Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 4

Dear Family,

This week really seemed to fly by! It was very eventful and enjoyable.

It's so nice to have Elder Ostergaard and Elder Cope here. They have essentially the same schedule as our district, so we get to do a lot together. This week it's been raining during our physical activity so we had to play ping-pong inside. But usually we all play volleyball together, which is fun! It's also nice to be the older district here and be able to help out newer ones.

Last Friday we went proselyting for real!! It was the most wonderful experience I've had so far here. We took public transport to the center of São Paulo where there's tons of people doing all sorts of things. When we arrived, we walked down a wide walkway and I was so overcome by the Spirit. There were big buildings on our sides and a band playing some sort of Brazillian jazz down the way. As we walked towards the music, the tunes grew louder and louder and I felt the Spirit stronger and stronger. I kept having the thoughts "I'm in Brazil!" And "I'm a missionary!" What a wonderful realization. I love this country already.

The actual Proselyting was just as incredible! We each had 3 BoMs to work with (they had local missionary contact info in them). The first lady I sat down to talk with wasn't the least bit interested. I kind of expected that to be the case with most people, but I was wrong! The next 3 people I said a word to gladly accepted the Book and seemed excited to read! After that woman, Elder Silfies and I walked a bit until two young men made eye contact with us and we went for it! I sat between them and starting talking to one and Elder Silfies took the other. I read Moroni's promise with him and committed him to read!

The experience I had with the next man was pretty similar. The last Book of Mormon was given to a man named Felipe. It was such a cool experience talking with him! When I saw him sitting from a ways off, it looked like he was praying and felt like I needed to talk to him. Turns out he was just on his phone, but he was for sure the one I was supposed to talk to! He had never heared of the church before. And he seemed very appreciative that we would talk to him and give him that Book! I promised him that the Lord would bless him for reading and that he could know the book is true if he prays with real intent, faith, and sincerity.

Sadly, we only get to go proselyting that one time in the CTM.

I know the odds are against me that those people actually read and prayed, but how cool is it that they were even receptive enough to hear our message? The Lord has definitely been preparing the people of Brazil for His gospel. And I can't wait to teach His gospel to the people in Belo every day!

The rest of the week was good too! Our investigators are doing very well. This week we have been talking with them mostly about commandments. It has been good for me to learn to teach those lessons because they have a totally different vocabulary than the ones prior.

We went to the São Paulo Temple this morning and it was a really special experience. It's sad to think that next week is my last time in a Temple for 2 years.

Part of me wishes they would just throw me into the field right now. I know the next 2 weeks her will be productive though. Tomorrow morning a General Authority is speaking here! His last name is like Moseligarge, but I can't remember his title. I'm excited to hear from him!

This Sunday we watched a devotional talk where Elder Holland spoke. It was from 2 years ago when there was the huge surge of missionaries. It was really powerful! He talked about how everything we desperately want our investigators to do is exactly what God want us to do. It's so true!I want the people I teach to be more converted, repent, change, become better- and that's exactly what Heavenly Father is wanting me to do! He said, "we are God's investigators." It was pretty inspiring for me!

I love you guys! Thanks for all the support and encouragement.

Elder Searle

Weekly steps: 51653
Weekly bites: 5

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Elder Searle's letter week 3

Oi cada um!

This week has been good! A little bit of a whirlwind, but good. Before Sunday, I was thinking about how monotonous every day was getting. Then on Sunday, Elder Silfies and I were assigned as leaders of our Zone and our schedule has become a ton more busy! We get to plan Sacrament Meeting for our Branch and conduct various meetings. We conducted the devotional on Tuesday and that went well!

The São Paulo Temple is closed for a little bit, so we have been going to Campinas! It's a fairly large and very beautiful Temple. We went there this morning for the second time and it was so wonderful! I'm taking lots of pictures for you guys. I'm going to miss going to the Temple when I'm in the field.

I should explain this because I wasn't very clear before, but our "investigators" here in the CTM are actually members of the church who we practice teaching on. They set up rooms with furniture to make the lessons feel more real and we treat them as such, but sadly I will not teach lessons to an actual investigator for 3 more weeks. But guess what! Our district goes street-contacting for the first time on Friday!! I'm super pumped. We each get 4 copies of the Book of Mormon to place and don't return to the CTM until they're all placed. They take us out to the middle of the city to do it. I'll let you know how it goes!

Another reason our schedule is busy is because we picked up another investigator (Joe) so we usually teach 2-3 lessons a day! Not gonna lie, preparing to teach sometimes stresses me out. But when we actually begin teaching, I feel so much peace. Our lessons are improving too because the Lord is helping us learn Português and we're getting better at listening to the spirit during the lesson.

Other than that, it's been a pretty normal week! If there is such a thing. It's crazy that I'm halfway through my time at the CTM. You'll never guess who's nametag/district info I saw this morning! :) Unfortunately, it was only the nametag and not the man himself. Brigham will be in my Zone and Branch!! I'm super excited because that means we will see each other a lot! His schedule is different today because he just got here, but I will see him tonight I'm sure. 

The language is still coming along! Elder Silfies and I only speak English now on Pday before 5pm and during specific meetings on Sunday. I'm starting to think in Português all the time which is good. The Lord has surely been helping me a lot during these 3 weeks.

During the devotional on Tuesday I had a really spiritual experience! I tried listening to it without headphones for english translation. The speaker asked us lots of questions and had people in the audience answer. One of the questions was "When do we need the ateonement in our lives?" No one was answering. He turned and looked right at me and said "You, what do you tink?" And I was able to answer him! I said "Sempre," which means both always and forever in Português. And I was able to also tell him how all people have problems and weaknesses that the Atonement can help with all the time! I'm glad I could understand him and answer him. 

I love you guys! I hope this week was good for everyone.

Com amor,
Elder Searle

Weekly steps: 53431
Weekly bites: 0

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 2 in the CTM

Querido Família,

Time definitely moves faster in Brazil. It feels like I just emailed home a couple days ago!

This week has been very good! After emailing last week, I got to explore the city for the first time! It was super cool. I bought jsome Brazillian ties and chocolate.

I'm starting to really get the language down I think. I still have a ways to go, but I've come so far since I got here! On Monday, Elder Silfies and I taught for the first time without writing down what to say. It was awesome! And it's so nice to be able to teach according to the needs of our investigators, rather than sharing what we have prepared. It's funny though, because I can talk the gospel all day in Portuguese, but I have a dificult time holding a "regular" conversation. I'm definitely being prepared with what I need though!

I've been learning more about Belo Horizonte too! As far as the language, the people are known for speaking really fast and they use a lot of words that most places in Brazil don't. I'm excited to enter the field in a month!

Our Investigators are doing well! We teach both of them most every day. The system they use here makes so much sense! Every day we study, pray, learn, and practice- all for the purpose of helping our investigators better. I'm learning to teach people instead of lessons.

Our district is getting 3 new missionaries that were in Provo waiting for their VISAs! They arrived today, but we have't met them yet. I met Sister Larsen's cousin this week though! Elder Johnson. He is cool.

I'm having a wonderful time here! I'm surrounded by amazing people and the Spirit is everywhere I go. I love it! I know it's where I need to be.

I love you guys!! I don't have enouhg time to read/respond to new emails, but I'm taking picutres of them and will respond in a week! (That's probably how it's always going to be just fyi) Tem uma boa Semana!

Elder Searle

Steps 41614
Mosquito Bites 0

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Week 1

Boa Tarde Família!
First off, I apolagize- my Pdays are on Wednesdays, not Mondays.​ Second, computers in Brazil do not auto-correct for english, so please excuse all the grammatical mistakes to come. Third, they only give us 45 minutes to email, so I'm going to take pictures of all the emails I got today so I can repsond next week!
It's so great to hear all that´s going on at home!! I miss you guys.
My companion for these 6 weeks is Elder Silfies! He is from Oklahoma and we will be going to Belo Horizonte together. We are the only Americans going, but there are two hispanic Elders and on Sister that will go to Belo Horizonte as well. And the Brazillians going to our mission will show up on week 4 because they only spend 2 weeks in the CTM. Elder Silfies and I get along well! And our district is super great!! It´s made up of 7 elders, and we basically do everything together! We are probably the smallest district though, and may get extra missionaries if more come from Provo. Yesterday we did a jejum de Inglés (an Enlgish fast) and went a whole day speaking only Portuguéz.
I´m coming along with the language! I can introduce myself, carry a basic conversation, pray, testify, and teach a bit all in Portuguéz! And I have the pronunciation down for the most part.
A lot of what we do here is centered around teaching our "investigators." We taught our first lesson in Portuguéz to a man named Vinicius on only our second day here. It was mostly done with notes and broken sentences, but Elder Silfies had quite the experience with the Spirit. He was able to speak in Portuguéz confidently while bearing his testimony. And during that first lesson, I was able to understand everything that was said. We taught Vinicius about the First Vision. The next day, we taught him the Plan of Salvation and invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized! He thought about it for a minute, and accepted!!! It was a happy day. Today is our 5th and final lesson with him :( But we pick up two new investigators tomorrow!
The food here is amazing. Every meal whatever I eat is so delicious. Breakfast is always some types of meat and cheese with bread, along with this sweet rice soup. Beans and rice are served every lunch and dinner along with other Brazillian dishes. The fruits here are nothing like in the states! It seems like I drink a new type of fruit juice every day- and it's all super fresh! They always have a ton of pulp in them so they're more like smoothies. We just had mango juice, which is probably my favorite.
This place is also a lot smaller than I thought it would be! There are ~160 missionaries here. I really like that it's not huge and I recognize most everyone! It will be very exciting to see Brigham in a couple weeks! (:
This morning we went to the São Paulo Temple!! It was amazing. I really want to send you pictures of it, but we aren't allowed to hook up cameras to the computers here. Once I'm in the field you will get an email with a ton of pictures! We are only allowed to take them on Pdays though, and can only birng our cameras outside when we go to the temple. Also, we can't take pictures in the cafeteria, so unfortunately I can´t show you how good the food is.
One really cool thing I got out of a lesson this week- There are 3 "firsts" in the gospel, and they make a triangle. Faith, the first principle of the Gospel; Obedience, the first law of heaven; and love, the first commandment. Those 3 things are what I will be centering my life around these two years, and they are the things everyone should focus on throughout their lives. They are the most important. And inside the triangle that they form is the Spirit, because nothing is possible without the Spirit, especially when you're on a mission.
We get to go explore São Paulo a little now! I'm so excited :) If I don't get to your email today, I hope to next week!
Love you all lots,
Elder Searle
p.s. I'm going to be keeping track of how many steps I take according to my pedometer, as well as # of mosquito bites during these 2 years
Steps this week - 42,664
Mosquito Bites this wek - 0