Monday, October 27, 2014

Stake Conference Surprises

Hello Everyone!

This week we had Stake Conference and our stake was visited by a Brasilian Seventy, Elder Soares. It was pretty cool because he called Elder Schirmer and me to the pulpit to talk about how members and missionaries need to work together. Does everyone remember Vigilatto? He is strong in the church and has been going to the stake choir rehearsals every Sunday. They performed very well as they were accompanied by a sweet spirit when they sang "Eu creio em Cristo (I Believe in Christ)." If there were visitors there that think we don´t believe in Jesus, the spirit testified otherwise. I saw Vigilatto when I was called by surprise to the pulpit and I shared his conversion story with the congregation. Then Elder Soares called him up by surprise to testify of what I said. It was his first time bearing his testimony during a church meeting, but he spoke really well. He said, "I took my glasses off so I can´t see anyone staring at me." We had dinner at his house that night and he shared with us how honored he felt to be called up by a Seventy of the Lord. It was a great experience he will never forget. 

We are teaching two very special families that have high potential. They both went to church and loved it. The more evangelical family told us afterwards that they wanted to shout "gloria!" and "hallelujah!" when they felt the spirit. It reminded me of my Presbyterian robe choir days. When I share with other Elders that I sang in a gospel choir, played guitar in the Presbyterian church, attended a high rate of meetings there, and during the Christmas Eve service there were more Mormons than Presbyterians in the pews, they think I was less active. It's funny to see the Brasilians look at me like I'm crazy. They have a reason because most of the evangelical churches here claim to expluse demons and speak in unknown toungues. 

Honest health update: My stomach has hurt everyday since my virus but I kinda just try to forget about it. On the mission I've been blessed with few days of irritable bowel, but there are still times where it hurts a bunch and I have to tough it out.  I've learned a lot about mind over matter. Like dad used to say. "it's die time" or "it's just mind over body; you can do it." My new motto is, "fulfill your dreams -- no pain no gain."

We had to get Elder Nixon to our town´s health clinic because he was throwing up all night long. We registered him with the clinic´s receptionist and when it was his turn to receive the butt shot they called in the intercom, "José João". His name is Joseph John, so it took awhile for us to realize that it was him. I died laughing. Why would they translate his name? They hooked him up to an iv and now he is smiling. The nurses are taking good care of him. It was hilarious because we left him there with his new American companion, Elder Peal, who doesn´t speak Português at all. He just nods or shakes his head. He's a little timid because of the culture shock but he´ll get over it soon. I felt like him when I got here, too.  

with love,
Elder Forsyth

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mostly horizontal this week

I love being a missionary and the chance I have to strengthen others in my zone. Transfers have come and gone and Elder Schirmer and I will stay together in Parque da Fonte. We've had a tough time getting people to accept baptismal dates. Every Sunday has been great with investigators attending sacrament meeting but helping people understand and commit to baptism is a struggle.

I was super sick this week so we couldn't contact many of our good investigators. But....yesterday we were shown a golden family that lives at the end of our area. They were invited to go to church by another ward´s bishop and THEY WENT. The elders from the São Marcos Ward were their guides during the Sunday meetings and grabbed their address, passed it to us after lunch, and we hauled ourselves over there. When we showed up it was raining super hard. The road that led to their house was unpaved so the dirt-covered road flooded and we had to tread through a little. When we clapped our hands the head of the household passed through the hung laundry and when he saw our faces he exclaimed, "Already? Wow that was so fast. What are you doing in the rain? Come on in!". They are a great family looking for a lot more direction after coming out of some really difficult times. 

p.s.  I hope I can get 100% better this week.  It was a bummer because I  was bed ridden and had a high fever that kept me home for 5 days.  I just worked for 2 days and I'm still feeling a little weak. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Instaurator ruinae

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

surprises and general conference

I could've sworn that President Thomas S. Monson was going to give us a mind-boggling shocker because everyone was preparing us by exhorting,  "FOLLOW THE PROPHET and SEEK FOR REVELATION and CONFIRMATIONS TO YOUR DAILY PRAYERS." When the prophet gave his main talk I was expecting something huge, show stopping and even hard to accept, but on the contrary. he spoke of the Lord´s example that we must follow. His gentleness was shown in the way he addressed the Lord´s people yesterday. That truly struck me - his gentleness and humility were apparent to my spirit because I felt the need to change.  While he spoke I sensed I needed to improve many attributes to be closer to the Savior.  Yesterday, so many general authorities praised President Monson for his service, kindness and obedience and I saw it in the way he spoke to us.  I have been praying to the Lord to orient me as I direct my zone to higher peaks and goals.  Now I know that I need to be like the prophet. Always following up with the lesser skilled/experienced missionaries and comforting them in hard and struggling times as the prophet comforts us. I must:

"Reach out in helpfulness....and try to do the right thing in all times and in all circumstances." --Thomas S. Monson

Jefferson and Jose Jefferson

Birthday surprise. We are reactivating Jefferson and on my birthday we went over to his house to follow up with some of the goals we set with him. Little did I know that he made me a cake and bought some soda to celebrate with his whole family and me. I went on splits with José Jefferson (other member) who was planning it with Jefferson. I will never forget Jefferson and his desire to talk to our bishop to clean up past mistakes. He is a man of simple understanding but his spirit is listening with ease as he puts away the carnal man. It was a fun and happy festa. 

Today we made some burritos with whole wheat tortillas, guacamole, onions, and diced up chicken breast. Elder Nixon and I were tearing it up in the the chapel´s kitchen. I have never made better food. I have to be honest - I only cut the ingredients. The ingredients were all chosen by Elder Nixon, so he was the true genius behind our cooking today. 
Three of my past companions plus my current companion (Elder Martins, Elder Costa, Elder Andrade, Elder Schirmer) 
District Meeting

Thoughts of a 21-year-old in Brasil 
- Accept trials. setbacks and surprises as normal things because millions of other people have the same difficulties. Why would I be the exception? I need to acknowledge my weaknesses but I cannot let them compromise me. 
-  It's hip to be square. 
-  What I eat is what I am. 
-  Be kind to everyone, friend or foe. 
-  Give everyone I love a little bit of my time. Ask people how they are doing. It can change someone's life. 
-  Being a good and healthy "different" in a rugged world takes courage. 
-  Who am I to judge others, when I have trouble overcoming my own problems? 
-  God won´t live our lives for us. We must live our lives for God. 
-  Just because you don't like the truth does not change the truth.  Because if you step off a cliff the law of gravity will get you....even if you don't believe in it.
-  We are all equals and because of this we must support others in our troubles. 
 - Time to go to work. 
Elder Forsyth  (more pictures below)
Old man Forsyth with his hot chocolate and magazine on his birthday
And as my favorite alter ego