Monday, January 25, 2016

Dear family and friends,

This week was very busy and very good! On Saturday, Anderson was baptized!! It has been so cool to work with him the past two weeks. He owns a snack shop right by our house and has a good friend who's a member of the church (Hamilton). 

Anderson is a really cool dude. He is humble and very smart. He has been coming to church for around 2 months and has made some drastic changes in his life. He was an alcoholic and his marriage almost fell apart, but it was all made right through the gospel! He gave up drinking, and he still has his wife and his daughter! 

Hopefully his family will follow his example and decide to be baptized too! They aren't really open to being taught right now, but I think with time they will open up! Especially as they see Anderson grown in the gospel. He is for sure going to be a leader in the church some day.

The work continues to move on and I'm excited to continue serving! We dropped a lot of our investigators this week, but hopefully with a fresh start we will be able to lay the groundwork for a lot of success.

I'm still getting used to the differences in the work here. It's a little difficult to get around in our area because it's pretty far from the chapel. Also, there are no Americans in my district besides me so basically I haven't spoken English for 2 weeks straight and I'm starting to think and dream in Portuguese.

Thank you for the support guys!

Elder Searle

Rosi, Tamíres, Anderson, Hamilton, Elder Otávio, Elder Searle

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dear Family and friends,

I made it to Divinópolis! This city is very different from Montes Claros in a lot of ways. We live downtown in a fourth floor apartment which is cool! It's a lot cooler here which is super nice. It rains a lot. We don't use umbrellas, we just get wet. The people here are a lot more diverse. The members have cars. Our ward is huge (we had 148 people in sacrament meeting yesterday!). The members help out a lot. We walk less, cause we are always in cars. We have some good investigators (a teaching pool of around 7 people right now). The only thing that's really the same is the church and the teaching haha! It will be good for me to be here for sure and I'm excited to learn a lot here!

Elder Otávio is my companion! He is from São Paulo, São Paulo. This mission means a lot to him and he always tries to do what is right! The more time we spend together the more I am understanding him and getting to like him!

I got here on Terça and that same night I was surprised to find out that I am now an English teacher haha! Every week I will be giving a basic english class at our chapel. That day had 15 people in the class, and half of them were non-members! It was kind of overwhelming because I was just handed a manual and told to teach for an hour and a half, but I think I managed it alright. The people in the class were pretty excited and it was fun to interact with them!

Speaking of which, Portuguese finally feels normal. Okay so I'm going to brag a little now. I got a lot of compliments this week on my portuguese! Apparently some americans came through this area before me that couldn't speak very well so the members were really surprised when I was talking to them haha! It made me feel good to know the work and prayers are paying off.

We are teaching a guy named Anderson who owns a snack shop right by where we live! He is good friends with a member and hasa desire to be baptized. He has had problems with the word of wisdom in the past, but he is doing really well now! We are also teaching a guy named cleber who wants to be baptized. He plays piano and has 8 dogs. We taught them both a few times this week and will be meeting with them a lot this week so I'll be sure to let you know more about them next week!

Well that's about it. I'm excited to serve the Lord here! It's definitely not easy, but it's more than worth it to be here doing what I'm doing. I love you guys!!

Elder Searle

Elder Searle and Elder Otavio

Elder Otavio and Elder Searle

On the way to transfers

An awesome owl

Monday, January 11, 2016

(I missed posting this on January 11th)

I have some exciting news! The assistants called yesterday to tell me I'm being transfered! They have also completely changed how they do transfers so I will fly with Elder Lima (who just finished his mission) to BH tomorrow morning and head straight to my new area! I will be serving in Divinópolis 2nd ward with Elder Otávio! 

I know nothing about my him or my new area other than it's one of the southernmost areas on the mission. So it will be really nice to get away from the heat of Montes Claros. I found it kind of funny that I went from one of the most northern aresas to one of the most southern. I will make sure to let you know all about my new companion and the situation next week!

I will miss Montes Claros and Elder Hatch though. This week was a pretty good week for us. I hope the work we did brings him and his new companion many fruits in his final transfer. Alison and Aline are still moving along, and we found an amazing family this week! Farley Pleiquianne and their 8-year-old son Kerlon were able to come to church and have been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon! They are really nice and I wish I could watch them progress.

I had a lot of growing experiences here and I'm very thankful for all the help that the Lord has given me. He has guided me, strengthened me, and taught me a ton during my time here. I know God loves me and that Christ understands everything I go through. Also, I'm so thankful for the Spirit and the relationship I am building with him.

My perspective has changed a lot here too. Knowing that there are a lot of people living in poor circumstances is one thing, but knowing them and living with them is another. I'm really impressed and humbled by how little some people have, yet how much they will willingly give. Especially some of the members here. I feel so blessed to have been given so much.

It was also nice to get the ward newsletter this week and see that I'm still considered a youth in the birthday section while Brig got promoted to adult. I guess I have some growing up to do ;)

I love you guys!

Elder Searle

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Years!!

There was some crazy stuff that happened this week! New years was good. I kind of slept through it, but it's cool we are in 2016 now!

The day before New Years we had a man named William approach us on the street. He proceeded to explain to us his life story, in english, which was very interesting. I don't know if he follows a religion or not, but he tried to convince us that he was a prophet haha! He told us many stories, but my favorite one was when he controlled a dragonfly with his mind and was able to ask the drangonfly his name. His name was Edson in case you were wondering. He also apparently made many earthquakes happen. Unfortunately he wasn't very interested in our message, but he was a very interesting guy. I'm thankful to know who the true prophet is haha! We got the General Conference talks recently and it's been really good to study the talks of the prophets and apostles.

Our investigators are doing well! I feel a lot of responsibility on my shoulders because the Lord has given us people who have so much potential. We taught a family on New Years that went super well. They are very humble even though they are pretty well off. The dad cried at the end of the message when he was talking about his family and I really hope we can help them enjoy the blessings of the gospel! Alison and Aline are also coming along one step at a time. It was hard this week with everyone traveling, but we were able to find success and I learned a lot.

I have been studying the New Testament and I'm working through the Book of Mormon again. It's crazy how every time I read a scripture I have a different insight than I did the last time I read it! I love the scriptures.

Elder Hatch is still teaching me a lot and I'm enjoying it here with him! We truly have to trust in the Lord every day because otherwise we would be very lost. He always has the spirit with him and is really good with knowing what to say and when to say it. 

Thanks for all the support and love! Next week is transfers so there's a chance I won't get to email, but only a slight chance!

Elder Searle
Elder Searle and Elder Hatch 

Elder Searle and Helberth