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.