Monday, February 29, 2016

I haven´t died, I just had internet problems!

Elder Olivier's latest email that we got today!!!

Hi everyone!!!

So the past few weeks have been pretty crazy, full of hard work, heavy rain, thick mud, gostoso açaí, banana juice, indian bracelets, and pure alegria. And everyone making fun of my gringo accent. What do they expect? I´m a gringo!

For those of you who haven´t heard of açaí in your lives, imagine literally the best thing you could ever eat. There. Know you all know what it tastes like.

So here in Sena Madureira, there are tons of native indians. We´ve been teaching some of them, and a lot of them come to church every once in a while. We baptized João recently, who is from their tribe. He doesn´t always come to church though because he spends a lot of time at the tribe down the river. They are awesome. They always talk to us for a really long time when we visit them, and they always give us food. They also sell these bracelets, which are awesome. One of them is making bracelets for Elder Castelli and me.

Banana juice. Yes, it´s a thing. It tastes kind of like drinking a banana.

Speaking of juice, Elder Castelli and I started buying fruit pulp and making our own juice. Yeah, we make pretty good juice, no big deal. The best juice is graviola and cupuaçu, two of the many fruits that no one has ever heard of. Imagine the best juice you have ever had. There. Now you all know what they taste like. 

Yesterday we had the baptism of a girl named Rute. The baptismal service only had a couple of people but it was super spiritual. For the closing hymn we sang How Great Thou Art, because it is one of the few hymns that she already knew, and it sounded more like 20 people were singing as opposed to 7 or 8. 
Scripture of the week! I got called yesterday in church, literally at the last possible second to give a talk about Jesus Christ. This was the scripture that came to my mind:

2 Nephi 25:23, 26 

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 

Right now my testimony is stronger than ever that Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the world. The church is true!

I hope everyone has an awesome week!

Élder Olivier!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Third week in Sena Madureira

We received a shorter email today from Elder Olivier just to us, but we'll take it!  We were hoping for pictures, but maybe next week!! 

Happy birthday Mom!
To answer your questions, yes, I teach gospel essentials and play the piano every sunday. Actually, my companion and I do almost everything for the branch. It´s kind of super hard that way, because everyone wants to help but no one really knows what to do. Haha. Yes, we are still teaching the man with the poison arrows and his wife and we are trying (struggling) to teach their 19 kids. Yes, 19. They are super hard to keep track of because they are always going to their tribe way down the river and coming back. The man and his wife want to get baptized really bad but they need to get married and are waiting for some of their documents to come in the mail. 

Our zone conference was awesome. The president and the APs flew to Rio Branco. We had to stay there for 3 days because on Tuesday we had regular zone conference and Thursday we had it with President Castro. It was super good. 

That´s awesome about Mom´s birthday and going skiing! And about church basketball! I miss basketball! 
Maddie, great work on the mini golf course. And I think that snake was venomous too. It had a triangle head.
Mackenzie: I love you too!
I love all of you guys so much and I miss you all!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Still Brazillin in Brazil

Elder Olivier had his 2nd full week in his new area!  He sent us the following email on February 8th!

Hey everyone!
This week has been really awesome! Elder Castelli and I worked really really hard this week and it all paid off! We had two baptisms yesterday, a man named Antonio and his daughter. It was really awesome! Our little branch really came together and did a great baptismal service, complete with cake and amazonian soda. And our branch president entrou nas aguas! Antonio chose his to baptize, which was also sweet. The only thing was that someone somehow lost all of the baptismal clothing, so we had to improvise a little. Haha.
Anyway, this week has been adventurous. We crossed the river for the first time since I´ve been here. The boats are super cool. Also, we´ve been teaching a native family that speaks a language that I think is called "jaminaweh" or something like that. They speak portuguese as a second language, mais ou menos. Also, this guy has a legit bow and arrow (more like bow and spear) that is legit poisoned on the end. He shoots monkeys with it. He let us hold one of the spears, and then he said to be careful, because the end is poisoned and the poison has no cure. So my companion asked him if he would die if he would cut himself on it. And the guy basically said, yeah, you´ll die.  I´ll take a picture of it next time.
We also found a sweet looking dead snake, took a trip to that one statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, and drank a lot of tereré.  Tereré is like a south american herbal drink thing. I had already tried it in Manaus, but there is way more in Acre.
So, yep. That was our week. Até a próxima semana! Falow, tchau!
Elder Olivier!

Interiorzinha da Alegria!

We received the following email on February 1st from Elder Olivier.  He has been transferred to the Interior or in other words....the middle of the jungle!  He is really enjoying it there and here is his first email from his new area:

Hello everyone!

So this week has been super different and super awesome for me! First off, for the transfer last week I had to go with some other missionaries to the airport to catch a plane to Rio Branco in Acre. There I met my new companion, stayed the night at the zone leaders´ apartment, and the next day took a taxi for almost two hours to get to Sena Madureira. 

Sena is an awesome place. It´s pretty much (well, actually it is) a small town in the middle of nowhere, and by "nowhere" I mean the jungle. So I´m super pumped to be in the middle of the jungle. 

The church here is super small. And by super small, I mean that there are only about 20 people that come to church regularly and about 750 people who are baptized members of the church in the area. That´s a big difference. It´s a branch, so as the missionaries we have to do almost everything. That´s a lot of stuff to do. I had to give the gospel principles class, play the piano in sacrament meeting, and give a talk yesterday in church. 

My companion´s name is Elder Castelli, and he is from São Paulo, around Campinas. He is awesome. He´s a super focused missionary, and we´ve been working super hard this week. This transfer is going to be awesome!

So this week we have been teaching a ton of new investigators. So we´re been teaching the Restoration a ton. A question that my companion always asks is really good. He says, is it just for God to have called prophets to guide the people in the past, but to leave us today without a prophet? People always think about it for a little and say, no, that´s not just. Exodus 33:11 is a scripture that talks about how Moses actually spoke with Heavenly Father:

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

We truly have a prophet in our day, just like Moses, who actually speaks with God face to face, just like prophets in old times. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he truly has a prophet today. I know that now more than I have ever known in my life. I don´t know why I had to come to the middle of the jungle to learn that, haha, but hey, there´s a purpose for everything.

I hope everyone has a great week! I love you all!


Elder Olivier!!

P.S. I´ll probably have more sweet pictures next week! I think!

Elder Olivier and his new companion, Elder Castelli.