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