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!