibbons told the Joseph Smith story from the perspective of Willard Richards, only he told it as if he was Willard Richards.  He testified of the truthfulness of the work and how Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He went through and explained Joseph's life, prophecies, persecution, and then took us hour by hour through the martydom.  It was the most amazing experience to hear this man testify of the validity and divinity of the work of the Prophet, Joseph Smith.  I know he was indead foreordained to bring forth the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in this, the great and last dispensation of the fullness of times.  This past Tuesday Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife gave us a devotional of great power.  Sister Callister bore powerful testimony of the Divinity and power of the Book of Mormon and what a blessing it is to all the people who read it.  Elder Callister explained how blueprints for buildings only perfectly match one building, the building they were created for.  He talkied about how Christ established a blueprint for the Church and it is found in the New Testament.  He then quoted scripture after scripture regarding the organization of the Church that Christ established in the New Testament.  Afterwards, the member of the Branch Presidency our district met with said that that devotional is likely the only one we'll every hear in the MTC where they only use the BoM once and never reference Preach My Gospel.  We also had mission conference earlier in the week on Sunday because it was fast sunday.  One of the speakers talked about the creationi of Pregar Meu Envangelho (Preach My Gospel in Portuguese).  I can't reccount everything I said, but he said it with power.  Every single member of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency had part in creating that book.  Even though Elder Holland and Elder Oaks were on extended assignments in far away lands, they made sure that they contributed.  Elder Maxwell was struggling with health issues so bad, that he could barely see, so he had people read the manuscript to him multiple days in a row, then wrote down his notes and sent his secretary as a representative to the meeting so his thoughts could be shared.  PMG is inspired!  It is powerful! It is beautiful! And we are so luckly to be living in a time when it has been brought forth to the world.

So I keep running into people I know.  Literally ten minutes after leaving you guys, I saw Amie Bitter.  Since then I've seen Chris Anjeweirden, Peter Searle, Pedro Chipana (we live on the same floor actually), Sarah Howard, Matt Conley, and other people from Brighton and Olympus all over the place.  It's been awesome.  Which reminds me, I'm not actually at the off-site MTC.  I'm in the normal monastary, my address is just a little funky for my mail.  I don't know why, but it is.  Anyway, it's been way fun to see people I know.  In fact, I run into Elder Anjewierden all over the place because we're on the same schedule.  The portuguese and spanish speakers share the same scheduling times so I see him a lot.

So family, I love you, and to all who aren't family, I sure love you guys too.  I hope everything is going well.  I pray for you guys every night and I know the Lord will bless you for it, and for me serving a mission.

Questions?  Let me know.  It's generally easiest to write or Dear Elder me because I have limited time on the computer so I like to spend the whole time writing you guys.  I get the letters within the day or sometimes on the next day through Dear Elder.

Thank you everyone.  May the Lord bless each of you with peace, love, and a testimony of the truth.

Elder Trent Evans

P.S. I apologize for a lack of apostophes in the first few paragraphs.  My keyboard was set in Brazilian portuguese, and the apostophes are not where they're supposed to be.

P.P.S. I love you! and God loves you even more!ntly.  Thank you so much for the food, body wash, hangers, ensign, loving notes, and all the other fantastical stuff I recieved.

Some photos to remember us by...

Sacrament Meeting Talk

When I get this, I'll post it. :) It was fantastic!!

Mission Pictures