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