Monday, October 27, 2014

Patience... makes for a lot of walking

Oi família!

No one worry, I´m healthy again.  Whatever it was that I had last week has passed now and I´m healthy once again.  After sleeping almost all of Monday (literally, I slept almost 16 hours) I´m back to full and complete activity. Being sick on the mission isn´t super fun, but I made it through. I´ll make an effort to not get more sick during my mission. 

So, things have been a little hard lately.  We´re short of good people in our teaching pool.  We find any number of people who have already heard the message or have no desire, so we were really hurting for new people to teach that want to hear more about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, we´ve been doing a lot of walking.  Mostly trying to contact less-actives.  We have an old list of members of the ward here and we´re trying to contact as many of them as we can and bring some people back into the fold.  Things have been difficult, but we´re managing to find some less-active members who have some desire to come back.  Que bom.

But in the midst of all this walking was something super cool that happened this week.  We met a guy named Victor.  I had already passed by him in the street before but hadn´t every made contact with him.  One day as we passed by him to do another visit he called us over and said "I want to learn more about your church.  You´re the Mormons right?"  We responded that we were and he began to tell us a few things about what he had heard.  We marked a return appointment and gave him a Restoration pamphlet. We headed back the next day and it was AWESOME!!!  He had already read the pamphlet and had understood really well.  He explained "So, the prophets receive the priesthood and guide God´s children here on earth, right?"  Seriously, he used the word priesthood.  I haven´t heard that from an investigator in ages.  After we indicated that this was correct he said "and Joseph Smith received the priesthood right?  So, he´s a prophet."  It was amazing.  The lesson went super smooth and he understood and accepted everything.  My favorite part was the end when he said, "You know, I smoke and drink coffee.  I think I´ll stop with that. I don´t know if I want to be baptized yet too, but I´ll begin thinking about that too."  We hadn´t said anything about these things yet.  This is when the Spirit is teaching, not the missionaries.  Long story short, Victor is progressing really well.  He´s having some oposition from his family, but we´re working to overcome that.  He´s super solid.  It was super awesome to me to see that after a lot of walking, the Lord rewarded our work.  This is the Lord´s work.  This doesn´t mean success and baptisms 100% of the time.  It was never easy for Jesus Christ, it certainly won´t be easy for us.  But His mission was 100% worthwhile, so mine will be too if I´m willing to give it my all.

Amo todos de vocês.  Grande abraço, fiquem firmes.


So, there was a couples dinner Saturday night and they didn´t take the thing down until after church on Sunday, so we took pictures.

Élder Evans  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Priesthood Power

Oi família!

Well, the gospel is true.  I love seeing how each and every day the Lord is blessing all of us, especially my awesome family. 

Well, we had a challenging week.  We weren´t able to teach very much and finding people was also somewhat difficult, but we stayed positive.  Élder Muniz and I have been working super hard this week and we´re going to work even harder this next week. 

But I guess the cool experience of the week happened yesterday.  I got sick yesterday and I was struggling a lot.  I´m not sure if it was food poisoning or what, but it was bad.  I asked the other elders in the house if they would give me a blessing.  Élder K. Oliveira did the anointing and Élder Anderson sealed.  It was amazing because he blessed me with health, but then continued to speak for a little while.  He talked about my work, he talked about what I needed to do, and he also said that the Lord was pleased with my service until this point in my mission.  It was super cool to hear the words he spoke, because it was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment.  Long story short, I´m still a little sick, but I´m feeling better already.  But I saw that the Preisthood is truly the power of God on the earth. 

I know that this is the Lord´s church restored on the earth.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today. 

Amo vocês e espero uma boa semana para todos.

Élder Evans

Monday, October 13, 2014

I´m still really white.... but the gospel is true.

Oi família! 

So, first week with Élder Muniz was awesome.  We´re working super hard every day and it´s going well.  He´s from São Paulo but speaks English fluently.  It´s funny when he says things in enlish because it catches me so off guard but it´s always something funny so I end up laughing too. Attached is a photo with the two of us, and yes, I´m still white as can be.  You would think that after a year in the Brazilian sun something would have changed.  No such luck. 

But the cool experience of the week was with a guy named Anderson.  Though the week was full of effective work, the Lord is trying us to see how strong our faith really is.  Our area is known for being a little tough (little isn´t an exageration, it´s smaller than our ward back home) but we´re working super hard.  One day we were doing contacts after a few days of rough work and we knocked on a door seeking after a referal.  We knocked to find a woman that wasn´t the person we were looking after.  We talked to her for a little and during the conversation she asked "Would you two like to come in and share a message with my husband and I?"  Score!  Her husband was asleep at the moment, so we set a return appointment.  We explained the importance of the Restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  They even thought it was interesting, though he refused to pray to know if it was true.  He demanded that we prove our message was true.  Then Élder Muniz said something extraordinary.  "The only person that can convince you that what we´re saying is true is you.  We´re here to invite you to find out for yourself if this is true.  I have prayed and I know that what we are speaking is true for myself because God answered me.  I have never been more sure about anything in my entire life.  I´m not here to preach this message because my mom told me to, I´m here because God told me to."  It was a super powerful moment and I left thinking "How can I obtain conviction like that?"

The next day I was reading in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon.  I had landed on Chapter 12 that particular day which is Moroni´s explination of faith.  I was especially touched by verse 6 when Moroni begins:

 I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. (Ether 12:6)

I realized that faith needs to be tested in order to be strengthened.  Though what he had said to us had shaken me a little, I returned to the fight with a stronger and stronger testimony.  In swimming we don´t know how good we are until we are in the race.  In the gospel it is the same message.  We don´t know how strong our testimony is until we are put to the test. What´s more the Lord will reward us according to our faith like he did with the Brother of Jared:

For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin,Remove—and it was removed. And if he had not had faith it would not have moved; wherefore thou workest after men have faith (Ether 12:30)

What power our faith can have!  But, we need to show our faith before the miracle will come.  This chapter explains that it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto the people of ancient america (Ether 12:7).  Why is this important?  Well, I´ve never seen Christ.  Therefore, I walk by faith.  Sure, there are a few hundred years of archeological evidence that the Book of Mormon is true, but that doesn´t develop trust in our Father in Heaven.  What I know to be true I know because I prayed and I received an answer from the Holy Ghost and no one can take that away from me.  Historical facts may fail.  The persuasions of men will not always win.  But the witness from the Holy Ghost is something that will never be taken away if we continue to nourish and grow it (Alma 32:42). 

I know the gospel is true.  Not because anyone told me.  But because God answered me.

Até o próximo queridos amigos e familiares

Élder Evans 

P.S. The other photo is from Sheisla´s baptism.  From left to right: Élder Espinal, Irmã Bia, Sheisla, Me

In front: Letícia (Irmã Bia´s daughter)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Conference... pretty much the coolest thing ever

Oi família!

Transfers tomorrow!  I´ll be staying in my area and getting a new companion, Élder Muniz.  Thank you all for your prayers for me and our great work.  They´re helping a lot.

Who liked General Conference? Though listening in English was once again an option for me, I felt that it was necessary that I listened in Portuguese.  I discovered why later, but one way or another it was awesome because I understood almost everything that was said!  I really liked Élder Godoy´s talk from Saturday Afternoon, mostly because he spoke in Portuguese. But the content of the talk was also good.  But I also really enjoyed President Eyering´s talk from Sunday Morning.  That was one talk that as he was speaking I felt, "Wow, this talk is for me"  I also really enjoyed the talk from Élder Lynn G Robbins, from Saturday Morning.  Okay, I liked the whole conference, but these were some in particular that I enjoyed.  If you missed the conference, you can find it at and watch, listen, read, eat, sleep, and enjoy conference there. 

One of the things I particularly enjoyed of the conference was how firm everyone was.  I felt that in the Saturday session that there was a very clear message: 
Truth is objective.  It does not change as trends in society change.  What God has established as truth is what was, what is, and what always will be what is right.  It is our duty to defend that.
We will face hard and trying times as the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior draws nearer.  As Élder Andersen said, things are going to get worse, a lot worse, before Christ returns.  And in these situations,we must remain firmly planted upon the rock of our Redeemer (Helamen 5:12). 

We had a super awesome experience with this just this past week.  Remember Sheisla?  Well, this week was super hard for her.  I think it was one of the hardest weeks I´ve seen in an investigators life.  You could see how the enemy had combined everything he had against her to make sure that she wouldn´t be baptized this week.  But, it was a super powerful week to see how converted she had really become.  I can´t say that we had any one even in particular that was amazing, but the whole week little things were falling into place to help her enter the waters of baptism this past week.  Though she was tested and tried she held firm and was baptized yesterday!  She said to us "The enemy is trying to do everything he can to make sure that my baptism doesn´t take place. But I´ve had so many answers.  This has to be true"  It was amazing.  She told us how much she loved conference (she attended all five sessions!) and how during the Saturday Afternoon session she felt that every single talk was written to her.  It was awesome. 

So, I know I didn´t have any one particular experience this week, but this was what I felt to write.  I´m loving this oportunity to serve and I´m rededicating myself to 120% service during these next 7-8 months that I have. 

I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.  I know that He lives and that He has called Thomas Monson to be His prophet on the earth today.  I am His representative. 

Amo vocês

Élder Evans