Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas from the hottest and most humid part of the entire world and maybe the entire universe!

Elder Olivier is a trainer now and we are so happy for him that his new companion speaks English too!  It sounds like things are going really well!  We are also super excited to get to Skype with Elder Olivier on Christmas Day!....only 4 MORE DAYS!!!

Here is his email!!:


Hi everybody!

First off, I want to just say that I love you all! And I hope you all have an awesome Christmas! Christmas is always the best part of the year!

Anyway, this week was pretty crazy. First off, on Wednesday everyone who was getting a new companion from the MTC had to pick up their companion. So I rode the bus with just about all of the missionaries in our zone (almost all of the missionaries in our zone are training a new missionary, because the new group that came into the mission was huge) to the mission office. We waited there for a while, got our companions, drank a lot of Baré (a type of Guaraná Antarctica that only exists in Amazonas-it is kind of like cream soda), waited for a while again, then went back to our areas (we had to wait for one member to drive everybody back).

So my companion is named Elder De Castro, and he is from Bahia, Brasil. He is pretty much already a super good missionary, plus he´s super excited to work, and (BONUS POINTS!) he speaks super good english. Once, he visited the United States. He went to Utah and California (all of the Brazilian members of the church who go to the United States visit Utah, haha). So anyway, when he went to Utah, he walked into Deseret Book, and met Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Of course, in Utah, inside Deseret Book.

So this week we pretty much just spent finding new investigators. We have a ton of new people to teach next week, which is exciting. And, we finally got all of the paperwork and stuff to get a couple named Bea and Ney married. So by the end of this transfer they should be married and baptized (finally!)!

Anyway, we have been handing out tons of these little cards with links to some awesome videos about Christmas. The videos are at christmas.mormon.org. A lot of times, we get caught up in a lot of things that don´t really matter around Christmas time, and we lose sight of what Christmas is for. It´s to celebrate the most pivotal event in the history of the world, the birth and the life of our Savior. He suffered and atoned for us so that we can live with Him and with our families for ever. Jesus Christ lives, and this is His church. I know that now more than I have ever known it in my life!


I hope you all have the best Christmas ever! 

Love, 

Elder Olivier


Elder Olivier's new companion, Elder De Castro!  Elder Olivier has been assigned to train Elder De Castro.

All the rain!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Almost Merry Christmas from Brazil!

From Elder Olivier!.......

Hi everyone!

So this week was pretty hectic. It was the last week of my companion´s mission, so he had a ton of stuff to do (interviews with the mission president, classes, saying goodbye and taking pictures with everyone....). Anyway, we spent almost no time working in our area, which means, with the last few weeks of very interrupted work too, we really only have two investigators who we are (now, I am) working on getting married the next transfer. So, this week my companion and I are going to have to pretty much start from scratch. 

This week we had a really big Christmas Conference, where all of the missionaries in the city of Manaus (the mission is too big to have everybody fly or boat back to Manaus for it) sang for a bunch of members in the area. It was pretty cool. It lasted all day. We had training from the mission president and the assistents, and we also had lunch. Having lunch is always cool. 

The best part of the conference was talking to all of the missionaries. I saw some people that I haven´t seen for a while, which was awesome. At one point I was talking to some missionaries when the mission president came up to all of us and greeted us and shook our hands. When he got to me, he said, "Elder Olivier, você está preparado para treinar?/are you ready to train?" I did a false laugh and said, "para treinar?/to train?" just like I always do when I don´t get the joke. I thought it was a pretty weird joke. So I forgot about it until yesterday, when I got a call from one of the assistents to the mission president, and he said that I will in fact be training a new missionary for the next transfer. Then I got the joke. It wasn´t a joke.

So anyway, right now I´m in a weird position in time where I have no companion (he will arrive from the CTM tomorrow night) and I´m with two other missionaries who also have no companions. I´m also kind of a little nervous about training a new missionary (who I pray is brazilian). But I´ve also been thinking a lot right now about how I felt when I left the CTM. It´s just the same anxious feeling that you get when something is about to change and you´re just waiting for it. But it´s also comforting to know that the last time I felt like this everything turned out OK.

A scripture I´ve been thinking of is Jacob 4:6-7

 6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in thename of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

 7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.


So right now I´m probably one of the most unqualified people in the mission to train a new missionary. I´ve only been in the field for 2 transfers, and I literally just finished getting trained myself. And I´m still very much learning the language. But I really like this scripture, because many times the Lord calls us to do things when we have "weakness" to show that it isn´t by our power that His work comes to pass, but by His power. And also, to relate this all to Christmas, it is super important to remember that the power of Jesus Christ is super important. A lot of people don´t know who Jesus Christ is or don´t understand why He is important. But He is eternally important to all of us, and because He lived a mortal life, we can all return to live with Him and with our families forever.

Anyway, I hope you all keep having a great Christmas season! And keep being awesome!


Love,

Elder Olivier
(written 12/14/2015)





Doenças, Aniversários, e Alegria

We received this email on December 7, 2015.  No pictures this week.  It looks like Elder Olivier had a hospital experience, though.....

Hi everyone!!!!!!!!

So this week was super interesting. First, the week started off with a regular day. Like usual I ate a lot and drank a lot of water and juice. Then, suddenly, I felt super horrible, and......let´s just say that all of the food and water and juice didn´t want to be inside my body anymore. So the next day I spent some time being sick and staying in our house all day. By the end of the day I felt worse, so we went to the hospital. I got the whole brazilian emergency room experience. You pretty much just wait there for a really long time while they do all sorts of tests on you, including, you guessed it, an ultrasound (no, I am not pregnant). I guess they do that for worms. So, thankfully, it turned out that I didn´t have worms, I just had food poisoning. At least that was what I gathered from the emergency room guy´s broken english (all of the doctors wanted to test their english on me). So he gave me a prescription and I was good to go.

Then, the next day, my companion started having the same problems as me. So we spent some more time inside all day. Fun. But now, we are both better. The biggest problem with all of this is that we had to reschedule everyone with all of the people we are teaching, which is kind of disappointing. But there´s always next week!

So I think the highlight of this week was that two of the families here baked me birthday cake on friday. Haha. That was super nice of them. But, other than that, not much happened this week.

So I have been thinking a lot this week about how people gain a testimony of the gospel and how it is necessary that people need to find out for themselves that the Book of Mormon and the Church are true. As missionaries, our job is to unvite people to learn these things for themselves. It is interesting how faith works. We as missionaries can´t give people faith. We can only invite people to have faith for themselves.
 I really like Alma 32:21:

"And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to havea perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith yehope for things which are not seen, which are true."
When we act on faith, we don´t necessarily have a perfect knowledge. But, we act with the knowledge that we have and rely on the fact that God knows more than we do. I know that faith is something really important, especially in gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Church.
Anyway, I hope you all have an awesome week! I love all of you guys!
Love,
Elder Olivier
(written 12/07/2015)

Thanksgiving in Amazonas!

Elder Olivier wasn't able to send me pictures this week, but we were very blessed to receive pictures from a very kind mother of another missionary!!  It looks like they had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast....even in Brazil!

Hi everybody!

This week was sort of a lame week. We didn´t do too much, because my companion and I spent some time just in our house because he was sick. While he was sick, I drank 2 liters of caju juice. That made me happy. I my companion and I also opened the Christmas package that my mom sent early, because we needed something to lighten the mood. There were cashews in the package. That made me happy. Thanks, Mom! 

My companion blew my mind by saying that cashews and caju are the same thing. I was eating cashew and drinking cashew at the same time! Holy cow! Caju is a super weird looking tropical fruit that looks kind of like an upside down pepper. The part on the end is a cashew. That totally blew my mind this week.

One of the Elders in our zone (who is brazilian) was, for some reason, super pumped about thanksgiving (they don´t have thanksgiving here), and had the idea of having a thanksgiving dinner at the bishop of his ward´s house. It was freaking awesome. We ate tons of food: turkey, casseroles, tumbaqui, drank Baré (an Amazonas-exclusive type of Guaraná which is basically just cream soda), and had acaí. The bishop´s house was super decorated for Christmas, and he even dressed up as Papai Noel (Santa). That part wasn´t very thanksgiving-y. But it was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I have no photographic evidence. Whoops.

So this week I have been studying a lot about the Book of Mormon. I really like in 2 Nephi 29:6-8, when the prophet Nephi talks about how people will reject the Book of Mormon:

6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no     more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?

 7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in theearth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

 8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of twonations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.


A lot of people think that we don´t believe in the Bible, that we only believe in the Book of Mormon. But we have the Book of Mormon as a second witness to the Bible, and the two books together complete and confirm each other. God loves everybody equally, obviously, so it makes sense that he wouldn´t just give us the Bible and never reveal any more scriptures to his people again. I love the Book of Mormon. It answers so many questions about Jesus Christ and his gospel.

Anyway, on a completely other note, thanks so much to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! I forgot about my birthday until now! 

I hope next week is a lot cooler! Every week is starting to seem more and more like the same thing, so I´m trying my best not to be super boring!....

Love, 

Elder Olivier
(written 11/30/2015)

Thanksgiving Feast!...Thanks to an awesome Bishop and his family!!



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Uma Semana Boa!

Here is Elder Olivier's latest email!  A little information about his mission first.....  He is not supposed to drink the tap water or it can lead to water borne diseases like dysentery and/or  parasites, such as tapeworms, etc.  Anyway, as you will read in his letter, they ran out of clean water this week and the temperatures are pretty hot and humid...in the 90's, so I'm glad they were finally blessed to get water!

Hi everybody!

I don´t know how much I have to talk about this week. We´ll see once I get to the end of this email.



Baptism



This week was pretty awesome, as usual. It definitely had its ups and downs, like always, but overall it was a good week. We had the chance to baptize the mother of two of the youth in the ward this week. It was pretty cool. Lately we have been only working with part-member families, and it has been going pretty well.




I have an interesting story about water. This week we had some difficulties with buying water. Everyone here drinks water from those big water container things. They have a couple of companies that deliver water and gas via motorcycle to your house. Well, apparently our house is hard to find or something because we called and asked for water 3 or 4 times and no one came! adfljkdasfjkldfasjkldfa!  We had been only drinking water during the day in members´ houses and at lunch. But, finally, the water came! We were happy!

So here in the north of brazil they have this fruit called açaí that everybody always drinks/eats (it´s kind of an in betweener). It is super good, and my companion wants to drink a ton of it before he leaves for home this transfer. They also have this stuff called farinha. It is hard to describe. It is kind of like little potato pellet-looking things (except it´s not potato, it´s a vegetable that looks like a potato that also happens to not be a vegetable in north america). Anyway, farinha is stuff that people mix with rice and beans. To me, it honestly doesn´t make it taste any different. I eat it anyway, to be cool like all the brazilians. Anyway, long story short, the other day we were eating lunch at the bishop´s house and we ate/drank açaí with farinha. It was the most Manaus-ish thing I have seen so far! It totally blew my mind!

Scripture of the week! Alma 26:12: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

This is an awesome scripture. The prophet Ammon in the Book of Mormon says this, and it really shows how humble he is. Ammon, a nephite, was a missionary to the lamanites, a people who hated the nephites. But he still ended up bring tons of people to a knowledge of Christ and to the gospel, including kings of the land. He did a bunch of crazy stuff and performed crazy miracles. But I love this scripture because he shows that he doesn´t boast of his own strength, but he boasts of the strength of his God, because God is the reason he was able to be such a powerful missionary. I´ve been thinking a lot about how I am like the worst missionary. Haha. I´m soooooo inadequate for this calling. I think of how Peter, James and John and all of the apostles of Jesus Christ had the same calling that I have, which is kind of like super intimidating. But, at the same time, it isn´t just the missionaries that are doing the work. God is truly helping us along. Everything just seems to kind of work out all the time, and I know that it is because Jesus Christ is truly leading this church and the missionary work throughout the entire world. The Church is true!


Until next week! Tchau! 

Elder Olivier
(written 11/23/2015)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mais uma Semana da Alegria! (Another Week of Joy!)



Another awesome email from Elder Olivier!  Here it is:



Falaaaaa todo mundo!!!!


This week was super awesome, as usual. Lots of stuff happened this week.



Baptism



First of all, week started this week off pretty strongly. We are teaching a couple of awesome families and are trying to help two young couples get married before Elder Figueiredo leaves para casa. They´re super excited and we´re super excited and everyone in the ward is super excited, I think. We just have to work a ton to make it all happen. We also are teaching a lot of other people who are super awesome too. The only problem with this week at the beginning was that we didn´t have anyone that could be baptized this week (Elder Figueiredo always says, "é uma regra na missão pra batizar semanalmente, Elder!!" Quick side note!----> he´s super funny because he always talks about how he´s super trunky and how he can´t wait to go home in december and ask his girlfriend to marry him on his first day home. But at the same time he always says, "eu vou morrer trabalhando! Vou trabalhar até o freaking pó!"----> and yes, all of the brazilian missionaries always say "freaking." They repeat a lot of stuff americans say, haha). But anyway, we didn´t have batismo for this week......until.......BOOM! Miracle! One night after an appointment fell through we decided to go visit a girl who is going to be baptized at the end of the month. We decided to go to the church building because she is always there. Well, she wasn´t there, but there were a ton of the young men and young women from church and from the neighborhood there playing soccer and hanging out after seminary, like usual (because seminary is at night here, not at 3 in the morning, like it should be). Anyway, the seminary teacher was there, and she introduced us to these two kids (one is ten, the other is eleven) who I already knew, who I thought were our neighbors´ kids the whole time. They are actually the kids from the house next to our neighbors´ house, which is crucial information, because that means that they weren´t members! They have been coming to church and to activities for a pretty long time and everyone except the seminary teacher thought they were members! So, kind of longish-medium and very unorganized story made into a shortish-medium-ish kind of story, we baptized them yesterday! They were both super excited and happy, because they hadn´t been baptized all this time! It was awesome. We got their mom to come to church and the baptism too, and we started teaching her too! It was way awesome!

Zone Conference


This week we had a zone conference, so our zone and a bunch of other zones went to the "Staff" (pronounced: "staffy," and also known as the mission office). The "staff" is right next to the Amazonas soccer stadium, which is cool. The zone conference was super cool. It took all day, and we had training with the assistentes and President and Sister Castro. The best part was talking with all of the missionaries. I always love talking with the americans because I can relate with them a lot more, but I also love talking with the brazilians. A lot of them think I´m "doido." My companion says (in english) "You crazy guy!" On the bus ride back from the zone conference our entire zone sang christmas songs the whole time. It was cool. Everyone either tried to ignore us or looked at us funny, probably because they are all super lame and aren´t into the christmas spirit yet! 

This week we encountered the rare guaraná fruit! My companion has a list of stuff he still wants to do before he leaves Manaus, and one of them was to see the guaraná fruit. They look like eyeballs. One sister in the ward told me that here there is indian folklore that says that when someone in an indian tribe dies, their eyes become the seeds of a guaraná plant. My first indian folklore story! Yes! But to be honest, we were super excited and we forgot to try the fruit, and it´s starting to go bad. Whoops.


Elder Olivier!


One last story! Yesterday, my companion demonstrated his great faith in my ability to kind of sort of speak in the language that most people refer to as portuguese. My companion, in the very hour of sacrament meeting, told me that I would be the one to confirm one of our recent baptisms a member of the church. So, I got to do some really fast/frantic portuguese memorization, then I got to struggle to give a blessing in front of the entire congregation. My companion said that I had to do it for the first time sometime. Haha.

Anyway, this week was awesome, as usual. This week I´ve been studying a lot about the plan of salvation. I really like 2 Nephi 2:25

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

This scripture is super simple. God has a plan for us, and our purpose in this plan is to have joy, both in this life and the life to come. We are here on earth so that we can have joy. It´s as simple as that. And the way we can have joy is by following the example of Jesus Christ, who is perfect and therefore is the perfect example. There are a lot of people here that say they believe in Christ, but know almost nothing about him. To me, this is really sad. Jesus Christ is important to us in so many ways: He organized His church here on the earth, which was restored exactly to its original form by way of a prophet and ministerings of angels (both of which we still 100% have today, just like in biblical times), he atoned for all of our sins, and he taught how we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and receive a fulness of joy: through having faith, repenting and working to constantly change ourselves to be better, being baptized by the same authority that John the Baptist, Christ, and the original twelve apostles and all of the original prophets had, since Adam and Eve, and through receiving the gift of the holy ghost. I know, now more than ever, that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that through this gospel we can have a fulness of joy. I know, now more than ever, that this is the only church with the same authority that Jesus Christ himself gave to His prophets. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he leads this church. And I know that anyone else can know this too, by way of reading the Book of Mormon and praying. It´s as simple as that. If you haven´t read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you have read the Book of Mormon, read it again. It changed the world, and it will change your life.

Anyway, I hope all of you guys have a super freaking awesome week! I love all of you guys so much! 


Até a próxima segunda-feira! Falou, abraço!

Elder Olivier


P.S. I forgot to say in this letter that it is really really hot here

(written 11/16/2015) 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Só Alegria! (Only Happiness!)


We just received an email and photos from Elder Olivier!  How I love Mondays!!  His email is below.

HI EVERYONE!!!!!

This week was pretty sweet! Every day we do the same thing but at the same time every day is so different. I´m starting to get pretty used to the area and all of the (random) street names and (beyond random) house numbers and all of the names and faces and callings of people in the ward. I wish I could also say I am getting used to the heat. 




This week we went on divisões (I forgot the word missionaries use in english...I think it´s divisions but I´m not sure and I don´t want to sound like an idiot here). I went with Elder Cosme, our district leader. He is from Fortaleza, and he´s a super good missionary. He is also a really good teacher, and I learned a ton from him as we taught people.

Elder Figueiredo's birthday


This week we were super focused on teaching and helping all of our investigators with dates for baptism. Yesterday we had two baptisms, a rapaz (teenage boy) and a moça (teenage girl). It was sweet. It was also my companion´s birthday yesterday, so he was super pumped. He turned 20 (I know, he doesn´t look like it). Everyone new that we meet still thinks I´m older than him.


Baptism!!


The rapaz that we baptized was a friend of 4 or 5 of the young men in the ward. Most of them were with us for most of our lessons with him. It was so awesome to hear them bear their testimonies to him. His baptism was so awesome because of the support and the love and the testimonies of all of his friends. Needless to say, the youth in our wards here are super freaking awesome. It is awesome to see how animated everyone here is about missionary work. 

A scripture I really like that I read this week is in the Book of Mormon in Words of Mormon chapter 1 (the only chapter) verse 7. It says: 

"And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will."

We don´t know all things. I think about that a lot, and I realize how essential this attitude is more and more every day, especially out here in a foreign country. It seems like there is hardly anything that I actually know. But the Lord knows all things, and when we show our faith and rely on what He and his prophets say, everything will end up good, and we will be blessed and we will bless others. I have such a strong testimony of this. When we obey commandments and follow the promptings of the spirit, we will be blessed and we will help others to be blessed too.


I love all of you guys! Have an awesome week! Boa semana para vocês! Abraço!

Élder Olivier


Pictures: 
A sweet picture of Elder Figueiredo and I last week/BATISMO!!!/E. Figueiredo with his birthday cake that one of the sisters in the ward made

(written 11/09/2015)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Missionaries in Manaus

We finally heard from Elder Olivier on Wednesday because they had a holiday in Brazil on Monday.  The holiday is kind of like our memorial day, but it's called 'All Souls Day.'  It's a commemoration of the faithful departed.   

Elder Olivier sent us more pictures this week too!  Here is his email that we got today:

Hi everyone!

This week we had a holiday on Monday so I´m emailing today! Elder Figueiredo and I had an awesome week this week! We worked a ton! We´ve been a lot on finding families to teach and working with all of the members to get our investigators to progress. Missionary work is so awesome. It´s awesome to see how much influence the members of our two wards can have on others. A little really goes a long way. Elder Figueiredo is awesome because he´s not afraid to ask every single member for references, and a lot of the time members have references to give right away and they´re just waiting for us to ask. We´ve been trying to get a lot of the members excited about doing member missionary work. It´s so sweet, because most of the time members are a lot better at being missionaries than the actual missionaries. We started teaching a bunch of awesome new families this week, just from asking members for a couple of references.

This week was also really hot. And plus, we got lost for a couple of hours a few times because of me. Haha. I´m learning the area the hard way right now.



Elder Olivier's Zone

So our new zone has 6 americans now instead of 2. It´s funny to talk to americans. It´s kind of weird though, because I never know whether to speak portuguese or english. I think I´m at the point where I sound like an idiot whether I speak portuguese or whether I speak english. Haha. Mas tranquilo.







Today was sweet. We woke up super early to ride the bus to the temple. The missionaries in the city get to go to the temple once per transfer. After that we went to the "Shopping" to eat lunch. The "Shopping" means "the mall." Haha. Sometimes there will be a random word for something that is straight up english. I think they use some english words for things here to be fancy. Anyway, we went to the shopping, where we ate Subway. Subway here is freaking expensive. Tu é doido. But it was still good. We had milkshakes too. For 45 minutes it felt like I was in America again.  

The temple here is at a place called "Ponta Negra," which is like the nicest, touristiest part of Manaus. They have a little beach on the bank of the Rio Negro. People have to swim in the roped off area or else they will probably get eaten by the alligators. The "shopping" here is super nice and they even had a giant christmas tree with a place to take pictures with Santa (Papai Noel). He wasn´t there.... :(

Anyway, this week has been super awesome. We have a bunch of people set for baptismal dates and we found some awesome new families. It is crazy how much I have learned in just the past couple of months. Brazil is awesome. I have been thinking and studying a lot lately about charity, and how to genuinely love others. Something that is really hard as a missionary is to genuinely love people that you barely know. A scripture I like is Alma 7:24
"And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works"
As we strive to have faith and hope in the gospel and as we strive to have charity, or to truly love other people, we will be able to do good things and to help those that truly need our help. I really like the promise of this scripture. It´s so simple, that if we try to love people, we will do good things.


Anyway, until next week! I love you all! Abraço!

Elder Olivier

(written 11/04/2015)


Eating fish...with the head still on:)


A spider after Elder Olivier stepped on it.



Monday, October 26, 2015

Transfers

Today is Monday and that means it's p-day for Elder Olivier plus the day we get our emails!  How I love Mondays now!  Below is the email he sent plus some photos!  I love getting a glimpse of what is going on there!



Hi everyone!

Holy cow! I can´t believe this transfer went by so quickly! Time goes by so much faster in the field than it did in the CTM. 

So on Saturday Elder Galván and I were out preaching the gospel and we got a call from the secretary saying that Elder Galván is being transferred and that I am staying here in the area. Elder Galván is going to "the interior," or in other words, one of the small towns outside of Manaus. That means that I am now the guy who has to know the area and all of the members and investigators. Freak.

My new companion is Elder Figueiredo, and he is from Paraná, Brazil. So hopefully he can help me a lot more with the language, because he is brazilian.


The rain storm.



Yesterday it rained for the first time that I´ve been here. It rained pretty hard, but it was nothing crazy. It was actually really refreshing because while it was raining it wasn´t hot.


Elder Olivier's new companion is on his right.  
His name is Elder Figueiredo.



Today was transfers. I talked with a couple of other americans there and they were saying how halloween and thanksgiving were coming up, but nothing happens during halloween and thanksgiving because we´re in Brazil. It was weird talking about american things.

This week was pretty much a normal week. We worked a lot, and we walked a lot, and we sweat a lot. I´m going to miss Elder Galván. He was always super funny and he was super helpful with everything. But the next transfer is going to be awesome too.

I´ve been thinking a lot this week about the restoration, and how powerful of a message it is. We taught the restoration a lot this week, and every time it is a super good lesson. It is so powerful because of how clear and simple it is. God loves us and wants to bless us and our families. He does so through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he teaches us the gospel of Jesus Christ through prophets, who have authority to act in the name of Christ. When Christ was on the earth, he established a church with a prophet, apostles, and authority. After Christ died, people killed the apostles and the authority was lost. Many churches were formed by people who were searching for the word of God, but couldn´t find it because there were no more prophets. So Jesus Christ called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and to restore the authority to act in the name of Christ on the earth once more. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again, exactly the way Christ organized it when he was on the earth. This message is so powerful because it is true. This church is the church of Jesus Christ, and He literally directs it through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Every day we teach this message, and every time we teach it I understand more and more how true it is, and how amazing it is.

Anyway, I love all of you guys! Keep being awesome!

Abraço!

Elder Olivier

(written 10/26/2015)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week Four in Manaus!!!


We didn't receive any photos this week.  We are hoping for more next week.  Below is Elder Olivier's email that we received October 19th.  He is still working hard!  Elder Olivier's birthday is on December 4th and it can take a couple of months for him to receive things, so if you would like to send a birthday card, please do so!  His letter address is on the right side of the blog....package address is there too.  He also loves to receive emails!  Thanks everyone!





Hi everyone! 

This week has been awesome as usual! And really hot as usual! There wasn´t too much exciting that happened this week. We worked a ton, and walked up and down tons of hills. It´s just starting to hit me how hilly it is here. 

This week was a little disappointing, in that we had a ton of lessons fall through and it´s been hard lately to get investigators to progress. This week we tried to bring 8 people to church, so we walked all over creation before church to find all of them. We ended up only bringing one person to church, which is still awesome, but for some reason lately the work has been a little slow.

This week we ate a lot of chicken, as usual. And beans and rice. Oh, and we ate a lot of fish. With spoons. For some reason, most of the people here don´t like eating with forks and knives. Everyone has them in their house but no one uses them. This week I learned how to eat fish with a spoon.

So the past few weeks have pretty much been the hardest few weeks of my life. The transition to a new language/culture has been super hard. The language gets better every single day. Every day I can understand more of what people say. But this week I have realized that as the language gets easier, all of the other aspects of missionary work get harder. Missionary work is probably one of the hardest things ever. But it is so awesome. The church is true. 100%. I have never ever felt that so strongly. I´ve only been in the field for a short time so far, but there have already been a lot of good times and a lot of hard times. But it is through trials and challenges that we become better people. And that is why we are here on earth, to keep on becoming better and better people, to keep on becoming more and more Christlike every single day.


I love you all! Abraço!

Elder Olivier

(written 10/19/2015)

Week 3 in Manaus

We received this email from Joshua on Tuesday, October 13th.  He included a couple of photos as well.


Hey everybody!

Sorry I couldn´t email yesterday! Our mission president changed our preparation day to today because yesterday was a holiday (Dia das Crianças). It was super cool. We had an activity at the church building yesterday. There was a ton of food and cake, ping pong, and music. Everyone here listens to american music. It´s pretty funny. People keep asking me to translate song lyrics into portuguese for them. At the activity they had a playstation set up with fifa with tons of people crouded around it. My companion kept looking at it and saying "stop tempting me, Satan!" (as missionaries we aren´t allowed to play videogames or watch tv or movies).





Brazil is crazy! It is still really hot here! 

This week we worked a ton, like usual. We also ate a ton, like usual. We eat lunch with the members instead of dinner here, and nine times out of ten it´s chicken, rice, beans, and noodles. Elder Galván always talks about how tired he is of chicken. I still like it. This week also we ate this fish called pacú. The fish here is super good. 

Random flashback: One time I was with my family in Delaware and we saw (and smelled) a bunch of trucks full of chickens driving on the streets. Here they have trucks full of fish that drive on the streets. They also have vans full of fruit that drive around selling it, and a guy will be yelling into a megaphone: "Melancia, melancia, maçã, banana, melancia, abacaxi, melancia!" They drive really slow.





This week we taught a ton of lessons and we found a bunch of new investigators. It´s still super confusing and hard for me to remember names and faces because we talk to so many people every day, and because most of the time it´s pretty hard to understand what people are saying. The accent here is super different from the accent in São Paulo. There are a few other missionaries here from São Paulo and it is a lot easier to understand them than the people that live here in Manaus. 





This week I have been thinking a lot about obedience. A lot of times we are told to do things and we don´t understand the purpose behind them, or sometimes we need to do things that seem impossible to us. I´ve been thinking a lot about 1 Nephi 3:7, how Nephi was obedient to the Lord and risked his and his brothers´ lives to get the brass plates, even he didn´t know how the task would be accomplished at first. But instead of giving up, he said he will go and do the things the Lord commanded of him, because he knew that when the Lord gives commandments to us, he always provides a way to accomplish them. Sometimes it´s really hard to be in the middle of a foreign country away from home and family and friends and english and peanut butter, but I know that I am here for a reason and that Heavenly Father will provide a way for me to accomplish all that he has asked of me, because he never asks anything of us that is impossible for us.


I love all of you guys so much! Keep being awesome!

Falou! Abraço!


Elder Olivier

(written 10/13/2015)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week Two in Manaus......


Earlier today, Elder Olivier emailed me a few short emails back and forth and then it abruptly ended!  I was so sad, wondering what happened!  Then hours later....we got the awesome email below!  We found out the power had gone out in the city of Manaus!  What a blessing that the power came back on for so many reasons!  He got fans that came on and we got an awesome email!!


OI EVERYBODY!!!!

This week has been crazy. Elder Galván and I have been working super hard and walking a ton and sweating a ton. It is so hot here. Today the power went out for a few hours and it was torture. Normally everyone has fans everywhere in their houses, but today they wouldn´t work. But it is okay, we are still alive.



Elder Olivier with his companion, Elder Galvan...must be in front of the Amazon River.


Everyone drinks tons of soda here. I think some people drink soda more than water. There is this soda called Baré (it is a type of Guaraná) that they only have here. I´ve never had this much soda in my life. Plus my companheiro is pretty much addicted to coca cola. He drinks at least 2 liters per day.

Confession: I made spaghetti with spam today. I know Dad, I´ve been making fun of spam all these years, but not until now did I realize what a useful ingredient(?) it is when you are super poor and don´t have much time to cook. I still don´t know what kind of meat(?) it is.

This week we taught a lot. I love teaching, partly because 90% of the portuguese vocabulary I know has to do with teaching the lessons, and partly because it is awesome. The people here are so awesome. One of the other elders that has been here longer than me said that the people in this area are the most friendly out of all of the other areas of the mission. Everyone is so willing to learn about the gospel.






Baptism


Another Baptism



We had three baptisms this weekend. It was so awesome. We had one on Saturday and two on Sunday. We had them in between sessions of general conference, which was sweet. General conference was so good too, as usual. 

Manaus is so crazy. It is a lot different from how I expected it to be. The culture is way different from the culture in the states. We pretty much walk into peoples´ houses and everyone gives us water and/or food. Everyone is super friendly, especially at church. And plus there are tons of members. Most people are outside a lot, so we always see members when we are walking around. It is amazing to me how productive I feel I can be even when I have to tell every. single. person. to speak more slowly. I notice more and more how many things happen that seem really "lucky" (we run into someone on the street that we are looking for, or a member gives us a random referral, or a random person asks us about the church and we give a lesson on the spot). I know that we are being guided in this work. I don´t know how to explain it, but somehow things keep happening and things keep perfectly falling into place. I know that when Jesus Christ was on the earth, he organized a church. And I know that this church is the same church that He organized, restored once again on the earth. Every day I can understand more and more portuguese, and at the same time every day I know more and more that this church is Christ´s church.




Elder Olivier with his CTM district.


In the CTM.


I hope next week is even more awesome than this week! I love all of you guys! Do me a favor and have the best week ever this week!


Eu amo vocês!!!!

Elder Olivier

(written 10/05/2015)