A note from Mary: I apologize for getting so behind on updating this blog! I will keep up with it from now on! :)
On 29 October 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad, Family, and Friends,
Transfer day has come once again! This transfer has brought me back to the Stake/Zone where I started here in Brasil! I´m in an area called José Américo, in the Rangel Stake in João Pessoa. My new companion is Elder Bezerra from São Paulo! I´m way excited to work here this transfer! I love the Stake President, President Fabrício, here as well. We were neighbors back when I was in Valentina, haha.
So I didn´t get the chance last week, but now I can tell all about the baptism we had a week and a half ago! His name is Daniel, 22 years old. He was an ex-investigator years back when the Municípios Ward had Sisters. We knocked on his door (he lives very far away from the chapel) and we talked with him and taught him the lessons in the following days and he was baptized! He´s a great guy, and will be a great addition to the Elders Quorum, which is something the ward is needing a lot. It´s always hard to say goodbye to an area and all of the members and other people. But we put together a great Area Book with lots of work for the new elders to do!
That´s exciting to hear about the new Bentonville Stake! Now there just needs to be a Fayetteville Stake. It absolutely has the potencial to become a stake in the near future. I´m confident that with
concerted effort, that goal can be reached in no time! But it´s gonna take work, and it is not just the work of the full-time elders. The missionaries are instruments in preparing people to enter into the
waters of baptism, but the work goes much beyond the first covenant. There is also a lot of reactivating to do, not just there in Fayetteville, but in the entire world. The church, and consequently, the world, is shifting into a NEW ERA. The work of salvation is accelerating. There is nothing more true and more right than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a path we all must follow, and we all have an important part to play.
I testify that Christ lives. He is our Savior. God is our loving Heavenly Father. These are eternal truths of which the Holy Ghost bears witness.
So be happy!
As for the package, I can´t think of anything else at the moment. There was something I thought of, but I forgot, haha. Actually, some new socks would be great! They don´t have to be expensive or anything. Just a pack of normal, long black socks would be good. A lot of my socks are starting to have holes in them.
Send a hug to everyone for me! Especially the new nephews!
On 20 October 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Samantha sent me some pictures of Gavin and Bain. They really are adorable! I look forward to meeting them next year!
Also, thanks for sending some highlights from stake conference. President Bradford is correct in that we can do all things when we put our trust in the Lord.
Exciting to hear that there will probably be a few changes in the neighboring stakes. With Elder Bednar there I´m sure a division or realignment of some sorts is due.
I don´t have much more time this week due to a few emails I sent to other people, but just know that I love you very much! I testify that this work is true, and that the Restoration is advancing and filling
the Earth more and more, and at a quickened pace, than ever before.
On 13 October 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
That´s exciting to know about Gavin and Leah and Tyler! I´m sure it´ll be great to visit out there in Idaho.
Also, Dad will have to tell me about anything new concerning Stake conference. Even I was thinking about how some changes maybe are due. But who knows!
I´m hoping I´ll get to watch "Meet the Mormons" sometime soon! Sometimes when we have mission conferences we get to watch a church or gospel related movie. But I don´t know if there is a portuguese translation yet. I guess we´ll see!
As for the work in the Lord´s vineyard here in Brasil! This past week was certainly a week of trials. I got to thinking that it seems that the more obedient and diligent I am, the more pressure the Lord
applies and the more trials of faith he sends. To be honest, I´ve felt a lot like Job this transfer, haha. It seems like every week brings a new plague. Week one, I had a terrible rash all over my body, and I
was itching like crazy! Luckily, I´m better now. Week two, the water tank in our house had a problem, and so the water was contaminated and had this reddish brown color to it. Week three, it rained a looooot and the part of the gutter outside our bedroom is broken, and so our room was flooded, which was quite a headache. Week four, our house was infested with cockroaches, and we discovered the hive under our bookshelf where we keep our proselyting materials. We´ll see what this
week brings us! I just hope that this transfer doesn't end with my companion dying, because he is the firstborn son in his family.
Needless to say, life isn't always easy! But I've learned through many trials that it is important to always be grateful in our circumstances, regardless of the trials or even the blessings.
I hope all is well back home! Send a big hug to Gavin for me! And always I think of Bain and everyone else as well!
Love you all very much!
On 6 October 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Firstly, Happy Birthday Dad!! I forgot to mention it in last week´s email, but I remembered this week, haha. Also, say Happy Birthday to Mary for me, I forgot to tell her a couple of weeks ago as well.
Gavin is adorable! And SUPER blonde, although I already expected that. :) What day was he born exactly? That´s cool that it´s close to your birthday Dad (or maybe the same?)
I enjoyed conference very much! I was hoping to watch in English, but due to technical difficulties it didn't work out. But I was able to understand everything just fine. I really enjoyed President Eyring´s
talk in the Sunday morning session. I´d have to say that that was my "favorite", although they were all excellent as always! Sister McConkie´s talk was also outstanding. I noticed that many of the talks were directed towards trusting in the Prophet and in the revelation that the leaders in the Church receive. Maybe because that´s something that's faltering in these latter days. I can say for certain that my personal testimony of the living Prophet and Apostles has been strengthened. Also, I really like the new element they introduced that allows speakers to speak in their native languages. It was really cool to hear Elder Godoy speak in Portuguese! I know that everyone here was very excited about that, haha. It was basically the first time that these people were able to hear a conference address without having a translator. It´s easier to concentrate when what the speakers are saying and what their lips are doing match up, haha. And it was an excellent talk as well! Elder Godoy asked an inspired question that I noted: "Will the promised blessings in my patriarchal blessing be fulfilled in the manner that I´m living?" That made me think a lot about my patriarchal blessing, and last night I reviewed my blessing to remind me of all of the blessings that have been promised to me.
Another topic that was discussed multiple times took me a bit by surprise, but now that I think about it, is really essential. That is the law of the fast and of fast offerings. It was powerful the way Elder Holland reminded us of the blessings promised by the Savior to the poor and needy, and also how those who are capable are commanded to serve and to give of ourselves to those who are in need.
I hope you received many inspiring revelations from this conference as I did! I look forward to the November Liahona so that I can reread and study more the talks that were given.
As for news from me and the work, we had another baptism on Saturday! It was of a woman named Maria! We´ve been working with her for a few weeks now, and this past week we were able to help strengthen her testimony of the restored gospel and prepare herself to make the first covenant of baptism! She was so happy during the baptismal service! I know she´ll be a great member in the Lord's Kingdom. I´ll attach a picture with the email.
That about wraps it up for this week! I´m really looking forward to this week. Our new bishop has a lot of new plans to forward the work in the ward. We´re looking at starting a new group by November that could potentially be a branch by February! I hope I stay for one more transfer to see this all work out, but we´ll see about that!
Love you all!!
On 29 September 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
This past week was very busy as far as the work goes. We´re working very hard, and we´re starting to see a lot of progress with the ward leaders and the members. The sacrament meeting attendance in the past month has been increasing rapidly! Just three weeks ago it was about 90, and then it went to 116, 125, and yesterday was 137! Our goal is to have a weekly average of 150 by the end of the year, but it looks like we´ll be able to accomplish much more!
As far as cultural experiences, this is election week here in Brasil! And it´s really pretty crazy to see all of the huge groups that form in the park with all of the loud speakers and music and fireworks. But
it´s an experience to say the least, haha.
I do have an oil vial! A member got me a new one when he went to the temple a few weeks ago. I thought of one more thing that I´d like, by the way! A roll of duct tape, because it´s impossible to find here, but it would really come in handy. It would certainly help keep our room from flooding every time it rains, haha. Also, I need more pictures of the family! Especially now that we have new members of the family!! The members here always like to ask me to show pictures of my family :) Exciting to hear about Leah! I´ll need some pictures of new baby Gavin!
You´ll have to tell me about the movie, Meet the Mormons! I read about it in the Liahona, but I didn't know it would be coming out in normal theatres! That´s way cool! I´ll have to watch it after the mission.
I guess that´s about it from me. I´m looking forward to conference this weekend!! I´m sure it´ll be a great refresher to hear from our living prophet and apostles. I sure am grateful for the modern revelations that come directly to us from Heavenly Father!
Love you all!
On 22 September 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Sounds like fall is starting to settle in back home. It´s pretty much the same here in Brasil, haha. Hot and hotter.
So I can tell that this transfer will bring a lot of changes and progress! Elder Lowe and I are working very hard and diligently to help the work here. And the Municipios Ward has a new Bishop as well!
I think I´ve already mentioned a few times in past e-mails about Sergio, who was our young mens president and who helps us a whole lot with the work here. Well now he´s Bishop Arruda! This was sort of a surprise to everyone actually, but I´m very excited to see how things get going and what new changes are made. He´s very young too, being no more than 30 years old or so. But he has a lot of energy, he´s a very very active member and Priesthood bearer, and I know he has a lot of support from the ward members. I have a personal connection with him as well, because he actually lived in Ogden, Utah for 4 years where he graduated from High School. I told him about some of my experiences from serving in the Ogden Mission, and he actually still has family that lives there!
I´m very excited for this transfer! Also, since we have 2 american missionaries again in the ward, we're going to start teaching an english class on saturday nights! I love doing english classes, it´s
always a lot of fun. Also, I´m getting to the point now that people are saying I´m starting to speak more like a Brasilian! They say my accent is really coming along, and that my portuguese is almost
"perfect", so that´s very encouraging to me! After many months of struggling, I´m in the threshold of fluency now. I´m excited to see what a whole other year brings along, beyond just the language!
Sounds like the Hogs soundly defeated Northern Illinois. I´m beginning to think that the Razorbacks must be in the top rankings for offense and points scored, because every game is a high score! We´ll see what happens with Texas A&M...
As for letters, it seems like it takes about a month or so to get into my hands. But I recently got your July letter, and so the August one should be coming soon!
Love you all very much!! Have a blessed week!
On 17 September 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well it seems like this past week was a great week! That´s exciting to hear that Elder Young will finally get to Brasil! He´ll do great when he gets here, I´m sure. And the Hogs won again!! Sounds like they´re doing much better this year.
I´m sad to hear that Brother Greenwood passed away. I have a lot of pleasant memories of visiting them and offering the sacrament in their home. But 94 years is a long long time! I´m sure Sister Greenwood is staying well.
As for me, WE HAD A BAPTISM!!! Her name is Jessicka (yes, with c AND k in the name, haha), and her story is quite interesting! She´s 25 years old, and she started investigating the church eight years ago, but quickly lost interest. Her then-12-year-old brother, William, however, ended up being baptized, and was soon followed by their younger brother, Wendyl. Five more years passed by, and then their mother was baptized too! Then about 3 weeks ago, William left on his mission to Curitiba, BUT due to some problem with the university he was attending, he had to return after only spending 10 days in the MTC. When we saw that he´d returned we felt a strong impression that there was a great purpose, beyond just going back to school til the end of the year. It was when we were at lunch at their house that we brought up Jessica and how we felt that William had returned to baptized his
sister who introduced him to the church! And when she came home, we asked her (as we always did) when she would be baptized. She laughed a little, and she said, nooooooo I don´t think so. She entered the house, and literally two minutes later, she came back and said, no...I´ll be baptized. What day can we do it? We were a little caught off guard! But we quickly responded next saturday!! She had already been to church many many times, had already taken the discussions, so we just topped it off with a revision, did the interview, and she was baptized AND confirmed this past weekend!
So this experience just goes to show that some people are prepared for many many years, and when the right time comes, it´s miraculous how immediately people can change.
As for the transfer, I´ll be staying in the Municípios ward for another transfer! And my new companion is Elder Lowe from Washington (state)! He´s an excellent missionary! I´m excited to work with him!!
Anyway, that´s it from me! Love you all very much!!
On 8 September 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Happy Grandparents´ Day! I didn´t know there was actually an official holiday for that, to be honest, but now I know!!
I´m so glad to hear that the work is starting to move forward significantly in the YSA ward! I get excited every time I think about the work of the Lord back home, and how much I´m going to want to
continue being a missionary when I return. But right now, I am very concentrated on the work here in the Municípios ward! To be honest, it´s been quite a struggle here for the past two months. But I can
tell that it´s beginning to move forward slowly. Our young men´s presidente, Sergio, is helping us very much, and yesterday he gave an excellent lesson during priesthood, which was quite a wake up call to say the least. It was exactly what everyone needed to hear, and now I feel more motivated, personally, to work more diligently.
As far as news, I think all I have to say is that these past two days have been the wettest since I´ve been on the mission. It started raining saturday night, and it hasn´t stopped since! I´m currently
sitting in the lan house, completely soaked from the walk over here! But I have to admit, the rain is still much better than the Paraíban sun!
Great to hear that the Hogs stomped Nicholls State this weekend! Sounds like they´re making progress! I hope they have a good year, at least a decent bowl game at the end.
And as far as Christmas requests, I´ve thought about a few things I´d like, if possible. One, is another jar of peanut butter, haha. Any brand is fine. Some american candy would be great too! Skittles,
Starburst, Jelly Bellies, Mikenikes, Sourpatch Kids, any kind of candy of that sort. Also, a common snack that american missionaries like to get is Beef Jerky, and it´s popular with all of the brasilians as
well, haha. Aside from candy and snacks, I realized some time ago that I didn´t bring an english hymnal (one of those pocket ones), so if there´s any way to get one of those, I´d really enjoy singing some hymns in english from time to time! I have a new favorite hymn by the way! Number 217 (I think), Come Let Us Anew, especially the third verse. "Oh that each in the day of our Savior may say, 'I have fought my way through; I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do.' Oh that each from the Lord, may receive the glad word, 'Well, and faithfully done. Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.'" These lyrics honestly brought me to tears as I envisioned standing at the final judgment, and hearing those words from the Savior.
That´s really about all I could think of as far as Christmas goes. No wait! I thought of one more thing! This is optional, because I don´t know how available they are, and I don´t know how much they cost. If you find a Pitch Pipe (one of those round metal harmonica type things that have all of pitches. I´m guessing you´re familiar with them already) it would be really useful to use at lessons, family nights,
mission meetings, and in the house. Only if you run across one at some time!
That´s about it from me for this week! Send a hug to everyone in the family and the ward! Also, I just received Elder Jackson´s e-mail that brother Lawson forwarded to me! He looks and sounds great down in the Chile MTC! That´s exciting for him.
Love you all very much!
ps. I almost forgot! HAPPY ONE-YEAR MISSION ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!! I´ve been out here for a YEAR?!?! That´s incredible! And very hard to believe! The time surely is flying by, haha.
On 1 September 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Football season is headed off then, eh? Hopefully the Hogs have a more successful year!
This past week, I came to the realization that I had almost entirely forgotten about one thing. And I am sure this attributes to the lower rate of success we´ve had in this area. I had forgotten to use my
spiritual gifts. I haven´t been singing! This realization came to me when we left with the young men's president in our ward, Sergio, last night. We were with him for about an hour and a half, and we simply sang hymns to people! 100% of the people that we sang for accepted a visit during this week. So to start off the week, we have 7 new investigators, and 2 families, just from singing! Music really has a powerful effect on people, and it invites the Spirit so well!
This week I´m sending e-mails to a few more people, so this e-mail will be a little bit shorter. But I just wanted to share that testimony building experience! And it certainly reminded me to use my
We´ve made a little progress on the cleanliness in our house, which means Elder Kamilos is a little less stressed, haha.
All in all, this week was good, and I know this week will be even better!
Love you all!
On 25 August 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well this past week was Mission Conference, where my mission president, President Nogueira, and his wife spoke, as well as President Carboni, who is a counselor in the mission presidency. We also had the Santa Rita Stake Conference!! It was there that we had Elder Leal, an Area Authority Seventy, speak, as well as some leaders of the Stake, and President and Sister Nogueira! I´d like to share a few highlights from both conferences in this weeks e-mail!
From the mission conference: President Carboni spoke on some of the lessons he learned from his
full-time mission. Some of those lessons related to unity in the missionary companionship. He mentioned how the missionary companionship is in similitude to one of the fundamental doctrines of
the Gospel, the first Article of Faith, being The Godhead. He pointed out that how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose, we too, in our companionships, should always have the Spirit, and be united in purpose.
Sister Nogueira spoke mainly on some of the temporal needs of the missionaries, specifically CLEANLINESS. And I am SO happy that she spoke very clearly on this subject, because I am generally the only one in the house that cleans, does dishes, organizes my clothes and personal items, etc. But she made it very clear that cleanliness is a part of the mission, and that in a sense is also a commandment. God is a God of order, and in order to have the Spirit with us, me must be clean spiritually (i.e. Worthiness) as well as clean temporally. How grateful I am for Sister Nogueira!
President Nogueira gave an inspired talk on the importance of working with and strengthening recent converts and less actives, as has been the focus of the mission for awhile now. He discussed the importance of Lesson 5: Laws and Ordinances in Preach My Gospel, and how sometimes this lesson gets overlooked. Many missionaries prepare the investigator for baptism, but afterwards let go and neglect this important lesson. He pointed out that this is one of many reasons why the retention rate is so low in many areas of the Church, and that the teaching of lesson 5 WILL help to improve this problem, along with the cooperation of the members in integrating recent converts and other members.
From the Stake Conference: Sister Nogueira directed her talk towards the members of the stake and
emphasized the importance of the members´ role in the work of the Lord. She said "Missionary work is not only the 'work of the missionaries.'" And how correct she is. She said the we must not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, and that we must share it in every instance. Also, another phrase that she says often that I love, "Every church speaks of Christ, but it is of only one Church that Christ
speaks!" One Lord. One Faith. One Baptism.
President Nogueira again addressed us during Stake Conference, and he spoke to the members about their very important role in helping to retain new converts. He used an example given in PMG of a letter that President Hinckley received from a recent convert who had not been received so well into the Church, but after seeking guidance from the mission president in that area, became firm in the Gospel. It was from this letter, as well as other instances, that President Hinckley gave the inspired message about the three things a recent convert needs: a friend, a calling/responsability, and to be nourished by the good word.
And finally, Elder Leal! There are many things that he spoke on, but for the sake of time I´ll just include some of the things that I noted down. I think the most impactful lesson that I learned from him is the importance and sacredness of the family. He spoke of the importance of making our home a place where the Spirit always resides, and when we keep our covenants and obey the commandments, our home can be a sanctuary from the world. As it says in True to the Faith, the home is the only place on Earth that is compared to the sacredness of the temple.
I´m just about out of time, so I´ll cut it there! As for the peanut butter, I still have about 2/3 of the jar left! I´m being extra careful, haha.
I love you all very much!! Until next week´s news!
On 18 August 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
So this week was honestly a bit slow. We´re having a lot of challenges with finding new investigators, for it is a fairly small area and there have been missionaries here for a pretty long time, so the area has been pretty well "burned" as we say here. But there´s still two investigators with whom we´re working with for some time now that are are getting close to being baptized. One of them is Ana. She´s dating one of the recent converts in the ward, and recently she´s started investigating the church because she feels like there are so many unanswered questions in her life to which she would like answers, and she said that she´s already received many answers since she´s been investigating the church. Of course, we´ve already made the invite to be baptized, and seeing that she´s making a lot of progress, I have hope that she will be baptized very soon.
So you got the email from Brother Williams already! It was quite a surprise to see a whole family of Americans in our ward yesterday, haha. They were easy to spot, because they´re all very blond and pale compared to the brasilians here. I went up to introduce myself, and I found out that they were with their son who served in this area some time ago. They were super nice, and I had the opportunity to orally translate for the first time during sacrament meeting! It was very hard, and not because of the portuguese, but the english, haha. I just am not accustomed to speaking english, and so I stumbled quite a bit as I tried to think of the right words to say. But I managed, and it was a cool experience! And when they told me that they brought peanut butter for the american Elders, I got SOOOO excited!! So now I have a brand new jar of peanut butter, and I am very happy because of that! I never knew how much I love peanut butter, until it became unavailable to me. I think there´s an important lesson in that! Haha.
I forgot to mention this last week, but Happy Father´s Day!! That may seem VERY late, but actually Father´s Day is the second Sunday of August here in Brasil, so it was last week! That being said, I´d like to thank you, Dad, for being such an outstanding example to me as a father and as a worthy priesthood holder. I know that´s had a deep effect in my life, especially now as I´m serving a full-time mission. I know that your example of being a member missionary in the YSA ward is helping the work of the Lord progress back home as well. I love you Dad!
Time is running out for me, so I´ll end my e-mail here. I hope all is well back home and that Bain is growing up healthy and strong and happy!
Love you all!
On 11 August 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has had a few challenges to say the least, but I´ll start with some of the good things! The Book of Mormon challenge is going very well. My question is, "What can I learn from the examples of Book of Mormon disciples, and how can I apply what I learn as a missionary?" It´s a mouthful but I´m hoping for a lot of great and specific answers. I already have received much revelation as I´ve been doing it!
As for a few of the challenges. We were stuck at home for a couple of days due to some health problems that Elder Vieira has had, but we´ll be going into João Pessoa tomorrow to go to the doctor and get things worked out. I had the opportunity to give him a priesthood blessing, and we know everything will work out just right. He´s okay, it´s just a few minor issues and shouldn´t give us any problems from now on.
We did leave to work yesterday evening however, and it was one of the best nights since I´ve been here! We left the house, and to be honest we were feeling a little bit lost. We began to walk up the street, when suddenly the high priest group leader in our ward came walking up behind us. He asked us if we had any plans, and we told him that we actually didn´t have any marked appointments and were planning on visiting some less-active members. He said "great! i know a few people we can visit, if you want to accompany me" so we agreed and went with him. First, we visited a member with whom we´ve had a harder time trying to come back to church. He´s a former bishop, but has been inactive for quite some time now. We sat down, and we shared a message related to King Benjamin´s address and the importance of growing in the gospel united as a family. At the conclusion, he said that he had been thinking a lot lately about the story of Kind Benjamin, and that in the moment that we were sharing our message and discussing the principles of the address, he had felt a desire to return to church. He said that he has a testimony of the church, and that he knows it´s
true, but he hasn´t been doing what he needs to do to keep it. He stated, quite resolutely, "I´ll go to church this sunday." And there wasn´t the slightest hesitation when he said it. I felt so touched by
the spirit, and I realized the stark difference it makes when we have a willing member at our side to help us.
This is one of the many fruits of missionary work! Seeing and helping inactive or less-active members return to church and come back into the loving arms of the savior. There are many, many lost sheep out there. We have the responsibility as disciples of Christ, to help those who have strayed from the path back into the fold of God.
In our Zone Conference this past week, I was introduced to a scripture that beforehand had never caught my attention, but now it´s impossible to forget. Jacob 1:19 (and I´m translating, because I don't have my english scriptures with me right now) says "And we magnify our office to the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility to answer for the sins of the people if we do not teach them with diligence the word of God; thus, working with all of our strength, their blood shall not stain our garments; on the contrary, their blood would fall upon our garments and we would not be declared spotless at the last day." It might vary a tiny bit in english, but it gets the point across. This scripture opened my eyes dramatically to my duty as an ordained priesthood holder and set-apart missionary. If I do not work diligently to help bring the people in my area to repentance and to hear the gospel, I shall be held responsible at the last day for what I could have done but didn´t do. This is a wake-up call to me and to all holders of the priesthood, to magnify our callings and do all that we can so that we may stand spotless before God at the day of judgment.
I pray every day to do better than the previous. And I can feel the Holy Ghost working along side with me as I fulfill my duty.
I love you all so much!! Until next week!
On 6 August 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Happy Transfer Day!!! I will be staying in Municípios with Elder Vieira this transfer, and that means I´ll be his last companion on the mission! He told me that what he needs me to do is not let him die,
haha. So I´ll be working a little extra hard this transfer to keep my companion alive! But it´ll be great. I really love this area, and the work is going well. We may not have a large pool of progressing investigators (yet) but we have a great relationship with the members and leaders of the ward, and we're having a lot of success with helping less active members get back to church and also strengthening the recent converts. A vast majority of the recent converts are youth here, so it´s a lot of fun building relationships with them. Our principal goal is to work with their family members that aren´t baptized so that we can complete their families and get them on the road to the temple.
I get so happy everytime I get an email about Bain and Tom and Lacey, and also Leah and Tyler and their son on the way! It´s exciting to know that the family is growing. I have so much to look forward to when I get back!
I´m really loving my mission more and more everyday. And today I´ve made a few personal goals! It relates to a challenge given by Elder Bednar in a devotional he gave at the MTC a few years back. The challenge is this: Ask a specific question concerning the Gospel, grab a standard, missionary copy of the Book of Mormon, write the question in the front of the Book of Mormon and then read it cover to cover, marking every scripture that relates to this particular question. By the end of the reading, he promises that not only will the question be answered, but we will receive much additional revelation concerning that specific topic. He then said to repeat the process with another question. My goal is to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, in portuguese, by the end of the transfer. That means aproximately 6 chapters a day, but I believe that I can do it! I have my hour of personal study, as well as another hour or so at night before bed. I have faith that I will be blessed and that I will receive much revelation to help the Municípios Ward grow.
That being said, I´d like to extend this challenge to you, Mom and Dad, as well as the family and anyone else that you may invite! Not the part about 6 chapters a day, but the principal challenge, reading the Book of Mormon with a specific question. I promise that you will receive much revelation as you do this!
That´s about all from me this week. We have a new missionary in the house! His name is Elder Costa, from Bahia, Brasil. Elder Melo (from São Paulo, Interlagos Mission) was transferred today. I'll miss him a lot, he was a lot of fun. But Elder Costa seems super cool too! I´m still the only american in the house, which is great, because I almost never speak English, except a few words here and there with my companion when he wants to learn or practice his English.
Love you all!!! And stay warm! Low to mid 50s sounds freezing to me now, haha.
On 28 July 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Bom dia, boa tarde, boa noite!
Dear Mom and Dad,
Transfers are (already)next week, so you won´t hear from me until next Wednesday, August 6th.
Things are starting to pick up here in the Municípios ward! We met with the ward council yesterday and set some great goals to work with each organization. We´ll be dedicating time every day to find less actives and recent converts to help strengthen them and keep them going to church. Along with that, we have three new families that we are working with now, and one of the couples is legally married! Matt could tell you that that´s a miracle in itself, haha. But one of the other families has plans to marry in august. So we´ll be really focusing on these families from now on! I´ll let you know of any baptismal dates and all that. Also, I really hope I stay here with Elder Vieira, especially considering this next transfer will be his last in the mission. I absolutely love my companion, and I think it would be really cool to be his last. He told me that I need to help him not die early as far as just running out of steam. So part of me is hoping I´ll stay with him, but another part of me is hoping for a leadership or training position, but really, I´ll be happy with whatever happens in the transfer. I just want to fulfill my missionary purpose every day.
I have a testimony of this work, and it grows every day. I love you all so much! I hope all is well back home!
Until next wednesday!
On 21 July 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
So I just got word that 2 former investigators that Elder Castro and I began teaching in Valentina were baptized this week! Cecilia and her son, Lazaro. That makes me happy to know that although we don´t always see immediate success, we can have faith that many of the seeds weplant will one day blossom.
I´m glad that Leah and Tyler´s apartment wasn´t flooded! We´ve been getting some pretty good rainfall here as well. It rains most nights, and about every other day, more or less.
I´ll make sure to check my bank account soon. I don´t want it to stop working or something.
Love you all so much, the church is true!
On 7 July 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
So this week comes with quite a twist! We received a phone call last night that Elder Loveland would be emergency transfered to Mamanguape (another zone) today, so my time with him was limited to less than two weeks. I was very sad to see him go. He´s one of the mission´s best missionaries, and we were getting things started really well in this area. This area is super good, and I know he was really enjoying it here. I stayed in Municípios however, and my new companion.... is ELDER VIEIRA!!! Hahaha, I don´t believe it. I don´t know if you recognize the name, but he was my District Leader a few transfers ago, and we lived together for that transfer. We got along super super well, so I´m really excited to work with him this transfer. It´s possible that I´ll be his last companion, as he only has 2 transfers left, including this one. He´s very active and positive, and he´s a ton of fun.
Unfortunately, our caving adventure will be pushed back one more week due to the tranfer this morning. But I´m determined to explore these caves! From the description, it sounds absolutely amazing. The biggest cave has a room that´s 10 meters high, with a waterfall and a crystal clear pool of water.
I´m super excited to hear all about baby Bain!! We´ll have a new little member of the family! I´ll need some photos or something so I can see him, haha. :)
So we had our first baptism in the area on Saturday! It was a young woman named Amanda. Her sister was recently baptized, so we all helped her prepare to follow that example. It was a great moment, especially because her mother, who is not a member, was able to attend. We look forward to having much more success in this ward.
I certainly have a testimony of the Lord´s hand in our lives. It seems that things always turn out the right way when we do what is right and follow God´s will. Also, I have a testimony of the importance of the members of the church in missionary work. It´s very clear that when the members work with the missionaries, success comes much more readily. Our young men and women programs our very strong here, and I know it´s because the presidents of those organizations are truly magnifying their callings.
HAPPY 4th OF JULY TOO!! It was a great day here as well. Brasil beat Colombia (which gave us a good fireworks show to celebrate) and after the game we had a ward party to celebrate São João! There were a ton of people there, including non-members and less-actives. We had some good old Forró music (which is like the folk music of the northeast), and it was a lot of fun.
Hope all is well back home!
Love you all!!
Dear Mom and Dad,
I love Municípios!!! The ward here is absolutely wonderful, and the members are just the best! Our ward mission leader, Marcelo, already has a vision for the work here, and has already come up with some excellent plans that we´ll jump on board with right away. We picked up ELEVEN references all at once from a member here yesterday, so that´ll help fill our schedule here real quickly. Not to mention that the missionaries before us baptized 12 people in the last three months, most of them being youth around 16 years old or so. The youth program here is very strong, and just from experience I know that they had so much success with youth because the presidents of the young men and women are magnifying they´re callings. That´s how it is in missionary work. The wards that have the most success are the ones who have members and leaders who are doing they´re part. One could be the greatest missionary in the world, but without unity between missionary and members, it´s very difficult to have success.
Also, I feel like my English is starting to deteriorate a little bit, as far as the grammar goes, haha. Please excuse any errors. One thing I´ve realized this week is that blessings come much more quickly when we act willingly. There seemed to be a large leap in my language skills with this transfer. I thought about why this might be, and I realized it´s because I have an American companion, and yet we are willingly speaking ONLY portuguese. And the gift of tongues has been so abundant because of it. I remembered something I heard Elder Bednar say about fasting when he came to North Little Rock to speak to YSA´s He recounted an experience he had in Africa, when a recent convert bore her testimony in a church meeting. This sister said "brothers and sisters, a fast is more than just going a day without eating. That´s quite common for us. True fasting is when we HAVE food, and we CHOOSE not to eat it." I realized that this applies to the Gift of Tongues. Elder Loveland and I have the ability to speak English all day long, but the fact that we´re only speaking Portuguese all day, every day, has brought so many blessings. I´ve already gotten more compliments for my Portuguese in 5 days here than I have my entire mission up til now. One recent convert we talked to for about 20 minutes straight said I seem like I´m from the south (of Brasil). That´s the first time someone´s said that!!! Needless to say, I´m gaining a lot more confidence, and it´s much more easy to open my mouth, and I have absolute certainty that I´m very very blessed in many ways.
The World Cup is going great! Brasil is still in, and the US plays Belgium today or tomorrow (I don´t remember when). The Cup doesn´t bring any problems here. President Nogueira gave us permission to watch the games of Brasil, so we have a ton of fun watching with members. The next game is this Friday, July 4th!! That´s going to be an awesome day, because we have the game at 5, and then a ward party for São João at 7! So we´ll be "celebrating" independence day in our own Brasilian way, haha. I forgot to mention São João!! São João is one of the major holidays here in Brasil, or at least in the Northeast. The actually holiday was on the 24th of June, but the festivities are still going on. Some of the traditions include fires in the streets (yes, FIRE), fireworks, and lots and lots of corn.
There´s a ton of corn foods, and I absolutely love it! There´s one called canjica, which is kind of like corn pudding with cinnamon on top. It´s sweet, and really really good. I´ll have to send some pictures of some of the festivities!
I´m super excited for the work here! I have a feeling this is gonna be an amazing transfer with lots of success! Also, there are some caves nearby that we´re planning on exploring with our Bishop next p-day. Adventure time!! Sounds pretty cool.
Love you all!!! And I look forward to next week!
On 25 June 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
In contrast to the last transfer, where virtually nothing seemed to change, it seems that just about everything changed this transfer. I´ve left Valentina, along with all of the other 3 missionaries that were with me. Elder Wisner ended his mission and goes home early tomorrow morning. And I have been sent to serve in the Municípios ward in the Santa Rita stake/zone. My companion, Elder Loveland, is the district leader here, and he´s also the first companion that I´ve had that is younger than me (19 years old). He turns 20 this transfer though, so we´re definitely gonna celebrate, haha. Our whole district is actually very young, in terms of mission time. Elder Loveland has the most time and he´s just barely over a year. Elder Melo also has about a year, and then there´s me and Elder Perkins (one of the Elders from my MTC group!!!) who each have 9 1/2 months. The rest have months or less. As far as companionships, Elder Loveland and I have the most combined time, and it's still less than two years, haha. But everyone I´ve talked to has said that he´s an excellent missionary and a batizador (baptizer!). I´m way excited to work hard and learn a lot this transfer! Funny thing is that people say that the Santa Rita zone is kind of the "whirlpool" zone, because once you get in, it seems impossible to leave, haha. But I´m anticipating a wonderful next few transfers here in Municípios, so I won´t want to leave.
Well it seems that everyone is just all over the place back home! Mary and Michael in Europe, Samantha and Matt and Jessica in California, and of course, I traveled a little bit on the transfer as well. I´m glad that Mary and Michael didn´t get their passports and credit cards stolen, that´s a blessing.
So the highlight of this last week was the wedding and baptism of the couple that Elder Wisner and Elder Landro taught. There was such a great feeling, and although it rained the entire day almost nonstop, it was really quite a wonderful evening. The ceremony was very simple, and I know that they know they´ve made the best decisions of their lives.
Also, when is Lacey due?? Should be any day now right? I´m really looking forward to the news of my first nephew! Meu primeiro sobrinho!! Estou muito animado! And Leah as well! I´m eager to find
out the gender of their baby, as I´m sure they are as well.
All is well with me here in Brasil! We´ll see what adventures Municípios brings around this next week!
On 16 June 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I´m sorry you didn´t get my e-mail from last week. It appears that maybe it didn´t send. I´ll double check to make sure you get this e-mail!
Brazilian Carrot Cake is SOOOO good! That sounds exactly like the carrot cake they have here!
So this week was a little different, haha. But the big news is that Carol, our (former) investigator, was baptized yesterday!!! Woohooooo!! Só batiza! Also, Elder Wisner and Elder Landro, the other
missionaries in our ward, baptized a man named Leandro last week, and they have an elect family that will be married and baptized next Monday! All of this, along with Mateus being baptized three weeks ago, is (hopefully) really lighting a fire in Valentina, and I hope it´ll animate the members and missionaries alike. Elder Wisner is super excited, because he goes home this transfer on the 25th, so he´s ending his mission with a marriage and baptism on the 23rd, just two days before he leaves. Great way to go out of the mission field!
That all being said, it´s crazy to believe that ANOTHER transfer has flown by! The next e-mail from me will come next Wednesday, the 25th. We´ll see where this next one takes me! All of the Elders that I live with are guessing that I´m going to be made exec. secretary, because the current secretary has already passed 4 transfers, and because they say I look like Jim from the t.v. show "The Office" haha. That, and my trainer, Elder Gilliam, was exec secretary, and also because Matt was secretary in São Paulo, so they say it´s in my family AND mission heritage. To be honest, I really hope I´m NOT made secretary. It sounds like a tough gig, haha. But I´ll go where I´m called!
Hey, so Elder Borges will send you pics from the baptisms of Mateus and Carol! You may notice that Mateus isn´t in baptismal clothes...that´s because I forgot to take a picture at his baptism, so I took
one with him at Carol´s, haha. I´ll have to get you all of the other scores of photos I have.
Jessica´s an All-American!!!! That´s exciting news!! Parabéns pra ela! I hope everything is going well with everyone else too!
As for interesting experiences, this week I´ve witnessed two accidents, one being a car and a dog, and the other (this morning) a car and a motorcycle. Thank goodness the man was wearing a helmet and
was able to get up and walk, but it was startling nonetheless. The car hit and run, but the people nearby picked up the license plate number. The crazy thing is that the car happened to be an alternative (sort of like a taxi but just runs the bus routes and at the same price), and had dropped off Elder Wisner and Elder Landro just 20 seconds before he made an illegal u-turn into oncoming traffic. Needless to say, we´re very grateful they weren´t IN the car during the accident. That could have made things a lot more complicated for all of us.
Good experiences include watching the game of Brasil and Croatia on Thursday! It´s amazing how Brasil turns 4th-of-July every time they score a goal, haha. It was a ton of fun, and Brasil won 3-1!!
Out of time, yikes!
Anyway, I love you all!!! Have a wonderful week!
Pictures sent by Elder Kamilos' companion, Elder Borges:
On 9 June 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Bom p-day! This week´s email time is cut short by 15 minutes due to the lanhouse closing, so I´ll be brief!
Well this week was quite an outstanding week! We were able to confirm Mateus, and we found two more elect women, Carol and Rafaela, to be baptized this week and next week respectively. They are both very receptive, and have accepted to message of the restoration as true. They are progressing very quickly, and we´re very excited for them! It´s amazing how fast this next transfer is coming up here on the 25th. The mission really is starting to go into hyperdrive, haha. Here in two more transfers I´ll hit the year mark.
One thing I´m really looking forward to this week is the English class I and the other two American Elders that I live with, Elder Wisner from Georgia and Elder Landro from Maryland, will teach. We've been teaching English every other wednesday night this transfer, and it´s a ton of fun! I´m gonna make pancakes and maple syrup (with that extract yall sent me) so the people can get a taste of "american" food.
President Nogueira received a lot of revelation that he received from a conference with Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Neal L. Anderson down in São Paulo recently. We are now shifting the mission focus to 50% proselyting and 50% reactivation. We have a new vision, and it feels completely right, and I know it´s inspired and will lead to many miracles.
Also, the world cup starts this week!!! And it was announced that we are allowed to watch the games that Brasil plays! With the purpose of integrating with members and inviting less actives and investigators.
Times up! I love you all!!