Friday, August 22, 2014

Greenie companion, Itaguai and lots of walking!!

Weekly Email - August 4, 2014

Hey everyone, I hope all of you are doing well. This was a pretty good week for Elder Leal and I. The Portuguese is coming along, slowly but surely. We are excited about two of our investigators G------ and J--------, they are progressing really well. They are friends of a family in the ward and the missionaries before us started to teach them. J-------- is 19 and G------ is 15. We had dinner over at their house last night and a lesson. They have a date for the 16th for baptism. First time I have had dinner in a long time, haha, because of almoco (lunch) here is the big meal. Most of the area our ward covers is really hilly almost built on the side of a mountain. So it makes for a good work out walking all day. I'll send a picture of a road near our house it's nearly straight down, haha. It has been a really awesome experience being with a new missionary. I have learned a lot from Elder Leal. Coming out of the MTC missionaries have ´´greenie fire´´ as they call it, super excited to work. He has taught me a lot about trusting in the Lord, especially with the language. He has only been here 3 weeks but he has no fear to talk to people. We have a ton of work to do with less actives and inactives here, a lot of part member families as well. Out of everyone in our ward that has been baptized about 20 percent are active, a lot different than the states. This week we found a really awesome family knocking doors, B--- and S-------- and their 6 kids. They remind me a lot of Danny and his family, a lot of kids all under the age of 14 but the whole family is really calm, haha. Our ward desperately needs families. The father of the family is really interesting to teach. He is really intelligent and he knows the Bible really well but has been bouncing around churches trying to find one he likes. We also have been teaching a family, U-- and S------. They live with a bunch of extended family uncles, aunts, grandparents, nieces, ect so there is a lot of potential there as well. Every night in this area I am exhausted, haha, we don't get the bus like I did in my last area because all is probably at the most an hours walking distance. So we do a lot of walking and there isn't a level piece of ground here, haha. It's good to be tired, if you aren't tired as a missionary you aren't doing something right or you have a car, haha. I really hope we can help our ward out the best we can. It's a lot of responsibility as missionaries, sometimes its overwhelming because there is so much to do. We have to have the help of the Lord. The missionaries we live with Elder Lesueur and Elder Souza, they are our zone leaders also, have been great help and support for us.  I know that Christ lives. I know through him we can find peace. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I know that the teachings and grace of Christ can change lives. I love our Savior and want to serve him the best I can.

Vamos la!
Elder Montanha

Weekly Email - July 28, 2014

Elder Leal and Elder Souza (another missionary they live with, Zone leader)

Where Nate lives in Itaguai. Notice the clothes hang drying on the porch,
no clothes dryer for these missionaries.

It was a great week with my boy, haha. This area and ward is really different than my first one here in Brazil. There is a ton of work to be done. This week we tried to focus on our contacts in the street. We were able to improve them quite a bit and Elder Leal is able to feel comfortable with the language. We found a place near our home that's kinda like an out door mall that always has a ton of people. That's perfect for contacts. I have learned a lot from him, he is fearless. He literally talks to everyone. We found a lot of new people to teach this week. Elder Leal seems to be adjusting to missionary life really well. He is a fun guy to be with. This week we had one investigator, R------ who is 19, on date to be baptized next Saturday. He is trying to decide if our church or the Seventh Day Adventists are right. He was really close to be baptized but he told his mother who is an Adventist that he wanted to be baptized in our church and she wasn't too happy about it. He doesn't need her permission because he is 19 but he doesn't want to make her mad. So on Saturday we fasted with him so he can know what to do. He still isn't sure but we are praying for him and his mom as well. The ward we are in is really struggling with attendance, we had 65 at sacrament on Sunday. So this week we are planning on going on visits with the bishop to families who are less active and come once in a while. A lot of the work here is going to be reactivation. The members that are strong in the ward are awesome. They go on visits nearly everyday to keep the ward afloat. I really like the people here in Itaguai, they all are always laughing, a very happy people. It's pretty easy here to get in and to teach the problem is getting them to keep commitments. The Lord is really preparing the people here. This city, and I think nearly all of Brazil, is going through a time like the time when Joseph Smith was alive. Everyone has a church here, everyone has a very strong faith in Christ, and there are a million churches here, all of which meet everyday of the week. Walking down the street all you here is sermons, haha, its pretty neat. The city here is kinda in the mountains so there isn't a flat piece of land, haha, everything is straight up or straight down. Yesterday we had almoco with a really interesting member, he was the second member of the church in Itaguai and he played professional soccer here in brazil years ago. he shared so pretty cool stories about sharing the gospel with other soccar players. Elder Leal and I are managing pretty well with the language, if I don't understand something he normally does or if he doesn't understand something I normally can. We have felt the Lords help for sure. This next week should be great, we have some investigators we hope will continue to progress. One is an older lady, C------, we met in the street. Her story is really interesting. She is older, 75 maybe and a devout Catholic. She goes to the Catholic church, which is absolutely massive, in the town square here everyday. Her son passed away four months ago from a drug overdose and it has been really hard for her. A member of the church who was friends with her son but since has moved to a different city helped her a lot with the funeral and visited her for comfort. So she invited us to her home and we taught her the plan of salvation and about eternal families. The idea of families are eternal was new for her. I can't imagine how hard the death of your son would be without the knowledge that families are eternal. That comforted her a lot and we will be back tomorrow to teach about the Book of Mormon. We have a couple other investigators as well, we really hope they progress this week. I know Christ lives. I know our Heavenly Father is a God of miracles. I know the gospel of Christ is so simple but so powerful. I am so grateful for the sacred opportunity to represent him. I know he knows us personally. He knows our joys and pains. I am so grateful that I can share that with others here in Itaguai.

Have a great week!
Elder Montanha    

Weekly Email - July 21, 2014

Elder Mountain and Elder Leal.

This how the Brazilians 'make' their beds by putting their flag on it so Nate is doing the same. Not sure why he doesn't have a sheet on his mattress.... 

Man what an eventful week. My new companion is Elder Leal, he is from Chile so we are learning Portuguese together. He is a quiet guy, reminds me of a 20 yeard old Seth (cousin). The ward we are serving in is called Itaguai. The city has two wards and we live with the Elders who cover the other ward. Itaguai is a lot different than Camorim. Here there are a lot of houses, it's kind of a middle class area where Camorim was either super rich or super poor. We are both new to the area so we have been trying our best not to get lost, haha, which happened quite a bit this week. The genious idea of street signs haven't made it here in Itaguai yet, haha, so the only way you can know is by asking people. The ward we are serving in, along with the other ward in the city, are really small. We only had 65 members at church, there is a lot of work to be done. The elders who served here before us where really awesome, they left us quite a investigator to work with. (? not sure what he meant?) We had interviews with President Cabral on Sunday, he came and spoke to our ward as well along with the other ward in Itaguai. Man he threw the hammer down during his talk, haha. He is not one to sugar coat his words. He talked about there is no purpose of baptizing if the ward doesn't retain them and the importance of finding the lost sheep. We had a meeting with our bishop and ward mission leader afterwards and they really want to get the ball rolling with reactivating. The members here we have met have been awesome to us, really willing to help out. Really good almocos, as always. This week I have really felt the power of the gift of tongues. With a Spanish speaking comp right out of the MTC I have needed to be able to communicate a lot more. I know the Lord helps those that need it. He is aware of all of our needs and concerns. We had one investigator at church, R------. He has a Seventh Day Adventist background and his only concern is which day is the Sabbath. I didn't know this but in Portuguese in the ten commandments it says the `keep Saturday the day of the Lord holy´ not ´keep the Sabbath the day of the Lord holy´ because the word for Sabbath and Saturday is the same in Portuguese. So it's a bit more difficult to explain, haha, but he said he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and that's where it all starts. The Sabbath, word of wisdom, tithing and all of the other commandments build off that. Elder Leal is awesome at teaching already, a heck of a lot better than I was when I came out of the MTC. I have learned a lot from him already. We have a really large park near our apartment that's perfect for contacts. Last night we had a pretty neat experience. Interviews ended at 8pm so we just one hour to work so we decided to make contacts. We saw an older lady walking with a cane with her adult daughter. Elder Leal said we should talk to them so we headed over there and we started the contact. She said you are Mormons right? and she started to tell us a story about how her son, who lives in a differant city, joined the church and a couple months later her husband passed away. Some members found out about it and helped her out and visited her a couple times a week. She started crying and gave us both a hug, which we aren't really supposed to do, haha, and thanked us for the support the church gave her. It was awesome experience. We have a return appointment Wednesday. The life of a missionary is hard sometimes with things like the language but man is it worth it. Experiences like that are stuff I'll remeber forever. Love you guys. Have a great week.

com amor
Elder Montanha

Cristo vive. Ele nos ama. Por meio ele nos podemos ter felicidade verdadeira. Eu amo minha opportuniy ser um missionĂ¡rio.
Translation: Christ lives. He loves us. Through him we can have true happiness. I love my opportunity to be a missionary.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Trainer, District Leader and Transfer! Oh yeah!

Weekly Email - July 14, 2014

Picture in the foyer of Grandma Hutchens' church. Made Popa think of his missionary.

Sorry for being super late today, has been a crazy day. First both Elder Veiga and I got transferred. We found out on Saturday. Elder Veiga had been there 6 months so that was no surprise he got moved, but I was shocked that I would be moving as well. Turns out that the new Mission President decided to move nearly half of the sisters out of their areas because their areas were too dangerous for his liking, haha. So our area is now going to taken over by sisters. It will be a big shock for the ward on Sunday. Today I found out some crazy news. First I will be training a newbie, my first son in the wilderness, haha. I have not met him yet, he will arrive from the MTC tomorrow. I am really excited but a bit nervous, not sure if he is Brazilian or American. If he is a newbie American we will be in trouble, haha, we will not understand hardly anything. I was also called to be a district leader. I am really nervous about that. It's a small district, only three companionships. I will live with the Zone Leaders so hopefully they can help me out. There will be a lot of headaches in the near future but it will do a lot to help my Portuguese. My new area is called Itaguai. The zone I am in boarders one of the Sao Paulo Missions so it is really, really far away, 5 hour bus ride I heard. Elder Veiga is getting transferred to a neighboring ward in Camorim. He was a great companion, I wish him the best. This week was pretty good. Sunday was really awesome, had 2 investigators at church that we have been trying to get there all transfer, M----- and M-------. Have a ton of pictures from this week but my camera is packed away in my suit case. Spent a lot of time in Cesar Maia, as usual. It was hard to tell the priests we worked with a lot there goodbye, they have become great friends. They will be great missionaries soon. Had a funny experience this week, we found a community behind Cesar Maia about a 5 minute walk through the forest. Our entire time there we had never heard about it. I felt like Kramer when he sees main street intersect main street, the nexus of the universe, haha. It was nearly identical to Cesar Maia but it was like they built it over night. Had a great last lesson with W------. He is probably who I will miss the most, I really hope the best for him. I know that with the help of the Lord he can turn his life around. He has already taken leaps and bounds from when we first met him. This week the world cup ended. Man the people aren't happy here. After Brazil lost people spray painted ´vergonha` all over the place which means shame. They still are pretty upset. They felt a little better when Germany won just because Argentina lost, haha. Trying to remember what else happened, I'm really tired, had to wake up at 4:30am today to get the bus to make it to the transfer meeting on time. Don't have my journal either, it's packed away also so it's all a blur. It's going to be an eventful week ahead. I can't wait to meet the greenie. Got to see nearly all of the district from the MTC. Elder Fox and Evans are training as well so I'm hanging out with them at the mission home until tomorrow morning. I have seen everyone from the district so far except Elder Seibers. Pres Cabral gave another amazing training today at transfer meeting, he sure is inspiring, very powerful. Showed a really awesome video it had President Eyring speaking about courage and the brotherhood of the priesthood and told a story of a guy in the army who died to save a fellow soldier, not sure if it's on the church site or something but i really like it. Anyways was a good week. A lot of changes are coming. I feel very very unprepared for all that that I was asked to do. It will be a learning experience for sure and I am excited and take comfort in Ether 12:27. The Lord works through the weak a lot of the times. Hope you guys have a great week!!

vamos la
Elder Montanha

Happy Hump Day to our favorite missionary!!!!

Weekly Email - July 7, 2014 
Hump Day Week!!!

Man time is really flying by I really can't believe I will hit a year this week. It's unbelievable. I still think I'm 16 a lot of the times but dang somehow I got old, haha. This week was great had G------´s baptism on Saturday, woohoo!!

After emailing you guys I took Elder Veiga to Subway he doesn't have it over in Campo Grande where he is from and he had never eaten there before. Some restaurants are different here in Brazil than in America but Subway seemed to be exactly the same, even had the cold cut trio, haha. Elder Veiga really liked it. After cleaning the house we headed out to Cesar Maia. We had a lesson with G------- with two of his friends who are members about the Sabbath day. We also set up some lessons with more of the friends of the youth in Cesar Maia and contacted there. Had a lesson with an interesting guy in the street. He really, really was interested in the Book of Mormon. It's pretty cool here telling people this is a history of your people! Did you know Christ appeared to your people? Almost everyone wants to hear at least a little more. 

Spent most of the day in Jacarepagua at a Zone Conference. The stake center we meet at is about an hour bus ride away. The chapel there is huge; bigger than some temples for sure. It is three stories tall and has a huge steeple. I've been meaning to take a picture of it. Zone Conference was pretty good, was trained on some changes the church has made here with preach my gospel. Now we have to teach lesson 5, which talks about temples, family history, missionary work, callings things like that before baptism. Before we would teach it after baptism. Also, recent converts are now the missionary´s responsibility not the Bishops. Retention is a big problem here so they want to make sure baptisms are truly prepared and that they aren't forgotten afterwards. I can imagine being baptized and then learning about the concept of temples 3 months latter could be weird. After zone conference we had to head back home because Elder Veiga had a pretty bad migraine. He gets them once and a while. He seemed to have found a cure though. A sister in the ward told him to put oregano in some water and boil it then breath in the steam. Sounded really weird but he said it worked like magic, haha. While he rested I made some grilled cheese and listened to almost all of the 1973 April conference, haha. good talks. I really like Mark E Petersen and President Kimball. On Tuesday the USA was eliminated from the world cup, sad day, haha.

Interesting day. We left bright and early at 7:00am back to Jacarepagua to meet the new Mission President, President Cabral. Man did he leave an impression. He is from Forteleza. I have heard they speak crazy Portuguese there but luckily he was a professor of Portuguese, so he speaks everything grammatically perfect. Which is really rare in Brazil but man it makes it easier to understand. He is super short, maybe 5 foot 2, haha, but he makes up for it with energy. He is a convert and he definitely has some evangelical preacher in him, haha. He wasn't afraid to pound the pulpit or raise his voice, very powerful. He talked for about 2 hours and the whole room was completely focused every minute of it. He is really funny as well. There were three zones there so I got to see Elder Evans again. The mission president shared his vision with us that missionary work starts with missionaries living the gospel themselves and everything else follows after that. Also the sacredness of our call and the priesthood. He was really motivating. At the conference I got the mail from you guys. I got the card from Rae and Grandma H´s letter, so it takes forever but the mail does eventually make it. We had ordered pamphlets and other materials so we had to haul them around all day, which was no fun but we really needed them. Once we were back in our area we had a lesson with W-----. We could tell he had been drinking the night before so we taught the word of wisdom and committed him to live it. He only has a problem with drinking. He said he has only started drinking since his wife left him not too long ago. We also helped him clean his apartment. There was some mold starting to grow on one wall so we bought some bleach and cleaned it with him and did his dishes. On the way to the store to get the bleach we saw a heard of pigs eating trash in the road (common sight here, haha). But one of the pigs was dang massive like a small cow. I said `nossa um porkao zao` which is kinda of a goofy way to say dang that's a big pig. W----- thought that was so funny, he was laughing and laughing, he said have you never seen a pig before. No not a massive pig on steroids like that I haven't, hahavisited a less active family in Cesar Maia, really big family 8 kids. They were really nice and insisted on giving us a pizza. We ended up giving it to a homeless guy we talk to a lot. After Cesar Maia we made contacts in Barra Bonita

Good day today except the water heating thing on our shower broke again so we have to take cold showers. COLD showers, freezing, haha. Wakes you up in the morning for sure. After studies, we had almoco at a pretty good self serve place. Elder Veiga gave me some of his tea he was drinking called cha leao. I'm not a fan, tasted like dirty water to me, haha, but a lot of the members like it here. After almoco we had a lesson with E------, she is 11 and is living with some members for a couple months and is interested in learning more about the church. After that lesson, we headed to Cesar Maia. We had a good lesson with T-----. He is 17 and has been investigating the church for a long time. He has a hard time recognizing answers to prayers, so we taught him about the fruits of the Spirit and told him like it says in Moroni 10:4 to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is NOT true, instead of asking if it is true. Sometimes changing the question is all it takes. After that we had a lesson with G------ about the plan of salvation and finished up the details for the program of his baptism. He said it was a perfect weekend, Brazil game on Friday, Baptism on Saturday, Holy Ghost on Sunday. After that we made contacts at Barra Bonita and treated ourselves to a pizza, haha.

Today was the Brazil game against Columbia so all of our work was before 4:00pm. We didn't have a lunch today so Elder Veiga and I decided to fast. After studies we headed to Cesar Maia. We had a lesson with M-----. Last time we were there we found out he is living with a different woman than he is married to, we gotta change that, so we taught the law of chastity. After that we visited W----- again. We could tell he had been drinking again so we asked him what happened. He really, really wants to change but it's hard to break away from addictions. We taught about turning to the Lord for strength and gave him a blessing. He said he knows drinking is ruining his life and was crying like a little kid. He said pastor, he always calls us pastor instead of elder for some reason, please have patience with me I need your help. He is the truest example of humility I have ever seen. Every time we . After W-----, we leave his home he gives us the biggest hug so tight I can hardly breathe, haha. When we left we told him alright soon as we shut the door pray to God for help with your addiction and he will give you strength. After we shut the door we peeked through his window and saw him praying. There is nothing more humbling than to see a man on knees praying to Heavenly Father. I have had some of the most powerful and humbling experiences teaching that man. 

Baptism today, woohoo, what missionaries live for. Baptism was great despite some hick ups. G------'s brother came down with the flu so he couldn't make it to the baptism so Elder Veiga ended up baptizing him. Also when we got there there were a ton of members there cleaning the building. It was chaos really, haha, but when they found out we had a baptism going on they stopped for a bit and most of them came and watched. The more people the better. G------ had his non member mom and aunt and cousin there which was cool. After the baptism in the morning we had a lesson with T------. It was a really good lesson, she accepted a soft commit to be baptized, woohoo! A miracle there. We tried to set a date but the best we could get was the end of July. We really, really need to get her to church. After that we contacted for the rest of the evening. We had a goal of a 100 in two hours and ended up with 101, haha. 

Great Sunday. Went to ward council and the ward and Bishop gave us a ton of stuff to do in the coming weeks. A lot of families to reactivate. It's really sad the activity rate here is about 20%, a lot of less actives. The Bishop really needs our help with all of them. I really respect and like our Bishop, he is only 28 but he really holds our ward together. He is the only Bishop I know that teaches gospel essentials and priesthood nearly every week. There was a 18 yr old girl, F------, who came to church and came up to us and said she wants to be baptized. Another miracle, haha. We have a lesson with her this evening. 

Great week! This week is the last week of the transfer, man time is flying by. I know Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Only through him can we find lasting peace. He lives and it's a joy sharing that message everyday.

Elder Mountain

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lots of teaching, meeting up with MTC group and World Cup!!

Pictures from Rio de Janeiro

The power-lines are a bit sketchy in Rio. Nate says safety is not the first consideration there.

Poor area in Rio.

World Cup graffiti!!

Two of the awesome priest in Elder Mountain's ward.

Weekly Email - June 30, 2014

Woohoo this was a good week! Elder Veiga and I saw the lords hand in the work very often this week. I'm going to write this letter a bit different I'll type a day at a time. Tell Danny and the family in town hey for me, glad you are guys are having fun with them.

Monday was a bit different because of the Brazil game against Camorim. We worked like normal before emailing and lunch and made some contacts. The few hours we had to work were great, we had 3 lessons in the street and met a new investigator L---. he is a super nice guy, Catholic. He insisted on buying us some guarana (carbonated juice) when he met us and we taught him the first lesson as we drank, haha. He bought the guarana from T-----´s daughter´s restaurant who doesn't like Mormons for some reason and we had the lesson there so that was a tad awkward, haha. Brazil won the game so they partied all night. The people were all happy (and drunk) as can be, haha. While the game was going on we cleaned the house and Elder Veiga made some chocolate chip cookies for us. 

We had a few appointments fall through but overall was a good day. We went to Cesar Maia and met A----- (a priest in the ward whose parents aren't members) and his little brother G------- who is 9. He told us that he decided that he wants to be baptized so we set up a lesson for Wednesday to start teaching him. even though he is only 9 G----- looks 13 or 14, he is super tall. His brother A------ is really tall as well. We had a neat lesson with a lady named E-------- in the street. It was crazy how many beliefs she had in common with us (3 kingdoms of glory, non paid ministry, need of prophets today, God and Christ are separate beings). We decided to teach her about the Book of Mormon, which was about the only thing we could find she didn't know about, haha. She was really interested in it, hopefully we can see her again. We had district meeting, the training was on following up on commitments. We got 6 more Books of Mormon because we were out but we had to haul them around all day, man they were heavy. We went to Irmao Stuarts English class. It was pretty neat, Elder Veiga loved it. Should be a good finding tool I hope. 

Possibly the craziest day of my mission, haha. Had studies and almoco (lunch) then head to good ol´ Cesar Maia. We met J--- and V-----, two more friends of the priests in the ward. Both were really interested and we taught them the first lesson and invited them to be baptized. They accepted the date to be baptized July 5th, woohoo. After we had a lesson with G------, the 9 year old. It is fun teaching kids, you really got to simplify things and make it interesting. He also accepted the date to be baptized on July 5th, woohoo. After that we went out with two of the priests R------ and A----- for the rest of the evening. As we were leaving Cesar Maia a man named W---- stopped us who clearly was shaken up by something. I thought it may be was drugs. He asked us to come in his home and say a prayer for him. We ended up giving him a blessing and blessing his home. A day later we found out when we talked to him again that he had tried basically voodoo the day before. Voodoo is unfortunately popular among the really poor here. He said after he tried it he felt a pit in his stomach (the feeling when the holy ghost leaves I think) since he tried it and he didn't know how to make it go away. Then he saw us `Jesus Men` as he called us and asked for a prayer. The second day we saw him he was totally different, had a bright demeanor about him, he smiled, wasn't skiddish like he was before. He would look in our eyes which we didn't do the first day we met him. The whole experience was a huge testimony builder of the power of the priesthood and just the plan of happiness the gospel brings. Follow and find God and you will be happy, simple as that. After that we had a lesson with T----- and a less active and his non member girlfriend. The girlfriend M----- was really interested but the less active kinda derailed the lesson, kinda frustrating. Members really can make or break lessons.

Good day despite the fact my face was the midnight snack for all of the mosquitoes in Camorim, haha. Hard to sleep, the mosquitoes have gotten really bad this week. Spent most of the day in Cesar Maia. Taught J--- and V----- again about the word of wisdom and tithing, they accepted to live the commandments. Then we headed to W----- with Adolfo to check on him. It was really really amazing to see the change in him. The Spirit was back. The difference was day and night, very powerful. It was really neat, he had the pamphlet we had given him the day before with a picture of Christ and a pass-along card with a picture of Christ standing up by his bed. The priesthood is real folks. Then we taught a less active M-----. She was really nice, gave us some super good bread and even better she came to church on Sunday, woohoo. 

Headed to Barra Sul in the morning for a lesson that ended up falling through, so we took our studies in a nearby park. It was nice to study outside. It is kind of far from our house but I really like Barra Sul it is a community of 5000 or so apartments. The people there are really interesting and receptive. After that we headed to Camorim for an appointment and to eat lunch. We didn't have a lunch with a member so Elder Veiga asked a man at the bus stop for a good place to eat. The man he asked ended up knowing who missionaries are because his brother in-law is a member. He was super nice to us. The place he took us to was really dang good too. Then an older man at the restaurant came up to us and insisted on paying for us. He took the lessons years ago and knew who we were. Blessings from heaven, haha. No one here knows anything about Mormons, it was crazy we had two in a row like that. Then we headed back to Recreio to have a lesson with T-----. She was having a bad day because her two grandkids that she basically raises were giving her fits. We shared Joshua 1:9 and talked about relying on the Lord. After that we headed to see some other investigators but they weren't home but on the way an old black lady asked if we could give her a blessing. She lived basically in a favela (very poor people) and she hurt her leg and doesn't have family to help her or money for a doctor. Experiences like that, man are they humbling. I just wanted to give her hug. We gave her a blessing and she was very appreciative. After that we went to Barra Bonita to teach in the street. Ended up with 7 lesson in the street, woohoo. Friday was Pres Lima's last day. Didn't know him real well but I really liked him. 

Good day, had to stay in a bit because of the Brazil and Chile game. In the morning we left at 7am for a lesson with a guy named E----- in Barra Sul, the lesson went pretty well. After the lesson we studied in the park again and headed for almoco. After almoco we headed back home from 12 to 5 while the game was going on. Cleaned a bit and took a nap which was really dang nice, haha. Elder Veiga wrote his talk that he gave on Sunday, it was really good about forgiveness. After 5 we headed to the gold mine known as Cesar Maia. We met Elder Lesueur for the baptismal interview for G------. He passed and will be baptized next Saturday, woooohooo. He is super excited. While the interview was going on all the the Brazilian teenagers wanted to play ping pong with the gringo, haha. They have one ping pong table and man they play all day, everyday. They are really good as you can imagine. We also went to I---- S-----'s baptism on Saturday. He was excommunicated about 20 years ago and for the passed 5 years has been working to come back. It was a really nice simple service. Man he is happy and excited to have made his way back. In the evening we had a lesson with I-----. He is from Haiti and had some friends over form Haiti. They all were Seventh-day Adventist so we taught about the sabbath day, haha. They were all really nice. A million questions about the states as well.

Decent day had G----- at church. Set up the program for his baptism. There is a primary program on Saturday which is perfect He will be baptized right after, all of his friends will already be there, perfect. We spent the rest of the day in Terreirao near our home and Barra Bonita. Had another lesson with T-----. Talked about the yoke of Christ is easier than the yoke of the world. Best week so far in Brazil. Finally met our goal of 210 contacts and had 26 lessons and the baptism next Saturday, wooohooo.

This week was awesome. I really had my testimony of the priesthood strengthened. It is real and it is the power of God. great week!!!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Elder Mountain   

Provo MTC district 220 reuniting in Rio!!!

Zone Conference in Rio!

Weekly Email - June 23, 2014

Hope everyone is doing well! This was a real good week for Elder Veiga and me. As a missionary, a lot of the times it is easy to get in a rut of doing the same thing over and over everyday, even if you are doing good things. This week we have been trying out some new ideas and man it has turned out well. Our first idea was to invite  the family we have lunch with to go contacting with us near their home for thirty minutes. If they have a young man we take him for sure or take the husband or who ever wants to come. It has been great giving members real missionary experience and the presence and testimony of a member makes all the difference. We also have been setting goals to set appointments with all of our investigators. Before they would tell us a day they are generally available and we would hope they would be home and free when we stopped by. We realized we need to set more specific dates like Thursday at 3:00 that we can return. Our mission has a standard of excellence (or weekly goal for every companionship to strive for) of 20 lessons with a member, 15 lessons in the street, 6 investigators at church, and 210 contacts. It real has made us stretch, we really want to achieve it this week. This Sunday we had two investigators at church. T----- who is a young man who is good friends with the priests. A family also showed up, the wife has been less active for years and the husband isn't a member, and they are relatives of an active family in our ward. Nothing makes a missionary happier than when people just show up, haha. We taught them a lesson Sunday evening and it went great. They gotta get married though, but that's normal in Brazil, haha. Had a sad experience with T----- this week, we went to her house on Saturday to invite her to church and she asked us to stop coming by because her daughter and son don't like us visiting her for some reason and I guess it caused a big fight with them. She lives in their home so she said she doesn't want to cause problems. It was sad, maybe in a little while we can see her again. She herself wanted to go to church and progress but she is afraid of her family. Found an interesting new way to find people, Elder Veiga is super excited about. A brother in our ward from Scotland teaches English for free ever Tuesday at the chapel and he invited us to come to meet the people that come and so Elder Veiga can improve his English. It will be a cool opportunity. I'll probably end up helping him teach since I know English but as you can tell by this letter my English is terrible, haha. Brazil plays again today so we will be stuck inside after 3:00. It was really cool this week, it was nice. Winter just started so it'll be nice for a while longer. Had a multi-zone conference this week. Got to see Elder Evans for the first time since the MTC, he is doing great. He is basically fluent and has been here since November. Still need to see Elder Siebers and Elder Neu. It was the last conference of President Lima. The new president arrives this week. President Lima will start serving as a area president when he is released as the mission president. He shared his testimony and life story really at the end of the conference, it was really really powerful. He has an apostle like presence about him. Anyways, was a great week, looking forward to this one.
Tou muito grato por meu oppurtunidade servir aqui. Eu amo brazil e eu amo meu salvador. Me felizidade e completo quando eu prego evangelho dele.

vamos la
Elder Mountain

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Giving blessings, World Cup and Investigators :)

Weekly Email - June 16, 2014

Isaiah 12:2

How's everyone doing? This week has been good, the World Cup started this week and my goodness it is insane. The whole city shuts down for the Brazil games. Everyone is wearing yellow and green and nearly every house has a Brazil flag. Imagine the fourth of July combined with the super bowl times 10. It is awesome, haha. We have to stay in the days Brazil plays. they play again tomorrow. it would be impossible to teach anyone and a bit dangerous because of the alcohol. The people all watch the other games as well. They may have no idea who the county is but its futebol so they watch, haha. It's really cool to be a part of. Besides the World Cup it was a good week. They asked me to give another talk in sacrament meeting. They must like picking on the gringo, haha. We had some real good lessons this week. We met with T----- and P---- nearly everyday. T-----´s son (P----´s father) has a drug abuse problem and it is really hard for T-----. She has been basically left to raise his three kids. So we taught a lot about how God is our father and he will support us in our challenges. Yesterday we invited her to be baptized and she had the concern they she can't read and that we read a lot in our services (hymns, class). I told her no need to worry, the gringo does alright and he can't read or talk or understand Portuguese. They even asked him to give a talk. Hopefully that gave her some comfort. P---- is an awesome kid. He is 17 and really has a lot of motivation to make something of himself. He sees the trap his father is in is not what he wants. We are also teaching a young man named T----. The priests quorum is really awesome in the ward. There are only 4 of them but none of them have parents who are members and they all live in the same neighborhood and are great buddies. T---- is another one of their friends. He has been investigating a lot of different churches (JW, Universal, Catholic) and the priests in our ward told him about ours and gave him a Book of Mormon. We have had two lessons so far with him and they have gone really well. We had zone conference this week so we were able to see they rest of the new zone. They sure moved a lot of people around last transfer I didn't know any of them. It was a great training, the AP's (assistants to the president) were there as well. Finally got some more Books of Mormon there as well, we had been out for about 2 weeks. I gave my first actual blessing this week in Portuguese. It was a another neat experience. It was for T-----. I really love the ward here. I'm starting to be able to connect whose is family with who, names are still tricky though. Overall a lot of teaching this week. We are working on getting more members at our lessons. It's hard here because the area is so big, everyone lives so far apart but fellow-shipping is very important. Did a lot of contacting this week. We met the craziest people it seems contacting. We have gotten to be friends with these two ladies who are always there at the mall where we contact. One sells jewelry and they other hands out flyers for her pizza restaurant. They are always there so we talk to them a lot. They may not know it but we have taught them almost all of the lessons in our conversations with them, under cover teaching, haha. Neither of them live in our area but hopefully we can refer them to other missionaries. 
Love you guys have a great week!!! 

Isaiah 12:2

Com amor,
Elder Mountain

Elder Mountain representin' in Rio ;)

Nate on a bus in Rio.

A spiral staircase to an investigators home in Rio. 

Alley in Rio during World Cup!

A picture we had not received yet of Elder Mountain and a convert/friend from AZ. :)

Email - June 9, 2014

Sounds like you guys have had an eventful week! Glad you guys are having fun at the pool and at Sonic and out west. This week was another good one. Been battling a cold the past few days but I think I am past the worst of it. This week we had Stake Conference and it was a special broadcast from Salt Lake. The area seventy and Elder Richard G. Scott (who speaks Portuguese) and Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke. I'm pretty sure it was for all of Brazil. It was a really good conference. The Saturday adult session was just normal speakers from the stake and they talked a lot about preparing for the temple that's going to be built here. The people are all really excited. The church has bought the land but hasn't started construction yet. Talked a lot about family history and missionary work. This week Elder Veiga and I worked a lot on teaching in the street. It is easy when you are making contacts to be tempted I guess to just give them a pass along card or get their phone number without teaching them a whole lot. So this week we tried to improve our contacts and teach a one minute restoration or plan of salvation lesson to them. It has taken a lot of work because you got to talk so dang fast to make it work,  haha, people will only be interested for 30-60 seconds, so you got to make it count. Oh, Elder Veiga and I stayed in the area (forgot about that). A lot of the zone changed though. 3 of the 6 in our district including the DL are new. Elder Fox is still in the district though. This week Elder Veiga has had me lead some lessons as well. He is good at pushing me, he has been a great teacher. We had a really good lesson with T------ (the lady who cant read) and her 17 year old grandson. We taught the restoration and it went well. First time I said the first vision in Portuguese in a lesson. The 17 year old, P---- was really interested. It has been hot the past few days here. Summer here is gonna be really hot. The stake center we went to for stake conference was massive. It was like a small temple. It has to be bigger than the tiny Birmingham Alabama temple we went to once. I don't know if all the buildings are big like that here but I was surprised. Have been continuing to read the Book of Mormon with Elder Veiga. I'll read Portuguese and he will read English. He has learned English really fast. It's funny sometimes he will say Book of Mormon phrases like `I am exceedingly afraid` or `My book upon my desk` haha, it has been a blast learning with him. The leadership is all so young here. Our elders quorum president has been a member for about 8 months, our bishop is 28, our stake president is in his 30's, growing pains I think when the church is growing fast. The buses kinda went on half strike for a few days so it took forever to find the buses that we needed and they are always packed with more people than you could imagine could fit. I had a cool experience this week when the stake patriarch who is in our ward. He called us and asked if we could give his wife a blessing. She was sick with a cold so we needed to anoint her with oil. She asked if I could anoint and if Elder Veiga could give the blessing. I wasn't sure if I could but Elder Veiga told me you can do it I know it. I had studied how to give a blessing briefly before but it had been a while. So I gave it a shot, it was neat how the words came when I needed them. The holy ghost, and the gift of tongues is real, that's for sure. Elder Veiga always tells me trust in the Lord he will help you. It is definitely true. It was a testimony builder for me. Was a good week for sure. Love you guys!!!
Eu sei que Jesus vive. Ele e minha luz. Todo de minha paz e felizidade e por cause dele. 
Com amor,
vamos la!
Elder Montanha

Super hard to see but it's a night picture of the crocodiles that Nate mentioned in his last email. Scary!!! The bridge doesn't even have a gaurd rail!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teaching in Brazil, VISA finalized & clapping on doors :)

Weekly Email - June 2, 2014

Elder Fox and Elder Mountain, together in Provo MTC and Sao Paulo CTM.

Another week down in Brazil!!! Glad to see all of you guys are doing well. Can't believe Aunt Cindee had her baby tell her congrats for me. This week was another good one. The language is progressing little by little. Elder Veiga has been an awesome teacher for me. He definitely has patience to be companions with a fresh gringo, haha. Transfers are tomorrow, we actually will find out if one of us is moving in a couple hours. I hope not, and I don't think so, we have only been comps for 3 weeks. We had a really good week of finding this week. We found 8 new investigators. One really neat experience we had was with one of our new investigators M-------. We were teaching her the restoration and it was going great. We got to the first vision and Elder Veiga started to quote it as I held the picture of the first vision that's in the pamphlet. She stopped Elder Veiga about half way through (which normally isn't ideal, haha) and said "This is exactly what I imagined would happen if we had a Prophet again. That he would be a young boy with pure intentions, he would pray in a forest, and he would see God and Christ. You mean to tell me this happened"? haha, yes it did happen. I have never seen that reaction to the first vision. Often people have doubts that a 14 year old boy in the USA is who God called to be Prophet but she already had imagined it exactly how it happened. It was pretty neat. We knock on doors, or clap hands, haha, once in a while and we had some really good luck in this one small apartment complex. (I asked him about the clapping and he said,"yeah we do that for the houses because they all have gates. we knock the doors for apartments".) There are maybe 15 apartments in there and we ended up getting 4 new investigators. One of them who is an older lady actually had been interviewed for baptism a long time ago and we didn't know about it. She doesn't know how to read so she said it's hard for her to get a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That was the only thing that kept her from being baptized last time. So we gotta try to figure out how to help her. This week I had to go to the federal police and get my visa finalized. It was foreverrrrr away so we took a bus to the secretaries apartment and spent the night there and left the next morning to go to the police station. We got there at 7:00 in the morning and ended up getting back to the secretaries apartment at 4:00 in the afternoon. The Brazilian government workers are really fond of Americans, haha. We were put in the back, of the back, of the back of the line, but i got it. I met a really nice guy from Argentina there. He spoke Spanish and a little English but didn't know much Portuguese so I ended up teaching him in English. He was a really nice guy. He moved here from Argentina for work and is saving money to help his family move. He was really interested in the Book of Mormon too. It has been a bit wet this week, really nice temperature though, maybe 75-80. The food here is amazing. Really different but amazing. Haven't gotten sick yet. The water seems to be clean. No one drinks from the tap they either have filters or buy some from someone who has one, so there isn't much reason to worry. They drink guarana (a type of soda) here like water too. They drink that stuff non stop all hours of the day. It's really good too not sure why they don't have it in the USA. Church was really good this week. I really enjoyed the classes. It's a small ward (the EQP teaches every week and the bishop teaches gospel doctrine) everyone has a few callings and we don't have a WML at the moment, but they are really close, like a big family. They have made me feel very welcomed. Anyways, been a great week. The language is getting better everyday, only if I could get these people to talk slower, haha. 
love ya!!!

Sei que jesus vive. Eu sei que ele nos ama. Sei que o dom de lingua e real. Sei que o livro de mormon e a palavra de deus. Sei que este evangelho e simple poderoso. Ele pode mudar nossas vidas. Eu amo voces!! Obrigadao por sua amor. tem uma semana boa!

I know that Jesus lives. I know he love us. I know that the gift of language and real. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that this gospel is simple and powerful. It can change our lives. I love you guys!! Thanks a lot for your love. Have a good week!

vamos la!
Elder Montanha
(I might actually get a name tag that says that!!)

Provo MTC district #220 reuniting in Rio!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First 2 Pday emails from Brazil and lot of pictures!!

Weekly Email - May 19, 2014

Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Rio!!!!! View from the Mission Home! Gorgeous!!

Man what a week!!! First I love it here in Brazil. It's is awesome. My companion is Elder Veiga, he has been out 8 months. He is a native but speaks a little English. He is awesome and very patient and helpful teaching me the language. The language is getting better everyday. We go contacting a lot here where we just talk to people and invite them to church or teach them about the Book of Mormon. My first day here I couldn't even introduce myself without looking like a dumbo, haha. The language here in Rio is wayyyy different than in Sao Paulo. The second day with a lot of practice I could introduce myself but Elder Veiga had to so the message part about the Book of Mormon or whatever. Then on the third day he said alright it's your turn to do it by yourself. I was so freaking nervous but he helped me out with the words and I got it down and we ended up getting 60 contacts that day. We always go contacting at this exit of a mall that is constantly pouring out with people. So we target the families and we will do it on our own so we can cover more ground at once. It was fast growth from the first day were everyone one looked at me like I was an alien. I even convinced someone I was from Belo Hortizonte the other day, haha. The people here use a ton of slang that doesn't have the same meaning as it would literally translated so it's going to take a while to learn all of that. Just like redneck English that I speak, haha. I taught Elder Veiga 'ya'll' and 'howdy' the other day. He really wants to learn English so when we study we read Preach My Gospel and Book of Mormon together, he will read in English and I will read in Portuguese. It's a great way to learn. Oh the buses, they are crazy. They have three different kinds. A small van that goes to the outskirts of town, a school bus size one, and a huge mega size of 3 school buses one. All of them are packed to the rim, always, haha. They are like clown cars. They are dang expensive too. They are R$3 for one trip. Our area is massive so we ride the bus a ton. The other day I had a scatterbrained moment with the bus. Since it is so packed Elder Veiga and I normally can't stand by each other so when the stop comes he will yell at me get off because the area is new to me. Well at one stop I heard him yell, I thought I heard ``time to get off`` but he said ``time to get off at the next one``. So I wormed my way through the people and got off at the stop we were at and I didn't see Elder Veiga. Then the bus takes off again WITH Elder Veiga still on it. I was like "minha nossa" (my gosh) how am I going to find him. So I start running the direction the bus took off, hoping that he realizes I got off. About a quarter mile later, at the next stop, I see him running towards me. Thank goodness, haha. That was crazy. Welcome to Brazil moment for me, haha. (not so funny to his Ma!!) Anyways the people here are so humble. Their food is dang amazing too, haha, so good. Different for sure but really good. The ward we cover is awesome. They are smaller, 150 members or so but they really made me feel welcome at church. Oh, guess who had to give a talk on Sunday? haha I did. The bishop wanted me to give a quick 5 min talk and introduce myself to the ward. It went pretty well. There are so many churches here, it's crazy.  I really like Pres Lima. The day I flew in to Rio we spent most of the day with him. He actually is about to be released in June to be in the Quorum of the 70. Man its hard to type English! It's weird, takes me a second longer to remember how to spell. My brain is on overload, haha. We have some baptisms this Saturday hopefully. A father and his two kids. He is so humble. There is a huge divide here between the rich and the poor. Some people are super comfortable and others make R$10 a day, or 5 bucks. No matter what they have they give you their best. They are such a happy people too. Always laughing and joking about something. Oh, something neat the Rio temple is being built in our area!! They have just barely started construction but it's underway. It's right near the beach off the highway. The name of the suburb we cover is called Camorim, so maybe you can google pictures of it. I love it here that's for sure. Oh, Elder Veiga is from Campo Grande Brazil. Love you guys, I think that's everything. Love ya!!!
 eu sei que jesus cristo live. eu sei qui pai celestia ee litermente nosso pai. ele nos ama muito. o poder de Deus e real. e sento ele cada dia.
com amor, vamos la!!
Elder Montanha

 He says it's a drink his companion likes from the area of Brazil that he's from but it's not popular in Rio.
Not sure about the straw?? 

Elder Mountain and his first companion in Rio!!!

CTM fiesta!!

Nate with an Elder from a neighboring ward here in GA, small world!!

His district in the CTM in Sao Paulo.

Some Elders from Peru that Nate became great friends with while in the Missionary Training Center.

Weekly Email - May 26, 2014

Week two in Brazil!!! Man it has been crazy but a lot of fun. This week was great. Elder Veiga has been a great teacher. I have seen my Portuguese improve a lot this week. It's small steps at a time but it's cool to see what I can do that I couldn't when I got here. We had a good week teaching. We had most of our lessons in the homes of our investigators which is a big push here. It's really easy to have lessons on the street but the problem is you probably will never find them again so it's important to meet in their homes. People are constantly protesting for one reason or another. One day this week the police went on protest (WHAT???? that cannot happen!!) so there were no police available so we had to stay in after dark. We found a few families to teach this week. One, N--- and J----- we are really excited about. We had a really good lesson with them and they called us later in the week to tell us they have been reading the Book of Mormon and like it. Another lesson that really sticks out in my mind is the one we had with F-------. She is an older woman who owns a business where she makes dresses. Rae would love to look around her house. When we were there a little girl Rae´s age was getting a dress for her bday. Anyways it was the first lesson with her. Elder Veiga had met her before but she was always busy. It was an awesome lesson. Very powerful! Elder Veiga is a great teacher. He always tells me ´Alegria Elder!! Alegria!!!(joy)` whenever we teach or contact. We gotta show in the first few seconds, "dang, something has made that person happy, I wonder what it is." I have learned a lot from him. We did quite a bit of reactivating work as well. There are three inactives that live right on the same street as us so we see them often. One of them, R--, is one of the funniest guys ever. He is a huge person, in the literal sense (350 pounds maybe) and has an even bigger heart. He is super nice and tells his jokes slow enough so the gringo can understand. Also it's been interesting, no everyone but some of the natives are surprised that I can speak Portuguese. I guess they are used to the Americano tourists. They say, "Voce fala?" (you speak?) haha, luckily they like talking with the American. We had a bit of a roach problem this week in our kitchen, haha, but with some spray and using flip flops as the weapon of choice I think we eliminated all of them. I am surprised by the amount of English speakers in our ward. There are 4 or 5 Americans who live here who all teach English or have English schools. One of them is from Scotland and another is from South Carolina and they are good friends and they always are bickering who is teaching the correct form of English. The work is so different here than Arizona, it's almost overwhelming, there are so many people. In my last area I think I almost met every single person. Here there is probably 100,000 living in our ward, if not more. So many people to teach. So much to do always. I love it here. The language is coming slowly but surely. I love the people of Brazil. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here. Love ya!!!! Happy bday Ali!!!!

Com amor (with love)
Elder Mountain

View out Rio apartment. Living in the city for sure!

Rio apartment - bedroom.

In Brazil!! CTM and Rio arrival!!

Email received from The Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo - April 30, 2014

Hey family! I made it to Brazil! Man it was a long day and a long flight (9 & 1/2 hours). We will be Skyping on Sunday May 11th at 6 oclock Brazil time. Not sure what time that will be for you guys but you can google it to figure out. It will only be voice unfortunately no video. Sao Paulo is so dang big. We drove on a bus from the airport for 2 hours or so and it was just solid down town city. My comp here is Elder Fox. He was in the district with me in the MTC on Provo, Utah. It's great to see him again, and cool we got it the same time. Doing great other wise, still like a dream I am here. The people are so nice here I can tell already. The nice lady who sat next to me was super nice trying to understand my super broken Portuguese. It's going to be a lot of work and my head may explode trying to think so hard but I'm gonna love it here. Also I don't have a Skype account so if you can make one for me and send the username and password so I can use it. love you guys it was great to see you. take care!!!

Weekly Email - May 9, 2014

Man what a week!!! Brazil is freaking awesome first of all, and I love it down here. My comp is Elder Fox if you guys remember him, he was in my MTC district in Provo. Crazy that it happened like that. He was serving in the Charlotte North Carolina Mission and is from Oregon. Great guy, really enjoying being with him. It's so crazy being in the MTC again. I feel like it's starting all over again, it's pretty fun. All of the focus, of course, is on the language where as before it was on the lessons with Portuguese on the side. It took my brain a while to get going but its amazing how fast you learn here. There is about an even number of Brazilieros, Americans, and Hispanics here. It's a lot of fun to talk to all of them. We have two Brazilieros in our room, they are a blast to talk to. I feel comfortable enough in the language now where I can have a conversation about anything really. Portuguese is easy, in the fact that you don't have to know all of the words, you can describe them and they will understand. We have three teachers all of which are Brazilieros that just got back from their mission in the last year or so. They are great. We have gone proselyting twice so far, that was an adventure but man it was fun. We ride a bus to a park or bus stop or something where there is a lot of people and just start talking to people. They are all so receptive. The second time especially I couldn't believe it! I was having a conversation with a native, they understood me, and I understood them. They are so nice, very polite as well. For an example, we talked to this guy who was a minister or something for a church and was comfortable with his church. In the USA I would expect someone like that to just walk away or even maybe say a rude comment or two but here he said I respect you so I want to listen to what is it that you believe. They are so sincere. It really is amazing. The traffic/streets here are insane. They are tiny and all of the cars absolutely fly every where and there are a million and a half huge buses all over the place, not to mention all of the motorcycles who all ride in the middle of the road flying past traffic, haha. It's crazy. Sorry I can't upload any pictures, the computers here aren't capable of sending them for some reason. Next email hopefully I can. I'm super excited to get in the field and get a braziliero comp. It's hard to describe how nice they are, haha, they are instantly your best friend. And they love seeing you trying to speak the language. It's been a long week but at the same time it has flown by. Skyping is going to be really quick only 15 minutes because there are so many missionaries here but I'm excited to talk to you guys again. love ya I'm doing great.
Elder Mountain

Email letter that we received on May 18, 2014, once he arrived in Rio! A sure trial of our patience! He arrived in Rio on Tuesday (13th) and the email came on Sunday......but he's there!!! :)