Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I love Brazilians yes I do!

Hello wonderful family!

Great to hear from ya´ll! Hey John, did I tell you Elder Parker has the same birthday as you? Good to hear good news from everybody! Sounds like General Conference week/weekend is going to be a blast! Lucky Emiliy gets to go up too! Have fun everybody!

Well another great week in the Queen´s Hot Springs has flown by! The work is going forward. Elder Flint and I have been able to pass by a lot of people we have listed as inactives and potential or ex-investigators. The really great stuff has been with the Brazilians, particularly Sebastião. On Sunday he brought his nephew Fábio, Fábio´s girlfriend Andrea and their baby boy. They´re not married yet but they already said they´re planning on it! They really liked chruch, and Fábio came with Sebastião and 3 other friends to Family Home Evening last night. Marcos also came, another Brazilian investigator who had been traveling at home in Brazil but came back about a week and a half ago. He came to English class, we had a lesson with him on Sunday evening, and then he came to Family Night. Also we stopped by Amadeu´s house and walked with him and his 15 year old brother Daví to family night (if Rachel can think of potentials for Emily then so can I!). The room was really packed but everyone had a great time. We introduced Four Corners, and not everyone grasped the whole concept since it was crowded and noisey, but it was still simple and fun.

Well, life is great! I love all ya´ll and am looking forward to hearing more great news from ya´ll! tchau!

--Elder Ellis

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I love life!

Hello dearest and greatest family!!

Oh BOY life is awesome! I´ve got the gospel blessing my life, I have a wonderful ginormous family, and I have the sacred opportunity to share the eternal joys of the restored gospel with others! And it´s only gonna keep on getting better!

Thanks Mom for clearing up my inbox. And thanks again to everyone for the great news updates. LAURA I am so happy ya´ll are having twins!! Holy Cow!! 3 new adorable nieces/nephews bakin in the ovens. I love being an uncle!!

As far as I have seen Rachel, there aren´t any awesome Easter eggs being stocked on the shelves, I don´t know if they´re as big or sweet a deal here. Triste... I will miss those big Charge Easter Eggs from Brazil. But it´s great to hear everything´s going well!

Oh yeah, I don´t remember if I already thanked you Kit for sending those drawings that Ryn and Elle made for me, and that adorable picture of your 3 little angels in the home made heart frame. Thank you! And if I already thanked you, Thanks again! (It´s hard to be too grateful, right?) And Mom and Dad I received another batch of hand written letters from ya´ll on Monday. Thanks!

Ahem, sorry for my scatterbrained-ness. Life is awesome! Yesterday I and the other American missionaries who came in with me did the bigger and longer part 2 of renewing our visas which should last us the rest of our missions. Yeehaw, it´s good being legal and not having more long trips and waits to look forward to! Today we are going to Santarém right after this email session to have a lunch and games with the other missionaries of our zone, and we should be back in time to get the other essentials (grocery shopping, cleaning, etc) done and taken care of. Maybe I´ll be able to finally play some ultimate!!

Well this past week has been interesting. Two times of taking an hour and a half bus ride into Lisbon to renew my visa, two divisions, and lots of trying to find some inactives and ex-/potential investigators. But the Lord´s work is moving on! Last night during our branch´s family home evening someone called us who was listed in the phone as an investigator but niether Elder Flint nor I have met him. Anyways he called us up and said he wanted to meet us at our English class on Thursday night. Cool!

In other news, we´ve been teaching a group of Brazilians who I personally think of as ´the Brazilian Bunch´. Sebastião and his friend Adriano and Adriano´s wife Sonia and probly Sebastião´s nephew Renilson live on the first floor of this one building, and Clemente (Sebastião´s brother) lives in the floor above them, his son Nilton lives somewhere nearby, and they´ve also got 4 other friends that live nearby too. They´re awesome! We´ve about taught all of them by now a bit about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, we´ve read with them a bit and invited them to try Moroni´s Promise. Sebastião has come to Church twice and Family Night once, and Renilson has come to English class twice. They´re all very open, friendly, and interested... I love ´em all!

Anyways... that´s a bit of news from my end. I hope to keep on hearing/reading wonderful updates from all ya´ll and I´m keeping ya´ll in my prayers! Tchau!

--Elder Ellis

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hello Beloved Family!!

Well it’s nice to know we’re not getting scammed. Thank heavens for the gift of discernment!! Natalie and Kit – thanks for the pictures! Little Eden is beautiful, and it is always great to see pictures of Matt, Natalie, Brazil, and the family (including Adelia)!

Well life is great here in Caldas! Today most likely I will have to go in and renew my visa. Luckily it’ll last for the rest of the mission! But a little review… this past week Elder Flint and I were able to get 20 lessons in again. Yay!! Thank heavens for prepared people and member missionaries! Christophe is a stud – he is the branch mission leader and helps us out a ton! We had zone conference Monday which went great also. Haha, unfortunately though I had forgotten my notebook at home that had my talk notes and I also use it to take other notes, and lo and behold I was selected to give a talk on having the faith to find! Well, I was still able to remember the two main scriptural examples I wanted to use – Ammon (Alma 17:13-14) and Alma the younger (Alma 31:30-38). Great is the Lord’s work that we have undertaken, and may we be strengthened and comforted in Christ to bring our brethren again unto God in and through Christ! There was also a good friend of the Terry’s who was visiting with some of his family, and he spoke to us a bit and gave us 3 commitments for our own lives: 1) become a disciple of Jesus Christ and live His gospel, 2) invite the Spirit into our companionships so we can do the Lord’s work the Lord’s way, and 3) live temple worthy and temple active lives and always have a recommend! I also learned a lot from what President Terry shared with us, on how we need to be valiant and faithful in every detail to be worthy and ready for the Lord’s help and preservation, like the 2000 stripling warriors.

I love ya’ll! I can’t say it enough! Thanks for all of your support, emails, letters, pictures, etc. Fica firme! Love,

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Prep day in Caldas #2

Hellooo awesome family!!

Holy cow! I was suprised to have an inbox full of great emails! 20!! But alas, my inbox is also starting to get a bit full, around 69% or so, so I would also be greatly indebted to anyone who would get on my lds email and clear up some space, starting from the back, copying over or printing and then deleting... thanks!!

Whoo-hoo! Way to go Joy!! That is awesome you did your half marathon! I wish I could´ve been there to have the Chariots of fire and Eye of the Tiger music goin for you. Great job!

Thanks Kit and Aup for the lovely pictures. Such beautiful nieces!!

Whew, what a busy Preparation Day! Elder FLINT (Elder and Irmã Parker are the awesome casal here, Elder Flint is my companion with same first name) and I blitzed on our grocery shopping first thing in the morning so we could be on time to have lunch with the Parkers at Irmã Dolores, the branch Relief Society Presdent, home. Food is good! Then we went over to Mafra to meet up with Elder Dean and Elder Peterson and went through the National Palace there. Cool stuff! Unfortunately we ended up taking a bit longer than planned, so we made it back to squeeze in our email time before our first teaching appointment this evening.

Ah, Life is amazing!! What can I say more? Monday after district meeting we had divisions here in Caldas with our zone leaders, Elder Oliveira from Brasil and Elder Fay from Massachussetts (sp?). Great Elders, and great examples, and I know I always have more stuff to learn and improve on to be a better instrument in the Lord´s hands. Yesterday we had a nice busy day, especially in the evening. We had a little training we give every week on Preach My Gospel to some branch members, and then we had a FHE with them and other branch members. After that we went to a less active man´s home who had contacted Elder Flint and Elder Fay during the division. Carlos (the less active man) really wants to come back to the Church, and his wife Suzana really likes the Church but doesn´t want to get baptized because she doesn´t want to obey the Word of Wisdom (silly...), and their older daughter Rafaella is 10 and kept on looking at her children´s Book of Mormon and her dad´s copy, so it seems she likes the scriptures too! A little backtrack -- on Saturday evening we had an extra half hour or so, and prayerfully sought the guidance of the spirit. Lo and behold, we ´contacted´ a man who had been baptized a long time ago but had moved away and became inactive. But he moved back to Caldas some time ago, and he said he wants to come back to Church! I love being a missionary!! The Church is true!!

Well, those are just some tidbits... the gists of news of this week. Zone Conference is Monday, and I am looking forward for correction and instruction from President Terry and the other mission leaders! I love all ya´ll!! Take care!! And please someone clean up a bit of my inbox por favor! C VU PLAY!! (Sorry my beloved Frenchies, but I don´t know how to spell your beautiful language.) Tchau!

--Elder Ellis V