Monday, September 29, 2014

Some good fruits this week

A week in review. 

Deivid came to my ward to tell me he was going on a mission. (Read about Deivid's miraculous baptism last January here.) I saw some fruits of my labors yesterday when he decided to share a scripture that helped the Sunday school teacher explain a deep principle. He whipped out his smart phone and went to town with the scripture lds app. It was rad.
That's Deivid in the middle

I went on a lot of exchanges with the elders in my zone. It was a great experience because I learned that I have a lot to work on in order to reach a high level of teaching, ministering among my elders, and comfort for the elders that may need help in the future. 

On Friday I grabbed a bus with Elder Santos and headed over to Ala São Marcos to interview two of the elder´s friends who were getting ready for baptism. The bus ride was a great because I could grab some zzzs but I was sadly woken up by the glass window beside me when the bus took a sharp right turn. To make a long story short and to sum things up, the interviews went great and both of them passed. Wooo!

We had some pretty great experiences. The President told us that we need to conserve our Book of Mórmons for the people who will truly read them. Yeah, I know. It's really different than a European mission. We have to hold back our Book of Mormons so that we don´t run out. Elder Santos told me that there was a mentally retarded man who didn't know how to read and possessed a Book of Mormon. We clapped our hands outside of his gate and he came out to attend us. He gladly let us in, but I had the strangest feeling when I walked into the house. I saw his mentally ill wife on the couch smiling at us and I felt bad that we were there to take away a Book of Mormon. I thought to myself again, "let's ask them where it is." Elder Santos asked them if they knew where the blue book was and they said they gave it away. Whew....that made things a lot easier. 

Then I remembered what Jonathan told me one time in an email. "Elder, people-sweep the house." I then asked them with confidence, "Is your son home?"  It seems like a weird question to ask someone you completely don't know. But I felt prompted because I sensed that there was another man behind the kitchen wall. And surely there was. We taught him. He understood and shared with us his fears and doubts that he had been struggling with these past weeks. I won't go into details but we used a fresh new Book of Mormon out of my torn up messenger bag to answer his doubts and to calm his fears. He got really happy and asked us where the church was located. Yeah. I say success to that. Instead of taking away an unused Book of Mormon, we gave one away to someone who needed the doctrinal answers. 

When we passed through their gate to leave and go to the next planned appointment,  Elder Santos looked at me and said, "O Senhor é tão misericordioso com os seus servos que seguem os seus mandamentos colocados pelos profetas. eu vi um milagre lá. Cara, aquilo foi bem legal. Nós fomos para pedir de volta o livro de mórmon mas em vez de tirá-lo dele, nós demos pra alguem que necessitava. Aquilo foi bom de mais."  (" The Lord is so merciful to his servants who follow his commandments placed by the prophets . I've just seen a miracle there. Dude, that was pretty cool. We went back to get the Book of Mormon but instead of taking it from him we gave to someone who needed it. That was too good . ")
(translated by the mama using google translate. Serrana or Hikari if you are reading this please send me any corrections!)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fish tales and feeding the hungry

This week I was out of commission. I got a stomach virus from Elder Nixon's seasoned fish we ate last week. It was a good tasting fish, but the cooking time wasn't enough, I think. So, it was a lot of bathroom time. I had a fever for just one night but all is well now. And now I honestly know how to cook a fish with the right amount of time in the oven. No one worry, I am feeling a lot better and I'm ready to hit the pavement this week. We have many good and prepared people in our teaching pool that I need to follow up with. 

The days are becoming a lot warmer -- I am able to get a good night's sleep without three comforters. Now it's just my nike shorts and green, thick vóvó brasileiro cobertor that keep me warm at night. 

I started putting my retainers back on at the beginning of this week -- they were hurting a ton. My jaw spreading isn't the best feeling in the world after 6-10 months without regular use. It's been an courageous adventure because every night I have to decide if I want to sleep with an aching pain in my mouth, but it's worth it. 

Thiago and Thaissa, recent converts, held a birthday party for their little 3-year-old, Matheus, yesterday. We had lunch at their house after church and we challenged them to give the food to someone who was less fortunate. Thiago thought it was a great idea because he was praying the night before to have an opportunity to serve someone else so that he could magnify his priesthood. It was perfect. We hopped in his car with some tupperwares full of flatbread pizza and 2 liter sodas and hit the road. We drove and drove and drove but couldn't find anyone laying on the ground screaming for food. That was the image we were looking for and didn't find anyone. I felt like we were supposed to drive over to the nearest favela to find a family without conditions to buy rice and beans for the kids. When we pulled into the favela the first woman we stopped was the one that truly needed the food. She was walking over to her daughter's who was was recently left by her ex husband  and the daughter didn't have any food to feed her young children. Thiago´s grin was extremely apparent when he handed her the food. When she accepted it she grinned right back but I think Thiago was full of a greater happiness because of the service he gave. On the way back home he told us that we made his week and has a greater vision of how the Lord wants him to serve. 

The little kind acts of service are greater than laying your life down sometimes. 

p.s. to my mom's seminary class:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elder Forsyth is turning 21!

Oct. 1 is Ian's 21st birthday.  He always appreciates mail, and I know he would be thrilled to get some birthday greetings from his friends! Mail is slow (it can take up to 3 weeks) so don't delay.  You can write to him at this address:  (USPS postage for a letter is $1.15)

Missao Brasil Curitiba Sul
ATT: Elder Ian Forsyth
Praca Joseph Smith #15 PC
Curitiba, Parana
BRAZIL   80613991        (Please refer to this address at top of his blog for correct accents, tildes, etc)

OR you can send him a letter using DearElder:

1) Go to
2) Choose "non pouch mission"
3) open an account if you haven't already
4) using the drop down menu, choose Brazil Curitiba South mission
5) click on "write missionary"

THANK YOU so much!  I know he will LOVE hearing from you!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fire in the bones and more shout-outs

humble missionary pose

Funny story of the week
We found a former investigator (whose name will not be mentioned) yesterday waiting for a bus with his new religious partner. Elder House and I had taught this gentleman for about a month, three days a week. He would progress then fall back down, progress, then expulse us from his house, then progress a bunch. Then one night he told us he would go to church if he "wanted to wake up." "If I don't wake up I won't go, If I wake up I will''. Yeah, Elder House got a little frustrated with him, told him that his idea was a great one and hung up. He knows the church is true but had a lot of trouble leaving his church because of social and peer pressure chains. We tried so hard to get him out of "a congregação cristã do brasil" but it never worked out. He told us several times he would leave because the spirit directed him to do so but never got the courage to take the baby steps. 

Anyway, yesterday we found him sitting on the bus stop bench and his face was priceless. It was the ''mom walked into the kitchen while I am stealing a cookie from the jar and she catches me with my hand in the jar and a cookie in my mouth" face. We met his friend from the ''Visão Missionária" church and I started to chat with him. I asked him what his church responsibility was. "I secure the demon possessed people while the pastor casts out the devil," he said. I then asked, ''How does one become demon security in your church?" and he told me, ''through fasting and working out because sometimes the demons get a little excited.'' I almost lost it when the ex-investigator said, ''I testify of it." Brasil is like a huge bible belt. I find a new church everyday. There are so many churches; more churches than stop lights. You can pass two before you hit the next light. I've already walked into a ''visão missionária" where I saw a bunch of people running and screaming ''GLORIA''. The truth is so apparent. 

people I love, part 2
Dave Adamusko - the man that showed me that it was okay to go through a little 80´s rock phase. One time when we were driving around to grab some Rita´s water ice, he told me I was the brother and I will never forget that experience. Let´s just list some experiences I won't forgot about Dave:  

When I threw up in the middle of the hallway at Gayman elementary and he was the only one available in the afternoon to come and pick me up. He told me that I WOULD be that kid that throws up in the hallway. I know that doesn't sound like a compliment but as a 10-year -old I thought it was cool.

He introduced me to a whole new world of movies and said it was okay to appreciate The Lord of the Rings when I thought it was nerdy. Now I know better.

When he showed me the back country skiing ropes at Park City I was broken but changed for life. 

Misha Tulek - thanks a ton Mish for the pre-mission advice. Misha helped me be a gentleman through his example and helped me understand that it wasn't cool to wear a bunch of colored clothing. He helped me become more of a tie specialist and showed me what it means to be dedicated as he is to photography. I took him and Dave to my special person day at school and ever since then I have looked and thought of them as my brothers.

Gretchen Myers -  She gave me many chances to perform and refine my musical skills. She always supported me in my musical endeavors and loved my mother. She is one of my mom´s special friends and one of my special friends, too. I miss the Oak Lane choir robe smell. 

My companion Elder Schirmer and Elder Nixon.

The mini biography of Elder Schirmer.

Elder Schirmer started to sing in 2005 and has big lenses in his glasses. Big Glasses Schirmer is from Novo Hanburger, Rio Grande do Sol. He´s one of my favorite companions because he sings Les Mis all day, likes to laugh, laughs at my dumb jokes, and likes to work and work and work. We found 22 new friends this week and the work is starting to roll again right after Vigilato´s baptism. só fogo nos ossos. (only fire in the bones)


Monday, September 8, 2014

A baptism and a tale of love

Hi everyone!

Vigilatto´s baptism was one for the record books. He is Parque da Fonte´s first baptism and he looks like a  Bill Wiersma and Harrison Ford mash-up.  He´s a music radio host, cook, and stylish man from Curitiba who has decided to leave behind the natural man to become like his Savior Jesus Christ. His conversion story is a good one.  Nine months of studying the the church's manuals but he truly became converted when he made the decision to keep the commandments. I'm not going to write what was holding him back but I can share how he overcame. I had the privilege to interview him in the middle of the transfer because I had never taught him. He believed that the Church was true and was trying to improve and repent but there was always one tripping stone between where he was and the needed repentance. For one to receive a real testimony, leap of faith experiments have to be put into practice. As I tried to explain the principles of repentance and the grace of God, which consumes the actions of humanity, he started to think and think and think and didn't look into my eyes for a while like he usually does. In the middle of a sentence he cut me off and told me, "This Sunday I will stop, and Tuesday you can check to see if I can keep my word to God." I was getting to the goal making part but the spirit told him first what I was planning on saying. Ever since that day he has been repenting and trying to be as clean as he can. 
The couple that introduced him to the Church

Last p-day I started to think about all of the people that have helped me become a loving person. My mom wrote me this week about how I can easily love many people and I wanted to share a little about the many people that have loved me so much.

Seguine family - many late nights of family fun. They filled in my brother and sister gap. When I moved to Philly I missed my brothers so much and their family moved in when I was 10 or 11. To this day I feel like one of Jen´s and Ed´s sons. 

Nielson family - Tina Nielson played and taught me new card games while Braden, Gentry, Bethany and Carissa took piano lessons from my mom. I will never forget the kindness she showed me when I was a kid, bringing games and stories to tell me to brighten up my day. 
When I think of Sister Nielson there´s a certain instance that sticks out in my mind. When my father passed away, she comforted me when I cried alone in my room. I don't remember what she said, the day, or the time, but I remember she took a lot of time to cry with me and let me know I was still loved by my dad even if he isn't on the earth.

Tina Raymond -  The classic seminary teacher that made the gospel cool for a 14-15 year old. She taught me many valuable principles of worthiness and the readiness to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I also became a huge Phillies fan because of her Philly sports fan excitement.

Brian Monson -  He will always be remembered as my Young Men´s president that demonstrated an example of constant reverence and leadership that I hope to emulate here in the mission and after. 

Dalene Olson -  I am huge fan. I want to be as determined and focused as Dalene. I remember when I was a primary kid I always wanted to talk to Dalene because she always looked out for me and loved me even if I was a goofball half the time. 

Beth and Walt Meise -  The one on one chats that I had with them helped me become a better man, baseball player and someone that cares about the feelings of others. Walt took the time to go to my games and give me some suggestions. He always wanted to cut my hair (now I see why) and show me how to help the other young men in my quorum progress spiritually and socially. 

with love,
Elder Forsyth

i will write about more families next week. See ya´later.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Things (including me) are working out

Vigilato update
Vigilato is completely integrated in the ward and his baptism is marked for next Saturday, 19horas (pssst. that means 7 oclock). He will be one of my strongest recent converts.... Before the baptism, he has already read 8 or 9 of the church president manuals and because of the spirit of the Lord he has recognized the truthfulness of the Savior's church.  Ironing my white shirt two times over to look good this upcoming weekend doesn't even get to the crux of my excitement. 

Thank you Elder House for completing your mission worthily and giving me the chance to go to the temple. Whew it's been a while. WEDNESDAY-  I had a wonderful experience at the Curitiba temple. 
Something that I learned that I hadn't really thought of before -- Satan tries to read our thoughts, even though he's not permitted. The fact that he cannot read our thoughts leaves him extremely frustrated and miserable. It makes his cunning work much harder. So my friends at home, I have a kind warning. THINK IT OUT BEFORE YOU ACT. It helps you out so much in the long run.

The temple is a wonderful place of learning, progress and personal revelation. It is the closest we can get to the presence of our Heavenly Father, for it is his house.

Elder Nixon and Insanity
Elder Nixon was transferred to ala Afonso Pena and is now living with us. He´s from D.C. a.k.a., I can chat with someone who knows what a true sandwich is and loves history. Right off the bat we hit it off and are best friends. He recently bought a work out video called ''insanity''. The title states it perfectly because the jumping jack/scissor kick push-ups I did today were truly insane. I´m in pain but my cardio is feeling a lot better. Walking 10-15 quilometros per day doesn't mean you have a steel heart. I think my legs and feet are steel but when I started running I can tell that my heart starts to sweat. I know that sounds weird but it feels like it's sweating. Phrases like "aaaah right, let's check dis one ouh" (silent t) and ''aah right, you can do dis" and "don't stop, don't stop" and ''aah ya feelin da pain yet?" The work out trainer on our little missionary dvd player seems tiny but he yells at you in an encouraging way. I'll be working out my cardio this week. But this is funny. Elder Ian Forsyth watching a work out video to keep his heart going. Ian doing a work out video....when did that become a thing?

(computer had a virus so no pictures until Elder House sends them from home)