Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Week 3!

Oi Everyone!

This will assuredly be short, but housekeeping had to happen at some point. First of all, I love and pray for all of you.

My first baptism of the mission field was on Sunday!!! Her name is Jessica Porciuncula Cavalcanti (9 years old) and she was excited to be baptized. Her parents are also receiving the missionaries and with a little more work they´ll be baptized too.

A lot of people here have a problem of not being married, and that makes some situations difficult. Not too difficult for the Lord and His missionaries, though  Anyway, we had the baptism and, of course, it seemed like everything was going wrong at first but it finally all came together. We got in our white clothes and took a picture and it was great (I´ll try and attach pictures, but can´t make any promises yet).When we actually got into the font, I was anxiously repeating first her name (which was hard to memorize) and the ordinance in Portuguese. It happened, though! She was a little nervous entering the water (because it was about 40 degrees, Faranheit. Not warm, but ok for baptism). So that was great, and we have 4 set up for this Sunday!!! It´ll be a weekly record!!

Also, I have been learning how fast time goes when you´re doing the things the Lord wants, you stay obedient, and you work your guts out every single day. I feel like I just arrived at the MTC, and here I am with almost a month in the field. It´s been great to be put under the Spiritual microscope like this.

I will also be singing a few solos in the Christmas fireside, which is a little daunting but also very exciting. I will be singing O Holy Night, Be Still my Soul, and a song called Guard Him, Joseph with a Sister from Ponta Grossa. It should be great.

Also, questions to be answered for Mom:
I don´t have the address with me but will do so next week. Check on the website of the mission. Shoes = perfect. Couldn´t have asked for better. Language = improving daily. I can understand just about everything people say, though speaking is a little more difficult. Also my companion is awesome, and we are working hard.

I love you all, and I have a strong testimony of missionary work. All of you can help!! Let´s baptize everyone!

Elder Brown

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Week 2 in the field!!

Dear family and friends, So happy to be here in Curitiba! There are so many things that I´ve been learning every single day. To give a brief update on how I´m doing, I´ll make a list of what has happened in this last week:

Bitten by a dog (just on the pants, I didn´t bleed that much)(didn´t bleed, don´t freak out please),
video
walked more in one week than in 2 months at the CTM, taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd lessons and commandments, invited people to be baptized and had them accept, at least 15 contacts in the street daily, wake up bright and early every morning at 6:30, watched as a little kid peed on the floor in the middle of our lesson, getting stuffed with food at member´s homes for lunch, having the Português firehose set to destroy the brain, but yet understanding more and more of what people are saying, trying to communicate and watching people´s faces contort in confusion as I talk in real good Portogeez, having a great companion (Elder Duarte) and learning a lot every day and also working our bottoms off, getting a severe watch tan line in the first few days, and having my nose and ears peel off (Don´t worry mom, I learned), going to the Policia Federál and meeting up with my buddies from the CTM….the list goes on and on and on. Basically, I have been thrown off a cliff with a little kit that tells me how to put together a parachute, and right now I´m in the screaming and worrying phase. This week, however, will hopefully be more of settling down and reading the instructions, and taking away a little more of the stress. Yesterday I had a great opportunity to go on splits..with the LZ Elder Nascimento. Since Elder Duarte is the LD, we´re going to have these a lot, and I was more than a little nervous to go to another area and work with an Elder who is way more experienced and qualified. I soon learned, though, that through hard work and smiling, every missionary can be any position. Like a leader in the church said, the greatest secret to missionary work is WORK, and that´s exactly what we´ve been doing. Every day has been a grind, but it´s the best kind of work that we can possibly be doing. Sometimes it gets a little frustrating, but then, at the end of the day, on the last street, with the last person, who has the dogs from Heck, you get a person that is ready and willing to hear the Gospel. It´s those little moments that make this whole ordeal worth it. We are teaching several families right now, and like Dad said, many people just don´t think being married is important. There are 2 great families, Edson and Sirlane and also Marcos and Sonja, that are about ready to be baptized and have been for quite some time, but are still unmarried. It´s difficult, but they are trying to get the money and stuff ready, and HF will bless them and us for their efforts. We are also continuing to try and find people – one of the hardest things to do. A frustrating thing here has been that in the Area Book, some of the Elders were maybe a little less than what I like to call organized, and the book is kind of a mess. Also, when I first arrived here, our house was comparable to an explosion. The lights wouldn´t work because there was a storm nearby, clothes everywhere, and the like. That was a scary day, the first day. It´s tough to be excited when you don´t know what people are saying, but again, it´s those little moments that really push us to keep on going. Dad was right – the first few weeks at the beginning (and the end) are the hardest, but I know it won´t always be this way. After a while, it´ll start to come together and get easier. I do have one goal, however; never to get “comfortable” with where I am. Constant improvement. One awesome thing that happened at the end of our CTM time was our district got together, made a circle, and took turns telling each person what we learned from them. This was a great opportunity to recognize that people really do notice the little things we do. We had an awesome, AWESOME district. The main thing that brought us together was our desire to serve and become the best missionaries that we possibly could be. Because of this, I know that Elders Hardy, Beckstrand, Brown, Lott, Landeen, Carter, Martin, and McClure, and Sisters Schneider, Lindenlaub, Ward, and Armstrong will always have a special bond. This love was amazing to watch grow and blossom as we grew in the CTM, and I already feel like I´m being stretched and growing even more out here in Curitiba. It really is a testimony to me about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to find in ourselves our true potential, for He already knows – we just have to discover it for ourselves. To all that read this letter, know this: I KNOW that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He came here for us as individuals. I know that as I continue to Preach His Gospel here that people will see my testimony of Him and be converted through His Spirit. I know that we can all work miracles with Faith and works, as well as through sincere and mighty prayer. I am learning here how to become a missionary, how to become a man, and how best to represent all of you and, most importantly, our Savior Jesus Christ. Again, I KNOW He lives. Love you all more than words can say (well, they can say how much, but I only have an hour here…you get it) Ciao, Elder Jacob Brown, Brazil Curitiba

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

short

I just had a huge long email deleted, so sorry that this won´t be long

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week 9...holy cow, this is fast


11-4-10
Oi todas as pessoas,

Doing very well here in Brazil. Today is my last Pday in the CTM so I have to do a lot of stuff in order to get all ready. Beyond excited, nervous, and ready/unprepared all rolled into one.

We went to the temple in São Paulo for the last time on our mission so it was especially nice today. I´ve had all the parts memorized for the temple for a while, and that´s been really nice. It´s wonderful to be able to go the temple with a specific purpose and be able to receive specific and direct answers - the last several times the answers to various questions I have had have all been the same: love one another. At first it was a little frustrating because I wanted something a little more, or something like that, but I´ve learned to be grateful for whatever response comes (because the Lord knows us waay better than we think we do).

One more week...crazy. We´ve gone through all the required material already, so this is basically review and perfect week. Português is going well - my ears are helping me yet again. I´m getting to the point where I can hear all the words people say. Speaking is a little more difficult, and some of the grammar is a little tricky, but it´s only been 2 months and we´ve got a long way to go yet - it´ll all come together.

Last Friday was proselyting in São Paulo!!! In short, it was this: crazy. There were so many drunk/high/homeless/crazy people that it was kind of hard to find someone/thing sober enough to hear our message. We did, however, have some very good contacts. Our first one, a man named Alex, was amazing. So much faith and hope! We talked with him about the Nephites and how they came from Jerusalem, and he accepted that really well. The main thing he wanted to know was what the difference was between our church and the others (haha sucka - RESTORATION!!!) so we hit him with the Joseph Smith stick pretty hard and he actually really accepted that well . We gave him a Livro de Mormon, testified of its truth and translation through JS through the power of God, and said bye.

It´ll be great to be able to do things like that in Curitiba and then be able to follow-up to see how they did - sooo excited for that! Our other contacts were not quite so golden - one man, whom I will refer to as Hobo João, was maybe a little crazy but just wanted someone to talk to about God. A little frustrating; we started to talk to him and he started to take command of the situation quickly - every time we wanted to say something he would keep on going, and we ended up sitting next to him for about an hour. Seemed like 4. He told us that he believed that God loves all people differently and not much would change his mind. He was a nice enough guy, though, and he accepted a LM. He also gave me a flashlight and a ring with a missing diamond, which both smell strongly of urine and mint. Not a good combo. We talked to a lady who was baptized but went inactive because of other people, a few more hobos, a guy named Benjamin who accepted an LM, another guy from the Assembly of God who seemed a little annoyed with us but received a book anyway. Other Elders in our district were talking to people that wanted to trade some home-cooked fresh Mary Jane joints for the Book of Mormon. As appealing as that was, they politely declined and ran away. All in all, a very crazy experience. I´m actually pretty glad that we´re going to Curitiba; it´ll be a little tamer, I think, and not as insane.

I´ve used my musical abilites about as much as they could have been used - directed the Choir twice, accompanied the choir 3 times, played in Sacrment, played for other meetings, sang a duet last Sunday for the CTM conference (In the Hollow of Thy Hand) and have been overall very busy. It´s been immensely worth it, though, and I know that my efforts have not been wasted.

I had another meeting with the same guy who told me that I was a bad DL - basically he said he was very impressed with my efforts and commended me on the improvement. It was very welcome to hear that, especially from him. I feel like people genuinely love you here, even if you have a more difficult time loving yourself. One of our Brazilian roommates, Elder Almeida, acts just like me and shakes my hand every time he sees me (I even taught him how to sing opera, and now he sings with me in the shower). Another Brazilian waves his arms like a conductor every time he sees me, and lots of other funny things with other Brazilians. One Elder really, REALLY wanted a pair of my basketball shorts, and though I said no at first, I decided that it would be best. He even gave me 30 Reals for them, so I´ll use that to pay for supplies today.

I love you all so much. I know that this church is true, real, and progressing in it´s message. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I love the Book of Mormon and it´s surety, truth, and converting power. I know He lives.

Elder Brown