Sunday, July 17, 2016

Brasilian Things and Winter?‏

These last three days have been indecisive! We have had hot and cold all week that if you aren't in good health you'll get sick quick! I'm with a lot of work to be doing, and being sick is a drag. So here's the good news:   our new president is a great person who has been very good with us.

I'm excited to relate that we are doing alright in our work!  We have some people that I doubted would be progressing who are, some who we weren't even waiting for.  But I'm happy that we have a few of the members who are excited to help us still.

I also found two violins here in the area! That has made the time just that much more bearable! I had to tune the two already ... but it'll be a good practice until I get back. Fun story for the week that'll explain the Ackbar ...  We were walking around in the center of São Jose and we found a bookstore that has little figurines of Star Wars and Star Trek, that have probably been there since the movies got lanced! So, feeling bad for little Ackbar, my companion bought him and gave him to me as a present. We now have posted in the house "It's a Trap!" as the phrase of the week.

We also have been teaching a 13-year-old who has been dedicated! He managed to get his whole family to church after only two weeks of visits! He's a motivated kid! But this week we were thrilled when he said he'd like to serve a mission. We'll be paying close attention to him in the coming days. Until next week! Take care all!

Elder Joel A Smith

It's a Trap!

My District

The Fever that Came and Went

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brasil, COLD, or NOT

This week has been ... a mess. I have been thinking the whole time that winter would be cold. It's a lie! These last two days we have been in about 22 degrees C, and that hasn't been the best for me. We get a cold spell, then it returns to warm, and then I get a fever and that's no fun to sleep with. I'd like it cold or hot please!

Anyway, this week we had the blessings of a conference about missionary work with the ward, and we're looking forward to receiving a lot of help from the members. But aside from that we had fun finding and joking with a lot of the people we're finding. We have had a lot of luck in the finds that we've had, as this area is a lot harder to work with sometimes because the people are a little bit colder. But with the help of the members things will play out better.

My time is short so I have to be short. We are doing well, happy at least to be in the service of our God. And we aren't desisting of those we're teaching. Hope you’re all doing well, Until next week from Brasil.

Elder Joel A. Smith

The District

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Brasil! And The Love I have for Them...‏

[from 6/27/16]

This week I have had to pass through Sodom and Gomorrah to get to the end:  I learn about 3 bad things for every 4 scriptures I have to teach. But at the end of the week I'm surviving! Now that our presidents are in flux we're anxious to hear and see him. But until Wednesday we have 2 presidents.

I've had a wild first week;  my new companion is different than my others. He's more of a teen than my others. But this makes it easier to train with him. I'm also in an area with hills again, so I'm going to be back in shape when I leave. And he doesn't take long with them. Better yet. Other than that, we have an excellent ward. They are working and they seem more active than not. I look forward to working with them.

Story time! I went to a less actives home and found ... well, less actives. And we found a bi-polar mom with two daughters, and  I about cried when I found out the situation. She declared: “I repent of being baptized in this church!” We found a few stories she's told, and seems to have passed to the members, and there really is no way we can pull the whole truth from her. So we're in one of those tough spots with her.

We had a cool moment while teaching a recent convert! We got to teach her son, who isn't baptized, and as his intellect is rather developed I have the challenge to mesh with his head. I've already had to show him how little he knows, and I made it obvious that we'll help him, but he's got to have the desire to learn and follow, which is much different. But that's all I have this week. Take care!

Elder Joel A. Smith

Elder Marques and the Tag

the most useless thing I learned to do on my mission

Ugly tie - I call it Picasso

Cold, Party, Brasil

[from 6/20/16]

I'm in the cold part of the year here in Brasil, but that hasn't meant rain until last week. I don't like rain ... it's wet and uncomfortable, and makes everyone run for cover. But that hasn't stopped us from the work. We have had much to do and little time to do it all.

I first want to warn everyone that I've been transferred again. I'm in a side-city of Curitiba, São José dos Pinhais. I'm happily working with Elder Marques, but here's the trick. I'm now busy re-learning the area.

Last week I saw a great effort made to lift those who are less active. But as of yet the ward is weak in this part. We had a lot of recent converts that otherwise would be less active if it weren't for visits.

The party we had this week was cool:  Pizza and games of selfie-hot-potato. We had lots of fun.

This week we visited a member new to the church who taught us a great lesson. Don't expect to be less active, but don't be surprised by it. He told us he didn't understand how people go less active, but then God gave him a curve-ball that about made him go. It was nice to hear his testimony and see the strength that he has in moving forward.

That's all I have time for this week. Have fun, take care, enjoy the warm weather!

Elder Joel A. Smith


My week Brasil‏

[from 6-13-16]
This week I had the great moments to serve the people here and contact independently of rank or position in society. I got to talk to a monk, a member of a band, and a whole lot of everyday people. My number of contacts has sky-rocketed, and I'm beginning to feel as Paul: "I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." I'm all woken up and I'm beginning to use those first experiences to shout the gospel into the minds of those who give me a moment to speak.  I'm only hoping the Spirit won’t mind using my limited tongue!

We had a split this week that ended up being fun just because of the fact I got put with my companion from the MTC again:  Elder Taylor …  good times, good times. But in the split we had the challenge of making 20 people each look at us and talk to them. We got that pretty quick, but the day in and of itself wasn't easy. We had to deal with the holiday of "LOVER’S DAY" like Valentine’s but Brasilian. That was a load of fun. Lots of people were out and about, but it wasn't that easy to talk to them as it was cold, like 5 degrees C, and with the humidity and wind ... it hasn't been easy to sleep, that I'll openly confess.

The other thing that I wanted to note, we unfortunately have to say goodbye to our president as he is being switched at the end of the month. That's a home-sick thought. But he has been an excellent leader, and I'll be taking with me a lot of what he's said.

I hope you have a good week.  Enjoy the pix!
Prayers and thoughts of you all!

Elder Joel A. Smith

Elder Smith in a Thick Coat

Elder Smith Making Faces

Frio de Janeiro (Rio= river, Frio I think you can guess)