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.