Saturday, October 29, 2011

10-17-11 Learning

I guess that means that the UW beat Utah!! And 5-1 that is great:)

I wish I could read conference talks... haha because hearing them I didn~t understand a lot honestly.

First off, Day light savings time in Brazil... exists.... and is really exciting when your companion realizes that we lost an hour overnight when you are in the shower. haha sunday was kind of like that.

This week was hard for me to keep my mouth shut a few times. People don~t realize when they are being rude. One family home evening a return missionary father and my companion swapped stories about funny situations and stomach problems of Americans here in brasil. For me it hurt. I was surprised how much it hurt. Before my mission I laughed at these stories too so I can~t be too upset but people don~t understand what it is like. They don~t understand what it feels like to be utterly lost in a conversation to be unable to do anything yourself because you can~t speak the language. They think it is funny that Americans suffer here. I really just want to stand up and yell at them. That it might be funny for them but these are real people suffering And its hard, not because learning a language is hard but because it is the hardest thing in the world to sit in a lesson and feel the spirit and not be able to say what you want to.

I am relearning the importance of rules and when rules are less important than people and when people are less important than rules. It is a balance I thought I had before my. That is an attribute that Christ had Perfectly and it is an example I want to learn from.

Wright I hope that was good. Haha my english is a little shaky right now and my skills as writer are not what they used to be. I tried to pray in english the other day and it was almost impossible haha. It was definately an awful prayer.

Mom you really taught me about faith. Every time I felt lost or alone as a child you helped me turn to the gospel. I remember as a child I asked you in a safeway one day, `mom what if this isn~t true what if this gospel isn’t true ‘it was a very profound question for a child now that i think of it but you answered it perfectly. Remember what you said? You said, ìf it isn’t true will I be ashamed of the way I’m living right now at the end of my life`?

I am learning that same lesson now. Haha. It is amazing how much a little time will do to help people. I imagine Christ always had time for people. Like the Woman who touched his robe and was healed. He stopped and talked with her when the disciples wanted to leave. I am glad you shared that experience with me because it helped me understand the lesson I am learning right now.

I will write to the ward if you want but I always thought it a little tacky when missionaries wrote back to the ward and the bishop read it over the pulpit. But here it goes:

Elder Noel

10-10-11--Continued Growth

Well I~m full of cookies. Yes finally found a member who would let us use their oven and I made cookies using the recipe book that Sister Ward gave me and the recipe care of Sister Greenhalgh:) Was amazing to have a little taste of home this week.

This week I learned that giving ourselves for someone or for some cause means that we truly give ourselves. We give our lives for the greater good. I think we can learn a lot from the Savior in this situation. He asked that the cup could pass from him. That we could do this a different way. But then he said, `thy will be done` Here Christ gave himself for the church.

Christ Died on Calvary but he lost His life in Gethsemane.

I hope I have the courage and the humility to lose my life during these next two years.

This week we found a bright spot,

These past two weeks were difficult. Not very many investigators not very many lessons, lots of walking and lots of discouragement. But on Friday we taught a part member family that has been inactive for 8 years more or less and they have a 13 year old daughter. We taught her and her mom the first lesson. I got to give the first vision story and the spirit was so strong. My Portuguese was perfect during this part. And the girl accepted that was good. After the mom said, (how much time before a Dad can return and baptize his daughter?) That was better. It truly was a bright spot. A spot that I needed right now. And it was made brighter by all the darkness.

It is amazing how much wrestling helps you on a mission. First this is not that hard physically. I can eat all I want and the work is a lot a lot a lot of walking but I have put in more work physically on the mat so it’s not really as difficult as it could be. Second, learning a language is a lot like learning to wrestle. When you are learning moves you go from thinking about it to sometimes doing it on reaction to full reaction. My senior year I could feel moves hit moves in positions that happened and it was smooth.

The same thing is happening with my Portuguese. Sometimes it is reaction sometimes I have to think. But I know with drilling it will get to the point that I can just react. Just like wrestling. But it will take work just like wrestling.

I am learning a lot about members of the church in General. That often we really don~t worship. Truly worship. We go to church and pray but we don~t study the scriptures or fast with purpose or treat others with true charity and honesty.

I am learning a lot about what kind of father I want to be, what kind of husband I want to be and what kind of disciple I want to be. I get to see different houses and feel different spirits everyday.

Also I notice that a lot of people are only obedient when obedience is easy. For example fasting. Missionaries tell me that if an investigator offers you food that you should just eat a little not to be rude. That this isn~t breaking your fast. And they are right. But they don’t understand that is a great opportunity to demonstrate to investigators what is fasting and why we do it and bear testimony of the purpose of my fast. So many people don~t understand the importance of sacrifice. That when we do hard things to be obedient the Lord will reward us. I am learning this lesson now and Hope that I can learn this lesson for the rest of my life.

Missionary life is good. I really do like it. I am learning a lot of patterns here that I want in my life after my mission. It really is a special time to be closer to the spirit. I was thinking about this time and how I will answer to the Savior about my misson about this time that I am giving him. And I realized that it isn~t my time i am giving Him but His time he is giving me. And that this time is important for me as well as my investigators and the people of Santa Catarina.

The Church in brazil started in this state. First mission was here in Florianopolis. And now the entire state has 3 stakes. 3 stakes. It is incredible. After all these years 3 stakes. Cities to the north and south of us have temples and we have 3 stakes. It really is amazing. I used to think that this was the fault of bad missionaries but I am learning that you can be perfect and people still won~t change. My goal is to never lose hope that people will change. To never lose the faith that I can bring this person closer to Christ.

Love you,

Elder Noel

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 3, 2011

I did get to see conference! And here it is way different. Times are 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 so a lot different. Also people go to the chapel to watch because they don~t have internet in their houses. It is so much more powerful with a group of people. I wish we did that in the states. I did think about you guys having a picnic and I was jealous. haha

I can find good shoes here for good prices so I should be good. Thanks. My clarks just hurt to wear because the sole is thin now and we walk on rocks and my rock ports are fixable. haha

This week was rough but good. Learned a lot and got to see the progress One thing I trying to develop right now is charity. I have no problem loving people who need love or who are hurting but I have problems loving people who are disobedient or who directly defy the rules.

This transferencia I am pretty much guaranteed a new companion in this area. This will be interesting because I think that I could be a senior companion but at the same time I have a lot to learn and this scares me. haha so I am ready to trust in the Lord and be his servant.

I loved that quote by Marion g Romney too! That when we truly give our hearts to God our desires to act contrary to his will will die. I am thinking about ways I can give my heart to him.

Speaking of obedience it is interesting to me to see people’s attitudes on this. Rationalization is so dangerous. People rationalize little things and soon find themselves outside the safety of the commandments. It is a dangerous thing that I pray I can understand and keep myself away from.

Oh btw imagine the united states with a 1 month mail strike... brazil is almost 1 month without mail. haha That is crazy to think about. here people are still relaxed. In the states people would be rioting in the streets haha. Crazy.

We were teaching gustavo and fernanda (recent converts) and she has lots of duvidas. Her duvidas are questions regarding the name of God and if fasting without paying fast offering is `valid` we had prayed before this lesson and we had the spirit really strong. It was amazing because I could work with my companion. We both talked and both explained doctrines of the gospel. It was a powerful day. We taught them until 11 at night :/ haha he doesn~t get off work until 830 and they just needed to talk so we just listened and responded.

Oh here are some pictures of me in Brazil, these pictures are in the nicest neighborhood i~ve seen here and do not reflect the general standard of living in anyway.

Oh btw thank you for not having a tv in the house. I hate tv. People watch it always their kids watch it always and the spirit is so much different without the tv. I don~t want one in my house. haha

September 26, 2011

This week I grew a lot. Last week my companion told me that I need to have confidence in him and this week I have tried to do that. It made a huge difference. I was so worried about not being a bad missionary that i lost sight of what a good missionary is. He really is a good missionary. Perfect... No. But a fantastic missionary. Our differences really are just that, differences. He sees people and I see objectives. My schedule is a planned event and his is flexible agenda. There are advantages to both and my job right now is to learn his style and then adapt mine when latter.

This week we had an exchange. (divisao) And I basically got to be senior companion for a day. It was really good for my confidence. My companion is someone who dominates conversations and I have no problem with that in English or Portuguese I like to listen and understand situations and talk when I think there is something that needs to be said ( i know that wasn~t true at the dinner table but in social situations in general thats how I am haha) Having him gone was nice because I could have relationships with people. I really am progressing quickly with the language. I try to think in protugese and learn 4 new words every day. The program for new missionaries is 12 weeks of training with the same companion and is designed to have Elders ready for mission leadership after 12 weeks. This is my goal. Be ready to be a senior companion after 2 transfers.

Go Dawgs:) haha

I am learning a lot about my mission. My president is a run run run type of president. And sometimes this is really good. Other times it is not so good. For example we had a zone conference on P-day today. Which means we got up at 5 rode the bus for an hour and had an amazing conference until 3 30 and now have to ride an hour back and p-day ends at 6. With an hour of email we basically have no time for (preparation).

Elder Bednar gave a talk about the difference between Doctrines, Principles and Applications of the Gosple. I find that when we follow applications we can understand doctrines and principles but we need to show our obedience first. I have so much I am learning haha I want to write it all but I can~t.

Oh heard you got the truck up to the road. Thanks