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


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.


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.

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.

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.

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!