Monday, September 30, 2013

Packing for transfer & excited for conference!

Weekly Email
Hey everyone!!! Great to hear from you all. It has been a super great week. Still not sure if I'm going to be transfered or not...waiting for a call from the district leader. Elder Duval, one of the elders in the house, just got a call from the mission President because he is going to be a zone leader. He can't believe it, haha. I'm hoping I stay here, I love the people here and the spanish is clicking a lot more this week for some reason. Alfonso is on date for October 26th, we had a great lesson with him this week. He is really going through a hard time. He is about to loose his house to the bank, but he is solid, he has a lot of courage and faith. He has a bunch of LDS (Latter-day Saint) friends that talk to him at work too so if we aren't able to talk to him because he is working, he still learns. We were really excited about a lady named Carmen and her family. They are super nice and just after two lessons we felt were ready to be put on date. But the thrid lesson that was supposed to be this saturday fell though because they weren't home. That was really rough, but we will see them again soon. We got a new investigator this week named German, we had a really powerful lesson with him. We had a guy who just got home from his mission, from North Carolina spanish speaking about a month ago, with us. He is still in missionary mode so he knew just what to say and where we were going with the lesson, it was great, haha. The ward is doing really good. Yesterday the missionaries taught the combined 3rd hour for the fifth Sunday. Hopefully they understood my Portuguese, haha. The ward had the goal of 100 percent home teaching, so we went out with the Elders Quorum President a lot visiting members who don't have home teachers. We have gotten really close to him and he is one of our go to guys if we need help in the ward. Well some exciting news my companion, Macfarlane just got called from the president, he is going to be training two greenies (new missionaries) and be the district leader for the first Spanish district. Man he is excited but scared to train two at once, haha. That means I'm going English (an English speaking area) for sure, haha and it means I got to pack all my stuff, oh well. I'll find out Wednesday who my new companion will be. I got my hair cut again, I'll send a picture. I like it short.  I hope you guys have a great week,

 I love and miss you guys. I love it out here. I'm super excited for conference next week, can't wait to hear from the Prophet and apostles.
Eu sei que Jesus Cristo vive. eu sei que este e o lugar o Senhor quer mim. eu sei que o livro de mormon e o palavra de Deus e como aprendemos mais sobre o evangelho. eu sei que Thomas S Monson e o profeta de Deus. eu amo Cristo, ele e minha luz. 
I  know that Jesus Christ lives. I know this is the place the Lord wants me. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and (with it) we can learn more about the gospel. I know Thomas S Monson is the prophet of God. I love Christ, he is my light.
Elder Montanha ( I LOVE how they pronounce Mountain is Spanish!)
Elder Mountain LOVES San Tan Valley!
Certainly not in Georgia anymore!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lots of teaching, mega lesson & possible transfer coming :(

letter home - written September 19, 2013

Howdy Familia!
I hope you guys are doing well. This week has been awesome. I went on exchanges yesterday with Elder Benson, one of my zone leaders. He is an awesome missionary, I really learned a lot and had a great time with him. We handed out 4 Books of Mormon which was so cool. He really taught me a lot about 'OMYing' (open your mouth) and how to approach people and having a normal conversation and making a smooth transition into a gospel topic. He taught me that it's all about the questions you ask, then you discern what part of the gospel to introduce to them. It was a great learning experience, he is really awesome at it. It also was really neat talking about our background. He grew up in Rexburg, Idaho where it is like 90% LDS. It is really neat, I think we are all born where we are supposed to be. He was telling me about experiences he had that could only happen in a place like that, and it is the same for me. I think basically having mostly nonmember friends growing up has taught me to really see the differences and blessings that the gospel brings families. It was a really interesting conversation. But anyways, we also had a lesson with one of his investigators that was probably the most powerful one I have been in. It was amazing. The investigator is on date (committed to baptize on certain date) and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith. We went into the lesson just to talk about the first half of the restoration up to the First Vision. Not quite a lesson really, just a quick message to feel the Spirit but as we learned more about her Elder Benson knew some of the details but not all of them we ended up teaching a lot more. She has a stressful life, she was abandoned by her parents, ( I think they both are in jail) works two jobs, and goes to school. She is about 20 years old, first year taking college classes. She just needs a lot of help, so we ended up talking about the atonement and how we aren't on our own in this life, the Savior is with us every step of the way. That he knows how we feel exactly so we can turn to him for anything. It was very powerful, a great lesson. I have one more experience that I would like to write about. We had an insane lesson with Jonathan last night. We weren't able to see him for a while, we were afraid he was losing interest. It was just because he has been working a ton. He works for a company that builds pools for neighborhoods or personal back yards. It is really hard work and most of their business is in Glendale or Phoenix so he has to be picked up at 4am and doesn't get home until 8pm. He finally had a free evening last night. He was on date for the 29th but we had all the commandments to teach him so we were thinking of moving it back. First we asked him to bear his testimony of what he does know. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true, he knows Joseph Smith is a prophet and that baptism is what the Lord wants for him. So since we felt he was ready, we explained this is gonna take some work but the 29th could still happen. He was excited that it still was a possibility. So in a 2 hour lesson we taught the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, the ten commandments, tithing, following the prophet and the commandment of baptism in one lesson. I had no idea that it was possible! He took it all great, committed to them all, and is totally gonna be ready on the 29th. I'm so excited for him. His faith is incredible. I can't believe transfers are a week away. I'm probably headed to an English speaking area, which will be tough to leave all of these investigators and members I have grown to love. Hope you guys have a great week! Talk to ya on Monday. Love ya!
Elder Mountain

Weekly email - September 23, 2013

Hey family great to hear from you guys!!! Thanks for that video of Solo, Ali, that was really cool to see, I'm sure he is having a blast. Glad Albert got his letter too, miss that guy. I sent a letter on Saturday, maybe today or tomorrow it will come. This week has been a great one, a lot of work. I can't believe we are already starting the last week of the transfer already. It'll be tough to leave the area if I get moved out, which I probably will from the sounds of it. But anyways, it was a great week. Alfonso came to church and brought his son, his two step sons, and his mother in law and they were really interested! We had to move his date back because he works a ton and Sunday is his only day off, but he still is committed to be baptized. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. It was an interesting week with Jonathan. He also works a lot, and we hadn't had a lesson in 4 or 5 days and his date was apporaching so we asked him is this something you want to work towards? He bore a really powerful testimony and said he will do what it takes. So, then we taught all of the commandments in a cazy two hour power lesson. We taught everything from law of chastity to tithing to keeping the sabath day holy to the word of wisdom. It was quite the lesson. We taught all that so he could still be baptized on the 29th, but he had to work on sunday so it is going to be moved back a week as well. But he his solid, a strong testimony. just getting him to church is the hard part at this point. He really wants to go, he just doesn't want to loose his job by asking for days off. We also had a great week with Jose. He also is pretty much good to go we are just working through giving up alcohol. This week we learned at church on Sunday he made it a whole week without any at all! that was so awesome to hear. We are going to put him on date next lesson for sure. We haven't taught the family yet, the friends that are members are going to set up a FHE and we will come and teach. That should be this week. We got three more new investigators. One lady who has a ton of mormon friends in the ward and is curious, her name is Liz. We have an appointment with her this week. Another lady named Carmen who was a referal from some English  speaking elders who gave her a Book of Mormon. It took forever to catch her home but we had a great lesson with her last week and have a return appointment tonight. The other one is a guy who moved to Queen Creek from Mesa who has a wife who is a member and he has been taking the lessons and is on date for December. We have a lot of people to teach for sure! It's great to see the progress, see what the gospel can do in people's lives. I gotta tell you guys about a sandwich I make all the time that I think you guys would like, its so good. Make an avacado sandwich but add pepperjack cheese and bacon and a bunch of turkey sandwich meat. Then put it on a George Forman to melt the cheese and toast it. It's soooo good. That with some grits are pretty tasty. The people here feed us really, really well. They are so nice too, some of the friendliest people I have ever met, even just people on the street will talk to us and tell us "we are men of God" and leave us with a funny laugh or joke. They are just really friendly. Oh I forgot, two sisters from Brazil have started coming to our ward because they can understand Spanish better than English so I was able to talk some Portuguese with them, which was really cool. Kinda hard though. I hadn't heard Portuguese in a while, I was a bit rusty, haha. It has been really nice weather wise here. It's still like 89 degrees but because its so dry it feels much cooler. Summer will be in full swing once I get to Brazil so I'll enjoy it while I can, haha. If you guys want a laugh, read a chapter or two in your thick southern accent and replace 'ye' with 'ya'll'. My roomies got a kick out of that, haha. Have a super week!!! Eu muito amo voces, tem otimo semana!
Elder Mountain
                                                  Nice pic of the Arizona night sky!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Service & loving the people of San Tan Valley

Weekly Email and letter in the mail (which I LOVE!)
Its has been another awesome week!! Thanks for the package you guys sent, that was a great surprise. I also got a letter from the Lunt family which was super nice of them. (Thanks Lunt family!) I mailed you guys a letter Saturday, mailed another one to give to Albert, and mailed one to the Lunts. I did a lot of writing, haha. This week we did a lot of teaching which was awesome. Our investigators are progressing great, they are just so darn busy its hard to meet with them as much as we would like. Johnathan couldn't make it to church because he was at a family reunion type thing in Mesa, but we hope to have him at a FHE (Family Home Evening- a night with family & a gospel centered lesson & activity) at one of the ward missionaries homes tonight. We got a whole new family this week to teach which is so exciting. They were referred from some English speaking members, we met them at a ward social and gave them a tour of the chapel and we are also having a FHE with their member friends and them. They have a ton of potential, I am super excited for them. They have a two boys who are 11 and 13 who have a ton of school friends at church so they really want to go, which is super. Alfonso is doing good, he just is super busy. He is a cook at Chipotle and because he was out of town last week he is working a double shift, like I used to at Sonic, everyday this week exept for Tuesday so we gotta see him then. I went on exhanges again this week, this time with Elder Olkjer (j is silent) who is from Alaska. I talked about it a lot in my letter but we basically did service all day for three different people, then had some lessons in the evening. It was a super day. We painted a few walls of a house, cleaned up a yard, and assembled a massive desk for two investigators and one less active. One of our investigators is on a vacation in Mexico, hopefully she returns soon, she really progressed last week. It seems if we can meet with people the work flies but people's schedules are so jammed packed. One of the pictures I'll send is of me and Elder Macfarlane and two guys our age who are recent converts of about a month. (he didn't send it, maybe next week) They are part of a huge family and extended family of about 20 who all have slowly joined the church one after another the past few months. We didnt teach them, the sisters did, but they have been going on splits with us a lot and have become great friends. they both really want to go on a mission as well, which is really cool. I heard Elder Evans got his VISA this week, I am so happy for him and wish him the best. (not sure if he has left for Brazil yet) I really hope that I can see him down there. I really have been amazed by how nice the ward members are here, they are such great people. There is an older guy named Brother Meija who loves the missionaries, I have gotten to know him. He always runs up to us and gives us a hug and ask how the work is going whenever he sees us. And there is another older guy who I told Pa reminds me of G'pa Bob a lot, who calls me 'Montanita' whenever he sees me which means 'little mountain' which cracks me up. They are all just great people, I really love them. Well have a super week you guys!!! Rae-Rae thanks soooo much for the drawings and pictures. I have them hanging up everywhere. They are great!!! (he must really like them because he uses his explanation marks VERY sparingly!) Tell the LaRues I said hey. love and miss ya!
Com amor, (with love)
Elder Montanha
**Letter to follow pictures**
                    First vision picture that Rae drew for Nate. He hung it above
a door... that's funny to me. Real funny! :)

    They learned how to cover their study guides with some cool
photos and contact paper. Pretty crafty for Elder Mountain!

                                                    I'm sure he was all smiles to see 2 of his
 MTC buddies at Zone Conference.
Hey guys, just got your package in the mail last night, that was an awesome surprise! Thanks so much for all that you sent. Rae, you sure must have worked hard making all the pictures and the swan and your little envelope. (she has been doing some origami) I love them! I have all the stuff hanging up in my room. My companion and the other missionaries that live with us really like the Joseph Smith's first vision you drew, it is so good! It is hanging right above the door so everyone sees it. It has been a really good week so far. I went on exchanges again on Wednesday, which was neat. We did a ton of service, 3 different members we helped out. We helped one lady paint 2 rooms in a house that she is flipping, helped one guy, who is going through some extremely tough trials right now, clean up his garage and yard and then we helped a super nice older guy put together a massive desk. It was great to serve and help some people out (and speak some English, haha). There was a baptism last night in our ward. It was a mother  and son that the sisters in our ward have taught. It was a great service. I have never been to a baptism with so many people there. There was more in attendance than there is on a normal sacrament meeting (Sunday service with the entire congregation). It was awesome. We had one of our investigators there, he really enjoyed it, especially the support the ward gave. We really wanted one other investigator there, Johnathan, but he had to work. Johnathan is progressing so fast, it is amazing. He bore his testimony to us earlier in the week that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that God wants him to be baptized. It was so powerful. The 28th is for sure gonna happen, I'm so excited! Thanks again for the package and the goodies and the letter! Oh, and for the tie! Keep sending ties! I have been getting a lot of new ones lately from other missionaries and we found a ton in one of the closets in our house. I love you guys! Have a great week! Talk to ya Monday! Time is flying by, I can't believe it's already almost week 5! (since leaving the MTC)
Elder Montanha

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meeting an Apostle & busy, busy, busy with the work!

Weekly - Email September 9,2013
Great to hear from you all. Thanks for that hilarious picture of Napoleon, Kip and Rico. (sent from Randee) That made my day, haha. I'm gonna see if I can print it somehow. I sent one letter on Friday and another on Saturday, did you get the second one? It was about hearing from Neil L Andersen, which was so awesome. We had two of our investigators at church, Jose and Alfonso. We wanted more of course but we were happy they were there. One of them, his name is Alfonso, who is the one who is closest to baptism and is on date, went on vaction to Colorado to visit his daughters who live with his ex wife. His daughters are 11 and 13, I think. But he took them to the LDS church in their town, which is so awesome. Hopefully they had a good time. We have a pretty big group of investigators and we saw a lot of progress this week. One of them, Johnathan, who is a younger guy maybe around 23 years old, progressed a lot. He told us he feels really good when he reads the Book of Mormon and he felt really, really good when he prayed about it. We were so excited, he has a ton of potential. I see him as a friend, i guess because he is close to our age. I want the gospel for him so bad. When he makes progress, like he did this week it makes us so happy. We have another investigator named Angelica where we have had a lot of progress. We had a great lesson last night with her. It has been a complete 180 from when we started teaching her when I got here. The first lesson I had with her she almost dropped us but her desire to learn more and to change has really grown. It has changed from a nice message to something that can change her and her families life. We also had a member with us last night in the lesson who was recent convert of about 5 years, so she has a friend that lives close by, which helps a ton. When members invite investigators to come to church or come to a ward party or something it is so much more effective. I am so excited for these people. I love seeing them grow. The love you feel for them the instant you meet them is something that is hard to describe. The meeting with Elder Andersen was so amazing. I wrote about it in detail in the letter but it was so crazy having an apostle of the Lord look you in the eye. My goodness it was powerful. And when he bore testimony, it felt like I was living in the scriptures, haha. Like I was witnessing John or Peter bear testimony. It was very, very powerful not to mention he was really funny, haha. He had a hilarous sense of humor, I didn't really expect that. This week really flew by. I can't believe it is already pday. All the days are just a blur, haha. I can't wait to go to the temple on Wednesday, that will be nice to slow down for a bit and absorb it all. I love and miss you guys!!! Sound like you had fun with the sister missionaries. That's neat you guys have gotten to know then well. I hope the work is going well there. Love you guys!!! Thanks for the picture of Solo and Albert as well. Tell the LaRue's I love and miss them as well!!!
Elder Montanh
 Picture mentioned in email :)
Characters from one of Nate's favorite movies!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"I have never had the scriptures speak to me like they do now." <3

Letter in the mail - arrived Sept.6, 2013

Hey family,

I hope everyone is doing well! Finally have some free time after church today to write you guys. It's been a great week. Great progress with our investigators. We had two of them at church and got one of them to commit to be baptized on the 28th, so that's super exciting. We have a total of 6 progressing investigators, we definitely hope to get them all there next Sunday. Let's see what else has happened.... there was what the people call a "monsoon" a couple of days ago. It basically was a heavy rain storm that lasted 30 minutes or so , no big deal in Georgia, but here in the desert the water has no where to go because the ground is so hard. It was a mini-flood. We had a good looking mesquite tree in front of our house that split because of the wind, so we had to get it removed. I'm starting to get to know everyone in the ward, they are all so nice and feed us some amazing food, haha. We try to go out with members as much as we can, especially with the priest who are perspective Elders.  We try our best to have a member present at all of the lessons, it's really effective to have a member bear their testimony so the investigators can see that real life people know that it is true, not just the missionaries. Thanks so much for the package by the way! That was a nice surprise. I love the tie and the sunflower seeds are sure tasty. Thanks so much for the notes and pictures also, they sure made me smile. Solo sure has good handwriting, looks like he is learning a lot. Tell him I love him (angry face - inside joke) and to keep being a good boy. Ali and Rae, take him fishing, haha. I sure miss messing around with you guys. You know I said that we have an investigator on date? I really have enjoyed teaching him. The moment when we asked him to be baptized was really powerful. I felt like jumping for joy when he said yes, haha. I really love that guy. We have taught a ton of lessons this week, if we get the ball rolling with baptisms it could be something special. I really like Elder Macfarlane, he is a great trainer. He really pushes me to do my best, and is patient with my lack of Spanish. I really like the other two elders in our home (Duval and Fa'amuli) We all get along great and laugh a lot. This is Elder Fa'amuli's 2nd transfer so he is a newbie as well. Both Elder Macfarlane and Duval have been out 9 months. I really have enjoyed having 2 to 3 whole hours to study the scriptures each day. I have never had the scriptures speak to me like they do now. I don't want to put them down, haha. I love them. We do these things called "OYM's" Open Your Mouth. We individually have to get 10 a day. They are simply talking to someone you don't know, have a conversation, and invite them to do something (accept a Book of Mormon, come to church, etc). Those were sure tough at first. First you have to talk, then weave in the gospel in there somehow and make it apply personally to them. They are hard! But I'm starting to get the hang of it. We don't tract, but OYM's have been toughest so far but I have learned to talk to them like a regular person, just like a friend, it is not so bad. I hope you guys have a great Sunday! I love and miss you. Sorry we don't have much email time. I will write you guys at least one letter a week so I don't forget anything.

Eu amo voces! Eu espero que vao ter otimo dia. Jesus e minha luz.
Translation: I love you guys! I hope that you have a great day. Jesus is my light.

Elder Montanha (think this is how Mountain is pronounced in Spanish)

Monday, September 2, 2013

1st Baptism commitment, looking forward to next week & sunrise hike :)

I hope everyone is doing good!! It has been a crazy, eventful week. Thanks for all of your emails, its great to hear from you guys. I sent a letter yesterday with some stuff I forgot last email, it should be there soon. The work is going amazing. Elder Macfarlane and I extended our first baptismal commitment together to one of our investigators. It was really powerful. He has a date set to be baptized on September 28th. Elder Macfarlane is from Orem, Utah. He is great guy, a great trainer, he really pushes me to do my best. The spanish is going okay, I am understanding more and more, but I mostly speak portuguese to the investigators and if they dont understand fully Elder Macfarlane will translate. Since I have been speaking portuguese so much it really has been improving, which is so awesome. I was scared that I would loose a lot of it being in the states. This morning our district woke up at 4am and all met and climbed about a 1.5 mile trail to the top of a mountain and saw the sunrise. That was really early, but really cool. I'll send some pictures of it. We had a pretty cool teaching experience with a potential investigator last night. It was my first time meeting with her and only the second for Elder Macfarlane and it had been 2 weeks since the last visit, so we weren't exactly sure what to expect. In the beginning of the lesson, she basically dropped us and said she wasn't interested and didn't see why the Book of Mormon is necessary but would just listen to this lesson. So it was a rough start but the lesson turned out to be really good. Out of no where I had an idea to explain the Book of Mormon and a certain verse we were reading by comparing it to cooking food and a recipe. You can't make something delicious without following the directions. The Book of Mormon and the verse we read in Moroni  chapter 10, where there are instructions to growing closer to Heavenly Father. After that something clicked in her, her whole countenance changed and she committed to read and pray about it everyday. It was a really cool experience. I had never thought of that before, it was really neat. It has been really awesome to get to know the ward, they are all super nice and feed us some gooood mexican food, haha. It's Cabos every night, haha. (Cabos is his favorite Mexican restaurant near us) They aren't near as many members in the latin community but it's starting to really grow. Elder Neil L Anderson (One of the 12 Apostles) is coming to speak to the mission next week, we also get to go to the Mesa temple, so that is going to be an amazing week. I can't wait to meet and shake his hand. It has been nice seeing Elder Papworth often, I also got to see Elder Neu and McStraw at Zone conference, which was cool. They are all doing really well. I'll write a letter to you guys in the middle of the week from now on so I dont forget anything. Thanks so much for the package, that was a great surprise. I especially liked all the letters and pictures. They were sure nice. Really like the tie too. Tell all the girls and Solo hey and I love them. Take some pictures of Solo at a baseball game sometime. I miss that boy. I hope everyone has a great week!!
Eu sei que a igreja é verdadeira. Gosto de servir a Jesus Cristo. Eu amo Jesus Cristo, ele é meu tudo e minha luz. Adoro as escrituras, especialmente o Livro de Mórmon. Eu amo vocês!
I know the church is true. I love to serve Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ, he is my all and my light. I love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I love you guys!!
Elder Mountain 
Sunrise hike.
Elder Mountain & Elder MacFarlane on morning hike.
House that he lives in.

                                                        Nate with goodies from his Aunt Kathi :)