Monday, March 31, 2014

Pictures Week #94

Manuel's birthday lunch
Elder Bernardo, Elder Brown, and Elder Rodrigues 
Elder Brown, Maria, her friends, and Manuel
Vladamir's Family

Good Good Week

Oi! Family and Friends!

This week has been a good one for me. Not as much work as we had last week but it was still pretty good. So someone cool that we're working with is called Decolino. He is a guy who randomly showed up to church who lives in our area, he is pretty much blind. He can see big things and get himself around, but if he lived in the States, he would be considered legally blind. And at first I didn't really get him, like what he wanted from us or in life. I was confused, so we invited him to baptism and he accepted a date for the 26th of April. So he is doing really well and we're having a member pass by him to read to him throughout the week, so we shall see how he continues to progress. 

Also Arsenio, someone who was supposed to get baptized on the 12th dropped because his parents doesn't want him too..... He is 25 years old and living with them. So we had to delay his date for who knows when. But my goal is to see him get baptized before I leave. Hmm who else. Oh yeah there is Vladmir who is way cool, but I'm just going to wait until I get home to talk about his situation. It's pretty personal and I don't want that on the internet, but I'll for sure talk to about him when I get home. Also this past week was Manuel, one of our less actives, birthday so he came and walked with us in the morning and then we took him out for lunch, I think he had a good time. 

Also this week we got a new dupla to our district. An Angolan named Elder Bernardo, he is waiting for his visa to the Dominican Republic so he started his mission here, and he is with Elder Garcia in our district now, so that's pretty cool. 

I know Mom will like to hear this, my birthday packages from both Grandma and Mom, as well as my Easter package got here:) So thank you for that:) On Thursday me and Elder Castleton helped out President and Sister Merrill with the new Family History Center that there trying to get together here. Moved a lot of broken office furniture that's been sitting back in this one room, way dusty and nasty. Way gross. But it was fun, And it will be way awesome for Angola once that gets up and going here. 

Happy Birthday to Kell and Ridge! They just keep on growing, hope its a good one for ya guys! Weird that we're going into April here soon, and I'm going to be 21, I'm getting old. Also, cool thing next Sunday we are going to President's house for Conference to watch it live and stay there for the night. And then we are going on a Safari the next day! So way sick and coolness coming up. Well I love you all, another week come and gone, and not many more to go. Hope you all have a great week!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Pictures Week #93

Levi's family and the Elders
Elder Brown, Elder Wilhelm and Elder Cafferty
Elder Tilley and Elder Brown

Hard Working Week

Oi! Family and Friends,

This week me and Elder Castleton worked way hard to build our area up, and the work paid off. It looks like I should be able to see 5 to 10 baptisms in this area before I leave in 2 months which is way exciting. There are some really cool people that we're working with like Arsenio, Juquim, and Carla, Silvio, etc. Transfer is going well and crazy that by this Wednesday that it will already be halfway over. And I'll be in single digits of weeks left..... crazy. But that's not what I'm focusing on. haha. 

I'm also way excited for General Conference here in a little under 2 weeks. I have grown such a love for the words of the Living Prophets, they are seriously the words of God for us in these days. And now I'm always looking forward to the conferences now, and studying the talks in the months after it. This past week we also had a zone conference which was way good. We talked about finding, and studying and teaching, and Sister Merrill did this way cool training on being positive about ourselves and keeping Satan out of our lives, it was way cool. 

I also had to say goodbye to Elder Wilhelm and Elder Tilley. Crazy that they are gone. It was sad too. Elder Wilhelm was one of my best friends out here, and he is going to BYU Idaho, booooooo, so I won't see him for awhile. But I love him, and Elder Tilley. 

It's been raining a bit here which stinks because after it rains, it is incredibly hotter because of humidity. So hot here in Africa haha. But I'm surviving it haha. 

Also a Happy Birthday! To Mom! Thanks Mom for being the best mom ever and supporting me throughout my life especially out here on my mission:) I love you! Overall trust in the fact that I'm working hard day in and day out until the end. Also weird that my 21st birthday is coming up. I'M getting old.... Overall I'm good, and I hope everyone else is doing good. I love you all! Have a good week!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pictures Week #92

Elder Brown and Elder Hanson
Elder Brown and Elder Cafferty sporting glasses
Elder Brown and Elder Cafferty
Family Night
Elder Brown and Elder Yeanoplos
Cassequel Krew
Elder Brown and Elder Domingos
Arsenio, Elder Brown, and Juquim
Marinete and her family

Learned alot this week

Oi Family and Friends,

This week was an interesting one. We started off the week with a family night with Claudio, Tania, and Juelma. That was pretty fun, left a little message and played agua na cara, haha they really liked it. Tuesday I had a leadership meeting that was really good by President and Sister Merrill. Really helped me learn about leadership in the church, and really how Christ leads. A training that I will forever use the rest of my life in the church as I have callings and such. 

But also sad news on Tuesday, I found out that Sebastiao, me and Elder Cafferty's way awesome investigator, his daughter that we gave a blessing had died. Way Sad. I called him, and made sure other branch members called him. He told me that the moments before she passed away, she said that she wanted the Elders who gave her the blessing to be at her burial. 

So on Saturday, we went to the Cemiterio de Alto Cruzes. And man, did it hit me hard, walking through that cemiterio. I've never really walked through one before, I know I've probably have, I can't remember though. But the rows and rows and rows of tombstones and dead people. Dating back all the way to the 1850s until these days. Grata was getting buried near the back, and we got back there just in time as they were just starting to lower the coffin into the ground. Africans, are very emotional people, especially about death. As the coffin was going into the ground and beginning to get buried, her Mom, Celeste, and other people were going berserk. Crying screaming, sobbing, etc. its a very vivid memory to me. Alot of people crying, while others were singing hymns and African spirituals. She was buried, the tombstone was made and was covered and covered and covered in flowers. 

Sebastiao, after came up to us 4 missionaries as well as some of the awesome members of the branch, one by one he shook our hands, and gave us a hug, and in choked up tears, said thank you for coming in English. I almost lost it. I love that man. After the cemiterio we went back to his house for the obito, where we talked and had some food. There were tons of people there but pretty much Sebastiao spent all of his time with us and talking with us. Goes to show what's most important to him. He did have plans to go to America and work, but he has changed those plans, and is retiring in November 2015 and then giving the rest of his life to Christ. He is one of the greatest men I will ever know. I feel like one of the reasons I came to Angola was because of him. He just needs to get married first and then he can continue his journey to baptism, priesthood, temple, etc. 

I'm staying in contact with him for the rest of my life, in this world and the world to come. That was the thing that impacted me the most this week. Reason why is because while I was at that burial, I wasn't sad, I was only sad for the pain people were feeling, but overall, I was feeling the spirit so strong throughout the entire thing. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation. Death is hard, but it's not the end. Our Savior made sure of that. This experience sincerely strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation because I saw it in action. 

But overall our area is going good, and has a really good future with some new investigators and baptismal dates. Yesterday I gave Marinete´s kids baptismal interviews and that was a marathon. Especially when I was filling out there fichas, they didn't know how to spell there own names? Really. So I had to redo their fichas this morning. But it's all done. 

Pretty much Pdays is nothing special. We study, we clean, we go shopping, we have lunch, we do internet, and then we just chill until our appointment at night. Nothing exciting. But that's way awesome about BYU, way cool. Everyone keep going strong, love you all, and keep building your testimonies every day and become converted to this great work. Love you all!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Burning Up!

Oi Family and Friends!

This week has been good, and tiring. First off, it's been really hot here, way way hot. I'm ready for a winter season haha. But other than that things are going good. So I live in the Condominium Cajuerio and it's just a really nice apartment. Lot more nice looking than the one in Cassequel. It's just me and Elder Castleton who lives in the apartment, which is a little strange because my entire mission I've lived with 4 to 6 person houses. And it's like 10 to 15 minutes from the Mission Home. But it's alright. My area is pretty nice. Most of our area is in Projecto Nova Vida, where there are just tons of houses and buildings. Always somthing to do haha. 

Elder Castleton, Elder Garn and Elder Brown

And they already have some cool people, and were always trying to find more. One really cool guy is Arsenio. Very very happy guy, where the gospel just makes sense to him. He came to church and he will probably be baptized here in the coming month or so. 

Yesterday at church, Luanda 2 Branch and the Benfica Branch meet in the same building, I got to see a lot of my favorite people, and I will be able to every Sunday until the end. Haha it really made me miss being in that branch and seeing all them always, that was a great part of my mission. 

I recently read Elder Holland's talk from October 2012 conference, which is one of my favorites. How we have to be Christ´s disciples forever. Leave the things of the world behind because we really love God and Christ. And that's something I'm trying to recommit myself to do. Put off the Natural Man, and serve because I love God and I want to make others happy, and just be like Christ. Missionaries, like Christ, go one by one, family by family, giving the people the attention as if Christ was there. That's what I am learning. But yeah its going good, life is going good. Hope you all have a good week and always choose the right! Love you all!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Pictures Week #90

Taxi ride
Sao Paulo
Elder Brown and Cahilo on the bus
Elder Brown and Amarildo
Elder Brown and Gildo 
Elder Brown and Nefi
Elder Brown and President Sebastio
Playing Bball on the Marginal

This is not my church, but it is His

So this week was a very interesting one. Well Elder Cafferty got super sick so I was in the house most of the week. Oh but quick thing, transfers, I got transferred to Luanda 2 with Elder Castleton. He is from Utah and this is his last transfer, so I'm excited to work hard this transfer and then see who is with me my last transfer. But it will be sad to split from Elder Cafferty, I love him, he is one of my favorite companions. But ya, I'm living in Cajueiro just me and Elder Castleton. But that's transfer news. 

Anyways back to the week. I've been in the house most of the week, so I don't have a lot of info. We had interviews with President this week. And he really helped me understand more about missionary work. About Planting, Cultivating, and Harvesting. And how in the Lords eyes there all the same thing. And to just have faith that it is all the same thing. To be grateful
for the success I already have had, and grateful for the experiences
that I've been having. I've learned alot more about trusting in the
Lord, and actually putting that into practice. Everything that has
happened, that is happening, and will happen is because of the Lord. I just have to trust him, have faith and patience. 

Also this week, Elder Cook of the 70 was here for the weekend to do special training of Branch and District leaders. And he also squeezed in a special meeting with us missionaries so it was really good. He has been my favorite 70 that has visited here by far. Really cool and humble guy. Also something that I've gained a real testimony about is that this is the Lord's Church. Ive been able to watch the movie Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration, and this line hit me, he said: "But this is not my church, it is his". Just the realization and remembering that the person guiding every part of this Church is Christ. By revelation, we receive all of our callings, and assignments, answers etc. It is his. And that has been a big testimony builder for me as of late. 

But yeah that's been my life as of late. Next email will be full of new names and such and an explanation of my last area and house on the mission. Love you guys, I miss you all, but its only a little bit longer!