Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Even though I'm not quite as patriotic as I should or would like to be, I sure am grateful for the country I was born in and the blessings I enjoy because of those who gave their lives for our freedom. Being out of the country has really opened my eyes as to the rights we enjoy in the States.

This week was really pretty good! Some exciting things have taken place here. On Monday Bruna found out that she is pregnant and it looks like she will have the baby in that same month that her and Wellington complete one year as members of the church! And Wellington was called as the first counselor in the Young Men's organization!! I am so excited and happy for them.

We also started a "New Members Choir" in our ward. Yesterday was our first practice and we will sing in sacrament meeting on the 19 of June. It was our ward mission leader's idea and it's actually pretty clever because it gives another responsibility to all the recent converts and it also gives us the chance to teach a post-baptism lesson to everyone together each Sunday. We are going to see if our Mission President can come and talk in the special sacrament meeting.

We sure are walking and working a lot. It's been a rewarding week because we have found some new people to teach. Most of them are young men that live pretty close to the chapel and that has been good because we can walk with them to church.

I sure love you guys! I hope this week is great and joyful!

Elder Searle
English Class

Monday, May 23, 2016

Greetings from the city of Betim!

This morning we got up early and traveled to Betim so I can get brazillian identification. The law changed recently and now all the foreign people need to have one. We are waiting for the federal police building to open up at 1. The Zone Leaders work here and it's a city about the size of Divinópolis.

This week was full of ups and downs! It ended on an up though so I'm happy. Unfortunately Marithissa is not willing to live some commandments which is keeping her from partaking of baptism. But we had a wonderful week besides that! We found quite a few investigators and have been teaching a lot with the members. I have some pictures to send but I'm afraid this cyber cafe could have a virus so I will wait till next week to send them!

I also met an american on the street this week. He passed by us and yelled "look at these americans!" to which I responded "ei, tudo bem?" (which means hi, is all going well?), to which he responded "Don't 'tudo bem' me! Tudo bem in your face! I'm from Georgia!" It was quite the experience. Turns out that he was in Brazil to attend a wedding with his brazillian wife. They were pretty cool after talking to them!

Yesterday was quite possibly the best sacrament meeting so far here. We were able to bring a nice family to church and some other investigators too! Elivando is the dad and he is really enjoying the church. We have been working with them for almost two months. His biggest difficulty is that he's trying to quit coffee, but he makes it for two or three days and his head starts hurting like crazy. He takes medicine to fight off the pain, but it doesn't go away so he drinks coffee again. We made a plan with them and will be doing a special fast in 2 weeks to help the whole family be ready for baptism. His wife, Évellin, and their son, Luis Otávio, have their own set of problems too but I believe they will be able to overcome them!

I just confirmed on the church website that I can now go proselyting with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. We are going to look like spys now.

I love Divinópolis. I am so grateful for the success the Lord has given us since the day I arrived. My biggest joy comes from seeing the new members become fully involved and converted to the church. We ate lunch at Denise's house with Wellington and Bruna yesterday and it was so awesome! The made bbq for us and it was possibly the best meal I have had here so far. I will send a picture of my plate next week.

Well that was basically my week. Oh and we also starting teaching a guy who's fom Haiti yesterday. He has been in Brazil for a little bit longer than me. It was cool to teach him. He has a friend who brought him to church yesterday!

Have a great week you guys!

Elder Searle

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hey there!
This week was pretty spiritual for me. We had Stake Conference and it was probably the best Stake Conference I have ever attended. We actually watched it through an internet broadcast because our Stake Center is pretty far away. The internet was so bad during the Saturday sessions that no one understood anything. Then on Sunday morning right before the main session started we were having the same exact problem. Our bishop got up and asked for everyone to take a few minutes and pray that the Lord might fix the problem so that we could hear out leaders. Everyone did, and when the restarted things again the broadcast worked perfectly. It was a really cool experience to have our prayers answered so quickly. And then immediately afterwards our bishop stood up again and asked everyone to say a prayer of thanks.

In the conference there was a 70 named Elder Grau who talked, along with our Mission President and his wife. I learned a lot about faith and testimony. Presidente Fernandes talked about when he was a Branch President while serving his mission in Portugal. His wife talked about faith and obedience. Marithissa was able to watch all of it and I think it helped her out a bit. This week was good teaching her. She never prayed before we starting teaching her and it has been amazing just seeing her be able to converse with our Heavenly Father.

Yesterday we actually found an investigator really close to our house! He works with a member of our ward and she gave him a Book of Mormon 3 months ago, but neglected to tell us about giving it to him. He is super receptive and we will be working with him this week! His name is Eder, so he is almost an Elder already!

I set up a teaching visit with our bishop and it was really good. It was actually the first time since I've gotten here that he has taught with the missionaries. He is a super busy guy. But we were able to teach a really nice family. They have come to church quite a bit but are not comfortable with baptism. We set a few goals with them to help them progress in the coming weeks.
The work is going well. I thank you guys for all you do! Have a great week. I love you all.

Elder Searle

Monday, May 9, 2016

Feliz dia das mães,

Well it was another good, full week in Divinópolis. The weather was nice too and that's been lifting our spirits. It was fun to skype with the family yesterday and to see that everyone was still alive and happy. We did skype at our ward mission leader's house and he was very happy 

We had a few investigators at church on Sunday but unfortunately no one had a set baptismal date. We have been teaching Marithissa this week who is a member's cousin. She was supposed to be baptized this week but she was sick on Sunday and wasn't able to make it to church so we had to postpone the baptism. But she is a really cool young woman. Her cousin, Paula, is the young womens president and has been trying to help her become a part of the church. Marithissa turned 15 this week and we threw a surprise birthday party/family night at Paula's house for her. It went really well and she seems to be really enjoying the young women's program! We will be visiting her this week.

Church was really cool yesterday because Bruna and Agda both recieved callings from the ward! Bruna is the Relief Society Secretary and Agda is the Young Womens Secretary now. They were both super excited(:

Yesterday was transfers and it looks like our district is staying the same. I am excited to finsish Elder Dedeco's training and work for another transfer here! This week we are gonna work our tails off to find a good teaching pool for the transfer.

We also did an exchange in a nearby city called Nova Serrana. There is a branch there with about 20 members that go to church. It was good to have a fresh perspective on missionary work as I worked with our District Leader. 

I don't have a whole lot of news other than that! I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for all the support and prayers! I love you guys!!

Elder Searle
Marithissa's Birthday

Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Morning America,

I never thought I would say this, but this week was cold! Like out of nowhere the temperature dropped and now I'm considering buying gloves and a hoodie for when we are in our house because it gets pretty cold at night. During the day it's still warm though. I think it's kind of funny that I was in the hottest area during the hottest part of the year and now I'm in the coldest area during the coldest part of the year. But I'm not complaining because I would rather have it chilly than hot.

This week was full of happiness for me. The first happy thing that happened was that we bought 10 liters of Açaí (a kind of ice-cream textured like fruit desert) for us to eat. It barely fits in our freezer and has become my favorite food of all foods.

And then what happened at the end of the week was even better than Açaí! Gabriel was baptized and confirmed a member of the church! We really wanted Wellington to baptize him since he is the one that's been bringing him to church all this time but he was feeling really nervous and asked me to do it. It was an honor to baptize him. But I would say that for the first time in my mission the confirmation was more spirtual for me than the baptism. One of the counselors to the bishop whos name is João Batista (which literally means John the Baptist and is a very common name here for some reason) confirmed Gabriel and to me it sounded like a Patriarchal blessing! It was amazing. And another cool thing is that Gabriel's parents came to the baptism and to church! We are going to hopefully help them get married and live the commandments now.

I was also really impressed by the testimony meeting we had yesterday. The members here are really good at bearing brief testimony (less than 1 min) and more than 40 people were able to bear their testimonies during the meeting!! I find that really cool and I liked it a lot more than when only a few people go up and speak forever. It was really powerful.

Other than that the week was full of walking and talking to people like always. I know the Lord is directing His work here in Divinópolis and that there are people being prepared to hear the glad message of the gospel. I am grateful to be a missionary! I love you guys.

Elder Searle
Elder Searle, Gabriel and Elder Dedeco

Elders Searle and Dedeco with Brother Cristiano

Elder Searle, Gabriel and Elder Dedeco

Gabriels Baptism

Wellington and Bruna with Gabriel