Monday, August 29, 2016

Good morning! This week was a good one.

We had our greatest turnout yet at English class last Tuesday! I think in my class there were somehwere around 30 people. I teach the basics of English which is good because everyone is starting from the same level. We make up a hand action for every verb that we learn which makes things fun. I tried to take a selfie with everyone after the class, but some people had already left.
During the week we started teaching Josilaine. Her sister, Gislene, is the Relief Society President. Josilaine is 19 years old and is finally thinking about joining the church. She has known about the church for a long time, but has never wanted to become a part of it. But we left a Liahona with her that talks about temples this week and she loved it! She is now reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if she should join the church. The cool thing is that I have actually known hewr ever since I got to Janaúba and it's great to see how the Lord prepared people to recieve the gospel.

Also, Erica is doing pretty well. She is actually having a ton of opposition. She has a 2 year old son named Daví, and his dad is really opposed to her being baptized. And he is trying to convince her family to disapprove of it as well. But Erica is pretty awesome because even with all of this she is very determined to be baptized and change her life. She is a great example for me.

The Lord blessed us with a new family to teach this week. They came to church yesterday and that was great! We just have to help´them gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon now.

I have been studying 3 Nephi 12-14 this week and decided this morning that I'm going to try and memorize these 3 chapters during the rest of my mission. In my opinion, the Sermon on the Mount is basically the best piece of council that the scriptures contain. There's a lot I need to work on personally in these chapters and I believe that if I memorize and ponder them in my heart every day I will be able to become a better person.

I will send a picture of the district on Sunday morning as well. I love you guys! I hope you have great weeks!

Elder Searle

Monday, August 22, 2016

Good morning gente!

This week was quite the experience. Lots of miracles happened in our area and I was really able to see the hand of the Lord.

We did an exchange with the other Elders and that was good. I was with Elder Bishop and we were able to teach and practice a lot together.

Erica is coming along really well. We will hold a family home evening with her in our Branch President's house tonight to help her get to know more members. She told us that she wants to be baptized on September 3rd! In our plans we would have tried to baptize her a little bit sooner, but it's all good. Also, an investigator of the other Elders in my District also accepted to be baptized on this date so it should be a really good day!

It is starting to get really hot here and I'm actually getting a little tan.

Our English Course begins to grow and now Elder Bishop is teaching an advanced class while I am teaching the beginners. It has been a really fun experience teaching English. And we might have to open a third class as well and have a Brazilian Elder who knows a little English teach the beginners. We are starting to get official and tomorrow we will have everyone fill out an enrollment form.

The members of our branch here left for the temple yesterday! They are going by bus and will return on Saturday. It takes 19 hours by bus for them to travel there.

Well I'm probably forgetting a bunch of stuff, but that's what I remember from this week. I love you guys and hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Searle
The day of the exchanges

Monday, August 15, 2016

​Happy day-after-Fathers-Day-in-Brazil​!

Well it was quite the week. I spent a good chunk of it traveling to go to a training in Belo Horizonte. And it was quite the experience because I cot to be with my MTC companion Elder Silfies for a few days! He is a District Leader as well serving out here in my Zone. US two work in the areas most distant from the mission house. So basically we spent 3 days sitting. I sat in a lot of buses and taxis and even an airplane this week! I will send pictures.

The other good thing is that the Lord really blessed our area even though we didn't have a lot of working days. Erica has been progressing super well. We started teaching her on the 14 of July, and in just one month she has read all the way to Alma in the Book of Mormon, almost all of the Pearl of Great Price, and until Section 50 of D&C. She is also pretty deep into Jesus the Christ. She is an attorney and I'm very jealous of the speed she can read things. She told us this week that she has decided to be baptized! And she really loved the meetings yesterday at church. The Lord truly prepared her to receive the gospel and it has been so amazing to see her progress! She chose her brother to baptize her, who was baptized almost a year ago.

It's nice to hear that the fads are the same in Brazil as the US. Everyone here is playing Pokemon Go on the street and everyone is talking about the Olympics haha! Everyone is pretty sad that Michael Phelps has more gold medals than the whole country of Brazil.

Also the Branch here is doing well. We have been able to maintain an attendance of around 100 for the past few weeks. We just need to push a little farther in order to become a ward and build a chapel here! We have to help some more men receive the Melchezidek Preisthood as well. Honorato should receive the higher priesthood in October along with some other men, which will help. I know the Lord will help us to grow here.

It's also getting quite hot here as we enter into the summer in Brazil. Janaúba is the northernmost area in the mission, and therefore also the hottest. Looks like I will have to start using sun block again.

I love you guys! Have a great week!!

Elder Searle
Cat with strange markings

On a plane headed to training with Elder Silfies

Elder Silfies and Elder Searle

All the leaders at the training in Belo Horizonte

Monday, August 8, 2016

Elder Carvalho is my new companion! He is from São Paulo and is 20 years old! He, his sister, and his mom were all baptized when he was 8 years old. He is a great missionary and it will be good to be working with him here in Janaúba.

Something really miraculous happened this week! Our branch presidente received 9 addresses of people who were members, but had accidentally been taken out of the system of the church for some reason. We went with a brother from the ward to all the addresses and everyone had either moved or passed away, minus the last address, where we found an amazing family. The dad was baptized when he was 12 and fell away from the church shortly afterwards, but was super interested in learning about the church when we visited him! His name is Vanderlei. The cool part is that we have no idea how in the world the church has that address since they moved a long time after falling away from the church and never had contact with anyone since. He has a wife and a four your old child now. We are teaching his family, his brother, and his parents. They will be coming to church this week and I'm really excited to be working with them!!

Everyone here is watching the olympics. The strange thing about Brasil is that you can go to the worst looking house in the city, but you can be sure that the family that lives there has a flat screen TV and loves to watch brasil competing. The olympics have at least been a good conversation starter for us though. 

Other than that, most of this week is going to be consumed with traveling since I will be going to a district leader training in Belo Horizonte. I will go to Montes Claros Wednesday night and catch a flight Thursday morning. I'm excited!

It's amazing to be serving a mission. I get to see the hand of the Lord in my life every day and I know that He is guiding my life. 

I love you guys! Thank you for all the support.

Elder Searle
118803 (last week)
126905 (this week)
Old District Leaders

New District Leaders


Monday, August 1, 2016

Well yesterday we had transfers and our district is going to change quite a bit! Elder Soares got transfered and my new companion will be Elder Carvalho!! I know him from my last transfer in Divinópolis when he was serving in the other ward there. He is a great missionary and I'm excited to be his companion!! Also, Elder Malaquias is leaving and Elder Bishop will take his place. I don't know him, but he is american. They will get here tomorrow. ​My first transfer in Janaúba was a great experience for me and it will be good to stay here. I'm learning a lot about leadership and love. It's a little bit different now because I have to worry about more missionaries than just myself. But it's good.

Other than that, this week was good! A member gave us a reference and because of that reference we found what we like to call the "Narnia" of Janaúba. I'm pretty sure no other missionary has gone there before, because no one has heard about the church nor goes to any church. And it's only like 10 min away from the chapel! We have been teaching a lot of people on a single street there where it's basically one big family. The bad part is that no one is legally married there. But the good part is that there are a lot of young, single people that are 18/19/20 years old who are really enjoying the lessons and the Book of Mormon. We were able to bring lots of people to church from that street and they all loved it! We will be working with them during this week as well.

Yesterday we were able to have a really good sacrament meeting! For the second time since I've got here there was an attendance of more than 100 people!! So that was good. We are really trying to make our goal of having 120 in sacrament meeting, which has never yet happened in the history of this branch. I think it will be possible especially as we find even more people this week!

I'm not sure how to feel about the fact that half of my mission is over. It feels pretty weird not to be one of the newer missionaries anymore. I don't think I would change a thing about my mission thus far and I'm very grateful to be a missionary!

I love you guys! Have a wonderful week!!

Elder Searle
(I forgot my pedometer at home and forgot to add up my steps, sorry!)
Elder Searle and Honorato at church

Farm people blasting music