Monday, February 28, 2011

Achamos os eleitos do Senhor

This week has been absolutely wonderful. We worked really hard and found a bunch of great people to teach. Our mission president changed a few things about how we contact people and it is now mandatory to know on doors. In the past it was never necessary to actually go door to door. But now we have to. It worked out really well this week. We met a lot of people that are super excited to learn more about the gospel. I attached a picture of an amazing family we met. The mom  is a member already but has been inactive for over 20 years. The two daughters aren´t baptised yet and are very excited to go to church. We met the younger daughter on thursday. Went back on Friday and met the mom and the older sister. Saturday they spent almost the entire  day at the Bishop´s house for a youth activity and already made a bunch of new friends. Which is really going to help them because they just moved here to Birigui less that two weeks ago and don´t know anyone yet. Then the two daughters went to Church on Sunday and absolutely loved it. Yesterday after Church they both said they want to be baptised. The older sister (19 years old) especially has a strong desire to go to Church. She almsot baptized in another church a couple of years ago but said she just didn´t feel right there. But yesterday she told me that she is ready now. I´m so excited about this family. In just 3 days we already have a strong relationship and they are sooo excited about the Gospel.

Because they just barely moved here they don´t have a lot of things in their tiny house. We had an extra mattress in our house so we gave it to them to use because it was never being used in our house. It was quite funny actually because Elder Batista and I carried this queen sized mattress about 2 miles through t he city on our heads. i was leading the way. All the sidewalks have a bunch of trees and at one particular spot I thought we had enough clearance to pass but it was just barely too small by about 2 inches. It was pretty funny as I tried going through and coming to a sudden stop as the mattress hit the tree. Everyone on the street was dieing of laughter. kind of embarrassing but made for a good story. And they were very appreciative for the mattress. (Elder Batista took that picture of me while we were carrying the mattress).

And this wasn´t the only amazing family we found this week. I´m so excited to be here in this area. I can´t wait to see these famileis progress even more. It didn´t work out with the other bptism I talked about last week. But it looks like it should this week. The Sisters in my district are doing amazing work and have many families to baptize. we helped teach one of those families on Saturday and the man, Pedro, absolutely loves the Gospel. He has to stop smoking but I can tell that by his desire it will be no problem. He gave me the rest of the cigarrettes he had at home and I through them away. It´s so amazing being a part of the process of helping people come unto Christ. I love you all, until next week!

Elder McLelland

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 1 in Birigui

Greetings from Birigui!
How is everyone doing? I'm doing quite well here in Birigui. We had a good week. It was pretty cool to get transferred into an area that already had a baptism set up. I just had to show up and smile and be friendly....easiest baptism ever! Her name Jecivia (it's strange to Brazilians too). Her mom and two younger brothers were baptized the week before I got here. Jecivia had to wait an extra week because she hadn't been to church yet with her mom and brothers. We confirmed all 4 of them yesterday in Sacrament meeting. That was a pretty neat experience to be a part of that. I'm really excited to be in this area. I have a strong feeling that we will have a lot of success here.
My bus ride here was about 6 hours long but it was quite comfortable actually. I don't think I'll ever have a bus experience like Mike did. Buses here are pretty civilized and the long distance trips are nice charter buses with air conditioning! I always travelled to another city close to mine last week, called Lins. In my district it is just me and Elder Batista and a set of Sisters. Because Elder Batista is the District Leader we traveled to Lins to do a baptismal interview for the Sisters. I was kind of bugged to go because we lost a whole day of work in our area. Because of the bus schedule we didn't even get home to our area until 12:30am. But it was a great experience because A young woman Layane passed the interview and will be baptised this Saturday. And another cool tidbit. Yesterday she specifically asked for me to perform the baptism....I hardly even talked to her but she wants me to baptsie to her.
We also have some great other people we are working with as well. A lot of good prospects for Baptism. I have a feeling that this transfer is going to be very blessed with baptisms....But don't think that I am only looking for baptismal numbers. Baptism is the focus of missionary work. Through baptism we are getting people onto the pathway of righteousness. And I see that this tranfer is going to be very blessed. There is another area next to mine in the city that is without missionaries and we have the responsibilty of taking care of that ward as well. There is another woman there that seems ready to be baptized. So we'll see how it works out!
My companion, Elder Batista is wonderful. We are going to get a long very well. He loves to serve people. It almost makes me feel bad sometimes because he is always insisting on paying for snacks and soft drinks. He loves to stop and serve others too. Yesterday after our lunch appointment we insisted on washing the dishes and cleaning up the BBQ for them. this is th attitude we need as missionaries. Serving others even when others don't want to admit that they are needing it. Even if they don't really "need" the help we still should give it. I also see that this transfer will teach me patience because Elder Batista has pretty severe insomnia and changes our daily schedule a lot. And also the rules of the mission aren't the biggest priority to him. It's going to teach me some patience and we are going to see a lot of blessings this transfer.
Well I guess that about wraps it up for this week. This area is called Pola (Pearl) and it is truly a Pola de Grande Valor (Pearl of Great Price). I's so excited to be here!
Elder McLelland

Monday, February 14, 2011

Biriguí - Pérola

Oi Família!

I only have a couple of minutes. I was transferred to a new area. My area is as the Subject line says. My area is Pérola in the city Biriguí. It´s about a 6 hour bus ride from the main city I had been in. I´m really excited to be here. My companion is Elder Batista da Silva. He is from Pernambuco the same state Elder J. Santos is from. He seems like a great guy. I´mk excited to work with him. It looks like we already have two baptisms lined up for this coming weekend. So that should be great. Elder Holmes also left the area Jandaia. there are two new ones there now. I hope they keep working hard with the people we were teaching. And great news, my first area in Poços de Caldas reopened. They are shuffling around the areas that are closed so they stay without missionaries for too long. I´m excited that the people i had been teaching will have the oppurtunity to be taught again. 

My last week there in Jandaia was great. it was really sad the last day on SUnday going around saying goodbye to everyone. It seems like you get transferred right when things are starting to get even better. But oh well, I guess it´s just the Lord´s way of sharing the blessings of that area with other elders. I can´t keep them all for myself.

Well I already have to go. I lost most of my PDay time travleing on the bus to my new area. I´ll give a lot more details next week. And I´ll try to resend those pictures that didn´t work out. Until next week everyone!

Elder McLelland

Monday, February 7, 2011

Otávio André Julio Bevilacqua

Hey Everyone!

Well this weekhas been quite fantastic. We baptized Otávio André Julio Bevilacqua, a 9 year old boy from our ``golden family´´ we have been teaching. It was great to finally have gotten permission from his parents.They are already super strong in the church but they felt for a long time that Otavio wasn´t ready to be baptized, they felt he was too immature. But he was baptized and despite a little bit of confusion in the baptismal font it finally worked out. Elder Holmes baptized him but the first time Otavio´s foot didn´t go all the way under. He really didn´t like having to lean back into to the water and the first time Elder Holmes had to really push him down because he wouldn´t lean back. So, the second time he got really afraid and just wanted to get out of the font. He was crying and really nervous. But his dad calmed him down and finally was able to perform the baptism right. So, it finallyworked and actually turned into a good object lesson that the old bishop used in a little talk he gave afterwards. He talked about how it is the same in our whole lives. We are afraid of the unknown but our Heavenly Father is always there to calm us down and help us when in doubt. It was a great experience.

Last week we also had a Zone Conference, which was actually 3 zones combined. I always love hearing from the mission president and the Assisants. They always have such great trainings and I always get more motivated to work harder. First we had a training from the President and he made some changes in some basic rules. And then he talked a lot about our faith adn the desire that we need to have to bring people into the Church. If we don´t have the faith, it won´t work out for us. The Assistants focused on personal rightneousness. They talked a lot about the Jeremiah scriptures about being moldable in the Lord´s hands. I thought it was really cool especially since I took that ceramics class in high school. Remember the techniques of pottery and how it applies in our lives. It was a great conference.

Other than this it was a pretty basic week. Today for P-day we are going again with Wellington to visit some more waterfalls. This time in the city Batatais. I´m in the city now waiting to meet up with the other two Elders Hull and Antone. It should bepretty awesome. I hope all goes will with you guys this week. Remember that the higher degree of personal rightneousness and faith will leader to more miracles in your lives and thelives of people around you. Until next week...Transfers already! I hope I stay in Jandaia at least one more, I have a feeling I might be leaving though.

Elder McLelland

PS the last picture is me drinking from my new Tereré cup. Tereré is this wierd herb mixture you put in your cup and drink juice with it. You use a straw that filters out all the herbs but youcan still taste the herbs. I thought the cup was cool, a cow foot.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Panquecas!! (pancakes)

Hey Everyone!

Well this week has sure had its ups and downs, but overall it turned out to be quite a great week. It was definitely the week of pancakes. Elder Holmes in his Christmas package got a bit jug of maple syrup so we have been introducing Brazilians to pancakes American style. Any Brazilian who has ever tried maple is immediately addicted (same with peanut butter). These products are not available here in Brazil. So we had a family home evening activity with our investigator family and we made pancakes for them. They absolutely loved too. There kids are such fun. Then we also made pancakes for Adriana and here family, a recent convert family of almost a year. We made pancakes and did some painting for her. By the way, Brazilian paint is not nearly as good as American paint...who would have thought?

 Otavio, the oldest child in our investigator family, is almost certain to be baptized this coming Sunday. His parents finally feel he is ready to be baptized. We tried to get it arranged for yesterday but it didn磘 work out because Otavio was at his grandmother磗 house all last week and never gave time to interview him before Sunday. But this sunday for sure. And his parents are making arrangements for their wedding that should happen in the next few weeks. I really hope I don磘 get transferred after all this work with them and miss their wedding and baptisms!

Our ward is really progressing already with our new bishopric. The old bishop was great but worked A LOT and wasn磘 able to devote himself as much to the strengthening of the ward. Our new bishop however, is making a lot of changes and is already giving results. We have higher attendance already and have some less/in-active families coming back. I磎 really excited to work with him, I hope I have at least one more transfer here with this ward.

I almost forgot, I gave a talk yesterday in the ward. One of the changes the Bishop wants is that at least once a month there will be a talk focused on missionary work given by one of the missionaries or leaders in the ward. I was reall nervous. I love to give talks but it磗 always a little nerve wracking, especially in a new language. I think it went pretty well. I talked about the need of unity in the ward mission work. We have people that help us teach, we have some people doing visiting/home teaching, but it all lacks unity. There isn磘 enough communication and correlation. I hope my talk was able to help motivate the ward a bit more.

Well I guess that磗 about it for the week. Nothing too big or exciting this week like the waterfalls. But next for sure will have the baptism of Otavio and perhaps his aunt Karina as well. I hope this week goes well for all of you. Do your part as missionaries....``Every member a missionary!创

Elder McLelland