Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#48 August 3, 2015

So it got hot this week! It wasnt super hot degrees wise but because it is so humid here you just feel like you are melting haha! I miss dry arizona heat. Joinville is one of the hottest areas in the mission and the members said last year there was a day that it got to be the hottest place on the planet! So if i stay here for summer sounds like thats gonna be fun... They have something here called thermal sensation which shows the degrees of heat that you are feeling because of the humidity and so that is what they go by because the normal gauge isnt accurate at all.

But anyways Joinville is really great! I really love the ward here! The members are all just super cool and really down to earth. So there are two wards that go to our building. It used to be one ward but was split a year ago. The other one has a bunch of richies but ours has really great people so im glad um here! There are a lot of returned missionaries as well so that is really cool! And the food here is actually amazing. Like the other day we were at the Godinhos house (they are an awesome family in the ward who was baptized two years ago but are some of the best members i know know) she made parmesan chicken and it was so good! So i dont have a lot to complain about! 

The work here is like a said a lot different from Guaratuba. We just basically find and cut people every week so that we can try to find the elect and those that really want to be baptized. The best we have right now are Gabriel and Sonia and Sonia has been to church once. But it has been really difficult because she doesnt really understand our purpose there. Right now we feel like she kind of thinks were just the walk around pastors and it is really difficult to change that attitude in someone. The thing is that she loves the book of mormon and believes its true and reads it every day. But this week we are going to use that to try and motivate her more. I feel so bad for her. She is probably 55 years old and divorced so she lives alone. She doesnt have too much contact with her kids and i just feel like that would be so miserable staying couped up in that house all day! So we want to show her that the gospel can offer so much more! 

But gabriel is really awesome! We have been slowly trying to change into the missionary attitude with him and show our real purpose there because the other elders who started teaching him six months ago would go over there and stay for hours watching tv with him... Really frustrating but he is a good guy! He was living with an inactive sister in the ward who used to be really solid but just made some bad decisions. But now they have been going to church pretty regularly and they just need to get married now. So I think our greatest hope is with him! 

But I did an exchange with Elder Malkum the other day, one of the kids in our apartment and I love that guy! He has a few problems with rules and stuff but he serves everyone as much as he can and loves helping others. He is a great example of Christ when it comes selflessness and being humble. He definitely forgets about himself in that sense. But they gave a really good idea for lunch messages to try to help members and what they do in their ward is go to the members house and then after ask the member to share with them what they studied personally in their scriptures the day before. And of course most of the members say no which I was a little surprised at first. Then they talk about the importance of reading their scrips and then say the next lunch we are gonna ask the same thing. So we started doing that with some in our area and it is crazy how many members dont have the habit of personal scripture study! They are great awesome people but it shows really how hard it is to put that in first priority during our lives. It is something so simple but also so difficult for us as members to do but really will make all the difference! 

Im so thankful for awesome parents I have who I always saw studying the scriptures! That is probably one of the greatest examples I always saw from them as a kid. And I know that is one of the biggest reasons that I am out here on a mission today. Thanks mom and dad! 

But anyways I love and miss you all and hope that you are all doing great! Have an awesome week! 

Love, Elder Keller 

#47 July 27, 2015

Well this week was totally sweet! On thursday we went down to Itajai and had a big mission conference with a seventy names Elder Leal who is just a powerful guy. He was so awesome! He is from são paulo and was baptized at 17 years old and then served a mission in a time when very few brazilians were serving. And he went to Portugal!

But anyways he is an amazing teacher. He spoke really quietly and soft but the spirit that he used was so strong! He talked to us about how to be real messengers of Christ and better teachers. He put a bar graph on a white board and numbered it 0 through 10. On one side he put teaching techniques and on the other he put attributes of Christ. Then he went through one by one asking us what we thought the mission used more or where we were on the scale. Five being a perfect balance of what we need between the two. we came to the conclusion that we were a 2 or 3 mission because we rely more on the ways to convince a man by ideas that came from man than on the spirit. He taught us that we still need to use techniques but we also have to rely on the spirit and be the examples of Christ so we can teach with more power and then the people will be convinced! 

One big thing he talked about was knowing that our President was called by God. In our mission unfortunately we have a lot of missionaries that dont like President and think he just makes up rules to make it so that we cant have fun on our missions. It is kind of ridiculous but Elder Leal talked about that. He talked about how revelation really exists! It isnt some made of thing that they tell us to try to keep us in line but that our Presidente receives revelation for us! He was closing one of the meetings during the day when he was talking about this and so he bore his testimony and it was powerful! He said that he knew for himself that president silva was receiving the correct revelation for us because he knows that president did the last transfer one hundred percent correct, that every single one of us was in the exact area with the exact companion at the exact time that we needed. He said he has been to missions where presidents have messed up with that and he has to talk to the mission president. He said he can see and feel when a mission president has done it right because of the power of the spirit! How cool is that? The guy is so in tune with the spirit that he can feel when someone isnt in the right place! Plus that day was the first day he ever met President Silva! haha So that was a big addition to my testimony about personal revelation! 

But one big thing that was reaffirmed at that meeting was the importance of finding a really powerful wife! Sister Silva and Sister Leal actually spoke a lot and they taught with awesome power and they are smart women! Elder Leal talked about how we have to train ourselves to be good husbands as well and that is why we have comps out here. Because marriage is hard and we have to learn how to use the spirit to work it out! And seeing these awesome couples on the mission really helps put it into perspective! 

But anyways i love the new ward! The members are super cool and joinville is awesome! i have some cool picks including alligators in the middle of the city haha pretty sweet! But i probably wont be able to send them until next week because the church is so far away. But I love and miss you all so much and hope everything is going great! Read your scriptures every day! 

Love, 
Elder Keller 

Monday, July 20, 2015

#46 July 20, 2015 Following the Spirit

Alright this week was totally awesome! Im not gonna lie it was hard and we are starting with nothing but that forced us to turn to the Lord in everything we did and it turned out super great!

Alright so numbers wise this was the worst week of my entire mission! Like it was horrible... haha everyone is German here and we get a lot of no's but the lord also blessed Elder Reid and I to find new people who were willing to listen to our message. So for you guys to have an idea we taught seven lessons this week. One a day. Thats never happened on my mission! Haha Normally three a day is a bad day! In Guaratuba you could like convince the people to let you come in for fifteen minutes so you could share a little bit about the restoration but here people want nothing to do with you! But it was awesome because every day we would talk to members but of course they dont have anything so we knocked doors, and every day at the end of the day the Lord helped us find someone who would let us in! And with Elder Reid I feel like i am learning how to listen to the spirit like never before. Just this week alone I have had so many experiences where we both catch eachother thinking the same exact thing and then realizing it was totally from the spirit. In every lesson as well we really realied on the lord and in the times that we got stuck, we would pause (which i absolutely hate doing and elder reid is helping me get better at that) listen to the spirit, and then respond! And the lessons are turning out awesome! 

We had a really awesome example of how to follow the spirit in one of our lessons this week. This old lady let us in and it was her and her daughter and the daughters husband and we got talking to them trying to get to know them a little better and because it would be the first lesson we were just thinking we had to share the restoration. but we knew the people didnt have a lot of time so we could only share a part. And i wanted to start teaching the restoration but there was something just yelling dont do it! And so I was like then what the heck are we supposed to teach??? Then I thought we have to go with the last part of the plan of salvation. So we taught the spirit world and the kingdoms of glory. The ladies husband had died five years ago and it was awesome to use that in the lesson to help her and afterwards reid said he felt the exact same thing! that we had to teach spirit world and the degrees of glory. I thought that was super awesome to see that we had each gotten in tune enough with the spirit that we knew what we needed to teach without even talking! It was awesome! And we had multiple experiences like that every single day this week! I love knowing that we have the spirit with us. 

Reid is totally awesome because he is the first comp i got that loves analyzing the lessons and thinking back on what we could have done better with everything and we get along great because we both love the gospel and we want to get better! It is really simple when it all comes down to it. Good companionship is just a desire to follow God and not our own ideas. He has only been in Brasil for 9 weeks but is speaking awesome so that is really great! 

Also I learned a huge lesson this week. In our district I knew there was a certain elder that would be with us. I was in the MTC with him and lets just say he wasnt too focused on his purpose. So of course, good ol Elder Keller is already judging this guy before he even gets to the apartment and thinking am probably gonna have to fight with this guy to get him to do what is right. So then he got there. And i learned a super awesome lesson this week! We have to really strive to get to know the people that we lead or who are in our care because then we start to learn how to love them just as Christ does. It is super hard sometimes but we have to remember that Christ and Heavenly Father love every single person no matter how bad they may be! I tried really getting to know this elder this week and turns out he is a really good guy! Sure he has some problems with president and rules but when I really learned about his past and how he got out on his mission i learned to see his potential and not what he is like right now. And he is a totally awesome kid! So we always have to remember to get to know someone and their story before we just write them off. 

But anyways joinville is totally awesome and is stinking huge! haha we walk like crazy and the 3 kilometers doesnt do much because our church building as well as where we live isnt even in our area! haha We have to walk ten minutes just to get into the area and from their the church is already like 2 km away so pres said we could expand our radius to be able to work. But it is super cool here and they have really cheap really unhealthy hamburgers that we eat all the time so im happy (; Haha but the ward is really cool! the bishop is a great guy and the members flat out told us that they cant convince anyone to take the lessons but they are willing to go with us and do splits and stuff so that is really good! now we just gotta find people! 

But I love and miss you all so much and hope your week goes awesome! The gospel is true! 

Love, Elder Keller 

Monday, July 13, 2015

#45 July 13, 2015 Transferred!!

Wow Im in Joinville now! pretty crazy! so last week president called and told me i was getting shipped out of guaratuba and sent me to joinville which is like 100 times different than guaratuba haha. but i am super exicted to serve here! the city is gorgeous and has a lot of german influence and is the biggest city in santa catarina! im already lost... but we are in a house with 6 elders and there are 8 in our district.

Im not gonna lie, leaving Guaratuba was super hard. I really feel like a created a special bond with a lot of people there and grew to feel a little bit of the love that Christ really has for us. I think it was most difficult saying by to miriams family because we were so involved with them and on getting them back to the church and to the temple! But Elder Moore who is from my group is totally awesome and is gonna take my place there so they are in good hands! I was the only one transferred out of there. 

But now I am with Elder Reid who is just awesome! I just had one comp study with the guy and I can already tell that the companionship is going to be really great! He is from Daines group. Served in the usa for two transfers and then came over here! he has been in brasil for about 9 weeks but is already speaking super well! 

Not gonna lie this place is a mess, because the apartment we have is huge so we are not gonna have a lot of time today or this week i think cuz we are going to have to clean up everything and change the house up a bit but I am really excited to get started here in Joinville. 

The other Elders in the house are going to be Elders malkum, dos anjos, soares, mueller, and reid. Malkum is from my group and he gets here today, dos anjos has been in Joinville like 8 months out of 14 on his mission! i think once you go to joinville you dont leave! But its a great place so im excited. 

I was thinking about it a lot when i was transfered and it was hard saying bye to guaratuba and i feel like i left it in good hands! We even got a return appt marked with that awesome couple luciano and ana lucia for next week who went off the radar because of phone problems! Also i realize i love change! We have to go through change so that we can grow! There is a big banner with a quote by Elder Bednar on it that President carries with him to all meetings with the mission that i think in english says, if we always do what we have always done, we will always have what we have always had. 

And it is so true! We have gotta leave our comfort zones to be able to grow as missionaries!  But im sorry it was short im out of time but i love you guys and ill get more out next week! 

Elder Keller 

Monday, July 6, 2015

#44 July 6, 2015

Alright so this week was great! We had to go to Joinville to get Elder Sulivans results for his knee and we found out he is fine he just has to do some at home physical therapy cuz there is water bunching up in his bones that causes pain but the exercises should be able to help him out.

Also while we were there we had to do some vaccination for the flu cuz president wanted us to take it so we had to go to a mall because that was the only place in joinville that accepts our plan and woah it was crazy! I know it doesnt sound like anything but it was like being back in America for a second! haha Joinville is actually a pretty nice town so it was pretty sweet getting a nice little american experience on fourth of july week! They even had a mcdonalds there! But mcdonalds here is like nice food so it is SUPER expensive! Forget the dollar menu. Haha. But i did buy a good ol' real american ice cream sundae and i almost died cuz it was so good! haha (ice cream here at least in all my areas is different). 

But the work here is great! Now we are just waiting on people with dates for baptism so we have been trying to find new investigators this week and we have found a few good possibilities but the book of mormon shows really quickly if they are going to be good or not so we are probably going to try to find a lot more this week! Bruno has been smoking one cigarrete a day for a while now so we have been focusing on studying the book of mormon with him so he can stop! But im sure with your prayers and his own he will be able to (: 

Vinicius is great and we taught all the big commandments and he doesnt have any problem and just said he knows that he needs to follow them so that was awesome! We are just waiting to find a problem but so far he has been super great (: We moved all of our baptism dates to the 25th because the whole ward is doing a temple caravan on the 18th so no one would be there! Transfers are next week so we will find out in this one whether i stay in guaratuba still or not! But either way I know the Lord is gonna put me where I need to be!

I love the mission because we learn so much how to trust in the Lord! we have got to learn that Heavenly Father has more power than any man so if we obey the commandments we will be blessed. I was studying the hymn A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief this week and I love that song so much! And its principles are so true! When we forget ourselves and help others we will be happy. Why? Because when we help others we are helping Christ. And I love it out here because we just get a tiny glimpse of his life. As small as it may be it helps us to understand at least a tiny bit more. And every time we help our savior we will be helped in return! It put a lot more meaning behind mosiah 2:17 for me. Thats why on our mission we have to study for our investigators and not for ourselves which has been something that was kind of hard for me in the beginning but now ive been applying it and in the end i get more revelation during my studies because of it! So we have always gotta be looking out for others and trying to help them. 

The relief society pres here is the hardest working member and visits everyone in the world! She is awesome! No one in the ward works that hard. She was called 2 months ago as there family was struggling financially because they had just opened up a fruit shop and didnt have any time. But she didnt complain about how it was hard, she went to work and now her family is being super blessed because of it! It is so awesome! And she doesnt have a car yet she will visit people super far away still! And I think about myself in that position and i probably would have done the opposite because I would have been thinking about myself. 

But anyways im out of time but I love and miss everyone so much! Family you are so lucky to be in washington! Have fun and take a ton of pics for me! Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Keller 

Monday, June 29, 2015

#43 June 29, 2015 A Referral--Vinicius

This week went pretty great! The weather has been awesome! Sunny and cold! It is great! But the work is going awesome here! We have three investigators that are really solid, Edson, Bruno, and Lucas! Edson broke his hip a while back and has been recovering so couldnt leave his bed until now so we are hoping he comes to church this week! He is almost done reading the book of mormon now and he has had it for 3 weeks i think? Pretty cool! Bruno is coming to church every week and goes to all the activities he just has to stop drinking coffee and smoking and then he will be good to go for the baptism! Lucas just has to get married but he, Adriana and their kid are super solid (: so now just comes the wait for all the papers to go through!

We also got a reference this week (miracle!) from the church site from a guy asking for a book of mormon. So we called him up and found out he lives right next to us! Then we went over there and met him. His name is Vinicius, he is 27, lives with his mom, has no job, and isnt going to school. His mom told us he doesnt really like talking to people and is really closed off. So we taught him the restoration, taught him about the power of the book of mormon, he started reading it we went back and he is totally awesome! President Silva is telling us we need to invite someone to read the book of mormon and then go back the next day to see what their answer was because he said this is a one day answer mission! if the investigator follows moroni 10 4 then he or she is gonna get their answer that night when they pray! he said he truly one hundred percent believes that so we cant be wasting our time with people who dont want to ask! So of course I had very little faith in this but we did it and went back the next day to Vinicius. And we asked him and he and his mom said after he read he already seemed to be a different person! They noticed and he felt that he was changing and it was so cool to see the power the book of mormon has in peoples lives. Then he came to church on sunday as well so things are going pretty great here! (: 

To be honest it is kind of frustrating because we have been trying to get back to Ana Lucia and Luciano to see how they are doing but we havent been able to mark anything... They are out of the radius so we were gonna go over there after a lunch that would be in their neighborhood but then the lunch fell through the day before... But it was remarked for this Wednesday so we are going to try to pass by there then. 

We found another couple really cool families because that is something we have been trying to focus on and we are hoping everything goes well with them but I guess we will see! 

But being on the mission makes me so grateful for the family that I have and for all the people in my life that have sacrificed something to try to help me out or teach me something to help me get to my mission! I mean we are always with talking with people whos lives are just falling apart and is shows how easy it is to give into Satan's temptations. It is hard to follow the gospel and very few people really do it! We found two less active twin girls a few weeks back. They were baptized when they were 12, have no family in the church and really didn't understand anything about the baptism or what they were doing... Now they are fifteen and each one already has a kid. and both the kids are one! Like how crazy is that??? And it is like totally normal here. It is so sad though because their lives are a total mess and those kids are probably never going to have a solid example to follow in their lives. I think about the most amazing parents that I was given and sometimes wonder how the heck did I get so lucky? You even talk to the other missionaries out here and their own parent have problems with scripture study and there are big consequences for that! Parents have to study their scriptures, and not just as a family but personally study their scriptures every single day or else it leaves room for Satan to enter in and destroy the family. I have seen in time and time again out here working with less actives and I am SO thankful for the two amazing parents who have always been such an amazing example of that! I always saw my parents studying their scrips! And it makes our family happier. 

Point is personal study of the scriptures and principally the book of mormon is the key if we want exaltation. So we gotta study! 

But anyways I love and miss you all! Time is flying out here and it is weird to think about! But hope you all have an awesome week! 

Love, 
  Elder Keller 

Monday, June 22, 2015

#42 June 22, 2015 Fourth Day, No Water...

Alright this week I learned about how thankful I am for running water! On friday morning our water got shut off and so it has been an interesting three days! Turns out the office hasnt payed a lot of our water bills and the last one that we had to pay the owner of our apartment building never gave to us so we could send it to the mission secretaries... So yeah it has been very exciting here! haha we learned how to take showers with buckets of water and a sponge this week which actually works out pretty well! We have been grabbing water from the church sink for these four days and its been working out pretty well but we are running low on bucket water and we are starting to stink so we are really hoping to get it turned on today! I guess we will see what happens (: We were thinking about going and filling up the baptismal font but then thought that wouldnt work out too well... haha totally kidding about the baptismal font, But yeah be thankful for running water it is great!

But anyways this week was super awesome! From these big waves of new people that we are finding we found two awesome guys! This first guy is Edson and he is probably 65 years old and is stuck in bed with a busted hip for a few weeks and we taught him about the restoration and we were thinking that nothing would come from it and we explained how important the book of mormon was to him and about how we use it to get answers to our prayers about the church and he wanted to read it so we left it there planning on coming back the next day and taking it back (the silva method which works great by the way and no one has refused us yet) but we went back and the guy had read 53 pages and said he believed in everything that it said! Turns out he is actually super smart and was already using the footnotes and comparing everything with the bible so that was super cool! We went back two days ago and he was on page 300 and something! haha sweet! Hey Higley Manor ward, this guy is beating you all in the Book of Mormon challenge! (; Anyways he has a date in July we just have to wait for him to get better and be able to walk again so that he can start coming to church! (: And he has a car which helps a ton too because its super rare to find investigators who have cars so they can get to church so I mean from everything we have seen the guy is pretty awesome! Pray so that he can get better (: 

Then we also felt like we should visit this contact we did like 3 months ago here (back with william) and so Elder Sulivan and I went there last week and invited him to church. He is about 22 years old and his name is Bruno and he came to stake conference this week and it was super cool! He loved it and at the end was asking for a book of mormon so we went by his house after and explained what the book of mormon was for and he is excited to ask if it is true! 

Adriana (less active member) and Lucas (non member) are coming every week to church now and doing great and just need to get married for lucas to get baptized which will probably get finished up in a month! (takes a really long time here) So that is totally awesome! 

Luciano and Ana Lucia we couldnt visit this week because we had to go into Joinvill twice this week so we lost two work days and we couldnt go over there with the member.. (another rule we can only visit people alone within 3 km of the church if they are out it has to be reference by member and then the member has to visit with us because there are so many less actives who have been baptized who afterwards realize they are not going to have a ride every week and so they stop going to church) But anyways they live outside of the radius which stinks so we have to go there with a member but we are gonna try going by this week! 

But this week we are probably going to find out what is wrong with Elder sulivans knee so we are going to have to keep returning to joinville doing exams and then seeing the reports but pray that he will be okay! 

But just one more catch up with the work, Douglas got the melchezidek priesthood this week and it was totally awesome! Now he is the first one in his family (miriam and antonios big family) to have the melchezidek priesthood! But i love that family so much! I seriously feel like I have the biggest connection with them and i pray that i dont have to leave guaratuba soon because they are all so awesome! When we got here none of them were going to church and now douglas has the priesthood to be able to bless his family! And I love the lessons with them! For sure they are the lessons where we feel the spirit the strongest! Because they want it so bad! They know they want an eternal family and their biggest goal is to get to the temple! So I am super happy for them (: 

Things are super great here! I love and miss everyone so much! And special shoutout happy fathers day dad! youre the best dad ever and im so thankful that heavenly father put me with you! Thank you for being the best example ever and for all that you have taught me! You are the best dad in the world! Have an awesome week! 

Love Elder Keller