Monday, April 29, 2013

Birthday in Brazil

Bom DIA! Well, to start off, we played soccer last pday and i just want to say i scored 2 goals on brasilians! hahaha! Anyway,  dad´s right, i´m staying again in Parnaíba! I called from here on christmas and i´ll call on mother´s day too from here! hahha! Elder Nakazoni is heading to Teresina to be financial secretary, so he wont be walking or sweating for a while! And i´ll be getting a brasilian comp again that has a really hard name that i already forget! I think he has about 6 months in the field. There´s another companionship coming here as well, Elder Puggina from my group and Elder Lucas. So i´ll be back to just my old area, but i still need to show the entire area to everyone. I think this will be my last transfer here because somebody had to stay to show the area. I think this transfer will be just 5 weeks as well. I had a great birthday here. Fabio called us at night and was like guys i´m in the chapel right now, can you guys stop by and teach me the difference between priesthoods. So we ran over there and started teaching him. He was seated in the last bench in the chapel and we were turned toward him...2 minutes into teaching i hear..."PARABENS PARA VOCÊ....!" All of the youth got together and made me a cake and gave me ties and everything! I didnt even think anyone knew it was my birthday! It was really cool getting some brasilian love! Before that even, a sister in the ward gave us a full on dinner for my birthday as well! Wednesday i celebrated my birthday again at a couple´s house, Pedro and Pollyana. It was pedro´s birthday on the 24th. Had interviews for Iclé and José Ribomar this week as well, so we went on a division with the zone leaders to do them both. I stayed with E Deaver to do Iclé´s interview. It was funny at the end when he asked who she wanted to baptize her, she turned towards me and was like, Elder Larsen´s a smart alic, but i like him! hahaha! The 2 interviews went perfect! Saturday the YW had NEw Beginnings, so we helped out there a lot and watched their presentation. Afterwards, we had Iclé and José´s baptisms! Henrique, a member, baptized jose and i baptized iclé after. The place was loaded there! Almost the enitre branch was there to support! It was a really spiritual and well organized meeting! It was cool seeing the progress these two made! Iclé conversion helped a whole family that was once really active find a purpose in going to church again and jose ribomar was able to overcome an addiction to alcohol! Sunday they were both confirmed and thanked us both. Best conversions i´ve seen so far in my mission! It poured like crazy on sunday, so it made it hard for people to get to church. When it rains here, everything shuts down because nobody has a car. I´ll be looking this week for a place to Skype on mother´s day! Its getting close! Did mom´s birthday card get there yet? Love yins!
Elder Larsen

Monday, April 22, 2013

Best Zone = Real Bed!!

OPA! FELIZ ANNIVERSARIO para Khlo Khlo e Colty boy!! Dang everyone´s growing up! Transfers are arriving this next week so i should know this sunday! I have no clue whats happening...elder nakazoni´s been out almost a year now and is almost 7 months in the area and i´ve been out almost 7 with almost 6 months in the area. No other companionship has been together this long in the mission either! I´m hoping i will  go to Tiangua or Sao Bernardo (area that will open this transfer). i had an exciting week this last week here though. tuesday i went on a division with elder vepo and we challenged a young man to be baptized and he accepted! Wednesday i walked more than i have in my life.. Lunch was the far northeast part of parnaiba and our appointment was at jose ribomar´s which is the far southwest part of parnaiba. The people who progress the most live the farthest away!!! So later that night after walking forever, we get a call that there´s nobody at the church to teach they leave it to the missionaries..and it was the hardest lesson about parables. parables are already hard enough in english...imagine portugues!! I finally understood it and we taught it well! Everyone was really excited and participated. Thursday went to teresina and i guess we got rewarded for being the best zone because we stayed in presidents house where the rest of the elders stayed in other missionary houses! First time i slept in AC in almost 7 months and a real bed!! I felt like the missionary on The Other Side of Heaven when he got home and slept on the floor instead of his bed! It took forever to go to sleep! It was too comfortable! The conference the next day with Elder Godoy was sweet! He spoke a lot about not being scared to invite people to act. and also that we will always be new at something in life, so be brave and live up to your potential! I got to see elder steed, elder winn, and elder pennington that i knew before the mission so that was cool. We invited Iclé to be baptized this week as well i forgot and she accepted! Her and jose ribomar will be baptized this saturday! She has been having a rough time ever since accepting though because her mom HATES the church. She said to her that she would disown her if she would be baptized. But luckily her dad supported her and gave her a thumbs up. I told her about Coralee and how her ENTIRE family disowned her after she joined the church. She did what was best for her and her own family though and look where her posterity is today! I told her that she could be the difference maker for her future family as well. Satan tempts in the most crucial times until the last second as well. She´s still going strong though! Today we´re going to the district with the zone to play futbol for my birthday! I had about 10 sisters in the ward offer for me to stop by their house for my birthday tomorrow as well! To bad i cant week weight on sweating here all day!! hahaha! Love you guys! Obrigado pelos fotos e cartas! Abraço para todo mundo!
-Elder Larsen
Guerreiro de Deus 

President's House

Chapel in Teresina

a REAL Bed to sleep on!! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A little Faith = Miracles

ALO!! I´m alive and well! Me and Elder Nak started off the week using the bathroom 10x per day...we ate something funky, but all is good now! I went on a division this week with one of the young men in our ward, Tiago, who´s preparing to go on a mission. Elder Nakazoni went with our mission leader, Cristian. It was really successful! Dad would be proud of the numbers we did hhahah!  We taught a guy, Jose Ribomar, that has major problems with drinking. He lost everything to alcohol, including his family. He is living with his brother in law and his family who treat him very well. When we got to their house, he was shaking and really stinky being a little bit drunk still from the night before. We taught him about repentance and baptism. We told him pretty much that no treatment or anything will help his problem, only exercised faith can help. He was way humble and willing to learn and change. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted! Thursday we went to 3 public schools here and marked days that i can teach english! 1 of the schools, i taught the same day! I taught 5 classes with 50 students in every one! We made these forms explaining about missionary work and about the church in English and i taught it! The first class was a little nerve racking with all eyes on me...i almost pulled a Summer..."BOO!" hahaha! The classes were people of every age as well...even adults! Through the questionaires, we got the names and addresses of over 200 people that wrote down that they wanted a visit from us! We wont be knocking random doors for a while... Friday we visited Jose Ribomar again and WOW, he opened the door, and we saw a guy completely shaved and cleaned up in nice clothes!  What a drastic change he made in 2 days! 2 days before he looked like every other drunk with a scragly beard passed out on the sidewalk. He even talked clear and everything as well!  Strengthened my testimony of the gospel and how it can change, literally change, someone´s life!  Saturday we had Fabio´s baptism! Everything went smooth and had the support of the whole branch! People brought food and everything for after! Fabio is straight up solid and will help the branch here a lot! We later taught a young lady who is the niece of a member that wants to know more about the church! When we taught her the restoration, She cried and was like this is the answer i´ve been waiting for! We hardly even got a chance to study this week, we´ve been so busy! We started at like 9 am every day and didnt get back home until 10:30 or 11! Thats about it for this week though! More miracles coming soon!
Elder Larsen

Monday, April 8, 2013

Trainer for a day!!

OPA Y´ALL! It was an interesting week here this week! I became a trainer one day after our district meeting on tuesday. I went with Elder Lucas to my area. He is probably 6´7, 22 year old, black man! Hahah i felt like a little boy next to him. He´s a gentle giant though and very intelligent. He just arrived in the field last week. so i was thinking with him being brasilian and all that he would help me a lot in the lessons and that i wouldnt have too much pressure on me...i was wrong. I probably taught 95% of the lessons. He went completely nervous when we went proselyting. I made contacts alone as well...he stood like 10 feet away from the door when i talked to the people. Man, being a trainer is not easy. Respect to the trainers in the world. I never missed Elder Nakazoni so much! haha! We had a zone conference this week as well and our zone led in every number! We have the smallest amount of missionaries as well, 12. When Teresina has about 40! In december, we were the worst in every category and had 1 baptism in our whole zone. In march, we had 25! Our zone is really going at it! We had a good, busy week here as well! We have 2 baptisms set for this saturday, the 13th! A girl, 15, named Naira and Fabio, 22. They´re both dating members of the church!
Whoa, where do i start with General Conference?! The Super Bowl of missionaries! One more temple in Brasil...RIO! Hahah i watched the most part of it in english because they had a tv set up in another room, so me, elder haller, elder deaver, and elder costa watched it there, but our tv went bad during the priesthood session, so i watched it in portuguese and understood it all! Its always better to hear the real voice. The portugues translator sounds like a soap opera actor. I noticed that they talked a lot about agency, God´s standards dont change with the world´s standards, and set goals! I liked a quote that Tad R Callister said in the priesthood session, "Dont die while the music´s still in you" or dont go throughout your life without sharing your light and your hope of the gospel. My man, Dieter F Uchtorf took it to the house though. I´m sure dad was loving it. He said, "Satan would rather that you define yourself by your sins instead of your divine potencial!" and, "If you are waiting on the sidelines, GET IN THE GAME!" Whitney L Clayton´s talk about marriage was a killer as well! L Tom Perry said, "Do not pick and choose what commandments to obey, acknowledge all of them." Jeffrey R Holland came to play though, saying," Faith does not depend on size, but the intergrity that we demonstrate it" " The great test of this life is obedience" - Thomas s monson. I never realized how taking notes makes conference so much more effective and leaves a mark on you. I´m grateful that we do have a living prophet and apostles that know the way and will of the Lord. The world today is full of confusion and differing thoughts, but we can always know what we can do to continue on the eternal way to perfection through the teachings of these living revelators. It is our choice to be humble and receptive to these precious truths or not. But regardless, "No force in the entire world CAN NOT stop the work of God." I love you guys!
-Elder Larsen
I forgot my Jacket so I borrowed one off a
13 year old! haha
Watching Conference in English for part of the time!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Keep the Letters Comin...

E Aí Todo Mundo!!! This week flew! Actually, every week is flying now! Oh man i´m so pumped for general conference this week! I never was excited as i am now! Its so perfect to invite people to conference to here the prophet LIVE! There´s no way anyone can go and not feel the spirit! Of course Jeffery R Holland will light it up as well! We had some great stuff happening this week! We had a lot of lessons change from one to the other! One example was a lady that we started off with the restoration and switched to the plan of salvation. Her mom died 6 months ago of a leg infection out of nowhere, so i bore my testimony to her about grandma suzie and how the same thing happened to her. she was rough though and said that she wanted nothing to do with God anymore.. if she reads the pamphlet and scriptures that we left though, she´ll find an answer. We went on knocking doors that night as well and found a GOLDEN family! Samuel and Camila, they´re 30 and have a little girl thats the cutest little thing! She´s 4 and was so flirty with us! Samuel frequented to church for 4 months when he was 18 in Fortaleza and knows quite a bit! He was almost baptized but left the area and never found a chapel after. THeyre such open friendly people that asked everything about us and about the church! I swear i didnt ask one question! He has family that live in Colorado and everything! Such a smart guy. He has a masters in Business and biology and sell glasses now! He has a car too which is crazy rare here! They were sick when sunday came though, but they will go to general conference!! They seriously starting reading the book of mormon out loud on the spot! Couldnt have been better! We went down this little dirt road this week as well that we never went down and it turns out that 80% of the people there were members! Its really poor and everyone has like 8 kids! You guys dont know what i mean by poor as well.. i mean poor as in their houses are made of mud and straw. A lot of them went inactive because the van that passed by to pick them up for church stopped. We´re trying to get something together for them, but its hard because only a handful of people have cars! Everyone is either foot, bike, or motorcycle. The little kids loved me there! They asked me for words in english like crazy! It was funny when they started asking things that dont translate like Coca Cola! ITs sad that none of them know how to that are 10 12ish. Seriously, and they dont even have toys! They just make kites out of notebook paper with a little string! Kids in the U.S. are pretty dang spoiled. Saturday was Santo Sabado and every single thing in the city was closed! we had lunch with the branch president as well..he passed by our house and was like elders, i have nothing in my house to feed you and everything is closed, but i´ll try to find something...he returned with a bag of noodles and spam and said, "make a miracle out of this, elder" hahaha! We found other golden investigators, Rosa and her nephew Daniel. They are taking care of rosa´s dad who´s 85 and is disabled 24 hrs a day. We started teaching the gospel of jesus christ and it switched to the restoration...Daniel asked, why are there so many churches in the world? Me and Elder Nakazoni looked at each other, grinned and gave him a dose of scriptures! He asked about the priesthood, saying that he believed that anybody could have it, so we showed him the story about Simon in Acts where he wanted to buy priesthood power and Peter burned him! Afterward, everything made sense to him. He wouldnt stop thanking us for book of mormon! In the branch now the best programs are the relief society and young men. They have good leaders and support each other. The people that we baptize are of these organizations as well. It shows that the organizations that function well have baptisms! The young men are really faithful and diligent. I think every one of them will go on a mission. Its tough to retain them in this area though, because they go on missions to Sao paulo or Rio and like it a lot there and dont come back! The area here just lacks a little bit of leadership. There will be 2 areas opened in Sao Bernardo now! We baptized Betania who with her husband, Manuel, are the first member couple there! They had 40 investigators there last sunday!! 70 in total! I got a stack of letters today! More than of gotten in my first 6 months! I´m excited to read them! I gotta get going though! I love you all!
Se cuidam meus queridos!
Elder Larsen