Monday, December 29, 2008

If there's something strange in your neighborhood...

who you gonna call?

Are you guys ready for a crazy story? Well, ready or not here it comes!!!:

So yesterday we were wandering around looking for the house of a media referral (people who call on the pass along cards). When we got there we found out that the address was a “centro espírita”- which means that it is a REALLY creepy place full of candle and statues of weird saints and devils. It is a place where people go so that they can talk with mediums and to have their future read, and a lot of other really scary stuff. I don’t even know if I can say how much I do not like even being NEAR one of these places. It is also like a church for voodoo religions and other spirit worshiping cults. ANYWAY, we get there and knock on the door and the man who comes to the door is José, who we are looking for. He had asked for a DVD for Christmas and we gave it to him. He was REALLY nice. He told us his story about how he was worried that b/c of his religion we wouldn’t even deliver his DVD. He said that he would go to church on Sunday for sure just to show how thankful he was. He invited us in to give us some mango juice. I didn’t want any (all I really wanted was to NOT go in and to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE), but b/c of the circumstances it was impossible to say NO without hurting his feelings. So in we went and drank a quick glass of juice. All I wanted was to get out, so I told him where the church was and on the way out asked him if he knew anyone that would like to hear a message about the church of Jesus Christ. He said, “hang on” and went to his neighbors houses and asked them to let us teach them. They accepted and the next thing I knew we were upstairs in a tiny kitchen of his neighbor’s house with 8 or 9 other people teaching the first lesson. A lot of them were really receptive. They all said that they will go to church on Sunday. When we started talking about the book of mormon one lady said- “if you give me on of those books, and if it is true, I will get baptized.” Well, she kind of jumped the gun and beat me to that very invitation. I only had time to say, “uuuuhhmmm, sure…” when suddenly other people were asking about baptism and how it should be done and when and a bunch of other stuff. I smiled and thought, “why, thank you for asking, baptism happens to be one of my favorite subjects…”

Moral of the story- next time, before you call the ghostbusters- ask for referrals. Future investigators sometimes live next door to haunted houses.

So, once again- today isn’t really my pday, but pres said that we could write a little letter today b4 lunch.

DAD- man, that IS sad. :-) it would be funny if they just cut some of the players. I bet they fired several coaches already. I guess that it isn’t fun to be detroit. Sorry about the broncos. I am sure you probably watched part of one of their games. :-) no, just kidding. I know that after church we would do our home teaching sometimes just to listen to the radio in between houses. Or, we would drive home the long way to hear a little bit more. MAN, those were the good old days. Now I can’t even look at a tv or radio. Oh well.

MOM- 40 minutes next time. We went over and my companion teased me all day. Anyway, next time we talk it will be MAY with very little time until we can talk all we want. Until then I am going to enjoy everyday that I can’t talk to you.(b/c that means I am still a missionary) And you can enjoy every day that you don’t have to put up with me. :-) Hey, kind of like bytheway said about true friends. Cool.

Alyce_ hey small fry. Boring is good- just no boys. You can have all the fun you want after I get back- “until then put your life on hold for two years honey, and wait for me.” work is good. It makes you tired. Tired people sleep well. That has to be one of the things that I like most about being a missionary. I pass out every day at 10:30. I know that the rules say to sleep at 10:30, but I don’t think that I could stay up later most nights even if I wanted.

Well, I will write next week.
LOVE, elder helland

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

you hockey puck

MERRY CHRISTMAS Family and Friends! My Christmas gift to you is THREE of Adam's last letters - no excuses :-) - Have a WONDERFUL holiday! :-)
Letter 12-22-08

So, hey- today isn’t actually pday, but president is letting us write a quick email to inform about the “CHRISTMAS CALL”
8675309-Jenny i got your number; i want to make you mine, jenny don’t change your number 8675309-“

JK- that isn’t really the number. Actually, on Christmas we are going to eat in the house of some members in our ward. We are going to have Christmas Lunch. Their names are Rosimeire and Fábio. The only problem is that they don’t have a telephone…

So, I, being the sharp guy that I am :-), asked another member that lives close by, Carmen, if I can get the call in her house. She said, “sure thing dude”, and that is the plan stan.

You ready freddy? Then lets GOOOOOOOO!
(he had this in flashing lights, but the blog doesn't copy all the fun stuff! :-)
In case you didn’t get that – the number is:
Since it is going to be a lunch- we thought that it would be cool if you guys called at about 2 o'clock - MY TIME! (“ …them up there, that is there time, but here, down here, this is our time!”)
So let’s think- if it is 2 here it is probably 9 or 10 am there. DON’T GOOF IT :-)

So, yep- we got one of the packages that you sent- the one full of presents. Elder carvalho was pretty excited to see that you sent more presents to him than to me :-). I also got a letter from the stinghams and from uncle kurt.... THANK YOU for the mail!!

MOM- we have a washing machine now- the mission bought them for everyone this month. Dryers don’t exist in brazil. Actually I have had bad luck with clothes lately. I had a missionary in my zone who lost a lot of weight on the mission and his pants didn’t fit him anymore, so I gave him two pairs of pants (I really don’t use all of my pants still. I don’t need anymore) then I was walking in the street and my shirt got caught in a barbed wire fence and tore one of the sleeves off. Another 2 have been inked by defective pens

On Christmas eve I have no idea what I am going to do. The tradition in brazil is to eat a dinner really late at night- like 10 or 11 pm. But I have to be at home by 10 which means that I will have to see if some member wants to do dinner a little early for the missionaries. The ward has no missionaries out, so there aren’t any sisters that are feeling tender to the missionaries- you know? :-)

I don’t think that I will be singing (Christmas caroling) very much- our mission president doesn’t really like “singing missionaries”, just baptizers. Nope, never heard from elder corollo.

Ya, I know what you're talking about - Everyone here gets all crazy for different reasons when i say FELIZ NATAL. The crentes say, ”how do you know that Jesus really was born on the 25 of dez? If you believe the he was born on that day your church isn’t true!” I usually tell them that I know that he wasn’t born on dec 25, but that isn’t all that important. I say things like, “what is more important- your birthday, or the fact that you were born?”- which they unwillingly respond, “… uh, my birth, BUT…” and I cut them off before they say something stupid. Hey, Christmas is about Christ- DEAL WITH IT! Don’t like it- then shut up, that is my attitude. (I don’t know if that is entirely missionary appropriate- but MAN that really makes me angry sometimes)

ALYCE- hey, you could get me some cool stuff too. … and then let it sit and rot until july. :-)weird, this mission is running out of time, and I still have a lot of people to baptize. I was at the mission office last month and I saw the exit dates for this summer. I am scheduled for the 23 of june!!!! AHHHHHHH. I complained that I would be gypped out of 12 days of mission, but the secretary said- HEY, don’t like it, talk to the prophet. I guess we’ll see.

DAD- yo, foo’! take it easy on the cat scan. What would happen to the cat if you gave the cat a cat scan? Explode, I guess. If you think that it is funny starting without a prayer or a song, you have got to see some of the wards that I have been in! In one, the bishop finished everything that he said, “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” It was hilarious. There are MANY more funny and weird experiences out here - let's just say Aztec ward is doing good! Ask alyce about the time that we went and the bishop made a little girl sit down in the testimony meeting or the other when the speaker told a bunch of redneck jokes! (talk about irony) the bishop had a big mustache and a belt buckle. (maybe it was one of his counselors.).

Well talk to you guys on Christmas. 2pm my time.

Love elder helland

Muddy Christmas

letter from 12-15-08


When it rains here the dirt roads turn to mud roads and that makes me dirty.

I don’t have time to write much, hope next week is better.

ALYCE- elder cangelosi´s sister talked to you huh? Cool. That is kind of weird. I guess there is kind of a story here that I think is pretty dang funny, but is really weird. You want to here it? Then hang on tight. It all started in the MTC…
More than a year ago I was in a place kind of like the celestial kingdom- only we spent most of our time learning a language that didn’t make any sense. In our room there lived elder cangelosi. Elder cangelosi is a GOOF. I like him, we …goof around together. Anyway, he has this crazy idea that his 17 year old sister would like to get letters from complete stranger missionaries, so he brought along a bunch of pictures of her inside of pre stamped envelopes. Then near the end of our stay in that heaven-like habitat he gave one to me along with several other missionaries in our group. Anxious to not make him mad at me, on p-day I sat down to write a little note to his sister. Another elder, elder evans, helped me do it so that it would be funny. That was that. Then a year passes.
After about six months in the field, this elder evans gets bored one fateful p-day. Rummaging through his bags he found the pre stamped envelope that cangelosi gave to him. Being the mischief maker that he is (which is why I like him,) he sat down and wrote an outright creepy letter to elder cangelosi´s sister- and then put my name at the bottom. Six months LATER, elder evens and I finally meet up again. And he tells me what he did. I had one of those “A-HAH!” moments, when suddenly I understood why elder cangelosi had asked me if I had written again to his sister a few times. I had told him, “of course not, I am not some kind of stalker.”- Only after another 3 or 4 months did I see cangelosi again to tell him what had happened.
So besides all that weirdness- cangelosi is pretty cool. He was the executive secretary of the mission for several months. I like seeing him, we get to re-hash the good ole days in the CTM. He made these cool CDs for our whole group that had all of us talking in the CTM. He is nice, but goofy. Who says “knee slapping”?? I am going to tease him for that one. Actually I think that I will see him this Friday.
And about chess- I really am not that good either. I mean, I bet I can beat you… :-), but I have only played elder carvalho once- beat him! It was a close one. With elder carvalho I play a lot of UNO. We have a lot of fun together. Elder carvalho is going home in January. Another one bites the dust.

MOM- Hey, I didn’t get your packages yet, but I DID get the package from jay and elle. Tell them that I am totally STOKED to make those chocolate chip cookies and the peanut butter is AWESOME!! i also got a cool letter from Camille Pobst and Grandma Jones sent me card w/ 20 bucks in it! Whew! Thank you all! The funny thing was that grandma started the card like this:
Dear Adam… I mean Brother Helland.
And I was thinking, “You mean ELDER Helland?” (Brother Helland is my father! “Hey, Mister Crush- ” “Whoa- Mister Crush is my FATHER.” Finding Nemo)

DAD- NOTHING boring here. Today I had a meeting with my zone and we made a plan for our presentation for zone conference. We made a skit called “o anjo atrasado” or the “late angel” – the idea is that we will use a few scriptural stories modified. The angel gets there late. Like with Abraham and Isaac. The angel gets there late and Abraham already killed Isaac. With nephi- the angel gets there late and nephi and sam are too badly beat up to continue the journey. It should be pretty funny. The skit will poke a lot of fun at common things of missionary work- like for instance- getting to appointments late.

6 pm- pday is up . love you guys

Hope I get you package-

Elder helland

swift as a coursing river...

letter from 12-8-08

THIS IS MY NEW COMP! elder carvalho

So transfers came and went once again and elder camps got transferred. He is now a secretary in the mission office over housing. Elder carvalho is my new comp. (he wants me to tell you that his name is translated to mean “Oak”, but that, no, he is not related to the apostle- elder oaks.) he is from são Paulo, actually he lives really close to the temple of sao Paulo. He speaks English pretty well, and so he always wants to “practice” with me. he lived in our house this last transfer, so we already know each other pretty well; we also played chess last night, at his insisting. And I won again. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but the truth is that I am rotten at chess, and I am having luck playing people who are worse than me. :-)
I am still the zone leader here in Nova Iguaçu, and things are looking up. My zone finally baptized 11 people in the month of Nov. that was a new high point. Well, sorry, but I am really hungry today, and president is going to inspect our house this week, so that means that I need to clean and eat. Which also means that I will have to either come back before 6:00 or write more next week. I will try and write a few letters today- to converts and to people that wrote me.
MOM- Tell Tyson- “way to go dude!! Being an eagle scout isn't a cheap thing, and it certainly helps on the mission. Everyday I get to use the square knot when our clothes line breaks and gets our clothes dirty. My skills with the knife and other tools helps me fix all the stuff that falls apart in our house. And perhaps I didn’t cook all that well as a scout, BUT what I learned sure comes in handy at dinner time here: when you gotta eat, you GOTTA EAT! So as they say here “parabéns cara!” (way to go dude), you will be an awesome missionary. ”
oh, and still no package, but that may be bc it is still in the mission office. Tomorrow is the mission counsel, maybe I will get it there?!- can I do that thing for you next week? I am really hungry right now- we have no food in our house- I ate my last p-nut-butter on fri. now I gotta buy some groceries.
ALYCE- man- your life is way more hectic than mine. Have you thought about going on a mission? It isn't exactly a solution to school and boy problems, but it rocks!
DAD= you're the man. You don’t have to be pirate to be awesome. You could be an undercover spy!
I am starved- gotta go NOW- says Adams stomach So in case I don’t see ya- good morning good evening and good night
Love elder helland
my zone- see if you can figure out how many Americans are in the picture;

My comp and me
Two little boys that got baptized - less active families :-)

And now here is my favorite talk EVER- about missionary work- I bet it sounds familiar…
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, Mar 2001
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is rightfully seen as the central fact, the crucial foundation, and the chief doctrine of the plan of salvation, which we are called to teach. The Prophet Joseph Smith once declared that all things “which pertain to our religion are only appendages” to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 1 In like manner and for the same reasons, every truth that a missionary or member teaches is only an appendage to the central message of all time—that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, the Holy Messiah, the Promised One, the Savior and Redeemer of the world; that He alone burst the bands of death and triumphed over the captivity of hell; that no one of us could ever have those same blessings without His intervention in our behalf; and that there never shall be any “other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, [except] in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” 2 Our basic message is that with a complete offering of His body, His blood, and the anguish of His spirit, Christ atoned for the initial transgression of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and also for the personal sins of everyone else who would ever live in this world from Adam to the end of time.Some of those blessings are unconditional, such as the gift of the Resurrection. Other of the blessings, at least the full realization of them, are very conditional, requiring the keeping of commandments, the performance of ordinances, and living the life of a disciple of Christ.Either way, the essential message of the gospel, the starting point for all other truths, is this from the Master’s own lips: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 3 Thus the Atonement of Christ, which makes that return to the Father possible, is rightfully seen as the central fact, the crucial foundation, and the chief doctrine of the great and eternal plan of salvation—“our Heavenly Father’s plan,” which we are called to teach.Little wonder, then, that the Apostle Paul, the greatest missionary the world has ever known (or at least one of them), said: “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. … For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified.” 4 The “Good News”Inherent in all of this is a rather simple definition of the gospel, at least when considered in its essence. The word gospel as we use it in English comes down to us through early scriptural language which meant literally “good news” or sometimes “glad tidings.” The “good news” was that death and hell could be escaped, that mistakes and sins could be overcome, that there was hope, that there was help, that the insoluble was solved, that the enemy had been conquered. The good news was that everyone’s tomb could one day be empty, that everyone’s soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life.This is the essence of the message delivered by every prophet who has ever lived and every Apostle ever called to the work. It is the message we are called to declare. It is the message of the angel who came to those unsuspecting Judean shepherds:“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy [or, in other words, I bring you the gospel personified], which shall be to all people.“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” 5 Prerequisites for BaptismProbably there are very few missionaries, if any, who do not know the centrality of this doctrine. But I have been surprised to regularly be with the missionaries and discover that this is not something that readily comes forward in a discussion of missionary work.For example, in zone conferences, which are some of the greatest teaching moments we as General Authorities have with these young elders and sisters, I have asked missionaries what it is they want investigators to do as a result of their discussions with them.“Be baptized!” is shouted forward in an absolute chorus.“Yes,” I say, “we do want them to be baptized, but what has to precede that?”Now they are a little leery. Aha, they think. This is a test. It is a test on the first discussion. “Read the Book of Mormon!” someone shouts. “Pray!” an elder roars from the back of the room. “Attend church!” one of the sisters on the front row declares. “Receive all of the discussions!” someone else offers.“Well, you have pretty much covered the commitments in the first discussion,” I say, “but what else do you want your investigators to do?”“Be baptized!” The chorus comes a second time.“Elders,” I plead, “you have already told me about baptism, and I am still asking!”Well, now they are stumped. It must be commitments from the other discussions, they think. “Live the Word of Wisdom!” someone says. “Pay tithing!” another shouts. And so it goes.I don’t always run through this little exercise in a zone conference, but sometimes I do. And I have to say that almost never do the missionaries get around to identifying the two most fundamental things we want investigators to do prior to baptism: have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. Yet “we believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; [then] third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” 6 A convert’s new life is to be built upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeeming sacrifice—a conviction that He really is the Son of God, that He lives this very moment, that He really is the door of the sheepfold, that He alone holds the key to our salvation and exaltation. That belief is to be followed by true repentance, repentance which shows our desire to be clean and renewed and whole, repentance that allows us to lay claim to the full blessings of the Atonement.Then comes baptism for the remission of sins. Yes, baptism is also for membership in the Church, but that isn’t what the Prophet Joseph Smith chose to stress in that article of faith. He stressed that it was baptism for the remission of sins—focusing you and me, the missionary and the investigator again on the Atonement, on salvation, on the gift Christ gives us. This points that new convert toward the blessings of the “good news.”Making the Atonement Central to Missionary WorkIn an effort to keep our work closely linked to the Savior’s ministry, let me suggest some things all of us might do to keep Christ and His Atonement in the forefront of members’ and investigators’ consciousness.Encourage in every way possible more spiritual Church meetings, especially sacrament meetings. One of the great fears missionaries have at least in some locations is taking their investigators to church. And indeed the investigators deserve to feel essentially the same spirit in sacrament meeting that they feel when being taught by the missionaries.It will also help orient investigators if missionaries will take some time to explain the ordinance of the sacrament that investigators will be witnessing, what it means for the renewing of baptismal covenants, that the emblems represent the Savior’s body and blood, and so forth. Missionaries could read to these investigators the sacramental prayers as found in the scriptures, they could share some of the words of favorite sacrament hymns, or they could do any number of other things that would help these new visitors and prospective members have a powerful learning experience when they visit a sacrament meeting.In like manner, do all that you can to make your baptismal services a spiritual, Christ-centered experience. A new convert deserves to have this be a sacred, carefully planned, and spiritually uplifting moment. The prayers, the hymns, surely the talks that are given—all ought to be focused on the significance of this ordinance and the Atonement of Christ, which makes it efficacious.Probably no other meeting we hold in the Church has the high referral and future baptismal harvest that a baptismal service does. Many of the investigators who attend a baptismal service (that is, the service of someone else being baptized) will go on to their own baptisms. That is more likely to occur if this service is a spiritual, strong teaching moment in which it is clear to participants and visitors alike that this is a sacred act of faith centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, that it is an act of repentance claiming the cleansing power of Christ, that through His majesty and Atonement it brings a remission of sins as well as, with confirmation, membership in His Church. Missionaries, don’t get so consumed with the desire to record a baptism that you yourselves forget what this baptism represents and what it must mean in the life of this new member.Throughout the teaching experience, missionaries must bear testimony of the Savior and His gift of salvation to us. Obviously you should bear testimony regularly of all the principles you are teaching, but it is especially important that you bear testimony of this central doctrine in the plan of our Heavenly Father.There are several reasons for bearing testimony. One is that when you declare the truth, it will bring an echo, a memory, even if it is an unconscious memory to the investigator, that they have heard this truth before—and of course they have. A missionary’s testimony invokes a great legacy of testimony dating back to the councils in heaven before this world was. There, in an earlier place, these same people heard this same plan outlined and heard there the role that Jesus Christ would play in their salvation.“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” 7 So the fact of the matter is investigators are not only hearing our testimony of Christ, but they are hearing echoes of other, earlier testimonies, including their own testimony of Him, for they were on the side of the faithful who kept their first estate and earned the privilege of a second estate. We must always remember that these investigators, every man, woman, and child, were among the valiant who once overcame Satan by the power of their testimony of Christ! So when they hear others bear that witness of Christ’s saving mission, it has a familiar feeling; it brings an echo of truth they themselves already know.Furthermore, when you bear witness of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” 8 to use Paul’s phrase, you invoke the power of God the Father and the Holy Ghost. The Savior Himself taught about bearing witness before any other doctrine when He visited the Nephites:“After this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one. … “And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me. … “… Whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him [the investigator] will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him [the investigator] with fire and with the Holy Ghost. “And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him [the investigator] of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. … “… This is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” 9 So why should we bear frequent and powerful testimony of Christ as Savior, as Redeemer, as Atoning Lamb of God? Because doing so invites and becomes part of the divine power of testimony borne by God the Father and by the Holy Ghost, a testimony borne on wings of fire to the very hearts of investigators. Such a divine testimony of Christ is the rock upon which every new convert must build. Only this testimony of the atoning Anointed, Victorious One will prevail against the gates of hell. So saith the Son of God Himself.Study the scriptures conscientiously and become familiar with those passages that teach and testify of Christ’s redeeming mission. Nothing will so touch your heart and stir your soul like the truths of which I have been speaking.I would particularly ask full-time and member missionaries to study from and teach the Atonement of Christ out of the Book of Mormon. I say that in a very biased way, because it was on my own mission that I came to love the Book of Mormon and the majesty of the Son of God which is revealed there. In its unparalleled focus on the messianic message of the Savior of the world, the Book of Mormon is literally a new testament or (to avoid confusion) “another testament” of Jesus Christ. As such the book centers upon that which scriptural testaments have always centered upon since the days of Adam and Eve: the declaration to all that through the Atonement of the Son of God, “as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.” 10 Testimonies of Book of Mormon ProphetsThere is not enough space here to convey the wonder and breadth of these Book of Mormon sermons, but consider this from Nephi early in his ministry:“And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.“And the God of our fathers, … yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself … as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos. … “And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers.” 11 Or this from Nephi at the end of his life:“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; … this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” 12 Or this from Nephi’s remarkable brother Jacob, who gave a two-day sermon on the Fall and the Atonement!“I know … that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, … for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.“For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.“Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement. … “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit. … “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.“And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men. … “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.” 13 Consider this from King Benjamin:“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent … shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. … “… And even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.“And he shall rise the third day from the dead. … “… His blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.” 14 Or, as a last example, this from the great patriarch Lehi:“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah. … “Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.“Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.” 15 Obviously, you recognize that these samples are testimonies from just the first pages of the Book of Mormon. Perhaps this is enough to give you a feel for the urgent, impressive theme that runs all through that sacred record. With its declared title-page purpose of testifying that Jesus is the Christ, little wonder that the Book of Mormon was the first—and is still the greatest—missionary tract of this dispensation. As Lehi says to me and to you, “How great the importance to make these things [of the Atonement] known unto the inhabitants of the earth.”I testify to you that we will change lives, including our own, if we will teach the Atonement through the Book of Mormon as well as, of course, from all of the other scriptures.The Atonement and the MissionaryAlmost everything I have said here has been an aid directed toward the missionary process, ultimately toward the investigator. May I close with an extended testimony about how focusing on the Atonement helps full-time and member missionaries and mission leaders.Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 17 was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all. 18 I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. 19 I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world.
I think that I read this like 4 or 5 times this week, I really learned a lot and felt the spirit teach me. sorry that is so long, but I LOVE it. Love Adam

Monday, December 1, 2008

Serenata de Amor

Letter posted on the day it was SENT! Whew-hoo! :-) See below for last's week letter that was sent late...and posted late!

Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with love- serenata da amor is my favorite bom-bom. But I guess that that is love too.

So this week I don’t have any pictures to send. And not much to say either. This week is transfers and I think that I will probably stay here. It looks like my comp might get transferred, but the truth is that no one really knows. President is famous for changes up to the last minute.

This week those two boys were confirmed. Another family that we are teaching went to the church dance. They really liked it. I am excited to get ready to baptize a few more people this next week.

Mom- just say no to drugs, mom. [I told him to "just say no" when confronted with disgusting food - not really NO, but that he isn't very hungry or that he is having stomach problems] I want to you to imagine that you make dinner for the missionaries. Imagine that it is one of those “edge-y” dishes- not that you make edge-y dishes, but maybe you try something new for one night. (NEVER do that to the missionaries.) and when the missionaries sees the plate he says- “um, gee thanks sister helland, but suddenly I am not so hungry.” Then looks at his comp and gives him a look that says, “good luck eating this dog food.” BETTER YET, when the sweet poor sister that made me the food, however disgusting, says, “ hey elder, I made you MOCOTÒ”, I will just let out one of those famous movies screams of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO000000000ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo……!!!” that echoes out into space.

Just so YOU know, I don’t feel better knowing that you guys are all sick of turkey. I have eaten beans and rice EVERY DAY for over a year. Stick THAT one on you lunchbox! And I’ll also have you know that I LOVE salad, but still HATE vinegar. I now eat mayonnaise, but don’t like it. Salad holds no terror for me- I eaten chicken feet and have seen people eat chicken heads- I have enough to be afraid of.

And hey, tell alyce to stop ralphing all over the places- that’s gross!

DAD, way to go Idaho- I would like to see this talked about patio. It bust be cool. I remember at our old house when you put up the mister system, you were one cool guy. Maybe the coolest guy in the hood. BUT NOW, wow. Now we are talking that big time.

And hey, you don’t need to lie to make me like you. You will always be the MVP in my book. J (JK- I am sure that you really did catch those passes. “it hit you in the HANDS…”)

“…only staircases and elevators get me down.” And maybe transfers too

The broncos and the cardinals are losing- hey dad, I don’t think that you are being a good enough fan. Maybe if you liked them more or used their t shirt they would win.

If turkey has triptophan- you have got to drink some maracuja juice. (also known as passion fruit juice) that stuff is good. It can make anyone tired. Especially missionaries.

Alyce- once again- you get all sick and because you procrastinated the letter- I get nothing from my favorite little surfer girl. Since you didn’t write I don’t have a lot to poke fun at. Except all the BARF. …. Man, up-chuck is always funny. Be careful not to toss your cookies on anyone. “bbbbBut the wwworse thing I ever done… ooooOne time I made this bucket of ffffFake barf…” “ and ttttttThen I mmmmMade this sound like this: bbBWWUuuEEEEEGHK, muragth, ahhhhhhaHHhurgt” “ and the people got all sick and started throwing up on each other.” [from the Goonies]

I also wanted you to know how much all missionaries think that you are a cutie. Yesterday, for example, the secretary of the mission- elder Kershaw, called me and asked if I would let him take you out. I said, “sure, it looks like she goes out with just about anyone… once.” And he was like, “yeah, but would you give me a recommendation.” I said that that required an extensive interview with multiple background checks, but I might make an exception for him. You see, alyce, every time I do a division, and I do a lot, I let other missionaries see pictures of my family. You are, of course, always initially interpreted as my girlfriend. But you are recognized as one of the cuter little sisters here in the mission. I just thought that I would brighten your day. Everyone asks if you are going to go on a mission too. Elder campos says that you don’t need too because cuties like you are the “mission blessings” of good returned missionaries. :-)

Elder helland

Sunday, November 30, 2008

When you see the arrow coming...

Adam DID send a letter last week - just a day late. :-) This is from 11-25-08

“When you see the arrow coming you are less surprised when it gets there.”

I think that that is my favorite quote for this week, but I will put in a few others anyway. So this week was really great. We had 3 baptisms in our ward, and I did two of them. There names were Leonardo and Leandro (brothers, 10 and 9 years old.). The water was pretty cold because even though this chapel has a font, it doesn’t have a water heater. Actually NO ONE has a water heater in Brasil, so I guess that is normal. Both of the boys were a little shocked when they got in the water, but I told them that I would be fast, and not to worry. :-)This last week was marked by several incidents that I had to resolve in the zone. I guess that I always thought that all missionaries were good and had the same desires as the others, BUT some missionaries don’t really understand their purpose. I had to do an emergency division late one night to separate a few missionaries and then yesterday at interviews there was a few emergency transfers. As always, when there are troubles there is help. I think that it is easier to see and recognize the Lord’s hand in things when the difficulties make it so that we know that we NEED Him. So with the turbulence this weekend I learned a lot - a lot about how Christ-like leadership works, a lot about charity, and patience.

"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike--and they will--you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection (see 2 Kgs. 6:16-17). They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham's seed."
Jeffrey R. Holland, For Times of Trouble
Man, I like that quote. Sometimes I think that I just need to open my eyes a little bit more. We are also working with another family that is doing well - a mother and daughter (13yrs). They are having some really tough times with their family, we have the ONLY thing that can cure and SAVE their family, in the only real sense. The gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to SAVE families and support them too. Men are that they might have joy is not just a promise in the celestial kingdom, but for now. We are helping them pray together every night and read the scriptures together everyday. Just these two simple things, along with weekly church attendance has already made a HUGE difference in their lives. They still have the same problems- BUT they have more power to deal with them.

Here is another good quote:
"You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father's spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives. Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. . .You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord."
Henry B. Eyring

In other news- this week I ate MOCOTÒ for the 2nd time in the mission. YUCK!!! It is this weird soup stuff full of weird pig stuff- fat, ears, feet, tail, intestines, and if you are lucky- pig snout. And then there are the beans, carrots, and peas in it too. I don’t know what some members think, that they have a responsibility to present the worst that Brasil has to offer to the Americans so that they will write horror letters home (like mine)? It is WAY easier for them to make some black beans and rice and an egg, but I still get the weird stuff sometimes. Most Brazilians don’t even like mocotó. Sheesh, they don’t waste anything. Every part of the pig is put to use. In the U.S. we use the bacon and skin; “I think that I will just go out back at toss around the ole’ pig-skin after dinner tonight.”

MOM= Christmas is coming and several families have already asked us to go to their house. BUT, we just don’t know if we will be here for the big day. I THINK that I will be here, and there is a risk that elder campos may not. BUT until the 3 of Dec we just can’t say for sure (the next transfer day). I will see about sharing… :-) but just telling the others that we need to pray for the packages from the states- they got so excited and promised to pray, even fast, for them to get here. :-) jk

I brush my teeth once a week, mom. I have got it under control. :-)

I went to the doctors last week because my comp needed too. And since he was going and I am having trouble reading the words from the projector at Zone conference, I set up an appointment too. And SURPRISE, I have some kind of problem in my eyes. Tell Alyce that for all the carrots she ate as a kid her eyes turned rotten and her hair stayed blond. Carrots-shmarrots. The real secret to good eye sight is ROBOTS. Anyone who just “naturally” has good eye sight is a robot and a human-impostor.

And, thanks for all the help with the BYU application. I don’t know what the username and password is.
ALYCE- MAN, You have the best dating stories. I can't wait to hear you tell your kids these stories and then tell them to be nice :-) he he he he I am still laughing about that story.

Now you are in the “holiday season” and the great holiday craft supply store. I do not envy the mess you get to clean up. I mean for folks like us that never got the hang of cleaning our rooms- a STORE is a big place. I remember, however faintly, that …shoot, I can’t even remember the name of the store that you work at… anyway, I remember that it was ALWAYS a HUGE FAT MESS at the holiday time.

I think that maybe your cool idea for NERD glasses just won’t go good on me. But I will give it a look.

DAD- yep they have this saying in brazil that you only get to play because the ball is yours. Implying that if it weren’t, you wouldn’t play. But you always do alright. I remember that one time you scored. … see, you are the MVP. Hey take it easy on the knee. That is an essential part of the body. Without it we would walk like penguins on stilts.
These last couple of weeks I have been the MVP of chess. One day my comp was talking trash about how he was smart and everyone else is dumb and he started saying that only those who knew how to play chess were smart like him. So he started asking everyone if they knew how (just other missionaries). I said yes and he asked if I was good, I said that I didn’t think so, anyway, after he got on everyone’s nerves in the house about this we bought a 2 dollar chess set. I was the first to play him. I was afraid bc the way he talked, it sounded like it would be good. I won. I was feeling pretty lucky. Since then I have won 15 in a row and not lost one yet. Elder campos still hasn’t won. It think that it is pretty funny, bc I am NOT really good. I am MVP
Well, I got to roll.
Love elder helland

Latitude (Y): -22.759438
Longitude (X): -43.458701
this is where i live. good luck i finding it.

These are the other missionaries that I live with.

elder correa
Elder carvalho

Monday, November 24, 2008

burp- even the word is rude

Letter from 11/17/08 - Sorry, no letter for today - 11/24/08, hmmmmm?

Yep, this had been a crazy week too. And speaking of crazy… :-) I think that the thing that I have learned this week is that Lord blesses those who seek blessings from him. I have recently changed the way that I pray at night and it has made all the difference. I have been able to see more clearly all of the blessings that I receive everyday. For example, we are now teaching a wonderful family of 5, and another of 3 that are going to church and everything. Last week this family of 5 just showed up at church. I, being the sharp guy that I am, spotted them and immediately went to find out who they were. I was worried that either they were members or that they were in the other elder’s area. I started talking to them and my I was right - the couple was already baptized. They had been inactive for years, but due to several miracles and dreams that they had had, they decided to come back to church. Great, I thought. I hope they have children to teach and baptize. And they did - two sons of 9 and 10 years old. They now are getting ready to be baptized this next week.

In other news, today I went to the eye doctor and she said that I need glasses. I have to go to another doctor here in a week or two to do some more tests. It looks like I might have glaucoma. Fun, huh! So I guess that I am going to need some money soon to be able to buy glasses… I know that this is a tight time of year, so just let me know what you think. Also, let me know what kind of glasses to get- so that I can look COOL!!

DAD- wowzers- benny is already leaving on the mission!! Sounds like he already has the gift of speech. I have found that I never have trouble filling the time. Actually I have trouble speaking TOO much. It is a common problem among missionaries. We talk ALL DAY, every day, so it becomes natural to talk a lot- especially when it is about the gospel. One time in juiz de fora I got to sac meeting and the bishop asked me to speak. I said sure and he said I would have 20 minute exactly. I figured since he was asking me 5 min before hand that the schedule wasn’t so tight. Later, when I was giving my talk, I knew I was close to the 20 min mark, so I started bearing my testimony. Then I felt this tapping on my leg. I started wrapping up fast. Then I felt something smacking my leg. I looked back to see the 1st counselor with a rod in his hand smacking my leg to let me know that time was up. Sheesh, I thought, and then turned and ended the talk. That was actually pretty common in that ward. On time they did the same thing to the bishop’s wife and she turned around and chewed him out right there in front of everyone. I think that it stopped after that.

And hey good luck helping that recent convert. They really need help because it is so different in the church- so much to change and learn. They just need friends and responsibilities to learn and grow.

MOM- I’ll have you know that I AM peter pan. Getting old and growing up are different things. Let me quote to you from the doctrinal classic- “if you could hie to kolob” (what the heck is ‘HIE’. Is it like “hie, how ya doin” or “wow, that plane is really hie. I wonder if I could hie to that plane.”) anyway- somewhere in those weird extra verses it says “there is no end to youth” (rhymes with ‘truth’)- so I guess that we never really grow up. Just get bigger.

Relax- our apartment is awesome- we have desks now but no beds. My companion is… well let’s say he is great. His personality is … different. He is really smart and his sense of humor requires that he makes fun of everyone and everything. Rather than try and change him, (that never works and is a false principle :-) ) we are adapting. I like him, and I am not sure about the others. That is their problem. The greenie is AWESOME with a capital A. He is so excited. Sometimes we do divisions before lunch so that we can work together. We do crazy stuff that our companions don’t want to do. He is full of energy and it is contagious.

The stomach problems… hmmm. I heard one RM say about his mission, when asked the same question, “NO, I only had diarrhea once. … and it lasted two years.” :-) Actually I went to a rodizios de churrasco this last week and ate a TON of meat. So I am all good now :-)- maybe fatter…. And that letter I promised… hopefully I will mail it before Christmas :-)

ALYCE- whoa-who’s that hottie?? If you are looking for recognition that you are a cutie you should hear the stuff that the elders in my house say about you. Maybe I will let them write you a letter… :-) but seriously, my comp thinks that you are quite the cutie- too bad I wouldn’t let you date him. :-) (“speaking of cuties”- I think that you have said that Zack Efron is cute in three letters in a row…- weird!)

I will get you guys the sweetest picture ever next week. But I have no idea what to take a picture with. I am not close to any beaches. The Christ statue is really far away. Favela- I don’t have any of those anymore either, I guess Ill take a pic with rice and beans… :-)

Well folks, that’s all she wrote.
Elder helland

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Olá família- lição da semana

letter from 11-10-08
SORRY - I was the MOST behind I've been - so Adam's last THREE letters were just posted today. You can scroll down and read them! :-)

Olá família- lição da semana

Man, this has been a long week. We finally moved apartments- that was a pain in the drain. We also had mission counsel- that was really awesome.

This week we started teaching a new family. There is a really neat story behind how we found them. I wrote it in Portuguese… sorry.

Eu vi muitas bênçãos do Senhor também essa semana. Segunda feira semana passado estava chovendo aqui. Nós não tivemos peito um planejamento a noite anterior, e quando pday acabou não tínhamos nada para fazer. Eu tinha alguns endereços, e decidimos visitar eles; não deu. Nós oramos para encontrar alguém batendo portas para ensinar. Sem guarda chuva nos buscamos noite inteiro. Também, noite inteiro meu companheiro falava coisas negativas. Finalmente, depois muitas portas e orações a noite tava acabando. Eu perguntei pra meu comp o que ele sentia. Ele falou que sentiu que nos tivemos feito tudo possível e que poderíamos voltar pra casa. Eu senti que nós tivemos feito tido possível, mas que isso significava que o Senhor faria a parte dele por causa disso. Fizemos mais uma oração e o próximo pessoa passando na chuva eu parei. Ele me convidou para casa dele o próximo dia. A família dele inteiro está lendo o livro de mórmon agora e tem data pra próximos semana. Eu mi que o Senhor está me usando pra ajudar os filhos dele. Foi um sentimento muito forte e especial.

(I'll get Jay to translate this for us and add the translation next week - don't forget to check back!)

Actually that is the sweet and condensed version. It really was a great experience. Also this other family showed up at church this week. The parents are members that have been inactive for at least 5 years. They now have two sons of 9 and 10 years old. Which is perfect- so we are going to teach them this week too.

Mom- Nova Iguaçu is my new area. It is the fourth largest city in Rio de Janeiro- but only has ONE ward. Our area is HUGE. It is close to Rio- about 45 min by bus from my last area. Good news is that this area doesn’t have half the danger, violence, drugs, or favela that my last area had. It is like utah in comparison. The neighborhood that we live in now is pretty “chique” –meaning “uppy” and “pretty darn sweet”. Here I would say that 50% percent of the people have a car. And some have the kind of cars that we have in the USA. It is pretty cool. But that is JUST the neighborhood in which we live. Everywhere else is normal. Living with three in one apartment was pretty cool at first. And maybe still could be, but my comp has a tendency to argue and hurt the feelings of others in the house… but we are trying to work this out still. By next week it will all be great. I got a few letters this last week- one from Sarah, and two from the Stanfield family. Please tell them THANK YOU for the letters! :-) Something that bro stanfield wrote helped me out. He said something about the importance of learning to love your companion and the people. I am trying harder than ever to love my companion- even when it is hard.

Get me Benjamin’s address too. Who knows when I will have time to write, but… who knows…And hey- since when do you say “wowzers”- I think that you are spending too much time with alyce. She is infecting your brain. :-)

DAD- forgiven. “and I Nephi did frankly forgive them.”I think that it is time that we forget this notion that occurred in the CTM, that if you write less I will write more. These things are entirely independent. I love you big guy- but you must have been really tired b/c you did even say who won in sports. Maybe you could try writing earlier. :-)

Alyce- I am glad to hear how busy you are. You don’t write so much about boys and the yucky stuff. Hey if you think that those candies where poorly made, you have got to see some of the candy here! There is one thing that I really like here that I don’t remember seeing there- cookies in travel packaging. Imagine one of those columns in the oreo box. Now imagine that it is all wrapped up and sold separately. Yup. Cool huh. :-) they sell these like crazy here. The best is the trakinha. Double stuff chocolate cookie with strawberry frosting!!! Hey, I hope you are studying the scriptures a lot, because I think that is my favorite thing to do these days… well, it is one of the only things that I do. :-) anyway, elder scott taught us a lot about how to study and learn. One of the things that he taught that is helping me is to study trying to learn by the spirit. I think that sometimes I read and study, loving it, but doing it to get more knowledge about the doctrine and the scriptures. BUT elder scott said that as we do this, b/c it is a good thing to do, we should be trying to learn from on high. He said that when we feel that the spirit is trying to teach us something that we should write that down and guard it in a safe place and read it often. That way we can learn more the next time. I bet that this applies to studying for school too. Actually I am not really sure how, but you are smart, you can figure it out :-)

Love you guys

Elder helland

perdo, e um como pedro...?

Letter from 11-3-08

that means forgiveness- which is something that i am going to need from you guys.
i had to pass all the numbers to the office today and fix the site of references
AND finish an assignment from the president- so you guys got put on the back burner. now i have an appointment with a guy to rent a new house here. which means that i needed to leave and get on a bus about 30 min ago. i am pretty late. i will use my pday today getting everything organized for the new house. so i will have to be really short.

the only thing that i really wanted to write today is about one of the coolest experiences of my life. on Thursdays last week we had this SWEET conference with elder richard g scott. HOLY SMOKES!!! after that conference he had a meeting with just the zone leaders from the mission. WOW AGAIN!! he had an incredible spirit about him that filled the room. he speaks funny portuguese, but it was great to be so close to one of the Lord’s anointed. i imagined myself in the presence of peter, james or john. this is a REAL apostle!

i will try and re write a lot of the stuff that i learned in a letter and mail it to you guys this week.

well, i was serious, i gotta go.

love elder helland

PS good luck with the election. remember "shall we not go on in such great a cause..?." whatever happens- the Lord is in control, and we are in His church, on His service, and being guided by His prophets. maybe, like with zions camp, we just have to endure faithfully no matter what for the campaign to be a success. "its true isn’t it?... then what else matters?"

Weirdos from another planet

Letter from 10-27-08

Weirdos from another planet...

so the big news is that i got transfered. I am now in a place called Nova Iguaçu. I am still a zone leader and my new companion is elder campos, a brazillian from rio grande do sul. This is HIS first time as a zone leader, so we are having a blast here. He got transfered here with me, which means that he knows pretty much as i do about this new area- ... nothing. I am now living, for the first time, in a house of four! The other two missionaries are elder carvalho, são paulo, and elder correa, some where in the northeast. Elder correa is a greeny and elder carvalho, his trainer, is awesome!!. Elder carvalho was a zone leader for a long time before too, so we got to know one another. Our new ward is great. It feels really strange because i was so used to my last area, but i am excited to learn to love the members here.

FYI: Elder andré was transfered too. He is now a DL in some other place that i forgot and you wouldnt recognize anyway. Elder rhodes was transfered back to bento ribeiro, so the ward didn't get TOO sad.

We are actively serching for a new house to rent in this area. The house that we have is WAY TOO SMALL for 4 missionaries. For example- i sleep on a mattress on the ground so that in the morning i can lean it against the wall and study and stuff. We only have 2 desks in the house and 3 chairs and 2 beds and one bathroom- for 4 missionaries. Today i am going to buy a pillow (something else that we don't have here), and some food. We are going to rent a house today or tomorrow and move this week

This week i think that i ate something that didn't like me, because i have had a rough time in the bathroom for a few days. I haven't eaten much of anything too. One day i was so bad that i had a fever- but i just told the missionaries that it was a fire that is inside me wanting to be put out in the waters of baptism. :-) i am currently eating water and oatmeal. I guess that makes sense as a healthy diet idea in my head at least.

So i tried to send some pictures to make this week a little more fun because there isn't a whole bunch to write. I am in a new area, i am pretty much lost all of the time, and i am loving it.

Thanks for the vote. I feel validated knowing that i didn't shirk my responsabilty to my country. In brazil it is a law to vote. You HAVE to. So that people that win are that people that have catchy tunes or cool signs, or give stickers out for free. It is really different here.

WOWZERS!!! I almost forgot to tell you guys- elder richard g scott is going to visit our mission this week. On Thursday, we are going to be able to hear him speak just to us. He speaks portuguese, so it is going to be awesome!!!!! I will fill you guys in on that one this next week!

One thing that happened this week that i really liked. When i was super sick, and falling apart in the street, i sat down for a little while on a curb to take some medicine to beat the fever. I was on a division with e. Correa, the greenie, and was feeling bad that i couldnt work really well with him. We were close to the church. I felt like i should do all i could to be a good example to him- it was like his 2nd day in the field. I kelpt on talking and doing practices with him to keep him excited. We got to the church and i had him give me a blessing. It was neat because he is a pretty recent convert and a really new missionary. The blessing that he gave me was simple and short, but powerful. Afterward, i still felt awful, but decided to show some faith and we got up and left to go to work. The day went by slowly for me because the headache didnt every really go away, but it turned into a great day to work hard in the Lord's vineyard. I felt the Lord stregnthen me with a greater desire to work and talk with people, even though i was sick.

That is that- hope you like the pictures.

Until next time- keep your stick on the ice.

Com amor-
Elder helland

MOM- sorry, it is tough to be real detailed in an email this short. You are right- i think that trunky is stupid too. I understand why it happens though. You see, missionaries miss their families, their former lives, girlfriends and other dumb stuff :-) I feel privleged to be able to train misionaries all the time. Sometimes i am surprised at how much they trust my advice and listen to my ideas for them. I tell all those that listen that being trunky is not a phase of being a missionary like some say. You don't automatically get tired after a year and a half. These are choices. You CHOOSE your attitude. But here in the mission field there are a lot of therometers and few thermostats. Some missionaries just don't seem to get it. But that is how is it anywhere.
Have fun with the new TV!

DAD- good luck KEEPING the TV.

Alyce- blind dates should only be for the blind. “hi, my name is helen keller...”

Here are some sweet shots of the last two months:
I think that it is clear that missionaries love taking dumb pictures with me.
I guess it must be that crazy face i put on for pictures.
Most of madureira zone at interviews
elder nacimento, e. plozai/(terra) and e. andre

elder jefferson and elder nilson in madureira.
elder andré- sorry i didn't mail you a pic when we were still together.
Our zone playing some b-ball. The first time in over a year for me.
elder cano- the other AP. He is pretty cool too.
elder kzecizk- one of my favorite district leaders
elder allen- he was the assistant to the pres for over a year and an awesome missionary.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

hey there goonies...

Hey fam!

Sorry last week’s letter was lame. I think the problem was the fever and the meds. But i am good now. I ran a fever for a few more hours after and then i was good to go. The next day i was already chomping at the bit to find some people to baptize !! the biggest challenge this week was my comp. Let me tell you about him.

He is from são paulo, is 25 years old. He was baptized when he was 12 with a good friend of his. No one else in his family are members of the church. He is from a favela and loves to tell stories about his life before the mission :-) Believe you me, he had an interesting life, ... for an american mormon anyway it was interesting. Any way, these last weeks he has been pretty tough. I learned a lot from the other troubles that I have had with companions, and we are great friends, but he is passing through some tough times now. His mission ends in January, and he is not really wanting to work any more. I wrote an email to president today, and we have talked to pres a few times, and we’ll see if some thing gives.

I have a ton of pictures that i want to send you guys, but this lan house doesn’t let us download either. (today is a holiday, so almost all of the stores are closed.) This week is transfers. I have been in this area for 7 going on 8 months now, so it is probable that i will be moved this week. BUT, i have heard of missionaries that have stayed much longer in one area, so...

We are now working with different families. We stopped visiting a lot of the families that were getting ready to be baptized, for various reasons. This last week, we knocked a lot of doors. I mean a LOT. We found a lot of people that DONT want to here our message. It was funny. One time this lady was yelling at us that she already “knew” Jesus. I was out of patience for these people, so i asked her if she knew any one that “knew” Jesus and liked Him and would like to hear more about Him. She got angry and started talking about how she liked Jesus and a bunch of other stuff. She didn’t like that i implied that she didn’t like Jesus. It was funny. Another time, after a long day of having people yell mean stuff at us, we were knocking doors again. We came to this big gate and clapped our hands [that’s what they do in Brazil instead of knocking on the door, they clap their hands]. “who is it?” they yelled. And elder andré responded, “ the Mormons!” they didn’t answer or come to the door. :-)

Mom- sorry, didn’t carry all the Christmas stuff with me. I gave a lot of it to brazilian missionaries that think that that kind of stuff is really cool. As far as presents go, i am good. Whatever’s clever, you know.

Dad- whahoo, joe ferry. I remember visiting that guy. Holy smokes. That is awesome.

Alyce- i really like that idea about tolerance. I guess that God is intolerant of sin, but loves unconditionally, that is a tough attribute to acquire. Like Christ says, it is easy to love those that are like us and love us, it is HARD to love our enemies. I guess that we can be INTOLERANT of sin, but we have to FORGIVE all men. It is an interesting concept. I guess when i see all this stuff that i know makes our Savior sad, i just think about how i can teach them to repent. It is really hard to love those that don’t want to repent, that don’t want to do what is right. THAT is hard for me. Because i feel so sad knowing that they will not return to the presence of the father like that. There is nothing we can do about others free agency, it is after all “the most precious gift we have been give, next to life itself, the power to direct that life.. :-)”

Well, i got to go, until next week,
Elder helland

ps - this week i ate pigs feet for the first time. i always thought is was just a joke of mom’s. it was gross!!! my piece had little poky hairs pointing out of it. yeeeeaaaallkkkk!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

If I were king of the forest…

Letter 10-13-08 (oops, posted one week late!)

What I wanted to do was send a bunch of pictures to you guys, but this dumb internet café doesn’t allow it. I am not really feeling all that good right now, I have been sick with the flu these last couple of days. I woke up this morning with a pretty gnarly fever, so as you can imagine, I don’t really have the energy to write a whole bunch today. My head is really slow, kind of like an old telephone modem- and I am not really getting a good connection. “What king of chip you got in there, a Dorito? It’s all about the Pentiums, baby.”

On Saturday, we had a neat experience. We went to a neighborhood that doesn’t really get worked in a lot. The neighborhood is called “Colégio”, which means “school”. Anyway, it has this giant favela in the middle and I don’t really know the streets there all that good. We grabbed the area book the night before and the ward list and pulled out all of the addresses that we could find that were in that neighborhood. And then we spent the whole next day in that part of the area.
That day was pretty tough. We searched for all of the addresses that we had and no on wanted to hear a message. The worst ones were the in-active members that we looked for. Some of them yelled at us, others had moved or died. One lady, who was the sister of a member that is inactive, told us that hr sister had moved. So we asked for her new address, and the lady said she wouldn’t give it to us. So we asked for a telephone number. Again she said that she wouldn’t give it to us. Okay, well, could you tell her that we came here looking for her? ... No. And then the mean old lady started yelling at us saying that she was going to sue us and call the police and a bunch of other junk. Elder Andre told here to calm down and we left with her still yelling.

The next house was another inactive member. We found the address and as we got closer I saw that they were having some kind of party. I said this to elder Andre, who kindly informed me that that was no birthday party. It was a macumba party. The house where it was happening was the neighbor house to the house that we were looking for. They were beating drums and shouting and stuff, so we had to clap out hands really loud to and shout “Jefferson” (the was the man’s name that we were looking for.) well, I guess that we were interfering with their satanic ritual, because thy all stopped and looked at us. The man in the middle of the circle, that was all dressed funny, started screaming. It was pretty scary. All of the people cheered when he screamed. Then this dinosaur lady saw us, I think she was the one directing the spirit ceremony. She was dressed funny too, and had two big swords in her hands. She started coming towards us and asked us why we were there. (She had this really deep raspy voice) we said that we were looking for Jefferson; she said that no Jefferson lived there now; we took her word for it and took off. It is so weird that here, there is a giant and popular religion that claims to believe in Jesus Christ that has ceremonies to posses people with evil spirits. I guess that the evil spirit that was in that man didn’t like being so close to priesthood power, because he was screaming like crazy. :-)

So, that whole day was tough like this, running into all kinds of opposition. I was thinking the whole time that this must be that trial of our faith and that soon we would be blessed with something great. And we were. At night we found a new family to teach. They live close to a few members and were excited to learn more about the restored gospel. Turns out that opposition is an important principle and that when things are tough, that Lord is just waiting to see if we will hang in there to get the blessing at that end.

Mom- I got a letter from grandma jones. It is the only one that I got this last transfer. You can tell her that she made my day! Don’t worry about being short and sweet next time. The problem is usually that I don’t really feel like writing a lot, and time is just a good excuse. It is a hard transition to try and think about you guys after a week with out really, well, thinking about you guys. I mean, I pray for you guys and stuff, but writing is tricky if you aren’t in the mood. I am usually still thinking about the problems I have with my missionaries and my investigators, and that kind of stuff doesn’t translate real well into a letter home. I think that THIS letter wasn’t all that good, but my excuse it that my head is all fuzzy today and that is really all that comes to mind.

Dad- man, you got to watch out for those cigar stealers, they are slippery! I thought that there was a camera there, filming the bad guys? Have fun with those pavers.

Alyce- “My little wild one. I know who I can find when I need a wild time…” sounds like you got beat up at that concert. The only thing that I can say about teaching is: learn how to ask good questions. Not just asking question, but good questions. Questions make people think and feel. Luckily for me, I teach pretty much the same lesson everyday, so I have a pretty good list of “good questions” to ask. But I am also always planning trainings and other lessons and talks and stuff, and I have to say, that is the key to take the lesson to the heart of people. Of course, the scriptures, the spirit, environment, and testimony are also important, but learning how to ask effective questions is a tough skill to learn.

I am totally beat. I am going to grab a snack and then sleep the rest of p-day.

Love you guys-
Elder Helland

Thursday, October 9, 2008

what a weekend!

letter from 10-6-08

Yep, conference was awesome here too. I think that my favorite thing about conference is … man there are so many favorites. I guess it is cool for me to teach people every day about prophets and what they do, then to finally see and here one is… “it is like a paleontologist that has studied dinosaurs his whole life and finally has that opportunity to meet one.” (Movie quote?- I know it is a little fuzzy, but cut me some slack b/c I haven’t seen this movie in forever). I guess that I liked all of the talks, but sis allred did awesome talking about baptism and missionary work. Later in the priesthood session there was this awesome MTC choir. I thought about all of those missionaries starting just now and how much they will learn in the coming months, how much good they will do in the next two years. Elder Holland, always a favorite, talked about angels. One of the scriptures that he, and many others for that matter, used was “ I will go before you and be on your right hand and on you left and mine angels round about you to bare you up.” (Rough quotation) I was also reminded of where the BoM says that angels are preparing the hearts of men to receive the gospel truth. I also liked elder uchtdorf’s; ‘lift where you are’. I learned a lot about just how far hard work and team effort will help us here. I also liked this talk by Lawrence Corbridge (?). It was kind of different, but I really liked the feeling of it. The focus on the Savior really helped me realize that THAT is the focus of my life and work too. He is the only way for me or anyone else to be saved.

I guess I felt a little funny when I found out that you guys fasted. It was sweet, but I read that missionary manual A LOT so that I am 100% obedient and to answer that questions of other missionaries too. AND there is one little part that that says not to ask people at home to fast for stuff here. I know I didn’t ask, so I thought that is was really cool for you guys to do that. This week our zone baptized 4 people. We were going to baptize too, BUT one of her children got the chicken pox. Her name is Daniele. She and her daughter Juliana (8 years old) were going to get baptized this week. They hadn’t even gone to church yet. They are pretty special. I will tell you more next week.

Wait, you mean to say that you didn’t sleep this year in the priesthood session? J man you are doing better with out me there….And holy smokes!, the dentist took out some of your bone!!!??!! B careful, your brain could fall our now. Here, when they do normal dental work you get 0 numbing stuff. You would be out of luck if you lived here.

pó cara,nem tou ligado mais na giria aí, maluca! mas vanilla ice ainda é doido pra caraca. tu fale com jay pra apostar na parada, manê. (That is my rad ability to speak in slang in Portuguese.) My companion must be like that guy. he says "pó cara" every other sentence. Way to go swinging an "a" in college. You’re like a nerd now.
(one more lesson in Brazilian slang: You can actually say "nerd" here and everyone will understand that you are talking about those losers that like to get good grades. :) but another on that i think is funny is calling someone a "C.D.F."- which is to say- "cabeça de ferro"- being translated is "head of iron". It is how they call nerds here. I guess that makes you a C.D.F.! ha ha :)

Well, I had better get going.
love – elder helland.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

bratwurst is hard to spell....

letter from 9-29-08

Well, good thing that I wrote a lot last week, b/c this week, I don’t fell like writing a bunch. I have a LOT to do. Yesterday I got a phone call from the president… and boy was that cool. He kindly let us know that MY zone is the WORST in the mission and that or mission is the WORST in Brazil (with reference to baptisms). I was like, “hmmm,… so you are trying to say that MY zone is one of the lowest baptizing in BRAZIL?!!” president is really great. He explained that he put me here to fix this; that it isn’t MY fault, but that it is MY responsibility to change this zone. So now we are all geared up to baptize. I call all of the missionaries everyday and talk baptism with them. The dumb thing is that a lot of them don’t realize the importance of them baptizing. It has been tough, but we are going to make a difference. BAPTISM, is the first word that we say in the morning and the last that we say at night. Think, eat, teach, walk, talk, sleep, study- all to BAPTIZE. That is what Christ says in 3n11:31-34, “ this is my doctrine… he who is baptized and endures to the end shall be saved. He who doesn’t get baptized is condemned.” THAT is the doctrine of Christ! = baptism.

You guys asked why I didn’t grab money out of MY account that day to catch a bus. Well, you see there is only one bank in brazil the does these transactions for me for free; HSBC. This is this other ATM called banco24hr. Where I was at there was no HSBC. There is a banco24hr. The problem is the banco24hr charges 8$ to grab some money and my account only had 10$ and 2$ only pays the fare for one of us… so we walked. [Oops, we forgot to add more $$ to his bank account - I guess it was Eric's fault that Adam had to walk 7 miles that day - ha-ha!]

MOM- [in regards to my comment how Satan does whatever he can to distract us from what we’re really here for!] we have made tons of changes in the mission to avoid distractions. Movies are out, pday activities for the most part, are out. Anything that distracts from baptism. Man is it cool to participate in all the changes with the new president.

Dad- man it must be cool to in a ward with so many active people. My ward here has a weekly frequency of maybe 60 to 70, with few men. It is tough to work with the leadership b/c there are so few. We are going to have to baptize 60 more I guess…

Alyce- I hope that you didn’t like the marriage thing all that much- you CAN’T be interested in getting married for at least 10 more months, and I am being generous. I got an idea- GO ON A MISSION! Yep, just plan on it. It is as ton of fun and a lot more work. You said something about the way to perfection. That is the title of an awesome book. “the way to perfection” I think that is by Joseph Fielding Smith. BUY IT. It is so cool, you don’t even know! But yeah, think about the mission thing. It would be cool.

Well, I got to cut it short.
Elder helland

P.S I like getting letters from people at zone conferences and stuff…hint, hint :-)