Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 25, 2017 Christmas video call!









December 25, 2017 letter -- Teotonio Vilela (Ilheus)

this week was chill!

monday we had a normal p day and we went downtown to see some stuff and go to the bank. we found a Crhist the redeemer statue and just hung out with some other elders until we went home and had a cool lesson with tiago. 

Christ the Redeemer statue in Ilheus
Not sure if you are allowed to climb on the statue base, but oh well
 tuesday we had a good day of normal work getting ready for the zone and christmas conference with president. we had some good lessons but nothing too special.

wednesday we went to another part of the city for zone conference. we talked a lot about the importance of working with members and had a few special hymns and activities to celebrate christmas. also we had a white elephant gift exchange and i got a bunch of chocolate hahahh
Ilheus Zone at Christmas Conference


thursday we had good weekly planning and a good session of cleaning the house! also did real missionary work and had an awesome day.

Elder Brito and Elder Prince
friday we had the branch christmas program with primary nativity and some food in the church. 

Elder Sobral and Elder Prince with ward members in Ilheus (from a ward member's instagram)
sunday was only one hour of church but ednalva and stephanie went to church! this week we really got down to business with ednalva dna she is all excited for her baptism this saturday so keep her in your prayers that everything goes well and the interview too. she noticed how happy her daughter has been since she got baptized and wants to feel a little bit of that same thing. that really helped me to remember the effcts we have on other people in our lives without even knowing that we did something for them.

Elder Sobral and Elder Prince
im extremely grateful for my savior Jesus christ and his birth. He lives and loves us. merry christmas to all and to all a good night.

elder prince

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

December 18, 2017 -- Teotonio Vilela

monday (P-day) we went downtown again had a good time just chillin there ya know. 

wednesday we went to una which is just not a place i ever want to go back to hahah then we had a sweet pre baptismal interview interview with emanoel. he's a funny kid and i'm glad i have gotten to know him. its amazing to see a teenager with such desire to study and learn. 

thursday emanoel showed up to his baptism interview full of doubts because of a few things that he read in the bible but i straightened him out with a good old scripture and testimony and then he passed his interview. also traveled to salvador to renew my visa 

Elevator picture in Salvador on visa trip 
Sam's photos for his new visa (current on left, at the beginning of his mission on right)
friday in the office of the mision to  go renew my visa. I left my trainee in ilheus with the other elders. i hope everything is going well wih him hahah pretty sweet day we got to participate in a baptism for some other elders in salvador and i got to see a few people from amaralina they gave me some chocolate. then i got back in the bus to spend the night traveling.

Emanoel and Elder Sobral at the baptism
saturday we had the baptism prep and lunch and the baptism! it went well and had cake so it was a success. we also went and visited less actives with members after to invite them to church on sunday!

sunday we had 71 people in sacrament meeting! 20 more than last week and 30 more than the week before so i was stoked as can be. also emanoel got confirmed a member so it was successful. did some visits and planned the skype. 

merry christmas!

Elder Prince

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 letter -- Teotonio Vilela (Ilheus)

my week was pretty chill. monday we went sightseeing downtown and saw some other elders. had a good lesson about the restoration with marcos and part of his family! 

Sao Sebastiao Cathedral

Elder Prince and Elder Sobral
tuesday we started teaching the mother of a recent convert! she didnt tell us but told her daughter that she wants to get baptized but doesnt know if now is the right time for her! pray for edinalva! shes kinda deaf so we had a fun time teaching her practically screaming the whole time wiht a lot of translating from her daughter hahah we get put in so many interesting situations during the mission hahah

wednesday we had zone meeting on the other side of the city so lots of travel and some good training there. it was just missionaries because we will have christmas conference in a few weeks! we have also started to set up soccer activies on wednesday nights for men and young men to come play together with dominoes and ping pong too. it was so awesome to see the church full of men and young men and we were able to get all their addresses and we have started visiting them! the look on our branch presidents face was priceless when he got there i dont think he had ever seen so many men or young men in the chapel hahaha

Elder Prince and his zone (elder costa e silva, elder lluberes, elder souza, elder moeira, elder bastos, elder davis, elder ferreira, elder sontag, sister g silva, sister miguel, and my companino and me in no particular order)
thursday we contacted some references with members and taught a really interesting lesson about the restoration to a presbyterian. he told us all about this gospel music cd hes recording and how is trying to work his way up to the level of priest and pastor in his church. it just really reminded me about the blessings of the restoration and how we have revelation to truly understand about the priesthood and callings and leadership in the true church of Jesus Christ. also a sweet family home evening in the church with most of the branch and investigators. 

friday we taught emanoel about the plan of salvation and he was all excited to get baptized this week! his excitement to read and get baptized is energizing for me. before he was just a low energy person but now he has really started to be lively and open  up to us. he is really happy and reading tons1

sunday i gave a talk on the restoration and we had some good visits with members to less activies and references! investigators are coming. we are getting some real good references from the members and everythings starting to go well. keep emanoel in your prayers for his baptism this saturday! trying to get some more dates of baptism out there but its coming slowly! gotta find more sincere people. 

i love you guys have a good week. 

Elder Prince


Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017 -- Teotonio Vilela (Ilhéus)

monday i got to travel to salvador to pick up my new comp straight from the mtc and i sat on the bus by 3 missionaries going home and they were just trunky and nervous hahahah but we made it to salvador safely. 


tuesday we spent the whole day in presidents house recieving training and introducing the new missionaries to the mission. it was pretty cool and nice to be back in salvador. i had really missed it and it was fun to see some friends and other missionaries. I got my new comp elder sobral from sao paulo! hes been a member for a little over a year and he's extremely excited about the work. we finished off the night by picing up another bus back to ilheus 8 hours yay

Elder Prince and Elder Sobral

wednesday i showed elder sobral around the area and we met some membrers and some of our investigators. we had a cool lesson with emanoel and davi about their reading in the book of mormon and they both accepted baptismal dates in a few weeks! its so nice to have the book of mormon and challenge people to read it to gain a testimony. 

thursday and friday and saturday were just kind anormal proselting days. elder sobral got to experience his first day in the mission where you dont find a whole lot of people at home and you do a whole lot of walking. but we had a really cool experience. we were walking down the street and this man walks past us then turns around and stops us and read our nametags then nearly pulled us to his house to teach him more! his name is junior and we started talking about the Church of Jesus Crhist and how it was lost after the death of christ and was restored. He gave this whole explanation aout how he wondered why there were so many churches in our days and stuff and it was super cool.

we got to see a ton of less activies ths week and they all or most of them went to chrch it was so nice to see the church more full and stuff. 

i think the best part of this week is that every time we walk by the church elder sobral shakes his head because our church is gigantic but we only have  branch here. its so different for him becaus ehis ward is big but chapel small and it makes me laugh so hard everytime.
Gigantic church building for the branch

i love you all so much. Jesus loves you too.

sam

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 27, 2017 -- Teotonio Villela (Ilheus)

Sam's companion Elder Araujo goes home this week, so Sam will get a new missionary straight from the MTC. He reports that he will travel to the mission home Monday night, have a day of training, and get his new comp on Wednesday. They will serve in Teotonio Villela (Ilheus), where Sam has been serving for the last few weeks.

Brazilians love Christmas, so they already have a tree in their apartment.

View from their balcony

I think this photo is from their apartment.

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017 letter - Teotonio Villela (Ilheus)

this week because of the week of dedication we started a little early on monday. 3 pm instead of 6 so that was kinda weird. i felt like we didnt even have a p day but it was chill. 

uesday was super duper rainy the whole day so we spent the day trying to visit investigators and less actives in the rain and lets just say that we had less success than we would have liked. also got super muddy because my area is full of dirt roads but im really coming to enjoy that part of the misison. its something im not used to seeing. well now im used to it but not so normal in the states. 

wednesday was a holiday here in brazil im not sure for what. i think every other week has a holiday here in brazil. but there was a bbq for the ward and it rained again. one funny thing in the mission is that in the handbook says that sundays and holidays are the best days to FIND PEOPLE AT HOME. what it does not include is that they are THE WORST for people to let you in their homes hahah but it was a pretty good day as well. 

thursday we were able to meet with an investigator who showed up randomly at church and he has a super cool story. eugenio was a drug addict but then got put out on the streets and moved to sao paulo. after trying to sell fruits in the streets of the big city he has made his way home and is really searching to find the purpose in his life and trying to support his family witha son on the way. he loved church and loved our lesson about the restoration and the existance of prophets to guide us. 

friday we visited a part member family who commited to start reading the bom together and prayhing together. the parents need to get married so they can get baptized and are actually super excited to have us visiting  them. 

the rest of the weekend we spent preparing for stake conference and gettting a few things in order for my companion to go home next week! lets just say he is pretty excited hahahah. stake conference was super good. lots of talks about keeping the sabbath day holy. 4 to be exact. then the area seventy came in and talked for a full hour. it was an amazing talk about sacrafice love and truly serving our neighbors. truly guarding the 2 greatest commandment to love our neighbor. it was an amazing talk and got a sweet feeling of the spirit to make me happy. 

also had another super cool/crappy experience this week. for the past little while i have been doing lots of my personal study only in english and not reading in portuguese very much anymore and it came back to bite me. this week it was like my tongue was not meant to speak portuguese and my ears not made to understand anything. it was a very odd feeling but as soon as i started doing my study again in portuguese evertyhing turned around and i was understanding and speaking again. i recieved a very personal testimony about the gift of tongues and them importance of using the talents the lord gives us. if we hide our talents we will lose them. mmaybe we dont all have the coolest talents or talents that seem popular or necessary but our talents are what make us who we are and what make us special to our Heavenly father. SO use your talents! be grateful for the talents you have this thanksgiving week.

i love yall. 

sam

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 13, 2017 letter -- Teotonio Villela (Ilheus)

Remember a few weeks ago when president was going to send me to BJDL and then he wanted me to go to Ilheus, but then changed back to BJDL? he moved me this week. new area is teotonio villela in ilheus. its a little bit more inland than the actual city and a pretty humble area.

Teotonia Villela (Ilheus)
wednesday night super cool family in bjdl made a cake for me and we had a sweet time visiting them before i left. 

thursday i spent 14 hours on the bus and another hour in a taxi just to get to my new area. friday and saturday and sunday were spent "showing me the new area" in which my comp just showed me members on the same 3 streets. so i still dont know the area or really any investigators! comp is Elder Araujo. he's brazilian and has only 2 weeks left in his mission.
Sam and new comp Elder Araujo
sunday was super nice to be back in an area where they have lunch for us and people in church! the branch is a little weak right now but we gonna pick things up! it was nice to sing hymns and sacrament and classes and stuff i loved it. also had random people show up at church that we are gonna visit this week im super excited! just gotta keep that positive attitude. and on top of all this president has made this week a week of dedication that we are just gonna skip studying and stuff and get up even earlier so we can literally spend the entire day in the street working. wish me luck. stake conference this weekend so it should be pretty chill here


ive been reading in the beginning of 2 nephi too and jesus the christ (super good book wow) and its really inspiried me to try even harder to be like christ and apply the atonement in my life. i read a scripture that i really liked this week in 1 nephi 17:50-51

50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?

if god has given us a calling or and assignment we can do it! he will never leave us alone to do things but always use his power and lift us up to the level we need to be to accomplish our tasks! I love my god and my savior. we always can have more faith that they are there with us and that we can do the things we need to do

love you tons, sam



Monday, November 6, 2017

November 6, 2017 letter -- Bom Jesus Da Lapa

our week was pretty chill. i feel like i talked to you all so recently because p day was one day late last weeek. not a super ton has changed here but we have been seeing small miracles for our hard work. we were able to put to work some of the trainings and tactics from zone conference to help instill excitement or root out the problems in our investigators. 

the problem is that while we may be able to get into a lot of houses here in bjdl we are having difficulties with finding sincere people. lots of them just let us in to here about jesus then dont want to hear anymore because "they were born catholic and will die catholic" or maybe because they think we are annoying hahha. but in between all of this just while walking in the street we have found like 10 less active members who were baptized in othe cities or states then moved and went inactive. also a ton of peple who were investigators in other cities or states and have invited us to visit them so always count your blessings! i know that the lord never forgets to watch over us and put eveyrthing in our path just the way we need it. 

we finally got some rain here in bjdl and we have seen great numbers of frogs and lizards since the rains. its super cool because we live close to a pond and they are super loud at night. i also go to do a exchange and went into a little town out side of the city where the other companionship works and it was sick! the little town they work iin is super in the midle of a banana plantation that is one of the biggest in the state or country or something like that so it was just bananas for as far as the eye could see. and i ate chicken feet yesterday. 7/10 not much better than the other parts of the chicken. 

we are geting super close to having the baptism of a family here so please keep karin, lurdes, and xavier in your prayers. theyre an awesome family and they already act like members we just gotta get them over the hump. this week i started the book of mormon again and im also trying to read the 4 gospels and its just a spiritual treat. its amazing to read more about my savior and get to know him better. 

i was reading the sermon on the mount this week when i came across a principle that i really like. matthew 6 :14 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you"

like one thing we can always do is forgive others and be patience. when we try hard to love others and show them that we love them and forgive them our heavenly father will forgive us and show his love for us. 

i hope each one of you knows how much i love you! have a great week and dont forget to read the book of mormon.

sam

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017 -- Bom Jesus Da Lapa

well sounds like a chill wekhahha. but idk about this logan lucky movie. nothing will ever top oceans 11. everyone in the house is getting along pretty well. had a few problems in the other companionship because our district leader is kinda hard headed and likes to do things his way. also he's not very good at doing things on time always seems to be a little late to everything. not a problem though. i'm actually so happy that rachel is on track to graduate and jared is doing well. you and dad really deserve a break after all i put you through so im glad The Lord is blessing you guys hahahah. also sorry about me in high school i was pretty dope but school was not my thing. 

is this infinite atonement book good? please fill me in i like the sound of it. also i'm super proud of myself that i am a "practicing" mormon now. finally been a true member for like 10 months now. rachel and jared copying my costumes i guess you guys really miss me at home hahaha. YOU'RE GONNA CHANGE THE KITCHEN WITHOUT MY PERMISSION?? WHAT IS THIS WORLD I AM THE THIRD PARENT AND WE NEED TO BE IN AGREEMENT. ugh. 

TOKEN SINGLE PERSON AT THE PARTY HAHAHAHA I THINK THIS WEEK WAS THE BEST BUNCH OF EMAILS I HAVE GOTTEN IN SO LONG I JUST IMAGINE YOU using the mic hahahahahahah. [I was the MC at the Elders Quorum Halloween party due to my "single" status with Jeff at work.] what brax talked about in his talk is true. the mission is a rollercoaster. wow rach actually pays attention in church. God really loves you and dad. the other three just keep making up for my mistakes hahahahahahaah. dude those ranger apprentice books are so good. 

well folks this week was extremely normal. a bunch of lessons lots of prayers and some good feeling the spirit. i don't really remember what happened this week. i feel like everytime we get to the computer my mind goes blank. usually i write stuff down but i forgot and forgot my planner. so i'm just gonna share some stuff from sunday and yesterday because they were the most important and eventful days. 

on sunday we were going around visiting all of our investigators before going to prepare the hotel for sacament meeting. we were passing in front of the hotel and we both had the feeling we should go in and talk to the owner who loves us. she doesn't want anything to do with the church but loves having our meetings there and giving lunch. we went in there with nothing to talk to her about but she was doing a contact for us! there was a couple there and she had given them a little friendship card idk what theyre called [pass along cards] but we had left them there and she was giving them out! then we got there to talk to the dude and he had been a pastor at some other church but started seeing all the problems and had been praying and fasting to find other church!!! we taught the restoration right then and there and it was super spiritual. he had already looked into the church but never understood it and we were able to answer all his questions. it was such a cool experience. this was at 4 oclock and sacrament is 5. he went home and came back for the meeting!!! I WAS SO HAPPY I ALMOST CRIED. miracles are real. i have been praying super hard that we can find people who are lost and looking for some help and the lord is always hearing our prayers. 

Sam and Elder Sonntag at zone conference
yesterday we had zone conference in brumado. after a sleepless night on the bus we had an amazing conference. president talked a lot about when he was serving a mission and the letters his father sent him. we learned a lot about how we can help our investigators to read the book of mormon more and keep the commandments with more enthusiasm. also president talked a ton about the difference between worth and worthiness. he emphasized a ton about how much we and all the other children of our heavenly father are worth to him. he gave a super sweet quote from brigham young, i think i wrote it down wrong but "the value of the more unworthy and lowest soul is worth more than worlds to God" imagine that. even the worst scummiest soul is worth more than worlds to God. he knows our eternal potential and loves us no matter what.

so if you all are ever feeling down. remember that God loves you and so do i! 

have a good week! Sam

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 - Bom Jesus Da Lapa

well fam this week was an adventure. 

starting monday our transfer was changed and i was going to ilheus! then as i was standing in the bus station about to buy my ticket president changed the transfer and i was going to bom jesus da lapa again and had to wait until tuesday to pick up the bus. 

so tuesday i was able to say goodbye to members and investigators and it was a good time. its hard to get attached to people then have to move areas. its like leaving home again. im super grateful for all the experiences i had in aeroporto and the wonderful members that helped us out so much. tuesday night i was on the bus and got to BJDL about 5 am and waited for the other elders to come pick me up. [Sam reports the bus ride was about 7 hours by himself.] 


Wednesday morning, straight from the bus without showering we were onto the next activity of shopping for the tables and beds and all that junk that you need in a house to live (update still dont have dressers so my suitcase looks like it got hit by a nuclear bomb). we have also been sleeping on mattresses on the floor cuz dont have bed frames yet hahahha. [A senior couple came to get the house, and now the missionaries are furnishing it.] being in a group is very different. [A group is smaller than a branch.] we have been making our own food and everything so just a whole new experience for me. [In other areas, members have cooked for the missionaries.] wednesday night we were able to visit a family that they have been teaching here and the daughters name is karianne!! spelled exactly like mom spells it.


thursday was the first real day in the city. after a hot stuffy sweaty night trying to sleep we were able to plan and visit some of the awesome people that have already been letting the missionaries in to visit. Bom Jesus Da Lapa (BJDL) has nice cobblestone streets just like the ones i loved in jequie so will send the update about newly ingrown toenails in a few weeks hahaha [Sam described the area as a desert with a lot of ugly trees and bushes. The temperatures have been over 100 F each day this week.]

friday we were able to finish up the preparation for Neia, Caio and Caue so they could be baptized on saturday. neia decided she wasnt ready to be baptized yet so it should happen in the upcoming weeks. caio and caue are some super cool young men who truly have a desire to follow Crhist. We were also able to have a super spiritual lesson about the importance of prayer and how to recognize answers that we receive with the family of karianne. they are a super awesome family and they all have a pretty good knowledge of the bible and have investigated lots of other religions so its awesome to teach them. 

saturday we had the baptism of Caio and Caue in the morning but the van we had set up to take us to the river bailed on us... so we went to the river in...... CHARIOTS WE RODE HORSES TO THE RIVER FOR A BAPTISM I FELT SO COOL HAHAHHA. will send more pics next week the computer here is awful. when we got to the river we had to move locations a few times to avoid random people swimming and the marines who told us the water was too deep, we later found out that 2 people had drowned earlier in the week. we ended up baptizing on our knees another new experience and everything ended up perfectly. 

sunday was another adventure. with a total of 11 people in attendance at church i blessed and passed the sacrament then gave a 30 minute talk. and yes it was a lot better than my farewell talk because i didnt get up to the pulpit trembling and nervous. lets just say blessing the sacrament without a white table cloth and sitting on plastic lawn chairs made by beer companies was a new experience. also the meetings on sunday are held in the garage of a hotel. this transfer should be an adventure.

love you guys tons.

sam

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 16, 2017 - Aeroporto (Vitoria da Conquista)

well fam this week was interesting. I caught a cold in 90 mostly sunny and its completely wrecked me ahhha. also my jumprope broke and a bunch of our investigators went on vacation so that was just icing on the cake hahah

monday we went downtown and i bought some new ties and the best chocolate i have ever had in this store called cacau show. i spent so much money on chocolate my addiciton is still real.

tuesday the cold hit hard but we got to work anyways. we explored a new part of our area super far away trying to get to an appoointment we had set up but then thehouse just didnt exist so that was sweet hahah. we also were able to find a less active member by accident! we had a super aweosme lesson about the restoration with her. 

wednesday we had a lot of stuff fall thru and not a super ton of success gettin in any houses.thursday was weekly planning and a holiday so the streets were empty! but we had a few lessons marked and taught a super awesome lesson to leticia about temples and the importance of doing work in family history. she is so close to being baptized and she talks about it without us even bringing it up. but just patience with her. we also had a pretty fun activity in the church with the whole ward.

saturday we had a awesome lesson reteaching the restoration to elielton and geovana and they promisedus they would make more efforts to go to church and prayer for guidance from heavely father. the holy ghost really is so key and so powerful in missionary work and some of the best ways to invite him to our prescense are thru bearing testimony and reading our scriptures! we also had a birthday party/family home eveing for a member in our ward and i taught sadly my last english class in this ward. teaching english is actually super cool.

sunday we had ward council for the first time in six months in this ward and lets just say it did not go super smoothly. we got chewed out by the ward council for not having more baptisms. while they have not even lifted a finger or done a single thing to help us. they want to blame everything on the missionaries but are unwiling to help us or support us in the things we are trying to do. oh well.

I just found out I'm being transferred to Bom Jesus Da Lapa! Its a city! the area opened up last transfer and its just a group there so im gonna be giving talks every week i think someone was praying for this to happen to me (you). my companion will be Elder Pereira, but i don't know him yet. he's brazilian.

Sam








Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017 -- Aeroporto (Vitoria Da Conquista)

super proud of you mom you learned to zoom hahah i laughed super hard when i read that. a good attitude makes all the difference mom youre right and i can testify to that after all this time in the mission. its all about how you look at the painting that makes it beautiful not about the brushstrokes. im on fire with analogies today wow.


this week was nothing short of a normal week and i dont have a whole lot to report. We spend almost a whole day waiting in the rodoviaria (bus station) for an elder that never showed up and no one told us that he wasnt actually coming anymore until after we waited for like 4 hours hahaha. 


we got involved in the stake choir and sang at a hospital for new borns (yes im a yellow angel). liek that special hospital that only lets in babies and mothers, had so many paintings of boobs it was kinda weird and i felt like i needed to repent after. I had a pretty good division with our zone leader and we were able to find some cool new investigators anda sweet new family! im excited because the lesson was super spiritual and the lady started cried and saying it was all true before the even got to finish telling her about Joseph smith! 


my english class was pretty good this week and i taught some english to some guy whol wil be moving to boston in january so hes super excited to learn more enlgish, then to our suprise he stayed for the institute class that ws right after, where he was able to learn about family history work and eternal families, he livesin the other area and met with the missionaries yeserday so im super happy about that hes freaking dope. 
 
sacrament meeting was super exciting this week while during the passing of the sacrament there were kids jumping off the steps near the pulpit and following their older brothers around while they passed. needless to say it was less then reverent. then during the testimony meeting part people like made a line in front of the pulpit. like no onewas sitting downand everyone just stayed standing up while people bore testimony. super weird and im worried my ward might fall into apostasy, jk its all good here. 

please keep leticia brenda cris lucia bianca camilo josias and eliene and vitorio in your prayers this week!!

i love you guys