Monday, June 30, 2014


Oi família!

Well boy do we have news this week.  I have about a million things running through my head right now and I have to write down the most important ones.  But it´ll all work out.  I´m finding that it´s becoming more and more difficult to write in English now (seriously, who ever would have thought that) but I´m managing.

Remember when Élder Andersen came and visited here?  Well, the church newsroom has an article about what happened on the link below.  Enjoy!

But this week has been a set of ups and downs.  Wednesday was our farewell conference for President and Sister Souza.  They bore testimony, gave hugs, gave ties (I got two!), and it was generally a super awesome spiritual experience.  They gave some good parting advice to everyone and we got to meet the missionary that baptized Sister Souza.  It was cool to hear his testimony because he said "You don´t know who you baptize" and then went on to tell us about how cool it is that Sister Souza is the wife of a mission president.  Then Sister Souza got up and explained about their family that is all active in the church with many serving in prominent leadership positions, all of the 620 missionaries they cared for (and I was one of them *swelling with pride*) and all that good jazz.  In general it was a really good meeting even though I cried a little.  I really don´t like crying.  But then this morning I saw President Bonini in the office when we went by to get materials.  We shook hands and then he headed into his office with the assistants for a meeting or something.  Sister Bonini seems super cool, but we´ll have a little more time to get to know them in the conference on Wednesday.

Remember the woman from last week, Rosa?  Yep, she´s doing awesome.  She said that the first day without coffee was like death but after that didn´t have anym more problems.  She is truly an elect of God.  We were so lucky to find her.

But the big news of the week is that the Lord qualifies the called.  He does not (and I can testify to this) call the qualified.  The past week my companion and I closed our area for a day and a half to head down to Canindé, which is a city about 2 hours south of here, to do exchanges with the missionaries there.  One of them is my good buddy Élder Lima (remember him?  I wrote about him December 16th last year.  I love that guy) and Élder Tamanho said I should do an exchange with him.  We had a blast.  It was good to do some good work with Élder Lima again and to see a more experienced missionary do work.  We taught this one lady, Leda, who said she had read and prayed the same day that Élder Lima and his companion had passed by. Élder Lima asked her how she had felt during the prayer and she responded by simply saying "better."  As missionaries this is the sign that the Spirit has answered but instead Élder Lima asked "do you believe that this was an answer from God?"  and she said, "yes".  I was super cool to see that the Spirit doesn´t need to shout at us to get our atention.  If we´re listening and seeking for what the Spirit has to say, we will be guided.  Which was one thing that I learned personally as well.  It´s interesting to see how things change on the mission.  Élder Lima was my leader for such a long time, and now I´m his leader.  As such, we talked as we were walking about his difficulties and his challenges.  The problems they´re facing in Canindé and how he can help his trainee become a better missionary.  The miraculous thing for me was that as Élder Lima was talking to me, I was able to come up with something to say!  What was even better was that it helped him!  It showed me that the Lord always prepares those he has called.  I had no desire to be a leader, especially over someone who was already my leader, but the Lord made me capable.  Am I perfect?  No.  But the Lord has magnified my talents and abilities in ways I never thought possible.  This is the Lord´s work.  Were it now, I would not be here.  I testify that Christ lives.  He is our Savior.  This is His church. 

Até o próximo,

Élder Evans

P.S.  The photo is the last day I saw President and Sister Souza

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wait, you really did what we asked?

Oi família!

Well, this e-mail will probably be a little shorter because Brasil is playing today.  As such, after 12 pretty much everything will be closed, so I´m trying to take advantage of what little time I have.

But we had a super cool experience with a woman we´re teaching named Rosa.  She lives half of her time at her sisters house and the other half closer to her mother about 3 hours south of here.  We passed by on our first week here because her neice (daughter of her sister) is serving a mission in São Paulo.  Her neice is the only member in the whole family, though a great example.  When we were teaching Rosa the first time she said "I know that what you´re teaching me is true because I can feel it when you speak, but I don´t know about baptism."  We marked a return apointment and she ended up traveling back to her mom´s house early so the apointment fell through.  Then we were walking with a member of the ward and she said "Oh, Rosa called and said that she´s back in town if you want to go visit her."  We headed over there because everything else fell through (which is almost always a sign on the mission that there´s potential for something big).  We showed up and began talking and before we could ask anything she said "Well, I did what you said.  I read the introduction, I prayed and I KNOW that this is the true church.  I want to get baptized."  Wow.  I was not expecting that.  We reviewed with her what happend.  We asked about the prayer and what had happened.  She said that she had prayed, and the Spirit testified that this IS the only true and living church upon the face of the earth and that she needed to be baptized.  If there´s anyone who likes to hear these words it´s a missionary.  We´ve returned and taught her a few times since then and every time she keeps bringing up baptism and tells us how much she wants to be baptized.  It´s such a testimony to me that the Lord´s chosen are those who hear the call and heed it. She came to church yesterday and loved it.  We went by and taught the Word of Wisdom and she said "Well, I´ll stop drinking coffee tomorrow."  It´s so amazing to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord and watch as he prepares these people.  Litterally, all we do is show up.  She basically teaches herself.  The Lord has blessed us so much with amazing people, fantastic contacts, and marvelous blessings.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

On another note, President Souza will be returning home this week as we await our new President, President Boníni.  I will miss him like the dickens.  He´s an amazing teahcer and an even more amazing mission president. You´re all invited to his homecoming, though it might be a little expensive to all fly to Curitiba.

Boa sorte e abraços para todo mundo

Élder Evans

P.S. O chamdo missionário é a melhor coisa no mundo inteiro

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fique simples (Stay Simple)

Oi família!

Well, I got the good news!  Sending a shout-out to Trev and Kenz for getting engaged!  Parabêns noivos!  Marriage is a cool thing.  Here in Fortaleza it´s a common practice to just move in together and be "married". So sometime we have to get people married before they can be baptized.  I´ve been party to two marriages now and both have been such happy ocasions.  But every time I´ve felt the Spirit touch me and explain that these marriages are only for this life.  I feel so blessed to know that when we are sealed in the temple, the holy house of our Father, it is truly marriage for eternity.  There will be ups, there will be downs, but in the end, death doesn´t terminate anything. So, that´s my dois centavos about getting hitched.  Parabêns de novo!  Send me a piece of cake! (or maybe not.  It´ll probably be a rock by the time I receive it.)

Other cool news, I was in the mission office today and was looking through the materials and letters for my last zone.  President Souza sends letters to all of the recently baptized people in the mission and I was looking to see if he had already sent one to a couple we had baptized.  As I was looking I saw one for a girl Élder Bradley and I had been teaching named Andressa. It was so fulfilling to see this letter because we prayed, and studied, and thought, and debated for a long time about how we could help her accept the baptismal covenant.  Then, we were transfered and I didn´t receive anything else.  But just to recieve this news filled me with this inexplainable joy.  We contacted her one day sitting on a bench and now she´s a member of the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth.  What a privelege to know that our efforts in talking with everyone honestly worked out.

For information´s sake, the world cup here is probably like the super bowl in the US.  We have to be in the house 30 minutes before the game and can´t leave until 30 minutes after the game.  But this is only for games of Brazil, and games here in Fortaleza.  So, not a ton.  You can always know when Brazil scores a goal though because the street sounds like and explosion.  There´s huge fireworks and a lot of yelling.  It´s like Todd yelling at a swim meet, only 100x louder.

But I placed "fique simples" as the title for a lesson we had with a womon this week named Elene.  Her husband, Luiz, is a recent convert of a few weeks that just recieved the priesthood yesterday.  My companion, Élder Tamanho, has a real way with people and as he talks with them all of their defensiveness seems to just melt away.  But this past Thursday my companion got sick and couldn´t leave the house. So, we did a quick in-house exchange and Élder Freeman and I went out to cover both of our areas for a few hours (it´s the same ward, just with two sets of missionaries).  We´d been teaching Elene for a little while and our last lesson had been about the word of wisdom.  She really likes her coffee and was very hesitant to give it up.  When Élder Freeman and I passed by she began talking about how much she loved her coffee and how she didn´t want to give it up.  I began throwing out reasons like crazy about why she shoud stop drinking coffee (Élder Tamanho is also very smart and has a heap of scientific proof about how coffee is bad for you as well, and I got this from him) though I didn´t do it quite the same way that Élder Tamanho does it. She didn´t like what I said and began to get a little defensive.  But then Élder Freeman cut in and simply said "Elene, I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that They called Joseph Smith to be a prophet..." and just bore his testimony.  Instantly she callmed down and began to accept what we had to say.  It was amazing to me to see how just a simple testimony can really totally change someone´s view.  The next time we passed by she said to us "well, I didn´t drink coffee this morning".  Wow.  The Spirit rocks.  So, challenge of the week, bear your testimony to someone.  It´s simple.  It´s easy.  And it´s works miracles.

Até o próximo!

Élder Evans

Monday, June 9, 2014

Poder não conhecido (Power not known)

Oi família!

Well, my mission dad is finishing his mission.  It´s a little weird to think that people I know are going home. Yes, I´m beginning to understand that mission life is not eternity (though if it was I´d be thrilled.  I love it here) but to think that people are going home is weird. But we´ll see what happens.

My comp and I got whitewashed into our area.  Here we use the word "abrindo" which means "opening" which is funny because we had almost no one to teach.  But the Lord has been VERY good to us this week and blessed us with a grand group of new investigators, a number of which came to church!  So, we´re looking to have some baptisms next week!  I love baptism.  It´s one of the greatest things in the mission field, along with a good almoço (lunch).  We do lunch here, not dinner. 

But I really enjoyed one experience this week that happened as we contacted a referral we received from the mission office.  I had read a scripture earlier in the week in Doctrine and Covenants 24:12 that talks about opening our mouths and we´ll be given a power that is not known among men.  I thought that was kind of a cool promise and the Lord showed me how it was done.  We found the house and began teaching this woman about the Restoration of the gospel.  When we got there, the neighbor had their stereo blasting full force next door and we could hear everything.  I began praying like none other, hoping that the stereo would quiet down and that we would be able to teach and feel the Spirit.  We had finished talking about the apostasy and right as we began the Joseph Smith story, the music stopped (prayer answered).  We read James 1:5 and I talked about how Joseph Smith had recieved an answer to his prayer.  Right as I was beginning to recount the first vision the mother said to her daughter "I want you to recount your experience..." which (seemingly) had nothing to do with the lesson.  As the daughter finished the mother then began "and one time this happened to me..." which also (seemingly) had nothing to do with the lesson. I sat there not knowing what to do.  Without me realizing it, I opened my mouth and this sentance poured out that incorporated both of their ideas into the Joseph Smith story.  It was so amazing to be used as an instrument in the hands of the Lord and to feel how I am truly his servant.  The Spirit made the connection between their stories that my limited mind was unable to make.  As we finished the lesson the mom said "wow.  I can really feel that what you teach is true."  and she accepted the baptismal invite.  I truly felt that I had been used by the Spirit to teach the principle.  It was amazing to feel about this "power unknown among men."

So, go serve.  Open your mouth, and don´t be afraid to share what we know.  The gospel is true.  This is the only true and living church on the face of the earth.  The Lord will fill your mouth and you will have this "power not known among men."

Até o próximo!

Élder Evans

Monday, June 2, 2014

O Tempo Dele (His Time)

Oi família!

Well, I´ve been transfered!  President Souza made a huge transfer and put people in all sorts of different and new areas.  I´m now serving in the Sumaré Ward on the other side of the city and my new companion is named Élder Tamanho.  He´s a Brazilian from Curitiba and he´s pretty cool.  He makes missionary work look very natural and I´m very excited to be working with him.  He has one more transfer than I do and I´m sure he has lots of things to teach me.  I´m thrilled to get started.

Elder Bradley and I had a cool few things happen this past week.  One of the investigators that we baptized received the Priesthood yesterday and that was cool to see.  In general it´s been amazing to see the awesome things that have happened to us during this whole time.  But this all focuses on the family here.  Hence, Generations of Faith.

We had the confirmation of an investigator, Joel, who was the child of a member, Socorro.  He had reached 9 years old but hadn´t yet been baptized.  We headed over there one day to talk with them and the only people home were Socorro (the mom) and Mateus (her son).  She told us that she hadn´t been to church in about two months because she was feeling lazy and didn´t want to get up and leave the house on Sundays.  We invited her back to church and marked a day to return.  A few weeks later we´re here after the confirmation of her son, and she is once again active and happy in the church.  She said "I don´t really know why I ever went inactive.  I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I need to follow what I know to be true.  i will not go inactive again."  It just showed to me how perfect the timing of the Lord is.  If we had arrived just a little bit later, it may have been to late to help her. But because we arrived, she´s back, and her son is too.  All we need now is her husband.

But one of the really touching moments of the week was Regis and Maria.  We found Maria after we found her mother, Elizabeth, who initially accepted a baptismal invite, but later declined.  During our conversations with Elizabeth, we met Regis, her son-in-law, who, as it turns out, is a member of the church, though inactive for many years.  Then we found Maria, Regis´ girlfriend.  Long story short, through a big series of ups and downs, maybe´s, no´s, and yes´s, they decided to get married and she decided to get baptized here before they returned to Minas Gerais, which is another state.  One way or another, through a series of miracles they were married, she was baptized, and later confirmed.  But this, once again was a testimony to me of the Lord´s timing.  It we had met Elizabeth before, she may not have been open to hearing the message from us, thus opening the door to find, teach, and baptize Maria.  If we had met her later, it would have been too late to complete the teaching and marriage process before they had to return.  The Lord truly calls us to a specific calling for a specific time to do a specific work.  But this applies in much more than just in the mission field.  I know He is looking out for each and every one of you in this moment.  Your tests are perfectly tailored so that you can grow, develop, and become His instrument.  His plan, though sometimes unknown, is always perfectly timed to bring blessings and learning experiences.  I know that as each of you search for the hand of the Lord in your life, He will guide you to see His desires for you and will guide you to have spiritually inspiring experiences.  I know each of you have special talents and gifts that are designed to touch the lives of others.  You are a child of God.

Amo vocês! Até o próximo!

Élder Evans