Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sao Francisco de Paula - Week 8

My loco american companions!
October 26, 2015

Holy goodness is a mission great!
Like usual I don't remember the whole week so I'll share a few highlights!

For p-day last week we went up to Gramado to have p-day with some other missionaries in our zone. Gramado is a huge tourist city and is called "O Cidade de Amor" (City of Love) here. But I just call it "O Cidade do Chocolate" because there is tons of chocolate stores here and the all give free samples! Of course for p-day we walked down the street and visited all of them! I also bought my first shot glass (in Brazil) in Gramado. For those of you who don't know, I'm a big collector of shot glasses! And so my collection grows!

This week we received another missionary to break up our american trio! He's what we call a corta prazo (short term) here. That is a missionary whose home is in this mission. He's actually preparing to head up to New Jersey where he has been called to serve as a missionary!

Pesquisadores change regularly so its a bit hard to remember stories about them but we have a good pool here and the work is still going great!!

As for a brief nugget for you guys: 2 Nephi 30-32 is a prophecy about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. Really cool reading it while keeping in mind the perspectives of the Nephites and the perspective of Joseph Smith while the translating of the plates!

I might start sending out picture emails to those who want them, but you guys need to send me an email so I know you want them!

Tudo Bem em Brazil!

Elder John D. Scarlett

My latest sketch :)

Sao Francisco de Paula - Week 7

Our District
October 19, 2015

Ba! This past week was a bit crazy! Like I explained in the last email, we received our third american missionary for our companionship - Elder Gardener! He´s a fantastic missionary, very well in tune with his purpose as a missionary and he's fluent!  He's been out one his mission for about 1 year and 2 months (I think) while my other companion, Elder Pryor, has been serving for a little over 1 year, but is still smoothing out his Portuguese because he served his first 6 months in Las Vegas while waiting for his Visa.  And ME!! The super greeny who's only served for about 2 months! :D

It´s a much harder work in São Francisco de Paula with only three missionaries. This because in normal transfers, we usually have two pairs of missionaries, one pair for each side of S. F. de Paula, but now we only have us three for the entire area! Talk about walking!  One day this past week, we had one set of lessons on the exact opposite sides of the area! Great time for contacting! The entire pool of pesquisadores (investigators) changed and now we´re building up a new pool of pesquisadores that I'm really coming to love!

The President of the branch (small congregation in the church) here is amazing! You can tell his entire heart is focused on this branch, and he really wants to help it grow! He helps us as much as possible, which is an incredible thing for him to do considering he live in another city! He cheers with us, and cries with us, teaches us, and at time even chastises us too! He's an amazing man out here, and in reality, a total fish out of water.

To answer Sister Cran's question to me, I love Portuguese but I still have a long ways to go! Everyone tells me that my Portuguese is fantastic for where I am. This is my first time learning Portuguese so I don't know how fast fast is and how slow slow is. But I love it! I'mm being patient and learning every day!

As for the Nugget this week, I read in 3 Nephi this week and I like the lesson taught in the first 4 verses. 

Nephi finishes praying with Heavenly Father and goes into the tend of his father Lehi. Immediately Lehi tells Nephi about a dream he received, in which he was commanded that Nephi and his brothers were to return to Jerusalem and retrieve the plates of Brass from Laban. The principle I took from this simple story I like to call the Feed N´ Go. Simply, Heavenly Father loves us and is willing and ready to feed us, whether it be through revelation, spiritual blessings, temporal blessings, or some other form. However, after we receive these things, we are usually given instruction and are put to work. 

In the life of Moses, he saw the burning bush, and he was called as a prophet, who clearly worked a lot!
The Prophet Joseph Smith received The First Vision and immediately started to prepare, through diligent work, to do his work which would come 9 years later. The best of all examples is Jesus Christ, who in His life time, lived by "every word proceeding from the mouth of God." His works are of the best nature, which is of an Eternal nature. It is my firm testimony that if we should follow this pattern of receiving and then going to work, sharing freely the things we have received and following those instructions or commandments given by God. We will, by natural consequence, end up falling into place among those great examples in the Kingdom of God.

There is my Nugget! hope you enjoy!
Love you all!
Tudo Bem em Brazil!

ELDER Scarlett

Sao Chico (no more B!) - Week 6

October 12, 2015

So first a little explanation - transfers are periods of time during the mission, each lasting 6 weeks. At times, at the end of a transfer, missionaries are moved from one area within the mission to another area in the mission, complete with a new companion who they will work with in that area.
This is the end of my first transfer within the mission! I'm 6 weeks old! But as a newbie, I still have another transfer (6 weeks) of training with a trainer. What usually happens - a new missionary gets the entire 12 weeks with a trainer to learn Portuguese and the in and outs of the mission. But for me, not so much. My trainer and companion, Elder Gomes, got a phone call from the President of the mission who informed him that he would be transferred to an area where he was needed more. Super unusual! 

Also, there are two areas in Sao Chico, each with a set of two missionaries.  One set of those missionaries was taken out and reassigned. So I'm staying in my area, which is twice as large, with two missionaries american as my companions. BA! dois americanos para companheiros é muito estranho!

On another note, this week has been a total blast! One special thing happened when we visited the house of one of our pesquisadores (someone investigating the church) who was baptized the first week of this transfer But not yet confirmed. We visited her house and her family (I love them!) and they said they would come to church this Sunday for her to be confirmed! (Yay!!) but a little surprise for us, her son had just turned eight and was excited to be baptized too! BA! A little missionary surprise for us! We had the confirmation and the baptism this Sunday, and they were bother super great! That family is something else!
A special shout out to Alec Dawson, my cuz! Elder Martines, who served with him in Salta Argentina, is serving here in the Porto Alegre North Mission now. He was trained in this mission by my trainer! So in mission genealogy, he's my brother, and Alec's new cousin! We´re all a big happy family!

I love you all and would love to hear more from you guys! 
Tudo Bem em Brazil!

ELDER Scarlett

Sao Chico B - Week 5

October 5, 2015

Sorry for this short email, I honestly can't remember much about this week.

But here is what I do remember:
1 - A lot of good study (you should read Jesus The Christ!)
2 - A benchmark in getting better with portuguese!
3 - A few new golden Pesquisadores (investigators)
4 - Watching conference with one of my favorite families out here!
5 - Baptizing members of said family!
6 - A wonderful General Conference!

I´ll try to get more out to you guys next week, i need to start writing in a Journal so I can better lay these things out for you guys!  Still getting in the groove out here! T
here is a lot of work to do!

But i love you guys!
Tudo Bem em Brazil!

ELDER Scarlett

Sao Chico B - Week 4

September 28, 2015

Oi minha povo! Eu vocês amo!

I don´t know if you guys know or not, but I think everyone here knows - the dollar gained about one-third of it´s original value! Which means here 1 dollar used to be worth 3 Reals, but now it´s 4, so all the Americans here just got a little richer! To celebrate I bought the four of us missionaries in our district some Pizza! It was so good! but I totally forgot to take pictures to show you guys the difference between American and Brazilian pizza. Darn....
Guess I´ll have to buy more!

I've had a couple of really cool experiences with the spirit this week! 

The first one happened in the house of a mother living with some of her teenage children. We met them by "knocking on their door" (which actually entails clapping outside their gate, because every house has a gate, and you clap instead of knock). We gave the first lesson and I usually give the part about Joseph Smith, his question, The First Vision, and what that means about the Church today. I'm able to use mostly my own words now, but it was weird this time. When I started talking, I had everyone's attention (which was an accomplishment with this family) at first because I was an American speaking Portuguese, but after a few minutes, that wasn't the case. You could feel the power in the room. The Holy ghost lit a fire and the force was physical. During The First Vision story, I have no doubt they felt the Power of The Holy Ghost - truly an incredible experience.

Me and Elder Gomez, my Trainer
Another time, one of our greatest pesquisadores (investigators) invited us to a meeting much like AA in the USA, but for drugs and the families affected by these things too. It was like a comfort group people could come to for help and strength. It was run by another church but it reminded me of the 12 step program we have, just a little different and honestly a bit less organized. Anyways, they explained what the purpose of it was to us and then my companion, Elder Gomez, bore his testimony. Everyone would start talking about any problem or success they were having, sharing words of encouragement and words to help strengthen each other. It was really cool to watch though, I usually didn't understand enough to get anything out of it. Instead I was drawn up in thought most of the time. A firm testimony formed in my head, many things I knew would be of strength and comfort to them, many things that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ could bring into their lives as a strength for the rest of their lives. I never got the chance to bear my testimony that night or to talk to them, instead I left with another experience with the Holy Ghost. Every last though that came into my mind, I know was inspired. Connections were made, and revelation was given insomuch that I did learn many things only through pondering and listening to the words of the Spirit. It was a great experience and one of great help in my mission experience so far.

I've had other experiences too and I'd love to share them, but now I'll close by sharing another nugget.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost, which you receive after Baptism, is one of the greatest treasures you will ever receive. The Holy Ghost is real, he has much power. The simple fact of his purpose is to testify of Christ, and also to testify of all truth. He has power to bring many things to your remembrance, and through these things, give strong revelation and testimony. But, work is involved on our part. We have to study, because he can only work with the things we already have in our memory. We have to ponder and pray so that we can have the spirit with us as we study and ponder. Lastly, we always have to be worthy to receive the spirit. This requires many things, not the least of which is being obedient to the Commandments of God. Possibly most important is that we need our minds to be clean of trash, our thoughts need to be garnished "with virtue unceasingly"  It's a very simple principle we are taught many times in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I can now say that I know it to be a true principle.

My invitation to you is to search for opportunities to invite the spirit into your lives. Learn more about how the Holy Ghost works with us. As you study, as you pray, and you go about your daily business, listen for promptings of The Holy Ghost, and follow them. For those who aren't members of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ask about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It's really a beautiful blessing you can receive in your life.

Also General conference is coming up!  All are always invited to watch, It's on the church website for those without TV (like we are back home! NETFLIX FOREVER!).  It's a good opportunity to learn about the spirit, and to receive promptings.  I invite you to listen to the words of the Prophet, and of the Quorum of the Twelve about the Holy Ghost. And my last invitation is to think about any question that you might want answered, a question that is important to you and ultimately could help you in your every day activities, and pray about it before watching the sessions. Nothing is better for receiving answers and revelation than praying about questions!

That´s all i have for today!
Love you guys!
Tudo Bem em Brazil!

Elder John D. Scarlett

Burned my hand cooking
What I was cooking when I burned my
hand - and it was worth it!