Monday, July 28, 2014

O campo está branco (The field is white)

Oi família!

I hope you´re all enjoying my subject lines.  It´s fun because everyone gets to learn a little portuguese while they´re at home!  Why?  Because Portuguese is the bee´s knees.  I love it.  Even though I´m still basically stuck with the "missionary vocabulary" right now, I´m working to find more words.  I told my companion that one of my dreams is to come back to Brasil to be a translator for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team and he said that his dream is to speak english fluently before he returns home.  So, long story short, we´re helping each other learn the native language of the other!  It´s kind of cool.  Não.  É super legal.  O Élder Tamanho está progredindo muito bem com inglês. (No, it´s super cool.  Élder Tamanho is progressing really will with english)  I´m really working lately with my accent, that Élder Tamanho says is slight, but still indicates that I´m an American.

But really, the field here is white.  We´ve got some good baptisms coming up and we´re finding new people every day.  As missionaries we hear a lot of the same phrases.  "If it works out, I´ll do it" and "I don´t want to commit to something I might not be albe to fulfill" seem to be the two predominant ones.  But, when we come across someone that is willing to fulfill our invitations, that´s when we know we´ve struck gold.  Take, for example, Junior, who we met with this week.  Junior was a contact that we did one day and marked to return.  When we returned, he was getting ready to leave, so we explained the Book of Mormon briefly, left the book and a pamphlet, and marked a return appointment.  When Élder Tamanho and I returned for the appointment, he was in his kitchen.  WE entered and on the table was his bible, the Book of Mormon, and the pamphlet we had left.  All open.  He had studied before we even got to his house.  This was awesome.  We began the lesson and he began to be a little confused about the importance of prophets and how they could see God.  The Spirit kicked in and reminded me of a scripture I hadn´t read since January. We showed him some scriptures about Moses that completely removed his doubt.  We continued teaching and he understood completely.  We hit the Restoration and I began teaching.  As I taught I felt as if I wasn´t doing anything, that the words were just pouring out of my mouth.  Then we hit the First Vision.  As I related using the words of the Prophet Joseph, the Spirit filled me until I felt like I would burst.  As I was talking I realized that my accent was completely gone.  I was speaking just like a native Brazilian.  It was an amazing lesson.  We invited him to pray and he said "you know élders, I already have.  I asked God in my prayer if what I read was true, and if it was that He would permit you guys to come back and meet with me.  Today I had a huge to-do list and I had doubts I would be home before 9.  Our appointment was for 5:30 and I managed to get her at 4:00.  I feel that this is true."  It was fantastic.  As we left Élder Tamanho and I both said "That was one of the most spiritual lessons I´ve had in my entire mission."  We saw so many promises fulfilled.  The Holy Ghost bringing scriptures to remembrance.  The gift of tongues.  The gift of testimony.  The gift to believe the testimony of others.  It was amazing.  Because the field is white in Brazil.  I love it here.  I love being a missionary.  I am sooo grateful to our Father that I can stay here.  This is truly the best two years of my life.

Amo vocês.  Tenham uma boa semana.

Élder Evans     

Well, to be honest, Brazil looks nothing like this.  We just have this one part of the area that is full of jungle-looking things and we had our cameras with us this day.  So, we took pictures.

mais uma

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sou missionário, sou feliz (I´m a missionary, I´m always happy)

Oi família!

Wow.  The World Cup was cool because I was in Brazil while it was happening.  Everyone was all decked out in yellow and green and every clothing shop had Brazil jerseys for sale.  There were chalk drawings and decorations over the streets.  But I cannot express how happy I am that the Cup is over and that we have returned to normal work. It[s a little funny because as we´re walking in the street everyone says "Congrats germany!" to me. People don´t seem super angry that they lost, but more than anything, I´m just glad to be back to normal work. 

That was one of the cool things I noticed this week.  We had one of those days that everthing fell through.  And I mean everything.  But, as we were walking in the street, I was just so pumped to be a missionary.  I was so thrilled to be out serving, and preaching the good message.  Seriously, being a missionary is the greatest thing that has every happened to me. 

But, I guess that was the cool dealio this week.  We had an exchange this week and I had stayed in the area with the new district leader in our zone, Élder Benitez (he´s american but his dad is from Porto Rico).  As Élder Benitez and I began the day the duty fell to me to lead out in the lessons, contacts, things of the nature.  As I did, I began to feel this intense happiness and joy for the gospel.  We taught the Restoration three times that day, and each time the Spirit helped me to see how true the message truly is.  I remember in one lesson in particular we were teaching a woman and her neighbor and during the lesson I was filled with this recognition of how great and grand the blessings of the gospel really are.  It was so cool to me to see how in every single lesson, the Spirit testified to me about this beautiful message and how it has changed my life.  We talked with a man named Elton who explained about problems in his family and how he hasn´t talked to his mother in quite a while.  We were able to testify about the healing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it truly brings families back together.  He was super touched by the Spirit and said "I will definitely go to church with you guys".  What was even better was how guided I felt during that whole lesson.  I felt as if every word I said was placed there by the Spirit.  It was truly a day of miracles that helped me to recognize the great blessings of the Lord in my life.  I love being a missionary.

But really, think about that.  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has called another prophet in these our days to lead us and guide us in this troubled world. Every day we hear of earthquakes, wars,sickness, and poverty that plague the world.  But with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth we have the promise of the Lord that we will be safe.  I know this is true.  So, head out and share some blessings with people this week.  You´ll be glad that you did.

Até mais,

Élder Evans

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cara, o templo é ótimo! (Dude, the temple is awesome!)

Oi família!

I just want to begin saying that I love being a missionary.  Seriously, life is so good as a missionary.  You go through these super tough experiences almost every day but you feel on top of the world because you´re a representative of Jesus Christ.  I´m learnng a lot about Jesus Christ lately and just how much He has done for each one of us.  I was especially inspiried this week by a scripture way back in the Book of Mormon, that´s actually one of the last ones therin.  Moroni 10:32-33 is a scripture that I feel is well-known and underused.  As we really consider what it is saying, it´s really a scipture we can put along side of Ether 12:27.

But, the cool experience of the week was with a family (YES!!) we´re teaching, Cristiano and Helena.  We´ve been working for them for a really long time to get them to come to church.  We met them the very first week of last transfer and we didn´t get them to church until yesterday.  Normally, if people don´t come to church for 3 weeks we drop them, but we felt something special with Cristiano and Helena.  We had a family night with them and the family of the Relief Society Presient this past Monday and they loved it.  Then a few days later we passed by with our Ward Mission Leader and his wife.  When we got there they began saying "Wow.  Even since that family night we had with you guys, everything has been working out!  Everything is going super well!  Of course we´ll come to church this week!"  But then we went one step further.  Leading up to this visit, our plan was to review the Restoration with them so they could understand a little better still what our beliefs are.  As we were headed there Élder Tamanho said to Antonio and Marília, "We´re thinking about talking about the temple."  I had brought my temple book that the mission gave us and we began to talk about the importance of the temple.  We opened to the pictures of the temples and they said "Wow, they´re so beautiful..."  We read some quotes from the prophets about temples and the Spirit was super strong.  Then, we showed them the pictures inside.  The baptistry.  The ordinance room.  The celestial room.  The sealing room.  And then we explained, "We are here so that your family can be an eternal family"  Wow.  The Spirit was so strong.  They loved the lesson and Antonio and Marília were able to testify of the blessings of the temple in their lives.  It was so awesome.  They said, "We always thought that the ´until death do you part´ thing was sad.  We can really be an eternal family" And guess who came to church yesterday?  Yeah.  They loved it.  We´re having another family night with them tonight.  Miracles are going to happen.

I love this work.  I love being a missionary.  I work is true.

Amo vocês

Élder Evans

Monday, July 7, 2014

AMERICA!!!! and the power of the Book of Mormon

Oi família!

Well, Independance Day has come and gone.  Did I eat an omlete?  No.  A snow cone?  No.  But, we had to stay inside again because Brazil was playing again.  They won, which is a mixture of feelings.  I really am happy when Brazil wins.  The only problem is that it inhibits my perception of work.  But that´s one of the things I´m learning during the World Cup.  Regardless of what happens "no unhallowed hand can stop this work."  But, Élder Freeman (the other American in the house) and I celebrated America together, as you can see in the attached photo. 

Anyway, this week was interesting.  We weren´t able to work a ton between conferences, meetings, cleanings, and the world cup, but we still had a baptism!  Remember Rosa?  Yeah, the one I wrote about for the last two weeks!  She got baptized!  It was one of the most spiritually powerful experiences in my life.  The whole time we were there the Spirit was soooo strong and really testified to me that our Father in Heaven is very happy with her decision.

During our work with here this week, we had the opportunity to pass by a lot and converse with her almost every day about her decision and what she was doing.  As we were reviewing the baptismal interview questions she said one of the coolest things I´ve heard in my life.  We were talking about repentance and after defining it she said she felt she had repented of her past sins.  Then she said "you know, I feel like a new person.  I feel closer to God than I have felt in my entire life.  I feel like something is developing inside me."  and then after her baptism she said "you know, the baptismal clothes are a little weird, but there is this comfort and power that you can feel when you´re in them that you know you´re doing the right thing."  Wow.  This was truly an experience to teach someone who was truly converted before their baptism. 

But think about how that was possible.  What did Élder Tamanho and I do to make this happen?  To be honest, not much.  We showed up and said (paraphrased) "Hey, read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it´s true."  She did and now she´s a member of the church.  Rosa lives part-time at her sister´s house and that´s where we´ve been teaching her.  We´ve tried a lot to get her sister to participate too, but she´s been more work.  We were talking with her sister, Eunice, this week and said "We just have one invitation for you.  Read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it´s true."  She said she didn´t want to.  We asked why and she said, "Because everyone who reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it ends up being baptized!"  Just wait.  She´ll get there too.  But that´s the interesting thing.  There´s no other way around it.  The Book of Mormon is either true, or it isn´t, and the only person that can really tell us is God.  He has the power to open doors and knowledge that we simply can´t.  But how He opens those doors is through our sincere prayer and study of the Book of Mormon.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and it is the reason why I am serving a mission.  I invite each one of you to share a copy of the Book of Mormon with one of your friends this week.  I promise that as you do, miracles will abound and you will be able to see that the Lord is preparing people who are only "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it."  The Lord will do miracles in your lives in the same way He did for Rosa as you read, ponder, and pray daily about the Book of Mormon.  It is true.  I know it.

Até o próximo!

Élder Evans

I get so darn excited when I´m sending e-mails sometimes that I forget things.
Here´s a photo!
Élder Tamanho, Rosa, Me! 
Amo vocês! 
Élder Evans