Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week #6 Sept 30, 2014 Florianopolis-- Here I come!

So we got to Florianopolis this morning at about eleven o clock and it is beautiful! The place is so awesome and i havent even seen any of it yet! i dont have much time they just told me i need to send a quick email home saying i got here because we dont get a p day until next monday. But my mission president is awesome and im loving everything about this place! i thought it felt right when i got to the ctm but i cant even explain it right now. nothing feels more right than being here in florianopolis right now! the other elders are all awesome! we ended up coming over with 14 elders and 3 sisters to florianopolis. Theres 5 americans total that are new. All the elders here right now just look awesome and i know im gonna love to have any one of them as my trainers! there was a tiny part of me that was scared but im so excited that it doesnt even matter! I love and miss you all and im sorry i cant send anything this week but i will make sure to update everyone on p day. i miss you all and i hope all is going well!

Elder Keller 

p.s. its raining here and i love it

Friday, September 26, 2014

Week #5 September 29, 2014 Last letter from CTM!!!

Well, its the last week here in the CTM and Im so glad! Haha it really is an amazing place but you kind of get to a point when youre sick of being stuck in here all day and you just want to get out and start really learning the language and teach real investigators! I should be leaving early in the morning on tuesday to Florianopolis with a ton of other elders! Some more Brazilians came in a week ago so theyll be going out with us as well as three americans, and i think five hispanics? They all seem really cool so I am definitely excited for that.

Anyways updates on this week. Ive got kind of a cool story, we were up in our rooms and we started hearing what we thought was automatic gunfire and a bunch of yelling in the streets right outside the CTM. You would here someone yell really loudly and someone yell back and then a bunch of gunfire. We looked out the windows but the only thing we could see was people just clearing the streets. We have a guy whos dad is from brazil in our district and he said he thought they were just really loud fireworks so we didnt know what was going on. This went on for maybe like 15 to 20 minutes and so later that night we asked our instructor what was happening and he said that it was either just a gang war or a gang fighting the police and then just said it happens all the time! He was walking around when it was going on cuz he lives right next to the CTM and said there were tons of cops going to try to stop whatever it was. Haha Brazil is crazy!!! But were all still alive and safe and the CTM here is like a fortress so theres no way anythings gonna be able to happen here.

This week we got to listen to some awesome speakers! Richard G. Scott was at the Provo MTC last week and they let us watch it a few days later and he gave an awesome talk on prayer and how to better rocognize and understand the spirit. He and Elder Holland have very different speaking styles but in both talks you could feel the spirit so strongly!

The other guy we got to listen to who actually came down to Brazil was Gerald Causse (I think thats how you spell it?) who is the first counselor in the Bishopric of the church I think? Anyways the guy was so awesome! He is from france so he was speaking to us in kind of broken english but the guy was a ridiculous speaker! He was almost as awesome as Elder Holland! I hope he gets to talk in conference sometime because he is so cool to listen to! He talked to us about weaknesses and pride and it was cool because I learned a ton from him! One great thing about the CTM is it shows you really how many weaknesses you have. His talk revolved a lot around Ether 12:27 and it was such a neat experience. In one point of the talk he said "we should rejoice in our weaknesses because the more we have, the more strengths we can develop" and I thought that was so awesome! The guy is way cool! And we got to shake his hand at the end of that as well.

Anyways, Im glad I got to have this experience here at the CTM for the past 6 weeks. I cant believe its been six weeks? It seems crazy! But just like Elder Phillips said in his letter, I feel like Ive changed a ton in the past six weeks and if i were to come home now i would be a different person. Young men dont have to go on missions, and honestly there are amazing people in the church who didnt serve missions! But the way i see it right now is that a mission can transform you in two years of your life whereas normally it would take a lot longer, for me probably my whole life considering the rate at which I am learning more about the gospel. I cant wait to see what life is like in two years and I am so excited to go and start talking with and trying to help the people of Santa Caterina!

I miss and love everybody!

Elder Keller

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week #4 September 19, 2014

So there wasn't anything too exciting this week. Just same old 10 hours a day studying in a class room with a few breaks here and there! The biggest part of the week was that hayden went out to the field. Or i guess Elder Phillips! haha whoops, but it totally stunk! It's weird because up until now it hasnt really felt like a mission because one of my best friends has been here with me the whole time! And its not like provo at all because theres only about 300 to 350 missionaries here at a time so I was with him a lot! But after he left it kind of started to hit me that im out here away from home and family for two years! Up until now its just felt kind of like a vacation (one that you have to work on, a lot!) but still not like i was gone for two years! But i know this is where i need to be because the CTM really helps you see all the problems you have and helps you to realize all the weaknesses that you actually have! It's ridiculous how much i need to change out here because im not even close to the kind of person i need to be for the Lord and it stinks to realized that but i know in order to be a successful missionary i have to humble myself.
I learn so much every day about this gospel and about how to become a better person! And a big part of that just comes from talking to the people here. They are so awesome! I love having Brazilians in our room because they are just the coolest, most humble people in the world. Right now we have one elder from são paulo and another from cape verde. I love those guys to death and theyve only been here for a week and a half. I know a big part of me coming here was to simply learn from these people. We had a devotional the other night and a brazilian lady was speaking to us and she told us really how brazilians dont think theyre the best at anything (except soccer haha) but ive been realizing how true that is. I mean these kids here are all the same age as us yet theyre so different because they dont have to be humbled out here like me. I look up to them so much for that. Like i was talking to the guy from cape verde the other day and he was showing me pictures from back home and he really didnt have anything but his family but he was so thankful for that! It makes me feel like such a stuck up snob whenever I complain about anything because heres this 18 year old kid from cape verde with no suit, a couple pairs of slacks, and a few white shirts and hes one of the happiest nicest guys ive ever met! These people (including the africans, and especially them) are amazing and i hope i can return home somewhat like them. Im jealous of Grammie and Papa because the elder from Mozambique is especially awesome! Hes in the room right next to us and hes already become really good friends with our district.
But anyways sorry i dont have too much to say about this week! I know I will have a lot more in the field. But family, I love and miss you all so much and I hope all is going well. Have a good week!
Elder Keller

Friday, September 12, 2014

Week #3 September 12, 2014

well fam another week has passed and i still love and miss you like crazy! Time is thankfully flying here and im happy about that! So we have had two portuguese speakers in our room and they left this week and i was actually kind of sad about that. they were super awesome! one was from portugal and the other from up north. the one from portugal spoke some english which was kinda cool. but theyre whole district was awesome! their district shared rooms with ours and it was cool getting to know them over the past two weeks. if my companions out in the field are anything like those guys were than i will be more than happy and it will be a huge blessing! they were studs! one funny thing is that half of them were engaged haha here i guess thats what they do before their missions! kinda weird...

but anyways tell boppa and grandma thank you for the letter! tell her i cant wait for her next one about quitting smoking!
 we had an awesome guy come and speak to us this week for devotional! hes the mish pres of the sao paulo interlagos mission. hes from utah and just a huge white dude. i grabbed a headset because they translate during the meetings because the whole thing is in portugues but it ended up not working but the cool thing was that i understood the whole thing! it was way awesome! granted it probably helped that he wasnt a native and it was all about church stuff but im glad the language is coming!
we got to go out and give away copies of the book of mormon this week! it was way cool! we went all the way to the center of sao paulo and elder heaton and i were the first to give all of ours away! it was honestly the scariest thing in the world at first but we just started asking every single person we saw if they wanted one and wanted to read about it and we thought about the fact that were never going to be able to see these people again so it really doest matter what they think of us! bad part about it was that it is so hard to understand them when they are talking fast! its crazy hard! i feel like you can only get so far in the mtc until you have to actually go out there and just completely immerse yourself in it (not the slow portuguese they speak in the mtc) ive gotten pretty comfortable here but going out there makes you realize exactly how much you dont actually know. but i know it will come and i cant wait to be in the field!
i have a cool little story about a testimony meeting we had this week. elder thomas is from tennesse and he said all around him were these churches that just hated mormons and one even had a sign up all the time that said "dont read the book of mormon because thats how they get ya" and after he shared that he said that he loved it because its so true! i thought that was funny because it is! you feel a power from the spirit when you read the book of mormon! its amazing! and one of the biggest things that i dont like about the mtc is that you dont have any time to study the scriptures because youre learning the language the whole time! i wish i would have taken advantage of the time i had before i left.
but anyways this part is for grammie and grandpa! this is crazy but i had heard a guy from mozambique was in a room next to us so i went to talk to him and asked him if he knew any packards a few years back and he totally remembered you! he remembered you and said you were the mission president a few years back! he said he doesnt think youll remember him but his name is elder damiao his first is faizal i think. and hes from nampula i think he said? maybe im wrong but i though that was way cool! anyways dad the pics of the huskies are so sick! keep them coming and especially the updates on the games. the one of shaq running that 66 yard touchdown was so sweet!
i love and miss everyone and hope all is going well! sorry i cant write more!
Elder Keller

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week #2 September 5, 2014

Dear Fam and everyone!
Love and miss you all! all is well here and time seems to be flying by even faster now which is really nice! sorry if my letters dont make a lot of sense. we all are starting to notice how bad our english is already becoming haha when you're around a different language the whole time you start to forget so quickly! but anyways i wanna start out telling about one of my instructors! Irmao barros. he is the coolest guy in the world! im so blessed to have him as an instructor. he is from sao paulo and was actually pretty deep into a gang when his bishop came to him when he was 19 and told him that he needed to serve a mission. anyways long story short he felt the spirit and got worthy and went on a mission and is now an instructor in the mtc! the dude is probably the coolest instructor here and knows how to teach so well. he is smart too. hes moving to utah with his wife in two years to go to byu or utah state. we are learning so many things both with the language as well as the gospel from this guy. hes a great teacher. our mission president here is president swensen. the guy is so powerful! when he speaks he speaks with a purpose and makes sure that his point is made perfectly clear. we get to hear from him on sundays and he teaches super awesome lessons!

my district is getting pretty tight and i love all the guys there a ton! elder heaton and i are the only ones going to florianopolis though they are all staying hrere in sao paulo. theres an elder in our district named elder kendall and he's probably the only thing still keeping us sane. he is the funniest kid ive ever met! he cant speak a lick of portuguese but the brazilians love him becasue he has red hair and is super hilarious! kinda reminds me of heebs haha (elder tenney) the language is actually coming really well! im starting to get pretty comfortable with speaking to brazilians in the halls and at meals and stuff. im so glad i took spanish in high school!

we got to go to the sao paulo temple today and it was amazing! its a gorgeous temple. so cool to see all these different areas and temples. but sao paulo is so huge! i have some pictures that i will send later but the city is massive! its not anything like the US but it is still relatively nice. but another kid from queen creek got here this week! its nice to see another friendly face. he went to ben franklin with me way back in the day. his name is dj arnsen. but anyways not a ton happened this week, just continuing to work hard and trying to learn the language. keep the updates up with football and the huskies and family life! i love and miss you all so much!
Elder Keller
p.s. mom im gonna try to send a b day letter if i have time today to get to the post office. we were super late coming back from the temple but i just may have to mission ties it and then send it later! but im not forgetting about it!
p.p.s. tell grammie and papa thanks for the letter and that i love them!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Week #1 in the CTM! August 29, 2014

holy cow!!!!!! i dont have a lot of time and i have a ton of things i have to tell you guys so im gonna try to go as fast as possible! plus i left my notebook with everything i was gonna write about in my room so im probalby gonna forget a ton of things! haha but yeah elder holland spoke to us the second day i was here!!! how crazy is that??? i can honestly say i have never seen a more spiritually powerful man in my life before. plus we allgot to shake his hand. so cool!!!! so to begin he started with talking about our purpose as missionaries is to "invite other" and he asked to invite others to what?his point is that we have something special and we have to give it to other people. but i mean there arent words to describe the power and the spirit that he brought to the mtc here. he lit a fire in all 300missionaries here and left making sure we knew exactlyhow passionate he felt about this gospel. it was honestly one of thecoolest things in my entire life and i know i will never forget it. at a couple different times in the talk he was literally pounding his fists against the pulpit and yelling into the mic! i mean the dude does not care what anyone thinks about him, he just wanted to make sure that we got it into our heads that a mission is absolutely the most important thing we can ever possibly do in our entire lives and that wehave to give upthese two years for the lord because there isnt anyone else to do it. i dont know if i should be writing about this but at one point in his talk he said that when a missionary comes home or when a returned missionarty gives up on the gospel and falls away from the church it makes him want to shoot himself. haha definitely not coming home for two years! i mean i wish i could have just taken a video and sent it to you guys because when he isnt in front of the whole church i think it enables him to get a little crazier. but he knows how to do that and slam you in the face with the spirit at the same time. i mean there is NO possible way i can deny that this church is true after hearing that guy speak.
but anyways the first week and a half has been survived and i got to go to the campinas temple this morning! so cool! the ctm is alright but i already want to get out of here haha the language is coming really well and spanish helps so much! its just that in my lessons i speak like half spanish and it always confuses the investigator... haha but oh ya! i have to say really quickly a super cool experience, my comp e. heaton prayed one night to have a priesthood experience soon and so we are teaching a brazilian member the next day and at the end of the lesson we ask him if he needs help with anything (this is all in portuguese btw) and so he then turns to us and tells us how he is actually sick and needs a priesthood blessing. i just turned to heaton and asked him like did that guy really just ask us to give him a blessing? and he was like yeah i think so. so i turn to the guy and said in portuguese? and hes like yeah and then i said now? and hes like yeah. so me and heaton were just like alright lets do this thing! so we asked the guy for some help on the exact wording before hand and then my comp annointed him, i sealed the annointing and then gave him a blessing! i dont remember exactly what i said all i know is portuguese words that i knew came to my mind and so i said them and it ended up making sense. i didnt say much but i went until i felt like i needed to say amen and then ended the blessing. that was like 2 days ago i think and it was honestly one of the coolest things in the world! the power of the priesthood is real and i know that with all my heart! my first blessing with the melchidez priesthood was in portuguese and theres no way that could happen if god wasnt there to help me. missions are the most amazing things in the world! holland was defintiely right.
but anyways about my comp! his name is elder heaton adn hes from utah. ill try to get pictures to you guys but there are so many rules here and its hard to find a free wifi thing. but hes a great guy and so far were getting along well. hes a little quiet but hes starting to gain confidence in his speaking abilities in our lessons and in talking to others. but my district is awesome and i feel like were getting along great! its 12 guys in a room all day which youcan only imagine gets a little crazy sometimes but everything is awesome. its so fun to have hayden here! or elder phillips haha but im actually emailing right next to him right now haha hes totally helping me out and showing me how everything works which is super nice becasue i feel like we are cataching on faster than others.

but about the food, i was so wrong haha i had a great first impression with my first couple meals but dang do i miss america and moms cooking haha the food isnt that bad but when youre just eating mtc food for a week and a half you really start to get kind of sick of it. they have these juices though that are the best thing in the world! i dont know what they are but they taste amazing. with the food you dont really know what it is either but you just dont ask questions and eat it haha theres nothing to crazy its just that sometimes they will serve some slimy thing and youjust eat it cuz youre so hungry haha but they have the best bananas here! i think im eating like 10 a day haha but anyways im starting to run out of time so im gonna wrap it up. i know im forgetting tons of things so ill have to make sure to include it in my next email when i have my notebook. anywasy family i love and miss you so much! sorry my grammar stinks but one i dont have time and two portuguese screws up your english haha but anyways mission life is great so far! hardest thing ever and im tired all thetime but this past week and a half has been amazing and filled with amazing experiences! love and miss everyone and ill talk to you in a week!
Elder Keller