Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dearest Family --

It is great to get any and all news that I can. I am sorry about Aunt Becky, and I will continue to pray for her, Uncle Kelly, Mic, and the rest of Tribe 5. How great it is to have a knowledge of the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation! Please pass on my love to all of Tribe 5. I look forward to the day when I can get to know Aunt Becky, along with Grandma and Grandpa Ellis, and Grandpa Lion, in the ways I could not/have not during this life.

Thanks Rob and Christa for the package you sent - I got it this morning and am very pleased! Sorry to hear about the miscarriage, but as you said all things are under God´s control and He will lead us aright.

Well this has been quite the week! God has truly been blessing Elder Sagebin and me in our efforts, and we can see His Hand in Carregado! Nilzete, the Brazilian member we´ve been reactivating, has been on a role and took us to teach a lesson to her friends who live a good half hour walk from her house. Besides that she really wants to help the work move forward and is inviting her friends and neighbors to church as well. With Nilzete on the right track, we want to give some more attention to reactivating another member - a nice Portuguese man named Vítor Martinho. Through small and simple things are great things like reactivations brought to pass, and we will try to have weekly visits with him renewing the Restoration and the good friendly and happy feelings that the Gospel brings.

Sunday we brought a street contact to church, and he was able to stay for the first hour (which was sacrament meeting). A big family in the ward finally got back from vacationing in Venezuela and we´re excited to work with them more. Their oldest son is 17 and we can work with him, and their 16 year old daughter, along with Brenda, came to me after Church saying how they want to help and visit everyone they possibly can - members, inactives, and investigators. Oh, if only EVERYONE could have that vision and zeal! Brenda helped us out Sunday night with another visit to Ivan and Sorene. We taught about fasting, which went well, and when we were leaving the elevator got stuck! Quite the humorous adventure. Luckily they only live on the 3rd floor, and we got stuck just above the first floor, and we were out in 8 minutes. Not too shabby!

Yesterday was a complete finding day until dinner, and God blessed us with success! We made a lot of return appointments, and we were let in by a brazilian man and taught him and his friend, left them with copies of the Book of Mormon, and invited them to read and pray before our appointment on Friday afternoon. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! And last night we had a Family Night with Adriana (Brenda´s mom) and family, including Leandro who is Adriana´s inactive semi-ex-husband. He participated and seemed to enjoy it!

Well that´s it for this week. I love you all and am praying for you. Keep filling me in on what´s going on with each of you. And Mom -- another sweep down of my missionary email account would be splendid. Love all of you!

--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hello from Carregado!

Hey Everybody!!

Good news, Joy! I got your package last week! Haha, unfortunately we found the slip and went to pick it up from the post office after I had already done email last week, so I gave you false information. Sorry! And THANK YOU for the wonderful package!! Everything was intact, still in the cool little wrappings, and the letters were great also! Give a bear hug to Warren, Jared, and Cameron for me!

Anyways, life is great! No bonking heads on metal bars, safe travel, getting stuff done! Thursday we worked on a home/visiting teaching plan with the branch president and first counselor, which looks promising as long as everyone ´does well their part´. Unfortunately the branch president is traveling for holidays and wont be back for a week or two, but we´ll still keep going!

Monday we had a division with Caldas da Rainha after district meeting. One of the changes President Torgan made about two weeks ago is that Carregado will now be part of the Santarém Zone, instead of the Alverca Zone. (Which makes sense since Carregado is part of the ecclesiastical Santarém District.) Needless to say, I think it is pretty cool to have been back in my previous area, and working side by side with the greatest branch mission leader Christophe Jaime and my former companion Elder Bell again!

Yesterday we swithced back and after a PMG lesson with Brenda, and after that we passed by a potential investigator who Elder Sagebin had contacted with Elder Larsen during the division. And then we needed to be in the chapel reviewing the work that the men had been doing with the floors (they replaced the carpet with some kind of wood), painting the walls, replacing some doors, and replacing the sound system. Then these two other guys came to install the new computer stuff for the branch office and trained us on how to use it for doing tithing and taking care of members´ records. Cool stuff, and it´s gonna be a lot faster than doing it all by hand! Yesterday we also finished off with a meeting at our branch mission leader´s house going over the progress record and some other things for helping out missionary work.

Well, that´s pretty much the news. Ivan and Sorene are doing great, and we´re really looking forward to teaching this young Portuguese couple (I think I saw wedding rings, so they´re already married!! YAY!!). The work goes on! I love ya´ll, and thanks again for all the great emails, pictures, and support. I´m not sure what the status is with Aunt Becky, but I will continue to pray for her. Love,

--€lder €llis V

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Carregado, week 7 ... ish

Hello Beloved Family!!

Another great week in Carregado! Unfortunately I have not received any other mail from anyone (packages or letters) as of yet. For those of you who are sending stuff, the mission address is always on the safe side albeit slower, but I do have the feeling that I will be here for a good while, and certainly at least until September 17. Anyways.

It was awesome to get the updates with the cool pictures! Alas, I think Warren might finally have passed me up. But Elder/Uncle Shorty will continue forward! I didn´t even recognize Anne-Loren (however you spell her name...) But it is so great to hear from all of you! And I´m happy to hear that Mom fixed up her hotmail account and is getting my emails now. Huzzah!

This week has been great. We saw Elder Hansen off last Wednesday and got back to work. While we were at the office President Torgan talked to Elder Bezerra and me about being trainers. (That might have been the ´orientation´ thing you heard about Dad. I arrived in Portugal a few months before Elder Bezerra did, but it is neat that he´s training too. On top of that, we´re back in the same zone again!) And before I left I got a late birthday present from Elizabeth Mann (Sterling´s little sister) which was a cool tie, and I got 3 other ties from one of the other Elders who was going home with Elder Hansen. Anyways, it´s been a great week and Elder Sagebin and I hit the ground running! We´ve been focusing on working hard and efficiently, and the blessings have already started coming! Little by little, we´ve started finding more people and teaching more lessons. This really is God´s work and He can help us best when we try our best to do things His way! The only unfotunate thing that happened (besides having a barren mailbox) was I clobbered my head on the corner of a clotheshanger thing. With all the apartments they have metal bars that come out horizontally from the building and have lines on which to hang your clothes to dry. I didn´t see one metal bar because I was looking at Elder Sagebin while talking to him and nailed the back corner of my head. But it´s ok, only a little tender bump now.

Well time has run out (so many great emails to read and pictures to look at!). I hope to hear more from ya´ll and wish you a happy and terrific week! Tchau!
--Elder Ellis V

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good things come to those who wait!

Hello wonderful family!!

Well what a week! I know that God does bless us according to our needs, faith, and diligence. Sometimes we may not have room to receive these multiplicities of blessings, and others we do our part and wait for the Lord´s timing, and be still and know that He is God. Happily, the less active Brazilian lady we´ve been working with has been coming to church more consistently and is moreso back on her feet. We passed her by last Friday and read with her Elder Holland´s powerful talk `None Were With Him´ from this past General Conference. (I just read that again this morning in my personal study and I will never cease to be amazed and feel the love from Jesus Christ´s perfect, infinite, and complete Atonement for us all.) We took turns reading the copy of the talk we had printed off and left it with her. Sunday we had arranged a ride for her, but the member ended up not really knowing where she lives and came to sacrament meeting without her. We did a division, Elder Sagebin and Hansen stayed at church and I went with Fernando (the member) to pick up Nilzette at her home. She didn´t utter a word of complaint at all, and came with us happily, and was able to meet with the branch president after the last church meeting to talk about the help she needed.

After church and taking care of tithing, we were finally able to meet with Ivan and Sorene, our wonderful Brazilian couple. Ivan has been so busy with work this past week and all of our previous appointments and attempts to meet with them fell through. But good things come to those who wait! Irmã Tina, a wonderful member who lives right across the road from them, was with us, and we finally were able to talk to them about baptism. And best of all, they readily committed to pray to know about being baptized and to prepare themselves for baptism! *That´s what it´s all about!* Not baptism itself, but true conversion and coming closer to our Savior Jesus Christ through faith and making and keeping covenants! I love the gospel!!

So yeah, that´s the gist of the highlights right there. Last Wednesday we stopped by the mission office and I got the letter from Mom - thanks! Oooh, and Kit and Kevin! Thanks for the package you sent! I got it Friday July 31st, and my companions were a bit perplexed at first as to why the mailman would be delivering a pizza with English written on the pizza box! Way to be creative and frugal, and thanks for the laffy taffys, frisbee, and note. Pass on my love to Ryn, Elle, (and Eden)!

Well, life is great. Elder Hansen is finishing his mission, and we´re taking him into Lisbon today to send him off. Godspeed! We caught word of a lot of big changes happening with transfers. But no biggie, because God is leading His work through revelation to His called and set apart representatives, including President Torgan.

Mom -- I´ve still been emailing these newsletter thingymobobs to you, at ----, so I hope whatever is wrong gets fixed. If it somehow keeps going, would someone please forward my emails to her please?

Rachel -- a-a-a-aHEM! I do assume you are still getting my emails and were talking to the rest of the family when you said you didn´t get emails from anyone except our marvelous Grandma Turtle?

Marko Polo -- CONGRADZ on the board results! I´m so happy for you!

`Well, I love you!´ Thanks again everyone for your great love and support, and have a great week! Tchau!

--Elder Ellis V