Tuesday, January 27, 2015

O campo já está branco para a ceifa (The field is white already to harvest)

Oi família!

This week was fantastic!  A bunch of fun stuff happened and if I wrote it all the e-mail would be huge!!!  So, we´ll stick with the brief highlights of the week.

So, last Monday after p-day we headed out to work.  A recent-convert in our area said "hey there´s this family tat lives close to me that attended church a long time ago that want to meet with you guys."  So we headed over and met Raimunda and Francisco.  They attended church 20 years ago and were preapring to get baptized but the week before their baptism there was a problem and it didn´t end up happening.  We were just getting to know them and the impression came to challenge them to baptism.  Without much preface I said, "Knowing that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God?"  The two of them just sat there and then they both said, "Yes."  We set a date with them and they are super pumped for February 8th (Élder Borges´ last day in the field).  They came to church yesterday with their daughter, Erica, and they loved it.  The Lord has prepared them so much.  We taught the Word of Wisdom and told them that they can´t drink any more coffee.  We passed by yesterday night and Raimunda said, "I have a terrible headache but I can´t drink coffee.  Oh well.  It´ll pass."  Super elect.

I also had a great exchange this week with the assistants in my first area, Ala Parquelândia.  The assistants were transfered there when I left and I haven´t been able to go back until this past tuesday.  Remember the family Vasconcelos that I baptized there?  The youngest son recieved the Melchezidek Preisthood this week and they´re preparing to go to the temple in March/April!  YES!!!

But the cool experience of the week (yeah, I had more!!! THIS WEEK WAS AWESOME!!!) was when we headed to Tabapuá.  Our área is huge and there´s a young man named Renan that always helps us out.  He lives in a neighborhood called Tabapuá that´s way on the edge of our area.  Élder Borges had never been there and we decided to headed out there to see if there was work for us there.  We left lunch at 1:30 and began walking.  About 2:30 we arrived there.  It was a lot longer than we thought.  But, we got to work doing contacts and knocking on doors.  Missionaries haven´t visited Tabapuá in over 30 years so all of the people out there don´t know a thing about the church.  It was awesome.  Everyone seemed interested, especially Erica, a young woman we met.  She´s 18 years-old and just moved here from another state.  Élder Borges contacted her and we marked to come back to her house a little later.  We came back a little bit later and began talking with her and her parents.  We prayed and began explaing a little bit of the Restoration.  After we explained the First Vision we paused for a minute and asked, "Erica, how do you feel right now?"  and she said, "Well, I´ve been feeling lost for a long time now.  I was in need of direction and I didn´t know where to go.  Then you guys stopped my in the street and began talking to me and I felt like I was full of light.  I feel like God is answering my prayer!"  We testified that it was true and that this is the church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth. Renan who was with us said that the next day she was super excited to learn more about the restored gospel.  I know that the field is white already to harvest.  We´re going to baptized all of Tabapuá. 

I know this is the Lord´s church.  I am His servant. 

Élder Evans

1) The Vasconcelos Family baptism (March 16th, 2014)

2) The Vasconcelos Family, without a few because they were working (January 20th, 2015)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Natação! (Swimming!!!) (I wasn´t breaking rules)

Oi família!

So, we had a fun week.  Adriano and Andressa were baptized!!!  And here´s the funny story.  So, we showed up a little early at the church to fill up the baptismal font.  The other elders had gone earlier to do a baptismal interview and when they had finished they started filling up the font.  The church ran out of water (about 10 AM) so we thought "well, there should be water a little later" so we came back.  Long story short, no water.  So we called bishop.  He said "Well, we can reschedule, or we can do it at Romualdo´s house in the pool"  So, we did it in the pool! The baptism was scheduled for 7 PM and when everyone showed up we said "Everyone, pick a car!  We´re going to have to travel a little!" I got to baptize Andressa which was awesome.  I always feel the Spirit so strong when I perform a baptism.  It´s fantastic.

But the other fun experience of the week was when we traveled. I should preface this saying that I set a goal to begin to fast every once in a while to have a greater conviction that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that this is the church that Jesus Christ restored to the earth to guide us today.  I felt on Tuesday that it was time for such a fast.  We headed out on Wednesday morning to Paracuru to have District Meeting with the sisters there.  They´ve been needing a pick-me-up recently because the work has been a little more difficult than normal.  I was wondering what I could share with them that would help excite them.  As I began the training about "declaring repentance" I was filled with the Spirit as a confirmation that this was what they needed to hear.  We had a normal training and afterwards when we came back together for feedback I felt the need to bear my testimony.  I began explaining, "Sisters, we cannot be afraid to tell people the truth.  This is the church that Jesus Christ has brought back to the earth.  Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  Thomas S. Monson is the Lord´s prophet on the earth today.  Sisters, in all of the people that live here in Paracuru, you four are the only ones that have the comission and the power to help these people return home to our Father in Heaven.  No one else in this city can bring these blessings, only you."  AS I was speaking I felt the Spirit fill me again and confirm to me that what I was speaking was true.  The Lord answered my prayer and fasting and I know that this is the Lord´s true church restored to the earth today.  The Spirit was so strong in the room and I felt that it was exactly what the sisters were needing at that moment.

I know that Jesus Christ lives.  He is our Savior.  I am his representative in this great Latter-Day work.

Amo vocês!  Até o próximo! 

Élder Evans

1) Élder Borges, Adriano, Andressa, and I in front of the pool
2) Me, Maia, and Élder Borges (from last week)

3) Me, Irmão José, and Élder Borges

Monday, January 12, 2015

Água!!! (Water!!!)

Oi família!

Guess who got baptized?!?  That´s right, Maia and José!!!  Maia told us afterwards about her feelings during the service.  She said, "I felt so strongly that regardless of what I had done in the past that after I left the water that all of my sins would be forgiven 100%."  It was an awesome day. 

We had a super awesome experience this week during an exchange.  I took Élder Toffoletto to my area to work.  We were on fire!  We talked to every person in the street and we had some awesome finding experiences.  We ran into one woman and we said "Hey, what´s your name?" and she said, "I´m Ana Paula, yes I can visit your church with you".  We were both thinking, "seriously, this never happens!"  We didn´t even say where we were from, or that we wanted her to come to church, she just invited herself.  But the really cool part was the end of the day.  We were on the way after our last apointment fell through and we passed by this house with an older couple sitting in their garage.  We walked by not thinking much, and then Élder Toffoletto and I stopped, looked at each other and said, "we need to go back there".  So, we headed back and they let us in.  As we were getting to know them I saw a lady back in the kitchen that, after seeing us, quickly left my sight.  We said, "Who is that back there?" 
Them: Oh, that´s Natalia
Us: Invite her to come hear our message
Them: Ok.  NATALIA!!!  COME HERE!!!
Well, Natalia was the sister of the lady that I saw but during the conversation she said, "ya know, I always wanted to visit your church, but my mom never let me" so we began a little lesson.  We opened in the scriptures to 2 Nephi 2:30 which reads:
I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation; and I have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet. And I have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls. Amen.
We explained how today there is a living prophet leading and guiding the children of God here on earth and how we knew these things.  More than that, we testified that they could also know of these truths if they would pray about our message.  It was amazing to feel the power of the Holy Ghost testifying to what I said as we spoke to them.  We finished with the invite to come to church and Natalia said, "I will go.  Absolutely"  The parents didn´t have much interest, but I loved how the Lord used us as tools to find one of His daughters who is ready to hear the good message. 

I know that Jesus Christ lives.  I know that His church is restored here on the earth in our day.  I know that Joseph Smith was His prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is His prophet on the earth today.  I know that the Lord will respond to every humble seaker of truth the same way that he responded to me and to millions of other people on the earth.  I love this work.  I am His servant. 
Amo vocês!  Vocês são os caras!  Até o próximo!

Élder Evans

Monday, January 5, 2015

Que alívio! (What relief!)

Oi família!

Well, it´s official, 2014 has come and gone.  I cannot believe how fast it passed.  I remember at the end of 2013 I was thinking, "Well, 2014.  The only complete year I will spend as a missionary. It will be hard, but also super rewarding" and it has been in all respects.  I don´t think I´ve had a year in which I have learned and grown so much.  I remember at the beginning of 2014 when we had interviews with President Souza.  I was looking at my Zone Leaders and the Assistants and thinking about how little I was compared to them.  I remember that the Lord gave me a feeling of my potential as a missionary, lider, and person.  As I´ve worked, studied, and prayed, I´ve felt my "potential meter" (it´s a hard feeling to describe) filling more and more.  I´m amazed to see the person I am now compared to who I was when I entered the MTC.  But, I still have 4 more months, so I still have plenty of growing to do.

This week was a good week.  We were able to teach a lot of lessons and we had some amazing things happen.  Maia is dedicated and super excited for her baptism on Saturday.  Her ex-father-in-law (Jusé) will be baptized this Saturday as well and it´s awesome.  We had a lesson with Maia yesterday and a recent-convert (Raquel) asked if she could come with us to teach.  It was an awesome lesson.  Raquel testified of how the gospel has truly changed her life and how her decision to have greater compromise with our Father in Heaven has brought both trials and blessings.  Raquel has been through a lot in her life, much in the way Maia also has.  They related one with another really well and it was awesome to see how much the two of them grew during our little lesson.  We taught about the Law of Chastity and a the Spirit World.  It was cool because at the end of everything Raquel bore testimony about how baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has not just brought blessings in her life, but has been a blessing in her life. She talked about the security and the guidance that the Lord has given her through the gospel.  Her testimony was so powerful and I felt how proud the Lord was of her for the sacrifices that she made.  Maia loved the Spirit that she felt and everything was just confirming the descision that she made to be baptized.

Beyond that, we had an exchange this week and after 3 weeks in my new area I asked Élder Borges if I could try to take command of the area instead of go to the other area.  He concented, and I was scared out of my mind.  So, I prayed a lot for guidance and the day was awesome.  I was with Élder R. Oliveira, who has about 7 months on the mission.  Even though we had a few things fall through, I felt guided by the Lord to such a point that we didn´t ever have a time when we were stuck thinking, "Now what?"  We had something effective to do from 10 AM until 9 PM because the Lord answered my prayer.

Feliz 2015 família!  Será um ano de bênçãos!

Élder Evans