Monday, July 28, 2014

Get Happier!

Woo hoo, go Mom!  I remember Dan really well. I also remember heading over there a bunch and Dad would chat with him while I sat in the car listening to Dad´s jazz or some new John Mayer CD. 

Dad would always take the time to chat with the people he came in contact with. After my mission I want to be the same way. Chatting my way around so that everyone can have an opportunity to feel the spirit. Whether it be in a simple or lengthy way, it doesn't matter. Something that I have learned, slowly but surely, is that our behavior shines brightly or dims itself. Our daily attitude and actions must be reverent. I have learned that through my actions I show my love to the Savior because as His representative I have the privilege to speak and act in His name, as if he were truly here ministering amongst the people. Dad ministered well throughout his life and always knew that people were watching all of his steps. I noticed that in high school. I would tell people that I was a member of the church and it seemed like more eyes were on me. More eyes waiting to see a mistake. For sure many people saw me mess up but I have now learned that my purpose is to spread the light of the gospel for all people. At the beginning of the mission I thought that meant I was supposed to talk to everyone I saw. We all know that is impossible. So I decided to show my testimony of Jesus Christ through my actions. 

NEWS! I got trasferred and am now a zone leader in São José dos Pinhais. The Afonso Pena ward. I'm with my 4th gringo companion, Elder House. He´s from Portland and served as the mission´s executive secretary for 9 months before he was called as a zone leader here. So he has a ton of experience that I am excited to soak in and learn from. The last time I had a companion that was older than me on the mission was my trainer, Elder Bastos. So it's a good breath of fresh air to once again be a junior! This is Elder House´s last transfer as well so I'll be "killing him" (sending him back home after his 2 years are up) in 6 weeks. 

I don't have my memory card with me so I won't be able to send any sweet pictures.  We did have a stake activity at the 5th ward. The last stake where I served, the High Council seriously knew how to work well with the missionaries in bringing people to church. We were able to bring a young woman preparing to be baptized (Marielle) and her parents that we recently started to teach, to the activity. It was pioneer-themed so it helped all the investigators understand where the Mormon roots come from. 

In Elder's Quorum we talked about 'the costs of discipleship' from Elder Jefferey R. Holland´s talk from the last General Conference. The basis of the message helped me understand that we only progress if we work. We only obtain blessings if we sacrifice our time and serve other people. Service really does give us the spiritual edge that we need to cut through daily temptation. I always get happier when I sit down with someone that I have never seen in my life and share the most precious principles that have changed my life in a 5-40 minute conversation. 

"It is up to each of us who hold the priesthood of God to discipline ourselves so that we stand above the ways of the world. It is essential that we be honorable and decent men. Our actions must be above reproach."   President Thomas Monson 

(watch the video below for a great illustration of the priesthood in a young man, growing to an older man's, life):

Elder Forsyth

Monday, July 21, 2014

lost in translation

flashback photo - MTC April 2013

Editor's note:  This week's blog will start with an apology from Elder Forsyth to his mother:
I've got to go. I hit a wrong key and translated everything to português. You´ll just have to interpret the writing. I'm super sorry. bye bye i love you with all my heart.

For your entertainment,  faithful blog reader, here are a couple of the sentences when he translated them BACK to English using google translator:
One of my favorite things to do is try to know everyone during the water and go to the bathroom. It's becoming impossible because there are more people I do not know, so I do.

Wish me luck.

Hi Everyone,

Flashback MTC.  I was missing the mountains so I went back to an old memory card that shows the first parts of the mission. 

I cannot believe I already have 1 year and 4 months on my mission.  Sometimes there are hilarious meetings when you see all the new missionaries coming into the mission. One of my favorite things to do is try to get to know everyone during the water and bathroom breaks. It's becoming impossible because there are so many more people I do not know.  I'm feeling old, and even Brazilian.  I have been trying very hard to increase my vocabulary so I do not use the same teaching examples, phrases and words all the time. I've found seven new ways to teach the first lesson (restoration). We also found 14 new investigators this week (the people who heard our message and set up a future appointment to learn) and I found that I have to improve my teaching skills to meet the level of understanding and needs of all those I teach.  I had fun this week walking with my dictionary to truly understand 100% of everything that was spoken around me as I walk down the street. 

As I have strived a bit more to improve my language skills I have also found that I can get comfortable plateauing in certain areas of life. These little things like my vocab limitations I can take and make a life lesson out of it. I love the holy spirit. 

For all who have been studying the scriptures I have a lesson plan about the gospel of Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (authority), enduring to the end, the challenge of baptism, the authority again. 

Here are the New Testament and Book of Mormon scripture references and very, very short summaries so you can discover the real meaning for yourself:

1 Nephi 03:07 - faith and works 
Mosiah 4:9-10 - faith and repentance 
Alma 7:14-17 - atonement (to accept the sacrifice of the Savior I must repent and be baptized) 
2 Nephi 31:13 - Holy Spirit by fire 
Acts 19: 1-6 (John the Baptist talks about his authority) - this fire (Holy Ghost) must be given by someone who holds the higher priesthood of God
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 - the Holy Ghost is different from the prophetic authority and keys       (Matthew 16:12-19)
2 Nephi 31:20-21 - endure to the end 
3 Nephi 27:20-22 - Christ's commandment and invitation to come to Him 

I met some amazing families this week. Like, married people. Many people here just live together without being married. They just go on for years until they feel like separating and it's devastating. But we found three families with children who are married. Yeeeeeeees. I have learned that the Lord really guides us to those who seek with faith and determination. There are so many people waiting to hear the nourishing word - the seeds that were sown in pre-earth life.  I know that with all my heart.

Elder Forsyth

Monday, July 14, 2014

Poooooor Brasil

First, my reaction to Brasil's loss:

And now, a great little perspective restoring video! Watch it - you won't be disappointed:

Hello everyone,

Isso é da hora. Da hora is slang for hip or sick. Or as New Englanders say it...ill

Mom´s guess to Brasil´s humiliating loss to Germany: 
How did Brazil's loss to Germany look to you?  I was worried that maybe people would riot.  Or were they just really depressed?  Here's the outcome I was hoping for:  Humiliation - turns into - Humility!  - which turns into - receptivity to your gospel message, which somehow turns into visas for all the missionaries awaiting their visas.

Ian´s reality: 
Many, many, many Brasilians that look at me thinking, "why is the German walking around our ghetto with nice clothes on?" Everyone used to think we were American. That isn't the case anymore. Now I am a soccer playing German. :-/

And now for the Elder Forsyth World Cup inside scoop:

Ever since Brasil's first game a month or so ago, we couldn't work during the Brasil games. It was kinda annoying but good at the same time because we got some more time to clean our house, read the scriptures and hear the eventual firework conglomerate. It's so funny. When Brasil would score a goal the silence turned into a World War 1 artillery shower with a lot of happy screaming Brazilians. They would run through the streets and drive their little Fiats around playing those plastic horns that were used a bunch in the 2010 South Africa cup. One happy screaming Brasilian sounds safe but hundreds of them sounds like a huge army running as fast as they can and screaming at the top of their lungs. Soccer is a big thing here and when Brasil was almost literally stepped on by Holland and then Germany there weren´t too many angry people. The score was so humiliating that everyone has been walking around with low heads. So many after parties were canceled and all the Brasilian flags were taken down. I don't know if it resulted in more spiritual humility because we worked our butts off but the results were not shown on paper at the end of the week. 

I had a news flash this week. I need to have confidence in the Savior and not my own work. This is His work, though the free agency of man can accept His divine blessings or not. 

"Focus on the significant, lift up our eyes and truly see the things that matter most. Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most."
--Dieter F. Uchtdorf (btw I imagined him watching the game with some Brazilian general authorities giving them an airplane pep talk, soon after the game, to help them out with the tragic and did I say humiliating already? oh yeah I think I did. Humiliating loss.)

I think Dieter has stated our natural weaknesses well, with a tweak of spiritual adjustment. I have seen how so many people view famous people as idols. How new age tech doesn't leave people alone or let them be a part of social gatherings. How relationships "seem" strong through kisses but the heart isn't even in use, How people professionally or socially run without looking where they are stepping. I think about my friends back at home. I haven't heard how they are doing and I miss them. I hope their life isn't in the fast lane. Listen to the Eagles song and you'll know what I want to say by that. Life is so precious and can be utilized for good in all choices. Think think think think before before you act act act act. I love you all at home. I need to ask for forgiveness, as well, for the lack of letter correspondence (yes I said something intelligent for once). 

Family home evening with Ivandro.  Ivandro got sick so we had to postpone his baptism.

And a couple of the sun setting on the Games:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Aim Small, Miss Small

I am writing today because of Brasil´s big game against Colombia. VAI VAI VAI O BRASIL!!!! Eu falo a verdade, este país fica super doido e legal quando ele joga futeból. fica um pouco complicado, mas vale a pena por estar aqui nesse país maravilhoso (GO GO GO BRAZIL!! I speak the truth, this country is crazy and super cool when they play futbol. Gets a little complicated, but worth it to be here in this wonderful country).

If you stop doing the right thing before it starts working, you have done the wrong thing.

the book of elizabeth chapter 1 verse 1

I want to write about this for a just a little bit, ok? 

How many times are we prompted to make the right choice every single day? I don't know. at least 100 times for sure. Some choices seem harmless but there only exist two powers in this world. The righteous and the evil. So pay attention to the small stuff. Like Mel Gibson's character said in The Patriot when counseling his sons in the middle of a dense forest full of British infantrymen, "aim small, miss small." This is soo true and applies as much to our professional as our spiritual lives. Pay attention when you are gliding through life. Pay attention when you think you know everything in your profession. Pay attention when you walk down or drive to your work because you´ll notice someone or something new. Pay attention when you read and understand between the lines. Pay attention when you finish your work. This last "pay attention" phrase is something I didn't do too well back at home. When I finished something worthwhile I always found myself heading over to facebook or sitting on the couch. When I stopped doing something marvelous I went over to something that wasted time. It is strange that we can make such good use of our time and then sometimes go back to our old pastimes. On the mission I have learned a little bit more about paying attention to the small stuff. I try to aim small to miss small. Paying attention to the small stuff keep you safe from a large error margin. You can dream big and achieve the dream because every step of the way is done with care.

This week we have been following up with our good friend Ivandro and everything is going smoothly. A couple days back he found us in the favela on his way back home and stopped us in the middle of a street contact. I had to leave Elder Gale´s side because he pulled me over just to talk to me about Joseph Smith´s testimony, The three and the eight witnesses of the Book of Mormon (find in the beginning of the book). He started to talk about the divine nature of the  scripture and then took a little pause before looking into my eyes. He took a deep breath and said, "I prayed and I received an answer that I already had. The church is the church of Christ and the 12th I will be baptized." Yesterday we taught him about the plan of salvation and I had the privilege to explain the enabling powers that I soaked in as I relied on my Father in Heaven when I lost my father. I love to bear testimony of the reality of the spirit world and the spiritual realness that my father is a part of. I shared an experience that my brother Daniel told me of one time. It was when he was in the temple and prayed to know if he was supposed to have another child. From what he told me while he was in the celestial room his mind and eyes opened up spiritually and he saw dad walking with young men into a room. Ivandro got so happy when he knew he could save his family members that are not too turned on to spiritual truths and ancestors that have passed on. 

Everyone at home -- pray that when Ivandro talks to his boss at work he can get a break on Sunday morning so he can go church. 

Until next week,
Elder Forsyth