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.