Monday, December 22, 2014

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 11 (Merry Christmas!)

Hey! Merry Christmas!!! I hope everyone is super excited for Christmas. I really love this time of year and even though it´s super different here I am way excited. I have really loved being a missionary during this time and spreading the Gospel and telling people that "He is the Gift". We have been working super hard and have seen some awesome miracles. I remember last year I celebrated Christmas with a baptism of one of the people we were teaching. There really is no better way to celebrate Christmas on the mission than with a baptism. Yesterday one of the people we have been teaching for about a month was baptized and it was awesome! Beninha has been preparing for baptism and has really loved coming to church and learning all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A ton of members really love her and help her feel very included in everything and she has been loving coming to church. She was baptized be our Ward Mission Leader, Marcelo, and the baptismal service was really awesome and had a lot of people. Afterwards we had cake and soda to celebrate!

This week was super busy and we had some success with finding new people to teach and helping the people we have been teaching for a while. One of the coolest parts of the week was Conferência de Natal. The entire mission got together on Thursday at the HUGE Stake Center in Fortaleza and we had our Christmas Conference. It lasted all day and it was awesome! We had a really spiritual part with President and Sister Bonini talking and an awesome choir and then we had a fun part where each zone did a skit or a musical number and then a few other things. It was so fun to see so many missionaries that I hadn´t seen in so long and to see some of my best friends that I have made. It also made me a little sad because I realized that so many of my best friends that I have made on the mission are already home and I miss them. But it was still great because I still have some awesome friends here.

My head is healing up quite nicely and I will have my stitches taken out this week. Now I am just gonna make sure that I help fix the basketball court that I destroyed. We are planning on doing a service project there to clean it up and fix it. It should be good.

Anyway, that´s about it for the week. I hope you all have a great week and a very Merry Christmas! Thank you all for all the love and support that you give to me. There is no better time to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ than right now during Christmas time. If you haven´t already, share the church´s video "He is the Gift" and invite someone to go to church with you next week. Love you guys!
Merry Christmas!!!

Elder Helvey

The Old Mission Secretaries. It was fun being back together with this group! 
Do these guys look familiar? Elder Zwick, Me, Elder Muniz, Elder Vallo, and Elder Perresutte. 
We sang the song "How Can I Be?" in the talent show on Thursday 
at the Mission Christmas Conference.

President and Sister Evans with me and my MTC companion, Elder Shelton.

Fortaleza, Brasil! Cidade- Sede da Alegria!!

Beninha was baptized on Sunday! This is me, Marcílio, Marcelo, Beninha, and Elder Moroni. 
It was a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Parque das Nações Week 10

Another awesome week! This week we had a TON of success in our area and we are really getting excited. We have loved using the "Ele é O Presente" (or "He is the Gift") pass-along cards and sharing the message about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have had a lot of success with the people we are teaching and we are expecting a ton of people at church next week for the special Christmas Sacrament Meeting. It is going to be awesome!

We are excited for the baptism of Beninha this Sunday afternoon too. The way we found her was actually a really cool story. It was about a month ago and we Elder Moroni and I had a goal that day to do 10 contacts. It was a Saturday night and we had about 30 minutes before we had to go back to our house. We remembered that we had absolutely nothing in our house to eat for that night or the next day but also we had only done 9 contacts. We decided to go to the grocery store but while we were there we had to do our last contact of the day. We talked with Beninha who works at the grocery store and set an appointment to teach her the next day. It was awesome and really shows that setting goals and reaching them is when the Lord will make miracles happen.

We are teaching many other people and a few awesome families so I am happy and feel like the Lord is really helping us out a lot to find the people that are ready and needing the Gospel.

Now for the last story of this week: There we were playing basketball early this morning for exercises at an outdoor basketball court in our area. We were with 3 members of the church and we played a few games. At the end of our last game I had the ball on the fast-break and decided to re-live the moments from my high school days and dunk it. Needless to say that was a bad idea. Not only did I two hand dunk it for the win but I also brought the rim and the entire wooden backboard down with me. I received a "graceful" blow to the head and was in immediate need of medical attention. Don´t worry, I received it. The wonderful people of Brazil quickly came to my aid and a nearby neighbor gave us a ride to the Hospital. It´s a long story that I will have to save for another day but 4 hospitals later and a lot of money spent on taxis I received 3 stitches in my head by a very good surgeon who happened to speak English. I will sent a few pictures! After I went to the Mission Office where I received a much needed Priesthood Blessing from my companion and President Evans (1st Counselor in the Mission Presidency and my VERY good friend). No need to worry I do not have any symptoms of a concussion and I will have the stiches in for about a week. It was quite a day and quite an adventure but I am really so grateful for these wonderful Brazilian people that were so happy and so willing to help. We did a contact with the lady that gave us a ride to the airport and plan to visit her this week!

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here in Fortaleza and represent my Savior, Jesus Christ, especially during this wonderful time of the year.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Dinner with Presidnet and Irmã Pereira (Stake President)

Teaching with a member in the ward 
(who happened to be companions with an Elder Grow from California... small world)

Our adventure today! Read story above...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 9

Bom Dia!
This week was so great!! Things are really going well with a few of the people we are visiting and I am really excited about the future in this area. The couple we have been teaching for a while (Anderson and Níazes) is really progressing well. We are trying to help them to get married and I think this week we will be able to schedule their marriage. We had a few awesome visits with them this week including one yesterday after church all about temples and temple work and showed a lot of photos of all the different temples throughout the world. It was a truly great experience and they shared a lot of their feelings with us and Anderson explained the hope that he now has and the desire to truly live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such a great experience and our Ward Mission Leader, Marcelo, is really helping us out a ton with that couple and pretty much all of the people we are teaching. He is super awesome because he works a ton but is also doing a ton of visits with us and really teaches well.

Beninha, who we have been visiting for a while, loved church yesterday and is really excited about her baptism. The ward seemed really excited to have her there yesterday and a few people came up to me asking for her address and phone number so they can started visiting her even before baptism which is awesome.

I did a companionship exchange with one of our District Leaders, Elder Cassimiro. He is from São Paulo and we served together in the Mission Office when I first got there and he was also a District Leader in my last Zone too so we have become pretty good friends. The day was great and it was fun to be with him as we both learned from each other. We have a few other companionship exchanges planned this week so it should be fun!

Thursday morning Elder Moroni and I got up bright and early to catch a bus to Aldeota for the Mission Leadership Council. It was awesome as always! Seriously, I love those things. They always give me the energy and motivation that I need. I loved the trainings we got and something that Sister Bonini said really stuck with me as she talked about how we often need to renew our desire to serve the Lord. As we face obstacles and challenges on the mission sometimes we get discouraged and how we should "renew our desire to serve the Lord." I have experienced a little of that but it was something that I am really excited to talk about with all the missionaries in our Zone on Wednesay because it´s something that I think can really help our Zone get better. President talked about some awesome things and he again mentioned that we are here to prepare this city and these people for the Temple. He told us that the people are not yet ready and that´s why the Temple that was announced in 2009 hasn´t been built yet. But that it is our job to get them ready! It was a great training!

Anyway, it was a great week and I am excited for tonight because we planned a Zone Dinner at the Stake President´s house and we invited President and Sister Bonini so they will be there too. Should be super fun and help us work harder!

I hope you all have a great week and things continue to go well. I love this time of year and love it even more as a missionary! Thanks for everything, love you all!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Elder Moroni and I putting the star on top of our Christmas Tree that we put up in our room. 
We have a few other decorations including some awesome Christmas lights in our window!

Elder Moroni and I made Chocolate Chip Pancakes for dinner this week. They were sooooo good!

Me with President and Sister Bonini after the Mission Leadership Council.

Me, Elder Moroni, Marcelo, and Beninha at church yesterday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 8

Hey! How was Thanksgiving? It was great here. I mean Thanksgiving is not a celebrated holiday here but we had a mini celebration in our apartment. There were no turkeys, mashed potatoes, or pie but we had a good time making pancakes (with maple syrup!) and saying what we are grateful for. We called a few other missionaries and wished each other a happy thanksgiving and each said what we are grateful for, so it was a good day!

The week was really good! We visited a ton of people and again had a great week with visiting the people we are teaching with members of the church. It really helps our investigators feel a lot better about it and more excited to go to church. This week was a little difficult to get people to church again because a lot of the people that we are teaching that are progressing already had something to do on Sunday morning. But we already have a ton of people confirmed to go to church next week so we are excited! Anderson came to church again this week and loved it! He and Níazes are awesome and we are so excited for them. We started teaching a 22 year-old named Beninha, and she is really awesome. We visited her with a few members of the church already and she is very excited to come to church next week. She works at the grocery store here and we were talking to her about 2 weeks ago in the grocery store and set up a time for us to visit her and her family. It´s crazy how the Lord really puts people in our path that are so ready and needing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We found some other great new people to teach this week, too. We have really been focused on trying to talk to as many people as possible each day and as we have made the initiative to stop and talk with everyone in the street we have seen the miracles happen. Our days are very, very busy! We were stopped on the street this week by a man who has a son serving a mission in São Paulo and he told us he wants us to visit and that he also wants to visit the church. It was a cool experience and we were able to teach him once and marked a baptismal date. We have a few other people who have a baptismal date for later in December so we are excited and we are finding some really great people who have a desire to follow their Savior. I am very excited for the Christmas season and the opportunity I have to help people feel of the love God has for them. I am so grateful and even though it might be a little hard to be away from home for another Christmas, I know that I am helping many people change their lives to truly follow Jesus Christ and feel real joy and peace. (check out the video and website, It´s awesome!)

Anyway, it was a great week and I am very excited for this month. We are planning to do a ton of companionship exchanges this month with all the Elders in our zone so it should be awesome. Dang, I seriously love being a missionary!

Have a great week. Love you all.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

We had an awesome family home evening with Anderson and a member family in our ward. 
It was so great and Anderson loved it! Family Home Evenings are seriously the best things ever!!

Our Thanksgiving feast! Pancakes and maple syrup. Oh yeah! 
Also, the hat I am wearing is a hat that Marcío gave me, one of the people we are teaching. 
He sells them (it´s not an authentic nike hat but it´s pretty dang sweet).

Beef Jerky was also part of our Thanksgiving feast.

Rafael (13 years-old) is a member in our ward who always loves spending the entire day doing 
visits with us. I gave him a pack of SweeTarts at the end of the day and he was very excited!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 7

Hey! This week was awesome. My new companion is Elder Moroni from Holladay, Utah. We had a great week with a lot of the people we are teaching and we were able to find a lot of new people, too. One thing that we did really well this week was teach with members of the church. We had a few awesome return missionaries that did some visits with us. It is so great to be able to have some great return missionaries that love teaching with us and I have really become great friends with a lot of them including our Ward Mission Leader, Marcelo, who is so awesome!

We have been teaching Anderson and Naízes, a young couple, for quite a few weeks and he finally didn´t work on Sunday so they came to church yesterday. It was awesome! Anderson is from Rio de Janeiro and Naízes is from here but was baptized in Rio about 10 years ago. She hadn´t been to church since she left Rio but we are working with them and they loved church yesterday. We are going to help them get married which means we will mark their marriage date next week and then hoepfully they will be married within a month. They are excited and so are we! They are a great couple and everyone loved having them at church yesterday.

The Stake President, Presidente Pereira, asked Elder Moroni and me to give a training to all the Ward Mission Leaders in the Stake last night. It was super cool as we read from Preach My Gospel and Moroni 6 about how we can improve missionary work here in this stake. It was great!

I am really liking Elder Moroni and we are working really well together. We are working hard to help more people come to church. Our church building is pretty far away. If they don´t have a car, the people we are teaching need to take a bus to the terminal and then another bus to the church building so that is our main difficulty for now, getting people at church.

Anyway, it was a great week and things are really going great! I hope everyone has a great week and an awesome Thanksgiving! Eat some mashed potatoes and gravy, and turkey, and pie for me because I definitely won´t be eating those things on Thursday. Just beans, rice, and chicken for me! haha. Have a great week and thank you all for the love and support!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey
I received 2 Christmas Packages this week! Thanks guys!!! 
I have been loving eating Capn´ Crunch and Golden Grahams for breakfast! 
And I look forward to enjoying all the other things I got too. 
But don´t worry I haven´t unwrapped the present yet, I will wait for Christmas.

Anderson and Naízes at church with Elder Moroni and I yesterday!

Elder Moroni and I at the home of the Stake President yesterday for lunch.

A couple from Beira Rio (my last ward) saw me on the street this morning and they pulled over 
and we had a great time visiting and catching up. 
I love this family and he was my Ward Mission Leader there. 
They are so great and it was such a great surprise!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 6

Hey guys! Dang, this week was suuuper busy and had a lot of different things going on but ended up being super great! We were out of our area for about 3 days this week so that made it a little harder to visit the people we needed to but we still had quite a bit success and also had a great week doing other things!

Tuesday night Elder Goff and I went and stayed the night in Aldeota with the Secretaries and the Assistants which was super fun because we are really good friends with all of them and it felt like I was just in a big group of friends. It was great! Early Wednesday we went to the Polícia Federal so that Elder Goff could get all his documents in order to leave the country. It was actually really great to go back to the Polícia Federal and not have any responsibility. The new Executive Secretary of the Mission, Elder Larkin was doing everything and had everything well under control. It was great to watch! haha. It was so great to spend some good time with Elder Larkin and Elder Zwick. They are too of my best friends on the mission.

Thursday we had Zone Conference which was awesome! Half of the mission got together which is always fun to see so many Elders that I haven´t seen in so long and to receive instruction and training from the Assistants and President and Sister Bonini. They are awesome and I really loved it on Thursday! Friday Elder Goff stayed in Aldeota all day and I stayed here with Elder Carrasco and Elder L. Lopes. It was a great day and we found SO many new people to teach in their area!

Saturday and Sunday were great and it was hard to say goodbye to Elder Goff this morning. It was a great transfer with him and I learned a ton! We had a ton of fun and a lot of success. I will miss him a ton but am excited to see him at BYU next year.

I found out today that my companion will be Elder Moroni and he is an Elder that I know pretty well and really like already so I am super pumped. It will be his first time being a Zone Leader too so that is going to be awesome! He will get here tomorrow.

Anyway, it was a great week and am really looking forward to this week. Thank you all for the support and prayers. I love you guys!!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Adail and Cibelle took Elder Goff and I out to lunch on Tuesday to a really nice authentic food 
from Ceará (which is the state we are in). The good was great and we loved 
spending time with them to get to know them better.
Me, Elder Larkin and Elder Zwick! The family of Executive Secretaries at the apartment in Aldeota! Love these guys!!

Our visit to the Polícia Federal. Look familiar?

Eating lunch at the Zone Conference! So great to see so many old friends and companions. 
(Featuring my two buddies, Elder Bini, and Elder Tenney)

Friday I spent the day with Elder Carrasco from Lima, Peru and Elder L. Lopes 
from João Pessoa, Brazil. It was a great day!

Darcerio with Elder Goff and I, with me wearing an authentic hat from Ceará!

Last Sunday with Elder Goff!

Living the life in Brazil! Seriously, I love it here!!

Saying goodbye to Elder Goff super early this morning. He is on a plane to São Paulo 
as I am typing this right now. It was an honor to serve with such an awesome Elder!

Parque das Nações, Brazil Week 5

Hey everyone! What a terrific week we had here in Parque das Nações. It started off great when we had a Family Home Evening at a recent-converts house on Monday night. There were about 30 people from the ward and others over and we just had a great time. We sang a few hymns and read the scriptures together and then just enjoyed one another’s company as we ate a lot of food and cake. It was really just a great night and I really love the people in this ward. They are really helping us out a lot. This week we did a ton of visits with church members including almost every night doing visits with our Ward Mission Leader, Marcelo, and visiting people with Bishop and his wife after lunch yesterday. It´s the best when the members help us out and it really helps the people we are teaching.
Adail and Cibelle were confirmed members of the church yesterday and received the Holy Ghost. They are awesome and really loving everything. We visited them yesterday after lunch with the Bishop and his wife and our Ward Mission Leader. It was great! It was super special because after we visited them Elder Goff and I invited Adail and Cibelle to visit a family that we have been teaching with us. They were very excited and accepted the offer. As we taught and testified about the Plan of Salvation with this family it was so awesome to have Adail and Cibelle share their testimonies of the Gospel and how it has blessed their lives. It was so awesome so see Adail and Cibelle already helping others to know the truth the very same day they became members of the church. It was a very special experience.

I did two companion exchanges this week with two Elders in our Zone. The first was with Elder Braga from the South of Brazil and it was great, He has about 5 months on the mission and it was awesome to spend the day with him. We talked to A TON of people and found a few new people to teach. I also spent the day with Elder McDaniel that got here recently after serving quite a bit of time in the United States waiting for his visa. It was also a great day as we were able to have quite a bit of success in his area.

Saturday we spent much of the day at the church doing baptismal interviews and had a meeting with our Bishop too. It was good and we were able to do a few great visits with some of the people we are teaching that our progressing very well.

Anyway, that´s pretty much the wrap-up on the week. This week will be interesting because it is Elder Goff´s last week which means we will be going to the Polícia Federal with the Secretaries (sound familiar?), and he will have his last interview and dinner with President. We also will have a Zone Conference this week where about half of the mission will all get together, which will be awesome, as always. Should be a great week! I hope all continues to go well back home for everyone. Thank you all for the support and love!
Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Me with Elder Braga in front of my apartment.

Lunch with the Young Men President and his wife and their cute new born. 
Great lunch and a great family!

This is Bito. He is the goat of a family that we are visiting. He really likes us and we like him too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Parque das Nações Week 4 (The week the Giants won the World Series!)

Hey!!! Dang, I don´t think you can have a better week than the week I had! I will be able to sum it up in photos.

  Elder Goff and I made spaghetti with meat sauce for our P-day lunch!

 I said goodbye to my good friend Elder Souza who I have been living with for the past month. He finished his mission and it was great to be able to live with him and become friends with him over this past month.

 Elder Goff and I walking on one of the roads in our area. It´s so beautiful here!

 Elder Goff and I gave a missionary training to one of the districts in our zone. It was great and an awesome time spent with some awesome missionaries!

 . We had another great visit with Adail and Cibelle, a father and a daughter we have been teaching for about a month. They are so great! We had one last visit with them before their baptisms that were on Sunday.

  Happy Halloween from Fortaleza, Brazil! Elder Goff and I
 carved watermelons and bought some good ol´ American candy!

 We had a great visit with Ismael, a less active member that we are visiting. We walked around his property and ate some fruit from the trees (mango in the picture) and then we sat down and read from the Book of Mormon. Towards the end his two kids came out and joined us. He is awesome and we love visiting him!

 We had a HUGE BBQ at the Bishop´s house for lunch! He and his two sons our awesome and it was great to spend time with them and learn how to do a Brazilian Barbeque.

We had a great family (mother and daughter) visit church yesterday and they loved it. This is a picture of them with our Ward Mission Leader and one of our really good friends.

 Adail and Cibelle were baptized! They are so great and it was such a special experience! 
It has been so awesome to teach them and I am so excited to see 
how the Gospel will continue to bless their lives!

 We celebrated Dad´s 50th Birthday with a Brazilian Coconut Cake! 
Happy Birthday Dad!! Love you!

Elder Goff and I went to the Center of Fortaleza this morning so he could buy some stuff for his family and friends before he leaves. It was awesome and I am definitely gonna miss this guy!

Anyway, it was a way great week and I wish I could just sit here and write about all the other things that happened and explain more about all these photos but I just don´t have enough time. But I hope all continues to go well with each one of you. Love you all!

Elder Helvey

P.S.  GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2014 WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!!