Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hello Beloved Family!!

Oh, it is so great and wonderful to hear from all of you! Grandma Turtle, I think that´s hilarious that Buddy tries to sit on the chairs like a diner. That is really cool Mom and Dad about the Church being honored by the São Paulo legislature! Thanks for the picture of ya´ll and cousin Elder Zach Ellis - I love that ridiculously tall studly cousin of mine! And I´m terribly sorry for forgetting about last week to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kit and Mama KK!! Ya´ll are wonderful!

Life is great! Elder (Christopher Lincoln) Bell and I have had a good week. Last Wednesday we had gone to Santarém to play soccer and ultimate (no injuries this time!) and then Elder Bell had to go down to Lisbon with the zone leaders for a big leadership meeting thing. And unfortunately we had to wait to do the division switch, and by the time we did there wouldn´t be another bus to Caldas until the following day. But as it turned out we would´ve needed to move those appointments anyway, so it was just frustrating. But Elder Bell and I finally got back to Caldas Friday morning and got back to work.

Our amazing investigators are doing great! José Mota and Conceição are really open and generous - they fed us and our ward mission leader dinner - and really are accepting everything so far! haha, and their friend Paulo came to Family Night last night and as we were leaving like a herd of turtles he asked along the lines of `How long does it take / what do I have to do to join the Church´? I was kinda befuddled but I think I somewhat understandably said come to church, hear the lessons, and keep going! He is leaving to work in England on a ferry for 3 months (he already speaks English and French) so we told him he could go on the church website to try and find a church building nearby where he will live. Hopefully all goes well!

Yesterday was a great zone conference - my last one with President and Irmã Terry. Then comes President and Irmã Torgan! I am so blessed to be learning so much from such great people on my mission! Well I love all ya´ll, and I pray for you. Later today I´ll be picking up a package from one `Ellis Family` so I have no clue who it´s from but I will venture a guess as to Mom and Dad and Emily. Thanks! Love you all! Tchau!

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hello for May 20!

Hello everybody! It is so wonderful being a missionary! Thanks Dad, Rob, Mark, and Natalie for your emails and blog updates. Soo wonderful to hear from everyone! Hey Dad, I got your letter you wrote on May 10 (Mother's Day), on Monday May 18, just to let you know.

Well, life is wonderful! Elder Bell is yet another great missionary to work with. He is from Tulare, California, and has finally broken my Utah-boy companion streak. Not saying Utahns are bad in any way, but I think it's funny that only one out of five companions, including my MTC companion, is NOT from Utah. Anyways, he's another great, hardworking young man with a good sense of humor to top it off! He also likes to play chess, and bitter-sweetly, he's killed me at least 5 out of 7 games, so he can help me not be too rusty when I come back for the family tournaments! Ahem, all in appropriate time of course. :D

Well this week has gone well. We are so busy with people to teach that our evenings are always full, but not so many people are available during the day. But we'll find them! We had a good lesson with Sebastiao, Clemente, and their friends Adriano and Roberto. We talked about how having a testimony of the Book of Mormon means that we can also know that the Church is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet, and invited them to prayerfully ask Heavenly Father if they should be baptized, and to specifically know if this Church is true. I was disappointed that Clemente and Sebastiao were still reluctant of setting a date. I will keep praying for them to realize these truths and have the courage and faith to act with what knowledge that they have! (Their main 'excuse' was that they need to study more.) But I know this is God's work and He will provide for us to do our part His way and on His timetable!

Well, life is great. The Parkers only have a few more weeks before they go home at the end of June, so we're going to enjoy these last few P-days that we can with them. I love all of you, and am praying for you! Have a great week!

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I`m staying in the Hot Springs!

Hello beloved family!

Well this week a lot has happened. On Friday we had a great zone conference, where Elder and Sister Kearon (he´s a Seventy from England) were doing part of a mission tour of our mission. Great stuff! They focused on staying up on the moral high ground which comes from keeping the commandments 100%, which is all we can really control, as well as doing our part in the conversion process, which is doing what we can to create an environment where the Spirit can come and testify to our investigators. It is so important that they feel the spirit, because they will not likely remember what we say. Great stuff! And my favorite part from zone conference, I found out that Osvaldo da Silva Calunga and his son Carlos Daniel da Silva (goes by Daniel) were baptized on schedule and both have the Aaronic Priesthood, and are doing great! That bit of news made me feel joy beyond expression.

Sunday was Mothers Day! Happy (belated) Mother´s Day to all of you wonderful mothers - Mom, Grandma Turtle, Joy, Kit, Aup, Natalie, and Laura, as well as all my wonderful aunts who get this! It was fabulous talking to Mom, Dad, and Em (who dozed off during the call! Dorminhoca!) on Sunday. I am so blessed with goodly parents who have taught me true principles, and my wonderful siblings who are such great examples, and wonderful modern technology that enables such awesome communication! Life is great!!

Well, in other news, Elder Flint is being transferred to be a zone leader in Oeiras (just like Elder Prince was... I´m noticing a pattern), and Elder Bell will come to be district leader here in Caldas. I don´t know much about him, but I´m excited to work with and learn from another great elder in the Lord´s service! Well I love you all beyond expressionable ways. Ha, I don´t even think that made sense, but I´m sure ya´ll understood anyways. Tchau!

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hello Beloved Family!!

Once again, another week has come and gone! Thanks to everyone for your emails, pictures, love, prayers, and support! Uncle Kelly - I'll be using this email address until late September or October of 2010.

Sorry about last week's email having that random insertion of Mother's Day call. That was meant to be a little memo to self but I forgot to erase it before sending out the letter. Anyways, life is great here in Caldas! Some very cool things that have happened since last week's newsletter! Last Wednesday night we visited the Nunes family, they've been inactive since Joao (the husband) was released from being branch president. But we've been able to have nice visits with them, and before sharing whatever lesson or thought we have, we've helped Elizabete (the wife) with getting more acquainted with her new Windows Vista laptop. She really wants to know how to use it well so she can use the marvelous tool of email to communicate quickly and cheaply with her children who are all out of the house and around the world! Everyone knows I'm not the best when it comes to computer stuff, but I am glad I can at least help her out a bit. After the visit with them we went with the Parkers to an ex-investigator who lives a little bit out of town, and we had a great visit with him too! Thursday we had interviews with President Terry, which went well. After interviews Elder Flint and I took a bus to a spot in Rio Maior, and tried to pass by someone we ran into the week before who used to be taught by the Elders before Rio Maior was closed down and made part of Santarem's area. We walked a LOT (free exercise!) and finally found his house, but he unfortunately wasn't home. Then we had another long, long walk to the next bus station and made our way back to Caldas. Friday we helped out at Joaquim's soup kitchen, like we do every week, but afterwards we also helped our branch president move, which was fun in itself! He and his wife are now living much closer to the chapel and also in the same building as our investigators Fabio and Andreia! Fun stuff! Sunday was really cool - on our way to another lesson with the Nunes family a young man whistled at us to get out attention. He said he had two friends who live in Peniche (another town in our area) who wanted to come to church; one is a member from Germany and another is her Brazilian friend who is interested and wants to come also. I love being a missionary!! Monday and Tuesday we worked on burning the Book of Mormon (in Portuguese) onto some CDs for two of our investigators who can't read. One of them, Celio, just moved back to Brazil (Minas Gerais) with his brother and sister in law. The other, Clemente, is marked to be baptized on June 6th!

Well that's all the news from Portugal, for now. I love ya'll and am praying for you! Tchau!
-- Elder Ellis V