Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Elder Keller & Elder Phillips in Sao Paulo

Monday, December 29, 2014

#18 Dec 29 2014 Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Christmas 2014 at Bishop Vivian's house

Christmas in Pato Branco 2014

So not gonna lie, Christmas in Brasil was interesting haha. But it was actually pretty fun! Our president let us stay out till one in the morning on christmas eve because here they wait until midnight, christmas morning to open their presents! haha crazy! so we partied with the bishop until then and watched Maleficent with them, (pres said we could watch movies if the members were, not breaking rules!) and had a big churrascaria that night! it was sweet! the bishop and his wife got me a sweet tie! They're some of the nicest people in the world. So then on christmas day we went back to bishops house to skype our fam's and that was the best/worst christmas present i've gotten. Best because i got to talk to the best family in the world, worst because I have to be away from you guys for two christmas's and it stinks!

One of the biggest things I am learning out here is the importance of families. And of course I didn't start learning that until I got here because I was an idiot before my mission haha. Really our families are the most important things for us! They're our best friends and theyre the people we will spend the rest of eternity with.

Things really got thrown into prospective for me yesterday... So there is a sister in our ward who is the only active member in her family. She and her husband are RM's and just total studs and she is about to have her first kid. Theyre an awesome family! So in her family all her siblings are baptised but shes the only one active. We met her 17 year old brother last sunday and he is really cool but just wasnt going to church so we wanted to start visiting him and getting him to play soccer at the church on wednesdays. So we got to church yesterday and the Bishop announced that he had passed away on saturday... He was swimming in a lake near the city and ended up drowning.. Just totally out of the blue. His sister and her husband weren't at church and the bishop announced where the viewing of the body was and where the funeral would be. So first we went to the members house and we talked to Werles the husband who is super awesome and he was just totally shocked. It was so sad! Eliane (the sister) wouldn't leave the house because she was just devastated.

I'm running out of time but my point is, is that we never know when our time is or when Heavenly Father thinks its time for us to come home. I didnt think like that before my mission. And now I'm stuck here in brazil for two years and theres nothing i can do to go back and change the way i acted! But really we have to take advantage of our families here! They are the most important people in the world to us. Im so grateful for the plan of salvation and that i can be sealed for eternity with my family! Im so grateful the Jesus Christ suffered for my sins and died for me so that i can be with my family after this life. Family, I love you!!!

But sorry for the kind of downer this week... Next week will be better! But after having that happen and after talking to my family this week I felt like thats what i need to write about this week! Families are the most important and thats why they are a central part of God's plan of happiness.

Anyways I love and miss everyone and hope you guys had a sweet christmas and that you guys have a great new year! Crazy its 2015? times flying! Good luck in this new year everyone!

Elder Keller

Got the sweetest pj's in the world and best christmas presents ever from the best family ever(: Son of a nutcracker (;

#17 Dec 22, 2014 It's Raining, It's Pouring

Christmas Conference 2014

So I dont know why i havent talked about the rain yet here? It rains all the time and i love it! Sometimes its super random though and when it rains it pours! There was one day we were walking and a storm came out of no where and we were basically in the middle of nowhere and literally everything got soaked! Normally I have these legging things that mom got for me (which by the way thank you so much they save my life down here!) but we didnt think it would rain that day so i didnt bring them... Haha so my water proof shoes which usually are amazing were soaked because our pants, side bag, socks shirt everthing was soaked! But anything is better then the heat here so hey Im happy! It would actually be super fun here if you werent a missionary because you could go to the top of one of the huge hills and it would be just like the poop shute in washington (family you're the only ones that know what im talking about) because there is so much water! I love it! You eventually just give up with an umbrella because it gets super windy and then you really just can't do anything to save yourself! So im happy that christmas will be somewhat cold!

But things are going pretty good down here! We got to do splits with Elder Muniz and Elder William in Francisco beltrão this week and it was awesome! Elder Muniz is that guy from the picture last week and he is twenty three but still just a little kid inside! He is smiling and just super excited all the time and sometimes likes to joke a little too much on the street but i guess you can live with that! Francisco seems like theyre in the same state as us, they have a lot of people they can teach but no one wants to go to church or keep commitments! We have been cutting a lot of people lately for this reason but I have faith that we are going to start finding people! We have a few really promising one right now and now we just gotta get them to church! 

But anyways christmas eve and christmas day will be interesting! President said we can stay out till 1 in the morning with members on christmas eve so it should be a party with these guys! That is one thing, Brasilians know how to party! We cant leave our apartment on christmas because everyones drunk and pres said we have to stay inside so it will be a great day of studying and sleeping! 

But I love and miss everyone! I hope you guys have a super awesome christmas and dont forget what christmas is really about! Jesus Christ did everything for us and really makes the plan of salvation possible and lets our families be eternal. 

But anyways Feliz Natal everybody! 

Elder Keller

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week #16 Dec 15, 2014: Natal e Transferências

My trainer is leaving me  :(  last sunday with Elder Hess

With Bishop & Karina Vivian & their daughters

The greenish gray and white highrise is our apartment building

Our church building in Pato Branco

When you can't go to a gym you just have to bench 240 pound hairy brazilian missionaries at zone conferences haha but thats elder muniz! He is from são paulo and was baptized about a year ago and is totally awesome. He is in my district right now!

Christmas Conference in Lages
Well this week has been pretty sweet but sad at the same time! We got a call a couple days that said Elder Hess was leaving to Florianópolis! Crazy! I didn't even get 12 weeks with my trainer because they cut this transfer short...

But i learned a huge thing with Elder Hess and that is don't ever look at someone in the way they are right now but look at the potential they have. I was a total dumb punk because of it because I didn't think about how the both of us had something to learn. And now he got called to be a zone leader in Floripa for the last few months of his mission! Not gonna lie it was super rough starting out with him but now im super sad that he is leaving! At first i just thought to myself always how many things he could change to be a better missionary and now i look back and realize that we both changed a ton in these past two transfers! I think it is so cool that he gets to go be a ZL for the past few months and he's totally gonna rock it!

Something the mission has really been stressing is companionships. They really are the key! When you work together things start to work out. Really I thought that we were nothing alike but now I'm super sad that he is leaving! We really focused on our companionship this past transfer and it became super strong! Im super glad i learned that at the beginning of my mission so i can know how to make any companionship work no matter the differences!

My new comp is Elder Rhoton and he's a total goob and a fireball! I already love the guy! He got here this morning at 5:30 so we went and grabbed him from the bus station and hes on fire and ready to go! He served in the Salt lake City South for 8 months and has nine months here in brasil and is super white haha! He is awesome! He is from Cedar City Utah and is 20 years old. I am super pumped for this next transfer!

But anyways the week was sweet because we had our christmas conference in Lages and it was super fun! Everyone thinks our pres is super strict and uptight cuz the last one wasnt very strict and then for our conference we had like and hour of talks and instructions and then we played xbox ping pong and cards and stuff the whole day! and they brought a ton of food and it was super awesome! and the best part about it was president silva was doing everything and he is flipping awesome at ping pong hah! its crazy! you can find some super good brazilians here and he was killing everybody haha it was so sweet! But they brought in 2 xbox's and had everyone playing kinect which was pretty fun! I have to admit i got my butt whooped by president in ping pong a couple times haha dad and josh you might be able to beat me in 2 years!

But anyways the work here is going alright! I feel like elder Rhoton is ready to go and that were going to do a lot of great things here with the help of the ward. It might take a while because Hess and I started to just try and visit families and try to find the inactives and we are finding a lot of in actives with other family members and friends so hopefully we see some progress there!

But the mission is going great and really the trials here can't even compare to the trials in other peoples lives. Thats a big lesson I am learning and really gaining a testimony of is that there always will be someone with a harder trial than you so we can't just sit there and dwell on it. We always have to look forward having faith that Heavenly Father will help us.

I love you all and hope you have a good week! I miss everyone! Merry christmas!

Elder Keller

Week #15 Dec 8, 2014 Batismo!

Elder Hess, Gabriel, Elder Keller Baptism Dec 6, 2014
Gabriel e eu!
So yeah hes white like most of the people here because theyre all european. he was actually born in italy and moved here when he was nine! he thought we were doing a thug pick that time so hes not smiling haha but hes in the back in the pic up top!
Selfie time with the Bispo and all the youth in the ward during a family home evening! The Bishop here is a little crazy haha! Gabriel is in the back

Gabriel got baptized on Saturday and it was super awesome! So in our last lesson with him we were asking him who he wanted to baptize him and confirm him and so we explained about the confirmation and told him that whoever would confirm would have to give a blessing, in português... I thought i made that super clear! Not because i wanted to baptize him but because i dont speak portuguese haha. So i was sure he would just let elder hess confirm him and it would be all good but then he said elder hess would baptize and i would confirm him and i think he immediately saw the fear in my eyes cuz he asked if we wanted to switch haha but elder hess was just like nope, he'll be able to do it. So basically i was totally freaking out for like 3 days and i hate to admit it but with totally weak faith. So i fasted this week to be able to say everything in portugues and that it would all work out. What happened the first time that elder hess confirmed someone was his trainer already spoke english so hess just switched to english and then the comp translated. So i figured if it came to that i would just switch. So sunday finally arrived and i was super nervous and we went up to do the confirmation and i was just praying my guts out and then it was weird cuz the fear just kind of went away. And then everything came really clearly and the portuguese just kind of came with it. It was such a cool experience!

Im thankful for the power of the priesthood in my life and that God really lets us use his power when we really can never say that we are worthy of it. Its cool how much you start to learn about the atonement on your mission. All the time in studies, emails from our president, conferences, and just day to day things while working with people you really are focusing on Jesus Christ and his atonement. I cant remember if i sent this last week in my email or not but we watched this awesome video about the atonement! it was brom a BYU devo from 2011 i think? The guys name was brad wilcox and he really puts things into perspective so well! I totally recomend watching it.

Also I've been trying to read all the talks from conference because i didnt understand any of the portuguese ones and dang this conference was amazing! Every single talk i feel like just rocked the house! And mom thank you for sending me Elder Uchtdorfs talk first, "Lord, Is It I?". That talk was just awesome and really has been a great lesson for me to learn in my life. And it was nice to read it before reading the rest of the talks because i learned to try to find something in each talk that i can apply to myself and not other people like Uchtdorf suggests. Its so true though! I feel like i do that all the time! Ill learn something or a principle of the gospel and just think that it doesnt apply to me which is totally wrong! We can apply anything to ourselves in life because were probably not going to reach true perfection in this life. If we did we'd be translated haha.

But anyways as to other work, we have really just started focusing on members in the ward. Elder Costa taught some awesome things on how to use members better because that is the only way we will help baptize people and get them to the temple. The only baptism here right now was through a member. We teach tons of people but its hard to progress without them having a support in the church. So its cool teaching them because were discovering that really everyone has a problem that they need help with so for now were going to focus on strengthening the ward here in pato branco so we can better use the members to do missionary work. Who knows, maybe ill get transferred in 2 weeks and wont be able to work with them but really our purpose is to invite others to come unto christ through faith repentance baptism holy ghost and ENDURE TO THE END. Members are in that stage of enduring to the end.

One thing elder Costa taught is that we as companions have to be super close and united to be able have the spirit with us. Its the same thing with the ward. If they arent united then we cant use them to do missionary work. But elder hess and i have been growing a lot closer lately and it makes the mission life way better! No matter how awkward it might feel or how much you dont want to do it, you just gotta talk things out! But im really glad that we have become so close because now we can truly have the spirit with us.

But anyways I love and miss everyone and hope your week goes well! Cião! Um forte abraço por todos.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week #14 Dec 1, 2014 A Week of Elder Costa & Tons of the Spirit

Elder Keller's zone with the President & Sister Silva (back left)

Scenery on the bus ride to Itajai

Ian's Christmas packages arrived! Yeah!

This was by far one of the most spiritually powerful weeks of my life! Holy cow it was just sweet! So to start out we had p day and tuesday in pato branco and that was it so nothing really happened with investigators or anything but everything is on track with Gabriel so thats great. Our less actives that we are teaching came to stake conference this week which was sweet and Candida is doing better.

But anyways the reason this week was so awesome is because we were practically with our president the whole time and also we got a day with elder Costa of the seventy and man are those guys just ridiculously powerful!

So anyways we left wednesday morning for our 15 hour bus ride to Itajaí for a zone conference with elder costa and it was so awesome! But the mission rented us this totally nice bus and so we met in Chapecó with our zone and then went and picked up the zone Ipomeia so we had like 40 to 45 elders on this bus ride and it was so much fun! A super nice bus filled with two zones of missionaries is awesome! We spent half the time just singing hymns, christmas music, disney music, or whatever we could think of and when you got 40 elders and sisters singing its loud! The drivers were either really ticked off or will hopefully join the church haha. But it was way awesome!

But we got there and started with Elder Costa at like 9 o clock and we all got to start off by shaking his hand and talking to him for a couple seconds. Super cool! There were only about eighty missionaries so it was awesome! When i shook his hand he asked where i was from and told him gilbert arizona and he then reminded me that he presided over the ground breaking of the gilbert temple which i went to hahaha how crazy is that??? He said he loves the US and arizona so i went up to talk to him after the meeting and he got all excited about my living by the temple so he got out his iphone and wanted to show me his name on the internet site for the gilbert temple. So i helped him break into the wi fi in the church building (haha yep helped a seventy break into the churchs wifi! haha who knew that would ever happen on your mission? ) and he showed me all these pictures. But the guy is absolutely amazing. We were probably listening to him for about 5 to 6 hours and i couldnt keep my eyes off of him! He taught with such a powerful spirit and in a way that just made you respect him and want to be the best person that you could possibly ever be. He shared amazing stores about his time as a mission pres and when he got baptized at age 27. He read the intro of the book of mormon and the joseph smith story, prayed for 14 hours, knew it was true, ran to the sisters home and waited till they got back and told them he wanted to be baptized that day! haha so they ended up going to the pres and he said he could be baptized the next day. But i mean this guy is so powerful! I was so glad that i could understand everything and it was a huge blessing because i learned so much! I just wish i had more time so that i could share everything he talked about. But i asked him a question after the conference when i went up to talk to him and i asked how he was so in tune with the spirit and he didnt give any big grand answer or anything he just said, as we truly dedicate our lives to jesus christ, and that means accept anything that he asks us to do, and as we really strive in our prayers to seek guidance and grow closer to him, we will begin to recognize that still small voice. And when i was just one on one with him, the spirit just hit me like a brick. It was amazing. I knew without a doubt in my mind he was called by God! But hes such a great teacher! it was cool because it wasnt a talk that he gave it was jsut a classroom setting thing with 80 missionaries. and the guys is hilarious!

But im running out of time and i wanted to talk about President Silva. Dang that guy is amazing! And sister Silva as well! We stayed in chapeco on friday and on saturday President and Sister came to do interviews and to have a meeting with us and to speak in every session of stake conference in chapeco on saturday and sunday. And dang they are so awesome! President silva has mastered the scriptures completely and is such an awesome teacher. And sister silva is just a power house and is super cool! But president shared an awesome video of brad wilcox talking about the atonement and it was absolutely awesome! it was totally what i needed and he is totally inspired by the spirit. I wish i could right more but i have no more time!

I love and miss everyone! Bye

Elder Keller
Met my grandpa and brother! G pa coelho is a brazilian legend in this mission! He was made AP at like 7 months out and is just super awesome!

Found a long lost Keller! Well technically he's a brazilian but his mom is american and her last name is Keller haha crazy! Theyre from the east part of the U.S. Who knows, maybe we`re related?