Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Missionary work: hard work all day; all work, no play

Letter 8-25-08

FYI. – We were finally able to post Adam’s pictures – look at the last two letters if you want to see them. :-)

Actually, today I will have to be a little bit shorter, because today, for the second time in my mission, I am going to do something "fun" for p-day. Today we are going to downtown Rio. Not to the big Christ statue or anything, but we are going to get a train and leave the favelas for a little bit and see the ritzy side of the city. I am excited!

for a quick update on our investigators, this Sunday was a tuffy...but the good news is that we have a baptism marked for this Saturday! Nilza will be baptized!! Nilza is the wife of an inactive man in the ward called André. André wants to come back to church, so we went over to their house a few weeks ago and taught them both about how the church was restored. For some reason, Nilza wanted to be baptized. I shared with them the things that I remember from my family that helped us be strong in the church- family prayer and scripture study, and challenged them to do the same. They did. Every night they read a few verses of the BoM together and are teaching their 4 year old daughter how to pray every night in family prayer. She would have been baptized earlier BUT André works every other day, which means every other Sunday. They live very far away from the church and so it has been tough for her to come to church by bus w/o André with her. Finally this Sunday she got there on her own, there by completing her preparation for baptism. They are such a cool family.

As for the family of 7...you see, the dad is a member that is returning to church now, but the wife has some weird ideas and doesn’t want the kids to be baptized, or even go to church on Sunday. We are doing our best to support the sons so that they continue listening and going to church. The oldest is starting to think more seriously about being baptized, but the situation is becoming complicated there. My experience has shown that the key to help is the members. As missionaries, we are teachers, but there are simply certain things that we cannot do. The testimony of a missionary, powerful as it may be, doesn’t come close to the testimony of a “regular” member, even if it is a simple testimony. The investigator immediately wonders why that member would say that, and how they know it is true. The members also can show by example, the very best teaching method, how a family can be happy, and how the gospel blesses families. So the members, obviously just as thrilled by the idea of 5 baptisms as we are, are going to work - family home evenings, help them find good jobs, soccer nights at the church; they are doing incredible work with this family. Unfortunately, bc of the spilt support at home only 2 of the sons went to church yesterday. I’ll update you next week.

MOM- you, my dear lady, are super awesome!!! Man, I feel the same way. Sometimes I get to church, all stressed about if the people that we invited will actually come, so I miss the goodness that comes in the meetings. Recently, I decided to make sure that I work my tail off to help them get to church - call them and visit them, whatever it takes, and then, when I get to church, I relax and know that the preparation the I did was the best I could and knowing that if they go or not, it is ultimately their choice. So I relax, enjoy, and learn. I find that when I do this the Lord inspires me with ideas of things to teach investigators or missionaries. I feel the spirit confirming the things that I did well, and teaching me what I could do better the next week. It becomes that promised "day of rest". (well, for us it is at least a few hours of rest. :) ) I guess that right now I am learning, and it is tough, to "exactly" follow the spirit. I guess it’s like the Nike slogan, just do it!

DAD- you, my old man, almost made me cry. I guess that I never really realized that you went to church for a few months without really wanting to be baptized, or learn more. It is funny, because I see the same things in many people that I teach that struggle. They look at other people and wonder why they are so happy. One of the young men in that big family that we are teaching said that he liked being with the members because they are so “pure”. Like they honestly are happy bc of the things that they say. They don’t do the things that others do, but are happy any way. I loved your email.

One thing that we are doing now is talking a lot with members. We talk about how they were converted. We ask, "What helped you in deciding to be baptized?" Almost always they say how it was the visits of the members, or the testimony of the members, or FHE in someone’s house, or somebody at work was reading the BoM and they asked what it was. When they tell us this, we tell them to do the same - BE the kind of member that helps others in the same way that THOSE members helped you. I think that is SO COOL that my dad is a convert, bc I LOVE CONVERTS!!

ALYCE- hmm, i didn’t get anything from you this week, probably a misfire. Oh well. Have fun in college, missy.

love elder helland

PS WOW- that package was incredibly EXCELLENT!! I am wearing the pinkish tie right now!! That toothbrush blew me away!! Elder Sidney thought it was cool too. ( I didn’t let him use it... when I opened it I put it on his jaw, so he could catch the "good vibrations". I have never heard the song before, but besides that it was awesome beyond all belief!!!!! )

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Up up and away!!

Letter from 8-18-08
Eric figured out how to save these pics as jpegs - he's so smart! :-)

So this last week was awesome!! Sorry that you guys didn’t get my letter last week. Too bad, it was huge. I promise that I tried to send it but, I don’t know what happened. I put a bunch of pictures in it and I don’t know which ones to send this week… I guess that I will just send a bunch.

So yesterday we had the baptism of Washington. I told you guys about him in the letter that I sent last week, but I guess that you didn’t get that one…
He is the son of an inactive member family that we started teaching a few weeks ago. They came back to church and we taught the lessons to them and he got baptized. He is 11 years old, but he reads the BoM everyday with his family.

At his baptism the primary sang, “procure arco-iris”, then elder sidney baptized him. (twice b/c Washington’s feet came up)Then in sacrament meeting I confirmed him. Turns out I said some of the words wrong b/c the bishop said that I have to re-confirm him next week. Oh well.

Also i went the airport this week,... that was weird. My group from the CTM had to go and re-new our visas with the government so that we could stay one more year. The weird thing was that someone was like, “hey, next time that we are here together we are going home…” then there was this huge silence as everyone got really sad for a little while. The fun part was, no wait, there were TWO fun parts. The first was that while we were waiting in the federal police area, and we waited FOREVER, we got to talk to people from all over the world. We talked with them, mostly in English. I got to teach the restoration for the first time in English! It was so cool, but super hard. I found it really hard to speak in English, especially about the gospel! The words that came to my brain were Portuguese and the people there didn’t speak Portuguese. We had a blast teaching people as they waited to be interviewed by the police guys. Some Americans were there. Some French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and English too. It was a ton of fun.

The other fun part was when I ran into my life long friend, Superman. He came in on a flight from the states and asked if I was taking care of things here in brasil. I told him that I was doing a different kind of saving these days, and then I gave him a pass-along-card. It was fun to remember the good ole days with him. Flying around and saving pretty ladies that fall from helicopters. I guess white jump suits and a tiny swimming pool is just as cool. Actually it is way cooler!!

MOM- sorry you didn’t get the last letter, but that one might be gone forever. At zone conference we didn’t train on anything, and the changes were all anticipated. No more movies, p-day on Monday, no more three Sunday requirement for baptism, and a bunch of rules that involve how the missionaries get permission to do stuff. Viviane and Anderson are doing great; we had lunch with them this last week. Their daughter still is pretty distant, but she loves the YW activities. I guess that is a start. E. Sidney got your letters, but he can’t e-mail you back (against mission rules - immediate family only); he promised to write in a few weeks though…
Go ahead and send me the papers to fill out for BYU. The president is way supportive of college, so he will help too.

Dad- make sure that you help the states beat those commies! Just kidding. I guess that brasil is doing good at soccer right now, and that is all that they care about.

Alyce- whoa, that IS a red letter day, huh? I’m no expert, but I don’t think that you should make running into other people’s cars a habit. Just a heads up there…
You should come to brasil, here the car rides FEEL like coasters! Sorry that I am a slacker and didn’t mail your letter forever. Maybe next year :-)

Love elder helland
Up, UP, and Away!

Baptism of Washington

CTM Group at airport - hey, Bro. A...! :-)

another short one...

Letter received 8-11-08 BUT originally sent 8-4-08

sorry, i think that this will have to be another short email. first, we are late, second this computer stinks!, and thirdly, my companion is watching me type again... oh well.

so this last week was good, getting to know my new companion. (yes we are still zone leaders) he is short and from the south. he is almost 28 years old. he is really funny. he doesn’t want me to write how old he is bc he thinks that you guys won’t like him. he is reading this email as i write and doesn’t like what i am writing.. . tuff luck, huh!

anyway, the only funny thing that happened this week was when our neighbors downstairs started fighting with each other. they began to scream and yell. well, i was used to it, but this was a first for elder sidney. elder sidney ran to the window and we watched the whole thing :) they started to yell lots of bad words that i didn’t understand, but elder sidney did, so we left the window. it was pretty funny, but i guess you had to be

we have zone conference on wed, i think that pres will announce a lot of changes in the mission. i am excited and a little nervous. it will be great!

alyce: to be honest, i can’t remember. the french one is on the tip of my tongue, but i just can’t visualize it. the second i have never even heard before. send the answers, ok! actually, this last week the primary of our ward decided that i look like woody from Toy Story, so that is what they call me now.

mom- it rained yesterday, so almost no one went to church. but we are preparing 2 people to be baptized in 2 weeks and a family of 7 the week after. i guess i will write more next week. viviane and anderson are awesome!! tonight we have another fhe w/ them and anderson is going to give the message. i am pumped. and no, i didn’t get an email from pres brinton yet... :(

dad- good luck. i have a tough time deciding what to where everyday too. "hmm, lets see, white shirt with pants. i wonder what tie goes with this shirt?"

sorry again!
love elder helland

Acai' - the incredible PURPLE STUFF!

Elder Helland and Elder Sidney

Monday, August 4, 2008

Short note!

OK, so I repented and was determined to post Adam's letter right away this week - but, it looks like he forgot to attach the letter - this was the only message! :-) So much for my promptness...! :-)

elder sidney (his companion) doesn’t get emails from anyone. maybe you could send him a note.
love elder helland

Friday, August 1, 2008


Letter from 7-30-08 - So sorry it's taken so long to post Adam's last two letters - first we were at the beach, then the first week back to school - I know, just a bunch of excuses, right? :-)
dear family,

just kidding, that is a really lame way to start a letter. Let me try again:

the transfer monster gobbled up
Elder Rhodes!

Well, now my companion is elder sidney from paraná, brasil. He is really cool, I knew him from juiz de fora. This is his last transfer, so we are sure to have a blast and work our fannies off. Elder Rhodes is now training in some place far away… it was a little sad at first, but now I just want to keep baptizing.

You know how it is on transfer days; no time to write. On top of that, elder Sidney doesn’t really write to anyone so he is done super fast. I am going to have to cut this short and write more next week. Sorry.

To sum up this last week let me tell you that we had a family of seven at church (2 of them didn’t go bc they were sick) we are working with a lot of inactive members whose families aren’t baptized right now. More to come about them this next week.

Sorry no cool pictures this week. Next week I will send you a picture of elder Sidney.

mom- whoa!! That is awesome!! I really miss pres brinton sometimes. Our new president is awesome, but you now how it is hard to deal with change sometimes… you end up missing what you were used to and loved.

Alyce- all I can say is stay away from creeps. You have strict orders from me not marry anyone! :-) Especially guys that find you at the temple and like pink and green and write letters to oprah. Either way though, sounds like you guys had an awesome vacation.

Dad. Heads up: if your back hurts it is a SORE back. I got really confused because “soar” is a verb in Portuguese that means “to sound” and my translator was broken and so I couldn’t figure out why you were using Portuguese!!

Sorry for the stinky letter

Love elder helland.

Ps- next week pday will be on Monday, so write your letters on Sunday, tá!?

Açaí é uma benção!

(Letter from 7-23-08)

Açaí é uma benção!

Açaí is like the best food that the world has ever known! Is looks like purple monster baby food, and it is kind of like ice cream - dark purple snow with sand in it. What ever it is, it is delicious!
So this week I don’t think that I will write quite as much since I really don’t have too much time. It is the last p-day of the transfer and some missionaries in our zone are going home next week, SO, we are going to have a little churrasco for them. That means that we really have to do all the other p-day stuff fast so that we can have time to get over there and have a little fun with them.
This last week we worked our tails off again looking for families. We found two new ones that are just awesome. One is a family of some friends of Viviane and Anderson. They loved that first lesson and loved that Book of Mormon. They liked it so much that they started calling everyone that they knew inviting them to hear the message too. It was pretty cool. Right now we don’t have anybody really close to baptism, but soon we will.
This morning we ate a huge avocado shake, and I think that I ate too much bc now I feel sick. It might have been because elder Rhodes thought that it would be funny to put pineapple in it too!
MOM- so are you going back to school for official now? I mean adult school, not work? AWESOME!!
DAD- hey that is kind of funny. You guys couldn’t find the on the border because it was Escondido! ‘Escondido’ means ‘hidden’. Keep mom playing golf and she will probably beat you some day. And in that day you won’t want to play with her any more, but she will want to play with you all the time. Make sure you know the risks of your new hobby! :-)
ALYCE- loca meu!! Minha nossa, you are a crazy girl. A real party animal these days. Well, at least you are going back to school soon.
Well got to roll. Thanks for the package!!!
Love elder helland