March 31, 2014

The week went great. I´m with my new comp right now, Elder Bertha from Cali. He´s awesome. It´s pretty funny, people here think that California and Florida are right next to each other, just because the two have beaches. But he´s great, I´m learning a lot from him.
The Zone is happy, my comp and I are getting ready to gie a multi-zone training tomorrow about the new changes in the work here. We´re gonna change how the missionaries work with members, and it´s gonna be great.
For the package, I need a USB drive with a good amout of memory to stroe my photos. If you can send that, you won´t need to worry about the little memory cards. I can just download all the photos off my camera, to the USB, and keep using the same one. Sorry, didn´t think about that last time. And some family photos, and I´ll be good. Thanks so much mom
The world cup is arriving, and everyone´s starting to go nuts. American football crazy doesn´t come close to Brazilian Soccer crazy. When two big teams in São Paulo are playing, and a team scores a goal, people fire guns into the air and throw bombs onto the street. It´s nuts. But it´s pretty cool because there ae about 6 fundamental teams, and everyone has a team. People are always in soccer jerseys of there favorite team, there house painted the team colors, it´s nuts. Mine is Flamengo, a team frm Rio. But before the cup in Brasil, everyone paints there house blue, green, or yellow, and the whole city gets together, and paints the streets yellow too. It´s already started in some places. I´ll see if I can send a picture. But I´m excited. The only problem is that nobody will be on the streets, the members won´t answer their doors, and we won´´t even be able to knock doors, ecause we could get shot. So things´ll be nuts, but I´m pumped. The excited spirit in the air is contagious, and not just because the air smells like alchohol almost always.
But yeah, so I´m pretty stoked. The comp is great, the ward is great, the area is great, the stake is great, and the Zone is great. So everything is great.
Tell Mae I said good luck! And give G a hug for me, but be careful of his arm.
Love you!
Elder Smith
the week went great. Transfers came and went again, and the Zone Leader area was moved. So now i´m in Jardim Ângela (Angel Garden?) with my new companion, Elder Bertha. He´s from San Fran, really awesome missionary. He´s helping me out a lot. It was sad to seperate with Elder Gillespie, but I´m pumped for this next transfer. Tomorrow, We´re going to get together with the Ranieri zone for an impromptu Zone Conference. We have some great new ideas about working with the members, and we´ve gotta start it. I love working on huge projects like this. The goal is to get the Stake to the point where the members find, we teach, and they baptize. But this will take a long time. So we won´t get to see the fruits of the labor we´re starting here... And I kinda like that. I´don´t care anymore about the numbers. What´s important is that the Lord is accellerating his work, and he´s called me to play a part in it. The change in the work here in Brasil is going to start, and It´s gonna start in our Zone.
So we´re working hard. Opening an area as a ZL is difficult, but I think it´s the most fun I´ve had so far. President Pinho gave a great quote:
"He who loves his job, never has to work"
I love that. I don´t feel like I´m working anymore. The only annoying thing is that there aren´t enough hours in the day. But, I´m excited for the new changes. My new ward is the best I´ve had so far. The members are exctied, and willing to help us. So we´ve decided to just translate the area. I´ll tell you how it goes.
But anyway, I´m happy and working. The Zone is happy too, other than one of my good friends Elder Maynard. He´s from Pocatello, and his brother passed away yesterday. He still seems fine, I don´t think it´s hit him yet. We´re gonna keep an eye on him these next few weeks.
But other than that, everything is great. Hows work? You don´t tell me about the crazy people that come into the Hospital anymore, I miss those stories.
Love ya, give Grant a hug for me
Elder Smith

March 24, 2014

Transfers are here! It really isn´t cool though, Elder Gillespie was transfered. Also, the Mission President switched the zone leader area, so I´ll be leaving everybody I love. AGAIN! But, I´m excited. The last time I opened an area, I was with elder Bravo, and we had a TON of success. So I´m really excited. But I´ll miss Elder Gillespie like crazy. He´s really helped me out a lot. But, things happen. The Lord knows what he´s doing, and I´m confident that it´s for my good. So I´m excited to belearning new things.

Other than that, nothing really new. We´ve had a baptismal dry spell these last few weeks, so that´s been a bummer. But, they´ll pick up real soon. We feel that we really have therespect and support of the missionaries in our Zone, so that´s really cool. You always have a couple that won´t like you, but this time it looks like forthe most part, wehave the support of our Zone. That´s an awesome feeling.

Also, it finally is starting to get cold here. It hits 65 degrees, and everyone wears thick pants and a jacket. Elder Gillespie too, cuz he´s from Texas (speaking of wich, Madi wuld like him), But I´m just walking around, smiling from ear to ear, happy about life (feliz da vida). People think i´m wierd, but I don´t care. I´m so happy, I hate the heat.

But, anyway, that´s my life. I´m happy as could be, brushing my teeth 3 times a day, and drinking lots of water. Just thought you´d be happy to know I´m taking care of myself.


Elder Smith

March 17, 2014


The week went great. Elder Gillespie had his birthday on the 12th, and we were on splits with another set of elders in our zone the day before, so I got together with some members and investigators and we threw a big surprise party for him. It was great. He had a huge cake, there were streamers and balloons, it was really something special. One of the members gave us the most hilarious gift, those little jewish hats. Just as a joke. It was so funny. But, the week went really well, we found a ton of new families to teach, and life is good.

March 10, 2014



But i´m sure he´ll be fine. After all, you´re looking after him.  (and everyone knows that drunk Asians are horrible)

But anyway, the life here is going really well. My companion and I made a new program here to get the members more involved. That´s the hard part about Brasil. The members love us, we have luch every day, but they don´t feel that the missionary work is very important, even though 70% of them are converts. So I took a couple Ideas from back home, the things I saw our Elders do, a couple things we did in Tennessee, and we made a plan. We´re gonna start with the Leadership of the Stake (My companion and I are over the missionaries in the Guarapiranga Stake) and work down. We´re going to form Ward mission Plans together with the Ward councils (many wards don´t have one). After that, the Bishop will present the plan to the ward during Sacrament meeting. The leaders in the ward will be the examples, starting by bringing their friends to church. When the ward sees their example, we´re going to go to each house, and help the families set up Family Mission Plans, with a Vision, goals, and plans with specific names. Then, we´re just gonna be here to help teach their friends. In the past, the missionaries here have been finding, teaching, and baptizing alone, and then dumping the new recent converts on the ward, many times without the bishop knowing that this person was ever even investigating the church. So it was a huge fault on the side of the m issionaries. So E. Gillespie and I are training the Zone how to work with the Leadership of the ward, in preparation for this new program to take effect. A

And L]last night, we kicked it off with a Stake Fireside we planned a few weeks ago. The fireside was focused on the new Mission Program, Famílias de Sião (Families of Zion). We were expecting around 50 people (the usual turnout for stake firesides here), but about 200 showed up. The chapel and Cultural Hall were completely full. We didn´t have enough space for everyone to even stand. It was incredible. elder Gillshper (my nickname for him) and I gave a 20 minute training on the Family Mission Plan, and then President Pinho spoke. Needless to say, after his talk every single member was excited as can be. Then, President Pereira (stake pres.) gave an awesome talk, driving it home. 

Once the fireside was over, a little old lady walked up to me, thanked me for the meeting, and told me she had 3 families already in mind for us to teach. Unfortunately, it´s another ward. But, everyone´s really excited. Now, the tough part´s gonna be getting the missionaries to change the ineffective form of working we´ve been doing. Literally, this program My companion and I made is going to change the whole mission. President told us afterward that he was really pleased with what we´re doing, and he´s gonna get it going in the whole mission. So that was a pretty cool experience.

Other than that, our area is awesome. I only spend about 3 days a week with my companion, we´re always on splits. But, that´s life now. The phone never stops ringing, we´re always in a hurry, and someone ALWAYS has a problem for us to work out. I LOVE IT. I get to serve the missionaries in the Zone every single day. I´ve never been so tired (it´s funny how often I say that), but never so happy either. I´ve really gained a testimony of hard work.

But anyway, that´s a little taste of my world right now. Just in Portuguese.