Monday, July 25, 2016

Well this week was full of adventures! It was a really fun week for me and I am happy that the Lord is blessing us so much here.

I was able to do my second baptismal interview this week for a woman named Luciene! It was a good experience for me and I learned a lot. She has a strong testimony and as really made some changes in her life in order to be baptized. At the end of the interview she asked me to be the one to baptize her. She was baptized on Saturday along with Honorao, which was definitely the highlight of this week!

Honorato is an English teacher that we have been teaching for the past 4 weeks. We found him on a Saturday night at the house of an ex-investigator. I invited him to come to church, he accepted, and we walked with him the next day from his house to the church. He was pretty much elect because he is super willing to do anything God asks him to do and he didn't even drink coffee when we found him. He is married and has two sons, one of which is a chemical engineer! His wife is really catholic, but she actually started participating in the message when we visited them yesterday! Honorato has a few old cars and some fruit trees. He had me climb a small tree this week and pick a fruit named pinha. I put on his safari hat to pick it. Pinha basically has the taste of a sweet avocado.

Anyways, that baptism meeting was awesome because we finally got the baptismal font to fill up completely and there was a really strong spirit in the meeting. I taught my district to sing "I am a Child of God" in English, which we sang to Honorato. Daniel, a recent convert of 8 months, baptized Honorato. And it was his first time baptizing anyone! Daniel visited Honorato with us quite a bit while he prepared for baptism and it was cool to see them become great friends!

Other than that, we were able to find quite a few new investigators this week. Unfortunately I don't see a ton o potential in most of them because they all bailed on us with coming to church. But this week we will find better investigators and help those who need a little more help.

A lot of people are starting to get allergies here as well, including me. Janaúba is a very dusty city and I'm getting congested a lot. Thankfully Sister Fernandes helped me find some good medicine that's helping.

I think that's about it for this week. I love you guys! I feel my love for God's children growing as I work as a missionary. I know that I'm a child of God and that He loves me enough to bless me with everything I need. I know that the Savior lives and that He atoned for my sins. I love His gospel and the chance it gives me to start over again.

Have a great week!

Elder Searle

Elder Searle and Daniel

Luciene and Honorato's Baptism

Honorato and Daniel

Elder Searle, Daniel and Honorato

Monday, July 18, 2016

Good morning!

This week we traveled once again to Montes Claros to do interviews with President Fernandes. He also took us all out to lunch at a bbq place! I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Jaime was baptized Friday night! We have been working with him since my first week here and it was really great to see him ready and excited to be baptized! His sister, Nane, has been a member for 4 years. His mom has been finally letting him come to church with Nane and he has had a strong desire to be baptized ever since. We had to teach him for a while because he learns a little slower than most people. But he is also super smart in other aspects. For example, he almost has the sacramental prayers memorized and will soon be able to bless the sacrament!

It was also cool to see the Daniels preparing and passing the sacrament this week! This branch is really good and helping new members have a responsibility.

English Class was also really good. We are finding quite a few people from it and the members really like it too! I hope by the end of the course they will have learned quite a bit.

We are working quite a bit with Honorato! He is an awesome guy. This week he came to church for the third time and he is becoming more and more accepting. He already lives the commandments and has a strong desire to follow Christ. He is also really funny! He has a mustache. I will send a picture of us.

Well we have to get going so I will have to cut this one short. I love you guys! I hope this week is really good for everyone!!

Elder Searle​
Honorato and Izael

​Jaime's baptism

​Jaime's baptism

Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy 7/11! (or 11/7 as the Brazilians would say)

This week was extraordinarily great. Wow a whole lot happened. I think the first cool thing that happened is that I started the English Course! 20 people showed up, 6 of which were non-members. One of our investigators named Honorato is an English teacher and I will be going to talk to his students in his class! The fist class went really well. We learned the verbs eat and drink and a bunch of words! We challenged everyone to bring at least one more friend for this week and have been advertising the class still so I hope this week's attendance is even better!

Wednesday we went to Montes Claros and did exchanges with our Zone Leaders! It was super awesome because I was able to see Karen who was baptized with me and Elder Vieira! She had her 18th birthday this week and told me she is preparing to serve a mission next year!!! It looks like she fell away from the church during a month shortly after I left Montes Claros but then came back and is doing really well now! I didn't see Helberth, but hopefully the next time we are in Montes Claros I will get to see him. 

On Thursday night Eliane had her baptismal interview and passed! I also did my first interview with a young man! He was really awesome and has a big testimony. Unfortunately he drank coffee on the day of the interview so we had to postpone his baptism. I will probably interview him again at the end of this week! Eliane's baptism was super spiritual! Elder Soares baptized her and I confirmed her. Her husband, Farley, should be baptized too by the end of this month. He has some things he is still working with but we are helping him out! They have two little boys named Kaio and Gustavo.

Also I just got notified that Elivando was able to baptize his son Luis Otávio in Divinópolis!!! That makes me so happy. I am grateful the missionaries there are taking good care of my old area.

The Lord is truly blessing us here. I am so grateful to be here doing this work. I know that this is the gospel of Christ and that He is guiding me on this journey. I love the Lord and His endless mercy towards me and my weaknesses. Thanks for all the support and prayers guys!! Have a great week!

Elder Searle
​Look what I found in Janaúba!

District Meeting. 

District meeting - we all wore blue ties!

​Eliane's baptism!

​Eliane's baptism!

 ​Elivando baptizing Luis Otávio!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Feliz Dia de Independência!

It has been quite a week here in Janaúba. On Saturday the two Daniels were baptized!!! It was really awesome. They are both such cool kids. One of them has a brother named Cosme who is a return missionary. He performed the baptisms. The other Daniel is the first Daniel's best friend. He is also related to them in some way and is part of a part-member family. We started teaching him on my very first day here. They both accepted the gospel really well and one of them even had a really miraculous answer from God in the form of a dream. After reading the Book of Mormon for the first time he drempt that someone called him on the phone and explained to him that the book was true!

The baptismal font is pretty cool here. I will send a picture. It's kind of like a small pool. We did the baptism meeting outside and we missionaries played a special musical number for them. My companion plays the guitar and he played as we sang "I am a Child of God."

We have been teaching this married couple ever since I got here. Their names are Farley and Eliane. They have been investigating the church for a few months now and this week we were able to commit them to baptism! They are a really special family and have two little boys. Farley has a lot of opposition from his family who doesn't want him to follow any church that isn't catholic. Farley is running for public office so it was complicated to find time to teach him this week, but it all worked out. It was really good to teach them this week and hopefully they will be able to take the next step towards baptism soon! We were also blessed with many other new investigators this week. It was a good week.

Elder Soares is a really good companion. He is obedient and a hard worker. He teaches really well too. I'm still getting used to being a District Leader, but so far I have noticed that it basically means I have less time in the morning and at night because I need to check in with my missionaries and the Zone Leaders all the time. But it has been good thus far. I will hopefully be doing my first baptismal interview this week for an investigator that the other Elders are teaching! It's also nice because the Elders in my house respect me and aren't disobedient. And they are really funny as well!

So a little more about the city. It is hot here. Not super hot right now, since July is the least hot month of the year, but I definitely won't be using long sleeve shirts here ever. The people here are great! Especially the members. They all really want a chapel so they are working to improve the attendance at sacrament meeting. Just in the first 6 months of the year the branch has gone from 50 to 90 people attending! Most of that has been from reactivating though because there were only 5 baptisms in the first half of the year. The Branch President is really good here and is making a big difference. Our Branch Mission Leader is great! He isn't afraid to ask a lot of the branch or to follow what our Mission President is telling us to do.

Tomorrow I will begin an English Class at the church. We made invites last week and have been giving them to everyone. I believe we will have a good turn out. To take an English Course here it costs a lot and a lot of people were interested in coming because it's free and I am a native English speaker. It will be fun to start teaching English again.

Have a great week everyone! Love you guys.

Elder Searle
After the interviews

Before the Confirmations

The Baptismal Font

The District

The Group

The Two Daniels