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 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! 


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!


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!
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!....


Elder Olivier
(written 11/30/2015)

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