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! :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ola! (here, hola is a bad word...)

..or at least that is what i am told. anyway, most of the stuff that happened this week you can read in the "mission tie" letter, so i will just briefly inform you on stuff and send you TONS of pics. i leave the ctm on sept 4. i got a letter from shane yesterday, that he sent a month ago. i wrote him a letter today, so maybe you guys can mail it to him for me, it will probably be
WAY faster that way. also, can you please get me tres' mission home address. we heard about the peru earthquake, and a kid in my dist has a twin in the peru mtc right now. the first he heard of it was in the letter i got from you. he talked to some of the "higher ups" and they emailed his mom for him in the middle of the week. his brother is alright, and he said that no missionaries were hurt. it was intense. i am out of time- ill write more in the letter that i mission tie to you guys. love elder helland

Some of his "mission tie" letter:
Dear Family and Friends,

Last week, as usual, we went to the Sao Paulo Temple. It was AWESOME! I felt like I learned so much; I really enjoyed it. We also had a district picture taken in front of the temple...I look dumb in it, as usual. Another exiting point from last week - I was able to experience the Atonement in a very real and personal way. Like it says in Preach My Gospel...Given a whole new view on life, others, and on Jesus Christ.

Wed: We are practicing "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing". We are singing in church our last Sunday here in the CTM. I got to help direct/lead the bass and melody parts, play the piano during practices, AND sing bass in the "Trio" part that I wrote!! It is a lot of fun!

Thurs: Couldn't sleep real well...turns out my companion talks in his sleep - A LOT! All day it is pulling teeth to get some friendly conversation out of him but at night he won't shup up! (smile) It was actually pretty funny because although most of the stuff he was saying was gibberish, some was him practicing Portuguese!

Last night was kinda neat - our district all slept in one room together, kinda like a sleepover, except all we did was have district evening study, district prayer and then went to sleep. I got some cool pictures this morning of everyone sleeping (see one below).

Today: I showed Imao' Netto my "food storage" or "day supply kit", which consists of ALL the food we hide IN the computer. I sit next to the computer in our class and the "face" of the computer always falls off. Since there are NO disk drives, floppy drives, OR hard drives in there, there is tons of room. We hide rolls, packets of honey, and bananas in there [He drew a very cool picture of his storage place with labels and all!]. Capacity: 12 rolls or 4 bananas and 12 honey packets. Well, it is the place our district stores the food we eat during class (we call the rolls dinosaur eggs because they are SO hard!

Boy, my hair is getting long! I have a hair cut appt. tomorrow at 6:30 AM! From what I've seen happen to others who come out of that room, I would guess my hair will be PRETTY SHORT! I'll let you know...

On an unrelated note, I am getting better at the Brasil National Anthem (listen to it - it is WILD!). At first when they showed us the words on the screen, it was all I could do to keep my eyes following along with where they were, let alone try and sing something to a tune I don't know. It was like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! But now, I can comfortably sing along - singing all but the fastest parts. It is a cool song! I should write Congress and have them consider a new anthem with more spunk!

To close, I thought I would help you guys out by giving you some scripture fun:
Romans 10:13-15, 16-18 (sent-heard-believed-pray)
Alma 34:30-31 (Immediately)
Alma 11:30-31 (Power of testimony - I know these things through the Holy Ghost)
Alma 16:16-17 (What the Lord is NOW doing from me and those I will teach)
Helaman 3:3-5 (Just a cool scripture)
Helaman 14:30-31 (Free to choose)
Sorry, no real scripture chain here or anything, just some scriptures I liked this week while studying and preparing lessons (lesson 2 & 3). I restarted the Book of Mormon when I got here and I am in 3 Ne. and hope to finish before I leave. I started reading the BOM a little over a week ago in Portuguese and I am in 1 Ne. is hard to read fast! I am marking all the words I don't know and ones I see a lot. It is getting SO much easier to read! Now, I only mark one or two words every couple verses. It is fun to see how much I've improved in the last few weeks (also, I don't have tons of time to just sit and read it - so I get 10-15 min. a day to translate).
Love, Elder Helland
Rio here we come!
Classic self-portrait of yours truly!
Our Sleep Over!

Our classroom

Our District at Sao Paulo Temple Last Week

Picture of a picture of us at Campinas Temple

For the Dunk!
Me sinking a 3 (this morning)
The Rifitoria (cafeteria)
The Track - the turns are too sharp to be fun to run around

Outide the CTM, by the track

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

happy fathers-day!

yep, its that time of year here- brazilian fathers day! so, i love you dad, and i REALLY appreciate the time you put into your letters, and they are not at all lame. if you want, you could add some stuff that you know well in there, like what is going on in sports... not that it really matters down here, but it is fun to talk to people about. it really is prized information; like when we found out about barry bonds and his dumb old record and that other guy... sorry i cant remember his name, who broke like 300 career wins or something. anyway, thinking of you!

now for the rest of the letter...
you got alyce a cell phone?! well that is just plain unfair... and a razor at that. Police [Alyce's nickname], you are a lucky dog. by the way, that poster idea is not at all lame... i think that is genius: alyce, does the student body good. i am still smiling about that. so good luck on the win there. my room really wants you to win, so maybe we will pray for you to win tonight. :) oh one more "WHAT?!", .... dad fixed your car?! for years he and i punched and kicked that a/c and sweated it out through the times that it didnt work, and now he fixes it?! so now we have got 3 running cars?! a true miracle :) sorry the spelling is so bad, typing on this keyboard is like typing on a manual typewriter; the keys are SO hard and sticky. muito sinto, mas.... what can i do about it?!

anyway, this week we lost one of our professors and we are still really sad about it. irmao morais... he was the best teacher EVER, but now we have got a new one: irmão lindburg. i will tell you more about him in the letter you guys get. speaking of which, how did that work out? the whole me giving it to mr cheney cookies and them scanning and sending it [Mission Ties]? if that works well, i really would like to send the rest of my letters that way.

oh, we went proselyting again on friday! it was really awesome again, but we didnt seem to have as much success. we went to a different place, in the old downtown in sao paulo, by the metro and teatre municipal. there were TONS OF PEOPLE again and we ran around a lot trying to stop people. imagine the scene in “the best two years” where he runs all over that square, trying to talk to people, THAT is kind of how it went. except that we had success. we gave away three BoMs and 20+ cards. one person in particular i remember - it was a young man, approx. our age, and it was my companions turn to make the contact. he was doing good, although he was sort of straying from the kind of contact that we usually make. we do that sometimes, and so i wasnt really worried. He doesnt really understand the whole conjugating thing just yet and so i was listening to what he was saying, and, although i understood what he was saying and where he was going, i was praying that the man understood the idea that he was trying to bring across. then to top it off, he backed us into a corner when he started trying to quote Tiago 1:5 (james). he started to recite moroni 10:3 instead. i told him this, and he asked how the james version went. i didnt know, it was next on our list to memorize, but i hadnt yet. and so it was, that we were stuck, unable to continue because we didnt know how to get out of the hole we had created [due to limited Portuguese]. i prayed silently that my comp would be able to think of the words to say or for him to bear his testimony. he bore his testimony, because that was all we knew to do when we get stuck. it was incredible. for a minute, i couldnt hear the noise of the cars, or the sound of the tumult of people, or the crazy man with a mic and amps on the corner. it was quiet, for me at least. all i heard were the simple words my companion spoke. simple words, because that is all we knew, and it was simply and sincerely declared. all i could feel was the spirit, gently witnessing to us that these things WERE true, that we were in the right place. the man seemed to soften and we finished our message and committed him to call the number in the book, as well as to read the highlighted portion and to pray about it. i really learned a lot there; that we can only hear/feel the spirit when there is quiet, something that i have been taught all my life, but here, the spirit made it quiet, not in the physical reality, but for me, as a tender mercy, i felt the pówer of our message in the middle of the biggest crowd i have ever been in.

well, i think that our last day in the ctm is sept 4, so probably dont send any letters for the week and a half before, unless it is those mission ties letters; those seem to get here in between 4 hrs and 2 days, depending on when we check the mail. thanks again for the package, it was great; we are STILL finishing off the rest of our goods. we are savoring it. just so you know; the chocolate faired well in transfer and was greatly coveted over here. also, although i dont need it really right now, or at all for that matter, if you could, just with the next package you send, send me one or two of those fine ball pens, or whatever they are called, like those black g-force ones, or the v-something fine point ones. it would be easier to right in my planner with one. thx. sorry, no pics today, the comp. cafe with card readers is closed for some reason.

love you guys, elder helland "the hero"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

super rad...

hey thanks for the letters! Super thanks for the cool superman card that sings. double super wowzah thanks for the candy! my roommates were salivating as i opened it. we had a little, then i put the rest in the safe, because, right now, that is my most valuable commodity. oh, and my teachers thought the superman wallet was AWESOME! Of course, they said "LEGAL!" , but it is the same.

today we went to the sao paulo temple, and it was so BEAUTIFUL! really. the reason that we would go to the campinas temple before was that there are SO MANY missionaries going to the temple on tuesday and wednesday (the days americans have p-day) that we split up and went to two different temples. usually i get some time to write letters on the bus, but this week the ride was short, and our bus driver was always kicking the brake instead of the clutch, or at least it seemed that way. just a REALLY rough, bumpy, and wild ride. so sorry, no other letters going out this week. i'll try my best to answer most of your questions in THIS letter. BUT first, something funny:

today we went to a RONDIZIO(?) restaurant for lunch as a district, with our teacher and his wife. you know, the kind of place where they walk around with meat on these big spits and forks and they slice, all juicy and delicious, on to your plate! NOSSA! it was good! (by the way, NOSSA, is an exclamation that refers to the mother mary in some vague way. it means, more or less, WOWZERS!. just wanted to let jay know, that I KNEW! pretty cool.) SO, we ate and ate, and probably have worms, drank the MOST DELICIOUS fruit juice, and here is the weird part, we ate tons of chicken hearts. i alone am responsible for the death of at least 6 chickens. they were kind of squishy, but we choked them down as a sign of manhood. also, the cow stomach was terrible. it was like salty, textured, bubble-gum consistency, weirdness. we also took that as a sign of manhood. so, now i am a man. in the end it was worth the 10 reias we paid for it! SO CHEAP! it beat the heck out of the CTM food. it will be hard to go back to it tonight. (mostly because i am SO INCREDIBLY FULL).

jen always sends me jokes, and the guys really appreciate them, because we have already told each other all of ours, so new ones break the monotony. so here is two back for you guys, one in english, one in portugueses (kind of): what is green and fuzzy, and if it falls out of a tree it will kill you?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------a pool table! que faz um pech em agua? (SORRY, i don’t really remember the joke in portuguese, maybe jay and elle can tell you how to spell/say it. What it SHOULD say is: what does a fish do in the water?)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NADA! get it?!... nada as in 'nothing' or nada as in "it swims"? no?! well, i didn’t think it was very funny at first either, BUT if you try to say in portuguese to a brazilian here, THEY WILL DIE LAUGHING! i don’t know why... maybe because of my accent or because i am saying it wrong,... all i know is that i have a career here after my mission in stand-up if i don’t get better at the joke telling language. [smile]

just so everyone knows... i am doing great with portuguese. i can usually fairly easily read jay and elles letters, and every wednesday i speak nothing BUT portuguese. the things that i am struggling with is: 1. people that talk too fast. i can only pick up the occasional phrases, enough to know the subject and how the feel about what they are talking about usually. and 2. my language is limited because i am still working fluidly. i mean, i do really well sometimes, but sometimes when i am thinking of what i want to say, and then how to say it with my vocabulary, i pause a lot. This last week we went and did TRC. it was stressful. the video was painful to watch afterward. I already knew that we did bad WHILE we were giving the lesson, but then they made us watch it and then TOLD us we 'did good, BUT...' ! so we are improving. we gave the same lesson in the language training room last night to the instructor there, and we did SO MUCH BETTER! really, I wish that it had gone like that in the TRC, but as i said, we were nervous being on tape and all. ( i am not really sure what TRC stands for, but they have one that is HUGE at the Provo mtc, i am sure someone knows).

mom, yes i shave everyday. in fact, sometimes twice a day, if i go back to the room in the middle of the day. i usually use the electric razor, but sometimes i feel like i just have to knock it down smooth. IT GROWS SO FAST.! i am really rough by the end of the day. also, just so you know, i brush my teeth everyday as well, i also take a shower everyday. i only do laundry about once every week and a half, but i DO do it. Sorry out of time... i will try to answer a few more on pen and paper and try to get it mission-tied back to you today.
PAZ FORA, elder helland

Rest of letter he sent on “Mission Ties”:

To Everyone:

Because I don’t have time to write everyone, or anyone for that matter, I’ll answer some of the questions here:

For Ken: Yes, it is a different season here, but no it is NOT winter. They call it “inverno” which translates to winter, but it is more like “Inferno” cause it is crazy hot here! Portuguese is great, I am picking it up well I think (Eu acho que sim). It is tough getting used to all the accents [he wrote them all out for you but I can’t type them in]. All of the accents go over vowels – there are a lot of complicated rules associated with them. Thanks for the pic. I told everyone I got a picture from my girlfriend – they were disappointed when they saw the picture and my “girlfriend” had a beard! Well, I like it anyway! Keep writing!

Grandma Jones: We eat a lot of beans. Some are black and some are brown. They are all good. Usually I put them on a heap of white rice. That is about all there is to lunch and dinner ‘round here. Good luck with the contracts and stuff!

Madi: Good luck Freshman!

Jocy: I can’t believe you drove! That is a long way! I hear Madi has been riding with Alyce! Well, have fun with Mrs. Miller. She was awesome!

Jen: Sorry I can’t write you a full letter because you are my main-mailer! (Aunt=”Tia”, but it is pronounced “chia”…) I really love your letters. Well, um you didn’t have many questions to answer so just know I love you.

Jay and Elle: Wish I could see my little hulk [Logan]! I emailed about the temple thing… Oh, well to be frank, my “snap” kind of stinks! For the first 2 weeks that’s all I did, but now my wrist hurts and I have slacked off in practicing. Make-no-mistake, there is a pretty good sound when I warm up but still a long way to go.

Gpa & Gma Helland: Grandma, my companion thinks the pocket-bear-thing is so cool! Just wanted you to know, it is there, in my pocket (squeeze, squeeze, squeeze).

Hintons: Thanks for the postcard! From one tropic to another…!

Spencer Johnson – Thanks for the GREAT letter! It really meant a lot to me. Peace out! (Paz Fora!, Caro!)

TO everyone else: Either I haven’t yet received your letter or I answered your questions somewhere else. THANKS FOR ALL THE LETTERS!! Love, Adam