Monday, January 27, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 11

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a good week. It has been a good week here. We had a lot of work to do this week to get ready for next transfer and the new missionaries that are arriving here next week. We are going to receive 16 missionaries. 10 from the CTM in São Paulo and 6 visa waiters... including my companion from the MTC, Elder Shelton, so I am WAY excited about that!! I have also been working a lot this week on this project for President. Each missionary in the mission has two little cards, one for the transfer board which shows where each missionary is in the mission (zone, district, area, companion, etc), and the other on the group board which shows the date that each missionary ends their mission and who else is in that same group. Anyways, President asked me to make each card smaller because we are running out of room on the transfer board and are going to be receiving many, many more missionaries in the next few transfers. Making new cards sounds like an easy task but it takes a lot of time because I had to create new documents on the computer so making those took up most of my week but I´m almost done.

Elder Muniz and I were able to leave the office a few nights this week and we had some good experiences. One night we went out and visited some referrals and less actives that live at the very edge of our area so it was quite a long walk and none of them ended up being there when we go their but we have a long list of more less active members to visit and we mapped them all out and are going to hopefully visit a lot more this week.

We starting teaching a 26 year-old named Fabinho this week with a recently returned missionary in our ward named Joe. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel and about Joseph Smith and it was great to teach with Joe. Fabinho was interested in learning more and said he would come to church but when Joe passed by his house on Sunday morning to walk with him to church he wasn´t there so he didn´t come to church which was disappointing. But we are going to visit him tonight.

We also had a great visit with Angelica this week. We visited her with Bruno (the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric, not Bruno Oppelt, who Elder Allen and I baptized) and his wife, Niquele. They both served missions and we had a great visit with Angelica and talked about helping her prepare for a mission. She continues to express a strong desire to serve a mission and we talked a lot about that with her and it was great to have Bruno and Niquele there to talk about it as well. We talked to her about attending Institute classes that start in 2 weeks too and invited her to attend with Bruno Oppelt and others from Ala Aldeota. It is her birthday tomorrow too so we are visiting her and celebrating with her and some members so that will be fun.

Bruno had been traveling and had to take a test last week so he hadn´t been at church for a few weeks but he came back yesterday and it was great. He is doing really well and it was great to see him there and interacting with everyone and loving being there. He´s great! He is actually going to come to the mission office tonight and we are going to go with him to this yogurt shop (not really yogurt) to meet some other members from the ward there.

Tonight we are also going to visit Michele and have family home evening with her and a member family so that will be good. Michele is doing well and comes to church every week and wants to be baptized but she needs to get legally married to her husband and we are trying to help her with that process. We are excited to have her at family home evening tonight.

Well that´s all for me this week. I gotta go finish up the cards for President because he has a meeting with the Assistants tomorrow and they need them for that, so wish me luck!

I hope you all had a great week and everyone is doing well.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

We had a monumental occasion here in the Mission Office this week... 
Elder Muniz had his first Reese´s! He enjoyed it.

This is me working on making the new cards for each missionary in the mission. 
It´s been a week long project and I´m just about done!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 10

Hey everyone! I had a great week. I visited the Polícia Federal with two more groups two different days and that was the last of them for this transfer so I said goodbye to everyone at the Polícia Federal until next month. I am glad to be done with visiting there for at least a few weeks. This week was busy in the office but good because a lot of missionaries came in and out everyday. Every missionary had an interview with President over the last few weeks so we have had a lot of missionaries in and out of the office but it´s been good. I like interacting with them and getting to know everyone better. And also Sister Souza brings in cake or brownies for each group of missionaries that comes each day and since we are in the office everyday we get cake and brownies everyday when a zone comes in for interviews, so that was was nice!

We had a great training this week from our Zone Leaders about how to be a happy and successful missionary. It really got me pumped up and I really enjoyed hearing what they had to say and my zone had a discussion about it too. It was nice to all be able to talk about what success is as a missionary. Happiness and success all came down to how dedicated we are as a missionary. It was great!

Since there were so many things going on in the office this week (also had some trouble with materials for the mission that I have been working on), Elder Muniz and I didn´t have a lot of time to leave the office and visit and teach people. This was definitely disappointing for us because we love going out and visiting and teaching people. But on Friday we received a big time blessing! There I was working in the office and the mission phone rings. I answer and it a less active member asking me if there are any Americans that serve in Aldeota. I said, "Yes, me." She said perfect and went on to tell me that she and her husband had just moved here from the interior (city called Itapipoca), and opened up a restaurant called Joker´s Burgers. She said that they needed me and my companion to visit them and "test" their food and to see how American it is and what they can do to make it more American. Elder Muniz and I visited them on Friday night and they gave us several plates, including chicken, shrimp, steak, and burgers to try. The food was VERY good and I gave them a few little tips on how to make it more American. Then we ended up just staying there and talking with them for quite awhile. Turns out that both of them served missions but had stopped going to church a few years back. We invited them to return on Sunday and they did! Their names are Italo and Luciane and they have a 5 year old daughter. Italo came in a suit and was very active and participated a lot in our priesthood lesson. I really like them and are very excited for them to come back and start being active members of the church again. It was a great experience and Elder Muniz and I are going to invite them to come teach with us some night this week so that will be awesome!

Saturday after lunch we spent 6 hours at the new house in Aldeota that the mission just started renting this month. Next transfer Sister missionaries are going to live there so we spent all day there getting things ready. Setting up the beds, tables, chairs, oven, microwave, etc. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun to work with my hands setting things up, fixing things, and getting it all ready for the missionaries who will live there in a few weeks. 

Also this week I got to return to my first area, Sevilha, because the mission needs another house there for new missionaries so Elder Muniz and I spent a day there walking around and looking for houses and apartments for rent. It was so awesome to be back in Ala Sevilha and I ran into some members there and it was great to see them!

Anyways, it was a great week here and things are really going well. I hope all is going well for everyone back home, too! Everyday is another opportunity to be a little bit better than you were the day before. I have been studying the talks from this past General Conference and have really loved doing that everyday. Thanks for all your love and support.

Elder Helvey

These are pictures from Joker´s Burgers. It really felt like I was in the U.S. The food was VERY good!

I got my Christmas package from my Family!!! I loved it!!! Thanks guys! 

Me working hard at fixing up the new house for the Sisters next transfer. (Note, I was not using the hammer to crack the window, just to close the window. I don´t think it had been closed in years!)

Pictures of the Mission Staff and Mission Staff with President and Sister Souza.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 9

Well another busy but good week has come and gone. This week was a little but hectic with visiting the Federal Police with 6 new missionaries. We arrived at 8:30AM and didn´t leave until about 2:30PM so that was a long day. It was frustrating to have to wait that long but it was good to talk with the new missionaries and see how they are all doing and to hear their stories and what they think about everything here. We all ate lunch together at Subway and I think they all enjoyed eating something somewhat American for a change. It was my first time at Subway too so that was nice.

In the office this week I have been working on a couple of projects for President Souza. One is changing all the cards for our transfer board and making them smaller so we have more room for the missionaries that will be coming. Also I had to figure some things out for President regarding the voter registration for some of the Brazilian missionaries. Overall, a busy week in the office and a little bit stressful because a lot of our materials are going to arrive late because of Christmas and New Years but it will be alright, I hope.

Elder Muniz and I had a good week visiting and teaching people. We had a great Family Home Evening with a family in our ward and two of our investigators, Michele and Fabino. We shared the talk by President Uchtdorf entitled "Come, Join with Us". We had a great discussion about why so many people want to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was great and our investigator, Michele, made her famous chocolate cake and it was SO good!

We also visited the grandma and aunt of one of our investigators, Pedro. Pedro is 10 years-old and comes to church every week with his grandma and aunt but his mom and dad do not want him to be baptized. We visited his aunt and grandma and we all decided to fast on Saturday for Pedro´s parents' hearts to be softened. We are looking forward to meeting with them this week!

We also visited both Angelica and Bruno. Both of them are going through a rough time and it was great to be able to be there for them and continue to help them center their lives around Jesus Christ. They are trying hard to live the gospel and Angelica told us this week that she wants to serve a mission. We are excited for her and we are hopefully going to start teaching some of her family and friends with her.

One thing we have been trying to do is to visit all the less active members in our ward. There are a lot of them but one night after one of our appointments fell through, Elder Muniz and I decided to visit a few of them. After we walked awhile and tried to visit 4 or 5 addresses and either the address didn´t exist or the people had moved, we decided to try one last name that we had for the night. We came to the apartment building and told the doorman we were there to visit Daniel and told him the apartment he lived in. A few minutes later Daniel came down. Daniel is 19 years-old and was baptized about 2 years ago but stopped going to church soon after he was baptized. We had a great time getting to know him and we had a great discussion about why he was baptized. We gave a little lesson on the importance of church attendance and invited him to return to church with us the next day. The next day, we arrived at his apartment building at 8:30AM and after a few minutes he came down in a nice white shirt and tie with his Book of Mormon in hand. He really enjoyed coming back to church and we are excited for him to return to being an active member of the church and to start receiving the blessings that come with that.

One last thing for this week I forgot to write about last week was that Daniel and his family were baptized in Sevilha 2 weeks ago. I don´t know if you remember but Daniel and his family were people we met and started teaching my last week there and now they are all members! It´s a cool story how we met them but anyways just thought I would let you all know about that.

Overall it was a great week and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve here and help people come closer to our Heavenly Father and to center their lives around his son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I hope all is going well with everyone back home and you all are having a great start to your new year. 2014 is going to be the best year yet!

Until next week.

Com Amor,
Elder Helvey

This is me with the 6 new American missionaries all in front of the Polícia Federal. 
They all have in their hand their official document that makes them legal in Brazil!

 This is the new Stake Center of the Fortaleza Stake - it is my stake. I got to go and visit it, it is still under construction but almost finished and will be dedicated in the next couple of weeks. It´s huge!!!

One of the member´s we had lunch with had this crazy rambunctious cat. 
I had fun playing with the cat, although I don´t think he enjoyed this too much.

It poured like crazy one morning and flooded like all the roads. This is a picture of me on our balcony where we can usually look out and see really far but could barely see anything on this morning.

The road between the office and our apartment was flooded.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 8

Another week has come and gone! This week wasn´t as busy in the mission office and we were able to visit and teach some really great people. One thing I had to do this week was set up appointments at the Polícia Federal for all 13 new American missionaries. Usually I do this online but this transfer all the spots were taken up and I couldn´t schedule them until February and they need to visit the Federal Police within 30 days of arriving in the country or we have to pay heavy taxes. So I decided to visit the Polícia Federal and figure it all out. It took me 3 visits this week, including this morning, to mark appointments for all of them but I finally have appointments for all 13 new American missionaries all before they reach 30 days in the country. When I arrived there this morning the people working there were kind of irritated because I needed to change some of the appointments I had already made and they had already seen me twice last week. She was very frustrated and said that she wasn´t going to change them for me. I said they needed to be changed because the missionaries have conflicts with those days. She said I was going to have to wait until 9AM for her to help me, it was 8:10AM so wasn´t too bad. Elder Vallo (from Argentina) and I were sitting outside for about 10 minutes when she came and got us and said she would change them now but I needed to translate for her because there was this guy from Switzerland that didn´t speak Portuguese but spoke English. I figured it was a fair trade. I got all my appointments that I needed changed and she was able to communicate what she needed to to this guy from Switzerland. It will be a busy two weeks visiting the Polícia Federal with all of them but I am glad to have it all planned out now.

We spent New Year´s Eve at the Bishop´s house and that was a lot of fun. It was fun to just be able to relax and enjoy the company of the Bishop´s family and other people from the ward and stake. I really love this area and the people here. We were able to have our entire district there (8 missionaries) so that was fun. It was cool to be here in Aldeota for New Year´s. The four of us in our apartment all went to bed at the normal time but woke up about 15 minutes before midnight because of all the fireworks. I feel like everyone here in Aldeota had their own firework show. We went out on our balcony and just watched them all. We have a great view of the city and there were SO MANY fireworks and quite a few that were shot off right across the street from us so they were SO LOUD! It was great. Unfortunately our balcony points away from the beach and the ocean because Fortaleza had a huge firework show. They light off a ton of fireworks from ships in the ocean. We could hear them but only see their reflections off the buildings. Anyways, New Year´s Eve was still pretty cool here!

We had a good week implementing our plan to help the members here with missionary work and we are excited to see what happens in the coming week or so. Elder Muniz and I also had a good week visiting and teaching people. We tried visiting a few less active members but weren´t able to contact most of the ones we tried, but of course we´ll keep trying. We had a great lesson with one of our investigators, Michele, who has been taught everything and really wants to be baptized but is waiting to be officially married to her husband, and saving up for that. Elder Muniz and I are planning on helping her with that and see if we can get some help from the ward. We had a great lesson with her in the home of one of our members here which was really great! We also visited Helena who we have taught once before this time and had a good lesson with her. She loves having us over and we also taught her daughter who has a small baby. We are excited for them to learn more and Helena seems interested but was unable to attend church this week because of a family conflict, but she has visited once before and says she´ll come next week. Elder Muniz and I are also trying to help a boy named Pedro be baptized. We gave him a Book of Mormon about two weeks ago and he has been reading it. His Grandma is a member and he has been coming to church every week with her but his mom says that he needs to wait to be baptized, so we´ll see how that goes. He´s awesome though and he bore his testimony yesterday in Sacrament Meeting.

I loved being able to visit and teach people more this week. Oh, also, it is Bruno´s birthday today, I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago and I sang happy birthday to him (in Portuguese and English). He seemed to enjoy it haha. We are all going to go to dinner with him tonight and then Elder Muniz and I are going to visit Michele again. Oh, one more thing I forgot to say, it POURED this week! Elder Muniz and I were walking to lunch, when we left the office it wasn´t raining too much and then during our walk it started to pour so we got totally drenched. Then we arrived at the member´s house for lunch and he didn´t have lunch for us but gave us money, so Elder Muniz and I decided to reward ourselves with some Burger King. We walked into Burger King as wet as if I had just jumped into a pool, it was crazy! Also, the draining system here isn´t too great so all the roads turn into rivers when it rains a lot which is fun to watch cars go through. I wish I had my camera but I didn´t, so sorry, no pictures.

Anyways, that was my week. It was a great one and I look forward to another great week this week. I hope all is going well with each of you. Love you all!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

These were Christmas gifts from Angelica for Elder Muniz and me. 
We were quite surprised and it was super nice of her!

Last P-day Elder Muniz and I went to the Center and bought some things. Haircuts are like $R25 here 
so I decided to invest in some clippers and cut my own hair! I think it turned out alright.

Elder Vallo and me sitting on the side of the street New Year´s Eve 
waiting for our ride to the Bishop´s house.

New Year´s Eve at the Bishop´s house! It was a lot of fun to hang out with his family and other member´s from the ward and stake and we had some of the best food I have had since I got here!

Elder Muniz and me with our Elder´s Quorum President, his two daughters, and Michele.