Thursday, June 26, 2008

romeo and juliet...

(Letter from 6-25-08)

is the name of a common dessert here that is pretty much cheese and fruit-roll up together. yep, i don’t think it is very good either.

BIG transfers:
The good news is that elder Rhodes is my non-stop companion for at least 5 more weeks. The other news is that we get a new president next week. We had a really cool meeting today for transfers. President and sister brinton spoke and it was really powerful. I could feel the spirit there so strong. I left the meeting no longer nervous about what the future holds, what with a new president and all, but excited for new opportunities and challenges. Sister brinton was so sweet. She started crying when she was talking, and so did a lot of missionaries. At the end president gave me his shoes. They are a pair of brand new eccos that he said are too big for him. He made me promise to remember him when I wore his shoes and to baptize and to serve people with them. A lot of people in our zone were transferred. Every pair had a transfer, and we got two new district leaders. We are pretty excited about it.

About the families here: let me tell a story about how fasting brings miracles. So last Sunday we decided to fast and pray for Viviane and Anderson so that they could receive a spiritual confirmation that the church is true. They were at church and loved it again. So the next day they called us at night. Vivane was talking and here is pretty much what she said. : “we can’t get baptized on the 28 of june…but we are going to get baptized. When is the next available date?” so now they are going to get baptized on the 5 of july. After the phone call I was like- “EXCELLENT!”

There is another family that is pretty cool. (Marley is the name of the mom) We taught them about three months ago, but they never went to church, so we stopped going there. Then we went over there on a whim and invited them to church one night. They went. Now we are working full time with them again.

Mom- I like your mantra ‘focus on the staff’. Ours is ‘focus on the family’. In PMG ch 1 under the gospel blesses families, it says to dedicate ourselves to finding families. (at least the is what is says in port.) so that is what we are trying to do. And the lord is blessing us with lots of families to teach. Thanks for giving me such a great example of what a family can be so that I can carry that model to the people here who sincerely want their family to be eternal too. (that is what Marley always says.)

Dad. - a little above sea level, 30 degrees Celsius. Have a “hole” lot of fun up there. (spell check your letter, you meant to say WHOLE. )

Alyce- hey that sounds fun. And what they heck is Yo Gabba Gabba?

Well, I guess you guys know the gig, out of time because I have a lot of things to do today, but know that I love you.

Love elder helland
New Mission President - President and Sister Bezerra
The Bezerra Family

listen to your heartbeat...

(letter from 6-18-08)

...and dance.

lame i know. and it is way too cheezy, but i thought that is was clever and i found it on one of those chocolate wrappers in the chocolate that i got for my b-day.

well, i have got to be really fast, because the first time that i wrote you an email, i lost it. i had very little time the first time.

so let me update you on the week:
last sunday the family went to church along with two others. i am super excited because we have a few really great FAMILIES that we are teaching right now. FAMILIES can be ETERNAL!!! i feel like shouting it sometimes in the lessons, but i think that that might scare them. they don’t understand English anyway. but really, what wouldn’t someone do to have their family forever?

i will tell more about the families next week, (if i am not transferred :))

sorry this letter is terrible, the first had a lot more to it, but now i GOT TO RUN!

elder helland

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

tag, you're it

(letter from 6-11-08)
Boy, am I glad I´m not a dog…

We saw this dog yesterday, and wowzers!!, he looked like he had leprosy! He only had hair in patches, one of his ears looked like broccoli, he had this big bloody nose, he breathed super raspy, and didn’t have any teeth. I don’t know if I can (/should) describe how hideous that dog was. And so I thought to myself, “Good thing I’m not him….!” Just one more reason I am grateful to be a missionary. :-)

So I should probably tell about the coolest family on the planet earth, besides ours of course. (we won the prize for weirdest, and hey! , you can't win ‘um all!). Let me tell you about them. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (-princess bride)
Her name is Viviane. We met her in the street one day and she said that we could come over another day. She also said that she had a family and was legally married. (we usually ask questions like that in the street around here. It is a bit uncomfortable sometimes to walk up to someone and be like: “Good afternoon, we are the missionaries of the true church of Christ. God called a prophet once again on the earth. This book is a proof of this message. By the way, are you guys married?” Well, that is really what you have to do sometimes. And what we did this time.
About a month later we were planning a training for zone conference about using the area book to find people to teach, and we were practicing what we were going to teach by planning using the area book. One of the families that we pulled out of the “old investigators” section was the mom of Viviane. We didn’t know that at the time. But as we planned to work in that area, we found that both of this names that we had were at the same address. The mom from the area book, and the daughter from the address we got in the street. So we went there. We taught Viviane and her husband Anderson, and they accepted the commitments that we gave them. We were excited, because at that time we had found a lot of new FAMILIES and this one was pretty cool too. As the week progressed they read some of the Book of Mormon, and had a lot of questions. The key was Sunday. Who would go to church? We wanted to continue with the people that went to church. I don’t think that I can accurately express that excitement that missionaries feel when investigators go to church. I was like COWABUNGA!!

Here is the best part. Two more families ended up at church. Anício’s family and Marcelo. We ended up with a BUNCH of people at church with us. It was the best blessing EVER!! wait, here is the real best part:
At sacrament meeting we gave several families responsibility to sit next to them and help them. Those members were SO AWESOME! They went and sat by them!! They talked to them! Really, my joy was full. There was this one girl who is like 14, who went and sat by the dad and daughter of the one family. She helped them know how to sing that hymns, pointing with her finger. She explained what the sacrament is. She helped them feel comfortable. Then after the meeting several families got up and went over there and talked to them, set up familiy home evenings with them in their homes, invited them to mutual and seminary, EVERYTHING!

This ward pretty much rocks.

So anyway, Viviane and Anderson have two daughters, 12 and 9, and one son, 2yrs. They are reading the BoM and had FHE with 2 other families Monday. We are going there today to teach about the plan of salvation. I will tell more next week.

One more thought:
Yesterday we went to talk to this lady in the street, something that we do all day long, with EVERYONE. She was dressed like an Amish lady, so I knew that whatever happened, she certainly already had some strong religious beliefs. She kindly told us no, so we tried to give her a pass-along card. She took it and look at the picture of Jesus on the other side and said, "No I cant take this, I don’t worship images." Then we were like, "Great, us too. This isn’t a idol, it is a painting. So, don’t worship it." Then, she kind of decided to tell us what we were and what she believed. She started saying all kinds of stuff in a weird language that WASN’T Portuguese, and started telling us what she believed. Then she said, nós acreditamos que voces são anticristos.(she called us the anti-christ) Elder Rhodes, knowing full well what that meant, but looking for a little help was like, WHAT!?, I don’t understand that word. She then explained to us the we teach lies, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Usually I would have left her there, but there were a lot of people around and she was still talk calmly to us. I looked at her and said, "I am sorry, you are wrong. Have a good night." I left kind of ticked off. Like, "smokes, you would think that someone that really believes in Christ would recognize His authorized servants.” We talked about it later and I thought about the Savior. He suffered for the very people that rejected him and said that he was of the devil. He really was the son of God, and people said all kinds of stuff to Him. He even told the apostles, that if the truly followed him the same thing would happen to them. Take up your cross, is not just an invitation to leave the couch, but to enter the battle. I felt really sad for the woman, but happy that I could learn a little bit more about the great love that the Savior has for us.

Anyway, sorry, I will answer questions next week.

elder helland

ps: THANK YOU to gma and gpa helland for the package. Me and elder Rhodes are loving the American goods. I also got the package from you guys. You guys even wrote Buzz lightgear.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

one-eyed dogs and yellow jellow...

Letter from 6-4-08 - (Sorry family - Alyce and I were in Virginia and NYC for the past two weeks and were unable to post Adam's letters! This next weeks will be over due too, as we're off to Girl's camp!)

The Tale of the Ingrown Toenails:

This week we had the incredible opportunity to go to the hospital. Elder Rhodes had a foot problem. His toenails had rebelled and seceded from the union, and then declared open war on his foot. I didn’t bring the camera today to send the awesome bloody pictures of his toe. Let me give you an idea. FIRST, take a look at your left foot. (or if you prefer, your right) THEN, imagine that the big toe is two times the size that it is right now. NOW, then take a knife or a fork or a well sharpened pencil, or anything that comes to a point that happens to be near you right now, and plunge it into your toe. That is pretty much how elder Rhodes says that it felt to have the toe surgery to take off the nail. They didn’t num it. They just took out a pair of pliers and some scissors, …

To tell the truth, I thought that is was pretty funny at the time. Every time that the lady even TOUCHED it he would make this face of extreme pain. The whole time she was just looking at the toe and asking questions like, “does this hurt?”, to which elder Rhodes responded through clenched teeth, “YEEEAAAGGGHHRRRR!” his faces were priceless. He now regrets not letting me take pictures while we were there. (Am I sick or what?) Anyway, because of that, we spent a whole day at home reading the book of Mormon and PMG. It was weird. Nowadays he is using the other pair of my doc martins, b/c they are WAY too big for him and that means more room for his poor little toes.

So enough foot talk.

This week we really took a hard look at our group of investigators and we said these ones are progressing, these are not. We had to cut a lot of them. We are looking for some families that will go to church this Sunday. We have taught a few so far this week, so we’ll see if they go. If they do I will surely tell you.

We have taught a few lessons lately to what may be considered relatively crazy people. It has been neat to see that as this people that have some sort of mental problems (nothing extreme- just slow or… really slow…), they invite us to their apartments and listen to our message, they recognize the spirit. I keep thinking, ‘these are children of God’, and ‘inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…’. As these thoughts came to my head, I really felt the spirit and enjoyed talking to them. We invited them to church, and we will see what happens from there.


I just called the secretaries and they said that I got one or two packages and a letter or two. I don’t know who yet, but I will get them this Friday for interviews. Cowabunga !

Well, I am low on money until we get our allowance tomorrow, so I will have to wrap up soon, the computer time is almost up and I still have to write a letter to president.

So have fun in you various travels, and dad, maybe you can keep it real back at home alone doing something cool, like reading the book of mormon. That is what I do when I have to stay home.!
LOVE elder helland

-elder rhodes with his foot up, after foot surgery.
-enjoying a stawberry smoothy.
-with the president and his wife and the assistants.

Its my birthday, I can baptize if I want to

Letter from 5-28-08 - (Sorry, Alyce and Jill were in Virginia and NYC for a couple weeks and unable to post Adam's letters!)

you would baptize too if it happened to you!! (i made up this pretty nifty song all by self, so... copyright, all rights reserved.-- [that must be the publishers version of calling "shotgun"])

Actually, for my big b-day, me and elder Rhodes did a division with some elders in our zone, and so I spent my b-day with elder nascimento. It was pretty cool. You know, we did the usual birthday stuff, knocking doors, talking to random people in the street, walking several miles in the scorching sun, … you know, partying all over the place! Just kidding, we did have a good family home evening with a few families in our ward and they invited their friends over for us to teach and then they made a cake for me and everyone sang and stuff. It was really cowabunga! (can I use it like that?) Then yesterday we had another family home evening with Irene’s family, (remember they are all strong members), and they invited our investigators too. They made a cake for us, and Irene gave us presents. She made each of us a box. Pretty cool, huh! No, just kidding, but it is a box, I just don’t know how to describe it. I will take a picture of it and send it to you guys next week. I thought it was really sweet. Irene really loves us and would do anything for us. She is such a neat lady. It is weird to think that she will always remember us, that we have truly made a difference in their family.

It was a awesome birthday, all things considered.

Anyway, so far I have got a package from jay and elle and a package from alyce. but don’t worry, we have interviews next week on Friday, I will probably get the others then.


Well, the one family that I told you about, they talked to their pastor instead of to God and he told them some ridiculous stuff about us. When we told them that that stuff wasn’t true they got all confused, not knowing who to believe, us or their pastor. I guess part of the problem is that if they leave their church, the pastor will be REALLY mean to them and say bad stuff about them to the congregation, and then all of the neighbors won’t like them anymore and they will lose all of their friends. And here it isn’t like there, where if things are bad you can just move. People live in the same house for GENERATIONS, so pretty much the pastor made a pretty big threat to them, without actually threatening them.

We also found a whole bunch of new investigators, but no one that is going anywhere fast. I will give the update on the ones that make through to next week.

Yes I can watch DVD’s, for crying our loud!! I can watch almost more movies here ON the mission than you let me watch before!! (he he he… I am kidding, but not entirely)
Nope, we didn’t catch the rat. We decided on the more practical route later in the day. (it was elder Rhodes idea, I thought the idea of a sweet rat trap made of the garbage that we have at home was a great project) we ended up just cleaning the house real good and then putting cardboard under all of the doors to keep the rats out. We still built the trap, but… the trap went off unexpectedly and broke our clothes iron. I guess that is just the way things go. Well, no I didn’t have the same SS class as you guys. I taught the GP class instead. (Gospel Principles) we talked about faith. I think I did a pretty good job though, because this time elder Rhodes wasn’t in the back laughing at me. (we trade off every Sunday for who gets to teach the GP class.)

DAD: what?!? 5 temples ????? that is almost as many as brasil!! I had heard about the other two already. Last transfer we had 3 other missionaries in my zone from mesa and Gilbert; they called me Elder West-side. That was cool, b/c that was all of the missionaries from Arizona in our mission in the same zone.

ALYCE: WHAT!!!! Going on a date w/a returned missionary!!!!! I thought that I made the rules clear that you were not even to TALK to boys for two years!!! Just kidding. What I meant to say was … cowabunga. Was the Indiana jones movie cool? How about prince caspiean? I don’t think either have been translated into Portuguese yet, or at least, I didn’t even know they were coming out!! Well, you are old now too! No more school. Do you remember when we used to dream about the day there would be no more school? Not as fun as we thought it would be, huh. I remember that I used to think that the mission would be good because I wouldn’t have to go to school everyday. The mission is WAY better that school, and I am learning way more. Well, stay away from that hicky boy at work.

Until next week, adieu.
Elder Helland, 20 years old

Ooone MOOOrrre thing...
(that one old guy in jackie chan adventures)

tell kory "hi" for me, and that: "ele é o cara, e que eu tenho tanta saudades
dele. "

Regarding the mission council picture:
man, i look dumb!! well, i guess that is just the way that i look. ... wait a minute... that is YOUR fault! yup, it is your funny look'n genes that made me this way. humph! now looking like a goof ball is an entirely justifiable complaint.

ps "conselho da missão" is code for mission council. or is it counsel? man i feel like alyce. ... dang, how IS IT SPELLED? grrrrgh!! oh well, i don’t need that pathetic language right now anyway. portuguese is WAY superior!