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 missionário.
Translation: Christ lives. He loves us. Through him we can have true happiness. I love my opportunity to be a missionary.

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