Monday, December 30, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 7

Hey! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and getting ready for the New Year. Christmas was AWESOME here!! We had zone meeting Christmas morning at our chapel and that was a lot of fun. The Sisters in our zone made American pancakes and we all had a great Christmas breakfast together. We also did secret Santa gifts with our entire zone so that was a lot of fun and I got some chocolate and a recorder (like a plastic flute) and I learned how to play Silent Night. After that Elder Muniz and I went to the Mission Office because some missionaries came in to use Skype and the phone to talk to their families. We spent all afternoon in the office and I got to Skype my family too which was the BEST!! It was fun to see them all on Skype and share some time together on Christmas Day.

Later that night one of our investigators, Angelica, was baptized! It was so great!! The Bishop and 3 families from the ward came. Angelica´s family came too so that was awesome. It was great to be able to celebrate Christmas Day with a baptism. Angelica is great and it makes me so happy to see her so enthusiastic and excited about the Gospel. From the first time we taught her she was always super excited about it all. She had been receiving the Liahona (or Ensign) in the mail for about 8 months and had been reading it but was a little unsure about visiting the church. Well one of her friends ended up inviting her to church about 3 weeks ago and she came and now she is baptized. I confirmed her a member of the Church on Sunday and I am excited to see her continue to grow in the Church. The ward has been great at fellowshipping her and she already has some really great friends in the ward. It was the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. There is no better way to celebrate Christmas on a mission than with the baptism of one of our investigators!

Overall it was a great week. We changed some things around in our apartment and I am excited about that. Including, we now have warm water! Here in Fortaleza it is very rare to get heated water but we bought a device that heats the water as it comes out. It´s super nice because now we can take warm showers. Anyways, it doesn´t seem like that big of a deal but it is. Haha. The more time I spend here the more I realize how many things I took for granted in the United States. I feel like I´m at home with warm water, but then I open my eyes and see all the bugs all over and realize I´m in Brazil. It´s good though, and I am really loving things here. It´s weird how accustomed I am to everything here.

This week we also had the opportunity to meet with a man who is in charge of a lot of libraries here in Fortaleza, including the one at the University. He met with us because he says he wants to put a Book of Mormon in every library in Fortaleza. We are working with him and meeting with President Souza about it tomorrow but that could be cool.

Also this week we came up with a plan for the missionary work here in the Aldeota Ward and how we are going to be more productive. Aldeota is really different from most everywhere else in the mission because it´s mostly just all tall apartment or commercial buildings. It is a lot harder to come in contact with people and to teach people because every building you have to get buzzed in by someone.

Anyways, we came up with a plan to visit the less-active members in the ward. We had a meeting with the Bishop on Sunday morning and got some good insight from him and we are all excited about it. We have quite a bit of work to do but we are ready to do it! Also, I came up with this piece of paper to give to members when we visit them for lunch. The paper has spots for the members to write 10 names of people they love and then we are going to encourage them to think and pray about those 10 names for one week and then at the end of that week there´s another spot on the piece of paper where they will write 3 names from that list of 10 with the addresses and phone numbers for us to go teach (I´ll attach the file so you guys can see it). Anyways, we are super excited about the missionary work here in Aldeota!

It was a great week and we are excited for another great week. I hope you all had a great week and you are all getting ready for another great year. I have been working on my list of goals for this next year and I don´t know about all of you but I am pumped and excited for the year 2014!! It is going to be great!

I love you all and hope you are all doing well.

Until next year. J

Love,

Elder Helvey

Angelica with Elder Muniz and me right before her baptism on Christmas Day!

We had dinner with Bruno and 3 members from the ward last Monday night. 
2 are returned missionaries and one is 17.

Elder Muniz and me with the Christmas lights in the background. 
This was taken right after our baptism on Christmas Day.


Both of these pictures were taken from a balcony at a member´s house that we had lunch with this week. They have an amazing view of the BEAUTIFUL beach and ocean here in Fortaleza, Brazil! 
I could seriously just sit on their balcony all day everyday enjoying the ocean breeze 
and the waves crashing on the shore. So nice!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 6 (Written Monday, Dec. 23)

Merry Christmas from Brazil! Man, it has been a very busy but very good week here. Tuesday we received 43 new missionaries! It was so awesome!!

President and Sister Souza, the two Assistants, and Elder Muniz and I arrived at the airport to welcome the first group of 29 missionaries that were all from the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo. We were waiting there for a while because their flight was delayed and President bought us some little chocolates that were really good. Then, out walked the army of 29 missionaries! It was super cool and we welcomed them and then we loaded them all up into 3 big vans. My van had 13 new missionaries, 12 Brazilians and 1 American. It was a lot of fun and they were all so excited and asking a ton of questions. We drove to the mission house for lunch and then to the chapel for the training. I did my training which consists of explaining about mail, packages, internet use, ordering materials, health insurance and health cards, and then getting all the needed documents from all he foreigners (passports, visas, visa applications, etc.). I went back to the Mission Office to do some paperwork for the new missionaries and then returned to the chapel for the announcing of trainers and new companions, and I had to hand out all the material for the new missionaries. After I got all of them loaded up in taxis and members'  cars to head to their new areas, I returned to the Mission Office to give my training and get all the needed documents from all the new missionaries that arrived that were visa waiting in the United States. It all made for a long day, but a very AWESOME day!

With a lot of new missionaries comes a lot of work here in the office. A lot of paperwork for the new foreigners and scheduling them to go to the Polícia Federal with me. Lots of other things for all the missionaries such as updating info in the church´s program and updating  all our documents here in the mission. Also, 37 out of the 43 missionaries that arrived here arrived without health cards so I have to order those and get all their health numbers but right now the church is in the process of switching insurance companies here in Brazil so I have spent some time on the phone this week with people in São Paulo and Salt Lake trying to figure it all out.

Anyways, enough about all that. All that stuff isn´t too exciting. What is exciting is it´s CHRISTMAS! The Bishop of our ward here in Aldeota called me Saturday night and asked if I would give a talk the next day in Sacrament Meeting. So I talked yesterday in Sacrament Meeting. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak on the Sunday right before Christmas and to focus on the Savior and his teachings and how we can all become better as we use His Atonement in our lives, and as we become happier through Christ we will want to share this great gospel with everyone! It was a great opportunity and I was a little nervous when he first asked me but I am glad he did. It went really well.

Last night the Fortaleza Stake had a huge Christmas Devotional at our chapel and it was so awesome. It was just a ton of singing Christmas songs. Throughout the whole thing I kept on having to leave and go in a classroom because all the Zone Leaders were calling in to report numbers for their zone and order materials. But what I did get to see of the devotional was really awesome! They even sang some Christmas songs in English which was fun!

Also, we have been teaching this 19 year-old girl named Angelica. She truly loves the gospel and she is going to be baptized! And guess what day she is going to be baptized? CHRISTMAS DAY!!! It is going to be way awesome and we are super excited! There is no better way to celebrate Christmas on a mission than this!!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy being with loved ones as we all celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Until next week.

Love,

Elder Helvey

 This is a present that Sister Souza gave everyone in the mission for Christmas. It´s super sweet! 
You can move it around and each time the sand makes a different design. 
It has become quite distracting to have at my desk while I am trying to get work done...

 My good friend from my district at the MTC and also served in New York New York North, Elder Larkin, arrived this week! He stayed his first night in our apartment because his new area is about 2 hours away so it was great to see him again and spend some time with him.

Look what Santa delivered! Here is me as one of Santa´s elfs with the 36 packages we recieved on Friday!! Dang, it was crazy, we filled the elevator full of packages. It will be a very Merry Christmas for all the missionaries here in Fortaleza, Brazil!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 5

First off, happy anniversary to my Mom and Dad who got married on this date 27 years ago!!! Wow, congratulations or "Parabéns!" as they say here in Brasil.

This week has flown by but it was a really good week. This week mostly consisted of preparing things for the missionaries that left today and the missionaries that are coming tomorrow. 

On Thursday we all got together as a mission to have our Christmas Conference. It was awesome!! We had a short training, an awesome talent show, a ton of food, watched a short film, and it was all tons of fun. It was really cool to all come together as missionaries to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to learn more from Christ´s life because that is the reason we are all here in Fortaleza, Brazil, to invite others to come unto Christ. It has been a great experience this week teaching about Christ. It´s really something special to be a missionary at this time, right around Christmas time, and invite  people to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas and to come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. Feliz Natal!

Friday I took 5 Elders to the Polícia Federal to renew their visas, including my old companion Elder Christiansen, so that was fun to spend some time with him and also my old Zone Leader, Elder Cetraro who lived in the same house as us. Friday night we had the ward Christmas party and it was a lot of fun to be with the members and celebrate Christmas with them. I really love the people here in the ward!

Last night all the Zone Leaders called in to me with the weekly numbers for each zone as they do every week, and we had a really great week! We baptized 63 people! We were all really excited and we are excited to just keep working harder and to baptize more and more each week, especially as our mission continues to grow and grow.

Today we had transfer meeting so I got up bright and early at 3:45 this morning and took all the Brazilians who were going home this transfer to the airport, and the Americans went to the airport after transfer meeting. It has made for a long day so far but it´s good.

Tomorrow we are now receiving a grand total of FORTY-THREE new missionaries!!! President Souza announced this morning that that is a mission record! We are all super excited. It will make for a long day tomorrow but it will be good! I am excited to welcome them here and excited for all of them. Elder Allen told me that welcoming the new missionaries is one of his favorite parts of being Mission Secretary. Last time I was a little overwhelmed because I didn´t really know what I was doing but this time I am ready and excited! Wow, 43!! So awesome! 

Also, Elder Allen has been transferred which we knew was coming. But something really cool is that he is opening up a new area of the mission in the interior in a city called Canindé, which is about 2 hours from Fortaleza. He and the 3 Elders that are going with him (all will be new missionaries that are coming tomorrow) will be the first missionaries there. I knew that I would only have 5 weeks with him and I am sad that we won´t be companions anymore but I am super excited for him and he is really excited as well. So my new companion is Elder Muniz, from São Paulo who we have been living with and is the Financial Secretary. He´s super cool and we get along really well so I am excited about that. We´ll be living with Elder Cardozo from Paraguay and Elder Vallo from Argentina, who both speak Spanish so maybe I´ll learn a little Spanish which would be cool.

Anyways, I had a great week and am really loving it here and excited for the new missionaries to get here tomorrow! I hope you all had a great week and all is going well with everyone. Thank you all for the love and support.

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

Drinking coconut milk right from the coconut! 
It´s super good and they have these all over the place here in Brazil.

Elder Allen and me at the Ward Christmas Party!

Elder Lopes (Assistant that I dropped off at the airport this morning) and I 
enjoying chocolate cake for breakfast!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 4

Hey! Well it has been another great week here. I have stayed plenty busy from scheduling doctor appointments for missionaries and sending out letters to recent converts to going to the Policía Federal with new missionaries and figuring out all the DVD players for each house. Other things I´ve had to do is getting the list of people for the talent show (which is gonna be this week at the mission wide Christmas Devotional) ready. I also ordered a lot of materials for the mission and have been having to call Church Headquarters in Salt Lake to fix a problem in our online system. Anyways, not too exciting but it´s been good! We went out to dinner with Bruno last Monday and it was a lot of fun to go with him and get to know him better. I really like spending time with him and he was confirmed this week which was great!

This is the last week that Elder Allen will be here in the Mission Office so he has made me do things on my own a lot this week. Usually when someone calls and I don´t know the answer or something happens and I don´t know what to do I ask him and he usually takes care of it. But this week he wanted me to do things on my own and see how I do. We had two visits to the Policía Federal this week, both to register new missionaries. The second visit of the week he had me go by myself with the two new Elders. I was a little bit nervous something was gonna go wrong but everything went smoothly. This week I have to learn some things that I have to do at the end of each transfer and we are also gonna have some review sessions, like what do you do when this or that happens. There are a lot of things to do and remember but it should be good.

We are getting ready for Christmas here and getting ready to welcome in our BIG Christmas gift which is a grand total of 37 new missionaries that will arrive here in our mission next week!! It will be quite a crazy time and a lot of work here in the office but we are all very excited! My friend, Elder Larkin, who was in my MTC district and both of us went to New York together got his visa so I am excited to welcome him next week and 36 other missionaries.

Well that´s about all I have for this week! I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese as always but also have been reading the New Testament (in English), and it has been so great to really focus on the Savior´s life and his teachings. I had a great experience yesterday at a member´s house talking about how, always and especially during this time leading up to Christmas, how we can all really refocus on the Savior and his teachings and how we can all better follow his perfect example for us and use The Atonement more fully in our lives. It´s so awesome that I have this opportunity to be here in beautiful Fortaleza, Brazil helping people come closer to Christ. I love it!

I hope all is going well for everyone back home. Have a great week! Thank you all for the support and love. Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

 Sunset from the Mission Office. That´s our view everyday at about 5:30PM. It´s so beautiful!

Elder Allen and I made a special trip to Burger King (which is right across the street). It was nice to feel like I was in the United States for a few minutes and enjoy a big douple whooper, free refills, and air conditioning! Of course I had to grab a Burger King Crown on the way out. This is a picture of me at my desk with my Burger King cup and crown with Elder Cassimiro in the background.

Me leaning out of one of the Mission Office windows while a picture is taken
 from another window in the office!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 3

Hey! Well it has been such a crazy busy week here but also an awesome one! We had two Zone Conferences, half the mission on Wednesday in Benfica (a part of Fortaleza), and the other half of the mission on Thursday in Bom Jardim (another part of Fortaleza). It was awesome! Conferences mean a lot of work for us but it´s good. It was great to listen to President and Sister Souza as they talked about how to develop our character, how to help one another, and to focus on the needs of the people we are teaching. The Assistants also gave a great training about teaching more simply and teach lessons efficiently so we have more time to teach more lessons. It was a great conference! I also had the opportunity to speak to everyone at the conference to talk about some things about the Mission Office like filling out baptismal records, ordering materials, etc. It was great to be with such a large group of missionaries all at once and the Spirit was very strong.

Elder Allen and I were only able to attend a little bit of conference on Thursday (we were only there for lunch and the part where we had to speak). We had to go to the Polícia Federal with an Elder to renew his visa. We arrived there around 7AM and didn´t leave until about 11:30AM. That night we had two Elders come and sleep at our house because they had to be here early the next morning to come to the Polícia Federal with us. It was fun because it was Elder Pedrosa from Río (who was in my old district, and I served with him in his area for one day like my second week here) and his companion, Elder Carvalho who is a new missionary from Portugal who is really cool as well. It was fun to have them and all 6 of us just hung out that night and ate some food and just talked until 10:30. It was a fun, chill night and great to just sit and relax for a little bit. Also that was on Thanksgiving so I suggested we all went around the circle and said things we were thankful for, which was fun as well.

The next day we had to return to the Polícia Federal to get Elder Carvalho and one other missionary registered with the Police. It made for a long two days at the Polícia Federal but I am going to get used to that because I have to do it 4 more times in the next couple weeks here, and then do it all again with the next group of missionaries. Which, by the way, the grand total for new missionaries that are arriving in our mission on December 17th is now up to 36!! Wow, it´s going to be crazy but going to be awesome! We still have many, many missionaries that are in the United States waiting for their visa so we could get even more than that. It´s fun, whenever a missionary assigned to our mission gets their visa we get an email, we got 4 this week, and whenever these emails come in we all celebrate here in the office. The back room in the office is packed full with stuff for the new missionaries. I had a ton of baptismal records to enter into the Church system so that took me about 2 days. It takes a long time to do them but it´s necessary.

Also, yesterday Bruno, the person we have been teaching, got baptized!! It was awesome. We got to his house around 8:30AM and taught him how to tie his tie and then went to church. His Dad came to church and his baptism so that was awesome too. He was so excited and it was a great baptismal service. I really love the ward here and I am really excited for Bruno. He´s great!

There were a ton of other things that happened this week and it was a very, very busy week but also a great one. I hope you all had a great week and a great Thanksgiving! Thank you all for the love and support. Have a great week!

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

Bruno with Elder Allen and me right before his baptism!

From left to right, Elder Torgan (Area Seventy), Bruno, Bruno´s Dad, 
President Souza (my mission President), a member from the Aldeota ward (our ward), 
and the Stake President of the Fortaleza Stake (our stake).

Wishing my nephew a happy 1st birthday! 
The church building in Benfica, Fortaleza!


 Advent Calendar, pretzels,and Oreos! YES!! Thanks, Mom!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 2

Well,  another week has come and gone. Man time is really flying by, I don´t really like it. This week has been good. I love the ward here in Aldeota. Everyday at noon we eat lunch with members at their homes. It´s always great to get a break from the office and be able to visit with a member family. I really love the members here and am excited for the time I have to be here and get to know them better. Just to give you an idea of what I do on a daily basis here are some of the the things I have done this week in the office: I have sent letters from President Souza to families and stake presidents of missionaries who got a new calling in the mission such as trainer, district leader, zone leader, etc. I sent letters from President Souza to all the recent converts in the mission. I marked a doctors appointment for an Elder. I registered Elders in the Polícia Federal that need to renew their visas and scheduled a day for them to come with me to the Polícia Federal. I call missionaries for various reasons such as missing baptismal records, money for ordering mission bags, etc. Also another thing I do is call taxis for missionaries that have to go to the hospital because they are sick. And sometimes that is in the middle of the night, such as this week, I had to call a taxi at about midnight for two Sister missionaries. The mission has an account with this taxi company so whenever any missionary needs a taxi I need to call for it, which is something that happens a lot. Anyways, sorry the office work isn´t too exciting but that´s what I do every day.

But we were able to teach a little more this week which was awesome! Missionary work is a lot different here in Aldeota when compared to my last area because everyone lives in a tall apartment building and we have to get let in by someone so it´s not as easy as walking around and asking people if we can enter their house and share a message like it was in my last area. We have to work with the member´s a lot and to get them to refer us to people.

Allen and I taught a referral this week who they had taught before but he had never come to church. His name is Bruno and he is awesome! We had a great lesson with him and he accepted to be baptized. He came to church yesterday and loved it. He is super excited about it all and it´s been awesome to be with him and to see of his love for the gospel. I am very excited for him! We passed by his house to walk with him to church and he was there ready in a nice clean white shirt and needed help with tying his tie. He is 21 years-old and really excited about being the first one of his family to join the church. It has been a great experience to be with him and to feel of his excitement.

This week we have two zone conferences to get ready for and I have a HUGE stack of baptismal records I have to enter into the church database. I forgot to say this last week but I accidentally knocked my computer over and we had to get a new hard drive. I felt super stupid because here I was first week in the office and I already broke the computer, but the exact thing had happened before. The computer was on this little wheely thing underneath the desk and super easy to accidentally tip over. But now it is sitting on the desk underneath the monitor in a much safer position. Oh and then the next day I broke my chair. Seriously, I sat down in it and it just collapsed. It was pretty funny but again, I felt pretty ridiculous. So anyways I had entered a lot of the baptismal records into the church database system on my computer but hadn´t entered them into Salt Lake yet because we wait til the end of the week to submit them all, so now I have to redo a TON. Oh well, it´s my own fault. It´s a cool experience to be able to enter each person that is baptized in the mission into the church records. It´s awesome to see what great work the Lord is doing here with the people in Fortaleza, Brasil and I am lucky to be apart of it!

It´s been a great week overall and I hope everything is going well for everyone. Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for this opportunity to be a missionary and all the many blessings the Lord has blessed me with. I hope everyone remembers and gives thanks for all the Lord has blessed them with in their lives on this great holiday. Thank you all for the love and support!

Love,

Elder Helvey

  This is us walking to lunch at a member´s house. We were walking in a single file line because we wanted to be in the shade. Remember how I said it´s not too hot here because of the coastal breeze? 
Yeah, well it´s been hot this week haha.

This is me in the Mission Office at my desk.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Aldeota, Brazil Week 1

Hello from the beautiful city of Fortaleza, Brasil! This week has been super busy but super awesome! As I said last week I am the Mission Secretary and so I work in the Mission Office all day. It´s been really cool to see how the mission runs and functions and it has been a long week of doing a lot of things I didn´t ever know had to be done.

Before I describe my week, one thing I forgot to mention last week is that Elder Christiansen and I started teaching this couple, Daniel and Isabella, with 2 boys, ages 10 and 5. Well Daniel and his 10 year-old son came to church with us and also stayed for Matheus´ baptism. They loved it! I was super excited for them. Daniel and his "wife" are not actually married so we were working with them on getting married. Well I got a call from Elder Christiansen this week saying that they are getting married and preparing for baptism! I´m super excited about them and look forward to hearing about their progress. We came in contact with this family by talking to Isabel on the street one day. It´s awesome to see how a simple street contact can turn into all that!

So this week has been great. I am now living in Aldeota, which is a part of Fortaleza. My apartment is right across the street from the building where the Mission Office is. We are right at the heart of the city. Lots of bustling and a lot of really tall buildings. It´s crazy how different this area is when compared to my last area I was serving. Our area is right on the coast so we get a nice coastal breeze so it´s not as hot here. I live with 3 other Elders. Elder Allen, who is my companion and training me how to be the Mission Secretary, and then Elder Muniz who is the Secretary of Finances, and Elder Cassimiro who is the Secretary of Housing, both of them are from São Paulo. Also, the Assistants live with us sometimes when they have to be in the Mission Office because their area is far away. We all have a lot of fun together and it´s also been great working so closely with President and Sister Souza. They are awesome!

Tuesday we welcomed 28 new missionaries to the mission. It was a very hectic and crazy, but also really exciting day. We picked up 21 missionaries (Brazilian, Americans, Argentinean, and 2 from Cape Verde) that came from the São Paulo CTM and then later that night we picked up 7 missionaries that came right from the United States. I had to give a training to all of them which I was a little bit scared for since I´m still not too confident in my Portuguese but I did it and it went well. I am in charge of making sure all of them give me all their legal documents, make sure they all have health cards, make sure the missionaries from São Paulo all sign this change of address form and then make sure they all have their police clearance documents, which shows they are legal in the country. For the missionaries right from the United States I had to get all their passports and visas and other government documents and then later in the week I have to register them with the Polícia Federal and schedule a day for them to come with me to the Polícia Federal and get their documents that says they are legal in the country. Anyways, I´ve gone on a little too much about what I have to do. It was great to interact with all the new missionaries!

Throughout the week we have had a lot of work to do regarding the new missionaries and with the new transfer. A lot of miscellaneous things that missionaries call and ask about or need help with this or that, a lot of paper work, and a lot of things for Church Headquarters in Salt Lake. It´s been really cool to see how it all works!

Last night was numbers night. Every Sunday night all the Zone Leaders call into me and report all the numbers for their Zones that week and also tell me what materials they need. It´s a long night of being on the phone and writing numbers and materials but it was good. Since I work in the office all day I feel like I shouldn´t be as tired as I was when I was walking the streets all day, but I have been absolutely exhausted at the end of each day. Not so much physically tired but mentally tired. I am excited to continue to learn a lot and work hard here in the Mission Office. This week we didn´t get too teach very much because we were so busy but Elder Allen said that is normal for the first week of the transfer. We taught one man named Taciano and he came to church too. He lives with his wife and 2 teenage daughters. We are hoping to teach all of them this week.

Well anyways, that´s it from me this week. It has been quite the week and I am excited to work here in the Mission Office. It´s also cool because I get to interact with so many different missionaries. My Portuguese is really coming along now. It really is a miracle! The Lord has really blessed me to learn it so quickly and every day I get a little better. I hope all is going well for everyone back at home. Thank you all for the love and support!

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

The monumental passing of the keys and phone that they said needed to be documented haha. 
Elder Allen passing the keys and the cell phone of the Mission Secretary over to me.
 I feel very unprepared but he´ll be here for a few more weeks to train me 
and help me out and show me how to do everything.

  The Mission Office is on the 16th floor of this building.

 Aldeota, Fortaleza, Brasil. The view from one of the windows from the Mission Office,.
My apartment building is in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.

The view from the window right behind my desk.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 6

Oi! Well my first 6 weeks in Brazil have come and gone and this week was the last week of the transfer. Elder Christiansen and I had a great week! We set goals for this week to beat all our goals from previous weeks and we did! We met and taught many new people and we´re excited about many of them. This week was especially great because we had a baptism!!! It was awesome!! We have been teaching this 11 year-old boy named Matheus. His aunt and cousins are members of the church and he has been going to church with them for awhile. We weren´t sure for awhile if we could baptize him or if it would be other missionaries because there was some confusion on where his primary residence is. But we got it all figured out and so when we were teaching him on Saturday we told him that he could be baptized Sunday, like the next day. Right when we told him that he jumped out of his chair and shouted for joy and came and gave each of us a big hug. He then went around the room high-fiving and hugging his family. It was awesome!

So after church we had the baptism. It was such an awesome baptismal service. Many members from the ward stayed for it and the room was packed. After the baptism we sang many songs from the hymn book and it was just an awesome experience to be in that crowded room with all those people singing Portuguese hymns. I am so happy for Matheus and he has already talked about how when he serves a mission that he will be called Elder Silva. He is a great kid and I am way excited for him!

Well,  every 6 or so weeks we have transfers and today was transfers. I thought for sure I would be staying in my area since I had only been there for 6 weeks and had just finished up the missionary training program, but last night the Zone Leaders told me that I was being transferred, but no one knows where they are going until at the transfer meeting. So I packed up all my stuff and we went to transfer meetings this morning. At transfers President Souza announces all the new companionships, trainers, zone leaders, district leaders, APs, etc. So he went through the list and then announced that the new Executive Secretary of the mission would be... Elder Helvey. I was quite shocked and in all seriousness had really no idea what that meant. Still don´t know all too well. But I have been transferred to Aldeota, Fortaleza and will be working in the mission office. My new companion, Elder Allen, is from Arizona and he will be with me for the next 5 weeks training me to be the secretary of the mission. Not sure what all I do as the secretary but I will find out soon. Elder Allen has told me a little bit and he says that I do a lot of things to get ready for the new missionaries coming in and also correspond with Church Headquarters a lot, and pretty much do whatever President needs. He also has told me I have to translate for President Souza sometimes. It was all kind of a shock and I´m still kind of in shock and feel very under qualified for all this, especially my Portuguese. But Elder Allen says I will learn it all really fast and will be surprised at how used to things I will get. As for now I am excited! Tomorrow we will pick-up 28 new missionaries at the airport.

Anyways, that´s my week. It has been good and I am doing well. My Portuguese is improving really fast but I still have a long way to go! Thank you for the love and support. I hope you are all doing great!

Until next week.

Love,

Elder Helvey

 Matheus and his family! It was such a great baptism!!

 Átila and me. He is a member in our ward that came out a lot and taught with us. He is awesome!



Monday, November 4, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 5

Oi! Has another week really gone by already?! Wow, time is flying by. I am loving it here and we had another GREAT week! We taught a lot this week and got some awesome new investigators although we are having trouble with people not coming to church. We have an awesome group of people and families we are teaching but a lot of them are not coming to church which is disappointing. Most of them really want to come to church but unexpected things come up that make them not able to come to church. But we continue to work hard and do all we can and we know the Lord will help us out with this. We made our weekly goals last night and I am way excited for this next week!

We attended a birthday party of a 9 year-old boy in our ward and it was a lot of fun to see how Brazilians celebrate birthdays. We had a great time and had lots of food and cake. Also, this week I went on a companion exchange with Elder Wadsworth from Idaho. He came into my area and it was a ton of fun, we were laughing a lot and I really enjoyed the day with him. This week we ate lunch with a member from the ward that had just gotten back from Utah. He had been there for conference and stayed with some friends in Salt Lake. He also said he got a tour of BYU so it was a lot of fun to talk with him. We also got to attend our ward mission leader´s chapel wedding this week so that was a lot fun.

A funny moment this week was when Elder Christiansen and I were out teaching with a member named Átila and we were at the door of this house and a car drove by and drove through this big puddle right next to us and it completely drenched Elder Christiansen and Àtila. We were laughing for quite awhile about that one, especially me because I didn´t get wet at all.

Yesterday there was an American family visiting from Utah at church so it was fun to talk with them, although pretty weird to speak English outside our house. He had served a mission here 15 years ago and was just returning now with his wife and parents. It was cool to spend some time with them.

We started teaching the man named Daniel this week and we are so excited about him. We taught the Restoration to him and he loved it and we are excited about his potential. Although he owns his own bakery and a lot of his business is on Sunday morning, but we taught about the Sabbath Day and he said he is going to prepare and make plans to be able to attend church. It was awesome when he said that because we can tell he really wants to come to church and is willing to sacrifice for the Lord.

We taught many other new people and continue to teach our normal people too. I wish I had time to write about each one of them and tell you all about them but I don´t have time. My Portuguese is really coming along well! I have been diligent about studying and the Lord has helped me a ton. This week he blessed me with the courage to open my mouth more and just talk and it has really helped me improve rapidly this week.

Well I have to go, I hope you are all doing well. I have felt the love and prayers this week, so thank you! I hope you all have another great week!

Until next week.

Love,

Elder Helvey

 Last week we decided to de-ice our freezer and we turned the kitchen into Antarctica. 
We used the broom to play that Olympic sport, curling. haha it was fun!
 This is a picture of me at my study desk. I got O Livro de Mórmon and The Book of Mormon, 
going back and forth between Portuguese and English, Portuguese and English.
This is a picture of Elder Christiansen and me with some kids from a family from the ward. 
We had lunch with them after church.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 4

Another great week come and gone! First off, last Monday we played basketball with some members of the ward at the outdoor basketball court at the church. It was a ton of fun although it was super hot! We also played some other games such as a variation of capture the flag. It was awesome and we are gonna do it again today. We all had such a great time we decided to make it a weekly tradition. I really love a lot of the members here and they love spending time with the missionaries.

This week was disappointing with some of the people we are teaching. Remember that big family we´ve been teaching? Well, this week a few of our appointments fell through with them and when we finally were able to teach them only 4 of them were there and they told us that they were no longer interested so that was quite sad, but I am hopeful sometime down the road they will meet with the missionaries again. They are a great family. 

We also came in contact with another family. We met 3 of the kids on the street and they invited us to return that night to talk with them and their parents. They are Leandro and Aidé and their 4 kids. We had a great first lesson about the Restoration and a great second lesson with Leandro and his son, Leví, about the Book of Mormon. We are excited for them!

We´ve also been teaching Fabio, his wife Vera, and their 9 year-old daughter Fabiola. Fabio and Vera have been reading the Book of Mormon but they work at the big market here on Sunday mornings so weren´t able to attend church this week. That´s actually a big problem we have here is that there is this HUGE street market here on Sunday mornings that a lot of people work at so they can´t come to church. Although we taught Fabio about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and he has expressed his desire to follow it.

We taught Mateus, age 13, again but it turns out his main residence is in another part of our mission and he only visits our area sometimes so we had to pass him off to other Elders. But he is great and is really excited about getting baptized and talks about serving a mission a lot!

Friday we had a cool experience. We had been going to our appointments all day and each one of them was falling through (our appointments fell through a lot this week). But anyways we had just went to an appointment that fell through and we were pretty discouraged and had been walking a ton and it was about 5:30 and we were super hungry. Just as we were talking about how hungry we were and how we didn´t have any money with us to buy anything, a couple came up to us and asked us if we were hungry and wanted something to eat. We said that would be awesome and thanked them very much. They went in their house and went and got some chairs for us to sit on right outside their house and then he went and bought us some food and soda and brought it to us. We talked with them for a while and thanked them very much. It was great, and it was much needed at that time in our day. It was quite a testimony of how the Lord takes care of us out here. It might not sound like a big deal but to us at that time, it meant a lot!

I also went on another division this week. I spent a day with Elder Cetraro in his area. He is one of the missionaries that lives in our house and he is awesome! He is from Logan, Utah and he helped me out a lot with the language and having more confidence in my ability to communicate. I had a great day and learned a lot from him and he was really encouraging and motivated me to continue to work hard at the language!

My Portuguese has really been coming along this week. I created a really good language study plan and I´ve had a great week of studying the language. I made specific goals for studying the grammar, vocab, and verb conjugations. I also have a goal to finish reading O Livro de Mórmon in portuguese by the new year and I made specific goals for each week to be able to accomplish this. I have had a great week with the language and I thank all of you who have been praying for me. I have felt those prayers a lot this week! Along with my language study I have been studying about challenges and how they are for our benefit. I also have been studying in the scriptures about patience and hope. It´s been a great week!

I hope all is going well for all of you! Thank you for the love and support. I am really doing great and loving it here!

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

 We got together with some young men in the ward and played some basketball 
on the outdoor court at the chapel. It was a lot of fun!

Elder Christiansen and I matched our days one day

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 3

Oi! Well another great week has come and gone here in Genibaú. We have been teaching and contacting new people like CRAZY! I am absolutely exhausted at the end of each and every day but it´s so great! Going to bed every night exhausted is a great feeling, and when that alarm clock goes off every morning at 6:30AM it´s time for another great day! I have been doing personal exercise in the morning a little differently. After I do my sit-ups/push-ups, etc I have started lifting this big heavy piece of concrete that used to be part of our roof, One great thing is that it is already really bright by 6:30AM so it´s a good way to start the day.

This week I went on a split. That´s where we switch companions for 24 hours. I went with Elder Pedrosa to serve in Conjunto Ceará. He is from Rio and is awesome! We had a lot of fun together and it was a great learning experience because I had to speak Portuguese the entire time since he doesn´t know English. It was a lot of work but it was great! Although I must say I am glad I have an American for my first companion here to kind of help me ease into Portuguese. My Portuguese gets better every day and of course there are times where I get frustrated because I can´t understand everything people say or they can´t understand me but I know that it´s all part of the experience and I am loving the challenge.

Also this week we took the hour bus ride into Aldeota which is a super nice part of Fortaleza. That´s where the mission office is. We had interviews and training. It was awesome! I love President and Sister Souza! Something I didn´t realize is that they end their mission in 9 months, so we will get a new Mission President then. Anyways, they are great and it was awesome to be there. The mission office is in a really tall building and it has a sweet view out the windows. It´s crazy how different it is there compared to my area. The buses are crazy here. It´s like a roller coaster, but it was fun.

We also started teaching this awesome family this week. The first lesson we had with them there were 4 people and then then next lesson they invited more family so there were 9 people and then on Saturday night we had an awesome lesson with them and there were 12 people! We were all crammed in their small little kitchen. Elder Christiansen and I were sitting on chairs while we taught and 2 of them were sitting on chairs too but everyone else was either sitting on the floor or standing. It was a really awesome experience! 3 of them came to church with us yesterday and we will continue to teach them. They are great!

We also started teaching an 11 year-old boy named Mateus who really wants to be baptized and his parents gave permission so that will be awesome! He´s great, and he´s already talking about serving a mission. That was the best!

We have continued to visit Tiago and Katia everyday and we had a great lesson with them last night.

It has been extremely hot here and of course I wear sunscreen every day. Something I found out this week is that even the locals here wear sunscreen. We are so close to the equator and the sun just beats down all day every day. Also, at night before I go to bed I put on bug repellent because there are a lot of mosquitoes here. It´s all good though, it´s crazy how used to everything I already am. It´s just the way it is. Also, walking on the streets kids love to come up and talk to us and try to speak to us in English, because they teach English here in school. It´s fun and they always ask us how to say their name in English. It´s funny because often times it´s not that different. They are so great and love to talk with us.

Overall it was a great week and it continues to be an awesome experience. Later today we are going to the chapel to play basketball with some of the young men in the ward. The members here are great and we love spending time with them and going and teaching with them as well. The basketball court at the church is outside so it´s gonna be super hot. Well that´s all for this week. Thank you all for the love and support. I hope all is going well for everyone back home.

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

 A picture of my area (Genibau, Fortaleza) from a 4 story apartment building

 Me and Victor. He is the son of Tiago (who was baptized my first week) and Katia, 
who we are still teaching and working towards baptism. 
We are over at their house almost everyday. 
They are great and have 3 little kids full of energy!

 I snapped this bad boy this morning while I was hanging up my white shirts to dry after washing them. Clothes dry pretty dang quick here!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 2

Hello from Genibau, Fortaleza! 

This week has been AMAZING!! Not because anything specifically happened or anything but it is just so amazing to be able to share the gospel with people here. First off, the members of the church here are awesome and they take great care of us! They really LOVE the missionaries. Everyday we eat lunch at a members house. Lunch is the big meal here and it´s usually always beans and rice, and then some kind of meat or pasta. Also, there are so many awesome fruits here and always super good juice! So at noon we eat at a members house and then from 2-9 we are out on the streets teaching and contacting. We walk A TON! It´s interesting because people just sit outside their houses here. Especially later in the day when everyone is home there´s just groups of people all sitting right outside their homes. You kind of expect a parade to becoming down the street because the street is just lined with people sitting. They do this because it gets very hot in people´s houses and they like the breeze outside; This makes it very easy to start talking to people. When we are on our way to an appointment we walk by people and give them a thumbs up and say ``Tudo bem?´´. Everyone is so friendly and nice here. It makes contacting and teaching new people so awesome and we have had some great experiences this week.

We are teaching quite a few people. We our teaching an 11 year-old girl whose aunt is a member. She is named Isadora and she is doing great! We are also teaching a man named Carlos, a woman named Marcela, and then we found two guys this week who are awesome! One is Felipe who is 20 and the other is Walyson who is 19. They both seem excited about hearing more after we taught them the message of the Restoration and prayed with them. Unfortunately, neither of them came to church but we are going to work with them both this week and hopefully they´ll come. It was kind of disappointing because out of all our investigators (we expected 6 at church) only 1 came. But still, 1 is better than none! Also, church is really nice because the chapel is air conditioned which is like unheard of here! So that was a nice break from the heat, humidity, and constant sweating that we experience all day everyday. I´m getting used to that though. It´s amazing how used to things I am already after being here for just two weeks. There are so many things that are so different than how life is in the United States, but I am learning to quickly love the differences. Even though air conditioning for an hour a week is quite nice.

Anyways, our one investigator who came to church was Katia, who is 24 and her husband is Tiago (27), who got baptized last week. Yesterday he was confirmed, which was awesome. We are working with her and trying to get her prepared to be baptized. We had an amazing lesson with her last night! She told us she hasn´t gained a testimony of the church yet and that during fast and testimony meeting everyone got up there and said that they knew this was true or that was true but never said HOW they knew it was true. After Elder Christiansen shared a scripture and shared his experience, Katia asked me how I knew that the church was true. I told her that my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel came overtime, as I continued to read the scriptures, pray, and live the gospel principles. I then had her read a verse from the Book of Mormon. Ether 12:6 where Moroni talks about faith and that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. I love that scripture and she seemed to love it to. Right after reading the scripture out loud she explained how her faith must be tested first and then she will receive a testimony as she just continues reading, praying, and living in faith. It was awesome! We are super excited for her and it was a really amazing experience.
Also, last night we found 3 new families! We taught two of them last night, one with 3 young kids, and another with 1. Tonight we are teaching the other family that has a little baby. We are way excited about all 3 of them!

Well that´s all for this week. What an amazing week it has been. Oh, I forgot to say anything about my portuguese. Everyday it gets a little better and everyday I am able to communicate and understand more than the previous day. I keep a little notebook with me during the day for new words and also have been working on memorizing ``Called to Serve´´ in portuguese as we walk throughout the day. I also wrote out President Monson´s quote, ´´the heavenly virtue of patience is necessary´´ on a notecard and taped it to the wall write above my study area. Thank you all for the support and love. I feel your prayers! I hope all is going well for everyone.
Until next week, tchau!

Love,
Elder Helvey








Monday, October 7, 2013

Sevilha, Brazil Week 1


Hello from Fortaleza, Brazil!

Man, this past week has been a rush. I arrived at the Fortaleza Airport and we were picked up and loading our luggage in the trailer of a van and then we all got into the van. We got dropped off at the mission home, which is an apartment in the nicer part of the city of Fortaleza. We had dinner and met President and Sister Souza. They are awesome! They don´t speak English so an American Elder translated much of our interactions. We then went to the mission office which is in a high-rise building about 10 minutes away from the mission home, also in a nice part of Fortaleza. We received instruction and met our companions. My companion´s name is Elder Christiansen from Texas. He is great and is really good at Portuguese (he has been out for 17 months). We then took a taxi to our area, which was about 40 minutes away. We arrived at our house (if you can call it that), and we share it with two other Elders. It´s pretty nice, but very, very different from anything in the United States.

I have been assigned to the Ala Sevilha (Sevilha Ward). Our area covers part of Genibau and Conjunto Ceara, which are kind of like districts within the city of Fortaleza. It´s so different here, it´s crazy! It has been a pretty hard week, but a good one. Portuguese has been very difficult for me, and it has been quite humbling. The first day I was almost positive that the language everyone is speaking here is not the language they taught me in the MTC, haha. I guess in Fortaleza, they pronounce things very differently. It was rough initially, and still is very difficult, but I´m slowly, so very slowly progressing. I just want to be able to understand everyone and communicate with everyone right away but I know it will take time. As President Thomas S. Monson reminded us this weekend in General Conference, ``the heavenly virtue of patience is required´´.

We had a successful week teaching, and we had one baptism! Tiago, who Elder Christiansen and his old companion had been teaching,  was baptized so that was awesome! He´s great and I am very excited for him. We are still working with his wife to get baptized. We teach a ton here! People love talking with us and inviting us in their homes. It´s been crazy and very, very different from New York, although my mind has often been with the wonderful people I was working with in New York, and I miss them a ton! But anyways, my first day we taught 11 lessons! The members here are totally awesome as well. Almost the entire week, wherever we go and teach we have a member with us, just because they love sharing the gospel! It´s been great to visit so many people in just one week. I usually just say a few things in lessons because obviously my Portuguese isn´t great but I am able to understand what is going on during lessons, like when we are in gospel discussions.

Pretty much everyone here loves talking with us and are all so loving and inviting, so that has been awesome! We walk everywhere and it is super hot and humid here, so we´re constantly just drenched in sweat. Inside our house, which is protected by two separate metal gates that each have locks on them, it is also hot. The showers are cold, which is quite a shock after always being so hot. There are also a lot of bugs, and we have to keep all food in the refrigerator. Also, I got very sick this week, which they say is pretty normal for my first little bit. I had to spend half a day in bed, throwing up, etc. But I am feeling better now, after I called Sister Souza and she told me what medicine to get. It was miserable but I´m doing well now.

Definitely one of the highlights of the week was General Conference! We started watching it in the church in Portuguese, which was nice because it was air-conditioned, but then, us 5 American Elders went into another room to watch it in English.  It was really hot but I didn´t care cause I could understand it. It was so awesome! It made me feel right at home (I´ve been a little homesick), and gave me great comfort. My favorite talk was President Uchtdorf´s Saturday Morning Session, where he said, ``doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith´´. I love that! All conference was so great and was a nice break from translating everything in my head.

Overall, it has been a hard, but good week! I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to be a missionary here. I know that as I continue to work hard the Lord will continue to bless me. I am thankful for this challenging time, and I am excited for what lies ahead. I have felt the love and prayers from so many of you, even though I am so far away. Thank you all for everything! I hope all is going well for you all. I love and miss you all.

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Paltz Week 5

Hey everyone! Well this has been my fifth and final week here in New Paltz, New York and things have been great. Last week I had mentioned that I was going to go see West Point. We got a tour from a member of the church who lives there and it was awesome! So much history there and it was cool to see and hear about it all.

We had some great lessons with several investigators and less-active members this week. Unfortunately, out of the 4 people we expected at church only 1 of them came. We of course visited each one of them later that same day and were able to talk with them about why it is important to come to church. We talked about how "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven", which is of course part of the church hymn, Praise to the Man. Of course for a few of these people attending church will be a sacrifice but we testified that as we sacrifice things for the Lord, He will bless us. It was great to see their desire to come to church and we expect to see them this Sunday.

We were able to give service to a few members from the ward this week. People are getting ready for the winter here so we have been busy cleaning garages and sheds, reorganizing winter tools, chopping and piling wood, etc. It has been good to work alongside members and help them out. I am going to miss many of the members here in the New Paltz Branch. Over the next few days several families are having us over for meals because several families have said they want to give me one last American meal before I head to Brazil. We also volunteered at the county fair here in New Paltz this week. Elder Atwood and I were crossing guards so that was fun to get some interaction with the community and to help out at that.

Our Book of Mormon class was awesome this week! Last week we had 8 people there and this week there were 12! That has definitely been one of the highlights of the week. We had a great group and we love reading, discussing, and learning from the Book of Mormon. Oh, I forgot to mention, I think it was like two weeks ago, but Elder Atwood and I had to bike home from the church after our Book of Mormon class one night in the pouring rain! It was super stormy! Wind, rain, lightning, thunder, and all. By the time we got home we were soaked but it was good. Anyways, so yeah, Book of Mormon class has been great!

On Tuesday, we drove down to Scarsdale, New York for our mission conference. Elder Bruce A. Carlson from the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy was there and it was awesome! Shortly after we arrived at the church, Elder Atwood and I were sitting at one of the tables in the gym eating our bagels for breakfast. Elder Atwood left to go get a drink and so I was sitting all by myself and up walks this older looking gentleman. I figured he was one of the senior missionaries and we started to talk. I put out my hand and said, "I'm Elder Helvey." He shook my hand and said "I'm Elder Carlson". I was quite surprised and felt kind of bad I didn't know that he was Elder Carlson from the Seventy. But he was very friendly and kind. He sat down right next to me and we talked for several minutes. He is awesome! He was a 4-star general in the Air Force and got called to be in the Seventy in 2009. I told him that I was leaving for Brazil on Monday and he said he was very excited for me and wished me the best. It was really awesome to talk with him for as long as I did. The mission conference was awesome and it was so great being taught and instructed by both him and his wife and of course President and Sister Morgan as well. About half way through the conference they announced that we would now be privileged to hear the testimonies of a few missionaries. The Assistant to the President got up and said "we would first love to hear from Elder Helvey" and then named about 5 more missionaries that would follow me. I was quite surprised and caught off guard! But it went well and I feel so lucky that I have been able to be here in this mission while I have waited for my visa. I know the Lord called me here for a reason and that reason has become clear to me through the amazing experiences I have had here. I am sad to leave New Paltz and the people I have grown so close to during my short time here.

Yesterday I was able to spend my last P-day in New York City! We got up at 5AM and caught the train from Poughkeepsie (a nearby city) into Grand Central Station. We had a great day! We saw Times Square, Empire State Building, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Central Park, and many other things. While we were near Ground Zero a member of the Church who was walking by with her little baby in a stroller stopped us and offered to take us to lunch. It was so sweet! We went to a really good burger place called Shake Shack. We ended our day by going to the Temple and of course, that was awesome! It was fun to be in New York City, riding the subway, and being able to see everything. I took a ton of pictures and it was a great last P-day to have here in New York. What a great way to say goodbye to America for almost 2 years!

Well this is the last update from New York. I have absolutely loved my time here and I will miss it a lot. But I am very excited to get to Brazil. Being in Brazil has been something I have thought about a lot since the time I opened my mission call back in February. It seems a little surreal that I will be there in a few short days. I fly out of New York on Monday evening. I will fly to Atlanta, then Sao Paulo, then Fortaleza. I can't wait! Thank you all for the love and support that I have received. I hope all is going well for each one of you. Until next week (from Brazil).

Love,

Elder Helvey

 All the missionaries in my zone with Elder and Sister Carlson and President and Sister Morgan.
 Times Square, New York City!

 The Freedom Tower in the background. It is under construction but it is the tallest building 
in New York City - built right next to where the Twin Towers used to stand.

 Me with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

The LDS Temple in New York City!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Paltz Week 4

Checking in from beautiful New Paltz, New York! I've been here for about a month now and things are continuing to go great!

First off, I have some exciting news. I received a phone call from President Morgan late Monday night and he called to let me know that MY BRAZILIAN VISA IS HERE! The church has obtained my visa from the Brazilian government and is shipping it to the mission office in New York. I am scheduled to fly out of New York on September 30th!! That's really all I know for now. I was very surprised because I had expected to be here for quite a bit longer. I am very excited to get to Fortaleza though. At the same time I love it here in New Paltz and am pretty sad about leaving the people here. In the short time I have been here I have developed such awesome relationships with the people we have been teaching and the members of the church here. I will definitely miss it! I have loved my time here.

This week was great! Last Wednesday we went on a hike with some members from the branch and it was awesome! It was a fairly difficult hike with a lot of big boulders and rocks but it was incredibly beautiful. Today we are going to visit West Point and are being led on a tour by a member of the church that works there so we are very excited about that!

We started teaching Joseph this week. We met him last week and I briefly said something about him. He is awesome! He is 27 and originally from the Dominican Republic and just moved here to the New Paltz area from Florida a few weeks ago. He was so excited to meet with us and we have had great experiences meeting with him and teaching him. He told us that he feels like the Lord has prepared him to accept the Gospel now at this time in his life. He is amazed at what we teach him and truly loves reading The Book of Mormon. He told us that he knows this church is true and we asked him to prepare himself to be baptized on October 12th. He said he would and is very excited! It has been so good to meet with him and to feel of his deep desire to grow closer to Heavenly Father. It was awesome to know that the Lord had prepared him for Elder Atwood and I to come in contact with him at this specific time in his life.

Our Book of Mormon class on Thursday night went great! There were 8 people total there, including Joseph and Sarah (who is also preparing to get baptized). It was an awesome experience to read from the Book of Mormon out loud with others and to discuss it as we go. It was great and we look forward to it again tomorrow!

We also continued to meet with members of the church that have not been coming and we've had some awesome experiences with that. We met with Zelbert yesterday and he is doing well and continues to learn more about the church and the Gospel. It's always great to spend some time with him. He was very excited about me getting my visa to go to Brazil. We also met with Donald and had a great visit with him and beat him twice in the game he invented. I think I wrote a little about that last week but he created a game that is a mix between chess and checkers and we beat him two games in a row! It's fun and he continues to learn more about the Gospel but his progress is slow. Great guy though and he loves having us over. We've met several people around New Paltz this week that we are excited to start teaching as well.

The work has been truly amazing these past 2 weeks. It has been incredible to see the Lord's hand in this work. He is very much involved in it, indeed it is His work. I just feel lucky to be apart of it.

I hope all is going well for everyone. Thank you all so much for the support and love. I love you all!

Until next week.

Love,
Elder Helvey

P.S. Rumor is that this Saturday is the big BYU vs. Utah football game....GO COUGARS!!


We went hiking last week on our P-day and this is a picture of me at the top of the tower 
at the top of Mohonk Mountain. That building is a nice resort up there. 
If it was a little clearer you could see the city of New Paltz in the distance. 
It was an awesome hike. Such a blast!


Me in front of the "Welcome to New Paltz" Sign




Me in front of the Hudson River!