Vitora, Brazil

Vitora, Brazil

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

22. So, Carnival is quite an experience.

Dear Family,

Man this week was hard, but kinda just funny, and not discouraging. So, Carnival is quite an experience. Imagine a mix between a ghost town but and I don't know what else. Literally 98 percent of the population is at the beach right now. We knock an entire street and only talk with 2 or 3 people that don't like the beach or they didn't feel like going. Our ward of 50 actives was less that 20 by the end of sacrament as everyone was leaving for the holidays. And the missionaries just stayed on the streets trying to create potentials. We had a great idea to just visit members during the afternoon and got 6 references. But it is just so funny how empty unimaginably empty it became here. We almost didn't find an open Internet Cafe to use. But, in the midst of all the difficulties, I had some great spiritual experiences.

First, we were challenge/encouraged to pray and ask specifically what we could do to help our area progress. We prayed and a thought to do a fast on Wednesday came to mind. So, even though my companion cant fast I fasted alone and we prayed again to receive guidance. That night we had a lesson marked for 7 o'clock. We got there and our investigator had left to run errands and we thought she had forgotten about us. We left to just knock some doors in the area and 30 minutes later her daughter came running after us to call us back. The mom, our target investigator, and her 8 children were called and all of them listened intently to the Plan of Salvation and learned about how they could be reunited with their father who passed away. It was such a good lesson and even though carnival is making it difficult to teach them and bring them to church I know that we received guidance and spiritual strength during the lesson. 

Second, I was questioning my own testimony this week about is the Lord can really put a yes or no answer in your mind and heart. D&C 8: 2-3. I have definitely felt the spirit during prayers and have felt spiritual guidance help me with Portuguese but i had not as of yet prayed about a yes or no question. After, a lesson with an investigator that seems really promising but keeps creating excuses to avoid the lessons and visits in the church, I was praying a lot to know if we should cut this investigator and if we were just losing time. I felt like I went through the same experience of Enos battling with the spirit. My desires were telling me that we should try to help him but I am pretty sure the spirit was telling me a different answer. At first I refused to accept this answer. But, as a few days have passed, I know that the response was correct. I hope that as I gain more experience with this type of response I will be able to recognize it during the prayer. But, I know for sure that through all of our prayers our Father is Heaven is listening and wants to help us. 

It is hard to sit here with these two missionaries that are typing their last emails to their families. They have been making me kinda trunky. But at least they are working until the last day. I am hoping for a very energetic missionary to get me back into the running mode instead of the dragging your heals. We are definitely working but I feel like we are lacking something. Like a little fire to keep us on our toes. 

Well, that's about all, 
Until next week  I love you all soo much. 


Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

21. Efforts to feel the Spirit

Dear Family,
The weeks are starting to feel a bit longer I think. Maybe it is just because this week was kinda hard. With Carnival approaching, even our most interested investigators are going to the beach just out of habit. It is especially tough to find people to teach during the week end just because of the beach. I cant imagine what this weekend is going to be like. I have heard that in some parts of the mission last year president told them to stay in their house for 4 days. Others said that they work all the same. Either way it is going to be an interesting week. We are definitely going to stear clear of the dangerous parts of town.

We are doing everything to try to find, teach, and help people progress in the gospel this transfer. We talk with literally everyone. I can totally see how some missionaries patience wears thin. Every once in a while you just get urges to show scriptures and prove your point but this method is pointless and even contrary to the missionary purpose.

We had an awkward moment this week when we set a goal for a baptism and then found out two days later that they were not married. I don't know how we made this mistake. But we are still going to help them despite the popular idea to leave them and teach `real potentials´. I have been learning from my companion that even though lots of people here will accept to hear your message, they don't really want to change and you have to evaluate the person while you are talking to them. A missionary that wants to be able to rest in house and just share messages can, but they will not be helping the people they need to. It is really difficult to not justify sitting in a house just to avoid the sun with the excuse that you are helping them.

So, the focus this transfer in our City of Campos is to use the spirit during the lessons, on the street, and basically everywhere. The day really depends on how you start it. If you start off studying correctly after getting prepared on time and you are feeling the spirit. You will be able to use it during the day. But you really have to prepare to receive this gift. We have been trying to use the members more because they are powerful sources of the spirit. Even though it takes more work to coordinate the efforts with the members, it is easily worth the time. People really feel the love that the members have for the Gospel.

I have been learning plenty during this transfer and I hope that in the next I will be able to stay in a house with more leaders on the mission to learn from them. Even though they have less personal time. They really dedicate these two years to the lord. There is a difference between dedicating and giving. I have to really do something in these two years.

So, I don't have that many interesting stories or anything. Just work work work. My companion admits to not being trunky but only talkes about going home. It is kinda hard for the guy with more that 18 months left. Just two more weeks and it will be back to normal. No more trunkyness.

Well, Good week for you all. I love you and hope the best.


Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

20. So, this week made a high score!

Dear Family,

. We have a mission goal of 35 addresses that we get to make return visits. This is generally an easy goal especially because almost anyone will accept a visit as long as it is a futuristic date and not the same day. But this week my companion and I did 103 addresses. I already ran out of space in my planer and my companion is close to the last page. Also, none of the missions in Brazil recieved new planers for this transfer. Everyone is cramming and writing new information on top of old planers and using anything they can. It is kinda funny. It just so happened that my companion and I both had an extra planer and we are some of the few with unused planers.

Well, our dream investigators are turning soft(an expression here) meaning that they aren´t progressing and keeping comitments. It is really sad because I know they are missing out on tons of blessing but everyone has agency. The Lord wasnt kidding when he said that the gate to salvation is small and the way is narrow. The world is very good at lolling us away to the things that dont matter. I just hope that they let the spirit touch their hearts before too long.  

We have also met a few inactives this week by accident. They all have the same reason for falling away. They never gained a spiritual testimony about this gospel. There is no other way to convert someone. If they are not spiritually converted they will not stay in the church and survive the trials of this life. I have gotten pretty good at convincing my mind that these things are true but I need to be careful because this convincing will not last through this life and the next. 

But, here is some good news. We have been working with a reference from a member this week. They are a young family and visited the church yesterday for the first time. It has been hard for them because of the time the normal spend at the Beach but finally they both said that a visit to the church was necessary. I cant wait to teach them about eternal families this week and to see their excitement in just one of the blessings of the gospel. I have been studying this lesson all week because it is really a weakness as of right now. 

I cut my own hair this week. I was scared to cut a lot but it is good enough to last a week or two and I will do it again. I must forgive my mom for the stress I caused during my years of hair cuts. I really appreciated all of the time that you sacrificed on my head. 

I also have a picture of a cat from a pet store that escapes everyday after the store closes and wanderes arround. It is kinda funny.

But that is all I have for this week. I am happy to be here serving our Lord. It is truly a gratifing work. Even though it is very hot and I have never sweat more in my life. 

I love you all, Until next week

Elder Jacobson

19. This week was a lot better

Dear Family,

This week was a lot better mostly because we  worked so much and there was no time to think about any problems. We are working a lot better together, with only one small bicker. We are really working on serving each other and just talking more as friends. I am helping him with his District Leader responsibilities and he is teaching me more Portuguese. It is kinda funny sometimes because he is from the interior of São Paulo and has a very strong accent, something that just doesn't go away. I have my strong american accent but some investigators understand me better. Not like I understand them better but I thought it was kinda funny. 

We had lots of interesting lessons this week. We are working to hard to find the people that don't go the the beach on the weekend and will progress. But, we ended up this week teaching so many just new types of people. We sat down yesterday in the shade with a lady that literally called us over to hear a message. Her little daughter sat down right in my face and as soon as she found out that I was american she would not stop asking questions. It was like an interrogation. She wanted to know everything about america and it was hard to teach. Our lesson went from teaching one person to teaching 7, including a nude little boy, Kinda awkward. But, they all promised to go to the church and maybe we might get progress out of them. 

We had a great experience with a reference this week too. We were at a members house and we taught the restoration with our eyes closed. During the first vision we asked them to focus on the miracle of the restoration and the people in their lives that should here this message. A name popped right into the moms mind but she only knew the neighborhood that she lived in. So, we spent a little time finding her. We literally clapped at  her house the day that her husband left her after years of a struggling relationship. With my very inadequate experience with these situations I tried to be very sympathetic and we told her that the only thing we have to give is the blessings of this message. We taught the Plan of Salvation and you could feel the peace of the message fill the room. She stopped crying and was already looking more relaxed. I know that the spirit put that name into that members mind at exactly the right moment. It was a great story to report to the member family. 

So, I think I have been a little to thrifty over the last couple weeks as I have saved up almost half of our allowance every time. Not like its bad to have extra money but I don't need to restrict myself. I have saved up 200 reais now and don't really have a way to spend it besides food. Which would not be a great thing for my weight. I think Ill start using a little to spoil my dying companion. (he is not literally dying it is just an expression for a missionary that is finishing). Even though he is super rich. He doesn't spend money that much either. But, I am just so glad that he is not a trunky and lazy missionary. He is not going to stop until maybe the last 4 or 5 hours. Then he will be on a plane headed for home. I think I might be more trunky than he is. 

This week I think I need some advice about the Eternal Investigator. So, I have had 3 eternals so far and everything seems to have gone wrong with the first two because we had to cut them and stop wasting time. It is really tough especially when you have developed a friendship. With the first two I have found that just completely stopping the visits makes them completely forget that they should still read, pray and go to church. But at the same time we cant waste time visiting every day. We have cut down to 1-2 times per week and commitment for baptism every time with my third eternal. It is just kinda awkward when you don't want to get frustrated with them but you don't want to push them away either. What is the advice I need from the experienced missionaries out there?

Happy Birthday Dad, Coming  UP. Remember that age is just a number and that basketball will make you feel young again. I think you always looked so cool when you played. oh,  valentines here isn't until may or June. So we wont have problems of that sort until CARNIVAL. Which is supposedly really bad here in Campos because it is in Rio De Janeiro the state. It is also the last week of the transfer which is not a good combination for those that are finishing the mission. But, we will all survive. 

Overall, good week

Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

18. Hours on the streets knocking doors

Dear Family,

So, here comes a photo of my Companion. His name is Elder F. Full- Brazilian from São Paulo. He only has 5 more weeks on the mission but I don't think the thought of home has crossed his mind. He has asked president to stay longer but president wont let him. I don't want to say that he is a bad guy but this transfer is going to be harder for me. Not even that there is a huge language barrier between us, it is just so hard to understand his personality and just make him happy. So, I wrote that I am not a greenie anymore. I still feel greenie but he literally wont let me. I am leading all of the lessons now which is really weird and doing almost all the contacts. He is just not a talker like Elder M. and just gives me a look that I know I need to talk. I am surprised because I would expect really old missionaries to want to do everything in the way they have found to be the most effective. But, he lets me talk all that I want and when I leave him time he only says just a little. I can say for sure that my Portuguese is improving much faster though. 

I was really having a rough time getting used to him this week. I think that he has had lots of really rude companions that just kinda bullied him. He is really a small guy and doesn't have an overpowering personality. We finally resolved a big problem the other day. When he corrects me his voice changes and I feel like he is really mad, he was correcting me from using ´i´ instead of ´we´. I was really feeling kinda down because I felt like i could not make him happy and I didn't want to teach with these feelings going around. But, he told me that his voice just does that and that he was not mad. so, I resolved to stop saying i and he is going to be more patient with me. I just hope we don't have any more rough arguments on the street. 

We kinda had to start from scratch this week with investigators. Not very many passed over from the last transfer. We spent hours on the streets knocking doors and I am probably a new shade of brown. I have started learning the importance of marking appointments with all of you potentials instead of just waiting for the telephone. Good thing it only took a week to correct this. We have lots of marked appointments for next week. I also was forgetting to confirm lunch and we missed a couple this week. But we still ate. But man, I am really feeling like Senior Companion. Maybe he will start to take over as the weeks pass but i dont really know. The Zone Leaders in my house like to tell me that president is preparing me to be senior for real next transfer but I don't exactly want all of the responsibilities for real. If things go really wrong I can still look to my companion for protection. Plus, no way do I want to do a baptismal interview quite yet. 

I have really adapted my contacts to include evaluating the persons potential this week. We ask about church, about family, religious history and even drop the baptismal commitment every once in a while. Thats how you find if someone is really interested. Tons of people will accept a visit but not as many will really progress. The baptism question is a pretty good way to tell the difference. 

Well, I have lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy them all. 

Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

17. My training is officially over!

Dear Family,

So, my training is officially over and my trainer is leaving. I was so sad. I have learned so much from him. He is almost the exact type of missionary that I want to be. I would just tweak a few things but I feel so blessed. I have been told by over 10 missionaries and the president himself that my trainer is the best missionary on the field. Kinda a tough compliment for the pride to handle. I felt very privileged. But, I get to stay in the same area with literally 3 baptisms just waiting to happen. So, we have an expression hear that stands for a missionaries pride. it is `Men's Glory´ and it Portuguese it is `Gloria dos Homens´ or `GH´ so to say it is is ´gee aga´. I like to tell him compliments and then say ´watch your gee aga level´. I also learned that Elder Richards who i lived with my first transfer has a goal to be humble enough to see and angle. What an aspiration? Kinda cool to think about. The only problem is that you can never admit to humility because that makes you unhumble. Mind Blown. I hope that is something I can make progress on. 

This week we literally saw the change of a heart and a changed disposition to never again return to sin. Mosiah 5:2-3. so, Keytiene is Elder Mitchells recent convert. She is super elect and an amazing member of the church with a calling and doing tons of splits with the missionaries. She got to know the church when she was young but then her father passed away and the family became discouraged and she was never baptized. During the time that I was in the MTC, Elder Mitchell baptized her and we have been working on her mom ever since. But, she had no desire to stop drinking or smoking. As the transfer starts winding down, Elder Mitchell wanted to visit Keytiene. It just so happened that her mom was there and had miraculously stopped both of these addictions. Being the bold missionary that we need to be, Elder Mitchell challenged her to never again return to these habits and be baptized in the church. Of course she accepted and she quickly rejected several offers to smoke or drink that week as she prepared for her baptism. The she shared a tear filled testimony of the truth of this gospel, the power of baptism and the blessings she knows that her eternal family is going to receive.  Btw, the father that passed away was an active member, I just cant imagine the immense joy that he must be feeling as he sees the gospel changing his family on this earth. What a wonderful story to be a part of. 

That was basically the focus of this week. We have been working a lot with another young family but the spouse travels and wont get back until this Saturday. I am praying that he gets to go to church with his wife and adorable two kids. He has told his wife that he is very interested in hearing our message. They are definitely our focus for the next transfer. I also want to focus is a good sized section of neighborhood that I have not passed through. The people are a bit richer so we will see how it goes. I think I will pray with my new companion when he gets here about another area of focus. It is just much to hard not to have a focus in this area. It is so Big. 

My Birthday was great it landed on a great day too. We started off with District meeting and the sisters made me a cake. Super good chocolate chip brownie cake. then we when to lunch at Keytienes house and had pizza and more cake. Then we went to Suellen´s house, the young couple, and did her baptismal interview. Btw, that made a week of visiting her every day. It just feels like so long to even go two days away from a really good investigator. The we went to a ward integration with non-members activity and got sung to by the ward. I couldn't help but feel kinda special. I think I just might have gained some weight during the time. haha

But, I am nervously going to stay in my area as another missionary brings me my companion. I should meet him Tuesday night. I don't even know what to wish for. I just know it will be for the best. 

I love you all and thank you for the Birthday wishes and support. 


Elder Jacobson