Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood - YOSO - You Only Serve Once

Sister Wood had a hard time downloading pictures this week. This was the only one that she was able to send. She said these spiders are everywhere and they're huge. This particular one was 7 inches long. Courtnee is tough, Stetson would've moved out of this apartment entirely.


Everyone, I apologize that my letters are shorter haha! My bad! We had to email early this week because the big BRGY. elections are going on right now. Its a big deal, so we have to be in our apartments early and stuff.
This week basically all of the foreign missionaries had to come to Laoag to get finger printing done for our immigration/travelstuff. Which meant we got to reunite with EVERYONE! It was so great. Besides the fact that we were at the Stake Center for 4 hours, it was all good. It was just like socializing forEVER! :) It was awesome. We did that on Tuesday, so it was just the start of a great week!
Oh my heavens, so this week, something happened that is every missionaries dream. We were in the barbecue shop, and this young lady approached us and asked if we were Mormons, then asked if we could visit her. I mean OF COURSE we will! So that was the first thing. So the next day we visit her, and she was the most bubbly, happy, desiring and willing to listen person ever. Makes teaching even more fun I am telling you. Then towards the end before we even invite her she asks, "Can I come to your church?" Well DUH of course you can! So we give her a Book of Mormon and stuff and then we're planning with her that we would pick her up for church, and then she asks, "Can I just go by myself?" BY ALL MEANS, please do! hahaha. It was so awesome. God has blessed us with some amazing people. Her name is Rose. I will keep you updated on her.   
With her, we have 33 baptismal goal dates after this week. Almost all of them are for November too! The biggest issue is getting them to church. Man, it is hard. But we just have to have faith! We had5 investigators at church this week, so it was really good.
There is a family we are teaching in La Paz, and I absolutely adore them. They are the Patoc family. Nanay and tatay, and 3 kids. They are so receptive, and honestly, seeing them just brings me so much happiness. Sometimes as a misisonary, all some people need is to just feel loved. And when you can do that, there is no greater feeling! 
This week was stake conference, and it sure was good. The speakers did so good, and were very inspired. There literally no more room in the stake center. I had to stand outside to let all the members sit inside. But we found out at Stake conference that there are 29 missionaries in our stake! So many! They had us all stand up, and then all of the returned missionaries, and then all of the ones preparing to serve. Wow, it was cool. Just to see the Lord's army all standing there. Missionary work is amazing. It really is. Little miracles are happening every day. I hope that you all have an amazing week, and have a Happy Halloween! We will do what we can to celebrate haha. :) 
Kita kits. YOSO.
ay-aya ten ken
- Sister Wood

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - The Blessings of Hard Work and Faith

Happy Halloween from Elder Tanner

Hello!
 I thought I would send some stories that happened this week.

But first the language. Its time for a langauge story. My companion and I went to the grocery store to buy some stuff so we can make dinner...and get some munchies. While we were at the cash register I just told the guy that we (my comp and I) would pay togeather and we'll just split the price. He asked how the price was going to be split, so I told him. But Bilodeau and I were speaking English to each other at the same time. So I was switching back and forth between Swedish and English without a problem. Then the guy asked me "How long have you lived in Sweden?" And I said 4 months. His face was just like WHOA! I dont even know how to describe his facial expression. It cracked me up though. He complemented me on my Swedish and was blown away that I knew so much after 4 months. Its called Gift of Tounges, brother. Join our church and I'll teach you all about it. Haha. No but it was super cool. Its experiences like that that make me feel really good.

On Thursday we had District Meeting. I have always enjoyed District Meetings. It's such valuable time to talk with everyone in your district and just share success stories, give new ideas on finding investigators, and just anything that can help the district. This week at District Meeting I just felt (again!) so happy to have 4 missionaries in Halmstad. Millsap and I produced on average about 7 lessons a week. Bilodeau and I are up to about 10 and the sisters are also up to about 10. The goal in the mission is 20 per companionship per week, but thats a bit difficute here in Halmstad. The effectiveness has more than doubled, as it should. Its a big blessing, having 4 missionaires here. Also a big blessing to have hard working missionaries here (not to brag on myslef or anything;) ) For our game we made paper pumpkins to put up in our appartment for HALLOWEEN decorations!!!!!!!

Okay, this next story is... well.. interesting. It was a serious deal while it was happening, but then it just turned into a big joke. Do you remember a few weeks ago when I told you the Sisters were getting texts that were mildly treating? Saying to get out of Sweden and leave them in peace. Well, over the past few weeks they started getting more and more. So finally Bilbo and I called the ZL's and just told them about it. So the ZL's called the Sisters. The Sisters just said they could handle it and not to worry. Well, one day this week the number calls them. Apparently it was an old Swedish guy. He wanted to meet with the sisters. Well, the sisters called us and said they were going to meet with him, but they wanted us there too. Just in case, you know, things got bad. Because this guy was a little creepy. So after district meeting the Sisters call this guy and say they want to meet at the Library right now. He agrees and says he'll be there at 3. Bilbo and I walk into the Library and the sisters follow about 20 seconds behind (because we cant be seen together, obviously. Thats suspicious.). Bilbo goes to the computers that are by the entrance, and I sit casusaly on the chairs by the news papers. The sisters waited by the front door. And we just waited. I was really getting into this. This was like legit Detective stuff. I had my camera out and everything. But it was totaly desguised. No one had any idea. Well, we wait for like 10 minutes and he hasn't even shown up. So the sisters call him and ask where he is at. HAHA turns out he was in Stockholm the entire time and we're in Halmstad. HAHAHA. We are were all just laughing sooo hard. Definelty one for the journal.

Wedensday was the first day we were "open" at the church for people to come in and do family history, have a tour, or whatever. Well, this random guy just walks in and asked for a "mormon bible." We were shocked! So we gave him a Book of Mormon. He started to ask about Joseph Smith and the restoration. So we pullled up some chairs and started a lesson. We find out his name is Markus and that he has several mental and physical issues. He as aspurgers syndrom. He said he was sick and explained everything about him. I felt prompted to ask him for a blessing. He said he would "love" one. We explained how we have Gods power and authortiy here on earth and he had 0 problems with it. He knew we spoke the truth. So, Bilodeau and I gave him a blessing. It was interesting, but it was amazing and the spirit was most definelty there. After the blessing we just keep talking to him. He was very grateful for the blessing. Again, I felt another prompting to ask him to be baptized. Which, was strange, because I met this guy half an hour ago. I asked him "have you been baptized into any churches" and he told us he had. Then I asked if he would like to see our baptizmal font. He said he would. So we showed it to him. He started asking really random questions about baptism. So we explained how it was done. He said "Can I be baptized?" but the part that caught me off guard was "right now? can i be baptised RIGHT NOW?" Whoa.... how does one expect that? We explained to him that he has to keep commitments, come to church, and go through some lessons with us first. Then he can get baptized. He promised he'd be in Church that next sunday and promised he'd read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Now if this isn't amazing enough, when he first walked in he said he had been trying to work up the courage to come and talk to us at the church for over a month. And this is our FIRST day open. And to continue on that, the way he found out about our church is through an in-active member named Jeff Wilmart, who we visited a few months ago. We have in-actives doing missionary work. Pretty amazing, huh? Well, later that night we get a call from Markus. He calls and says he is at the Hospital in the Psychiatric ward (however thats spelled) and that he is there against his will. I asked if he would be in church on sunday and he said no because he can't leave the hospital for 3 weeks.  Oh bother. Well, on sunday afternoon we went and visited him. The psych ward was like a halloween haunted house in real life i felt like. I was a little bit scared. Patients were looking at us and I was a little uncomfortable. But we talked with him for about 20-30 minutes. He said he'd been reading the Book of Mormon. It was really hard though. We are going to take bishop with us next week to visit him. So its been interesting. But its been a big lesson for me and its even been a big blessing. Thats all I am really going to say on that, even though I told you next to nothing.

Now that I have actually taught some lessons with investigators not as a greenie, I can see how it actually is. I never said much with Millsap. But with Bilodeau we play off each other really nicely and I feel like we give good lessons. I know that I am here in Halmstad at this time for a reason and that I am with the companion that I am with. And I know the Lord has big plans for Halmstad and big plans for us. We just have to keep "work hard, have faith, and let the blessings come!" as I have seen it happen.

Love you and miss you all!
 Äldste Tanner

P.S. We have hurricane wind warnings today. It crazy outside! Pretty cool! Gotta love living on the coast! Dont worry grandma, everything is okay!! :)
This guy told Äldste Tanner that if he could get out of the handcuffs without help he would go to Church... he went to church the following Sunday.

 
 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - Work Hard, Have Faith, Let the Blessings Come!!



Elder Tanner

We mostly spent a lot of this week going by old investigators and in active members. We have found that all of the inactive members don't even believe in God anymore so they just want to write themselves out of the church. Its a wee bit frustrating. But in the end, there is nothing we can do but invite them to come back. We went out to Laholm one day and tracked down a few members. None of them where home so we thought we would just tract the apartment building. Every single door said no. Of course. Its Europe! Finally we knock on one of our last doors and this older guy answers. He moved here a few years ago and didn't really speak the language. He said "My wife is sleeping let me go get her (because she knew swedish better)" and we were like "no its okay!" but he did anyway. We stood on the doorstep for quite some time talking and finally they were like "Come in, lets talk" I was like ".....what....?...." That was the first time I have been invited in while tracting. Turns out, they are Muslim. We talked just a little bit about the restored gospel and gave her a Book of Mormon along with a Family History card. She gave us fika (for those of you who don't know, this is a swedish word for "coffee break" but usually just means "mid-day snack" nowadays.). So we spent about 30-40 minutes talking a bit and then we left. As we were leaving the apartment complex thing we could her yelling on the phone: (this was in swedish, of course) I JUST HAD MORMONS IN MY HOUSE AND THEY GAVE ME A BOOK...." I don't remember exactly. I thought it was funny. Even if nothing comes of it, I see it as success. We got invited into someones home and gave a lesson.
 
We almost lost our crazy asain friend Tony this week (not in death, just as an investigator). I was on splits with one of the ZL's, Elder Ouemette, and we decided to go to Tony. Well, one thing led to another and, well, Tony started freaking out. Tony wants to know everything that happens in our church BEFORE he is baptised. That includes everthing in the Temple. So he finally said, "I am not letting you in my house anymore. If you want to come into my house, you have to go through my secret cerimoney!" Haha... oh boy. So we left after a while and I was a little bit upset. Tony finally calls us later that night and said "I am sorry I got so mad. Tanner, you and Bilodeau can come back but your friend cant come back. I miss you guys though, do you want to come over tomorrow?" I was like "whoaa..." Whew! That was a close one. So we are back on good terms. We meet with him 3 times a week and just read the Book of Mormon and answer questions. Thats it.

 
This wednesday we also have a lesson with Samuel. I mentioned him briefly last week. He's 17 years old and is investigating churches at the moment. I am super exctied about this lesson. I think if we pitch it just right he'll be baptised before November transfer. (which by the way is coming up in 3 weeks again. can you believe the transfer is half over??) I feel really good about his guy, too. I hope there is something there.


So far, we haven't done any service while I have been with Bilodeau. So we decided last Saturday that we would go to the church and rake up all the leaves. There was ALOT of leaves. So, we did. We were trying to decide if we were going to invite the sisters to come also. Finally we did. And I am so happy we did too because with 4 of us it took 5 hours. It took FOREVER! But it was really good. I just figure, hey, all Christ did on the earth was serve. We have been spending everyday trying to find the Lords prepared, but they just don't seem to come that easily. So, service is always a good thing. I know Bishop was particually happy we did that. Plus some guy that lives by the church let us use his wheel barrow and we just dumped all the leaves in his garden . So it was good. I always feel really happy when we do service.


And the final thing I am going to write this lovely day is my email subject. "Word hard, Have faith, Let the Blessings Come!!" On Wednesday last week I was just flipping through my scriptres. I dont even know why. I came across this scripture in D&C 24:12 "And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and delcare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men." That was almost exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. All I have to do is go out and preach the gospel and I will receive strength! So I sent it over to the sisters and they responded with something like "that was exactly what we needed today." Kinda cool, right? So ever since then we started doing a Halmstad District Scripture of the Day (Originally called "The Christian and Kaleb Cozy Corner Scripture of the Day"... but that is a different story. haha) Then a few days later it was a scripture that went a litte bit like this "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye recieve no witness until the trail of your faith." and that is Ether 12: 6. Another one that hit it right on the head. So, we have our WORK HARD scripture and our HAVE FAITH scripture... Now Blessings? I am still waiting for a lot of blessings, or they are here and I just cant see all of the them yet. I do know that having 4 missionaries in Halmstad is a great blessing, so that has been my motto over the past week or so. "Work hard, have faith, let the blessings come!" I know that we will recieve blessings. I know we need to have faith and I know with hard work we will be successful no matter the outcome. I know I say this alot, but I LOVE this work and I LOVE this gospel!


Äldste Tanner  



Sister Courtnee Wood - What About Your Boyfriend?



Sister Wood loves the Filipino children


Hi everyone!
It has been an excellent week. A lot of good things happened. I hope all of your weeks were amazing as well! Earlier this week we saw first hand the power of members working with missionaries. During companion study Sister Rico and I were practicing teaching the lesson we were going to teach to a referral we got from our recent convert (Joey). Just the restoration lesson. As Sister Rico was teaching me she was prompted to ask a question we have never asked in  our lessons before. About who was standing above Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. So anyways, later that night, Joey was fellowshipping with us and we got to the first vision part, and afterwards, Joey immediately asked Jerick if he knew who was standing above Joseph SMith. Like out of nowhere. We never told him anything or did any prep with him before it. Jerick answered completely different than the right answer, so it was amazing, and Joey was inspired to ask him that and he had no idea. It was such a cool experience for all of us.
We had exchanges this week! i was so nervous... I went with Sister De La Cruz who didn't like speaking english. So she spoke tagalog the whole day. It was mahirap. It was a good day besides of course no one we planned for was there! But we got 12 new investigators! :) It was a really good learning experience for me. Especially since I am training in 2 weeks!
So, the best story of them all.... on Friday night, I had my camera in my pocket and as I was getting out of the tricy at our house, it fell out inside there., Of course I didn't notice. Before we went inside we asked him his name just to be friendly. Come  to find out he was a nephew of a guy in our bishopric. So we go inside.. about 20 minutes later I realize it is missing. I knew I had left it in one of the triceys. But I was just sick to my stomach. Ah so scared. Cause I had rode two different triceys that night so I didnt know which one it was. Basically, I knew I wasn't going to get it back. But I still had some faith in me. I prayed so hard, and so did all the other sisters! I woke up the next day and still no news on it. Everyone said to go repot to the police station, so we did, and the officer there basically said tough luck because we didn't have the tricey number. He told me to just pray that whoever found it has a conciense. So that wasn't much help. I still had some faith in me don't worry. While we were studying a member pulled up at our apartment. (he always does). And I was a bit ornery and said "he better not be here unless he has my camera!" haha anyways, i just went outside to see what they were doing, and his wife knew i had lost it and asked if i prayed. Of course i said YES! She walked back to her tricey, and I was about to turn and go inside and she walks around holding my camera. I stood there in shock. Seriously so happy. I couldn't believe it. Heavenly Father ANSWERS PRAYERS EVERYONE! No matter what it is. Gosh I am so grateful. I still don't have words for how I have my camera haha. Kind of speechless! The police told me "you are lucky." That's it. And it is because Heavenly Father loves His missionaries. More than we could ever imagine. I am so blessed. 
Last but not least, this week in relief society the teacher asked me what I have sacrificed to be here on a mission. So I begin telling everyone that giving up soccer for a year an a half was a huge sacrifice. As I am talking a lady speaks up loudly and says "WHAT ABOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND?" from across theroom. Everyone started laughing, and I had to explain that I am extremely single right now, and that I did not have to give up a boyfriend. Hahaha. Seriously! I was just like come on now. But of course it was funny. 
Anyways, it has been an excellent week! Our work in our area is progressing so much! 
Thanksfor all the love and support!
-Sister Wood 
Sister Wood and Sister Brewer

We didn't get our weekly cow picture but she did send us this gem - A RAT!!
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elder Zach Taylor - October 21, 2013

This week I had a lot of fun. On Tuesday, the new Americans had to go to Asunción to sign something that says we can stay in Paraguay for 6 more months. I don´t know if that means I´ll be here for a while longer or not, but I would assume so. I probably won´t be able to go into Argentina until the second year of my mission. I like being with the other new missionaries, but I don´t at the same time. They always want to talk English to each other and I just sit here like I'm not going to learn anything if I do that!..so I tried encouraging them to speak the mission language. Something else cool happened with the language. I live next door to our zone leaders as you probably know, and one of them wanted me to speak English to him so he could learn. I tried.. but things kept leaving in Spanish. I always wanted to get to a point where that happened, but I didn´t think it would be so soon! haha. I'm excited to learn even more. Saturday and Sunday were really fun. We are teaching a kid named Leonardo who only speaks Guaraní, so we asked one of the Deacons in the ward to accompany us so he could translate. We never got to teach Leonardo because he wasn´t home, but the Deacon (named Johnny) was so happy just being with us. He´s only 12 years old and he asked us Saturday if he could go again with us on Sunday. So two days this week we had him with us. It made me realize again what I had always looked forward to as a kid in the church. We sang songs about being a missionary all the time in primary and talked about it in Young Men's a lot, and now I'm here. It made me appreciate my calling here and feel even more comfortable. And I had a lot of fun with Johnny and my companion. The days went by really fast when we were with him.. I´m starting to just enjoy being here more, and that makes everything more bearable. When you have fun, life is a whole lot better. We decided to go and look for the people who told us they´d come to church, but none of them would come with us or they were sleeping. One of the families was going to come, but apparently when the member that takes them arrived at their house, they made up excuses of why they couldn´t come. It´s disappointing, because we had a talk with the mother this week and committed her to baptism. She told us she wanted to get baptized.. maybe she just needs a little extra push. 

Also, yesterday I realized how much I miss drinking milk. I had a liter left of milk, and I just decided to go all out and drink all of it. I'm trying to figure out a way that I can buy more without losing other things I need... but not that any of you needed to know that. Well, have a good week! 
Elder Taylor

Elder Brandon Wallis - October 21, 2013

Elder Brandon Wallis
 
Jackson's Baptism went really well (picture attached)! We could tell that his Dad hadn't done it in a really long time. We had to help him get the placement of his arms right, haha. It was really cool though. I got to be in the Confirmation circle! That was really special. Max came! He seemed to enjoy it. We're going to teach him about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We also had a couple other investigators come. Mallissa is a new investigator. We invited her to come see the Baptism the day before! She came and liked it. She's already read some of the BOM. We have another investigator, Marcella. She's a friend of the Bakers family. All we have to do is teach her the lessons and she's going to get Baptized. Then we have Sylvie Johnson, and her two daughters, Nina and Lilly. They are all going to get Baptized in November, most likely. Beau is doing ok. He got offended because someone took down his posters that were advertising his tool chests for sale in the Church. Ferman and Denice are also doing okay, but not as well as we would like. Denice would rather go to the Catholic Church. Ferman would rather go the LDS Church. He really likes the environment and people there. They'll come around!
 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Elder Kaden Barlow - October 20, 2013

Dominican Republic MTC at night
 
I was able to listen to general conference during Saturday and Sunday.  There were many talks about missionaries! It was awesome. This last weekend was very relaxing. We didn’t have to work so hard, and Sister Freestone made us cinnamon rolls and nachos. Another favorite thing this week was eating Papa John’s Pizza. What a surprise!
Yes my days are numbered! I only have 3 more days of AC and comfort!!
This week with the new missionaries they translated sacrament into English for them. It was cool to be able to understand when they couldn't. Also I was kinda mad because they never did that for us! Also on Sunday we watched the Testaments! It was so good! I’m pretty sure I have never seen so many 18-19 yr old boys crying in the same room but the spirit was so powerful!!
 
I went to the University and I want to share some experiences. There was a person and he was Evangelist, when my companion and I approached him, he saw us and said, “I don’t need your church!” and then ran far away from us. There was another person named Jefferson. When we started to talk with him, he told us about many problems with his family, so we taught him about the plan of salvation. Jefferson has had a Book of Mormon but hasn’t read it. It was awesome because he was very excited. I hope he accepts the gospel. This week we gave away 3 Books of Mormon and we were there for 1 hour. The people are very nice. Almost everyone will listen to our message, all except for the man I told you about earlier.
 
OH and don't even start on crazy driving!!! It’s so crazy here!! I was out on splits and almost got hit 4 times!! I’m pretty sure that’s normal here! Hahah.  Also in one District Prayer Hermana Hilbun accidently prayed for chastity instead of charity and that was super funny. Mixed up Castidad and Caridad. We got a good laugh out of that.
Ok for the campo [field] experience! It was really eye opening and I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it more but the missionaries I went with were kinda tigre, they weren't the most obedient. I hope I get a great comp in a few days. One story though, when they dropped us off they just pulled up to a random street in SD [Santo Domingo] and told us to get off and the missionary that got the instructions (which were in Spanish) of how to find the missionaries didn't know Spanish. The guy already left before we figured that out, so we did what they guy thought he said and ended up an hour later being lost in Santo Domingo having no idea where we were or how to speak the language. Eventually we found a funeral home and luckily one of us had a number by chance for the east mission home and they gave us the number for the AP’s who gave us the number for the missionaries we were trying to find and eventually we were found. It’s super, super poor. I was teaching in little shacks, wood post walls with a sheet of metal on top the size of my bedroom. I almost wanted to cry, but the people are usually very happy! Except for the drunk we sorta got in a fight with. But we booked it out of there fast. Anyway be grateful siblings for the comfort of America!!
Love you guys!!
Kaden

Elder Christian Tanner - Tjena alla mina familj och vänner!!



With his new companion and one of the sisters


Hejsan!
 
I seriously cant believe how fast the last two weeks have gone by. If this keeps up my mission will be over tomorrow. I don't even know where to begin, as usual.
 
Last week we went up into the Svenska Kyrkan tower and the young man that took us up was searching different churches. Well, eariler this week my companion and I were on the bus going to Vallås to get in contact with some less-active and non-active members. On one of the stops our friend that took us up to the tower got on the bus. We started talking to him obviously and eventually got his name and number. His name is Samuel. Samuel ended up getting off on the exact same stop as us. He was going home from school. I pulled out my map to try and find where these people live but Samuel was just like "Oh, I know where they live. Let me show you." So he went with us and showed us where they live. It was pretty awesome, actually. Well, as we started trying to visit these members he went home. Every single person we visited that day and everyday is not interested in coming back to church. They wont even let us back in their house. There really is nothing we can do with these people. They just get mad when we come to their home.
 
So, we go work on finding investigators. On Saturday my companion and I knocked on over 70 doors, contacted everybody on the street we could and guess what we got? Nothing. Not a single number, not a single address, not a single "yes I am interested." It was quite disapointing. One lady did say she had a lot of work to do, so we offered our help. She seemed to be slightly more interested. She said we could come back but refused to give us her number. She said "You'll just have to come by and hope I am home." So we might stop by a time or two since that was the most postitive we got! That was just on saturday, though.
 
Earlier this week we went out street conacting in Vallås. We talked to one young woman from the middle east somewhere. When we asked her if she would like to know more about the meaning of life her face was like "uhhh... duuuhh I do!" It was pretty funny. But, she didnt give us her number because she wasnt sure her "mom would be okay with it." Which is alright, she gave us her email address instead. So we emailed her and hopefully she will respond back.
 
Last week I also mentioned we met a guy who owns a candy shop by our house, also from the middle east. We went and talked to him for a while this week. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would start reading it. Yippy! We will keep going back.
 
Thursday was ZONE CONFERENCE!! It was pretty fun, too. On the way back was CHAOS! Firstly, Bilodeau and I forgot to purchase bus tickets back to the train station from the church. So we had to walk (and run the last ½ to 1 mile) the entire way back. We got back RIGHT as the train was leaving. So we just made it on the train, only to find out we were on the WRONG TRAIN that was going to Copenhagen! We pushed the open door button a thousand times and a worker had to run up to the conductor and stop the train for us to get off. So we jump off and we see the sisters running toward us thinking that was the train they had to get on. When we jumped off they were like "what is going on?" well, right as they say that, a voice comes on over the intercom in the trainstation saying that there was a train crash between Malmö and Lund. So it was causing all sorts of chaos everywhere. No one had any idea what train to get on. A little while later we ended up meeting 2 other Elders and 2 other Sisters that were going to Kristianstad, but also had their train delayed. So we wait for like an hour and finally we find out that they are sending busses and we have to take the bus home. As we were walking to the busses, we ran into the AP's. They, like us, were delayed. They had to get to Göteborg the following day for the next Zone Conference. To make a LONG story short, we ended up walking back and forth between bus station and train station. We ended up staying in Malmö for over 4 hours. President called the APs after  a while and was like "uhhh where are you??" So when he found out that 11 of us were still stuck in Malmö he was going to send a private bus to come pick us up! But we ended up being able to get on a train just a few minutes later. We didnt get home until almost midnight. It was a LONG day, but it certainly was a great adventure!
And guess what! You could probably say I'm pretty much fluent. Well, kinda. I cant say EVERYTHING I want to say, but most things. If I cant say something the way I want to say it, I can find a way around and give about the same meaning. The other day I was giving a guy a Book of Mormon but we were speaking English. In my head I must have been thinking in Swedish because I said "Vi har en bok för du..." then I realized I was speaking Swedish so I shook my head and said it in Enlgish. It was WEIRD!!!! BUT IT WAS AWESOME!!
 
My tonsel is still swollen. The anti-biotics didnt work. I should probably go to the doctor. BUT IM SO BUSY I DONT HAVE TIME! Oh well, if it gets in the way then I will go.

Thats all I really have time for right now. I have negleted sending my friends emails the past few weeks because I wrote so much to you! I just want to leave with a quick testimony of the BEST quote given in conference last week. "DOUBT YOUR DOUBTS BEFORE YOU DOUBT YOUR FAITH!" This Gospel is the true gospel. Christ and our Heavenly Father are perfect beings and therefore this the perfect church! Whatever you have doubts on, it is the doubt of man and man is not perfect! In a more simple way of saying it "If you think this church is wrong, you are wrong!" I have gained so much knowledge and love while on my mission. I know that this is the true chruch, that this gospel is for everyone, and that families are FOREVER! I love this gospel and I love this work!

 
Ha det så bra!!!

Äldste Tanner

Awesone Fall day

Tylösand beach- nicest beach in Sweden
 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood - Simply Amazing!!

Mga bata and Sister Wood - The little boy on the right wanted Courtnee's Garorade bottle so bad! so of course she gave it to him :)

Once again, time is flying by so fast. I am already on my last week of the 12-week program! Yay! :) Then I will get to be a "normal" missionary for a few weeks. It will be so sweet. So us people here in the Philippines just barely got to watch General Conference, and I will just add that it was absolutely amazing. I literally could go on and on about every talk, but it would take too much time! All I know is that we are so lucky that God loves us enough to call Prophets and apostles. I know they are called by God, and everything they said is what Heavenly Father wants us to hear. And you best bet I wrote exactly what President Monson wrote in his journal that night! :) Because it is true.
Yesterday we were out proselyting and had a list of people we could visit. There was a young girl we saw a couple of days ago that I knew I wanted to visit. She is half canadian half filipino and speaks all english. When we passed her she was just outside playing the guitar and wearing nike running shorts. She also plays basketball. She is adorable. And my type of girl haha. My companion wanted to bypass them yesterday and go to someone else and I told her no, we are right here lets just go to them now. So we went there and tao po ed their house and no one was coming. We waited like 5 minutes. And were about to leave. Then out pokes the girls head out of her door. She is SO SHY. We walked over and just let ourselves in because they all ran and hid! Haha we told them to come out and started talking to them. We began sharing our message with Bianca (13) and Phoebe (26). Phoebe began to cry during it. I guess she had been praying that she could find the missionaries again. (i guess they taught her a long time ago). I am so grateful that I had the prompting to go and teach these girls. Its an amazing thing being an instrument in the Lord's hands. These two girls now have a baptismal date for November 23rd. :) 
This week we got 7 new baptismal dates and 19 new investigators! The Lord is helping us so much in our works. We have been setting high goals and have been able to achieve them with his help! He keeps sending us people that are prepared and want to hear the message of the Gospel. Without Him all of this would be impossible. 
So our new AP is Elder Tate who went to Northridge High School. I never knew who he was, but come to find out we have a lot of mutual friends! Such a small world. 
Haha the people here don't get the concept that it is really hot. (i just assume they don't.) I wear my hair up all the time, and they have never stopped asking me why I put my hair up. They straight up tell me I don't look as good with it up. Hahaha I just laugh at them and tell them sorry, it is too hot here in the Philippines. My companion actually chopped her hair last week. Don't worry, not gonna happen with me!
Well, the adventures and amazing experience continue to happen here. I love it here. I really do. I am so blessed
Love,
Sister Wood
Sister Wood and Sister Rico

Sister Wood fell in love with this little boy and his toy car

"this is my all time favorite picture. something unique amongst a field of all the same thing. kind of like us as people. If that makes sense?" - Sister Wood

Rice drying in the streets
 
 
Sister Wood's Meal of Champions - PB&J and Gatorade
 
 
 
 
 

Elder Zach Taylor - October 14, 2013

This week has been pretty great. Last Monday night we went and taught a family whose father is inactive and his wife isn´t a member. They have a 3 year old daughter too. His name is Sergio and hers is Roxana, and we´ve actually been visiting them since my first week here. But on Monday, we taught them the law of chastity since they´re not married. I thought they were going to get upset, but Sergio told us that he knows it´s wrong, and they should get married. They both actually have a big desire to get married. They just can´t because they´re so poor. Their house is just a tiny room with a dirt floor.. it´s pretty sad. They also told us that they know they need to go to church, and that they would go this Sunday. They were really committed to it, and I was sure they would come...but they didn´t. I don´t know why, but it was disappointing. Sergio doesn´t really have a job, he just does what he can each day to earn money. After Monday and their decision do to that, he found a lot of work that week and he was able to find more money than usual. Roxana told us that she can always feel something different when we come share something with them, and she loves it when we come to their house. After all that, I don´t know why they didn´t come to church! Maybe an emergency came up.. I don´t know yet, but we´re going to talk with them again soon. We also did splits on Wednesday, and I was with a Chilean.. he was a little crazy.. but luckily it was only for 3 hours. Two weeks ago, we met with a family that we had taught (named the Castillo family) but had given up on because they were never home when they told us they would be. I don´t even remember why we went back, but we did. We found a bunch of their extended family there, and we taught them a message. One little boy had a hurt foot and we  gave him a blessing that he would get better. The little boy was crying and scared, but we did it with the help of his mom. Last week, we visited them again, and the mom told us that his foot was already better. The little boy was happy to see us again, and they all expressed appreciation for what we had done. The grandfather of the boy promised us he would visit our church on Sunday. It was really quite amazing. The sad part is that he didn´t come to church. We actually had 7 different people promise us they´d come, and none of them did. It´s sad to me because I know what they´re missing. I hope we can do better this week. This last week was full of great things, just a little disappointing on Sunday. But anyway, that´s pretty much it! Hasta luego,

Elder Taylor

Elder Xavier Stilson - McDonalds and A Package!

 
Elder Stilson - Mcdonalds Run
 
Bom dia! Well, this week went by  really fast again. Most of this week was spent getting addresses, then going to  the church to call and set up appointments, then being told that they either don’t  have time or to call back later (AKA call back later so I know your phone  number and know NOT to answer your call... EVER!)  Just another way of having a door slammed in  your face. Haha but it’s whatever.

  Tuesday we were given a list of people whose kids hadn’t been baptized so we  went and visited some of them. The first person on our list who lives in our  area was Adelina and her son Felipe. We went over and talked to Adelina and it  turns out that her son was baptized but that they are inactive right now. We  taught her and met with her father who has been really sick. Later in the week  they took him to the hospital and sadly found out he is very sick.  

Wednesday was a frustrating day. It’s  hard when you work with and teach your investigators and get them to the point  where they are ready to set a baptism date and then you have help from others.  Even though their intentions are good, because they are not used to our area,  they seem to do more damage than good.   Hopefully through the Spirit these investigators will know that even  though some people do things differently and seem to be pushy, the Church is  still true. Even though we have taken several steps back, we will continue to  teach and love these investigators and hopefully get them back on track and  lessons can continue again in a few weeks.

Thursday we helped our Fatíma Ma Mãe  with giving her husband a blessing. He isn’t doing very well but hopefully he  will be ok!! After the blessing she says "I am hungry, let’s go to  McDonalds".......... WHAT?!?! YAY!!!!! I haven’t been to McDonalds in  months! IT WAS AWESOME! She is amazing! Wow, McDonalds is expensive here, it is  ridiculous!!! It was worth it though.  She  is amazing!

Friday I got my SUNSHINE PACKAGE!!!  First off thanks to Lisa Letts, Denise Webb, Kris Harrop, the other moms and  the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD, my MOM, for such an amazing box!!! Everything that  was in it made my week!!

Well back to Adelina, on Sunday she  came to church with her non-member husband! She is going to be active again!!!  We were able to teach her husband and we really think that we will get him baptized  in the next couple of weeks!

Well thanks everyone for all of the  emails! This week I had so many and it was amazing!!I love knowing how everyone  is doing! I love you all and hope to hear from you again soon!!!!!

LOVE YOUR GIANT ELDER,

ELDER STILSON
 
Umbrella Hat

William, Adelina, Angela & Mae
 
Vitoria
 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - Best Week Ever!!!




Elder Christian Tanner - Looks Cold
 
AHHH! I have soo much to write!!!
Transfer Weekl!!!! Elder Millsap took the ENTIRE day to pack his few belongings in to his bag. So I just did a lot of language study and reading today. Elder BILODEAU didn't get into Halmstad until 8:55pm and Millsap didnt leave unil 9:02pm. So you could say it was a loooong day.  In the morning me an my new companion got up and I actually had companionship study and companionship planning!! It was AMAZING! I knew exactly what we were going to do that day. We went to the bus stop and bought the Sisters their bus cards. Then we took the bus out to the church where we had district meeting with the new district. The District is Bilodeau, Myself, Sister Christensen, and her new greenie Sister Hosenfeld. It was super awesome. We got on the computers I we divided up the area and I just gave everybody all the information they need to know about Halmstad. It was kinda fun being the only person who knows what Halmstad is like! Haha. We had a great lesson on setting goals. We all set really reasonable achievable goals for this week. After some "get to know you" games I showed them town. Took them to Medyas and got the best Kebab in town. After we ate there Bilodeau and I ran to the apartment to grab the ward list. Well, the sisters waited outside. As we were walking into the apartment, they started contacting. We were not even inside for 5 MINUTES. We come back out and they have 2 numbers already. Uhhh. what?? We asked Sister Christensen what she does to contact. She told us: "don't run up to someone and say 'I am a missionary from the church of jesus christ of latter day saints...' it scares them away the second they hear 'missionary' and 'church.' So what you do is, is say 'We come from the USA and we come to Sweden to talk to people on the life of meaning. What do you think the meaning of life is?' then they are already drawn into the conversation and want to answer your question." Genius! Well, after that we went to the sports hall where we play Innebandy every friday. I showed them where it was so they could come and invite investigators to Innebandy. We then walked over to the library and got their library cards for emailing. After which we just sat down on a few of the tables and looked over the ward member list and I just told them everything they need to know. While we were doing this, one of the guys that the SIsters contacted on the street about 1 hour earlier texted them and said "when can we meet and talk about life's meaning?" hahaha! They ended up meeting half an hour later... and their contact brought a friend with him! My goodness. Well, while the sisters taught their lesson, we decided we would go contacting and try out Sister Christensens way. And it WORKED! Not everybody wants to hear what we have to say, but we still get into really good conversations with some really fine people. We ended up talking to like 6 different people for like at least 10 minutes each. And as we were walking home we contacted this older woman. She accepted our book of mormon and gave us her number. A potential investigator! I absolutely LOVED contacting. I think it is fun! It forces me to use my Swedish and I get to meet a bunch of people. Not to mention it strengthens my testimony on the Atonement. Meeting soo many people and thinking "wow. that is amazing that Jesus really does love every one of us.. .and thats a lot of people to love." It really is great. So that Sisters called us and told us about their lesson. The guy who they contacted was walking home from work. He normally walks home a different way, but decided to go a different way. He didn't know why, but decided he should. Then the sisters contacted him! Awesome, huh? I was soo happy today that i was just dancing all day. I think everyone thought I was crazy...and I am... but I was so happy!

 
The next day we had to take a bus to meet Karin Bergman. But we had an hour until the bus so went our separate ways and went contacting. After that hour, we had given away another Book of Mormon. The sisters came back with a number. Of course. (for the record, I like to make a competion out of it. so when they come back with something more than us, it makes me even more competative.) We went to Karins house and they met her. She is an important member to meet because she always wants to help. She always offers her place as a place to teach investiagors. She is always willing to go on teaches and just anything we need. So I figured it best to go to her. After we visited her, we went to Innebany! We had 0 members there! Except 1 (patrick källberg) but he's inactive. So everyone there was an investigator or potential investigator. The sisters didn't play this week. But while the rest of us were playing, they started teaching Caroline (patricks sister). She is an atheist (as with everyone else in sweden). Sister Hosenfeld didn't believe in God until just a few years ago. So she could relate and apparently they gave a great lesson while the rest of us were playing. It was so awesome to see how many investigators we have, though. There is sooooo much potential. After we finished playing Caroline took the sisters home. She wouldn't let them take the bus (and its a 15 minute drive to Tylösand too...). Apparently there have been some guys who, at night, try to catch young girls and take them home. They have been trying to find out who is doing it, but they have no idea. So, thats why she drove them home. Super nice of her. Tomorrow is conference so we had to go to the store and get "CONFERENCE GODIS!" haha. We walked into a different store than usual because they were cheaper prices. And the guy we met just spoke a bunch of english to us. We talked for a bit. He comes from the middle east somewhere. He has a wife and kid and tries to make ends meet by keeping his little store open. He just talked and talked. It was awesome. He does have a different religion, muslum, i think. But he was totally just open to anything we say. He didnt want to fight anything (unlike the other guy). We were like "do you want to come to church with us sometime?" and he was like "yeah! that would be great!" and before we left he said "I am in here all the time. You can come in and talk when ever you want as long as i dont have customers." We were like YES! So we are definetly going to go back there and talk with him.
 Since we are suppose to do weekly planning on friday nights but we have Innebandy, we do weekly planning on saturday. Weekly planning takes like 3 hours to do. While we weekly planned, we made Chili and Cinnamon Rolls (just perfect too, because that what we do at home on conference!). It was SOO good! We spent hours going over what we want to do and making calls and cooking. It was really fun actually. Conference started at 6. About 4:00 we went out and decided to place a Book of Mormon. We made a goal that everyday we are going to give away one Mormons Bok. Well, we go out contacting and we aren't getting much. So we decided to go to the Svenska Kyrkan (Swedish Church). Don't ask me why! But we did! We walk in, and this kid that is 17 years old walks up to us. He asked if we wanted to go into the tower. So we were like "sure." Turns out, this kid is investigating different religions right now. He said he read the Book of Mormon and agrees with much of it. Its kinda funny. They part he does agree with is that Christ also came to the Americas. Perfect! But what he does not agree with, is that fact that Lehi and his sons and such could sail across the ocean. He doesn't think that the technology existed back then to do such a thing. We asked him if he had ever been to one of our church meetings. He said he had, but had been wanting to go to one again. So we invited him to come to our church any sunday at 10:00. We have him a passalong card and said he can call anytime we want. I would like to go talk with him again and get his number. But it was awesome! We have 3 potential investigators in 3 days. Thats what I like about Bilodeau. He is pretty laid back but will ACTUALLY WANT to go out and do something. So, its been great. We went up to the church and enjoyed an amazing Saturday morning conference session. I really enjoyed it. And Tony, our investigator, came! It was pretty neat. 
Sunday! Conference, Conference, Conference! Three session today! Whewwhooo! Love conference!! :) First we went to Priesthood session in the morning. It was really really good! I loved it! I had the thought, though. I know if you just keep inviting Greg back to family activites, and church activities, he will find the truth again. Just invite him to EVERTHING. He will find it. He just needs to know that he is loved by many. And I believe he will open up and find te truthfulness again. Dont forget our brother, son and uncle. Anyway, that ended at 1:00. Sister Lindahl brough lunch for us missionaries and such. Saturday afternoon session started at 2:00. Remember the two guys the sisters taught a few days ago? They came to this session of conference. It was pretty neat. I don't think they thought too much of it, but they said they enjoyed it. After another wonderful session, we went out contacting for 2 hours. Bilodeau and I talked to everyone we could and got NOTHING! The sisters came out half an hour after us, and got back at the same time as us, and got 2 numbers and 2 addresses. UGH! It's awesome and all, but they kicked our BUTTS!!!!!! Lets he honest here, the sisters are REALLY being blessed, or Sister Christensen knows what she's doing 200% of the time... or both. With these Sisters here, we are going to tear it up here. I really really feel it. By the way, was I right or was I right when I said Halmstad needs Sisters? Geez. Haha. We wached another session of conference and JEFFERY R. HOLLAND DESTROYS AGAIN! Haha. He gives such amazing talks. I love hearing him. But really every single talk was just amazing. We went back to the bus stop and waited for the bus. Then we went back to the appartment and went to bed! Long week but like I say BEST WEEK EVER!

Autumn in Sweden
 
Cool Looking Spider Web

 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sister Rebecca Packer - "Most Powerful General Conference Yet" - Pres. Monson

Dear Family,

Hasn't this week just been so amazing! I feel so blessed to have what we have in this gospel. Hearing the testimonies of the Prophet and his apostles has given me a spiritual boost like nothing else! I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's Talk. I loved how he talked about why we are all members of this church and what keeps us being members, but also things that sometimes, sadly, push some members away. It helped me a lot to hear why people leave the church, because now I can better help those members come back. Re-activation work is just as important as other missionary work. These less-actives are people who have already covenanted with the lord and are not keeping their covenants. They need our help and love! I am sure you have all read President Monsons message in this months ensign about "coming to the rescue"? If you haven't I encourage you all to do so. I just read it this morning and it talks about the important call we, as strong members of this church, have to "rescue" those who have been lost or who have fallen away. Love your less active friends!! It is our responsibility! My favorite quote from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk was "Doubt your doubts, before you doubt you faith!"  I want to make a promise
to
all of you, my wonderful family. If you will doubt your doubts and have faith that you will be guided in your words and actions in helping re-activate members of this church, and also in sharing this gospel with those who are not members, you WILL see miracles happen! I Promise you that. You just have to act first! The miracles will happen only after "the trial of your faith". Have faith!! :) ......ok...I am done being all preachy. :) haha but seriously. That promise is legit! :)
 
This week has been pretty good. We haven't had a lot of teaching opportunities, unfortunately. But we have been trying to talk to as many people as possible! People just haven't been wanting to listen and I have started to just be sad for them. Sister Taylor and I were talking to a man yesterday. We were all pumped on the spirit because we had just gotten out of listening to conference. So we started talking to him and I brought up that we had a modern day prophet and I went on to share how that has blessed my life, and given me so much strength and that It is proof that God loves all his children. Well, this man, Greg, was almost offended that we would even think that we still needed a prophet, because we can govern ourselves and we don't need a prophet to get revelation for us cause we can speak to got directly on our own. Well, We can pray to god and receive our own revelation and we can govern ourselves, BUT how much easier is it to follow Christ when we have a prophet of God who has Direct Communication with God and Jesus Christ. So much easier! We know what God expects of his children in this day and age. I don't even know how lost I would be in my life if I didn't have the guidance and council of a prophet in my life. I was so sad for Greg, and I prayed last night for him that he would be able to understand that God has called a prophet and how that could bless him in his life.
 
My dear family, I only have 5 minutes left, but I just want you all to know how much I love this gospel. It has made me the women that I am today, and it has blessed me with all of you. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have, that I know that I have been sealed through the power of
G
od, through the priesthood, to all of you. I know that I will be with you all in the next life and I am so thankful for the temples and the blessings that we receive there. Heavenly Father loves you all so much, just as I do.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!!

Love, Sister Packer

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sister Courtnee Wood - Chicken Head Soup and BIG Spiders! Halloween? No, Just Life In Laoag

Apparently Sister Wood got the Halloween package!

Hi everyone!
Another week has come and gone, and it sure was a great one. This week I had the opportunity to cook for our apartment. Soooo.... you know of course I do the usual breakfast for lunch on saturday which consisted of banana pancakes and bacon! That is what I decided I wanted to make haha. The only thing that was different was that the bacon here isn't like at home where it has flavor. It tasted like it had come right out of the pig. Haha oh well, it was worth the try!
The other night I saw a massive spider on the road, so I found the heaviest thing close to me (a cement brick) and dropped it on it. Come to find out it was pregnant and right as I smashed it, tons of baby spiders came running everywhere. So sooner than later, there will be many giant spiders like the one I squashed. 
 

This spider would've been a deal breaker for my arachnophobic son Stetson, but not for Sister Wood!
 
This week we happened to come across a huge group of women under a waiting shade. Like I am talking 30+ ladies. So I told my companion, lets teach them! Haha of course after I said that she made me lead and do the whole thing. All of the ladies were so attentive, and it was such a good experience for me. It was scary teaching a group that big with such broken Tagalog, but I know the Lord helped me big time.
There is a 75 year old Nanay that came to church this week. Her name is Nanay Batugal (grandma of joey who just got baptized), and she has been being taught for 5 months. Yesterday was the first time she has come to church. It was truly a miracle. We went to her house in the morning and took breakfast so that there was literally no excuse for her not to go! As she got out of the tricey and hobbled into the church I couldn't have been more happy. 
This week we had 19 new investigators!!!!!!! It was such a blessing! We got 21 a few weeks ago, but the Lord is putting so many people in our paths! We just need to work to get all of these people baptized. Right now we have 10 people with baptismal goal dates. There is a whole family amongst that number, and we are doing everything we can to prepare them to be baptized. 
We are all so excited to watch General conference this weekend. It is such an amazing time to bring all of our investigators and for all them to hear the words of our living prophet! I know for a fact that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. He leads and guides our church. We are so lucky that Heavenly Father loves us enough to call prophets! I hope you all have an amazing week.
Love,
Sister Wood
P.S. People here think that Clara looks like an "xerox copy" of me (meaning twins). Is that true?!? haha
 
Chicken Head Soup............Before
Thank heavens they have been de-beaked

Chicken Head Soup...............After
 
Showing me how long her hair is getting. She just might be overdosing on vitamins

Sunday night Sister Session - Sister Wood loves these girls
 
The weekly random cow picture - Sister Wood is so irritated that they treat the cows like this. How would you like a rope through your nostrils?
 
 

Elder Xavier Stilson - Conference Weekend!

Elder Stilson - So grateful for new glasses

What an awesome, weird, testimony growing week!! To start out, last P-day we played volleyball with a bunch of elders and sisters! It was awesome and I am trying my best to start a new trend here in Brazil...wearing LAVA LAVA’s!!!! Haha yep I played volleyball in my lava lava last week and it was awesome! I had the thought before we started playing to throw some shorts on underneath, JUST IN CASE. Well I didn’t! What could possibly go wrong?! Well NOTE TO SELF when you are playing volleyball in a lava lava make sure you wear shorts and Don’t try to kick the ball!!!

Elder Bybee: "OPA"!!!

Sister Santos:"OPA!!!"

Sister ARAÚJO (Our Mission president’s wife):"OPA!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yep DONT KICK!! Haha
The Notorious Lava Lava
 

Tuesday was the first day since I have been in Brazil that I woke and actually thought "We can do this". We tried to get into 3 people’s homes on the main island of Vitória but none of them were home. I was getting a little frustrated but I decided I needed to change my attitude! We started talking to a bunch of people on the street and Elder Torres asked if I wanted to play a game that should help with your Portuguese?  The game was to take turns coming up with one random word in Portuguese that we had to use while we were talking to people that we had just met on the street. I came up with a really good word for Elder Torres, it was Sorveite which means Ice Cream!:) Haha that wasn’t nice but he did an awesome job with it! It was a lot of fun meeting and talking to new people and trying to learn new ways to use the Portuguese language. That day flew by!

Wednesday we knocked on doors. Now this is not something that we usually do here in Brazil and get success from but it turned out it was actually pretty good and we have three new potential investigators. We are excited to see what happens!

Thursday was a very strange day! We were talking to people on the street again but we as we walked by this one guy we decided to continue on because he just seemed a little creepy. Now USUALLY we don’t do that but it was definitely weird. As we passed he started yelling and stopped us.  He wanted to talk to us about the Book of Mormon and some things that other missionaries had taught him. He started telling us about some things that he had done in the past. NOW IT GETS WEIRD! Here in Brazil a lot of people believe in voodoo. He then tells us that he can never be loved by Christ again because of his past. I took the restoration pamphlet that we had given him and told him to look at the Lamb that Christ is holding and HE COULDN’T. He then took us over to the spot where he was sitting and showed us all of his Voodoo stuff! I HAVE NEVER FELT SO WEIRD OR LOST; ESPECIALLY FROM THE SPIRIT IN MY LIFE!!! I grabbed his shoulder and told him that anything that he had done in his past could be forgiven! When I touched his shoulder I had a very sharp pain on my wrist... I didn’t think anything of it at the time. We decided to pray for this man so we started praying and just as Elder Torres said "Please bless this man." SOMETHING pushed us both back. Elder Torres finished the prayer and just as he said amen and the man almost fell over. My companion grabbed me by the arm and we took off! We tried to talk to each other both in English and Portuguese but we could not understand each other. We had to stop and kneel on the corner of the street and pray. I started my prayer in English but somewhere in the middle changed to Portuguese. It was the biggest relief that I have EVER gotten in my life. I want all of you to know that Satan is VERY REAL and VERY POWERFUL! But through the power of the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ we have to power to ALWAYS over come him!!! Even though this was a very scary ordeal, it taught me a very valuable lesson!

I was able to listen and watch General Conference in English this week and was so grateful for that!! I loved all of the talks that were given but there was one that really stood out to me. I can’t remember who gave the talk but he started out by talking about the Jaredites coming across to the Promise Land. In my personal study I studied this and it is true. Why didn’t God just take away their hardships and give them a nice smooth sailing to the Promise Land? By this talk we learn that is was for the best of the Jaridites! When they were in need of something like air they HAD to pray. This was the ONLY way that God was able to keep fear in their hearts so that they would always remember Him. Now this morning I was reading on in Ether 6 after the Lord has touched the stones. In verse 3 is says “And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness". To me I think of this as the Holy Ghost or in everyone’s case the Light of Christ. The chapter continues as the Lord explains that He WILL send forth hard winds. I always thought that it was so they could get there and it is but it was to keep them strong in their faith as well! I was reading in 1 Peter the other day as well and I love chapter 1 vs 7 where he talks about the trial of our faith. These winds WILL come, these hard times are here and we don’t want them BUT the lord has given us a way that we can see the light always! The brother of Jared thought he was tempting God by bringing the stones to him to touch and maybe he was. But the Lord gave them so that we would have a way to continue on. Sometimes we are scared to pray for things because we don’t know if they are going to come true or we are scared that they will come true. Through our faith however all things are possible!
Is there anything better? Guava and General Conference

I love you all and hope that everyone is doing good! With what I have been given today I honestly hope that I can go through this probationary life together with you all and with Christ! I love you all and miss you but just as Russell M. Nelson said "We need to love our Heavenly Father more than we love our mortal parents." I am here because I love Him and I want others to find that love! A mission is hard but I know that I can make it through. God had given me you all as MY Light!

EU AMO VOCÊS!!!

Amor,

Elder Stilson

Elder Zach Taylor - October 7

This week has been good! My favorite part was General Conference. I love how everyone has to go to the church to watch it, it makes you feel more united as a church. I never realized how amazing it is too that I can sit here, thousands of miles away, and see into the Conference Center in Salt Lake. It made me realize how really united we are as a church. There are people all over the world who come together every 6 months to hear the prophet and Apostles speak. It´s kind of amazing. I got to hear it in English, so that was good too! We had three of our investigators show up to the Sunday morning session, and I was so glad they did. They don´t realized how great of an opportunity this is, but I´m hoping we can help them learn. To be quite honest, I don´t remember much of the week besides that.. we spent every day inviting people to conference because of what a special opportunity it is. I never appreciated conference at home as much as I do here. I loved how many messages there were about families.. it made me want my own. But we all know that´s not going to happen for a while so.. haha. We did teach Abrahan again, the guy that came up to us while drunk in the street a couple weeks ago. He´s really great. I know he has a strong desire to quit smoking and drinking, but its hard for him, and it´s hard for me to know how to help him since I´ve never known anyone that does that before. It is kind of upsetting when he pulls out his cigarettes in the middle of the lesson.. I just want to yell what are you doing!?!?!!! I have a feeling like that wouldn´t go over too well though.. sometimes I feel like Paraguayans have no concept of the word commitment.. but I¨m going to keep trying! And Conference helped a lot. I also loved how they said that now is the time for members and missionaries to work together. I feel like that was something this ward needed to hear as well as many others. I feel bad now for not trying to help them when I was at home.. there really is more success in the work when the member help the missionaries. I guess we´ll see if anyone´s attitude changes. We also went to Itaipú this morning, which is apparently the biggest dam in the world. It was pretty huge.. I think it powers all of Paraguay and part of Brazil.. crazy, huh? I thought it was really cool that we got to go see that. Well, have a good week everyone!
Elder Taylor

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Elder Kaden Barlow - Beak Soup

Elder Barlow and Elder Lumene

Santo Domingo Temple
 
 
On visiting the local university: “We went to the University this last Friday. We got there and just went out contacting! Me and my compañero placed two Book of Mormons and left a bunch of pamphlets with people. It was so much fun, I was super sad we only had just over an hour there. My favorite guy that we taught was this guy named Fernando. He was one of them that we gave the Book of Mormon to. We taught him for around 35 minutes because he just kept wanting to know more! It was really cool to test out our Spanish. :) We will go to the University tomorrow for the last time and then the last two Fridays we are here we go out on splits into our mission so that will be super cool!”
 
On playing the piano: “This last Sunday I accompanied one of the Elders in my district as he sang a solo. We mashed together an arrangement of Come Thou Fount and Joseph Smiths First Prayer(Is that the English name?) because there is no arrangement of Come Thou Fount in Spanish :( We have been playing piano in that room I told you about the first week, everyday after lunch. One time we accidently walked in on one of our teachers who was taking a nap in there so now we actually have permission and we usually draw a bunch of Dominicans and Missionaries in that want to listen. :)”
 
On the food: I got sick last night and was in the bathroom for awhile, not sure what I ate but I’m pretty sure it was the mystery soup that we had for lunch.. Someone said they found a beak in theirs and I wasn’t the only one sick. The food is done by some Dominican guy, he shows up in his truck everyday. So the food is made else where and brought here. He is a cool guy named Alex and is always teaching Elders things they shouldn’t say. Not bad, just slang that isn't professional.”
 
Life in the D.R.: “The power goes out here all the time! There is a generator here in the CCM so most the time the lights come right back on, but last week I got to use my headlight for a few minutes! Also the Dominicans are very relaxed! Things don't really start on time, except for the meetings run by the Americans, even in the CCM haha. I’m super excited for General Conference Saturday and Sunday It will be really cool to be in the CCM and to watch it. One other cool thing that I did this week was teaching TRC again. It was really cool to see how much more me and my companion could speak in Spanish. We taught a great lesson on prayer and even got cookies. I love the Rodriguez family and I can’t wait till next Monday to teach them again.
 
On Sundays: “Yes I love the CCM and my favorite part is probably Sunday where we can go back to English. . . I get so tired that its nice just to relax and feel the spirit. Plus on Sundays we get Pizza and Ice Cream. . . I taught the District Sunday School class this week on hope. I didn’t prepare much I just had preach my gospel and a few thoughts and figured I could go for 40 minutes and it was no big deal. Then the MTC president walked in with his wife and asked if he could join us, and I started getting nervous. Thanks to the spirit though the lesson went really well and they enjoyed it. She asked us after to help her make pizza for dinner so we got to make 25 pizzas after watching The Joseph Smith movie. I LOVE Sundays!!”