Wednesday, December 19, 2007

papai noel! "o que voce quer para natal, minino?"

I don't mean this in a mean way, but ... the week before Christmas and all i got was this little group letter? (written in third person?... mom!?) Thanks, though for the letter- if there had been NO letter i might have cried :-).

Well, sounds like things are all christmasy there, AWESOME! It is hot and humid here, and the only relief is when it rains. But, when it rains, it pours...
so... I sent you a piece of the letter that pres brinton sends every week, the part about “the phone call”! well, what happened is this: right now, i don’t think anyone has invited us over for christmas, so... i don’t know what we are going to do. Also, p-day has been moved to christmas, so i won’t be working until 6:00 PM. (i think that part was in portuguese) , so SURE, you can call me at 9 or 10 AM. I will just be sitting there waiting. :-)

I PROMISE- for sure this time that i will send all those forgotten letters that i wrote and haven’t sent. There are a TON of them! As for the work here- things are slow. We don’t have anyone who is chomping at the bit to get baptized or anything, we DO have a lot of new people that we are teaching along with the few old good ones.

We taught this family yesterday, and the father didn’t really want to participate in the lesson, but we NEEDED him so that we could teach. So we convinced him to stay. He seemed to like the lesson, and at the end we asked him to offer the closing prayer. He had never really gone to church or prayed in front of anyone before, so we helped him with the prayer. It was beautiful, heartfelt and sincere. A rare prayer to hear done here, because it wasn’t tainted with all the “senhor-meu pai”s that the crentes use, and it wasn’t memorized like the catholics. It was truly a man talking with his God, for perhaps the first time. At the end of the prayer, i looked at the wife, who is true-blue-evangelical, and she was crying. She was so excited that her husband listened to something “church-y” and prayed. Her husband was really neat too. Like when we were about to explain about apostasy and move into joseph smith, he stops us and asks: “but why are there SO many churches today? Why don’t they teach the same thing? Isn’t there just ONE jesus, then why does everyone talk about him different?” we said that we had just the answer for him; that a young boy once had the same questions, and that was why we are here. Truly, it was a lesson different that most. Later the wife too, softened and said, in not so many words that if HE would follow this church, so would she. And they have a pretty big family too, so it was a great day.

So, that scripture that you sent was the scripture of the week for me [scriptures on charity]. I am always thinking that there has got to be something more that i can do to be a better missionary, and we always read about how faith is necessary to be the kind of missionary like alma and his brothers, to move mountains, and more importantly to move people. But, like paul says, all this and no charity, it means nothing. I can love and desire to help ALL of the people in my area, i can try to develop the faith to be that instrument of power for the Lord, but if i can’t truly love my companion, it is all in vain. So, i am working on it.

Tomorrow we have interviews. I LOVE interviews, and it is so sad to see missionaries that don’t like them. Missionaries only are afraid of the president if they aren’t doing their best. Because, the best is all he asks, right? It just kills me to talk to missionaries that DONT UNDERSTAND. But, love right?, that is the answer.

So, i gotta scram, talk to you on Tuesday.
Love, elder helland

Letter from Elder Everton (Adam's companion):
hi helland family . thanks for the letter . i have one brother and 5 sister . but only my youngest sister and i are member of the church . i was baptized to almost 4 years ago and i ´m so happy to be a member of the church of jesus christ . i love all my mission and i´m very close to finish my mission but the best part of the mission is when you see a person that you helped been baptized. i ´m so grateful unto the lord to have this opportunity to serve a mission . have a good merry christmas

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas letter from Pres. Brinton

Av. das Américas, 1155 Salas 502/503
Barra da Tijuca - Rio de Janeiro, RJ
CEP 22631-000 Brasil
Fone: (21) 2111-9243/ 2111-9244
Fax: (21) 2493-6237

Dear Helland Family,

Christmas is our favorite time of year. It is a wonderful opportunity to think of the many gifts that we enjoy in our lives. We are grateful for the gift of the baby born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, and for the greater gift of his sacrifice upon the cross for the redemption of our sins, and the equally great gift of overcoming death through His resurrection. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission with your son. What a priceless gift you have given to us! When we arrived in this mission we knew that we would develop an affection for the missionaries who served with us, but we did not understand how much we would grow to love them.
We are grateful for the values that you instilled in him before he arrived here--a desire to search the scriptures, a desire to love other people, a desire to work hard, a desire to have new experiences, and a desire to know his Father in Heaven. We are grateful for the habits that you instilled in him as he was growing up—the discipline to get up at 6:30 a.m., the ability to live within a budget, and the skills to keep his apartment clean. (Some of these things we are still perfecting.) Most of all, we are grateful for the love you have for him and the support you show him through the letters you write and the prayers you offer in his behalf. Of course, you will have an opportunity to talk with your son on Christmas day. Believe us, he is looking forward to this opportunity. The missionary handbook gives this direction to your son, “Take care that these calls do not pull your thoughts away from your service or create a financial problem for your family. Keep them short (preferably no longer than 30 or 40 minutes).” Let your son share the excitement of his missionary experiences with you and try to avoid conversations that will make him homesick.

He is performing a great work here among the people in Rio de Janeiro and is well loved by the members of the church and the people he is teaching. We recently talked with the missionaries about the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob, chapter 5. In the 72nd verse, we read “And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their might; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.” We often think of this verse when we think of these fine young men and women performing their work. They are His servants and they are laboring with their might and the Lord is laboring with them. They are truly among the “noble and great ones,” chosen before they were born to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the humble and pure in heart.
Along with them, we testify that God, our Heavenly Father lives, that He sent His Son to live and die for all men. We know that Jesus Christ lives again as a resurrected being and that in the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith actually saw God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Through him, the Lord restored the fullness of His gospel. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God and this book is tangible proof that he was a prophet. We have faith in the promise given by Moroni that if any person will read the Book of Mormon, having faith in Christ and pray with a sincere heart, that the Lord will answer that prayer with an assurance that the book is true.
Merry Christmas! We wish you peace, and love and joy at this time of year.


President Brinton Sister Brinton

feliz seja seu natal

I’m hoping that this video attaches; it is a video of us on the way to zone conference. It was a lot of fun. Our zone leaders are the ones that are playing the primary songs on the guitar and harmonica. We sang and “goofed” most of the way there (like 2 hours- TO JUIZ DE FORA!!! that is in a different state! the name actually means “outside judge”). so, zone conference was awesome like it always is. This time we learned about how to plan and be more organized. It was really great. (see ch 8 of PMG) also it was nice to see old friends from the CTM days. We talked and swapped stories about the weird things that we eat and see out here. That was last Friday. Last week was pretty regular; we struggled to find people to teach so the week was pretty slow. Most of our investigators turned “mole” (pronounced; molely) meaning that they didn’t come to church and they aren’t really progressing anymore. So we had to cut a whole bunch of them. Now, we are looking for new ones; and we’ve got a plan...

At zone conference president introduced our new referral getting strategy: cartão vivo de natal (like a christmas-gram) yep, it includes a whole song and dance. We presented it to the elders’ quorum and the Socsoc (relief society). we sing a christmas song in english and portuguese, then read some scriptures from luke 2 and 3 nephi 1. then we had all the members write down the names of their friends that they would like us to visit and deliver this cartao vivo de natal. They gave a bunch of names and we are going to visit them. I am excited.

Alright about christmas; this is what the president said in his carta semenal: Vamos mudar nosso P-Day de quarta-feira para terça-feira no dia de Natal e do Ano Novo, dias 25 de dezembro e 1 de janeiro. Você pode usar a internet quarta-feira antes do almoço dia 26 de dezembro e dia 2 de janeiro para escrever e ler as cartas. Arranja com suas famílias sua ligação de Natal para acontecer no dia de Natal, antes de 18:00 horas, quando vai resumir seu trabalho na sua área. Seus Pais podem ligar para seu celular se eles quiserem. O custo destas ligações são despesas da família ou do missionário e não da missão ou a mesada. Vamos seguir o manual missionário que diz, "Cuidado com esses telefonemas para que seus pensamentos não se distanciem do trabalho nem causem problemas financeiros a sua família. Não faça ligações longas (preferencialmente não mais que 30 ou 40 minutos)."

For the American Elders, your parents can call your cell phone using the following numbers: 011 55 digit city code, (either 21, 24 or 32 depending where you are) and then the 8 digit number of your cell phone. For example, to call my cell phone, they would call: 011 55 21 8655 0480. It will be much cheaper for your parents in the US to call you from there than for you to call them from here.

So that’s what he says. Our cell number is 8814 9176 and our area code is 24. so the number to call is: 01 55 24 8814 9176. just tell me the time you guys will call next week. (be sure to specify that it is in MY time ZONE!)

It was nice of you guys to send elder everton a letter. He understood all of it and i think that he is writing you back. If you guys could do me a favor and punch jay, that would be great. “sim, burro, eu ja sei TUDO!”

As for the update for how my comp and I are doing, we are still “alright”. After zone conference, i left wanting to change the way we do things in accordance with the instruction we received, and elder everton didn’t. Also, he gets more and more trunky every day. So we will see. The problem isn’t just the trunky thoughts; it is that trunky thoughts lead to trunky action; just like we read in the scriptures: thoughts lead to actions. I am trying to keep my thoughts focused on being nice to him- even when it’s hard.

So it sound like you guys are having fun there, it is raining and cooling down. it is raining here too, but it is also warming up. Some days, i just get soaked because of the humidity. 85 degrees and 100% humidity is miserable if there is no wind. Luckily, this is the rainy season, and we get rain a few days a week, but people tell me that it could rain everyday in january, non stop.

Well, gotta get going- today we are going to play soccer with the zone.

Love elder helland.

PS. I received a letter from camille pobst and that essay by roxanne. I ALSO got a giant box from g-ma and g-pa helland. THANKS!!

PPS i am sorry, i found a bunch of letters that i wrote and never sent from like a month ago. I WILL mail TODAY! I promise i will this time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

super-show tempo de natal!

that is Americanized-brazilian slang for “awesome christmas time.” (more or less anyway...)

Well, you will get a little less letter this week, but a whole grip full of pictures. It is a trade off. Lets see if i can answer a few of your questions and “resolve some of your concerns” (he-he... that’s a missionary term)

Just so you know things are going SO MUCH better between me and e. Everton. To be honest, the key was scripture study. I finished the book of mormon today, and i can't even begin to describe the power that i get every day from that book. (if you want you can sing “scripture power” here....I did.) so, one of the things i learned there at the end of the book, was about love. They really talk a lot about it. (Or maybe i really needed to learn about it and so that is what i read) so i made a goal to REALLY try to love e. Everton the way i love myself. The way the Savior loves him. It was neat, because every morning i would read something to help me that day, and the WHOLE day i would think about it. I would think about how i could be nicer to him. And then things started to happen. First i had to spend a little more money, the occasional ice cream cone or coke helped a lot. Then we just started talking more, and openly. This last week has been pretty good. We now talk whenever we have a problem and resolve it then. We bought a guitar for him to teach me how to play, and now i think that only thing that we will have to fight is the onset of trunkiness.

Also, we had a TON of investigators at church this last Sunday. (actually- 6- but that is a lot here) 2 of them are these two girls that are so excited about the gospel. They both stopped coffee that day we told them, and the one is missing hockey practice on sun. mornings to come to church. When we go to their house for lessons they always have someone new there to hear the lesson too. It is really neat to see them growing in the gospel. To be frank- I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO NERVOUS AT CHURCH IN MY LIFE!! It was a fast Sunday and our most hopeful investigators were there for the first time. I prayed the whole time that no one would do something stupid. After church they said that they LOVED it. (AWESOME!!!) Also, we have a lot of new investigators, but we are still hoping that they will turn out strong too.

So we decorated the apartment. I put up the tree ALL BY MYSELF- no complaining that no one else was helping. I also put up the lights on the tree ALL BY MYSELF- i also decorated the tree ALL BY MYSELF- no whining (though i am sure that you guys didn’t have any whining or complaining this year for decorating too.). It is now christmas-y and we plug in the christmas lights during planning time at night. Everyday, elder everton feels all of his presents and tries to guess what they are. I keep telling him that it is candy, but he doesn’t believe me. Also, he wants to open them early, but i told him we have to wait... really, we are waiting.

We have got another zone conference this Friday, and I CANT WAIT! Man, i love z. Conf!! I get to see all (some of) my long lost friends from the CTM, AND get to hear the president speak. It is always awesome.

Lets see, what else... i always think of good things to write on Sunday, but i forget by p-day...

Oh, i had some more delicious brazilian food—cow tongue... it was ...different. Also for dessert at someone else’s house we got pickled orange rinds and miner-cheese. I was like, “what- you call this dessert!”... that was awful. Also, we regularly get mayo sandwiches- which really aren’t all that bad anymore; i just struggle with the fact that i am eating so much mayonnaise.

mom- we are waiting to be "invited " over for christmas still. we will probably find out this week. as for speaking portuguese- mangas com açucar (piece of cake). the only real problem i have still is that brazilians think that i have a funny voice... which i do. obviously, i still have a TON to learn, but i can talk easily, and understand most everything.

alyce- my little aquabat-girl! YES- to “kill a comp” is to be his companion when his two years are up. i hope i get your letters this friday. but if not, the zone leaders make more trips to the office this time of year to get mail for everyone.

dad- WHAT!!!!- Westview is in the state champs?? are you sure!? and DALLAS- awesome- tell ethan that i am excited for him!! and WHAT!!! they took down our holy napkin of eagle scouts!! i am glad that we are in metal now. please- don’t stop sending me sports stuff. if you started sending just scriptures if would just be weird.

WELL, love you all- elder helland-

E-mail from Elder Everton:

hi helland family
this is elder everton . i´m elder helland´s companion. i´m writing for you all to thanks for the presents that you sent for us .we ´re so excited for christmas e we did´nt open none of the presents. so thank you very much and have merry christmas .

first is our christmas tree. it is now a part of our closet. pretty cool looking i think!

i think the next several pictures are of our nativity that we did for district meeting. Here we are as wise men seeing the star.

Here we are wise men giving gifts to Jesus.(you have to look closely at this picture... tell ken and angie that my teddy bear made a great baby Jesus)
He were are shepherds seeing the angel (we didn’t have crooks, so we used umbrellas).

then i think is a picture of our old zone.(actually, it is just two of the 3 districts in our zone- the others live very far away.)

last is a picture that i took from the top of Castelo, our tallest mountain bairro; this is my turf... my sacred stomping grounds.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

from transfers to transformers...

Hey- transfers were today, and ... Elder Everton REALLY REALLY wanted to be transferred but, looks like we are going to be together for another 6 weeks. Actually, i am going to “kill him” [be with him when he finishes his mission – doesn’t seem like a nice term!!!]. The tough part is that we are having problems now, and things are only going to get worse the trunkier he gets as “jan 9” approaches. Well, i guess the silver lining here is that i don’t have to leave this AWESOME area! So, the truth is that my comp is a little depressed that he didn’t get to go to his old favorite area like he asked president, and on top of that, his bad example got him removed as district leader. ... i think that we are going to have to have a heart to heart and try to get this sinking ship to shore. The work is awesome, and i think that study and prayer are the only things that get me through the day some days. It really is amazing just how much i learn form the scriptures. I am almost done with the BOM [Book of Mormom] now. It is that assignment that president gave us from PMG. Ch 5; to read the BOM marking only certain things. Look it up for the rest of the info. I had to read it in english again, but i am in 2 Nephi in portuguese. Anyway, the past week was rough because, my comp was so sure that he would be transferred he ventured to shake the cage a little. G-ma, said in the letter that i never told you guys what exactly the problems were. Basically he doesn’t respect the pres. and doesn’t think much of the rules about visiting members and single women. This is a BIG deal to our president, and so most of our problems stem from there. ... but anyway, about study. This last week, i really hoped that one of us would be transferred, but i prayed that i could have that “thy will be done” attitude. Everyday during scrip study i read things that really “popped” for me- about WHY we have trials, and also that really all things are a choice. In the end i think that i will be a stronger missionary, a better person because of the struggles that i have with e. everton. The truth is, i came on a mission not for me. Not for you guys. I came for the LORD. I promised to devote EVERTHING to him. And so, i am just a tool. Maybe we won’t be as effective as if both of us were on the same page and more unified. But like i said- this is the LORD’S mission, not really mine. Maybe he is just sharpening the tool.

Anyway, in way of the lighter aspects of my life out here:
I GOT THOSE AWESOME PACKAGES YOU SENT! My comp wanted to open everything now, but i said that you said to wait. That tape you made was cool, except that mom talks like she sent it to a little kid. NO, i didn’t listen to ALL of it, i just plugged it in to see what it was. THANKS guys! Hey, speaking of Natal (christmas), i guess that i will get to call you guys. I don’t know how to do that and neither does my comp. If you guys could look into that, that would be great. Like, you might have to send a calling card or something???

WHAT DO YOU MEAN JAZZ DIES????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRANSFORMERS was absolutely awesome. We watched it last week as a zone. We also played soccer and ate brazilian hot dogs! The movie was a little hard to follow, but cool!

DAD- my little football star. Footbol here is something that you play with your foot. And the truth is that i am not all that good compared to most brazilians. Also, i have only played once since i got here if you can believe that.

Police- here’s the deal- GET a SCHOLARSHIP. Do good in school. That’s all i got. I think it would be cooler to go to BYU, but the decision is yours. Also, you ought to know that you have been replaced as the cutest one among all my pictures. Apparently, brazilians think that madi looks brazilian and hot. I have a picture of her at her elementary graduation. They ask first who she is, in relation to me, and then how old she is. I then have them guess. They usually guess 18. i then tell them that she is 14. after that, you are number one again. The problem is that you are “all american”, you just don’t look brazilian AT ALL. :-)

MOM- hey there, wonder woman! Sounds like you had your hands full and handled it awesome. Alyce said the reunion was a hit. It also sounds like you and i are learning the same things. REALLY, when i am down, which happens sometimes. Sometimes i feel alone out here in a world that speaks martian and a companion that plays for a different team. It can be lonely. BUT, there is the incredible promise of the Comforter. If i seek the spirit, he is there. I am NOT alone in my desires for righteousness, and Christ is my teammate and captain.

Well out of time, the computer is so slow today that i sent no pix. I will try a video next week.
Love elder helland

ps i also got a letter from g-ma jones and two from mom and one from jimmy today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

imagine turkey on beans and rice- THAT is why we don’t have turkey day here!

Happy turkey-day! Maybe i will go and find some artificial turkey-burgers to cook tomorrow. Just so you know, mom, we DO eat at the houses of members almost everyday- except p-day. We eat LUNCH at the houses of members. BEANS and RICE - usually accompanied by some kind of bony, chewy meat. EVERY DAY! To say that I love the arroz and fejao, seria uma mentira. But i eat it because it is the only food that we get every day. Hope that you guys have fun eating all that... [sob, sob]... sorry, i guess i am pretty jealous of all the good stuff you’ll have. Say “hi” to all the family out there for me. Sounds like fun to have everyone over. The activities sound AWESOME! I am sure that everyone will love it! Ken and angie sent me a pacote (package) that was AMAZING! The delicious taste of REESES is still on my lips!

Sorry, but I have limited time to write letters, especially since my companion doesn’t write to hardly anyone. Hey, alyce, I wrote you a letter or two, but i haven’t mailed them yet. Actually, i have a lot of letters to mail, but the post office is SO STINKING far from our house that we haven’t passed by there yet. Today, i promise that i will mail them.

Kory and roxanne came to church, huh? Yep, i know roxanne, we ate lunch together some times in high school. That is awesome. Tell kory that he won’t get another letter from me till he sends one. 2 unanswered is the limit. So next week is transfers, and my companion has asked to be transferred because he wants to go back to an old area of his. At this point i don’t care. I am just praying for things to change for the better. I had heard stories about how it could be difficult with some companions, but i never knew... it would be … so difficult. Today, we are going to play soccer and have lunch with our zone. Our zone leaders are AWESOME. Since e. Everton is district leader, we had splits with the zone leaders this week end. It was great. I was with elder may, from UT. I learned a lot from him, and we had a great day together. Also we had splits again this monday with the other elders in the district. I was with e. Francis. We talked a lot and he told some stories about missionaries he had as companions. I learned how important it is to stick to my beliefs NOW, and keep on trying to do my best, so as to avoid all the problems that come to all those missionaries who are fubekas.

Well, in the way of funny story of the week, this week i was “kissed” by a girl. By this i mean, that the custom here, especially among women, is to kiss on the cheek as a greeting. Normally, i am immune to this sort of greeting, being as i am so tall that i would have to bend down for them to get their lips on my face. BUT this time we were sitting down, when one of our new investigators walked into the room. (one of our BEST investigators-and by that i mean that she is so excited to come to church on Sunday that she is going to miss a hockey game. ... i guess she is a hockey player.. but that is off topic) so she walks in and i extend my hand, which she grabbed and then she swung in like a bullet and smacked one on the cheek. Same happened to my comp. Oh and by the way, by on the cheek, i really mean by the cheek, i don’t think anyone really kisses ON the cheek; they just make the kissing sound, CLOSE to the cheek. Well, i thought it was funny. We later explained to her that we would feel better if she didn’t do that any more.

Well my comp wants to leave now... i will try and send pics next week, along with transfer tidings.

Love elder helland

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


all your e-mail titles this week were weird. 'Testosterone' and 'you’d be dead', i was like "awesome, i wonder what the heck happened there this week?" anyway, no pictures this week, my batteries in my camera just died and refused to last long enough to get any pictures in. this week was pretty awesome here. i don’t think i told you, it rains everyday here, so i get pretty wet. this last week my american umbrella finally gave up the ghost, and so i went and bought a new one from one of the weird vender-guys that cover the streets in the downtown. he had three choices of umbrella. the BIG, non-compact ones: 20$R , and then there were two, seemingly identical compact ones. one was 5$R the other was 15$R. well, as you know, missionary life is one devoid of dineiro, and so i asked what the difference was between the two, all the while already having decided to go with the cheaper one. the man said one was higher quality, but i thought- hey!, i am buying this off the street- quality-shmolity. so i bought the cheap one. the next day it rained and i found out why he said there was a difference. my current umbrella functions like a t-shirt. it lets the water right in! well, since then i have found that it works well enough in light rain, but the big stuff just soaks me, guarda-chuva notwithstanding.

legrand to korea! whoa dude!!!! that is totallly awesome! i think that we had a missionary in our ward (your ward) that shane and i went on splits with who was waiting for his visa to korea. that is a language that i am glad that i don’t have to speak. (by the way, yes, they just SPLIT the india mission. we get the 'church news' here - newspaper)

in answer to ALL those questions- no, we don’t really have any good investigators now. our baptism for this last sunday fell through, and now we are looking for new investigators.

MOM- i am ALWAYS obedient. but, yes, i am still having a few problems with elder everton. he is pretty fubeka and trunky some days. but the president is working with me to make our companionship better. don’t worry about this. i tell the president everything and talk with him regularly no, i haven’t got the packages yet, nor will i until transfers. i will update you then. WHAT DO YOU MEAN- YOU ALREADY DECORATED FOR CHRISTMAS?!? do you know what the date is? we aren’t even close to thanksgiving yet! you guys are little kids!

alyce- what’s all this talk about dating - you sound too old. yep, mom and dad had cool titles this week and well, yours was.... think of more, that’s a good idea. i wrote you a regular letter, but the post office that mails to the USA is a 4 mile walk from our house, and i just have to hope that we walk past it some time this week. i love you letters they make me laugh.

dad- all i can say is good luck. unfortunately- testosterone here is expensive. i could send you some drugs- but i don’t think that’s what you wanted. how about this- i saw a clip on a tv in a store about something exploding at a basketball game. (that’s my best "how bout those bears.. "- planes trains and automobiles:) ) [This is in reply to Eric "complaining" about being with two girls all the time- Alyce and me - and needing some more "testosterone" in the home without Adam here! :-)] but losing to a girl... no manner of e-mail consolation can fix that! [Eric shared how our newest family member, Deb – Lance’s wife – beat him at golf AND bowling this past weekend!!!]

well, sorry i gotto go. i will write some of the spiritual experiences that you guys always want in a letter today. the problems is it is always hard to re-write those things, because i spént so much time writing them the first time. maybe one day i will mail you my journal.:)

love you all-
elder helland

Read blog below from last week - I just put it on TODAY! I guess I'm a fubeka (slacker), too!

what if a tiger bit me... would i turn into a were-tiger?

Letter from 11-7-07

Oops, another week I'm behind on putting Adam's letter on! We went a few days without a computer...!

So, this was a good week, felipe was baptized and that was really cool. I played that piano for primary, but i think that i proved to the primary pres that when i told her on the phone that i was bad at the piano, i meant it. It was hard because she had me play on this tiny keyboard, and it was tough without the sustain peddle and weighted keys. So i pretty much just plunked out the right hand as best i could. Here in brasil everyone sings the hymns differently - more slowly than we sing them. We sang ‘master the tempest is raging’ in sacrament meeting and it took FOREVER! The problem is that we don’t have a piano or an organ in our church, so we have to do whatever that leader-lady does. In our new chapel (will be finished in jan.) we will finally get a piano! The new chapel is going to be HUGE! I’m talking three stories! Like a little temple! (we don’t make that comparison to "little temple" anymore because too many members get confused and think that they really are getting a little temple) they are building this same design of chapels all over the mission. This next year, our mission is supposed to have 5 more chapels constructed, or something like that.

I don’t know if i told you already, but i saw three more little monkeys here. That takes the “monkey count” up to 11!

Well, back to regular schedule programming; we have a lot of cool investigators now that we are teaching. The only ones that are progressing though are under that age of 15. our zone teases my comp for “strengthening the primary”, because he baptized 4 children last transfer. Now, it looks like we might have a few more.

Well, things are better with my companion. No, things are better with me. This last week i learned a lot about ME and the things that I can do to solve my problems. After all, i am the only one that i can control. So, i just do that. Worry about myself- and not think about him. I can’t change him, so i am changing me. I really thought a lot about that principle of the atonement, that Christ in a very real way, is the mediator between me and every other person. The key to my being happy, is reconciling myself to HIM, not anyone else. So things are better, i just think about the “great Mediator of all men”, a lot now. And that is always good.

Well, i have to get going, my time on the computer is almost gone. I hope to get your letters some time soon... i have interviews this week, i so will get some letters there.

So, alyce is turning into a little truant, eh!? That sounds like me, not here, and i never missed school like she does. Mom, go ahead and give here the “look” for me. She still has to get good grades so we can go to college together.

Alyce, ditch’n school, oh-yeah! I remember those days...[sigh of nostalgia], just get good grades and have fun, that is the slogan of senior year,

Dad, sorry about ASU, i know that you really loved them (to be read sarcastically)

Sorry about the bad spelling, my word is trying to correct everything into portuguese.

Got to scram _ abração and lots of love

Elder helland

Right, a few captions for the pictures:

Pic 1: felipe´s baptism! felipe is awesome! he is going to be confirmed this Sunday. Also, this week we are going to start teaching some of his younger brothers and sisters too. They are all excited to come to church and see what it is that felipe is doing. His little sister asked if felipe is going to serve a mission. We said that we hope so, but when he turns 19. it was a cool thought: little felipe- my first baptism,- might one day also be a missionary!
Pic 2- us in the elevator to our apartment. Everyday when we walk in the elevator, my comp looks at himself in the mirror and tells himself that he is beautiful, then asks me if i think he is beautiful. I respond in the affirmative. I’m serious here- EVERY TIME we get in the elevator. Every time.

Pic 3: this is a picture of our district (the elders in our district anyway) elder frances and elder sorenson are on the one side- they are really cool. And then there is me and my companion- just kidding, my comp took the picture. This was p-day a week or two ago, while we strolled downtown petropolis. This duck spoke english, so we took a picture with it. (the only english word he knew was QUACK... which he repeated several time to us, and we responded in like manner. One of the more fluent conversations that I’ve had in brasil.

Pic 4: us - me and elder everton. I think that we were in a museum here. I guess petropolis is called “the imperial city”, because the emperor used to live here and is buried here. Sounds very star wars-ish, huh. Also, the giant cathedral is called the “death star”. Well, that’s what i call it anyway. It has lots of saints all over it and two dead guys inside (don pedro one and two), so the name fits. See pic 5

Pic5- the death star :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Parents’ “Pay Day” letters

I guess they do come once in a while. :-)

Dear Mamãe (Mom),

This is a little note more than a letter. Today is P-Day and I am reviewing my conference notes for personal study. This year all those “Family Talks” made me really think about how blessed I am to have been born in our family. Sister Julie Beck gave a talk about mothers that made me think. She used the classic mother's day scripture – “Our mother’s knew it” and I saw it in a whole new light. I remember when I was younger, you would tell me to do things; like the time in the 6th grade, you told me to go and make friends with Steven Gilliland (and you had me say something completely ridiculous). It was awkward and hard, but I did it, and then I had a good friend that year when school was hard. Same thing with all those girls you had me ask out. For some reason, I always just did it (usually with a lot of your coaxing and prodding), and ALWAYS things turned out good. SOMEHOW, “MY mother knew it!”

Another thought I had was this: As a missionary, I am living a different kind of life here – all the focus is on study and serving others. This last general conference for me was AMAZING and I learned more than ever before. And so I thought: So this is what Mom always loved – this is why she took pages of notes while I drew pictures. This kind of life is new and great for me, but I can see that you were living this way my whole life. Clearly, “my mother [already] knew it!” Really, you have prepared me to be a missionary! During Elder Bednar’s talk, I remembered how you used to make the scriptures “exciting” by reading in different voices. It built an interest and love for the scriptures in me.

Anyway, thanks and I love you. The key was, I think, that THEY knew their mothers knew it. Thanks for the great example!

Adam (Sonny-Bar-Gel)

Dear Papaí (Dad),

Again, this is a note, not a letter. I am just studying the things I learned during general conference. I guess one thing a mission does is help develop an appreciation for family! I can see from “here,” all the things you guys did for me, better. During the talk by Elder Oaks I thought of you. He talked about “one-on-one” time with parents. I guess I thought of my favorite memories with you: Every father and son campout, those weeks of hooliganism when Mom and Alyce were at Girl’s Camp, Golfing/Goofing at the golf course together, remembering when we would run together at night, and more! I remember when I was really little, and after school it was just you and me in the gym at school; shooting hoops and goofing. And then, on the way home you ALWAYS bought me candy and we would buy a pack of basketball cards. I also remember those few months when we had monthly “dates” together. I liked the ice cream we would get, but even more, I liked talking with you. You’d ask about school and girls and stuff, and I felt SO happy to just tell you about me! Pretty cheesy, but I really loved the time we spent together “one-on-one”. It was just talking together that I felt your love most. Like Elder Oaks said, we give a portion of our lives to our choices. Thanks for choosing me!

I often think about you guys as the people who really “made me who I am.” I think how fortunate I was to be raised in a family that is faithful in the church. I think about your parents, Grandpa and Grandma Helland, who, even though they aren’t members of the church, support me in being a missionary. In a way, by their building of me and my family, they build the kingdom of God. So many family members do the same in so many different ways!

So, thanks, Pops, for being a great example to me. Maybe we weren’t always the best home teachers, but I do a pretty good job now so I must have learned something. :-)
Love, Adam

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

this was a very HARD week for all of us...

well, it sounds like all of you had pretty chaotic weeks- so let me share my own little piece of chaos with you guys - this really was the hardest week of my mission. what i don’t think i told you last week (because we had only been together one week, and i didn’t want you to worry), was that elder everton and I were having problems. BIG problems. i don’t think that i ought to give details, but let it suffice to say that the problems were about obedience; that he didn’t think some rules were important that i thought were vital. we had a few arguments at night. in truth, i was a little "chato" about it all, but believe me, it was a big deal. so last thursday we had zone conference (which was awesome), and i felt for a while at peace and hoped that maybe the spirit as well as the words of the president would change his attitude about the rules. the problem was that he is so "old and trunky" that he thinks that he knows everything about how to be a missionary. i hoped for something good to happen, but i spoke to sis. brinton just in case and asked her to have the president call me later (he was busy after conf.). so we got home that night, after zone conf. and proselyting, and i wanted to talk a bit about the things that we learned at conf. and some of the rules that we had broken that day. he got really mad, we argued about the rules and the way that we were acting for a long time. he got mad and went to bed. i was scared and didn’t know what to do. here i was, my comp wasn’t obedient and didn’t want to change. it was late so i didn’t call the pres, but i did pray. i prayed and prayed about what i should do. i was pretty shaken up, and scared about what would happen. then late that night as i read the scriptures looking for an answer, i felt this incredible peace. i knew that i would apologize to him about the fight in the morning, and then call the president. i was able to go to sleep and rest well. so in the morning, i apologized and then told him i would call the president. it was cool, because the "hours" for the president start at 8 am, and i decided to call at 8:30. at 8:30 i had the phone in my hand looking for his number when he called. sister brinton hadn’t even told him yet, and he called because he felt something was wrong. so i told him. everything. we talked for a long time; he said that he was really proud of me and he was glad that i had "called". he then talked to my comp for a long time. he set up an emergency transfer, that would make my comp a junior again in rio, but instead of transferring him he gave him one last chance. SO, i still have e. everton and things are still a little rough between us, (he is kind of mad that i called pres), but things are definitely better. he knows that if he breaks any more rules that he will get transferred or sent home. so, things are getting better. well, i gotta go, i will probably write a little more later today, but we have an appointment right now. i will send some pics later too.
love elder helland
ps. we are going to watch TMNT today. i don’t know if i told you, but we are allowed to watch movies on p-day, as long as it is in a church building and on the approved list by our president. so TMNT is our halloween party. there are TONS of approved movies.
(transformers is approved! maybe next week)

Part 2 – later in the day…
yah, i know that i made this last week sound really bad, sorry. i didn’t have enough time to write a whole bunch earlier. actually, a lot of really good things happened this last week, as well as several funny stories. i only wrote the BIG story of the week earlier, and hoped that i would get to tell the rest soon. i will be brief so i can send some pictures too.

yesterday we had splits and i was with e. sorenson, who only has one more transfer than me. we speak portuguese at about the same level, so it was an adventure. the next day we went to eat lunch in downtown petropolis and he cut his finger pretty bad on a handrail in the mall. we went to a pharmacy to buy band aids because we were a long bus ride from both our apartments. the problem when we got there is that we didn’t know any of the words for the things that we needed. we did this whole acting thing to signify band aids, tried describing neosporin, but nothing was working. finally the guy saw that he was bleeding and found the band aids for us. then e. sorenson wanted something to clean the cut with but didn’t know any good words to describe what he was looking for. he ended up asking for something to "sanctificar" his finger. SANCTIFY! like in the sacrament prayer. we both started laughing, it was so funny. anyway, the guy at the store ended up playing "doctor" for him, finding all the stuff and then bandaging it up for him too. then e. sorenson had to pay for all the supplies that he used. it was funny.

also, like i said, zone conf. was AWESOME; you just don’t find meetings that often where the spirit is so powerful.

well gotta go, maybe I’ll write more thru snail mail.

love elder helland.

ps. mom, we only watched TMNT. relax, this is an approved activity by our mission president. [I had sent him an e-mail in between letters today cautioning him about using his discretionary time watching MOVIES!!!! UGH! It’s my own soap box…!]

pps alyce that batman is gnarly! love ya

ppps dad, way to go with the cars! i often dream about my car when my feet hurt.

pppps received the package of jump ropes and stuff. note- the jolly ranchers melt- so please don’t send more. thx. i jumped rope this morning. i also got letters from pres hinton and shane this week. :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"it may not be on a mountain top..."

or then again it may be. yep, petropolis is a mountain city. it is literally built in the mountains so we spend all day walking up and down, and these mountains are high! like the city is built along the valley and we work on both sides. as a rule, we work in the mornings on the side that doesn’t have shade, and in the evenings on the other side, so we are always in the sun. BUT, it is a whole lot cooler here. it rains here a lot and the weather is great. also, there is floesta and mata everywhere. it is tão linda! next week i will send a picture of the city around here. the word of the week has been "tranquilo", (i’m guessing that you guys can figure out what it means) , for two reasons: this place it CAKE compared to taquara. it’s like comparing downtown chicago with smithfield utah. the cars obey the laws, the people are generally nice, no gun shots- ever, mostly entirely safe, and 8 baptisms in the last 3 months! elder everton is pretty cool. he is ALMOST as tall as me, and is from paraiba. everton is actually his first name, as his real last name is santos. (brazilians tend to switch their last names, if they are really common, during their missons) he is almost finished with his mission, he goes home in jan.; SO, he is pretty trunky. also, like i said, he doesn’t speak much english either, and has a hard time understanding english too. it is funny because every morning for comp study we sing a hymn in english, and he sings worse than dad! he is completely tone deaf, and ignorant of this fact. also, he has a hard time pronouncing the words in english, so he comes off as sounding retarded. it is really funny. some days it is all i can do to not fall apart laughing. but he is pretty cool. the only trick is that he isn’t much for following the rules EXACTLY, so i am working with him on that. right now we don’t have any investigators ready for baptism, but we have got a whole grip of "new- hopefuls"!

so, thanks for the letters. i have zone conference tomorrow, so i will hopefully get some more. i only got two at transfers - one from legrand and one from alyce – thanks! thanks also to tyson and kaitlyn for the email! it was great to hear from you all! there is this cool family here, and one of their daughters reminds me of ashley. the parents of the family aren’t married, but they want to be, they just don’t have the money to get the papers necessary. there are entirely active though, and so all of their children are members. they are awesome! i will send you the pictures the kids drew of me. anyway, i don’t have enough time today to send pictures, which is good, because i haven’t finished cleaning the apt yet. my comp doesn’t help much in that respect. so i spend a half hour every day cleaning and throwing away the garbage of all the missionaries that have left in this area. that is the problem when american missionaries go home- they leave everything!

mom- yep i was pretty close to cidade de dues [where the big police raids were last week– 12 people killed] back in taquara. one time on a bus back from the mission office, through cidade de deus, our bus got stopped by the police. police surrounded the bus, all of them had m-16 in hand, and then two of them searched the bus. i was like, great, here i am, an american, and i only have some of the papers i need with me, this could be bad, IF they were looking for americans. but, it was fine, for about ten minutes they searched the bus and then let us go. everyone on the bus was pretty scared.

they are building a new chapel in our ward, because right now we use a house. it will be done in january, so i hope i can stay here until then. alyce, the costume looked awesome, but one of the pics was blurry. mom and dad, good luck with thriller dance. tyson, i will send you a letter today.

anyway, gotta skoot.
love elder helland

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


so this week was transfer week, and guess what... i got transferred. i am still a little sad, but "I’ll get over it". :) i don’t have much time to write because i was transferred far away to petropolis and i don’t have much p-day left. i now have a new comp. - elder everton. i know that SOUNDS american, but he is brazilian and he speaks less ingles than e. rodrigues did. i miss taquara already, but i guess that correas (my new area) is pretty good too. it is "interior," but other than that i am not really sure where i am. we live in an apartment that is pretty big, but it is messy, i can already see that next p-day will be a cleaning day.

so you guys will need to give me some time to tell you about my new area, as i just got here. (how about a week?). SORRY no video, this computer doesn’t seem to like them, maybe next week. i only had time to load the pictures that i could while i read your letters. the pics are from last p-day.

well things are all new here, i don’t have much to say about current investigators, cause, i don’t know anything about them yet. so i will just tell a few short stories about this last week:

story #1: "Mate"- i would rather die
we went to a members house to pick up something and the old lady there offered us some mate. i didn’t know what it was, and elder rodrigues said that he didn’t really like it, but that he could try a little bit. so i said that i would try a little bit too. so then this sweet old lady that i can hardly understand, grabs what are, i am sure, the biggest glasses that she own and fills them with "mate" (pronounced like match). mate is this gross looking brown, coffee-like looking liquid. and the lady then asks if we want some sugar in it. YES please we respond. i still haven’t tasted at this point. then she stirs it and hands it to us. i take a little sip, and so does my comp. RIGHT then i knew i was going to have difficulty finishing the glass. i look at the glass and wonder how i was gonna do it, then i looked up at e. rodrigues, and that guy was chugging it while the old lady was looking at me to see if i liked it. i told her i liked it and then tried the e. rodrigues method and tried to guzzle it. it was TERRIBLE! imagine like cold, old coffee mixed with dirty water. that’s what it looked and tasted like. i managed to chug it, and the old lady thought that we liked it and wanted to give us more. we very carefully told her that it was delicious, but that we were full. by, what cannot be a coincidence, "mate" is also the command form of the verb "matar" = to kill. yep, it almost killed me.

one more little story then i gotta go, my comp is already done emailing: we had a noite familiar (family home evening) at a members house whose mom is investigating right now. that lesson was great and so were most of the desserts and brincadeiras (games- we always play games) but then my comp had a game he wanted to play, so he had me come outside to confer really fast. this is what we normally do, to let the other in on the secret of the game. so i go out with him thinking that that was what was going to happen, that he would tell me the secret to the next game. but all told me is that when he calls me in that i need to sit on the stool in the middle of the room and pretend that i am a monkey. i thought that this sounded strange, and so i tried to listen to what he was telling them inside before he called me in. i didn’t understand, but it didn’t feel right. i went in and sat down but i had stage fright, because i didn’t know what was going on. eventually i did act like a monkey, and everyone laughed. here is the kicker: apparently, he went in and told them i was going to act like i was going to the bathroom! i was pretty embarrassed because i didn’t know what was happening for a long time, and they kept on laughing. it was a bad night for me.

well got to jet------ ill tell you about my new area next week. times up...
well, love ya
elder helland

ps about the favela thing: WE DO TEACH IN FAVELAS. sure they are dangerous, but if you are smart and obey the rules, there is no problem. yes i know the difference between poor neighborhoods and favelas. favelas is an indicator of poverty and architecture- house poorly built all right on top of each other. i think that the rest of brasil is scared of the word favela, but mine were pretty safe. we DO have dangerous areas, w/ dangerous favelas like cidade de deus, ramos, and bangu. well, not to worry now, i am in the interior.
Pictures from last P-Day

dear fam,

(sent Thurs. October 11, 2007) – Sorry – I didn’t get this out last week – Alyce and I were in Calif. all week!

so first you need to know that i wrote a dang good email yesterday, but due to problems with the internet, lost it. my companion also lost his letter, so he called president brinton and asked if we could, to comply with the rule of writing home once a week, return and venture again today to write a letter home. sorry, i didn’t bring the camera again today, so you will get the picture of the pizza restaurant and the AWESOME beach next week.
now on with the show...

i will try and relate most of the stuff that i wrote yesterday, but i may write poorly because i am just "not in the groove" that attends all p-days. i want to get the basics out of the way: yesterday we went to the doctor for most of the morning, way in downtown, because my comp has been sick, like i told you. i didn’t tell about the tests yet though, oops! he had to do several tests this last week, blood tests and poop tests! ... e agora, bom noticias- the good news- after all the tests and doctor appointments- there is nothing wrong with him. he just has diarrhea every day:( i have talked with the doctor and sister brinton, and this is really more like bad news, because if it was just worms or something, he could just take some meds and be better. so we are trying other things like not drinking any water or juice outside the house, to try and improve the "situation".

enough with the toilet talk...some quick experiences this last week :-) we ran into some kids one night this week, and like all kids, they wanted to hear some english. only, they want my comp to speak english to them. i tried to tell them i was american, but they refused to believe that i was the american and he was the brazilian. i would speak english and everything and still they thought i was joking when i would say i was american. this one boy kept pushing me and laughing, saying NO, you’re brasilian, ... he REALLY thought it was the other way around, it was one of my few ego boosts in the midst of many people that just stare at me.

we saw these guys unloading a pineapple truck, and for some reason two of them got in a fight about something. one of them was in the truck and the other on the ground. they were yelling and stuff and then one of them threw a pineapple. it missed. but the guy in the truck was angry, grabbed a pineapple and hurled it at the other guy. hard. there was this solid thud as it hit the guy. it became a pineapple fight, and the guy on the ground got pounded. 5or 6 pineapples were thrown, and i thought that those were pretty vicious projectiles. it was funny and at the same time sad because they wasted many good pineapples that i would have eaten.

yesterday i sent a story of this cool guy that we have. he is, as we call him, our best progressing non-investigator. i will send it next week, but by then i hope that we can call him an investigator. it is a COOL story.

we only have a little time today, so i will have to write a letter next week about conference. suffice it to say that i LOVED it like i don’t think i ever have before. i have always loved conference, but this was the BEST ever, and it went by so fast. i learned more in any given minute there than you can find on the back of a cereal box. (the best comparison i could think up on the fly)
right, got to go...
by the way, got the letters from jay (both for me and my comp) , gma jones and mom. thx. sorry, p-day was a mess, no letters sent.
got to go
love elder helland

Some of his Mission Ties letter from 10/30/07:

We are teaching some wonderful people right now. It is great to see people gain a testimony and make huge changes in their lives as a result. One guy, Carlos, has given up drinking, smoking, and now coffee! We are so proud of him. He is engaged too and had committed to “wait” until they get married. The only problem is that he works on Sunday and it is hard for him to come to church, but he is trying. Many people work on Sundays and it is hard to believe people are ready for baptism if they can’t come to church. Yesterday we found 4 new investigators and I am hopeful (But an investigator is anyone who sets a return appointment, so they aren’t necessarily STRONG investigators).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oatmeal and Milk

so i said, why not respond in like fashion? [alyce titled her last letter to Adam, "Bagels and Cream Cheese"] my diet lately has improved to that of oatmeal for breakfast. i love it. i eat it most every day (i bought a bag of sugar because we had none, and you know how i like sugar. ). so i sent some pics of us and our house and a short video clip from like a month ago, but it is never too late, right? there were some more "culture shock" stories this week, you know, things that i think are funny:

last week was this day that is like halloween (i forgot the name) , and all the kids got candy and stuff. we were walking to an appointment and we stopped and talked to this group of girls and they found out, as everybody does, that i am american. then they started the “test” that usually comes along with that - a thousand questions about american pop culture. one of the girls was way into avril laveen and spoke some english. it was a funny conversation that we had. in the end, the girl took a picture with us on her cell phone.

SAME DAY... something really sad happened. we were teaching in a padaria (bakery) and a little girl ran out into the street to get candy and got hit by a car and died. i didn’t see it happen. i saw her a minute or so before i heard the screams from the people. she only ran about 100 ft down the street when she was hit. we heard the screams and looked out down the street. i was pretty much sad the rest of the day.

on monday we had splits and i was in a different area with our district leader (elder meireles, who is awesome) and we had a very interesting experience. we taught these two kids -wallace and brenda. they were pretty deep in the favela, and we found them at night. they were NOT ready to hear our message. they started laughing during the opening prayer. wallace is 16 and VERY gay. he was making vulgar signs and really weirding me out. Brenda was 14, and kept asking if missionaries could date and kiss and do other bad things. i was appalled at the things that she said, SHE IS 14! SO... elder meireles was smart and immediately after the opening prayer we gave them pass-along cards and said a closing prayer. then brenda started like flirting with me and playing with my tie. i was so scared i just stood up and we left and told them to call when they were REALLY interested in hearing our MESSAGE. it was a bad lesson, but at the same time, as we reflected on it later that night, we learned a lot from the experience.

love you guys
elder helland

PS i will send more pis next week, it is time consuming so i need to find a happy medium between typing and attaching…
My comp - Elder Rodrigues and Me
My comp :-)
Our Apartment
My Superman Sheets
More of our apartment
Our Kitchen
My Favorite Appliance!
Super Elder?
pic of a cockroach- there was a good story about this one that i will surmise in one sentence: my comp screamed like a little girl, we spent 45 min to bring this picture about, and made a complete mess of our house. it was worth it. (ok, 2 sentences)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

of 'mortos' and mayonnaise

First, before the funny stuff that happened this week, here is the low down on letters: YES i mailed some, and no i haven’t received any (except one). here is why: ahem... if you guys send the letters to the mission office, i only get them every three or four weeks during zone conf or transfers. i had z. conf. this last week and i only got one from jen that was sent on sept 3. i was a little disappointed until i found out why: correios- the mail system here, was on strike for 2 weeks. so all mail traffic stopped. pouch mail made it in, but out-going and in-going mail hasn’t worked in a while. i am not sure if or when it will come thru, but i will tell you if it does. i am hoping for a pile at transfers! speaking of which, after transfers i will give you my new (possibly old) address and you can send mission-tie letters there until we get close to transfers again. (every 6 weeks)

ANYWAY.... this week i .... gave my first REAL talk in sac. meeting. Sat. we had almoço (lunch) at the branch presidents house and he asked me to talk on charity for 7 to 10 min. since i had almost no time to prepare a good talk, IN PORTUGUESE, i accepted. my companion says it was great, but i have come to learn that most of the members didn’t understand most of what i said. which leads to a funny story: yesterday we were teaching a lesson and afterwards they gave us some food and we were talking. marionici, a recent convert, asked me why i looked sad. i wasn’t sad, but i told her that it might be because the people that we talked to before we came here didn’t understand anything that i said, and that might be why i look sad. she stared at me. then she stared at my companion. then, apparently thinking that because she didn’t understand me, that I wouldn’t understand her, blatantly asked my companion what i said. if i looked sad before, i was sad then. my comp just laughed, ... a lot... then told her what i said. it was a little depressing but that is just the way it is ... another language story- we were at this members house dropping something off, and she brought us out juice. DARK juice. they were talking and i was sipping my juice trying to understand what was going on. she was talking at the speed of light and i was only picking up a few words. she kept saying this word that i didn’t know so i leaned over and whispered to my comp. what does (insert word) mean? his mouth happened to be full of juice when i asked and apparently he thought what i said was funny because he spewed the juice all over me. he laughed and laughed, i went to the bathroom to try and clean up, and when i returned he was still laughing. i still don’t know what that word means, and perhaps never will. ... thank goodness this time it was only grape juice, who knows what it will be next time :) ...

i had a little cold the last couple of days, and as you know, we don’t have TP let alone kleenex. so i have become fairly proficient at the farmer blow (snot rocket, booger bullet; take your pick) but the first couple times were a little hairy. i had snot all over my pant leg one day and on the tie the next. ...

of MORTOs and mayonnaise: i guess it was on monday that this happened. we were on our way to a FHE in the rain at night. as we walked we came upon an ambulance and a small crowed of people. we went to see if we could help. we couldn’t. there was this dead guy laying there, still on his bike. the cops were filling out the report, and judging by the size of the crowd, he hadn’t been there long (crowds form really fast around here for weird things). At first we thought that he had been hit by a car, but thinking back, that doesn’t make any sense because there wasn’t a car around and he was still on his bike on the sidewalk. it was pretty gross and a little disturbing. so we kept walking and got to the FHE appointment, where i gave, what i am sure was, a very good lesson about CHARITY, then they fed us dinner. it was sandwiches. EGG and MAYO sandwiches! they kept making them and putting them on my plate. i mean, there was enough mayo on these to make Betty think it looked gross. but i just kept biting, swallowing and washing it down with COKE-ZERO; i felt like a robot.

so it was raining that day right... and earlier we were walking when the power lines up in front of us apparently got too wet. the lights in all the stores next to us went out and then there was this huge, blinding explosion of white-bluish light on the power lines ahead. it was accompanied by this really weird loud buzzing sound. after, the lights came back on in the store. it was awesome!..

so yesterday, we are walking to an appointment when suddenly someone grabbed me from behind, pokes something into my back and yells something at me. i nearly peed my pants. i looked back, hands in the air, and it was one of our investigators, DAVID, and he was just goofing around with us. he did the same to my comp, just in front of me and scared him too. it was pretty funny i guess. the sad part is that if david doesn’t come to church this sunday, we are going to cut him. he just isn’t progressing.

oh- i saw monkey number 8!

we were knocking/clapping doors and i am sure that this man thinks that we are gay. we were talking with him, and as usual i got behind in the conversation. he asked if i slept well last night. well, i couldn’t answer, i didn’t even know that there was a question directed to me. i was just staring at him, so my comp replied. : he slept well. then the guy asked how HE (my comp) knew that I slept well. he told him that we live together. the man just gave us a funny look and went inside. it was funny.

gotta go, times up!
love elder helland
ps i will try to sent pic next week, sorry!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

things pretty much ROCK here!

first, let me share a few funny things:

my POOR, poor comp.; first off, he doesn’t have any family that are members, and they don’t send him ANYTHING, letters or email, so if you could send him a letter that would be nice. the OTHER reason i think of him as my poor, poor comp is because he has been sick for 3 weeks now. stomach sick. i mean it is funny because he has to take a shower every time he uses the b-room, which is every time that we come close enough to home to stop by. because the toilets here stink, and don’t flush nearly anything, the whole toilet paper thing is a joke- thus he showers EVERY time. well at least he is clean

this week i ate something for sobre-mesa (desert) that was called geléia de mocotó. it was pretty good, but everyone just laughed at me when i asked what flavor it was. i guess it must be something weird, because my comp wouldn’t tell me what is was.

i heard this cool song by this cool band called 'legião urbana'. alyce, you should look them up, they might be cool?! i don’t really know, i only heard a little of some of their songs.

I SAW 7 MONKEYS ! it was awesome. i will send a drawing of the little rascals home. they were just swinging on the power lines like birds!

i met a woman who has a daughter that is LDS and lives in litchfield park. this lady was inactive, but she says her daughter is active. i guess it really is a small world after all! its a small world after all; its a small world after...

heres a Q: for jay and elle- WHAT the HECK is all this macumba and voodoo, condumblei CRAP! it is everywhere. Every corner has a pot full of something or a burnt rotting animal, candles burning; it is so WIERD and kind of creepy. it you could just give me the low-down on what to watch out for, that would be great.

on segunda-feida we had splits for the first time. it was cool. i got split to another area, praça seca, with elder j ferreira. he was cool. it rained most of the day, which was great because i was wearing the only clothes that i had, and needed to wear the next day. as it started raining i thought, i guess I’ll get to see just how water proof my shoes are. Turns out, they are water proof right up to the part where you put your foot in. my socks however are NOT water proof. all in all it was a good day. their area has bigger mountains than ours, SO... they have more stairs. we work up and down these favelas, endless stairs, IN THE RAIN!. but i honestly think that less rain fell on us than it did around us. maybe angels were holding semi-permeable umbrellas. either way, we still got entirely soaked.

dad, just so you know, i am gaining weight. i think. the conversion from kilos is tough. i am working out every morning for 30 min. 50 pushups and 300 crunches. some mornings me and my comp run too. only when he feels good enough though. one thing that i would like (not need!) maybe for the next time you send a package or for christmas or something, is a jump-rope, it is hard to do cardiovascular in an apartment. i too am on a diet, of COKE. i know that the prophet said not to drink caffeine, but my mission pres says to drink it because it is better than the juice. so, all my life i have hated and abstained form coke, and now i drink it whenever it is available. because, at 6 in the evening when my garrafa (bottle) of water is empty, i am PRAYING that the next house offers soda and not juice or water. anyway, good luck with the cars dad.

i am sure that you guys have heard the analogy about the grain of sand and the oyster. that little grain of sand bothers that oyster until it becomes a pearl, or something like that. i am trying to figure this one out, to apply it to my life. i had a little, little rock in my shoe, right?, and at first it just bothered me a little while i was walking, but i guess i thought, HEY, this will turn into a pearl!. turns out that a grain of sand in the shoe, remains a grain of sand. the foot doesn’t turn into a pearl either. but that little rock DOES make something- a huge blister! i never want to hear that analogy again, because if that oyster had a foot in there, he would be better off spiting out the sand.

we have a new investigator an awesome rapaz named bruno. i am excited. i am out of time, i will send you more about our investigators in a letter.

love elder helland

ps. yes i did take a hundred reais out of my account (about 50$). i am only supposed to spend allowance on certain things, so i might use that money for other needs. YES i DID get both packages, thanks SO MUCH. i thought that i already told you that i got them. we only eat lunch at members homes. That’s just the way it is. it is harder to send pictures here, maybe next week. love you guys.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

what it means to be green...

first it means blisters: we really DO walk a LOT. and not just a lot of walking, i mean we are talking stairs, ENDLESS stairs, the sidewalks sometimes feel more like i am hiking. i imagine that my shoes will be completely broken in soon. i hope so anyway...

it means that all i ate for breakfast this week was bread and milk, because i had no money and didn’t buy anything but bread and milk! which, by the way, is an interesting thing in itself: the milk isn’t refrigerated here. i refrigerate it because i like it cold, and then i put this chocolate mix in it to make it edible. it is interesting. anyway, that PB [peanut butter] was a godsend this week- it was the only thing that i put on my bread. luckily today i have a lot of money and will be able to buy some good food for dejejum! (b-fast)...

it means that i can’t drink anything that isn’t carbonated or bottled water. i thought that was silly at first, but since we were commanded by the mission president: thou shalt drink coke... by golly we do. i am even building a taste for it. at 5 in the afternoon and my garrafa is empty, when an investigator offers some coke, i take it. a lot of people offer juice, GOOD LOOKING juice, but i can’t drink it unless i want to puke my guts out. the other day, we were at this house and we were sharing a message with the family because they had recently lost a loved one. well they gave me a glass of juice. i just held it, frozen. i can't drink the juice, but at the same time if i don’t drink it they will be offended. well, my awesome comp, during the lesson, pounds his glass, walks across the room and sits next to me, slyly switches glasses, and then drinks mine. all this is done while he is still talking and teaching. it was awesome. (our area consists mostly of favelas [slums], and we teach mostly poor people. their houses are really small and it looks like the kind of place that the water is probably not good.)...

it means that i had to ask (twice) what someone was saying when they called me "...smthg smthg verde smthg..."

being green means smiling... all the time! :)

my comp is awesome! he doesn’t really speak english, but he understands about as much as i understand of portuguese. we are doing great. we have 6 pesquisadors and i teach a part of every lesson.

some interesting things that i learned:

1. there is no rhyme or reason to roads here. the only REAL laws that seem to govern traffic are the laws of physics. the bigger the car, the faster you go, the more clout you have on the road. it is all about inertia, and after that it is a big game of chicken. buses for instance - stop for nothing, signs- lights- or otherwise, except they stop for people, to pick them up. cars give the bigger vehicle right of way, unless they are driving on the sidewalk, then people have the right of way. people are to stay on the sidewalk, but the only way to cross the street is jay walking. it is like a game of frogger, move from one lane to the next, dodging flying cars. the cars also don’t follow the whole "lines on the road" idea. if there is room, they use it. it scares the pants off me when we get in cars with members, the roads are wild...

2. speaking of wild, our area butts up against the floresta. it is so cool! behind the favelas, suddenly there is jungle, a stones throw away. this place is beautiful.

3. i hate bugs. those things just bite me all over! my ankles are covered with bruises from them. formigas everywhere!

4. go and thank your laundry machines. today i spent the whole morning doing laundry- nearly all by hand. i feel like punching jay and his dumb ole stories about having maids! speaking of jay...

5. it is not at all surprising that he withheld a certain nugget of information about the bathrooms here... you can’t flush the t-paper! and how about the showers!... nobody has a water heater, the water gets heated right before it hits you by this cool little hair dryer like device- but this device is powered by 220v and there are EXPOSED wires all over the place! i am tall and showering is a scary experience now!

6. well i spoke in church on sunday; that was exciting. another thing at church, we walked into the chapel and this woman was breast feeding her baby right there! turns out she is the branch presidents wife!

7. i guess the missionaries before us were total fubekas (a mormon word here that means slacker) because all the members turn on the TV for us when we come over. also, the area book is empty. it is hard work gaining back the trust of the members.

well gotta go
elder helland

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rio de janeiro is...

paradise! well i flew in yesterday, and it has been a never ending whirlwind of events after that. one morning (we left the ctm at 5 am on Tues.) i am in the ctm, the next day i am in my new apartment with my new companion in rio. but, to be fair, i will start at the beginning and work to where i am now (which by the way is a dingy computer lounge in my area).

AHEM... i will need to be brief because i did A LOT of stuff, and i can only write so much about it... so we flew into rio right!? it was so awesome!!! (i didn’t think about it this time, but next time i will try to send you pictures) we flew right over cristo redentor and pao de açucar. for a minute we saw all of the affluence and favelas and raw beauty- and the next we were in the airport. we met president brinton and sister brinton by baggage claim and they are awesome. the secretaries took us to the policia federal and we were there FOREVER. eventually we got the mission home where we took pictures and had the longest meeting of all time. during the meeting where we were told way more than a person can take in and remember in a day, the president interviewed all of us. after the meeting ended, we were treated to some "bobs burgers" by the beach. we had been traveling by bus- which is our usual method- and these things are more dangerous and as exciting as roller coasters at times. you are standing there and holding on to the bars, while the bus whizzes around town. the driving here is twice as out of control and in sp, so the rides are more fun. that night we went to the APs house and spent the night and the next morning we had transfer meeting at a local chapel. there were a lot of guys leaving, and they all bore there testimonies, then the pres had a few of the new ones bear their testimonies. i had to. i got up there in front of those 70+ missionaries and froze. the portuguese in me went into hibernation. i choked out a few poorly conjugated phrases and sat down. then they told who would be companions with who. mine is elder rodrigues. he speaks VERY little ingles, which is great because that is what i speak... i was assigned to the area of Jacarepaguá, actually, that is my zone, but i cant remember my area name, but come on cut me some slack, it is in portuguese! ha ha...

thanks for the package, it was great- i got it right after the meeting and ate one of the crema de adujime (???? peanut) it was great! then we grabbed all of my bags and walked a LONG way. i dont think those wheels on the bags were ready for that kind of side walk that we have here- it is more like hiking... take a suit case with you next time you hike waterfall trail at w-tanks. the only difference in that the side walks are made out of cement and odd shapes, rough cut bricks and stones here. my companion flagged down this dingy vw bus (they are everywhere here) and paid the man for transportation. we piled all my stuff in and 20 mins later we were here! the apartment is cool, and the Superman sheets look great on my bed. i unpacked everything, and then we went out. i have zero money and I’m just following my comp around, trying to talk. he is SO great, but I’m not always sure what he is saying and usually just end up saying "sim" (yes) to everything. so things are great. well, sorry no pictures, i dont know if i will be able to send some next week. i need to write my president now, so just know i am safe and well somewhere in the city of rio de janeiro. love elder helland

P.S. out of morbid curiosity... why NO emails this week? i know, and thanks for the letter on monday, but the only email i got today was the 2nd half of alyces last one. ... and the general letter from president brinton which was in portuguese, which didn’t really make any sense to me. really though, thanks for the package. all of those pens are awesome and my new Companion liked his pop tart (i think). well, to be honest it is a little exciting to be out here, not really knowing yet what is going on around me. i am just going to smile (sorrir) when i don’t know what is happening, because... that is all i can do really, that or frown i guess, but what fun is that. so just know that i am down here just smiling away! :) love adam

PPS i really dont know the mailing situation, and dont anticipate understanding any answers to questions that i might ask, so just send letters to the mission office or home or whatever it is. i think that we usually get those every two to three weeks. anyway, i don’t know my address. emails will have to suffice from me for awhile until i get the hang of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Elder Helland Arrives in Rio!

Av. Das Americas, 1155 Salas 502/503
Barra da Tijuca – Rio de Janeiro, RJ
CEP 22631-000 Brasil
Fone: (21) 2111-9243,4
Fax: (21) 2493-6237

4 September 2007

Dear Helland Family,

It was a great pleasure to welcome your son to our mission. He arrived in good health, is enthusiastic, and anxious to begin missionary work here in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro mission. I have interviewed him carefully and find him well prepared, with a strong testimony, and a good beginning foundation in the Portuguese language. I feel honored to be his mission president and know that the Lord has prepared many people here to receive the testimony of the restoration he bears. Sister Brinton and I will treat him as our own son.

Your son will look forward to your weekly letters of encouragement and support. E-mail is a great way to communicate with him as he communicates with me by e-mail weekly as well. If you prefer to send letters, the church pouch system is the safest method. The pouch mail comes several times per week and is delivered to the mission office, where we either carry it ourselves, or send it with missionaries to your son as soon as possible. You can also send letters directly to his address but the mail system here is unreliable. The address of our mission for the pouch system is as follows.

Elder Adam Harrison Helland
Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Thank you for all you have done to prepare your son for his mission. Sister Brinton and I will do everything in our power to help him have a wonderful and productive mission.

Sincerely yours,

Milton H. Brinton
President, Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission

Thursday, August 30, 2007

yep, last week here

it really is amazing- at first the ctm seemed like a really great-mormon prison. sure we were learning all day long and we had great teachers and lessons and stuff, but it was really tough at first to be inside ALL DAY LONG! sometimes we would run out to the "track" after lunch so that we could "touch" the sunlight! AND now i think that i will be a little sad to leave. we have such great teachers and have made so many great friends that i really love it here. (i also think that i will miss b-ball three times a week!) but at the same time i am so excited about going to rio! an elder in my district, elder wilson from oregon, his parents sent him a really encouraging article about rio. the article included stats like how someone is murdered there every 3.5 hours and how it has the highest murder rate out of any place not at war. it had a lot of other fun facts in it that i am not really inclined to send you. the most important stat was that ... never has a missionary been murdered there! mom- relax, we thought that is was funny! anyway, we joked with elder wilson that his family probably doesn’t like him much (a couple weeks ago his family sent him a "spoiler" for the last harry potter book!).

well today we went to the temple for the last time in 22 months, it was really great. but since the bus ride is REALLY bumpy there and back, and i have a whole grip of other things that i have to do today, i didn’t get any other letters off... so please spread my apologies!

[This is his response to, “Have they given you any training on places to stay away from, how to handle the scary people, etc.] don’t worry mom, this saturday we have some special classes- a health seminar and a safety meeting. there we learn what the church says to do if we get mugged or held up! pretty cool huh! from what we have heard the policy is pretty much- give them everything you’ve got... so not much in the way of new or exiting there. i will try to get a pic with the mission pres., but he is hard to find during the few hours that we are allowed to tirar fotos! so i'll try... about the keys... we went and got a new one, as well as a lecture on responsibility, and now I AM the key master. i am in charge of the key and things are going better (elder harmon is only slightly better than me at losing things…). funny that you mention my fav. seminary teacher. at first, he kind of reminded me of her. but now i think that i have a very real respect for him, his work ethic and faith. And, although we are not "best" friends, we work together well and cooperate. it is like the Savior said: if ye serve me, ye are my friends. and he serves the Savior with all his heart, mind, might, and strength, and since i want to be the Savior’s friend too, WE (me and harmon) are great friends.

actually, we sang our musical number yesterday, and it went pretty good. as for whether we are allowed to eat in class, well i am not sure, that is why we keep it hidden. but our teachers partake of the goodness, so at least we are all in the same boat. oh, my haircut!, sorry, i don’t have any pic to send today, i will try and send some next time i get to a computer (2 weeks?) the haircut is very good. and to mom’s everlasting credit, HE DID cut around my ears! he used like a 4 on the sides and the rest with scissors and a straight razor. the razor was a little scary, because he was singing and talking to other people the whole time and totally not paying attention to what he was doing, but i guess he does this everyday, so he is pretty good at it. as far as the mono-brow goes... i shaved it... i know it was dumb but i just threw caution to the wind and just did it. i will wax it when i get to an apartment and a stove to heat water on. yep, there are not many microwaves here i guess. nope i have not received a second package yet... i hope it gets here soon! i will tell you the new mailing instructions next week. don’t worry about the gas “situation”... i will just grin and bare it! :) hey sorry about the election, Alyce, we were all pulling for you... well at least you get to be mascot (send me pictures of you in your gettup!). thanks for the "first part of an email"...? dad- take it easy on the poor kid! [a student who threw a major fit during a game in PE] clearly he has a deep and terrible fear of being de-flagged... screaming and crying is perfectly normal when you get your flag ripped off. good luck with him. oh and thanks for the golf clubs...ummm, i don’t know how much use i will get out of them during the next two years though.... will you take care of them for me? thx. well you can tell grandma that i carry that little bear in my pocket everywhere, in fact, i have it right now!

it is sad to here about mike... i don’t know, but the more that i see what kind of guys we have here, the more i see what that whole "bar " thing is all about. you really have to be committed to serving the Lord to make it. i was talking with a Brazilian the other day at almoso (lunch) and he told me about how hard it was for him to leave his girlfriend and family, but that he knows this is where he is supposed to be. it seems like most people had a homesick stage (not ME), but they had to learn what it meant to be a missionary, and then they got over that. all the guys that couldn’t, wound up going home. it is sad to hear about guys who don’t make it through the mtc.

well, last friday we went proselyting,.... it was our third and last time. we went to this metro/bus station place. there weren’t quite as many people as there had been at the other places but at least all the people were just standing or sitting waiting for their bus. we talked to a fair amount of people, too. we would have talked to more but we talked to this one man for close to 45 min! the whole time I wasn’t real sure if he was interested because he kept asking us weird questions about the “spirit world.” he also asked us a lot of questions about our mission. we answered as best as we could for as good as we could understand the questions. eventually, we gave him a BOM. he didn’t want it at first; he made us write his name in the front cover before he would take it. our instructor came over and talked to him for a while and he told us the guy was kind of weird (still, my comp thinks he should have committed him to baptism…). we gave our next BOM to this guy sitting on a bench. he listened to our message, asked 1 or 2 questions, and then committed to call the number inside the book to learn more. the cool part was after we had talked to him, and were talking to someone else, we looked back and he was reading the BOM. my favorite was one of the first people we talked with – this guy by a sign post. he was about our age. at first he didn’t really listen or care, but by the end he said he would call the number to learn more about the BOM and Joseph Smith!
well i got to go... love you guys-
elder helland

Note from Jill -FYI - If you click on any of the pictures embedded in the blog - you can see a bigger version - it's kinda cool! :-)