Monday, December 31, 2012

Elder Larsen....

Heyyall!!!!! WEll, back to email! Skype was so fun! My comp skyped for 5 hours...and cried like it was going out of style. I thought skyping would make him trunkier than ever but it actually gave him a new breath of life! We got a lot done this week! We found a less active family that hasnt been to church in 3 years and are working with them. they want us to teach them all of the discussions again! I spoke and taught more than ever today as well. My portugues is literally getting better by the day! I forgot to tell you guys a few things during skype. Theres no such thing as taxis here....only Mototaxis! Its the funniest thing just seeing people hopping on a little motorcycle and holding on to some stranger! One other thing about the area, Reggae is HUGE here! 2 things keep this town alive: Alcohol and Reggae. hahaha! Also, my branch president is a gym teacher for his job! hahah i was off!

dec 27- Its so funny whenever we teach a lesson, everyone calls me "Loirinho" or little Blondie. I guess i appear blonde here because everyone else has black hair. Whenever you go to anybody's house as well, they ALWAYS offer you Bolo. You never know it will taste until you bite into it. Its either really sweet like a muffin or salty and bitter like sea water. We have been doing great here the past few days. We're leading our district every week in numbers. and....We have a baptism set!! The one little girl in the less active family we are teaching is 9 years old and hasnt been baptized. Her name is Ana Vitoria and is so smart for her age! She understands everything we teach her! Its been great practice teaching her because we speak very simply and not use a lot of complicated words. The family offers us dinner every night as well that we pass by! You NEVER get dinner here! only lunch. Its so cool to be that missionary that kids like. It reminds me of when i was little and the big hawaiian missionaries we had. We'll have the first baptism in our zone in a while! This area's been dead for a while. I gave my first blessing in Portugues as well! The holy ghost sempre puts the words in your mouth that you need to say.

dec 28 - Well, we went to lunch today literally 10 miles away from our way. The sun here is so dang strong!! So when we started eating, i noticed the meat tasted pretty funky so i asked what it was and the old lady said, "Coracao de cabra e Testino de porco" ....Goat heart and pig intestine!! I looked back down at my plate, smiled, and subtly continued eating. hahahah!

dec 29- Found a flippin full grown, human-eating tarantula in our house today!! You never know what you will find! This area is really, really tough, but things are looking up! We got 2 more less active families to come to church today! we passed 70 in attendance today as well! We were 50 at one point! This branch really needs activities though. Nobody will grab the reins and organize something though. We dont really have time as missionaries to do it though! I wish we could! Its so easy to invite people to an activity to get their feet wet before inviting to church. Every house here is like the basement of our old house....or worse! Theres a ton of mud houses here! So many of these people here literally have nothing. I´m grateful for the opportunities that i have that some of these people will never get to experience. Theres a ton of things that i realize i am grateful for, being here.

I dont think i need any more peanut butter. Just granola or protein bars and oatmeal packets mainly! Deodorant, soap as well. And i made my profile almost 2 years ago! i just edited the intro in the MTC. Thats it for this week!
Grande abraço por todos!!
- Elder Larsen


Friday, December 28, 2012

Where Elder Larsen is at...

When we talked to Cliff at Christmas he told us that they dont really have an address but he said that they live right by this little gas station "Posto Mirante" So we went on a search for it.... and after 2 days we finally found it!!! Its so cool to be able to see right where Cliff is living!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am Cliff Larsen, I am Mormon

My dad was on google earth tonight and was looking up Teresina Mission... after talking to cliff yesterday he was just wanted to look more into where cliff was serving at and the area that he is in. So he started looking and at the bottom of the page was some of the elders blogs that their families were doing for them and then he saw "I am Cliff Larsen, I am Mormon... Serving in the Brazil Teresina Mission..." So he clicked on it and it is a "I am Mormon" letter that Cliff had wrote!! We are not sure if he worte it before he left on his mission or if they had the elders write them when they were in the MTC.... but it was just the icing on the cake! or the perfect thing for my parents to find to reassure them that there "little cliffy boy" is okay and that he is really truly loving every min of being on a mission and the love that he has for this gospel! We could not be more proud of him and what a strong man he has turned into! Here is the link so that you can go an read what he had wrote!
We Love Our Elder Larsen!!



Christmas Time....

Hey yall! ITS CHRISTMAS EVE!!! cant believe its already here!! Its been a pretty good week here, although most of it was in Teresina. We didnt get back here until friday morning at 4 in the morning. We were originally scheduled to get back thursday night at 8 but the bus station screwed everyhting up with our tickets, so we had to wait at the bus station for 6 hours.. We focused a lot on less actives when we got back and got 2 less active families with some members of the families that arent members to come to church! Its so hard to get people here to commit to anything, so it was a great thing! Still no baptisms, but we have a lot of people progressing. My companion has really been testing my patience lately. He wanted to sleep for an hour one of the days at like 3 oclock and i was like heck no, we´re going to work! I cant take control of the situation like i want to because i dont know the languarge well enough. Its really frustrating too when the brazilians all talk about stuff that isnt in my vocabulary yet and i´m just completely lost. Ive been praying really hard lately for more patience and understanding, but i know the answer wont come until after the trial of my faith. Missionary work is really tough, but so really rewarding when you can change someone´s life and show them the happiness they could have. My companion is kind of a lesson hog too. He hardly leaves a breath for me to speak and he loves to talk about himself for days. I´m trying to stay patient, but its definitely hard. We are going to the zone leader´s apartment tonight with our whole zone to spend christmas and we will get up in the morning and come to the chapel to skype at 3ish OUR TIME. Anyway, we had to stay in Teresina for my companion to take more tests for his kidney stones until thursday! I was mad at first, but it ended up being a good thing. Elder Cooper, the zone leader in Teresina, took me with him Wednesday to do a blitz with him and other missionaries in Caxias! We took a little rickety bus through straight up jungle! When we got there, he said he was gonna throw me in the fire. I didnt know what that meant until he paired me up with Elder C Silva. He has been out 5 months and cant communicate with people for the life of him. He took the first 2 doors and it was AWFUL. I decided to take the rest after that and we met 2 families and taught the Restoration to both of them! And by we taught, i mean I taught. I looked at him to say something during the lesson and he looked at me like he didnt speak portugues! Its crazy how the spirit let my tongue go loose and teach! I didnt even stutter on a word! It was just perfect! Oh, my favorite scripture is Helaman 5:12! Any congratulations to Marissa and Kevin!! So excited for both of ya! Study the language you are going to be speaking NOW! Kevin, you could brush up on your English a little hahaha! I gotta go! Talk to yins a manha!!!
- Elder Larsen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nice & Hot in Brazil....

The New "Soldier of God"

Heyyo...From Teresina!! I got here sunday night because we had a conference today with a member of the 70, Elder Mazzagardi! We had Parnaiba, teresina, teresina horto, and sobral zones! It was fun seeing a bunch of guys. Me elder steed and elder winn got reunited! Me and Elder Winn thought we was dead, but he´s alive and kickin! Hes got 2 brazilians in his apartment that speak fluent english! I really liked Elder Mazzagardi´s talk today. He really emphasized on our potential and ways that we can better our teaching with the spirit. He stressed looking into their eyes because they are the windows to the soul! He held a question and answer thing too. it was good at first but then the annoying elders were trying to compete for who could ask the most complex question. Finally one elder asked some stupid question about how can i better follow the rules for a longer amount of time and not forget or something, and Elder Mazzagardi walks down to the end of the pugh where he was sitting and was like, "Elder, just have fun" having fun is a big deal in the work. You got to have a smile on your face and be loose if you want to make anything happen.
My companion has been sick with kidney stones this whole week. Its been tough, but i was able to go out a few days because we have other elders. I stayed in 2 days with him, so i took advantage of it and studied my butt off! I watched all 3 of the Work and the Glory portugues!! Theyre so good! Definitely recommend it! I wish i wouldve read the books now! It really puts you into the early saints' shoes and how they were persecuted so terribly. The Church was really in a financial crisis at the time too. Its just amazing how the Church survived during this time, its truly a testament that its true. I'm telling you, if you want to learn a language, watch movies in that language! I learned so much from those movies in portugues! its kinda funny how the words dont match the mouths hahah! The other days, i went with Elder Leite twice and Elder Antonio once. We went back and forth between their areas and ours. We had a lot of appointments fall through. Its so hard to get people to realize the importance of our message. They dont want to sacrifice and act for themselves on the things we've taught. Its much easier to go to a church and have some paid minister preach to you for an hour and tell you that you're forgiven if you pay him, but thats not our purpose here on Earth. we're here to learn and grow and gain our own testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and sacrifice. I learned quite a bit going with Elder Leite because he talks to me a lot and we can converse pretty well. We knocked a house that is pretty fancy and this guy answers the door in these really fancy clothes and rings and everything. we start talking to him and everything, but he stops us halfway through and were like, aw house, but he says guys, i'm actually interested, but i have to go real quick, can you guys come back tuesday and he just rambled off his address and everything! we were both in shock! we had some good and bad points this week. Elder antonio was a little different. He's a good missionary, he's just a little lazy. All he wanted to do is just visit members. its good to visit members and all, but thats not our main objective here, especially with our little branch! Its just not the same when you dont have your real companion. I hope he can be ready to go sometime this week. He's a really good teacher, but he gets a little distracted when he's around elder antonio. We're in Teresina until tomorrow night. He's going to the hospital tomorrow to get his kidneys checked out. I really like Teresina! Its a beautiful city and way more americanized than parnaiba! I had a great time at the conference today! I understood everything everyone was saying in portugues! A couple brazilians thought ive been out way longer than i have. We have some great missionaries here, but we have goof offs too. The mission is getting better as a whole though as for success.
We will go to a members house to Skype, but i have no idea about time or anything yet. probably sometime in the morning or noon. is my skype name ? and will you skype from the ipad so you can pass it around to everyone? i cant wait to see all of the kids!! I got some mail today at the conference! mom and dad lost 20 already?! Did i make you guys fat?! hahaha parabens!! It sounds like dad is living it up while i'm gone telling me of all of the fun things and plays that you guys go to see while mom is crying in my room folding my clothes on my bed! ahhaha! Cant wait to talk to yall in 8 dias!! we still have pday on the 24th too! i think we are just going to visit a bunch of members in the ward and then have an activity at the chapel with the youth!
Love yall!
- Elder Larsen (Soldier of God)
 Tyler's not around to have that title anymore, so i'll occupy it! hahaha!

Monday, December 10, 2012

2nd Week out in the field!

HEYYOO!!! Well it feels nothing like Christmas here...its about 110 everyday and never a drop of rain, but its really windy! Heres a rundown of the week:
mon- Went to the city centre and bought some things. We had a lunch party at the house with all of us. We made hotdogs, or as the brazilians say, "hotchdogs"! I ate 6 of those bad boys! We set up our new hammocks as well and slept in them that night. You have to lay diagonal in them when you sleep so your back is straight or you will wake up in pieces. It was so sweet to email again after that long week and a half! I felt disconnected! Im glad to have the guys in my apartment though, theyre like brothers! We had an appointment at night but it fell through so we went through knocking on doors and NOTHING. We got to like the 6th door and finally someone let us in! It was a family of a mom and 2 daughters about 25 and 20, one with a little girl. We taught the whole first discussion and the book of mormon! They were so involved and asked questions! i spoke a little slower than usual and it really helped tonight. It was the first time people didnt giggle or laugh when i talked! We asked the mom to say the prayer, so she started and then she paused and just started balling, saying,"oh thank you heavenly father for sending these two messengers to us"! It was perfect! They asked when we were coming back before we could even ask!
tues - woke up at 5 to go to zone conf! It was good, but long! It was cool seeing Elder Winn and meeting a bunch of new elders. I really hit it off with this one elder, Elder Murray, from Sacramento. He was on a AAA basketball team and was recruited by a lot of D1 schools but chose to go on a mission instead. All of us elders went to a members house after to eat. they had a bunch of fruit trees in the backyard! Mango, starfruit, and a bunch of other things that i dont even know the name! Its so fresh and delish! We all had the runs later though because of something in the food. It was a long walk home too..We'll just say i threw a pair of bottoms away.We met a grandma, granddaughter, and an inactive lady in the ward later and taught them and really involved the inactive lady in our teaching. It went really well and we are going back. We taught another lady as well, she is married and has kids but they werent there at the time. She had 2 friends show up when we were teaching though and she was like oh sit down and listen to this guys!!
wed- Long day! my comp was really sick so i was trapped in the apartment all day. So i pretty much cleaned the whole day, trying to stay busy. I did a lot of studying as well. I never want to do that again!
thurs - Did a lot of walking today! Today, we just focused on less actives. We have 400 less actives in our we got work to do! We ate at a members house today and we didnt get a choice of food. there was already stuff on the plate...and im not sure what it was! I could only recognize rice! But i ate it! I havent had a problem with food here. I mean ive had the runs a few times, but thats natural here.
fri - What a day! My most difficult yet. We taught a few different lessons today and every time, nobody understood me! It was so frustrating! my companion had to explain everything all over. Then i tried to speak again and they still didnt understand! I said everything right my comp said, it was just my accent. So i got work to do with that.
sat - Today was way better. We taught a boy named Mateus. He is 15 and Atheist, but we got him to pray which is a huge step and we will visit him again this friday! We met another guy Kleyton. He is 22 and lives in a really fancy p´lace. He welcomed us right in and was really interested and humble when we taught. He was so nervous to pray but did it! Its crazy some people here have never prayed in their lives! I taught the brazilian homies how to make pancakes this morning too and they loved me for it!
sun- Had stake conf at the stake center, but it was different! It was a broadcast from Salt Lake! They really stressed on being 100 percent obedient and by being obedient, were being missionaries at the same time! We literally walked like 10 miles to lunch on the way back because we couldnt catch a bus in the dead heat of midday. I drank 10 gallons of water when we got to the members house. Every single meal here has 3 things: rice beans and noodles. Other thing, its no big deal for any kind of animal to be walking down the street. There was horse just chilling in the road today! hahah! I killed my first tarantula today! It was like a teenage one though. It was hopping like 5 feet with every jump! We taught one guy, Marcos at night! He is 20 and had two siblings and parents that will be there for our next lesson! He loved us!

Monday, December 3, 2012


We Love Our Elder Larsen So Much!! 

1st Week in the Field!

Ola finalmente familia!! Foi uma boa, mas ocupado, semana aqui!! Heres what went down!

nov 27 - What a day! got up at 3 AM to go to the airport. I was nervous as crap, this is the real deal now! We connected in Brasilia and got to Teresina at 11. We jumped an hour back here. The time stays the same all year here like arizona does in the US. President and sister siedschlag were waiting at the airport for us with the APs. They are so fun and were so excited for us to arrive. President Siedchlag is a classy guy. He was an educational organizer in Arariquari, close to Porto Alegre, and is pretty loaded, but he wont admit to it. So after that, we went and got our Police info filled out with the APs. We went to fancy buffet together called Macro after. We hadnt eaten in forever so we destroyed the place. We chilled at the mission home for a while afterward and did paperwork and got Portugues! President really commended my Portugues though and gave me a big ol hug. We met quite a few other elders then went to an apartment close by to stay for the night. Whoa! It was a PIG PEN!

nov 28 - Great day! Had a 7 hour conference at the stake center with the pres and future trainers. It was long, but captivating. They announced where we are going and who will be our comp with a slideshow! It was really cool! And im going to....PARNAIBA! Way up north touching the ocean! Elder Winn is as well, but a different area in the city! We went to Presidents apartment after and had dinner! And it is FANCY as all get out! Everyone is really impressed with us new guys and how prepared we are.

nov 29 - 6 hour busride to Parnaiba! My comp is Elder Nakazoni! Brazilian with Japanese heritage. Hes been out for 6 months from Sao Paulo. We talked the whole way up and he is such a great guy! I couldnt ask for a better trainer! As soon as we got here, we unpacked really quick and went to work! We taught 2 families and 2 other people. the people here are so receptive and friendly! Elder Nakazoni seriously bossed it up in the lessons! Im gonna learn a lot from him. We have 2 other elders in the apartment too, Elder Antonio and Elder Leite, each from Rio. So... Im forced to speak Portugues 24-7. We went out to each at a little pastel place. The one told me i will get to take some golden pics here! He had chameleon pee on him from a tree one time and saw a huge black lady bathing over a sprinkler in the middle of a round about one time hahaha! The drivers here are SO CRAZY! Its like everyone is Aunt Tammie on Steroids! You seriously see 20 scooters or motorcycles for every 1 car.

nov 30 - Went and did service in the morning moving furniture at a members house and then they fed us! It was the fanciest house of the area here! I have no idea what kind of meat we ate, but i downed it! And of course, beans and rice. We stopped and helped a guy move bricks on the way home spontaneously too. We met a big family later on and taught for a good 30 mins! The drunk people here love us and love to call out HEY ELDERS!!

dec 1 - Its December?!?! time is slow in the morning during study, but flies when youre out and about!We have lunch appointments scheduled eveyday here! The members love us! WE ate at this members house today with the gradmpa who has the biggest gut around. He was wearing his fancy shirt, but not buttoned up...he could tell i was uncomfortable with it so he buttoned the bottom button...which did nothing.. hahah! We taught his friend at the house too! We always let the choose who they want to say the prayer and they always say The Americano! I have hot streaks with the language and then i go cold where its hard to understand a thing! The end of the day is my best because i shake off the rust of the whole day. In other news, our apartment is rather ghetto...our water works when it wants to and when you want to take a shower, its always ice cold! but its nice at the end of a hot day. Its 110ish here everyday, but we get a good breeze being close to the ocean.

dec. 3  - what a day! Literally walked about 15 miles today! Church was good, but definitely different! Had a lady pass out in sacrament meeting! Haha, but we took care of it! Its a little branch of about 60 in a little house thing! We went to a members house after...their house is literally made of sticks. You seriously have no idea how poor some of these people are, yet they give up their best food for the missionaries! Later, we went to a young man from the wards house. His name is Brendo. We taught his mom and sister who arent members. We involved him a lot and it went so well!

Today, we went to a cool market and i bought a hammock! Black and gold to remind me of home! I gotta go though! I Love you guys!!
Muito amor,
Elder Larsen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Week 8 in the MTC... One more week to go!!

Ola Familia!! Time is flying and im ready to bounce to Teresina! Crazy its the last P Day in the CTM!
Thurs- My Portugues is really taking another step forward! Its so fun to talk to Brazilians now, rather than stressing so much before! My prayers and just speaking period are so much more fluid! We had a great street contact practice here in the morning with new missionaries, so funny how they think we are completely fluent! Ive been reading in Alma lately and the later parts where the nephites and lamanites are in battle is my favorite. Not only are the battles themselves interesting, but the testimonies of the Nephites that were willing to put everything on the line to protect their religion, freedom and families from such ferocious people like the Lamanites.
fri- My first contacts with people are definitely my strongest point right now! I love to small talk and just get to know them. Its fun trying to find ways that the book of mormon can relate to peoples lives. I love the work im doing here. Ive been blessed with patience so much in my learning and everything else.
sat- Im so grateful for the way ive been progressing as a missionary this week. I know i couldnt gain this kind of knowledge anywhere else. Our professor, Irmao Zamignani, made a promise to us that we would make us homemade peanut butter a few weeks ago and he finally brought it to class! We bought bread and honey and had a feast! It tasted like i kissed an angel! actually, anything thats not beans and rice is wonderful! My organization has improved so much as a missionary! I hope i can carry it with my after my mission.
sun - The speaker was so great tonight at devotional. He really just fired us all up like we were in a pep rally! He stressed how we can be better companions and walk the extra mile to be a better missionary. When we are in the service of our fellow men, we are only in the service of our God. I had to teach our district meeting today as well. Its always just the elders in our district, but President Sugiyama and his wife sat in today on it so that was a tad nerve racking! haha! It went great though, he pat me on the back afterward.
mon - Proselyting Day!! It was so awesome! We gave out 5 Books of Mormon in 3 hours! We also ran into the guy, William, that we gave a book of mormon to a few p days ago! Hes been reading and enjoys the it! We ran into a 40ish year old guy today tooand he was really interested! He was about to get on his motorcycle but we stopped him and talked for like 30 mins! I was able to quote James 1 v. 5 in Portugues to him as well without a stutter! Another cool one was a guy named Alexi thats 20. He was sitting outside of his house texting so he just started chatting up with him and he went and pulled a book of mormon out and we read it with him and explained and cleared up a lot of things. Another cool guy, Michael, is 18 and we started just walking and teaching him! When we finally got to his destination, he stopped and let us talk for a while and he seemed genuinely excited to read the book of mormon! They love hearing about us in our personal lives too! I was able to talk to a guy at a car wash too and told him that i used to work at one as well. It really broke the ice for us and we gave him a book of mormon! It wasnt all golden. We ran into a few transvestites and toothless people along the way as well.. they werent the friendliest. The last one was the best though. It was a little 9 yr old named Leonardo! He was walking his little chocolate lab so we just chatted it up with him and told him to share a book of mormon with his mom and he was really excited about it! Especially when i mentioned the wars and such hahah!
tues- Well we all learned not to judge people today! We had a different instructor teach us today that none of us liked, but by the end of the lesson he was our best friend and ended up giving us a ton of great advice and knowledge! Elder Allen, Miller, Farr, and i all sang in a choir of about 10 tonight for devotional! It was a great idea to do it. We did so well! I guess Shilo didnt get his visa, i havent seen him here today so i guess he is in provo! Last thing, If you want to read a good story in the book of mormon, read helaman chap 9! Love it! P.s. Every Brazilian says they already have book of mormon when you introduce it, ive learned not to fall for their lies! hahah!
Love yall!!
- Elder Larsen

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Week 7 in the MTC... 2 more weeks to go!

E Aí Família!! Had a really productive week at the CTM!!
Thurs - We got new brazilian roomates today, Elder De Oliveira of Campinas and Elder Moreira of Porto Alegre! Theyre 20 and 25 and rock solid, plus theyre both black which means we are automatically friends! They were both converted to the church just a year ago too! They speak SO SO fast though, but the one knows some english to help us! Ive been doing a lot of scipture tabbing this week too and it has helped me in lessons so much! Elder Miller drew some caricatures of our whole district today too! They are all DEAD ON. I will send a picture of it soon! I dont want to waste money sending pictures right now because i will be in the field in LESS THAN 2 WEEKS!! We talked to some Brazilian sisters today from Recife too and they make all of their own clothes! Crazy! they said they would make us ties!
Fri - We were investigators again for TRC but 2 week missionaries taught us! It was so funny because you can just say whatever to them and they will just nod and laugh! I was like, man my farts smell so you agree? And they nodded their heads hahah! Its crazy how far we have come thoough and that we were the same way!
Sat - BOM DIA! Had workshop today and taught lessons in groups of 10 missionaries. It was in english was SO odd! I mean, speaking normal conversations in english is fine, but teaching in it was HARD! All we have done is taught in portugues! Ive really gotten better at asking meaningful questions that open the investigator up a lot though. It is so fun to be able to talk to new brazilians here every day! I dont think ive met one who has their whole family in the church and most of the time theyre the only member!
sun - Spiritual boost day! Elder Steadman of the presidency here gave a great talk on obedience. He related the story of Naaman in the Bible. He had leprosy and walked many miles to see the profet Elijah to be healed. He was just told that he should wash himself in the Jordan River 7 times. At first, he was like, What the heck?! I walked this far to hear this, but went and washed 7 times and was healed! Perfect obedience brings about blessings, not 70 percent or 80 percent.
mon - Ive been busting my butt studying this week! I didnt do that great in our morning discussion, so i said a prayer and did SO much better in our later one. I started to rely too much on my own knowledge and not the spirit. All of our knowledge and gain comes from God. The glory isnt for us, but for Him. Ive learned that being humble is a sign of strength, not weakness.
tues - Its crazy how i have doubts about the language and then something pops up where im able to use it! for example, i was talking to Elder Allen saying how hard it will be to understand people in the field! Right after i said that, some Brazilians came into our room and we talked to them for like an hour like no big deal! Heavenly Father knows our thoughts and intentions and helps us when we are humbled!
Ok, now a quick story from the week:
Me and Elder Winn went on splits to the bathroom one day. I always make the voice of this one instructor here, Irmão Peçaña. He has this deep, slow voice and i have it so dead on. Anyways, we were in different stalls and he walks out first and starts knocking on the stall and sticking his feet under the door of another stall thinking it is me. He thought i replied to him in a Peçaña voice, ELDER THIS IS NOT A JOKE. DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? He was like, youre really funny elder larsen. A second later, i walk out of a different stall, and hes like OH MAN THATS REALLY PEÇANA and just books it outta there hahaha! It would be so much funnier if you knew Irmao Peçaña.
Haha! A mission is making me the person i want to be and sharing the gospel brings happiness that words cant describe! Thank you mom and dad for raising me to be worthy to be here. Thanks everyone for your letters and all too! They make my week! Time is flying so fast! especially this 30 mins to email! Haha! Gotta go!
Eu Amo Vocês!
- Elder Larsen

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 6 in the MTC...

Hey Y'all!! I'm still alive! Here's how the week went!
thurs - not a ton happened today. We taught a fake discussion to Elder Farr. He gave us a good situation of him being an investigator who got offended by someone in the ward. It was tough at first, but answered well!
fri - We thought something crazy was going on here this week because the whole MTC was getting crazy cleaned more than it ever has! Like, they were cleaning the crevices on the ground with toothbrushes, but we found out it was just for mission conference. We all thought a general authority from Salt lake was coming or something hahaha! Days are getting so repetitive here now, i cant wait for something new every day!
sat - We were investigators for TRC today! It was fun. I was the main investigator and i had 4 friends with me. I told him my name was Fernando and so they asked what everyone elses names were and Elder Searles says his name is Fernando too because he wasnt paying attention! haha! I was like, Feshe sua boca! Eu sou Fernando! Não você! hahah! we practiced street contacting at night during workshop! It was a lot of fun! I was companions with Elder Reams from Fairmont, WV! I just went off saying whatever i wanted when we taught! You realize how much you know when a younger elder teaches with you because theyre just like, WHOA.. haha! I felt so confident after that though, i needed it!
sun - We had fast and testimony meeting today and it was so awesome. The spirit was just there. I bore my testimony on how grateful i am that my grandparents joined the church and that missionaries like us can affect just one family and their posterity eventually like the missionaries who taught papa gary and grandma sue! We had mission conference as well which was really cool! The concluding speaker was Pres Aroujo. Such a cool guy. The biggest Brazilian youll ever meet and hes the type of guy that just slaps you on the back and just grabs your shoulder like a grizzly bear when he talks to you hahaha! He told a self experience of his that was used in a general conference talk before! He was a member when he was a boy, but went inactive when he became good at surfing in his later teens because competitions were on sundays. His priesthood leader would always come to his house in the morning to pick him up for church before he could go surf. He would always complain, but his leader would be like, Well thats nice, you can tell me about it on the way to church ahhah! One day pres aroujo woke up at like 5 in the morning and got to the beach and thought he was safe! Then he saw his priesthood leader off in the distance from the water.. He quickly dove under water and when he popped up for air his leader called his name, but he ignored it! The third time he popped up for air, he didnt see or hear him so he started walking up to shore, then he felt a hand on his shoulder.. His leader was in all of his church clothes and was like, you ready for Church? hahaha! He said he was so grateful for his leaders example and was able to go on a mission because of him haha!
mon- We decided to write down our goals for every study session now and it has made a huge difference. When you have a clear cut goal, it is so much easier to accomplish! I was able to talk to some new brazilians today in the laundry room just by myself and i caught myself just rambling on with them without even thinking about it! It was so cool haha! Elder Allen and I schooled some big jock guys in basketball today too. Jacobo would be proud of my outside shot.
tues - Elder Allen and i taught elder acosta today in a fake discussion. It was really good because all 3 of us speak pretty good português! We had a district arm wrestling tournament today too! Irmão Zamignani, the little ginge professor, was the only one that could beat me! Hes a little tiny squat, but strong somehow! I was reading in Alma today and it is crazy to think how King Lamoni and his father were converted unto Christ. They were wicked as wicked could be, but through Ammons submissiveness and love to the Lord, he was given the power to soften their hearts. Nobody is too far away from receiving the truth and fulness of the gospel! A heart can be changed, no matter who it is! Our district performed Que Firme Alicerce (How Firm a Foundation) for devotional tonight and nailed it! Everyone told us we did so good and a sister told us she wanted to hug us, but couldnt! hahah!
Eu presiso sair! Eu amo vocês!
- Elder Larsen

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week 5 in the MTC! Happy Halloween

Oi Oi Família! Tudo Bom aqui em Brasil! Meu tornozelu é ficando muito melhor!
Wed - I sat by elder adams on the bus and he always tells me his stories about vietnam and what not on the way to the temple so thats always entertaining! I really thought about how greatful i am for Papa Gary and Grandma Sue bringing the gospel to their posterity and the blessing it is in my life to have fulness of the Saviors love in my life because of them accepting missionaries. Look at the all of the people who were affected, including grandkids of missions right now!
Thurs - got a new elder in our district today from the provo mtc, elder house from portland. He is very good at the language and is a great help to us. Elder Allen and i have memorized 7 articles of faith in portuguese too. We sat with new brazilians during lunch today. i was actually able to understand about 70 percent of what they said! They were the first to know where pittsburgh was too! (mostly because of the steelers haha). I got 4 letters for 4 days straight here too! My mailbox was on fire!
Fri- Today was eventful. We went til 6 pm without speaking a word of english as a district! We definitely taught our best lesson that morning too. They told us that we worked so well going back and forth as companions and that we asked a lot of questions that made the investigator think. They also said that we listened and answered the questiosn like pros. I was reading about Abinidi today and i really hope i can be like Him and be bold in sharing the gospel. He only affected one person, Alma, but he went on to lead numerous people in the right direction through the gospel.
Sat- Had a great workshop today. We watched videos of the prophet and apostles. One of them i really liked. President monson talked about a woman in East prussia during WWII. Her husband had died during the war and she was forced to leave her home and move 1000 miles west with her 4 children (ages 7,5,3, and newborn). It was winter time and they had no shoes and tattered coats. Along the way, all 4 children died and the mother had to dig their graves in the cold, hard ground with her bare hands. She contemplated ending her life, but as she fell to her knees, she poured her heart out in prayer and was overcome with joy and understanding that through Christs Atonement, she can see her family again.After hearing this, i thought, could any situation be worse? This lady suffered more than anybody, but then i remembered that the Savior felt ALL of her pain as well. He also felt all of ours. If we dont humble ourselves, we cant come to know that He loves us all so much and that He willingly died for our sins so that we can live with our families again. No other church stresses the imoportance of families like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. With the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we have TWO testaments of Jesus Christ to manifest the truth, so that the gospel of Christ cannot be misinterpreted.
Sun- Great sunday! We watched a lot of mormon messages after church. I encourage you to watch the talk from Jeffrey R. Holland about the Book of Mormon in 2009. His message is so strong and authoritative.
monday- 5 districts are leaving tomorrow! Its sad to see them all leave, but it leaves us the 2nd oldest group here! Its so cool how much we progress in the language each week.
tues - Great day! I have really taken the lead in our past few discussions and weve done really good! I can say things that i want to say without thinking too much!
today we went and tried to give a book of mormon out after lunch when we went walking around. people are so accustomed to seeing missionaries in our boundaries here though and never have time to talk. We were able to stop one guy though and at least give him a pamphlet. He didnt sound like he was speaking portuguese! hahah! He said he already bought a book of mormon too...SURE hahah! It was humbling though. Missionary work is tough, but rewarding when you can finally share a message with them. Im healthy and fine though. I cant complain. I just gotta keep working harder. The only thing i can think of that i need is deodorant thats the antiperspirant kind, not the gel because it will melt. Thank you for the halloween package! Its good to get something other than beans and rice! haha!
Eu presico ir! Eu amo voces!
Com amor
Elder Larsen

{Happy Halloween from Brazil}

My mom sent Elder Larsen a Halloween package and he got it today!! Some good ole american candy! Which he will probably make himself sick eating all of it! haha 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ankle...

This is what happens when a bunch of boys get together & try to play sports! ha
p.s. - cliff's legs are sooo hairy now that he isnt shaving them for swimming

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Week 4 in the MTC... One month down!!

Things are doing great aqui! I am enjoying being here so much! Hers a run down of the week!
wed - pizza paarty was great! thanks mom and dad! it was good to have some american food, but it still tasted a little different!
thurs - not a great day. we were playing volleyball and i came down on my ankle with all of my weight after i spiked the ball and it just crumbled. I got over to the Dr and he told me it was broken, but pretty dang close. He gave me meds and some crutches and told me to ice it. No joke, it was the size of a cantaloupe. Ive grown to love my companion a lot. he helped me out a lot this week since i couldnt do a lot of things by myself. he got my tray for every meal and always asked me if i needed anything. This experience really humbled me and made me think of what a blessing it is to have good health. Faith in Jesus Christ can heal anything though. I got a blessing that night from some elders in my district. i prayed every night as hard as i could too. When we make a prayer a wrestle before God as enos says, its much more meaningful. I really learned to put my pride aside and want to lose myself in the service of others. There is nobody who can relate to us more than the Savior, in any situation! I thought why me at first, but now i know its just a trial of my faith.
fri - i didnt let my ankle get me down at all. we are learning and grasping so much in the language! i am able to better understand the brazilians every day! it just stinks being so dependent on my comp. I taught a discussion with elder steed today and we did really well! the spirit is so powerful when you are worthy of it and study hard. I had a Dom De Linguas rampage at the end he said! i just went off in portuguese! hahaha!
sat - Great day! i like the last verse of Jacob chap 1! It tells us all our purpose as missionaries and our responsibility! We are responsible for sharing the gospel with those around us. If they dont accept it, at least we shared it with them and dont have the stains of their sins upon us. But it is our duty to help the feel the spirit in the best way and to come unto christ. We had a discussion today with an older brazilian man and he was HARD to understand! we went in with a lesson about the restoration but he said he already heard it, so we kinda panicked but we swithched gears and taught about the plan of salvation and did very well!
sund - Sundays are sweet! good day to recooperate and focus on only spiritual things. I gave the opening prayer in sacrament meeting and i dont know where the heck the words came from but i said a ton of stuff in Portugues! We had a great fireside later with the sao paulo interlagos mission pres. he gave some great advice
-do your work with a smile on your face
- dont be the same person you were before your mission
monday -we got 2 new elders in our room! one, elder fuentealba from santiago, chile and elder alves from Curitiba! They are legão! (cool) Brazilians think everything is hilarious! We all think theyre humor is 10 years behind american humor! hahaha
tuesday - Great day! i was able to hobble around today instead of on crutches for the most part! i still couldnt fit my shoe on bc my foot is so fat! Elder Fuentealba pulled me aside and was like Elder Larsen, i need help. I thought he was joking around but he was dead serious! hahaha he was like you look like you know how to talk to girls. I dont know what to write to this girl back home! Im muito timido! hahaha somehow i was able to counsel him on girls in Portuguese! i told him not to worry so much and just lose himself in the work mainly. we had a sweet fireside! just a testimony meeting. we sang a cool rendition of Joseph Smiths First Prayer as a choir. Not kidding, we sounded like angels. The president asked us to sing it again, so we did! haha
wed - heading out for p day! im able to walk pretty normal now! the Dr says i amaze him because most of the time after a severe sprain you dont walk for 2-3 weeks! The swelling is goign down too! I really feel everyones prayers and i have testimony that ANYTHING physical, mental, or spiritual is possible through faith in Jesus Christ.
Love you all! Be safe!
- Elder Larsen

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 3 in the MTC!!

BOM DIA! Another good week in Brasil! Im alive and kickin! Excuse the lack of apostrophes and such. the keyboards are funky down here! Heres what happened this week -
wednesday - its always great to get outside! brazilians are so hard to understand when they start speaking muito rapido! Elder Allen and i try to make an effort to sit with them at lunch though. Theres an elder from Teresina here that showed us some pictures of our mission president and of the mission home and stuff! made me so excited! its muggy anywhere you go in Brasil, but EVERYONE here just laughs when we tell them where we are going. Hahah the heat in Teresina is uncomparable they say! Im looking forward to it though! We should be out of here by Nov 30th! A mission is making me grow up and be a lot more independent, even if its just the mtc still. Its so crazy to think that im in south america right now though!
thursday - Eventful day! Went to the police station to register our passports and such. We met a bunch of missionaries from sao paulo mission that had been out for a while! it was fun talking with them and getting good advice. They speak portugues like its no big deal. Today was Dia de Criancas (day of the children). We had all kinds of good american food for lunch and all of the mtc staff were dressed up as clowns ahaha! Brazilians literally find any reason to celebrate! they have a different holiday like every other week!
friday - we had TRC today! This time, the investigators were brazilians! They were so much harder to understand (especially the one with the lisp)! But we did pretty well! Our proffessor is so funny! His name is Irmao Zamignani from Sao Paulo and he is a red head! hahaha! Everything he says just cracks you up! We call him Atrevido Fogo Ruh which means saucy fire frog which is exactly what he looks like hahaha! He told us to Focus On it in portugues which is written Foque-O which sounds like F-You in english! hjahahah we all looked around for a second and realized it was portugues finally hahaha!
sat - We met more elders from Teresina today! They all are so funny and speak faster than other brazilians! The chubby brazilians are by far the funniest! one is literally a Brazilian Chris Farley! Me and my comp teach so differently, but together we make a good combo! Hes more of a written out, word for word kind of guy where i just ask questions and go with the flow of the discussion.
sunday - Today was awesome! gained a lot of respect for the 2nd counselor in our branch! i thought he was kinda weird at first, but hes such a great speaker! He taught our lesson today about listening to the spirit when it first speaks to you and act! dont put it off. He served in WV and knows exactly where Steubenville is! Its so cool to meet people who know where you live! His companion was a huge BYU linebacker. He said some days they would knock a door and the person would open it and say sorry, im baptist. he would say, well im sorry too, but we will still teach ya! hahaha!
monday -im soakin up the portubgues like a sponge! we started having jejum para ingles (fast from english) for an hour every day! Its amazing how much you know when you are forced to speak it! Our brazilian roomies leave tomorrow! Ill miss them!
tuesday - Got like 3 hours of sleep from our guys in our room packing all night! ugh hahah! at night we taught our best discussion yet! Everything i said just rolled off my tongue with ease! The dom de linguas is kickin in!! I felt confident about the whole thing! I truly am blessed to be serving the Lord in such a cool place with such warm, loving people! It amazes me that ive been here for 3 weeks and learned this much already! I memorized the whole first vision in portugues this week too!
Vi um pilar de luz acima de minha cabeza
mais brilhante que o sol
que desia gradualmente sobre mim
quando a luz possua sobre mim
vi dois personagens cujo esplendor e gloria
desafiam qualquer descricao
pairando no ar, acima de mim
um deles falou-me chamando-me pelo nome
e disse apontando para o outro
Este e meu Filho Amado
I love you all so much! I am so blessed every day that i am here! Be safe yall!
Com Amor
- Elder Larsen

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Update Info....

I updated Elder Larsen's MTC Address... Its on the side bar! He will be in the MTC til the end of November. After that use his mission address listed below his MTC address! Letters take about a week to get to Brazil from the United States
He cannot receive packages in the MTC... if sent they will be mailed back to you! 
Once out in the mission field you can go crazy sending packages to him!! haha

*DO NOT send any packages by:
FEDEX, DHL, UPS, ETC. The mission cannot accept them and your missionary will have to pay, sometimes hundreds of dollars to get them out of the post office.

*The BEST WAY to send any packages is just through your local post office and use
(they have a flat rate one that costs like $12) Packages sent that way will arrive in Brazil safely within about 3-4 weeks. 

Week 2 in the MTC

Hey Yall!! Everything is going great here! Im alive and im getting fed spiritually and physically! My back got so screwed up last week, but i just prayed really hard every night and im totally without pain now! I feel everyones prayers for me as well. Blessings in all forms dont usually come until after the trial of your faith! Ill give you a quick rundown of the week
Wednesday - P-day! went to the temple! its such a beautiful and interesting temple! its in sao paulo but takes an hour to get there with traffic! The city is so different and colorful than any other city ive seen! Then we got back and just walked around the mtc outside and visited the stores! taught a full lesson in portugues that wasnt perfect but we did it!
thurs - taught another full lesson in portugues! sounded a little better this time. we made an effort to get more personal with the investigator and ask more about them! much more effective when you teach people, not lessons.
ive learned that when you say things fast in portugues if you dont know what you are saying and the person listening will somehow understand! hahaha! i was able to memorize the whole Will You Prepare for Baptism paragraph as well in portugues!
friday - we taught our investigator about prayer today! If you want your prayer to be effective, you have to make it a wrestle before God like it says in the book of Enos. Ive seen a huge difference as ive prayed more humbly and with less distractions. Played basketball in free time today and met some newbies! One is from Fairmont WV! It was cool to meet someone who lives close by! We have free time every day for an hour
sat - Conference was SAWEET! i really soaked in everything since i took notes! I loved Andersons talk about trials. He said when going through a trial and leaving the church is like leaving a storm shelter when a tornado is coming! hes so right! Trials are so tough sometimes and there seems to be no way out, but the Savior is ALWAYS there with open arms! We had TRC today where you teach a discussion that is video recorded! We did really well! When we did the opening prayer, the investigators held out their hands for the prayer so we just joined in and when we watched the video when we were done, the investigators were cracking up and thumbs upping right at the camera! hahahaha! Elder Allen kept on saying peide...peide...peide (which means i farted) instead of pede (which means i could). hahaha! We didnt understand why they were laughing at first! Everyone told us we did great though and were like man, you and elder allen killed it! they all though we were 5 weekers!
sunday - Conference was great once again! I love talking to the brazilians! theyre hilarious! They love seeing pictures and talking about family!
monday - back to work! conference was a nice break though! Im starting to remember verbs way better which helps my communication a lot! I just need to remember to look in peoples eyes! I tend to look at the ground when i forget something. Our discussion went great tonight! We only had 5 mins to prepare instead of 30 but we killed it!
tuesday - workin hard, but its paying off! We did scenario discussions today one on one! it definitely made me think more without having a comp to lean on! it brought the best out of me though. I did it in all portugues. not perfect, but i did it! Im glad we get along as a companionship, a lot of others dont! I could easily let things that elder allen does annoy me but i remember what my branch pres said, Dont complain. The Spirit thrives in an atmosphere of hard work and christ like love. The brazilians think theyre really funny teasing us about what teresina will be like with snakes and tarantulas!
I love you guys! Ill have more time to email out in the field. i cant send pictures til i get out there either! Hope you all have a great week and read your scriptures and say your prayers! Thanks for all that you do for me! I really appreciate it!
Com Muito Amor,
Elder Larsen

Brazil Temple

This is from last week when they all went to the Brazil Temple for the first time!
(should be getting his 2nd week letter in a few hours!!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Week One in the MTC or CTM...

Things are going great here at the CTM! I will give you a run down of each day here.
Wednesday - Definitely a little overwhelming when we landed and everything is written in portugues with tiny english subtitles! coming through the clouds on the plane here was so cool though! every bit of surface area in Sao Paulo is covered in buildings! its outrageous how big it is here. the drivers are so crazy too! they take no heed to anyone rules at all! they say one motorcyclist a day is killed in sao paulo too! The first day seemed like an eternity here though! i had cellphone and internet withdrawals. the older guys here though say it picks up after the first week though like crazy! my companion is Elder Allen...hes from Provo! hahaha but hes not cookie cutter really. he knows the language pretty well and we study well together. our district is so great! all of us get along and we get stuff done! Teresina and Curitiba compose most of our district. The architecture of the buildings is so interesting and colorful here!
Thursday - We took some steps forward in the language today! We got two more roomates.. Elder Bravo from Chile and Elder Lopes Da Silva from Curitiba. Theyre such funny guys! somehow we were able to converse with them at night! i dont even know how the language came to me! Elder Bravo speaks a little Portanol...spanish and portuguese. Elder winn and elder rodgers are in our room too from vegas and south carolina. I started eating the food today too! The first day i ate almost nothing, but i ate my whole plate today! Its definitely funky! They say its chicken but theres a high possiblity it isnt hahaha! Its crazy how im able to eat things now that i wouldnt even try before!!
Friday - not a whole lot here. just studying and such haha
Saturday - We taught a discussion as a group today with some of the older elders. I kinda just took a back seat and watched. i learned so much in how they deliver their message. it way in such a strong, but peaceful way. it made me want to study harder so i can teach better. it is our job to present and invite others to come unto christ in the best way possible for them.
Sunday - had fast and testimony meeting! the blue dots or new guys were allowed to bear their testimonies in english so that helps! our branch pres is pres sugiyama! hes brazilian asian so....asian without slanted eyes hahaha. hes so cool! he gave me a big ol hug after my interview with him.
Monday - We are working on fasting from english for certain times during the day. its a little discouraging when you have to teach lessons in portugues..its hard to think of what to say! i know heavenly father will bless me if i continue to study hard though. i can say a whole prayer in portugues now and almost my testimony! Our professor irma de Paula told us that Teresina is one of the most friendly, talkative areas of brazil so that was good to hear! its so hard to teach people who hardly speak.
tuesday - good day! killed my back playing volleyball, but its doing a little better with some icyhot. the language is  getting tough, but i try to just remind myself ive only been here 6 days.
wednesday - we went to the temple this morning! so beautiful and unique!
i dont know the address of the ctm. its super long. ask someone. and i cant send pictures in the mtc.
I gotta go! but i love you all so much! im glad i came on a mission. the church is true. God can work any miracle for us if we ask for help in faith and work for that goal knowing that He is there beside us. Be safe yall!
Com Muito Amor
Elder Larsen
p.s. i miss peanut butter and rolls of toilet paper. they don't have rolls here..hahhaha

All the New Elders that are in his mission!! 
Its so good to hear from our Elder and to know that he is doing good and learning the language.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Your Elder has ARRIVED!!

We received the email that Elder Larsen has arrived and is getting all settled into his room with his companion and they are all doing good! This is the group of all of them that left yesterday! Elder Larsen is in the top row 2nd to the right! Lookin so handsome as a missionary! We are all at ease now that he is there and safe! 

See you in 2 years!

Off to the Airport...

 Realizing that this is really happening! 
He said to me "Lacey...I am leaving on my mission right now!" 
So proud of him!!

 Exchanging his money...

 Dad & Mom

Our Elder...

Uncle Cliff with Khloe

Last Hugs For Mom & Dad...

There he goes... I cant believe how much he has grown up! 

 We couldn't be more excited for Cliff. He is going to be such an amazing missionary and touch so many lives in Brazil. We miss him so much but the next 2 years are going to fly by! We can't wait to start getting all his missionary letters! 
(I will post his address on the side bar if you wanna write him)