Monday, July 25, 2016

Story time

Below is Elder Olivier's email that we received today!  He's doing well and shared an amazing story!

Hi everyone!

This week was super cool, like every single week! We did splits with the elders that work in downtown Manaus, so my companion went there and I stayed here in Manacapuru. We had a baptism in the middle of the week of one of our investigators, the mother of a boy and a girl that are already members. It was a really special baptismal meeting!

Recently we have been teaching a man named Marcos. We were knocking doors one day when we talked to a young man who was outside his house. We asked if we could talk to him and his whole family, and he led us behind the house, to another house. We thought he was going to go into that house, but he went around it too, so we followed him to a third house, a tiny house made of wood that was close to a kind of swampy area. We never imagined that there would be a house there. We talked to the young man´s uncle, and he was super surprised and said that no one has ever visited his house before. We marked an appointment with him to leave a message on another day and invited him to church. Long story short, he went to church (wait what, he went to church?!?!), he loved it, and we taught him about the Restoration. He pretty much told us that as soon as we knocked on the door he already knew that the church was true, because he had been praying to know which church he should follow. And when we visited his house it was an answer to his prayer. Holy cow. He accepted the invitation to pray about the Book of Mormon and to prepare to be baptized. We left, and came back another day. This time he told us a story. He said that he wanted to know FOR SURE that our visit was an answer to his prayer. He said that when he prayed, he asked God that if we are really true representatives of Jesus Christ, that God would send rain. 

In this time of the year here in Amazonas, rain is pretty rare, because it is the dry season. It hasn´t rained here for weeks.

But this week it rained. A lot.

So much that it kind of messed up our work for a couple of hours on Wednesday, and we were kind of like "darn you nature!" 

Marcos said that when he finished praying, it started raining. And when he told us this story, he was kind of going crazy because he was so happy. 

So that is probably one of the coolest things that has happened on my mission so far. Miracles are real, but they only happen after we show our faith in God. And Marcos has a lot of faith. 
Scripture! -> Ether 12:6. 

I hope you all have a great week! Tchau!

Élder Olivier!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Leadership Counsel

We received this email today.  

Hey everyone! 

So this week was another awesome week, as usual! We had a mission leadership counsel, so Élder Fernandez and I had to go to Manaus.....again! Yet another bus ride through the jungle. The counsel was super super spiritual. We left there super motivated to work even harder every day. 

Every day is like the same thing over and over but at the same time every day is so different. I love being on a mission!  <3

Also pictured: Brazil Nutella

Until next week! Falou abraço!

Élder Olivier!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hi Family!!!!

Below is Elder Olivier's email that we received today!  He doesn't have much time to email, especially since being Zone Leader and having to send a lot of reports to the AP's during his one hour that he gets on the computer each week.  This is what we got today just to us (his family):

Hi family!!!!!! 

Sorry I haven´t replied to this email for two weeks! I just completely forgot! hahaha. I always get carried away reading everyone's emails and looking at all the pictures that you guys send me! hahaha. 

I still have plenty of contact lenses! I´ll let you guys know way in advance if they start running out! The mosquitos are surprisingly not that much of a problem. They don´t really come into our house (I don´t know why, maybe because we usually keep it pretty clean?). Also I don´t have sunglasses or a hat, but nobody uses them. All of us (the four elders in our apartment) are thinking about getting hats just to be funny.....haha

That´s crazy that Hayden is already leaving on his mission! Time flies!

That´s crazy that Dad mowed the lawn! haha!

Being a zone leader is a little different than being a normal missionary (just a little). It´s kind of cool because we get to go to the mission leadership counsel once a transfer (it´s this wednesday) and we receive a training from President Castro. It´s super cool. And we eat a lot of pizza. It´s not american pizza (brazilian pizza doesn´t have tomato sauce) but it´s not bad. Our zone is the Rio Amazonas zone, aka the Amazon river zone. It´s all of the areas in between Manaus and Manacapuru, including part of downtown Manaus and the part of Manaus just over the giant bridge. The bus ride to Manacapuru is straight up through the jungle.

Our ward is great, even though we don´t get a ton of support from the members. Our lunch with the members falls through almost every day, but there are a few awesome families that are always willing to feed us no matter what day :). Other than that the ward here is a HUGE contrast from the branch I was in in Acre. There are activities almost every day (also- seminary is at night) and people are always playing soccer at the church. One of the greatest missionary tools the church uses with every single chapel in Brazil is a concrete soccer field. Everyone wants to play soccer there because it´s one of the best places in the city to play. We do a ton of contacting people at night at soccer. Also, the church is by far the prettiest building in the city. Sometimes, non members even will go to church on sunday alone just because it´s the coolest church. Haha. Some of the members in the ward have a really closed vision when it comes to missionary work, but the bishop has a really open vision. President Castro advises us to baptize our investigators on sundays (or on any other day really) after church because it´s way easier and better for the investigators, but there are a lot of members that don´t like having baptism on sundays. Luckily we have the bishop on our side! haha. He is really helpful in the missionary work. 

This part of my mission so far has been by far the best! I got a little sad when I found out I would leave my last area, because I loved it there. But Manacapuru is so awesome! Also (obviously) in this part of my mission I have been most comfortable with the language (until the point where weirdly when I speak english with the americans that are in our ward for a couple of weeks more than once people have asked me if I am an american or not). I have been translating a lot for the americans (every sunday after church we go with them to visit less-actives so I always translate for one of the groups) and translating from english to portuguese is way easy but portuguese to english....... está complicado. I know I have english somewhere way back in my brain but it´s hard to get it out.....haha 

We had a baptism this week! My eyes are closed in the picture, haha. I am continually amazed with how much faith the people here in the Brazil Manaus mission have. There are so many people that are willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. There are tons of people that are prepared to receive the gospel. The church grows so fast here!

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all! Love, Elder Olivier!

Tô ficando de boa no Brasil ainda

Below is Elder Olivier's email that he sent on the 4th of July!

Hello everyone!

So this week was awesome-as always. It was the last week of the transfer, but there were almost no changes made in our zone. So Élder Fernandez and I are staying here in Manacapuru! Heck yeah!

One of the biggest highlights of our week was going to the temple on wednesday. One of the coolest things about the temple here is that when we are arriving in Manaus accros the huge bridge over the rio negro, you can see the point of the temple coming up over the trees. Manaus is so blessed to have a temple. Sometimes everything gets so stressful on a mission but every time we go to the temple there is always a huge sense of calm. I have a testimony that at the temple the gap between the earth and the heavens is so small. I am so grateful for the temple and for the opportunity that the saints here in Manaus have to participate in the ordinances there. 

I can´t believe that I´ve almost been on my mission for a year! It´s so crazy. Coming on a mission is the best thing I have ever done. I haven´t regretted one second of it. God is real. The church is true.

Until next week!

Élder Olivier!

A cat that was just chillin by one of our recent convert´s house
The elders from our zone on our trip to the temple this week- and my companion taking advantage of the new missionaries-can-wear-sunglasses rule haha