Monday, April 4, 2016

Conferência Geral!

Here is Elder Olivier's email that he sent us today!!!

Hey everybody!!! 

This week was a pretty interesting week. A lot of good things happened, and a lot of not so good things also happened. One of the good things was that we got to see general conference! It was really really really good. We spent a lot of time teaching our investigators about prophets this week, and invited them to come see general conference with us. It is always such a cool opportunity to hear the prophet speak (though I joked with my companion that he only spoke two times, and only one sentence each time, hahaha). Even though this conference he didn´t say very much, still his words are always really powerful. Conference was super good. One common theme that I noticed is that God loves us. It is such a simple thing. God exists, and He loves us.

This week we had a baptism! It was of a twelve year old girl who has been coming to church for a while now. Her parents aren´t members, but they were pretty excited about their daughter´s baptism, which was awesome!

Anyway, I hope you all have an awesome week!


Elder Olivier!

P.S. to explain the pictures, this week we were teaching a family and suddenly the bird from the movie Up ran into the house! It exists in real life!

Zone Conference!

Below is Elder Olivier's email that he sent on March 28th!:

Primeira coisa! I forgot to send the snake pictures last week! Que burro! Haha. (We included those snake pictures with the March 7th email.))

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a great week this week, and a great easter! Here in brazil, easter was great! Even though it was pretty much a normal day, and nothing really happened for easter. Haha.

But this week was super interesting, because I spent the whole week in Rio Branco with one of the zone leaders, Elder Aguilar. My companion went back to my area with the other zone leader, Elder Pina. Elder Aguilar is from Honduras and Elder Pina is from Cape Verde (Africa). They are both really good missionaries, and we all worked super hard this week. I learned a ton of stuff from Elder Aguilar, and we ended the week with a baptism which, funny story, we didn´t even get to see, because we were busy doing baptismal interviews in another area and the bus back took forever. But luckily, everything went right with just the members doing the baptism. The boy who was baptized is 8 years old and is the friend of a member who also was baptized the same day. That´s right, 8 year olds can do member missionary work too!

The zone leaders´ area is way different from my area, mostly because it covers two wards and Sena Madureira only has one small branch. So it was interesting working here this week. It was something a little different, and I learned a lot from it.

Anyway, I hope everyone got a chance this week to think about the central point of Easter, Jesus Christ. He really is the Savior of the world, and because of Him we can have eternal life. He lives today, and he is the head of His church. The church is true!

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

Elder Olivier!

Young Men's Activity, Snakes, and Sunburns!

Below is Elder Olivier's email that he sent on March 21st!!

Hey everyone! So it sounds like everyone is crazy to know what I said my companion and I saw last week, haha. It will take too long to send the pictures to everyone individually, so I´ll send them hear! We saw a HUGE dead snake that someone had killed. My companion thinks it had eaten something recently and that is why it was so fat. The people here say that it is the kind of snake that eats cows. And if it eats cows, it eats people, people. That´s a serious snake.

So anyway, this week was a pretty crazy week. On Saturday we had a young mens´ activity, and we invited a ton of young men to come to the Branch President´s jungle farm and swim in his river. Everyone had a great time, eating jungle coconuts swimming in the river, playing soccer in the rain, and eating churrasco (brazilian barbeque). It was sweet watching all of the young men have fun, and it reminded me of all of the campouts I always went on with the young men from church. Also, there was a venomous water snake and my companion managed to kill it with the machete before it killed anyone. I am pictured below with it around my neck. I guess it was one of those classic "don´t tell mom" moments during young mens´ activities. Also, Elder Castelli wanted to climb the trees next to the coconut trees to poke the coconuts with a stick so we could get more. It didn´t work.

After the activity when Elder Castelli and I were very tired and very sunburned around the neck where we usually have a collar and a tie, we went to work.

So this week we have zone conference with the missionaries in our zone, so we are passing some time in Rio Branco. Rio Branco is always a huge change from Sena Madureira, because it is so much bigger. Rio Branco is a tiny city, but next to Sena it is huge. 

I still find it hard to believe that people live here in Amazônia. Haha.

Being on a mission is crazy. A scripture that really helps me is 1 Nephi 3:7, one of the more well-known scriptures in the Book of Mormon. It says

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Sometimes things here in the mission field, and in life in general, seem really difficult. But, I have such a strong testimony that when God gives us a commandment, there is always a way for us to do it. It´s not always the easiest way. But it´s always possible. Always.

Espero que tenham uma boa semana! Abraços para todo mundo! Até mais!

Elder Olivier!

Hello my Friends!

Here is Elder Olivier's email that he sent on March 14th:

Hi everyone!
This week was pretty crazy, as usual. One day this week my companion and I were walking and we smelled a horrible smell, so of course, we followed the smell and we found something CRAZY. It might not be something everyone would want to see (because you might get scared) so if you want to know what it was, send me an email and I´ll send the picture!!!! So suspenseful!!!!
This week was a super good week. We had a baptism, of the mother of two of the people we baptized last week. It was sweet. She was super happy, and after the baptism she told us not to give up on her two other daughters that still haven´t decided to be baptized. We told her not to worry, there is no way we´re giving up on them! haha.

Today we actually did something entertaining on our p-day  (besides cleaning our apartment, which is always a blast). We broke out the ping pong table that has never, ever been used that has always been in our church building (house.....). So we played ping pong and blasted church music. Because we´re that cool.
Being on a mission is definitely one of the best things I have ever done. Just being out here for 7(ish) months has changed my entire outlook on pretty much everything. So far, it has been the most humbling experience of my life. On my mission so far I have felt the happiest I have ever been, the saddest I have ever been, the most stressed out I have ever been, and the most comforted that I have ever been. Every emotion is an extreme. It´s the craziest thing that I have ever done. And probably the best thing I have ever done. Even though it has been a huge sacrifice, I´m so glad I came out here. Every single day I learn something new, and every single day my testimony of the gospel grows. The church is true!

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Olivier later sent the picture of the smelly thing they found!!  Yuck and scary!!  It was a gigantic dead snake!! (pictured below)

Elder Olivier also sent just us another photo that I don't want to necessarily post, but we must document these sort of things:)

Elder Olivier was responding to Mike's email where he felt bad for hitting a squirrel with his car.  Elder Olivier said this: 
 "Hi Family!  First of all, I heard you killed a squirrel and then felt bad, Dad. Well my companion and I killed two rats that have been in our apartment and we felt good! Heck yeah!" ~ Elder Olivier