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!


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