Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hello beloved family!!

Hey everyone! It is great to hear from everyone! Well this week has gone pretty well. Don´t worry, Dad, we didn´t contact anymore sunbathers. Friday we made a long haul - we had our weekly visit with an inactive Brazilian member named Nilzette, and this time she agreed to come to church without a fuss! She expressed her great anxiety over her driver´s license test and how mean her instructor is, but she agreed anyway! After we were done we took the long country scenic route to another area, and worked out there for the afternoon. We came back in the early evening to receive a blessing - we were able to have a member present lesson with a potential investigator who has been VERY hard to get a hold of, let alone meet with. It went shwell! I really like how President Torgan several weeks ago invited us to focus on preparing ourselves so that we can be ready to be blessed with the success and finding the people the Lord has prepared for us to teach. Obey with exactness, work with all diligence and faith, and ´know that the Lord is God´!

So Rachel´s/Sister Ellis III´s preparation day has been moved to Monday. I´m sure ya´ll will do great in keeping both of your favorite missionaries informed of the wonderful happenings in your lives!! :D Hey Kit and Kevin - ya´ll can go ahead and send that family video dvd. It will be greatly appreciated!

`Well, I love all of you!´ Fica bem e firme! Have a great week!
--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hey everybody!!

Thanks so much for all the news! It is great to hear from ya´ll!

Thanks Uncle Bob for the birthday well wishes! Just so you know, I´ll be using this current email while I am on my mission, and then I´ll be back to my old one ( when I am released from full time service. And I´ll try and send some pictures, but Mom / KK can probly email you some ones I´ve already sent home.

Mark and Aup -- whoa! That was one crazy story about Tearisa getting the flu! I was starting to get worried reading that email, but thanks be to God that she is all right. Whew!

Righteous Rae / Sister Ellis III -- thanks for the referral! I´ll be sure to pass it on to the mission office. The Church is true and it´s great to be a missionary!

Rob and Christa -- thanks for the package!! Man oh man, those brownies are DELICIOUS, and the honey bunches of oats and Reese´s are wonderful also! Thank you very much! I got the package last Thursday but opened it on Friday because I did a division with the zone leaders and was in their area (Alverca) and I figured it´d be easier to carry while still in the box. Thanks again!!

Well well, life is great. So I have reason to believe that Laura´s twins will be girls, is that correct? Congradulations!! Looks like the girl-boy ratio is swinging to the girls´ favor with the nieces and nephews. Anyways, life is great. Last Thursday (when I picked up said package) we had our interviews with President Torgan and I also met Elder Eduardo Molina Sagebin who will be serving with us for the rest of Elder Hansen´s stay and continue serving with me. Great stuff! (Oh yeah, and thanks Dad for the news about Scott Braithwaite´s mission call! Cool beans! Any idea when he´ll arrive in Portugal?)

Friday was a very fun birthday - and thanks again to everyone for all of the well wishes, love and support! 20 years old and feeling fit, fine, and fantastic!! In Alverca Elder Oram treated me to cake and ice cream (from the apartment) to celebrate. Haha, and I´m pretty glad we did the division, because the water was turned off in our apartment in Carregado because the dono hadn´t been keeping up with the water bills. But we got the water back on that same day, so no worries. Davíd (the dono, who is French by the way, random fact) felt bad that we went the whole morning without running water so he bought us pizzas for lunch. He´s got a big heart. Friday evening President and Irmã Torgan called to wish me a happy birthday. Aw, shucks!

Anyways, life is great! Yesterday I got my haircut by the Brazilian lady who is being taught by us, while her husband got a mini lesson on the side by Elders Hansen and Sagebin. Good lesson and good haircut! Before that we had gone to another town in our area a ten minute bus ride away called Alenquer, which is a really pretty town. We searched around for people to talk to, and in our exploration accidentally walked in on a woman in her early 20s sunbathing by her pool -- it was very akward to say the least, but Elder Hansen still gave her a pass-along card. Later Elder Sagebin and I were able to talk to a nice lady in a park and left her with a Restoration pamphlet. We had a really nice conversation with her and as we were leaving she looked like she was reading the pamphlet we left her. Great day!

Well thanks again everyone for your love, support, and emails. Keep ´em coming! Tchau!!

--Elder Ellis V

PS -- thanks Em for passing on Sacha´s birthday wishes for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another year gone by...

Hello Wonderful Family!!

Aah!! I turn 20 in two days and it does NOT feel like i turned 19 a year ago on the amazingly fun Alaskan cruise! Time literally has flown by! Mom, Dad and Em, I got the package ya´ll sent with the 3 boxes of cereal and the new electric razor last thursday. Thank you soo much! The razor is handy (no pun inteded) and the cereal is delicious and American. Thank you thank you thank you! And Monday I got the big awesome card that practically everybody signed - thank you everyone for your great love and support! And Rachel thanks for the card. I haven´t opened it yet, cuz you had the audacity to write `do not open until July 17th´ but thank you anyways! Kit and Kev - thanks for that birthday email, but sadly I was unable to see the video/audio clip of your girls singing. Thanks for trying though! I think has something against seeing video clips. But I DID see those great regular photos in the other email you sent. Holy smokes!! My nieces and nephews are growing up! Warren G is now Warren the Giant, I didn´t recognize Jared, and I did double takes with Sam and Brian. Thanks so much!

Haha, I feel kind of bad, but I´ve realized some things that I could ask for... belated additions to my birthday wishlist. I feel bad and greedy, so for everyone who already has decided on what gifts to spoil me with, and has already sent them, please do not spoil me further! But for those who still need ideas for packages that will arrive late, the following would be great presents: Printed pictures from the Aspen Grove reunion and other updated family photos, a camera case, new running shoes (or advice/$ on how to better get them - my shoes are 10 and 1/2 or 11 Reeboks right now), a new wallet, a new frisbee, Old Spice deoderant, and (crunchy) peanut butter! Ask and ye shall recieve, right? Just kidding! Oh, but I do have another advice request: i got a fountain pen ink spill on one of my shortsleeve white proselyting shirts, and I would love instructions on how to best remove the ink stains. Oh yeah, Mom -- I don´t have a dryer machine, so how would those instructions for the Aspen Grove shirt work with only air drying? I haven´t used it yet because I don´t want to mess it up.

Anyways. Thank you again EVERYONE for all of your great love and support! I love hearing news and all that stuff, so keep them coming! You are all great examples to me, and I love and pray for all of you!

Other news - Rachel, you know how you said you´re in a tripla? Pretty crazy, but I´m going to be in a tripla also - for three weeks. A new elder is coming in and we´ll be picking him up Thursday when we have interviews with President Torgan. He´s from Salt Lake City, I think, his dad is Brazilian, so he already speaks Portuguese, and his last name is Sagebim. So Elder Hansen will train for his remaining three weeks, and then I think I will finish it. Something like that. Crazy huh?

Oh yeah, President and Irmã Torgan are great! Really nice and fired up to work and get going! Friday Elder Hansen and I helped out with this youth conference activity thing - kind of a mix of youth conference and EFY, Portuguese version of encampamento (´Camp Out´). We and 8 other elders went out with the youth and their adult leaders and passed out 200 copies of the Book of Mormon (give or take), and it was great. Haha, a lot of the kids were amazed saying things like `Wow, this is hard! Those people dont want to talk to us at first... it´s scary talking to strangers` etc. Welcome to LIFE kiddos! Again, I am so happy I did a summer with Southwestern before starting my mission! One young woman almost hugged me in her joy of succeeding in giving away a Book of Mormon. Yikes, it was scary, but luckily didn´t happen!

Well, that´s the fun and exciting stuff... in general. Love all of you and am praying for you. Hey, incase anyone thinks they have time to ´kill´ or want to busy their kids who are able to read the scriptures, I share the invite Elder Bednar gave to us - look through the Book of Mormon and find the 6 instances where it says the phrase `one by one`. No cheating - this is only to be you and your hardcopy Book of Mormon - no computers or electronics or anything. (Nada zero zip!). Have fun! I love you!

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Charged up!

Hello beloved Family!!

For a random piece of info, Carregado has a couple of meanings, including charged (like energizer bunnies... or batteries if you prefer) or loaded like the many trucks that pass through here. Anyways, I`d just like to say that it´s another great day and I´m charged up and fully loaded!

Thanks everyone for the news and emails! It sounds like Aspen Grove is yet another blast. Can ya´ll save the posters of me and Rachel? I wonder what it´d be like to see a lifesized image of yourself guarding the fridge when you´re hungry for a snack... ;) My condolences to Darrell with the broken finger. Bummer in the summer... but congradz on the volleyball! Honestly, I don´t think ya´ll would need me in the basketball. All I can do is run around and I´d probably take out the silly man who thinks he can get away with fouling my family members. But anyways, thanks again for the news and advice, and I´m excited to see all the fun pictures! Oh, and I´m going to be picking up some kind of package from the post office today, so thank you to whoever sent it!

Life is great in Carregado! I semi met President and Sister Torgan on Monday at our first zone conference with them. I´m really excited for all the work to get done with President Torgan leading the way! Boy oh boy, am I glad I have the gospel, such a great family full of examples and friends, and even doing a summer of bookselling with Southwestern! Work work work, put first things first, and get along with people! Rob you were absolutely right - I think every future missionary should do a summer with SW. Anyways, the work is moving on! The Brazilian couple we´re teaching, Iván and Soréni, are wonderful. They are coming to church, reading, and loving it all. Last night Elder Hansen and I also had an activity with several members of the branch. We did the jar lesson about time management (fitting carrots, potatoes, beans, and rice into a jar) showing that you really DO have time for everything when you put first things first, etc. When we put first things first, everything else will fall into place, and as we put God first, we can have His help and do all expedient things, feel the Spirit, and be edified every day. We also touched on that it is usually a sacrifice - ye cannot serve God and Mammon. It will often come down to you needing to choose God or other things that cannot bring you eternal joy. Then we played a game afterwards of ´do you love you neighbor´. Hehehe... fun stuff.

aHA! I have the full names! Sandra Marina Aguiar Rodrigues da Paz and her daughter Neuza Soraia Rodrigues Vieira were baptized on June 20th, 2009. Well, I love all of you and am praying for you. Keep having a fun time, and take lots of pictures! Love you all, tchau

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Greetings from Carregado!

Hello Beloved Family!

Life is great! I am now serving in the bonified area of Carregado with Elder Timothy Daniel Hansen. And alas! we´re moving apartments today and I do not have my planner with me that has Sandra and Neuza´s full names. Sorry! Next week for certain. And incase anyone is interested, the apartment address here in Carregado is:

Praceta João Álvares Fangundes
Lote 2 11ºDto

Anyways, life is great! Elder Hansen is serving his last 6 weeks and will be going home on August 7th. But I´m gonna do my best to keep helping him work his hardest, sprint to the finish, and avoid that silly disease of Trunkyitis. But shouldn´t be too hard, because he is a good Elder who has and is working hard. I´m excited to be working here - lots of work to do and challenges to rise up to! Great day great day great day!!! When I first arrived I found out that we´d be moving within a week (today) so I didn´t unpack everything. We finished moving over all of our stuff and we´re gonna get our shopping done and then clean up the apartment we´re moving out of. Busy busy busy.

Carregado is gonna be a blast! There are some good members here, they just need to get fired up! I would use Dad´s mighty battle cry (Woo-Woo!) but I´ll save it for dire circumstances. ;) We´re both in the branch presidency - Elder Hansen is 2nd counselor and I am secretary (I guess that doesn´t really count as being part of the presidency but oh well, I get to help!). Most of the members live in a town that is further away and we can only go over there every so often due to limited travel funds, but I´m sure we can make it work to go over there and work with them when we need to. The 1st counselor in the branch Presidency, Irmão António (he´s Cape Verdian!), lives near us here in Carregado, as well as a Brazilian family. Unfortunately, the step dad, Leandro, only got baptized to marry the mom, Adriana, and is a lazy bum. But Brenda, Adriana´s 16 year old daughter, has a heart of gold and the missionary zeal like no other. She´s got a little brother Samuel, who just turned 10. Good family.

Anyways, that´s about it. Question for the board (aka all you amazing family members who have greater wisdom and experience than I at firing people up): any advice? I´d love some!

Thanks Kit and Kev for those great pictures along with the news in your blog post email thing! I love my family!

K, Mom asked me if I want anything for my birthday. Honestly, I can´t think of anything I really need besides the electric razor... AND of course all of your wonderful love, support, prayers, and emails! :D If ya´ll really do feel like sending stuff, then good ol´American cereal and goodies, peanut butter, and handwritten letters never hurt. Otherwise, whatever you think I would like, especially as a missionary, seeing as the majority of you know what missionaries like to get.

Hey Mom and Dad, could ya´ll send me my other memory card that I mailed to you before? The one I have is raking in the numbers - over 700 pictures. Just wanna be safe!

To quote a wise man: `Well, I love you!` It´s true... I love ya´ll and am praying for you! Let me know about all the fun you have at Aspen Grove!

--Elder Ellis V