Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Another wonderful week!

It's beginning to feel a little more like Christmas, even here in the blistering sun!  EVERY Sunday at church, the member always laugh because I am ALWAYS super burned and red, and my name is "All-red".  Haha... it never gets old to them... but it's the truth!  Even with layers of sunscreen, I burn up!  You'll see on Christmas :)

This past week was a good one.  We had a wonderful time re-teaching the lessons to E____ and her family, and preparing them for their confirmation that took place this Sunday.  E____ cried again when we asked about her baptism, and told us how wonderful it was to be part of a new family.  Her father left her family, and her mother was a drunk, and ever since she was just seven years old, E_____ had to raise her family and be the Mom.  She has lived a hard life, recently divorced her alcoholic husband, and has been searching for peace.  She told us how wonderful it was to be so warmly accepted into a church family - she has never had anyone who cared in that way for her.  It was touching.  She and her family are so excited for this new journey in the gospel, and C____ - her 14 year old son who was baptized with her - is already wanting to serve a mission!  it is incredible!  E_____ wants to bring her WHOLE family to church so they can experience the change she is experiencing, too!  

This week, we baptized her granddaughter, E_______.  A sweet little spirit whose life will be changed forever if she stays on the path.  We're hoping to marry E_______'s parents, and baptize them in the week/months that come too.  :)  HEAVENLY FATHER IS GOOD!

Saturday, we heard some honking at the gate of the church in front of our house, and who was it?? SANTA CLAUS WITH MY SUITCASE FULL OF AMERICAN GOODIES FROM A THE SWEETEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!  Holy cow... I almost started crying... That will feed us for a while!  THANKS MOM!!

I think things are looking up.  Things get a little complicated with christmas - lots of people traveling and such - but I feel happy and hopeful, and it feels good!

Just one more highlight this week.. Haha so every day we knock doors for about 4-6 hours, and about 99.99% of the people we talk too are SUPER rude. Buuuut... this week, we knocked on a door, invited this lady to church, and she said to us, "Wow.. I really have been needing to go to church... Maybe I'll even become a member of yours.".  Cool!  Never happens here, or anywhere I think... haha.  We'll see how sincere she was when we pass by this week.

I LOVE YOU!!!  I can't wait to talk to you in just 10 days!  WHAT?!?!  It will be wonderful to see and hear you all again.

Have a wonderful week!

Love forever,
Jason

Pictures!
-Our mission Christmas conference!  Can you spot Elder Allred?

- Miracle suitcase!

- E_______ :)







Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Wow... what a marvelous week!  It was so good reading your letters and 'catching up' with you!  I can't believe it's almost Christmas already, and in just 17 days we'll be talking via skype!  WOOOOOO!

This week was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.  Literally.  It was peaceful, and happy, and hopeful and just wonderful.  That elect family we found last week and brought to church was BAPTIZED!!!  E______, G______, and C______!! 

 Let me just share a few little tid bits about them that really wowed me this week, and strengthened my testimony of "the elect of the Lord".

- Ever since we met E_____, I felt a familiar connection.  I had seen her before... I had known her from someplace... One evening this week as we were teaching them, she opened up to us that she let us in that day to teach her because she knew us and recognized us from somewhere - from a dream or from something else, she didn't know, but she knew that we were truly sent from Heavenly Father to her at this time.  My heart smiled when she told us that because I felt the Spirit whisper to me that she was one of the people I had promised in the Pre-existence that I would find and remind of the truths we learned together there. She was truly someone Heavenly Father prepared to receive us. 

- Before we taught about the Word of Wisdom, she had already stopped drinking coffee.  EVERYONE smokes or drinks coffee here in Brazil, and she had been drinking coffee for her whole life, and she told us that the day after she went to church for the first time with us, she went home, made coffee, went to drink it, and spat it out.  She told us she didn't know why but she had lost all taste and desire to drink coffee. #elect  

It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know this family, bringing the kids to seminary and mutual, and then baptizing them.  E_____ just cried and cried and cried and was so happy and thankful for the experience.  It was a touching baptismal service because E_____ and her family had a lot of ward support (this ward is AWESOME with integration, and it is pretty rare to find a golden little family!).

Holy moly... I know that literally Heavenly Father is aware of His children. He knows what each of us need, and when.  I am so thankful for the gift of having been here to help these people and see how beautiful the Gospel of Jesus Christ is when it changes the lives and hearts of others.

The Church is true.  God lives!  He heals.  He blesses.  He loves.  I am so thankful for the eternal blessings that await us if we live faithfully and endure to the end.

Love forever, 
Jason




Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!  Judging from the pictures, it looks like it went pretty well!  I'm already excited to stuff my face with you next year and run that race!  This has been a crazy past two weeks! 
I think these past two weeks may have been the most trying of my mission so far... this area is a tough one, and this was my first transfer not baptizing anyone.  For nearly two weeks, almost no one opened their door to us, no one came to church with us, no one even cared.  I started to feel pretty down about myself, my mission, my purpose, when Elder E. Silva and I decided to fast one day.  NOTHING had been going right, and we were both super discouraged.  We gave it up to the Lord and decided to keep working through it, even if it seemed like there were no results.  Saturday arrived, and we still had no one to bring to church , very few lessons, and super hunger, but then... a miracle happened!
We were burned out, and decided to pray in that moment, asking Heavenly Father to send us where someone would accept us.  As soon as we finished the prayer, we both felt impressed that we needed to stay on the same street, and start knocking.  The first house we knocked, G______ and I_____ (mother and 17 year old daughter) answered the door.  They let us right in, we taught them, and the next day brought them to church.  They LOVED church.  When we went to visit them after church to answer questions/doubts that they had, they couldn't stop talking about how much they were touched by the special spirit they felt there, and how badly they wanted to return, and bring their entire family with them.  THEN THEY ASKED US TO BE BAPTIZED.  WHAT?!  It was such a crazy, tender, wonderful miracle from Heavenly Father.
I remember that day we were fasting, I was asking Heavenly Father for a confirmation that fasting works so that I could have more faith in this sacred principle.  He blessed me with this overwhelming experience that confirmed that truly - fasting and humble prayer works.  I was taken aback at this experience, because it's not everyday (in fact, it's almost never) that a person will seek the truth as they are seeking.  As they told us their story (they moved about 1 year ago from São Paulo to Curitiba, and missionaries had already knocked on their door before) it became clear to them, and even more clear to us, that Heavenly Father has truly been preparing them to receive us, and receive the sweet joy of the Restored Gospel.
In every mission call, there is the promise that:
"As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized."  

As I re-read my mission call this morning during studies, it hit me strongly that the Lord will always keep His promises.  I am so thankful for the sweet manifestation of His love and mercy with us this week, and for Him having prepared these special daughters of God to receive greater peace, light, direction, and happiness in their lives.

Sorry I wrote a bunch this week, but I just wanted to close with a scripture that reminded me of G______ and I_____, found in Alma 32:16

" Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe."
I know that the Lord is preparing people in every land, in every corner, of every part - His elect who hear the voice of His representatives as the voice of the Good Shepard, and have the courage and faith to act.
Love forever,
Jason


Pictures!!

This week we had the mission Christmas conference, and the entire mission got together for an all-day event!  Super fun!  ALL OF THE SISTERS IN THAT PICTURE ARE FROM MY DISTRICT IN THE MTC AND ALL OF THEM ARE HOME NOW.  




- a pretty sunset here in Guabirotuba

- a wild rabbit that we found on the way home one night... #rabies!



Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Minha nossa... another week has literally flown by.  This is already my 4th week in Guabirotuba!

Like always we had lots of ups and downs... but as always more positive than negative.

We had been working closely with R_____, the man we brought to church last Sunday.  We marked a baptismal date, and a lot of things to help him quit smoking (oranges, Listerine, Vitamin C to fight the nicotine - the church has a super cool 7-day program).  He was a little nervous, but had a LOT of faith and by the end of our visits, he was determined to quit, and determined to be baptized this Sunday.  Unfortunately, his mother in a different city got sick and he had to leave, and will be staying with his dying mother for the next few days or weeks.... so... we'll see where this road leads with our friend, R______.

Because our baptism fell through, we were working frantically to find someone to bring to church.  Someone who had been searching, someone prepared by the Lord to accept us.  For three days, we had no success and not a single person let us to teach them.  Discouraged, Saturday arrived, and we left to work, praying praying praying that God would bless us with someone we could bring to church.  Then, we knocked a door, and some lady came right out to greet us, let us in immediately, and told us that she had been praying to God to send her someone who could help her and her family.  We talked with her, and she was crying and told us she'd come to church with us.  She came!  And brought her sister with her too.  Haha, M_____ was SO excited to come to church!  We'll be working with her closely this week to see if we weren't the answer to her prayer.  Cool how Heavenly Father works, right?

We were asked by the bishop to teach an 8 year old boy who is part of a part-member/recent-convert/less-active family.  Haha, complicated, right?  It was so fun teaching him the lessons and hearing his sweet, simple answers.  I LOVE the Gospel because it is so beautifully simple.  Children and adults alike understand, and yet we always have something more to learn.  So neat!  I'll include a picture of his baptism. :)

God is good.  The church IS true. The Gospel changes lives.  I am so so so happy and thankful to be a part of it.

Have a fantastic week!

Love forever,
Jason

Pictures! 
- Arthur's baptism

- Elder E. Silva and I found some "hipster" glasses in the chapel, so of course we had to take some pictures


- WE HAVE MCDONALDS IN OUR AREA!!!!!  Holy cow.. I almost cried when we discovered it!  It's hilarious.. here in Brazil, onlyreeeeally richy snooty people eat at mcdonalds.  It was funny when we walked in, and the only people were super rich, professional people who thought they were something because they were eating McDonalds!  crazy!  THANKFULLY, some member was there and bought our food for us... $80 later, we were still hungry and went to Subway... haha


Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Howdy Family!

Another week flown by... I can't believe it!

Lots of ups and downs, as always, but it was a good week.  We brought a could-be elect to church this Sunday who really liked it!  R_____, who has already been visited by other Elders, never went to church before, and never really progressed, but I think something is different with me and Elder E. Silva.  He accepted all of our commitments and today, I think, we'll invite him to be baptized.  Pray for us!

Unfortunately, that sweet little family decided that our church wasnt for them.  The kids LOVED it, but the mom got scared and decided to stay in her comfort zone.  It broke our hearts!  But Heavenly Father is SO good at opening new doors when others shut, so I'm not too worried.

Our ward here in Guabirotuba is SO fun!  Haha there are only about 100 members, but they always have some sort of activity going on in the chapel (in our front yard, haha).  This week, I made a bunch of "American Cookies" for them to sell at auction to raise money for the youth to go to EFY, and they sold for $40!  Funny how "American" will raise the value of something simple like cookies!  It has been a neat experience getting to know these members and trying to help a few that have fallen off the path.  Something that I've noticed in the Retention and Re-activation program, is that generally, people turn away from the church simply because they have a doubt or a question that no one has answered... I've seen time and time again in our visits and with the other Elders that a simple 15 minute visit of resolving questions and confusion can literally be the key to re-activity.  THATS WHY CHURCH LEADERS ARE ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT HOME AND VISITING TEACHING!!  Just do it!  If we can't manage to do a simple 20 minute visit each month, how could we manage exaltation?  Would couldn't!  So go do your visits!

I'm still loving Elder E. Silva.... Haha he has been a blessing.  This week will have lots of door knocking, and lots of visits.  Should be good!

I love you all and miss you like c-r-a-z-y!!

Have a super week!

Love forever,
Jason

Pictures!
My last day in Tamandaré with some of our Recent Converts and the other Elders in our area.


OUR FILTHY MESS IN OUR TINY LITTLE HOUSE!!  Haha but I love it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

My house here in Guabirotuba

Here's our little house!  As soon as you pull into our chapel, you can see it waaaaaay in the back by the basketball court.  It's great because in the morning we can do exercises in the sport court and on Pday we can lay out on the grass alone or study.  Pretty neat!

That guy is my companion.  Haha he's crazy!





"I don't think I'm in Tamandaré anymore!" -- October 27, 2014

BOA TARDE FAMILIA!!!

Wow... this week was a roller coaster, but a good one.  TRANSFERRED FROM ALMIRANTE TAMANDARÉ TO........Guabirotuba!  Holy Hannah... this area is 100% different!  Tamandaré was extremely poor, but Guabirotuba is just outside the center of Curitiba, and is pretty rich!  There are NO streets that aren't paved! MIRACLE!!  Because literally only the main street in Tamandaré was paved.  Legs and shoes: saved!  But I must say it's weird seeing nice things and nice cars again.

My new companion is a HILARIOUS little skinny Brazilian named Elder E. Silva.... Haha we laugh a LOT which is good.  He is a very happy person, and a very good missionary.  We'll make a good team!  He only has about 4 more months on the mission, so I think I might "kill" him (be with him until he "dies" or in other words, goes home). We were both transferred to Guabirotuba the same day, so we still know almost nothing about the area.  Lots of exploring and knocking! 

The houses here are all lovely!  The people IN the houses... think they are too, haha so this area will be a bit more tricky than the last, but already, Heavenly Father has blessed us.  The ward here is a bit smaller (about 100 active members), but they areROCKIN.  They are all pumped and willing to help out the missionaries with anything (I think because they know this area is tough) and have lots of activities to invite the community to get to know the "Mormons".  

OUR HOUSE!!!  HAHAHA HOLY COW I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT WHEN WE PULLED UP FROM THE TRANSFER MEETING!  We literally live IN the church!  When the church was remodeled, they built a little house for the missionaries within the gates, just behind the chapel!  Haha it is so perfect!  I'll send some pictures in a separate email.  Usually people always think missionaries live IN the church... and in this area, we do!  It's pretty itsy bitsy, but fun and different.

Depsite a week of dimished lessons and not knowing anything about anything here, Heavenly Father opened the door of a really cool family in the area that we taught a few times, brought to church, and will try to baptize this Sunday!  S____, A____, and A____.  Should be good!

Change is always hard, but always good.  Always an opportunity to learn and grow.  

Sure love you!  Hope you have a happy Halloween week, too :)

Love forever,
Jason





Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20. 2014

What a crazy week!

First off.. TRANSFERS!  I sadly will be leaving Almirante Tamandaré... After 6 months in the area, my time is up, and tomorrow I will find out we're I'll be going and with whom I'll be serving.  Today will be a sad day of packing, and saying goodbye to all the special people God blessed me to meet.

I have learned SO much here in this area. The pressure was trying, but I really know that Heavenly Father helped us, and helped ME a lot in my weaknesses of the language and teaching skills.  I know this because I could see how He used Jason to touch the hearts of some of His children.  My testimony has grown a lot here, and I am really really sad to be leaving.

Yesterday, the family of Elder Brown (a funny American elder that served here in the area for 11 months) came to Brazil to take him home from his mission.  They all came to our ward here in Tamandaré and it was SO TRUNKY but wonderful to see a happy, English-speaking family!  Haha that night, we all got together and had a "FHE" and it was so much fun.  There was so much joy in that meeting!  It left me feeling happy and hopeful... I can't believe that in just 7 months, I'll be with MY family again... 

Missions are SO wonderful!  Golly they're hard, but seeing Elder Brown without  his name tag, and with his family made me realize that one day, I won't have this precious opportunity to talk with everyone in a different language, to share the gospel, or to see the fruits of the Atonement in the lifes of these people anymore.  It is such a gift to serve - to have these two years to give it all to the Lord, because when these two years are up, we'll never get them back again.  We'll have jobs, and families, and other callings... Every day is literally a gift.

I love my family!  I am SO SO SO thankful for each and every one of you.  I am so thankful for your prayers and love and support.  And I am SO thankful for this Gospel.  Satan and his power is REAL... but Heavenly Father and His power is stronger.  Rely on the cleansing, enabling power of the Atonement each day to better yourself, and better the world!  We are literally Children of the Most High God, heirs to His throne.  How can we fail if we have this knowledge?

Love forever, 
Jason

Pictures:
- Some crazy critters here in Brazil



- Our district :)


- Baptism of Ketlin and Bruna!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Pictures from the last two weeks!

Some pictures from the past two weeks:
- WE FOUND SUBWAY!!  So this was an early Christmas treat.  I love the taste of America!



 - A huge moth in the church bathroom


- A real-life tucan!  In some random neighborhood!



- Package finally came!



October 13, 2014

What a WONDERFUL WEEK!  So many good things happened!

First off, my apologies for not sending out a letter last week... after 30 minutes, my computer booted me off, got some kind of virus, and wouldn't even turn on again... sooooo there went my email time!  Brazil is sketchy sometimes!  I hope you all had a great week, too!

Because of General Conference last week, the temple was closed, so we were unable to take C___ to the temple grounds to teach her... but, this week, we had it all planned.  C___ has been going really firm in her church for 15 years, but ever since her son,Maicon, got baptized 5 months ago, she has felt like her progress in her church stopped, and she has been searching for an answer... she told us how she felt like God was calling her to something else, as if He had more for her to do, but she still didn't know what.  We have been teaching her for a good while now, and I have been so touched by her sincerity to search, ponder, and pray to know the truth of things.  C___ is a little different than the majority of people here in Tamandaré.  She is very intelligent, lives in a large, custom home, has a car, and is very blessed with the material things of life.  Generally, people like her don't open a door to people like us ;)

This Saturday, we went over early and hitched a ride with her and her son to the Curitiba Temple.  Before we got there, we promised her that she would get her answer there on Temple grounds.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car, a peaceful quiet settled.  The Spirit was already there.  It was a beautiful, clear, sunny morning, and the Temple was gorgeous.  We let C___ and M_____ have some time alone walking around the Garden of the temple, and we went in to see if we could arrange to teach her IN the temple.  We talked to the temple president, and they prepared a lovely reception room for us to enter in and teach C___.  Before we went and got C___ to teach her within the walls of the temple, Elder Boyd and I had a prayer together.  I have NEVER wanted someone to accept baptism as badly as I wanted C____ to accept.  As I said that prayer, the Spirit bore powerful witness to me of the necessity of baptism to return to Heavenly Father one day.  I could feel in that moment how badly Heavenly Father wanted C___ to accept baptism, too.  I felt His love for her, and prayed that He would help us in our limitedportuguese teach her in a way that she would recognize, understand, and accept the Savior's invitation to follow him.

As soon as we got C___ and M_____ in the Temple, everything went better than planned.  C___ is a mother of 4 adult children.  She loves them SO much but worries that they will stay off "the path".  Teaching about the plan of Salvation, I felt like I needed to bring a few pictures of our family and of Dad.  I showed C____ my family, and told her about Dad... how much I love him and miss him and how I want, more than anything, to be a forever family.  We testified through tears that we knew that God had an eternal plan for her, and her family.  I told her that I knew that because of the blessings of the Temple, I will be with my family for all time and eternity.  In that moment, she told us, "This is the answer I have been waiting for, searching for, and praying for.  I know that God brought me here today to His temple to show me what I need to do."  We invited her to be baptized in that instant, she accepted, and we all cried and cried and cried.  Gosh... As a missionary, you truly have NO greater joy than to see the miracle of the Gospel take root in one's heart.  It was literally a miracle and SUCH a powerful experience there in the temple that day...

I am SO thankful to be here.  C___ was literally one of the people I KNOW that I needed to come to Brazil to find and teach.  It is incredible to see how the Spirit will teach and mold even the most stubborn of hearts the truth.  I love the blessings of the temple.  I know that they are real.  I am so eternally grateful for the restored knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the power of the Priesthood that makes these wonderful, binding ordinances possible.

I love my family!  I'm so glad that we are a forever family.  I am soooooooooooo thankful for the opportunity God gave me to help others have those same blessings.

Have a wonderful week, and remember what wonderful blessings we have.

Love forever, 
Jason





Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

Another week has flown by... it's crazy!  I hope all of you are doing well, loving life, and excited for General Conference!  I'M REALLY EXCITED!  Haha it's pretty funny... On a mission, you get REALLY pumped when normal things like Stake or General Conference happen.  They're like "field trips" for missionaries and are always special.

It has been raining a BUNCH here in Tamandaré ("The City of Dirt" is its nickname) which makes the dirt roads and rocky hills here a bit more slippery and a bit more messy ( and a bit more fun ;))  Rain does well for the Earth, but has a tendency to mess up plans/commitments with people!  Because most people we teach don't have a car, getting them to church is rather difficult in the rain..... but Heavenly Father always prepares a way :)

We had fun this Saturday taking a recent convert to Institute in the Center of Curtiba!  It was awesome to be with so many cool young adults and have a great instructor give an eye-opening lesson on the scriptures.  On our way, I___, the Recent Convert, took us by a few pretty parks in the area!  I didn't know that there were pretty places here! 

We found an elect lady, named S____.  She is the mother of one of the ward's recent converts, and we have been meeting with her and teaching her a bunch this week.  She is SO intelligente, and it has been a bit of a challenge answering all of her questions in Portuguese, but I feel such a connection and love for this woman.  When we went over there yesterday after church, we talked about the gospel for 3 hours, and shared the "Restoration" video.  It was so powerful!  S_____ is a bit of a tough cookie (a bit hardened) but she really opened up to us about her concerns, her desires, and what she is searching for.  I cried as I bore my testimony to her.  She cried.  Elder Boyd cried.  IT WAS SO WONDERFUL.  The Spirit is such an essential part in teaching people the Gospel.  We marked this Saturday to go to the temple with her, and promised that she'll receive an answer at the temple.  Please pray for this special woman.  She has so so so much faith and wants so badly to follow Christ.  But 15 years firm in another church has left her a little confused.

I LOVE THE GOSPEL.  The Gospel brings so much hope and happiness.  So much healing and perspective.  Only good comes from this fountain of truth.  

Mom sent me a wonderful excerpt from the Women's Conference that I'd like to re-share with all of you, in regards to the temple:

“We must go to the source of light — to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the scriptures,” she said. “We can also go to the temple, knowing that all things within its walls point to Christ and His great atoning sacrifice.” 
Recognizing the effects of temples around the world today, Sister Marriott said they beautify inner cities and shine from prominent hills. “Why do they beautify and shine? Because as the scriptures say, ‘truth shineth,’ and temples contain truth and eternal purpose; so do you.”
Wherever a temple is built on the earth it pushes back darkness, Sister Marriott taught. The temple’s purpose is to serve mankind and give all of Heavenly Father’s children the ability to return and live with Him.
“Isn’t our purpose similar to these dedicated buildings, these houses of the Lord?” she asked. "To serve others and help them push back the darkness and return to Heavenly Father’s light?”
I know that it is our divine purpose and duty to serve our brothers and sisters here on this earth, to push back the darkness of the world and help them return to our loving Heavenly Father's light.
I am so  eternally grateful to be a part of this Gospel and to be a part of God's eternal family with each and every one of you!

Love forever,
Jason

Photos!
- Where we're knocking doors this week.  LOOOK AT THOSE HILLS #CALVES



- Elder Nilsen and I did a division this week and it POURED and we forgot towels.  Some recent convert gave us towels for our hair...




- This is a house of a family that we're visiting.  a HOUSE.  I can't imagine what a third-world country would be like... sure makes you thankful for what you have!



Some more pictures of the pretty parks we passed by on our way to Institute!



And this "Lan House" is where we do our emails each week :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014

Just a quick update this week! Sorry!

Things are going well, as usual :)  Things could always be going a little bit better, but they certainly could be going a lot worse.  Elder Boyd and I are still working with this "Retention" program that seems to be going well.  It's a little strange - almost ALL of the recent converts from the past 6 months are completely active, but its the families that have been in the church for 20+ years that are falling slowly away... not sure why that is.  It always makes me sad to see people who have been touched by the Gospel choose to reject it, because it truly shows in their lives what they're missing, and the blessings that they are choosing to give up.

This past week, we were committing a LOT of people to come to stake conference, and whenever we commit people to do something, we always promise blessings, or incentivize their commitment.  This week, I found some super cool scriptures in Doctrine & Covenants that explain perfectly our purpose here on Earth, and what blessings await us in the life to come:

D&C 11:20 Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.

59: 23 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

I love the scriptures SO much, because they are full of blessings.  I like blessings.  A lot!  Haha life is so much easier when we just give up our selfish will, and keep the commandments that God has given us so that we can be happy.  I know that our "work" here on Earth is just that - to learn and keep the commandments of God so that we can be blessed with peacehappiness, and eternal life.  All we have to do, is DO IT!

Obedience = Blessings 100% of the time.  I like that!

I love you!  I can't believe in just 8 months I'll already be back... time is a crazy thing.  I know that this Gospel is true.  I know that God's promises are sure.  His promises are the best "insurance" we could have in this life, and the life to come.

Until next week!

Love, Jason


Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Hey Family! I hope you all had a super week.  From the emails I read from you guys, it seems like everyone is staying quite busy and enjoying life!

This week flew right by!  We have been staying busy as usual, trying to contact and maintain progress/friendship with the recent converts in our ward.  It is fun!  The recent converts are always the coolest people, and everyone ALWAYS gives us a ton of food whenever we stop by, so we're staying full and happy.  I'm preeeeeetty sure I might be gaining weight... haha  Good think we walk like 20 miles a day to keep things in check!

We had a miracle baptism this week!  My "favorite" family had some relatives move in with them who were super curious about the church and wanted to learn more.  These past few weeks we've been going over there almost every day to teach them, and yesterday, R____ was baptized!  I LOVE THIS FAMILY.  They have been passing through some really hard times (deaths, lost their home, etc.) but they are staying SO hopeful and firm in the church. It has been such a marvelous experience seeing the change that has taken place in their lives.  Just 4 months ago, they almost didnt want to have us over.  Now, when we're over there, they're humming hymns and sharing with US what they learned from their personal scripture study.  Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the people that you prayed for, worked with, and cried with truly progress in the gospel, and therefore, progress in life.  It is FANTASTIC!  Also, 2 of our recent converts will be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood this Sunday!  Wooooo #GrowthInTheChurch

For now, it seems that our miracles might be a little more rare, but we'll keep working and praying for them.  

Haha some drunk guy took us up to a cliff and opened up his heart to us through tears and shrieks... it was a little frightening, but a little funny too.  Drunk doesn't look good on anyone!  We gave him card and assured him that God loves him.  It must break Heavenly Father's heart to see his children that way.

Sure love you people!  I know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I love that no matter how far "gone" we are, there is always a way back through Jesus Christ.

Love forever,
Jason

Photos!
- kittens on my head! I hope I don't get diseases...


- My two moms here in Tamandaré (Relief Society presidency.  They LOVE the Elders!)


- Baptism of R_____


- Playing in the ruins of Tamandaré


-  Some pretty shots I took of our area