Monday, June 27, 2016

Greetings from Janaúba!

Yesterday I was sitting in Elders Quorum and some dude leaned over and whispered in my ear, "this place has a lot of rednecks. It's like a brazillian georgia." I was surprised by two things. One, he spoke english. Two, he said exactly what I was thinking this week! Janaúba is very different from anywhere I've ever been before. It is the smallest city that has the church in our mission, it's very farmy, and I love it.

My new companion is Elder Soares. This is his fourth transfer on the mission and he is from Porto Alegre. He is awesome! Thankfully he has been in Janaúba for a while so he knows his way around. We had a great week together. We are teaching some cool people. There are two young men who came to church the Sunday before I got here and we taught them a lot this week. They came to church again for the third time yesterday! They are both named Daniel.

The District here is awesome! We all live in the same house and go to the same branch. The Branch here is really trying to become a Ward. The Branch President moved from São Paulo 6 months ago and is really doing a good job here. I'm excited to be working here! Elder Marques and Elder Malaquias (which is Malachi in english) are the other elders in our District! Everyone is brazillian except for me. They are all really great guys! Thankfully they are all clean and hardworking.

On Saturday the Branch had a super awesome activity! I will send a video of it. We were able to bring quite a few investigators and there were a lot of less-actives that came as well. The Branch meets in a rented out house and the activity was held behind the house. I hope I will be able to get the video I took to you guys through email. Actually, it looks like it's not going to let me send it. But just know that it was a pretty awesome activity and they did a square dance kind of thing that was really funny!

Well I hope I remembered everything. I will try to send more pictures next week and if you have any questions about the new situation let me know! I love you guys lots!!

Elder Searle

Monday, June 20, 2016

​I have lots of news!

The week was great! We committed 3 people to be baptized on July 2nd! Luis Otávio, who is Elivando's son, and also Katiúscia and Bruno. Katiúscia is Évellin's sister. They all came to church and it was great! Bruno and Katiúscia have a little daughter who is autistic and it was a miracle because she was so calm during the meetings at church! katiúscia also had a dream after she read the Book of Mormon for the first time this week. She dreamt that she was in a classroom with lots of people sitting down and when the missionaries entered the room we asked if the book was true and everyone responded, "yes!" She is progressing really well and so is Luis Otávio. Elivando received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday so he will probably be the one who baptizes him!!

Well yesterday was a super awesome day. We had the presentation of the new members choir in Sacrament Meeting and that went super well! Bruna gave a talk as well and it was so good! And I was called to bear my testimony during the meeting because our Bishop felt like I was going to be transferred. And I was!

The assistants called me last night and told me that I would be going to BH today to renew my visa. And they also told me I would be staying here until tomorrow morning when I would go to my new area! I will be working in a city called Janauba!! I'm super excited. But I'm also kind of nervous. Janauba is a branch with 50 members and is the northernmost area of our mission. President emailed me that my primary responsibility there is going to be help the branch qualify to be a ward! I will serve as a District Leader in Janauba as well.

So I was pretty sad to have to leave Divinópolis, especially because I didn't have the chance to say good bye to a lot of people. Thankfully I got to say good bye to the people I was most close to because they met us outside of our apartment at 6AM before we came to BH! Also I had to pack my bags at lightning speed and didn't get a ton of sleep. But I'm good because today has been exciting so far. I got to see Elder Silfies because we renewed our visas together this morning. We also played ultimate frisbee at the chapel here, which is a massive chapel. Tonight we will do an exchange with the secretaries and tomorrow morning I catch a plane for Montes Claros, and then I take a bus to Janauba.

My new companion is Brazilian and his name is Elder Soares! This is his 3rd transfer on the mission. I will meet him when I get to Janauba tomorrow. I know it's going to be a difficult area because of the reputation it has, but I'm fixed to change that reputation and I'm super excited to head up north again! I will be sure to tell you all about my new area and district next week!
I will send some pictures. I love you guys!! Thanks for all the support and prayers.

Elder Searle
District Foto em Divinópolis

New members choir

Saying Goodbye this morning in Divinopolis

Monday, June 13, 2016

Greetings from chilly Divinópolis,

I'm not really sure where to start because so much happened this week! I will have to go in chronological order. The first big thing that happened is that we had a Conference with 3 zones from the mission! It was the bomb. Our mission president has spent time being instructed from many 70s and even Elder Holland over the past few weeks and he shared a lot of what he learned with us! The mission sure is going to change a lot. I also got a package from home at the conference and that was super nice.
During the week was absolutely crazy! We had so much to prepare for the weekend that almost all we did was centered on helping our investigators make it to the baptismal waters on Saturday. Thankfully the Lord really blessed us and everything went smoothly. I will talk about those who baptized individually because I haven't written a ton about any of them yet.
Thiago is a friend of a member who we have worked with during the past 3 weeks. He accepted the gospel very well. It was actually necessary for him to make a pretty big change in his life and it was amazing to see how the light of the gospel completely changed him. He was super excited when he passed his interview that he went and personally invited a lot of people for his baptism! His friends that came are being taught by the other elders now because they live in the other area. Thiago is a very smart guy and understands the teachings of the church so well. He is excited to read the whole Book of Mormon during his first year as a member!
ELIVANDO AND ÉVELLIN GOT BAPTIZED AS WELL :D That was a complete miracle that they finally made that decision. I have been working with them since 3 months ago with Elder Otávio. About a month ago when they weren't progressing I sat down with them and basically explained how important it was for them to make the necessary changes and be baptized and if they didn't then we would have to stop passing by because there are people out there ready to change. They were pretty surprised I think and since that moment they have progressed! Through fasting and praying with them they were able to finally quit coffee and then this week it was the question of actually making the decision that we had to battle with. They agreed to be interviewed and the night before the interview we took out ward mission leader to their house. It was that night that Évellin finally decided to be baptized with Elivando because we gave them blessings and she really felt like she needed to be baptized and leave her other church. It was a miracle.
Thales, their nephew, was also baptized on Saturday! He lives next door to Elivando and Évellin. We have been working with him about the same amount of time as them and he has been really loving the church. The reason it took so long for him is because he wasn't understanding the commitment of baptism before. But now he understands and is showing his willingness to really come to church every Sunday and keep all of the commandments. He is 18 so I hope he decides to go on a mission in a year or so. He is a really good guy and has a lot of curiosity in religion in general. Thankfully Elivando is a big influence in his life and will help him stay strong in the church for sure.
The actual baptism was awesome. It was in the morning and the water was coming out really cold when we were filling the font so we heated up water on the stove and added it to the font. The water was still really cold but that was okay. We invited a bunch of less actives and recent converts to participate in the meeting and that was super great because they were able to feel important and feel the spirit at the meeting!
I know that Christ lives and that this is his church. I know that Heavenly Father loves us. One thing I have been thinking a lot about this week is how little I can actually accomplish without the help of the Lord. I know He's bringing about a marvelous work and I'm grateful to be an instrument in His hands. 

I will be sure to send some pictures. Transfers are next week, but I think I will stay. I hope everyone has a good week! Love you guys!!
Elder Searle
The ward mission leader and his wife with Elivando and Evellin, Elder Searle and Elder Dedeco

Thiago, Evellin, Elivando and Thales with Elder Dedeco and Elder Searle
Silly Pose 
Wellinigton with Elder Searle

Elder Dedeco doing Brazillian BBQ at Elivando's house after the baptism

Monday, June 6, 2016

Good day everyone!

This week started pretty crazy because we went to do an exchange in Betim. It was a lot of fun! I worked with Elder Walburger who is finishing up his mission. We were able to teach some really cool people. Betim is a city like Divinópolis only that it's a little bit bigger. I will send a picture of us 4.

This week was a good one. We have been teaching a man named Thiago for a couple weeks now and he is really progressing. He is a friend of a member. They both work in this Japanese restaurant. Thiago is probably the most intelligent investigator I have yet to teach. He understands the gospel really well and it seems like he memorizes everything we tell him. He was able to make it to church along with Elivando and Évellin yesterday. And all three of them did their first fast yesterday!!! It was super cool to have investigators live the law of the fast. Elivando was finally able to give up coffee as well. He went for 9 days straight with his head hurting and then when we started the fast the pain went away. It was a miracle.

We also practiced in our new member choir yesterday again. It went really well and I think it's really helping the new members feel important. We will sing in two weeks in sacrament meeting.

Wellington bore his testimony for the first time yesterday. That made me happy. Other than that the week was pretty normal. Normal meaning walking all over the place and talking to lots of people. The work here is going well and I'm happy to be here!!

Tomorrow we will get up at 3am and take a bus to Belo Horizonte for a Zone(s) Conference. It's three zones all together so it should be quite the experience. 

I hope this week is good for you guys! I love you!

Elder Searle

Exchanges with Elder Santos, Elder Dedeco, Elder Searle and Elder Walburger
Dinner while on exchanges