Monday, October 26, 2015


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!


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!!


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.


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)