Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov. 2, 2011

Wow Elder Oaks! I~m jealous haha. Good luck getting a seat anywhere in the city of bellevue haha.

So this week was great. I have a new companion which means new things that bug me but he is amazing. My first lesson with him he sat down and just taught from his heart. He didn~t use the flip chart thing we have here which I hate and he didn~t just recite his speech he really taught people. ( I came to learn later that his speech is a little less rehearsed but he still has a set plan and that set plan killed a lesson) He likes to work. And more importantly he likes to follow Preach My Gospel. So many missionaries don~t read it. Or don~t use it because its the manual and the manual isn~t in touch with reality. It really bothers me because this tool is amazing. It is half for the lessons and half to convert us to the Gospel. If you really study it you can learn so much.

I am having a hard time with my zone leader and the leadership in general. This is a ladder mission. Which means that everyone is trying to get to the top. With Elder Pereira I had that attitude as well. But my new companion is relaxed and just likes to help people which means that he should be a leader but he isn~t because he is kind of immature and doesn’t]t have that leader attitude. The thing that drives me nuts is numbers. My trainer told me to stop by eternal investigators if you are having a bad week because the numbers will show president that you are working. And my zone leader told me president only cares about numbers. That drives me crazy. I hate that. Because if I am worried about numbers I can~t worry about people and if I am not worried about people I can~t be a successful missionary. I am praying for understanding and sent a letter to My President about this dilemma.

We made 100 contacts this week. haha It was really cool. We were focused on contacts but we had lessons too. People let us in and we tracted into some non members that needed our help. My companion just said lets tract this city so we did. we are about half way through and have some promising new investigators.

Right now I am trying to tell the sisters in the ward that we can~t eat with them alone. They don~t follow that rule here. I have had lunches with a lot of sisters alone because their husbands work during the day and they want to feed the missionaries. I am talking with the relief society president about this and I will address the sisters next Sunday. Pray for me!!

Love you Dad,


I have been studying humility this week because it is one of my weaknesses and this is my thought about Christ,

Christ died on calvary but he lost his life in Gethsemene. So must we be willling to lose our lives if we want to be truly humble. Also dc 67:10 showed me a lot about

So my truck is runny well? It sounds like a glow plug problem. Be careful with ethenol You can ruin a diesel engine with that spray. Any offers yet?

P-day with elder pereira we hung out with the youth in the ward which I didn~t really like because I wanted to write letters or study ( its odd I don~t really like to sleep on p-day so many other things I could be doing) but anyway I wanted to just relax and cook or draw. My new companion is the opposite he wants to use his p-day to rest so I think now we will just stay in house the rest of day haha. Next week we will to the chapel because I want to practice piano. I want to play here because no one plays ( i know you told me so) so I am learning haha.

We teach about 20 lessons a week. ON a good week. The work here is slow. The church was born here in Brazil. About 80 years here and the entire state only has 5 stakes. The state above and the state below have temples but we don~t. There are a lot of people here who just don~t want to change. They are happy in their religion and think that religion isn~t important just that we are baptized and have faith. They don~t have logic. One woman told us that heaven doesn~t have a plack of a chuch. Just the plack of the church of Jesus Christ. I wanted to say oh you mean like this one on my name tag? haha

Satan has a strong grip on the people. In his half truths they think they are saved, and many of them are becasue they really have faith, but their lives could be so much better. I have been thinking a lot about my purpose as a missionary because I don~t believe that God will damn someone for not listening to two boys in white shirts. It doesn~t fit with my conception of God. So I think the purpose of the Gosple is to bless our lives and we get more blessings through the ordinances of Salvation but everyone will have the opportunity to have these ordinances. I don~t know if that makes sense but thats what is going through my head. That my job is just to help people have more peace through the Gosple of Jesus Christ,

Well enough introspection, Thanks for the spices!!! I used them a lot this week.

Love you Mom,

Elder Noel
Oct. 31, 2011
I~m glad to hear that you~re excited for wrestling. I really really want to wrestle someone here. Especially because here they all do jujitsu so I want to see how I would do. I think I would do pretty well. :)

Hamilton has recruiters after him huh? That is cool :) Are they offering money or just a spot on the team?

This week was pretty good. Got to work alone twice (see moms email for more) and learned a lot about working as a senior companion. I am not in such a hurry to be a senior now. haha But it was really good.

You are exactly right about the pride. I am studying humility right now in Preach My Gospel (you should take a look if you have time) and trying to learn how to have more confidence in the Lord and less confidence in me. Because I think that fear really is an indication of pride. We are afraid of what people will think or do or say and we don~t trust the Lord because we are worried about ourselves. Really it is a lack of faith in him or an indication of pride in Us.

I~m learning a lot about myselft. I spent the first 11 weeks trying to keep my mind 100 percent on the work. Never thinking about home or about my truck (how is that by the way) or about marriage or anything other than missionary work. And it was good. But now i~m just exhausted mentally. I don~t know what you did to keep your mind on the work without killing yourself but I would appreciate your advice on the subject.

I am relaxing a lot more. It is good. I can feel the spirit more when I am less worried about rules. Its hard to explain but I think I am learning a balance between life and rules. And when life is different than the rules and when we need to sacrifice our lives to obey the rules. It is a tricky balance and one that I will hopefully have figured out by the end of two years. haha

This week we talked to a Jehovah Witness couple. It is interesting to see how missionaries deal with people who want to fight. I find it really immature when people say something and then say the reference right after and I hate it when people do that and hate it more when missionaries do that because it makes us look like we are just trying to flex muscles (biblical muscles). And I would rather pretend to be stupid and let them talk and then present a simple message about love than bible bash. I really think that we can avoid bible bashing if we focus our messages on love. And compliment people on the faith they have and show them how this love can be more present in their lives. It’s what I want to do as senior companion.

There is a lot of people out there who don~t understand the bible and who have great faith but don~t know where to put it. It is really sad. I hope I can help a few of them. but really they just want to teach us. Pray that I can find people who really love to learn and who are really looking for truth.

Love you Dad,

Elder Noel
OH thanks for teaching me to work. One day you said to me that your goal was to make me work until I loved work. I love work. I love learning and I love being active. I’m less interested in naps or in general recreation because its time lost for learning. I think that is a gift from you.

I did get the packages. Infact I am wearing the tie right now:) It was really funny my companion got the package before me so everyone in our district saw a package from my family to him but not to me. Thank you so much for the picture!!! I love it:) I put it in my book of Mormon. And peanut butter on pancakes was such a treat!!! haha I have pancakes everyday. (almost blew up the house this week making cake..... hahaha) Thanks for the packages. They really are great. It is crazy how much a little love from home can do for your moral.

This week I got to work 2 days back to back alone with Elder Christensen (new elder here from utah but he served for 4 months in Alabama) so that means 2 days not having a Brazilian to have my back. It was really good for me. Good for me to know that I can make decisions and good for me to know that I can speak that language in a manner that people can understand me.

The bad thing is he wants to speak English at home. That isn~t terrible but it is harder for me to maintain my image as a missionary in English because I have patterns of speech in English that are less than formal. And its easier for me to talk bad about my companion in English which is really bad. haha so I~m learning two things. 1 be more patient with Brazilians because they don~t have the opportunity to re structure their language and 2 learn to control the things I talk about. It is good. I am also translating. Which is good for my confidence.

Our lesson to new investigators was rough..... haha but we taught them and I think we demonstrated our church well. We will see how well when we return next week.

I spent a lot of time worrying that people wouldn~t talk to me after my companion left (he leaves tomorrow) because he has been here for 6 months. But yesterday at church the relief society president was already talking to me and not him because she knew he would leave. That was really cool. It is really good for my confidence. Usually I am worried about what people think of me. Especially because I can~t speak and express myself in the manner I can in English.

Well I love you mom. This was a good week. I can~t believe its already been 5 months since I left! Crazy huh?!

I love you mom!!
interested in naps or in general recreation because its time lost for learning. I think that is a gift from you.
Oct. 24th 2011

Ok so this week I wrote a letter to you both and to you both individually. Feel free to share:)

I am learning here that missionaries are just boys. If you want your son to be a good missionary teach him how to be a good husband and teach him how to work. Missionaries here are pretty much the same as they were before. Sometimes that is really good and sometimes that is really bad. haha

I really hope that Hamilton can help unify the Youth program. Unity is so important. I see mission leaders here use the word (I) a lot. And while it is good to show missionaries a good example it is really bad for unity when a leader tries to show people why he is a good leader. And unity is so important. We remember that in Moses we read that the people of Zion are of one heart and one mind. Or unified. And that in unity we can find strength

Well This week I taught alone. :)

Literally Alone haha.

We had a new Elder arrive in the area next to us (they are opening the area that hasn~t been opened for a year, which means the house hasn~t been lived in a year and is unlivable right now so they are living with us) My companion and I went with them to show them the new area and a few investigators. One of the investigators needed to have the 3 lesson because her baptism is this thursday but my companion had to introduce the other Brazil to a new family. So Elder Christensen (3 days in Brazil) and I showed up at the lesson with lots of enthusiasm and little Portuguese.

It was wonderful. We prayed before we entered. Talked a little and then left. It was fast, efficient, and the spirit was strong. Also I felt for the first time like I really can teach. It was really good for my confidence and I thank the Lord for a companion that let me teach alone. The funny thing about teaching in another language is that you really get to experience the gift of tongues. But the gift of tongues doesn’t mean that you can say words you don’t know only that you can see ways to say what you want to say. It basically is like faith.

I think about faith like standing on the edge of a cliff looking into the darkness below. And when you take the step off the cliff the bridge appears. But you have to be willing to take that step into the abyss. You have to be willing to take the fall before you can make the walk.

This week was a good week. Hard and lots and lots of walking but really good. My study schedule is all out of whack because of the other elders living here and it bugs me but I’m more relaxed now than I was before so things are ok.

We sacrifice perfection to teach responsibility. It is a phrase that I want to use as a trainer and something that I miss from my parents. Generally people don~t understand this. I was blessed to have two parents who understood this concept and helped me learn responsibility.

Elder Noel.