Dear Mom and Dad,
Today was a good day for you to e-mail late, haha, because I didn´t get to e-mail until the afternoon today. This week we found a young man named Mateus, who´s the son of a less-active member who hasn´t gone to church in years. He went to church yesterday, and he´s marked to be baptized this Sunday! He´s super elect, and seemed to really like the church, and he comprehends our lessons so well. We know that his example will help his father come back to church, and the rest of family as well.
We´re also working with a 19 year old young man named Caio. I really like him a lot because he talks VERYYY clearly, haha. He´s also super intelligent. He´s currently studying to be a federal judge. He´s very
receptive, and we´re hoping that he too will accept to be baptized when we commit him tonight. He went to church yesterday, so that´s a sign of progression right there!
As for me, you can be assured that my testimony strengthens continuously every day. I´m doing my best to make the most of these 2 years (only 15+ months are left... wow!) That seems like a lot of time now, but I know it´s going to fly by.
As for Leah. Did they find out the gender of the baby??? I´m anxious to know once they find out!
I love you all so very much!! Stay strong and true to the faith! One thing that every companionship does in this mission is that when we arrive home at night, we pray, and after the "amen" we hug our companion and say "te amo, a Igreja é verdadeira" which means "I love you, the Church is true" haha. It´s a little ritual that we all do. But I love you all, and the Church of Jesus Christ is certainly true! I have no doubt, nor any way to doubt.
Dear Mom and Dad,
One more transfer has come and gone! And this transfer I´ll be staying in Valentina with Elder Borges, and the other two Elders in the house also stayed. So essentially nothing changed, ha ha, we´ll just keep working on in our area!
It was great to see everyone on Sunday! I can´t lie, I think I felt a little bit overwhelmed, because I had so much I wanted to tell you all, but it all seemed to have left my mind when I saw the family. I really do have a lot of great experiences, but it all just came at once, I didn´t know where to start! But the main thing is that I got to see everybody´s faces and hear your voices. That was very special for me.
It´s really starting to amaze me how fast time is flying by! I was thinking about it, and it seems like no time at all between Christmas and Mother´s day. But then again, I think about all that has happened in that 5 month period. I spent a month in Hooper, UT, flew for over 24 hours to arrive in João Pessoa, the mission I was called to over a year ago, met my trainer Elder Gilliam and had a wonderful time in Mangabeira, then got transferred to Valentina with Elder Castro, and then I stayed for another transfer (now two) with Elder Borges, and during all this time, I´ve become proficient in a foreign language, received continuous personal revelation, expanded my faith and testimony of the Restored Gospel, and helped shepherd precious children of our Heavenly Father into the fold of the True Church of Jesus Christ.
If there´s one gift I wish to bring back with me when I return home, it´s the gift of my testimony. I have the sacred opportunity to be a witness of our Savior, and that´s really caused me to reflect on who I am as a son of God, and how it will effect my life on Earth and in the Eternities. I was pondering the title "Elder" the other day, and I remembered the words of Elder Don Clark of the Seventy when he came to visit the Utah Ogden Mission while I was there. The title "Elder" is a title given only to Apostles, Seventies, and Full-time Missionaries who hold the sacred Priesthood of God. It signifies authority, and with the title comes the responsibility of being an official representative of the Church, and of the Savior himself. I have the same commission of the Apostles of old, to go out and preach the Gospel, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
I can feel that my perspective is being broadened, my mind enlightened, my body rejuvenated, my spirit sanctified. The cleansing fire of the Holy Ghost has a powerful effect when we submit ourselves to the will of the Father. That´s something I´m still beginning to comprehend. At the moment, I´m really still just acting on a seed of faith, as Adam did when he made sacrifices to the Lord without a full understanding of why. But at this time, all that matters is that I know without a doubt that what I´m doing is RIGHT. I like to think that I
have an extensive knowledge of the things pertaining to the Gospel, but I´ve found that the more I think I know, the more the Lord will humble me and show me how much I still have to learn.
I know that this Gospel is true, and that through the cleansing power of the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
all mankind may be redeemed from their sins. If only we are willing to accept his love, and endure to the end with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and repenting of our daily sins, making covenants with the Lord such as baptism and confirmation to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. There is always hope, and it is never too late so long as the Lord says there is time. I invite everyone to read Matthew 20 (the parable of the workers in the vineyard) and Moroni 4 and 5 (sacrament prayers). Always remember your covenants, and endure!
I love you all! I will continue to pray for you, and I ask for your prayers to help further this marvelous work!
On May 5, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
First off, Happy Birthday to Tom! It was Tuesday this past week, right? I hope I´m not off with the date, haha. But still, parabéns!
This week I´ve been doing a lot of thinking about how my mission is going to effect my life. I don´t know why, but my thoughts seem to have been dwelling on that subject this week. Everything I´m learning right now can be applied not only in this life, but in eternity. Everything we do in this life, when centered on the Gospel, is preparation for eternal life. I´ve been doing a lot of pondering on this subject, and it´s really quite an eye-opening subject. Also, I´m reading Jesus the Christ, and it´s amazing how much I´m learning about
our Savior and the example he gave us. I feel myself becoming more converted unto the Lord every day, and I find myself getting more and more happy as a result. My testimony gets strengthened by the day to day miracles, revelations, and applications of the Gospel that occur on the Lord´s errand.
The climate here is pretty static. A typical day is rain during the night, very hot in the morning, a little bit less hot during the afternoon (it´s weird, but that´s how it is. I think the sun is stronger in the morning as it rises from the east, maybe because of the ocean) and then after sunset it´s really quite pleasant. It rains occasionally during the day, and I love it when it does because it cools down dramatically. The rain here comes in waves, where generally it rains for 15-20 minutes, and then the raincloud passes and the sun
comes out, turning the air into a sauna, haha. As for the first question though, I´m well-acclimated by now. I've gotten used to sweating a LOT, almost constantly.
Mother´s Day is approaching! I´ll be Skyping at 5 pm YOUR time (7 pm MY time) from the house of our stake president. He lives at the end of our street, about 6 houses down. I´m assuming you´ll have the family
over for dinner, so it should work out well. I would have Skype ready to go at 4:50 or so, just to give a little slack time. I have 40 minutes to talk, so be prepared to skype for that amount of time. I´m excited to see everyone and hear your voices!
I´ll leave it at that for this week. I´ll see you on Sunday!!
On April 28, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well this week was good, but the baptism did fall through. Our investigator got sick on Thursday, but I feel like there´s something else going on besides just her health. We haven´t been able to talk to her since Thursday, despite the fact that we passed by 2 or three times a day for the past 4 days now. We both have this feeling that her husband is keeping us away, and possibly is talking ill of the church and of us. The adversary certainly has his ways. Elder Borges and I are really trying to stay positive, and we´ve made some new goals to help find new people and help our investigators make it to the gate of baptism. Needless to say, it´s been hard. April is the first month of my mission without a baptism. But the work always goes on! Many times in the scriptures, the most joyous moments come after the hardest and most challenging trials. Alma the Younger endured 3 days racked with eternal torment before he arose joyously, converted unto the Lord, becoming a great prophet in the Book of Mormon. The brother of Jared went through great chastisement for forgetting to call the name of the Lord, and later he saw the pre-mortal Savior face to face due to his exceeding faith. I know there are many great things to come!
I was thinking about Brandyn the other day, and I guess he´s still in Vegas. But I know that if he loves it there as much as I loved Utah, it isn´t too much of a trial waiting and serving there. However, I´m sure it still is hard. There are still 5 of the 8 missionaries in my MTC group waiting to come to João Pessoa, 4 of them being in Utah. I hope they make it soon. An interesting thing that they started doing the transfer after I arrived is all missionaries that receive they´re visa in the field go to the Brasil MTC for 2 weeks before reporting to
they´re designated mission. It´s sort of a transition period, and I think it´s a good idea. I don´t know if all Brasil missions are doing that, but I know ours is.
I think that at the time that letter was sent from President, there was a strike going on with the post offices in João Pessoa. That could have caused a delay. I really love President and Sister Nogueira. We had interviews a week and half ago, and Sister Nogueira sat down and talked with us individually as well. I really enjoyed getting to talk with Sister, she really takes care of all of the missionaries very well. She complimented me on my Portuguese as well, which was nice, haha :) I think I´ll be more or less fluent by the end of the next transfer. I´m to the point now where I can understand just about everything that isn´t totally abnormal. Also, the accent of the northeast is kind of the equivalent to a southern accent in the states, so that's still taking some adjusting to, haha.
As for Mother´s Day! That´s in 2 weeks! Wow the time flew by! It´s looking like it´ll be in the evening, probably around 5 pm YOUR time. I think the time change is only two hours, but to be honest I´m not
entirely sure. But I think it´ll work out great because I´m assuming you´ll have the family over for dinner on Mother´s Day, being that it is Sunday and all. I´ll be coordinating with members this week to set up a time and place to Skype. I´ll have more info next week. I´m very excited though!
That´s about all from me for this week. Just two more weeks til Mother´s Day AND transfers (again already?!?). It´s starting to frighten me how fast it´s flying, haha. I really love Valentina, I´d be happy to stay for another transfer.
Keep well! Love you!
On April 21, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
So this past week was very different, to say the least. First off, it was Holy Week (Semana Santa, how they call it here), which includes Easter, beer, and a loooot of fish. Also, the reason I´m emailing today and not yesterday is because yesterday was also a holiday called "tira dentes" which literally means "pull teeth". Maybe Matt knows more about it than I do; I still don´t understand exactly what they celebrate (dentists maybe? haha), but I know it must be a big deal, because everything was closed, including the lan houses. I honestly think it´s just a "recover from Easter hangovers" day. We got permission from President Nogueira to do emails today due to the holiday.
So good news! We have a baptism coming up this Sunday (possibly 2) of Marinese. We´ve been working with her for about a month or so now, and she finally received a clear answer to her prayers that she needs to baptized. Also, she has 9 children, so it´ll be great to bring in the whole family!
Sounds like things will be a lot different when I get back! Things sure are moving forward in life, and with that comes changes. I look forward to my future. Things really just seem a lot brighter and clearer. Of course, I still don´t know exactly what I´ll do when I get back, but I know there´s a time for everything, and I have faith that the Lord will provide.
The World Cup certainly is starting to buzz a little bit, but not a whole lot. I´m sure it will come May or June. I really hope the U.S. does NOT win, haha. But it´ll certainly be an experience to remember I´m sure!
I hope all is well! Love you all!
On April 14, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
One more week passes by!
It´s pretty incredible how fast the time is going now. It really is accelerating with every week and month. And I think it´s funny that you ask if this last transfer was even 5 weeks, because in reality it was the normal 6 weeks. Felt like just a few weeks at most! Haha, anyway, It´ll be easy to know when the next transfer is because it´s the wednesday after Mother´s Day (the 14th I believe). So this transfer will be our Skype time! I´ll start working on how, when, and where I´ll be doing that.
John e-mailed me to let me know of Nathan´s call!!! I got super excited to here that he got it, and he´s going to Chile!! I believe that´s the same mission that David Archuletta went to, although I think he´s already returned. Still! South America! He´ll be coming my direction, more or less.
So this week was pretty good, but now we´re really starting to try and think of new ways to find investigators, and help them commit. That´s the real issue that we have here, is having people willing to commit. It´s easy to find tons of people that will invite us in, listen to our message, accept invites and everything, but more times than not, things fall through when we follow up. But I´m excited! Elder Borges
and I compliment each other well, and we´re starting to be more creative. We will find success, according to the Lord´s will and on His own time. We are always doing our part however, so there are no regrets. That´s one thing I´ve noticed as I´ve been serving. When I´m on the Lord´s errand, and I serve faithfully and diligently, there is no way for me to feel any guilt or regrets regarding the welfare of my own soul. I feel so clean before God, and it´s a feeling that I want and have to guard and keep with me throughout my whole life. It truly is a wonderful calling to be a missionary. I now understand the importance of "becoming a missionary" for life. Because as a missionary, my task is to bring the same light and truth to others, as I know my own personal soul is in good standing before the Lord. It truly is a wonderful feeling.
We received a LOT of references for a lot of families this week, and we marked times to visit them with members and everything. I´m super excited for this week! Everything seems to be in place, now our task
is to execute.
As for myself and the diet/eating routine! We have lunch every day (except p-day) with members. It´s always rice, beans, and pasta, with a few variations on how it´s prepared. Often we have a salad with it,
and occasionally fresh fruit (pineapple of northeast Brasil is the best thing in the world). More often than not we have fresh juice of all kinds of different fruits, like lime, guava, acerola, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, etc. Also, sodas like Guaraná, Coke, and Fanta are very common. Probably the same things Matt had on his
mission. As for my weight, I´m pretty much the same as when I left. I fluctuate around 77 kilograms (I think it's around 170-175ish pounds?) I´m not entirely sure, but I´m pretty sure I´ll come back looking the same, minus the ridiculous tan I have, haha.
That´s about all from me this week. Also, It´s been about a month since I received a letter, so I´m sure I´ll get 1 or 2 this week at District Meeting. I look forward to them! I know I really need to send a handwritten letter now and then. I´ll try to get on top of that soon. But I love you all! I hope everything continues to be well in Fayetteville!
PS I met someone who served with Elder Young (Bryce) in Brasília! He had a picture and everything, haha. It really is a small world! I forgot his name, but I´ll find out.