Monday, April 25, 2016

Good day friends,

This week was a bit crazy so I hope I can remember everything. On Tuesday we had a pretty good turn-out at English class and that was fun to teach! We got a little off topic though and I ended up teaching about the difference between to, too, two, and tu-tu. Which is even funnier in Portuguese because the words tu (which means you) and tutú (which is a bean dish that we eat a lot here). I think it was a little confusing for everyone.

The best part of the week was on Saturday when Agda was baptized!! Her dad, who was baptized a little over a year ago, was able to preform the ordinance and it was a really special meeting. She was the last of the three children to accept the gospel. Something really cool is that 5 months ago when her brother Daniel was baptized, the bishop of our ward sent a message to Marilene (their mom) saying that the spirit whispered to him that she would see her oldest daughter being baptized into the Lord's church. Marilene was so happy and emotional when the bishop's prophecy came true. It was really great to work with Agda these past few weeks!

Gabriel is getting close to baptism. He shared the scripture in Primary this Sunday and is really enjoying the church! He has been coming for almost 3 months and I can't wait for him to become a member!

Elder Dedeco and I have started a competition of how many push ups we can do each week. Needless to say my chest is very sore.

We have been working for a while with a family that lives close to our apartment. This week we are bringing the bishop there to hopefully get them a little more excited! They have all received an answer about the church but something is still getting in the way of them fully accepting the gospel. I hope we can figure out what it is.

Training is going well. I can see how difficult it is for a missionary to start the mission and it reminds me of how difficult it was for me. There is so much to learn and memorize. It's a little overwhelming for Elder Dedeco but he is doing really well. He is probably the most patient and obedient companion I've had so far. I really like him.

I love you guys! I hope this week is good for everyone. Remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers and eat your vegetables.

Elder Searle

Monday, April 18, 2016

Good Morning!

This week was full of stuff. I'll start at the end though. Yesterday, because of miracles and many answers to prayer, Kauan was baptized after church! He was so so happy and a lot of members were able to welcome him into the ward afterwards. It was a logistical mess this week getting him interviewed and setting up the meeting, but it all worked out in the end and everyone was happy. Kauan is an awesome kid. He is a lot smarter than I was at 9 years. He understands the significance and importance of the sacrament- something it took me until my mission to figure out.

Last Monday, we taught Agda, who is basically the only member of her family who is't a member of the church. Her parents and siblings were converted a year ago and help us out a lot. Just recently, Agda separated from her husband and moved back in with her parents. We taught her almost every day this week and even with her mountain of questions about the church she was able to receive an answer to her prayers and will be baptized soon. I'm so excited for her!!

We also found a young man named Thales this week. He is basically the opposite of every other investigator I have ever worked with- he accepted to be baptized in the first lesson, but didn't think that having an answer of the Book of Mormon was necessary before he got into the waters. Thankfully, after the second time he read and prayed he felt the Holy Ghost and received a solid answer. And the next day when we passed by his house he told us that he didn't have credits to call us, but he really wanted us to stop by so he was praying that we would, and two minutes later we showed up at his door! It was a testimony to me that the spirit really is guiding us.

We are still teaching Gabriel with Wellington and Bruna and he is coming along really well. Wellington blessed the sacrament for the first time yesterday!! And he did it with Julio so I felt really proud to have my two converts up there exercising the Priesthood.

I am really grateful to be in an area with a  good ward. When our investigators go to church they feel the spirit and want to come back the next week! Our bishop is one of the most serious guys I have ever met. He finally let us attend executive committee yesterday, which went really well. The members here are still learning their responsibility in the work, but I really can't complain.

Wow, that's a long email. Oh yeah, training is going great! Elder Dedeco is the bomb and I love his strong testimony and his willingness to always do what is right. Have a wonderful week you guys!

Elder Searle
Treats at district conference

Our district

Kauan's baptism day

Kauan and me

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dearest persons with intrest in my life,
My new companion is Elder Dedeco! He is from Santa Maria (yes, Brigham's mission!) and this is his first area. He is 24 years old and is a convert to the church from the age of 20. He has 8 siblings, but only he and his mom, who he baptized 2 months ago, are members.
Outside of background information, Elder Dedeco is an amazing missionary! He is very spiritually mature and has a real desire to do what is right. I have learned a lot from him this week as I began training. Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous to have Elder Otávio leave me and take command of the area, but it has been a fairly smooth transition.
This week we were able to teach a lot of people. Which is good for a new missionary to get into the habit of. Our teaching pool continues to grow and the Lord is blessing us a lot. We were able to eat lunch with Denise and Wellington/Bruna yesterday which was really great. I believe that Cida (the mom of Denise and Bruna) will soon choose to follow her daughters' examples and be baptized. Also, we are teaching a boy who Wellington and Bruna have been bringing to church with them for quite some time named Gabriel and finishing up the lessons with another boy naed Kauan who is the son of less active members.
Julio blessed the sacrament for the first time yesterday and Wellington will bless next week! I'm glad I am able to stay in this area to watch the new members grow. It's probably one of the most fulfilling things that has ever had happen to me.
Funny moment of the week- yesterday an older man tried to convince us that Abraham and Jesus were actually the same person.

I love you guys! Thank you for the support as always. Have a great week!
Elder Searle
New companions Elder Dedeco and Elder Searle

New companionships

Last day with Elder Otavio.  A member made us Mario and Luigi shirts!

Elder Searle and Elder Dedeco

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dearest reader,

This week was really good! Thankfully, we were able to watch all of General Conference (except the Priesthood Session since it's after out bedtime) and I really learned a lot. Though we did have a little problem in the first session and most of it was transmitted in Spanish, which  I was surprisingly able to understand fairly well.

I had a lot of favorite parts of the Conference. Elder Mazzigardi was awesome, because he's Brazilian and talked about Brazil. I had the opportunity to hear him speak in the MTC when he visited there too! He is a really cool guy and it was cool to listen about how he gained a testimony of the restoration. I also really liked the talks of Elder Rasband, Bednard, Ballard, Uchtdorf, Oaks, and Holland. I love the doctrine of opposition that Elder Oaks talked about and Elder Holland really wrapped things up nicely at the end. It's cool here because you know exactly when the speakers go off-script because the translators have a harder time translating. Elder Holland went off script a lot haha! One of my favorite things that was said was in Elder Uchtdor's talk when he basically said if we want anything good to happen, we need to do good. I also learned quite a bit about obedience from the end of his talk.

In other news, Elder Otavio is going to be a District Leader in Belo Horizonte and in the meantime I will stay here and train a brand new missionary! I have no idea who he is or what he's like, but I will find that all out tomorrow. I'm very excited!! The craziest thing is that yesterday during personal study I was praying about the transfer and I felt an overwhelming feeling that this would happen. But I also kind of felt like I would be moved to train in a different area, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

This week I read "Our Search for Happiness." I would recommend it to you guys if you want a quick read with an awesome message. It's crazy how much you learn on the mission. Most of what I'm learning I already knew, it's just that now I have it written in my mind and my heart to always recall it when I need it.

We walked a lot this week. I don't know if this week is the record as far as steps, but I did beat my record for steps in one day with over 28,000 which is about 14 miles. I used to think lots of steps was a sign of working more, but I'm realizing more and more how more work is actually done when we take less steps. My plan is to work a little more intelligently this next week. It should be fun to receive the training again myself as I train a new missionary for the next 12 weeks. I will let you guys know all about him next week!!


Elder Searle
Our District Leader who is going home this week!