Monday, February 16, 2009

Quiet like a fish...

ok, this week was pretty dang awesome here too. It rained like crazy and my umbrella broke (again...), and i got all wet. It was ALMOST like baptism, but not quite the same. Just so you know, i am in Rio still, in a part called Campo Grande, which is to say, big field. In some places that is exactly what it is. Not much like the normal “favela” part of Rio, so there isn’t as much danger either. The ward is pretty cool. They seem to like me. But i guess i can understand why :), actually, they really try and help the people that we bring to church. This last week, one of the coolest experiences was when i did a division with some ward members to visit inactive people. We got to this one guy’s house and all of his brothers and sisters were there and they all are members of the church (like maybe 4 brothers and their wives). I had never met them before, but soon they started talking, all of them saying why it was that they weren’t going to church any more. Some blamed it one others that had done or said something, others bc they thought that they weren’t worthy to go to church bc of the way they are living. They all said that they knew that the church is true, but none thought that they could come back to church after the things that had happened. They kind of got riled up talking about the things that had happened that made them leave the church. The brother that was my companion looked scared and didn’t say anything. So after letting them talk for a while, i felt the spirit say- it’s time. I put my hands in the air, it was a little strange, but everyone stopped talking and looked at me. Then i started talking. I don’t really remember all that i said, i just know that i felt weird bc i was like calling them to repentance. It was neat bc every objection that they had, the answer that i gave them was “repent”. The lady that didn’t want to go to church bc she drinks i said, look, you have to go to church bc there is NO OTHER WAY. You have to repent and go back to church bc there is really NO OTHER WAY to return and live with Heavenly Father, except through our Savior Jesus Christ. This other man didn’t want to go bc of things that people had done to him in the church, people that were leaders in the church and stuff. I told him that he had to learn to return to church and the gospel, bc he couldn’t afford to lose great blessings bc of what others did. I told him that it isn’t worth to NOT be sealed to his family just bc of something that one person said 13 years ago. And more. I only remember the feeling that i had as i lit into this family of inactive members. I knew the things that came to my mind were of the spirit so i kept right on speaking. But it really touched me too. Really, NOTHING else matters. Really, there is NO OTHER WAY except through our Savior! I always remember a talk in gen conf this last fall called “the way”, by some seventy. He said, "There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way." [Here's the link in case anyone wants to read it:] well to end the story, some of them kept quiet just thinking, some of them kept on grumbling and one of the brothers left the room, kind of miffed. Well, i was out of things to say, so we said a closing prayer. Then the brother came back from the other room and said, 'good job elder. I’ll go to church on Sunday if you guys go with me.' I said, 'deal'. Then he turned to his brothers and sisters and said, “ hey, if I’m going you are all going with me. We are a family.” in the end he invited all of his family and a friend to go with him, but only he and one of his sisters went with us. He is now excited to come back to church and try and be fully active again and worthy to receive the M. priesthood.
Well that was this week’s story.

Alyce- whats up luver gurl? Don’t you even think about “ dating” anyone for a while. No more of these blind dates with hotties. My spin on it is this: if the guy walks out on a dumb movie, he isn’t you style. You ARE the dumb movie queen. (at least you were...) you made dumb movies awesome. (remember our last adventure at the movies b4 i left? Nancy Drew and some other dumb movie?) But i guess if you keep on dressing up like a homely dork, i am good. Way to go. [Alyce got invited to a party and her date told her it was a DI (thrift store) party so she wore dorky high water overalls, an ugly shirt, etc. Well, it turns out it was a DRESS UP DI party (who’s ever heard of that?!?!) where everyone was all formally – so Alyce was dressed ALL wrong – luckily they skipped the party and did their own thing, but she still felt “homely” all night wherever they went in her crazy outfit!]

Did anyone give you roses? :-)

What happened at the hobby lobby? Are you gonna make it? And mom said that you are slacking at the byu app; what’s that all about? I hope that we get in, or i am hosed.Other that that, take it easy little- lady.

MOM- thanks for clearing it up. “Return with honor” is something that you tell to future or struggling missionaries. NOT to happy missionaries.

Today was interviews and i got two letters, one from the wilsons with 20 bucks in it. Tell them THANK YOU and i think that i will hold on to it and grab a snack on the layover on the flight going home (this attitude in no way contradicts my peter pan theory, it is however a fact of reality that there are no taco bells here, but in the Atlanta airport that is sure to be at least one.)

and just so you know, i think that i WILL use that analogy, just for your information and tomorrow too! Hmmf! I will have to give it a twist and a tweak, but it is definitely doable. Maybe something about the power of the spirit in the teaching. I duhknow, i will have to ponder on it. Ill let you know how it goes.

Transfers are next week and carnival is this week. It stinks. We have to stay inside our houses saturday and tuesday and on monday and sunday we can only visit members and only until 6 pm. So pday is gonna stink. MEMO: i will only be able to write email on thursday of next week, after the transfer. I repeat, thursday.

DAD- i thought that brown was a more manly color. You macho man. Hey, i want to see you with hair? How was it? I remember at g-ma’s house looking at your pictures with you and your hair. Once upon a time you were a stud with blondish, 70s hair. Now you are an animal- with hair all over. Cool huh? You wanna hear something that i did really dumb too? It has to so with hair... kind of. I got a weird heat rash on my stomach for a week or two, and it was all red and itchy. (this also happened last year. It is something that has to do with the heat and the sweat. It is kind of like a huge diaper rash on my belly.) anyway, my comp told me to take cold showers, which, DUH, i do anyway in this ridiculous heat. Then he suggested that i shave the hair on my tummy. I said no, but his idea stayed in my head. Until one day it was really bad. And i thought, maybe it’ll work... well the rest is history. I shaved a ctr shield into the fur on my tummy. In is now almost grown back. But i learned that if it itches with hair, it is two times worse without.

WELL, i gotta go now, talk to ya next Thursday.

elder helland
ps, the title comes from a movie quote from the movie chicken run. When the two rats are telling how they stole the tools, the one says, “ we snuck in real quiet like.”, and the other says, “ yeah, yeah, like a fish.” then the first replies, “ like a fish? You idiot.” man i like that part.

Monday, February 9, 2009

p-day is a special day!

Rio is my Neverland

Letter 2-9-09

MOM-thanks for the help with byu. I sure hope I get in. I will tell president about e-mailing it. Actually i will tell the executive secretary, elder hill, a good friend of mine (from my mtc group). He really wants me to go to byu with him, so i bet he’ll get it done right. :-)

Hey you didn’t end the email with one of those “i love you more than [...]” i bet you are running out of new and creative sayings after all this time, but if you reuse the first ones i won’t even notice (b/c “return with honor” makes me sad. I don’t want to return. So if we could just act like that won’t happen for a really long time, that would be great. I feel like peter pan - don’t wanna grow up, don’t wanna go home. Rio is my neverland. Because this same oppotunity can never happen again.)

Maybe you could share some of the cool comparisons that you learned. The truth is that even though i am not a zone leader now, i have to do even MORE trainings. So send the cool ideas. One of the things that we do is try and “focus on the one” missionary. I have a district of 6 and i feel like what i have to do is be close enough to them to know their problems and have them be willing to accept ideas to make things better.

[regarding me asking if he is using his piano “talents”] In nova iguaçu i used to play the piano for sacrament meeting until the organ broke - pretty much just the upper hand, and sometimes just the melody. I played in almost every ward at one time or another. I did prelude at a madureira stake conference (just the hymns that i had memorized :) and i played for the primary in petropolis for a few weeks when they were getting ready for their primary presentation.

ALYCE- hey, keep your chin up. Remember the stake dances? : “work [stinks], i know” (all the small things) man, those were the days. They would turn down the volume for that song and every one would yell it anyway. [sigh...] i guess now you know...

It is really good that YOU didn’t get fired. I guess it is that more obvious why is is so important to always be 100% honest. Integrity could cost a lot more than a job if lost. Maybe you could just suck up to the new boss(es) and maybe share the gospel with them. That is a GREAT idea.

DAD- I spell badly bc i almost never use inglês. I spend all day thinking, writing and speaking another language- that is my excuse. PLUS, these dumb old computadors only have spell check in portuguese. the only funny thing that happened this week was that we taught a man from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I guess i have learned a lot on the mission bc i dont get angry anymore when people say dumb stuff and want to fight with us. This guy was REALLY annoying. Anyway, when i saw that he wasn’t going to let us talk or explain, i calmly told him that we would have to end the lesson. It took a while but finally i got control over the lesson and i said, “well let’s say a closing prayer.” the man got up and was leaving the room, when my dear comp, the greenie that he is, asked the man if he wanted to stay and he said he would IF he could say the prayer. We let him. He said a ridiculous prayer, to which no one was inclined to say amen. I think that was his plan. I opened my eyes and my companion was visibly ticked. The man asked why he didn’t say amen, and my comp gave him a really intense smile. I almost laughed. My comp is a REALLY calm and caring person. But he was NOT happy, and it was pretty funny to see how one annoying man really ruffled his feathers. We got out of there and i calmed him down. I told him some funny stories about other encounters with j-dubs, and when we got home i showed him good scriptures he could use to defend the docrines of the church if he wanted. He got kind of excited. I think it is funny bc i remember early on the mission getting mad when this kind of stuff happened. And now i kind of like being able to stay calm and be honest with the person and tell them that this is not the way that we teach and then invite them to church.

I got the package from gma and gpa! THANKS! My comp thinks that those cookies are the best in the world. The problem was that they open the box in “alfandeges” (forgot the word in english...) dang, i really can’t remember it....oh well, it got here and we are eating everything. The sisters thought that it was cute that i got a teddybear, and said the texture was really neat.

Well, wish i could write more, but there are other things that i also want to do today.

Love you guys,
elder helland

Monday, February 2, 2009

too bad cardinals

Letter 2-2-09
*Yep, I got behind AGAIN! :-) Below you will find the Adam's last three letters! :-)

this week was tuff. we baptized sandra, and that was really cool. i got a christmas card from camille and from the ward. i also got an AWESOME letter from a convert. it was the best i have EVER gotten. really cool. one of the poeple that i baptized in bento ribeiro. i got to write her back today.

MOM- hey i don’t when the deadline is for BYU, but elder rhodes said that he had to have it in by feb for byu idaho. pres sent his letter two weeks ago. help me! please to do it this week. Eek!

oh, and relax. everything is fine here. sorry the letter didn’t go thru. we baptized and are working our tails off.

alyce- sorry the email didn’t get thru last week. i love you still. keep up the good work. i hope you get last week’s this week bc i don’t think that i will write much...; good luck with school. maybe you can teach me how to dance some day....

DAD, hmm sorry about the big loss. no one in the zone believed me when i said the cardinals had gone to the super bowl. i guess we didn’t have enough faith. it is like that movie angels in the outfield. except the angels didn’t come to help out warner. hmmm. :) I’ll find out if i got the package this week.

this friday elder ellis of the presidency of the area is coming to see our mission. he is a seventy from the first quorum. i am really excited.

I’ve got to roll out. i hope to baptize another man this week called josenilson.
I’ll let you know next week.

elder helland

I believe I can fly…

Letter from 1-26-09 (we actually didn't get this letter until today!)

this week we are going to baptize this really cool lady called sandra. she is a 50 year old retired history teacher. she is full of tatoos, but loves the church and the BOM. she was going to be baptized this week, but due to a few things that i didn’t know how to resolve (menstruation?), it had to wait. when she told me i was like, ummm, why are you telling me. i guess the only real reason that she didn’t want was that she is also HIV+ and she has to take extra precautions with weird stuff like that. i just said- "ok. don’t say anymore bc i don’t wanna know" any way she will be baptized this week. :-)

we are teaching a few other people and families, but a lot of the people that go to church and want to be baptized can’t- bc they aren’t married. man, that really stinks sometimes. it is expensive to get married here- about $$450 big ones. (in reais)

my comp is cool. he is pretty quiet and i am not. i sometimes wonder if i bother him talking so much, but someone has got to fill the silence. next week i will send a picture of my district. i have sisters in my district. one is loud and crazy, and the other is silent. it is pulling teeth to get her to laugh sometimes. there are two other elders. one doesn’t have an ear. both are great. i am the only American in the district. i am in the same zone as elder labrum, from the ctm. he is the other DL. we see each other every week and it is great. we goof around together on pday.

MOM- fun story lady! i guess it has always been different here on the mission, bc when i had to talk to pres about a missionary, he usually helped me out and sent that missionary to the other side of the mission. other times president would say things like, "hey, you’re the zone leader... YOU solve it." then he would make me do a division with a missionary to bust his chops. NOT fun EVER. the worst was when we would have problems with bishops in the zone, president would make ME talk with them to figure stuff out. usually they weren’t interested in what i had to say, because i was just another missionary to them, and then i would have to do a conference call later with president and the stake president to figure stuff out. the truth is that i don’t think i am very good at "fixing" tricky situations. if i were part of the bomb squad- i would set off all of the bombs... but i guess that is one way to get rid of the bomb... :-) i like hearing your experiences bc i think about all the ways that the mission is preparing me to deal with stuff like this later. Interviews for example. the next time i will do worthiness interview like i do for baptismal candidates now, as if i am bishop. lots of neat experiences- one after the other!

ALYCE- sometimes when i read your emails i begin to think that you do more than ME in the week. ...hmm, nope, that is impossible. :) i don’t have any classes or boyfriends, but i get up and work everyday sunday to sunday. so...i think it is cool how you say "skated" all over the place. you must be pretty cool. sometimes i miss the skateboard. there are some radical hills in my area. BUT all the roads are cobblestone. i guess it wouldn’t be all that tell the truth, at first i really missed you in the ctm, but since then i don’t really ever have dreams with you in them [Alyce told him she had a week full of dreams where he was a character in them]. actually, i don’t have a lot of dreams. i guess i am so tired that i kind of black out for a few hours every night. when i do dream it is of baptism and new investigators.

DAD- i practically died laughing reading your e email this week. you should know that your emails have improved greatly over that last year and a [...] . at the beginning of the mission i used to laugh at your emails sometimes bc you would write like a two sentence sports update or would goof up the spelling of all the words. NOW, thanks to your new rap training from v-ice, you got some gnarly writing skills. not to mention some ridiculous stories. you have got to write a book with these dumb stories. i remember when alyce and i were little in the "old house", we were playing in the backyard throwing rocks in the air. we would throw that rocks in the air and then close our eyes. you won if your rock hit you on the head. alyce was still pretty gullible and she won A LOT that day. when she closed her eyes i would chuck a rock at her. i was great! she would even get excited bc she was winning. heheheheheh :) ahh... [sigh] but really, if you want an adrenaline rush, close your eyes and chuck a rock straight up. it is fun. maybe you can play it with mom...good luck with the super bowl situation. hope warner has got one last miracle in him
still no package from, but lots of prayers for gpa and gma. i haven’t given up hope, i could still get it here.

i love it here

fala com vocês semana que vem.
love elder helland

these are picures, camp grande means big field. it really is.
New Comp

jeepers mister...

Letter from 1-19-09

jeepers mister, you're real strong.
"jeepers mister??"
"i was going for cute and innocent." (hercules, disney )

hey this new internet house doesn’t have WORD. i hope that word pad has spell check or something... because i am terrible at spelling these days-- ESPECIALLY in English! (i was always bad a at Portuguese :) )

NEWS- i got transferred. i am now in a ward called vila nova. my companion is elder modena. This is his second transfer. i am now a district leader again. i am totally excited bc i got here and there are already a few people ready for baptism. with a little work, we should baptize someone this week! her name is sandra. she is 50 something and has a bunch of tatoos. she is really excited to get baptized, she just has to fix a few things in here life for that to happen. and we are gonna help here. another man is named josenilson, and he is stopping with the coffee still. he will be baptized just as soon as he quits.

today we had a zone activity. it is a little bit weird not being the zone leader anymore, but refreshing. it is like something new and exciting- ALL OVER AGAIN! anyway- elder labrum and elder evans are in the zone so we had a great time playing around together and remembering the good old days of the mtc.

MOM- yep- what could you send me?!?! i thought of two things that you could send me. the first is a rubiks cube. my comp is in love. here they are called magic cubes, and he is teaching me how to play with them. BUT, they don’t make them so well here in the big 'ole brasil. that would be cool if you could. (i would probably give it to him as a present... after i played with it first :) ) The other thing is ... anything. i just really like getting stuff. i am not talking about greed, bc i currently don’t get a whole lot. I’m talking about need. it s just plain fun to get anything. pictures, puzzles, goofy stuff, candy or food. it makes me and my companion happy. it makes my district happy. in my new house the washing machine is busted and the repair man always has an excuse for why he doesn’t show up. so, yep, that means that i am washing clothes again by hand. BLEH. The truth is that i am bad at it, and the clothes still stink when i finish. BLEH BLEH. bytheway, that was the 3rd comp that i "killed". but when missionaries get close to going home they talk about home a lot. and that kills me. bleh :)

ALYCE- HEY- n, o means NO dating. tell mom to leave boy scouting to the boy scouts! i am glad to hear that you are working your tail off. it is fun isn’t it!?!? there is a greenie in my district that gets home so tired that he starts sleeping when he sits down. his companion has to wake him to tell him to take a shower, and every night when i call them he is already dead in the bed.

DAD- way to go idaho!! your fanship really paid off this year! thanks to years of fearless faithfulness in the face of doubters YOU DID IT!!! here is a high five: (picture of a red whithered hand) i know. it is kind of like a mutant high five... maybe like this: (another hand - green!) either way, i am proud of you :)