Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Note from the Mama

Elder Forsyth's birthday is coming up on Oct. 1.  I know he would LOVE  to get some letters and cards on this first birthday far, far from home (Rexburg was far, Curitiba is far, far).  It takes anywhere from two to four weeks for letters to arrive.  Use the address on the blog header.  Thank you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dynamic Duo

Bastos and Forsyth

Whew it was a good week. Why am I so happy all the time? It is really strange because several investigators "nos cortarem" -- "cut us". In missionary language this means they said, "Hey, I love your visits and all, but feel free to stop by next time if you need a glass of water or something." Sometimes we get the "cut" in this manner but sometimes it is much different, like, "Yeah, I don't want you in my house anymore." It is easy to get discouraged but also really easy to turn the situation upside down. We talk to several people each day, right? The way I see it I need to talk to 100 people to find that right "one". So these people are just part of the 100. No big deal.

Also, you know how when you were a kid and you asked your mom if you could eat a cookie and clearly she said no, so your next outlet is your dad, right? You hope real hard that he says yes. And sometimes he does. In the mission field this is a tactic I am starting to use. If you find a couple on the street make sure you remember both of their names when you note their address. We had a funny experience the other day. We clapped hands to call our potential investigator outside of his house to talk to us. We noticed the door was open on the second story so we called his name. (To not disclose the name I will use a false name) "Oi! Raphaelzinho" this is a name here in Osternack. He saw us through the glass door and shut the door while staring at us. At first it seemed really rude but I decided to call his wife immediately after. I was a little scared of the reaction I would receive. "Rosanna!" She came and spoke to us for a little but said that today probably wasn't the best day. Understandable, Rosanna. Obrigado. Remember that the other part of the couple could be waiting for a message that will change her life.

As promised, the face of Elder Bastos when someone says he sounds like an Americano

The mystery fruit that Elder Bastos made me eat

Little kids. I love them. I have started to make some friendships here with the Primary kids. You learn some great Portuguese. And sometimes strange facts about their parents. But speaking of little kids...I never notice fully how pure they are. They love you unconditionally and will tell you what's on their mind. You will always learn something new about the gospel because they see it in a different way. We attended a baptism for 8-year-old Guillerme. The past week we had lunch at their house and I taught him a little bit of guitar. Heaven. The baptism was great, but what I took home after the service was the idea of a new life. I wish I could remember my baptism but witnessing another 8-year-old's baptism was good enough. His face when he exited the water was so happy and clean! (sidenote: I cried a little). There weren't words to describe the rushing power of purity and innocence that slammed everyone right in the heart when we saw his face. Afterwards he gave me his classic high-five-fist-pound and a hug! That made me feel good:) 

We have one more week of this transfer. Will Elder Bastos  Stay or Leave? Will I leave and leave him here in Osternackistão?  Or will he leave and I stay? Who knows. It isn't a really big deal but here are some pictures that sum up the dynamic duo. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Looooove, love, love...

Querido Rapazes, Moças, amigos, Família, e caras.

This week was a great one to say the least. Elder Bastos and I have had a great run here in Osternack...and it is not over. I forgot to inform you that we both stayed here in the beautiful area of Osternack during transfers. The work still continues with the same elders. The funny thing about it is, I am pretty sure we have stopped almost everyone who lives in Osternack on the street. It is starting to get really difficult finding people that don't say, "Dude, you've already talked to me twice...in this same spot." It is slightly embarrassing, but the good thing is we talk to a lot of people each week. 

Sotaque (Accent) 
Speaking of talking to people, everyone that Elder Bastos talks to thinks he's an Americano. "What part of the United States are you from?" He gets that one a lot. They say he has an American sounding accent. I don't hear it. I have a perfect picture of his face when people say this to him. But the sad thing is I forgot my camera adapter for the computer. So next week you'll see his slightly annoyed Brasilian Face. You have to cut him a little slack, though because he has been living with Americans for about four months. 

Translating from Portuguese to English
My Journal these days is a little atrocious. There are so many words crossed out because I accidentally wrote in Portuguese or I forgot how to spell in English. I have to consult my dictionary a lot to find if certain words exist in English. I like it and I don't like it. It is a weird feeling when you can't speak your native tongue very well.  But the good thing is, I don't need to speak English with anyone here. Except for our Bishop. He speaks English fluently so we have some fun in between sunday school. 

Sad news. A lot of our dates for Baptism have fallen through for one reason or another. So a couple of people I wrote about aren't exactly keeping with the path to Baptism. But, really it is a part of missionary work. Honestly, missionary work is easy because of the blessings that you receive but the hardest part is respecting the free agency that Heavenly Father gave us a long, long time ago. Misha Tulek, photographer, debonair gentleman, and great friend of mine, gave me a great piece of advice before I left for the field. "Conserve your happiness. At times it may seem like there is none left, but find it." There is really no time to get down and out here in Osternack because we are constantly on the move from apartment to favela, but there are times when the enemy can get to you. Something that I learned that I will always keep with me for the rest of my life is to always remember my divine inheritance. For everyone who thinks that their potential is less than their fellow man, I'm sorry but you are terribly wrong. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and we all have the same objective: to live with Him again forever! In complete and eternal happiness. I see a lot of people living in boxes, with the dogs on the street and many of them seem like they have no chance. But how can we help them?Love them and love them some more. Be a good Samaritan and see others in their full potential. All in white with a wide smiling face. We have agency, too, you know! We have a knowledge that so few people have. So why not share it? You don't need to send the missionaries at first for every situation. Just share how your life is different because of the gospel. Even if it is a few sentences I know that it will touch their heart. They will recognize that you are sharing with them this divine knowledge only because you love them. Loooooove, love, love. The Beatles sang it well.

The mission forces you to leave your comfort zone. Especially if you are speaking a foreign language. Elder Bastos, the Ward Mission Leader and I hosted a ward fireside. It was legit. We shared a message of the Atonement of Christ. I shared an example that I learned from our District leader: placing food coloring in a water-filled transparent container and then placing água sanitário (i don't know what it is in English, sorry) and the water returns to its pure original state. Isaiah 1:18 was an awesome scripture to read while the experiment took place. But I was able to speak for a solid 10 minutes in Portuguese and have people understand me. Half the things I said I don't remember but I know they made sense. It took a lot of faith. But God only works through us by our faith. We can produce miracles great and small even when all we can muster is a desire to believe (Alma 32).

Next week I promise pictures. Fui minha mal. I am shooting my imaginary love gun to everyone at home. Feel it and stay sweet.


Elder Forsyth

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shout out to all the Moms

Dear Friends:)

This email will be dedicated to my momma! So for all of you who "don't" want to read about  my favorite super hero in my life feel free to lounge facebook or something else less cool.

If there is one person who knows how to serve people and dish out loads of love it's my mom. There really isn't anyone else that I can think of that loves more unconditionally. Back in the days of high school when I would goof up or fall through a ceiling she was always there to lovingly support me and help me improve as a young man. Without a father at home for three years of my high school life was tough to say the least but I always had a best friend to hug me until I stopped crying and to tell me "everything was going to be alright." It wasn't just a phrase but it was a bearing of her testimony that in the end, if we keep on persevering, withstanding the trials in our life and continue to lose ourselves in serving other people, everything will be alright. I have a strong testimony of mothers, everyone. She is the real friend that sticks with you and helps you endure through your trials. They tell you "we do hard things" when all you want to do is sit on the couch and watch ESPN for the 3rd time over. When you receive a bad report card, she doesn't reprimand you but shares with you a scripture that would forever change your life. Ether 12:27 is my motto for just about everything. We have weaknesses in this life that teach us to be humble enough to learn how to transform them into strengths  She prepares you for battle like the Mothers of the Stripling Warriors. The battle of life. I feel  I am more prepared for the adversities that I will face on the mission and the life after the mission because of my incredible and humble mom. I have my priorities straight and a foundation she help me construct and improve. She stays up late with you when you want to show her the "cool" song you wrote on the guitar. Even when she has to teach seminary and wake up at 4:30 am. She also stays up late to wait until you come home after a late outing with your friends. She always wants to hear about the movie you just watched even if it's not her taste. She teaches you the value of saving your money for things that you will actually need and not just want. She enriches your day with Bach constantly flowing through your ears because of her awesome work ethic on the organ. Somethings of the loving things she does you don't notice throughout your day because she does them discreetly. The humility factor. She writes you every week to give you that extra boost for the upcoming week. She teaches you to invest your time in things that are worthwhile like education, friendship, music, integrity and honesty. She teaches you to always apologize even if you think you aren't wrong because you cherish a relationship more than your own ego. 
She doesn't toss your torn up gross red authentic Vans in the trash because she knows how much you cherish them and all of the experiences you lived in them.

 "OK, I'm off to get several bags of donations ready for Purple Heart.  No baseball cards, though.  Never those.  Not even your red Vans, although you know I would love to see those exit the building.  But I'm not that kind of mama.  :-)  I love you so much, Ian.  You are a wonderful person, a beautiful person with a glowing spirit and testimony and a heart full of love to share the all-important message that you are there to share.  I am, as always, your loving and proud mama."

There are several more things that I could write but to summarize it all, I love my Mom with all my heart. I am writing this letter to the people reading my blog, from Brazil, because of the love and guidance I received every day before I boarded the plane for this incredible life changing journey.
Love, Elder Forsyth
p.s. shout out to all the moms
My momma

My method of teaching English

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hammocks, hats and happiness

Alright everyone,  this week was testimony boosting, spirit lifting, hard laughing, and baptism-inviting filled. Vamos la.

To start things off, I want to thank everyone who is praying for me and supporting me on my mission. There are times when I am walking down Eduardo Pinto da Rocha (our main retail street) and I can feel all of the hugs coming my way. Thank you all so so so much. I really am so grateful.

To answer the questions of momma...momma's questions...the Portuguese grammar slips into my English sometimes....We are still work monsters. We taught 22 lessons this week, have a baptism set up for the 31 of August right after our investigator's wedding. The baptism will be the climax of the wedding party. What do they call those? Ah yes, receptions. Slick idea by Elder Bastos to close the party off with a baptism. We are so excited for her and I will tell her story after the baptism! 

We have 2 other baptisms marked and ready to go but we are still praying and fasting for them and our abilities to help them prepare. We also found 13 new investigators and two families, which is huge change for Osternack. Work work work work. All this work being outside as the left of my face and  neck (the missionary collar tan) have gotten very dark. Brazilian like.

The language is coming along. I  can finally understand probably 90% of what people are saying and respond with thoughtful and slightly educated sounding things to say. The boost in my language skills has really been a blessing because I feel like I can relate with people more, share stories of home and principles of the gospel in more real manner. Before I think I sounded a little like a robot programmed to speak a phrase here or there with a robot accent. The accent is coming along, too! Everyone at home knows how much I love to mimic voices and speak different accents. Everyday I am listening super hard when I contact random people on the street, because everyone has a wild accent. Every accent is unique and sometimes you come across people who live in Uruguay. When you know Portuguese you can understand a Spanish speaker also. Daniel, get ready. 

We found a hammock in our residence that a missionary left here. Lounging with our Indiana Jones P-Day hat. 

and our ladybug friend we found in an abandoned tire

Also, I am gaining weight ...SO in the upcoming week i will be buying new slacks. It is a miracle. Brazil has done the trick that I was never able to accomplish in America. I started drinking a lot of milk. About 2 liters a day and I think that has been the game changer in my weight. 

Also for people that want to write me, I would love to see pictures of what everyone is up to! That means you Dallin:)

Time to head out. We are playing basquete with the district today. I'm excited. Next week I will post a picture of my shoes. They were black. Now brown. 

Love,  Elder Forsyth
stay sweet and send pictures