Monday, January 26, 2015

The One Who Say's "Um"

Hey all!
This is the young Lady I baptized on Saturday,
 the one who said she wanted to be baptized by
´´the one who says ´um.´´ 

We dedicated the new chapel this week!  President Kuçeki came to dedicate it, and we got to have our interviews with him.  He is super cool.  He gave us an awesome message about what we can do to become sanctified missionaries during our district meeting too, it was pretty awesome.  We had a lot of baptisms right after the dedication too!  I can´t remember the exact number though.  One of the Sister missionaries investigators, a 9 year old girl, asked me to baptize her.  When the Sisters asked her who she wanted to baptize her she said ´´I want the one who says ´um.´´´  That was pretty funny!  I´ve been using a lot of filler words lately while I´m thinking about how to conjugate verbs, so I´ve got to nab that while I can.  

Mom and Dad, I loved the E-mail you sent!  I´m glad to hear that Landon is doing well in Paraguay and that he´s working with the missionaries down there!  The Elder that he´s working with sounds pretty cool.  Tell him to send some pictures, I want to see what Paraguay´s like!  Does he have an E-mail where I can contact him directly?  I´d love to hear about how Paraguay´s going for him.  

The thought what you shared about when Peter walked on water to meet Jesus was so neat too. 
You´re so right, a lot of times we scare ourselves when we realize what we´re doing.  Every now and then I ´´look down´´ and see what it is that I´m doing, and it´s kind of terrifying.  I´ll be honest!  But whenever I´m at those moments the Savior´s there too.  There is a very real power in the atonement of Jesus Christ  It´s something that´s tangible, that we can see taking action in our lives if we´re applying it.  I´ve seen and felt it in my life before and am continuing to do so in the mission field.

I´m also sad to hear about Sister Johnson passing away.  She is an incredible person, and I´m sure that she and Skip are busy working on the other side.

Okay, you also asked about how the octets going.  It´s going great!  This is our last week in the octet.  At the beginning of February the assistants will be going back to Goiânia and Elder M. will probably be transferred.  We´ve got a lot of work to do this week though, so it´s a good thing that
we´ve still got them here.  We have several more families that we´re working with right now, and if all goes well they´ll be baptized this Saturday!  Wooh!  The family that you were talking about Dad, the one that we met that had been expecting us, is doing great.  They´re one of the families that is working towards baptism this Saturday.  They´re super firm and full of potential .  It´s so wonderful seeing people like that coming to the church here, we need them.
This picture I took right after the dedication of the chapel.  
The sun was setting right over the top of the chapel, 
and the clouds just lit up.  It was pretty awesome!  

When Mom was mentioning all of the stories that Dad shared in Sacrament meeting, it reminded me of something that happened in the MTC.  Several Elders and I were swapping stories and I told them some of the things that Dad´s done.  Growing up in Capitol reef, raising horses, living in a remote part of Alaska for 4 years, and other awesome stuff like that.  One of the Elders commented ´´Man.  You´re Dad sounds like the most interesting man alive!´´  I remember thinking ´´Yup!  He probably is!´´

The storms here can be pretty crazy.  We get way more lightning here than we do with the storms in CA.  I saw one storm in the distance a couple of weeks ago where there was a lightning strike about every second (I timed them).  The storm that we had here in Itumbiara was pretty heavy too.  When it rains here it pours, but we love it :)  I love it when it rains, and lightning just looks awesome.  

Congrats on getting you permit, Savannah!  That´s so awesome!  Maybe you´ll help me get the hang of driving again when I get back :)  Keep practicing and always try to find something that you can do better!

Congrats on nailing the job down and moving to Orem, Amy and Trevor!  That´s so awesome!  Keep me up to date on how that goes.

I love you all!  Have a wonderful week!  I look forward to reading all of your E-mails next Monday!


Elder Sweet    

Monday, January 19, 2015

"I need scuba gear! "

Hey there!

A Brazilian BBQ
This week has been pretty awesome, so much happened!  I  don´t have time to say everything though, so I´ll try to cut to the good stuff.  First, I  don´t think I´ve taken the time yet to tell you all about the heat.  Brazil´s pretty hot in general, but I´m in a place that´s hotter than normal I think.  Yesterday when we were walking to church it was already over 100 degrees at 8:30am, and a couple days ago it was 118 degrees!  I´ve never been in heat like this before, and it´s super humid too.  If there was any more water in this air I´d need scuba gear just to get around town.  Missionaries aren´t aloud to swim though, so if it does get any more humid they´ll probably just have to close the mission!  Like Grandpa Boe said though, everyone comes outside when its hot because no one here has AC.  That makes it much easier to contact people.  They´re also really nice about giving us water too, so that helps :)

Elder M. and I.
I had a pretty interesting conversation with some people yesterday, too.  Elder M. and I were talking to some ladies who where sitting out on their porch.  It was a bit wierd because every couple of seconds one of them would yell at her son who was playing across the street.  That aside though, it started like a normal conversation.  We told them that we were missionaries and that we wanted to invite them to the inauguration of the new chapel her in Itumbiara this Saturday.  Now, some days I´m really on top of Portuguese.  I understand a lot of what other people say, and they understand me.  Other days though, like this one, I´m totally lost.  They asked us where we were from, and Elder Manrique said that he´s from Peru and that I´m from the US.  Once they heard that I was from the US, they said (All of this was in Portuguese, btw.  I´ll do my best to translate it to English) "Oh, do they kill people up there?"  I was pretty confused, so I said "What?"  They said "The terrorists, do they kill people in the US?"  I told them that it´s really uncommon.  After that they asked "How are you liking Brazil?"  I completely misunderstood them, so I respended "The terrorists?"  They all started laughing and tried again.  "How are you liking Brazil?"  Once again I misheard them, so I said "Yes, we live in Itumbiara."  My companion looked at me and said "They asked if you´re liking Brazil."  I was pretty surprised because what I heard sounded nothing like that!  We all got a pretty good laugh out of that.

Okay, now the best of the best of the week!  We were towards the end of a pretty hard day.  It was hot, and we were all pretty exhausted.  We all met up at the new church building to rehydrate and figure out what we were going to do next.  Some of the missionaries decided that they wanted to go and get some Açaí (I´ll attach a picture to show you what it looks like.  We don´t have this in the states, but it´s just about the most delicious thing I´ve ever had). 
Açaí tigelas are amazing, 
they basically just mash up açaí berries, 
and put banans, granola, 
and condensed milk on the top. 
 It´s absolutely delicious!  
If you ever go to Brazil, try it out!

Two other Elders had an appointment to go to instead.  They asked me "Elder Sweet, what do you want to do?" and I replied "I want to work."  So, Elder M. S., and I skipped Açaí to teach one more lesson.  The family had been contacted by some of the other missionaries earlier that week (they gave them an invitation to the inaugaration of the new chapel), so we were going to teach them the first lesson.  When we first sat down with them, they had an attitude like "Oh cool, more Jesus boys!"  They were very welcoming.  The wife told us as we started that when she saw the picture of the new chapel she felt a peace that she hadn´t felt before too.  We started teaching the lesson, and they pretty quickly realized that we weren´t normal pastors.  Elder M. taught about the Ministry of Jesus Christ, I taught about the Apostasy, and Elder S. taught about the Restoration.  I love watching people´s attitudes change once we share the message of the restoration with them.  We could see the change in their faces as they realized that if what we were teaching was true, it was important.  Elder S. read James 1:5 with them, the scripture that Joseph Smith read when he was trying to figure out for himself which church was God´s.  He taught them about Joseph Smith´s first vision, how God and Jesus Christ appeared to him to answer his prayer, and called him to be a prophet just like those in biblical times.  After all of this, the Dad asked his daughter to get his bible for him.  I thought "Great, he wants to bible bash.  I thought this lesson was going pretty well."  I misjudged him though.  I didn´t catch everything he said, but with my companions help I did catch this much "You´re doing for me what no other pastor has ever done.  You´re not just preaching to me, you´re teaching me."  We invited them to pray about the message that we had shared, and to ask God if it was true.  The wife said "With the peace that I felt when I saw the picture of the chapel, and the way that I´ve felt while you have been here teaching me, I already know that this is the church of Christ.  I have no doubts."  The rest of the family concurred, but we still comitted them to pray about it.  As we were getting up to leave the Father stopped us and said "Thank you so much for working for Jesus.  You were here today to rescue our 4 souls.  Thank you."  Man, I didn´t know that people like that even existed!  It was the coolest lesson I´ve ever taught!  That´s what makes the mission worth it.   It´s so hard and exhausting, but every now and then you have moments like this, and everything else just kind of melts away.  
Btw, I saw a Toucan this week!
 It just flew by though,
 so I didn´t get a picture.  Next time!

I love you guys so much!  Have an awesome week and keep in touch!


Elder Sweet

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Than Bread and Water

Hey there, family!  How´s life back in the States?
This has been a pretty crazy week.  Like I said in my last E-mail, I went to Goiânia on Monday and had to go back on Thursday too.  I do already have my visa, but I was there to pick up a piece of paper that would be my ID while I´m here in Brazil.  Most of this week was spent in the bus or waiting at the Federal Police station in Goiânia, but I did get to work a little!  Yesterday Elder O. and I taught a lesson about prayer to two new investigators.  These two are super solid investigators, they´re coming to church and to all of the activities too.  They´re also keeping all of their commitments like reading scriptures and praying about what we teach them to learn from God if it is true.  Missionary work gets so much more exciting when you start to get people coming to church.  Seeing your investigators there just absolutely makes your day.  Its also fun being able to see people that I´ve found on the street start taking the lessons, coming to church, and on the road to baptism.  There´s a joy to be found in this work that´s unlike anything else I´ve ever experienced; it´s life-changing.

Before I left on my mission someone asked me how, in a foreign country where people are usually much poorer than they are in the US, I would go about trying to tell people that they need Jesus.  I can´t remember exactly how I responded, but even with just the little time that I´ve had here on my mission I´ve learned how to answer that question in a much more meaningful way.  Yes, it is difficult in some way to go up to people who, in some cases, may not even know if they will have food the next day and tell them that I have a message for them that is worth their time.  It could be better spent, one might think, procuring food or working for some wage.  This brings to mind an event that is recorded in the New Testament.  Jesus was at a well at the same time as a certain Samaritan woman.  He asked her to fetch him water.  She was somewhat surprised that a Jewish man would even talk to her, a Samaritan, let alone ask for a favor.  She responded ´´How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.´´   
 He said to her ´´If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.´´ Her response has intrigued me for some time.  She said ´´Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep:  from whence then hast thou that living water?´´ I love the imagery there.  ´´Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.´´  In life we have need of water to sustain the lives of our physical bodies.  Likewise, living water is a need of our spiritual bodies if we are to have eternal life with God.  The well, however, is deep, and we have nothing with which to draw the water that we so desperately need.  As Jesus himself said, we must drink of the water that He gives us.  He descended below us all,
even to the bottom of the well, that he might bear the burden that we could not and fetch for us this water.  He did not use something to draw with, for he was the vessel.  The task that he bore was greater than any other ever accomplished, but Jesus Christ did the will of the Father and finished it. 

The price of this living water is beyond expression, a more valuable gift there simply is not.  And yet, it can be had if we simply ask.  So, how can I tell the people here in Brazil that they need Jesus, even more than they need bread and water?  By helping them realize that the bread and water that Christ offers us is of far greater value than that which we earn by the sweat of our brow.  The water that we procure for ourselves satisfies for but a moment, but partakers of the living water, that which only Christ can offer us, find an eternal gift that never fades.  That´s it.  There isn´t some trick to it, there´s no clever sales tactic that we employ.  It simply comes down to the fact that in the eternal scheme of things the message that we bear is more valuable than anything else, and in it more happiness can be found than anywhere else.  God is our loving Heavenly Father.  We cannot see the end from the beginning, but he can.  Trust him.  He has prepared a way for us to have this living water, and the way is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No greater gift has ever been given from a parent to their child or from a brother to his siblings, and no greater expression of love can possibly be had than that of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  In his name, even Jesus Christ, I testify of that truth.  Amen.

I love you all a ton!  Have a wonderful week, tons of smiles, and great new memories!  Talk to you all next week!


Elder Logan Sweet    

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Impressed by the Message of the Restoration

Here´s just another random picture that I took,
 it was really hot that day.
 Well, I love you guys!  Talk to you Monday
Hey there Fam!

How are all of you doing?  Sorry about not Emailing you all yesterday like Elder C. said in his Email.  Elder S. and I didnt get back from Goiânia until around 9:30pm, so we had to push E-mail back another day.  Hopefully that wont happen again for a little while.  

So, this has been a crazy week!  We got a call on Thursday saying that there were some emergency transfers going on, and that Elder A. was being transferred to Anapolis.  My new companion is named Elder S.  So, we were supposed to get the other two assistants last Friday, but one of them got a really bad infection in his foot.  To compensate, one of the mission secretaries (Elder S.) came to Itumbiara instead and Elder S. (the assistant) is staying in Goiânia working as a secretary until his foot heals.  Now we have got a total of 8 missionaries in Itumbiara, and we are all in one massive companionship.  We submit our numbers together, basically everything.  As far as the mission is concerned, we are a big octet!  We go on splits each day, so we get to work with a different missionary each day.  Elder S. has been assigned as my trainer so he and I have companion study together each morning, but I could end up working with anyone during the day.  Right now we have me, Elder O., Elder M. (District Leader), Elder S. (Mission Secretary), Elder L. (Assistant to the President), and Elder C. (Assistant to the President).  I got pretty dang lucky; I basically get to be trained by the assistants.  This rocks, let me tell you!
Elder M. is such a boss. 
That just comes with being Peruvian though...

My trip to Goânia was pretty interesting too.  We had a pretty aweful bus on the way there.  Im not trying to complain or anything, Im just ´´calling it as I see it´´ as Dad would say.  There was no AC, which is pretty rough in the Brazilian summer.  We took a really wierd route and people were getting off every 15 or 20 minutes, so what should have taken 3 hours took 5.  We were even on a dirt road at one point, that was kind of wierd.  We made it to Goiânia alive and well though, and had some awesome milkshakes!  The next day we got up at 5am to go to the Federal Police station to pick up my visa.  We tried to get there first so that we could put our names first on the appointment list.  As it turns out though, the guy who was working there gave us the wrong list.  When we came back later that day, they told us that we were not on the list and that we would have to come back Friday.  President K. told us to go back to Itumbiara and come back on Thursday.  So, tomorrow I am getting back on another bus and riding all the way to Goiânia again!  Hopefully we get the right list this time!  Also, the bus that we had on the way back was increível!  It had so much foot room and the seats reclined way back, so it was basically like having a bed.  There was AC and the seats were super comfortable too.  I would ride in that bus anywhere!  
Elder S. actually served here in Itumbiara for 5 transfers, 
and he said it is super safe, so I will try to take more pictures this next week!  
Here are a few!

I also learned that if you want miracles to happen on your mission, you need to be a missionary that God can trust.  Monday two weeks ago, right after I sent my previous Email to you Elder Antunes and I were out working.  We were talking with everyone, and doing our very best to be excellent missionaries.  It was wierd how much more success we had that day.  We had three people that we contacted tell us to come into their house right then and share our message, and a couple others that we visited the next day.  They were all very impressed by the message of the restoration, and 5 of them said that they wanted to be baptized right after the first lesson.  If we are talking with everyone, teaching with power and authority, and testifying of this gospel whenever we can, God does the finding and the teaching and we are simply the mouths.  Thats the secret, showing God that he can trust you with his work.  When you do that, he begins to put people in your path who are prepared.  

I love you guys tons!  Talk to you again on Monday!

Tons of love,

Elder Sweet