Monday, December 28, 2015

MERRY (late) CHRISTMAS!!! and a happy new year to come! I've been hearing it was a Christmas lacking snow in the U.S. but I hope it was good for you guys anyways!​

This week was pretty great for a few reasons. I got to skype with the fam on Christmas, which was super good! It's nice to see that even though things are changing at home, everyone in my family is still the same person haha! It was good to talk to everyone and it made my Christmas.

The work here is going pretty well! We have been teaching a couple who are real truth-seekers and have been putting a lot of our focus on them. Their names are Alison and Aline if you guys would to pray for them! They are very well educated so it's been a lot of long discussions with them so far. But even with them being well-off, they are humble and are willing to try.

I realized this week I haven't updated you guys on Helberth or Karen for a while! Helberth is the bomb. He has been passing sacrament and is reading the Book of Mormon like a boss. Karen is coming along really well too. She has been doing a lot for personal progress and gave the lesson in Young Women's a couple weeks ago!! I love meeting with them and helping them strengthen their testimonies!

I love you guys! I hope New Years is good for everyone this week!!

Elder Searle
Elder Hatch and Elder Searle with a family who is moving soon

The Branch president gave them a box full of food for Christmas :)

Monday, December 21, 2015


This was quite the week. It started out with the Christmas Conference which was super super fun! It was also the week of Elder Hatch's and my birthday! I took a lot of pictures so I'll try to send some! 

During the conference President talked about Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. I thought I knew a lot about both of them, but I left the conference feeling blown away! He told us a lot of cool stories from Joseph's life that showed how prophetic his calling was. Essentially, Smith restored the Atonement of Jesus Christ because without the authority to perform saving ordinances, no one was able to enjoy the full blessings of the repentance during the great apostasy. My testimony of Christ grew as he talked about the Atonement as well. It was a really spiritually uplifting conference!

It was also really really good to get mail and finally have peanut butter to eat for the first time in forever haha! I have been very much enjoying eating pb and j's once again.

My birthday was good! Elder Lima made us a cake and we traded ties!! Plus I got super cool gifts. Shout out to the fam for sending a frisbee haha! I was so happy to have your kind words and mail that day.

The work is moving along in Montes Claros! We have been trying to reactivate and find new investigators through the members here. Yesterday we beat our record at church again with 108! It was pretty exciting. A lot of the members here love the missionaries so it's good to have that support. Yesterday we had a family home evening with some recent converts who are working to be sealed in the temple! They have almost been members for a year so they should have their opportunity soon. It was a really special night for me because I could feel the spirit and could see the Lord blessing the work here. That's one thing that President has really been focusing on is getting members to the temple. If only we had a temple close to here.

Also the Lord has been blessing us immensely with better weather. The past two days haven't been super hot and it has helped me to think more clearly and work harder!

Well I'll send some pictures now! I'm super excited to skype and also to be a missionary for another week! This is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I'm sure it's blessing me and my family more than I even know. I love you guys!!

Elder Searle
112887 steps

All the Christmas packages for the Missionaries

Eating a gummy plane while riding on a plane :)

Elder Hatch and Elder Searle

Elder Hatch and Elder Searle

Elder Searle and Elder Fernandes

Elder Searle and Elder Hatch celebrating their birthdays

Elder Searle and Elder Knudson

Elder Searle and Elder Stocks

Elder Searle and his birthday and Christmas packages!

Elder Silfies and Elder Searle

It's Santa!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bom dia gente!

This week was really good! We did an exchange withe some Elders in our District on Wednesday. I stayed in our area and worked with an Elder who has only been in the field a week! It was intimidating to be the one calling all the shots for the day, but it helped me gain a lot of confidence because it was actually a super successful day!

I was also able to finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese this week!! I have been reading like a machine these past months and I'm glad I was able to make my goal of finishing before my birthday. I'm able to understand the scriptures and people very clearly now. It's the speaking that still needs work. People understand me just fine, I'm just not able to express myself in the way I would like sometimes. 

But the Lord has helped me so much with this language. He has put just the right people and situations in my path to help me learn and improve.

Tomorrow is our Christmas Conference! We will fly out really early and fly back really late. I'm super excited to get mail and spend the day with a ton of missionaries!! Also, it will be Elder Hatch's birthday! It's cool we will get to celebrate our birthdays together this week.

Speaking of which, thank you for all the birthday wishes!! I love you and really appreciate all the support you guys give!

We taught a lot this week and I felt the spirit a lot! It's surprisingly really hard to get people to come to church during this season though. At least in Montes Claros, many people travel or go out partying over the weekend. 

But Elder Hatch and I are happy and working hard! He is a very good missionary and I'm grateful to have him as a companion. Many times this week people have come up to us and asked if we are brothers. We tell them yes, in the faith!

Shout out to my dad who will turn 32 this week! if you're reading this, then on Friday make sure to congratulate him!

I love you guys! You're in my thoughts and prayers. Study the scriptures, say your prayers, and remember that Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for you. Have a good week!

Elder Searle
117780 Steps

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oi gente!

Alright I'm gonna keep this short so I can send some pictures. Basically this week I flew to BH and got my new companion! His name is Elder Hatch and he is from upstate New York! He has 3 months left of his mission so he is very fluent in the language and very experienced. I've already been learning a ton from him! He is the District Leader here in the city so that means we will get to do some traveling during this transfer together for interviews and exchanges! It should be good.

We have been teaching a lot and working hard! Saturday night I felt like we should invite the family who lives under our house to church so we did, and on Sunday three of them came!! It was really cool to have that prompting be comfirmed. We taught them last night and they were pretty receptive.

Gonna answer a couple questions from the fam-

My favorite food here so far has been Açai. What they do here with the fruit is make a kind of ice cream with it that is to die for. They also use a type of condensed milk on literally all deserts here that is really good. We don't really have an equivilent to it in the states. The churros here are really good too. And I also really like pão de queijo, which literally translates to cheese bread. It's like a roll with a lot of brazillian cheese inside. é bom demais.

The language is becoming more and more comfortable! People understand me just fine and I'm understanding people for the most part. What I'm trying to work on now is how I say things because that makes a big difference on how the tone of your words are percieved.

Also I'm just starting to realize how strange looking we are to the people here. There are only 3 Americans in this whole city and they are all missionaries haha! Yesterday on more than one occasion there were people who were very surprised to see people with blue eyes.

Overall I'm doing good! I have been learning to stop comparing myself to others and just work like I know the Lord expects me to. And it's really nice to have a companion who does the same.

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season!! Check out the video on if you haven't yet and share it with the people you know!

Love you guys,

Elder Searle
103575 steps

Last Day with Elder Vieira
First Day with Elder Hatch
Flying to the mission home for transfers

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello! In a few hours we fly to Belo Horizonte for Elder Vieira to go home and for me to pick up my new companion!! We will stay the night there and I will get a surprise companion tomorrow morning! I'm very excited :)

I don't have much time, but this was a good week of learning for me! One thing I really struggle with is comparing myself to other people/circumstances and I want to share an experience I have had with that. Sometimes I will think how much better/easier off I would be in a mission where I didn't have to learn this language or be in a different area and it's really easy to think like that when the mission is your life. I found some scriptures (Alma 29: 6,8,10) that really helped me put things into perspective this week. From verse 6, I have no right to be wishing for something different because where I am and what I'm doing right now is exactly what the Lord has planned for me, and who am I to try and change His will? And also verse 8 helps me to realize that this language learning is so important to help the people here receive the gospel in their own tongue. And verse 10 is humbling too, because when I look at the people here it makes me so grateful for all that the Lord has done for me! I'm so eternally indebted to Him.

We were met with more than a few challenges this week, but I'm so grateful to have learned from them! I'm learning to think about the good things that are happening and forget the sad things.

I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of this Christmas season! Brazil is a very very christian country so the people here are all excited haha! It's such a blessing that everyone we talk to has the same basic beliefs of Christ and understand His significance. He is becoming more and more significant to me every day. Whenever I think something is hard or unfair I think of Christ and remember how unbelievably hard and unfair it was for Him. Truly He showed the path and enabled us to change. I am so grateful for my Savior.

I love you guys!!

Elder Searle
115011 steps

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hello all!

This week will be my very last one in training! I'm excited to have more time for proselyting, but it will be sad to see Elder Vieira go home. Chances are I will stay here because I know the area, but I will travel to Belo Horizonte next Pday to pick up my new companion! We haven't got travel plans yet, but there may not be time to email next week so just a heads up for that! Today we are going to a big mall to get Elder Vieira chique clothes and are going to do a big bbq for him too! It should be fun. He's very excited to be going home and get an IPhone haha!

At the beginning of the week I had my very first experience trying to teach a pastor of one of those yell-really-loud-during-the-meetings churches. Most of the churches in Montes Claros are like that actually. If you walk down the street on a Sunday night there is a lot of yelling haha! But anyways, it was kind of cool because even though he was very unreceptive and a little aggressive, I felt good and even confident teaching!

It rained almost every day this week and it's also been quite a bit cooler which was the biggest blessing ever.

Our investigators this week have been doing pretty good. Many of them made it to church yesterday and really enjoyed it! We had our Primary Program and yes, it's just as hilarious of a meeting here in Brazil. Also, since our Branch President found out that I'm going to study accounting, I have been assigned to keep count of the attendance at church haha! Yesterday we broke 100 people for the first time in history!!
Hopefully I will have some good news in the next email! We are working very close with the investigators we have. They are such amazing people and I wish you could see them and talk to them haha! I think in general I'm going to wait to do big descriptions of them until their big day because all too often something or another gets in the way of their progress. But one really cool spiritual experience I had this week was with Vicente! He's pretty old and has a lot happen to him during his life and he was telling us all these difficult things that happened and kept feeling such a great love for him! I told him that God loves him more than he can imagine and that as missionaries we love him too. And then the craziest thing happened. Vicente, the super tough old man, got emotional and was starting to cry. It was a very spiritual moment for all of us.

Have a great week you guys! I love you!

Elder Searle


Typical Lunch - Yum!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Greetings from Montes Claros Ramo 3!

I'll get the bad stuff out of the way first. Fernando was working out of town the whole week and Vicente traveled at the end of the week so their absence at church was sad yesterday. But thankfully this is the only sad thing I will talk about haha!

We had someone come to our house and make some adjustments to our water system and now we have water 90% of the time instead of the other way around! It's also been raining and cooling off a little so I'm super grateful for that!

This week really strengthened my testimony of prayer. There were actually 3 really cool experiences I had with prayer this week:

-At the end of a lesson, the family we were teaching asked us to pray for rain so in the closing prayer that's what Elder Vieira did and 10 minute later it downpoured.

-During a difficult morning I got my Patriarchal Blessing to read for comfort and before reading I prayed that it would help me out. Holy cow was that prayer answered. I have already seen so many blessings being fulfilled out here on my mission and I know without a doubt that I am being guided out here.

-Saturday afternoon was pretty hard with the heat and our lack of appointments. I prayed in my heart pretty desperately for Heavenly Father to just help us out somehow. He blessed us so much! We ran into members to teach lessons with that night, and were even able to make a really spiritual visit with our Branch President. It's hard for me to describe how miraculous this day was actually.

I've been reading in Alma this week about many wars. I got a lot out of the analogy of "cleaning the inner vessel." That's something I'm learning for sure is I have to be clean and have the spirit with me before I'm gonna affect anything or anyone externally. it's so important for us to repent every day so that we can be clean and worthy of the Holy Ghost.

I'm also learning how to love and see people as children of God. Yesterday night we taught a woman named Maria (which is actually the name of like 50% of woman here) who has severe depression. The whole lesson I was just taken over by how much God loves her! I hope our lesson helped her. We taught about how faith in Christ and acting on that faith can help her find more peace and happiness. And we also sang I am Child of God for her! I hope it helped her out and that she can find the strength to act on the faith she has.

I hope things are going well back home! I love you guys.

Elder Searle

Elder Searle and Elder Vieira getting work done!

(Last weeks letter)

Dear Family and Friends,

Good morning! This week seemed to go by really fast. But a lot happened!

Yesterday we had a District Conference which was really good. We got to ride on a bus with our Branch to get there and were able to take Fernando and a new investigator we found this week named Vicente!

Vicente is very cool. He is also very old. Despite his age, he is very active and had no problem walking to the church that isn't very close to his house. He also wakes up at 4AM every day haha! Early in the week saw him sitting outside his house and felt like we should teach him. He lost his wife 30 days ago, so we taught him the plan of salvation. It really resonated with him and I think that the knowledge that he can live with his wife again helped him accept the restored gospel during the week. He has such a humble and open heart. Usually when we teach people they always have excuses, but Vicente literally is willing to try anything we ask him to! I can already see in his eyes that this message is changing him, because he is willing to change.

I also had my first exchange this week! It was really good. I worked in with Elder Lima and I learned a whole lot about teaching and contacting.

This week it didn't rain, so 90% of the time we didn't have water in the house. We have been getting smarter though, and every time there's water we fill up a bunch of buckets to use for showers and cleaning. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to learn from this, but I hope it will start raining here in Montes Claros soon.

So my goal is to finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese before my birthday! I'm a little past halfway now, and am on a good track to finish before then. Reading is continuing to help me with the language. I've also been trying to have more one on one conversations with people and that's been helping too!

I wish I could remember things better haha! I know a lot more happened this week that I'm forgetting, but oh well. I guess just know that the Lord is guiding the work here and that I know without a doubt that this church is true. Every day the Spirit testifies of that to me. I know that God loves us and wants us to have joy! And even though this life isn't easy, it's more than worth it. I love you guys!

Elder Searle
weekly steps:125912

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Weekly Steps: 10210
Dearest people I know,

Yesterday was a Holiday here in Brazil so our Pday got moved! It's a good thing it did because absolutely nothing was open yesterday. But as far as I could tell, there isn't any special activities that happen on the day of the dead.

So this week I had a pretty cool experience. During weekly planning on Tuesday, Elder Vieira and I prayed to know specifically which member we should go to get referrals from. I had a sister from our branch pop into my head when I was praying so we decided to visit her and do a "Noah's Ark", which is basically having someone write everyone they want to "save" from the water when the rain comes. So we get a list of all the people close to them, and then visit the ones that are in our area and aren't members! During the week it became difficult to find time to visit Vanessa, and I was starting to doubt it would even be productive to visit her, but Elder Vieira was very good at making sure I followed that prompting! We visited her Friday, and were able to visit her cousin named Fernando that night and present the gospel for him. Saturday, we did a family home evening with him and Vanessa's family, and yesterday he went to the Branch activity! We will be working with him these next few weeks. My testimony was really strengthened from this experience though because he really is a golden reference and we found him because of personal revelation!

This Sunday we also had an awesome opportunity to train the new branch missionaries! I will send a picture of all of us if I have time. It is great to get the youth excited about missionary work and to help them prepare for missions of their own.

Portuguese is getting better! I'm understanding better, and communicating better. I still can't say everything I want though so that's a little frustrating. I have made it halfway through the Book of Mormon in Portuguese though!!! Reading has really helped me understand grammar and sentence structure better.

So the weather report for this week: It rained!!! Finally! We had some good rain for two days at the start of the week and it was a bit cooler, which was really nice. Now it seems to be turning back to how it was before though. Also, every day this week we had water in the morning and that was it. The water is so fickle. But I'm super grateful I've been able to shower every morning and that drinking water isn't a problem since they bring jugs of water to us when we need it.

We finished teaching Karen lessons after baptism this week and she has been helping us teach new investigators!! My word she is a good missionary. And she told us this week that she actually does want to be a missionary in a couple years!! How cool.

If only this people were a little more willing to change their lives for better. We are teaching and finding, but it's super hard when you have people who believe the truth, but aren't willing to follow it. I know the Lord will continue preparing them though, and I hope one day they will accept the Gospel!

I hope everyone is doing wonderful! I hope you all know how much I appreciate all the support. I decided this week that this has to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but holy cow it's so worth it! I know I am supposed to be here, and even though it's hard, Heavenly Father is watching over me and giving me everything I need.

Elder Searle

Weekly Steps: 102106

Young branch missionaries


Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear people I know,

This week was a blur! A lot happened, but it all happened so fast, so I probably won't remember everything. It started off very hot. Like VERY hot. From what I was being told, it was around 39 degrees C, which is like 102 F. It was like that for the first few days, but then the clouds came and changed everything. It still hasn't rained yet, but I'm very thankful for clouds to block the sun.

Elder Vieira and I taught a ton of lessons this week and tried really hard to get a bunch of people in sacrament meeting. We ended up with one investigator, Paóla, who made it to sacrament meeting and also came to a baptismal service the night before! She is our focus right now, along with the sister of Karen, who is finally opening up a little bit to the gospel. We found Paóla by trying to locate the house of a reference, and accidentally knocking on her door! I'm convinced it wasn't an accident though. She is 18, shy, and has sincere questions and doubts, which is always nice. 

Karen has been doing personal progress with the young women this week and we gave her a triple combination to study! It's good to see her at the church and Helberth too. Helberth was in a full suit yesterday and was looking super fly.

Yesterday I cried in a lesson for the first time. It was a pretty emotional day. But I cried because I was teaching about families, and while I thought about my family it made me so grateful for the gospel! I know I can be with my family for eternity and that is such a huge blessing in my life!

Well the other news this week is that my pedometer went missing for 2 days, so my step count for those days is a conservative estimate. I also lost my umbrella, which I didn't even use once. Maybe it will show up somewhere though.

Some observations of Montes Claros that I'm just now realizing: Everyone has a mango tree in there backyard, neighborhoods are very different here (our house is literally on top of another person's store/house), and 50% of the shirts young people wear have very incorrect english grammar on them.

I'm gonna end it there since we have a ton to do today! I love you guys. Remember that the church is true and that Heavenly Father is always there. He hears our prayers and loves us perfectly.

Elder Searle

weekly steps: 106526

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 12!


This week started off with sickness. I'm not exactly sure what caused it, but Monday night was not pretty or fun. I'll spare the details, but I had some sort of virus and my body wouldn't let me put anything in it. So Sister Fernandes put me on this crazy diet for the next three days that actually worked! I had to eat like a bazzillion bananas and drink gatorade and I couldn't drink milk or eat meat. But it was super sad Tuesday because after the Zone Meeting there was a bunch of ice cream, but I couldn't eat any of it :( I was pretty weak until Friday, but we still worked around the chapel. I'm all better now thankfully!

There were some very spiritual experiences for me this week. We taught a lesson this week to 10 people at the same time and that was quite the experience. People here, for the most part, talk like crazy. Like it's super hard to get a word in with some of our investigators, so you can imagine how it was like with 10 people who didn't agree on much religiously. It was so amazing though because when we got to the story of Joseph Smith, it was really powerful. As soon as I began relating his story, it got dead silent and I felt the spirit so strongly! I testified more boldly than I think I ever have, and no one disputed that part of our message. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and really did see God the Father and the Son. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith!

Yesterday I gave a talk in church so that was fun. I was nervous leading up to it, but actually giving the talk wasn't bad! I talked about member missionary work and how to share the gospel with your friends! It was really sad though because none of our investigators made it to church yesterday. For most of them was because of the time change. Unfortunately we weren't aware of the time change until it was too late to warn our investigators.

Oh transfers were yesterday! I am staying here with Elder Vieira and the other missionaries in our house are staying too. This is my companion's last transfer! I will be with him until he goes home. And I love all the missionaries in our house. The Zone Leaders and Elder Vieira are teaching me so much. One of the Zone Leaders, Elder Lima, just got done being an Assistant to the President and he is so powerful. And he knows English very well which is great. The only downside to having such good missionaries living with us is that our areas aren't divided and the members love them. We are getting better at gaining the confidence of the members though!

The one investigator we are focusing on who has the most potential right now is named Kiko. Kiko is super cool and is very receptive! The hard part is that he hasn't been to church yet, but we are going to make sure he gets to church these next 2 weeks! After these two weeks there's a District Conference instead of sacrament though, so he would have to wait to be baptized and confirmed on like the 14th of November. But hopefully we find more investigators this week to put on the same track as Kiko! Plus we are teaching a man named Newton who is working to get married on the 20th of November so he can be baptized after. I'm really learning to love these people. Kiko is going to be blessed so much by this gospel! He doesn't have a very exciting life and I think he's pretty sad most of the time, but I know this gospel is going to help him so much with that!!

To answer some questions from the fam-

Yes, everyone has an electric shower here. We had one in our old house, but we haven't installed it in this one yet because the water is actually a good temperature already haha! It is still hot, and still hasn't rained. Everyone says it's going to rain tomorrow though so I guess we will see!

The members always feed us lunch except on Pdays. Lunch always consists of beans and rice. And usually some type of meat and root. There are so many types of roots/potatoes here! I love their sweet potato. It looks nothing like what we call a sweet potato. And there's usually juice or guarana. Also, tomatoes and lettuce. And half the time with members they make us desert! This week I ate so many things made from mangos. There are mango trees everywhere here and I'm really loving this fruit. My favorite thing I ate this week was a brazillian truffle I bought that was a really good type of chocolate (brigadello I think it's called).

Our laundry situation is a little crazy. We have a washing machine, but with our new house there's not a place to hook it up right, so we have to use buckets to fill it during the cycles and have to kind of wash clothes by hand before sticking them in the washer. Because there's 4 of us, we can't all do laundry on the same day, so I wake up early Friday and do mine. There are no such things as dryers here, we have wires that we hang up our clothes on to dry.

To deal with the heat, we drink a lot of water and sweat a lot. I'm just kind of getting used to being hot and it's not a big deal anymore. We have fans for sleeping, and I haven't really used a blanket since São Paulo.

We get around by walking! I have yet to ride a bike, but we use the ônibus to get to central, and sometimes will use a members car to go teach someone. Most of the members don't have cars though, and even the ones that do don't like using them because gas costs so much here.

There are actually 12 missionaries in Montes Claros! It used to be 8, but the sisters arrived last week. It's us 4 from my house in the 3rd branch, and 4 missionaries in the other branches too. We are the only branch in our chapel, and the chapel downtown is where the other 2 branches congregate.

The language is still coming! I always feel like I'm not making any progress, but when I think about how much I know now compared to a few weeks ago, I realize that my tongue is truly being loosed.

I hope everyone is doing well! I'm sorry if my emails don't make much sense grammatically. I've figured out that there's no reason or time to plan out what I'm going to say beforehand, so that's why they aren't as nice! Hopefully they still make sense. Anyways, have a splendid week everyone! 

Elder Searle

weekly steps: 102593

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dear family and friends,

It was a good week! We're settling into our new house, the work is moving along, and Karen was confirmed yesterday!

The first day in our new house the electricity hadn't been turned on so that was a little hard. But at least it was only a day! This house is a lot nicer than our last one and I finally have a desk to study on in the morning! I love my desk.

This week we did a lot of finding and teaching recent-converts. B is doing really well and so is Karen! It was really cool to confirm her yesterday. I was super nervous to perform the ordinance, but it went well and the Spirit was strong! Her family still isn't very supportive of her decision, but she is working on changing their hearts and we will hopefully be able to even work with some of them this week! We gave her a pamphlet to fill out her family history with a tree and biographies. She loves family history already haha! And guess what? Elder Vieira is going to do her father's temple work when he returns home in December! Karen is super excited to one day get sealed to her dad.

Like I said, a lot of finding this week. The members haven't been too good to us as far as references, so it was a little difficult. But holy cow, the Lord really does guide by the Spirit. Multiple times this week we would be walking down a street and would knock on the perfect door with someone who would listen to us and accept the invitation to read the Book of Mormon.

All of the missionaries in the house are doing the memorizing a scripture a week challenge from GC! You guys should do it too if you are't already :)

It's been a fairly "normal" week other than that! We lost water a couple times, it still hasn't rained since I got here, and it's hot as ever. It was Elder Lima's birthday (another missionary in our house) yesterday and that was fun to celebrate a little last night with our Branch President! Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures this week, but I will try to take some for next week!

Thank you for the prayers and support. I love you guys!!

Elder Searle

weekly steps: 119186

Monday, October 5, 2015

A picture from last weeks Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Good News and Bad News

Dear family and friends,

So a little bit of bad news and lots of good news this week!! I will save the best news for last :)

The water returned!! Monday night it started coming back and Tuesday morning it was back completely. When I turned the faucet on and water came out I literally fell to my knees haha! I never realized how much of a blessing it is to have water.

I guess I'll give the bad news now. Monday night we visited Jaime and he had suddenly lost all interest in being baptized. He won't be direct with us, but someone probably talked bad about the church to him. It's so sad because he received an answer and we taught him everything. We brought members that we taught him with and tried to explain the importance of this decision, but he won't budge. Hopefully with time he will realize what he's missing! Truly this gospel would bless his life so much.

General Conference was the bomb! Unfortunately our chapel doesn't have the capabilities of showing it so we had to travel to center city and I only got to watch about half of it. But I loved everything I could watch!! I know that the new Apostles truly were called by God. I remember Elder Rasband giving a talk in a Priesthood Session once that I absolutely loved! I was able to sit next to Helberth when President Monson was talking! I told him that was our Prophet and he leaned over and said that it's the voice of the Lord whenever he speaks! How cool that he recognizes and remembers that from the lessons.

One of the many things I loved from conference was something Sister Stephens said. It was something like this "Commandments are an expression of God's love for us, and our obedience to them is an expression of our love for Him." How true! I keep learning out here that obedience truly is the first law of heaven, upon which all things are predicated. And it makes so much sense to think about obedience as an act of love rather than an obligation!

We are in the middle of moving to our new house!! It has been a crazy crazy weekend because of that so sorry if my words don't make very much sense- I wasn't able to think about what I would email beforehand. But our new house is sooo great! I'm thankful to be moving.

Teaching Karen this week was amazing! Every day we taught her with youth from the church and she continued to love every bit of the gospel. The Plan of Salvation rings so true to her and she has a huge testimony of prayer. This week I gained a larger testimony of prayer too. Elder Vieira and I prayed for Karen a lot this week. Her family is not supportive of her and her boyfriend threatened to leave her if she got baptized. It was a tough situation. The Lord surly did answer our prayers though! Karen made it to General Conference and was baptized in between sessions on Sunday!! Her boyfriend has had at least a minor change of heart, and said he will go to her confirmation this Sunday! And her family is nicer to us now. Truly this baptism was a miracle though. At times we would be going all over to find her because she doesn't have a phone and it was really stressful leading up to this weekend. But it all worked out! And she has two really great friends in the church now (other than us). I'm excited to be able to confirm her on Sunday! Karen is inspiring. She was willing to leave her relationship and go against her family to embrace this gospel and live with her Father again after this life.

Karen's baptism!! Such a spiritual experience. Our Branch President, who is the father of one of Karen's friends, performed the baptism. Even though Karen technically was found by our own efforts, we couldn't have done this without the help of members.
I love you guys! Thank you for the continued support and prayers.

Elder Searle

Weekly steps: 120964

Monday, September 28, 2015

Caro Americanos!

Caro Americanos,

This week has been very eventful! I'll try to hit on everything important, but I could probably write a novel about this week.

I made a goal to read the whole Book of Mormon in Português! Reading aloud has really been helping me with the language. At the beginning of the week I was feeling pretty discouraged so I prayed and felt prompted to read 5 more pages during language study. The very last verse of those 5 pages gave me so much comfort. (3 Nephi 13:27). The Lord is truly looking out for me and I´m so blessed to have this opportunity to serve Him.

Jaime gained a rock-solid testimony Friday night!!! This is one of the parts I could write a novel on. In short, we assigned him to read Moroni's promise again and pray again to know the the Book of Mormon is true. I told him to ask very directly and with faith, and that God would answer his prayer. That night he had a dream (he likes to refer to it as a vision, which may be more correct) where he was preaching the gospel in a great city with lots of gold. When he woke, he opened the Book to Helaman 6 and the first bit of the chapter explained perfectly what he had seen in his vision. He bore his testimony to us yesterday without being prompted to. He said Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this is the Lord's church! It was more than a miracle. The Lord truly answers the prayers of the faithful.

Many prayers were answered yesterday in regards to Jaime, and also in regards to our new investigator Karen. On Wednesday I felt a strong prompting to knock on a door while walking down the street, and I'm so glad I followed that prompting! She is progressing really well and came to church with us yesterday. Yesterday afternoon we taught her the Plan of Salvation and holy cow the Spirit was so strong. Her father has passed away and when we told her she would see him again and could be with him forever through following the gospel of Jeus Christ, she cried. A lot. She's 17 years old and has been struggling with the death of her father for years. It made me so happy to share God's plan with her.

Yesterday I came to know for sure that I am supposed to be here in Montes Claros serving with Elder Vieira. I need the people we are teaching, and they need this message. Sometimes I'm stressed about logistics or language, but I truly don't need to be because as long as I have the Spirit with me, everything works out.

We haven't quite moved houses yet and our house has been without water for 4 days now. We've had to get water from the chapel, which has been a little difficult. It's making me realize how spoiled I was in the U.S. haha! But this morning I was able to shower from buckets of water and I've never appreciated a shower so much in my life. I'm thankful for the trials I have because they're making me grow so much.

I love you guys!! So much. I love hearing about how things are going for you and thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement and the prayers. Enjoy General Conference this week!

Elder Searle

Weekly steps: 128,791