Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Time to fight back...

Time to Fight Back…
“to everything there is a season and a time appointed under the heaven…time to laugh, time to cry, a time to cast away stones a time to gather stones together,…a time to fight back and get even. ”
-(the slightly modified and approximate version of the one scripture somewhere in Ecclesiastes. I can’t remember it very well and I don’t have my bible with me right now.)


This last week we have been blest with a new and exciting challenge. We are currently battling with all our might to defend our rights, our liberty, our religion and, coincidentally, our food.
The fact of the matter is that we have a rat in our house. At first he was just like any other unwelcome visitor in your house; he pooped all over the floor and made weird noises in the night. But now it has gone too far. Two days ago I ate a delicious peanut-butter and raspberry-jam sandwich, (thank you jay and elle), and when I was done I carefully put away the goods and put the bread in the cupboard. The next morning I was feeling desirous that I might partake of another sandwich, whose deliciousness did exceed all things that I had eaten in the last week. I found the peanut butter and jelly, but when I cast my eyes round about to see if I could find the bread, the cupboard was empty. I thought little of it and ask my companion if he had seen my bread for I was desirous that he too should partake of the sandwich that had filled my belly the day before. But behold, neither he, nor I were able to find the place where the bread had gone. And we supposed that it had been the rat, that he had led it away in to strange paths and was lost. And it came to pass that I, Elder Helland, did not murmur, but did frankly forgive the rat, for it supposeth me that he was hungry. But behold, my companion was exceedingly desirous to eat the pb&j, and swore in his wRATh that he would bring vengeance against the rat for the crime that he had committed.

This morning we were cleaning the house, an enormous task, pois verdadeiamente foi um grande bargunça. Anyway, we were cleaning and I decided to pull the couch away from the wall and guess what I found? My bread and a whole grip of other stuff that the rat had stolen and hidden there.
That is where I draw the line.

Today we designed an intricate trap, and next week I will send the pictures of tonight’s catch.
It is time to fight back.

Anyway, sorry about all that junk. The truth is that this has been an awesome week, I just got all excited about the rat and wrote WAY MORE than I wanted to about it. Oh well. This week we found a lot of new investigators and we are excited to work with them. We found this family of three that are really cool. The daughter is 19 and she really knows how to study the book of mormon already. We left her with 3n11 to read and when we came back the next day she had read it all and shared her favorite part with us. She read us like verses 3 and 4 that talk about the voice that the people heard. A small voice, calm and little. But nevertheless, it did pierce them to the very center and did cause that to shake. She read us the scripture and then explained why she liked it. She said that she knew that the spirit does speak, it speaks to the heart and doesn’t always use words. Like this instance, it had touched them, and they knew that it was from God. She told us that she had prayed and that she had felt that the spirit talked to her too.

That was pretty cool.
She went to church this Sunday and is excited about all the things that she is learning. Her family is also reading, and progressing.

We are also teaching this old lady that is going to church. She is a little weird, but she says that she prayed us there, so we are working with her to get her intergraded into the ward.

That comparison that you gave last week about the boat and the atonement really has been on my mind this last week. As a mission we are studying the atonement and, I put that into my study journal. One of the activities that PMG gives for studying is writing a short talk. Maybe I will mail one next time that I mails stuff. Which by the way, is probably not going to happen until next week, because today we have to prepare for zone conference tomorrow. We are going to train the missionaries in the zones about the area book again, and how they can use it to plan better everyday. There is so much to prepare.

Hey there big guy! You are gonna like the cool pictures of the trap that we made. We will also take a picture of the dead rat.
Love ya

Hey goonie! Guess it will be TWO weeks without talking to you. You guys can write two letters because I might be able to read the letters another day this week, but even if I can’t, I can still spend a lot of time on the computer next week.

Well, I am off to get the chapel ready for the conference tomorrow.

Love elder helland

Monday, May 19, 2008

check out this sweet attachment!

(Sorry - it's been a busy week - here is Adam's letter from 5-14-08)

TRANSFER P-DAY! ! ! ...the musical!
Coming to a missionary son near YOU!!!

What a giant relief!!! We get the call about transfers early as zone leaders so that we can pass the incredible news to our missionaries at the fateful hour of NINE-O-CLOCK!! Anyway, the assistants called us at like 7, so I could stop sweating earlier this time.

The BIG news for us then is: .... we both didn’t get transferred! Yep, that means that is time for round 2 here in the promised land of Bento Ribeiro! The cool part about the meeting today was, once again, getting to see familiar faces of good friends all around the mission.

The other great thing about transfers is that tomorrow is the “conselho da missão”! Not only does that mean some pretty close up training from the president, but also PIZZA. And I don’t mean just any pizza; I am talking the real deal, ninja-turtle-eating, DOMINOS pizza! (President really goes all out at these meetings!!)

So, there really isn’t TOO much new since Sunday, and bytheway, that was totally awesome to talk with you guys!! I can’t even believe how big you are all getting. You guys sound so grown up! ... Just kidding, actually, the whole time I kept thinking, “Smokes, these guys sound exactly the same.” I thought is was so weird when you guys pointed out that it has been a year already because, well, it seems like I have only been gone a little while. The one thing that does weird me out is that my liddle-sis is going to graduate high school! You ARE a big girl now!

Because of all the stress that you must be under, with graduating, tests up the wazooti, work, (and I hope not any boys), I have decided to forgive that lack of letter this week!!
But really, keep it cool; don’t let all that stuff freak you out. I remember when I was in Juiz de Fora; there was this one sister in our ward that tried to give some advice to that one companion of mine that wanted to go home. To tell the truth, I thought that it was terrible advice, but I thought it was kind of funny. She told this story that went, more of less, like this: Once upon a time, (any story worth reading starts like that, but is in no way a guarantee that this is one of those stories.) ... once upon a time there was a great Chinese emperor that summoned all of his wise men together and gave them a challenge. The challenge was to discover a phrase that could be use in all situations and to respond to all comments and complaints and questions. They came back a year later and delivered the sentence: This too will pass.

Yeah, I didn’t think that it was very comforting either; hope you don’t think that I am a dork. Hope you know that I am praying for you.

Thanks for that update. Tell g-ma that I got it and I will write them back soon. (Probably next week b/c transfers a mess of a day.) Don’t get down; I don’t really think that your letters are sad. They are the only ones that tell me about what is going on with people over there.
p.s. – what happened to the d-backs? Not that I really care, I just wanna know how the story ends.

I really liked those ideas. This transfer we are studying the atonement, and I have been studying conversion lately. I have been learning that when we are converted we desire to be better every day than we were that day before. A saying that elder Rhodes and I have is- let’s make today the best day of our life. The theory is that if we do better today than we did yesterday, it really will be the best!!

Well, I got a bunch of other stuff to do today, hope you got the pics!!

Até mais!
Love elder helland

ps i tried writing in word today. Let me know what you think. I had fun at least. Here are some pictures:
bernardos parents (w/us)
baptism of irene
baptism of bernardo
irene´s son who baptized her. (w/ us)

remember how i said that irenes whole family are members and she is one of the last? this is her with a few of her children and grandchildren. i repeat- just a few!! there were a TON of people there!!

us with a fam in the ward. we did a service project with "mãos que ajudam" or helping hands or something like that in english.

a sample of our area

elder rhodes painting

Thursday, May 8, 2008

pooped the bridge...

sorry, we are in this tiny garage internet house, and they are all paranoid about viruses and so they wont let me download any pictures to send you guys. they are too cheap to buy some antivirus software. oh well, maybe next week. (actually, next p-day is transfer meeting...)

so i guess that we are going to get to talk this sunday, huh. hmmm, i don’t really know where we are going to eat lunch. i have got our cell number, and i guess that you guys can call that, but as we know, that didn’t work out too hot last time. the number is 8694-0329. i don’t remember all that stuff that you have to do to call Rio, but i imagine that is pretty much the same as when i was in petropolis. maybe the difference is the area code. here the area code is 21, and i think that the area code in petropolis was like 24. (it think that number is 21-8694-0329) good luck with that. i am thinking that i will call the family that we are going to have lunch with on sunday and get there number and maybe you guys can call there.

my companion is talking to the assistants right now to try and get more info about what we should do...

well, while we are waiting, let me tell you funny story about how we did a division with a district leader yesterday/today, WHO WAS NOT HAPPY WITH US!!! that guy was crabby at everything that we said. he was just plain grouchy. so then he wanted to do some things that we thought that he shouldn’t do, but i didn’t want to tell him that i thought it wasn’t a good idea, but he persisted, and i ended up saying no. so he decided that he wanted to call president for permission. i said go for it. president was mad at him. president fried him for a while and then the division was over. now we have got a grouchy DL in our zone. yahoo. some days...

we have decided to have you guys call us at our lunch on sunday. the trick is that elder rhodes’ parent ALSO want to talk to him!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!! WHAT A TRAVESTY!!! ...SO ... we are going to have to schedule a specific time for you guys to call. [YOUR TIME IS:] 14:30 rio standard time : ) that is to say two-thirty here, OR ... actually, i have no idea what time it will be there in phoenix, BUT since you guys have free internet access and incredible ability to find out good information like this, i am confident you will figure it out. so i am also going to give the lunch telephone number. (21-2450-1917) maybe you can try that one first and then our cell. IF WHEN YOU CALL ONE, IT IS BUSY, CALL THE OTHER. elder rhodes’ family has the time slot for 3:30, but also, as you guys know, the schedule thing didn’t work out so good last time too. if when you call and the person just speaks portuguese just say 'elder helland' a few times and they should understand. "good luck, and may the force be with you" {any questions further can be directed to the mission office... : ) }

well, this week was all over the place. we had interviews with the president about the needs of our zone. we did a division with the APs. we did another division with our grumpy DL. WE ALSO BAPTIZED BERNARDO!!!!!!!!!! and this week we are going to baptize irene. like i said , her story is COOL. her sons, cleomar and osmar, got baptized when they were young men, and her son osmar went on a mission. since that time she has given lunch to missionaries. that was 21 years ago. she says that since then she has met THOUSANDS of missionaries, and liked some, and not others. she said that she could see when there were good missionaries and when there weren’t. slowly over the years all of her other children have come to into the church and she has listened to the missionaries every time, but never wanted to be baptized. so when we got here, we didn’t know any of this. all we knew was that she was the mom of our ward mission leader and the she wasn’t a member. she loves missionaries, and so she let us set up a lesson with her. IT WAS A COOL LESSON. we taught about the restoration and the importance of following the Savior through baptism. we then challenged her to baptism. she started to make excuses, but we tried to make a baptismal date any way and told her to pray about it. the next time that we went back she had decided to be baptized on that date. she said that she decided to take it seriously this time because she saw that we took it seriously. she says that she saw in us something that she didn’t see very often in missionaries, and because of that, decided to pray to know if it was the right thing to do. she said that that night she could see that everything in her life had led her so that she could be baptized on that day. though all the years of missionaries, they had all helped prepare her to be baptized, they helped her stop smoking, they set a good foundation by baptizing all of her children. about a year ago the man she was living with died. last December, her granddaughter was killed in a terrible car accident, and she witnessed an outpouring of faith from her children, and the love of the ward. and now, two new missionaries were put here. two that didn’t know that she had told all of the other missionaries she didn’t want to be baptized. ------- that’s us. it is pretty cool to be a part of the great plan that Heavenly Father has for EVERYONE OF HIS CHILDREN. he works for everyone, individually. man, it is cool to be a missionary.

well, that is how the cookie crumbles.

alyce=- holy smokes- that is an awesome speech. pretty spunky. (elder rhodes thought it was cool too) good luck with all those gnarly tests- i know that you will rock. (ps; fiscal and monetary plans are simple for missionaries in brazil- the difference is this- I NEVER HAVE money = monetary plan, and I DONT HAVE MONEY = fiscal plan. see how the word money and monetary both start with ""mone-"". ... sheesh, that was an easy one, i guess i am still sharp as ever. i hope i made that clear.

MOM - love you and i guess that i will talk to you soon.

dad- well i have got a poopy story for you. : AHEM. so the other day we were walking over this over-pass that goes over the train tracks, and we were just talking as we walked. (it is a HUGE over-pass) well, i looked up the front and saw this bum sitting against the that little cement wall thing that guards the sidewalk from the cars. ... yep, that is right, he was talking a poo. i was like, "gross!!, elder, don’t look up." you know what happens when people say stuff like that, ... he looked up. well, we were getting closer to him all the time, until it got the point when we were about to pass him. THAT is when he decided to start wiping with the newspaper garbage on the ground. it was really gross. it smelled terrible too. and now i don’t even like crossing that part of the bridge.

gotta go now, love you guys, I’ll talk to ya sunday

ELDER HELLAND!!!!! (or buddy boy, but only you can call me that )

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mother's Day letter from President Brinton

Av. das Americas, 1155 Salas 502/503
Barra da Tijuca - Rio de Janeiro, RJ
CEP 22631-000 Brasil
Fone: (21) 2111-9244/ 2111-9243
Fax: (21) 2493-6237
Presidente Cel: (21) 8655-0482

Dear Mother,

We want to wish you a happy Mother’s day and express our gratitude to you for sharing your son with the Lord for this time in his life. When we think of the sacrifice that a mother makes when she sends her son on a mission, we are reminded of the story of Hannah in the Old Testament. She desperately wanted to have a son. She went to the temple at Shiloh and prayed to the Lord for this blessing. She promised the Lord: “…if thou…wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…”(1 Samuel 1:11) The Lord granted her petition and she gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel. When he was old enough, Hannah returned with him to the temple and explained to Eli, the high priest: “…O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord…” (1 Samuel 1:26-28) You are like Hannah. You have lent your son to the Lord for a season. The Lord is caring and watching over him.

On Mother’s day, you may speak by telephone with your son. He is looking forward to that. Encourage him to share with you the wonderful missionary experiences that he is having. You will be impressed with the growth that is occurring in him. The missionary manual requests that these phone calls last no more than 30 or 40 minutes and we encourage you to follow these guidelines.

It is an honor to serve with the wonderful young men and women in the Rio de Janeiro mission. The time that we have had with them will remain in our hearts as one of the greatest opportunities of our lives. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family for the sacrifices that you are making and the support that you are giving.

With Love,
President and Sister Brinton

"... eats and wipes her mouth and says..."

Letter from 4-30-08
didn't get to post on time!

(see proverbs 30:17-20 to find out what she says) at least i think that is the reference for the scripture... hmm... either way, it is TOTALLY weird.

wowzers- time sure seems to fly with you guys. it seems like just yesterday that i thought- whoa, my little sis is a SENIOR!! and now she it getting ready to graduate and bomb tests and speak at graduation! guys are all getting old. speaking of which- feliz aneversário, mamãe! i guess your present will be talking with you guys next week. (may 11) i don’t know where i will be yet, or how we are going to do it but i will fill you guys in next p-day.

so this week went by fast. we did a few divisions and another training. we also are teaching a few people that will be baptized this week. the first one is a guy named bernardo. he is 22 years old and super-awesome!! we have been training anyone and everyone in the zone about the importance of finding new investigators and how to find them. one of the ways that PMG teaches is 'use the area book' and ''former investigators'. (i am not sure that i am using the right 'missionary term-age' in english, but I’ll do my best.) the area book, as i am sure that you guys probably DON’T know is this binder that stays in the area and all the missionaries use it to record information about investigators and stuff. when they stop going to an investigator’s house they put on the teaching record form the reason that they stopped going there. usually, there are some cool people that are in there that were taught a LONG time ago and just weren’t ready at the time the missionaries went there the first time. SO WE, were teaching this to other missionaries and decided that we could do it better ourselves. one day we grabbed the area book and knelt down and prayed for help to find some people in there that we could visit that would be ready to hear the message of the restored gospel. we found a few names and decided to visit those people that week. ONE of those was bernardo. when we got to his house to knock on the door to see if he was still interested in hearing a message his mom came to the door and got all excited. she was like, "hey bernardo, the missionaries are here." and then she told us that her son wants to be baptized in the church. turns out that she was an inactive member that wanted to come back and she had told her son and he said that he would like to go with her. that was 2 weeks ago today. he will be baptized this sunday. the other person is Irene. and her story is SOOOOOOOO COOOOOOL. but it is pretty long too. maybe i will tell you guys next week in the email. she will be baptized Saturday the 11 of may.

mom- yep, you can probably get rid of the mission ties now. i don’t even remember how to use it and i never find time to go to the post office. i have written whole grip of people, BUT i sometimes wonder if i will ever mail this stuff. it is all addressed and in envelopes, i just get so busy that i forget all about them. (i have got some there for a few months, just waiting for me to get up the gump to go the post office and by the stamps. i will probably send them soon, because there are a lot of belated thank you cards in there... oops) anyway, i love how you always put names in parentheses or descriptions of people, just in case i forgot. i used to think, man, she must think that i had amnesia or something, then i remember that i really HAS been a long time since i saw those names. it just FEELS like i have only been gone a month. oh yeah, i will buy batteries today to take a few pictures of me and elder RHODES. (like rhode island) he is from oshkosh wisconsin. see if you can find out the names of the people that know him. i will email a pic next week. :)

dad- suns disappoint but the diamondbacks seem to be working well. pois é. ( pois é is a portuguese phrase that EVERYONE USES that means more or less-'' figures'') i am excited to read this gooney speech that you guys wrote.

alyce- you my little lady are really ridiculously cool!! speaking at grad and being an awesome student. too bad i don’t get to see you as a senior, freaking out because school and life as you know it is about to end. yep, i am excited to read this dr. seuss speech of yours, sound like a clever idea. i would write some of the 'clever ideas' that we come up with out here in the missionary work, BUT they probably wouldn’t sound too clever to you guys because,... well, you really don’t know what "normal missionary work" is like. good luck i am praying for you.

now i am off to eat a few salgados for lunch. i am thinking maybe a kibe or a joelho. but i will probably end up getting a coxinha again. doesn’t really matter what you eat, as long as the juice is good.

love elder helland

ps this week we found this place that sells coconut water really cheap, and so we have been eating a TON of coconut. the man cuts open the coconut after you drink the juice and lets you eat the meat.

pps the meat is slimey and not at all sweet. i pretend that i am eating raw fish.