Nick and I are serving two year missions in different parts of Brazil! He is in Goiânia, and I am in Vitória. This blog contains our emails home, in which we describe the work that we are engaging in. Email us! firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
These past weeks I had been praying and fasting a lot for some specific investigators of ours - they were progressing a ton, but had a few barriers that were keeping them from receiving all the blessings that the restored gospel offers. Through fasting and prayer and daily visits, I thought that it would be possible to help them. We did literally everything that I could think of - we took members to teach with us, we watched videos, we read the Book of Mormon together... but things didn't come together as we hoped.
Later, I read of David's reaction when his son fell sick. He knelt down and began a fast - he didn't even move from where he was kneeling. Despite his efforts and desires, the Lord took David's little child.
I learned that sometimes, we think that we know better than God. We think that we can change His will. But everything will go according to His divine plan - which, in the case of a missionary, includes respecting the agency of each person to choose to follow Jesus Christ or not!
I know that Heavenly Father has a Divine Plan for each and every one of us, and that as we submit our will to His, we will find greater happiness and peace in every aspect of our lives. As we do what He would have us do, we will become more like the Savior. We will be blessed, and we will have the capacity to greatly bless those around us.
Elder Eric Olsen ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sorry I waited until the end! Ill have to be quick!
This week was good, we found a ton of new investigators and worked a lot. Unfortunately, nobody went to church, but it happens.
I was especially impressed by 2 things:
Marivan is a lady that were teaching that smokes. We are helping her to stop, and with her faith in the power of Jesus Christ and continued effort, she has almost quit! pray for her!
Teresinha is a less active that we went to visit. It had been a long time since anyone went there, but we went and talked to her about her experience in the church and with Christ, and about the sacrament. In the end she said "I will definitely go to church this week! You can count on it. Im so glad that yall came." I have not seen so great faith in a long time.
Christ lives! He is our Savior. I love you all, boa semana pra todos!
This week was marked by the mission tour. We were visited by Elder Geraldo Lima, an Area 70 from northern Brasil. Due to the logistics of bringing all the missionaries to one city for the mission conference, we ended up with 18 missionaries sleeping in our little apartment! Needless to say, we spent 3 hours the next day cleaning up the mess.
It was wonderful, however, to be able to be instructed by a servant of the Lord. He talked a good amount about the family - how important it is in God's plan, and how we should do our best to find and teach complete families. It was inspiring - we all came away with a different vision of how we should be working.
On Saturday I helped one of my good friends Marcelo work on the construction of his house! So now I know how to build houses. If anybody needs help, just give me a call.
AND I gained a greater testimony of the blessings of service, because as we walked down the street after working on the construction, we ran into one of our investigators. She had been adamant with us when we invited her to baptism - "Não, vou ser batizada não." When we saw her after the service project, she said "I decided that I want to get baptized!" POW! Out of nowhere!
God blesses us as we do His divine Will. He knows and loves each of us. When we keep the commandments, we are highly blessed!
SO speaking of almoço (lunch), this week we got to go to a churrascaria! It's called Churrascaria Chi Marrão if y'all wanna look it up, I've been there like 10 times in the past 6 months and they give a discount to the missionaries! Haha it pays to serve the Lord in many ways.
BUT this week was great. I especially gained a testimony about prayer. I was reading in the teachings of Joseph F Smith about prayer, and he said that we cant just pray with words, we have to pray with the feelings of our hearts. So I tried my best to really pour out my heart to God in my prayers, and we ended up with much better results! Coincidence? I think not.
The other great part is that even when it didn't work out, I felt that God was watching over me, that He knew what was happening and that He was in control. I felt His love.
Our zone is going great, we are reaching a lot of the goals that we're placing. Not that any of it has to do with anything I have personally done, but you can see that the missionaries are dedicated and working hard. That's what makes me happy!
Unfortunately, airplanes continue to fly nonstop over this area... pray for bad weather so I can stop being tempted to lose focus! haha
Love you all! thank you for the support and prayers always
Yesterday President Young came to Linhares. It is always such a blessing to see and hear from him - he taught the branch about the baptismal covenant - to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those in need of comfort. ALSO Brian came to church in a shirt and tie!!!!!!!!!
This week, my companion and I tried a new strategy: work only with members! There is a member of the church that lives in our area - Marcelo - who was able to go out to visit people with us each day this week. What a difference it made! He really has an excitement and love for the gospel that shone as we taught with him. This week I felt satisfied. I knew that I had done all that I could do to serve the Lord - and, thanks to Marcelo, we were able to take a really wonderful family to church!
This family is composed of a mother and 6 little kids. The oldest is 15. Yesterday after church, we went to their house to watch the video of the Restoration with them - the one that shows how in the midst of many churches and religions, Jesus called a new prophet in Joseph Smith. We had left the same message with them earlier in the week, but we wanted to reinforce it with the video. As it arrived at the First Vision, when God and His Son appeared to Joseph, Lucas (7 years old) looked up at me and said "Deus está chamando o novo profeta!" (God is calling the new prophet!) The gospel is so simple, and so true - Even a little child can understand the need for a prophet of God on the Earth. I know that God calls prophets, and that He has not left us alone on the Earth. We can be guided by His Divine Hand, through His authorized servants. He loves us - I know that Christ lives, and that His church is on the earth today!
It has been quite a week! I got to work with a new comp, Elder Conceição, and we went to a new neighborhood to work, so it has been a lot of stuff. Also, on Thursday, we moved to a bigger house! The house we were in was only big enough for 2 people, and with us 4 it was pretty messed up. But now we are in a cool apartment, and live across the hall from the old bishop here! He and his family have already helped us out a ton, they are a real blessing.
Other than that, it was pretty normal... One funny thing that happened: We were in a lesson with this lady and started to say a prayer. And right when my comp started (dear heavenly father..) she started yelling "omg!! omg!!" and I thought okay... its just another crazy person saying a prayer in their own way. But then she said "the chickens are escaping!!" and we had to spend 15 minutes chasing after some chickens that had escaped over the fence... haha.
But it was a pretty uneventful week. Thank you for your prayers and love! I love yall!
Elder Nick Olsen
pics: a mexican restaurant that we went this week (so good!)