Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nathan's email from December 23

Subject: Feliz Natal
hello world, I'm dreaming of a very very wet Christmas. Brazil's underwater!!! Actually just parts of it is, the weather is actually very interesting. I put on my sunscreen at 10 o clock, the sun is blazing hot. We make it to lunch and by the time we finish eating and get outside I couldn't see blue, and we ran for home to get our umbrellas. By the time we reached home it started raining and it rained so hard for 20 minutes we couldn't get out of our house with or without umbrellas. (made Utah rain look like the sprinkler you put on your hose) but the forecast says Christmas will be wet.
Well now that I've bored you out with the forecast in Brazil, I'll let you know how things are going down here. Elder Richards and I are doing great, we keep finding new awesome people down here. It's funny elder Richards can make a contact and I've never seen anyone not stop lol its fun :D but its way cool. The problem is with the holidays everyone is traveling or the other common thing in Brazil is short term work at the shopping places during the holidays. So everyone's working or running to grandmas house lol. But we have found a few people in house including one lady which I would like to share with you. So we were walking down a road that I've never been on before and we pass the nicest house on the road. I look over at elder and say "imagine eating lunch at that house" he walked right up and rang the door bell, leaving me with my mouth hanging open. This was last Saturday, yesterday being Monday we taught her the first lesson and gave her a book of Mormon, it was really nice and the spirit was very strong there. She is active in another church and never lets other people into her house, but like I said elder Richards has a gift :D, maybe it wasn't elder that made it work, truly the spirit touches each of us so that every ear may hear the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
anywho that's all I've got for this week, I'll be calling home soon so I'll share more love then, ate mais meus amados!
Elder Nate Spencer

Brian's email from December 22

Subject: Merry Christmas to all
Here is one holiday that is celebrated all over the world, rain or shine, sun or snow! This is my first HOT Christmas and I cant say it feels right... lol I have to say I prefer a white christmas BUT whether the weather be hot or whether the weather be cold it is still a time to reflect on the year, remember our saviours birth and give more freely of ourselves. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday, I send my love from Africa! Love,
Elder Brian Spencer

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brian's email from December 15

So some things gotta give. President Poulsen has changed some things in the mission as I think I mentioned previously. But with the change come trials. But now I feel like Thomas Edison, I have to find a thousand ways that won't work before I find the one that will.
So the past two weeks we put a lot of efforts into trying to advertise and promote the Christmas Devotional that the Church put on yesterday. We made Flyers and pamphlets and posted them all over town and handed them out as we tracted. We also asked every single one of our investigators to come. So the Christmas Devotional was fantastic but unfortunately not a single investigator was there to enjoy it... SHAME!
But Some good news! We did have a baptism yesterday which went flawlessly :D A brilliant little 9 year old girl was baptized and bore her testimony and made her grandmother cry :)
We originally had three people who were supposed to get baptized yesterday but only one made it all the way. There should be several others coming up in January. So Christmas is coming! I hope everyone has the Christmas spirit and is sharing the love Christ has given. Things here aren't white by any means, In fact its about 100 degrees and very dry! But it's still festive here, lots of fake Christmas trees and lights and such. So that's all from Africa, stay tuned for next time! Love you all
Elder Brian Spencer

Nathan's email from December 16

The American football players continue to break yardage on the ubirajara front, Satan's ahead by 1 million but our coach is waiting for the last play. We've found two new families that are running for the eternal goal, I've got faith they'll go all-the-way!!!
This week was awesome, today we got to go to the temple for the first time since like August, so that was cool. We're working hard and playing hard, its like a whole new ball game with an American comp, it's way fun any way you go at it though. Christmas is practically on us and Santa is awfully uncomfortable with his big wool coat on... I think the wool coat is better than adapting to the usual outwear of people here :D Just don't imagine fat Santa with a speedo...
We had a few really really spiritual moments this week that really touched a few people here, including me. We were teaching Evaldo and his friend Morelo who drinks his life away, we are now helping him stop as he comes to church as well. Sorry I'm outa time but I love you all and have a fantastic week, I'll talk more next week! Love you all merry Hanuka or something!"
Elder Nate Spencer

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brian's email from October 20

Subject: I'm not so think as you dumb I am

Protea Glen is coming alive, life on mission is full of disappointment and great joy, Usually you have to pass through lots of disappointment to find the joy, but when the joy comes it makes it all worth it. I'm nearing the end of my time here in Protea Glen, Things have been a battle the last couple of months, trying to find poeple and get them to commit to the gospel and change their lives, Its been tough but I think things are finally rolling. This past week Keneilwe got an answer to her prayers and asked to be baptized. We found a great young family who have been looking for a church and haven't found one that makes them happy and now they are excited to hear the message of the restoration. We also tracted into a lady who came to church and found out she has two neices who are very active. They hadn't seen each other in like two years, now she is excited to come back to church and to learn more about it. Oh and Kgomotso passed her baptismal interview and is getting baptized on sunday :D So life is moving forward here! Its a shame I'll have to leave in two weeks but that's life... Just as soon and you love something its ripped out of your hands ;) So I'll just have to go love somewhere else. But I'm glad I'll be able to leave the area prospering for my companion, and he is only going to make it burn brighter, it's his first area and he knows how to keep the ball rolling!
So, this morning I was out teaching my companion how to do backflips on the back lawn and all of a sudden I'm soaked and I hear laughing from the upstairs window, Well... I broke my old track record and I was up there with a bottle of water in about .45 seconds and I had both of them wrestled to the ground and all wet :D good times, there's never a dull moment at our flat. We then made about two loaves of bread worth of french toast and the four of us had a feast. I also made some amazing maple syrup (thanks dad/mom). Alright well thanks for everything :) hope all is well
Love, Elder Brian Spencer

Nathan's email from October 21

Well well well.
This week was fantastic in my new area. It's true not knowing any of the roads can be a bit troublesome, but this area is amazing. The ward is so active and there's so many people that are ready for the gospel here. I have a story today that dims all others, I think. I'll try to do it justice, but truly it was a miracle.
So I arrived in Ubirajara this last week and my comp said that we had a young man who had been coming to church for a good while and still was never taught or baptised. So Wednesday afternoon we visited him and his mother. His parents are pretty indifferent about religion, the mom likes and listens while the father keeps his life busy with other things. We taught him the first lesson and invited him to be baptized this same Sunday. He accepted and was very excited. We had him read the Book of Mormon and pray to make sure this was the decision for him. He did so and Thursday we moved on to teach him the plan of salvation and the commandments. All was smooth sailing and Saturday he had his interview and passed with flying colors. But what happens is Saturday night we talk to the member family who are friends with the young man and his family. Well, the dad says please wait on the baptism, we want to get things ready and make sure its really, really special for him, and of course we were like sure, sure that's awesome. So we had plans to just re-mark for another Saturday or Sunday. But that night we get home and our zone leaders say wait you should do it tomorrow, and we were like no we'll wait. Well we couldn't come to a decision so elder de Paula and I decided to say a prayer about the situation. We both prayed individually and the spirit in our little room was so strong, we knew it had to be tomorrow. We arrived at church the next day, made a few phone calls and all was well, we called Windson (the young man to be baptised) and he said him and his parents would come. We called the member family because the father would do the baptism, he was really upset with us but said he would (he asked us to wait more time), so now we're here at the chapel before church (stake conference) waiting for our investigators to come. As the minutes pass, the sensations in my stomach become more and more...sensational. The member family comes and saves seats for them, church starts still no sign. 5 after the hour... 10 after the hour. with agony we stop waiting and enter the chapel. We sit in the back as the choir sings the first song. The opening prayer is given and I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn to see 4 angels dressed in the form of people I know and love. They had arrived with smiles on their faces! Quickly the father of the member family helps them to their seats in the front and the meeting begins. Holy smokes what an amazing meeting it was. To make it all the better President Richardson was there, our mission president, and he spoke. The spirit was so strong and this amazing family was sitting together drinking in every word and feeling. But this is just beginning to start the joy of the story! After the meeting president came up and said he would stay for our baptism, wow. So we start throwing people out of the chapel to get ready for the baptism. I spoke with the young women's leader and she said her girls and the young men would sing a special musical, president said he would give a message and off we went.
I truly can't describe this baptism meeting and give it justice. The spirit was so strong, the baptism was perfect, the bishop spoke and it was the closest thing to ammon teaching the king and converting the whole household. He spoke to Windson and his parents about the value of family and the importance of being a good son. He said to the parents that being baptised wouldn't take away their son from them but just make him a better man. The tears were flowing and after the closing prayer President Richardson went to the parents and testified of the spirit that had been in the meeting. The mom broke down. Then without a speck of doubt he promised he would return for their baptisms in a few weeks. The parents said thank you and as you can see, two parents because of the example of one son and the power of the spirit were converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
This was the most powerful baptism I have yet had on the mission, I hope I will have more because I know that this young man will do everything he can to serve a mission and that his parents will be baptised. I know the gospel is true, I know Christ died so we may feel this joy of eternal salvation. I know that the power of the spirit is the power to turn any heart unto God.
This baptism was only the start of what is happening in this ward. Just in the one week we've been here we've found about 6 other people that are so ready for the gospel, they were excited to hear our message and to visit the church. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and I can't wait to see what happens in this new area. Thank you all for your love and support, hope you all have a fantastic week!
Love Elder Spencer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brian's email from October 13

Subject: Hade Bafuarto [haw-day ba-fway-to]

African Languages are so cool! I can't say that I can really speak any of them but I can communicate slightly. People love it when a white guy tries to speak their native tongue. So life here in Africa is going very well. We have a baptism coming up and hopefully some more will follow. I realized I haven't really told you about most of our investigators, We teach a lot of people and our teaching pool is always turning over, we usually find 5-10 people a week and drop about 5-9 a week! But I'll just let you know some the our solid investigators; We are teaching Kgomotso Kolwa, she is an incredibly stalwart youth who bears her testimony every month and is a great example to the other young women, she is getting baptized on the 26th of this month. We are also teaching Kenielwe Kgaladi, She is 22 and is recovering from a serious injury that she got in January. She was in a hospital bed for 6 months and is now teaching herself to walk and talk and such again. She has shown a lot of faith as we have taught her and she has a testimony. But we kinda have to take things slow cause she can't do a lot of things on her own, like come to church. So we are starting to teach her mother too. She is now praying about baptism. We are also teaching a man named Ben Mangali, wow... This guy, I don't know what to say about him, I get nervous and excited every time I get to go see him cause he is like an Apostle. He is a member of the reformed Seventh Day Adventist and has studied the bible for forty years now. I think he might be a pastor for their church BUT he has always been in a search for truth and is VERY humble. He has investigated and thrown out many churches that he doesn't agree with, such as the Jehovah's Witness and Roman Catholics and many others but he told us he has never had a chance to investigate our beliefs. So we have now taught him about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, he is now studying the book of Mormon (probably very thoroughly) and we are going to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. But he has told us that he has been very impressed so far and is very anxious to learn more. I'm excited to keep working with him.
Lets see who else... oh there is Ellen Ndobe, she is very interested and we shared with her about he Plan of Salvation last time. She came to part of conference last week and wants to visit our church.
and there is Lettie Rahube, and Winnie Zinyawu and Lindiwe Ramabela and Johanna Boshomane and the Thulo family and Tentandi... The list goes on and on, but it is incredible to be doing this great work. The Lord has blessed us with many people to teach and I feel so privileged to bring this great gift to so many people. Every single one of these people I've mentioned I've had the opportunity to see the spirit light up their understanding and bless their lives. This truly is the Lords work :D

I also wanted to apologize to anyone who has written me and hasn't got a response, I've responded to almost every letter I've received, so odds are the wonderful postal system lost it and I never got it. Packages seem to be the same way :s Thank you for trying lol :D
Love, Elder Brian Spencer