Monday, February 24, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 15

Hello! I had another great week this past week. We had two zone conferences (half the mission on Wednesday and the other half the mission on Thursday). They were both great! It is always great to all get together and to see everyone in the mission. The training we received from President and Sister Souza and the Assistants was really great too. There is such an awesome spirit when there are so many missionaries all together in one place. Tuesday night we had quite the emergency in the office, we found out that the chapel we were going to use the next day for zone conference was unusable because of some repairs that were taking place. We had an emergency meeting with President and the Mission Staff to figure out our options and what needed to be done. So that night was pretty hectic as we decided to move it to another chapel and then had to call all the missionaries to inform them of the last minute change and then of course I had many missionaries calling me asking what bus they needed to use to get there. It was quite a hectic last minute change but ended up going really smoothly.

At the conference it was great to see the missionaries from my MTC district and from my past districts and zones here in Fortaleza. It was great to see Elder Allen - he and his companion stayed the night in our house because his companion had a doctor's appointment the next day here in Aldeota and they live way outside of Fortaleza in a city called Canindé. That night we also had 4 more Elders stay at our house because they missed their bus to return to Itapipoca (another city way outside Fortaleza). So that night we had 10 Elders in one house which was quite eventful and rarely never happens except during transfers.

This week at the church we had a great ward activity where they had spiritual thought about how Jesus Christ is the bread of life and then they taught us and showed us how to make homemade bread. It was fun and it was great to see Angelica there and Bruno both actively participating in the activity. It makes me so happy to see the change the gospel has brought in both of their lives and how happy they are to be members of the church and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. Angelica continues to prepare to serve a mission and it is great to see the excitement she has for missionary work.

We had Family Home Evening at the Bishop´s house with one of our investigators (Maria, mother of the Bishop´s wife). Angelica and another family from the ward were there, too. We had a great lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the simplicity of faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. I bore my testimony of the importance of baptism and told about the day I was baptized by my Dad in the same chapel in Montana where he was baptized.

We also had a great visit with Michele and her family and a member family. We continue to help her understand the importance of family being a central part of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we are hoping to visit her husband this week, who in the past has not wanted us to visit. But after some teaching by Elder Allen (he taught with us that night!), she said she would talk with him and we are hoping we´ll be able to visit Michele, her husband, and their two daughters this week.

We also got a new Ward Mission Leader this past week and had our first meeting with him. He is great and we are excited to work with him. We are really trying to work more with members. I watched part of the Work of Salvation broadcast from June on yesterday and it really reminded me about how important members of the church are in this great work. Every member a missionary!

We also had Stake Conference this weekend which was great. President and Sister Souza spoke in both the Saturday night session and Sunday session and there was such a focus on missionary work in both of the meetings. Every talk had to do with missionary work and how we can all better work together to help the Lord hasten the work. I am excited and feel so lucky to be a part of this great work here with such great people in Fortaleza!

That´s it for me this week. I hope all is going well for each one of you back home. Have another great week!

Until next week.

Com Amor,
Elder Helvey

Lucas and me at Family Home Evening at the Bishop´s house. I loved his BYU shirt! 
Lucas is a ward missionary and loves visiting and teaching people with us.

This was last P-day. Elder Muniz and Elder Vallo prepared a nice lunch for all of us and we all sat on our balcony. It was a relaxing P-day and it was great to finally have a P-day where after lunch 
we didn´t have to do anything. 

 This is a picture taken at the ward activity of all the missionaries in Aldeota (8 in our ward!), Angelica (baptized on Christmas Day), Bruno (baptized December 1), and Lucas (member, Bishop´s son).

Elder Allen was helping me with something real fast in the office and he sat down at my desk (his old desk) and I started to sing "he´s back, he´s back" to the music of Michael Jackson´s song "Bad". 
It was a great moment! haha

Elder Shelton (my MTC companion) and me at Zone Conference this week! 
It was great to see him and spend a little time with him.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 14

Hey everyone! It was yet another great week here in Aldeota filled with a lot of work. This week I worked a lot on figuring out some things with renewing visas for all the foreign missionaries. After one year every foreign missionary needs to visit the Federal Police to renew their visa. We didn't have a great system setup to keep track of all the visas and when each missionary would have to visit the Federal Police to renew their visa so I was working on that and it turns out that we have quite a few that have to visit the Federal Police this transfer so I am going to have to do all the documents for that and get them all scheduled at the Federal Police. This next week is going to be pretty busy because we have Zone Conferences. Half the Mission will all meet together on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday. I am looking forward to that because it is always fun to all get together and see everyone and have a day of training, but it will also be a lot of work. I have had a lot of work this week to get ready for the conferences too but it has been good. One of the things I have been doing to prepare is making a video. President asked me to make a video tribute for all the new missionaries that arrived in our mission since last conference and all the missionaries that are ending their mission before next conference. It has been a fun project to work on and I am excited about it!

I don't know if I've said this before but I am in charge of ordering all travel planes for the mission. I order all the flights for missionaries that are going home. Usually it is pretty simple and I order the travel plans with certain timing depending if it will be international travel or within Brazil. Well this past week I received an email from Church Headquarters in Salt Lake saying that because of the World Cup in June and July here in Brazil, I need to order ALL flights until August for all our missionaries. So that was a pretty big project that I finished up this week and now have all the needed travel itineraries until August, including the return travel for President and Sister Souza. They are ending their 3 year mission on June 28th and we will be getting a new Mission President, which is exciting but also sad because I love President and Sister Souza so much and for sure am gonna miss them!

This past week Elder Muniz and I also had a great visit with Bruno and we have a new investigator named Mary. We received her name as a reference from two Elders in our mission that helped her when her car broke down. We have been trying to contact her for awhile but it has been difficult. I finally was able to talk to her on the phone and mark a time when we could come visit. We visited her and had a great lesson and she had lots of questions. She is about 50 and her daughter and granddaughter live with her too and she explained about how she has visited many churches. She seemed excited and intrigued about what we talked about and we invited her to attend church. She was super excited but it turns out she works all day Sunday. She was disappointed but said she is going to try to switch shifts with one of her friends so she can come next week. We have an appointment to visit her tonight so that will be good.

We also had a great visit with Bruno this week. He loves having us over and we love visiting with him. He gave us some German food (his dad is German) and we had a great time with him. He loves telling us about everything that is going on in his life and loves telling stories and jokes. Something cool that happened is that he invited one of his friends to meet the missionaries in another ward and the missionaries there visited her and she got baptized this past week. It was so great to see how excited he is about sharing the gospel. We talked with him about serving a mission but he is not sure about it. He is 22 and not sure how his family would feel about it. We invited him to keep on thinking about it and prayerfully consider it. We had a great discussion about a lot of things and he explained to us how happy he is to be a member of this church and how it has blessed his life. Every time we visit Bruno I continue to be amazed at how much this Gospel changes peoples lives. I remember visiting Bruno for the first time with Elder Allen way back in November and to see how much he has changed and how much he has been blessed from then until now. It is truly a miracle and I am excited to continue to help him progress in the gospel and gain a stronger testimony.

Lastly, on Sunday our ward had 13 visitors at church! Which was awesome. During Priesthood 7 of the 18 people there were visitors. The work is really moving forward here in Aldeota especially with 8 missionaries in the ward.

Well that´s about it for me this week. I hope all continues to go well back home with everyone. I miss you all and love you but am doing great here and truly loving the work! Have a great week.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

This is us 4 Elders in front of 50 Sabores, which is a really good ice cream place here. Ice cream is SUPER expensive but we decided it was worth it, and it was.

This a picture of us 5 Elders in the Mission Office. One of the Elders was transferred this week so now it´s just 4 but it´s a fun picture.

Elder Muniz made Garlic Bread! It was suuuper good!!

This is me in front of Palácio da Abolição that is a place where the Governor has parties and big cultural events. It is in our area, about 5 minutes away from the Mission Office.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 13

Oi! How was everyone´s week? I hope all is going well for everyone. My week was good. Of course, since it was the first week of the transfer it was a very busy week in the mission office doing a lot of things for the new missionaries and updating everything for this transfer. Tuesday was by far the best day because we welcomed in 17 new missionaries. Welcoming the new missionaries in our mission is definitely my favorite thing that I get to do as Executive Secretary. President and Sister Souza picked up Elder Muniz and me and the Assistants Tuesday morning and we all headed to the airport. It was absolutely POURING that morning. It was crazy! It didn´t last too long but it was like every road had turned into a river here in Fortaleza. President and Sister Souza said they had never seen it rain like this for the 2 and a half years they have been here. I thought it was pretty fun!

But anyways we waited at the airport for awhile waiting for the 10 missionaries from the MTC in São Paulo. President bought us some chocolates while we were waiting and they were super good. After awhile they came out and Elder Muniz and I went in the van with them to the Mission Home where we had lunch. That´s another reason I love the day when the new missionaries come because we have tacos at the Mission Home and they are SUPER good!! After lunch we headed to the Mission Office and gave trainings, President had interviews, and then they all met their trainers and Elder Muniz and I loaded them all up in taxis and they all left. Then we waited in the Mission Office for a little bit waiting for the second group (7 visa waiters from the United States). They finished up dinner at the Mission Home and came over. It was great to welcome them. I love welcoming the visa waiters because I know exactly how they feel. It seems like that was me just a few days ago. It was especially great to see my companion from the MTC, Elder Shelton. I gave him a big hug and welcomed him to Fortaleza! We talked for awhile and got to catch up a little bit. He is super excited to finally be here! He was serving in Colorado waiting for his visa forever. We gave training again, and I tried to explain how fun visiting the Federal Police was going to be but Elder Muniz and the Assistants informed them otherwise. haha oh well, at least I tried. So I will be visiting the Federal Police with all 7 of them in the coming weeks. They all met their companions and we loaded them up in taxis and they all went to their new areas. Since we got 43 new missionaries last transfer,  welcoming in 17 seemed a little less hectic and I really enjoyed the day!

Most of the rest of the week we spent in the office because there is so much to do the first week of the transfer. One cool experience I had this week was on Friday when Elder Vallo and I went and visited a potential new house for missionaries. It was about 30 minutes away on Friday afternoon and there was a lot of traffic. The house was good and the people that lived there gave us some brownies and ice cream. They are members that are moving so it was nice to meet them. But what was cool is that Elder Vallo called for a taxi and a few minutes later they called him and said the taxi was outside. So we left the apartment complex but there was no taxi. We were waiting and waiting forever and Elder Vallo was calling but they weren´t picking up. We waited here for about 45 minutes and then randomly this car pulls up and they roll down the windows and it was some members from our ward! They gave us a ride back to the mission office, just in time for me to finish some things up that needed to be done before 6PM Friday. It was a small little miracle!

Saturday Elder Muniz and I visited Michele and had a good lesson with her at a member´s house. She told us she probably won´t get married until August. We also visited Bruno and we had a great visit with him! He has been struggling a little bit and we had a great lesson about the importance of daily prayer and scripture study. After the lesson we offered a prayer and he stood up to give us hugs and he said, "Milagre! Cada vez vocês visitam eu sinto melhor" (In English, Miracle! Each time you visit me I feel better").  It was a great experience and we are excited to continue to work with him and help him.
We have 9 missionaries in Ala Aldeota now, 5 Elders and 4 Sisters. During Sacrament Meeting on Sunday we all sang "Hark all ye Nations". We sang one verse in Portuguese, one verse in Spanish (we have 3 missionaries that speak Spanish), and one verse in English. It was really cool.

Well that´s about it for my week. I hope all continues to go well for each one. I feel your continued prayers! Have a great week!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

 Elder Vallo and I enjoyed a nice warm brownie with ice cream with our two new friends. haha they were so funny. They are the twin boys of a member and they were excited to have us there for sure.

The entrance of the Mission Office!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 12

Boa tarde!

Well it has been a very busy week here in Aldeota! Today was transfers which is always a busy time in the Mission Office. But before I get to that, Elder Muniz and I were able to have some great experiences with visiting people. We had Family Home Evening in the house of a part member family with one of our investigators, Michele, and her 10 year-old daughter. She is doing well and comes to church almost every week. We had a great time with them as we talk about how we have opportunities to both teach and learn at church and why the church is set up that way. It was a great discussion and we had some sandwiches and cake afterwards.

We also were to attend a birthday party for Angelica. She invited us and a few members to have dinner with her family for her birthday. It was a lot of fun to be there and to get to know her family more. We have been trying to meet with them for awhile and we hope we can start visiting them soon. Bruno was there too so it was great to be with both Angelica, who was baptized on Christmas, and Bruno who was baptized December 1st. They are both doing great and are going to start going to Institute classes that starts in 2 weeks.

We also visited a contact that lives on the edge of our area. She was very friendly and invited us in and we shared a message with her and her friends. She is an English teacher and her friends (2 guys from São Paulo) were very nice and enjoyed our message. They all thanked us for visiting them but said they already belong to a church but were very nice and respectful. They thanked us for the great work we do as missionaries and we prayed with them before they left. Even though they are not now interested to learn more it was a great visit. It was a good week visiting and teaching people!

Today was transfer meeting. I got up this morning at 3:45AM because I needed to take an Elder to the airport who finished his mission this week. It was actually Elder Soares (who I lived with my first 6 weeks here and was my first Zone Leader). I really like him and it was great to be able to take him to the airport (even if it was SUPER early). After, we went to the transfer meeting and that was great as always! It´s great to see so many missionaries and feel the great spirit of missionary work when we are all together. After transfer meeting we call lots of taxis and get all the missionaries in taxis and send them to their new areas. It´s pretty hectic and a lot of work with all the baggage and everything, especially in the hot sun but it´s really fun too. After that Elder Muniz and I took an American Elder that finished his mission this transfer to the airport. We shared lunch together at the airport and he got on his flight to São Paulo. Now we are back in the Mission Office and have lots of things to finish up to get ready for the 17 new missionaries tomorrow. Elder Muniz and I will go with President and Sister Souz and the two Assistants to pick them up at the airport. And then have lunch at the mission home and each do our training like normal. I love this time in the Mission Office and it will be a very long but great day tomorrow! I´m especially excited to see my companion from the MTC, Elder Shelton, who will get here tomorrow!

Also, some exciting news in Aldeota! We received 4 Sister missionaries to serve in the ward too and one more Elder who will be here in the Mission Office with us, so in total we are going to have 9 MISSIONARIES in the ward! We are way excited and so are the members. And because of this we now have a ALDEOTA ZONE!! It´s sweet! We are excited! I am very excited to have another transfer with Elder Muniz as my companion. It will be another GREAT transfer!

I hope all is going well for everyone back home. I love you all. Thank you for the continued support and prayers.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

This is me riding the bus here in Fortaleza! We use the bus to pretty much go anywhere.

This is a picture of my zone (ZONA FORTALEZA) with President and Sister Souza. 
We all got shirts for the last week of the transfer. They are sweet!

We had the dedication of the new chapel in Fortaleza (the biggest in Fortaleza). It will be our new stake center and we will have zone meeting there every week. It is so big and beautiful!

Dropping Elder Soares (my first Zone Leader) off at the airport! 
He gave me the tie I am wearing in the picture. He is great and I will definately miss him.

Elder Muniz and I enjoyed Domino´s Pizza at the airport today! It was VERY good!!