Monday, May 26, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 28

Hey everyone! This week was awesome!! Things are going really well in the mission office and we had some great experiences with the people we are teaching. We have been teaching this class at a Community Center every Wednesday for people who want to know how to work a computer. We have 3 people coming and it´s been so fun. These people have never used a computer before so the class is very basic such as how to open and close a program, etc. But it is great and we really love teaching it. They have some spare guitars at this community center so I whipped one out this week and was singing and teaching. It made the class a little less dull and was fun. The people we are teaching have difficulties even moving the mouse on the computer so as I said it´s a very basic course. We also shared a message with all of them after the class from the Bible about Jesus Christ and how we can apply His sacrifice to find peace and happiness in difficulties. We invited all of them to church and one lady is very interested in hearing more so we are excited about that.
We had a great visit with Ismael, Jane, and Jorgy (members in our ward) and they are getting ready to move to a city about 2 hours away. They have been my close friends here in this ward and it turns out we will be leaving the ward the same week. I have loved seeing them grow in the church throughout these 7 months and how the Lord has blessed them to share the Gospel with their friends and to help the lives of so many, including their own.

Saturday was a great day! We had an appointment at 8 in the morning with a man that we contacted on the street last week. We showed up and he was excited to see us again and told us that he didn´t know if we were actually gonna come or not. We sat down and had a great lesson with him. His name is Adelino, age 25, and has a deep desire to know more about God and the answers to questions such as why we are here on this earth and where we are going. We read in the Bible with him and talked about the Plan of Salvation that Heavenly Father has for each one of his children. He wasn´t able to come to church because of a family conflict this week but says he wants to come next week.

After that we visited Luan, who we have been teaching almost every day for 1 month. We have had so many great experiences with him and he loves asking questions and has such a desire to know the truth. We had a great visit with him and he came to lunch with us at the Bishop´s house. It was so great and there were some members from the ward there, too. After lunch Bishop asked me, since it would be my last time eating lunch at their house, to give the message. Luan asked if he could too so I read the scripture and Luan gave a message. It was so great and Luan has a strong testimony of his Savior, Jesus Christ. After lunch we were driving and he told us that he had decided that he wanted to get baptized. As we had talked with him before about baptism he told us he has a desire to get baptized not because he thinks we´re cool or because he likes the people in the church, or any of that. But because he wants to follow his Savior, Jesus Christ. We prepared everything and he was baptized yesterday! It was so awesome and such a great day. We had the baptism right after church and a lot of members stayed for the baptism. The members truly love him and he has quickly become part of the family. He was so excited and so full of energy and light yesterday and I am so excited for him to continue to progress in the gospel. He was also so good at welcoming back to church a less active that Elder Zwick and I have been visiting. Flavio, after 32 years, came back to church for the first time. It was so great! He was introduced to Bishop and I am so happy that he made the chose to return to church.

So overall things are going so great and it was SUCH a great day yesterday and I am excited for this next week!

Thanks for everything. I miss you all and love you!
Until next week.

Elder Helvey

P.S. This is my last week working in the Mission Office and I will be transferred next week. I have absolutely loved my time here and this amazing experience I have had. After 7 months, I am super excited for my next adventure!

As I have said before they are renovating the office to get ready for the next President 
so we have had to move everything around. It was quite a bit of work and required me 
to take off my tie and untuck my shirt but don´t worry, we got it done!

Fortaleza Fish!

Pictures of Luan´s baptism!

Cameron Construction! It´s a big construction company here and I decided I needed a picture next to it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 27

This week was awesome! Things are going very well in the mission office. We received three American missionaries that had been waiting for their visas. They got here on Tuesday so it was great to welcome them to the mission and get to know them. We visited the Federal Police this week with a missionary from Cabo Verde so that was great. Also the mission office is being renovated so we can only use half of the space we have and then pretty soon we´ll have to move everything. But things are going well and my job gets easier and easier as the days go on since Elder Zwick does more and more. He is going to be a great Executive Secretary and I am getting super excited to leave the mission office. I will miss a lot of things but excited to have a regular missionary schedule and be able to visit and teach people all day every day.

We had a great week with Luan. We are continuing to teach him and he is loving it. We visited him with the Stake President this week and we had a great discussion about how we can receive answers from Heavenly Father and how he can guide us in our lives. Luan is doing great and has quickly become a very good friend to us and we are so excited to see him continue to progress. He is consistently coming to church and told us this week that he is learning more and more everyday and is excited to continue to learn how he can follow our Savior, Jesus Christ. We also played basketball with him last week and it was great. We are gonna play later today too with him and his cousin.

We also had some other great visits throughout the week. We started teaching an old man named Melo whom we contacted on the street two weeks ago. He loves to have us and loves to talk about the Gospel. He told us he wants to learn so much more about Christ and why we are here. He is a very smart man and I loved listening to his ideas of the purpose of this life and we taught him part of the Plan of Salvation. We also visited Flavio again with Ismael and we are continuing to help him come back to church. We had a great visit with Jane, Ismael, Jorgy, and Vinicius this week also. We love them and love being able to strengthen them and also be strengthened by them. We visited also a member of the church that hasn´t been to church in about 5 years. We got to know him and his wife and their son. It was great to visit them and be well received by them. We will continue to visit and help them receive the blessings that can only come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But beyond everything, definitely the best part of this week was today. This morning Elder Andersen from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited our mission!! We got up super early and headed over to one of the church buildings in Fortaleza. He arrived with President and Sister Souza. It was so awesome to meet him and to hear from him. He visited us with his wife, and Elder Mazzagardi of the Seventy and his wife. It was awesome!!! They all spoke and gave great instruction. The focus of Sister Andersen´s words were how much the Lord loves each one of us and how many prayers ascend to our Heavenly Father in our behalf. Elder Andersen gave an amazing training on how we need to teach and help people understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to help them apply it in their lives. It was very interactive as he was asking many questions and the microphone was being passed all around. He is great! He spoke with us in Portuguese and the Spirit was very strong. I learned a lot and I am excited to study the scriptures more to understand the sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for each one of us. He also talked about how we all pass through difficulties and how they are necessary for our progression and learning. It was an unbelievable experience and I feel so blessed I had the opportunity to listen to him today. When you are in his presence you can feel the deep love he has for you. It was great!

That was my week. It was a week I know I will never forget and I feel so blessed everyday to have this opportunity to serve the people here in Fortaleza and continue to learn more every day.

I hope all is going well with each one of you. I miss you and love you all. Have a great week!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Basketball at the Church Building with Luan last week!

It rained a ton this week and the lake behind me in this picture is actually 
supposed to be a street haha. But it was a lot of fun!

I will miss this beautiful view of the city and ocean at sunset.

Kickin´ it in a members hamock waiting for lunch 
(I asked if I could help but they said we could just chill out, so I did).

Elder Marcum!! It was great to see my childhood buddy Elder Marcum today at the conference with 
Elder Andersen. Morgan Hill 2nd Ward was well represented today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 26

Hey! This week was great. Everything is going very well in the Mission Office and it has been good to be able to sit back a little bit and see Elder Zwick do all the things as Executive Secretary. Things are running pretty smoothly and it´s been fun to see Elder Zwick go through exactly what I went through when I got here. Man, it doesn´t seem that long ago but it´s been 6 months already. Time really is flying by. We´re gonna only have one visit to the Federal Police this transfer and I think we´ll do it this week, so that will be fun. We are all getting really excited to welcome Elder Andersen next week. We will have a combined conference with the other mission so overall there will be more than 400 missionaries there. I am really excited to hear him and learn from him!

This week we had great experiences visiting and teaching people. We had an awesome week with our investigator, Luan. We visited him everyday this week and had some great experiences with him. He has a lot of questions about a lot of things so it´s fun to teach him. It´s been espiecially cool to study things to help him understand the doctrine more. It´s been a real learning experience for me and I have learned more about the doctrine in the process. We visited him with a member, Italo, form our ward and had a great discussion and lesson about the Book of Mormon and how the Bible and the Book of Mormon confirm one another and how they work together to help us understand Christ´s gospel. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and really loving it. During our visits we read from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to help him further understand the doctrine we are teaching. He is really loving it and we love visiting him. He told us that he now feels like part of a family and came to church again and loved it. We are going to visit him with President Simplicio, the Stake President, this week so I am excited for that.

We also visited Flavio again this week and helped him understand the importance of going to church and remeber the blessings of keeping the commandments. While we were there one of his friends came and visited him and we invited him to sit down. We had a great discussion with them both and invited them both to church. They both have a desire to come but weren´t able to come this week. We will visit them again this week and I am excited to keep helping them.

We also visited some other less actives and recent converts and had great visits with them. It is so great to be able to visit people and help them strengthen their faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, no matter how strong or weak that faith is at the particular moment. I also love hearing about their experiences and learning from them. Missionary work is truly awesome!

I was able to skype my family yesterday for Mother´s Day. It was soooo fun to see all of them and talk with them. I am so blessed!

Anyways, thanks for all the love and support and I hope all is going well for everyone.

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

We had mexican food night this week in our apartment. We made some meat tacos with some awesome salsa! We did it to celebrate Elder Zwick´s birthday that was this week. it was a lot of fun. we made tortillas from scratch and they turned out really good.

Luan bought a basketball and we are all gonna play at the church building today. He has been talkin´ smack and saying he´s gonna dunk on me so we shall see what happens.

Me with Vinicius (recent convert), Jorgy, Ismael, and Jane. They are so awesome and LOVE sharing the gospel with everyone and we have been visiting them and working with them a lot.

I SKPYED MY FAMILY!!! It was so fun to be able to see them and talk with them for Mother´s Day. They are all the best!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Aldeota, Brazil Week 25

What an amazing week in Aldeota! First off, we welcomed in the new missionaries on Tuesday from the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo. There were 11 total, 6 Elders and 5 Sisters. This group was really great and it was fun to eat lunch at the Mission Home and get to know them a little better and then go through the training with them. The week has been busy in the Mission Office and I have been training Elder Zwick how to do everything as Executive Secretary. I also forgot to mention last week that Elder Zwick only has 6 weeks on his mission so I am finishing up doing the 12 week training program for new missionaries with him. It is a great program and I have enjoyed doing it again with him. Things are going well and he will do great here!

What was really great about this week was the work we were able to do outside the Mission Office. We had some awesome experiences visiting people and teaching people. Thursday, we went and visited some less active members in our ward with a member. We visited some people on the church records that are in our ward that the church has not had contact with in a long time. After visiting the addresses and either the person didn´t live there anymore or they weren´t home, we had one last name on the list, Flavio. We walked to the address and clapped our hands and yelled his name. After awhile he came to the window and we asked if he was a member of the church. He said he was but was baptized more than 30 years ago. We asked him if we could come in and share a message with him. He came down and let us in. We sat down at his table and he explained to us that he was baptized 32 years ago when he was in his teens and that this was the first visit he had ever received since then. He told us that this has been the hardest month of his life and he has been going through some major family difficulties. He informed us that he had been praying all day and asking his Heavenly Father to show him the way and to show him what to do. He was resting and he woke up to someone calling his name. It was us. He told us that he was pretty shocked when he looked out the window and saw us there after so much time of not having contact with the church. It was an amazing experience for us and we talked with him about how we didn´t know that he was going through a hard time but that his Heavenly Father knew and that we were there to show him the way. We had a great discussion about why we have to go through difficulties and how we can find strength in our faith in Jesus Christ during challenges. We read some parts from the Book of Mormon and had a great time helping him build his faith in his Savior. It really reminded me that this work really is the Lord´s work and that he will guide us to people that are in need of our help.

We also started teaching a new investigator, Luan. He stopped Elder Allen on the road here in Aldeota and asked to know more about the church. Elder Allen gave me his address and his phone number and we visited him on Friday. We arrived at his house, where he lives with his aunt and cousin, and he was very excited to have us there. He is 20 years old and he immediately started asking us questions and we started answering them. He had very, very good questions and it was clear right away that he had a thirst for the knowledge of the truth. He has a lot of knowledge of the Bible and we talked about the Book of Mormon with him and how we have both as testimonies of Jesus Christ. He was very excited and asked if he could have one. We of course gave him one and taught him about the Restoration. We returned the next morning with a member in our ward who was baptized about a year ago. They really got a long well and we had a great discussion about how we can come to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said he had started reading and said he had plans to finish it this week. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Chirst: faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. He is very excited about it all and he came to church yesterday. During testimony meeting he leaned over to me and asked if he could say something. I of course told him he could and after a while he leaned over again and said he would if I did, so of course I did. He explained how happy he was to be there and how awesome the things were that he had learned already. He also said he felt like family when he arrived at the church and he said he is excited to be part of this great group of people soon. We are super excited about him and we have plans to visit him every day this week, including today, and prepare him to be baptized on Sunday!

The work is moving forward full force here in Aldeota and I feel very blessed to be a part of it. I hope all continues to go well with each one of you. We are also getting more and more excited about Elder Anderson coming May 19th, which will be awesome. Have a great week!

Until next week.

Elder Helvey

Luan, Elder Zwick, André (member) and me on Saturday morning.

Elder Zwick, Ismael (member) and me with Flavio on Sunday afternoon.