Monday, June 29, 2015

From off the Edge off the World: Brasil

Hope no one is wondering what happened to the brave jokester Elder Joel A. Smith, he only fell of the edge of the world for two weeks. But, he came back; all is well and right with the world.

I got transferred, I'm no longer in Curitiba. I got transferred to the Santa Catarina/ Parana border cities of Mafra and Rio Negro. It's all the same city, only it's on both sides of a river. It's got a foot in two states, not even joking. One is everything that you ever wanted from a German town the other is all Brasil. I'm also once again under supervision from Elder Matos. He's my New Leader of the Zone. And get this, all 4 missionaries of the district live in the same house. So Elder Matos, myself, and our companions all wake up, say 'Bom Dia' then do exercises and study side by side. It's a different game than I'm used to, as until now I've only had rooms and companions one on one. Here in Mafra, it's a whole new meaning of free-for-all!

Even though I'm in a different state, the bus ride wasn't too terrible. Only about... 3 hours. And that was with two other stops. I've also had to say goodbye to a few people that I honestly hope that I can go back and see again. You can see their pictures below. I'm starting over again here as literally nothing here was set in place to really get a good start. So, We have a lot of hills here. I'll be in good shape after this transfer. And I'm re-training my companion, Elder Egan. Meaning his companions never really got him going. So that said, I'm going to write all my fun stories next week as this week I just did all my catch-up work from the last two weeks off the edge of the earth. Tchau, têm a boa semana [Have a good week]!

Elder A. Smith

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My week In Brasil‏

I hope you are all doing well and are all happy! Because I am!!!!

My companion and I got to have a conference with an area 70 [church leader]  this week and we learned quite a bit. I'm still trying to work out the headache that my companion causes me sometimes, but this meeting went really well and we learned a lot about how to be better missionaries. We also got to watch our president get a little bit burned by the area 70. Don't be prideful!

Like I said to my family, work is slow at the moment. We have a small group to be teaching and are working to grow it. We are also cutting people that aren't progressing, so that makes the group even smaller.

But cool story of the week:  Prayer works. I was with my companion who was having some personal issues and the area 70 was just arriving. So I said a prayer that the area 70 would give a bit of counsel to him, and within the first 10 minutes Elder Gonzalez called 3 missionaries out to have an interview with him, my companion was one. Don't let me fool you all, I'm seeing miracles, answers to prayers, and all of it is depending on how worthy I am. Have a good week! And keep loving God.

Elder Joel. A. Smith

Monday, June 1, 2015

Brasil and that odd missionary, my companion‏

Olá! I'm still working out how Brasil is so bipolar that I'm now a bit worried about the well being of my fingers. Ladies and gentlemen it is COLD in Brasil!

So, my understanding is that my email from last week didn't go... probably because this is a weird location to have computers that don't like files attached to the emails. BUT, this week I figured it out!
STORY TIME! I'm happy to say that our service here isn't all that bad, we are literally preparing for an onslaught of 7 baptisms in the next transfer. A family of four, and three individuals that are just hoping that they're understanding. This family of four is a blessing that a member gave us! The member was a stake leader from my old area and he just dropped by, literally self prepared the family and said: Just baptize them. Okay, We're now teaching them and they couldn't have been better prepared. We have now had 4 experiences with this family that have literally answered questions, changed thoughts about what church should be like, and given us pizza. So, you could say that was a success.

We were working in the yard of one of our investigators who is building his house, and I for the first time, got to make concrete. That was some heavy work let me tell you! After mixing, I helped carry the bucket and put concrete in the areas that are necessary to build a foundation of a basic home here in Brasil. My companion already worked construction so he had his work down, but I was just learning and so all the party was teasing the "greengo" about what houses are like in America. After all that we had ribs, like the whole side of a cow ribs. So all was good in the end.

And then we have one of our investigators who is still waiting for an answer that she already has! She wants to feel it, and she needs a connection in the church: you who have served or are serving, any ideas?

We also have a less active who is preparing to go on a mission. We're working to reactivate him and then he can baptize his little sister. I'll tell you more about them next week! Até Próximo!!

Tchau! Elder Joel A. Smith

Family Home Evening family


Nossa Senhora! [Our Lady?]

[Note: This message is from May 25, but we just received today due to technical difficulties]
I'm finding a lot of wonderful people and teaching a lot. We're finding a good deal of people that have never seen the missionaries and they are quite receptive of hearing the message we have. I'm inviting people to be baptized but here’s the kicker, so has everyone else [from other churches]! So we have to explain the situation with authority and all that fun stuff. When we invite again they say things like "when I feel that what your saying is true, then sure." alright, one baptismal challenge?

I also now am getting a kick out of talking to people. We Made one contact this week that we just laughed at: knocked, dog comes out, my companion likes dogs, gives his hand to sniff, and CHOMP, just about loses his finger to a Chihuahua! Lesson 32: DON'T DO THAT!

Elder A. Smith

Elder Leal with Friend