Monday, June 27, 2016

91 and Dedicated

Hey all!  
   I hope that all of you are having a great week!  This week, I wanted to tell you all about one of my favorite members from my current ward.

   In the photo that I´ve attached, you´ll see me and another member from our ward named D.  He´s a convert of about 1 or 2 years, and is going to the temple for the first time this week!  He´s 91 years old, and even with his difficulties he does everything possible to show his love to the Lord.  

   Every Sunday morning at 8:20 (40 minutes before sacrament meeting) Brother D. can be seen walking through the chapel doors, having walked from his house to church alone.  Considering his age, his pace isn´t all that fast!  But still the same, he´s always one of the first people seated in the chapel.  As soon as he sits down, he opens up a little priesthood manual that he received and studies the ordenances of the Melchezedeck (I have no idea how to spell that anymore!) Priesthood, which he received just a little while ago.  When we asked him what he was studying, he said "Well, I´ve got the priesthood now, so I need to know how to use it!"  

   Two weeks ago was stake conference.  Because of the fact that many members here don´t have cars, the ward chartered a bus to take the members to the stake center.  The bus left the chapel at 8:30.  After the stake conference I saw Brother Domingos, and went up to talk to him.  He told me that he forgot about the stake conference and when he got to church (he was running a little late that sunday), the chapel was closed up and no one was there.  He said that he felt the spirit tell him to go to the house of a member that lives close to the chapel, so off he went!  He said that he got there right as they were getting ready to leave, and they offered him a ride to stake conference!  

   There´s a number of other stories that I could tell you all about Brother D, such as how his 70 year old son came to visit him last week among others, but the message is always the same!  
I´m grateful for the opportunity that I´ve had to see such a dedicated and faithful example of discipleship!  He´s a reminder to me of the dedication that the Lord wants from us, and the peace and joy that comes from a life centered on Christ!  If we are quick to observe, then we´ll find that we are blessed to be in the presence of our spiritual superiors, even spiritual giants, on a regular basis.  Let us all learn from there example!

   The greatest thing that I´ve come to know to a greater degree on my mission is that Jesus is the Christ!  Becoming like him is our aim, and living his gospel to become like him is the secret to a happy and eternal family!   

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Sweet

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Greatest Truths

Hey there, Family!

   So, I´ve got to be really quick but let me give you an update on what´s going on here in the Brazil Goiânia Mission!

   First, Elder Z. and I are probably going to have a baptism this Saturday!  His name is G.  He´s only 8 years old, but he and his Mom are seriously investigating the church.  They two have already read the Book of Mormon and received a testimony from the spirit, and are progressing really well!  

   We´ve been putting a huge focus on eternal families in our work and in the mission as a whole.  In the leadership meeting a couple weeks back we gave a training about the importance of finding, teaching, and baptizing families.  The fundamental purpose of everything in the church is creating eternal families, and when we teach this truth clearly, simply, and powerfully as soon as we find someone then they soon see that this isn´t just another church.

   A couple days ago I contacted a man on the street who wanted to argue with me about this point.  He was so utterly emphatic; "When you die that´s it!  There´s no father, mother, brothers, nothing.  It´s just each of us in our own corner and God."  I tried to help him open his eyes to the greatest truth of the restoration, but he preferred to keep them closed.  I bore my testimony to him that 
God´s plan is that our families can be together forever, and that I know that this is true because I prayed and received a witness from God.  After he left, I said a silent prayer in my heart that someday he might see the beauty in the truth, and accept into his life and his family the fulness of the blessings of the restored gospel.

   This is the greatest of all truths, that our families can be together forever!  I testify that this is true!  
Farewell Meeting for President and Sister K.
Elder Sweet standing second from the right
Photo from Elder A's Blog

Love you guys!
Elder Sweet

Junho Ja! Photos! Finally!!!

Lunch at Batatinha´s after the Mission Leadership Meeting!

This is a brazilian street food called a pastel.  They get a flat, rectangular piece of dough, stuff it with whatever you want, fold it half to seal it, and then they fry it!  It´s not the healthiest food on earth, but it sure is good!

After the creation of the Patos De Minas District!

Me and Elder F, one of the missionaries that was serving in Patos de Minas at the time.  Since then he´s been transferred and is now in G.

A cool photo of Patos de Minas!

Hey all!

   So this week was transfer week!  We were incredibly busy this week because of the transfer, but on top of that we also had the Farewell Meeting for President and Sister K, and the Mission Leadership Meeting!  That was a lot of work!  President K. has two more weeks as Mission President, then the new Mission President arrives.  I´m sure that President B. is going to be great, but I sure am going to miss President K!  What he has done for the mission and the kingdom here is incredible!  

   Anyhow, I´ll just tell you guys a quick story before my time ends!  So, when we were travelling to Patos de Minas, I told President K. and President S. about how when I was a kid, Dad told us that if we didn´t put our arms up and scream when we crossed a bridge that it would fall.  We laughed a bit about that, and then kept on driving.  A little later, I hadn´t even noticed but we were coming up on a bridge.  All of a sudden, President K. put up his free hand and started to scream!  Pretty soon President S. followed suit, and then Elder Z. and I were the last to join.  After that, every bridge that we crossed treated similarly!  It was a lot of fun, and a very memorable experience.

 A Bridge in Patos de Minas
I´ve got to go now, but have a great week and know that I love you all tremendously!


Elder Sweet 

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Love You All So Much


I´ve got a ton of pictures to send, but I forgot my camera when I came to the office this morning!  Next week I´ll send a ton of pictures!

President B. and his Family

The Famous Elder A.
   President B. gets here on Landon´s birthday.  The transition´s going to keep us pretty busy, but it´s a part of the learning process.  I´m really sad to see President K.  go, but I´m sure that President B. is going to be a great Mission President as well!

That´s all for now, my time´s almost up!  I won´t be able to send the group E-mail today, but know that I love you all so much! 

Until Next Week,
Elder Sweet

Sunday, June 5, 2016

District P!!!

This week the long awaited day came!!!

   A couple of weeks ago we recieved the following message from President K.: "Aprovado Patos!!!" ("Patos was Approved!!!")  Since then we´ve been planning our trip to Patos de Minas, the most distant city in the mission.  This week we travelled out to organize the district!  The trip started off great!  We left Wednesday morning, traveled to Uberlândia (we passed through Ituiutaba as well to do the house inspection there as well), and did the house inspections in Uberlândia there and then stayed the night.  My MTC companion, Elder S, is the Zone Leader there, so it was great to see him again!  The next morning we went to Araguari, Catalão, and Uberaba.  Uberaba was my previous area, it was awesome to be in the area there as well!  We waked up the next morning and went to Araxá, then we went straight to Patos de Minas.  We got there in the afternoon, did the house inspections, and then Elder Z. and I went on a division with the Zone Leaders.  Saturday we had a Zone meeting; Elder Z. and I prepared a training about chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel, our purpose as missionaries.  Saturday we went on a division with another companionship, and the work was great!  By chance I got to work with Elder C, one of my companions when I was financial secretary, as well.  He´s one of the best missionaries that I know, extremely dedicated to the work.  So, I can now say that I´ve visited each of the cities in the mission that have missionaries!  

 They´re all great cities!  

   The meeting where the new district was announced on Sunday was excellent.  It´s such a great thing to see the church growing!  There were two branches there, Patos de Minas and Califórnia.  This week the Guanabara branch was created to complete the district.  The leadership in the new district is full of humble, honest men who feel completely inadequate in their new callings, but trust that the Lord will qualify them.  The spirit was so strong as each member of the District Presidency stood up, the Branch presidencies and the District Council.  After the sustainings we sang "Called to Serve," and honestly I began to cry a little bit during the hymn.  This is one of President K's last acts as Mission President, in a few weeks he finishes his mission.  He got a bit emotional during the hymn too, and that led me to ponder a bit on what he´s done during his mission.  In the time that he has served here two new stakes were created, one new district, various branches were opened and wards divided.  This is an area that was stopped for years, but the Lord used President K. to move his work forward in the Brazil Goiânia Mission.  It is such a privelege to serve with him!

I´ve got to go, but I love you all tremendously!
President S., the first counselor in the mission presidency.  President K. bought this plate for us on our trip to Patos de Minas.

Elder Sweet