Monday, June 30, 2014

An indirect miracle

This week had in store a miracle that I will never forget. To end the week we unfortunately brought just one investigator to church. That was a huge downer. We had so many people progressing but their actions to continue have been few. On Saturday we went to teach one of our best investigators, Daiane. She is 18 and lives in a tough situation with many outside voices (social problems that I can't really put on the blog) that tell her she can't do this and that. She cannot follow the answers that God has given her because she either isn't worthy or ready. It is sad. But on Friday and Saturday we fasted for her. On Saturday night we got invited into her home even when it seemed impossible. We talked with everyone in the home and talked about how challenges, adversity, and the enemy of all is in all places, if......IF you let him come into your sacred atmosphere. We then told them that the enemy was working with them. That woke them up a little. We then read Ether 12:27 (And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them) with them and testified about the power of the Atonement of Christ that has the redeeming and enabling powers to cast out and cleanse all evil.

I then asked if I could give Daiane a blessing of comfort (to show them what the Savior can do in hostile venues through the power of the Spirit). The voices of contention that were erupting inside everyone's minds were calmed through the still small voice of the Spirit as I laid my hand on her head. I don't really remember the words that left my mouth but I do remember the change of feelings that came over the living room. Daiane started to cry and after the blessing she thanked me and said she had received her answer to be baptized. She now just has to leave her current comfort zone to fulfill this answer. We asked if we could give her a ride to church. She said that she wanted to but couldn't. We chatted a little more after the lesson and on our way out I felt urged to insist. I told her that we would still pass by around 8:30 am to bring her to church. ''You now have a night and a morning to find out what the Lord wants you to do and decide for yourself what needs to be done."  I felt a little like Dad. Being stern but stating the truth.

When we woke up it was raining cats and dogs. A huge tropical weather storm passed through Curitiba out of nowhere. The capital with the highest altitude is Curitiba and so it gets a lot of weather systems from Paraguay, Argentina and from the north of Brasil. I rolled out of bed and knelt down to pray and calm down the rain. Something that I have never done was ask to change the weather. I prayed with all energy of heart and declared the authority that I hold and the rain stopped and light shone through our windows. Elder Tavares was down stairs and yelled, ''O sol chegou do nada!! Estava chovendo e agora não há nuvens!!" aka, 'The sun came out of no where! It was raining and now there are not any clouds!' It was an instant response from our Heavenly Father. We got ready, brushed our teeth, shined our shoes and headed out to go and bring Daiane to church around 8:20. We clapped our hands outside of her house and she just woke up and told us she couldn't go to church. I didn't feel too upset or disappointed because I had tried my very best to let her have all of the opportunities to make the right choice. We left her lawn and headed over to church.

Here´s where the miracle comes in. All of our appointments fell through yesterday and we found someone that has been searching for the true church for 8 years. He just needed his neighbor to bear her testimony. Bonnie, a new member in the ward recently moved in and didn't hesitate to bear her testimony to her new neighbor. Bonnie was not at church on Sunday and because of her absence I felt prompted to visit her and ask her how she was. If she had been at church I don't know that I would've gone over there. We showed up and she told us that her neighbor wanted to hear the discussions. He was not at home so we asked her to call him super quick. He picked up the phone and left his aunt´s house 30 minutes walking distance away. He got there in 8 minutes. We shared with him the message of the Restoration and when we got the part where we talk about Joseph Smith he looked at us for a long time without speaking. I asked him what he was thinking and how he felt when I told of the first vision in Joseph´s words. He told me that because of the feelings that entered into his heart and Bonnie´s testimony, he knew the church was the true church of Christ. And now he wants to get baptized. His name is Ivandro. Please pray for him so that any opposition doesn't grow.

The moral of the story: please bear your humble testimony for your neighbors so that things like this can happen in ever corner of the earth. I promise everyone of you that are reading this blog that if you say what you believe, yours friends, family and strangers will feel the happiness that you feel when you feel the spirit. I promise.

I believe that the Lord gave us that chance to teach one of his children because we tried so hard to teach, bless and follow up with Daiane. God blesses those who work hard, think of others, and are humble in HIS work.

Elder Forsyth
lanches, bater papo, bolo, risada, bons momentos com Giovanni Ziliotto (snacks, chat, cake, laughter, good times with Giovanni Ziliotto)

signing off with another sunset

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Winter here, Summer there

More mustaches
   Hello Everyone!
I am doing great, feeling good, the language is still growing strong and my skin tone is coming back to the placid white tone. This winter hasn´t been too hard, but when we wake up my push-ups and sit-ups have to be done with a huge blanket wrapped around me tightly to cover myself from the freezing breezes. Burrito pushups. They don't have insulation as a wall construction option. Even if you are super rich the walls are still the same. I'm not sure if they don't know how to put it in the wall, if they don't have the materials in the area, if it's a laziness issue, or they just don't do it because they don't want to. It got down to -1C a couple of days ago and it was not pleasant to walk around. When it rains the temperature rises because of the humidity. The air gets pretty humid so that helps a little bit. I need to buy more shoes; but this time shoes that are going to be durable and comfortable. The pair that I got 3-4 months ago are still holding up but I am feeling that they won't last too much longer. They are super comfortable to walk in but they weren't made for long distance walking.

I am incredibly jealous of the family reunion at the lake. If I were the photographer I would start to cry tears of pleasure because of the beauty and style of my rad family. Para-béns pra vocês. No, but seriously here is the compliment list:

Mom - looks likes she's 35
Andrea - I dig the short haircut
Jonathan - holding strong with the hair line. I have a greater receeding hair line than he does. And more white hairs too. #fighterpilotsmile

Eric - jeans and flip-flops. Hipster/ Jason Mraz hair. Killer flannel
Jaime -I see the water camoflauge look. Really, the dress caught my eye. You officially made blue my favorite color
Daniel - Bear Grylls/ Lands End model
Franscesca - you need to have your own cooking show. Movie star mom
the boys - keep staying radical and animated
the girls - don't be like the boys. stay chubby 


New house that we rented. and we have another companionship!! Elder Tavares and Elder Lee. I was already Elder Tavares DL so I've been on exchanges with him a couple of times. His last area was Osternack and we hung out there for 6 months.

Signing off with a Brasilian sunset

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Elders and a New Verb

Dear family and friends,

World cup news
No, we aren't allowed to watch the games and we have to stay inside during the craziness that goes on outside. Brasil won their first game against Croatia 3-1 and everytime we hear a huge group of fire works and Brasilians screaming on the street yelling GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, we know that Brasil has kicked another into the goal. We have just been chilling at home listening to church music and writing letters. I've been getting back to speed with my letter writing. I hope to write a bunch more during the upcoming games.

For the PA crowd
I got really sad when I heard the news of Ron LaMar's passing.(middle school music director) I remember all of the funny jokes and the passion he had for musical education. Not just for performing but for teaching others to be better in their art. He had a big heart and made jazz music cool. He was the band teacher that accompanied the band when we played a mo-town hit, on the bass or drum set. A true musician. I know where he is, and I know that he helped many teenage kids become better performers and citizens.

The New Elders
Oh yeah, we also got another set of missionaries in our ward that'll be living with us. Woo! só festa during the games. Their names are Elder Tavares and Elder Lee.  Both are Brasilians so that´ll help out Elder Gale with his Português. It should be an awesome support for him and the ward, too. The ward is really needing some missionary work excitement. A lot of people were baptized 8-12 months ago and the majority of them have fallen away, so we have been on a hunt to bring them back. Last Sunday the Lord recognized our effort to bring the lost sheep back to the fold and we were blessed to bring 5 members back to the chapel to feel the spirit of the Lord. Many of them said that they needed the reinforcement and spirit of the Lord to overcome their challenges throughout the week. Well, that is exactly what the sacrament does folks:) The grace of God is given to those who humble themselves and hope for a better world.  They hope by changing their old ways . Hope and Faith are action words that many people only see as nouns. I wish the word faith could be a verb. Like -- "I´m faithing it right now."  Or, "He seriously faithed that choice." Hope already is a verb but the word faith needs some more. When I make up words like "he faithed it," I always imagine saying it with a super beach-like tone. and then saying the word "righteous" just like Crush does in Finding Nemo. 

Culture update
When I went to go pick up the new missionaries at the mission office I noticed that there are some strange (and loud) social norms here. 1st -- it's not okay to talk to anyone on the bus. It's kinda like an elevator situation. 2nd -- there is always a loud girl that talks to much about her personal life. She must think we have no idea what she is saying. 3rd -- if you look into someone's eyes on the bus they look away and turn their backs. Welcome to Curitiba, folks. 
I feel so grateful to work with such driven missionaries. Missionaries that know how to joke, laugh, but most importantly work. And I mean work hard. As time goes on I feel the urge to bring myself to new levels. As a missionaries speaking another language its easy to plateau by saying to myself, "well, everyone understands me and gets what I am trying to say, so I'm going to stop studying and examining the português language." Or "well, I can work pretty well and  I meet the goals that I made so I'm doing pretty well." No way José. I've been blessed with many difficulties on the mission. My mission hasn´t been the easiest or even what I thought it was going to be. I could surely say that I have had my fair share of tough areas or companions but I actually want more. I want to reach my potential. I don't want to reach what I feel is good, comfortable or acceptable. I want to prepare myself for life. Like I always say to my comps, the mission is like a life course. And you can completely fail it if you don't pay attention and if you let the time fly by. The time flies and it is so easy to zone out and relax, forgetting all that I have promised in the pre-earth life. I promised to be a representative of Christ. What does that word mean to you? Representative? For me it signifies that we must to do everything in our reach to make our lives equal to that of our supporter, the Savior. Many people don't receive answers to their wanted prayers because they don't search with all their might and energy. This also is related to our lives. We usually don't accomplish our goals if we don't get in there and try. Our biggest enemy is us. Our time will always be fixed. The deciding factor is what we do to the make the most with our time. I´ll share a little bit from the letter I recently wrote my mom:
"I am so grateful that I had the privilege to be born into a family with goodly parents. In the pre-earth life we lived and spoke to each other. We wanted to help each other progress. In D&C 138 it says we received our first lessons before we were born so that we could fulfill our potential here on earth. Isn't it good to know we weren't the classroom clowns that disrupted the class? I think if we had been we wouldn't be together here on the earth." 

I honestly think that way. We can chose to fulfill our missions here on the earth or not. We all studied. It's just that we forget to re-study and put into practice what we learned.

Lots and lots of love is coming your way. 


Elder Forsyth

p.s. When you feel frustrated, get on your knees and ask God what can be done to be happy. He´ll give you the answer you need. And if you're frustrated look back at your prior choices and think, "how could I have chosen better?" There is always a right and wrong choice. Never a best-better- bad spectrum. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Stories of the Week

Jenny and Mattheus' baptism
This week has been pretty good. I´ll share with you something that has changed my testimony of the holy priesthood. For all of those who are not members of the Church and are getting to know it through this blog, I recommend a better source. Often I recognize that the way I write isn't easy to grasp for those who want a solid foundation on what the church believes. So, here is the Church's official visitor website ---  For everyone else, skip to the stories below.


What does having divine authority really mean? The authority to act in the name of God is called the priesthood. Some mistakenly think it gives one the power to tell other people what to do. What it actually means is that a person can act in God’s name in behalf of His church—like when we give someone power of attorney so they can act in our behalf.
Prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received priesthood authority at the hands of John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John who received that same "power and authority" from Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 9:1). These men appeared as angels and bestowed the priesthood upon Joseph Smith. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the Church’s other Apostles trace their priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations.
 There you go. 

The first blessing

This week consisted of two blessings of the sick. I had the privilege to lay my hands upon a man that was without feeling in his legs. We had been searching for a less active woman that hasn't come to church for a couple of months. We tried and tried and tried, talking to everyone that might know her. From neighbors to kids playing soccer in the ghetto. No one knew her name. I went for a last attempt clapping my hands outside of the last house on the skinny shanty road. I saw a woman through a little slit between the cement wall which separated her house from her friends, and the steel gate. I called for her attention...she didn't respond and kept peeling her orange. I called her again telling her that her salvation depended on our message. She then got off the lawn chair and opened up the steel gate for us to enter. She quickly told us that her husband had a suffered a great fall from the bus and hasn't been able to walk or feel since January. We walked in the cement home, his son wheeled him into the small main room and we met this struggling older man. His name is Arlindo. We asked him if he had faith in the Lord and started to read to him this story.

He said he believed that this could happened to him as well and asked us if we could give him a similar blessing. We did. We went to his bathroom, washed our hands and came back. Elder Gale anointed him and I gave him the blessing that he desired. The spirit tested my faith and this man's faith. I felt that I needed to order him to stand. When I gave him the order during the blessing he started to move underneath my hands. When we ended the blessing, we asked him to stand, grabbed his hand and he took three steps. He couldn't believe what was happening. He stood by himself and then asked us if he could sit down. I was sad to see him exercise such faith and then have doubts. He sat down. 

The second blessing 

We were looking at our lunch calender that the Relief Society president makes for the elders and we noticed a sister whose name we didn't recognize. We called her to confirm the Saturday lunch appointment a couple of days before hand. A little girl's voice answered and I asked for her mother. Her mother came to the phone but with a raspy and tired voice. She sounded as if she had a run a marathon that she wasn't prepared for. She asked  "who I am speaking with?" we responded "the Elders." "I need a blessing, Elder. Can you please come by today and give me a priesthood blessing? I don't feel very good. I don't know if I'll be able to get all my house chores done because of the huge pain that is in my back." We felt that it was extremely urgent so we ran over to the chapel to see if any priesthood holder was there. Mutual was taking place and Hamilton, the young men´s president, saw us, walked over to us, and asked what he needed to do to help us. We explained the sister´s situation and he told us to get in the car. We arrived at her house and she came out with a slouched back and dreary eyes. When we asked what had happened, she explained that she suffers from a chronic illness that affects her nerves. Generally it spreads to her back then to her hands, making it hard to breath and walk around. She told us that she had been in bed all day. When I laid my hand upon her head the words "stand up, go do the work that needs to be done and you will be healed" was ringing in my mind. I told her that the Lord was calling her to be healed, but it would require much faith.  "Stand, and you will be healed so that you can accomplish all your daily tasks, and as you exercise your faith by following these statements the Lord with heal you from your grave illness." After I closed the blessing in the name of Christ, she stood up and grabbed my hand. She was crying. She told me that the Savior appeared in her mind during the blessing and as I said the words she saw the Savior saying the same words. She was laughing and crying tears of joy. She said she felt better and could walk without pain. It was true because on Sunday she got herself to church all by herself. She was smiling and when I saw her singing the hymns she was one of the loudest singers :) 

It's cold when we study. Elder Gale is sporting a rocky balboa sweatshirt.  

One more story
Batismo! Jhenny and Matheus. They are Irmão Osmar´s niece and nephew. One day when we were getting ready to head back home from his house after a small snack, Osmar stopped us from leaving and told us to sit down again. I looked at Elder A. Santos with an urgent hey-we-have-got-to-get-home face because it was almost 9:30. But we made our way over to the couch and he told us that his nephew and niece wanted to get to know the church and  be baptized. They had attended church the week before and loved the primary. We were having a tough week and this news was music to our ears. We began teaching them that same week and the lessons just started to flow. They are extremely intelligent and willing to follow the Lord.

Jhenny is pretty spiritual for a 9 year old and truly understood the purpose of baptism. One time I showed them my laminated picture of Jesus´s baptism, and she started to really stare. I mean seriously stare at it. When I was in the middle of explaining she cut me off and exclaimed, "I had no idea Jesus got baptised!" "since when?!" Elder Gale and I started to laugh because of her frankness. She then went on to explain her true worry -- "wait, why did Jesus get baptised if he didn't have any sins?" "He was perfect" she declared. We opened up to 2nd Nephi 31, read and told a little bit about  Jesus´s baptismal story. She told us at the end, "Now I get why I need to be baptised. It all makes sense now. I need to be like Jesus in everything that I do." Jhenny and Matheus are the reason I wrote a little about the principle of innocence last week. They have helped me see that I should always be striving to reach a higher level of humility.   

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Soggy Socks Week

Hello Everyone,

This week has been a blessing. In the midst of shivering rain and holes in my proselytizing shoes (no, mom not the new shoes that I bought...I'm trying to endure a little bit more with my originals), I've been wearing shoes that my Dad bought about 5 years ago, if I recall. I remember I was much younger when he brought them home. He told me they were so comfortable that I would be able to run faster in them than my Nike shocks. I didn't believe him of course but, after he passed away I used them for my church shoes and found out I could run really fast in them, hahaha. They have been extremely durable and comfortable. I've worn them almost everyday and now they decided to get all hole-y. There's a tear on the side in between the sole and the leather but I still love them. They've been pretty damp these days but what would missionary work be without some wet socks....I know, it would still be missionary work but the wet socks make me feel a little bit more legit. 

During the winter there are a lot of light rains that happen from 3 in the afternoon until we head home around 9 to 9:30 pm. I've grown to love the rain. At the beginning of the mission I would wait under little bakery overhangs to stay safe from the thick droplets but now I think I've gotten over the whole "you've gotta look cool at all times" thing and I walk in the rain. People find it so strange but at the same time special. When they find you soaked and dripping they ask us why we would ever walk in the rain to talk to people that we don't really know. It's a good question. Why would I run around in Brasil in the tropical rain blasts to find people to talk to and not wait under the overhangs to get dry? I'd like to quote one of my dearest friends because she explains it so well. Sister Hawkins, who is serving in Atlanta, GA, wrote this in one of her recent blog posts:

"In 2 Corinthians 3:3 it says

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart"

Not only am I a missionary because of my tag, but I'm a missionary because it's written in my heart. And I hope that all those who have the gift of the Holy Ghost would write it in their hearts too--as it is a commandment from the Lord!"  

I, too, feel the urgency to preach the word of the Lord in any type of weather system, country, environment and venue, be it hostile or friendly. The Holy Ghost has helped me love others as Christ has commanded. I feel like my spiritual abilities to understand those that I have never known or seen have grown and been cultivated through the Holy Ghost. As Elder D. Todd Christofferson stated: 

It is the Holy Ghost that bears witness of your words when you teach and testify. It is the Holy 
Ghost that, as you speak in hostile venues, puts into your heart what you should say and fulfills
the Lord’s promise that “you shall not be confounded before men” (D&C 100:5). It is the Holy 
Ghost that reveals how you may clear the next seemingly insurmountable hurdle. It is by the HolyGhost in you that others may feel the pure love of Christ and receive strength to press forward. Itis also the Holy Ghost, in His character as the Holy Spirit of Promise that confirms the validity 
and efficacy of your covenants and seals God’s promises upon you. 

I know that the Holy Ghost does bear witness of my words and worthy actions. I know that what I teach is true and eternal. It isn't just a feeling the stays with me for a instant like many wasteful things that the world offers, but it is something that has a never-ending meaning that will help every one of us return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. 

I have been teaching a lot of youth and children recently, less actives, actives, and non members. I have noticed the great power of innocence as they open their mouths, act peacefully, are stress free, are always trusting and act in a loving manner. These actions confound the powers of the world, which like I said, do not stay around to bless us forever and do not stay around to help us get out of the hardest challenges as Christ does. What helps us leave the hole that we sometimes get stuck in are the attributes of innocent children. Innocence isn't a lack of knowledge. It also is not a lack of skill. It is the opposite. It is the knowledge that good will always overcome evil and also the skill to balance your life. It is purity and power. It is righteousness. The knowing that honesty triumphs, trust creates strong bonds, and hope makes your just dreams come true. I know this to be true. Innocent doesn't mean you have never heard the newest way to call a young women something distasteful. But it is knowing what is evil and deciding to choose the right.

Even if you don't believe in God, you must know that right and wrong choices do exist. Some choices lead to feeling sad and confused and others lead us to feel a peace of mind and satisfaction with our daily work. What gives us these feelings of satisfaction? And I am not talking of instant satisfaction but a satisfaction that is hard to comprehend. It is gratification that is true and forever-lasting. You just feel good. You don't need an artificial substance to get that feeling. For me the easiest way to compare it to something that many people know is when my guitar is tuned and there isn't a single vibration that is off. Or when I´m singing to myself outside in the woods and I feel peaceful. Where does that peace come from?  It would be impossible to create such a thing all by yourself. If there are wrong choices there are right ones. If these right ones bring this state of innocence and peace of mind who is the one that declares what is right and what is wrong? The right choices along with obedience never goes wrong. It is our loving Heavenly Father that wants to bless us. Follow His promptings and do what is right and you will understand this feeling that I am talking about. You´ll never want to go back to the little lies that get you out of tough situations or paying the cashier one dime less. I hope I have expressed this well and you can mark these thoughts into your heart and mind.  

My new burnt leather scripture case. It turned out really well. On the upper left hand side it says families can be together forever, and those who are part of my family know why I put this particular national park. If you look closely you will find Dad and me in the bottom right. 

BIGODE! means MUSTACHE! so I had to take a picture with it. I´m excited to grow that guy in again.

At the stroganoff and salad lunch following the ward fast for missionary work.  I like the little fire truck on the kid table.

Jonathon, the ward secretary, and Samuel, a deacon with style  

Elder Forsyth chowing down

Thiago, Adriano and Felipe