Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Merry Almost Christmas from Brazil

We received the following email on Monday, December 12, 2016.

Hey everyone! 

This week was super cool! Our zone had a Christmas conference and we prepared a nativity program to present to all of the members of the stake. So we dressed up as shepherds and stuff. It went great! Since the conference was just our zone, everyone had to do a lot! I got to conduct the meeting and play piano which is a pretty interesting combination. 

This week instead of normal sacrament meeting we watched a broadcast for the whole area Brazil, which was presided by Jeffrey R. Holland. It was way cool. Lots of inspired words.


Christmas is coming!

Love,

Élder Olivier



Monday, December 5, 2016

Great Week!

Here is Elder Olivier's email that he sent today.  It looks like he had birthday cake to celebrate his 20th birthday too!!.......


Being on a mission is the _______ experience ever. It is the best experience ever. The hardest experience ever. The happiest experience ever. The most sorrowful experience ever. The most fulfilling experience ever. The most frustrating experience ever. It´s the full package. You can put almost any superlative in that blank space. A mission is a roller coaster of emotions. Good things happen and difficult things happen. I think that on a mission we get to feel, just an infinitely small portion, of what the Savior felt during his life, earthly ministry, and atonement, and what He feels now. We get to feel joy for the people that accept the gospel and become truly converted. We feel sorrow for those that choose not to accept the gospel, without a full consciousness of what they are really missing. 


The bishop in one of our wards is one of those guys that is always happy. He always tells us, "Elders, we don´t have anything to complain about. God is so good to us that we don´t have anything to complain about. We can only be happy."

Even when things are really hard, even when nothing works out, we have nothing to complain about. I´ve been thinking a lot recently that happiness is really a choice. We have nothing to complain about. We can only be happy. 

I love the Christmas season, because it is a time of year when we can focus a little more on the happiest and most important event that happened in the history of the entire world: the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Savior. Through him we can receive a remission of our sins. Through him we can have eternal families. That is what the angels meant when they said they were bringing to the shepherds "glad tidings of great joy."

This week we taught a family about the restoration of the gospel for the second or third time. One of the daughters in the family has already been baptized, and she is really anxious to have her family have the same opportunity. The rest of her family hadn´t completely understood the importance of the restoration, so we decided to teach it again. We decided to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with them. After we read, we asked the father of the family: 

"José, do you believe that the Book of Mormon is true?"

He started talking for a while. He kind of avoided the question. 

"José, we want to ask you a question, and we want you to respond saying either 'yes,' or 'no.' Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is true?"

The was a long pause. 

"Yes."



I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that it changes lives. It changed my life. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that through him we can be happy. God is so good to us that we don´t have anything to complain about. We can only be happy.

I love you all and hope you all have a great week and happy holidays! Sorry that I can´t respond to all of your emails! Just know that I love you all!


Love,

Élder Olivier!








Saturday, December 3, 2016

98% DEET, 100% Alegria

We received this email on November 28, the last p-day before his birthday! 

Thanks everyone for all the birthday wishes! That really means a lot! I can´t believe I´m going to be 20! Time passes way faster in the mission field!
 
Obrigado a todo mundo por ter me parabenizado por meu aniversário! Eu sou muito grato! Eu não acredito que eu vou ter 20 anos! O tempo passa rápido demais na missão!
 
This week was a very hot week, especially due to the fact that we spent the whole week without energy in our house. Yep. Those were a couple of rough nights, with no fans or air conditioning and many mosquito bites. Luckily that 98% DEET bug spray my mom gave me works pretty well (thanks, Mom!).

So last week I didn´t get a chance to send an email out to everyone, but we got to fly to Manaus to attend the mission leadership counsel and so my companion could renew his visa for another year. Lots and lots of travelling. This week we managed to get a lot of work in in our area, which was a huge blessing because we had been pretty much dying to just get back to our area to work. 

This last week was stake conference and President Castro and Elder Granger, an area seventy, both gave talks. It was really good! We managed to bring some investigators and they all enjoyed it a lot. It´s amazing to see that the church is the same everywhere you go!

Espero que vocês tenham uma ótima semana! Até o P-day que vem! Amo vcs! 

Élder Olivier!



Tender Mercy!

We received this email on November 22, one day after p-day. We did not hear from him on his p-day, but received a tender mercy the following day. We also ran across a few pictures that someone in his ward had posted of him!  

Don´t worry, I didn´t die!
Yesterday was probably the busiest p-day of my mission. We had to go to a bunch of stores to find stuff to buy for all of the houses in the mission next week. We were planning on emailing at 5 o'clock yesterday but it turns out that all of the internet cafes were closed. Elder Marques called me and told me to tell you guys that I didn´t die. Haha. Sorry I didn´t get to email you yesterday!
Love,
Elder Olivier




Brazil Manaus Mission Leadership Council

Monday, November 14, 2016

Happy P-Day!!!!

Hi everyone! 

I don´t have much time today so I´ll be short. Our week was pretty good. It could have been a lot better. My new area is in two wards, so we have to coordinate with tons of members. We´re zone leaders over the Rio Branco zone, which is the entire Rio Branco stake and two extra branches that are not part of any stake, they´re just mission branches. We have to travel a ton here. We are constanlty having to take the bus to do baptismal interviews, pick up missionaries at the airport, drop off missionaries at the airport, etc. This week was super hectic because some missionaries had to go to Manaus to renew their visas, so we were at the airport almost every night at midnight this week..... And tonight we will actually fly to Manaus for leadership conference on wednesday. We won´t be in our area for almost the whole week........ughghgh

I remember when I went to Colorado with Dad and I told him that I don´t like riding on planes because they´re annoying. Well now I get to learn to like them.

I´ll get my package this week! I actually already got it but I left it in Manaus when I came here to Acre because I didn´t have space in my suitcase. But now I´ll get it! 

Also, my companion is from Gilbert, AZ. He´s been out for 11 months.

Even here in the middle of nowhere in Brazil people are talking about Donald Trump. I can´t wait to see the great wall of Mexico!

This computer isn´t letting me send pictures for some reason......I´ll try sending them next time. sorry!



I love all you guys! 


Love,
Elder Olivier

Monday, November 7, 2016

Acre pt. II



Hey everyone! 

So this week was super hectic! I got transferred and had to catch a few planes to get to my new area, which actually took up a good part of the week. But now I´m here! In Acre! Again!
The first week here was great!

................................
welp that pretty much sums up the whole week. That´s all I´ve got. Oh yeah, and I have an american companion again. Two in a row!

Sorry for the short email!

Love,
Élder Olivier


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trunky or Treat

Elder Olivier had a great week!  He has been working for a long time with this awesome couple to help them get married.  Everything finally came together and they were married last week and then baptised!  Such joyous occasions!!  Below is his email and photos!


Wow, what a week. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST this week we saw......and hugged.......A SLOTH!!!! I never thought this day would come. He was so fluffy. We had been knocking some doors and meeting some new people, when suddenly we found the house of a lady with a pet sloth. Yes, a pet sloth. Why doesn´t anyone in the states have a sloth as a pet?

SO this week was a week with a lot of memories. We have been teaching this one family for about three months, and we have been working with the bishop to plan their wedding. We spent a good part of this week getting stuff ready for it, and Saturday was the big day. Holy cow, it went well. There were a lot of tears, hugs, and piles and piles of food. Our ward mission leader even took the mic and sang a couple of songs for the bride, at the request of the groom. Who knew he could sing.

Pure happiness. 

We woke up super early Sunday morning to have their baptism before church. The bishop baptized them, and them attended the rest of the church meetings, still soaking wet. Luckily he´s a fisherman, so he´s used to getting wet. That will be by far one of the most memorable baptisms that I have seen. God lives. The church is true. The gospel changes lives. 


Have an awesome week! I love you all!

Élder Olivier
















Yay For a Washing Machine!!!

Here is Elder Olivier's email to family on that he wrote on October 24th, 2016:


Hi everyone! This week I don´t have much time to send email but I just wanted to say that I love you all! 

It looks like you all had a great week! 

Next week is transfers for me so I think I´ll probably be changing areas! So we´ll see what happens. 

Sweet music Z and C! It sounds great! It sounds a lot like The Fray! That´s sweet that you guys finished a whole song! I´m excited to come home from my mission and be you guys´ producer! kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk


Interesting things that happened this week!  


-We went on splits with some of the elders in our zone for a couple of days

-We ate a lot of fish

-I cut my companion´s hair (he asked me to---it was the first time I have ever cut someone else´s hair, and,no big deal, tons of people complimented his haircut)

-WE GOT A WASHING MACHINE!!!!!!! I don´t remember if I have told you guys but we have been without a washing machine for almost 6 months.........AND WE FINALLY GOT ONE IN OUR HOUSE!!!!! Now I wash my clothes like two times per day!!!! It´s great!!!!! You just put your clothes in with soap and the washing machine cleans them!!!! IT´S SO CRAZY

But that´s all for this week! I´ll send pictures next week!!!


Love you all! 

Love, Elder Olivier! 

Baptism of the Bishop's Neighbor!

Here is Elder Olivier's email just to family that he sent on October 17, 2016:

Hey family! 

This week was sooo good! That´s great that you guys sent me more packages! I am famous here for being the elder that most gets packages in the entire mission! That´s great! 

The cereal here is actually a little different! They have all of the same brands of cereal (kelloggs, nestle, etc) but they have like different cereals. I guess they market it differently to brazilians. The milk here is like just powdered milk. They pretty much don´t have real milk like they do back in the states.

The bowls were square because we don´t have real bowls in our house! 

Sounds like everyone is having a great time doing stuff at home! 

So I´ve had to use my debit card a lot recently pretty much because of travelling and eating. But every time that I use it for travelling I get reimbursed and the couple of times lunch has fallen through with the members they pay us back. But every time that I have used it it has been me. I check the balance every time I withdraw money from the bank.

Our family that we are helping to get married is doing so good! They´ll be married and baptized soon! 

Zach- congrats on that toenail! 

Cameron- keep up on all that homework! 

Maddie- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! DOUBLE DIGITS!!!!!!!

Mackenzie- I love you too!


Love, Elder Olivier!



Monday, October 10, 2016

Cereal, weird fruit, and some other stuff!

We received this email today...

So life with an american companion is pretty different. 
For example: when I suggested one day that we don´t eat anything for lunch but cereal, he went with it too. So, one day we ate only cereal for lunch. Which is like so crazy. Probably one of the craziest things that happened this week. Dang.

Also pictured: Us in front of the soccer stadium in Manaus. We see it all the time but I had never taken a picture in front of it. 

Also pictured: Some fruit that an investigator gave us. We got a ton of mangos, caju and jenipapo (I think it´s spelled like that), which looks like a crusty potato and tastes really good but unlike anything I have ever eaten in my life. So you´ll have to take my word for it. It´s a lot better than a crusty potato.


Falou, abraço! 

Élder Olivier!




Monday, October 3, 2016

Mais uma semana só de quebras no lan house

We received this email today...

Hey everyone! 

Don´t have much time so this email will be a short one! But just wanted to say that general conference this week was really good! I loved all of the talks! 

I´m still loving life out here in Manacapuru, now with my new parceirão Élder Matthew. It´s the first time I´m with an american companion and so far it´s been a great first week. HECK YEAH, AMERICA!!!  WHOOO AMERICA!!!! 

This week was a challenge because everyone in the city had to vote for the city governor, and here in brasil if you don´t vote you get fined. So, the day everyone had to vote just happened to be a sunday, the day of going to church. So yeah, that was a little difficult, but it was a great week nonetheless. Politics in brazil is super funny because every day for the past few months there have been cars driving on the streets with HUGE HUGE HUGE speakers attached like trailers to the back of them, blasting political jingles and parodies of modern popular brasilian music that sing about political candidates. They would pass on the streets all day every single day. So saturday and sunday the whole city went crazy with blasting music, parades and fireworks. But i think it is all over now. I think. 

Sorry I left my camera in our house this week (que burro) so next week I´ll send pictures!



Falou!! Bye!

Élder Olivier

Transfers!

We received this email from Elder Olivier on September 26, 2016...

This week I don´t have much time to email because of transfers! I´ll be staying here in Manacapuru, but Elder Fernandez left to go to a city called Itacoatiara. My companion is called Elder Matthew from............Pennsylvania! Pretty much from back home! haha. So he is my first american companion. This transfer should be fun. He has been on his mission a little longer than me, about a year and three months. 

Here are some pictures! 

Love, Elder Olivier! 




Mais um P-day

We received this email from Elder Olivier on September 19, 2016...

Hi everybody!!

This week was an awesome week like always! It was super hectic but that´s normal! 

So big news!!!! This week we finally bought gas for our stove, so we can finally cook food!!!! Heck yes!!! So this week I actually made cookies again to bring to the baptism. They turned out good, even though they always turn out way different here in brazil because everything is different here! 

This week we went on companion exchanges for the whole week. That is always a really good experience. The assistents of the mission president sent everyone in the mission a talk called "Como Ser um Missionário Batizador" (How to be a Baptizing Missionary) by M. Russell Ballard. It talks a lot about how lots of missionaries complain about their companions, their area, the members of the ward, etc but how successful missionaries are the missionaries that can obtain results in any circumstances. We should be creators of circumstances and not creatures of circumstances. I know now more than ever that work can solve any problem. I´ve noticed that when I pass through hard times here, it is almost always because I need to work more and work better. There is always something to improve.

I love you all! Until next week!


Falou!!

Élder Olivier



Monday, September 12, 2016

Happy Monday

Hi family!!!!

This week was good! I am feeling great! About the rainy season.... to be honest I don´t understand this whole rainy season thing at all because everyone says different things about it, and it pretty much just rains a ton all the time, haha. But right now it is no longer açaí season so that is sad..... apparently it will come back soon. Everyone in brazil is obsessed with açaí because it´s super good and apparently it´s also super healthy. And the best açaí in brazil is from Amazonas, of course. 

So yesterday before church was way crazy. 99.999% of the crazy things that happen here happen sunday before church, when we are trying to bring investigators to church. So on saturday we taught a family (a single mother and her three boys) that we have been teaching for about a week. On saturday we taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and they lesson was pretty much perfect. We left everything perfect for everyone to go to church the next day. They would all wake up at 6:00 to get ready, and we were going to walk with them to church around 8:00. Awesome. 

But like my companion always says, every sunday morning before church we have to fight face to face with satan. 

When we got to their house, everyone was all dressed up and ready to go. But when we were about to leave, the mom looked at her door and noticed that her padlock was missing. Uh oh. She said she couldn´t leave her house without locking it, because it had already been robbed three or four times during the day. So we decided to do the impossible. We told her we would find a padlock for her to use, and that we would return shortly. We first thought to call the bishop and the counselors to ask them if they had an extra padlock. But then, to our horror, we realized that our cell phone didn´t have any more minutes. We went to two or three houses of members who lived close by, but they either didn´t have a padlock or had already gone to church. It was then we remembered that our apartment has a padlock! Duh! We ran back to our apartment, got the lock, returned, and tried to close the door with the lock. 

It was too big for the chain. Freak. 

Also, the mom said that her son had left and gone to another church that he usually goes to. After we said to him that we would come back to bring them to church. Freak. 

We asked her if she could go talk to her son in the other church so they could go to church all together. And while she did that we would find a smaller lock. 

So then we went to another investigator´s house (we were already pretty late) to bring her to church. And guess what was on her house. A smaller padlock! Élder Fernandez put the big lock through the chain, and it worked! So we asked her dad if we could switch the locks, just for the day, and that it was a long story but he would be helping us a ton. haha. So we switched the locks. 

We went back to the first house, to find that the mom and her son who went to church weren´t there. But another boy was there. "She is looking for her son, because he didn´t actually go to church. He went there and left his bible there and left. She said that it wouldn´t work out for her to go to church today." 

No. 

Satan couldn´t win. 

We started walking/running like crazy people to the other church. They weren´t there. We went back, and then we finally saw them on the street. The mom was really mad at her son, who apparently had done this before, pretending he was at church when he really wasn´t. She told us that she was really mad, and that she wasn´t in the right state of mind to go to church. 

No. 

We started to talk to her. We showed her the lock. We told her that she needed to go to church now more than ever, and that satan was doing everything possible for her not to go to church. I asked her if she believed that the Book of Mormon is true. She said yes. I said that satan doesn´t want her to go to church, because he knows that she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. And that he knows that she knows that that huge church in the "downtown" part of Manacapuru is the only true church in the whole city. 

She thought for a couple of minutes. 

"Put on your shoes, we´re going to church."

Long story short: unfortunately we didn´t bring 35 people to church. We´ll save that one for next time. But what happened ended up being a huge victory. That family went to church, they all loved it, and the son that escaped from the other church didn´t even try to escape from the true church, because he loved it there. 

And once again, two very sweaty missionaries arrived very late to church. :)


THE END

Love, Elder Olivier 


Me in my new hammock, because all the cool kids these days sleep in hammocks


Élder Fernandez and I in an alley


Me with a cashew (that´s what a cashew fruit looks like, the grayish part on top is the nut part that you all know and love)





Here are some family home evenings that we went to this week too.....!!!!!




Monday, September 5, 2016

Manacapuru 4evr

We received these emails today from Elder Olivier.  The first one was a response to our family email, while the second one was more of a general summary of his week.  

Hi everyone!!!!!!

This week was great! We are teaching tons of people like always! We´ve been working recently on inviting TONS of people to church and this week we were able to bring 24 (yes, 24!) investigators to sacrament meeting! That is the most that we have ever gotten to come to church. It was awesome! This week is actually ward council and we set a goal with the ward to have an attendance of 200 people (this week we only had a little over 100) and we (the missionaries) set a goal to bring 35 people to church. It´s a big goal. So we´ll see how it goes.

My health is great! I´ve never been better! 

Our ward is great! Sometimes it´s a little hard to work in this area because there are few active priesthood holders and there we don´t get much help from the members. But other than that it´s só alegria (just happiness) 

We actually don´t eat dinner with the members, we eat lunch. Here in Brazil lunch is the biggest meal of the day and most people hardly eat anything for breakfast or dinner. We usually eat lunch with the members every single day, and usually if they can´t make lunch they give us money to eat at a restaurant

So far here in Manacapuru I´ve only given one talk, but I do play the piano every week in sacrament meeting

Toothpaste and dental floss are 100% the same here in brazil so you don´t have to worry about that.... haha. But if you somehow can manage to send root beer that would probably be the best thing ever! haha. 

That´s crazy how there are 4 sets of missionaries in the ward! Hopefully they baptize like crazy there! 

That´s crazy how Cameron is in high school! Freshman! Has anyone stuffed him in a locker yet? 

Dad- step on that carpet again! 

Wow, pão de queijo! Yes, I have eaten that, a lot. We go to the bakery close to our house a lot in the mornings to buy it. 


Tchau!!! I love you all too!

Love, Josh!!



Hi everyone! 

This week we went on divisions, and I went to an area in Manaus to work with Elder George, another american. Working american missionaries is a little different, because you can talk about things like chick fil-a and they will know what you´re talking about! haha. But it is always a really good experience when we go on divisions with other missionaries. We taught a really awesome family that the elders had brought to the temple a few days ago, and everyone in that family was actually baptized this week. 

On saturday I got back to my area. On yesterday we had a baptism of a woman named Sinelande and her daughter Joyce, who are relatives of another recent convert. Their baptism was really spiritual, and Sinelande was actually crying after the ordinance. It was great to see the president of the relief society and one of her counselors talk to her after the ordinance and hug her. I am continually amazed at how much the gospel blesses and changes people. The best part of being on a mission is seeing the gospel change others, and also seeing it is changing me.  There is power in following the Savior´s example and living the gospel.  


I hope you all have a great week! 


Love, 

Élder Olivier!!!

Oh and here´s a picture of the camel that you guys (Mom) sent me- here in Brazil! On my head!