Thursday, August 13, 2015

AUGUST - final two emails.... :)

On Monday 10 August 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

LAST ONE! I hope nobody expects a really long, elaborate message today. I thought it best to keep it simple, due to the fact that I´ll be home this week and I´ll be able to tell all about this last week and any other stories in person. Really, the only big news is that everything went perfectly with Laryssa´s baptism!! Her brother and sister were present, and a few other close member friends were there. It was very simple, and one of the most spiritual baptismal services I´ve been to. She actually ended up being baptized on Friday morning, and so I was able to confirm her on Sunday! She truly is one of God´s elect, and we knew that right from the beginning. And the great thing is, I was able to give my last talk in sacrament meeting, and all of our recent converts were there! I´ll still be around during these next few days, but it was good to be with all of them in one place at one time.

I know this work is of God, and that the truth has been restored on Earth. I know Christ lives, and that he loves us more than we can comprehend. God is our loving Heavenly Father. I don´t know how many times I´ve testified of this during these last two years, but no matter how much time goes by, the truth will always remain the same.

I pray that I will be able to take all of the experiences, lessons, and miracles back home with me and apply them in my life as I take the next step in this mortal journey. I have a much deeper understanding of the Plan of Salvation, and this will make all of the difference in my life and my future. I pray that the work continues to accelerate, and that I will still be an instrument in the Lord´s hands for the rest of my life.

I know these things are true. I´ll see y´all in a few days!!

Elder Kamilos

On Monday 3 August 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Once again, it seems like these last weeks and months have just flown on by! But the great news is that I will be ending my mission with a baptism!! Yesterday was Paulo Henrique´s confirmation, and Laryssa has accepted to be baptized on the 9th! She is truly one of God´s elect, and it has been such a great experience and privilege to teach the restored gospel to her. And I say that humbly, because I know that I am simply an instrument in the Lord´s hands, and that the true teacher is the Holy Ghost. She originally had told us that she wouldn´t be able to come to church yesterday, but about 2 hours before the meeting started, she called us and said she would be coming! On the way to church she told us that she had gone to a concert the night before, and while she was out with her friends, she bought a beer, took 2 sips, and then she just lost the desire to drink (we had taught the word of wisdom just a few days earlier). She also mentioned that she hadn´t drinken coffee since that lesson, at first to prove that she wasn´t addicted, but then she told us that she wanted to do what is right. After the meeting, we asked her how it was for her, and she said, "you know how you have those moments when... you just know something? That´s how it was for me today. I was expecting an answer from God in the form of a dream, or vision, or something obvious, but as I was listening to the testimonies, I just felt that... I now know." She absolutely loves reading the Book of Mormon. Her experience reminded us a lot of Parley P. Pratt, haha. She said she just felt no desire to eat or sleep when she started. She just wanted to read, and read, and read! I´m pretty sure she´s already past 2 Nephi. Anyway, I´m really excited for her baptism on Sunday!

As for the suit, it´s in... decent shape. The problem is that it just hasn't been cleaned in a loooong time. It has a good deal of mildew. But I´ll do what I can to clean it up a bit, at least to get the smell out. It really needs to be dry-cleaned, but I just don´t know where to find one around here, haha. It´ll work out. Other than that, it´s in pretty good shape, I think. The problem is that I just hardly ever use it.

So I guess that´s it!! I´m very excited to go to the temple next Saturday! Bro Nock sent an e-mail confirming the 15th.

Until next week! I´m sure I´ll have at least one more chance to e-mail before I get back.


Monday, July 27, 2015

On Monday 27 July 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

As you now know, my time for internet is pretty short now, but I do have enough time to let you know that Paulo Henrique was baptized yesterday!! It was a greatly anticipated baptismal service for
everyone, especially because our ward is in desperate need for good and active youth. The baptism was amazing, and was even better because we had an investigator, Larissa, present.

Cool story about Larissa! Thursday night, we were at a lanchonete (a place that sells snacks. I don´t even remember the word in english) that we go to often, and there was a young, college-age woman in front of us. She gave us an interesting look, and then asked with a big smile, "have you ever seen The Other Side of Heaven?" (that Disney movie about Elder Groberg). We said that we had both seen it, and I mentioned that I had actually met him in real life at a youth conference a few years back. She said that she had been looking for movies online in the religious genre, and had watched that movie. She really liked it, and became very interested in learning more about the "mormons". So when she saw us, she decided to ask! We marked a visit the next day, and we taught about the restoration after answering some questions about our missions. Turns out, she is truly one of God´s elect that He placed in our path, literally. She comes from a good catholic family, but she never considered herself really active. She had some questions and doubts, and when we taught with conviction and with the Spirit, she was completely receptive to everything! She's commited to read the ENTIRE Book of Mormon, and in the moment she is ready, she will be baptized. She has a lot of questions (which, by the way, is my favorite way to teach. We usually challenge our investigators to find a question that we don't know how to answer or how to find an answer). She's very intelligent as well. She's currently studying law at the University in João Pessoa. That also gives me some confidence that she won't have too much difficulty with reading, haha.

Anyway, that's just one more testimony-building experiences that God truly does place those who are prepared in our path. There are many ways he can do this. This time it just so happened to involve a Disney movie, two hungry missionaries, and a tiny snack shack in our neighborhood, about 10 minutes before the end of proselyting hours. Anytime. Anywhere. We must always be prepared to be missionaries.

That´s the news this week! And before concluding, I have a few things to ask. First, I´ll need new garments when I get back. I hope that a few weeks is enough time to order online. If not, I´ll hang on to few pairs to get me through the first few days or so. Just the regular, cotton
material (or if they have that mixed material, that´s good too) with the normal collar, medium-tall shirts, and medium bottoms (if it´s with a number, 30 should be just right).
Secondly, Brother Nock sent me a message and mentioned that Tanner will be receiving his endowment in the second or third week of August. I replied that I´ll be arriving about noon on Friday, August 14, and that I´d be happy to go to the temple the very next day. I´m sure he´ll respond next week, but if they decide to mark it for the 15th, I´d really like to attend the temple with them. I don´t know if there is anything important marked for that day, but if not, I´d like to leave it open to be able to do this with anyone else in the family who would like to go as well. If not, I can always ride with the Nock´s. Or maybe you already have plans to go as well? Any way, just let me know how it´ll work out!

That´s about it, as far as I can remember. The Church is true, see you in two (weeks!)


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Monday 20 July 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Good morning!

This week has been a lot of work, as we´re searching diligently for families to teach. This past week was one of the best weeks I´ve seen in the zone in terms of marking investigators to be baptized in the next couple of weeks. We´re seeing a lot of growth not only in the zone, but in the entire mission.

This week we´ll be having a baptism of a young man named Paulo Henrique, who is the younger brother of an active member who is preparing to serve a full-time mission. He´s been coming to church for awhile now, and has made the decision that he is ready to become a member, and take upon him the name of Jesus Christ. He really is a giant, physically and spiritually. You´ll have to see him in next week´s picture!

As for me, I continue to do well in my last weeks. You know, it´s strange. I don´t really feel any different. I´m just carrying on and working like normal!

Also, I heard Tanner Nock got his mission call! Where is he going?? I´m crazy to know. Bro. Lawson said he´ll be leaving about 2 weeks after I get back. That´s cool! I´ll have to get him all pumped up before he goes out.

That´s about it from me for now. Love you all!

Elder Kamilos

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On Monday 13 July 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Hi Mom and Dad!

Unfortunately, I don´t have much time to write today, but just to let you know I´m doing well, I´ll send a brief message. I love you so much! And yes, I´m doing all that I can to make this last month the best of my mission and my life. My comp is just great, I love him a ton. I´m happy:)

Hopefully next week I´ll have a little more time!


Hi Mary!! Sorry I´ve been bad about sending personal emails to you and everyone. There have been some issues with internet usage in the mission, so now we only get 35 minutes on p-day to use our email. You may have noticed that my recent emails have been a bit shorter, haha, because on top of writing to mom and dad, I have to write to Presidente, and I have to do zone leader stuff (spreadsheets with baptisms and confirmations and all that jazz) which leaves me with about 10 minutes every week to write to the family. But thanks for keeping me in your prayers! 

I´ll see in you in a month!! That´s crazy!
Love you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Monday 6 July 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote...

Dear Mom and Dad,

Okay, first off, I am SO HAPPY to hear about my camera being miraculously discovered after so much time has passed!!!!! That camera has almost all of my pictures from Utah! And just to let you know, I did buy a new camera at Walmart the week before coming to Brasil, so I have been taking pictures. But that really makes me happy. That truly is a blessing. And speaking of the mission, you said new mission office of the Logan Mission?? Was a new mission created there? That´s really exciting if it did!

As for the mission, I´m really doing all that I can to enjoy these last weeks of my mission. Surprisingly, I don´t really feel any different. The work continues to go well, and I´m working hard with Elder Voorhies to make these last weeks the best of my mission.

News of Pres. Packer reached me yesterday during sunday school when one of the american sisters serving in the other ward informed me of his death. Of course, I was sad to hear of his passing away, but I know that he has really endured to the end. It truly was his time, and with our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, we know that he is now in the paradise prepared for the righteous spirits of God´s children, awaiting the resurrection. I am so thankful for having such a broader and deeper understanding of this perfect plan.

My times about up for now! But I´ll bring more good news next week about our progressing investigators!


Monday, June 29, 2015

On Monday 29 June 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote....

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well this week was a powerful week for us in the Santa Rita Zone! We ended the month with all but one companionship having baptized during the month. We're certainly moving forward into the next transfer and month, and speaking of transfers, it turns out that I'll be spending my last transfer here in Bayeux with Elder Voorhies!!! It's funny, actually, because almost nothing changed in the zone, which is really great. I'm hoping to end my mission with fire!

Speaking on the new decision of the US Supreme Court, I don't find it all too surprising. Recently I've been digging into the scriptures and reading a lot of prophecies concerning the last days, and it´s amazing how vivid it becomes when we come to understand what the Savior and the prophets and apostles of the scriptures all warned against. I started reading the book of Isaiah last week, and I actually studied that exact chapter (chapter 5) on Saturday. I marked this scripture, and kept pondering on the present condition of the world. The second-coming of the Lord is swiftly coming. The signs testify of that truth. I've come to know and recognize what "apostacy" really means, and I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel that continues to be realized.

As for me, I´ve never been happier or more content on my mission! As I look back at all that has happened, I realize just how much that I've experienced. These have been the best and most productive years of my whole life, and I'm going to miss Brasil so much. But I still have six weeks to make the most of it!

I love you all!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On Monday 22 June 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote....

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy Father´s Day Dad! I have to admit, I almost forgot, because here in Brasil, Father´s Day is in August, haha. But Giovanna reminded me, because she saw it on facebook. Speaking of that, Joseane and Giovanna were confirmed yesterday! It´s such a great feeling to see converts baptized and confirmed, and start on the path towards a deeper, more profound conversion.

Also, we´re looking forward to a great last week of the month and transfer. Almost all of the companionships have baptisms marked for the 28th, and so we´re hoping to close the month with a great week of miracles! I have the good news next week for sure.

As for me, I continue to do very well with Elder Voorhies. He´s really helping to keep me alive and active until the end, haha.

That´s it for this week! Short and simple. Next week will bring the news of my last transfer on the mission (uh oh!). The time is really passing by so fast. It´s unbelievable. I just tucked away my flight plan because I don´t want to keep my mind of going home. I´m here to endure to the end!

Love you all! I love you Dad! Happy Father´s Day, again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

May and June....

On Monday 15 June 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad!

Yesterday was a great great day!! Cristina was confirmed, and we had two more baptisms! We baptized a mom and daughter, Joseane and Giovanna! They're a great example of pure faith and trust in the Lord. We worked very hard to help them understand that faith isn´t a perfect knowledge, and that their desire to follow the Savior and their obedience to the commandments is enough, for now, to be baptized. They truly are elect, and we had a lot of help from a family of recent-converts who have a very similar conversion story. Today we'll be having a family home evening with the two families, and we'll be teaching from the fifth Preach My Gospel lesson, specifically about temples and eternal families. We´re so excited to challenge them all to participate in baptisms for the dead in next month's ward temple trip.

Aside from our success, we're seeing a lot of great things happening in the zone. Our goal this month is to have every companionship baptize, and for this week many of the comps that haven't yet had a baptism have investigators marked for the 21st. It's gonna be a great week!

Also, I had quite a testimony-building experience last week when I was on exchanges with one of the district leaders in the zone, Elder Fanzlau. We were headed to visit a recent-convert when we turned around the corner and saw a large group of people on the street side watching a man who was kicking and screaming and rolling on the ground in the mud. People believed he had been possessed, while others thought maybe he had just drunken a little too much. Whatever the case, he was acting unusually strange, even for a drunk. There were probably drugs involved as well. So Elder Fanzlau and I decide in that moment to follow the spirit, and the spirit moved us to give this man a blessing, right there on street. The man stood up, said a few words that didn't really make any sense, and then fell over suddenly and continued to roll around. In that moment, we put our hands on his head, and we gave him a blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. As soon as we said, "amen" he stopped, relaxed completely, and exhaled very deeply. There was an immediate change in him, and he pretty much just fell asleep. This was done in front of many people, and we decided that we had done what we needed, and so we stoop up quietly and left. Everybody was silent. The spirit was strong, and as we walked away, we just felt a powerful energy running through us. Part of it was adrenaline, for sure, but there was much more to it than that. We walked away, having witnessed first hand the reality of Priesthood power. Upon returning that same way about 30 minutes later, we asked a few people on the sidewalk if that man was better. They said he was much better, and about a minute later we saw him walking with a couple of people helping him, and he said, in broken english, "thank you, my friend, my brother." Sure, he was still a little perturbed, but in his resemblance there was a light that just moments earlier had been covered and darkened.

The church is true. The Priesthood is real. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.

I love you all so much!

On Monday 8 June 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Unfortunately, I don't have much time to e-mail today, but the big news is that our investigator, Cristina, was baptized yesterday!! She's a very special woman about mom's age, and she is just so excited to be a new member of the church. She bore a powerful testimony at the baptismal service yesterday, and it was great because our entire district had investigators there to watch. Many our now set to be baptized this coming Sunday, including two of our investigators, Josiane and Gevona, a mom and daughter. They really enjoyed coming to church, and even enjoyed the testimony meeting! Saturday, Elder Voorhies and I took an entire family of recent converts to their house to teach the plan of salvation, and it was seriously the best lesson I've taught in my entire mission. We left that house on such a spiritual high, and I almost started crying for joy during the opening prayer of the next lesson that immediately followed.

So sorry this e-mail is short, but just know that I have never been so enthusiastic about being a missionary and helping this zone as well. We are definitely seeing a lot of wonderful changes, and the zone is really starting to catch on fire!

I love you all! I know this gospel is true!!

On Monday 1 June 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

The life in the mission field is great!! Our area continues to go better and better every day, and we´re finding a lot of great families to teach! A member in our ward gave us some outstanding referrals, one of which will be baptized this coming Sunday, and another couple who is really learning a lot with our visits. Elder Voorhies and I work so well together, that it´s really just natural. We´re challenging everyone we contact to be baptized, and the rest of the zone is starting to catch fire as well. On friday, when we set our goals for the month of June, every companionship in the zone gave a high goal, and I have never felt so proud of these missionaries. We´re certainly making some great changes, and we´re hoping to set records in the month of June. The great thing about these numbers, however, is that every single number represents the souls of the children of God. That is why we´re here! To find God´s elect, and to make those who are not yet elect to become elect. Every individual is at a different stage of spiritual growth, but if one has desire, Christ says "come as you are."

I´m sure the news spread quickly of the passing away of Elder Perry. I first heard sunday morning. I was certainly sad to hear, because I really love all of the Brethren as if I knew them personally. Elder
Perry was such a strong witness and voice of the Savior, and I´ll certainly miss him. But then, after thinking about it, he was at such a great age, and with all that he knew, and with such a degree of
faith that he possessed, I´m certain that death was really quite a joyful moment for him. When we know and understand the plan of salvation, it really does give us an eternal perspective of life.

The work of salvation continues to accelerate every passing moment! I know this work is true, and I know that Christ is our Savior, our Brother, and our Captain. He called me to this work through a living prophet, and that is what gives me courage.

I love you all very much!

On Monday 25 May 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Hello from Bayeux!!

This week has been extremely challenging! I say that in a good way, because Elder Voorhies and I basically challenged everyone we contacted to be baptized! I don't think I've ever had such an
enthusiastic companion, and the two of us together pretty much makes a dream team, haha. I think I mentioned this, but he and I arrived in Brasil at the same time. We didn't have any contact for over a year, but when I found out we would be companions, I immediately became very excited. If I could describe his personality in a very simple way, I would just say imagine John, haha. Only nobody can ever replace John, of course. But I'm sure these final months will be the best of my mission!

The work in the zone is going much better now. We basically made the goal to just challenge everybody we talk to to be baptized. It's starting to give some good results too!

I am absolutely sure that this is God's work, and that it is hastening as we speak! I know that we are God's children, and that He loves us very very much. Jesus Christ lives, and this is His church.

I love you all very much! And happy birthday to Leah this week!


On Monday 18 May 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Transfer day!! I´ll be staying in Bayeux with my new companion... Elder Voorhies!! I was really really excited when I heard we would be companions. We first met in the Salt Lake Airport, when I left the Ogden mission, and he had just left the MTC. We immediately became good friends, and I know this is going to be a companionship of power. He´s from Lubbock, Texas, and is only my third american companion since I´ve been in Brasil. Interesting fact about him? His name is Luke, and not after Luke from the Bible, but after Luke Skywalker from Starwars, haha. He and his dad are huge Starwars fans, and they even had the chance to meet George Lucas and watch one day of the filming
of episode three. He´s very enthusiastic, and he´s an experienced leader in the mission, although this is the first time he´ll be serving as a zone leader. But we´re really hoping to boost this zone a lot this transfer. It´s very likely that he´ll be my last companion as well, so we have to make the most of it! Also, he´s a choir boy just like me, so I´m sure there will be plenty of singing in the house, haha.

That´s really interesting about the change in the mission. But that´s way cool that it´ll now be an "Arkansas" mission! Bentonville really is a great place. Almost as good as Fayetteville, haha. :)

As for the temple, I´m really looking forward to making it back to the temple when I get back. That´s one of the first things I want to do, actually.

So, other than transfers, there´s really no big news from me. The work is going, and I´m sure we´ll really hit the ground running today. I´ll let you know of any baptisms!

This is the work of the Lord. That is something that I know so very well. Christ lives, and is our Savior and Redeemer. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are sacred scriptures and truly contain the work of God. If there is one thing I've gained on my mission, it is a love for the scriptures. That has helped my testimony grow so much as well.

Love y´all!

On Monday 11 May 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

It was great to see the family yesterday! Bain is really growing up fast! Gavin as well, haha. I'm glad everyone's doing well back home.

It's really hard to believe that I only have three months left here in João Pessoa. I'm determined to make the most of them! I know it'll go by quickly, but I still have plenty of time to bear my testimony and preach the gospel.

As for the work, it's progressing. We've seen a lot of good things happening in the stake among the other companionships. President Nogueira gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday, and so we're
hoping that the ward will follow the counsel that he gave.

Transfers will be next week, but since the day of transfers has now changed to Monday, I'll be able to send my weekly e-mail as usual next week. This week will be brief due to the skype call yesterday.

I love you all very much! Happy Mother's Day (yesterday) Mom! I know this work is true, and that God does live. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

Until next week!

On Monday 4 May 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

First things first! So it seems like everything is set up for me to call home at 8 pm my time. I hope that´s a convenient time for the family. Our sacrament meeting ends at 7 pm, and from there we´ll go
straight to our ward mission leader´s house to make the call. I still can´t believe how fast the time has flied since the last call! I´ll be home before you know it.

Also, that sounds just fine, concerning the core classes. I think that's best anyway. It´s a shame that the last orientation is just days before I come home, but it seems like it´ll all work out just fine.

This last week was really good because we found 3 great families in which the parents are legally married! One family made it to church yesterday, and another will be coming this next sunday. It will be really great, because our mission president and his wife will be speaking in our ward on mother´s day! We´re hoping it´ll give the ward a little boost. We can use all of the help we can get.

I know for certain that this work is true! One of the greatest things about serving a mission is receiving an undeniable testimony of the gospel. Miracles happen every day. I have such a love for the scriptures and for the revelations of modern prophets. It´s been such a privilege to be a full-time representative of the lord Jesus Christ, and I've felt him walking by my side in so many of the hardest as well as the easiest of times. This is something that I wouldn't trade for anything.

I love you all! The church is true!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4 Months of Updates!! :)

A note from Mary: Sorry! I have neglected once more. Hopefully I can do better for the next few months. :)

On Monday 27 April 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Woooaah!!! That´s way awesome that Eric is coming to Brasil!! When does he leave? And which mission in São Paulo?? I know a lot of people that are either from São Paulo, or that served missions there, haha.

Also, sorry for missing last week´s e-mail. I think this is for sure the most stressful time I´ve had on my mission, but after yesterday, I really feel very very positive about this new month that´s coming up. Elder L. Silva and I are starting to really get serious about
obedience and hard work. We're going to make a lot of sacrifices, but we're doing it with happiness and I know it'll pay off! And really, to tell the truth, we really aren't sacrificing anything. Sacrifice comes with the calling, and the one who made the ultimate sacrifice was Jesus. We simply need to follow him, and I know that that´s not always easy, but it´s worth everything.

It´s easy to get discouraged, it really is. When people ignore us, reject us, yell from across the street calling us false prophets, make silly mormon jokes behind our backs, and all of the other stuff that comes with being a disciple of Christ, it´s easy to let our head sink a little. But these are the moments that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best missionary that ever lived. These are the moments that we have angels on our left and on our right to bear us up. And when somebody finally gives an ear to the message of the restored gospel, all of the trials seem insignificant. The miracles do come. I have never been more sure that the Church is true, and that the Priesthood has been restored to the Earth, and that God the Father and Jesus Christ live. I´ve spent a good amount of time on my knees these past few nights, and as I offer up my heart to Heavenly Father, he offers me peace and counsel.

Some good news from the ward is that our recent convert, Valdemir, is preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. He was just baptized in January, but his progress has been phenomenal, along with his whole family. There are also a handful of recently reactivated members who are also on the same path, including our Gospel Principles
teacher, Jonathan. He fell away from the church when he was about 15, and he stayed inactive for 17 years. Just last year he started coming back to church, got married (legally), was ordained a priest, and was called to be a sunday school teacher. Now 33 years old, he’s fully active, and is also preparing to receive the Higher Priesthood. The
change that some people make is sometimes sudden and miraculous. I know that it is possible for everyone, independent of how far we have fallen.

I guess that´s it from me this week. Also, we'll have to work out a time to do our skype call. Here we have church at 4-7 pm. Most likely I´ll be calling at 8 pm our time. What time does the singles ward have meetings there? We can confirm the time next week. Just a heads up.

Love you all!!!

On Monday 13 April 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, we now come to the beginning of yet another transfer! And from now on, the transfers will be on Monday (starting today). I think it´s a great change, because now we can start fresh at the beginning of the week and not lose the first two days.

As for me, transfers didn´t change anything. I´ll be staying in Bayeux with Elder L. Silva, and the other two missionaries Elder Cajamarca and Elder Marin will also be staying. The zone changed a little bit, but nothing significant. I'm sure excited for this transfer though! It´s been pretty challenging and very stressful, but I know the the blessings and the miracles are coming. I never let myself get discouraged, because that is exactly what the enemy wants. I can already feel a difference in the work, and we're going to do
everything to find the Lord´s elect.

I think I mentioned this in last week´s e-mail, but I really liked Bishop Caussé’s talk in this last conference. It really opened my eyes and made me wonder, "is the Gospel still wonderful to me?" That includes my mission. As I now have a year and half on the mission, I stopped to think of all of the blessings and privileges I've had and continue to have as a full-time missionary. I really stopped to ask myself, "is the mission still wonderful and exciting to me?" And as I look back at all that I've done and look forward to what is still to come, I can honestly say that this work is not only wonderful, but it is true! The way it changes lives, brings families together, and helps us realize our great potential, it is impossible not to see the hand of the Lord in this marvelous work. I have a deep testimony that God is our Father, and Jesus Christ is His Son, and our Savior and Redeemer.

I'm looking forward to yet another skype call here in just a month! I can´t even believe that. Christmas was just yesterday! As the work is hastened, so is the time! Haha.

Love you all!

On Monday 6 April 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

General Conference was absolutely fantastic! Of course, it´s always hard to say which of the speakers were my favorite, but I'd have to say that my favorites this time around were Elders Perry and Christofferson. Elder Perry gave a great talk and shared his
experiences with the multi-religion conference on marriage in the vatican. He also pointed out that although we share many beliefs and concerns, our church stands alone with the belief that families can be together forever. Elder Christofferson also spoke very well on some important doctrines concerning marriage and the plan of salvation.

I did notice that Elder Scott didn’t speak in this conference, nor did I see him present at any of the sessions. I actually became a little concerned, wondering if he’s with poor health. I hope all is well with him. I always enjoy his talks at conference.

Another talk I really enjoyed was Bishop Caussé. Sometimes we really do take for granted all of the marvelous blessings of the gospel. It was also funny what he said about the Eiffel Tower, because afterwards my companion said that he’s lived in Rio his whole life, and he’s never been to the Christ the Redeemer statue, haha. He said that it
really is true that when you grow up and live there, you never really feel the desire or urge to go and visit. It´s something so normal that you really become accustomed to it, as if it wasn't really anything special. He said that when he goes back, he plans on going there.

Those were just a few of the many highlights from conference. Of course, I have many notes that I took, and I´ll have to take some time to review and study them during this week.

That’s about all the news from me this week. I´ll keep you posted on progressing investigators and potential baptisms coming up. This area is certainly full of challenges, haha.

Love you all!

On Monday 30 March 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Well we have now closed the month of March and are moving into April! This was honestly one of the most challenging months of my mission, but we have high hopes for the month of April. I´m looking very forward to General Conference this week! I've really come to love conference since I've been on my mission. What a privilege it is to hear from living prophets and apostles!

That’s way cool that Mary and Michael will be going out to Utah to watch conference! That’s something I would really like to do someday. I hope to make it out to Ogden to visit my mission as well. Those 3 months were very special for me, and I´ll always have a place in my heart for the Utah Ogden Mission.

As for our work in Bayeux, we´re still having some challenges in the area as far as finding people who will keep commitments. There is so much potential here, and so we’re trusting in the Lord and in ourselves to have a lot of success. We have high hopes for this month!

That's neat to hear about the new missionaries in the ward. You´ll have to let the Young´s know that the new Elder is waiting to go to Teresina. If he gets his visa soon enough, he may have a chance to serve with Brandyn! Apparently it´s even hotter there than it is here in João Pessoa, haha.

But that´s the news from me this week! A hug from me to everyone!


On Monday 16 March 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! 60 years?! That´s almost unbelievable! It´s amazing to see how fast the years go by. I think it´s even more unbelievable that I´m 21. That still hasn't sunk in, haha.

Mom, I want to thank you for the many years you've given me, all the lessons you've taught me, and the testimony that you've helped nourish throughout my life. It hasn't been easy, I know! But I wouldn´t be where I am today if it wasn't for you. I love you!

And as for Jessica and the U of A women´s track team, that´s really exciting news! Number ONE! Tell her congrats for me, and that I'm always cheering for her here in Brasil.

I had TWO small world experiences yesterday! The first was when I was talking to one of the Elders in my zone. His name is Elder Leavitt, from Las Vegas. I mentioned that I had a friend (Brandyn) that served in Vegas waiting for his visa. He asked me what his name was, and I said Elder Young, and he said "I know him! He served in my ward!" He
said he went out on exchanges with him and everything, haha. I´ll have to send an e-mail to him and tell him Zach Leavitt is in my zone/district.

And the other experience is even crazier. Yesterday I was in the chapel waiting for church to start, when one of the members came up and shook my hand. He said, "Elder Kamilos... I had a companion with that name!" For about 5 seconds, I didn't even think about it. But then it hit me, Kamilos is a very uncommon name, especially among missionaries. I asked him where he served, and he said São Paulo Interlagos! He was one of Matt´s old companions! I said, wait a second, did he have a blonde spot in his hair?? He said, "yeah! That´s him!" Haha, it was really crazy. We talked for a little bit, and I discovered that his name on the mission was Elder J. Nascimento, so you'll have to let Matt know.

As for the work, we're still working hard to build up our teaching pool. I'm really looking forward to conference though! We'll be able to watch it in our chapel, because it´s the stake center here in the Santa Rita stake. This is actually the same place I watched conference last October.

That´s the news from me this week! Hope nobody gets spring fever with the change in weather! For me, that´s pretty hard because the weather doesn't really change here, haha. Occasionally we have a rainy week here or there, but that's about it.

But have a great week! Love you all!!


On Monday 9 March 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, transfers always bring a lot of challenges, such as getting to know the area, ward, members, companion, and all. But from what I've already seen, this is going to be a wonderful experience serving in Bayeux. Of course, I also have new responsibilities as a zone leader, but from what I can tell, it doesn't seem to be all that hard. The most important responsibility is to be the example for the other missionaries in the zone. The zone I'm in, the Santa Rita Zone, is one of the smallest in the mission, with only 9 companionships. I´m very excited to do all that I can to lift this zone/stake to a new level! My companion is way cool too. He´s from Rio, and he has a great balance between diligence and obedience, and also being fun and laid-back. I know we'll be just fine together, haha.

As for the new stake presidency, I know the Lord has called these men to be great leaders. I’m sad to see President Bradford released, especially since it was he who set me apart as a missionary. But I'm also looking forward to returning to report to President Gauldin. But that´s still a good way in front of me. For now, my focus is dedicating all my time and efforts to serving in Bayeux!

Also, one thing crazy about this week! It´s been very rainy, but what surprised me one night at about 4 in the morning was a loud clap of thunder!! It was the first time I've seen lightning and thunder since I´ve been here! It made me think about springtime in Arkansas a little, haha.

I know this is the Lord´s work. The church is true and is God´s kingdom upon the earth. Christ lives and is the head of this church, and Thomas S. Monson is His prophet, seer, and revelator. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and was chosen to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.

I love you all!! Have a great week!

On Wednesday 4 March 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Transfers have come and gone once more!! This one has brought me back to the Santa Rita Zone, in a city called Bayeux. And I´ve been assigned to be a Zone Leader! My new companion is Elder L. Silva from Rio de Janeiro!  He´s one of the best. I actually had never known him before, but he has the same amount of time on the mission as I do, and everyone says he´s excellent. I`m very excited to work and learn with him.

This will surely be a transfer of many blessings, but also of many challenges. This zone has a lot of potential, but it´ll take a lot of work to reach it. I´m very eager to see what happens this month.

As for the family of three back in Paratibe, the baptism will take place this saturday. I´m sad that I won't be there for it, especially since Eliane mentioned that she wanted me to baptize them, but I know it´ll all work out alright. My companion Elder L. Lima stayed in the area, so he'll be able to take care of them. Also, the Elder that will take my place is an outstanding missionary, so I´m not worried. I already left a note for them with everything they need to know.

The weather is hot as usual, but fortunately Bayeux has a lot of tall trees that create a lot of shade. I came here one time before on an exchange when I was in Municípios, so I´m familiar with the area a little bit. Also, this area has the João Pessoa Airport, so I´ll see a lot of airplanes landing and taking off, haha. I hope that doesn't have too much of a psychological effect on me, that is, "trunkiness" haha. Just kidding, I´m sure it´ll be fine.

But that´s the news from me! Hope all is well back home! Send a hug to the family and the ward!


On Monday 16 February 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

This past week was really really great! My birthday was amazing at the bishop´s house. His wife made a huuuuge chocolate cake with chocolate and passion fruit frosting! A few of my favorite members in the ward were there as well.

Our family of three, Eliane, Amanda and Adrian are marked to be baptized on Saturday this week! They truly are an elect family. They´re reading the Book of Mormon together, and Adrian (the 9 year old son) is very excited and keeps saying he´s gonna be a future
Elder, haha. But what really made me proud was when Eliane (the mother of the family) told me that he suddenly started helping her wash dishes/clothes, and do chores around the house without even being asked! I told her that he´s already preparing for his mission, haha. But I really love this family. I´m sure I´m gonna keep in contact with them for the rest of my life.

Sounds like the admission process is going well. And I´m sure the date shouldn’t be a problem. From what the transfer dates look like, I believe I'll be headed home on August 12th. That gives me a little less than two weeks to get back into the groove of things, which I hope is enough!

Know that I love you all and I always pray for the family and folks back home.


On Monday 9 February 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for the birthday wishes!! I´ll be celebrating at the bishop’s house tonight with a few members of the ward. His wife makes birthday, wedding, and event cakes for a living, so I´m way excited about that! I´ll send a picture next week :)

The work continues to go on however! We're looking forward to the baptism of a family of 3 that´s marked for the 21st of this month. It´s a family very special, and so I´ll tell more about them in next week´s email. Today I spent a good amount of time responding to other emails, and so I don't have much time. But thanks for the picture! That´s great that nana and papa visited the family this weekend! I miss them a lot. I hope I´ll get to see them soon after my mission.

I love you all very very much!!


On Monday 2 February 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I´ll be brief today. The news from Brasil this week is one more baptism! Jonas was baptized on saturday, confirmed on Sunday. We have 3 more baptisms planned for this week as well! The work is going very well here in the ward.

Love you all!

Here are some of the pictures from the baptisms I´ve had in the Paratibe ward!

On Monday 26 January 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Well my new companion, Elder L. Lima, and I are working really hard together, and it´s paying off! We had 5 investigators attend church yesterday, and they are all preparing to be baptized. It´s not set in stone yet, but with hard work, fasting, prayer, and lots of divine assistance, there’s a great chance that they will all be baptized sooner rather than later. This ward is truly a special place to be. I've never served in area like this, and it truly is a privilege. I´m gonna have to make the most of my time here, because more than likely this will be my last transfer here.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe I completed about 30 credit hours, if not more. But it was for sure more than 24, so if that´s all you need, than I can give that certainty. One thing I know for sure is that there will be a drastic change in my study habits and dedication to
school than I had before my mission. The mission has taught me so much about planning, effective study, and work ethic, on top of all of the spiritual benefits it has brought to me. I see my future very positively, and with much hope!

That´s about all the news from me this week, but we'll see what we get done here in Paratibe this week!

Love you!

On Wednesday 21 January 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

First off, say FELIZ ANIVERSÀRIO to Matt for me! 25 years right? It´s so hard to believe that my 21st birthday is approaching as well.

Well, today is transfer day! But Elder Pechel and I ended the transfer with the baptism of Claudiene! Claudine is a woman that we met at the beginning of December when she called us and asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon. Now that doesn't happen every day! During this time she has been looking for a job, which has taken up a lot of her time and so our visits were really pretty infrequent. But she also loves to read! In fact, she’s already read Gospel Principles, and is now reading the teachings of President Benson. She´s one of those people who was just prepared, and we just opened the door for her to step in all by herself. But she’s becoming very involved with the ward now.

Speaking of the temple, we made a challenge to one of the recent converts in the ward to go on the next temple trip to Recife in February. She´s going through some hard trials in her life, and we were inspired to promise her that going to the House of the Lord would help her in ways that she couldn't even imagine. We made some other specific promises concerning her current situation, and she accepted! We're also teaching her nephew, who has accepted our invite to be baptized! I´ll keep you updated on his progress, because he´s a great 19 year old young man who’s also making some changes in his life to follow the Savior. I love this Gospel so much! Being a missionary
really is about being a witness to all of the blessings and changes the Gospel brings into the lives of God's children.

And the transfer! I stayed in Paratibe!! I have a new companion, Elder L. Lima from Minas Gerais (a neighbor state of São Paulo). He has about 9 months on the mission, and he’s absolutely great. He seems to be very dedicated, and pretty laid back (in a good way). I'm confident we'll have much success together. Also, both of the zone leaders were transferred, and so everyone in the house is new. The new zl´s are
Elder Guzman from Argentina, and Elder Quirino from Belo Horizonte, also in Minas Gerais. So I can say that I'm pretty used to being the only American in the house, haha.

But I hope all is well back home! And that sounds like a great plan, sending in an application to the U of A. I'm pretty sure that that´s where I´ll end up going. I've had many thoughts and confirmations during my mission that I need to stay in Fayetteville. I feel that the Lord is preparing a path for me there, at least for the few years after my mission. Also, it´s close to the family, which is another important reason, other than my education of course. As for the transfer/application process, is there anything I need to do? Or do you have all of the information and access that you need? Just let me know!

I love you!

On Monday 12 January 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

This past week has been a week of reflection for me. I´ve spent many sleepless nights reflecting on my mission and how I can make the most of my last 8 months. I've been very preoccupied with our investigators and how I can help them progress. I'm pretty sure I'm going to start going bald due to all the stress that comes from being a leader. But it’s all worth it!! Last week, our entire zone along with one other zone had the opportunity to go to the monthly mission council that usually only the zone leaders go to. It was a great learning experience, and certainly full of loving correction. We were all able to see some of our errors, but also the positives of our work. I'm extremely proud of my district, because we were the only district in which every companionship had a baptism. When all of the district leaders stood up to represent, I confessed that our success had nothing to do with me, but that it really is due to the self-sufficiency of each missionary. That, along with developing Christlike attributes and good work habits, has been the key to our success.

But I know that we're capable of so much more! I said that we could double our numbers with a little more effort and focus.

This morning, we had a little adventure. We went with one of the recent converts in the ward out into the woods and we brought back a huge bag of mangos and a jaca (a large fruit that doesn't exist back home). We saw some GIANT ants, and we were chased by a huge wasp-like insect. But we're all safe! And the mangos make it all worth it.

Hope all is well back home! I guess people are getting back into routine after the holidays.

Love you all!

On Monday 5 January 2015 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy New Year!! In Portuguese it´s Feliz Ano Novo! I can´t believe it’s 2015! Even more incredible is that I've been in Brasil for a year now! I'm starting to pick up on the accent a bit more, and the mission is more challenging than ever! But with the challenges come great opportunities to learn and grow. Recently I've gotten a lot of comfort from Doctrine and Covenants 121 and 122. There are a lot of powerful promises and counsel from the Lord, especially concerning the Priesthood.

My testimony of the Savior is strengthened every day. It is a blessing to know that he has already walked in my shoes and felt every feeling that I have. It is also my testimony that He called Joseph Smith as His prophet to restore the Gospel in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. I am simply carrying on the work that was given to him, and that was given to all prophets and saints in every dispensation. It was never easy for them, why should it be easy for me? That´s something I've really learned (through experience) over and over again. But it is worth it.

One of my New Year resolutions is to follow the counsel of President Hinckley´s father: to forget myself and go to work. I can't afford to lose a single moment of this last part of my full-time mission. And really, I'm beginning to understand that my full-time mission will really never end. I take off the nametag, but I´ll always have one engraved on my heart.

But that’s just a quick thought from me! I hope everything is starting to roll back into routine for y´all. I'm glad the ward council is working with the Elders back home. It´s essential to hasten the work.

I love you all very much!

On Monday 29 December 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I enjoyed seeing the whole family together, and getting to see the new nephews! I hope it was a good Christmas for everyone. I enjoyed our christmas lunch with our relief society president, and we spend the rest of the day with some of the members, and we played some soccer at the church. Some of the customs here in Brasil are going to the beach (which obviously we can´t do), throwing parties, lots of drinking, panetones (which is a type of cake) with fruits or chocolate, along with some of the same customs in the U.S.  Here they have christmas lights, Papai Noel (Santa Claus), and all that.

As far as any other news, the work goes on as usual. We´ll see how New Year´s day is here, probably a lot more drinking. But I´m excited to see what 2015 brings! I can´t believe 2015 has already arrived!

And during the skype call you asked about plans for school. Lately, that´s been on my mind, and to be honest, I still don´t know exactly what I´ll do. It´s something I´ll need to pray, ponder, and fast about sooner rather than later. I´m sure I´ll need some help as well. I´ll try not to worry too much, for I know the Lord will help as well, but one thing I´ve learned is that sometimes Heavenly Father lets us stress out to a certain point. It´s how we learn and grow. We can´t always just "leave it in God´s hands" and wait for a miracle. We ARE His hands, and not His puppets. The miracles come only after the trials of our faith.

But I will always look towards the future with hope, faith, and a positive attitude. Things will work out!

Happy New Year! I love you all!


On Monday 22 Decmeber 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:

So I only have 10 minutes to email today because our "p-day" will be Christmas this week. I just needed to advise that I´ll be calling a bit earlier, at 10 a.m. my time (7 a.m. in Fayetteville). I´ll be
calling from our Bishop´s house :)

I´m sure Gavin´s blessing was a wonderful experience for everyone! I´m excited to see the new nephews!

Concerning the package, I´ll be going to the post office tomorrow to pick it up! There´s some kind of complicated process that I have to go through, but it´ll all work out, so don´t worry, haha.

I´ll see you all on Christmas, 7 a.m.! I hope that isn´t too early.

Love you! Feliz Natal!