Thursday, April 24, 2008

vitamina de gelo-

that was this weeks diet. the secretaries in our mission goofed something up and we didn’t end up getting our allowance for three weeks. it was too much of a problem for US, but i had to call all of our missionaries a few times to tell them that they were NOT going to get money for a while- and THEY were not happy to hear the news. i would call and say something like: "ok, I’ve got good news and bad news- the good news is that the church is still true, and the bad news is that you guys aren’t going to get any money for another week." i would then pass the recipe to make a 'vitamina de gelo' - something that i was sure they could afford. (for those of you who DONT speak portuguese, 'vitamina de' could be interpreted to mean ''a shake of' and 'gelo' means 'ice'. HEY,... i thought it was funny, but yeah... they didn’t either.)

so this last week was cool. we did some more trainings and divisions with our missionaries. it is really neat to be able to help other missionaries learn how to be better, and at the same time LEARN FROM THEM!! i think that my favorite experience this week happened this sunday: i was feeling down because we had a ton of AWESOME investigators that we had planned to take to church with us, and then at the last minute they were all falling through. none of them seemed to be at home, even thought we had called the night before and set everything up perfect with them. some of them seemed to be lying to us for some reason or hiding from us. we got to church without ANYONE with us, i was feeling a little sad, because they really were AWESOME investigators. i said a prayer and asked the Lord to take the sadness out of my heart and give me the power to do his work is HIS way and not worry what I THOUGHT. i really wanted to feel the spirit and learn something at church. well, after the first class, one of our investigators showed up, and then i felt a little bit better. he is excited to be baptized and kept on asking cool questions about baptism and priesthood authority. the last meeting of the day is sacrament meeting, and because the stake president asked us to speak in church last week for the funeral of the YW pres, THIS week was fast and testimony meeting. it was really neat, because the whole ward is really tender right now. about two years ago the bishop of the ward died. then a few months after that the wife of the new bishop died. a few months after that some other man in the ward was killed. last december, the family of the 2nd counselor was in a terrible car accident and they lost their one year old girl, and his wife was seriously hurt, and lost one of her eyes. and then our fist week here, our first sunday, this other sister in the ward died suddenly of cancer. SO, this sunday the ward was still really sad. they all bore sweet testimony about the plan of salvation- a VERY REAL plan to these members. then this sister, who lost here daughter recently, got up and bore her testimony. she is the RS pres, and we have been in close contact these weeks trying to find lunch everyday and eating a lot at her house. she had gone to the hospital almost everyday before this other sister had died, and had stayed with her. as she talked, she expressed her sorrow for the family and her love for them. i realized that SHE now has an infinitely greater capacity to help and comfort others in times of trial BECAUSE of the trials the she had passed. her heart is infinitely more capable of love and compassion to others BECAUSE she has already felt that way. that is when i thought of the Savior. i remembered that scripture in alma 34:10- i don’t know that i can really write everything that i learned that day, but maybe most important was the love that i felt from my Savior- the he WILLINGLY suffered so the he can now be able to help me. ... it sufficeth me to say that i was touched greatly in that moment and learned so much more about the atonement of our Lord.

well, you know how it is, time is winding down- let’s see if i can respond to a few of your comments in your letters:

mom: it is funny that you talk about dreams and practicing in them. that is what i do every night. apparently i have taken up the habit on the mission of talking sometimes in my sleep- and ALWAYS, they say i am teaching lessons. i did a division and that missionary said he actually got up to listen to the lesson i was giving to the investigator. sometimes i remember the lessons the next day, but usually i have to hear about it from my comp. :) i don’t know how mother’s day is going to work, but chances are that i will find out first, then tell my zone, and then you. oh-yeah, dangue, that stuff is NOT COOL. elder rhodes already has had it once. it kills about as many people here as stray bullets. (don’t worry, there aren’t TOO MANY stay bullets going around. at least not where we are working. (just kiddin- this place is pretty safe- but is would still be good if you guys prayed for my not get hit by a ... mosquito :) lots of love to the missionary-mom

dad: sheesh- think you can find sadder news to send next week?!? missionaries going home is like someone dying out here!! (well, not really, but it really is sad) tell g-ma that i am praying for them and that they might want to read the Book of Mormon. really, i think that it would be great if they did that. and , why sure, save those clubs for me, and we’ll go golfing... some day. dad, remember that one time when i asked about how YOU decided to be baptized?? the truth is that, to me, there is nothing cooler that being able to say that my dad is a convert. really. love you "dad-da-daddy-o". (quote from 'back to the future I')

POLYCE: whatzup girfriend!! it was totally awesome to get BOTH letters this week. it was like "double the pleasure, double the fun", yeah, just like double mint gum!! and WHOA!!, i am totally stoked to get that awesome letter!! (guess what i found in my suitcase... the letter that i was supposed to send for YOUR bday!!!- well, as soon as i get more money (tomorrow) i am going to have to mail stuff) so, you didn’t tell me... did you let him kiss you at the end of the night ?? :) prom has always been bundles of fun, hasn’t it?!? senoritis, sounds like you got it. in the mission, we call that 'trunky' or 'fubeka'. DONT BE A FUBEKA!!! It’s not worth it. work hard to the end. you know, that jazz. love ya little lady

alrighty-then, im out.

love elder helland

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

dangue... the other stray bullet

hey there folks! it feels like a long time since i heard from you, but then i remember that it has been (2 weeks :)) but the truth is that we are SO BUSY, that i forgot to even ask permission to read your letters last week. if you asked "what does it mean to be a zone leader?" the most appropriate response would probably be - busy. but first let me tell you about the biggest "perk" of being a zone leader- you get a totally radical companion. (please see last weeks letter- #11) elder rhodes is awesome to the max, and we are loving working in this area. to give you a measure of how cool he is, i think that i would allow alyce to date him!! (he’s got a girl-friend, but i know you can pull it off alyce!) he is from wisconsin and always says stuff funny in english- like beg instead of bAg and fleg instead of flAg. we really have a lot fun marching around in the favelas of madureira.

so-what is a zone leader: that means that we take care of all the district leaders in our zone. it means that we get calls from president and the assistants regularly, and then pass the good stuff to our zone. it means that we are expected to be the example for our zone- in everything; in obedience, in ability, in lessons and baptisms. it’s tuff stuff. we work SO hard trying to find new investigators, because all the investigators that there were when we got here we... man, i forgot the word. in port. we say "mole"- or soft. that is to say that they really didn’t want to read or go to church. so we set off looking for new families- ones that aren’t afraid of commitment. after all, salvation is about commitments. Jesus said take up your CROSS and follow me. following Jesus is supposed to be serious work, and that requires serious commitment. but most people don’t really understand it that way. they think that a passive decision will pay the bills. "i will read if i have time", "i will get baptized one day"- it is hard to find people that are ready. as missionaries, we are here in a time of harvest. THE FIELD IS WHITE, and i am here to reap. i am looking for those who will get up and follow the Savior NOW. sure, we do the other stuff too. we talk with literally hundreds of people everyday in the street- that is planting. we teach those that allow us to enter- watering. but we are looking for the fruit, not the flowers. so these last two weeks we have found and then let go a few awesome families. right now we are SUPER pumped about a family that we found monday. the spirit was SO STRONG there. they committed to everything that we asked and we go back TODAY to see what happened. i guess i will tell you more about them next week. also, as zone leaders we do divisions with our district leaders and the assistants. we have to use the internet everyday to update the church records for our zone. we do trainings in the other districts every week. so we are always planning the next training, on the phone with other missionaries, or getting calls. it is a great way to live. i am truly exhausted at 10:30 everyday.

well, in response to your letters (i didn’t get one from alyce?), first- nope , i am good on the clothes right now. anyway, it would probably be cheaper to buy stuff here if i needed it.

alyce; what DID you write that paper ON!!??? way to go, idaho!

dad: also, good job on your "paper". at least i got a smile :) hey a new putter- i guess you are a "putts".

(this weeks letters)
yeah, i guess misson presidents change all over the world on july 1 every year. they have one training for mission presidents, so they all get to start at the same time. ours is some guy from fortaleza, ciera. i forgot his name, but I’m nervous about all the changes that are coming. it is going to be cool.

to tell the truth, i have no idea what happened in my old area. nor will i. that is just the way things go. sorry, no answers for you about those cool families in juiz de fora.

i am going to have to mail stuff soon. the truth is that pday is the busiest day of the week, but i am going to write a few letters today and mail them this week. (writing by hand is a pain :) )

well, got to scram.

love elder helland

ps did you get the picture of the mission counsel?? i will send pics next week- i need to buy batteries today.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


actually, it's not that good of a surprise to have to write a letter before i get YOUR e mails... well, guess i win!

so, this new area is cool. president put us here so that we could "turn it around", and that is what we are doing. i feel like i talk with maybe 200 people everyday, and invite them to hear more about the restored gospel. the truth is that about 20% listen, 10% care, and a little over one percent are probably ready to make the commitments necessary to receive all the blessings of the gospel right now. the mission counsel was AWESOME! president talked to us and gave us this incredible vision!! the goal for the mission is 2 people brought to enjoy the fruits of the gospel through baptism in the month of april... per companionship. we feel really good about this and are doing all that we can to realize this goal. that is why we talk with so many people everyday; because somewhere here in the favelas of rio are AT LEAST 2 people that the lord has prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel. this is our faith: that the Lord will guide us to them, because He knows them. He knows our area, and He can do His work. WE, are merely tools in this great work.

hey, how about GC [general conference]!!! that was AWESOME TO THE MAX!!! i loved the talks, but especially the one from elder holland and elder bednar. e. holland is ALWAYS so powerful. do you remember the talk that he gave the last conf.? (you know how jay always does that finger-snap-thing?? we were all doing that during e. holland’s talk! it is missionary code for: "way-awesome super-gnarly dude!!"[we americans watched the conf. in our own room in english, so it was just us missionaries]) well, this talk was incredible too!! and that part where elder bednar talked about prayer and missionary work!!! ... whoa, we almost gave him a standing ovation!! really, i wanted to dance i was so excited!.. just kidding, but really... it is SO TRUE!!! missionaries on their own are NOTHING!!! there are two sides to every conversion- the spiritual and the social. missionaries are great with the spiritual side, but the social side, the social part of church- our power is limited. the MEMBERS ARE THE KEY!!! ask any missionary, you almost never baptize someone who doesn’t feel like they have a friend at church. [...] whew, sorry, i just get excited easy these days. that was in NO way a call to repentance, or intended to be preachy. you know,... i just love being a missionary and i get excited easy about the work.

well, I’ve got nothing to comment on of YOUR week, and my week was mostly hitting doors in the favelas near our house. coming to an area without ANY knowledge is tough. we walk around with maps and try to find people, but knocking doors is our primary skill until we get our feet on the ground. tomorrow we have zone conf. and we have to present some training. we are going to train the zones about "encontrar: o fruto baixo da pomar", - part member families and old investigators. we are also going to train about how to use the area book EVERYDAY; keeping it neat and including useful information on the records. we know a lot about the this last one, because lately- we have had to live out of that book. unfortunately, it wasn’t very well kept, so we are going to have to help other missionaries do a good job with theirs so this doesn’t happen again... it is going to be an AWESOME presentation. we have it planned out with ALL the bells and whistles included!

well, no pictures this week bc that dumb ol’ camera devours batteries and batteries are terrible and weak here. maybe for my b-day you could send rechargeables!?!

love my area and my comp- things are awesome because we are trusting EVERTHING to the Lord and obeying His commandments; this is the plan to receive the blessings that we need.

love elder helland

ps. write a letter anyway, it is probable that we will get permission to read letters tomorrow or thursday.
Mission Council

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


so, here’s the stitch: transfers came and went again, once again carrying me to a new place and new experiences. i am now a zone leader in madureira. (a part in rio de janeiro the CITY) my area is called bento ribeiro and my companion is elder rhodes. (my first American comp since the MTC) our area was whitewashed, which means that both him and i are new to this area and know NOTHING about anything here. yep, actually i am just a little nervous about all the fun that we are sure to have this week. tomorrow we have a big mission counsel, with all the zone leaders. there we will plan and make goals for the mission. we will also plan out the zone conference- WHICH, i will have to help teach now!!! AHHHH!! well, it is kind of like that nasty cough syrup that you take when you are sick, you just have to do it and then you feel better.

i am really super tired right now too. i didn’t sleep last night packing and planning the next week with elder ronaldo. speaking of whom, there is something cool. - in the package that you guys sent, you sent all the items to elder "r", and coincidentally, an elder "r" received them. speaking of packages- today was AWESOME!!!! i got a package from tracy and mandy too!!! THANK YOU!!! i also got a whole grip of letters from cool folks like tim and sarah and legrand and g-ma jones and gabe and meagan. it doesn’t get any better that this. i will work on writing back right away! Thanks for the letters and packages! :-)

alyce: i spent about 2 weeks on my [senior] paper, but i wrote almost all of it in 2 days. (the LAST two days) but take my advice- i would have aced the paper BUT i wrote it all sloppy and didn’t spell check. take your time with it. start now maybe. and, whoa- can you say party animal??? out with a RM and 6 flags on the same night??? what? now 18 means that you are some kind of adult??? NOPE, not until i get home, so don’t even LOOK at RMs. tá legal?

mom- i am pumped, like an old pair of nike high-tops for general conference !! (remember how they had those little pumps on the tongue?) this week-end is going to ROCK!!! i hope that they have a room in english. not that i have difficulty understanding, but i love their voices. it is going to be awesome!

dad- go kansas. boa sorte, hein! hey, if you are tonto, i am the horse that tonto rides- smaller and dumber still. i have know idea why lone rangers says "high-ho silver" also.

gotta run. transfers are like that, you know.

love elder helland

ps, yep, fow-show i am gonna use repellant. [this is in regards to our PLEA to him to use insect repellant. There is an epidemic in Rio right now for a mosquito carrying virus called dengue. It can be fatal! Sadly, Elle’s cousin died last week in Rio from it. Keep Adam in your prayers – he tends to attract mosquitos!]